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Putin Meets with World Leaders; Yates to Contradict White House on Flynn; Trump Threatens Government Shutdown in September; Trump to Talk Middle East Peace with Abbas; Officer Pleads Guilty to Walter Scott Shooting Death; U.K. Leaders Campaign for Coming Snap Election; Suspected Member of El Chapo's Cartel Arrested. Aired 2-3a ET

Aired May 3, 2017 - 02:00   ET




JOHN VAUSE, CNN ANCHOR (voice-over): This is CNN NEWSROOM, live from Los Angeles. Ahead this hour, Vladimir Putin flexing some global diplomatic muscle, talking Syria and North Korea with three of the world's most powerful leaders.

Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas goes to Washington on Wednesday. How his White House visit is being received in the Middle East.

Also Brexit talk turns nasty as the all-important stub (ph) election in the U.K. gets underway.

Hello, welcome to our viewers all around the world. This is the third hour of NEWSROOM LA. Great to have you with us. I'm John Vause.


VAUSE: Russian president Vladimir Putin seems to be at the center of international diplomacy right now, talking with Western leaders about Syria and Ukraine as well as North Korea, and welcomed Turkey's president to Russia on Wednesday.

On Tuesday, Mr. Putin hosted the German Chancellor Angela Merkel who's led the push for sanctions on Russia after its annexation of Crimea.

Mr. Putin also spoke with President Donald Trump for the first time since the U.S. launched airstrikes on a Syrian airbase. CNN's Diana Magnay live this hour in Moscow.

So, Diana, what are the details of that conversation between Trump and Putin?

DIANA MAGNAY, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, it was characterized by the Kremlin as a business like conversation. And by the White House as a very good conversation.

But in the context of these very frosty relations between the two countries since the U.S. response to the chemical attack in Idlib and the U.S. cruise missile strikes, these really are baby steps essentially, this telephone call between the two leaders.

They discussed, as you said, Syria, the importance of U.S.-Syrian cooperation and in that context the U.S. will be sending their highest level representative on an observer status to the Astana peace talks which continue in their fourth round today.

They also discussed North Korea, the Kremlin was far more expansive in its readout of the call on that note than the White House was. They said that President Putin had urged restraint and for a deescalation of tensions on the Korean Peninsula.

And they also mentioned or the Kremlin mentioned at least that there would be a meeting possibly between the two leaders on the sidelines of the G20 summit in Hamburg in July -- John.

VAUSE: Also Syria will obviously be one issue which will come up when Turkey's Erdogan arrives in the coming hours for again for a meeting with Vladimir Putin.

MAGNAY: Yes, the Turkish president and the Russian president meet more often. The last time Mr. Erdogan was here was at the beginning of March. Syria will be a major part of the conversation. But the block between these two leaders is the Kurdish problem. And they will not see eye-to-eye on the Kurdish issue at all.

The Turkish president is also part of these Astana talks, which are led by Turkey, Iran and Russia. And we believe from Russian news agencies that they will put forward some kind of plan, whereby forces from those three countries will act as guarantors between rebel and government-held areas. But we'll see whether the groups, the rebel groups, who are currently at Astana, take kindly to that kind of a proposal -- John.

VAUSE: And there was also this incredibly awkward or tense meeting between Putin and Germany's Angela Merkel. They clashed over Ukraine. Merkel warned Russia about hacking an oncoming German election.

And she also touched on the issue of human rights in Russia, in particular persecution of gay men. This is what Angela Merkel said.


ANGELA MERKEL, CHANCELLOR OF GERMANY (through translator): I also mentioned again that we have received very negative reports about the way homosexuals are treated in Chechnya. And I asked President Putin to use his --


MERKEL (through translator): -- influence in order to safeguard the rights of minorities in the same way it has been done with the Jehovah's Witnesses.


VAUSE: So what did Angela Merkel hope to achieve by raising these issues in such a public way?

MAGNAY: I think it's twofold. First of all, to give some support to civil society and the issue of human rights in Russia and, secondly, she is the representative of liberal democracy in Europe. She comes as a representative of German values and of liberal democratic values that the order that has been built since World War II, where human rights is such a fundamental part or core value.

And that is what she was trying to put forward to the Russian president, I think -- John.

VAUSE: OK, Diana, thank you, Diana Magnay live this hour in Moscow.

There are new developments in the investigation of links between the Trump campaign and Russia.

The former acting U.S. attorney general is scheduled to appear before a Senate panel next week. And sources say she will contradict the White House on events leading up to the firing of the national security adviser.

Jim Sciutto has our report.


JIM SCIUTTO, CNN CHIEF U.S. SECURITY CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Former acting attorney general Sally Yates is prepared to testify before a Senate panel next week that she gave a forceful warning to the White House regarding then-national security adviser Michael Flynn, this nearly three weeks before he was fired, contradicting the administration's version of events, sources familiar with her account tell CNN.

On February 14th, the day after Flynn's firing, White House spokesman Sean Spicer described the Yates meeting in far less serious terms.

SEAN SPICER, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: Wanted to give, quote, "a heads-up to us" on some comments that may have seemed in conflict with what he had sent the vice president.

SCIUTTO: But Yates will explain that in a private meeting, January 26th, she told White House Counsel Don McGann that Flynn was lying when he denied in public and private that he had discussed U.S. sanctions on Russia in conversations with Russia's ambassador to the U.S., Sergey Kislyak.

His misleading comments, Yates explained, made him potentially vulnerable to being compromised by Russia. Flynn was fired 18 days later, only after news reports that Flynn had lied to Vice President Mike Pence about his conversations with the Russian ambassador.

Yates' testimony will bookend a week's worth of appearances, starting with FBI Director James Comey before the Senate Judiciary Committee on Wednesday. Committee members will press Comey for answers on how the FBI worked with Christopher Steele, the former British spy who compiled the controversial dossier that included allegations there was an ongoing exchange of information between Trump campaign surrogates and the Russian government.

Democrats will push the FBI director on what has been learned about the Trump campaign's contact with Russian officials and other Russians known to U.S. intelligence.

SEN. CHRIS COONS, (D) JUDICIARY COMMITTEE: More than anything, I want to hear that the FBI isn't being blocked or impeded in their investigation. And I want to know that we're going to get to the bottom of this in a balance and bipartisan way.

SCIUTTO: Democrats will also seek answers on why Comey spoke publicly about the FBI's investigation into Hillary Clinton's e-mail server, but not its probe into Trump's ties with Russia, which was also underway during the summer of the campaign.

Meanwhile, the former British spy behind the dossier insists that his search was urgent enough to share with top U.S. and British officials, but admits that some of his work was not fully verified, this according to court documents filed last month in London.

In the new legal filing obtained by CNN, lawyers for former British spy Christopher Steele argue that his investigation into possible collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia, funded by political opponents of Trump, served a vital national security interest -- Jim Sciutto, CNN, Washington.


VAUSE: President Donald Trump is taking credit for the short-term spending bill, which avoided a government shutdown, claiming it as a win for the White House.


DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: This is what winning looks like, something that you folks really know a lot about.


VAUSE: But he is frustrated he did not get everything he wanted, especially funding for his signature campaign proposal, a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border. In a pair of tweets on Tuesday, Mr. Trump threatened a government shutdown if he doesn't get his way during the next budget battle later this year.

Now the budget director defended his boss' comment, even though the president called out Democrats last week, saying they were threatening a government shutdown.


MICK MULVANEY, DIRECTOR, OFFICE OF MANAGEMENT AND BUDGET: If you wanted to imagine what a good shutdown was, it would be one that fixes this town.

QUESTION: So what would a -- MULLIGAN: The one that drives the message back home to people that it really was as broken as they thought that it was when they voted for Donald Trump and they would trust him to -- that's what it's necessary to do.

To fix Washington, D.C., that would be a good shutdown.



VAUSE: Well, joining me here in Los Angeles, Ron Brownstein, CNN's senior political analyst and senior editor for "The Atlantic."

Ron, good to see you, yes, the big new set, huh?

It's been awhile. OK. I guess we can talk about Hollywood.


VAUSE: I guess we can chalk up another first for the Trump administration. We actually have a president saying that a government shutdown is needed, essentially saying it's a good thing; as a general rule government shutdowns are considered to be a bad thing.

BROWNSTEIN: Are a bad thing and they kind of -- they hurt the people in power. That's the one thing that we know. And unlike the other -- first of all, this will be the first government shutdown that I'm aware of with unified control of government.

I mean, the idea's almost incomprehensible. In the past where we've had government shutdowns it's because you've had a president of one party and a Congress of the other that was unable to reach agreement.

That was the case with Bill Clinton and the Republicans in the '90s. It was the case with President Obama and Republicans in his second term.

This, the idea that you would have a government shutdown while Republicans are in unified control of the government is unique. And I think a frightening concept to many Republicans in Congress who recognize that they're already skating on the edge of an image of dysfunction with all the trouble over health care and so forth.

And if they shut down the government, at any point later this year, I don't think many of them -- it's a great way to go into --



BROWNSTEIN: -- election year.

VAUSE: -- I guess so then maybe this is a negotiating tactic?\

It seems an odd thing to do, pull a negotiating tactic once the negotiations are over.

I guess -- is this being driven by near the Democrats who've been taking a bit of a victory lap over what they managed to get into that spending bill and what they've managed to get out of it?

BROWNSTEIN: Yes. I think -- I think, yes, I think it clearly -- I mean, if a president responds to provocation almost immediately and almost from any source, I mean it was you know, during the campaign, Hillary Clinton said, do you want someone as president who can be baited with a tweet?

And we are kind of seeing the ups and down sides of that as president, because it's pretty clear he can be baited with a tweet. And it clearly -- you know, this is -- this is about negotiating over this.

So what they did was they had the spending bill now that will take us through the end of this fiscal year in September. I think what the president was talking about was a fight over the spending for the next fiscal year, in which he wants to try again on some of these priorities.

But the divisions among Republicans, where you have certain conservative members who simply will not vote for any of the spending means they need Democratic votes to keep the government open.

And if that's the case, he's not getting his wall.

VAUSE: There are a lot of questions about these tweets coming from the president on Tuesday, also about health care, a whole bunch of things. But unfortunately, no one got to ask to questions to the White House because this happened.




VAUSE: Yes, the cries of, "Sean, Sean, Sean," Sean Spicer, the White House spokesman. He walked out. He stayed there for like 53 seconds.

So --


BROWNSTEIN: Yes, look, there have been chaotic periods in this presidency. But if you think about the last several days, about the kind of the frenzy leading in to the 100th day, the interviews that he's given, all of the unexpected and unusual things that he has said about Andrew Jackson, about North Korea, I mean, this has been a period at the high level of stress, I think, and chaos. And I think a lot -- you know, I was reading our "National Journal" publication tonight and one Republican said to one of our reporters, I have already given up on trying to understand what the messaging is at any given moment." I mean, even people in the White House have acknowledged it's not really clear what the point of all these interviews were. And I think, you know, the administration again, you know, for perhaps the second or third time in just 100-odd days, kind of needs a moment to kind of step back and start over because, again, on health care, they are facing another existential moment.

VAUSE: But because they're trying to pass the repeal or the replacement -- the repeal and replace of ObamaCare, this will be the third attempt in the next couple of days; they want to get it through before the recess.

It's not looking likely. If it doesn't get through this time, if it doesn't happen, I guess the question is why is it so hard for Republicans?

BROWNSTEIN: It is a great question because they've been passing it over and over when it had no chance of becoming law. But I said to you, I think from the beginning, the core problem is the shifting nature of the Republican coalition. It is now heavily dependent on lower income and older whites, many of whom have benefited from the Affordable Care Act.

You know, we did analysis today, looking at the 20 or so Republican members of the House who have indicated they're not supporting this bill. And it's not what you would expect. They are not predominantly from districts that Hillary Clinton carried.

In fact, most of them are from districts, two-thirds of them are from districts that Donald Trump carried and in most of them, he did better than Mitt Romney did in 2012.

The common thread is that they're districts that tend to be older. That's why Donald Trump did better. He does extremely well among older whites.

But the idea of eliminating the guarantee on pre-existing condition, rolling back some of the other provisions in the law that would have significantly, according to Congressional Budget Office, raised premiums for older adults, most of whom are white, most of whom vote Republican, that, I think, has been the core challenge.

I mean, President Trump seemed to get this during the campaign when he --


BROWNSTEIN: -- talked about exempting Medicare and Social Security from budget cuts. He's been led down the path of more traditional, small government, Paul Ryan agenda. And they simply cannot get enough members, even if they get it over the top in the House by a vote, very different -- yes, very difficult prospects in the Senate.

VAUSE: And with health care in mind, there's a lot of talk about this monologue by the late-night TV guy, Jimmy Kimmel. He spoke with great emotion about his newborn son who had heart surgery and, at the same time, Kimmel went on to make this call for affordable health care. Listen to this.


JIMMY KIMMEL, ABC HOST: Before 2014 if you were born with congenital heart disease, like my son was, there was a good chance you would never be able to get health insurance because you had a preexisting condition.

You were born with a preexisting condition. If your parents didn't have medical insurance, you might not live long enough to even get denied because of a preexisting condition.

If your baby is going to die and it doesn't have to, it shouldn't matter how much money you make. I think that's something now, whether you are a Republican or a Democrat or something else, we all agree on that.


VAUSE: Yes, this is all pretty --

BROWNSTEIN: That is a very powerful statement.


BROWNSTEIN: And, look, we have seen in polls approval of the Affordable Care Act is going up. Agreement with the idea that government has a responsibility to provide health care for all Americans is going up.

You know, for a long time I thought the ACA was kind of defying the law of political gravity. Many people, including President Obama, thought that once you provided health care to this many people, you simply could not take it away politically.

Oh, in fact, we have not. We have not had an entitlement, I think, rescinded this far away from its initial passage. For a long time, it looked like that was not kicking in. Now when the rubber is meeting the road, it really feels that way.

The people kind of look at this and say, are we really going to take away health care from 24 million people by the Congressional Budget Office said?

And by the way, as I said before, not all of the 24 million-plus who got covered under ObamaCare were Democrats. Many of them were of Republican constituencies. For example, in just one example, in Kentucky, there are seven times as many people receiving opioid treatment, substance abuse treatment under Medicaid as two years ago; 71 percent of the people covered under the expansion of Medicaid in Ohio were white and three-fifths don't have any more education than a high school degree.

These are Republican voters and I think that is the big rock in the road that they simply cannot get around.

VAUSE: Yes, and, you know --

BROWNSTEIN: Facts on the ground matter.

VAUSE: And this is needed. This is not something --

BROWNSTEIN: Facts on the ground matter.

VAUSE: -- you can do without.

We also heard from Hillary Clinton. She is back in public. She is talking about, you know, taking the blame and who is to blame for her election loss.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Do you take any personal responsibility?

HILLARY CLINTON, FORMER SECRETARY OF STATE: Oh, of course. I take absolute personal responsibility. I was the candidate. I was the person who was on the ballot. But I was on the way to winning until the combination of Jim Comey's letter on October 28th and Russian WikiLeaks raised doubts in the minds of people who were inclined to vote for me but got scared off.


VAUSE: So it seems the president is up late, watching cable because he has been tweeting a short time ago, "FBI director Comey was the best thing that ever happened to Hillary Clinton, in that he gave her a free pass for many bad deeds.

"The phony, the phony Trump Russia story was an excuse used by the Democrats as justification for losing the election. Perhaps Trump just ran a great campaign."

BROWNSTEIN: Facts on the ground matter. Wow.

VAUSE: Referring to himself in the third person.

BROWNSTEIN: Yes. No, I think former Secretary Clinton's remarks were interesting because I think it can be true -- two things can be true. It can be true that the Comey letter and the Russian interference may have been enough to tip the election. But the fact that it was close enough --

VAUSE: Right.

BROWNSTEIN: -- that those events could tip it when she was running against a candidate who 60 percent of the country was saying was not qualified, nearly as many were saying they considered racially biased, that was an indictment of her and her campaign.

The fact she was within range for now President Trump, for these other factors to tip the election, I think, is the part of responsibility that she is not fully acknowledging. VAUSE: It does not sound as if she has embraced that of the election.

BROWNSTEIN: And all those visits to Wisconsin and Michigan, you remember that, in the fall, the constant drumbeat of advertising.

VAUSE: Not a bit.

BROWNSTEIN: There you go.

VAUSE: Ron, good to see you. Thanks so much.

And still to come here, Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas makes first visit to the Trump White House, looking for a new approach to reach a peace deal with Israel.

Also a white police officer changes his plea to guilty in the shooting of an unarmed black man which sparked widespread protests in South Carolina.




VAUSE: In the past 100 days or so the U.S. president has admitted the job is a lot harder than he thought it would be, reforming health care is complicated and he may soon be in for another revelation. A peace deal between the Israelis and the Palestinians is not rocket science; it is actually a lot harder.

On Wednesday Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas will meet for the first time with Donald Trump, who, by his own admission, is the most pro- Israeli president in decades.

The aging and unpopular Abbas, though, is facing growing challenges to his leadership at home. His Palestinian Authority controls the West Bank while rival militant group, Hamas, has a firm group on Gaza.

So for Abbas, a photo op with the U.S. president might just be a win in itself.

For more, we are joined now from Washington by David Tafuri, former foreign policy adviser to the Obama campaign.

David, good to see you.


VAUSE: The Israelis, the Palestinians, President Trump, they all say they want a peace deal here.

So what could possibly go wrong?

TAFURI: That's right. You know, President Trump has said many times that he doesn't see any reason why there can't be a peace deal -- and he's right. We can get a peace deal but, in his exuberance, he makes it sound simple and he is about to find out just how difficult it is tomorrow when he meets with the Palestinian Authority president.

And what he's going to find is that there are a lot of obstacles to achieving a peace deal. What he would be wise to do now is to pick out some very modest goals to accomplish in this first meeting.

One thing that he is doing right is getting started on this right away early in his presidency. Previous presidents have focused on the Middle East peace process late in their presidency and haven't been able to make enough progress to achieve a peace deal.

So if he concentrates on some modest goals and forming a relationship with Abbas that he can build on in the future and perhaps set up a visit with Abbas in the West Bank, those would be successes.

VAUSE: The Israelis are demanding the Palestinian Authority stop paying salaries to Palestinians who've been jailed for acts of terrorism. Israel's public security minister, he wrote an op-ed on in "The New York Times" on Monday. This is part of it.

"The Authority has enacted official legislation guaranteeing monthly stipends to every incarcerated terrorist and their families. The worse the attack and the longer the sentence, the higher the payout."

This is (INAUDIBLE) which has support from a number of U.S. senators; so the issue apparently also came up in those pretalks before this meeting.

So if the president does ask for Abbas to stop those salaries, is he in position to do it?

TAFURI: I think the president might ask that. And you saw Senator Lindsey Graham has introduced a bill in Congress to restrict aid to the Palestinian Authority until they remove this legislation and stop supporting the families of terrorists.

I think that's a positive that the U.S. should be seeking. I don't know if Abbas can deliver on that.


DAVID: I would hope that Abbas will suggest that, privately at least, that he doesn't support that and he would like to see that changed and perhaps that's one of the concrete goals that Trump and Abbas can agree on, trying to achieve in the future.

It would be a very important success for the U.S. and for Israel and it might be the type of compromise that would help bring Israel back to the table and make compromises on things that the Palestinian Authority wants, like restricting new settlements.

VAUSE: Yes. Well, we also have Donald Trump, the new president: as a candidate, he promised he would relocate the U.S. embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. That would be symbolic. It would also be hugely controversial. It hasn't been talked about recently. But Vice President Mike Pence says it is very much still on the agenda. Listen to this.


MIKE PENCE, VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: The President of the United States, as we speak, is giving serious consideration to moving the American embassy in Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.


VAUSE: So should the president decide to go ahead and move the embassy?

Is that the end of what might be any potential peace process here?

TAFURI: I think it would be a mistake, especially this early in the presidency, to make a move like that, that really doesn't accomplish anything for the U.S. It is not any better for us. We can't do diplomacy better by moving our embassy to Jerusalem.

It really doesn't do anything for U.S. interests, so, therefore, it would be a mistake and it would, yes, make it much more difficult for Abbas and Palestinian leaders to deliver a peace deal if that is the first move by the Trump campaign that's substantive with respect to Israel and Palestine.

VAUSE: Yes. It would be felt around not just across the region but around the world, as you say, that questionable gains by moving the embassy. David, thanks for being with us. Good to talk to you.

TAFURI: Thank you.

VAUSE: Former South Carolina police officer has pleaded guilty in the 2015 shooting death of Walter Scott. (INAUDIBLE) Slager (ph) shot Scott, an unarmed black man, in the back as Scott was running away during a traffic stop.

Until up now Slager (ph) said the shooting was actually self-defense. But he admitted his use of force was unreasonable. This was part of a plea deal for reduced charges. Slager, though, could face up to 25 years in prison.

And the U.S. Justice Department is reportedly closing its investigation into the fatal police shooting of Alton Sterling without laying any charges. "The Washington Post" and "The New York Times" both reporting multiple sources telling them the department would not be bringing charges against the police officers involved.

Sterling was killed in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, last year. Video from bystanders prompted protests across the city and beyond.

Time for a quick break. "STATE OF AMERICA" with Kate Bolduan is coming up next for our viewers in Asia. For everyone else, the U.K. back in campaign mode, more on the coming election that could decide the path forward for Brexit. (COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[02:30:00] VAUSE (voice-over): Thank you for staying with us. You're watching CNN NEWSROOM, live from Los Angeles. I'm John Vause with the headlines this hour.


VAUSE: In about five weeks the U.K. will vote in a snap election with major ramifications for Brexit talks. Prime Minister Theresa May is trying to consolidate support for the ideal departure from the E.U. She is touting a reputation as a tough negotiator that will get the best deal for Britain.


THERESA MAY, BRITISH PRIME MINISTER: I think what we have seen recently is that at times these negotiations will be tough. Now during the Conservative Party leadership campaign, I was described by one of my colleague as "a bloody difficult woman" and I said at the time, "The next person to find that out will be Jean-Claude Juncker."


VAUSE: CNN's Max Foster live in London this morning.

Hey, Max. Here we have Prime Minister Theresa May there, "a bloody difficult woman", but her Conservative Party, they're all doing very well right now ahead of the vote but there are some details now that maybe she hasn't quite grasped just how difficult these coming Brexit negotiations will be.

MAX FOSTER, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, she is referring there to a dinner she had with Juncker here in London and, by all accounts, according to European sources at least, it didn't go very well at all. They couldn't agree on some basic tenets for the negotiations going forward.

Britain apparently, according to these sources, just doesn't really know how to begin this process because they're coming from completely different galaxies, that was according to one source. And the French voter alkimine (ph) spoke to someone that said during the meal Theresa May said she wanted to make Brexit a success and Juncker's response was Brexit can't be a success. The more I hear, the more skeptical I become.

So this idea that they're coming from completely different angles is really playing out now and the challenge ahead Theresa May in this context is pretty steep.

VAUSE: Could this be politically damaging for -- you know, after all, this is a prime minister who called a staff election on the basis that she wanted to show off her political position so she could go in as a strong negotiator to get the best deal for Britain during this divorce from the E.U. FOSTER: Yes and it is -- you know, that was her reason for going into it. It wasn't actually she wanted that mandate. And it looks like according to all the polls she will get a huge mandate and one political expert last night telling me it could well be a landslide, which would give her a lot of authority from the U.K. perspective.

But from the European perspective actually doesn't make any difference at all because from their point of view they're just dealing with the U.K. and whoever is in charge, they'll deal with that person.

Actually all of this does -- all it does is really unsettle things because they'll know in theory who're they're going to be dealing with when they come out of the general election.

Carole Walker is when me, she's a political analyst.

What do you make of that dinner and the fallout since?

CAROLE WALKER, POLITICAL ANALYST: Well, I think it is a real indication of just how difficult it is going to be. They couldn't even agree on the format for the talks about what they're going to talk about.

Theresa May wants to talk about the final arrangements, the trade deal alongside the terms of Britain's departure. The Europeans are saying, no, we have to sort out the bill that Britain is going to pay first.

The U.K. side is saying there's no way that is going to happen. Jean- Claude Juncker apparently replied, well, if you're not going to pay any money up front, you're not even getting a trade deal. And he came away from the meeting, we're told, saying he was 10 times more pessimistic than when he went into it.

I think it does illustrate just how difficult it will be to get any sort of meaningful deals sown up in that tight timescale of just two years. But I think in terms of the domestic --


WALKER: -- election, which Theresa May has called, she's going to play it for all it is worth.

You heard her there saying she was going to tell -- show Jean-Claude Juncker that she could be a bloody difficult woman. And I think she is going to really try to play to that, feed into that mantra that she keeps coming out with, about strong and stable leadership. The Tories believe it is their strongest cast.

FOSTER: But they do look like they're going to have the landslide. The polls have been right in the past but because the margin is so huge, and the Labour Party, opposition Labour Party, really do seem like they're imploding, she will come out with a strong mandate, it's whether or not it makes any difference to Brexit.


Isn't it extraordinary?

We've had this phenomenon of all these outsiders, the outspoken firebrands, seizing the public imagination. Here you've got the daughter of a vicar, a conservative stalwart from the home counties, not someone who is seen as glamorous or flashy, likes to talk about getting on with the job.

And she is going into this election with a very, very clear lead in all of the polls. Yes, we have to be very cautious but she has got off to a solid, a low-key but a campaign which appears to be reassuring the public, who are looking for a bit of stability perhaps after the upset of the Brexit vote.

Her main opponents, the Labour Party, having huge problems. Even many of their own MPs don't think that their leader, Jeremy Corbyn, is the right person to be the prime minister.

On one of their own policies yesterday, an increase in the number of police, the shadow home secretary couldn't get the figures right. They've got off to a very shaky, a very difficult start. And at the moment, Theresa May looks as though she will get that increased majority, which will make it much more easy for her to get things through Parliament here at home.

But, yes, as you say, it doesn't look as though it is going to make it any easier for her at all when it comes to dealing with those Brexit negotiations.

FOSTER: Another weakness she does seem to have is this character issue, if we can call it that. People don't necessarily relate to her, even though she was out and about in the southwest yesterday and started eating some chips and she looked extremely uncomfortable.

We can show you the images. These are the sorts of things that actually, over the next month, could make a difference because people don't -- you know, the papers have been pretty nasty about these images. But she just didn't look comfortable eating it.

She is trying to relate to people, she's trying to get down with people.

But that's where she can't really work, can she?

She has tried many times before.

WALKER: Always very dangerous, eating in front of the cameras. Most political advisers would just be telling their prospective candidates, don't go there, don't do it.

Many people in Britain will remember Ed Miliband, former leader of the Labour Party, struggling to eat a bacon sandwich. That was an image of him not even managing to get through a normal breakfast snack with any credibility and aplomb.

That resonated with the public who felt that he simply couldn't cope. Theresa May really struggled with those chips there. I suspect that anything on camera, foodstuffs will be out for the rest of the campaign.

FOSTER: John, it's a bit like eating pizzas with a knife and fork. It never quite works, does it?

You've got to -- I think Carol is right. Never eat on camera.

VAUSE: Look, there's a couple of rules, stay away from food, don't eat on camera and also no silly hats because that's never a good look. Thanks, Max.

With that, we will take a short break. A high-ranking member of a Mexican drug cartel arrested and could now be facing charges in the United States. All of the details in just a moment.





VAUSE: A high-ranging member of the Mexican cartel once led by Joaquin El Chapo Guzman is behind bars. Damaso Lopez Nunez was arrested in Mexico City and taken into custody on Tuesday. He may soon be extradited to the U.S. to face drug and money laundering charges. With details, here is CNN's Leyla Santiago.


LEYLA SANTIAGO, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Now around here he was known as El Licenciado, it's a title that is given to anyone who graduates from college. It was his nickname as many cartel members have here.

He was also known to be responsible for violence in several parts of Mexico, also known to be responsible for the first prison escape from his former and very powerful boss, El Chapo Guzman.

You know, since El Chapo Guzman has left, since he was extradited to the U.S., he's really kind of gone up in the ranks of the Sinaloa cartel. He was said to possibly be the next leader of that group, even though there was some reported infighting among them.

Then this morning, the Mexican government announced his arrest, saying that they found drugs as well as various cellphones in his apartment here in Mexico City. And I'm also told that the U.S. played a role, providing intelligence that led up to his arrest.

They plan to ask for extradition and he's actually already indicted out of Virginia, facing money laundering and drug charges.

So what will this mean for Mexico?

Ask any of the experts, be it researchers or law enforcement, and they will tell you that this could narrow down who will be the next leader of the Sinaloa cartel but it will take much, much more to actually reduce the violence, the violence that right now is near record levels for homicides but it will take much, much more to reduce that here in Mexico -- John.



VAUSE (voice-over): American baseball player Adam Jones received a standing ovation as he returned to the same stadium, where just a day earlier, he says fans taunted him with racist slurs.


VAUSE: It all happened in Boston, one of the proudest sports cities in the U.S. The all-star center fielder for the Baltimore Orioles says someone threw a bag of peanuts at him during Monday's game against the Red Sox.


ADAM JONES, BALTIMORE ORIOLES CENTER FIELDER: I don't care, boo me, I mean treat me as -- it's Orioles-Red Sox. I don't want any special treatment. I don't need any special treatment. Treat me as normal, just keep the racist stuff out of there.


VAUSE: Other African American athletes say they've heard similar racial slurs while playing in Boston. The Red Sort of, the mayor of Boston, the governor of Massachusetts all condemning this racist behavior.

Thank you for watching CNN NEWSROOM, live from Los Angeles. I'm John Vause. Stay with us. "WORLD SPORT" is up next and then Rosemary Church will be with you with another hour of news from all around the world. You're watching CNN.