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U.S. and S. Korea Stage "Max Thunder" Drills; VP Pence Meets Indonesian President Widodo; O'Reilly Factored Out at Fox. Aired 12-1a ET

Aired April 20, 2017 - 00:00   ET



[00:00:09] JOHN VAUSE, CNN ANCHOR: This is CNN NEWSROOM live from Los Angeles. Ahead this hour --

ISHA SESAY, CNN ANCHOR: "Max Thunder", a show of force by the American and South Korean militaries as tensions on the peninsula escalate.

VAUSE: Factored out -- Fox News fires its biggest star Bill O'Reilly over allegations of sexual harassment.

SESAY: Plus, the new face of 50. An attorney goes Forrest Gump-style running across America with a message of good health.

VAUSE: Kavinoky will be with us later on.

Hello everybody. We'd like to welcome our viewers all around the world. I'm John Vause.

SESAY: And I'm Isha Sesay. NEWSROOM L.A. starts right now.

Vice President Mike Pence says the U.S. is prepared to respond with overwhelming force to any attack by North Korea, and that military might is on display right now as the U.S. and South Korea are staging military drills named (ph) as "Max Thunder".

VAUSE: Pence told service members on board the USS Ronald Reagan, North Korea is the most dangerous and urgent threat to the region. All options are on the table.

Meanwhile, the White House denies it misled anyone about the USS Carl Vinson. The carrier strike group is now officially heading to the waters of North Korea after military exercises with Australia's navy.

SESAY: All right. Well, CNN's Paula Hancocks is live at the Kunsan Air Base in South Korea where those military drills with U.S. forces are under way. Paula -- good to have you with us.

Tell us more about these drills -- a timely display of the U.S.-South Korea security alliance.

PAULA HANCOCKS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: That's right -- Isha. This is "Max Thunder". It's a massive exercise between the U.S. and South Korea. It is annual. It is routine. We're being told by the lieutenant colonel in charge of this exercise, there is no specific enemy in mind when they are carrying out these drills.

So at this point, the reason the spotlight is on these military exercises is because the tensions are so much higher. This is coming at a time when we're hearing North Korea is saying that the U.S. is forcing the situation, that nuclear war could break out at any moment.

(inaudible) -- that this is necessary. This is defensive. This is how you make sure that the U.S. and South Korea can fight side by side. They said that this is the closest simulation they can get to an actual war. But of course this is not the way that North Korea sees it -- Isha.

SESAY: All right, Paula Hancocks there. That's Kunsan Airbase. Of course, you are in the midst of these military drills. Perhaps we shouldn't be surprised it's a tad noisy. So we're going leave there it.

Paula -- thank you.

VAUSE: Well, Pence is continuing his Asia visit with a trip to Indonesia -- the world's largest Muslim majority country. He met with the President Joko Widodo a short time ago and he'll meet with his Vice Presidential counterpart soon. He'll also tour the largest mosques in Southeast Asia and meet with religious leaders.

CNN's Mallika Kapur following the visit, she joins us now live.

So Mallika -- the first day of the trip and the focus of the Vice President seems to be religion -- outreach if you like, to the Muslim community. How is that being received?

MALLIKA KAPUR, CNN CORRESPONDENT: It's being very well received in Indonesia. People are welcoming the gesture Mike Pence is making by visiting the mosques. He is scheduled to go there in about three to four hours from now.

And remember, this is an administration that could do with a PR opportunity to reach out to the Muslim community especially in Indonesia, if you go back and talk about the travel ban. Even though no Southeast Asian Muslim country was included in the travel ban that President Trump had introduced against Muslim majority countries. That travel ban did not go down well in Indonesia or in its neighboring country of Malaysia either.

And back then, a spokesperson for the Indonesian foreign ministry had said that Indonesia deeply regrets it, and that it is wrong to link radicalism and terrorism with one particular religion.

This is, as you mentioned, a Muslim majority nation. This is the first time a senior official from the Trump administration is visiting a Muslim majority country, visiting a mosque. It does send out a message that perhaps the Trump administration wants to soften its image of being of an administration that is perceived as being anti- Islamic.

So this is a good opportunity for them to send out that message. And it is being welcomed by people in Indonesia.

VAUSE: Well, Mallika, for the President of Indonesia, Joko Widodo, he is known as man who has a keen focus on economics. So there is the issue of trade. And there's concerns in Jakarta by what President Donald Trump actually means when he says America first.

KAPUR: Well, protectionism, no -- it really hasn't been on the top of the agenda in Indonesia. It's not something Indonesians are that particularly concerned about. It is a concern yes, globally, of course, but not at the top of the agenda for Indonesians.

[00:05:08] What they are concerned about is trade. And this is of particular importance after the U.S. has said it is walking way from the TPP, the Transpacific Partnership, which is a multi-trade agreement involving several Asian countries.

The U.S. though, very keen to send a message that it is going to continue to engage in trade with Indonesia. Indonesia is an important market. It is Southeast Asia's largest economy. It has shown steady and good growth of 5 percent to 6 percent over the last several years. It has a growing middle class. It has a young population.

And all of these factors make Indonesia a very important market, potentially a very, very important market for the U.S. So trade -- bilateral trade is very important between the two countries. And Pence's message is going to be that we are open to do business with Indonesia.

So it's particularly important given that the U.S. has walked away from the TPP. But it wants to continue to engage in individual bilateral ties between several Asian countries -- John.

VAUSE: Ok. Mallika -- thank you for that. Mallika Kapur there, following all the details of Vice President Mike Pence's visit to Indonesia. Thank you -- Mallika.

SESAY: Well, the Trump administration is also heating up the rhetoric against Iran. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson accused Iran of what he called, quote, "alarming provocations" to destabilize countries in the Middle East. Tillerson reported to Congress Tuesday that Tehran was abiding by the nuclear deal signed by the Obama administration. But he says the Trump administration is reviewing its policy toward Iran.


REX TILLERSON, U.S. SECRETARY OF STATE: Iran is the world's leading state sponsor of terrorism and is responsible for intensifying multiple conflicts and undermining U.S. interests in countries such as Syria, Yemen, Iraq, and Lebanon, and continuing to support attacks against Israel.

An unchecked Iran has the potential to travel the same path as North Korea and take the world along with it.


SESAY: Well, joining us now, CNN military Lieutenant Colonel Rick Francona. Colonel Francona -- always good to have you with us.

Let's take a look at these comments made by Secretary of State Tillerson. I mean what's interesting is that they come the day after the administration informed Congress that Tehran was abiding by the terms of the Iran nuclear deal. So let me ask you this. What is really going on here? Is the Secretary of State playing politics?

LT. COL. RICK FRANCONA, CNN MILITARY ANALYST: I'm not sure. His statement is very interesting because later on in his comments he said that he believed we're basically kicking the can down the road.

What we have -- this agreement with the Iranians, the JCPOA is merely -- we're borrowing time. At some point the Iranians are going to be free legally to resume their nuclear program. And I have no doubt that the Iranians have the capability to quickly turn that program into a successful development of nuclear weapon.

We see them endless tests of their ballistic missile program, which is now legal based on the JCPOA. So what they're doing is developing the delivery means, and at some later point, they will develop a nuclear weapon.

And the Secretary believes that we should be addressing this. What he doesn't want is to put this on a future administration. He would like to resolve this now.

Unfortunately, I don't understand how he is going to do it. That agreement, whether we like it or not, is probably going to be in existence for the entire period.

SESAY: But is he right in linking Iran with North Korea and suggesting that the time will come down the road where it would propose the same kind of threat?

FRANCONA: I think so. If you look at -- two different threats but very much linked. And also, there is a lot of ties between North Korea and Iran militarily. A lot of this technology we see going between the two countries. If you look at almost all of Iran's missile technology, it's based on North Korean technology. So we see that tie there.

But if you look at the two threats, I believe that overall, Iran presents a larger threat to U.S. interests down the road. But the more immediate threat is what we see in Korea. We see the development of ballistic missiles. We see them working on a nuclear warhead so that has to be addressed probably first.

But long-term, Iran probably presents a bigger problem for the United States for what he just said -- this sponsoring of terrorism throughout the region. If you look at Hamas, Hezbollah -- all these other groups, what we see in Syria is the Iranians almost in charge on the ground. The Syrian army would be absolutely defeated if it was not for Russian air power and Iranian ground forces.

SESAY: I think there are few people who believe that this administration could tear up the Iran nuclear deal for all sorts of reasons.

[00:09:56] Hypothetically speaking, I mean even if they were, I mean are there options here that you see to counter the challenges posed by Iran?

FRANCONA: Well, we could put sanctions on unilaterally. But I think the days of the international sanctions are gone. The rest of the world would like to sell things to Iran. Iran is hungry to buy things from the rest of the world. They don't see Iran as the big threat that we do.

So I don't think we're going get cooperation from our allies to re- impose crippling sanctions on Iran. And technically, that would be illegal on the JCPOA. So we can put unilateral sanctions but it will not have the same effect.

We can look at some of the deals that are going through right now, particularly the Boeing deals with the aircraft. But in the long run, I don't think that's going to be effective against the Iranians.

SESAY: All right. Colonel Francona -- stay with us. There is more to discuss -- a lot more to discuss, in fact.

The U.S. military says Syria has moved its warplanes to a safer location. The Syrian aircraft are now at an international airport close to Russian air base. The defensive move follows a punishing U.S. missile strike on al-Shayrat airfield just two weeks ago.

Closer to the U.S., Russian bombers have encroached on the Alaskan coast twice in the 24 hours. U.S. officials say they flew within about 65 kilometers of the Alaskan mainland before they were intercepted by U.S. fighters and escorted away.

Colonel Francona -- to bring you back in here, let's talk about this here. I mean the probable calculation here on the part of the Syrians -- so let's start there first -- is that the U.S. would be less likely to bomb their planes if they're in close proximity to the Russian base. Are they right?

FRANCONA: I think that's -- I think that's a valid assessment. But I don't think this was a Syrian decision. I see the Russian hand in this. They do not want their Syrian clients to be defeated so they're going to offer them some protection and by moving their fighter bombers.

And if you look at how many we're talking, if you believe the numbers that are available in the open source, they probably had 85 to 100 fighter bombers. We destroyed 20 of them at the Shayrat Air Base. So we're talking about 45 to 60 aircraft.

Moving those to Hmeimim Air Base up near Latakia -- I've been on that base several times -- they would be hard pressed to park that many aircraft. So they are -- they are really worried that something is going to happen.

I think the Russians want to get them up there under that air defense umbrella. The Russians have a very, very good state-of-the-art air defense system around that air base. So even if we tried to launch cruise missiles at it, they have got an air defense system that is engineered to attack cruise missiles.

I don't know how effective it is. It's never been tried in combat. This might be the first opportunity. But I think this is a very shrewd move on both the Russian and the Syrian part because I doubt we're going attack that air base again. It was also smart to get all the aircraft out of the other air bases. They know we're not going to strike them there.

SESAY: Staying with the issue of Russia, I want to talk about the buzzing -- these occasions of seeing Russian aircraft close to the Alaskan coast and twice in as many as two days.

What is the message Russia is trying to send here? Is this a baring of teeth, which is what one congressman said?

FRANCONA: You know, we've seen this over the last year. And we've had this conversation before. We're seeing a lot more aggressive Russian air activity. You know, we fly reconnaissance flights on the periphery of the Russian mainland all the time. And they are reacted to just the same way we react to their reconnaissance flights.

We don't get as close as they do. But we do react and they react. They're much more aggressive. And this aggressiveness has gotten worse over the last couple of years.

When you've got aircraft going that fast, that close together and the tensions are very high, there is always room for error. In a split second, you could have an aerial incident. That's what we're trying to prevent.

There are protocols in place that determine how far and how high these aircraft should stay from each other. And as long as the Russians adhere to that, we're ok.

But flying this many sorties back-to-back, that's unusual. And I think Vladimir Putin is just telling us that they're the Russians, and although we may have slapped down the Syrians at one air base, they're still relevant and they're still a force to be reckoned with.

SESAY: Tensions high all over the place.

FRANCONA: Absolutely.

SESAY: Colonel Rick Francona joining us there with great insight. Always appreciate it. Thank you. VAUSE: And we'll take a short break.

When we come back, Bill O'Reilly, the biggest name at Fox News is out. Just ahead, how much money will he get to walk?

SESAY: Plus, a renowned attorney sets out his own Forrest Gump-style journey running across the U.S. Our conversation with him just ahead.


VAUSE: Well, the highest rated host on Fox News, Bill O'Reilly, is parting ways with the network after 21 years. His show was canceled Wednesday amid a cloud of harassment allegations.

21st Century Fox says, "After a thorough and careful review of the allegations, the company and Bill O'Reilly have agreed that Bill O'Reilly will not be returning to the Fox News Channel."

SESAY: Well, the man himself later released this statement saying "It is tremendously disheartening that we part ways due to completely unfounded claims. But that is the unfortunate reality many of us in the public eye must live with today. I will always look back at my time with Fox with great pride and the unprecedented success we achieved with my deepest gratitude to all my dedicated viewers."

Here is how Fox broke the news to its viewers.


BRET BAIER, FOX NEWS CHIEF POLITICAL ANCHOR: You may have already heard there are some major changes coming to the programming lineup here at Fox News Channel.

Bill O'Reilly is leaving as of today after what our parent company, 21st Century Fox called an extensive review of sexual harassment allegations against him, allegations that O'Reilly again today called completely unfounded. The decision was announced this afternoon by Rupert, James and Lachlan Murdoch.


VAUSE: Well for more, we're joined by our panel -- CNN legal analysts Mark Geragos and Areva Martin; we also have senior editor at "Variety" Ted Johnson here in Los Angeles. Welcome to all of you.

SESAY: Welcome everyone.

VAUSE: Mark Geragos, let's start with you.

I guess the only issue now to be resolved here is just how many tens of millions of dollars Bill O'Reilly will walk away with. Is that amount inversely proportional to the number of women who have come forward and who have made allegations?

MARK GERAGOS, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: Well, I don't know about that. I think that what was driving this is the advertisers fleeing. Look, he's had a history here. They obviously know that they've paid or have been paid $13 million if you believe the reporting over five different lawsuits.

I don't think for a second that the last two people who came forward are what forced the issue in the sense that they were worried about liability for that because the statute of limitations has expired.

I think what happened was, as if everything else with life, when the advertisers flee then what are you going to do? You had to cut your losses.

SESAY: Ted -- to bring you in here. Is that your sense of the calculation here for the Murdochs, that it was about the pressure of money as opposed to wanting to clean up their corporate culture?

TED JOHNSON, "VARIETY": Well, sure, yes. I mean just a couple of weeks ago Fox News -- they actually renewed his contract -- Bill O'Reilly's contract as these allegations were emerging.

VAUSE: I believe it's almost the same day "The New York Times" story came out.

JOHNSON: Yes, yes.

So I mean obviously I think at a certain point they thought they could just kind of ride this out. But that has changed. A number of the pressure groups and other interest groups have waged pretty effective campaigns, not just to get the advertisers off the show but demonstrations and those types of protests. And they have shown little sign that they're getting tired of it.

VAUSE: I guess one of the keys to all of this was Wendy Walsh, who was one of the women who came forward a couple of weeks ago. She wasn't looking for any payout from Fox News. What she was looking for was vindication.

[00:20:04] She spoke to CNN a short time ago. Listen to this.


WENDY WALSH, BILL O'REILLY ACCUSER: I obviously have mixed emotions because I'm a compassionate person and there is a human being involved. But I do think that Fox made a seismic shift in our corporate culture by putting the rights of women above the bottom line. And as a mother, this is good news for my daughters entering the workplace.


VAUSE: Areva -- has there been a seismic shift in the workplace?

AREVA MARTIN, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: Oh, I don't think so whatsoever. We have to keep in mind that factually two of the settlements that we have been talking of the $13 million came after Roger Ailes was ousted in January. And after Fox came forward and said they had a zero tolerance policy. So I think the jury is still very much out on whether we're going to see a dramatic shift in the culture.

When Wendy says they put women's rights above their own kind of monetary gain, I disagree with that. I think as everyone has said here, this is about money. And when advertisers pull out, the decision was made that this guy cost us more money than it's worth for us at this point. That's the calculation that many businesses make.

I've been doing these sexual harassment cases for decades. And guys like Bill O'Reilly that make a lot of money for companies often get treated the very same way he did. It gets pushed under the rug. No one does anything until the pressure is so great that something --

VAUSE: It can't be ignored.

MARTIN: -- has to happen. And that's what happened in this case.

SESAY: Speaking of which, let's take a listen to Greta Van Susteren, formerly a Fox News primetime host, now on MSNBC. She had her own thoughts on the matter and how things have changed quite quickly. Take a listen.


GRETA VAN SUSTEREN, MSNBC: Now everyone wants to know what I have to say since I worked there. Well, all I can say is this. What a difference a year can make for a lot of us.


SESAY: Mark Geragos -- to you, she makes a point, what a difference a year can make. Bill O'Reilly out now. Does this open the door for any other women who are out there who have allegations to come forward and go after Fox?

GERAGOS: No. I really tend to agree. I know that we've got kind of a -- we're preaching to the choir here at least with the panel.

But this to me has nothing to do with the culture. It has nothing to do with cleaning it up. I know that that sounds kind of crass. But this has everything to do with the money. I mean -- it's just follow the money.

They made a calculated decision, as most businessmen do, that they couldn't withstand the advertisers fleeing, and they were going cut their losses.

It's no different than what United Airlines did. They were going to hunker in when the guy was dragged off the plane. Then when all of the sudden it looked like they were taking a beating corporately, they decided to change their tune.

I hate to be kind of a pessimist about this, but like Areva, I do this on both sides. I defend people who are accused of it. I also prosecute people who commit it. And I will tell you that it's almost invariably 99 percent of the time it's a financial calculation.

Nothing has changed. There isn't any difference today than there was a year ago in terms of the culture.

VAUSE: We have you on for that very reason -- Mark. You're a realist, ok.

We also know that Bill O'Reilly, he is a man famous for having a very, very hot temper. Take a look back to a time when he was host of "Inside Edition".


BILL O'REILLY, FORMER FOX NEWS HOST: I can't do it. We'll do it live. Ok. We'll do it live. (EXPLETIVE DELETED) it. Do it live. I'll write it and we'll do it live. (EXPLETIVE DELETED) thing sucks.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: In five, four, three --

O'REILLY: That's tomorrow, and that is it for us today. I'm Bill O'Reilly.


VAUSE: You know, we do it live every night.

JOHNSON: I can't figure that segment out because all it is, is an exit. That was like -- do you even have to write that?

VAUSE: He tapes a show. He doesn't do a show live. It's always taped.

Is this one of the problems for O'Reilly that essentially at the network no one liked him, not even Rupert Murdoch? And he made Rupert Murdoch $100 million a year. And Rupert loves money and Rupert didn't like Bill.

JOHNSON: Yes, that's why I think one of the big questions everyone that is going to be watching is what is the reaction to Bill O'Reilly's fan base? Is it easily transferrable to Tucker Carlson who is going to fill that slot? Or if O'Reilly goes to some other news outlet, do they follow him to that news outlet and he becomes the star of a new different conservative news network.

SESAY: He can create himself.

VAUSE: The viewers like him. But if you worked with him, you couldn't stand the guy.

SESAY: Not only did he put out a statement, Bill O'Reilly, an image emerged of him today. Let's put it up on the screen.

VAUSE: We should have a caption contest on this.

SESAY: Let's share this with our viewers, just in case you missed this. That is right. In case you are wondering.

VAUSE: What do you think they are talking about?

SESAY: That is Bill O'Reilly meeting Pope Francis in Rome.

Areva to you -- you look at that image on the day that he is out at Fox News with sexual harassment allegations and here he is meeting the Pope and you think what?

[00:25:07] MARTIN: I think some PR firm got paid a lot of money because that's a doggone good PR on the day that we're talking about sexual harassment and women being empowered and emboldened to come forward and file claims and he is meeting with the Pope. All I can say is --

VAUSE: Mark -- very quickly. Do you think --


MARTIN: -- his PR folks are good.

VAUSE: -- do you think he was ask for forgiveness, Mark Geragos?

GERAGOS: Well, you know, I wouldn't be so surprised if we don't see him for a while.


GERAGOS: My guess is that he went meekly into the night because he was given a large check. He's probably got a non-compete, meaning he is not supposed to go anywhere else in that space, meaning cable news because he is an author and he's got all kinds of tours and he does public performances.

It wouldn't surprise me that they negotiated some kind of a cooling off period before he goes somewhere else. And so you may not see him for a while.

And then as with most scandals, the public will forget after 90, 120, or 180 days and he'll pop up somewhere else.

VAUSE: Ok, Mark Geragos and Ted, Areva --

SESAY: Areva --


VAUSE: -- for being with us.

SESAY: Thank you.

VAUSE: Thanks -- guys.

MARTIN: All right.

VAUSE: We'll take a short break. Just ahead, there is turmoil in Venezuela. The so-called mother of all protests has turned deadly, and the president is facing growing pressure to fix a country in a crisis.


SESAY: You're watching CNN NEWSROOM, live from Los Angeles. I'm Isha Sesay.

VAUSE: And I'm John Vause.

Our headlines this hour --

The U.S. and South Korea are putting on a show of military force in the face of nuclear tensions with North Korea. The annual "Max Thunder" drills are under way at Kunsan Air Base right now. More than a thousand U.S. military personnel are taking part.

[00:30:07] SESAY: The U.S. Secretary of State says the Iran nuclear deal ignored many serious threats Iran poses. Rex Tillerson warns if left unchecked, Iran could go down the same path as North Korea. The Trump administration is reviewing whether sanctions should be re- imposed.

JOHN VAUSE, CNN ANCHOR: Two weeks after a punishing U.S. air strike destroyed dozens of Syrian war planes, the remainder of Syria's air force has been relocated. The U.S. military believes the aircraft will move closer to a Russian airbase where they presumably have more protection.

SESAY: Massachusetts police are investigating the death of former NFL star Aaron Hernandez. Guards found his body in his prison cell early Wednesday. The 27-year-old was serving a life sentence for murder. Officials say Hernandez hanged himself with a bed sheet.

VAUSE: At least two people have been killed in massive demonstrations in Venezuela in what government opponents call the mother of all protests. A teenager was shot dead in the capital Caracas on Wednesday, and a young woman was killed in San Cristobal near the Colombian border.

Critics of President Nicolas Maduro saying he's ruining the economy and he is using the armed forces to spread violence. His supporters, though, marched as well claiming opponents are trying to stage a coup.

Journalist Stefano Pozzebon joins us now from Caracas.

Stefano, are there concerns now that these protests heading into their fourth week could actually be heading towards some kind of major confrontation between the demonstrators and the government?

STEFANO POZZEBON, JOURNALIST: Yes, that's right, John. Well, a major confrontation has already happened. And what we witnessed today was definitely the largest march that the opposition has managed to gather and organize in the year so far.

Once again, these protests that follow has a usual narrative of how these sort of marches have been done in Caracas where the opposition tries to gather, strength forces in numbers towards the east of the city. And then tries to march on the main highway that cuts through the center of Caracas and tried to reach the government buildings which are on the west, western side of Caracas.

Normally halfway through the highway, they find a deployed of block from the national guards and police. And I'm talking about platoons with armed riot police, water cannons and tear gas. And they normally manage to stop them.

The government -- reaching government buildings in the West has a massive symbolic significance for the protests as no opposition march has ever managed to reach the presidential palace.

So once again today, they have tried to march towards the west of the town. And they have just announced -- the opposition have announced later the area tonight, they will try to do it again tomorrow as they will try again march towards the west.

VAUSE: Given all that, and as you say, Venezuela is no stranger to demonstrations. But looking at the size and the number of people on the streets, is this more than just the usual anti-government groups that are turning out? Is this just the people who normally would stay on the sidelines? They have now actually joined into the protests against the government?

POZZEBON: You know, today's significance was huge in the sense that the opposition have managed to march from Arias (ph), which historically and traditionally have been in favor of the current government of the Hugo Chavez narrative in politics.

So today we witnessed marches from both the normal middle-class residential of Arias (ph) from the east of the town, but also from other more popular burrows, so-called barrios here in Caracas.

So it seems like the momentum is switching and that the protests are increasing in intensity. And tensions on the street are rising as well. In the last few weeks as you said, we have seen more and more protests and more and more people on the street, despite the tear gas and water cannons that they have encountered.

VAUSE: OK, Stefano Pozzebon there in Caracas. We shall leave it, but we appreciate the report. Thank you.

POZZEBON: Thank you, John.

SESAY: Time for a quick break now.

And one U.S. attorney is getting set to run across the country to inspire healthy choices here in America. He is going to speak to a friend of the show, next.


VAUSE: Well, turning 50, one of those life defining moments. Some hate it, some embrace it. Some just run away like our friend lawyer Darren Kavinoky here in Southern California. Most people know him as the 1-800-no-cuffs guy.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) DARREN KAVINOKY, LAWYER: Most people don't realize how many ways a DUI can knock you down. If you don't fight your DUI, you could lose your license, go to jail, lose your job, risks losing your home, even your family. But there is hope. Call 1-800-no-cuffs, because no one looks good in handcuffs, unless you're into that sort of thing.



VAUSE: Best ad ever.

SESAY: Indeed. Kavinoky.

KAVINOKY: Unless you're into that sort of thing.


SESAY: Be quiet, both of you!

Kavinoky is shedding that signature of court suit and the colorful socks that he often wears for sweaty running clothes and what is sure to be, yes, a load of blister, let's be honest. Kavinoky begins a three-month run across America on Thursday and that means he'll be pounding the pavement for up to 50 miles a day.

VAUSE: Yes, right. I think you inspire others, though. Get up, get moving, get healthy. And in case you didn't realize it, Darren is with us right now.

KAVINOKY: Yes. An honor to be here with you, guys, really. Thank you for having me.

VAUSE: OK. You're about to turn 50 or you turn 50?

KAVINOKY: Turn 50? No. November 2nd, yes.

VAUSE: So you turned 50.


VAUSE: Well, you had this kind of moment and it was like I got to do something? And I'm going to run across the country.

KAVINOKY: You know, it was a little bit more than that. It was a friend of mine who was a publicist for a company that was looking for a campaign about the new face of 50. About redefining what aging --


VAUSE: They chose you, really? Your face?

KAVINOKY: Well, actually, it's just like Wayne Dyer used to say don't let an old person move into your body.

VAUSE: Yes. KAVINOKY: You know, and I really believe that's so true today. But we talked about me being part of that new face of 50 campaign. And I've always had on my bucket list that I wanted to run across all 50 states.

And so I said, hey, how about the new face of 50 runs across the 50 state, you know, never mind Puerto Rico, District of Columbia, whatever, who is counting. Anyway, run across all 50 of them and their board of directors love the idea. And here we are now actually doing it.

SESAY: OK, so -- yes.


VAUSE: You're going to swim to Hawaii?

KAVINOKY: What's that?

VAUSE: You're going to swim to Hawaii.

KAVINOKY: That may come later. Hawaii is definitely part of the plan for the aftermath.

SESAY: It is one thing to dream it and it is another thing to train for it.


SESAY: Tell us about that.

KAVINOKY: Well, two things. First of all, the dream. You know, this is something that started as the dream of a kid with too much fat on his body.

VAUSE: You were a tubby kid?

KAVINOKY: Well, and I say a kid with too much fat on his body because I don't like the label of a fat kid because that makes you sound like an inanimate object. And I really believe people --


VAUSE: I was a tubby kid.


KAVINOKY: Well, no, I wore those husky sized Tuscan jeans. I think we bonded over this before.

VAUSE: I think we have.

KAVINOKY: But, no, I still bear the emotional scars. And I really, if I stand for anything, I'm an ordinary guy. I'm not one of those gifted runners, one of those graceful gazelle-like creatures, no. It's sheer tenacity. And in terms of what it takes, it takes a lot of running and a lot of cross training to try and get that kind of exercise without having to do the stress and strain on the joints.

SESAY: Any moment where you thought, oh god, this is too much. Or any moment where you seemed overwhelmed by the scale of it?

VAUSE: He hasn't started yet.


SESAY: Just imagining it.


KAVINOKY: I have to say the moment, the moment that I saw that RV, because we have a wrapped RV that obviously promotes our response.

SESAY: Sure.

KAVINOKY: And we couldn't be doing it without the generous support of our sponsors. So we're really grateful to them. But when I saw that RV backing down my street.

VAUSE: You were committed.

KAVINOKY: And it's my picture on the side of it. It got really real, really quickly.

SESAY: I bet.

VAUSE: This is a serious point of all this, though. Because in this country, like many other countries, obesity, drug addiction, which you know a lot about.


VAUSE: Are very real problems and they're getting worse.

KAVINOKY: And I think that is the saddest part of all, John. Because if you look back over the historical trend line, we are spending more and more money each and every year by the tune of billions and billions of dollars because of really lifestyle choice related illness.

And so if I stand for anything, it's the proposition that ordinary people can do extraordinary things. And we're promoting this as the What's My Win campaign. Because for me my win may be to run across the country. Your win may be to run down your driveway and back. It does not matter.

VAUSE: You know me well.

KAVINOKY: Yes, I do. I do know you really well. To run to the pub and back.

VAUSE: Exactly, yes.

KAVINOKY: But, no, really, everybody's win is different. The important thing, it's not that you have a bigger win or a grander win than me, or be better than me, it's that you be better than you were yesterday.

SESAY: And I think that's really important. And I think you're the perfect messenger, because you are putting out there first and foremost that you're an ordinary guy. Something that everyone can relate to.

The messenger for these kinds of things is really important because sometimes the wrong messenger turns people off.


SESAY: And you're saying you meet people where they are. Do what you can.

KAVINOKY: Right, right. Well, and I think everybody goes through life being one of two things, either an example of what's possible or a warning of, you know, what's possible.

And in my life I've been a little bit of both. And I'm glad now to be able to carry an inspiring message that I am just an ordinary guy. Spoiler alert, I hate to run.


VAUSE: Well, this was a good choice.

KAVINOKY: I know! But it seemed like one of those big things. Oh, here is an interesting bit of trivia. There are actually more dead bodies on top of Mt. Everest right now than there are people who have successfully run across the United States.


KAVINOKY: And people in my rarefied age demographic, it's like in the single digits. So pretty sane is what I'm saying as your legal adviser.


VAUSE: How far have you managed to run so far in one day?

KAVINOKY: We've done 40, 50-mile days no problem.


SESAY: No problem?


VAUSE: And how many days will this take?

KAVINOKY: Well, here's the thing. We're in production for "Deadly Sins," a show I host on Investigation Discovery. Thank you for that.


And we're in production now. So there are four times while we're on the road doing these herculean runs that I will have to paint an X on the sidewalk, get to an airport, fly back here, shoot my "Deadly Sins" stuff, fly back to where we are, pick up the run and begin running again.

SESAY: Almost out of time.


SESAY: I want to know it's going to be tough leaving your daughter surely and the family doing this.

I mean, the blisters aside, I would imagine leaving your loved ones is going to be a tough part.

KAVINOKY: Well, that's been the toughest. And they were down there at the launch today. And it was just -- I mean, I cried happy tears. But here is the thing. I really had to weigh, do I want to be a real life example to my daughter who just turned 15 that anybody can do anything. That you really can do anything you want in life. You just can't do everything you want in life. So pick and choose carefully.

VAUSE: OK. Stop talking. We get your reply. You hit the road on Thursday. We wish you all the best of luck.

SESAY: A lot, a lot, a lot of luck. And be safe.

VAUSE: Anybody who wants to track down his progress, visit Follow him on Twitter #WhatsMyWin.

There we go.


KAVINOKY: Darren Kavinoky, just the common spelling.

VAUSE: The usual spelling.

KAVINOKY: Exactly.

SESAY: An ordinary man doing inspirational stuff. We'll be wishing you well.

VAUSE: Let's all do the Kavinoky.

SESAY: That's right. All right.

Thank you for watching CNN NEWSROOM live from Los Angeles, I'm Isha Sesay.

VAUSE: I'm John Vause. "World Sport" is up next. You want to do "World Sport?" You should. You're watching CNN. SESAY: You can run.