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Bomb Rocks St. Petersburg Metro; Jared Kushner's Surprise Iraq Visit; Trump to Meet with China's Leader This Week; Fox News Hit with New Ailes Harassment Suit; O'Reilly Denies Sexual Harassment Claims; "Boss Baby" Suggests Political Satire. Aired 12-1a ET

Aired April 4, 2017 - 00:00   ET



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

Ahead this hour, after an attack on the metro in St. Petersburg there are concerns this could be a pretext for a Kremlin crackdown on dissent.

Also ahead, Donald Trump's son-in-law makes a surprise visit to Iraq adding the fight against ISIS to an incredibly long to-do list for a 36-year-old with no government experience.

And later -- new allegations of sexual harassment at the Fox News Channel.

Hello, everybody. Thank you for being with us. I'm John Vause.

NEWSROOM L.A. starts right now.

Russia's second biggest city is in mourning for 11 people killed in an afternoon subway bombing. This was the scene just moments after the blast -- passengers jumping through windows or trying to pry open doors to escape the smoke-filled train. Witnesses say blood was everywhere. Authorities found a second larger device at another metro station, but it was disabled.

Russia's prime minister says this was a terrorist attack, but so far there has been no claim of responsibility.

CNN's Oren Liebermann joins us now live from St. Petersburg.

So Oren -- what's the latest on the investigation? What exactly are they looking at in terms of evidence? And what leads do they have?

OREN LIEBERMANN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: We haven't gotten a specific answer on who they have narrowed this down or who they believe is responsible, that is to say Russian officials or the national anti- terrorism committee.

The two leading suspects, if you will, have been the Chechens who carried out a series of attacks in the early 2000s and beyond, even as late as 2013. But there hasn't been an attack like that from Chechen separatists in quite a number of years.

The second leading theory is ISIS. They famously bombed or at least claimed to bomb Metro Jet, the Egyptian flight or rather the Russian charter flight over Sinai that killed everyone on board.

Those are the two leading theories at this point. And investigators have made it clear that those could be the direction they're looking at.

Russian President Vladimir Putin has said they're not ruling anything out yet, certainly including terrorism as part of that investigation.

So we're waiting for more information as that continues. Meanwhile, Russia has declared three days of mourning beginning with today.

It is worth noting the station here, and this is Sennaya Square, the attack happened between this station and the next one -- the station has reopened. We've seen people coming in and out of the station here behind me, many of them stopping, pausing, and taking a look at the memorial here that has been growing ever since yesterday afternoon as we near the 24-hour mark since this attack.

A very similar memorial at the next station down the road, that's the Technological Institute station. That is where Putin paid his respects late last night after this attack had killed 11, wounded dozens more, and many remain in critical condition.

So we expect these memorials to grow, the tributes to grow, condolences coming in from all over the world. President Donald Trump even offering his condolences and his help in terms of finding who is responsible and bringing them to justice as we wait for more information on which direction the investigation is moving -- John.

VAUSE: And Oren -- what has been the security response, not just in St. Petersburg, but also across Russia?

LIEBERMANN: We've certainly seen an increase here in St. Petersburg. There have been police going in and out of the metro stations here behind me. And we expect to see that.

As you pointed out, there is a concern of a crackdown now that whoever is held responsible for this, the Kremlin could respond by cracking down on anyone they see as responsible or anyone linked to that and that is what one of the concerns leading forward and that's something we'll keep an eye on here.

VAUSE: Oren Liebermann, live in St. Petersburg. Thank you for the very latest.

We'll have more on this right now. Joining me now from Seattle, Washington global fellow for the Woodrow Wilson Center and former CNN Moscow bureau chief Jill Dougherty; and here in Los Angeles FBI special agent Bobby Chacon.

Bobby -- just first to you, we heard from Oren there that they're working very quickly to essentially return everything to some kind of normalcy. The train station has in fact reopened at this point. How important is that?

BOBBY CHACON, FORMER FBI AGENT: Well, I think in a lot of terrorist attacks, it's very important for the government to return things to as normal as possible as quickly as they can. And I think that inspires confidence in the government and the government's ability to kind of keep things moving and protect its people.

And I think that, you know, if one objective of terrorism is to create chaos in our societies then the government's response of moving things as quickly back to normal as possible would be an attempt to defeat that objective.

VAUSE: Any concern, though, that they rushed this, that they could have missed some crucial evidence along the way?

CHACON: Well, that depends. I mean these crime scenes can be very time consuming and they have to be done very methodically.

[00:05:02] So you know, what happens on the ground, sometimes it depends on the logistics of the system. You may be able to get things moving back quicker if you can get, you know, manpower down there to prosecute the scene quickly.

It's been almost 24 hours. You know, in a physical crime scene like this, things can be done fairly quickly especially overnight when it's empty and your crime scene teams can be in there working without being interrupted and stuff. So I don't think that's too quick a period of time to begin to begin to reopen things.

VAUSE: Ok. Jill -- it seems there are two main suspects here, ISIS or an ISIS -related group and retaliation for Russia's a military intervention in Syria -- all the other usual suspects -- Chechen militants.

Do you have an idea which would be more likely and, you know, could it be a combination of the two?

JILL DOUGHERTY, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: Well, it could. I mean I think in both cases, you're pointing at Chechnya. But I think that second scenario could be a little bit more possible because after all, this is the thing that President Putin has been warning about.

And there has been concern that those fighters who are becoming very militant, not only in the beginning, you know, Chechnya was kind of a breakaway republic. But it became very Islamist and much more radical.

And some of those people as the Syrian war was beginning moved into the Middle East and began fighting there. In fact, there are thousands of them fighting in Syria.

The second language after Arabic indeed is Russian. So they're a significant group. And the fear was that they, having been radicalized and really almost professionalized by that time in Syria would then come home and carry out attacks in Russia. So that would be very worrisome. And it would fit the kind of ISIS international terrorism theory that President Putin has been talking about before. But that is again, their concern.

And it makes it, John, I think easier for him to make that proposal or pitch as he has been to President Trump and to the West. Let's get on board. Let's fight terrorism together.

VAUSE: So Bobby -- if you were doing this investigation, who would you be looking at right now? Who would be on your list of suspects?

CHACON: Well, I think that your report earlier I think is correct. I think the two main groups are obviously the Chechen separatists and ISIS. I think that, though, now you may have a hybrid of those two groups kind of coming together and working together.

As an investigator, you know, the first thing that is missing right now from a pure ISIS perspective is the claim of responsibility.

Last year when two ISIS operatives attacked the police officers on the outskirts of Moscow on a highway station, one of the first things that was released was the video where they claimed allegiance to al Baghdadi, the ISIS leader and ISIS itself. And that's a hallmark -- as we even saw here in San Bernardino -- that's a hallmark of an ISIS attack. It's one of the things that is kind of missing yet for me to totally put this on ISIS at this point in time.

VAUSE: Jill, it seems this attack at St. Petersburg happened after what appeared to be a fairly long period of relative calm, at least in terms of domestic terrorism in Russia.

DOUGHERTY: Yes, that's true. I'm not quite sure what to ascribe that to. Obviously, the Russian authorities have been able to move the terrorists pretty much out of Chechnya. But they went into surrounding areas -- Dagestan and other parts of the Caucasus and then as I said, moving into Syria.

But then in Syria, the Russian government had, as we all know and have been reporting have been carrying out a lot of attacks, air attacks and helping the Syrian army. So again, those people are being pushed in the opposite direction.

So there is a bit of movement back, it appears. And, again, this is surmisal until we know exactly what happened. But that's entirely possible that they are now moving back to their homeland.

VAUSE: We heard from Garry Kasparov, the chess champion and Kremlin critic. He tweeted out, "Tragedy in St. Petersburg. Once again unknown terrorists perfectly timed to serve Putin's political agenda. Forget protests. Back to fear."

Ok. Now, so conspiracy theories to one side Jill, is there any real suspicion about the timing of the attack? Could it be used by the Kremlin as a pretext for a crackdown, you know, on what has been a growing protest movement over the last few weeks? DOUGHERTY: Well, Garry Kasparov and others are really enemies of

President Putin. And it's very hard to say. I mean, that is a charge that they make. But can you really prove it?

That has been a charge right from the beginning. Remember a long time ago, back when I was in Moscow that some of the early attacks, the apartment building attacks, which were pinned by some of the opposition to the Kremlin on the Kremlin. But it was never really proven.

[00:10:08] So I think you're going to hear those theories, whether or not they're true. Russia is a place with a lot of conspiracy theories and a lot of ideas swirling around. And this is not a particularly stable time.

VAUSE: So, Bobby, all this to one side, what sort of crackdown, what sort of response would you expect to see from Russia's security services?

CHACON: Well, I'm not sure. And you know, the reason I would decide or lean against it being a pretext is I don't think President Putin or Mr. Putin actually needs a pretext. I think if he wants to crack down on his people, he has shown in the past, you know, a tendency to be able to do that without any kind of pretext.

So I'm not sure this was a pretext. I mean ISIS has been verbally and pretty aggressively saying that they're going to come after Russia. They had -- there was one attack last year on the police officers. I think there was an arrest in November of five potential ISIS fighters planning an attack in Russia.

So I think ISIS has been stepping up their interest in carrying out these attacks. So, you know, I'm not sure I would expect a crackdown based on this event. I mean, I think like I said earlier, I think if Mr. Putin wants to commit a crackdown on his people, he is going to do it no matter what.

VAUSE: Yes. A fair point.

Finally, we heard from the President of the European Council, Donald Tusk. He sent his condolences in a tweet. "My thoughts are with the victims of St. Petersburg metro explosion and their families and loved ones.

Many leaders around Europe, they sent a similar message. But what was notable, the Brandenburg Gate in Berlin was not lit in the colors of the Russian flag. There was no tribute like the one after the attacks in London and Paris. Similar story in Paris with the Eiffel Tower; it remained normally lit. Same in London. So Jill -- what does that say now about relations between Moscow and the rest of Europe?

DOUGHERTY: Well, it's a pretty sad commentary. You would have to say regardless of the reason, people have died. But this is a very tense political time. And that's one of the problems here.

Even in the United States, you know, where you have President Trump, who has said and agreed with President Putin that he wants to work together against terrorism, he did call. In fact, the Russians noted he was the first, I think the first western leader who called after the attack to express his correspondences, and also offered support.

But the problem is this issue of Russia interfering in elections in the United States or in Europe, the sanctions -- all of that has made this issue very sensitive, almost toxic. So you're getting a very heavy political overlay on this, which is really a terrorist or apparently a terrorist act.

VAUSE: Ok. Jill, thank you so much; and also Bobby as well. Jill Dougherty there in Seattle; Bobby Chacon here in Los Angeles -- very much appreciate it.

And we'll take a short break.

When we come back, activists say Egypt's president is a ruthless dictator, but the U.S. President says el-Sisi is doing a fantastic job. Why the U.S. President's words marks a major shift in American foreign policy.

Also ahead, the battle over Mr. Trump's Supreme Court nominee is heating up. How his confirmation could change the U.S. Senate forever.


VAUSE: Welcome back, everybody.

It seems the U.S. President is putting human rights abroad on the back burner during his administration. Mr. Trump hosted the Egyptian President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi at the White House on Monday. Activists say el-Sisi is a ruthless dictator orchestrating a brutal political crackdown. Mr. Trump sees it differently.


DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We are very much -- we agree on so many things. I just want to let everybody know in case there was any doubt that we are very much behind President el-Sisi. He has done a fantastic job in a very difficult situation.


VAUSE: Former President Barack Obama refused to host el-Sisi and criticized his human rights record. The Obama administration also did not allow Egypt to buy military equipment on credit.

The U.S. Senate, meantime, has a long tradition of confirming nominees to the Supreme Court with at least some bipartisan support. Now that is looking unlikely for President Trump's nominee.

Democrats have enough votes for a filibuster which would block the nomination of Neil Gorsuch. Republicans are threatening to use the so-called nuclear option, essentially rewriting the rules so that it would just be a straight up and down majority -- a simple 51 out of the 100 senators to confirm his nomination.


SEN. PATRICK LEAHY (D), VERMONT: My conscience will not allow me to ratify the majority leader's actions; not last year, not this year. I will not, I cannot support advancing this nomination.

SEN. CHUCK GRASSLEY (R), IOWA: If the Democrats will filibuster this person of the high quality he is, that there isn't any Justice that a Republican will put forth that they would get his -- that they would support.


VAUSE: Joining us now Democratic strategist Dave Jacobson and Republican consultant John Thomas.

Dave -- let's start with you. Is this a mistake by the Democrats to filibuster Gorsuch, his nomination? You know, some argue it just restores the ideological balance to the Supreme Court. Why not save the filibuster for the next battle? Who knows when that could happen and who will actually be in control of the Senate?

DAVE JACOBSON, DEMOCRATIC STRATEGIST: Two reasons. One, because everything that Donald Trump does at this point is over a thick, dark, toxic cloud of controversy and scandal as it relates to the Russian probe. And until we get to the real bottom and understand and get a thorough bipartisan or nonpartisan -- pardon me -- investigation into what happened with the Russian hacking, and whether or not there was any collusion, Donald Trump's pick for the Supreme Court perhaps shouldn't be considered legitimate at this point -- number one.

Number two, Gorsuch is simply not a mainstream choice. And in order to have a 60-vote threshold where you actually can peel away support from both political parties, you have to have somebody within the mainstream. And he simply doesn't embody that.

[00:20:07] VAUSE: John -- you would agree with all of that, right?

JOHN THOMAS, REPUBLICAN CONSULTANT: First of all, I think I heard Dave say that Donald Trump's basically not a legitimate president until we sort out Russia. We can't have --

JACOBSON: You're right.

THOMAS: But the reality is that Democrats, as you heard Dave, are the party of no now. And they're never going to give Trump an inch. They're never going to give Republicans an inch.

Neil Gorsuch is incredibly well qualified. Yes, he is a conservative. Democrats don't like that. But the man is qualified. And Republicans were put into office, especially Donald Trump, largely because of the Supreme Court and the ramifications. And if they don't get this done, voters are going to take the Republicans out of office with pitchforks, if necessary. VAUSE: Ok. Well, the hardest working man in politics, Jared Kushner,

he made an unannounced visit to Iraq. He was invited there by the Joint Chiefs. He is apparently receiving briefings and updates.

According to General Dunford, "Kushner is there to see our folks in the field, our advisers, our guys helping out with the counter-IED fight. Our guys that provide the combined air, arms and our special operations forces so they can see them in action and have an appreciation for what they're doing."

So I guess now we can add morale officer to White House senior adviser. He is also running the office of American Innovation, that includes reforming the Veteran Affairs Department, fighting off the epidemic of opioid addiction. He is also modernizing the technology and data infrastructure of every government department.

He is negotiating with Mexico over the border wall. He is a point of contact for more than two dozen countries. He oversees trade deals. And there is also he is going to end the world's most intractable conflict by negotiating peace between Israel and the Palestinians.

Dave -- that's a lot to do for a 36-year-old with no experience and no staff.

JACOBSON: Well, precisely. I think we should change his name to Jack -- Jack of all trades, right. But look, at the end of the day, if Jared Kushner really is that great, maybe he should have run for president instead of Donald Trump. I mean he is essentially doing the job that Donald Trump was elected to do. Donald Trump is the President, not his son-in-law -- number one.

Number two -- I think it was fascinating this weekend, you have Jared Kushner going to Iraq where we have a $1 billion embassy there before the Secretary of State Rex Tillerson had ever visited the country. I was flabbergasted. It's unbelievable. And I think it minimizes the role of the Secretary of State.

VAUSE: John -- hold on because I just want to flash back to Donald Trump during the campaign and take a look at this moment.



TRUMP: Nobody knows the system better than me, which is why I alone can fix it.


VAUSE: Did that statement come with an asterisk? I alone can fix it -- with Jared?

THOMAS: I mean -- I don't think anyone actually thought that Donald Trump was going to be in every single meeting in every part of the globe and every part of the government. Like any great business owner or real estate developer, they delegate. Just because they could put the rivets in the cars on the manufacturing line doesn't mean they're going to do that.

He clearly trusts Jared, and he is sending him out -- he is delegating. I don't see any problem with this as long as it delivers results.

VAUSE: And he is not getting paid for this anyway. So, you know, good on him.


VAUSE: Kushner is also meant to be involved with the meeting with Chinese President Xi Jinping. That's set for Friday. Already the U.S. President is putting Beijing on notice over North Korea.

Let's go to Matt Rivers. He is live for us in Beijing.

So Matt -- ahead of the summit, Mr. Trump talked about the growing threat from North Korea. He told "The Financial Times" he hoped China would help out with this. But then he added well, if China is not going to solve North Korea, we will. That is all I am telling you.

So how would the Chinese government react to that statement?

MATT RIVERS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, we haven't had any official reaction from Beijing as of yet -- John. But I think that the Chinese, like the rest of us, are going to take what the President says at face value, and they're going to work that into their calculations ahead of their preparations for this upcoming meeting later on this week.

But there is two things here. One, I think that the Chinese are not going to be surprised by the President's comments. The President has been very consistent when taking a harder line about China and China's role in solving the North Korean crisis.

I don't think anyone in Beijing is going to be surprised that the President is laying out that kind of vernacular before this meeting.

The other thing that we should also mention though is that the Chinese are probably going to look at this with a bit of skepticism. Because remember what candidate Trump said on the campaign trail; that China was going to be declared a currency manipulator on day one, that the President was going to enact tariffs on Chinese imports. He hasn't done any of that.

He didn't label them a currency manipulator on day one and he hasn't put in any tariffs in yet. He even backed way from his initial comments about the one-China policy, questioning that. He has now very much said that he respects the one-China policy.

So I think China is going to look at this with a healthy dose of skepticism but also take what the President says at face value and work all that into what plans to be a pretty complicated meeting -- one that is very important between two of the most influential leaders in the world.

[00:25:07] VAUSE: Absolutely. Matt -- thank you. Matt Rivers, live in Beijing.

Dave, back to you, is it a good move to, you know, make threats and ultimatums before a summit with the leader of China?

JACOBSON: No. I mean look at what happened last week with the health care battle where he had the ultimatum and then he failed to secure the votes. I mean he can't even control his own caucus.

How can we expect this man, this crazy man to be a world leader? To have relationships with key nations that we have to trade with? I mean China is one of our top trading partners and allies in terms of trade only around the globe.

And I think, look, at a time when there is growing tensions with our country and North Korea, this is a pivotal moment in American history. We actually need a strong working relationship with the Chinese.

But here you have President Trump days after he's sworn into office creating animosity with China over the one China policy with the dynamic with Taiwan. And I think that is a challenge that is going to continue to plague Trump.

And I think the real question is like is he going to be presidential in this meeting, or is he going to continue to sort of be a schoolyard bully?

VAUSE: John, last word to you on this.

THOMAS: Yes. It's clear that Trump is laying out his priority, that he thinks North Korea is an existential threat, not just to the U.S. but to the entire world. And if China isn't willing to take leadership on it, the U.S. will.

This is exactly the kind of strength that America used to do. We're just shocked by it because over the last eight years we've had such a limp president that this kind of talk would never have happened. I'm welcoming the change.

VAUSE: Ok. There is a shot.

Dave and John -- thanks very much for being with us.

THOMAS: Thanks -- John.


VAUSE: Ok, next here on NEWSROOM L.A., a new accuser has come forward with sexual harassment claims against Bill O'Reilly on Fox News. The fallout for his employer is just ahead.


[00:30:00] VAUSE: Welcome back, everybody. You're watching CNN NEWSROOM live from Los Angeles, I'm John Vause with the headlines this hour. No responsibility so far for a bombing on a metro train in St. Petersburg, Russia. The blast killed 11 people, wounded dozens more. Russian President Vladimir Putin says the explosion is under investigation, but other Russian officials say it was an act of terrorism.

U.S. President Donald Trump met with the Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi at the White House on Monday. Former President Barack Obama refused to host el-Sisi and instead criticize his human rights record. Mr. Trump says the president of Egypt has actually done a fantastic job in a very difficult situation.

U.S. senators are likely to break the tradition on confirming Supreme Court nominee with at least stand by partisan support. Democrats have enough votes to block President Trump's nominee Neil Gorsuch. Republicans are threatening to use the so-called nuclear option, rewriting the House rules to lower the votes required to push forward a nomination.

The "Fox News" channel is dealing with yet another high profile sexual harassment lawsuit. Julie Roginsky, an on-air contributor at "Fox" alleges she was denied a promotion after rebuffing sexual advances from then network boss Roger Ailes. It's been nearly nine months since Aisles was forced out amid accusations of sexual misconduct. His lawyer calls the latest allegations hogwash.

Also on Monday, Wendy Walsh, a former "Fox News" contributor went public with allegations of sexual harassment against the network's biggest star, Bill O'Reilly.


WENDY WALSH, FORMER FOX NEWS CONTRIBUTOR: So when dinner was finished, he simply said let's get out of here. I assumed he meant that we should move to the bar. And said no, no, come back to my suite. At that point, you know, I'm a woman of a certain age. I've had situations like this in my life. I knew how to behave. And I simply said I'm sorry, I can't do that. And he immediately got defensive and said what do you mean? You think I'm going to attack you or something?


VAUSE: And Walsh claims O'Reilly promised her a lucrative network contract, but that offer was withdrawn after she turned down his advances. And Walsh was featured in "The New York Times" over the weekend in a report on million dollar plus settlements to five other women who allege harassment or verbal abuse by O'Reilly and now comes the fall out.

Mercedes-Benz is pulling its advertising from O'Reilly's show claiming the allegations are disturbing.

There is a lot to get through here. So joining us now, CNN's senior media correspondent and host of "Reliable Sources" Brian Stelter.

Brian, good to see you.

Let's start with the latest lawsuit. Roginsky -- she is suing not just "Fox News" channel, not just Aisles, but also the current co- president of the news channel.

So why is that so significant?

BRIAN STELTER, CNN SENIOR MEDIA CORRESPONDENT: Significant because Bill Shine was brought in partly taking over for Aisles, the symbolism being, all right, Aisles is gone. "Fox" has cleaned up its act. Now there are new bosses in charge.

But this lawsuit on Monday charges that Shine is part of the problem. That he had been at "Fox" for many years. He knew Aisles very well. And he was behaving in this coroner's lawsuit in some of the same ways. Not with regards to sexual harassment, but with regards to retaliation. So that is alleged in the suit. This is from a current contributor to "Fox."

She's on the air. At least she has been on the air up until recently. And this suit is filed by the same woman -- actually, the same lawyer who also represented Gretchen Carlson. Carlson is the anchor who sued last July, sued Aisles, who started this sort of domino effect that we're now still seeing play out today.

VAUSE: OK. So this all gets to that "New York Times" story over the weekend. Two of the women featured in that article allegedly received payouts in the months after Aisles had left.

STELTER: Right. That's correct. When "Fox" tried to clean up, again, trying to they say make it right and institute new policies, that there were a series of settlements with accusers of Roger Ailes. What we didn't know until "The New York Times" story over the weekend is that there were also these accusers of Bill O'Reilly who also received financial settlements.

VAUSE: OK. And so we have a statement which came from Bill O'Reilly. He basically said he is the victim here. He's got a high profile. That makes him vulnerable to lawsuits. Very similar to actually what he said last year while defending Roger Ailes.

Listen to this.


BILL O'REILLY, FOX NEWS HOST: In this country, every famous, powerful or wealthy person is a target. You're a target, I'm a target. Any time somebody could come out and sue us, attack us, go to the press or anything like that. Until America -- and that's a deplorable situation.

Because, I mean, I have to have bodyguards. I have to hire bodyguards, physical bodyguards, all right. Until the United States adopts the English system of civil law whereby if you file a frivolous lawsuit and you lose, the judges are right to make you pay all court costs. Until we adopt that very fair proposition, we're going to have this out of control tabloid society that is tremendously destructive. I stand behind Roger 100 percent.


[00:35:20] VAUSE: So how does this all stand up now in the case of Wendy Walsh? So Attorney Lisa Bloom said they don't want money. They don't want any kind of a settlement. They're looking for an independent investigation of the "Fox News" channel.

STELTER: Yes. They are trying to bring attention to this, make people understand who O'Reilly is and what his behavior was back in 2013.

Lisa Bloom, the lawyer, you know, she is also a liberal advocate. She is an anti-Trump commentator. I think Bill O'Reilly would say, oh, this is all part of a liberal hit job.

However, you know, we don't know exactly what O'Reilly would say on the air because he did not address this on Monday. He said nothing about it on his own program on "Fox News." But that statement over the weekend said, hey, I'm vulnerable because I'm a celebrity.

The reality, though, John, is that they are not. Other cable news hosts like CNN or anywhere else, they don't have this situation. That have had five settlements of sexual harassment, other harassment allegations against them, that have been sued in the past and have also had these claims against them in the past, repeatedly all in a similar sort of pattern.

VAUSE: OK. Well, here's a statement that we have now from 21st Century Fox regarding that "New York Times" article.

"21st Century Fox takes matters of workplace behavior very seriously. We have looked into these matters over the last few months and discussed them with Mr. O'Reilly. While he denies the merits of those claims, Mr. O'Reilly has resolved those he regarded as his personal responsibility. Mr. O'Reilly is fully committed to supporting our efforts to improve the environment for all our employees at "Fox News."

So what do you make of that?

STELTER: I think it was "Fox" trying to issue some sort of half- hearted defense, but not a full-throated defense. Like I said -- like I was saying, they're not standing directly next to O'Reilly. But, you know, they're standing near him because he is so valuable to the network.

It's a little bit like an NFL star or a basketball player or a baseball star or a musician. Someone who is in the tabloids, who is in trouble, who has a scandalous past but there is a lot of companies who stand to make a lot of money from those people and the same is true with "Fox News." Bill O'Reilly is incredibly valuable to the network, and right now that's not changing.

VAUSE: And right now, he is still getting paid reportedly about $18 million a year from -- just from "Fox News" so we'll see what happens. Brian, thanks for being with us. Appreciate it.

STELTER: Thanks.

VAUSE: Well, next here on NEWSROOM L.A., he wears a suit, takes power naps, yells "You're fired". He's the "Boss Baby." But is the latest Hollywood hit, more than just a cartoon? Could it actually be political satire?


VAUSE: Well, the new animated film "The Boss Baby" isn't just topping the U.S. Box Office; it's also raising a few questions. Take a look.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We babies are having a crisis. Babies aren't getting as much as love as we used to. Behold our mortal enemy.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No, that's exactly the problem.


VAUSE: Well, the main character voiced by Alec Baldwin of "SNL" fame reminds a lot of people of Donald Trump. "Boss Baby's" director says that's just a coincidence, but there are some striking similarities here.

Some people are now asking is this political satire?

For more, Sandro Monetti, managing editor of "Entity" magazine and a committee chairman, the committee chairman for BAFTA joins us now.

Good to see you. OK, let's check out some of the headlines that have happened over the last couple of days. From "The Guardian," ""Boss Baby" is the latest movie DreamWorks animation is the first movie to nod to Donald Trump's childish antics."

From "Vanity Fair," "The Alec Baldwin starring animated movie seems like the timeliest film of the year."

And finally some sense from "The Irish Times." ""The Boss Baby" may remind you of Donald Trump, but that's just a coincidence. And the reality is it really is a coincidence."

So explain.

SANDRO MONETTI, MANADING EDITOR, "ENTITY" MAGAZINE: You know, people see parallels in everything. But I don't really understand it in this case, because let's look at the two characters. You know, one is a petulant child who lashes out at his enemies when he is annoyed and the other is an animated baby. They're both voiced by Alec Baldwin and that perhaps is awfully responsible for the perception. VAUSE: OK. But they started writing this, they started thinking about it and it's animated so it took years to do so. All the playing, everything happened long before Donald Trump even announced that he was going to run.

MONETTI: It does. I mean, the director Tom McGrath, who made the "Madagascar" films before, you know, he laughs about this thinking that people have the ability to just draw it -- it's like you and I drawing a picture on a piece of paper. They take six years from conception to delivery. So it's a fortunate confluence of events, really. They've got lucky with the Trump association.

VAUSE: So run through some of the similarities here. I mean, you kind of did at the beginning. I mean, we're looking at a character. Yet, there is the Alec Baldwin voice, which obviously rhymes with Donald Trump.

What else?

MONETTI: Well, he's a businessman. He says "You're fired." He comes up with great sound bites like cookies are for closers. So he's always got a good line. And yes, he --


VAUSE: He plays golf.

MONETTI: Yes, he plays golf. He is very sure of himself. He's very much in control. So it would seem that there are certain similarity there. And of course the hair. Of course, you can't ignore the hair. So it's just a coincidence.

VAUSE: Totally lucked out.

MONETTI: They lucked out. And they lucked out. And I think all the talk of this movie as well has helped the box office. You know, it took $50 million at the weekend domestic, $111 million international. And it knocked off the number one spot, "Beauty and the Beast," which of course is about Melania and Donald.

VAUSE: No, it's not about Melania and Donald. The director, I think --

MONETTI: Have you seen the parallel.

VAUSE: One of the producers actually said -- moving on -- said that this comparisons with Donald Trump has been a blessing, but it's also been a nightmare. Clearly the blessing is raising its profile. What's the downside? What's the nightmare that he could be talking?

MONETTI: The downside is that people go into the movie thinking, oh, they're going to see a Donald Trump parody. But they're not. What they're seeing is a much smarter than usual animated film that works for both parents and kids.

So, yes, the sort of message gets lost. You know, it's not a Trump parody. People are drawing that into it. But what it is is a superior animated film and it's a hearty thumbs-up for me.

VAUSE: There we go. Two thumbs-up. Excellent. Thank you.

OK. Well, we've -- you've been watching CNN NEWSROOM live from Los Angeles with us. I'm John Vause. And I'll be back at the top of the hour with a lot more news from all around the world. Stay with us. "World Sport" with Kate Riley is up next.