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Trump Delivers Major Address to Muslim Leaders; U.S. President Heads to Israel Soon; North Korean Threat; Dozens of Graduates Walk Out of Vice President Pence Speech; Lawmaker in Casual Attire Goes Viral. Aired 12-1a ET
Aired May 22, 2017 - 00:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[00:00:08] CYRIL VANIER, CNN ANCHOR: "Drive out the extremists," the words of the U.S. president as he addresses Muslim and Arab leaders in Saudi Arabia.
And the next stop on Donald Trump's foreign trip -- Israel, for meetings with the Israelis and the Palestinians.
Plus North Korea continues to test its missile capability with yet another launch. What does this one mean for the region? We'll be live in Tokyo, Beijing and Seoul to find out.
Hi -- everyone. Thank you so much for joining us. I'm Cyril Vanier, live from the CNN NEWSROOM in Atlanta.
So the U.S. president who's now wrapped up his visit to Saudi Arabia -- he'll be arriving in Israel in the next few hours. During his stay in Riyadh, Donald Trump delivered a major speech to Muslim leaders. He called on them to drive terrorists out of their countries, and he point out the majority of terror victims are Muslims.
The tone and substance of the speech stand in contrast with Mr. Trump's anti-Muslim rhetoric during his campaign. At the time, he had called for a ban on Muslims entering the U.S. But on Sunday, he said Islam was one of the world's greatest faiths.
Nic Robertson has more from Riyadh.
NIC ROBERTSON, CNN INTERNATIONAL DIPLOMATIC EDITOR: Part of President Trump's message really seemed to be to allay the concerns of those in the room that under President Obama, they'd somehow lost the support of the United States. He said our friends never need to question our support -- a very reassuring message for those in the room.
But he also had a tone that was designed to, if you will, draw the audience in. He said I'm not here to tell you how to live your lives; that we have common values and through those common values we can find common security. He also said that what's troubling the region is not an issue of a contest between faiths. DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: This is not a battle between different faiths, different sects or different civilizations. This is a battle between barbaric criminals who seek to obliterate human life and decent people, all in the name of religion. People that want to protect life and want to protect their religion. This is a battle between good and evil
ROBERTSON: But he also made the point that it was up to the countries in the Middle East to take this into their hands, to take the issues into their hands, not to leave it to the United States to drive the terrorists from their places of worship, he said, to drive the terrorists from lands. He said they needed to be honest in how they faced to this issue of Islamist extremism.
TRUMP: Of course, there is still much work to be done. That means honestly confronting the crisis of Islamic extremism and the Islamists and Islamic terror of all kinds. We must stop what they're doing to inspire because they do nothing to inspire but kill.
ROBERTSON: And the audience there -- 55 presidents, emirs, kings, prime ministers -- no indication of push back from what President Trump was saying. But a little later at a different event the emirate foreign minister said that Europe couldn't point the finger of blame for extremism at the Middle East; that there were many extremists in Europe that they needed -- Europe needs to tackle that problem. And if they don't, in the future there'll be more extremists coming from Europe than the Middle East.
He wasn't directly criticizing President Trump but the Saudis had talked about an historic reset between the West and the Arab Muslim world. The emirate foreign minister certainly seemed to undermine that.
Nic Robertson, CNN -- Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.
VANIER: Let's get more on this. David Rohde, CNN global affairs analyst is with us.
David -- as far as you can tell, based on that speech by Donald Trump in front of Muslim and Arab leaders, what is America's role in the Middle East now?
DAVID ROHDE, CNN GLOBAL AFFAIRS ANALYST: I think Trump's message as to America's role is that it is the backer of the status quo. It's the backer of the generals and the monarchs who fill that room and the United States will not be, you know, supporting any (inaudible) dramatic change, push for democratic norms.
And the U.S. is also in business that you can buy a lot of American weapons. The U.S. will sort of, you know, publicly look the other way in terms of human rights violations.
VANIER: You mentioned democratic norms. It's interesting because when you look back to the last two presidents whether it's Barack Obama, whether it's George W. Bush -- both of them seem to have this idea that America needed to stand for certain values, they needed to promote say democratic governance around the world including in the Middle East.
[00:05:01] That doesn't seem to be the case anymore.
ROHDE: No there's, you know, the Trump administration calls it a more pragmatic approach. I actually, you know, I think that pushing for -- I don't want to say democratic norms -- but accountable, effective government, that's part of the effort to counter ISIS and extremism -- a big push, a big propaganda tool that ISIS uses and all extremist groups is that these are corrupt, ineffective era and regimes that are beholden to the West.
And somehow if they have, you know, a revolution led by extremists in this perfect, you know, countries run by Sharia, you know, there'll be justice and no more corruption. I don't think that's true. I think that's a fantasy and a recruiting tool but, you know, the Trump administration's ignoring all that. Again they're backing the status quo.
VANIER: David -- that's fascinating. The heart of what you're saying. Isn't there just differing interpretations of what causes extremism? On the one hand you have, it seems Donald Trump, who's saying it's just evil. It's pure evil and hatred and it needs to be countered by force. And on the other end of that spectrum, there is this idea which you were referring to that there is inequality in styles of governance in parts of the world that generate hatred and extremism.
ROHDE: I think it's, you know, the answer is both. I think there is a certain element of military force that has to be used in these countries but it has to be at local security forces that represent a legitimate government that carry out, you know, any sort of, you know, lethal force against insurgents. But at the same we have to address corruption and economic issues, things that, you know, the young people will be the solution.
There's a very high youth unemployment in Saudi Arabia. It's high in Egypt. You know, that situation cannot be ignored but again the Trump effect is a lethal force and authoritarianism, you know, more effective. And we will see what happens as time goes by.
VANIER: And Donald Trump told his hosts, he didn't want to lecture them. He doesn't want to tell them to run their countries, how to live in their countries. Can he achieve more, can he get more done like that?
ROHDE: Yes, I mean -- I think that, you know, again there's this us of the term, you know, democracy. George W. Bush talked about the democracy agenda. I'm not talking about American style democracy instead of forcing it, you know, on to people in the region.
And many people will disagree with me but I do believe there's a certain sense of international norms, again an accountable government, basic safety for you and your children, you know, a government that protects and doesn't prey on you that I do think is universal. You know, there's elements of Islam that talk to that as well.
And that, you know, we shift it now from all, you know -- you have to be sort of an American style democracy to Trump now saying we're not going to push any of that. And it's too bad that the United States have (inaudible) back and forth on that message somewhat (ph).
VANIER: All right. David Rohde, CNN global affairs analyst -- thank you so much.
ROHDE: Thank you.
VANIER: And it's worth noting again the choice of destinations for Mr. Trump's first foreign trip. Saudi Arabia -- it's the first time that a U.S. president begins his international traveling in a Muslim majority country.
Now some of his aides are saying that that was intentional to dispel notions that the President is anti-Muslim. Just last year, remember on the campaign trail, Mr. Trump was not holding back on criticism of both Islam and Muslims.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: I think Islam hates us. There's something there that -- there's tremendous hatred there. There's a tremendous hatred. We have to get to the bottom of it. There is an unbelievable hatred of us --
ANDERSON COOPER, CNN HOST: In Islam itself.
TRUMP: You're going to have to figure that out.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VANIER: But U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson says President Trump is now reaching out to the Muslim world.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REX TILLERSON, U.S. SECRETARY OF STATE: Chris -- I think this is one of the great attributes of this president is that he is willing to call issues out, confront them, speak very plainly and bluntly about them. In many ways, that motivates these countries to want to understand why the feelings in the U.S. are the way they are but also to engage to address those.
And I think that's what we are seeing in this visit to Riyadh, this visit to the country that is a custodian of the two holy mosques. And the President himself has said he has learned a lot on this trip, that he has learned a lot about the people, he's learned a lot about their culture.
And I think this is a really important process in terms of how we move forward with this relationship between the Muslim world and the non- Muslim world.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VANIER: So in a room full of Muslim leaders, Mr. Trump called for unity in what he characterized as a battle between good and evil. How did the Muslim world feel about his speech?
Here's CNN's Muhammad Lila.
MUHAMMAD LILA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, reactions to President Donald Trump's speech depend largely on where you are in the Middle East and the Muslim world. And more importantly what role you want the United States to play.
[00:10:05] Now, if you're in Saudi Arabia or Kuwait or the United Arab Emirates, of course what President Trump said has to be very reassuring. He avoided many of the controversial statements that he made during the election campaign and instead spoke about Islam in very glowing terms, talking about it being one of the world's great religions, talking about how the battle is not between religions between good and evil.
And of course, singling out Saudi Arabia, the host country as being a home to Islam's two most holiest cities. And in speaking about Iran that has to be music to the ears of a lot of the Gulf leaders, Donald Trump singling out Iran for what he calls its destabilizing role in the region.
That's something that a lot of these Sunni Gulf countries have been calling on the United States to take a more forceful approach about. Well, in this speech it looks like they got exactly what they were hoping for.
But on the other hand if you're from Syria or parts of Lebanon, Iraq, Iran, Yemen, perhaps Bahrain or even part of one of the opposition groups in the Middle East, the message that you might have got out of the speech was that it came across as slightly sectarian.
For example Donald Trump was in Saudi Arabia but he made no mention of the fact, when he mentioned 9/11, that 15 of the hijackers came from Saudi Arabia; or what's happening next door in Yemen where a Saudi-led bombardment campaign has led to a massive fear and concern of starvation. In fact a child dies every 10 minutes in Yemen because of malnutrition -- something that Donald Trump didn't mention in his speech.
And of course, you know, if you are in one of those countries that does not appreciate the United States' role in the Middle East, I think one of the takeaways there is that is the United States' foreign policy as far as it comes across in the Muslim world is that that foreign policy is for sale and it was just sold to the highest bidder in Saudi Arabia which just agreed to buy a $100 billion worth of weapons from the U.S.
Muhammad Lila, CNN -- Istanbul.
VANIER: In less than two hours, President Trump is scheduled to leave Saudi Arabia for Israel -- that's the next stop on his eight-day trip. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and President Reuven Rivlin will great him at the airport in Tel Aviv. On Tuesday, Mr. Trump will also meet separately with Palestinian Authority president, Mahmoud Abbas. That will happen in Bethlehem.
The stop in Israel is happening just a few days after CNN learned that Mr. Trump had divulged classified information to Russia, information which had come from Israeli intelligence. Unsurprisingly Israel has not confirmed that. The country insists it will maintain a close relationship with Washington.
Let's get more on this. CNN's Oren Liebermann joins us now in Israel.
Oren -- many Israeli's felt let down by their American ally under Obama. I remember speaking to them a number of years ago across the country. What's the feeling in the streets of Tel Aviv and Jerusalem before the new president arrives.
OREN LIEBERMANN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, President Donald Trump was just as divisive here as he was in the U.S. And you'll actually get very different reactions from most Israelis in Tel Aviv and in Jerusalem.
Tel Aviv would be -- you know, more liberal, more secular, generally more opposed to Trump. It is in Jerusalem where Trump will be on friendly ground.
The reason it is viewed -- or Trump is viewed as the more pro-Israel is because he and Netanyahu -- he and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu have the same strategic view of the Middle East and some of that was on display in Trump's speech which is to say that the great need of the Middle East, and this is how they see it, is to combat the growing influence of Iran and the growing threat of Iran. Just there, that already puts Trump and Netanyahu on the same page.
President Obama's Iran nuclear deal is viewed as one of the big elements here that made him anti-Israel. So Trump is already beyond that in using -- or going on the offensive against Iran.
The question now remains what will he do with Jerusalem? And that's where exactly what Trump's plans are for Jerusalem and for the Israeli-Palestinian conflict have yet to be cleared. He said he wants to pursue peace but hasn't put forward any concrete plan at this point -- Cyril.
VANIER: After Mr. Trump's election, it looked like Benjamin Netanyahu, the Israeli prime minister had finally got all he wanted out of the U.S. president -- unlimited support. It doesn't seem that clear anymore though.
LIEBERMANN: You're exactly right there that Netanyahu and many elements of Netanyahu's right-wing government absolutely celebrated the election of Trump saying Trump will allow us to build in West Bank settlements, won't criticize East Jerusalem settlements as an obstacle to peace. And that simply hasn't been the case.
One of the first promises that Trump walked back -- one of the first campaign promises that is -- is that he was going to move the embassy. He promised throughout the campaign he would do that. He hasn't done that. And the right wing here, the conservatives have cooled a bit on Trump.
There are many still calling on him to move the embassy to recognize Jerusalem is the capital of Israel and yet there are strong indications that he's simply not going to do that in this trip.
[00:14:57] Now what could be the big blow to Netanyahu is if Trump comes here and focuses exclusively on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Demand for settlement freeze, talk of a two-state solution -- a lot of that could imperil Netanyahu's government since there are elements of his coalition and parties in his coalition that are staunchly against a Palestinian state. So that's where that friction has come in.
Now on the face of it, which is to say overtly, there are indications and signs that these two sides want to meet but everything here is sensitive. You're right that it should be an easy meeting between a Republican president and a conservative prime minister, there's so many sensitive issues and that is why many Israeli politicians are nervous about this visit.
VANIER: All right. Oren Liebermann -- thank you very much.
We'll speak to you again soon. Thanks.
We're going to take a short break.
When we come back a new threat from North Korea. Pyongyang says it's now ready to mass produce and deploy a ballistic missile.
Plus police staged drug raids in Sao Paulo, Brazil. They targeted a part of town called Crack-land. We'll tell you who they're after.
[00:20:02] VANIER: Ok. Welcome back everyone.
North Korea says its latest missile test was quote, "perfect". The medium-range ballistic missile flew about 500 kilometers before landing in the sea. According to North Korean state media, leader Kim Jong-Un says this type of missile is now ready for deployment and for mass production.
CNN is across the region on this story. Will Ripley is in Tokyo, David McKenzie in Beijing and Paula Hancocks is in Seoul, South Korea. Good to speak to all of you.
Paula -- let's start with you. The South Koreans say there's progress in the North's missile capability. What are you learning?
PAULA HANCOCKS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, that's right -- Cyril. I mean the North Korean leader himself, called this "perfect" saying it's ready for mass production. And the fact is the South Koreans and the U.S. officials agree that there has been significant progress made.
Now this was -- what North Korea calls a medium to long-range missile. The U.S. calls it a medium range. The White House said they're aware of this missile -- saying that it's the same that was tested back in February but it does have a shorter range than previous test-ranges, the previous last three missiles.
But the crucial thing of this is that it uses the solid rocket fuel. That's significant because it's less corrosive than the liquid fuel that can fit in the rocket itself. So it's very quick and easy to launch. And of course, makes it far more difficult for anyone in the region through satellite imagery to detect before it's fired.
And also what we saw with some pictures and images of earth from Rodong Sinmun -- this is the North Korean state-run newspaper. And they say that this is what was taken when the missile was going through atmosphere. And they quote, "The North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un is saying the world looks beautiful.
Now the significance of this is that they are showing the world that they are testing the re-entry capability which is necessary for a longer ranged missile, an inter-continental ballistic missile that North Korea said it wants -- Cyril.
VANIER: We're looking at those pictures at the same. They're pretty striking -- Paul.
Will -- correct me if I'm wrong but North Korea's nuclear and missile capability has never been this advanced -- correct?
WILL RIPLEY, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, absolutely right. I mean you look at the progress that they've made just in the recent years. It shows the investment that North Korea's making under their current leader Kim Jong-Un spending North Korea says around 16 percent of their GDP. The United States estimates it's closer to 24 percent of their GDP on their military; and a huge chunk of that money, undoubtedly billions of dollars going into this missile development program and their nuclear program as well.
This is despite international sanctions, despite condemnation and diplomatic isolation and ever since the Bush administration back in the mid 2000s after North Korea's first nuclear test encouraged China to put more pressure on the regime, we've seen five nuclear tests, countless missile launches including 10 attempts so far under the Trump administration. So it's really a remarkable pace.
VANIER: David McKenzie is in Beijing. David -- is China going to step up? I mean China is said to be the one country that has some leverage over North Korea.
DAVID MCKENZIE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, what you've seen from China, Cyril, is very little comment at this stage at this latest missile test. And that's not surprising because China has a very different calculation when it comes to these tests. It has a much more muted response compared to South Korea and Japan on each test. And they seem to be kind of trying to ratchet down the tension, the rhetoric asking for all the sides to calm down. And if there were something more dramatic I think from the Chinese perspective like a sixth nuclear test, then they could possible push from their perspective at the U.N. Security Council.
But rarely it seems that China's efforts to put the squeeze on North Korea debatable as they might be is not stopping the cycle of these tests and the kind of forward momentum of the nuclear program in North Korea -- Cyril.
VANIER: All right. So you're saying that barring a sixth nuclear test, China is not going to put a lot more pressure on North Korea.
Paula -- that makes me wonder, is South Korea, the neighbor resigned to North Korea that not only has a nuclear weapon but can deliver it with a ballistic missile.
HANCOCKS: South Korea has said effectively what the United States has said that they will not recognize North Korea as a nuclear state.
But of course, the difference you have in South Korea now is you have a new administration. You have a new president. Moon Jae-In has said that he is pro-engagement with North Korea. He favors dialogue with North Korea and wants economic cooperation with Pyongyang.
And certainly it's very difficult to see how that would happen at this point when you do have these two missile tests in just the last two weeks, both of them just afte3r Moon Jae-In was elected himself. So we certainly don't think that South Koreans are resigned to the fact that they will accept North Korea as a nuclear power.
[00:25:01] But certainly South Korea has been living under the shadow for decades. They know that for decades they have been in artillery strike of North Korea and certainly the expert opinion is that if North Korea wanted to hit parts of South Korea or even Japan with a nuclear weapon of some description it could well be possible -- Cyril.
VANIER: So let me turn again to Will, in that case. Will -- you've been to North Korea countless times. What's the end goal for North Korea here? I mean it develops -- let's just assume, it does develop the missiles, it's trying to develop the intercontinental ballistic missile, possibly long-range. It develops that and then what?
RIPLEY: Well, in conversations that I've had with government officials in Pyongyang, repeatedly have -- they have stated that North Korea does not desire to use these weapons that they're developing. They don't want to use the nuclear weapon. They don't want fire missiles to actually targets in South Korea or Japan or this latest missile test last week, potentially Guam or the mainland U.S.
But they do feel that these weapons are essential to the protection of their national sovereignty. They look at the United States spending a trillion dollars to upgrade its own nuclear program. They look at what happened in Iraq. They look at what happened in Libya. Regimes that did not have weapons of mass destruction and those regimes were toppled by the U.S. and its allies and they don't want to see a repeat happening North Korea. And so they're developing these weapons as almost like an insurance policy. And what they ultimately want is a seat at the table. They want to be recognized as a nuclear state and they want to have that respect and that dialogue and hopefully open up their ties with the rest of the world.
But of course, critics of that idea would say that North Korea would essentially be rewarded for illegal behavior that flagrantly violates United Nations Security Council resolutions. But clearly the actions that have been taken against the regime thus far have done very little to stop their development. We've only seen it accelerate -- Cyril.
VANIER: Will Ripley -- thank you so much. And thanks to all three of you -- Will Ripley in Tokyo, not in Pyongyang today; David McKenzie in Beijing; and Paula Hancocks in Seoul. Thanks a lot.
Let's move on now. Riot police arrested 34 people in downtown Sao Paulo, Brazil on Sunday. The early morning raids targeted those supplying the area with drugs. The neighborhood is known to (inaudible) use of crack cocaine. In fact it's called Crack Land. About 500 police officers were part of this operation and they arrested a dealer known as FB. He's believed to be a boss in that area.
We're learning that another protester has died in the violent anti- government demonstrations in Venezuela. The Attorney General says 48 people have been killed in a week of unrest and almost 1,000 have been hurt.
Demonstrators are demanding that President Nicolas Maduro step down by calling him a dictator. He accuses the opposition as staging a coup against him. Venezuela has been gripped by an economic crisis with severe food, water and medicine shortages.
Now as President Trump prepares to move to the next stop on his trip abroad his troubles at home may be deepening. The questions U.S. lawmakers are asking -- when we come back.
[00:31:40] VANIER: Hi, everyone. Welcome back to CNN NEWSROOM. I'm Cyril Vanier. Here are the headlines this hour.
After giving a key speech on fighting extremism while he was in Riyadh, U.S. President Donald Trump will leave Saudi Arabia in a couple of hours and head to Israel. He will meet with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and President Rubin Rivlin. And then on Tuesday he's scheduled to hold talks with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas.
North Korea says it's ready to deploy a medium-range ballistic missile. According to state media leader Kim Jong-un said the latest test of the missile was, quote, "perfect." It flew about 500 kilometers on Sunday before it landed in the sea. Now that's a shorter distance from the country's last missile launch about a week ago. A Finnish woman has been kidnapped and two other people are dead after
an attack in Afghanistan. Officials say assailants targeted a guest house for aid workers in the capital Kabul on Saturday. A German woman who work for "Operation Mercy" was shot and killed. Her Finnish colleague was abducted. The attackers also beheaded an Afghan guard.
And huge delays were reported in Australian and New Zealand airports on Monday. The reports say that a global passport security system failed and international passengers were being checked in manually, delaying flights for hours. Now the system is back up.
Republican lawmakers are taking cautious steps away from President Trump after last week's explosive developments in the Russia investigation. Senator Marco Rubio is vowing to get answers to what he called the "cloud of questions" about Russian influence in the 2016 election. The House Intelligence Committee is asking for documents from a Trump campaign communications adviser. The National Security adviser says the president did raise the firing of FBI director James Comey in his meeting with Russia's Foreign minister.
The "New York Times" had reported that Mister Trump called Comey a "nut job" during that meeting.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
H.R. MCMASTER, NATIONAL SECURITY ADVISER: I don't remember exactly what the president said, and the notes that they apparently have, I do not think are direct transcript, but the gist of the conversation was that the president feels as if he is hamstrung in his ability to work with Russia, to find there is cooperation because this has been obviously so much in the news. And that was the intention of that portion of the conversation.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VANIER: Now Senator John McCain is calling the probe a scandal and says history shows two ways it can be handled.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. JOHN MCCAIN (R), ARIZONA: With the appointment of Mister Mueller we're now at that stage of the scandal and now the question is how does it handled? Is it handled the way Watergate was where drip, drip, drip out every day, the same more and more? Or do we handle it like Ronald Reagan handled the Iran-Contra? It's a scandal. He fired people. He went on national television and said we made mistakes, we did wrong, and we're not going to do it again, and the American people let him move forward.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VANIER: And James Comey is being scheduled to testify to Congress about the investigation. A member of the House Intelligence Committee told Jake Tapper what he wants to hear from the fired FBI director.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) REP. ADAM SCHIFF (D-CA), RANKING MEMBER, HOUSE INTELLIGENCE COMMITTEE: I think the most important thing in light of the reports are to find out was he being pressured by the president to drop any part of the investigation. I think those allegations concerning Mister Flynn and whether the president asked him to essentially back off are among the most serious that we have heard.
[00:35:09] So I would like to hear from the director about that. I obviously like to find out whether you kept contemporaneous notes of those meetings and whether there were any other interactions where the president made him feel uncomfortable. That made him feel that the president was acting inappropriately or that was trying to interfere or impede in the investigation -- with the investigation in any way.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VANIER: And as a member of the Trump campaign and leader of the White House transition team Mike Pence, the US vice president is also involved in the Russia investigation. He received an icy reception at the University of Notre Dame's graduation ceremony. Dozens of students stood up against Mister Pence's policies by walking out on his commencement speech on Sunday.
CNN's Rosa Flores reports.
ROSA FLORES, CNN CORRESPONDENT: The students who stood up and walked out of their commencement ceremony said it best. They said that this is their graduation day and they graduated from a Catholic university and on this campus, they learned about religious freedom for all, not just for Christians but also for their Muslim brothers and sisters.
They also say that they learned about standing up for the marginalized, for the poor, for the LGBTQ community. And they say that these teachings are straight from Pope Francis and they don't believe that Vice President Mike Pence represents those teachings.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
LIZZI PAGURA, GRADUATE, UNIVERSITY OF NOTRE DAME: Either we are all Notre Dame or none of us are. And if you are trying to silence and not listen to the preferences of one group and their families, then you're not listening to any of us and that was a speech or I guess, that was what we wanted to say today to the administration, more so than anyone else.
The administration, you need to listen to our peers, you need to listen to our peers' families and concerns when you decide who to invite to our graduation.
(END VIDE CLIP)
FLORES: Some context is important here because about 3100 students received degrees and between 75 and 100 students stood up and walked out once Vice President Mike Pence began to speak. (END VIDEOTAPE)
VANIER: When we come back a final farewell from Ringling Brothers Circus. Why the greatest show on earth is calling it quits after almost 150 years.
Plus a few senators were just having a conversation outside. We'll explain why their photos now getting a lot of laughs.
VANIER: A picture of a few senators meeting on Capitol Hill is getting a lot of attention for reasons you might not expect. There is even an invisible joint involved.
I'll leave it up to Jeanne Moos to explain.
JEANNE MOOS, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): They're the metaphorical Cheech and Chong.
[00:40:03] UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Hey, looks like a quarter pounder, man.
MOOS: Of the U.S. Senate. Bipartisan Cheech and Chong. Republican Senator Ben Sasse, who just finished a workout, and Democrat Chuck Schumer holding his fingers as if he were holding -- well, let's let Senator Sasse describe it in a tweet.
"Holy moly, it looks like Senator Schumer and I are smoking reefer outside a wedding." To which Senator Schumer replied with a line from "Anchorman."
WILL FERRELL, ACTOR: That escalated quickly.
MOOS: Escalated into viral fame, as Senator Sasse told Glenn Beck.
SEN. BEN SASSE (R), NEBRASKA: Somebody handed me a Photoshop version of it that has Schumer with a huge joint in his hand in the photo now.
MOOS: One conservative Web site started a caption contest, attracting entries like, "Bartender, I'll have a double." "Many seemed to think it was nice to have you guys providing a bipartisan laugh during these grim days." While others couldn't get over Sasse's use of the word reefer, as in the 1936 cult classic.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Smoking the soul-destroying reefer, they find a moment's pleasure, but at a terrible price.
MOOS: Sasse may have been using reefer ironically. He's savvy enough to do a "Dave's Not Here" imitation from Cheech and Chong.
SASSE: Open up, man, it's me, Dave.
MOOS: One constituent tweeted, "Maybe you all should try that. Might be amazed what you would get done," suggesting a little reefer madness might counteract the political madness in Washington.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Marijuana, the burning weed with its roots in hell.
MOOS: Jeanne Moss, CNN, New York.
VANIER: In Vancouver, British Columbia, here's a pretty cool photobomb. Look closely in the background of the picture. That would be Justin Trudeau, the Canadian prime minister. He's the one in the shorts and the T-shirt. Now he was just visiting Vancouver. He went for a run along the waterfront. The students were dressed in their prom clothes and they got along and they spotted the PM and there you go. Canadian leader was all smiles as a group.
Now the "Greatest Show on Earth" has taken its final bow. After nearly 150 years Ringling Brothers and Barnum and Bailey Circus held its farewell performance Sunday in New York. Declining ticket sales and pressure from animal rights groups forced the circus to call it quits. But the final show was sold out. And it was live streamed.
All right. That's it from us. Thank you very much for watching CNN NEWSROOM. "WORLD SPORT" is up next. We'll be back in 15 minutes.