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Legal Victory For Trump's Travel Ban; "Trumpcare" Suffers A Setback; More U.K. High-Rises Fail Fire Safety Check; 75 London Apartment Buildings Fail Safety Tests; U.S. Releases "Trafficking in Persons" Report; Nobel-Winning Chinese Dissident with Cancer Out of Prison; "Transformers" Opening Weekend. Aired 1-2a ET
Aired June 27, 2017 - 01:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[01:00:00] PAULA NEWTON, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT AND ANCHOR: This is NEWSROOM live from Los Angeles. Ahead this hour, Donald Trump's travel ban wins a legal victory, making a way for some people to be blocked from entering the United States. Trump's efforts to replace Obamacare suffer a political setback; some believed that Republican health care bill may be already a life support. And later, nearly two weeks after a fire devastated this west London tower; fire officials warn dozens of other high-rise buildings across the U.K. may also be at risk. Hello, and thanks for joining us. I'm Paula Newton, and this is NEWSROOM L.A.
Parts of President Donald Trump's controversial travel ban could take effect within the next three days. The U.S. Supreme Court has decided to allow the ban for foreign nations who lack any bonafide relationship with any person or entity in the United States. But enforcement, of course, could be quite tricky. CNN's Jim Acosta has more.
JIM ACOSTA, CNN SENIOR WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: President Trump is all but declaring victory after the Supreme Court gave a temporary green light to part of the administration's travel ban on six majority-Muslim countries. Even though the high court could eventually strike down the ban, the President was feeling supremely confident saying, "It allows the travel suspension for the six terror- prone countries, and the refugee suspension to become largely effective. As President, I cannot allow people into our country who want to do us harm." The White House indicated the administration officials are now studying how to set the ban in motion.
SEAN SPICER, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: Right now we're just pleased with the Supreme Court has done, and we'll, once we have a better idea of its full impact, we'll be able to have a better analysis of that.
ACOSTA: Mr. Trump is also sensing a win on the Russia investigation, demanding an apology and accusing former President Obama of doing nothing to stop Kremlin interference in the election, tweeting: "The real story is that President Obama did nothing after being informed in August about Russian meddling. With four months looking at Russia under a magnifying glass, they have zero tapes of Trump people colluding. There was no collusion and no obstruction. I should be given an apology." The President said that lack of action from Obama amounts to collusion; a line of attack echoed by the White House.
SPICER: They were the ones who, according to this report, knew about and didn't take any action. So, the question is: were they - if they didn't take any action, does that make them complicit? I think that there are a lot of questions that have to get an answer about who did know what and when?
ACOSTA: But it was then-candidate Trump who seemed to invite the Russians to hack into Hillary Clinton's e-mails.
DONALD TRUMP, UNITED STATES OF AMERICA PRESIDENT: Russia, if you're listening, I hope you are able to find the 30,000 e-mails that are missing.
ACOSTA: Just a joke, the White House insisted.
SPICER: He was joking at the time. We all know-
ACOSTA: An Obama administration official responded saying, "The situation was taken extremely seriously, as is evident by President Obama raising this issue directly with President Putin." Adding, "The administration's attacks on President Obama's response to Russia's cyber meddling is a transparent effort to distract from the terrible impact of their Obamacare repeal bill. White House Press Secretary, Sean Spicer, once again insisted on answering these questions off- camera; the continuation of the administration's crackdown on news coverage of the administration.
You are a taxpayer funded spokesman for the United States government; can you at least give us an explanation as to why the cameras are off?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: So, we can get this out of the way, can we address the cameras issue? Do you think?
SPICER: Yes. Some days we'll have them, some days we won't. The President is going to speak today in the Rose Garden; I want the President's voice to carry the day. You know, and I think, you know, so, look, this is nothing inconsistent with what we said since day one.
ACOSTA: And the White House is blasting a report from the non- partisan Congressional Budget Office that estimates 22 million fewer Americans would have health care coverage if the Senate version of the bill to repeal and replace Obamacare is signed into law. The White House released a statement saying that the CBO simply cannot predict the impact of health care legislation on overall coverage for Americans. Jim Acosta, CNN, the White House.
NEWTON: As you can see there, a very eventful day at the White House. We want to go back though, to the Supreme Court's decision on that travel ban. Earlier, I spoke with Hawaii's Attorney General, Douglas Chin, about that U.S. Supreme Court decision. (BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)
NEWTON: Good morning! Well, certainly in the news when you challenged this, in fact, you challenged in on the basis that it violated federal immigration law. And of course, that it violated the First Amendment in terms of freedom - the prohibition of the government, banning people based on their religion. Are you seeing this as a defeat today, and if not, why not?
DOUGLAS CHIN, HAWAII ATTORNEY GENERAL: Well, I mean, it's exactly what the Supreme Court put out, which is a compromise, frankly. I mean, in other words, it sounded like some justices would've been happier if they could've just allowed the travel ban to go into effect. The other justices were saying, well, hold on, we're - before we just let the travel ban go into effect, we're going to keep it in effect for now, for people who have a bonafide connection to the U.S., as you heard the commentators have mentioned them. And so for us, we have our individual plaintiff: Dr. Rashik, who lives here in Hawaii, as well as many people who are planning to attend the University of Hawaii or teach at the university this fall. And for those people, they have an assurance now that they're going to be able to come into the country and not be bothered by this travel ban.
[01:05:48] NEWTON: Mr. Chin, it sounds like you're agreeing with the President; this is fine? He can have part of his ban and you can have in the people that you want to have into the country?
CHIN: Well, I think it's good for those guys - you know, I think it'd be appropriate for me to say that I think what we also want is we also want to make sure that whatever the President does, isn't just something that is unreviewed or unchecked when it comes to the constitution or immigration laws. And I think one of the things that we could see from the decision is that they did say, we're going to hold off on the merits until October.
NEWTON: And when you say hold off on the merits until October, so, if we look forward to this, are you hoping for a more robust decision there where a lot of the elements that were not brought into this- specifically, about whether or not this was a Muslim ban-are looked at?
CHIN: Absolutely, and I think the reason why is because what we see is we see a decision that came from the Fourth Circuit out on the East Coast as well as from the Ninth Circuit, both with two separate arguments. So, one is the constitutional argument, that's the one that brings in the President's tweets whether he was a candidate, whether he is the President, you have all of those arguments swirling out there. And then, you have the other one from the West Coast, of the Ninth Circuit, saying that the President really didn't even have enough information, not enough of basis to be able to justify the 180 million people from the six Muslim-majority countries, simply because of their nation of origin. So, we do expect that the justices are going to be looking at this. They're nine very smart, as you can even see from the decision that came out today.
NEWTON: Well, some people would say, they're actually to things a little bit today. Do you have concerns about the issue? Well, the issue bonafide? I mean, if you look at the ruling itself, and I'm sitting one of those very difficult consulates to work in right now, how do I decide what is bonafide and what isn't?
CHIN: Right. You know, I think some of it is going to have to depend on the situations that come up. And I can see how things could be a little bit murky over the next several weeks. But I think what you do have is you have the Supreme Court trying to give some direction, you know, whether it's not - whether it's enough direction for everyone, that remains to be seen.
But certainly, for people who have a close family relationship and that would include our Dr. Rashik and his mother-in-law, as somebody who, Supreme Court says clearly meets that standard, as well as students who are trying to go the university or similarly situated students, as well as employers who have employees or similarly situated employers or other entities. There's definitely a hook to be able to allow these people to come into the country.
NEWTON: Do you worry that you've given the President an ammunition for people to agree with him that both you and lower courts for this far too political, that you didn't look at this travel ban for what he says it was, which was trying a National Security measure to try and keep the country safe.
CHIN: Right. You know, I mean, that's rich for the President to be calling our side political. I mean, to me, it's - I guess the approach I've always felt from the very beginning is that we are talking about the Constitution and the checks and balances that have existed from the very beginning at this country. And that is that we're a country that's based upon not discriminating against people based upon their religion or based upon their nation of origin. We've moved so far into this 21st century, and so really what, what the President is suggesting by saying this is just politics; that's something I can't agree with.
NEWTON: And now, again, the Supreme Court likely to weigh in again on the fall, and we'll wait to hear their pronouncement on this. Mr. Chin, always good to have you here, I appreciate it.
CHIN: Thank you so much.
NEWTON: Joining me now: Criminal Defense Attorney and former Prosecutor, Troy Slaten; and Omar Noureldin, Vice President of Muslim Public Affairs Council, thank you both. A lot to get into there. Troy, I want to go to you first, and there was an A.G. who was being very - we'll say he was being diplomatic, even though he's not a diplomat; been quite magnanimous about what the ruling means. At its heart though, in terms of the states themselves, and what they hope to get out of objecting to this travel ban. Is it not game over for them, and if not, why not?
[01:10:12] TROY SLATEN, CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEY AND FORMER PROSECUTOR: We'll, it's not game over for them. The clerk tossed them a little bit of a bone, although the White House can claim victory because several parts of the President's Executive Order that up until now have not been able to be enforced, can now go into full force, the fact. The administration can now block people from those six majority-Muslim nations who have no bonafide connections to the United States. But to Hawaii and the case from the Fourth Circuit is well. They won a little bit by being able to have those persons who do have connections to the United States. People from the University of Hawaii, and that doctor, and others can make legitimate applications to come in and the United States can't just block them by, you know, whole claw.
NEWTON: I want to go now to the President and the words that he used during the campaign, a lot of the states and a lot of the people advocating against this ban thought those words would be used against in this state. Let's have a listen.
TRUMP: Donald J. Trump is calling for a total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States. I think Islam hates us. We are not exactly loved by many Muslims.
NEWTON: You know, Omar, it's interesting that while he didn't continue that as President, he did continue this line that it was a travel ban even when his own spokespeople said, don't call it a travel ban; it's not a travel ban. He put it in capital letters in a tweet. When you look at this ruling from the Supreme Court, in effect, did the President get exactly what he wanted, that is a partial Muslim ban, and that the Supreme Court is allowing it, that they are differential to the President and the interest of National Security.
OMAR NOURELDIN, MUSLIM PUBLIC AFFAIRS COUNCIL VICE PRESIDENT: I don't think the Supreme Court has come out and actually ruled on that issue yet. And in earlier, you mentioned, you know, states and advocates we've talked about, you know, his religious animus court have too. You know, some of the lower courts recognized the campaign rhetoric and his speech as being evidence of religious animus and showing his intention. The Supreme Court hasn't ruled on that yet, and it'll be interesting to see how they actually used that in a ruling, because up until this point, the Supreme Court hasn't ruled on this type issue. So, it's a novel issue, really.
NEWTON: And in terms of its effect though, Omar, do you think that there is going to be a little bit of panic, perhaps some chaos from people who maybe even do have a bonafide link - and then, of course, there is the issue of refugees.
NOURELDIN: I think the issue of refugees is the one that's really concerning, because refugees and people that are seeking some type of political Asylum, these are the people that have the least resources, right? They're not the ones that are having immigration attorneys that can be referred to them. They're not the ones that know how to navigate this type of system. And I think the ruling that the Supreme Court issued today is the most unclear when it comes to refugees. You know, there's a lot of Iraqi refugees that may have bonafide connections because of the U.S. involvement in Iraq. But from Somalia, from Yemen, from Syria, unlikely that we're going to have large groups of them; they're going to be able to claim bonafide connections.
NEWTON: Yes. And what they are going through in those countries is horrendous right now, no doubt about it. Troy, do some pre-game for us if we'll look to the fall in terms of what the Supreme Court said it may take up. I mean, they look at - will we get there, given the scope of the travel ban that the Trump administration tried to put in place anywhere?
SLATEN: The Supreme Court made it very clear what it wants the parties to brief. One of the issues is whether the entire case is moot with regard to the 90 and 120-day ban; the 90-day ban would've expired on June 14th. And so, the court is asking the parties to decide whether or not that's moot at this point. Meaning, there's nothing to decide, the issue has evaporated, because the part of the Executive Order was that this temporary moratorium or ban, as it is most widely known, was an opportunity for the government to study the issue, to see what can we do to improve our vetting measures, to hopefully not allow persons from those countries who would do us harm to get in. Because in a lot of those nations, they don't have the procedures in place that other developed nations have where we can look into criminal records, and where people have been.
We just don't have that ability there, so that's one of the things that the government wants to look to. And one of the other issues is whether on the campaign trail, when the President was making those comments about this being a Muslim ban, about him wanting to ban Muslims. But the Executive Order is facially neutral, which means that if you read the text, on its face, it doesn't discriminate based on religion, it discriminates based the areas where the people are coming from. And so the Executive Order, if you just look at the four corners of the document, it doesn't say anything about banning Muslims.
[01:25:22] NEWTON: Omar, this was supposed to be a temporary measure. In Donald Trump's words, they could figure out what the bleep was going on. We do not - I have, you know, two diplomatic sources from other countries that told me the State Department doesn't have the staff to figure out what the bleep is going on right now. Omar, do you worry that they - the Trump administration, well, we won that case why won't we just extend it? It was temporary. Let's just extend it. This could be a travel ban for quite days to come and let's take it to the Supreme Court.
NOURELDIN: Absolutely. I think that was one of the worries that many advocates had when the first ban came out. It was framed as a temporary ban but if you look at the four corners, it does allow the government to be able to extend the ban upon further review. And I think the other issue that needs to be pointed out is during these days, the government could have done review. It raises questions about the intent, if this was really a measure to increase our national security, why hasn't the government, you know, issued something about the vetting procedures? NEWTON: Thanks so much for all your insights today.
SLATEN: Thank you.
NOURELDIN: Thank you.
NEWTON: Right. The U.S. Senate Health Care Bill could be a big trouble. Next, why some Republicans are being challenged by one member.
NEWTON: The U.S. Senate Health Care Bill may be in trouble right now. It appears there aren't enough votes to even begin debating the bill this week. The non-partisan Congressional Budget Office says the plan would leave 22 million more people uninsured by 2026 than under Obamacare. Our Phil Mattingly has the details.
PHIL MATTINGLY, CNN CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: 22 million fewer insured Americans over the course of a 10-year period. That's according to the Congressional Budget Office. Everybody was waiting for and the repercussions were immediate. Senator Susan Collins from Maine saying that she would not vote to move forward on the Senate Bill, the procedural vote. That's a must-have if they actually want to get it done this week which is Senate Majority leader, Mitch McConnell's prerogative. That's what he wants to do. She now joins Rand Paul and two other senators saying they're not willing to vote to move the score without major changes.
Three is a magic number. You only have 52 Republicans senators. If three say they're not willing to vote to move this forward, then you have a serious problem. The real question here is, as Republicans try and get this done as soon as this week in the wake of such a bad score, will anybody come on board no matter what changes are made? Take a listen to what Alaska Senator, Lisa Murkowski, has to say.
(BEGI VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. LISA MURKOWSKI (R), ALASKA: I don't think it's asking too much to say give us the time to fairly and critically analyze these numbers. And if you're saying CBO numbers don't matter, then let's look at the number that you think do matter. But it really does make a difference.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTINGLY: And Senator Murkowski, not the only one raising concerns about the process. It's really about the policy that matters most here. And on some positive note, the CB0 included of the Senate would have $321 billion in deficit savings over the course of a 10-year period. That's more than $200 billion from what the House have. The House makes the baseline number in order to move this bill to the Senate. Any number of different issues, that's something that Mitch McConnell can actually work with. But it not just moderates who are on the fence here. Rand Paul, conservative, already saying he's not ready to vote to move forward on this, who have very real concerns that this bill isn't going to go far enough to repeal the Affordable Care Act.
How can Senate Majority Leader, Mitch McConnell bridge that gap? The numbers, the CBO numbers certainly didn't help that process. The real question now is that, can they actually get 50 votes? At least, as of Monday night, as of Tuesday morning, they're not yet there, guys.
[01:122:15] NEWTON: Joining me now, Political Analyst, Michael Genovese. He is also the President of the Global Policy Institute of Loyola Marymount University. It's tempting to get in the weeds because the weeds actually tell us a lot about this policy and what it will do politically. Republicans are going to have their name on a bill that increases premiums for their constituents while they're running for office in 2018. Do you think that the President is taking all that in this point?
MICHAEL GENOVESE, GLOBAL POLICY INSTITUTE OF LOYOLA MARYMOUNT UNIVERSITY PRESIDENT: I think he's desperate for a win. He's been in the office five and a half months; he has no significant legislative victory. This is such a big ticket item. He's taking a lot on this. The problem is if it passes, then you're stuck with Trumpcare and all the attending problems with that. That's why you really do need to think this through, have a lengthy discussion about what the implication this all might be.
NEWTON: Yes. And one person who seems to be thinking it's true is Senator Lindsey Graham. Here's what he told CNN today.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. LINDSEY GRAHAM (R), SOUTH CAROLINA: From a political point of view, if you had a problem with the bill, the CBO score didn't help you at all.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Is this going to pass bottom-line?
GRAHAM: It won't get 49 votes. I don't know. I think this is going to be a heavy lift between the Rand Paul world and Susan Collins and Hillary but time will tell.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
NEWTON: And where does that lead going from?
GENOVESE: Lindsey Graham has got it wired. You can't satisfy both. He's got five or six on each side that he's potentially going to lose. The President needs to step up his game. He needs to get down, get dirty as they say, and really start to make some deals. This is when he has to start pushing.
NEWTON: And it's interesting, just the way the White House has been handling it because they have now been claiming that whatever that CBO score, can't possibly be right, the President himself, questioning the partisanship and questioning the numbers.
GENOVESE: That's an old game in Washington. If you're on the losing side of the CBO score, it's biased and prejudiced against you. But it has historically been the least partisan and the most responsible estimation. The numbers are a very good starting point and you violate that warm at your own peril.
NEWTON: While all this has been going on, you know, a battle of sorts going on at the White House between the press and the west wing. No more on camera verging, our Jim Acosta took issue with this today I want you to listen to what he had to say with Sean Spicer.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ACOSTA: Sean, can you answer whether the President still believes the quest.
SPICER: There's no camera on, Jim.
ACOSTA: Maybe we should turn the cameras on, Sean. Why don't we turn the camera on?
ACOSTA: Why don't we turn the cameras on?
SPICER: I'm sorry that you have to do - Jen.
ACOSTA: Why not turn the cameras on Sean? They're in the room. The lights are on.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
NEWTON: You know Michael, please defend this here people my own family calls hysterical when this happened, they don't understand why someone like Jim is yelling about this. We see very clearly, how do you see it and how do you think American public sees it?
GENOVESE: Well its government - I want to know what they're doing, I want to see what they're doing. But can you think of worst job in America than Sean Spicer job? What a troubled life he must lead. He has to fend off Donald Trump's anger and Trump is angry with him, we know that and Melissa McCarthy's impersonations we saw, I mean it's an impossible job and the question is what at a diet is he bring to the job? His testiness with the press has not helped him, it's not helped the President and that's why the President is tried few segregate of spokespersons. He needs pre wants a clear leader, he needs -
NEWTON: But if it we run full circle we go over to whether its healthcare or the travel ban how does this front and center get them further? But did you know it was so interesting even reading a lot more right leaning publications today they did a lot of some good things to say about the healthcare bill today?
GENOVESE: Well you know, not having the press allowed to videotape and broadcast the press briefings it's a childish thing and it's punishment against you folks because you're not playing the game the way they want you to play it. And so, you know, it's like you make fun of me, you criticize me, well I'm not going to let you have your time in front of the camera and so it's unnecessary and it's childish and it's going to be counterproductive. There's an old saying don't pick a fight with someone who buys ink by the barrel, well in modern in the modern you don't want to keep picking fights with the press because one of the press is arrows will land and that can be devastating.
NEWTON: Is it single we are hated the almost as much as some other groups that have been dispraised over the last years. I'm not sure I still think it's the winning game but I think for the Democracy is important because you pushing.
GENOVESE: No, it's more than important it's absolutely reminded us of that in every day we need to remember that mistakes are going to be made, you guys will make mistakes but without you, we are at the mercy of any autocrat any dictator any tin horn.
NEWTON: And it is a very important point to be made. Ivanka Trump the President's daughter, you know, raising a lot conspiracy, let's listen to what she had to say at "FOX NEWS".
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
IVANKA TRUMP, AMERICAN BUSINESSWOMAN: I tried to stay out of politics, you know, I - he's political instinct are phenomenal, he is some saying ahead no one could have imagined he'd be able to accomplish, there were very few who saw it. Early on I shall bless with him part of a ride from day one and before but he could something pretty remarkable but I don't profess to be a political party. So I leave the politics to other people and re-lead them in the issues ahead as I care deeply.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
NEWTON: Was this naive? She'd be cuter some slack.
GENOVESE: Ivanka Trump not being political is like, you know, are you shocked that there is gambling at risk? She is very political and she's very good at it. So the problem for her though is he has to keep her roles separate, she has her own brand, she has her political job and she has the Trump ramp. And you can intermingle those at peril because, you know, one is not necessarily complimenting the other they make quite often the in conflict. And so she's one banana peel away from slipping up and they are people who would her to slip up, let's be honest about, I mean -
NEWTON: People in the White House don't like her.
GENOVESE: There are people who are jealous of her status with the President, there's no doubt about it. But you got a danger of mixing those roles and you need to keep them separate and you need to not confuse the private and the public. She's pursuing her brand while she's pursuing government policy. That cannot end well.
NEWTON: And it will be interesting to see the way all of the Trump family, that's within that administration right now, navigates that. Michael, thanks so much, really appreciate a lot of what you go through today, a very busy day at the White House. Appreciate it.
GENOVESE: Thank you.
[01:29:59] NEWTON: Now, more apartment buildings in the U.K. are failing fire safety check since the Grenfell Tower fire. Next, why some residents say evacuating unsafe apartments is not the answer.
NEWTON: You're watching CNN NEWSROOM, live from Los Angeles. I'm Paula Newton.
The headlines this hour.
NEWTON: Now, more apartments in the U.K. are failing fire safety checks since the Grenfell Tower fire in London. 75 apartment buildings have now been tested for potentially dangerous siding. All 75 have failed. Thousands of people have been evacuated from tower blocks deemed unsafe.
Meantime, 18 Grenfell victims have now been formally identified. This is the problem, though. But at least 79 people were killed in the fire less than two weeks ago, and many still remain unidentified.
Our Ian Lee has more from London.
[01:34:59] IAN LEE, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: I'm in Camden, where five of these buildings are, four of which have been evacuated. On the fifth one, they say it's safe for residents, as long as there's a fire marshal 24 hours a day.
I want to give you a look at what one of these buildings that was evacuated looks like. If you can see, there's that cladding that goes all the way up to the top. And that's the accelerant that caused the Grenfell fire to be so horrific and caused the building to torch. They say that's unsafe for residents.
Talking to them, you have a wide range of opinions. Some say they're glad the government is evacuating them. They want to see it remedied as quickly as possible and have the government take care of them in the meantime.
Then you have other residents who are angry, saying just a few steps could be taken to make the buildings safe.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BELINDA BROWN, LONDON RESIDENT: What I would like to see now is, rather than boot out everybody, OK, you have to reclad the flats, but what you could do is, you could give every flat a fire blanket. We all have fire alarms anyway. And it's very cheap to put a fire alarm in. Takes five minutes to screw it up, you know, and get it going. (END VIDEO CLIP)
LEE: And it's not just the residential complexes. You have hospitals, schools, hotels, shopping centers that have this sort of cladding.
And the government has issued a directive to the different agencies to see how extensive this problem is. We know the National Health Service is looking into it, as well as the Department of Education.
This is just really the tip of the iceberg that will eventually cost millions of pounds.
Ian Lee, CNN, in Camden, London.
NEWTON: Fire investigator, Robert Rowe, joins us now.
Thanks so much for joining us.
Because if you're in a high tower anywhere in the world, it was chilling looking at the video and seeing the aftermath and realizing all the buildings could be at risk. How are fire codes developed? Because surely in some of these countries like the U.K., do they not mirror fire codes in other areas of the world?
ROBERT ROWE, FIRE INVESTIGATOR: Well, every fire code that's written is all based on fire history. Codes at one time were -- the books were only an inch thick. Nowadays, they're volumes and it's all based on loss that's occurred in the past. And life loss. So now we have these codes that are in place, and -- which should be looked at extensively whenever you're building a building, or retro fitting a building. So when we have these codes in place, that is what we go to in order to make sure these buildings are safe. So it's kind of odd that there was this issue. I don't know what happened exactly. But when we look at codes, we look at those things. We make sure that they're sound.
NEWTON: And in fact, odd, because it would not have happened in the United States, because that kind of material is not allowed in high- rises, apparently, in the fire codes here. When you're determining what is best practice in fire, in your experience, what really works? And what doesn't when regulatory bodies are looking at it? Because you have the other side of the argument. A lot of people complaining there's too much regulation in these things.
ROWE: Well, when it comes to fire regulation, we see fires every day. And fire, it's a horrible thing to have anyone to have to experience. So when we look at regulations, I think sometimes people look at it as a cost issue. We can't always go by cost because we're looking at life safety. So if we drive life safety with cost, such as the installation of a fire sprinkler system, which is a very important aspect of construction, we need to think about the lives, the end result, being saved, as well as the upfront costs that are associated with installing sprinklers. NEWTON: One of the points that you make is about the sprinklers. If
you're in a high-rise without a sprinkler system in the world somewhere, what is the advice?
ROWE: The advice is obviously to put regulation in that requires a retrofit. I'm all about retrofitting high-rise buildings, especially those that house residential occupancy. There are many things that local jurisdictions and apartments put in place for life safety, such as proper construction, fire resistant construction, exiting signs, fire alarm systems, things that would allow someone to be warned of a fire early, so they can exit safely.
NEWTON: We're used to hearing best practice in industry. Air bags, expensive to develop, expensive to install. There are not cars without air bags anymore. Do you think the same should be applied to sprinkler systems?
ROWE: Absolutely. Sprinkler systems do save lives. Once the building industry embraces that, when they see catastrophes such as these occur, that should strike a nerve in the building industries, thinking, maybe we should incorporate this not just up front when you build the building, but after the fact, buildings that are existing and are getting older day by day, that we should retrofit these buildings in order to ensure the safety of the occupants.
[01:40:18] NEWTON: In your experience, what is the resistance when you start looking at those fire regulations and the resistance by many people to put them in place once they see them on paper?
ROWE: It really is driven by cost. Some of the systems can be expensive. But the cost is really the factor. And when people say it's not about the money, it's about the money. And unfortunately, lives are lost as a result of that. As a fire marshal, who has experienced new construction and the retrofitting of buildings, I will always be an advocate for those who are living in buildings that are not equipped with the proper fire protection system.
NEWTON: A lot to think about if you're in a high-rise anywhere in the world right now and wondering what the escape route might be.
NEWTON: Thanks so much for coming in. Really appreciate it.
ROWE: Thank you for having me. Appreciate it.
NEWTON: Next on NEWSROOM L.A., an iconic activist is out of prison in China, but under deeply troubling circumstances. Concerns for the health of Nobel Prize-winner, Liu Xiaobo.
NEWTON: A Nobel Prize-winning Chinese dissident is out of prison after being diagnosed with cancer. Liu Xiaobo had been serving an 11- year sentence. He's now on medical parole and is receiving treatment for late-stage liver cancer. Matt Rivers is in Beijing with more.
What we're learning is quite disturbing, Matt, given the reason for his imprisonment in the first place.
MATT RIVERS, CNN ASIA-PACIFIC EDITOR: Yes, well, critics say he should never be in jail in the first place. He's probably -- Liu Xiaobo is probably China's most high profile political prisoner, or was until he was granted this medical parole.
Viewers will remember, he won the Nobel Peace Prize back in 2010, for his consistent non-violent approach to try and institute democratic reforms here in China. His latest round of imprisonment happened when he was arrested and then convicted in 2009 after writing a pro- democracy manifesto, critical of the Chinese government. And he was imprisoned for what the government called "inciting subversion of state power." He was sentenced to 11 years.
It was recently he was diagnosed with late-stage terminal liver cancer, and it appears there's not going to be much the doctors can do for him. He was granted medical parole under Chinese law, and he's now being treated in a hospital in northeastern China.
But critics say, could his treatment have been more effective had he been allowed out of prison earlier, had he been treated properly? And furthermore, he shouldn't have been in prison in the first place, for merely just trying to change things, as they would put it, for the better here in China.
The U.S. embassy has weighed in on this. We can read this. The U.S. embassy, through a spokesperson, said, "We call on the Chinese authorities to not only release Mr. Liu, but also to allow his wife, Miss Liu Xia, freedom of movement and access to medical care of his choosing to which they are entitled under China's constitution and legal system and under international commitments."
They reference his wife there, Liu Xia, who is also a poet herself, has been under house arrest for the last seven years.
So really, this whole family has been undergoing incredibly trying circumstances that have only been increased with the announcement of this late-stage liver cancer of Liu Xiaobo -- Paula?
[01:45:52] NEWTON: And especially as they were getting to the end of the sentence when he would have been released.
I have to say, you point out, we have this statement from the U.S. embassy. The problem is, both President Trump and Secretary of State Tillerson have been very clear they're not raising human rights with China or any other country in terms of using it in any kind of negotiating purpose. Where does that leave the United States and any other nation, quite frankly, hoping to have any sway on China's human rights record?
RIVERS: Well, generally speaking, you're right. The Trump administration has put human rights on the back burner, saying there are other major important things that need to be dealt with first, namely North Korea. Secretary of State Tillerson has said in passing that he has brought up human rights with China, but compared to previous administrations, the Trump administration certainly does not seem to put as much importance on the human rights issue. So when it comes to countries like the United States lobbying China to do more on human rights, you could argue it hasn't worked in the past, even when previous administrations have tried to do that. But the fact is, the Trump administration doesn't seem to be pressing the Chinese government on this issue. Despite this statement from the U.S. embassy, I don't think you'll see the Chinese government backtrack at all.
One quick note before we send it back to you, Paula, I can tell you, if you were trying to watch CNN right here in mainland China, here at a hotel, the Chinese government is currently blacking out our signal in China, because, frankly, they don't want people here in China to know about people like Liu Xiaobo. They fear that people like him undermine their legitimacy as a government. And they do not want the population here in mainland China to hear us talk about this. But we're going to do it anyway, even if people here in mainland China can't see it.
NEWTON: Those are the facts on the ground and, unfortunately, the very real facts for those families who still have, as you point out, many political prisoners in China.
Matt, thanks so much. Really appreciate the update.
The U.S. State Department is releasing its annual Trafficking in Persons report Tuesday. It's a tool the government uses to engage foreign countries on human trafficking.
CNN's Lynda Kinkade explains how it works and how it fits in with President Trump's other agendas.
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I want to make it clear today that my administration will focus on ending the absolutely horrific practice of human trafficking.
LYNDA KINKADE, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): In the early days of his administration, Donald Trump signaled that human trafficking would be a top priority. It's an international issue that also fits Trump's America first rhetoric.
TRUMP: Getting worse, and it's happening in the United States. In addition to the rest of the world, it's happening in the United States, which is terrible.
KINKADE: Trump's daughter and counsellor, Ivanka, has taken keen interest in the matter, hosting a human trafficking roundtable at the White House in May. And a listening session with her father in February.
Mr. Trump has tied trafficking to another major policy issue. TRUMP: The wall is going to get built. And the wall is going to stop
drugs and it's going to stop a lot of people from coming in here that shouldn't be here and it's going to have a huge effect on human trafficking.
KINKADE: Now the us State Department is about to release its annual Trafficking in Persons, or TIP, report for the first time under the new Trump administration.
Since 2001, the report has been grading countries on how well they fight human trafficking. Tier-one countries comply with the minimum standards of protecting trafficking victims. Tier two includes countries who do not fully comply but are making significant efforts to improve. There's also a tier-two watch list for countries who do not meet the minimum standards, have a significant or increasing numbers of trafficking victims, but are taking steps to do better. Finally, there's a third tier for countries not in compliance and not making any effort to improve.
The U.S. was included in the report for the first time in 2010 under the Obama administration, listed as a tier-one country.
With a new administration in town, will there be any changes to watch for? Any new weapons in this battle?
[01:50:19] TRUMP: One of the big, big plagues of the world, not our country only, the world, human trafficking.
KINKADE: We'll just have to wait and see.
Lynda Kinkade, CNN, Washington.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
NEWTON: Now for more on the CNN "Freedom Project," we'll introduce you to Elie Snow and her anti-trafficking organization, Game Over.
UNIDENTIFIED CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Snow founded the anti- slavery organization, Game Over, in 2016.
ELLIE SNOW, FOUNDER, GAME OVER: What happened to me was called the game, this monstrous beast that is this world of sex trafficking.
UNIDENTIFIED CNN CORRESPONDENT: A survivor of forced prostitution, Snow says her trafficker was a drug dealer, who had first tricked her into thinking they were starting a relationship.
SNOW: He would come in and eventually start saying that he's not who he said he was, that he's actually a pimp and this is how prostitutes are made.
NEWTON: More on her story and the work she's doing to put a stop to trafficking tomorrow on the CNN "Freedom Project."
And we'll be right back with more news right after this.
NEWTON: The new "Transformers" movie just suffered -- drumroll please -- its worst opening weekend at the U.S. box office. But the blockbuster franchise is still a big hit with international fans.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED ACTRESS: I want to stay and I want to fight them.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
NEWTON: Joining me now is film and entertainment journalist Sandro Monetti.
I don't know why you thought I would be a "Transformers fan." But I have great respect how much the franchise has been able to earn in its history. What will save it this time?
SANDRO MONETTI, FILM & ENTERTAINMENT JOURNALIST: China. Movie studios used to say, "Hooray for Hollywood." Now it's, "Three cheers for China." Because 63 percent of the entire box office for this film comes from China. There's a law of diminishing returns here in the United States with each new sequel taking less money. But the fifth installment has wowed them in China. It's the fourth biggest hit over there. If you're wondering why there's more and more of these movies and sequels with eight "Fast & Furious" and five "Pirates of the Caribbean," it's because the China audience has eclipsed Hollywood. It's now the most important in the world. It's all about the money.
NEWTON: They're the most important game in town. And to bring up some of the money, the China box office, $123 million for the opening weekend sales. Little bit more than half of that in the United States, $68 million. That gets to the point that you're driving home. I do not -- do you see any evidence that Hollywood is changing the way it develops movies because of that?
MONETTI: Absolutely. China is upper-most in the mind of executives. It's because of the rapid expansion of screens there. 22 new screens a day in China. And more people can go to the movies. There's no certification system there, because everything is edited. So any age group can go and see it. There's more people through the gates. Ticket prices are reasonable, generally, $3 less than in the United States. On the whole, China is a cash cow for Hollywood. So they will be making movies increasing focused on the Chinese market. Because at the end of the day, it's all about the cash.
[01:55:17] NEWTON: So an 8-year-old can see an R-rated movie in China, because there's nothing restricting it?
MONETTI: It would be an "R" movie here, yes, but anything inappropriate would be censored there. So they're seeing a different version of it. NEWTON: In terms of the way Hollywood does its marketing, the fact
that we're even talking about it being a flop, does anybody care?
MONETTI: Doesn't matter. We'll be seeing "Mission Impossible, 27." Vin Diesel will still be driving that sports car when he's in his 70s, "Fast & Furious, 40."
NEWTON: When we're watching "Wonder Woman V," what is the litmus test in terms of the dividing line, in terms of this franchise is really is on its last legs? Is it just China has legs to go for a decade, two decades? What are we talking about here in terms of potential?
MONETTI: You made a good point there when you mentioned "Wonder Woman." that's been a huge hit in the United States. It's something fresh. "Wonder Woman I." When was the last time you saw one in front of a movie? But internationally, these brands sell overseas. Everybody knows what it is. They know what they're going to get. There will be a "Wonder Woman II, III IV and V." And the V will be a huge flop in the United States, but ka-ching in the Far East.
NEWTON: I have to talk about Hollywood dominance. We've covered the film industry in China and how well it's doing. Is this really good news for Hollywood? Do they have that anchor in Asia and they're not letting go now?
MONETTI: It's an unpredictable market. It's a wild card. Just because it's the new gold rush now doesn't mean it will be forever. So as long as this lasts, Hollywood studios are going to ride this train. But there are no guarantees in Hollywood. Or in international movies.
NEWTON: And we'll see how long their dominance can last.
Thanks so much for coming in. Appreciate it. Couldn't have happened to a better movie, I have to say.
NEWTON: Seriously, "Transformers."
You're watching CNN NEWSROOM, live from Los Angeles. I'm Paula Newton. Thanks for joining us. Appreciate it.