tv CNN Newsroom Live CNN July 6, 2018 12:00am-1:00am PDT
if he can attract public support, speaking from a place like this, then his reasons for starting a new war would have to be good ones. another white house cabinet official out. the embattled epa chief resigns after months of scandal and ethics probes. pressure on mike pompeo. america's top diplomat back in pyeongyang right now seeking proof north korea is committed to denuke larization. also ahead this hour, the dangerous mission in thailand. what a rescue divers death means for the efforts to save 13 people trapped there in a cave. live from krcnn world headquarts in atlanta, i'm george howell.
"cnn newsroom" starts right now. at 3:00 a.m. here on the u.s. east coast we start with another high profile departure from the trump administration. the head of the epa, the environmental protection agency has resigned under a cloud of controversy. scott pruitt was at the white house on wednesday, the fourth of july, for celebrations there. his resignation comes amid a long list of alleged ethics violations. you see some of them here. it's a long expensive list. pruitt is the subject of at least 14 separate investigations. among the claims, trying to use his position to secure a job and a restaurant franchise for his wife. president trump has been hesitant to take action, instead praising pruitt's deregulation efforts in that agency. on thursday he tweeted this. within the agency scott has done
an outstanding job and i will always be thankful to him for this. in an exclusive investigation cnn has uncovered the latest pruitt scandal. our drew griffon has details for you. >> reporter: it may have been the last straw. an epa insider turned whistle-blower alleging scott pruitt and his inner circle were keeping a secret calendar, hiding meetings with industry insiders and others from the public, scrubbing federal records possibly in violation of the law. >> scrubbed? >> krscrub, yes, sir. >> which happened quite a bit. >> reporter: the exclusive report detailed over two dozen meetings, calls and events with industry insiders and others missing from pruitt's calendar. he says the secret calendar all done under pruitt's direction. within hours pruitt resigned. in his resignation letter pruitt
never mentioned any of the scandals he was associated with, only this, the unrelenting attacks on me personally and my family are unprecedented have taken a sizable toll on all of us. what's unprecedented the sheer volume of allegations against scott pruitt. >> it's mind-boggling how long the list of potential ethics violations are. >> reporter: a cnn report that pruitt proposed ousting jeff sessions so he would be appointed attorney general, leasing a d.c. condo, spending tax dollars on first class travel and weekend trips home, handing out jobs and pay raises to political aides, using staff to run errands, trying to get his wife a six figure job, trying to get his wife a restaurant franchise. at least 14 separate probes under way involving pruitt. his former deputy chief of staff
says scott pruitt was warned many times but refused to stop. >> the delta flights, the living in the lobbyist's house, we all knew about this. and we expressed concerns and issues with it, going home every weekend, having taxpayers pay for his trips back to oklahoma, we expressed this stuff. it just got overrule bide administrator pruitt. >> reporter: in just the past few weeks even republicans began questioning pruitt's judgments. >> he is acting like a moron, and he needs to stop it. >> reporter: in the end pruitt relied on his personal almost divine like connection to donald trump as revealed in his letter of resignation. "i believe you are serving as president today because of god's providence, pruitt wrote to
trump, and that providence came to an end it thursday. >> drew, thank you. and as for the man who will replace pruitt, critics are already speaking out about him. andrew wheeler is a former coal industry lobbyist. he is former firm's clients include merry energy which calls itself the largest coal mining company in america. wheeler was also a staff member for republican senator jill inhoff of oklahoma. let's talk more about this now with political columnist kate andrews. a pleasure to have you on the show to -- >> nice to see you, george. >> yeah, good to have you with his seismic news, really. scott pruitt resigning. he never mentions the seismic scandals only citing the
pressures on him and his family for reasons for leaving. what do you make of the person who will replace him? >> donald trump said he would drain the swamp, that catchphrase that caught a lot of attraction during the 2016 election. and of course what we've seen in scott pruitt is that the swamp can come in all shapes and sizes can actually be in the republican party as well. and when you have essentially a bureaucratic spending taxpayer money on first class sfloigts and soundproof phone booths in their room and living for cheap with lobbyist in rooms, i mean it's hugely questionable to say the very least, which is why you have all these outstanding complaints and investigations against him. and at some point i think probably quite a while back now, you know, that switch would have flipped and the president should have said we can't have this in the party, especially within the environmental protection agency. because what donald trump is doing there is quite controversial to many. it's a very sensitive subject.
so if you have somebody who's peshl character is called into question, it's going to reflect on what happens politically and what happens in that department. >> so let's talk about the people the president is considering for the u.s. supreme court. we know more about them now, at least one woman being considered. all very deeply conservative with their backgrounds. with regards to concerns about the future of lgbt rights and abortion, what do you make of these picks? >> amy barrett is at the top of the list it seems as a potential candidate. she is a circuit judge, deeply conservative and favored amongst many of the conservatives. and i think it goes to show really how political the supreme court has become. it's always been our goal to keep the supreme court away from politics and to let them analyze the constitution as they see fit. of course, that's not how things play out in real life. that's really not criticism of the court but rather the way
politicians treat the court and their appointees. i know there's a lot of worries over lgbt rights buts specifically over roe v. wade. while i am pro-choice and think it's important women retain that right to their health care, that decision was always made an shaky ground constitutionally. the fact that they swing now because donald trump is looking for young appointees to hold the court for a longer period of time, i think it calls into question how our rights are maintained, sustained and if they're going to be decided on shaky ground on the constitution maybe congress needs to step up to the plate and actually legislate more. >> all right, and kate, i also want to talk about what we heard from the president on stage recently criticizing the democratic senator elizabeth warren with a derogatory slur he's used before and also mocking the me too movement. let's listen to this. >> pocahontas.
they always want me to apologize for saying this. let's say i'm debating pocahontas, you know those little kits they sell on television for $2? learn your heritage. we will take that little kit and say -- but we have to do it gently because we're in the me too generation, so we have to be very gentle. and we will very gently take that kit and we will slowly toss it, hoping it doesn't hit her and injure her arm. >> all right, kate, several things to dissect with that. let's first get the response from senator elizabeth warren who basically pushed back against the president saying he should focus more on other issues rather than focusing on this pocahontas slur that he's used before. but the question i have for you, given the outrage certainly from basically mocking the me too movement, this coming from a president, by the way, who faces several sexual misconduct
allegations himself. >> well, to the derogatory slur first, i don't know what donald trump thinks he's doing. but when he uses that against senator warren what he's actually doing is insulting the native-american community. and he thinks he's poking fun at her for, you know, questionably using afirmative action to her favor, but what he's doing is attacking a large group of people that are very marginalized in american society already. i can't imagine president reagan or george w. bush even speaking in this way. and the point about the me too movement i disagree with it coming out of the president's mouth. i think there are questions to ask about where the me too movement has gone, what started out as a very organic movement very quickly became hijacked potentially by less serious
complaints, and so i think there are questions to be asked about the nuances of the me too movement, where it started and where it's going. coming out of the president's mouth in that way, again, is deeply inappropriate. he's supposed to be above all of this, supposed to be representing america, supposed to take the higher ground. once again unsurprisingly, george, we've seen him go a different direction. >> this is red meat i suppose for the base. thank you so much for the insight and perspective today. >> thank you. chine haw has just accused the united states of starting the biggest trade war in economic history. this is because tariffs on $34 billion on chinese goods went into effect just about three hours ago. more than 800 products have been targeted. china says the u.s. is simply a trade bully. let's listen. >> translator: it is the united
states who initiated this trade war. we don't want it, but when necessary we will take counter megtsers to safeguard the interests of our country and people. china will never fire the first shot, but if the u.s. imposes additional tariffs on chinese imports, china will have to take counter measures. >> beijing hadn't provided any details of its retaliation, but previously said it would impose tariffs on u.s. goods including airplanes, meat, whiskey and tobacco. this clash with china comes as the trump administration is locked in trade disputes with canada, with mexico, and with the european union. tariffs on steel and aluminum saw trading partners propose their own tariffs on billions of dollars of american exports. now, it is early morning here in the united states, friday, and today marks the first deadline for the u.s. government to start reuniting migrant families. today officials have to make every child separated from their
parent, they have to find a way to get in touch with them. reach out and connect with their moms or dads. but it is easier said than done in this case especially when the numbers keep changing. the government is struggling to keep count how many children are detained apart from their families. now they're saying it's just under 3,000. so what's the number? still unclear. but the secretary of the department of health and human services wants to make this one point clear. let's listen to this. >> first, again, i want to be really clear. a couple of you have said the word 3,000. i want to be clear, it is under 3,000. i want to give you on outer bound. under 3,000, and that is the maximum set. it will not be 3,000. it will not be close to 3,000. it will be under 3,000. these numbers don't help the families who want their kids
back. thousands of parents and kids have been wait long days to be reunited. here's the story of one mother who finally got her wish. she was reunited with her daughter after 55 days. the american civil liberties union helped her find her lawsuit. it says an officer told garcia happy mother's day after saying her daughter would be taken away and she would never see her again. fortunately, that did not come to pass. take a look.
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welcome back to "cnn newsroom." in northern thailand rescuers have lost one of their own while trying to save a youth football team. officials say this former thai navy s.e.al. died hours ago after running out of air. the diver had just brought oxygen to the flooded cave system where that team was trapped. the 12 boys and their coach have been stranded now for 13 days and more rain is expected which could flood the cave even more. the death of the diver highlights the dangers that they face especially if they use scuba gear to try to escape. let's go live to the scene. cnn's david mckenzie is on the story. and what do we know at this point how this navy s.e.al. lost his life? >> reporter: it seems he was
traveling through those very tight spaces trying to deliver oxygen to the cabbian where the boys are. on the way back from delivering the oxygen it appears he ran out of air himself and passed out. there's a real sense of tragedy and lost amongst the specialist divers here, but, you know, they know they have a job to do. if you look behind me over there that's some of the staging ground of the various teams both international and thai that have used all their technique and experience to try to figure out how to get these boys out. and it really underlines how difficult it will be to get them out. that this experienced sergeant, super fit, well specialized, had his training in check and he passed away. so how are they going to get these weak boys, some of them who can't swim, out through these tunnels? i spoke to a finish diver who specializes going into wrecks across asia, and he says the
diving here is so much more difficult, but they just have to get it done. what is the mood like right now now that we've learned this one diver has died. >> definitely you can feel it, that it has an effect. but we're moving on. everybody is a professional, so we try to put it away and have it not happen again. >> reporter: and everyone is focussing on getting them out? >> everyone is focusing on keeping them alive or getting them out. >> reporter: you can see a large group of thai military coming in behind me. this has become a herculean effort both in terms of getting the boys out and in keeping the r rescuers, happy, motivated and optimistic they can do the job. cnn joined a group of national parks officials deep into the jungle. this exclusive video showing how they're looking for the tunnels
possibly leading into the ground. the sinkholes as they call it or the chimneys, there might be some kind of access point. in one case they sent six climbers down from thailand as much as 300 meters, but it's kind of looking like a needle in a haystack to find an access point. it could be sporadic rain today they have to take the decision they have to get the boys out. >> and david you mentioned the weather there. certainly the concern is more heavy rain is on the way as those crews are doing their very best to proceed on with the -- you know, this operation. david, we'll stay in touch with you. thank you for the reporting today. now the next few days will by critical for these rescuers. cnn's tom foreman has a break down of exactly what's at stake
here. >> reporter: the race here is very simple in theory but devlishly complicated in practice. what the rescusers are trying to do is get enough water out of this 2 1/2 stretch of tunnel, basically cave towards the entrance to where these boys are to maybe open a brief path to maybe bring them back out. but here's the issue. they're pumping about as fast as they can right now. somewhere around 435,000 gallons per hour. that's enough to fill two thirds of an olympic swimming pool every hour, and yet they feel like they're still just on the edge of maybe getting this done. maybe. and look at had reality that they're facing here. what they've been pumping out of this hole has been the water that went in before the boys went into the cave and since then, all that in blue there. and look at that area in the middle, that's where they've been working where there's been
less rainfall. and now in the gray you see what's coming. so unless they get ahead of it right now, right away there could be more flooding and all their progress could be easily lost. we do know a bit more what they're dealing with underground, by the way. more detailed maps are emerging from people who have been down there. and you can see now they're talking about areas that are almost like lakes in a sense or rivers under there. we don't know how deep it is, how hard it would be to get through. some narrow flooded parts where they would have to dive through unless they can get a lot more water out. but we also know some of these areas are very tight and hard to get through. how difficult is this? here's one measure -- professional divers who are going in to try to make this rescue happen are spending six hours just getting from the entrance to where the boys are and five hours just to get back. >> tom foreman, thank you very
much. and in southern thailand rescue efforts are under way for dozens of people missing after two boats capsize in separate incidents. this happened off the resort island of -- during severe thunderstorms there. one boat was loaded with chinese tourists. more than half have been rescued at this point. still ahead, a top u.s. diplomat is on a mission to north korea. we'll tell you exactly what commitments the secretary of state, mike pompeo, wants from kim jong-un. plus a shipping route is at the center of an oil dispute between washington and tehran. now iranian officials threaten to block the strait.
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coast to coast across the united states and live around the world this hour you're watching "cnn newsroom." it is a pleasure to have you with us. i'm george howell with the headlines we're following for you this hour. the head of the u.s. environmental protection agency, the epa, laz resigned under a cloud of controversy. scott pruitt is the target of at least 14 separate ethics investigations. he blamed unrelenting attacks on himself and his family. a former thai navy s.e.al. has been killed during efforts to rescue a youth football team trapped in a cave system. officials say the former diver died from lack of air. the 12 boys and their coach have now been trapped there for 13
days. china has accused the united states frf starting the quote, biggest trade war in economic history as $34 billion in u.s. tariffs on chinese goods now goes into effect. beijing says it has no choice but to strike back. the top u.s. diplomat is in pyeongyang for nuclear talks with north korea. mike pompeo is under pressure, though, to deliver results after the lofty promises of denuclearization from that summit that took place in singapore. pyeongyang has yet, though, to provide any firm details or even a time line on how it plans to get rid of its nuclear programs. recent reports suggest north korea has no intention of giving up its nuclear weapons. cnn's barbara starr has a look at what's at stake for this trip. >> reporter: secretary of state mike pompeo under tremendous pressure to get north korea to
denuclearize. north korea did destroy entrances to underground tunnels used to test nuclear bombs, but pompeo now has to deliver much more. >> he's under tremendous pressure. i think what we've seen from singapore is rather an empty, an empty joint statement and now he has to make something out of it. >> reporter: president trump sounding optimistic last month. >> they've stopped all nuclear testing. they've stopped nuclear research. they stopped rocketry. they stopped everything you'd want them to stop, and they blew up sites where they test. >> reporter: yet no signs he's given up testing. the u.s. is keeping sharp watch across north korea. >> there's been these reports about increased production of
missile material, the completion of a construction on a facility that north korea makes its ballistic missiles. all sorts of things. >> reporter: pompeo publicly remains hopeful tweeting, looking forward to continuing our work toward the final fully verified denuclearization of dprk as agreed to by chairman kim. but it's an uphill climb given the white house's expectations. >> the secretary of state mike pompeo will be discussing this with the north koreans in the near future about really how to dismantel all their ballistic missile programs in a year. >> reporter: north korea has to agree to time lines for dismantlement plus verification and inspection of facilities. kim isn't moving fast. even on the promise to transfer remains of potentially 200 american troops killed during the korean war. something president trump said has already happened. >> we got back our great fallen
heroes, the remains. in fact, today already 200 have been sent back. >> reporter: but so far only temporary caskets have been moved to the dmz in case the north koreans carry out the promise. the state department is pushing back on the notion its softening its position just to get a deal with kim jong-un. the state department press secretary saying nothing could be further from the truth. barbara starr, cnn, the pentagon. >> barbara, thank you. president trump talked about north korea during a campaign rally in montana. on thursday night he says kim jong-un sees a very bright and different future for his country. >> i got along very well with chairman kim. i got along very well. that's a good thing that i got along well. now, what hasn't happened in eight months? in eight months, first of all, we got our prisoners back.
it was a very smart deal for north korea. goodwill is very important, but we signed a wonderful paper saying they're going to denuclearize their whole -- it's going to all happen. >> let's bring in cnn's andrew stevens following the story live in seoul, south korea. andrew, we just heard the president there moments ago talking about the status of these negotiations, a rosy picture he paints of goodwill, of good deeds, good paper that was signed between he and the north korean leader. but the truth of the matter here intelligence agencies of the u.s. government tell a very different story that is raising concerns. >> that's right, george, we saw that report from barbara starr indicating not one but multiple arms of intelligence services in the u.s. are expressing concerns about what's going on. are the north koreans actually continuing to enrich missile
material, uranium to be used in nuclear weapons? we know there's a side which does just that. but now there are suggestions there are other secret sites which are doing that as well. and there's also concerns about north koreans ramping up production on these fuel rockets, small mobile rocket engines which can be attached to an intercontinental bu listing missile. they're much smaller and portable which makes them harder to detect. these issues are rumbling in the background as we hear trump saying he can do business, he likes him. mike pompeo sort of echoing that as he flew to pyeongyang. he sent this tweet saying the president told me when he was aboard air force one -- the president told me he believes chairman kim sees a different brighter future for the people of north korea. we hope that's true.
we now know he's on the ground in pyeongyang. he met kim yong-chul, they had lunch together at a guesthouse, and we understand now the first meeting between these two is under way. it's expected to go for a few hours, too, george. and there are suggestions and we don't know this because there's been very few details given out. but there has been suggestions if this initial meeting goes according to plan that mike pompeo may then move onto meet with president kim. but certainly as you say there is concern, there is skepticism in the intelligence community that north korea may be trying to deceive the u.s. in its nuclear program. and at the end of the day there are real concerns, doubts, which have always been the case over weather north korea is indeed fully committed to denuclearization, to giving up in weapons program in the same sense that the u.s. expects it to do. >> questions coming from this. you point out, is north korea
looking to deceive. the other question is the u.s. administration going soft given its desire to have good optics around this? david mckenzie, we will stay in touch with you, andrew stevens in south korea. tensions rising over the u.s. and iran over the issues of oil. iran has threatened to close the port of hormuz. it was in response to the trump administration, an official who promised to get the number of countries inimporting iranian crude oil down to zero. teheran tormented that as u.s. intent to stop iranian shipping. in the meantime the iranian president is trying to salvage his country's agreement after the u.s. backed out of it. john, how crucial is this being
with tensions ratcheting up? >> reporter: i'd say it's a pivotal day and the squeeze is coming from both teheran and washington right now. you'll find all the sigatories of the nuclear agreement minus the elephant in the room, and as the united states as you suggested they pulled out of the deal in may. hassan hurani have been touring europe all week long and they've been pushing saying to the europeans, look, you have to go beyond the nice platitudes and come up with actual concrete economic measures merchandise in fact rouhani had a call with his counterpart in france, president macron, suggesting what they see is not enough support to stay n engaged. at the same time to buffer the influence of russia and turkey
who remain very involved in the energy sector, but they're looking weak to the outside world. and this is why this meeting that's taking place in vienna is so important. we know the u.s. position, george. there's a tweet graphic coming from mike pompeo while he was on his way to north korea, look at state terrorism, alleged terrorism from iran datic back to 1979. saying don't go weak, don't divorce from other activities of iran. we want them to be joined up in the future and why this meeting is so crucial today, george. >> how much of this has to do with oil and the snap back of sanctions on iran by the u.s.? >> i think this is fair to say this the how we got to the boiling point. as you suggested in your lead in there, they're trying to wipeout iran's exports entirely. that's why the strait of hormuz
is back in play here by the iranians. they're threatening to block it. it's the first time in the last few years. this artery handles a third of all seaborne crude traffic. u.s. central command has even weighed in here, saying they will stand ready to ensure the freedom of navigation. i think that order to shut the strait came from president rouhani. he is considered the moderate in this whole play. it wasn't led by the military and the military liked what they heard, perhaps is the way to build rouhani's credentials back at home as he tries to negotiate today. the reappearance of a deadly nerve agent in the british countryside has residents there on edge. the latest in the poisoning history. you won't see these folks at the post office
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it's a great shame, and yes i am concerned, but that's not going to stop me doing anything i need to do, and i don't think it will anyone else either. they say it's low risk. i don't think it's low risk at all. it's really worrying it's happening months later again. so it's quite concerning. >> you get a sense thereof the frayed nerves and a sense of da deja vu in the british countryside as investigators are trying to track down the source of nerve agent. that was the same substance used in a fail assassination attempt on a former russian spy and his daughter months ago. certainly a lot of people in that town and around that area must be concerned with another couple fighting to survive after
coming in contact with this poison. >> reporter: and that's really what makes the police investigation right now so crucial. because what the police are trying to do is figure precisely what contaminated this pair. what was it they picked up, what was it they touched, what precisely did they find it, what time did they find it, and usually where is it now? so it's now one of the areas of the police investigation. the police currently have five different properties between here and salisbury. so the focus is on where those places the couple visited, trying to scour those sites
trying to find the point of contamination. unless the police can find that, then they're going to find it very hard to ensure the public they're safe. the impression that's being created right now that although the police and authorities have decontaminated four sites, and from, you know, the investigation of the scriples poisoning in march and a couple of sites remain at least closed off to the public, although they're decontaminated, an item of contaminant remains out there. police have said this comwere accidental victims, that they weren't intentionally targeted and they weren't connected with the scriples. and they're also saying that the sites the couple visited don't include those sites that the police had decontaminated from the scripal investigation, which again plays into the public's
concerns. areas outside that original investigation to the original poisoning in march, areas now where it seems that a novichok contaminant was lying around for this couple to have picked up or discovered. so this is the urgency in the police investigation, not just treating the couple in the hospital but finding out precisely what can taminated them, how and precisely where and when. >> a lot of uncertainty for sure. thank you for the time and reporting. we'll keep in touch with you. still ahead 90 million people in north america are under a heat advisedry continue to soar and in some cases kill.
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in quebec, canada, at least 30 people have died. at least 18 deaths alone have occurred in montreal. most of the victims men over the age of 50 who lived by themselves without air-conditioning. deaths have also been reported in pennsylvania and new york. intense heat is forecasted for the western part of the u.s. this weekend. it's causing concerns about wildfire, the so-called county fire in california has charred 86,000 acres. it's likely to grow as the weather gets hotter and dryer. hotter and hotter, that's the forecast it seems. our meteorologist derek van dam is following it all. >> george, the east will cool down, the west will got hotter. that increases the threat of fires as you mentioned. here's an interesting picture. this is coming out of park county, colorado. this is the weston pass fire. you don't really see much of a fire here.
you see a tornado. a very rare thing to happen. we saw a tornado go over what was a 12,000 acre fire. you can see the 416 fire that has been burning for several weeks now. it's about 41% containment. we still have an exceptional drought taking place across the u.s. in fact, over 38 large active fires burning out of control across western portions of of the united states. breezy, low humidity, high temperatures, all fuel for the flames across this area. the potential exists for more fire activity. and we focus in on southwestern california where temperatures are really going to skyrocket this week. record heat expected for the weekend as a heat dome sets up over this area. and it's not going to be just the inland region. this is going to extend all the way to the coast including the greater los angeles reejb. inland temperatures, get this,
120. of course this is very dry heat, so they don't have the humidity to deal with. but nonetheless we're still talking about temperatures running 20 degrees above where they should be this time of year. triple digit heat for los angeles, unbelievable. great news for quebec as well as the new england region because they have been swelter for the past seven days. we know about the fatalities, but this is what i really am knighted to report on. temperatures were yesterday 725 in ottawa, and 93 yesterday and 74 today. so some much needed and much welcomed relief from the extreme heat there. and that's going to extend all the way to the east coast including the big apple. so temperatures today will be much more comfortable than what they have been the past seven days and we'll feel a noticeable difference in the humidity levels as well. along the west coast we've had
the high fire threat and increase in our temperatures. >> silver lining but hot there. and we end the show this hour with the trump baby blimp in the united kingdom. it's been cleared for liftoff. london's mayor has given protesters the okay to send this satirical balloon over parliament next week. that's when mr. trump will be visiting the city. it's about 19 feet and mocks the twitter loving president as an infant with yellow hair and small hands holding a cellphone. of course we will see if the president tweets about the trump balloon there. thank you so much for being with us. for "cnn newsroom," i'm george howell at the cnn center in atlanta. for ow viewers here in the united states "early start" is next in new york. and for others the news continues with my my colleague
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the biggest trade war in economic history. china with a stern rebuke promising to strike back after another round of tariffs imposed by the united states. the administration facing urgent deadlines to reunite thousands of families split at the border. but still no clarity on how many kids are being held. tragedy in thailand. a rescuer has died burking in the cave where a soccer team and their coach remain trapped.