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Investigation into Alleged Trump-Russia Contacts; Trump Proposes Defense Spending Hike; U.S. Plan to Defeat ISIS in Ten Months. Aired 12-1a ET

Aired February 28, 2017 - 00:00   ET



[00:00:10] JOHN VAUSE, CNN ANCHOR: This is CNN NEWSROOM live from Los Angeles. Ahead this hour:

AMARA WALKER, CNN ANCHOR: A key Republican lawmaker says a special prosecutor may be needed to investigate alleged contacts between the Trump campaign and suspected Russian operatives -- the White House pushing back.

VAUSE: CNN has learned the Pentagon's plan to defeat ISIS is on a ten-month timetable. But could it mean more U.S. boots on the ground in Iraq and Syria.

WALKER: And unsmearing the Oscar egg on its face -- the group responsible for the wrong best picture envelope is now naming names and explaining what went wrong.

VAUSE: A lot went wrong.

Hello and welcome to our viewers all around the world. I'm John Vause.

WALKER: And I'm Amara Walker. Thanks for being with us.

NEWSROOM L.A. starts right now.

U.S. President Donald Trump is preparing for his first speech to a joint session of Congress on Tuesday with some big budget proposals on tap. In the meantime, sources say Mr. Trump approved checking the work and personal cell phones of some staffers to prevent information leaks.

VAUSE: We're also told the President ok'd a controversial move to block some media outlets including CNN from an official briefing last Friday. White House spokesman Sean Spicer denies Mr. Trump was involved in either decision and Spicer also pushing back on the need for a special prosecutor to investigate the links between the Trump campaign and Russia.


SEAN SPICER, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: You had the intelligence community look at Russia's involvement in the election. You had the House and the Senate both do the same.

And so what I'm trying to ascertain is at what point -- how many people have to say that there's nothing there before you realize there's nothing there?


VAUSE: Democratic strategist Dave Jacobson and Republican consultant John Thomas are with us now for more on this.

Ok, let's start with the whole Russia thing. At least one senior Republican agrees with Sean Spicer, also happens to be the lawmaker who is in charge of the investigation in the lower House into Trump and ties with Russia.

Let's listen to Representative Nunes.


REP. DEVIN NUNES (R), CALIFORNIA: We still have not seen any evidence of anyone from the Trump campaign or any other campaign for that matter that's communicated with the Russian government.


VAUSE: A very different take from the Senate and in particular the ranking Democrat on the Intelligence Committee. Listen to him.


SEN. ADAM SCHIFF (D), CALIFORNIA: I just want to make something clear and that is the committee has reached no conclusion on whether the Trump campaign colluded with Russia, Russian officials or any Russian contacts; nor could we.


VAUSE: Ok. So John -- the criticism of the Republican, Nunes, in this case is that he has prejudiced the outcome of this investigation and he has lot of power essentially to direct how this investigation is carried out.

JOHN THOMAS, REPUBLICAN CONSULTANT: That is a fair criticism but I think that he makes a fair point which is if there is no smoking gun, I mean, why do you have a further investigation and create a witch hunt which just, you know, the media will pounce and it becomes a bigger thing than it actually is.

And Adam Schiff, Representative Schiff, you know, was one of Hillary Clinton's lead spokespeople on the campaign trail. He is clearly a partisan and kind of biased as well in this process.

WALKER: But there's a lot of concerns, you know -- yes, of course, especially from Democrats regarding whether or not this is going to be a fair and impartial investigation. And obviously, you know, people are asking for more clarity. So why not an independent investigation especially in this politically-charged climate?

THOMAS: I'm not completely opposed to the independent investigation. I think the dangerous portion is you create a witch hunt where perhaps one doesn't need to exist.

And so I think if you are the White House you are going why do I want to withstand this story when there has been no there, there? So I can kind of see both sides of it. I think you start with an internal investigation by Congress and see where it goes from there.

VAUSE: Yes, Dave -- you wouldn't want, you know, too many inquiries -- Benghazi.

DAVE JACOBSON, DEMOCRATIC STRATEGIST: Right. Right, precisely. I mean look, it's like we're having a Republican whiplash here. Earlier today you had the former -- the last Republican president, George W. Bush go on the "Today" show and say hey look, you know, there are questions that need to be answered. He did not rule out, in fact, that there may need to be an independent prosecutor to look at this, number one.

Number two, Darrell Issa a congressman from Orange County, California, who is one of Trump's most devout ally that in the campaign trail gave him an early endorsement in the campaign this weekend on Bill Maher's show called for an independent prosecutor.

VAUSE: Yes. But his seat's kind of in trouble. He's facing a very angry electorate right now.

THOMAS: You mean politics plays into this?

VAUSE: Yes. Nunes though seems to be a lot more concerned about the leaks coming from the White House. Listen to this.


NUNES: Major crimes have been committed. And what I'm concerned about is this -- no one is focusing on major leaks that have occurred here. We can't run a government like this.


VAUSE: In fact, (inaudible) of the President is so obsessed about these leaks he signed off on Spicer checking everyone's cell phones.

[00:05:05] Dave -- this is all sounding very Nixonian and what -- we're into week five.

JACOBSON: It's like the supersized version of Nixon, right. I think what it does is really infringe upon the privacy rights -- this is a Republican infringing upon privacy rights of White House staffers. Increasingly the White House is looking more like a dictatorship.

Look, leaks have always existed. They're going to continue to exist. But what we really need to do is get to the bottom of whether or not there were these ongoing conversations between the Russians and the Trump campaign and was there collusion?

THOMAS: Leaks have always existed and will continue to exist -- you're right. But if you've got people who are leaking information on their private cell phones that might be handling classified, sensitive information, that's a problem not just for the Trump administration but for the American people. We have to figure that out.

WALKER: Do you think, Dave that this might be a distraction tactic? We have heard Trump tweet many times before that the leaks should be investigated. That's the big story and not these reports of these constant communications between his associates and Russia.

JACOBSON: Look, it's no doubt that Donald Trump is a mastermind when it comes to creating headlines and controversy and shifting the conversation. So there's no doubt that that is part of the strategy. Moreover, the dynamic where he tries to create this war with the press wherever there is a question about Russia, he basically -- or story about Russia, he basically calls it fake news. It's a diversion to deflect the issue to move on to something else.

VAUSE: With that line, you raised George W. Bush a little earlier. Let's listen to George W. Bush actually come to the defense of the media. Listen to this.


GEORGE W. BUSH, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I consider the media to be indispensable to democracy; that we need an independent media to hold people like me to account. I mean, power can be very addictive and it can be corrosive. And it's important for the media to call to account people who abuse their power whether it be here or elsewhere.


VAUSE: John -- a very rare public appearance by the former president. But also, given the fact that he had such a, you know, a tumultuous relationship with the media especially towards the end of his presidency, it seems even more meaningful coming from him.

THOMAS: Yes. Well, they -- you know, I could see that on the surface but let's not forget the Bush dynasty, the Bush family was so anti- Trump. This is so intensely personal for the Bush family that not only did Jeb get skewered in the primary process but Donald Trump was vicious towards Jeb and his family members. So there might be a little personal payback at play.

WALKER: Why do you think, Dave, that President Bush is breaking with long-standing practice, not commenting on a sitting president, actually offering up this passive criticism of President Trump?

JACOBSON: I think he sees it as a threat to the basic fundamentals of our democracy. We need a thriving, robust fourth estate press to go out there and to ask the tough questions and to hold the people in power accountable. And he sees this as a slippery slope.

I think it's unprecedented that you have someone like George Bush, who by the way, really didn't comment throughout the course of the general election. He came out in the primary to support his brother but he didn't really like proactively talk in the campaign.

THOMAS: He was damaged goods in a Republican primary. He could have come out if it helped.

VAUSE: Ok. Well, the other big headline from the White House -- the budget blueprint. This was released also on Monday. Listen to the President.


DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We're going to do more with less and make the government lean and accountable to the people. We can do so much more with the money we spend. With the $20 trillion in debt, can you imagine that, the government must learn to tighten its belt.


VAUSE: Well, you know, not everyone is going to do with less. There's going to be a big increase in military spending, a 10 percent increase -- that's about $54 billion. That will be paid for with cuts to domestic programs. No specifics here about which programs will be cut.

But Dave -- despite what the President has said and what he has promised can you get cuts of $54 billion without touching social security, Medicare and Medicaid?

JACOBSON: Well -- and also like what does Congress want, right? Like this is what he is proposing but he's going to have to negotiate with Paul Ryan and Mitch McConnell.

But look, I think at the end of the day, foreign aid is about 1 percent of the overall budget. I think he is going to cut the EPA by about 24 percent.

VAUSE: That's $8 billion for the EPA, $34 billion for foreign aide is their total budget. So that's $42 billion.

JACOBSON: Right. So like, I don't see how he gets to that threshold that he's looking to sort of match with Defense spending. So that is a real question that needs to be asked.

It's like he actually hasn't had any meaningful legislative action go through Congress. And so this will be the first potential action. And the question is like, what are the dynamics at play and do sort of like the leaders of Congress agree with the President on this?

WALKER: And John -- do you think it's necessary, a 10 percent increase in military and security spending? And I can't imagine that some conservatives are going to be excited about more spending. I mean that kind of goes against conservative ideals.

THOMAS: It does but I think Donald Trump's argument is the peace through strength argument. That if we spend more on defense, we'll spend less on wars. I think that's what he's looking at. And he campaigned vigorously on strengthening our military.

VAUSE: Ok. Dave and John -- good to see you. Thanks for coming in.

THOMAS: Thank you.

WALKER: A security warning is out for Jewish institutions across the United States after another wave of bomb threats. The anti-defamation league says at least 20 facilities in a dozen states received threats Monday. In all there have been about 90 threats this year.

[00:10:05] VAUSE: A Jewish cemetery in Philadelphia was vandalized over the weekend with dozens of headstones overturned; a similar incident happened at a Jewish cemetery in St. Louis last week. The White House has condemned these acts as hateful.

The man accused of fatally shooting an Indian engineer in Kansas made his first court appearance on Monday. Witnesses Adam Purinton shouted "get out of my country" before opening fire at a bar last week. Two others, including another Indian tech worker, were wounded. The victim's body was sent to his family in Hyderabad in India on Monday. Investigators are trying to determine if this was a hate crime.

WALKER: CNN's Ravi Agrawal joining us now from New Delhi with more on this story.

And Ravi -- it was really heartbreaking to listen to the victim's widow who spoke during a news conference. She talked about how she never really felt safe in the United States. I think she cited, you know, the rising number of hate crimes or at least that was perception and she even, you know, posed that question, do we belong here in the United States?

How is the story being perceived, how is it being discussed there in India?


They did pose those questions but at the same time they also loved America. And Srinivas Kuchibhotla's body arrived in his home city of Hyderabad Monday night. Today, Tuesday just about an hour from now, Kuchibhotla's extended family is getting ready to cremate his body.

CNN spoke to one of the family members and they said that they're all grief stricken and shocked. And they described Kuchibhotla as someone who was loving, caring, considerate. He was only 32 years old. He had great dreams. He loved America.

And really this is a story that is playing out in the city of Hyderabad for this family. But it is also a story that has gotten a great amount of coverage across India because Amara, this could have happened to anyone. India has about 166,000 students studying in the United States and there are even more workers from India who are working in the United States in all kinds of jobs.

So for the families of all of those people this is an active question now -- you know, could this happen to one of them? But while those fears are something that has been debated in India over the last few days on social media, on national TV there is also a sense of realism here, Amara, that despite the fact that this one incident did take place they are also pointing to the fact that while an American shot at two Indians, another American is being described as a hero for trying to save those two Indians. So there is a sense of realism in that they're not trying to homogenize an entire country.

I was at the Indian Institute of Technology, the IIT engineering school here in Delhi yesterday. And I was speaking to some students there, many of whom aspire to go to America. And a lot of them pointed out to me that they still want to go there. It's still the country of their dreams. Many Indians still aspire and look up to America as a nation where, you know, they can be safe.

So difficult times for the Kuchibhotla family. It's a story that's playing out across the country but even so a sense of realism -- Amara.

WALKER: Yes. You raise a good point there Ravi. I have several Indian-American friends who also said this could have been me. And it's obviously raising a lot of concerns not just amongst Indian- Americans but amongst minorities as well.

Ravi Agrawal -- thanks so much, live for us there in New Delhi.

VAUSE: We'll take a short break.

When we come back, the Trump administration weighing its options to speed up the fight against ISIS. You'll see what's on the table and how long this fight might take.

WALKER: Also the President wants a huge increase in military spending -- where he plans to get the money next, on NEWSROOM L.A.


VAUSE: Well, The Trump administration is reviewing looking plans to accelerate the fight against ISIS in Syria and Iraq. The Pentagon has sent a number of options to the White House.

WALKER: CNN learned earlier this month it could including sending U.S. combat forces into northern Syria for the first time. President Trump hopes the big boost in defense spending he's asking for will also help.


TRUMP: Win. We have to win. We have to start winning wars again. I have to say when I was young in high school and college, everybody used to say we never lost a war. Now we never win a war. We never win. And we don't fight to win. We don't fight to win. So we either have to win or don't fight it at all.


VAUSE: Joining us here in Los Angeles, former U.S. Marine and Green Beret Chase Millsap and retired U.S. Army Major-General Mark MacCarley. Thank you both for coming in.

We'll get to the plan to defeat or obliterate ISIS -- I think as the President said. But I want to get your reaction to the comment we just heard from Donald Trump there about the U.S. not fighting to win wars any more? General -- do you agree with him that the U.S. military just doesn't fight to win?

MAJ. GEN. MARK MACCARLEY, U.S. ARMY (RET): My experience has been that the military fights to win. It's a question of the political context in which you see the fight. If you compare World War II to what we are faced in Iraq and Syria there is no similarity. So you are comparing what is basically an apples-to-orange type of analogy.

This is a counter insurgency fight, different tools have to be applied.

VAUSE: Chase -- U.S. troops serving right now in dangerous places like Iraq and Afghanistan, you know, they hear the words of what the Commander-in-Chief, you know, has to say. And this is a Commander-in- Chief who did not serve. He got five deferments from Vietnam. So, you know, for the troops on the front lines, what sort of impact do those statements have?

CHASE MILLSAP, FORMER GREEN BERET: Well, you know, first of all being on the front lines, being an adviser, say those that are on the ground in Syria right now, they are looking at this and saying defeating an ISIS enemy is not that simple. This is not something you can just look at and say it's a black or white, win versus lose. There are a lot of complexities here.

And so it's one of those things you look back and say yes, militarily we can win but is that enough? Are there other things that we should be looking at?

WALKER: General MacCarley, I want to you talk more about Trump's plan to defeat ISIS because the Pentagon is going over several scenarios with the White House to ramp up the fight against ISIS and that include sending more ground troops to Syria. Do you think that's a good strategic idea? This is something the Obama administration avoided because it was a very risky proposition.

MACCARLEY: Let's start with the Obama administration's philosophy for fighting ISIS and that was to coin a phrase or adopt a phrase -- by, with and through.

And it was all about some American advisers with the main thrust by the Syrians, the free Syrians and of course, in Iraq by the government of Iraq. So the reassessment is one where we begin to look at whether or not with the additional capabilities that we can bring to the fight whether we're going to make that commitment as a nation to do that.

And the concern, of course, is that when you reassess and you say to yourself we need that additional fire power, those additional men and women then you're going to have to accept the consequences of that decision. It's one in which once again, we're going to see loss of life and a commitment of significant resources to win this fight.

So it's all about national will do. Do we want it? And if we want it, are we committed to it?

VAUSE: So Chase -- you know, there really are two separate fights, two sort of very different battles going on here. The one in Iraq is very different to what's happening and what will likely happen in Syria. So if we just look at the situation in Iraq in particular the fight for Mosul, what is happening right now with the Obama strategy is that essentially going to change? Are there any other options really apart from thousands and thousands of U.S. troops going into Mosul? But right now as it's working, it does seem to be making progress -- right.

[00:20:03] MILLSAP: Yes. I mean Mosul is a great example of what is possible -- right. And this is something that we've been in here and we've discussed before is that Mosul is a very hard-fought battle but it's also one that requires the Iraqi army and then those other partners on the ground to have trust in those U.S. allies that are with them. And that's something that has taken years to develop and continues to develop despite all of the other political rhetoric that's out there.

In places like Syria, those relationships are still being built. And that's going to be a challenge for those commanders that would go into that area. But in Iraq, this is an area I've been to some of these places before. And you've got to make sure that you not only have the trust with your partners but also the local populace. Are they going to trust you when they fighting stops. And that's about the governance, the economic side of this, the diplomacy side. Those are the real --

VAUSE: The post-war.

MILLSAP: The post-war.

WALKER: Well, let's talk more about what's happening in this offensive in western Mosul. And Jomana Karadsheh is standing by live in Amman. She has been following this offensive.

What is the update? The Iraqi security forces have been gaining ground, haven't they?

JOMANA KARADSHEH, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well Amara -- I think no one was expecting this to be an easy or fast fight. Western Mosul after all is the older part of town -- that is where you find those narrow and densely-populated streets.

But despite that, Iraqi forces, backed by the coalition air strikes, have been making some progress. Over the weekend we saw them recapturing Mosul airport from ISIS. And yesterday we've seen them retaking a key bridge, this is a bridge over the Tigris, referred to as the fourth bridge -- one of the five bridges.

Now these bridges have been destroyed but in this case, Iraqi forces plan to build a ramp and they're going the use this as a main supply route from eastern Mosul that's under government control to western Mosul.

So despite the heavy resistance that these troops are seeing they are making some steady advances towards western Mosul. And of course, as they are pushing into these neighborhoods into these heavy populated areas a lot of concern for the civilian population there estimated at about 750,000 -- Amara.

WALKER: Yes. Very Concerning about the civilians who are going to be in harm's way.

Jomana, how do you think the Iraqis are going to react if President Trump increases the number of American troops on the ground there because that is a possibility? President Trump could lift that limit that's currently on the number of American troops that could be on the ground in Iraq.

KARADSHEH: I think it really is going to depend on the role of these U.S. forces, how it is going to be presented to the Iraqis. You have so many people there who are very wary of U.S. intentions when it comes to Iraq. There are some who have voiced their concern that the United States will be trying to occupy Iraq again especially when we've heard those comments from President Trump about mistakes of the past not taking Iraq's oil, something that didn't really go down too well with many in Iraq. So you have that issue.

And then again if you look at the situation of the battle against ISIS right now, Iraqi officials would tell you, yes, they do need more support. They're always asking for more support, more weaponry, more intelligence support. But when it comes to fighting forces and manpower when it comes to the fight they would tell you that they have enough forces. This is something we've heard in the past from Iraqi officials.

So it really depends on what role these U.S. forces will be in when they go to Iraq if that does happen. Of course, another question is going to be why now? Since we are seeing this U.S. military strategy in Iraq very much working as some would say if you look at the battle of backing these local forces in their fight against ISIS, something that seems to have been working so far.

WALKER: All right. Jomana Karadsheh, appreciate that, live for us there in Amman. Thank you very much.

VAUSE: Chase -- I want to come back to you because something which we hear being reported is that one of the recommendations might be a relaxation of the rules of engagement, essentially that some of the battlefield restrictions that U.S. troops have. Is that something that the soldiers on -- the troops on the front line, is that something they want?

MILLSAP: Well, it's something -- it's a double-edged sword, right. As a commander you want to have the flexibility to act to whatever you're seeing in front of you. So having rules of engagement that makes sense to the battle -- and we're talking about an urban fight in Mosul. These need to be flexible. You need to be rapid. You need to be able to get air support when you need it. At the same time, you have to make sure that you're looking at those civilian casualties and the other considerations that are on the ground. So there needs to be a balance there.

So yes, the troops absolutely need to have the flexibility and the trust from their leadership all the way up to the President that they're going to do the right thing.

WALKER: General MacCarley, I just want to give you the last word especially regarding the budget and President Trump wanting to massively increase the military spending budget by 10 percent. Do you think that is necessary especially considering the fact that the United States spends more than the next seven to eight countries combined on its military?

[00:25:07] MACCARLEY: Quick answer is yes based upon the significant obligations of the United States to engage around the world to maintain stability. I'm a proponent of a forward engagement.

I think that at this particular point in time, America is the key to worldwide security. And if America withdraws we have a vacuum and that vacuum will not last. Another power whether it's China or Russia, will reenter.

VAUSE: General just a very quick question so I want a yes or no answer. Is it possible to obliterate ISIS, completely destroy it within ten months?


VAUSE: Thanks. Ok. We'll leave it there. Thank you sir.

WALKER: Thank you.

VAUSE: Chase also -- thanks for coming in. Appreciate it.

And we'll take a short break.

When we come back, (inaudible) act by militants in the southern Philippines after a ransom deadline for a German hostage expires.


VAUSE: Welcome back, everybody. You're watching CNN NEWSROOM from Los Angeles. I'm John Vause.

WALKER: And I'm Amara Walker.

The headlines this hour: U.S. President Donald Trump says he will talk about his budget

proposal during his first speech to Congress on Tuesday. Mr. Trump wants to increase Defense spending.

And the President is reviewing a Pentagon plan to defeat ISIS in Syria and Iraq. The options include sending U.S. combat forces into Syria for the first time.

VAUSE: Takata will pay $1 billion after plead guilty to felony charges in the United States over its defective air bags. At least 11 deaths in the U.S. are linked to the faulty air bags. More than 31 million cars have been recalled worldwide since 2008.

[00:30:02] WALKER: A missile strike has killed al Qaeda's number two in command, Abu al Khayr al-Masri. The Egyptian national's car was hit in the Syrian city of Idlib Sunday. Two American officials say the attack was directed by U.S. intelligence.

JOHN VAUSE, CNN ANCHOR: Leaders in Germany and the Philippines are condemning beheading of a hostage by Abu Sayyaf militants. The group held the 70-year-old Jurgen Kantner for three months in the Southern Philippines. The militants killed Kantner after him after Sunday's deadline for $600,000 passed.

There's word of another deadly purge within the North Korean government. North Korea's leader Kim Jong-un ordered the execution of five security officials. Reports say apparently they had made false reports to Kim.

Paula Hancocks in Seoul joins us now live with the very latest. And Paula, according to the South Koreans this was a brutal execution.

PAULA HANCOCKS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yeah, John. This is information that come through to us from the intelligence services here in South Korea via lawmakers who went to one of their briefings. And they say they believe that at least five of these deputy minister level officials were executed by anti-aircraft guns.

Now they believe it's part of the purging of the state security chief. We did learn back in January according to South Korean officials that it was believed that Kim Won Hong had been fired and we now understand from intelligence officials that he is now under house arrest. There apparently has been has been an investigation into what happened within that security apparatus effectively, that the equivalent of the intelligence services in North Korea and they say that they had given false reports to Kim Jong-un. The intelligence services here say that they believe there may be more executions. We do have to point out though that it's not an exact science. North Korea is very close and sometimes intelligence services don't get it right but they do believe that in this case these executions have taken place. John.

VAUSE: Do we know exactly what that false information may have been which so enraged the North Korean leader? And let's be clear, this has any links to the execution of Kim Jong-un's brother Kim Jong-nam?

HANCOCKS: Well, no. We don't know what this false information was. We haven't been given that information whether or not the NIS here even knows that. This did, though, happen apparently last month. So it was in January that the state security chief was actually fired. Presumably this is part of the same case. So you'd assume it's not related to the assassination of his half-brother.

We do know this state security unit, though, it's in charge of monitoring the public in North Korea, the party officials. It's in charge of looking after those prison camps that have been talked about frequently by the United Nations, by others for their human rights abuses. They also carry out counter espionage abroad. This is what this unit is believed to have done. But we don't have the exact information about what Kim Jong-un may have been told by the state security chief that infuriated him to this point.

VAUSE: It must have been bad. OK. Paula, thank you. Paula Hancocks with us live from Seoul.

WALKER: Well, it's the Oscar mistake that no one can stop talking about. And now there's a new apology and someone is getting blamed. Find out who next.

VAUSE: Also, to the moon and back, the commercial trip that could turn the moon into the next tourist destination.


[00:35:49] WALKER: The accounting firm that oversees the Oscar votes is issuing another apology for that stunning Best Picture mix-up.

VAUSE: I think that mix-up number two or three now. "La La Land" was first announced as the winner, not "Moonlight" at Sunday's live show. PricewaterhouseCoopers says that an employee gave the wrong envelope to the presenters. That was the moment after "La La Land" producer stepped to the microphone in the middle of the acceptance speeches.


MATT PLATT, "LA LA LAND" PRODUCER: This is not a joke. "Moonlight has won Best Picture. "Moonlight" Best Picture.


WALKER: The chairman of PricewaterhouseCoopers was scheduled to be on CNN with Anderson Cooper Monday evening. He actually cancelled apparently at the request of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.

VAUSE: Lorraine Ali is a television critic of Los Angeles Times. She joins us here no. More on this. Thank you for being with us. So we had a no show on CNN from Pricewaterhouse but we do have this new statement to explain what happened. This is what they told us. "PwC Partner Cullinan mistakenly handed the backup envelope for actress in a leading role instead of the envelope for Best Picture to presenters Warren Beatty and Faye Dunaway. Once the error occurred, protocols for correcting it were not followed through quickly enough by Mr. Cullinan or his partner. So there it is. It was just this one guy who screwed up and caused all of this?

LORRAINE ALI, TELEVISION CRITIC, LOS ANGELES TIMES: Yes. And, you know, I would hate to be that guy today. Yeah, I mean. And, you know, here you have all of the "La La Land", you know, crew up there essentially already have their awards in their hands when they catch this and, you know, that is not just a blunder. That's like a massive, massive --

VAUSE: And he was tweeting. Apparently, he was tweeting before he handed the envelope over and he was distracted. He deleted the tweet.

WALKER: Oh, goodness.


WALKER: He has one job. He has one job to hand, you know, the right envelope over and it was the wrong envelope I mean.

ALI: Correct, yes. One job and you think you know that whole entire broadcast, Jimmy Kimmel had hours to fill and did fine.

WALKER: Right, right, exactly. And then you had one job, just hand over the right envelope.


WALKER: You know? And this mix-up obviously led to some really hilarious memes that had been tweeted about, you know, who should have really won. I want to show you some of these memes. The first one being Hillary Clinton for president. Obviously, you know, they show her saying kind of she's s winning the presidential race, every Hillary voter's thought process this morning. That's when what the meme was.

Another one, "Lemonade", Beyonce. Obviously a reference to Beyonce not winning the top spot at the Grammy. And Seth MacFarlane also tweeting this out. He actually took a jab at President Trump saying, "You know, the problem is millions of Academy members voted illegally." Obviously --

VAUSE: That was a funny attempt.

WALKER: -- a reference to President's Trump unfounded allegations that millions of people voted illegally in the U.S. election. But we were talking about this yesterday. I just felt so horrible for the "Moonlight" cast because we are saying the day after everyone is going to be talking about not "Moonlight" but about what happened, case and point, all of these memes that are being tweeted out.

ALI: Exactly. And here's the thing. If "Moonlight", and it did win. If it had gone as it was supposed to, that would have been a surprise in itself because "La La Land" was favored to win. So that in itself would have been, "Wow, that's the big wow moment." And this did definitely take away from "Moonlight's" moment. What are we talking about? We're talking about the snafu.

WALKER: Unfortunately.

ALI: Yes.


VAUSE: Let's get back to the person responsible for the snafu. The Oscars are broadcast by ABC but the Chief Executive of CBS, Leslie Moonves, was scathing. This is what he said. "The accountants have one job to do. That's to give Warren Beatty the right envelope. That's what these people are paid a lot of money to do. If they were my accountant, I would fire them."

I'm just wondering, ;what recourse does ABC have in all of these right now? Could they sue Pricewaterhouse for this?

ALI: You know, this is unprecedented. We are using this word a lot lately, aren't we, unprecedented?


VAUSE: A lot of the context too. You know, a lot of --

ALI: it really though. I mean, you know, you're talking about that the Pricewaterhouse has been doing this like I said something like 80 years. And I mean, so

WALKER: Yeah. Almost the entire duration since Oscars have been in around, right?

ALI: Exactly.

WALKER: In existence?

ALI: Yes, exactly. So you know, what's going to happen moving forward is kind of anyone's guess. But you know, to have this happen in a way made this one of the most exciting Oscars. You could say -- you know, I was reading tweets and people are going, "This is the best Oscars ever." Because it was just the most exciting, dramatic ending. And for Hollywood, you know, drama is the thing.

[00:40:07] WALKER: But even as dramatic as it was, I mean ratings weren't very good, righ?

ALI: No.

WALKER: I mean --

VAUSE: 39.2 million.

WALKER: Thirty-three million viewers. That's it. And it was also the second lowest total since Nielsen started tracking the viewership --

ALI: Right. WALKER: -- since 1974. I mean what do you think is behind this drop in ratings, people not really tuning in? Is it the political atmosphere that they're afraid that they're going to have to hear political speeches?

ALI: I mean that -- it's very possible because, you know, as we know, leading up to this, the SAGs, the Golden Globes, there was a lot of, you know, fiery political speeches.


ALI: The Meryl Streep moment. And people, you know, are kind -- are a little burned out on this right now. And when you're talking about entertainment, I do think people want to see entertainment much of the time. So what was interesting though is I didn't think that this particular Oscars was -- there was a little more levity.



ALI: There's a little bit more --

VAUSE: There were a lot of jokes about Donald Trump. And I see Jimmy Kimmel was one who spoke in front of the (inaudible). And we're wondering all last night why we hadn't heard from Donald Trump on Twitter. But it just took a while. He told alt-right website Breitbart, "I think they are focused so hard on politics that they didn't get their act together at the end. It was a little sad. It took away from the glamour of the Oscars. It didn't feel like a very glamorous evening. I've been to the Oscars. There was something very special missing", possibly him. "And then to that end, it was sad." It's amazing how he managed to turned this snafu, this screw up to be all about him, really. And yet no word --

ALI: Right?

VAUSE: -- on Jimmy Kimmel who was the guy who poked fun of it all night.

ALI: You know, it's really interesting. I mean that is his art, correct, like making it about him.


ALI: I'm talking about Trump.

VAUSE: It's a skill.

ALI: Exactly. But what was interesting as well, you know, I reviewed this last night. I was really watching carefully, Kimmel was just about the only one that actually used President Trump's name. Other people talked about issues. They talked about the law, they talked about immigration but they didn't actually use Trump's name. And I'm actually wondering if Trump is watching that going, "You know what, my name is not in there enough." VAUSE: He's going to be disappointed.

ALI: Yes.

VAUSE: Quite possibly.


VAUSE: Good point to end on. Thank you so much.

WALKER: Thanks for coming in.

VAUSE: OK. So break. What comes next, space travel might be the U.S. frontier for the tourism business. SpaceX founder Elon Musk announced on Monday they'll be sending two just regular ordinary people to the moon and maybe they'll come back. This will happen at the end of next year.

WALKER: Well, let's hope they come back. Musk says they will circle the moon but not land on in it in a first attempt at space tourism. The two passengers have already put down significant deposits. Is it nonrefundable or anything?

VAUSE: We weren't taking a break but we are taking a break right now.

WALKER: That is through. Thanks for watching CNN Newsroom. Live from Los Angeles, I'm Amara Walker.

VAUSE: I'm John Vause.

World Sports is up next. And in the next hour, we'll talk about more about SpaceX. We'll have a real life astronaut with us to tell us what it actually means, how it can all happen.

WALKER: In the flesh.

VAUSE: You're watching CNN.

Don Riddell: Hey. I'm Don Riddell with your CNN World Sport headlines. On Monday night, it was a new beginning for the defending Premier League Champions, Leicester City who remember fired their manager Claudio Ranieri last week. Leicester was sitting in the relegation zone going into Monday's game against Liverpool but the Fox said showed flashes of last season with two goals from Jamie Vardy and in a 3-1 win. The three points gains moved them out of the relegation going up to 15th for now.

In medical news, less than two years since becoming Germany's World Cup hero by scoring the winning goal in the final, Mario Gotze has been sidelined with an unusual medical condition. Borussia Dortmund say that the 24-year-old has been suffering from muscular issues after an investigation revealed metabolic disturbances. And so he was rested immediately. It's not clear when he return. Gotze told Dortmund's official website, "I'm currently undergoing treatment and will do everything in my power to be back in training." And finally to the first time since he claimed his 18th Grand Slam Title of the Australian Open, Roger Federer is back in action. And the time lost seems to have served him well. He made a quick work of the Frenchman Benoit Paire in just 54 minutes, 6-1, 6-3 advancing to the second round of the Dubai Tennis Championships. Federer is looking to win this for an eighth time.

That is a quick look at your sports headlines, I'm Don Riddell.

Hello there. It's time for world sport, I'm Don Riddell. And I think we can all agree that the Leicester City story is truly extraordinary and that story is no less remarkable in the season after they stunned the world by winning the Premier League title.

The contrast could hardly be more stark. Between 2015 and 2016, remember, they defied odds of 5000 to one to write arguably the most romantic story in the history of the fame. Their title defense is now officially over as of this past weekend. They cannot catch the lead of Chelsea but they have a very different challenge.

[00:45:09] Right now, Leicester will be glad just to stay in the Premier League. No English team has been relegated as reigning champion since 1938. But when Leicester kicked off on against Liverpool on Monday night, they were in the bottom three of the table for the first time this season. And they hadn't even scored a goal in League in all of 2017 so far. That's almost 10hours of play.

Such a disastrous campaign was the reason their beloved manager Claudio Ranieri was fired last week. And that was very, very controversial. Ranieri was a hero. He was gutted to have been fired. But the club's Thai owners felt as though they had no choice. He apparently lost the confidence of his players.

So on Monday night, it was anew beginning with Ranieri former assistant Craig Shakespeare in charge as the caretaker manager. Would things be any different? Well, you are not going to believe this. But all of a sudden, they looked like the Leicester of old. This counter attacking goal from Jamie Vardy was so 2016. The relief of the King Power was palpable.

Shortly afterwards, Danny Drinkwater fired in a sensational strike. Either perhaps Ranieri really was the problem after all. And in the second half, another goal. Very, very well worked and headed in by Vardy, 3-1 the final score.

There is still a long way to go but for so many reasons that is a huge win for Leicester. It gets them out of immediate danger and up 15th. It's a psychological boost and it gives them a spring board to try and climb away from trouble.

Let's see if it can continue against a relegation rival, Hull City at home this weekend.

Well, Christina Macfarlane was in Leicester the night they clinched the title. She was at the game tonight. Christy, good to see you again. And I'm just -- what a remarkable occasion. The atmosphere must have been incredible tonight.

CHRISTINA MACFARLANE, CNN SPORTS CORRESPONDENT: Oh, it really was that, Don. Lights off to Claudio started with a bang here in Leicester City with a score line none of the fans expected or even thought was possible. You can probably see they've have been leaving behind us here in streams singing at the top of their voices from the King Power Stadium.

You know, the players had received a lot of criticism in the last few days for the handling of Claudio Ranieri's departure. They've been accused of driving him out of the club. And they had a point to prove tonight and my goodness did they make it. They were vibrant, hasty, threatening right from the start here, Don. Just a shadow of the team that we've seen previously this season. And nothing like a team who have just suffered five losses in a row.

It really was incredible to witness and fitting, perhaps, that the two English players on the pitch, two of the top players from last season, Jamie Vardy, of course, and Danny Drinkwater were the ones to find the back of the net. Jamie Vardy now with his third goal in just two games after going scoreless in nine (ph). He really was revitalized tonight and he grew in confidence throughout this match. And Danny Drinkwater with his first goal in 288 days in the Premier League.

A pretty dismal picture for Liverpool, just a brief mention for them. Who knows what happened there coming back off a sizable break. They were pretty sluggish out there on the pitch tonight. This is now their fifth loss to a lower league side. So some work to be done there.

I do want to mention that there was a moment in the 66th minute of this game where the fans did stand up and some of them -- most of them paid tribute to Claudio Ranieri singing his name, holding up banners and waving their smartphones around. But, Don, tonight is not going to be remembered by any stretch by his departure but for a team -- a champion team who have refound the winning formula that made them unstoppable last season. It was really incredible to watch here this evening.

RIDDELL: Yeah, yeah. I mean, everything about this Leicester story is just incredible and it's going to be another roller coaster ride between now and the end of the season. I agree with you. They were brilliant tonight. They were defensively strong. They looked really up for it. They were quick to the ball. They were pressing. Their goals were fantastic.

I felt sorry for Claudio Ranieri when they fired him. I feel even more sorry for him now because it really does seem as though they just didn't want to play for him, right? I mean, it was such a different performance but with exactly the same players.

MACFARLANE: Yes, it does beg the question, doesn't it, Don, as to what was going wrong behind the scenes here. You know, I mentioned that there were rumors surrounding the departure of Claudio Ranieri that he'd lost the dressing room and they've turned against him. We've heard nothing here as to whether or not that were true. But every indication tonight would point that the players -- you know, that was actually in case -- that was in fact the case. And that these players do best. They play well when they are in tune with their manager.

And you have to say that Craig Shakespeare really performed tonight as the caretaker manager in charge. He was on the touchline throughout the game. He was egging on his players. He seemed to have their confidence and their respect throughout the match.

[00:50:02] So he, tonight, was their manager and they were his players. It will be interesting to see if he can keep that position moving forward.

RIDDELL: Absolutely. All right, Christina Macfarlane, great insight. Thanks very much.

OK. It is OK to say ruck in rugby. It's not a rude work. But the lack of rucking and tweaking on Sunday send England's coach into a rage. I'll explain why next.


RIDDELL: Welcome back, England's rugby team are now just one win away from tying New Zealand's record of 18 consecutive victories. But their sixth nation's win against Italy on Sunday was totally overshadowed by the Italian tactics and tweaking them. Their coach, Conor O'Shea, says he wouldn't be surprised if the game changes the rules now after his players tried something innovative to pressure the superior England side.

England were furious. Their coach Eddie Jones said it wasn't rugby. Why? Well, it's all to do with the ruck as you can see here which usually forms after a tackle when each team commits at least one play to winning the ball back. And once a ruck is formed, the offside rule was in play. But instead, they're tweaking them, Italy weren't committing any one after the tackle, freeing up extra men to pressure England. And without the offside rule to worry about, they could get right into their opponent's faces. England were rattled and there was confusion on the field.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Italy are therefore flooding the other side.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Get some clarity (ph) on the ruck thing. What do we need to do for it to be a ruck?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I can't say. I am the referee, I'm not the coach.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It wasn't clear what the rule was, what the exact rule is.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We might clear someone out, yeah, that is a ruck.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He's doing a tucker. That's a tucker.




RIDELL: But it really was quite extraordinary. But while Italy certainly gave England a headache and a big scare, the home side ultimate won the game by 36 points to 15. But Jones still wasn't happy.


EDDIE JONES, ENGLAND COACH: All this and everything is like this. Everything is like this. Nothing is a ruck. So we lost the ruck from the game. And when you lose a primary contest from the game, it changes the game considerably and it ceases to become rugby. So if you paid for your ticket, ask for your money back.


RIDELL: Well, later on World Sport, Italy's coach Conor O'Shea spoke with Amanda Davies and he defended his strategy.


CONOR O'SHEA, ITALY COACH (via telephone): We decided now as a group and after enough (ph), we're not going to lie down and we have to be different and we have to do things differently. And we did nothing wrong. That's the bottom line. We did -- we've looked at other games. We've looked at what had been done in the past. We're just excited. We are going to be for broke to try and get the ball back and win. So when Australia do it, we're, you know, was scored the winning try than to lost in the (inaudible) by doing this when the Waikato Chiefs did it.

It's brilliant and tactical genius. When Italy do it, it's -- well, why are they doing that? And all we did was we played to the law. And we felt very aggrieved earlier in the tournament when no one came out to us and helped and support us when the laws were broken against us and we didn't get the penalty given to us within the game.

[00:55:08] Yesterday we just played to the law. And I think Eddie -- Eddie is a brilliant man and he's good fun. And deep down, he would have enjoyed yesterday because it was a test match.

AMANDA DAVIES, CNN SPORTS CORRESPONDENT: Do you think anything will change -- will world's rugby change the rules? Will you be employing the same tactic in your next game against France?

O'SHEA (via telephone): Oh, we'll have to wait and see what we did. We have to be very careful when they start changing law. You can't change it on a whim. This has always been there. And if you change it automatically, that could go to raft of things. It will actually cause even greater impact.

So careful consideration. We knew the law. The law is always there and we didn't invent anything and we didn't -- weren't illegal. But careful consideration before you make a knee jerk reaction because I can go through a list of things that could go wrong on the other side if they change it quickly. Will it be amended? I'm sure it will at some state but laws are always are.


RIDELL: Wise words there from Conor O'Shea.

Now then, if you are a forward player on a football team, it's your job to make and score goals. But the Togolese player, Francis Kone, is also doing something else. He's developing a reputation as a lifesaver, literally. These are extraordinary scenes from the Czech Republic where goalkeeper Martin Berkovec was knocked unconscious and he swallowed his tongue. Remarkably, Kone was right there and he had the presence of mind to check it out and take immediate action, pulling the tongue out of his airway and probably saving his life.

Kone is now being hailed as a hero. But he is taking it all in his stride saying, would you believe that it's the fourth time he's performed such a procedure on the pitch. Needless to say, Berkovec is eternally grateful.

Very well play, sir. And that's it for this edition of Worlds Sport. Thanks for your company. I'll see you again soon.