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White House On Secret Backchannel Efforts; U.K. Election Polls Tighten With Security In Focus; Tiger Woods On DUI Arrest: It Wasn't Alcohol; Troops Battle Militants In Southern Philippines; Military: Militants Control Only Small Pockets Of Marawi. Aired 1-2a ET

Aired May 30, 2017 - 01:00   ET


[01:00:00] ISHA SESAY, CNN NEWSROOM ANCHOR: You're watching CNN NEWSROOM live from Los Angeles.

JOHN VAUSE, CNN NEWSROOM ANCHOR: Ahead this hour, what's next for Jared Kushner? The President's trusted son-in-law and Senior Advisor - after reports he pursued a secret line to the Kremlin?

SESAY: Plus, proceeded face off with a tightening election now focused squarely on security.

VAUSE: And in the rough for the big way. Tiger Woods says his DUI arrest did not involve alcohol.

SESAY: Hello and thank you for joining us. I'm Isha Sesay.

VAUSE: Great to have you with us, I'm John Vause. We're now into the second hour of NEWSROOM L.A. The growing investigation into the Trump campaign's ties to Russia alleged, otherwise does not seem to be bothering Jared Kushner. The White House officials say, the President's son-in-law is focused on his work and is "unfazed" by the recent scrutiny.

SESAY: The FBI is looking into what role Kushner played with respect to the Russia's during the campaign and transition. CNN Dianne Gallagher reports now from Washington.


DIANNE GALLAGHER, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Scrutiny and speculation, swirling around President Donald Trump's innermost circle - and perhaps, the President's most trusted Advisor, Jared Kushner.

DONALD TRUMP, UNITED STATES OF AMERICA PRESIDENT: I have a feeling that Jared is going to do a good job.

GALLAGHER: A source tells CNN, Trump's son-in-law discussed creating back channel communications with the Kremlin during a December meeting with Russian Ambassador, Sergey Kislyak. The Washington Post reports that an intercepted conversations; Kislyak told Moscow he was surprised. Kushner wanted to set up an off the record communication system that used Russian diplomatic facilities as a way to bypass U.S. surveillance. Now, the system was never set up but as an explanation, the source tells CNN that Kushner wanted the secure line so he and former National Security Advisor Michael Flynn could discuss military options in Syria among other topics.

JAMES CLAPPER, NATIONAL INTELLIGENCE DIRECTOR: My dashboard warning light was clearly on, and I think that was the case with all of us in the Intelligence Community - very concerned about the nature of these approaches to the Russians.

GALLAGHER: The spotlight on Kushner comes as the man now in charge of the Russia investigation: Robert Mueller, makes his first public speech since being named Special Counsel. At his granddaughter's graduation, Mueller didn't discuss the investigation but did defend the reputation of the FBI.

ROBERT MUELLER, SPECIAL COUNSEL AND FORMER FEDERAL BUREAU OF INVESTIGATION DIRECTOR: The FBI's motto is fidelity, bravery, and integrity. And for the men and women of the FBI - uncompromising integrity, both personal and institutional is the core value.

GALLAGHER: The administration isn't denying the Kushner reports.

JOHN KELLY, HOMELAND SECURITY SECRETARY: Any channel of communication back or otherwise with a country like Russia is a good thing.

GALLAGHER: Instead, Homeland Security Secretary, John Kelly, spent Sunday morning playing down the severity of the situation.

KELLY: There's a lot of different ways to communicate back channel, you know, publicly, with other countries. I don't see any big issue here relative to - relative to Jared.

SEN. JOHN MCCAIN (R), ARIZONA: I don't think it's standard procedure prior to the inauguration of a President of the United States by someone who was not in an appointed position.

GALLAGHER: Now, the meeting was initially not disclosed on Kushner's security clearance form before being amended the next day. But on Friday, Reuters, citing seven current and former U.S. officials reported he had several previously undisclosed contacts with Kislyak, including two phone calls between April and November of last year. His lawyer told CNN in response that Mr. Kushner participated in thousands of calls in this period. He has no recollection of the calls as ascribed. But Democrats are now calling for a second look.

NAME: I do think there ought to be a review of his security clearance to find out whether he was truthful, whether he was candid. If not, there's no way he can maintain that kind of a clearance.

REP. ADAM SCHIFF (D), CALIFORNIA: I do think there ought to be a review of his security clearance to find out whether he was truthful, whether he was candid. If not, then, there's no way you can maintain that kind of a clearance.

GALLAGHER: The President waved off questions but in a statement told the New York Times, in part: "Jared is doing a great job for the country. I have total confidence in him." Now, legally, the fact that Kushner was a private citizen doesn't really matter here. His role in the transition is what the FBI is going to be taking into consideration. He was acting on behalf of the incoming government, and already benefitting from an interim clearance while all of this is said to have been taking place and that's really where the problem would be if there is one here. Dianne Gallagher, CNN, Washington.


VAUSE: Joining us now for more: California Talk Radio Host, Ethan Bearman; and California Republican National Committeeman, Shawn Steele. OK. Let's put the FBI investigation into, you know, trying to establish these communications between Kushner and the Kremlin to one side. Maybe it was just a tin cup and a stream to Kremlin, it was all naive.

But if we look at Kushner's track record so far, his fingerprints are all over the failure of the health care plan, he apparently advised the President that firing James Comey, the FBI Director, would be a political win; Democrats would love it. He doesn't know how to get legislation through Congress. He hasn't secured this peace yet. On that, I think he can take - you know get a bit of a break on that one. But Shawn is it fair to say, you know, the criticism from some - is that, you know, Jared Kushner might not be good at this job.

[01:05:43] SHAWN STEELE, CALIFORNIA REPUBLICAN NATIONAL COMMITTEEMAN: He's only one part of the puzzle - but there are a lot of statements about what he did do or didn't do. But none of it's sourced.

VAUSE: Is he doing his job, though? Is he doing his job?

STEELE: I mean, I'll take it, if you say it's true and you believe it's true, I will - I will likely believe you, but if you're going to use sources like the New York Times or Washington Post, those are-

VAUSE: Is he doing a good job?

STEELE: I don't know. It's too early to tell. I haven't seen him do much of anything. He's behind the scenes, and the whole point of being behind the scenes is you're not observable. What we've got to avoid is TDS. Trump Derangement Syndrome, is a disease that's communicable and it's spreading all over at least half of America, but there are three people that warned us about that disease: Glenn Greenward - let me look it up here - a Bob Woodward, and Ben Smith around the street of BuzzFeed.

Each one of these things was reaching - Democrats were reaching a level of classic deranged conspiracies. Whereas Woodward says, Benj Franken of the anti-Trump coquette. It's getting so extreme, so strange and nutty, that almost any - you know, if - if the President's wife puts - doesn't reach out and hold Donald Trump's hand - that's an international incident. If she has the wrong kind of dress meeting the Pope, that's an international incident.

ETHAN BEARMAN, CALIFORNIA TALK RADIO HOST: The question is back to Jared - No, it's back to Jared Kushner. Did he ask the Russians to use their equipment for back channel communication that's off the record? If he did that, then, he should be in very serious trouble and we need to review his security clearance. SESAY: OK. Again, going back to what John said, sticking with the

facts as we see them in terms of his job abilities. Given where he is now, on the scrutiny about the FBI, how long can this president afford to remain loyal to Kushner, Ethan?

BEARMAN: Well, I think he's going to - well, that's a big question mark now with the rumors about Corey Lewandowski going back to the White House, to creating this war room because the people he's had in charge, Jared Kushner as a key part of that, aren't succeeding; they're not winning the war in the media, or convincing the Americans to spring. His ratings are so low, 35 percent this early in the first term in polls, which I'm sure Shawn will claim are all fake, of course. But the point is, is President's come into office with the good will of the American people behind them.

VAUSE: You mentioned this: Corey Lewandowski, the former campaign manager was fired, the controversial campaign manager. He was spotted back at the White House on Monday night by a CNN staffer. Also along with the Deputy Manager of the campaign, David Bossie - I believe it's his name, also spotted at the White House. So, Shawn, could this be Lewandowski's revenge? Could Lewandowski, who was forced out by, you know, Kushner and Ivanka, could he be the one that forces Jared Kushner out of the White House?

STEELE: Great speculation. We can only see what actually happened. We can theorize - what David Bossie is a friend of mine, I've known him in the Republican National Committee. He's got a great deal of credibility, he's a more of a mechanical kind of guy but Steve Bannon, the one that was - who is supposed to have been fired weeks or months ago is going to be in charge of the war room. But again, when you actually see real things happen, then we can start dissecting it. But trying to predict what's going on in the Trump White House, and what put a lot of reporters on a dangerous ledge after willing and almost willing to fall off.

A.P. has made so many mistakes about things they said was going to happen, Washington Post is owned by one of the - the richest man in the world. And he's concerned that maybe Trump's going to come at him with anti-trust for Amazon. I mean, we've got - here's what happened. I made a deal with my daughter, she's at Georgetown. I'm not going to cite any right wing sources to her going forward in our ongoing discussions and debates and she's not going to cite any left wing sources. Guess what the two sources for table news are: this one and Fox, everything else is irrelevant. When it comes to mainstream media, we don't go to the Washington Post, we don't to the New York Times, and we go to another journalist-

VAUSE: We appreciate the compliment.

SESAY: Ethan, how is this war room going to work? I mean, realistically, this is a White House that seems to be mired in daily controversies, new headlines, and new bombshells. How effective is this going to be, especially when you're dealing with Donald Trump who you can out all the press releases in the world and he'll send out a tweet? BEARMAN: I actually agree with your assessment there, which is I don't think this war room can be successful as long as President Trump behaves the way that he does. There's no indication that he'll ever change the way he behaves. You saw that with the primary, he was supposed to pivot for the general election; he didn't. He's going to continue sending the tweets, he's going to continue speaking off the cuff and making up policy as he goes.

I also want to go back to something with Corey Lewandowski per se, which is I have a question for the Republicans now. So, between President Trump and the access Hollywood tapes, somewhat he's admitting what he likes to do. We have the Montana Congressman, who now likes to violently attack people who question him. And Cory Lewandowski was accused of attacking a member of the press as well. Is this what the Republican do, is just attack the press instead of answering tough questions?

[01:10:43] STEELE: Unfortunately, most of the victims are actually Trump supporters or Republicans across the country including a Texas Republican Assemblyman in Texas, who was threatened with a bullet in his head by a Democrat. There's a lot of tension.

BEARMAN: But was that-

STEELE: There's a lot of tension.

BEARMAN: Has that Texas Congressman assaulted like what Gianforte did in Montana?

STEELE: Yes, he was assaulted with a death threat, when you have a death threat. Look, the Congressman who was nicely elected in Montana brushed against-


BEARMAN: Body slammed! There was a Fox News Producers on site.

STEELE: They took their word back on that. They actually recanted though.

VAUSE: You're going to have time to heat this up, OK. I want to move forward to-

STEELE: John, if anybody body slammed you, right, left or center, I would oppose that and I want to put that-

VAUSE: I appreciate that, and you'd be dead to defend me too, Shawn, I know that. OK. On Monday, the new French President, Emmanuel Macron, he met with Russia's President, Vladimir Putin, and you know this new fresh-faced President of France, he sort really took it to Vladimir Putin especially on the issue of meddling in the French election. Listen to this.


EMMANUEL MACRON, FRANCE PRESIDENT (through translator): Politicians have the responsibility to make decisions, to say things. And when press organs spread infamous counter truths, they're no longer journalist; they're organs of influence. Russia Today and Sputnik have been organs of influence throughout this campaign and they've repeatedly produced counter truths about me and my campaign. And therefore, I confirm, that I consider that they did not belong inside my headquarters.


VAUSE: And the background here is that Sputnik and Russia Today both government-backed in Russia were banned from Macron's campaign because, as he said, that was very fake news. So, Ethan, to you, would you expect or would you hope and would expect President Trump to take a similar strong stance against Putin?

BEARMAN: I would love to hear any Republican right now in the United States take that kind of a stance toward Russia. I have no confidence that President Trump is going to do something like that; he's got a bromance brewing with Putin. He's not going to challenge him like that. There's a really strange relationship happening, and that's why all these investigations going on. We need to get to the bottom of it, I have no confidence that under President Trump that he wants to get to the bottom of it.

SESAY: Well, one of the Republicans who is speaking out against Russia is Republican Senator John McCain. He actually believes that Russia is a bigger threat to U.S. than ISIS. Take a listen to some of what he said.


MCCAIN: I think he is the premier and most important threat, more so than ISIS. I think ISIS can do terrible things, and I worry a lot about what is happening with the Muslim faith, and I worry about a whole lot of things about it. But it's the Russians who are trying - who tried to destroy the very fundamental of democracy, and that is to change the outcome of an American election. I have seen no evidence they succeeded, but they tried and they are still trying. They are still trying to change election. They just tried to affect the outcome of the French election. So, I view Vladimir Putin who's dismembered Ukraine, a sovereign nation, who is putting pressure on the Baltics. I view the Russians as a far greatest challenge that we have.


SESAY: So, Shawn, let me ask you this. Why is this President, President Trump, on a different page to most other people when it comes to the assessment the threat Russia poses to the U.S.? Help us understand that.

STEELE: Well, let me help - I'd be happy to help you out. First of all, this is one Republican that doesn't like the Russians, doesn't trust the Russians, and there's a whole lot of Republicans that-

VAUSE: But there are more than just one. STEELE: Let's talk about Trump. Trump, is the one that actually

threw missiles at Syria, something that Obama never dreamed of doing, taking on the Russian policy and he asked for troops preventing the Russians from expanding their power base. So, he's actually, in a geopolitical sense, really taking on the Russians objectively, not just talking about it, but actually doing it. And Trump's not the kind of guy to let any - you know, let's say the Russians are a second world power. It's got an economy much smaller than California, so that's really not an - McCain's wrong. I mean, the problem is radical Islamists around the world spontaneously hurting people every single day. The Russians are rather weak in any proof.

SESAY: The second-rate economy that meddled in the U.S. election.

BEARMAN: And the French election, and the Ukrainian election, and the Germans.

STEELE: The French have been involved in meddling in our elections. They helped us to win the revolutionary war.

SESAY: We're going back to the revolutionary war now.

[01:15:07] STEELE: No, no. We've been - our own nation - I don't like it, I don't excuse it. But on the other hand, we've been meddling in other elections and Obama himself had his political team go to Israel to work against and then Yahoo, nobody was complaining about that.

BEARMAN: But that was not done through technological means and that was not done spreading fake information. Absolutely not when that is known and it's out in the open, it is OK. It's when you're hiding it and when you're attacking and some diffusions being used that is the problem.

STEELE: The Russian leaks that we're getting now about Jared or whatever the other -- the current issue is now working with the far left so the Russians are masters at disinformation and so now we have a combination of the far left -- the anti-Trumpers with the Russians and just trying to make Trump look bad.

VAUSE: You won't win the war of independence. OK.

STEELE: No, we won that war.

VAUSE: Thank you and congratulations.

SESAY: Gentlemen -

VAUSE: Good to see you both. Thank you.

SESAY: Thank you so much. All right moving on. The man suspected of carrying out a deadly stabbing on a commuter train in Portland are again scheduled to be arraigned Tuesday. Police say 35-year-old Jeremy Christian shouted slurs at two teenagers one who is wearing a head jab before stabbing three men who came to their defense. VAUSE: Two of these men died. One was a recent college graduate the

other a military veteran and a deeply emotional moment, 16-year-old Destinee Mangum thanked the strangers for coming to her aid.


DESTINEE MANGUM, HATE SPEECH VICTIM: I just want to say thank you to the people who put their life on the line for me, because they didn't even know me. And they lost their lives because of me and my friend and the way we looked and I just want to say thank you to them and their family. That I appreciate them, because without them we probably would be dead right now.


VAUSE: U.S. President Donald Trump condemned the attack on Monday tweeting, "The violent attacks in Portland on Friday are unacceptable. The victims for standing to hate and intolerance, our prayers are with them"

SESAY: Well one week after the Manchester terror attack crowds gathered for a vigil in the city central on Monday night, honoring the 22 people killed. Dozens more were wounded when Salman Abedi blew himself up after concert by pop star Ariana Grande.

VAUSE: Investigators are trying to track down Abedi's network, they want an access to a key question here. Did he actually build that bomb himself? There are also new photos of Abedi from before the attack. CNN's Atika Shubert has the details.


ATIKA SHUBERT, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well Manchester police have released a new photo of Salman Abedi. If you take a look at it, he's standing curbside. It is city center location and there's a very distinctive blue suitcase next to him. Now, police are looking for anyone that may have seen Abedi with the suitcase at various locations across the city as part of an effort to try and retrace his movements in the days before the attack. Now, in addition to that photo, there is also now closed-circuit television footage that has surfaced from a nearby convenience store also in the city center. In that video, there is a man that appears to be Salman Abedi walking through picking up food items and he also appears to be avoiding the camera. You can see his hood up, his hat, he puts on glasses as well. Now, that footage was aired on BBC. Police say they are looking into the footage. They're also trying to find any other clues as to what he was doing in the days preceding the attack. They know for example that he arrived back in the U.K. on May 18th and that on the day of the attack he was also at a short-term rental apartment in the city center just about a mile and a half away from the arena and that apartment police believe was the staging ground for the attack. Atika Shubert CNN, Manchester.


SESAY: Well, polls are getting tighter as party leaders returned to the front lines of the U.K. election campaign. With just over a week ago, and for the voter's head to the ballot box. Theresa May and Jeremy Corbyn appeared on British television Monday night.

VAUSE: They were questioned separately on key policies. First, by a studio audience and then by Journalist Jeremy Paxman, the event was broadcast live by Sky News and Channel 4.


JEREMY PAXMAN, JOURNALIST: Immigration was your main task to get it down to what you promised in the manifesto which was 100,000 or less non-E.U. immigrants per year, net. You didn't do that, did you?

THERESA MAY, BRITISH PRIME MINISTER: Net, migration, no we didn't achieve that. We did - what happened.

PAXMAN: Can you just tell us what it is now.

MAY: Yes, it was 248,000 in the last set of figures. What we saw was the figures -

PAXMAN: Non-E.U. migrants?

MAY: Was about 170, 175,000.

PAXMAN: Was the 175,000 according to latest figures, yes?

MAY: The -- what we saw in immigration figures was it started to come down and they did go up and now they're starting to come down again. What we will have when we leave the E.U.

[01:20:16] PAXMAN: That was your job.

MAY: Yes Jeremy, I'm not sitting here saying it wasn't. I'm accepting.


VAUSE: Well lately Jeremy Corbyn he was also asked about immigration. It's a topic that was a major issue in last summer's Brexit vote.


JEREMY CORBYN, BRITISH LABOR PARTY LEADER: If people hadn't migrated this country we would have a much worse health service, education system, and transport system than we have. The contribution it's made to your living standards and mine by people who have come here is huge. But I'll tell you what will change, we will not allow companies to bring in whole groups of very low paid workers in order to undercut often fairly low paid workers in this country that sustain their workers and business.


SESAY: Well our Richard Quest has been on the road to find out what British voters think. VAUSE: He made a similar trip last year ahead of the Brexit vote, now

he's back and Freddie cameraman right talking to students.


RICHARD QUEST, CNN QUEST MEANS BUSINESS ANCHOR: Our general election Freddie Brexit tour has begun here in the Wales capital, Cardiff. Which is also home to one of the larger universities in Britain with 30,000 students. The university was a perfect place for us to begin our tour. Many of the issues in the general election are being felt right here. The question and issue of security, radicalization, the university has an Islamic studies center, and also on the economy, the shortfall in funding that universities will face once Britain leaves the European Union. I discussed these issues with students representing the main political parties. How worried are you that security is an issue in this election?

LUCY GOLDING, CONSERVATIVE STUDENT VOTER: I think recently especially with the events of Manchester definitely a lot more so until now it wasn't so much, but I think the government has proved it's doing a very to prevent scheme has been very effective in stopping thousands of attacks wherever it can.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I think, you know, education from a student perspective has to be the main authority and I think, you know, students have been affected by a lot some policies of the conservative and the liberal Democrat government that went before in which tuition fees rising, scrapping maintenance grants and things of that that are affecting students from poorer backgrounds.

QUEST: From the cloisters of the world of academia to the real live world of the economy, tomorrow, Freddie Brexit stays in Wales, but we go to new port to see how a hard-hit part of the country is dealing with the general election.


SESAY: All right. Some breaking news for you now and former Panamanian Strongman Manuel Noriega has died. He was 83 years old, Noriega ruled the Central American nation from 1983 until he was removed from power by the U.S. military in 1989.

VAUSE: Noriega has spent nearly two decades in a U.S. prison for drug trafficking and money laundering, up to more jail time in France. He returned to Panama in 2011.

SESAY: All right quick break here and next on NEWSROOM L.A., a bloody siege and Martial Law and now the Philippine Army says it's making real gains against ISIS in the Southern City of Marawi. We'll be live in Manila.

VAUSE: Plus families who are gathering outside an ice cream shop in Baghdad then a car bomb exploded. Who's claiming responsibilities? That's when we come back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK) [01:25:38] SESAY: Hello everyone, the Philippine military claim it's on the verge of retaking a city besieged by militant linked to ISIS. That's according to CNN Philippines, Marawi on the southern island in Mindanao has been under Martial Law now for a week.

VAUSE: The government says the fighting has killed more than 60 terrorists, 20 troops, and nearly 20 civilians.


RESTITUTO PADILLA, PHILIPPINE MILITARY SPOKESMAN: There was a need to do surgical air strikes because of strategically emplace enemy presence so we cannot do otherwise because if we do not employ combat power as we need it and it fit, we would prolong the tearing process and we would endanger more lives, both civilian and military.


VAUSE: And military says it is still trying to weed out pockets of resistance.

SESAY: All right, well let's go now to Richard Heydarian in Manila. He's a professor of political science at De La Salle University, thank you so much for joining us. In your view was President Duterte's decision to declare Martial Law in Mindanao warranted?

RICHARD HEYDARIAN, DE LA SALLE UNIVERSITY PROFESSOR OF POLITICAL SCIENCE (via Skype): Well its seems the situation in Mindanao is really getting out of control. One of the most troubling things we're talking about here is the presence of foreign fighters on the ground. People are suggesting that not only Malaysian or Indonesian jihadists but probably even Arab jihadists were joining the Maute Group also known as the Islamic State Lanao. So there this concern that the situation is getting out of control and the President may need all the necessary legal leeway to move forward.

Nonetheless, that has also raised specter Marcos dictatorship when the Philippines had a Martial Law in the 70's and 80's, so the Philippine military pre-emptively has released a set of guidelines to make sure that this is not going to be a horrific resuscitation of the past experiences and that the Philippine military will respect the basic civil liberties and rights of the citizens to its utmost. Nonetheless, we are talking about urban warfare in Marawi, we are talking about a very serious situation. So, abuses could be very much on the table that is why it's important for the Philippine Congress and for the courts to remain functional and check and balances the Philippines military in its execution of the Martial Law.

SESAY: Given President Duterte's support in Congress, his overwhelming support, will Congress actually act as a check and balance to his power and how things play out in Mindanao?

HEYDARIAN: That's definitely a problem. I mean Duterte very popular, he has a super majority in the Congress, so I think in Mindanao he's going to get his way. In fact, 15 Philippine Senators recently released resolutions suggesting that they are supporting President Duterte Martial Law declaration in Mindanao. But I think once the declaration is extended beyond the conflict zone, let's say in Visayas and Northern Region where Manila is, I think that's where we're going to see opposition including from people within the government coalition unless the President really convinces the people that this is the only way forward. But then again, I think it's very important for the civil society groups for the international community and other institutions in the state to do their job and make sure that the President will responsibly use the additional powers and emergency powers is enjoying under Martial Law.

SESAY: Richard you just mentioned the possibility you raise the specter of Martial Law being extended or expanded beyond Mindanao, is this under consideration and is these raising concerns there in the Philippines?

HEYDARIAN: You know, when the President Duterte just returned from Russia to the Philippines after meeting Vladimir Putin he threatened to extend it beyond Mindanao. And the reaction was quite negative even amongst some of his allies. So, because there's a sense that, the problem is in Mindanao, where Duterte comes from but to extend it beyond there is going to raise serious question about the quality in how Philippine Democracy. So, I expect the opposition to build off, I think the President goes there, and I think even within the military there's no appetite for extending this beyond Mindanao knowing that they also have to protect their integrity and I think Philippine military over the past three decades has internalized the basic Democratic rights in the constitution and remember the role of the military is to be guardians of the constitution, not to just blindly follow the President. So, I think as far - as long the crisis in Mindanao Duterte will get his way but once this goes beyond Mindanao, resistance is going to build up even among his allies.

SESAY: Richard Heydarian we really appreciate the insight and analysis. Thank you so much for joining us.

HEYDARIAN: My pleasure.

VAUSE: ISIS is claiming responsibility for deadly bombing in central Baghdad. Warning, the image from the scene of the attack are graphic and disturbing. A car bomb exploded outside an ice cream shop as families gathering there to break their fast in the holy month of Ramadan. At least 10 people were killed and 40 others wounded. ISIS says the targets was Shiites. The terror group has carried out several similar attacks across the Iraqi capitol this year.

SESAY: A quick break here.

And former Panamanian strongman Manuel Noriega has died. We'll have a look at his notorious rein and his downfall when we come back.

VAUSE: Plus, ahead, the Baltic States say they're swamped with disinformation from their neighbor. We'll tell you how Lithuania is fighting fake news from Russia.


[01:38:26] VAUSE: Welcome back, everybody. You're watching CNN NEWSROOM, live from Los Angeles. I'm John Vause.

SESAY: And I'm Isha Sesay.

The headlines this hour --


SESAY: And breaking news for you now. Panamanian strongman Manuel Noriega has died. He was 83 years old. Noriega ruled the Central American national from 1983 until he was removed from power by the U.S. military in 1989.

VAUSE: He spent nearly two decades in a U.S. prison for drug trafficking and money laundering. After more jail time in France, Noriega returned to Panama in 2011.

SESAY: Noriega had been hospitalized recovering from a brain tumor operation.

We get more on his life from CNN's Rafael Romo.


RAFAEL ROMO, CNN LATIN-AMERICAN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Manuel Noriega was the American ally who turned awkward, a figure whose ambition and antagonism cost him his American friends, his Panamanian presidency and his freedom as well.

[01:35:07] Noriega was abandoned by his parents as a child and joined the military in search of a career. He rose through the ranks and kept rising in Panama's military junta until he took control of it.

For almost two decades, that made him a major player in a small country of critical importance to the U.S. because of its location on the Panama Canal, the strategic and economic waterway between the Atlantic and Pacific.

There seems to be little doubt that Noriega served the American interests and profited handsomely. One-time CIA Director George Bush gave him a personal tour of the agency. The CIA gave him more than just a tour, enlisting him as a paid asset in campaigns against the leftist government of Nicaragua and rebels of el Salvador.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's wrong that people say you can't buy him. You can't buy him but you can, sure as hell, rent him.

ROMO: Noriega claimed he got millions for helping the CIA. U.S. drug agents claim he also got millions for helping the Medina cartel, protecting cocaine shipments and laundering cash.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We latter found out that he made one arrest for us and two for him. And one for us and five for him. Meaning that he obviously didn't make a lot of arrests and profited handsomely for not making those arrests.

ROMO: Noriega had a different version of events. He said the U.S. wanted him to help invade Nicaragua and overthrow the leftists. He refused.

MANUEL NORIEGA, FORMER PANAMANIAN PRESIDENT (through translation): You are a good person so long as you say yes. However, once you say no, then you become an evil guy.

ROMO: Noriega's rhetoric turned angry.


ROMO: Panamanian soldiers clashed with U.S. troops stationed in the country. By then, that formerly friendly CIA director had been elected president and --

GEORGE H.W. BUSH, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: The goals of the United States have been to safeguard the lives of Americans, to defend democracy in Panama, to combat drug trafficking, and to protect the integrity of the Panama Canal Treaty.

ROMO: It costs the lives of two dozen Americans and hundreds, and some say even thousands of Panamanians.

Noriega was the first foreign head of state to be convicted in a U.S. court. He spent some 20 years in U.S. prisons for drug trafficking and money laundering before being extradited to France to face money laundering charges there.

In late 201,1 after more than a year in prison in France, Noriega was extradited back to Panama where he was convicted in abstentia of murdering two political opponents and sentenced to 40 years from prison.

While incarcerated in Panama, Noriega was hospitalized several times for numerous illnesses, including a stroke.

Washington's man in Panama, enjoyed power and money and friends in high places, he died a prisoner in the country he once ruled.

Rafael Romo, CNN.


SESAY: Russia may be setting its sights on a new target. Some in the Baltic States believe Moscow is waging an all-out fake news war against them.

VAUSE: Nina dos Santos reports from Lithuania on what some believe is a new front in Moscow's anti-NATO cyberwar.



NINA DOS SANTOS, CNN MONEY EUROPE EDITOR (voice-over): These troops are part of NATO's 4000-strong increased presence in the Baltics and Poland.


DOS SANTOS: They may be here to guard the border but guarding their reputation is also paramount amid a wave of information designed to sap public support for their presence.

In February, German soldiers were falsely accused of raping a girl near their barracks. The allegation made it all the way to Lithuania's parliament and Angela Merkel

ANGELA MERKEL, GERMAN CHANCELLOR (through translation): For us, it was important that we were able to clarify this together very quickly. From our side, the German side, this was clearly a false report.

DOS SANTOS: To combat what they say is a barrage of false reports each month, Lithuania has developed their own tools to monitor fake content before it spreads.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This time, it tracks events, such as NATO exercises, to get information and cyber-attacks in real time."

DOS SANTOS From graffiti with anti-NATO messages to documented footage, like this footage on airstrikes that never happened, and TV polls hacked to give the wrong results, army analysts, they say they've seen it all.

(on camera): So that poll is wrong because it was hacked?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes, absolutely. One computer was able to thwart it 7,500 times and was 70 percent of all votes was like a sequence of cyber-attack.

DOS SANTOS (voice-over): Even the Baltics' biggest news agency was compromised.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I noticed strange story in our news wire alleging American troops were crossing right here. You know, I immediately turned to our foreign editor, I said, what the heck, where did this story come from, and he just shook his shoulders and said, I don't know anything about it, and then we realized, you know, it looks like a fake news story.

[01:40:12] DOS SANTOS: To Lithuania, the culprit is clear and the threat increasing.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The threats are coming from our eastern neighbor, from Russia.

DOS SANTOS: Russia's response to CNN, "Where's the evidence?"

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's a psychological war, and on this issue, personally, we don't have any doubts, and to be careful, of course, clear evidences that this is coming from Russia.

DOS SANTOS (on camera): Of course, the advent of fake news and the undermining of NATO aren't just local phenomena. They've been happening right around the world. But here on Europe's eastern front in countries like these, so close to Russia, these are risks that are being taken very seriously, indeed.

Nina dos Santos, CNN, Lithuania.


VAUSE: Next on NEWSROOM L.A., first comes the arrest and then the apology. Golf legend Tiger Woods now speaking out. Details in a moment.

SESAY: Plus, a bench-clearing brawl in the city by the bay. We'll show you what started it all, next on NEWSROOM L.A.

Oh, nasty.



SESAY: Well, an American sports writer has been sacked over offensive remarks made about the first Japanese driver to win the Indy 500.

VAUSE: Takuma Sato took the checkered flag Sunday in Indianapolis in what is known as the greatest spectacle in racing. His win did not sit well with the "Denver Post" writer, Terry Frel, who said this, "Nothing specifically personal, but I'm very uncomfortable with a Japanese driver winning the Indianapolis 500 during memorial day weekend." Many called that comment racist and xenophobic.

SESAY: Frel apologizing, quote, "I fouled up, I'm sorry. I made a stupid reference during an emotional weekend to one of the wars fought in World War II, and in this case, the specific one my father fought against.

VAUSE: Sticking with apologies, Tiger Woods has said he is sorry after he was arrested on suspicion of driving under the influence. He said alcohol was not involved and that he had an unexpected reaction to prescribed medications.

SESAY: He was arrested early Monday in Jupiter, Florida, where he has a home. He was booked and released from jail a few hours later.

Segun Oduolowu is with us, an entertainment journalist and pop culture contributor.

Segun, welcome back.


VAUSE: Nice to see you.

ODUOLOWU: Nice to see the both of you.

SESAY: Thank you. You're so smooth.

So let's move on. Woods in this widely-reported statement says he takes responsibility but it wasn't alcohol, rather a reaction to medication that he's been taking for his back surgery. As explanations, as apologies go, how does this rate?

[01:44:56] ODUOLOWU: Well, it's plausible denial. And if this was another sport, like football, this would be a foul. When he was arrested, the reports are saying that he refused a breathalyzer, which under Florida state law, you are taken immediately to jail and booked under suspicion of DUI. He's been reported as having back fusion on his back, so this excuse, it's my meds, not alcohol, is plausible.

Personally, you don't not take the breathalyzer if you're innocent. And this is more for his fans, and for his sponsors. In a sport like golf, similar to the Indianapolis 500 where if racers have the logos on their person, there's a logo on Tiger's bags, his clubs, the all he uses, these sponsors and these endorsers are not going to be happy with a DUI mug shot staring right back at them.

VAUSE: This is not for legal reasons, but prescribed medication, under the influence, illegal drugs, all the same in Florida.

But Tiger also in that statement said, "I would like to apologize with all my heart to my family, friends and fans. I expect more from myself, too. I will do everything in my power to ensure all of this never happens again."

All of this sounds similar to an apology he made back in 2010 after it was revealed he had multiple affairs and he had been in rehab for six weeks. Listen to this.


TIGER WOODS, PRO GOLFER: Many of you have cheered for me, or you worked with me, or you supported me. Now every one of you has good reason to be critical of me. I want to say to each of you, simply and directly, I am deeply sorry for my irresponsible and selfish behavior I engaged in.


VAUSE: How many times can Tiger Woods be forgiven?

ODUOLOWU: Well, none, if you keep giving horrible apologies like that. When do you have to read an apology? If you're truly sorry, that's all you say, I'm sorry, I messed up, please forgive me, I let you down.

SESAY: When you have sponsors, you read apologies.

ODUOLOWU: Right, but that read apology didn't feel as if there was any genuine emotion to it.


SESAY: I thought he seemed genuine.

(CROSSTALK) ODUOLOWU: No. Take a look at the Michael Vick apology when he apologized for getting caught for dog fighting. He got up there, no script, no notes and apologized sincerely. Tiger should have done that. He's getting ahead of the story with the plausible deniability. But that apology, when you look at it, he's like, I'm sorry that this happened. No account whatsoever about what the possible danger of driving under the influence, people that could have been run off the road or killed, and that bothered me as well As people came out in support of, oh, we're so sorry for Tiger, not the potential damage that could have happened. But he blames it on the meds. It's not my fault, it's not me, it's the meds. That, at 41-year-old, I didn't know how to take responsibly, even though I've had multiple knee surgeries and back surgeries and have been prescribed medication before.

SESAY: The mug shot was put out there, as you know, and it was out there, everyone saw it, and then social media lit up.

ODUOLOWU: As they should.

SESAY: When it appeared that ESPN had Photoshopped --

VAUSE: Cleaned him up a little.


VAUSE: Look at this, on the right.

ODUOLOWU: In the red, and you can see how they kind of slicked his hair back a little bit and highlighted the jaw line.


VAUSE: And the bags under the eyes.

ODUOLOWU: I'm not sure why they would do that. He looks like in that picture that he's got more hair than me.


And in the real picture, they're doing the exact same thing.


SESAY: -- be like a technical thing where you're trying to change backgrounds and, I don't know.

ODUOLOWU: No, that was -- listen, Tiger -- in the world of sports, Tiger Woods is still a sacred cow. The golf meter and sports meter moves when something happened to him.

There was a DUI recently today of Philadelphia defensive back. That doesn't make the news, because he's not Tiger Woods. Tiger Woods is so big that he hasn't played --

VAUSE: Let's take a look at the official rankings right now. He was number one for so long. Right now, in the official world rankings, he is 876. I mean, that is a huge -- that is 875 places short of number one.

ODUOLOWU: But he's the only golfer, if they walk into a room, everywhere in the world, you would know who that is. Golfers are international. But as good as others may be, they do not carry the same type of weight and gravitas of a 14-time major championship winner. So Tiger is still the golf needle. Every tournament he doesn't play, when is he coming back? Every tournament he does play, can he win again? It's so much. We talk about his surgeries, his family, his infidelities, and now driving under the influence.

VAUSE: The lasting image is Tiger in a green jacket, tiger in a mug shot.

ODUOLOWU: The lasting image of Tiger is a fallen star because we love a comeback story, and until he does, we'll be left with that soulless mug shot.

[01:50:05] SESAY: People are rooting for him that he does make that comeback.

ODUOLOWU: I'm rooting for him. I'm a Tiger fan. I want Tiger to come back. I watch golf because of Tiger and I have not watched golf while he's been away.

SESAY: That's why he's a big deal.

VAUSE: There you go.

41 years of age. If he can make a comeback, it will be incredible. It will be better than Rocky IV.

ODUOLOWU: Did you go boxing to golf? Because they're so similar.


ODUOLOWU: Yeah, it's Australia. It's golf, what do you think?


SESAY: Thank you.

VAUSE: Speaking of fighting, segue boxing into baseball. Fists were flying in San Francisco when the Nationals came to town. Outfielder Harper up to bat in the 8th when he got punched by the Giants' Strickland. He tried to throw his helmet at the pitcher but it slipped out of his hands.

SESAY: It didn't take long for other players to get in on the action. Harper and Strickland were both ejected from the game. This is the first time the two had met in their history. The two had met since Harper hit two home runs off Strickland in the 2014 playoff. The Nationals went on to win this game, 3-0.

Look at them run to get involved in the fight. VAUSE: That's what you do when you play a team sport.


VAUSE: What?

ODUOLOWU: Harper got rocked. He got knocked back a little bit. I would expect a little bit more. Looked like he got hit. Why wouldn't he just run out there with a bat?


SESAY: We're not endorsing the violence, and you've never played a team sport.

VAUSE: I played rugby.


VAUSE: I did. I was terrible but I played rugby.

OK, fans of the television show "House of Cards," they've been chomping at the bit for the upcoming season against the backdrop of a new political reality in Washington. But which is which?


SESAY: Well, the Netflix series "House of Cards" returns Tuesday for its fifth season. Here's a preview.


UNIDENTIFIED ACTOR: The American people don't know what's best for them. I do. I know exactly what they need. They're like little children. We have to hold their sticky fingers and wipe their filthy mouths. Lucky for them, they have me.


Well, Daniel Feinberg, a television critic for the "Hollywood Reporter," joins us.

Daniel, welcome.

I read the piece, and basically this is what I got from it. You feel that show's handling of the Frank Underwood character is its greatest weakness but furthermore, you also think -- you also don't think Spacey is very good at this role in this point in time "because you say we cut him a ton of slack for what is no longer a very good performance." Ouch.

DANIEL FEINBERG, TELEVISIONC CRITIC, HOLLYWOOD REPORTER: I'm not saying that he's not a great actor. He is. He's got Oscars, he's got a Tony. He's got all that stuff. But I think this is a performance that has gone from being kind of subtle and laired and occasionally villain, but I don't know that's what I'm watching the show for anymore. I know some people are watching to see what the awful thing frank is going to do is next.

[01:55:04] VAUSE: But you make the point that people who have been watching the news closely, you've had a lot of, you know, fixed elections and terrorist groups in the Middle East and you know, Russians interfering in the Democratic process and we heard Robin Wright admitting that point recently. Listen to this.


STEPHEN COLBERT, TALK SHOW HOST: "House of Cards" is just an extreme view of politics but it seems perfectly reasonable now.


ROBIN WRIGHT, ACTRESS: You took the words right out of my mouth. Trump has Trumped us. We don't have any ideas for season six now.


He stole them all.


VAUSE: So has the Trump administration, with its scandal after scandal, has it ruined "House of Cards?"

FEINBERG: I don't know that it's ruined "House of Cards" any more than "House of Cards" has ruined "House of Cards."


FEINBERG: It's much hard because the stakes in the real world have gone to a point at which if you're attempting to chase the soap opera elements of the actual real world it's become impossible and "House of Cards" tries to do a lot of the things happening in the real world. On one hand, yes, it feels real but is that what anybody's watching "House of Cards" for is because it's real?

SESAY: My favorite line in your piece was, "To the show's absolute credit, entertaining and amusing things begin to happen by the 11th or 12th episode, and even though they're ludicrous, implausible and riddled with plot holes, they set the show up well for the sixth season."

FEINBERG: I was trying to be nice. I promise. And what I'm saying is if you know I'm coming at it to the point I'm not a biggest fan of the show, at least I'm saying by the time we get to the end of the season --


SESAY: Who's going to get there after having read this review?

FEINBERG: Even somebody that didn't love the show on a regular basis was entertained by the last few episodes. I was.

VAUSE: Frank Underwood, he addresses the audience fairly often. Key point of the show. Have a look.


UNDERWOOD: My one guilty pleasure is a good rack of ribs even at 7:30 in the morning. I have the whole place to myself. Sometimes it opens just for me. Where I come from, in South Carolina, people didn't have two pennies to rub together. A rack of ribs is a luxury, like Christmas in July.


VAUSE: Ian Richardson, in the original version, does it as well. Let's take another quick look.


IAN RICHARDSON, ACTOR: Nothing lasts forever. Even the longest, the most littering rain must come to an end someday.


VAUSE: Who does it better?

FEINBERG: Ian Richardson is good but he didn't have to do it for six seasons.

VAUSE: Right. Exactly.

FEINBERG: He could have been as handy as Kevin Spacey probably would have been.

VAUSE: Daniel, thank you.

SESAY: Great writing.

VAUSE: I love the "House of Cards" but it is a nasty version of the "West Wing" right now.

Thank you for the review.


SESAY: Very well written.

Thank you.

VAUSE: Thank you so much.

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

VAUSE: I'm John Vause.

Stay with us. A lot more news in just a moment.