Return to Transcripts main page


Mixed Messages; Torn Between Allies and Principle; Horrifying Scene at the Plane; Communications Cut; G-7 Members Meets in Italy; On Guard for North Korea's Move; Goodbye 'Luv Gov'. Aired 3-4a ET

Aired April 11, 2017 - 03:00   ET



[03:00:00] ROSEMARY CHURCH, CNN HOST: The Trump administration's mixed messages on the way forward for dealing with the war in Syria.

And tough report from North Korea ahead of the country's biggest annual holiday. We'll bring you a report from Pyongyang.

Plus, the travel nightmare for a passenger out of the seat he had paid for and the P.R. disaster for the airline.

Hello and welcome to our viewers all around the world. I'm Rosemary Church. And this is CNN Newsroom.

President Donald Trump is talking to key allies about the recent U.S. missiles air strikes in Syria. U.K. Prime Minister Theresa May and German Chancellor Angela Merkel say they support Mr. Trump's decision.

The strikes were a response to a deadly chemical attack blamed on Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.

The White House also implied that Press Secretary Sean Spicer misspoke when he suggested the use of barrel bombs would cross a line for President Trump.


SEAN SPICER, UNITED STATES WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: When you watch babies and children being gassed and suffer under barrel bombs you are instantaneously moved to action. I think this president has made it very clear that if those actions were to continue, further action will definitely be considered by the United States.

If you gassed a baby, if you put a barrel bomb into innocent people you can act -- you will see a response from this president. That is unacceptable.


CHURCH: Barrel bombs have been used frequently in the six years of civil war. The White House later said the administration's policy has not changed.

Well, Donald Trump is facing questions about what he will do next regarding Syria, but mixed messages from the U.S. president's top officials have many wondering what exactly is Trump's foreign policy.

Here is CNN's Jim Sciutto.


DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I ordered a targeted military airstrike on the air field in Syria from where the chemical attack was launched.


JIM SCIUTTO, CNN'S CHIEF NATIONAL SECURITY CORRESPONDENT: To what extent does a single strike against a single target define President Trump's approach to what intelligence agencies call the most diverse array of national security threat to the U.S. in decades from Syria to Russia to North Korea, China, and ISIS.


TRUMP: The world is a mess. I inherited a mess, whether it's the Middle East, whether it's North Korea, whether so many other things.


SCIUTTO: So what is in effect the Trump doctrine?


SPICER: We do what we can to make sure that our interest both economically and national security are at the forefront were not just going to become the world's police running around the country -- running around the world.


SCIUTTO: Military action against one side of a war, the U.S. has studiously avoided would seem to represent a shift from an isolationist America first strategy despite Trump's many assurances to the contrary.


TRUMP: I'm not and I don't want to be the president of the world. I'm the president of the United States. And from now on it's going to be America first.


SCIUTTO: However, in the case of Syria, his administration is offering contradictory messages on whether the Syrian leader Bashar al-Assad must go.


NIKKI HALEY, UNITED STATES AMBASSADOR TO THE UNITED NATIONS: Regime change is something that we think is going to happen because all of the party is going to see that Assad is not the leader that needs to be taking place for Syria.

REX TILLERSON, UNITED STATES SECRETARY OF STATE: Our priority in Syria, John, really hasn't change. I think the president been quite clear that first and foremost we must defeat ISIS.


SCIUTTO: Elsewhere, the next steps are equally unclear. And the battle against ISIS there hasn't been much visible difference between President Trump and President Obama aside from some tough talk. The fact is, the U.S. battle plan remain much the same.

A U.S.-led air campaign backed up by very limited U.S. forces on the ground largely in support of Iraqi military and Syrian rebel forces. Again, despite Trump's frequent rhetoric to the contrary.


TRUMP: I would bomb the (muted) out of them.


SCIUTTO: In Asia, the Trump administration is making another show of force this week, diverting a U.S. carrier group to the Korean Peninsula following recent North Korean missile launches.

However, Trump's meeting with the foreign leader most able to restrain Pyongyang, Chinese President Xi Jinping tell to produce a plan to deescalate tensions with the North Korean dictator Kim Jong-un.

Trump himself has often said that the difficulty in discerning his intentions is actually part of his plan.


TRUMP: I don't want people to figure me out. I don't people to know what my plan is. I have plans. I have plans but I don't want them to know what I'm thinking. Does that make sense?


[03:05:10] CHURCH: Jim Sciutto with that report.

Well, Syria will be the focus of key meetings in the coming days. G-7 foreign ministers are gathered in Italy for a meeting Tuesday with Saudi Arabia, Qatar, the United Arab Emirates, Jordan, and Turkey. These countries are stakeholders in Syria's conflict.

Later, U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson heads to Moscow to meet with his Russian counterpart Sergey Lavrov.

CNN international diplomatic editor, Nic Robertson he is following the G-7 summit. He joins us now from Lucca in Italy. So Nic, U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson expected to get a clear mandate from his counterparts at the G-7 gathering on the issue of Syria. What message do they want him to take to Russia exactly when he meets with Sergey Lavrov in just a matter of hours from now in fact?

NIC ROBERTSON, CNN INTERNATIONAL DIPLOMATIC EDITOR: Well, Boris Johnson, the British Foreign Secretary has said that he wants to talk about amongst the G-7 and the others here. He wants to talk about the possibility of sanctions on Russian offices, perhaps that are right now with Russian forces inside Syria.

It's not clear if it's going to be a broad acceptance for that. But where does seem to be unity coalescing, and we heard this also following of a phone conversation between the British Prime Minister Theresa May and President Trump is that there should be a window of opportunity presented to President Putin, whereby giving him the opportunity the clear desire and expectation of the G-7 and others here that President Putin should step away from supporting President Bashar al-Assad.

This is how Boris Johnson put it here.


BORIS JOHNSON, BRITISH FOREIGN SECRETARY: If I think about the position f Vladimir Putin now he is, you know, he is toxifying his reputation of Russia by his continuing association that the guy who has flagrantly poisoned his own people. And so what we're trying to do is to give Rex Tillerson the clearest possible mandate from us as well as the U.K. all our allies here to say to the Russians, this is your choice. Stick with that guy, stick with that current or work with us to find a better solution.


ROBERTSON: So what is -- what is Rex Tillerson actually going to take would normally sounds as if he will take a strong message of that type and perhaps some of the sticks, if you will, in his back pocket the concern of clauses if there is a -- if there are additional sanctions imposed in advance of Rex Tillerson's visit.

They're not backed Russia into a corner, perhaps narrow Tillerson's negotiating capabilities down perhaps the sentiment here will be better to give him a sort of a second round opportunity.

And also, this window that we're hearing talk about here, is this a window of days, of weeks, of months? It really isn't clear at the moment. But the broad consensus here is that the U.N. Security Council resolution 2254 agreed about a year and four months ago to transition President Assad out of power supposed to be by the summer. That seems to be emerging front and center to get Russia engage behind that. Rosemary?

CHURCH: Right. And Nic, how difficult will it be to get that clear mandate on Syria, and how's Russia likely to respond to all of this?

ROBERTSON: Sure. I mean, I think that there's definitely the support we've seen that. There's support for our President Trump's action real key need from the G-7 nations and from the others particularly if they are going to -- if these countries, you know, Britain, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Canada, the others, Turkey, Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, Qatar, the Jordanians.

If they are going to support and get behind the United States there's also a sense that they need to understand what is the nuance of the position from this White House, a new White House administration.

There seems to been a flip-flop over Assad in the past couple of weeks, so there will be concern about where there be potential flip- flops in the future. And what Sean Spicer mean as we heard Jim Sciutto reporting there, what does Sean Spicer mean when he says if there are chemical weapons attack or barrel bombs.

Barrel bombs are not chemical weapons themselves, something that the Syrian forces use almost indiscriminately many times a week, many times a day in some cases.

So, you know, there's going want to be that level of understand, and certainly, you know, going into face Sergey Lavrov as Rex Tillerson will later today. The Russians will be keenly aware of any sort of lack of unity in this position that Tillerson is bringing here. And look at Italy at here.

[03:09:59] Italy, for example, is closer to Russia than some of the other nations in the G-7. It was Matteo Renzi, the Prime Minister from Italy just last year in May was one of the first European leaders to sort of go meet President Putin at the St. Petersburg talks in May, St. Petersburg summit in May last year.

So, Italy, you can see as sort of politically economically close to Russia than others, so Russia will try to play on any lack of unity. Again, that comes back to the reason the rational to try to have a strong singular message from here, Rosemary.

CHURCH: All right. Our Nic Robertson covering the G-7 summit, a live report there from Lucca in Italy, where it is just after 9 in the morning. Many thanks, Nic.

Well, North Korea's leader is expected to attend a high profile political gathering. The legislative assembly is mainly symbolic but could us an idea of Kim Jong-un's agenda for the country.

The regime is defiant after the U.S. redeployed war ships to the Korean Peninsula, that is not an unusual military move by the U.S. but it's in response to North Korea's recent nuclear threats.

Well, analysts are expecting another nuclear provocation from North Korea any time now. And here's our Will Ripley, the only American TV correspondent in Pyongyang.

WILL RIPLEY, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: We've been speaking with government officials here in Pyongyang who are closely monitoring news reports that China may now be ready to take action against the North Korean regime after President Xi Jinping's meeting with President Trump at Mar-a-Lago.

Reuters is flashing that Chinese coal traders have been told they have to return coal shipment, even once they're already purchased back to North Korea as a step up enforcement of China's coal embargo is perhaps getting underway.

Also reports that the nuclear envoy of China and South Korea held a meeting and both agree that they will take very strong measures, though no specific on what those measures might be if North Korea conducts a sixth nuclear test or launch an intercontinental ballistic missile.

And there are indications on the ground here in North Korea that some kind of test could be happening at any time.

Facing mounting global pressure to stop testing nuclear weapons, many fear North Korean leader Kim Jong-un might accelerate his weapons program and they're waiting for his next move.

On Saturday, North Korea celebrates the day of the sun, their most important holiday of the year honoring the birth of the nation's founding father, Kim Il-sun.

Five years ago, North Korea tried to launch a satellite just two days before the day of the sun, the first attempt failed followed by a successful launch later that year. Now, North Korea may be ready for another dramatic show of force. After a series of missile launches U.S. and South Korean intelligence officials believed North Korea is ready to conduct a nuclear test at any time.

In response to recent provocations, the U.S. is rerouting the carrier strike group Carl Vinson to the Korean Peninsula just days after President Trump's surprise missile air strike on Syria. Some view the strike as a warning to North Korea. The U.S. is willing to respond with force if provoked.

"The situation is so tensed, we're at the brink of war," says this Pyongyang resident. "But if that happens, we'll all go to the front lines to fight the Americans."

President Trump may be trying to put pressure on North Korea to stop developing nuclear weapons, but here in Pyongyang that pressure seems to be having the opposite effect.

One North Korean government official tell CNN, "The aggressive acts of war on the part of the United States are getting increasingly reckless. In response, we will continue to strengthen our self-defense capability."

North Korea is working to develop an intercontinental ballistic missile that can deliver a nuclear warhead to the mainland U.S. Most analyst say they don't have one yet but it's only a matter of time.

"We think we're very capable of defending ourselves," this Pyongyang resident says, "because we have the strong leadership of Marshal Kim Jong-un."

The mood inside North Korea is not tensed but festive on their biggest holiday week of the year. Tens of thousands are visiting national landmarks like the birthplace of late President Kim Il-sung. For the first time CNN cameras were allowed inside the museum of the

Korean revolution, more than 120 rooms chronicling all three generations of Kim family leadership. These rare insides look at North Korean history shows the entire nation is built around these men.

I'm showing footage form 2011 when North Koreans learned of the unexpected death of the nation's second leader Kim Jong-il. The footage brings our guide to tears. Now their supreme leader Kim Jong- un is leading her and 25 million North Koreans. Like his grandfather and his father before him, he has absolute power over the lives of his people.

[03:15:08] North Korean officials came to our work space here and they handed us this statement. This is from a spokesperson for the ministry of foreign affairs here in Pyongyang. It calls the dispatch of the Carl Vinson nuclear powered aircraft carrier strike group into the waters of the Korean Peninsula a reckless act of aggression.

And it goes on to say, quote, "North Korea is willing and ready to respond to whatever method the U.S. wants to take." So clearly, North Korea not backing down, they're promising they will retaliate if they are provoke by the United States.

And if they don't have a viable nuclear weapons just yet they have a whole lot of conventional artillery, a very short distance from tens of millions of people in the Seoul metropolitan area that potential to do a lot of damage and kill a lot of people if they feel that they are cornered.

Also interesting to note that North Korean state media while it keep so much information about the rest of the world hidden from the people who live here in North Korea, they are covering very extensively the crisis in Syria, including President Trump's missile strike.

And also the movement of the Carl Vinson off the Korean Peninsula. These actions by the Trump administration are playing in to the North Korea -- the longstanding North Korean narrative that this country is under the imminent threat of attack by the United States. That's why the government says they have the justification to develop weapons of mass destruction using a vast amount of their very scarce resources.

Will Ripley, CNN, Pyongyang.

CHURCH: In California, terrifying scenes from an elementary school students were evacuated after a murder suicide inside a classroom on Monday. Police say 53-year-old Cedric Anderson open fire on one of the teachers who was his estranged wife.


JARROD BURGUAN, CHIEF OF POLICE, SAN BERNARDINO POLICE DEPARTMENT: At the classroom, this happened in one classroom, it is a special need classroom combined first through fourth graders at the family shooting. There was a teacher, there were two adult age, there were 15 students in the classroom. Cedric entered the classroom and from what we understand without

saying anything armed with a large caliber revolver open fire on his wife. She was killed in that exchange.


CHURCH: Two students standing near the teacher were also hit by the gunfire, one of them an 8-year-old boy later died in the hospital. Police do not believe the children were targeted.

Chants of outrage are backed on the streets of Venezuela as a grinding economic crisis just keeps getting worse. Venezuelan opposition supporters were out in force in Caracas on Monday demonstrating against President Nicolas Maduro. There were some clashes in the eastern part of the capital as riot police tear gas protestors.

Venezuelans have been suffering from triple digit inflation and food shortages.

We'll take a short break here but still to come on CNN Newsroom, for the young and unemployed in France is all about respect. They tell us they are tired of being invisible and plan to vote in the upcoming presidential election.

Plus, Alabama's governor has resigned. Why he was dubbed the "luv gov." That's next.


PEDRAM JAVAHERI, CNN METEOROLOGIST: Weather watch time across the Americas. I'm meteorologist Pedram Javaheri here, watching a complex of thunderstorm that are really stalled across parts of central and northern Texas there. Some heavy rainfall expected over the next several hours. It could cause some localized flash flooding in this region.

Stretch in front of Rio towards parts of the Great Lakes of United States could see some strong storms as well. General concern with this as we go in towards Tuesday, going to be general through some damaging winds and some hail but of course a few isolated tornados this time of year can be ruled up.

But you notice pretty widespread area there with a flood watch that is in place a couple packets there where flood warnings being reported as well. And the storms is expected to just essentially reign themselves out of very densely populated region potentially around the northern area of the Houston metro.

If this happens we're talking about significant flooding for a lot of areas across this region as we go in towards the middle of this week.

Here's what's going on as far as temps. How about this, the upper 20's ou of Atlanta almost 30 degrees as you approach New York City. While a different story across for a friend in Canada and Montreal and keeping it saggy around nine degrees. And back out towards the Caribbean conditions in San Juan in the upper

20's, and Belize City around 29, Havana, same score at 29 degrees. Nassau into the Bahamas a few afternoon showers expected to maxed out around 28 degrees in that region. And work your towards Berlin you could see a few thunderstorms, Salvador is sunny skies around 29.

CHURCH: Well, Marine Le Pen has tried to clarify her comments that France was not responsible for the mass arrest of Jews in Paris during the Second World War.

Israeli and Jewish groups are outrage. The far right presidential candidate was quick to say she would never condone the actions of the wartime Vichy government which collaborated with the Nazis. Instead, she maintains the wartime government was not representative of France.

The national Front leader has opened old wounds by reopening a debate about France's role under Nazi occupation. This comes just as election campaigning officials kick off on Monday.

Well, the first round of voting is only 12 days away. And Marine Le Pen is a front runner in the race for Elysee Palace.

CNN's Melissa Bell went to meet some young French voters who say they are desperate for change but don't expect to see it.

MELISSA BELL, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Far from the glamour of Paris this is what the French call the "banlieues," suburban towns made up of tower blocks that are synonymous with poverty, crime, and exclusion and where unemployment is twice as high as other parts of France.

Our journey begins in Gennevilliers than further out to Argenteuil onto distant Grigny.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Public authorities are partly responsible for what has happened in the French banlieues these last 20 or 30 years. They're just reaping what they sowed.

BELL: Hassan Ben Barak is our guide. He spent 30 years trying to get to get successive governments to help the banlieue. Here in Gennevilliers, social housing was put up in the early 1970s.

Hassan shows us a spot where a tower block once stood. It was pulled down to make the area less fortress-like. But Frederick, who's lived here all his life, says it still feels like a jail.


BELL: A little further out of Paris, about a 20-minute drive lies Argenteuil. It was made famous by Nicolas Sarkozy back in 2005.


BELL: Just days later, the deaths of two teenagers who'd been running from police would set the banlieue alight. Sarkozy's use of the word, scum would not be forgotten.

Twelve years on, the relationship between the police and locals here in Argenteuil remains tense.


[03:25:03] BELL: Grigny is further out still, about a 45-minute drive from Paris. Hassan says it's been forgotten altogether.


BELL: As we arrive, so too do riot police in their helicopter. Locals tell us they come every day.


BELL: CNN reached out to the police to get their response, but they declined to comment. The young here complained that they see too many policemen, and despite this election period, too few politicians.


BELL: All of those we spoke to in Grigny said they would be voting, but, many explained with little real hope of change.

Melissa Bell, CNN, on the outskirts of Paris.

CHURCH: The man dubbed the "luv gov" over sex and corruption scandal. Robert Bentley, Governor of the southern U.S. State of Alabama was facing impeachment. He was accused of suing state resources to cover up an extramarital affair with a former aide. His travels largely started after his wife of almost 50 years recorded an explicit phone call between the governor and the staffer.

Bentley also accidentally sent explicit text messages to his now ex- wife. Those messages for meant for his aide.


ROBERT BENTLEY, FORMER ALABAMA GOVERNOR: I've not always made the right choices. I've not always said the right things. Though I've sometimes failed I've always tried to live up to the high expectations that people place on the person who holds this esteemed office.


CHURCH: He made that announcement after pleading guilty to two misdemeanor violations of campaign finance law. He has agreed not to seek or serve in any public office. Lieutenant Governor Kay Ivey was sworn in Monday. She is the first republican woman to hold that office.

U.S. forces are facing an additional risk in their battle against ISIS in Syria. An exclusive look, still to come.

Plus, disturbing video of authorities wrapping up a United Airlines customer and yanking him off of plane. What other passengers are saying about the incident that's coming up in just a moment. Stay with us.


CHURCH: A very warm welcome back to everyone. I'm Rosemary Church. Let's update you now on the top stories we've been following this hour.

North Korean leader Kim Jong-un is expected to attend a high-profile gathering, the legislative assembly could give us an idea of Pyongyang's agenda. The country remains defiance after the U.S. redeployed warships to the Korean Peninsula in response to Pyongyang's nuclear threat.

Venezuelan opposition supporters were back on the streets of the capital Monday demonstrating against President Nicolas Maduro. There were some small clashed in the eastern part of Caracas as protestors called for free election. Venezuelans have been suffering from triple digit inflation and food shortages.

While G-7 foreign ministers started their talks in Lucca, Italy dozens of protestors clash with police on the street. Syria was the main focus of the group of seven first round of discussion. Key stakeholders in the complex including Turkey and Jordan will join them in another meeting Tuesday.

Well, the foreign ministers are also hoping to put pressure on Russian President Vladimir Putin to cut ties with Syrian President Bashar al- Assad. Moscow has been a principal Assad regime backer throughout the country's conflict.

Over the weekend, Russia release the statement with Iran describing the U.S. missile strike in Syria as aggression that goes beyond the red line.

And CNN's Paula Newton joins us now from Moscow. Good to talk with you, Paula. So, how might Russia respond do you think to an appeal from U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson to back away from its support of President Bashar al-Assad. Is there any room for negotiation on that?

PAULA NEWTON, CNN CORRESPONDENT: You know, it's important to keep in mind, Rosemary, as we've been talking about now, this is as soon an extreme change in policy in the last 10 days from the Trump administration probably not so much from those G-7 allies but of course, given you as air strike the entire dynamic on the ground has changed.

What's in question now is what it will take for Russia to change its position. Now, Rosemary, they have said before, you know, our support for Assad is not unconditional. But what is that actually mean, does it mean that they will begin to engage in a process where they can get Assad out of office but with some kind of government in place?

What no one wants and the Russians have stressed this many times is they do want a power vacuum there because that might give certainly more encouragement to ISIS to continue their exploits throughout Syria.

And they also want to put on in a united front both the U.S. coalition and Russia on the fact that the priority is fighting ISIS. But geopolitically, Rosemary, I mean, goodness, is this complicated. You know, Russia has done a lot of work in the last 18 months to cement its influence in the region to have that all-important Mediterranean base there and they've been basically emboldening the Syrian regime.

And what the options on the table as Rex Tillerson will lay out in the next six hours when he lands here will have to be quite imaginative. What everyone is waiting to see so far Russia had a very measured response in terms of those U.S. air strike. What everyone is waiting to see is what that bottom line from Vladimir Putin will be.

CHURCH: Yes. I mean, talk to us about just how difficult this is all going to be, and of course there's a matter of saving space as well for Russia. And what can we expect out of that meeting between Rex Tillerson and his Russian counterpart Sergey Lavrov?

NEWTON: Well, what's interesting is not what you expect out of the two of them. But remember, Rex Tillerson knows Vladimir Putin. He was given an award by the Russian government here when he was the head of Exxon.

[03:35:02] What has become the point of contention in the last 24 hours is whether or not Vladimir Putin will meet with Rex Tillerson. Now, usually even as a courtesy the president of Russia would meet with the secretary, U.S. secretary of state visiting here. Right now it's not o the schedule, but I can tell you, Rosemary, from planning from the State Department they had been planning on it.

They thought that they would have a photo opportunity which would mean that Rex Tillerson and Vladimir Putin would have a conversation. It would be interesting to watch this, and this just isn't symbolic, Rosemary. These two men know each other which means they are going to get beyond the pleasantry, pleasantries very, very quickly.

If they have a face-to-face it is likely a better chance that Rex Tillerson will have a more accurate message to take back to Donald Trump about what Russia's bottom line may or may not be.

CHURCH: All right. We know you'll be watching this very closely. Paula Newton joining us there, live from Moscow. Many thanks to you.

Well, after those strikes in Syria, Russia suspended military communications with the U.S. But the U.S. military is still pursuing its primary goal to destroy ISIS.

Fred Pleitgen has this exclusive report on the mission's new risk.

FREDERIK PLEITGEN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Face with new Russian threat, the U.S. military not backing down in the skies over Iraq and Syria. We're on a KC-10 tanker plane refueling the fighters pounding ISIS. Of course, there's some tensions since the Russians have announced they don't want to communicate with the U.S. anymore in the skies over Syria. That's why cruise like this one takes great care when they fly into Syrian air space.

Stopping the communications significantly increases the risk of mid- air collisions over this crowded air space where U.S. coalition and Russian planes operate very close to one another.

Russia made a move after American hit a Syrian airfield with cruise missiles last week, the response to a chemical attack on a Syrian village killing around 90 people.

Washington blames the Assad regime, Russia's main ally in the civil war there even Syria denies being behind the attack. But America doesn't want the turmoil to affect the ongoing effort to destroy ISIS.

Despite the current tensions in Russia the U.S. says that the fight against ISIS has to be (Inaudible) especially when America and allied forces on the ground is headed (Ph) on its way.

A sentiment echoed by commanders leading the air war against ISIS.


CHARLES CORCORAN, U.S. AIR FORCE: We can't take our eye off the ball. It is -- it is ISIS that's why we're here. So, you know, our national leadership design to do something about a problem of this, and if we're ask to help out with something like we're obviously ready to do it. But right now, ISIS is the (Inaudible).


PLEITGEN: So far, the U.S. says there have been no incident involving Russian planes over Iraq and Syria and they hope despite Russia's rhetoric that it stays that way.

Fred Pleitgen, CNN, aboard the KC-10 refueling jet over Iraq and Syria.

CHURCH: We'll take a short break here, but still to come, a United Airlines customer is dragged off a plane as his fellow passengers look on in horror. What the airline is saying about the disturbing incident. That's...


CHURCH: Welcome back, everyone. Well, shock and outrage over disturbing incident on a United Airlines flight. A passenger was dragged off an overbooked plane Sunday after refusing to give up his seat. The video went viral and now United is facing a backlash.

CNN aviation correspondent Rene Marsh has more.

RENE MARSH, CNN AVIATION CORRESPONDENT: The pictures are hard to believe, this because of an overbooked flight from Chicago to Louisville. It happened when the United Airlines passenger refuses to give up his seat Sunday night.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: How you busted his lift.



MARSH: Passengers were horrified as they watch three Chicago airport police officers board the plane and yanked the man from his seat. Police say the man hid his head on the arm rest. You could see the blood flowing from his mouth as he was pulled down the aisle.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Oh, my God! Look what you're doing with him.


MARSH: Witnesses say the flight crew was trying to free up seat for United Airlines personnel.


TYLER BRIDGES, UNITED AIRLINES FLIGHT 3411 PASSENGER: Once they drive the guy off and subsequently the United employees come on the plane, the other passengers were just berating the employees saying things like, "you should be ashamed of yourself. You should be embarrassed to work for this company."


MARSH: In a statement, United said the flight, quote, "was overbooked." "Normally when this occurs, passengers are ask to voluntarily give up their seats for compensation and the situation is resolved."

However, this was not the case on Sunday night flight. And United was forced into an involuntary deboarding situations. It's unclear what the offer actually was but passenger rights advocate Charlie Leocha says the airline should have offered the maximum.


CHARLIE LEOCHA, FOUNDER, TRAVELERS UNITED: The maximum of denied boarding which the government requires you to pay $1350 in cash. They could have offered the maximum and that would have taken care of the problem.


MARSH: The incident as far as the outrage and plenty of tweets like this one, "United Airlines is pleased to announce new seating on all domestic in addition to United first and in economy, plus we introduce fight club." The backlash prompted the airline CEO to respond, tweeting, "I apologize for having to re-accommodate these customers. Our team is moving with a sense of urgency to work with the authorities and conducts our own detailed review of what happened.


MARSH: Was the passenger in any way for refusing to get off?

LEOCHA: I don't think he was wrong. I think my only way of saying that he's wrong is, well, I've never seen this happened before. I've never ever seen a passenger wrapped up and dragged off a plane to put a flight attendant on. I mean, that's just idiocy.


MARSH: Chicago's airport police admit the officers seen in the video, quote, "was not in accordance with standard operating procedure." Now we should note, it is in the fine print that an airline can make passenger give up their seat if the flight is overbooked, but it's the way this man was removed that's really sparking all of the outrage.

As we mentioned, the Department of Transportation is reviewing this incident to make sure that the passenger's rights were not violated in any way.

Rene Marsh, CNN, Washington.

CHURCH: So let's get more on this story. CNN aviation analyst, Miles O'Brien joins me now from Boston. And Miles, always good to talk with you.

Just horrifying footage it has to be said. What was your thought as you look at this seeing a passenger being dragged off the plane, what was your initial reaction?

[03:45:02] MILES O'BRIEN, CNN AVIATION ANALYST: You know, my first reaction was probably your reaction and everyone else in the audience. There but for the grace of God go eye, right? We've all been in these situations.

Oversold flights are part of the airline business. They're allowed to do this, it's kind of a gamble they take that somebody is not going to show, most of the times it works out OK. And works out Ok, they give a little bit of money to some people and they go Ok, that's OK.

In this case, it got ugly. And when we say ugly it's just hard to comprehend how bad it got.

CHURCH: Yes. And I think that's the thing. You look at the other passengers here they've just as horrified as the rest of us that this could possibly be unfolding in front of their eyes.

I want to just pull-up the message that was sent by the United CEO to company employees saying this. "While I deeply regret the situation arose, I also emphatically stand behind all of you and I want to commend you for continuing to go above and beyond to ensure we fly right. Treating our customers and each other with respect and dignity is at the core of who we are and we must always remember this no matter how challenging the situation."

So when you look at that "treating customers with respect," is that how that looks?

O'BRIEN: Well, there's an important point to bring out here, Rosemary. This was not actually united Airlines. This was a company called Republic Airlines which operates under what's called a co-chair agreement with United. They paint the airplanes to look like United but it's actually a company called Republic, it is operating under a contract of United to fly this particular route between Chicago and Louisville.

This is a common practice in the United States and people who get on these airplanes are expecting United level service, whatever that might be, and instead they're getting this other company that they're not too familiar with which might have much younger pilots, much less experience flight crew and much less experience gate agents.


O'BRIEN: And so what you have here is not exactly what you think it is.

CHURCH: Yes, exactly. And the CEO also said the situation was compounded when one of the passengers refused to disembark despite being asked politely. And he added that his employees follow the established procedures for dealing with situations like that.

Is that what we saw? I mean, it's the first time a lot of people have ever seen anything like this, even though, maybe the first time that we've all realize that these airlines can actually have us removed from a plane.

O'BRIEN: It's kind of laughable that somebody could pay hard earned money to get on a plane sit on their seat that they have paid for and be treated like that. There are so many things have broken down here. The gate agents probably should not have boarded everybody, should have dealt it at the gate house before people got on the plane.

The captain his or herself ultimately is responsible for what happens on that memo, too, he should have intervened. The flight attendants could have probably negotiated a better solution. There were so many things that went wrong including the passengers who didn't intervene to say, wait a minute, this is not right. Why are we letting this happen?

So, I think we all need to step back and take a lesson here. These are airlines that are trying to -- they're washing the bottom line, they're making a lot of money but they're squeezing the system so much and in this case, it turned out very ugly.

CHURCH: Yes. There were a couple of passengers there who were shouting out "look what you've done." But usually who were asked to disembark in voluntarily they're offered about $1350, that didn't happen here. They were offered I think around 800, perhaps all of this could have been avoided if they were given that amount. Why didn't that happen do you think?

O'BRIEN: Well, you know, this is airline policy. These are people who don't have the agency to make the negotiation. But the fact to the matter is, they could have given that passenger $100,000 and they still would have ended up ahead of the game because there is going to be a huge loss involve in this and he's going to walk with a seven figures settlement I predict.

So, ultimately, penny-wise found foolish. Let the gate agents, let the flight crew negotiate and keep raising the price till somebody raises their hand and off they go, end of story.

In this case they were being hardline about it or they were told they had to be hard line about it and it just got to a point where they are going to -- it's going to cost Republic Airlines and United Airlines much more than it would have that they've just been able to give them a few after dollars to get off the plane.

CHURCH: Yes, perhaps some lessons learned. We shall see. Miles O'Brien, always a pleasure to speak with you. Thanks so much.

O'BRIEN: You're welcome, Rosemary.

CHURCH: And we'll take a break here. Still to come on CNN Newsroom, an urgent warning from Australian scientist. They say the world's largest living structure is cooking. The latest from our meteorologist Pedram Javaheri. That's next.


KATE RILEY, CNN WORLD SPORT ANCHOR: I'm Kate Riley with your CNN World Sport headlines.

Crystal Palace have added to Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger by beating their London rivals 3-nil which put the Gunners in real danger visiting out in the top four. Palace led through Andros Townsend and double their lead in the second half courtesy of Yohan Cabaye.

They then see of the win with the penalty. Arsenal did not manage its shot on target in the second half as they lost four successive away games in the league for the very first time under Wenger.

There were some big news on Monday regarding the 2026 World Cup. It was historic for the first time ever. Three countries have united in an effort to co-host the World Cup, the United States, Mexico, and Canada.

It should be the first tournament after the expansion from the 32 teams to 48 and the proposal would be the USA to host 60 matches with 10 games each in Canada and Mexico. The USA stages the '94 World Cup on Mexico as the first nation to host the event twice in 70 and 86. Canada hosted their 2015 Women's World Cup. The decision on who will host will be made in 2020. And he may well be on the hiatus from competition for Roger Federer is

back on action in a charity exhibition match against the world number one Andy Murray and of course proceeds from the match to Africa will go towards the Roger Federer Foundation.

And that's the look at all your sports headlines. I'm Kate Riley.

CHURCH: Well, scientist are sounding the alarm over the extent of the damage to parts of Australia's Great Barrier Reef.

And our meteorologist Pedram Javaheri joins us now to talk more about this. And just so heartbreaking for Australians and anyone else that appreciates the Great Barrier Reef. But what happened here?

JAVAHERI: Yes, absolutely. You know, it's actually a multiple years in a row where we had mass bleaching events take place and natural bleaching pretty easy to explain actually.

When you take a look at any sort of a coral setup typically you'd see that darker coloration that is when you have rich algae on top of the coral that is when the coral stuff is driving and 25 percent of all life in the ocean actually depends on the coral for food for shelter as well.

And that is when it looks darker like this. But when you get this bleaching that sets up essentially when you have warmer sea temperatures and with climate change. We know our waters have been warming for years, but the rate that is warming is what's incredible.

Because we know about 93 percent of all the heat that our planet has absorbed has been absorbed in its oceans and that directly impact and of course, their coral set up.

Now I want to show you this because again, we know the temps have been warming for many, many decades. You can go back well over 100 years and see the variabilities in the cooling trend that we have from the 1880's to around the 1940's, generally less than a half a degree.

[03:55:05] Same sort of a pattern followed from the 40's until the 1970's or so. And then in the last three to four decades we've seen that number double from half a degree to over one degree now approaching one and a half to two degrees in spot.

So, this is what's significant in that variability. It had set up a tremendous amount of stress on top of the coral. In fact, just one degree higher the normal for four weeks is all it takes to begin the bleaching event begins to be triggered.

Now, we've had three of this takes place since 1998, one of them was in 1998, another one was in 2002, then 2016. This current setup now is the first time we've had in consecutive years, a 2017 bleaching event in place as well.

And in fact, we kind of see quickly, how quickly this progresses. In December 2014, here's the healthy perspective just three months later, in early 2015 bleaching beginning to take place and then beginning to die off there as we go in towards the latter portion of 2015.

But again, you notice about 90 percent of the northern tier of the Great Barrier Reef, Rosemary, has already been depleted when it comes to bleaching. And then you come to the south the areas indicated in yellow into green. That's actually the areas that are still hanging on about six to seven percent depletion in place.

But the concern is all of this is going to shift to the south and this is going to be expansive over the entire read system, Rosemary.

CHURCH: It is so very sad it's going to take so many years for it to come back.

JAHAVERI: Correct.

CHURCH: Thank you so much, Pedram. I appreciate that.

JAVAHERI: Thank you.

CHURCH: Well, Canada, Mexico, and the U.S. have launched a three-way bid to host the 2026 men's football World Cup. Sixty of the matches will be held in the U.S. with 10 each in Canada and Mexico. The only time multiple countries have hosted the World Cup was in 2002 by South Korea and Japan. FIFA will name the host for the 2026 tournament in May of 2020.

And thanks so much for your company. I'm Rosemary Church. Remember to connect with me any time on Twitter. I love to hear from you.

The news continues next with our Max Foster in London.

Have a great day.