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Russia: Syrian Chemical Gas Deaths Due to Terrorists; North Korea Fires Medium-Range Ballistic Missile, Macron, Le Pen Clash in French Election Debate, Trump pushing $1 Trillion Infrastructure Bill; Probe Focusing on Timing of Trump Camp Russia Talks; Death Toll At 14 In St. Petersburg Metro Blast; 21 Companies Pull Ads From The O'Reilly Factor. Aired 2-3a ET

Aired April 5, 2017 - 02:00   ET


[02:00:03] JOHN VAUSE, CNN ANCHOR: Also, North Korea fires what was believed to be a ballistic missile and it seems it's a message in the timing. And later, advertisers can't get away fast enough after one of America's most popular news anchors is wrought by sexual harassment scandal.

Hello everybody, thank you for joining us. So now into this third hour of Newsroom L.A. I'm John Vause.

Russia has come to the defense of its Syrian ally after apparent chemical gas attack, which had dozens of Syrians dead. A warning here, the image that you're about to see are graphic. Now Russia claims an air strike by Syrian forces in an ammunition depot which they say, belonged to a terrorist group. The Assad Regime has also claimed the attack on rebel fighters.

Well joining me now for more on this time, Muhammad Lila is in Istanbul, also Matthew Chance, live in Moscow. Matthew, first to you, what more are the Russians saying about how all of this may have played out?

MATTHEW CHANCE, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, of course this Russian explanation of this Russian version of events, comes as a donor meeting gets under way in Brussels at 70 countries aiming to give money to Syrian parties to try and fuel the peace talks there. And also an emergency Security Council meeting has been called for later today at U.N. headquarters in New York to discuss this apparent attack and the Russians have effectively intervened at this point, and said look, there's another explanation for this and that they say that Russia -- sorry that Syrian aircraft carried out a strike against a factory, in Southern Idlib province in Syria, which resulted in the -- in a factory that was producing chemical weapons effectively, and which resulted in the escape of this gas. Take a listen at what Igor Kornashenkov, the Russian Defense Ministry Spokesman had to say on the issue in the early as of this morning.


IGOR KORNASHENKOV, RUSSINA DEFENSE MINISTRY SPOKESPERSON (translator): Syrian aviation made a strike in a large terrorist ammunition depot, in a concentration of military hardware in the eastern outskirts on the Khan Shaykhun town. On the territory at the depot, there were workshops, which produced chemical warfare ammunitions. Terrorists had been transporting chemical ammunitions from this large arsenal, the territory of Iraq.


CHANCE: All right, well that's the Russian version of events. And it kind of tallies with what was coming out of Syria yesterday, where military sources there had spoken of an explosion at a chemical weapons factory in that same area. The difference this time though, with the Russian version, is that with the Syrian reports, it was nearly an explosion that was reported on this occasion. The Russians are saying that that explosion was the result effectively of air strikes by the Syrian regime. John?

VAUSE: Matthew, stay with us. Because Muhammad, how does this Russian account match up to some of the reporting so far? Do we know for instance if there was a chemical depot, anyway, near the town which suffered from this gas attack?

MUHAMMAD LILA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes. Well, the important thing to remember is that all the information that comes from the ground comes from opposition activists simply because it hasn't been safe for journalists to access those areas, or in other cases, the Syrian Government won't allow access to those areas to certain journalists. So all of the information comes from activists on the ground. But in terms of the actual air strike, the activists reported that there were actually a number of air strikes.

There were four air strikes. But then only the first one resulted in the release of that chemical weapon compound into the air. And then of course, then we started seeing the flood of victims being rushed to the hospital. So it's very difficult to determine on the ground whether that in fact was some sort of storage facility. What we do know from that area, from the several days beforehand, was that this is a part of the country that's been bombed almost every day by air strikes whether Russians or Syrian jets bombarding the area. In fact, it had been bombarded so much that doctors in the area, several days before this latest attack yesterday, they had said that they were under so much threat that they had to move their operations effectively to, to sort of a cave. And there is video available of this, of a western doctor giving a tour of where he said that they had to relocate to, because the bombardment was so severe that they couldn't continue to treat victims and -- of these air strikes. So they had to effectively move underground. That's as much as we know in terms of the landscape of what were -- of where these air strikes took place.

VAUSE: So, Matthew, back to you. Have the Russia's -- Russians offered anything beyond just a statement from, do the Defense Ministry spokesperson, any evidence to back up their claim?

[02:05:12] CHANCE: Not at this point. And in fact, this version of events that they put out on the defense ministry website and they have a -- they sort of tweeted it and put it on their Facebook page. It came to us in the early hours of this morning. And say it was quite a surprise that this version of events was posted at that unusual time. But it came to an opportune time. Of course, as I have mentioned, the head of this donor conference in Brussels, and the head of the emergency Security Council meeting in New York. It's not the first time that Russia has provided political cover at an opportune moment for its ally being the Syrian regime, just last month of course.

Russia along with China, veto the United Nations Security Council resolution, condemning the Syrian Government and rebels, as well, as a matter of fact for carrying out chemical attacks inside the country on at least three occasions. And so, Russia then saying that this simply wasn't enough evidence that the Syrian Administration, the Syrian Regime, was responsible for this. And so, it's used its veto when the Security Council on several times in the past, too, or at least seven occasions in the past in fact, to protect its Syrian ally from international sanction. And it looks like it's preparing the grant to do the same on this occasion.

VAUSE: And, on that, back to Muhammad. Yes, how much weight will this version of events from the Russian's carry with the U.S. and its allies?

LILA: Well, that's a very good question. I mean, we know that United States appeared at least in the last couple of days to shift its position. Saying that Bashar al-Assad was no longer the priority in Syria, that the priority was going to be fighting ISIS. Now, whether or not this latest attack changes that position, is unclear. But you know, with this Russian version of events, there is an interesting similarity here between what happened yesterday in the town of Khan Shaykhun in Syria, and what happened with a similar air strike in Mosul.

A few weeks ago, do you remember that more than 100 civilians were killed in an air strike in Mosul and at the time, the Pentagon came out and said yes, it was a coalition air strike that was, at least, in some way responsible for that. But they came out and they said well, possibly there were some ISIS explosives in the area or ISIS had been using human shields. And as a result, that's why the death toll was so high. What we're seeing with this Russian version of events is almost the mirror image of the defense that the Pentagon used when that building in Mosul was attacked a few weeks ago.

So it seems as though as Matthew has already said, that Russia is preparing a ground to make this argument with this United Nation's Security Council meeting coming up, which is just a mirror version of the defense that the Pentagon used just a few weeks ago.

VAUSE: OK, we shall leave it there. Muhammad Lila in Istanbul, and Matthew Chance, Senior International Correspondent in Moscow, thanks to you both.

We'll stay with this story for longer, let's go to Beirut, Lebanon now. Samah Hadid, the Deputy Director of Middle East Campaigns, the Amnesty International. Samah, how much talk did you put into this explanation coming from the Russians that it was a Syrian Aircraft which blew off a chemical depot belonging to the rebel groups. They were the ones who were making this iron gas, and the other poisonous, noxious gases there in Syria. And they're essentially the ones they want to blame.

I think we're actually having problems there with Samah, are you on the line? Samah Hadid, can you hear me? It's John here in Los Angeles.


VAUSE: Great. Very quickly, how much talk did you put into this explanation coming from the Russians that it was a rebel, the chemical depot which was blown up there at Syrian air strike?

HADID: Well, it still remains unclear. I don't think that we can actually determine the perpetrator of this attack just yet. That all evidence points to an attack from the air and this is why we need a full investigation to take place. We know that the U.N. is taking steps to investigate this attack. And there will be emergency meetings at the U.N. Security Council to discuss this.

A resolution will be put in place and discussed around condemning this attack, and possibly proposing decisive action to really prevent these sorts of attacks from happening in the future. I think it's important to note but this is not the first time that these attacks have been carried out. We know that this is the deadliest attacks since 2013. But since then, there had been numerous attacks, but of this nature, carried out by the government and the opposition. And so, it's really time for the U.N. Security Council to step up and ensure that accountability to these sorts of attacks takes place.

[02:10:02] VAUSE: But Samah, if you listen to what the Russians are saying, clearly, it now seems that they are willing to run cover for the Syrian regime, essentially if this be a version of events, is anything to be guided by, they believed that, you know, the regime is not responsible or at least that, that's what they are saying. That clearly will influence what happens at the U.N. Security Council when they are coming out.

HADID: Yes, and that's why, it's absolutely essential for governments not to block any sort of resolutions, and for other member states, to really step up in their condemnation of not only these attacks but also in the event that Russia does veto any sort of resolution, pushing for action against this attack. We have seen Russia numerously vote against resolutions that push for action when chemical weapons are used in Syria. So I think it's time for the international community to really step up in this moment.

VAUSE: Yes, I get -- it's been trying for the international community to step up in a lots of moments and they have, never gone up, they have always failed. But Samah, we live in hope. Thank you for being with us.

Move on now. Just days before U.S. President Donald Trump will meet with China's President Xi Jing Ping. Pyongyang, maybe there's something to talk about, why a medium-range, was a missile, which landed in the sea of Japan, also known as the East Sea. CNN's Paula Hancocks now, live in Seoul with more on this and clearly at the timing of this ballistic missile test seems particularly interesting.

PAULA HANCOCKS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well that's right, John. I mean, we also look at the timing to see if there's any kind of message that we assume North Korea is sending. Of course North Korea is so isolated, so difficult to get information from them. We don't know for sure, but as you say, those two points could well be the reason they fire this missile. Also, the fact that these military drills between the U.S. and South Korea was still going on until the end of this month.

We always see an increase in ballistic missiles when that's happening because Pyongyang does not like them. We do know though from South Korean Defense Ministry officials that it's a K and 15 they believe, or a type of that missile. So the solid fuel missile, that is much easier, much quicker for the North Koreans to assemble and fire, meaning it is much difficult to fire, to track. Another, South Korean's have condemned it but they say, it's not just a South Korean problem.


LEE DUK-HAENG, SPOKESPERSON, SOUTH KOREAN UNIFICATION MINISTRY (translator): It is a threat against peace and stability for the entire international community and puts North Korea in a difficult situation. But these reasons, we urge North Korea to refrain from doing this.


HANCOCKS: The South Korea says, they are still trying to figure out if it's a success or a failure, but of course in North Korea's point of view, officials always say that they do learn something from each and every test.

VAUSE: And in this case, what do they actually learn from this test of this particular missile?

HANCOCKS: Well, what we've heard from the South Koreans is that it flew 60 kilometers and that also had about 189 kilometers in altitude. So, they're trying to figure out what the trajectory would be, how long or how far this missile could actually go, if it was fired not as almost straight into the air as they have done, but directing it towards a target. The key with this is its solid fuel. This is what North Korea has been trying to perfect over recent months.

The fact that it's not liquid fuel, so it can be fired much faster. It can be fired from a mobile launcher obviously, far more difficult to track in the heat of war for the other side. So that's really what they are focusing on at this point. It's also being fired from the same place that usually do these submarine-launched and ballistic missiles, from -- just showing that they're using the same kind of technology. John?

VAUSE: OK, Paula has been following the story for the last few hours, we appreciate it. Paula Hancocks live in Seoul. Well, when we come back, new reports of meetings between the Trump Campaign and Russians officials, also how one donor is connected to the president's cabinet. Also, sparks flying at the latest French Presidential debate. Civilization is at stake, warnings of economic warfare. We're live in Paris.


[02:16:55] VAUSE: Both hours down, a heated face off between France's leading presidential candidates. All 11 contenders took part in the latest debate. The National Front's Marine Le Pen and centrist Emmanuel Macron battled over the European Union. Macron is pretty Europe. He says he's the voice of optimism.


EMMANUEL MACRON, FRENCH PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: (TRANSLATED) What I'm proposing to you is a real change, a deep change, a renewal of our political life, a complete renewal with a new face because I trust our country. I have confidence in this country. I think that you can meet the contemporary challenges and I want to find again the optimism of the French people. We can't continue as we have.


VAUSE: Le Pen is pushing identity politics which had made her a front runner.


MARINE LE PEN, FRENCH PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE (translator): I consider that this election is really about the civilization stakes. I think that after five years of right wing and five years of left wing, our country France has been really plunged into insecurity Islamic terrorism and obviously a protest against our deepest possible values and national identity.

VAUSE: All right. Well, joining us now, CNN's Paris Correspondent Melissa Bell good morning, Melissa.

The issue of nationality identity was the key theme during this debate. So, two Frances were in Europe. Both are just playing to the base of the bar right, leader Marine Le Pen.

MELISSA BELL, CNN PARIS CORRESPONDENT: It was an extraordinary fate but on the first time, many such debates have been held before the turn of an election, and just having those 11 candidates. All the candidates who are standing this election was quite extraordinary, not at least because there of course the frontrunners. But then of course all those lower candidates that you don't often head about.

And what was astonishing with the display of very left-wing ideas, because many of those candidates, four of them are joined from the left and the sort of language of Marxism, you don't hear so much. You had to listen to this debate yesterday to hear that language of Carl struggle being spoken out loud and debated over the course of this three-hour.

So, it was really a sort of format that helped the smaller candidates get a voice. All the candidates had 15 minutes in all to speak. It took three hours to get through all of them. But of course, all eyes very much as you see, on Emmanuel Macron and Marine Le Pen, the two are leading it. And because Marine Le Pen is leading this race in terms of the polls at least.

Her ideas -- those that are close to her heart, things about Nationality Identity for instance has become central. Now, we watched it from inside a bar just outside of Paris. And what the French called the bar use where that question of national identity is particularly sensitive when you're talking about second and third generations.

North Africans just say they're as French as anybody else. And they feel, that really, they're being challenged by the sorts of ideas that had become central to this campaign. Have a listen to their reaction about the debate last night.


[02:20:03] UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Every year is like the same. And like these -- I just see the politicians on the T.V. and that, you never see them on a field on action or anything like meeting people, making them change their minds and that. And like, who just like want somebody that like to be in the middle. To be like -- really include connection between all Europe and for France, as well.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This moment, we hear our politicians, became more about terrorists, about -- they expect more about problems than solution. So we have to -- It think for a good future and they -- the better person who could go for this, I think Emmanuel Macron.


BELL: That one Emmanuel Macron found there, and the question is, how many of those undecided voters, and there are historically high numbers of them at this late stage in the campaign. John, how many of them were actually decided by those 15 minutes, they might have heard from one of the candidates that particularly appeal, of course, for the time being. The poll is very much showing those two very different candidates, Marine Le Pen on one hand -- If I can run --

VAUSE: We lost Melissa. What a shame. Looks like a really nice day there too, in Paris. And of course, she was filling a scene on the debate there, that's on Marine Le Pen, the National Front Leader. Actually, being very much the center of the attack from any of those candidates.

Looks like what we have in here in the U.S. with Donald Trump. Speaking of Donald Trump, he is now renewing his promise to push $1 trillion infrastructure plans with Congress. And he needs to win after his administration's failed attempt in healthcare reform. He told workers in the building industry on Tuesday, together they'll rebuild the nation. (BEGIN VIDEO-CLIP)

DONALD TRUMP, U.S. PRESIDENT: Thank you, Mike. We enriched foreign countries at the expense of our own country, the great United States of America, but those days are over. I am not, and I don't want to be the president of the world. I am the president of the United States and from now on, it's going to be America's first.


VAUSE: Meantime, Republican members of Congress led by the U.S. Vice- President Mike Pence, trying to revise the healthcare bill that would repeal and replace Obamacare. They met on Tuesday, so they had a good talk and, we're making progress.


MIKE PENCE, U.S. VICE-PRESIDENT: We continue to work earnestly with congress, for a new future on healthcare reform. The President and I remain confident. Now working with the Congress, we will repeal and replace Obamacare with healthcare reform that'll work for the American people and work for the American economy.


VAUSE: But at the same time, the investigation into Russia's meddling in the 2016 election is wrapping up. CNN has looked at congressional investigators have seized on new information of Trump's associates and Russian officials. Here's Jim Sciutto.

JIM SCIUTTO, CNN CHIEF U.S. SECURITY CORRESPONDENT: The timing and proximity of meetings between Trump advisors and Russian officials during the transition is raising questions among heel investigators, a congressional intelligence source tells CNN, in particular, whether the loosening of U.S. sanctions on Russia was discussed. One meeting in question tool place in January on the island nation of the Seychelles, 100 of miles off the east coast of Africa, a diplomatic source tells CNN.

A little more than a week before President Trump took office, Black Water Founder and Trump donor Erik Prince met with the Russian businessman close to President Vladimir Putin to arrange a possible back channel of communications between Moscow and the incoming administration.


NICHOLAS BURNS, FORMER UNDER SECRETARY FOR POLITICAL AFFAIRS: There was no reason to find some Russian business person or some contact with the Russian Government when you could easily have asked the State Department of the Obama Administration to help create contacts.


SCIUTTO: Prince donated $250,000 to the Trump Campaign and insisted her as the Education Secretary, Betsy DeVos. Prince claimed to have influence with then President-elect Trump, that both the White House and the foreign diplomat tells CNN the administration was not involved in arranging the meeting. Still, GOP lawmakers acknowledged growing questions.


JOHN MCCAIN, U.S. SENATOR: This is a centipede, a shoe will drop every few days, the latest meeting in the Seychelles. Look, this is a requirement in my view, why we need a select committee in order to get through all these because there's lots of more shoes that are going to drop.


SCIUTTO: This is just the latest for this string of meetings between Trump associates and Russian government officials. Including a meeting in December between Trump's son-in-law and aid, Jared Kushner and a Russian Banker whose bank has been under U.S. sanctions.

Ties between former Trump Campaign adviser, Carter Page, in Russia are also under renewed scrutiny, after revelations that Page was in contact with a Russian intelligence operatives in New York, in 2013. Court documents revealed a transcript to the Russian spies' account of a conversation he had with Page. He was referred to in the document as male number one. Speaking about Page, the Russian says, "I think he is an idiot and forgot who I am, and "I will feed him empty promises."

[02:25:22] Page admit that he was contact with at least one Russian spy in 2013. But he claims, he thought the Russian was working for Moscow's U.N. office and he did not release any sensitive information. Page saying in a statement, "I shared basic immaterial information, and publicly available researched documents. In doing so, I provided him nothing more than a few samples from the far more detailed lectures I was preparing at the time for the students in my spring 2013 semester."

On Erik Prince, CNN has told that Prince met with members of Trump's National Security Team, this is during the transition. We were also told that Prince claimed to others to have access to the Trump Administration. It was not clear to what extent he did have that access. Jim Sciutto, CNN Washington.

VAUSE: Coming next to our viewers in Asia, State of America with Kate Bolduan. Don't go anywhere else, we'll take a short break. And when we come back, we are learning about the man Russian officials are blaming for Monday's metro bombing, the very latest from St. Petersburg.


[02:30:17] JOHN VAUSE, CNN ANCHOR: You're watching CNN NEWSROOM live from Los Angeles. Welcome back everybody. I'm John Vause. We'll check the headlines now.

Russia's defense ministry says the sarin gas attack in northwestern Syria, and then because of Syrian air strike it -- what they call a terrorist depo where chemical weapons were made, that explanation of the expense on the defense of Syrian military which blamed rebels of killing dozens of people in the attack.

Meanwhile, activist in most of the international community say, the Syrian regime was responsible.

North Korea has fired a mid range ballistic missile in to the Sea of Japan, also known as the East Sea. The test comes as U.S. President Donald Trump is preparing to meet China's President Xi Jinping on Thursday.

Mr. Trump brassily says the U.S. will deal with North Korea's nuclear threat with or without China's help.

Russia is ongoing three days of mourning after Monday's deadly suicide blast on the St. Petersburg metro. Currently say the attacker was the 22-year-old Russian national born in Kyrgyzstan.

More now, let's go to CNN's Oren Liebermann live in St. Petersburg. So Oren, how does the investigation actually know the identity of the suicide bomber?

OREN LIEBERMANN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: John, we'll talk about the suspect here, a 22-year-old Akbarjon Djalilov in just a second. But I want to draw your attention here to the memorial behind me. This is at the Technological Institute metro station. It is at this metro station where the evacuation happens.

And you can see the size of this memorial as well that is still growing as many Russians here come to pay their respects and drop off flowers. You can still see the raw emotions here. Many are still crying as they lay their flowers down, very much still an open wound for the Russians on this second day of mourning.

As for the suspect, as for Djalilov, as you pointed out, he is born in Kyrgyzstan. He is a Russian citizen. So, how is that investigators came to the conclusion that he is the man responsible. They say they found -- they found his DNA on the unexploded device.

Remember there was one other bomb here that was defused before it went off. And they combined that DNA evidence with closer television (ph) to come to the conclusion that it was both Djalilov who planted the device that didn't explode. And set off the device on the train station here. And to say, he was in fact a suicide bomber.

That means the investigation moves to the "Why?" Why was it that Djalilov set off one bomb and was unable to set off other? That would be where the investigation turns to now, as Russians still mourn to this fear in the St. Petersburg.

VAUSE: And very quickly, Oren, do they have any kind of motive at this point, any indication that he links to extremist groups?

LIEBERMANN: Not yet. There has been some speculations of radicalization but nothing official there. That motive is still very much the open question. And the big question now is investigators are trying to figure out what was that cause this attack.

VAUSE: OK, Oren, thank you Oren Liebermann live in St. Petersburg.

A short break, when we come back we're going now with companies, pulling their ads from the highest rating show on cable news in the U.S. All these the result of a sexual harassment scandal we've seen to be getting bigger and it is surrounding the biggest host of them all, Bill O'Reilly.


[02:35:18] VAUSE: Welcome back everybody. More than a major dozen advertisers are pulling their ads from the "Fox News Channels, The O'Reilly Factor," with the scandal involving the host Bill O'Reilly.

It comes in the wake of a "New York Times" report about settling pay to five women who alleged sexual harassment or verbal abuse by O'Reilly. Twenty-one companies now including Mercedes-Benz, BMW, and Hyundai have pulled ads from the show.

For more our CNN's Senior Reporter for media and politics, Dylan Byers is with us now. OK, in the past controversies like have non-effected Bill O'Reilly's ratings, his viewers are incredibly loyal. But if -- the other side of the equation, if you have millions of viewers and you can't monitorize them because advertisers don't want to be connected to his program, the network has a problem.

DYLAN BYERS, CNN SENIOR REPORTER FOR MEDIA AND POLITICS: The network does have a problem. At the end o f the day, this really is about money. The reason that "Fox News" loves the fact that Bill O'Reilly is the highest rated, host in cable news is because he drives the viewers which was the advertisements.


BYERS: Now, look, 24-hours ago, two advertisers have pulled out. Now, 21 advertisers have pulled out just in of course of a 24-hour period. We were seeing a sort of ground swell, or I suppose the better term would be an exodus. We're seeing an exodus way from the O'Reilly program.

Now, the issue here regarding the finances and the economics of it is that the exodus is only from the O'Reilly program. It is not from "Fox News", it is not from "21st Century Fox." All of those advertisers are basically just reassigning those ads to other parts of "Fox News." So, this is really a public campaign so far more so than it is when -- where the advertising revenues going to suffer.

VAUSE: And you say that there was this sort of exodus. And this is growing. And the activist group, Color of Change, they've actually started a campaign specifically focusing on advertisers to withdraw from the O'Reilly show. We've also have in the National Organization for Women, demanding O'Reilly be fired according to their statement, "Mr. O'Reilly abused his position of power and engaged in a pattern of predatory, misogynistic behavior, enticing women with promises of career advancement, and threatening retribution when they rebuffed his sexual advances. The reported use of his powerful position to repeatedly manipulate women reveals a cruel misogyny that runs to the core of his character."

I mean that is scathing. In the past, the network just all these group left wing looms. And it kind of, you know, fire up their base and they actually, you know, they sort of profited of this.

BYERS: That's right, it's hard to label these accusers left wing learns or the organizations coming after them when you have so many accusers whose stories fit a pattern that is not just anywhere from the one that's described -- that you just described there. That's sort of the problem.

Again, this is also coming in the wake of ouster of Roger Ailes. There has been an acknowledgment, if not a direct acknowledgment by getting rid of Roger Ailes, there's an acknowledgment of sexual harassment was taking place inside that workplace. There was a commitment from the company to have a zero tolerance policy for that nine months later we're dealing with the same stories everyone inside the "Fox News" feels like they've been through this movie before whether they're just trying to keep their head down and get their work done or whether they feel really uncomfortable of the environment that they're working.

VAUSE: How significant was it that the three big eating news casts cover the O'Reilly story obviously?

BYERS: It's man facing event. It's -- I would know not just that. But you have media organizations around the world covering it.

I mean, I remember seeing, you know, "France 24" did a package on it. So, that is where it graduates from, you know, media reporters such as myself caring about it. And we care about a lot of things that the world doesn't give back is what I'm saying, you know, we're over --

VAUSE: Totally, yes --

BYERS: This is bigger than that. It's much bigger than that. And it's, you know, I would say that at the sort of global level where it gets to or the international level where it gets to is the culture of "21st Century Fox." They let Roger Ailes do what he did for as long as he did. There was the phone hacking scandal in the U.K. in 2011. There is a question here about, do the Murdoch's -- does Rupert Murdoch sort of turn a blind eye away from problems in his companies so long as that making him a profit.

VAUSE: You talked about the cultural within "21st Century Fox" within the "Fox News Channel". There's been a long standing rumor that female anchors' at the "Fox News Channel" that they don't let to wear pant and to wear like skirts or dresses. It's been denied. But a former 'Fox News" contributor, Jedediah Bila she seems to confirm that rumors in fact true. Listen to this.


JEDEDIAH BILA, FORMER FOX NEWS CONTRIBUTOR: I used to go in the room and there were a bunch of dresses that you could choose from. I told -- I was told at one point, I wasn't allowed to wear orange because Roger did not like the color orange. So, I didn't wear orange.

But yes, I mean, I didn't see any pants. People always say, "Why don't you wear pants?" You will notice that I wear pants a lot here. I didn't wear pants because I did not see a pants option. I wasn't given a pants option. So, I had to choose --


[02:40:04] VAUSE: And just be cleared, she followed up with the tweet saying, "I was told repeatedly that pants weren't an option." Yes, how does that sort of play into those who the current accusations of sexual harassment and culture of the place?

BYERS: Well, look, it's, you know, was there a written policy saying that you have to come in with a dress this high and heels and whatever, probably not.

Now, is there a written policy of any news organization that gentleman such as you and I have to wear a coat and tie? No, probably not.

But should we, if we're going to host an evening new cast, should wear a coat and tie?

VAUSE: Well, I mean --

BYERS: Probably.

VAUSE: You know, there is a -- of course about your presentation. And --

BYERS: Exactly. But so the -- what this is not so much a written policy as it is what she described in that clip from the view which is a culture in which the expectations is that where men might go on camera and sound smart. Women are expected to go on camera and look sexy.

VAUSE: We also heard from Megyn Kelly about the glass desk and how, you know --

BYERS: Exactly.

VAUSE: -- wanted to have a glass desk because he allegedly --

BYERS: And by the way, let's talk -- to getting back to Roger Ailes, no one understood the aesthetics of television so well as he did.


BYERS: And if he, he have that madmen era archaic in 1950s world view. It was very much about the appearance of women the sexuality of women more so than it was about their ideas.

VAUSE: Yes. It's not just these allegations are sexual harassment. A third black female employee has joined a lawsuit alleging racial discrimination, this is happening on Tuesday. They all worked in the payroll department in "Fox." And it looks at some of the details they went through some pretty horrendous abuse.

BYERS: The details or from that lawsuit are pretty horrendous and they involved things that I actually wouldn't even want to repeat on air. And indeed that woman who the complaints were largely against, she was fired, the complaint and the lawsuit now is that "Fox News" knew about it for years and did not do anything about it.

But look, you're getting to what one former "Fox News" source I spoke would described as just a dark and toxic environment. They are dealing with so many prompts, they are drowning in prompts. There's a sexual harassment allegations against Bill O'Reilly. And there was sexual harassment allegations against Roger Ailes. This case involving racist and you brought up.

On top of all that, there's a federal investigation into whether or not they improperly handled the payments to the accusers of Roger Ailes. I mean, it's honestly of all them here organization in the country right now is probably the last one where you want to be working in their legal department.

VAUSE: -- battle does not describe it. I saw, you know, someone I know at "Fox News" I said, "Did you see the O'Reilly story in the "New York Times?" He said, "No." That's why we sent activity training last week. So, yes.

BYERS: Right, exactly.

VAUSE: Dylan, good to speak to you.

BYERS: Good to see you.

VAUSE: Finally here, in social media, blowing up over the new Pepsi ad featuring Kendall Jenner speak protest, black party. The fashion model walked away from her photo shoot for this.



VAUSE: Oh yes, the crowd goes wild. But critics say, Pepsi is using social justice to sell sweets to going drinks and downgrading decades of minority struggles. Pepsi says the ad, would like diversity and harmony, no comment from Jenner. But in fairness of Pepsi, the ad actually did bring everybody together because everybody hates it.

You're watching CNN NEWSROOM live from Los Angeles. I'm John Vause, stay with us with, "WORLD SPORT" is up after the break.


[02:45:07] KATE RILEY, CNN WORLD SPORT ANCHOR: Welcome along to WORLD SPORT. I'm Kate Riley at CNN center.

We are now just a few days away from the first men golf major of the year seeing all first the golfing world gathers in Augusta, Georgia for the 2017 masters.

Now, on Monday, we saw thunderstorms and a tornado warning which led to the Augusta National Golf Course being shutdown for players and the media alike. Now, what a difference a day makes because on Tuesday, the sun was shining, the Dogwoods and the famous Azaleas were in full bloom right on time for the players practice rounds.

And CNN's Don Riddell is there for us were Jason Day, spoke to the media on Tuesday.

DON RIDDELL, CNN WORLD SPORT: He's one of the most popular players on tour and usually a contender here at Augusta, Australia's Jason Day. Three times in the last six years, the world's number three has finished in top ten. But it was a real concern about whether or not he'd be playing a tour here this year because he's really concerned about the health of his mom.

But he spoke to the media here today at Augusta National, and the good news is she's going to be OK, and he can focus on trying to win a first green jacket.


JASON DAY, 2015 PGA CHAMPIONSHIP WINNER: My mom she went through a successful surgery on her left lung. And just got the news yesterday from the doctor said she doesn't have to do chemo which is really, really exotic stuff.

This week, I just felt a lot lighter. I feel refreshed and kind of in a way that, you know, all the hard stuff is behind us. We just got to make sure that we're staying on top of it. And then actually I -- I can actually get back to kind of physically just kind of focusing on the golf even though I know my mom is getting well taken care of now. And that kind of hard part is behind us now.


RIDDELL: Yes, that's really good news for Jason and the Day family. Of course, when the world's top golfers here are facing the media, they expect to be talking about their game. But really, they can be asked about anything. And some of those questions can be very, very, challenging. Just ask Rory McIlroy.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: And so, Rory, you honorably criticize in your field when it took them so long to have women members, you called it obscene. And you said, and really wouldn't want to have a cup of tea with obviously, famously, you've play a round of golf with Donald Trump. And among other things, he bragged about sexually assaulting women, marked the disabled person and had a week long battle batter with the Gold Star family. What's the difference?

RORY MCILROY, PLAYED GOLF WITH PRESIDENT TRUMP IN FEBRUARY: I think in your field of golf club or the honorable company of veteran golfers and the office of the president of the United States are two completely different things.

You know, I have spent time in President Trump's company before. And, you know, that does not mean that I agree with everything that he says. Actually, the opposite. I felt that I would have making more of a statement if I have to turn this on. And, you know, it was that not a tough place to be put in. But, you know, it is around golf and nothing more. And, you know, would I do it again after the sort of the backlash that I receive? I would think twice about it.


RIDDELL: I'm sure Rory McIlroy will be glad to have got out of that relatively unscathed. We'll see what happens to him on the golf course over the next few days.

We don't know what's going to happen for the players. But we can tell you that weather is going to be very, very difficult. The sun had been shining today. But we're expecting the storm clouds on Wednesday, a lot of winds in the first couple of days Thursday, Friday. The weather, Kate, could well be the story of the 2017 masters.

Back to you, Kate.

RILEY: Yes. We'll be watching out for that one. Coming up, Zlatan gave us a master class and what he does best, the come back king reign supreme, old profit, details, details on the way.


[02:51:13] RILEY: Welcome back to World Sport. It was a crucial game in the English premier league on Tuesday. Manchester United at home to Everton. We saw the return of Zlatan Ibrahimovic, after his three game suspension.

Would the Swede make an impact against through out in the play, Everton broke the deadlock fast. And Ashley Williams handball, moments from time allowed Zlatan to step up and take the penalty. One all, is how it ends. The points are shared. But Mourinho didn't look impressed at all. Man United now unbeaten in 20 premier league games. But however, Mourinho's men still sit in fifth at champions league place could be slipping away as we enter the business-end of the season.

Meanwhile at the other end of the table, champions Leicester getting their sixth win on the spin. And it all comes to sitting of Clavio Renery (ph) under Craig shape there. All is well, that ends well, it would seem.

Now, to a sports story resonating around the world, it's the decision of the National Hockey League not to send its ice hockey stars to the 2018 Olympics in South Korea. It's a move which had been rumored for months. And it comes as the result of a collective stalemate between the league, the International Olympic Committee and NHL Players' Union. Simply put the NHL is standing firm, the league insists it's not getting enough concessions from the IOC and the players both shutting down the business for the better part of three weeks during the height of the ice hockey season.

Now in Sochi in 2014 of the 300 men's hockey players, 148 also played for NHL teams. And that's just about half. Now, earlier, I spoke with the long time National Hockey writer, Craig Custance and asked what led the league to this decision.


CRAIG CUSTANCE, SENIOR WRITER FOR ESPN, ESPN NHL INSIDER: Ultimately, they don't feel that they're getting enough benefit concerning the league down at a time in the North American landscapes, foreign landscape where there's just -- there's not that much competition with NHL. So, they feel like they're shutting it down. And they've been going to the Olympics now for five years. And the league argues that there just aren't enough hard metrics that suggest it's worth it for them financially to do so. And they don't see the benefit of seeing the players anymore, currently sets their argument.

RILEY: Is this session stone or is this the chess match and there will be more moves?

CUSTANCE: Yes, it certainly has the feeling of a T.V. (ph) negotiation right now. I mean the league has come out their statement and saying to them the case is closed, they're not going to go to the Olympics. But when you talk to people out of agents and players and people on the NHL P.A. side, they say, "Look, there's still time to have an agreement here." Possibly there's a negotiation to be had. It's still not May 1st which is kind of that day that people have kicked around as, you know, a drop that deadline.

So, I think the players are still a little bit hopeful that there going to be deal to be made with the league.


RILEY: On Tuesday, we heard this, "I am moving from one legendary team to another." The world -- words of Dallas Cowboys quarterback, Tony Romo. He announced his retirement from the NFL earlier. And will move to the television booth as an analyst next season. Now at 36, Romo, was hampered in the last two years of his career appearing in only five games. He spent 14 years in the league, all with the Dallas Cowboys. He has collected four times for the pro-ball.

He's also the Cowboys' all time leader in passing yards, passing touchdown and racing. For his reflections on this decision, Lets now bring in our own Hines Ward, the two time Super Bowl champion he himself announced his retirement just five years ago.

HINES WARD, CNN SPORTS: Well, Kate, Tony Romo, is definitely a great quarterback. He was great at extend in place of finding his receivers down the field. He could beat you with his arms and legs. But sometimes he would make that big mistake in a crucial situation of the game that what always come back and bite him in the tail.

[02:55:10] Tony Romo is one o f the good guys in the league. I mean he knew about what he did in the community work. And everyone that I spoke to in the Cowboys Organization from players and coaches, always spoke highly of Tony Romo, and talked about his work ethic, talking about making guys better around him. It was always kind of the big brother on the team. So, from the outside looking in, Tony Romo was definitely one of those good guys.

It's got to be hard for Tony Romo to walk away from the game because he never played in the big game, The Super Bowl. And that's what we play this game for. Tony Romo has spent 14 years playing in Dallas. So, it's hard to pick your family up and move to a new city and be a part of a new organization, new teammates, new coaches. But at the same time we all as players, we can't play this game forever.

RILEY: All right, thank you, Hines.

That is it from me and the team. I'm Kate Riley. But before we go, here is a Rolex minute as we continue to preview. This is first major for the mens, the masters.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It is being the center of some of golf's most exciting, dramatic and historic moments.

And on Thursday, the 6th of April, the 81st edition of the masters tees off. Leading the vanguard of challengers is world number one, Dustin Johnson who's aiming for his first green jacket.

But for those who have conquered the iconic Augusta National, it is an unrivaled triumph.

ADAM SCOTT, GOLFER: It's obviously a great achievement to have won the masters. And it's a little bit of a relief, I guess joining nine of -- being the golf course, in the field and I'm here for life.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It means everything. It's, you know, it's a great achievement. And very blessed to be a part of this tournament to be guaranteed of an invitation to come back here for many years to come hopefully, it's fabulous, it's a dream come true.


[03:00:11] UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Dozens of people are dead in a possible sarin gas attack in Syria. Now, Syria --