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Trump's Twitter Tirade; Trump White House; Battle against ISIS. Aired 2-3a ET

Aired June 30, 2017 - 02:00   ET





JOHN VAUSE, CNN ANCHOR (voice-over): Ahead this hour, Donald Trump and the abusive tweets which may have gone too far. Uniting Democrats and Republicans after a Twitter attack on a female television host.

NEWTON (voice-over): Plus a symbolic victory for Iraqi forces as their fight against ISIS in Mosul nears the final battle.

VAUSE (voice-over): Hong Kong puts on a show for China's visiting president holding its largest military parade since handover.

NEWTON (voice-over): Hello and thanks for joining us. I'm Paula Newton.

VAUSE (voice-over): Great to have you with us. I'm John Vause and this is the third hour of NEWSROOM L.A.


VAUSE: For Donald Trump there's no shortage of issues demanding his attention from health care to North Korea, the travel ban, the upcoming G20 summit. None of that seemed to take priority on Thursday.

NEWTON: Instead the President of the United States took to Twitter again to fret about his image in the news media, only this time his words were shocking, even for him. Here's CNN's Jim Acosta with our report.



JIM ACOSTA, CNN SR. WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Just as President Trump is touting his administration's energy policy, he's fueling mounting bipartisan criticism that he lacks the temperament for the Oval Office. Latest evidence: a pair of offensive tweets aimed at MSNBC host Mika Brzezinski.

"I heard poorly rated 'Morning Joe' speaks badly of me. Don't watch anymore," the president tweeted.

"Then how come low I.Q. Crazy Mika, along with Psycho Joe, came to Mar- A-Lago three nights in a row around New Year's Eve and insisted on joining me. She was bleeding badly from a facelift. I said no."

Brzezinski hit back at the president with a tweet mocking the size of the president's hands. Asked to respond, the White House said the president has no regrets.

SARAH HUCKABEE SANDERS, DEPUTY WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: I don't think that it's a surprise to anybody that he fights fire with fire.

ACOSTA (voice-over): Deputy press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders defended the president's tweets as a justified response to attacks from the media.

SANDERS: It's kind of like we're living in "The Twilight Zone." They do this day after day after day, and then the president responds and defends himself and everybody is appalled and blown away.

I think that the president has been attacked mercilessly on personal accounts by members on that program. And I think he's been very clear that, when he gets attacked, he's going to hit back.

ACOSTA (voice-over): The president's behavior, Sanders argued, is not beneath the dignity of his office.

SANDERS: I think that he shows that every day in the decisions that he's making, the focus and the priorities. The only person that I see a war on is this president and everybody that works for him.

ACOSTA (voice-over): Still, a slew of top Republicans quickly criticized the president's tweets.

Senator Lindsey Graham: "President, your tweet was beneath the office and represents what is wrong with American politics, not the greatness of America."

And House Speaker Paul Ryan:

REP. PAUL RYAN (R), HOUSE SPEAKER: Obviously I don't see that as an appropriate comment.

ACOSTA (voice-over): NPR/PBS Poll found just 21 percent of Americans found the president's Twitter use effective and informative while 69 percent said it's reckless and distracting.

But the president's critics saying this is also about his attitudes toward women, to his questionable treatment of a female reporter from Ireland in the Oval Office just this week.


Go ahead. Come here, come here.

Where are you from?

Should we have all of this beautiful Irish press.

Where are you from?



PERRY: -- Caitriona Perry --

TRUMP: Caitriona Perry. She has a nice smile on her face. So I bet she treats you well.

ACOSTA (voice-over): When it comes to the White House message, the president was again his own worst enemy, stepping all over his administration's announcements of new sanctions against a bank in China, a measure aimed at pressuring North Korea, as well as Mr. Trump's upcoming meeting with Russia's Vladimir Putin next week.

But the president, it seems, there are rarely ever any apologies.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No apology from the president, sir?

ACOSTA (voice-over): Jim Acosta, CNN, the White House.


VAUSE: Joining us now is CNN political commentators Democratic strategist Dave Jacobson and Republican consultant, John Thomas.

OK, the outrage, it's been in overdrive all day long. So let's have a little more --



SEN. SUSAN COLLINS (R-MAINE), MEMBER, SENATE INTELLIGENCE COMMITTEE: It's unworthy of the office of the President of the United States. And I'm concerned about how we look in the eyes of the world.

REP. LYNN JENKINS (R): It's just not acceptable. We need to demand better of folks in positions like myself, the president.

SEN. PAT TOOMEY (R): This is maddening. It's maddeningly frustrating because this is beneath the dignity of the President of the United States or at least it should be and it's a distraction.


VAUSE: John, there's very little which seems to shock in the age of Trump but somehow the president managed to get us there once again. It just seems that he does not understand the responsibility that comes with the office of the presidency and that his actions and his -- [02:05:00]

VAUSE: -- words count for so much more than just Donald Trump real estate agent.

JOHN THOMAS, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Trump's the kind of guy who grew up in New York tabloid, the smear campaigns of tabloids. He understands that if somebody hits you, you hit back twice as hard. And so I'm not surprised by this at all.

I'm surprised by the level of outrage about a tweet when he attacked Megyn Kelly of bleeding out of her wherever --


THOMAS: But Trump's pretty much been consistent as a candidate. He's moved on a few issues. But there's just -- I just don't see -- and here's the thing. Yes, it was not effective communication to drive his policy agenda.

Should he have tweeted it?


But feeling sorry for the reporter?

I honestly -- I'd never heard of this reporter and now I have. Jim Acosta's a household name.


Because of Donald Trump. So at the end of the day, good for these people's careers.

NEWTON: Wow, that's --


NEWTON: -- you left me speechless. Well done. Good job. Bravo.

So but if it we're going to go to the predictable response, let's go to Nancy Pelosi and let's hear what she has to say.


REP. NANCY PELOSI (D-CALIF.), HOUSE DEMOCRATIC LEADER: That really saddens me because it is so beneath dignity of the President of the United States to engage in such behavior.

I just don't know why the Republicans, they can tolerate almost anything a candidate, beating up a reporter and then cheering him on as he arrives in Congress, the tweets of the President of the United States. They set a low standard for public officials in terms of their demeanor.

(END VIDEO CLIP) NEWTON: Dave, I'll ask you about this as well.

But, John, just one more minute back to you.

What is it going to take?

As a Republican, aren't you sitting there thinking, this man is harmful?

He is harmful for the Republican agenda we want to move forward in the next 3.5 years.

THOMAS: I don't think that. I think voters, especially Republicans, knew this was the candidate that they wanted to put into office and he's been consistent --


NEWTON: -- he would change. Everybody thought he would change.

THOMAS: You know, I don't -- I think what they're looking for is movement on their issues. They need tax reform. They need lower health care premiums. He's working on all of -- they need more Supreme Court justices.

But look, it's hypocritical of Pelosi to say that. The chair of the California Democratic Party had the entire California Democratic delegation raising their middle fingers and telling the president to F himself.

VAUSE: Not the president -- Dave.

DAVE JACOBSON, DEMOCRATIC STRATEGIST: Look, he came off like a pompous, misogynistic monster and it begs the question how Melania Trump can sleep in the same bedroom with him at the White House every night.

I mean, the reality is, at a time when you've got an extraordinarily polarized country, where you've got the women's movement. The day after his inauguration, the Women's March, for example. Women have worked so hard to have a level playing field and have real equality when it comes to our country.

You have a president who continues to belittle women. And I think what that underscores is really how he feels about women. You're right. This -- he has got this infatuation with blood and with women that I quite frankly don't understand --


THOMAS: Here's the thing, though. He's an equal opportunity offender. He picks on men and women on a nightly basis.

VAUSE: Let's go forward because you mentioned Melania Trump and this stuff was meant to have stopped when Melania moved into the White House a couple of weeks ago. Clearly that hasn't happened and especially, remember, Melania's Trump pet cause: cyber bullying...


MELANIA TRUMP, WIFE OF PRESIDENT-ELECT DONALD TRUMP: Our culture has gotten too mean and too rough. We have to find better way to talk to each other, to disagree with each other, to respect each other.


NEWTON: Dave, the words are "to respect each other." I mean, at this point -- she put out a statement today clearly supporting him, which bewildered some but perhaps to some it would seem like, well, his wife stands by him. They were just striking back.

VAUSE: (INAUDIBLE) very quickly, it was from a spokesperson, it reads, "As the first lady has said publicly in the past when her husband gets attacked, he will punch back 10 times harder."

JACOBSON: It's no secret. She's going to stand by her husband. That's just the cold, hard reality. But I think it begs the question of why he continues to do this. And frankly, John, I have to applaud the Republican leadership in the House in being so responsive in the rapid-fire dismissal of this irresponsible tweet at a time where we had a shooting against a member of Congress the other day, where we have this heated rhetoric.

Both parties have come out saying we've got to tone down the rhetoric. We've got to collaborate more and we've got to talk differently, particularly in public. So I think at a time when you saw rare bipartisanship on that issue, you have the president doing a complete 180. And I think it underscores his schoolyard bullying mentality that simply is not going to go away.

VAUSE: Clearly the president was offset with these two anchors. But remember on the campaign trail when Donald Trump said this?


DONALD TRUMP: I'll tell you, I think I have the best temperament or certainly one of the best temperaments of anybody that's ever run for the office of president, ever.


VAUSE: So, Dave, clearly the president's under a lot of strain, the Russia investigation, everything else.

Is it fair to say, though, that when you're under pressure, your true character comes out?

And those who are hoping for the president to change, the presidency amplifies behavior, it does not change behavior.

JACOBSON: Absolutely. And look, if the president clearly has an objective to advance a legislative agenda, at a time when he's got 38 percent approval rating, he's under an FBI investigation for obstruction of justice. This doesn't help his cause. So I just don't understand the political calculus here.

NEWTON: At that point, when you hear him say that, doesn't it -- something tweak (ph) to you and saying, really?

The best temperament of any president?

While we're sitting here not talking about --


THOMAS: -- everything he does is the biggest and the best and he's the most handsome. I mean, you know.



NEWTON: Talk about getting backtracked in what we were supposed to be doing, what was going on at the White House today. I mean, he was waiting for the South Korean prime minister today. Big important meeting, not to mention the fact that it involves a lot of what's going on with North Korea right now. Take a listen.


REPORTER: Mr. President, do you regret your tweets this morning at all?

REPORTER: Mr. President, how do you get China to cooperate with North Korea?

REPORTER: Mr. President, no regrets over your tweets you sent out this morning?


VAUSE: Wow, that was not a look of approval. Moon Jae-in dined in the White House a short time ago. You know, they probably talked about North Korea before they sat down for dinner.

Let's go to Seoul because Paula Hancocks is standing by live there for more on this.

And, Paula, it seemed President Moon tried a little pre-dinner humor to try and lighten the mood.

PAULA HANCOCKS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: That's right. Yes. We did have that mention from Moon Jae-in himself. He did point out that he has his own fake news issues back here in South Korea. Now I don't think he's going to make any friends within the South Korean media making that particular comment.

But it just shows that he was trying to make a connection with President Trump. There was a huge amount of pressure on him here in South Korea, back here, that the focus was on what's the handshake going to be like, what's the interpersonal relationship going to be like.

They knew there was going to be common ground when it came to North Korea but it was really the optics that people here were focusing on -- John.

VAUSE: And so essentially this dinner very well received, these two men seem to strike it off.

But for President Moon, he's there for two days and he leaves there essentially with what?

HANCOCKS: Well, what we've heard from a senior presidential office official is that, in the past, U.S. presidents have said a lot about North Korea but they haven't had any actions.

And what they said was that they realize that this time with President Trump, they agreed with his view that diplomacy must be based on strong power. So certainly those officials surrounding President Moon feel that they've got some kind of guarantees. We don't know exactly what that is.

They did both agree to work together to resolve the issue of North Korea.

We had an interesting tweet as well from President Trump, mentioning a new trade deal. The fact is, that surprised everybody back here in South Korea. There is a trade deal. It's called the free trade agreement between the U.S. and South Korea.

President Trump has criticized that in the past, saying maybe we should rethink that.

But we did see President Moon try to preempt that. There was an announcement just before he met Trump, saying there was going to be $12.5 billion-plus of investment from Korean companies into the U.S. in the next five years.

So there was a hope certainly from the South Korean side that that would not be renegotiated. Everyone's now questioning what does that mean, there's a new trade deal. So there is some uncertainty as to what exactly was discussed.

VAUSE: I'm sure we'll find out in the fullness of time.

Paula, thank you, Paula Hancocks, live in Seoul.

NEWTON: So John, you just heard Paula. We have a large agenda, a very serious one. Just in the one meeting with the one country you're talking about areas of nuclear security, trade with one of the largest economies in the world.

And yet, as a Republican, do you not worry that entire agenda is getting crowded out by this nonsense?

THOMAS: It's certainly not an effective use of this communication. That's more what I'm disappeared in, is this distracting from his ability to drive his agenda. To me, this sideshow just -- it keeps Trump away from negotiating with some of those members, like Susan Collins and others, that he needs in the Senate to vote for the health care bill.

It takes him one tick away more from getting tax reform done.

VAUSE: There will be no joint news conference with the two leaders. Oh, what a shock.

This is going to be a big policy day Thursday for Donald Trump. There was some tough measures on immigration actually passed the lower house. That was a win for Donald Trump. Part of the ban on travelers from the six majority Muslim countries actually went into effect on Thursday night.

(INAUDIBLE) about that. We should mention this, though, because there were changes to those who are allowed in and not allowed in. If you can prove a relationship with someone in the U.S., who's a parent, a spouse, a fiance, that was included in the last minute, a fiance, children, son- or daughter-in-law


VAUSE: -- sister or brother, you're OK. There was a long list of relationships which are not exempt from the ban and that includes grandparents, grandchildren, aunts, uncles, you can see the list there goes on.

David, it is interesting, though, because for months we've heard nothing from this White House about complaints at the media or once who was focused on scandal, not policy. Here's a big day of policy. They create the scandal.

JACOBSON: Clearly he's the disrupter that he said he was going to be as a candidate. But the reality is he continues to rain on his own parade. Going back to South Korea, you know what Donald Trump should have tweeted this morning?

The fact that there's a $17 billion trade deficit last year with the U.S. and South Korea. That's what he should have been talking about. That's what he should have been promoting today with the leader of South Korea.

And clearly we're talking about a host of another cable news network. And so clearly he has this infatuation with Twitter, with women, with blood, and he continues to shoot himself in the foot and it's clearly impacting his ability to get anything done.

NEWTON: It's going to be hard to convince people of that though. I don't see any sign yet, do you, John, that at some point in time, his supporters, the people around him, are going to say we don't like that you tweet to me. It seems to be tolerated right now though.

THOMAS: Again, his base has been accustomed to this through the campaign trail, that this is something used to. It's remarkable. Although Dave's right. His disapproval numbers are certainly high. His approval numbers really haven't budged a whole lot since he took office. They've really swung back and forth about 3-4 points.

And that tells me his supporters are still with him throughout all this.

VAUSE: OK. The question is for how long and keeping in mind they elected him after the infamous "Access Hollywood" tape, so clearly they're in it for the long haul.

Dave and John, good to see you. Thanks.

JACOBSON: Appreciate it.

NEWTON: The fight for Mosul is down to just a few city blocks now but even that won't come easily. More on the final push to liberate the city from ISIS.

VAUSE: Also, could history be made this hour in Germany?

One of the most countries in the world may actually get same-sex marriage when a vote goes before lawmakers.




VAUSE: The fight to retake Mosul from ISIS is down to the last few blocks, where a few hundred ISIS fighters remain.

The Iraqi-led coalition says victory is imminent but will not come easily.

NEWTON: Iraqi troops have seized the remains of an iconic mosque where ISIS leader Abu Baker al-Baghdadi declared the ISIS caliphate back in 2014. That represents a huge symbolic victory after eight months of fighting.


VAUSE: Joining me now for more on this, retired U.S. Army General Mark MacCarley.

Good to see you, sir. Let's just look at the logistics here. We're talking maybe about 300 ISIS I think I saw by one report, control about a square mile of Mosul's old city; about 20,000 civilians could be trapped in that area.


VAUSE: From what you've seen in the offensive so far, how long do you think it will take the Iraqi forces to liberate?

MAJOR GENERAL MARK MACCARLEY (RET.), U.S. ARMY: I wish I had a magic wand or a crystal ball to take a look at what is definitely a real hard fight. If you do the calculations and you look at the eight months that was spent moving across and then moving close to Western Mosul, that was indeed an extraordinarily hard fight.

You saw the dispersion of the population, you saw multiple civilian casualties. You saw loss of life on the part of the Iraqi coalition. So for the specific answer, nobody can tell you; even a square mile, a fight such as that could take weeks, if not months.

Given, however, that this is a moment of celebration, at least symbolic celebration, for the Iraqi forces, who have been able to liberate the second largest city in Iraq and pull that black flag down from al-Nouri mosque.

VAUSE: Even when Mosul is totally liberated, days, maybe weeks, the Pentagon says ISIS still controls a lot of territory in Iraq. Listen to this.


COL. RYAN DILLON, SPOKESPERSON, OPERATION INHERENT RESOLVE: I will say and we will say that there still remain ISIS strongholds that remained after Mosul. I don't think anybody's unclear about that, to include the Iraqis.

We know that Hawija, we know that Tal Afar, we know that al-Qaim still remain ISIS holdouts and there will be fights that remain against ISIS in those locations and we will continue to support and stand shoulder to shoulder with our partners in those fights.


VAUSE: How does that fit with the Iraqi prime minister's claim of an end to the ISIS caliphate?

MACCARLEY: Because it's a different way of looking at the fight for Abadi, the prime minister of Iraq. He sees this as related to the caliphate. It's all about land and control of land.

Now we have the success story that 88 percent of the revenues of ISIS have been decremented as a result of recapturing some of the oil fields. We've got a return of 60 percent of the land area of Iraq, that was formerly under control of ISIS.

That said, once again, we have to look at what we're fighting for. If it's to capture the flag, so to speak, and capture land, then moving ahead, putting resources and dispelling and dispensing with ISIS within not only Mosul but the other towns south of Mosul, that's a positive thing.

Does that in effect end the campaign against ISIS or the proponents of terrorism and radical Islam?

No. And that's a story --


VAUSE: -- because there's a report for that by West Point's combating terrorism center. It says there's been about -- almost 1,500 attacks on Iraqi and Syrian cities, which are meant to freed from ISIS. Here's part of the report.

"Pushing the Islamic State out as the formal governing party in a territory is not a sufficient development when it comes to ending the group's ability to enact violence against individuals in Iraq and Syria."

So clearly, this campaign (INAUDIBLE) long way to go. But what is the point of liberating cities if you can't then guarantee their security?

MACCARLEY: There's a benefit associated with getting those civilians under something that resembles the Iraqi government. That in and of itself is a struggle because of the continued challenges integrating the multiple sects within Iraq.

That posed a challenge at the point when we commenced or the Iraqi coalition or Abadi commenced his campaign to recapture Mosul, when he was going through the difficult tap dance of coordinating his Shiite paramilitaries with the Iraqi army, with the Kurds, with backup support from the United States forces.

He got this far. That's a positive. So capturing land has a value, certainly has an economic value. It portends to the public that the Iraqi government has some semblance of legitimacy because now it covers about 75 percent of the land mass.

But again, we go back to the same question that you raise, is this a victory?

VAUSE: Well, obviously the fighting will go on and the Iraqis have endured some big losses already. The Iraqi counterterrorism force had an attrition rate of about 40 percent during the Mosul offensive.

Can they continue to take these losses?

MACCARLEY: Well, at 40 percent, as someone who's spent a considerable amount of time in the Army, that is hugely significant, in some sense it's demoralizing.

It does however represent the commitment by a certain segment of highly trained Iraqi soldiers to give it their all, to go forward and recover Mosul for the central government. That is a big positive.

But in terms of the continued support, that is going to be a challenge. It was a challenge going into Mosul because of the desperate, sometimes desperate issues related, as I said before, between the Sunni and the Shiites.

And now if, in fact, the Iraqis see significant losses within their military, then you have that whole --


MACCARLEY: -- subordinate issue of whether or not morale continues or the paramilitary splinter away and a body no longer has that coalition that, in this instance, was successful.

VAUSE: OK, General, as always, thanks for coming in.

MACCARLEY: Thank you.

VAUSE: Thank you, sir.

NEWTON: Tempers flare over Donald Trump's latest tweets. After the break, the debate over what many have called -- what many have said about the president's sexist remarks.




VAUSE: And we're into the home stretch now. You're watching CNN NEWSROOM live from Los Angeles. I'm John Vause.

NEWTON: And I'm Paula Newton. The headlines this hour.


VAUSE: For more on this, joining us here in Los Angeles, Democratic strategist Caroline Heldman and in San Diego, talk radio host and Trump supporter, Gina Loudon.

Thank you both for being with us. So the president, he promised to unify the country. For the most part, he's done that with universal outrage, it seems.

So Gina, I want to start with you. We know hitting back, that's the president's M.O.

But that's one thing. But in just 50 words, it seems he's described Mika Brzezinski as stupid, mentally disturbed, vain, someone who may or may not have had a facelift. It just seems that presidents don't talk like that.

GINA LOUDON, TALK SHOW HOST: Yes, and I don't know Mika and I can't claim to have ever watched her show in totality.

But I can say that in my research today in preparation for tonight, I saw a litany of things that she's said about him. Some of them are pretty harsh and I don't know that they're altogether journalistic. I'm not sure that's her goal necessarily.

But if we're going to talk about misogyny, I think we also have to talk about misandry, which is the opposite of that.

And some of the references she's made were rather emasculating toward the President of the United States.

[02:30:00] So I don't mind us having this conversation but I think the conversation needs go both ways. It's not only women who can be hurt by conversations. And certainly, she fired first many, many times. And we know that this president is the president. And the Americans elected him as such, a person who, if you hit him, he's going to hit back, exactly what was said in the White House conference.

NEWTON: Gina, just to be clear, you defend the president and you agree with the tweet this morning? You think it was wholly appropriate for him to make that tweet?

LOUDON: Like I said, I don't know Mika at all.


LOUDON: I've never met her in person.

CAROLINE HELDMAN, DEMOCRATIC STRATEGIST: You don't have to know her. You don't have to know her to --


LOUDON: But I think if we're going to ask the question, what is appropriate conversation, I think it starts with the rather sexist things that she said over and over --


HELDMAN: What has she said, Gina?


HELDMAN: Gina, what is one thing she's said that's sexist. And by the way, that wouldn't justify it. But what do you have? Because emasculation is not the same thing as misandry. And the president of the United States is actually held to a very different standard than people who are hosts on a talk show where they get to share their opinion. So just to be clear you are supporting -


HELDMAN: -- incredibly sexist comments.

LOUDON: Absolutely. I am not saying that sexist comments are right at all by anyone. But I think --


HELDMAN: You just defended it by somehow saying she brought it --


LOUDON: -- have honest dialogue.


LOUDON: I think we have to have both sides of the -- don't tell me what I did. And maybe you're slamming the victim because, again, these conversations --


HELDMAN: Donald Trump is the victim here?


HELDMAN: Is that what we're going with? Are you arguing that Donald Trump is the victim?

LOUDON: I think America is not paying attention to this hyper rhetoric right now. Because Americas is worried about their jobs, and he's creating them.

JOHN VAUSE, CNN ANCHOR: OK, if I could just --

LOUDON: And America is worried about open pipelines and illegal immigration --


VAUSE: Let me just jump in, Gina.

LOUDON: And those are things he's actually working on.

VAUSE: OK. We know Donald Trump is a counter-puncher. We saw a lot of that during the last year's election campaign. Here's a sample.



I think Jeb is a nice person. He's very low energy. I'm not used to that kind of a person.

He is 'Lyin' Ted. You know, I came up with the idea, but you have to spell it right. It's L-Y-I-N apostrophe. Lyin' Ted.


TRUMP: The Bible held high. He puts it down and then he lies.


VAUSE: All those attacks were on men. It seems it gets a lot more personal when the target is a woman.


MEGYN KELLY, FORMER PRESIDENTIAL DEBATE MODERATOR & FORMER FOX ANCHOR: One of the things people love about you is you speak your mind and don't use a politician's filter. However, that is not without its down sides, in particular when it comes to women. You've called women you don't like fat pigs, dogs, slobs and disgusting animals.


Your Twitter account -- (CROSSTALK)

TRUMP: Only Rosie O'Donnell.



KELLY: No, it wasn't.


TRUMP (voice-over): So you could see there was blood coming out of her eyes. Blood coming out of her wherever.


VAUSE: During an interview with "Rolling Stone" last year, Donald Trump disparaged presidential candidate, Carly Fiorina, asking, look at that face, would anyone vote for that face. He retweeted an unflattering photo of Ted Cruz's wife with the caption, "The images are worth a thousand words." He's also called female reporters bimbos.

So, Gina, how do you explain the difference here?

LOUDON: Well, then, your issue is with middle America who elected this president, not with this president. This is exactly who he's always been. This is exactly who he will always be. He's broken the mold. And while some people want to talk a lot about words, I think he wants to talk about how to actually help make America great again. That's what he's talked about since the beginning. He talks about action while the others are talking about words. And people get frustrated because the rhetoric falls on deaf ears.

HELMAN: Let's talk about action.

LOUDON: This is a president --


HELDMAN: Let's talk about action.

LOUDON: Let's take a look. This is a president --

HELDMAN: Gina, I'd like to jump in here and talk about --


VAUSE: Yes, let Caroline


VAUSE: Let Caroline have a word in.

OK, Caroline, your turn. LOUDON: Sure.

HELDMAN: You brought up actions. OK, so he gutted family planning, which disproportionately effects women across the globe through the U.N. His health care proposal, which he endorses, in the Senate --


HELDMAN: -- disproportionately affects women. It does not save lives. 22 million fewer people not insured. I mean, come on. The Harvard study confirms that we're talking perhaps upwards of 27,000 lives in 2026 alone. Look at the Harvard study.

In addition to that he's also gutted the Title IX enforcement to protect campus sexual rape, sexual assault and rape survivors. He actually blamed the high rates of sexual assaults in the military on women being involved in the military. So he's actions speak very loud.

And I'll just add one more statistic. Half the work force is women. President Obama appointed 43 percent women when he made his appointments. Donald Trump, 27 percent. He is hiring three men for every one woman he puts in his cabinet. So his actions match his words.

VAUSE: Gina, is it typical that a woman --


VAUSE: -- with that kind of record?

LOUDON: No. Your statistics are completely off. And anyway, middle America --


HELDMAN: You could look them up. It's easy to look them up.


HELDMAN: Everybody has the Internet.

LOUDON: Your statistics are exactly the reason this president was elected and the reason he is successful and will continue to be successful. Because America is tired of --


LOUDON: -- the constant division.


LOUDON: We are one America. And we are not really concerned --


HELDMAN: No. No, Gina.


HELDMAN: People are not upset because --


HELDMAN: No, we're not upset over data. People are not upset because data is widely available. Everybody should Google the statistics I just offered. You can easily find them. Even you, Gina --


LOUDON: They're not citable.

HELDMAN: 27 percent.

LOUDON: No. The American people voted --


LOUDON: -- against the kind of division that you're trying to incite. You look it up. I know the taxpayers pay for those abortions and the taxpayers are tired of it and don't want to do it anymore. And this president has answered that call.


LOUDON: I know unemployment is at a 17-year low.


VAUSE: We're almost out of time, Gina, so we just want to jump in.

NEWTON: We just want to jump in.

Thank you both. It is a debate sure to continue, unfortunately.

VAUSE: I could go with this all night, because it is interesting.

We appreciate Gina coming on, as well as Caroline.

Obviously, this is a conversation and a debate a lot of people are having all around the country and many parts of the world.

NEWTON: Next on NEWSROOM L.A., Hong Kong is in the middle of celebrating a historic day, but some are raising question about its future under China. We'll explain.

VAUSE: And in Germany this hour, its lawmakers voting on marriage equality. The very latest after the break.


NEWTON: Chinese President Xi Jinping will swear in Hong Kong's new leader on Saturday, part of the city's special celebrations. Now a military parade was held on Friday to mark the 20 years since the U.K> handed over control of Hong Kong in Beijing.

VAUSE: Mr. Xi has reaffirmed Beijing's commitment to one-country/two- systems, the legal framework which guarantees a degree of autonomy to Hong Kong.

Our Anna Coren in Hong Kong.

And, Anna, despite the commitment from President Xi, there's still a lot of concern about what the future will bring under Beijing's rule.

ANNA COREN, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPODNENT: Yeah. That's right, John. Despite President Xi getting off the plane in Hong Kong yesterday, reassuring the people here that they will continue to live under the one-country/two-systems rule and the freedoms they've enjoyed over the last 20 years, many people believe is lip service. They're concerned that their freedoms are being eroded, and slowly, but surely, Hong Kong will be absorbed into mainland China.


[02:40:14] COREN (voice-over): Breathtaking country parks and beaches, a vibrant city life and a dynamic financial hub, these all makeup the territory between east and west. These all make up the territory of Hong Kong, a tiny archipelago on the southern tip of the Chinese mainland.



COREN: As Hong Kong marks its 20 years since Britain handed its former colony back to China, the city looks ahead to 2047, when Beijing regains full control.

Already, plans under way to begin merging Hong Kong into the mainland with a master plan to create a delta mega city, including surrounding cities, Macau, Zhuhai and Guangzhou.

(on camera): The key part of this plan is right below us. Stretching for approximately 40 kilometers, this will be the longest bridge in the world. It's one of the most ambitious engineering feats in history, costing billions of dollars. And this, along with other infrastructure projects, is designed to further integrate Hong Kong into mainland China.

(voice-over): Some experts say these projects are vital to shore up Hong Kong's financial future.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Hong Kong does have a bottom in terms of land supply. I do believe the government is trying very hard to rebalance the market between supply and demand. With the bridge in place, it's going to help the tourism and the retail market because it will attract more tourists coming to Hong Kong.

COREN: While some Hong Kong citizens support the strategy, others are concerned that closer economic ties will ultimately mean falling into line with China's politics, on freedom of speech, education, and the environment, which could erode Hong Kong's unique identity and culture.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Throughout the years, we do have people from China coming to Hong Kong and different cultures, actually. It's actually changing our culture as well.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Hong Kong will become less important than it as before. And the only thing stopping China from doing that faster, is probably, other than law, it's language as well. So maybe 10, 20 years later, like, Hong Kong won't be here.


COREN: When the handover of Hong Kong took place in 1997, the one- country/two-systems deal for the next 50 years was created with the hope that China would become more democratic. But with that unlikely to happen, the next few years could mean a vital turning point for Hong Kong, with many asking if the former British colony is destined to become just another big Chinese city.


COREN: Now, John, we are standing outside the legislative counsel building here in Hong Kong waiting for Joshua Wong, who is a student democracy leader here. He, of course, is one of the faces of the Occupy Movement back in 2014 which really shutdown parts of the city for almost three months. He was arrested a few days ago climbing on a statue and putting a black cloth over it. He was a gift from Beijing at the time of the handover. He's now out on bail and he is due to hold a press conference here in a short time. And we'll bring you that, John, as we get it.

VAUSE: OK, Anna. How the authorities respond to all of that, will be key. It'll be an indication of what lies ahead.

Thank you, Anna Coren, live in Hong Kong.

NEWTON: The U.S. Treasury Department is taking a firm stance against entities in China for their alleged support of North Korea. On Thursday, the U.S. announced it is severing ties with China's Bank of Dandong for allegedly enabling elicit North Korean financial activity. The Treasury Department also slapped sanctions on two Chinese individuals and one Chinese company, saying nobody is off limits when it comes to aiding North Korea.

Joining me now is Anthony Ruggiero. He is a senior fellow with the Foundation for the Defense of Democracies.

Thank you for joining us.

It's not exactly that this took people by surprise. But what is different in this move is the fact that the sanctions are against Chinese entities. Do you see this as an incremental move or as a game changer? ANTHONY RUGGIERO, SENIOR FELLOW, FOUNDATION FOR THE DEFENSE OF

DEMOCRACIES: It's definitely a game changer. Over the last 10 years, the United States has told China that it's going to act against its banks, companies and individuals helping North Korea in sanctions evasion. And today, the Trump administration actually moved against them. I think the Chinese assume that the Trump administration would not do it. The previous two presidents did not do it against China. And especially the bank, the action against the bank is very significant.

NEWTON: And in terms of characterizing this bank and any role it could have, how significant will he be? Some have argued these are incremental moves and it really won't have an impact on North Korea whatsoever.

[02:45:05] RUGGIERO: Well, the thing is, is that the Trump administration said that a Chinese bank is a money launderer for North Korea. That's not something we've done before. Even on Iran sanctions, there was a designation against a Chinese bank, but not a decision that it was a money launderer.

The other thing that's clear here, too, that's important to point out is that U.S. banks are responsible for whether Chinese banks are using American accounts for North Korea. So I suspect that American banks are going to start calling out the big Chinese banks and say you have a problem on your hands, how are you fixing this.

NEWTON: And that will be an interesting pressure point, especially if it starts to hurt Chinese businesses.

Secretary Mnuchin went out of his way to say we are in no way targeting China. But if you look at the back story, is that true?

RUGGIERO: I mean, there's only Chinese entities and individuals in this action. It's directed at China. And it should be directed at China. China is the one aiding North Korea's sanctions evasion. It's not North Korea -- I mean, North Korea is certainly responsible. But these are Chinese individuals. These are not innocent people. I mean, last September, we learned there was a Chinese company and four Chinese individuals taking a 20 percent profit on their transactions. So they're not doing this for the goodness of their heart. They're interested in helping North Korea in sanctions evasion. North Korea is a human rights abuser and the one who wants to get a nuclear weapon to reach the United States. And the Chinese just put their hands up and shrugged their shoulders. So this is definitely directed at the Chinese.

NEWTON: More to your point, the U.N. released a report in February from the panel of experts. And I went through it months ago and I was shocked at how much evidence the U.N. had put on the table for everyone to see about what was going on there. But, Anthony, having said that, will it make any difference? When I went back to that U.N. panel of experts, they told me, well, we just put the facts on the table. It's up to the Security Council in the U.N. to ask for a response from China. China did not respond to any of those allegations. RUGGIERO: Right. The U.N. at this point is probably a lost cause.

The Chinese will not allow the U.N. I think you're exactly right. The U.N. panel has said that non-North Korean entities and individuals are the ones aiding sanctions evasion. But the U.N. is stuck in a mode of designating and sanctioning North Koreans. But the Chinese have to be worried about U.S. sanctions because they want access to the U.S. dollar.

And you're right. This is one step. The Trump administration is likely going to have to move to the next level, which is a medium-size Chinese bank, if the Chinese decide not to act.

NEWTON: That's interesting, Anthony.

Last word on this, how much of an impact do you really expect it to have? Or it still won't be so incremental that it still won't as effective as it should be.

RUGGIERO: That's the question on whether the Kim regime is ready to give up its nuclear weapons program. But I think there's a chance that this action could snowball in a positive way and get Chinese banks acting against North Korea before the Chinese leadership is ready to do that.

NEWTON: And we shall see in the coming months. And I'm sure the Treasury Department has other moves in their back pocket that they're waiting to use if they get the green light.

Anthony, thank you so much. Really appreciate it.

RUGGIERO: Thank you.

VAUSE: And with that, we will take a short break. A lot more when we come back.


[02:50:06] VAUSE: Less than 50 years ago, this week, something happened that would spark the movement for gay rights in the U.S. and around the world. That something was a police raid, in New York, which sparked the Stonewall Riots.

NEWTON: And as many people enjoyed the festivities of Pride celebrations taking place around the world, even in famously liberal countries like Germany, the battle for truly equal rights is ongoing. Now within the hour, that could change as Germany's parliament votes on legalizing same-sex marriage.

CNN's Fred Pleitgen is following developments from London.

Fred, what's interesting is that, again, many of us think of Germany as a very liberal country, and yet, there's a lot of controversy surrounding this vote and controversy even from Angela Merkel.

FRED PLEITGEN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: There certainly is. And one of the interesting things about this vote, as we're seeing the live pictures, Paula, is it's a pretty fundamental decision. And Germany has had civil unions since 2001, but not full gay marriage up until now.

The interesting thing about the vote we're seeing today is it's a pretty fundamental issue. But this vote was called very quickly. What happened, at the beginning of this week, Angela Merkel met with a lesbian couple. And they convinced her that same-sex marriage is something that Angela Merkel should not be opposed to. She wasn't opposed to it before but she was opposed to making it legal or at least putting it through the parliament the way that it is right now. And once Angela Merkel said she's no longer opposed to it, that she would let everyone in her parliamentary faction vote whichever way she wanted, people in the opposition and in her governing coalition moved quickly and said we're going to have a debate on Friday and try and pass the law Friday. So some people are saying this is going quickly for such a fundamental decision. But there are many, many others.

I know there's a demonstration outside of German parliament in favor of same-sex marriage. Many are saying it's been a long-time coming and it's something this country has needed for a very long time. Because as you say, Paula, many people think of Germany as a very liberal country, one that has a very large gay community in many parts of the community and one where many people thought gay marriage should have been legalized a long time ago. It's a very interesting debate going on and one people thought this country would have been having quite a while ago -- Paula?

NEWTON: And a lot of those opposition parties were quite shrewd in getting them in there. And even Angela Merkel saying she felt ambushed by all of this.


NEWTON: Nonetheless, Fred, what we're going to see in the next hour is likely going to be a historic vote in favor and they will legalize gay marriage, right?


NEWTON: That's what's expected.

PLEITGEN: Yes, exactly. That's the way things are looking right now. People believe this vote is almost certainly going to pass. Because the big opposition parties, the left-wing party, the Green Party, the Liberal Party, all of them want this vote to pass. And Angela Merkel's coalition party, the Social Democrats, which is the second- largest party in parliament, all of them want it to pass as well. And then you have certain members of Angela Merkel's own party, a large gay number of members of parliament as well, openly gay members of parliament. And a lot of them are expected to vote for this motion as well. So it's very interesting. But there are some conservative members of parliament, some other groups saying they have constitutional concerned about this law. There's been decisions in the past, by Germany's constitutional court, which has hinted at the fact that the constitutional court believes, according to the German constitution, marriage should be between a man and woman. However, it seems as though the parliament is saying we'll have this vote anyway. This law is going to come into effect and we'll deal with issues people might have with it later on.

So it is, if you look at it, indeed, a pretty bold move on the part of the parliamentarians who put this vote in place. Because it comes on the last day of the sessions of parliament for this currently parliamentary session. And also, it is obviously quite controversial among legal analysts and some members of the parliament as well -- Paula?

NEWTON: And interesting, in other countries, usually comes from long battle, and then these votes are choreographed.

Our Fred Pleitgen will continue to watch this unexpected vote in Germany. Appreciate it.

VAUSE: Well, Florida police say tennis star, Venus Williams, is to blame for a car accident earlier this month that caused the death of a 78-year-old man.

NEWTON: A report says Williams ran a red light and collided with another vehicle. A passenger in the other car was injured and later died. Williams' attorney tells CNN she expresses her deepest condolences.

VAUSE: Back to one of our main stories. There's been outrage that's been growing over President Trump's latest Twitter tirade, describing a female TV news anchor, Mika, Brzezinski, in a very personal and very vicious way.

NEWTON: Now CNN contributor, Ana Navarro, definitely wasn't letting Mr. Trump or his staff off the hook.

Jeanne Moos shows us how it all played out.


02:55:01] JEANNE MOOS, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Nothing presidential about this pronouncement.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: She was bleeding badly from a face lift, so I said no.


MOOS: Even conservative commentary, Bill Kristol, tweeted, "Dear @realDonaldTrump, you're a pig."

REP. NANCY PELOSI, (D-CA), HOUSE MINORITY LEADER: It's really sad, though. This is the president of the United States.

JAKE TAPPER, CNN CHIEF WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT: A reminder, this is the president of the United States.

MOOS: But no one's seem more incensed than Republican commentator and CNN contributor, Ana Navarro. ANA NAVARRO, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: I thought to myself, this

dude has such a fixation with women and blood. What is wrong with him? And then you'll remember that this dude, this disgusting dude, is the president of the United States.

MOOS: Navarro advised Republicans to confront the president.

NAVARRO: Listen, you crazy lunatic, 70-year-old man baby, stop it. You are now the president of the United States and you need to stop acting like a mean girl.

MOOS: As her rant went viral, we decided to pit Navarro against the president's chief defender.

SARAH HUCKABEE SANDERS, WHITE HOUSE DEPUTY PRESS SECRETARY: This is a president who fights fire with fire.

NAVARRO: He is embarrassing. He is shameful. He is disgusting.

SANDERS: I think the American people elected somebody who's tough, who's smart and who's a fighter.

NAVARRO: Stop enabling him. Confront this, and confront this hard, or it will never stop. It will take the presidency low, low, low.

SANDERS: I think that the president is pushing back against people who attack him day after day after day. Where's the outrage on that?

NAVARRO: We have a president who is immature, unstable and just acts like a crazy person with anybody who attacks him.

SANDERS: The president, again, isn't going to be somebody who's bullied.

MOOS: This, by the way, is said a picture of MSNBC host, Mika Brzezinski, at the time Trump is claiming she was bleeding badly from a face lift.

Maybe what needs facing are facts.

Jeanne Moos, CNN --


NAVARRO: And stop tweeting. Go seek therapy. Go knit. Find a hobby. Talk to your wife.

MOOS: -- New York.


NEWTON: I tried very -- it's funny. It's amusing. And yet, it's so deadly serious. You try not to laugh at it, honestly.

VAUSE: Yes. It's one of those stories that plays out on so many different levels. It comes with lot of complications. Lovely having you for the week.

NEWTON: It was great. Please have me back.


VAUSE: Yes. I feel like "The Bachelor." I had Amara on last week. There will be another mystery guest anchor next week.

NEWTON: Don't get carried away.

You're watching CNN NEWSROOM, live from Los Angeles. I'm Paula Newton.

VAUSE: I'm John Vause. Please follow us on Twitter, at CNNnewsroomla

More news after the break with Natalie Allen and George Howell.


[03:00:13] NATALIE ALLEN, CNN ANCHOR: The controversial travel ban --