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Trump Signs Sanctions Bill on Russia, Iran, North Korea; U.S. Tests Defenses in Long-Range Tests; Aviation Risks by Unannounced North Korean Missile Tests; "The Emoji Movie" Gets Big Thumbs-Down; Trump White House; Justice Department Racial Discrimination Complaint Dates to 2015. Aired 2-3a ET

Aired August 3, 2017 - 02:00   ET




ISHA SESAY, CNN ANCHOR (voice-over): Hello and welcome to our viewers in the United States and around the world. I'm Isha Sesay in Los Angeles where it has just turned 11 o'clock. Thank you for joining us.

Donald Trump is backing a controversial new plan to cut legal immigration in the U.S. to half. People applying for visas would earn points based on things like age, education, earning potential and the ability to speak English.

Only those with the highest scores would get in. As you might imagine, the criticism has been swift. CNN's Jim Acosta has the details.


JIM ACOSTA, CNN SR. WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): As the president rolled out a new immigration plan that prioritizes English speaking people coming into the U.S., the White House sent of its top policy advisers, Steve Miller, to defend the proposal as all-American.

But Miller bristled when reminded of what the Statue of Liberty has said to generations of immigrants, "Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to be free."

ACOSTA: Aren't you trying to change what it means to be an immigrant, coming into this country, if you're telling them you have to speak English?

Can't people learn how to speak English when they get here?

STEPHEN MILLER, TRUMP POLICY ADVISOR: Well, first of all, right now it's a requirement that, to be nationalized, you have to speak English. So the notion that speaking English wouldn't be a part of immigration systems would be actually very ahistorical.

Secondly, I don't want to get off into a whole thing about history here, but the Statue of Liberty is a symbol of liberty enlightening the world. It's a symbol of American liberty lighting the world.

The poem that you're referring to that was added later is not actually part of the original Statue of Liberty, but more fundamentally, the history -- but more fundamentally, the history --


ACOSTA: You're saying that does not represent what the country has always thought of as immigration coming into this country?

MILLER: I'm seeing the notion that -- I'm saying the notion --

ACOSTA: Stephen, I'm sorry.

MILLER: Let me ask you a question.

ACOSTA: That sounds like some national park revisionism.

Are we just going to bring in people from Great Britain and Australia?

MILLER: Jim, it's actually -- I have to honestly say, I am shocked at your statement that you think that only people from Great Britain and Australia would know English.

It's actually -- it reveals your cosmopolitan bias to a shocking degree that, in your mind -- no, this is an amazing -- this is an amazing moment.

ACOSTA: -- trying to engineer --


ACOSTA: -- ethnic flow of people into this country --

That is one of the most outrageous, insulting, ignorant and foolish things you've ever said and, for you, that's still a really -- the notion that you think that this is a racist bill so wrong.

ACOSTA (voice-over): The president unveiled his immigration plan in front the cameras.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: (INAUDIBLE) comment, Mr. President, on Russia sanctions (INAUDIBLE)?

ACOSTA (voice-over): But when it came to one of the biggest pieces of legislation of his administration, a Russia sanctions bill, Mr. Trump chose to remain behind closed doors. The president signed the measure, passed overwhelmingly in Congress then protested in a statement that this legislation is significantly flawed, labeling portions that limit his ability to lift sanctions on Russia as clearly unconstitutional provisions.

The president's response, one day after the White House conceded he weighed in on a misleading statement for his son about a meeting with a Russian attorney struck some Republicans as over the top. SEN. BILL CASSIDY (R): I'm kind of chuckling. That's such a Trumpian statement. The fact is though, is that the legislative branch has a role in this. We're exerting that role.

ACOSTA (voice-over): The president was forced to swallow the sanctions bill as new questions are being raised about his credibility that boiled down his overall trustworthiness.

Take what happed on Monday, when he bragged that even the president of Mexican was praising his success in slowing unauthorized border crossings.


TRUMP: And even the president of Mexico called me. They said their southern border, very few people are coming because they know they're not going to get through our border, which is the ultimate compliment.


TRUMP: As you know, the border was a tremendous problem and now close to 80 percent stoppage. And even the president of Mexico called me.

ACOSTA (voice-over): Problem is, the Mexican government says that call didn't happen, adding in a statement, "President Enrique Pena Nieto has not been in recent communications via telephone with President Donald Trump."

TRUMP: Who the hell wants to speak about politics when I'm in front of the Boy Scouts?

ACOSTA (voice-over): Then there's the president's recent controversial speech to the Boy Scouts that he turned into a political rally. The president told "The Wall Street Journal," "I got a call from the head of the Boy Scouts saying it was the greatest speech that was ever made to them and they were very thankful."

But a Boy Scouts official told CNN there was no such call.

SARAH HUCKABEE SANDERS, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: On Mexico, he was referencing the conversation that they had had at the G20 Summit, where they specifically talked about the issues that he referenced.

In terms of the Boy Scouts, multiple members of the Boy Scout leadership, following his speech there that day, congratulated him, praised him, and offered quite -- I'm looking for the word -- quite powerful compliments following his speech at --

ACOSTA: As for the president's immigration proposal, top Republicans are already questioning whether it will even go anywhere up on Capitol Hill. South Carolina Republican senator Lindsey Graham complained the White House plan could harm his state's agricultural and tourism --


ACOSTA: -- industries -- Jim Acosta, CNN, the White House. (END VIDEOTAPE)

SESAY: Joining me now here in L.A. to talk more about all this, radio host Mo Kelly and CNN political commentator John Phillips.

Gentlemen, welcome. Great to have you with us.

Mo, let's start with you. I want to kick off this conversation by playing some sound from the president. Take a listen to how he describes in part what's wrong with the current immigration system.


TRUMP: Among those hit the hardest in recent years have been immigrants and very importantly minority workers competing for jobs against brand new arrivals. And it has not been fair to people, to our citizens, to our workers.


SESAY: Mo, the president there framing this new immigration proposal as a issue of fairness. But then there are those who say this is more about identity politics. It is more about driving a wedge between communities.

How do you see it?

MO KELLY, RADIO HOST: Well, it is transparent. It changes the conversation away from Russia. It is a way to deflect from his views on Russia.

How is it that he's going to be more -- criticizing of legal immigrants coming into this country as opposed to Russia?

Is it fair to Americans in terms of how Russia has treated us?

No, but he wants to talk about legal immigrants as if they're a greater threat or a greater problem than Russia and how they've treated us. I think it's very transparent. It is identity politics, the whole idea of hoping or needing to speak English instead of someone who might be coming from Africa or Latin America or South America, who may not speak English, it is putting up a theoretical wall as opposed to a physical wall.

SESAY: John, is this about the base at a time when the legislative agenda has stalled and there's all this pressure with Russia?

JOHN PHILLIPS, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: This is not the number one issue for Donald Trump. This is issue one, two and three. There's one reason why Donald Trump won the Republican nomination. It was his position on immigration.

I heard Jim Acosta reference Lindsey Graham and Lindsey Graham's hesitancy to support this type of legislation. Lindsey Graham got 1 percent when he ran for president and had to drop out very early on in the primaries. Donald Trump won. And I'd point out, too, that Donald Trump did better among black voters than Mitt Romney, John McCain; he did better among Hispanic voters than Mitt Romney and John McCain. Part of that reason, a huge part of that reason, in my opinion, was the issue of combating illegal immigration and cutting the number of legal immigrants to the U.S. It may not be a huge number that he got overall.

But when you're talking about slim margins in states like Michigan, in states like Wisconsin and states like Ohio and Pennsylvania, it really means something. He has to come through with this. There's no other option.

KELLY: Yes, he does have to come through with this because he's not doing anything else. He's been unsuccessful on every other front.

Yes, it's red meat for the base. Yes, it's what he campaigned on. But at the same time, when you look at poll numbers and they're in the mid-30s, yes, he needs to give something where people will applaud him. But its not necessarily going to be a legislative win.

PHILLIPS: It's not just the base, though, because he won a bunch of Democrats. He won a bunch of people that voted for Obama two times in all those purple states in the Rust Belt, places like Ohio, Michigan, Wisconsin --


SESAY: And you think legal immigration was a driving factor as opposed to illegal immigration?

PHILLIPS: If you look at the Democrats, who represent those states in Congress, they talk a tough game on immigration. They may not necessarily vote the hardline position on it but they talk that way back home.

SESAY: Let me play some more sound from the president as he talks about the new points-based system.


TRUMP: This competitive application process will favor applicants who can speak English, financially support themselves and their families and demonstrate skills that will contribute to our economy.


SESAY: John, this focus on being able to speak English and the focus on your education and how advanced it is, doesn't that challenge the notion of this country's relationship, its historical welcoming of immigrants of all kinds?

PHILLIPS: Not at all because we're a country, not a flophouse. You can't both be a welfare state and have open border policies. You want people who are going to come here, who are going to assimilate, who are going to become Americans, accept George Washington as the father of their country, support themselves.

And right now we have a policy that rewards the exact opposite.


SESAY: So you're saying people are coming in and they're not becoming Americans?

And what -- I don't understand.

PHILLIPS: Well, take the Tsarnaev family for example in Boston. Two of the brothers ended up bombing the Boston Marathon --

KELLY: And spoke English.

PHILLIPS: -- wanted to do harm to us. But the rest of them were losers who were on welfare. That family should have never been allowed in the country.

SESAY: But isn't the country about having the opportunity, letting people in and giving the chance to get there?

You're making assessments, assumptions before people even get in, from what it says on a piece of paper?

PHILLIPS: This country is about self-reliance, pulling yourself up by your bootstraps, people who come here, who work hard, who make a living, who follow the rules, who speak English, who --


PHILLIPS: -- assimilate to American society.

KELLY: Where is that written?

Where is it that they're supposed to assimilate?

And a part of assimilation is first coming to the country, maybe learning the language, maybe learning the customs and then finding your place within that place.

PHILLIPS: If you don't have assimilation, you end up like many of the countries in Western Europe and the United States does not want to end up there. That was the reason that Donald Trump --


KELLY: Are you talking about Islam?


PHILLIPS: I'm talking about a lot of the riots that we saw in France. I'm talking about a lot of the terror attacks that we've seen in England, that we've seen in other -

(CROSSTALK) KELLY: -- the IRA, that type of terrorism, which happened in England?

We can't talk about terrorism as if it was only Islamic people in the 21st century.

PHILLIPS: That's where the problem is right now. But I'm talking about --

SESAY: So this is really about Islam

Is that what you're saying?

PHILLIPS: No. For immigrants of all stripes, all of them should be able to support themselves, should assimilate into American society, should follow the rules and I think you should get preference if you speak English, yes.

SESAY: You don't think that's racist?


PHILLIPS: No, not at all.

KELLY: I didn't know we had a national language here in the United States. Maybe that changed.

SESAY: What about the fact -- you can step away from the culture if you will and what you could argue is racist or not, depending on where you stand.

But what you can't argue with is the data and the economic data says this country needs a growing workforce to deliver on that economic growth that the president promised his supporters.

Cutting legal immigration is not taking that in the right direction, according to economists.

PHILLIPS: Well, look, economists are largely open borders people and they want cheap labor. Cheap labor cuts people who are at the bottom of the income ladder right now and they get to pay people less. But there's no thing as a free lunch. Someone has to pick up the tab.

And if cheap labor is coming into the United States to subsidize corporate America, then the American taxpayer's going to have to pick up the difference. And the American taxpayers voted on that subject this November and in the primaries. And they said enough.


KELLY: I don't know if they voted on that issue specifically. I remember people were concerned about illegal immigration. I know people were concerned about building a wall to keep people who were illegally coming into the country. But now we to lump anyone who comes into the country, legal or not, into the --

(CROSSTALK) PHILLIPS: I've got a quote for you from President Obama the day after

the election, speaking to "Rolling Stone" magazine.

He said, "It's going to be important for Democrats and immigration rights activists to recognize that for the majority of the American people, borders mean something."

That was the lesson that he learned from the election on Tuesday, November 8th. That was the clear direction the American people gave Donald Trump and the Congress of the United States.

Whether they choose to ignore it is up to them.

SESAY: I don't think the issue is a case of whether or not you modernize immigration system as times change. I think people believe that systems and processes need to be updated.

I think the question is how it is done and this notion of English and the level of your education seems discriminatory and antithetical to America's notion to openness and welcome. I think that's what people are having an issue dealing with.

But I need to ask you because I want to get to the sanctions issue.

How this squares with having a president who hires foreign workers to work on his properties, how does this square with that?

I don't -- I don't -- John?


KELLY: American business does need to take responsibility if American business is hiring unskilled labor, who cannot speak English, that is not the fault of the legal immigrant. That's the fault of the American business who is hiring them.

Why are we going to blame the person for accepting the job as opposed to the business which is offering the job?

PHILLIPS: Businesses play by the rules that are written by the Congress and signed by the president. Right now we have a system that is clearly broken and needs reform and the American people want that to happen.

It reminds me of what the Democrats do with campaign finance reform. They take money from all of these special interests and go to Washington and decry the fact that special interests have influence with elected lawmakers. Well, they can refuse that money. They can say no, I'm not going to take your money. They don't. They want to change the law. But they still take the money, well, it's legal.

KELLY: I don't understand how conservatives can argue both sides of the issue, they argue capitalism and the free market except when it doesn't work to their benefit.

SESAY: And there we'll leave it on that issue. But I want to talk about the sanctions. I want to talk about the bill that the president signed today, which was done behind closed doors. No press, no cameras.

John, no hoopla?

PHILLIPS: Oh, since when does the president crave cameras?


PHILLIPS: Attention?

If you judge the president based on the positions that he's taken and the actions that he's taken against Russia, there's absolutely no question that he's taken a more adversarial position to Russia than President Obama.

He bombed Syria, he went to Poland and said we're bringing back the missile defense system, he pledged our support for NATO and he signed that bill.



KELLY: But back in October, the same day as the Billy Bush video came out, President Obama, said, in effect, that we were attacked --


KELLY: -- by Russia. That's why he kicked out the diplomats, to which President Trump has done nothing to our diplomats being kicked out in Russia. To say that President Trump has been tougher on Russia is a generous read and I would say almost disingenuous.

SESAY: The president himself made it very clear he was unhappy with this bill and it was grudgingly signing it. Take a listen to Sarah Huckabee Sanders, the press secretary, what she had to say.


SANDERS: The president favors tough measures to punish and deter the bad behavior of the rogue regimes in Iran and North Korea and he also sent a clear signal that we won't tolerate interference in our democratic process by Russia. The bill was improved but Congress has encroached on the power of the presidency and he signed it in the interest of national unity. We've been very clear that we support tough sanctions on all three of those countries. We continue to do so. And that has certainly not changed.


SESAY: Have they been clear that they support tough sanctions, John?

PHILLIPS: He signed it.

SESAY: Grudgingly. PHILLIPS: That's the only thing that matters.

SESAY: Well, no, signing is not what matters. The question is enforcement. The question is will he seriously look to implement this?

That's a whole other question?

PHILLIPS: I pay my taxes. I may not have a smile on my face when I do it but I write the check.

KELLY: Rex Tillerson has made it clear that he, as a representative of the administration, wants to make sure that there a pathway to improve relations with Russia. They have already attacked us in a cyber sense. They've not shown themselves as a friend. They tried to harm this republic. Why this administration is so hell-bent on trying to be friends with them, at least in the short term, is beyond me.

First, they said we've had no discussions with the Russians. Then they said, well, let's take -- let's change that. We've had plenty discussions with plenty of Russians. Then they said well, President Trump had no knowledge about Donald Trump Jr.'s meeting with the Russians.

Then he said, well, actually he did and he weighed in with some fatherly advice. It is OK to call this administration a liar when it comes to Russia.

SESAY: Before we go and before I let you go on those strong words, the president himself put out a statement after signing his. He put out two but I want to read part of both, of the second one. Let's put up part of it on the screen.

And John, I would love to hear your thoughts here .

The president said, this, Congress cannot even negotiate a health care bill after seven years of talking, by limiting the executive's flexibility, which is his gripe, that it encroaches on presidential executive power, this bill makes it harder for the United States to strike good deals for the American people and will drive China, Russia and North Korea much closer together. Bearing in mind there has been little to show on Capitol Hill, this talk of being a great dealmaker, is it not wearing thin?

PHILLIPS: Well, give the health care bill time. I still think it's not over yet. He's going to come up with some kind of compromise with Congress and get something through. But the most important thing for him by far is immigration. He's got to get this immigration proposal through.


SESAY: I thought the most important thing was repeal and replace ObamaCare?

PHILLIPS: No, no, no. Number one, two and three is immigration. KELLY: Since when?

We hadn't heard anything about immigration prior to today.

So it will be hard for me to stomach that this was --

PHILLIPS: Building the wall was most common thing that was said besides --

KELLY: Then he would have led his agenda legislatively with trying to push through this immigration bill as opposed to health care the first, second, third and fourth time, which all happened to fail.

PHILLIPS: I'm telling you, one, two and three, immigration.

SESAY: All right, all right, your arithmetic aside, we're going to leave this. Gentlemen, (INAUDIBLE) --

KELLY: Thank you.

PHILLIPS: Thank you.

SESAY: -- thank you.

Next on NEWSROOM L.A., a hot button issue heats up again after reports that the U.S. Justice Department will investigate a complaint of racial discrimination in college admissions.

Also ahead, a warning about the risk North Korea's missile test posed to passenger jets.






SESAY: Hello, everyone.

The U.S. Justice Department reportedly is seeking lawyers to investigate a single complaint about affirmative action in college admission. "The New York Times" says the case involves a complaint filed Asian American students in May 2015. According to an internal memo obtained by "The Times," lawyers in the civil rights division, who want work on the issue, have until August 9th to submit their resumes.

The Trump White House denounced the article as another unauthorized leak.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) SANDERS: "The New York Times" article is based entirely on uncorroborated inferences from a leaked internal personnel posting in violation of Department of Justice policy. And while the White House does not confirm or deny the existence of potential investigations, the Department of Justice will always review credible allegations of discrimination on the basis of any race.


SESAY: Well, the Justice Department says they're dealing with an issue left over from the Obama administration, explaining, "The posting sought volunteers to investigate one administrative complaint filed by a coalition of 64 Asian American associations on May 2015, that the prior administration left unresolved."

With us now to bring his legal perspective is criminal defense attorney and former prosecutor, Austin Dove.

Austin, welcome, good to have you here. So once again, I just want to be clear to our viewers that the White House and the Department of Justice all pushing back on "The New York Times'" report, saying it is unreliable, worth pointing out "The New York Times" says they stand by their reporting.

Nonetheless, that's the official line from the administration. On the face of it, though, let's discuss the theory here.

Is there something that can actually be taken on?

Hasn't it already been settled, the issue of affirmative action?

Wasn't it settled already by the scout?

AUSTIN DOVE, ATTORNEY: It's been settled multiple times by the Supreme Court. We've got the first case, the kind of watershed case back in 1978 was the Bakke decision, Bakke sued the University of California, trying to get into medical school, based on -- because he believed that the affirmative action policy was improper.

He actually won part of that lawsuit. The part that had a quota was deemed to be unlawful but the part that said you could still use race as a factor was upheld. In the same theory or the same line was upheld and deemed to be lawful more recently just last year, in the Fisher versus University of Texas.

So you're right. It's settled in terms of what the Supreme Court has said about it. They have said, they've ruled on this and they said you can use race as long as it's in a holistic fashion and not the sort of preeminent factor weighed with other critical in the admission process.

SESAY: I do want to give our viewers the full picture --


SESAY: -- and make it clear eight states have already banned the use of race in admissions policies, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures, and that would include Arizona, California, Florida, Michigan, New Hampshire, Nebraska, Oklahoma and Washington. They have banned the use of race in admissions policies altogether.

I don't understand how that squares with the Supreme Court's position and the fact that it's been settled numerous times in the past.

DOVE: Well, here's the thing. Universities still have the discretion to sort of determine how they want to make their student body up and what they want their population to look like.

So as long as they're using criteria that on the whole -- they look at other factors, for example, poverty, individuals from various adverse backgrounds, those criteria still measure.

No whether they can sort of put race or -- as a specific label than that, those states would not allow that. But those factors are still coming into play. We did see a big dropoff of some of those states in this diversity pool of students who were admitted.

But there's a lot of these universities are -- because this test, these cases you just mentioned that we just discussed, met the highest level. That's a compelling state interest.

They had to determine that race was a valid reason among all those reasons that they use and because we know of the history of race in this country, in fact the very origins of this country had race as a factor, they were deemed to be lawful.

SESAY: "The New York Times" in that same piece, also stated that according to this memo, which is where they got the details of this plan -- which again, I should make clear, CNN has not seen.

According to the memo, the undertaking to dismantle affirmative action would be headed by political appointees in the Department of Justice's civil rights decision rather than the educational opportunities section, which normally handles schools.

What does that say to you if, indeed, "The New York Times" reporting is correct?

DOVE: It says it's consistent with a lot of things about this administration. This administration seeks to sort of micromanage and seeks to keep very close this concept of loyalty and they want individuals who have been there longer, who have been trained in another practice. In fact, very much the opponents, looking at issues of race in terms of the sensitivity, in terms of whether any rights have been violated, enforcing those kinds of violations, this is almost the opposite in way, saying we're going to take this a different direction and sort of be the frontrunner for other types of individuals who are saying, oh, no, it's other groups, larger groups, who have historically been deemed not to be minorities who are now being disadvantaged.

That's the big difference. And it really is, if you think about it, consistent with a lot of the agenda Jeff Sessions has said about Voting Rights Acts and other issues. These fall in line with those same kinds of concepts.

SESAY: And (INAUDIBLE) theoretical question, if you will, to you. This notion that affirmative action is a zero-sum game, that in its implementation, that the rights of white people are being denied.

Where do you stand on this thought process?

Which is wondered a lot of people hold onto and believe.

DOVE: Yes. Well, you know, you could -- there's certainly arguments you can make on both sides but if you look at where we are today -- and let's just kind of keep it within the university context because that's really where a lot the play is.

There's still these schools, Harvard and Texas and other schools like this, they are in the ranking among the best of all universities. These administers, these deans of these colleges are very conscious about the student body that's coming in and what's going to go out on the opposite site.

So if you think about your theoretical question, about what race plays, it's still unnecessarily play a role because that drives what's going to happen in the workforce on the other side of it.

So other people take the theory that, well, it's not really schools that could do it; it should be the marketplace that would do it. Ultimately, school is a part of the marketplace as well. And you have to make decisions that are healthy for the overall student body. I think historically these Supreme Court decisions and more recently have recognized that and so that if you try to, in just one stroke, move it to a different position, it doesn't really work.

SESAY: Austin Dove, so great to speak to you. Thank you. Thank you very, very much.

DOVE: You're welcome.

SESAY: We're going to take a quick break now. And President Trump says he's punishing, quote, "aggressive and destabilizing behavior" with new sanctions against Russia and North Korea. Reaction from Moscow and Seoul -- up ahead.


[02:31:49] SESAY: Welcome back to our viewers in the United States and around the world. I'm Isha Sesay, live in Los Angeles. This is NEWSROOM L.A.

U.S. President Donald Trump has signed the bill placing new sanctions on three countries, most notably Russia. The legislation gives Congress the power to prevent the White House from undoing sanctions against Moscow on it's on. That isn't sitting well with the president. Mr. Trump wrote this in a signing statement, "While I favor tough measures to punish and deter aggressive and destabilizing behavior by Iran, North Korea and Russia, this legislation is significantly flawed." Joining me Oren Liebermann in Moscow and our Alexandra Field in Seoul.

Welcome to you both.

Oren, I'll started with you.

There's been something of a mixed reaction from Moscow to these sanctions. The Russian prime minister taking a very bellicose response and the president, President Putin and his spokesperson playing it all down. Whose voice should we be listening to? OREN LIEBERMANN, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, this may be

strategic allowing Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev to go to a much more hash tone and brutal tone than we heard from Vladimir Putin. Here's part of what Medvedev said, he said, "The Trump administration demonstrated complete incompetency in the most humiliating manner, transferring executive powers to Congress." Whereas, it was President Putin who said there will probably not be any more retaliation against the U.S. Taking a much more conciliatory tone there, pointing out all the areas where Russia and the U.S. get along.

Importantly, both statements allow the possibility of more retaliations, diplomatic retaliations, that is, from Russia against the U.S., yet saying they're not likely at this point. It was President Putin who pointed out all the areas where Russians and the U.S. get along, which is to say space, Syria and Korea. Perhaps that was a veiled threat as to areas where Putin could retaliate in the future.

But it seems right now, Isha, that won't be any more retaliations at the moment. We'll have to see how this play out, given how this relationship stands right now.

SESAY: Oren, stand by for us.

Alex Field, bring you in. You're in Seoul. What's the reaction in the region to the sanctions leveled on North Korea?

[02:35:05] ALEXANDRA FIELD, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, Isha, the chips are falling on this exactly where you'd expect them. South Korean government officials speaking out, saying this represents the United States' strong desire to see denuclearized Korean peninsula. There was pushback from North Korea even before the president signed the bill. The foreign ministry in North Korea have warned a few days ago that the most recent ICBM launch was a response to stepped up U.S. military pressure and extreme sanctions coming from the United States. They also said these sanctions would prompt an international backlash and a bigger clash between the U.S. and China. The Chinese foreign ministry also responding, according to Reuters, which said the foreign ministry has called for all parties not to heighten tensions at this time. It's the kind of line you've heard from Beijing before. These sanctions are an expanded set of sanctions targeting financial institutions and business entities that do illegal business with North Korea. Isha, I'll remind the viewer it was just last month you saw the U.S. imposing sanctions on a small Chinese bank they said was doing illegal business with North Korea. That prompted strong push back from Beijing, which was really condemning the U.S. for taking that unilateral approach -- Isha?

SESAY: Alex, stand by for us.

Oren, back to you.

With the new Russian ambassador to the United Nations playing down these sanctions, President Putin talking about areas for common ground, where do efforts to reset the U.S.-Russia relations go from here?

LIEBERMANN: Well, it seems like they're not going anywhere at the moment. It was Secretary of State Rex Tillerson who said relationships are as bad as they've been since the Cold War and still getting worse. Tillerson will meet with Russia Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov this weekend in the Philippines and will talk about the sanctions and exchange a few more other statements. We expect a read- out of that meeting, yet there's no expectation that meeting will change where the relationships are right now, which are bad and not getting any better. There was the expectation under President Trump there'd be an improvement between U.S. and Russia in the relations, yet, the number of statements we've seen from Russia lawmakers here, that expectation is effectively dead.

SESAY: Oren, thank you.

Alex, final word to you.

Do these sanctions that the U.S. has leveled against North Korea, do they undercut U.S. efforts to pressure China to rein in Pyongyang? What happens next in that calculus?

FIELD: Well, you're right, and the U.S. has been seeking corporation from China on a resolution for another set of U.N. Security Council sanctions against China. So we've also seen that happen a number of times before. But the stated goal for China and the U.S. is the same, which is the denuclearization of the Korean peninsula. These are two countries, two powers that are at odds at this point on how to achieve that. We have seen the tensions mount in the recent weeks and recent months as U.S. President Donald Trump seems to be venting his frustration with China, saying China has not leveraged the power they have in the region, the power they have based on the economic financial relationship they have with North Korea, doing 90 percent of North Korea's trade with that otherwise highly isolated regime.

There has been pushback now from Beijing in which they have said that they didn't creed the North Korea a problem and it requires a multi- lateral approach in order to solve it. It seems that the U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson is the one trying to take the temperature down at this point. He has been in recent days advocating for dialogue with North Korea with the precondition of de- nuclearization. He's responded directly to China taking a softer approach, saying no one is blaming China or pointing the finger at China for creating the problem, but point out that it is China, indeed, that has a unique or special relationship with North Korea, and that puts China in a special position in order to be effective in resolving the crises -- Isha? [02:39:05]SESAY: Alex, you're in Seoul. Oren Libermann in Moscow.

Thanks to you both. Appreciate the analysis. Thank you.

Next, on NEWSROOM L.A., new concern about risk to passenger planes from North Korea's unannounced missile tests.


SESAY: Hello, everyone. As tension with North Korea over its missile tests escalates, the White House is still considering how to respond should one of the missiles meet a target on land. Indications are clear.

Barbara Starr reports on another risk they pose in the air.


BARBARA STARR, CNN PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): An unarmed intercontinental ballistic missile flew more than 4,000 miles into the Pacific after launching from Brandenburg Air Force Base in California. The Air Force emphasizing it was not a response to recent North Korean missile launches, but a long-planned test that demonstrates the ability of U.S. to defend itself.

Republican hawks continuing to press for a tough approach.

SEN. LINDSEY GRAHAM, (R), SOUTH CAROLINA: We should have a clear message that this threat's not going to mature to the point that it can hit America with a nuclear tipped ICBM. That if we have to use military force we will. And I don't believe North Korea will ever change until they believe America is serious about the military option.

STARR: Defense conservatives worried after Secretary of State Rex Tillerson appeared to at least publicly soften the U.S. tone.

REX TILLERSON, SECRETARY OF STATE: We're trying to convey to the North Koreans we are not your enemy, we are not your threat, but you are presenting an unacceptable threat to us and we have to respond.

BILL RICHARDSON, FORMER U.S. AMBASSADOR TO U.N.: Diplomacy is not giving in. Talking to somebody is not giving in.

STARR: The White House won't be pinned down on what might happen next.

SARAH HUCKABEE SANDERS, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: As I've said many times before, we're not going to broadcast our actions and we're keeping all options on the table.

STARR: There is a growing sense that any U.S., action would be a last resort.

LT. GEN. MARK HERTLING, CNN MILITARY ANALYST: You always have to apply overwhelming force to make sure that your opponent doesn't get the next move. In North Korea, you don't know what that next move is going to be.

STARR: A new problem, last Friday, some seven to nine minutes before North Korea's latest ICBM test missile hit the water, an Air France flight flew through a corridor just two miles from the impact zone. By the time the missile hit, the airplane was dozens of miles away. But North Korea doesn't warn when and where its launches are happening. Aviation experts say it wasn't a close call for the plane being at risk of a shoot down, but it could lead to avoiding certain flight paths in Asia.

DAVID SOUCIE, CNN SAFETY ANALYST: This is something that is billions and billions to one as far as probability. But again, it's not something we can discard and say, oh, well, we don't think it's going to happen, so therefore, we don't need to do anything about it. It's something that still needs to be assessed.

STARR (on camera): Aviation analysts say all of this could lead to commercial airlines being much more careful about where they fly in Asia.

Barbara Starr, CNN, the Pentagon.


[02:45:21] SESAY: Scientists say they have successfully corrected a genetic mutation in human embryos for the first time. In a break through study in the journal "Nature," and confirmed by scientists in Oregon, researchers describe using a technique to remove genes-linked inherited heart conditions. The DNA repair system then replaces the missing genes with a copy from the parent without the mutation. Researchers found more than 70 percent of the resulting embryos didn't have the harmful gene. Scientists hope the research could one day let them edit and sniff out genetic diseases to children before their born. But the critics are worrying that the techniques could be used to create babies with specific traits.

The satellite channel HBO says it's working with law enforcement and cybersecurity companies to investigate a large-scale security breach. Hackers reportedly leaked stolen data, including unreleased episodes of "Game of Thrones" and other shows. The hackers claim to have 1.5 terabytes of data. HBO is owned by CNN's parent company Time Warner. HBO says it feels confident its e-mail system wasn't compromised.

Time for a quick break now. Next, some of your favorite emojis are coming to life on the big screen. But many film critics are giving the new "Emoji Movie" a big, big thumbs-down.





[02:50:38] ANNOUNCER: Welcome to the world inside your phone where everyone is expected to act one way their whole life.

EMOJI: Awesome.


SESAY: Emojis, the amusing little icons you put in e-mails and texts, are now invading theaters around the world. "The Emoji Movie" premiered in North America last weekend. Here is the thing. It's receiving a lot, a lot of thumbs-down, and sad faces. The movie is now vying for the title of worst reviewed film of 2017. And at one point, boasting a truly rotten, Rotten Tomato score of zero percent.

Joining me now is entertainment journalist, Segun Oduolowu.

Segun, this is not going well for the makers of the film. Let me read you some of the reviews. This is Vox, "It's amazing that we can put a man on the moon, but movies like this still somehow get made." Yikes. Vulture, "If only my review of this film could be a upside-down-face emoji." And finally, the "New York Daily News, "Pretty much the worst movie you'll see all year."

Segun, it that bad?

ODUOLOWU: It's not that bad. And here is why it's not that bad. First of all, you don't want to get on the bad side of Rotten Tomatoes. That's why I'm wearing red. Film critics like Anne Hornaday at "The Washington Post," "Access Hollywood," they're like the mafia. They can make or break a movie.

But this movie is making money. So the creators of "The Emoji Movie," they're laughing all the way to the bank. It's not made for adults. It's made for kids. If you're a grown-up using emojis, shame on you, not the makers of the movie.

SESAY: I'm using emojis still, so that makes me worried.

ODUOLOWU: But you're a pretty girl. By the way, love the green. See this, the red, green?


SESAY: Keep focused.

Something about growing up using emojis.

ODUOLOWU: Yes, if you're a grown-up and using emojis, it's the wrong thing. This movie, here is the problem, a lot of critics that review the movie review movies based on their own sensibilities, their ethnic background and age range. A movie like "The Emoji Movie" where it seems kiddy and silly and dumb, it's for kids. Is everything going to be "The Lion King" and "Frozen" and "Deep" as a cartoon? No. It's not. But when you're retreading ground with emojis and Angry Birds and --

SESAY: And "Lego" movie.

ODUOLOWU: And the "Lego" movie, and you're making sequel after sequel, they're for kids. Kids eat this stuff up.

SESAY: It is worth pointing out with its initial zero percent review, zero percent score on Rotten Tomatoes, it does join a club on Rotten Tomatoes. Let's remind our viewers of other films in the zero percent, "Jaws, the Revenge," "Superbabies," "Baby Geniuses 2," "Dawn Patrol," "Max Steel." Sort of kind of heard of that.

ODUOLOWU: Again --

SESAY: But don't you become cool in a whole different way? Anti- culture kind of way?

ODUOLOWU: Yes. It's like "Sharknado," all right? It's those movies where -- "Attack of the Killer Tomatoes." It's the movies that are so bad that they're good. And let's be honest, there are movies that have done really well at the box office that have been panned by critics. "Coming to America," when it first came out, one of the most quoted movies in Eddy Murphy lexicon. Everybody talks about that movie. It got bad reviews. "Friday" got bad reviews and people watched that.

SESAY: I still watch that.

ODUOLOWU: I still watch. So there are movies that critics love. "La La Land," where Hollywood gives itself a nice warm hug and loves itself for doing a musical, which is retread ground. Or the artists, the best silent film ever made that year. Hollywood loves it when you do movies about Hollywood. "Emoji Movie" is just silly.

SESAY: Speaking of retreading ground, I think you hit on a point there. We are seeing a trend. We're seeing a trend of more and more films being made, taking into account established ideas, narratives, franchises. If you will, baked in fan bases. Which one thinks or would naturally assume is because producers are getting worried about taking risks. Making legendary films. They think it means you have a greater chance of success at the box office.

ODUOLOWU: Well, that's what they're hoping. And you'll see more of that because of that built-in fan base. When you see how good these Marvel movies are doing, when you have comic books that have a built- in fan base, why would you stray away and do something original?

"Moonlight," which won for best picture, didn't do well at the box office. "La La Land," it did OK, but it didn't do what "Wonder Woman" did. So as long as you can have a built-in groundswell of supporters, you're going to get --


ODUOLOWU: -- trust me, if I'm the creator of "Emoji Movies," I'm making "Emoji Movie 3." Until you take the pen out of my hand, you're going get "Emoji Movies" all day. It made almost $26 million against "Dunkirk," and Oscar-winning movie.

[02:55:35] SESAY: What's your favorite emoji?

ODUOLOWU: I do the Hissy Face because I'm a lady's man --


ODUOLOWU: -- in a red sweater.

SESAY: Really? My favorite one is Jazz Hands.

ODUOLOWU: Stop! It is not.


SESAY: We're going to end it there.

You're watching CNN NEWSROOM L.A., live from Los Angeles.

Segun, thank you. Thank you. Thank you.

ODUOLOWU: A pleasure.

SESAY: I'm Isha Sesay.

The news continues on CNN with Rosemary Church right after this.

ODUOLOWU: Jazz Hands!



[03:00:00] ROSEMARY CHURCH, CNN ANCHOR: The U.S. president grudgingly signs a bill imposing sanctions on three countries. He says it's flawed. And Russia, Iran and North Korea all agree.