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Trump Condemns Racist Groups Two Days After The Attack; Scaramucci Speaks Of White House Leakers; Merck CEO Quits Trump's Manufacturing Council; North Korea's Kim Jong-un Reviews Guam Strike Plan; Trump And Abe Spoke By Phone Monday; U.S. To Launch Probe Of China's Trade Practices; Massive Mudslides Kill Hundreds in Sierra Leone; India & Pakistan Mark 70 Years of Independence; Scaramucci: Bannon & Priebus White House Leakers; Australia's High Court to Decide Deputy P.M.'s Case. Aired 1-2a ET

Aired August 15, 2017 - 01:00   ET


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

JOHN VAUSE, CNN ANCHOR: Ahead this hour, after days of criticism Donald Trump speaks out against neo-Nazis and White Supremacist, but many including business leaders say it's too little too late.

SESAY: Plus, North Korea maintains its missile threat as the U.S. defense secretary warns it could lead to a game on.

VAUSE: And the Mooch, Anthony Scaramucci, talking about White House leaks is on late night T.V., naming names. Who does he think is behind all of the drama at the White House?

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

VAUSE: I'm John Vause. This is NEWSROOM L.A.

SESAY: Well, we begin with the do over for Donald Trump. The U.S. president, making a second effort to condemn the White Supremacist, the neo-Nazis, that took part in the deadly protest in Charlottesville, Virginia this past weekend. The president interrupted his vacation, Monday, with the visit to the White House before heading to New York. Protesters lie in the streets outside Trump Tower, chanting: No Trump, no KKK, no fascist USA. His initial response on Saturday was widely denounced, as fairly to show moral leadership at a pivotal monument and that includes some American business leaders. The CEOs of Intel, Merck Pharmaceuticals, and Under Armour, have all resigned from the president's manufacturing council.

SESAY: Two days of sharp criticism from Democrats and Republicans, prompted a more forceful condemnation from the president. CNN's Sara Murray has the details.


DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: To anyone who acted criminally in this weekend's racist violence, you will be held fully accountable. Justice will be delivered. SARA MURRAY, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Amid mounting criticism, President

Trump is finally denouncing the White Nationalist group that led a hate-filled rally, that left three people dead.

TRUMP: We condemn in the strongest possible terms this egregious display of hatred, bigotry, and violence. It has no place in America. Racism is evil. And those who cause violence in its name are criminals or thugs, including the KKK, neo-Nazis, White Supremacist, and other hate groups that are repugnant to everything we hold dear as Americans.

MURRAY: Trump's comments on Monday marked the first time he denounces racism by name to Saturday's violence in Charlottesville, Virginia. On Saturday, the president made no mention of the KKK or White Supremacist. He offered a rebuke to those involved, suggesting both side share culpability.

TRUMP: We condemn in the strongest possible terms this egregious display of hatred, bigotry, and violence on many sides, on many sides. It's been going on for a long time it's going to change; not Donald Trump, not Barack Obama. It's been going on for a long, long time.


MURRAY: The president's muted response instantly drew criticism from members of his own party. Republican Senator, Orrin Hatch, tweeted: "We should call evil by its name. My brother didn't give his life, fighting Hitler for Nazi ideas to go unchallenged here at home."

And Colorado Republican, Cory Gardner, told Jake Tapper this on CNN "STATE OF THE UNION":

SEN. CORY GARDNER (R), COLORADO: Well, this is not the time for vagaries, this isn't a time for innuendo or to allow room to be read between the lines. This is the time to lay blame, to lay blame on bigotry, and to lay blame on White Supremacist, on White Nationalism, and on hatred.

MURRAY: Criticism took hold among some of Trump's partners on Wall Street too. On Monday, one of America's most prominent African- American CEOs, Kenneth Frazier of Merck, quit Trump's Manufacturing Council saying, America's leaders must honor our fundamental values by clearly rejecting expressions of hatred, bigotry, and group supremacy. Even before Trump denounced White Supremacist today, he condemned Frazier tweeting: "Now that Ken Frazier of Merck Pharma has resigned from president's manufacturing council, he will have more time to rip off drug prices." Trump's delayed condemnation is sure to be seen as too little too late by some. This morning, the mayor of Charlottesville said Trump needs some (INAUDIBLE).

MICHAEL SIGNER, MAYOR OF CHARLOTTESVILLE, VIRGINIA: He had his opportunity with, and I think that speaks for itself.

MURRAY: Now, President Trump's condemnation of these White Nationalist groups may bring hollow to some, in part, because he stumbled these questions of the race so many times in the past. It took him multiple attempts to condemn the support of David Duke, a former KKK leader, withdrew his backing behind President Trump when he was just a candidate. This is also someone who, as a candidate, retweeted White Nationalist and who rose to prominence, in part, by questioning whether President Barack Obama, the first African-American president of the United States, was actually born here. Sara Murray, CNN, the White House.


[01:05: 11] SESAY: Well, joining us now: CNN Legal Analyst, Areva Martin; and Entertainment Journalist and Social Commentator, Segun Oduolowu.

VAUSE: Also, with us here in Los Angeles: CNN Political Commentators, Democratic Strategist, Dave Jacobson; and Republican Consultant, John Thomas. OK. A lot of criticism of this second go by the president at condemning the violence in Virginia. Here's part of an editorial from New York Times: "We should also note that he began his brief statement on Monday by congratulating himself on the American economy and implicitly taking credit for what he said were a million new jobs. This what our self-consumed, ungenerous president prefers to do -- brag. He thumps his chest when he should be on his knees."

Segun, some of the president's supporters say, even if he was on his knees, that still would not enough for his critics.

SEGUN ODUOLOWU, ENTERTAINMENT JOURNALIST AND SOCIAL COMMENTATOR: Well, it's not about whether or not he would be on his knees, and that's enough for his critics. I don't like liars. And I find him to be a disreputable liar. And this goes to John, again, who I think very highly of and I respect his intelligence, but we disagree on this Trump and this Republican issue very strongly. I invite anyone watching right now to go Twitter, and look at Donald Trump's Twitter, his -- he's real Donald J. Trump, where he retweeted an alt-right contributor, Jack Posobeic -- and I apologize if I mispronounced his name.

You cannot separate the alt-right from the GOP. And the head of the GOP right now is the president. So, when that alt-right is marching with neo-Nazis, and the Confederate flag is being marched side-by-side with the Nazis flag, I don't need him to call on knees; I want right- minded thinking. I wanted -- I want smart conservatives to disavow this man, and disavow what they've done to their party.

VAUSE: John, you want to reply?

JOHN THOMAS, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR AND REPUBLICAN CONSULTANT: I mean, there's nothing wrong about it. I think could've taken stronger action against the protest on Saturday; I think he didn't go far enough, but I'm glad to see that today he did. And quite frankly, I mean, Segun, how far could he go? What could he say? It sounds like you're saying, he couldn't say anything enough to denounce these people. I don't think that's fair.

DAVE JACOBSON, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR AND DEMOCRATIC STRATEGIST: I think the bar was like set so low for this president. Like, this is the man who alienates himself among, even those within his own cabinet. He's skewering the attorney general just a couple of weeks ago; Mitch McConnell the leader of Republican Senate just last week. The bar has been set so low. So, for the president to come up and look presidential to rebuke and disavow David Duke, Richard Spencer, the Ku Klux Klan, neo-Nazis, White Supremacist. I think the bar was set so low, that this was like softball pitch that you could've easily hit a grand slam and knocked it out of the park, and it was a missed opportunity.

SESAY: Let's bring Areva in here to talk some legal here for a second because the president did mention the DOJ investigation into all of this. Talk to us about what that means. And you know, going down over federal hate crimes road versus what we have right now -- second- degree murder.

AREVA MARTIN, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: Yes. I think Jeff Sessions, the Attorney General, has the same problem that Donald Trump has. And it's not about what they say; it's about what they do. And both of them have such deplorable records when it comes to Civil Rights, and when it comes to African-American, Latinos, and other minorities in this country. So, although, those of us in the legal communities, civil right lawyers, were happy that the DOJ announced that it is a federal civil rights investigation to determine whether this was a hate crime, or whether there was some kind of conspiracy to commit domestic terrorism. We can't forget about who Jeff Sessions is, and about what he's doing with respect to Voting Right Act, and what he's doing with respect to the ban on Muslims. So, the problem with Trump and Sessions is it's not what you say, it's what you do.

VAUSE: And there was a time under President Obama when a DOJ investigation would be automatic, and with no question, whether it would have it. But if you do it now it's like, oh, there's a DOJ investigation.

ODUOLOWU: But it -- and it used to mean something. But listen, as a non-lawyer, as a Black man living in America, I have no faith in a DOJ investigation when I see cops murder a civilian, and none of them get arrested. Why do I --

VAUSE: They had been around. I mean, some of them --

ODUOLOWU: Do we really want -- there had been open, there'd been open 500 shootings. But my point is: why would a regular civilian, a regular citizen, walking in their town; people march across and a man plow through protesters. Why would we think that they're going to face any type of real legal, legal responsibility of culpability? This is how far we've sung.

SESAY: I have to put that too, John. John, is that fair, in your view, not to have any faith in the DOJ investigation?

THOMAS: No, it's not. I mean, look, Areva, you know, you're casting a doubt before we've even seen the results of this investigation. I thought it was appropriate that you saw Sessions and the DOJ make an announcement simply, merely, hours after this incident occurred which seems appropriate. MARTIN: John.

THOMAS: Let this whole judgment until we see what happens from the investigation. You're saying that Sessions and the DOJ can't possibly do their job here. Let's give him some time to see if they, in fact, do their job.

[01:10:06] MARTIN: No, that's not what I said at all. I said, the problem with why there's been such a backlash for both Sessions and Trump about what they've said, is that their words don't match their actions. And you can't come out on one day and condemn something, and then your actions speak to something totally different. So, it doesn't help us as African-Americans, minorities of this country, and American for you to condemn the Ku Klux Klan or White Supremacist or Nationalist if you then are suppressing African-American voting rights. They're incompatible; you can't do both.

VAUSE: There does seem to have been an attack of behavior within this White House over the last six months. And an interesting point is, the White House Web site, it archives the public appearances and speeches of the president. Let's take a look. This is August 12th, President Trump signs a veteran's event toward equal employment act. August 14th, signs memorandum addressing China's intellectual property law. Also, August 14th, President Trump delivers a statement. It doesn't say what the statement is about; it's just completely blank. The statement obviously, should read: President Trump delivers a statement condemning neo-Nazis, racist. You know, so, Dave, to you. Is that an innocent omission or is this just, you know, part of a, you know, bigger train that we're seeing in the White House?

JACOBSON: It's emblematic of what the Trump administration did only weeks into the office where they, you know, didn't fully discuss during Holocaust -- for Holocaust remembrance week -- the millions of Jews that were murdered. This is emblematic of the larger theme that we're seeing throughout the Trump administration. You've got a president who is the divider in chief. Weeks ago, of course, he tried to peel away transgender, and push them out of the military. He wants to build the wall. He alienates minorities. He's now against affirmative action. This is a president who continues to splinter the American -- not the just electorate, but all voters, all people across the country -- rather than being an inclusive president who brings Americans together; people who are red, who are blue, who is purple, who are green. We're seeing the precise opposite of that. I mean, that's why you're seeing this splintering within the Republican Party.

THOMAS: This is a president whose daughter is Jewish. Jared Kushner is Jewish, he's a Senior Advisor. This is a president without a communications director, and that's why, I think, we're seeing on the left side.

ODUOLOWU: Wait. Wait. John, wait. John, John, John, wait. Which daughter is Jewish from which wife? Because like, like -- please don't ever say like, like, oh, because you married a Jewish guy, that automatically makes. I'm tired of the defense of so many --

THOMAS: She's converted to Jew. Ivanka has converted to Judaism. ODUOLOWU: I'm tired of the defense of so many smart conservatives,

backing this guy when, as a leader said, every action goes to the opposite of what he says and what he does. I feel that you guys know better. And I feel that you hitched your wagon to this sinking ship for better or for worse. And it's almost shame on you guys because you know better. There are people out there that voted for this guy, that thought he was going to be something, had no idea. You're a political analyst, and you know better. You know what he is, you know how he entered politics. He entered it on racism. He entered sexism. Come on, John.

THOMAS: I do know what happens when you don't have a communications director in charge.

ODUOLOWU: Because he fires them every five minutes.

SESAY: Come on now, John.

MARTIN: Come on, John, you can't go with the White House doesn't have enough resources. This is the United States of America, after all.

THOMAS: Areva, do they have a communications director?

MARTIN: It's their fault when they don't have one. It's his fault. There's no one --

THOMAS: You're a hundred percent right. No one is saying that, Areva. But I'm just saying, this is -- look, this is my business. I was in campaigns and organizations like that. when you don't have communications staff, mistakes like this happen.

MARTIN: There's not a --

VAUSE: What John is trying to say -- and let me just so jump in here because, you know, there's one Republican, and I think it's a little unfair right now. Look, essentially, this is a chaos White House, you know, where a lot of people see conspiracy, there's confusion and chaos. There is not a delivered plan to go out of Donald Trump's way you know, to be anti-Semitic or, you know, to be bigoted, or be racist, and since because this is a White House in general, OK?


SESAY: John, let me say this. No, let me say this. I do feel like, you know, I do feel like there is a moment where sometimes there's a little bit of double speak at play. Because on the one hand, most times, I hear strategist and laud President Trump for his communication instinct. That he's a great -- he knows what to say. He always has the right thing to say. Always knows the right words to come out. And then, on the other hand, now we're saying it because he doesn't have a communications director that this is why this happened. I'm not sure, John, which is it? Is he a communication (INAUDIBLE), isn't he?

THOMAS: Yes. I mean, I'm the strategist that says he isn't. In fact, it's the opposite. I think his actions are generally better than his words.

VAUSE: OK. Let's move on. Let's take completely to jump approval ratings for the president. This is the Gallup poll, came out of 34 percent approval; 61 percent disapproval. You know, and Dave, this poll was taken three days, ending Sunday. So, at least someone did take part in this survey, did not know what had happened in Virginia, did not know the controversy surrounding the president initial remarks.

[01:15:06] JACOBSON: I'd be surprised if the numbers don't continue to tick downwards. I mean, this is a historical low, of course. It's unprecedented to have a president who's still within his first year to have this unbelievably low number. But I think it's emblematic of the fact that Donald Trump has failed to deliver not just anything as commander-in-chief, but he hasn't actually delivered on anything he's promised in terms of his platform for his constituents or his supporters, right? And you're seeing this growing rift within the Republican leadership.

Like I said earlier, skewering Mitch McConnell, the leader of the Senate, the other day for not passing a repeal and replace of Obamacare. That's partially on the president's -- the president to blame. And I think you're saying whether it's the wall, whether it's not labeling China as a currency manipulator or scores of other issues. I think the fact that this continue has -- the president has continued to deliver anything tangible in terms of what he promised the electorate, I think he's starting to turn off a lot of the supporters, and that's a real danger for the president. But going back to your earlier point, in terms of this poll being taken before -- of course, before Saturday, I wouldn't be surprised if it ticked even lower into the very low 30's, perhaps 31, 32.

SESAY: John, do you have that same fear that it will continue to drop?

THOMAS: Yes. I actually wouldn't be surprised. I think Dave and I agree here that Trump -- I think he has had some victories. By and large, he hasn't had any legislative victories on his agenda that he promised to the Americans.

VAUSE: Sorry. The other thing we should note is that he's about 10 points high than Richard Nixon when he, actually, the day he resigned.

ODUOLOWU: And Nixon actually said, I am not corrupt. And John keeps trying to tell me that this is not a racist or bigot, yet Bannon is one of his chief advisors and sits next to him, who is the editor or an alt-right.

MARTIN: Come on, John.

VAUSE: Last word to John. Very quickly, John.

SESAY: Yes. John, give us the last word.

THOMAS: I don't buy it.

MARTIN: Just say you agree with us, John.

THOMAS: No, I don't.

MARTIN: Make it easy on yourself.

THOMAS: I can't agree with you.


THOMAS: Donald Trump is not a racist. His base is not filled with racist as much as you guys would like to believe that. That's not the case. I think Bannon is not long for this administration.

JACOBSON: I think the larger issue, though, is the polling trend. Last week, Quinnipiac put out a poll with 33 percent, CNN had a poll on the mid-30's. I think you're going to see this downward trend continue.

VAUSE: Let's leave it there.



SESAY: A moment of calm.

VAUSE: Segun and Areva --


VAUSE: And Dave and John, thank you all for being here.

JACOBSON: It's a pleasure. Thank you.

SESAY: Thank you, everyone. We appreciate it. Thank you. Let's take a quick break, shall we? Next on NEWSROOM L.A., the North Korea missile threat; Kim Jong-un signals a small turn toward diplomacy, even if he gets brief on the plan to launch missiles into waters near Guam.

VAUSE: Also, U.S. President, Donald Trump, moves investigate China's trade practices. And now, a furious Beijing says it will retaliate if that leads to any punitive measures.


[19:20:08] VAUSE: South Korea's president says he will do everything in his power to prevent war from breaking out on the Korean Peninsula. For now, the war of words between North Korea and the U.S. is easing. According to state run media, North Korean leader Kim Jong-un says, he's going to watch the "foolish and stupid conduct of the Yankees before deciding whether to actually fire missiles towards the U.S. territory of Guam.

SESAY: Well, U.S. Defense Secretary, James Mattis, warns that it's game on if North Korea does attack. The U.S. President Donald Trump and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, spoke by phone on Monday, agreeing that the top priority prevents those missiles from launching. Adding another (INAUDIBLE) that is a complicated and tense situation -- China. It's warning of a potential retaliation over U.S. moves to prove its trade practices.

VAUSE: There is a lot to cover right now. Paula Hancocks, standing by in Seoul, South Korea; we also have Ivan Watson in Guam.

SESAY: Also joining us Erin McLaughlin in Tokyo, and Matt Rivers in Beijing.

VAUSE: We'll start with Paula in Seoul. And it seems the North Korean leader may be trying to defuse this crisis at the same time, sending some mixed messages as well.

PAULA HANCOCKS, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: That is right, John. And it comes a day after we saw the op-ed in the Wall Street Journal from the two top diplomats of the Trump administration saying that they are focused on diplomacy and economic issue. So, really, both sides appear to be -- although the rhetoric is still strong -- pulling back just slightly. And the basic fact is, neither side wants to push this too far, neither side actually wants war. The North Koreans and Kim Jong-un know full-well what a full war would mean.

That sheer might of the United States and South Korea combined means that they are unlikely to survive; the regime would be destroyed. So, certainly, Kim Jong-un knows this. But what he's saying is that he's going to wait and see what happens -- what the, as you say, the stupid and foolish Yankees do next? And of course, next week we have the joint U.S.-South Korean military drills that are going to be held; they're annual. The U.S. says they're defensive in nature. The North Koreans, do not see them that way. They've been calling for them to be canceled, as have the Chinese, but the American's just yesterday said they will go ahead.

Now, separately in South Korea, the President Moon Jae-in is here today and made a speech; its Liberation Day -- 72 years since the liberation of the Korean Peninsula from Japanese occupation, which actually a day when North and South Korea are united in celebrating. But he said that it is up to South Korea whether or not this does end up in war, and he is determined to make sure there isn't a second Korean War.


MOON JAE-IN, PRESIDENT OF SOUTH KOREA (through translator): We urge North Korea to stop worsening the situation and immediately stop provocations and threatening behavior. There must be no more war on the Korean Peninsula. Whatever up and downs we face, the North Korean nuclear situation must be resolved peacefully. I am certain that the United States will respond to the current situation calmly and responsibly in a stance that is equal to ours.


HANCOCKS: Moon's also saying that what has to stop at the beginning is the nuclear freeze. The North Korea is opposed to calling for a complete denuclearization straight away, John, Isha.

VAUSE: OK. Paula, thank you. Paula Hancocks in Seoul. Isha?

SESAY: Ivan Watson, to you there in Guam. So, the statements from the U.S. and North Korea on Monday, more measured. Do people on Guam feel like the worst is over in crisis?

IVAN WATSON, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, there certainly haven't been any changes throughout the entire crisis, Isha, in the threat level according to the local authorities here on Guam. And I've spoken with U.S. military personnel, the spokespeople at Andersen Air Force Base, for example, and they say that everything is still operating as usual. For example, no moves to evacuate any of the relatives of the thousands of military personnel that is stationed here on this island. There are certainly -- still, there's concern on Sunday. You had Catholic churches here praying for peace. We had a small gathering yesterday where demonstrators also call for peace -- they called it a peace rally.

And in a sign of some of the nerves jangling here, last night there was a message put out over a local television, an emergency -- the emergency alert broadcast system. And according to people we've spoken with and some social media posts that alarmed some people, because there wasn't any explanation for why this emergency alert broadcast message was going out. And the Guam civilian authorities have since said there was some human error, in fact, that it was an unauthorized message that went out, and they've essentially apologized if that alarmed anybody. But that is an indicator of kind of the heightened concerns here, though we see no signs of panic or whatsoever.

And if there's any evidence or proof to back that up, Isha, it's the fact that the Holiday resorts are booked full and the tourists keep coming in, especially from countries like Japan and South Korea, both of which were mentioned in that North Korean state media agency announcement as a potential target of North Korea's military forces.

[01:25:36] SESAY: All that is indicative of the general sense of things. Ivan Watson there on Guam. We appreciate it. Thank you. John?

VAUSE: We're heading north now to Tokyo. Erin McLaughlin is there live. So, despite these views from Pyongyang, Japan is still deploying missile defenses. The government remains on high-alert and consulting closely with the United States.

ERIN MCLAUGHLIN, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: That's right, John. And I was just speaking to a Japanese diplomat a short while ago, and he told me that the Japanese position remains the same. That the government feels that the North Korean threat has moved into a new phase, and that was the key topic of conversation between the President of United States, Donald Trump, and Prime Minister Abe. A conversation that took place a few hours ago; a conversation lasting some 30 minutes. Prime Minister Abe, briefing reporters out of that phone call saying that they both agree that the most important thing was preventing a missile launch on Guam. Take a listen to what else Prime Minister Abe had to say.


SHINZO ABE, PRIME MINISTER OF JAPAN (through translator): The North Korean announcement that it will ballistic missiles towards Guam has raised tensions in the region to levels unseen before. Amid all this, I highly value President Trump's commitment to the security of its allies. Through our firm partnership between Japan and the U.S., and with cooperation from China, Russia, the International Community, we agreed that our priority was to work to ensure North Korea doesn't launch more missiles. We will also do our utmost to protect the lives of the people whatever the situation, based on our strong U.S.- Japanese alliance, and with a high-level alert monitoring and missile defense system.


MCLAUGHLIN: Now, later this week, the Japanese defense minister and foreign minister will meet their U.S. counterparts in Washington D.C. to focus there on strengthening the alliance between the United States and Japan, primarily on deterrence and response. John.

VAUSE: Erin, thank you. Isha?

SESAY: All right. Matt Rivers there in Beijing. Matt, the U.S. is trying to put pressure on China to do war, to rein in North Korea. Now, we hear that the U.S. is looking into launching a probe into China's alleged trade practices. What -- first of all, how angry is Beijing about this move and what are we looking at in terms of potential retaliation, the fallout here?

MATT RIVERS, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes. Well, the fallout could happen both in the realm of trade, and also in the realm of North Korea, and the ability of these two countries to work together moving forward. But for our viewers, they might not be familiar with what's going on here. The Trump administration, President Trump himself, actually had an announcement 2:30 p.m. East Coast time on Monday, authorized the U.S. trade representative to determine if it was necessary to launch an investigation into alleged violations of proper -- intellectual property rights by China against U.S. companies.

He's basically opening up the door that if the U.S. trade representative thinks that it's appropriate to start that investigation, and if that investigation were to happen and find negative outcomes, then that could pave the way for tariffs on Chinese imports to the United States. That's obviously been something that President Trump talked about as a candidate well back in the beginning of his campaign, and it could be the signal of a harder line kind of stance that the Trump administration will take against China when it comes to trade moving forward. How will China respond? Well, they already said today that if there were some kind of tangible negative outcome from that investigation, ala-tariffs, China would not sit idly by.

As they said, they would launch some sort of retaliatory action, and they do have a lot of leeway -- a lot of sways rather over the U.S. trade. It's the U.S.'s largest trading partners, so they could do a lot of damage there. And furthermore, these two countries are trying to work together on North Korea. It's part of the Trump administration's strategy: get China to use its leverage against North Korea to get them to scale this project back. If they continue down this road of a harder line stance on trade, how China will react to that? Well, we're just not sure at this point.

SESAY: Matt Rivers, joining us there from Beijing with some important perspective. Thank you. We appreciate it.

VAUSE: Next here on NEWSROOM L.A.: Sierra Leone, hit hard by massive mudslides burying homes and leaving hundreds of people dead. We'll have the latest in just a moment.

SESAY: And marking the anniversary of independence: the end of colonialism in India did not end the turmoil.


[01:32:26] JOHN VAUSE, CNN ANCHOR: Thanks for staying with us, everybody. You're watching CNN NEWSROOM, live from Los Angeles. I'm John Vause.


The headlines this hour.


VAUSE: The Red Cross warns the death toll from mudslides in Sierra Leone is expected to rise in the coming days. Already more than 200 people have been killed.

SESAY: CNN's Farai Sevenzo has more on the devastation left behind.


FARAI SEVENZO, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Torrential rains caused the mudslides that buried homes and people inside them in the early hours of Monday morning in the coastal capital of Freetown. When I'm in Sierra Leone, I'm struck by the way the houses are built on hilly gradations. It's beautiful in the sunshine, but can also cause havoc when it rains.

People would have been sleeping at the time and completely unaware of what was coming their way. They would have been totally unprepared for it.

A search-and-rescue mission is underway involving the police, the ministry and the national security.

The Red Cross told CNN that many of the homes effected would have informal assessments and they are also help people affected by these floods. A spokesperson said that they country has been traumatized by the magnitude of this disaster. Remember, Sierra Leone has suffered a great deal in the past few

years. They are only just recovering from the Ebola crisis which stretched their national health service. It is more than likely that these floods will affect them even more.

Farai Sevenzo, CNN, Nairobi.


VAUSE: Let's go to Meteorologist Pedram Javaheri at the CNN Center in Atlanta.

So, Pedram, what's the forecasting?

[01:34:57] PEDRAM JAVAHERI, AMS METEOROLOGIST: You know, unfortunately, we're in the heart of the wet season John, so we're expecting additional rainfall to continue. And between the month of June, take it all the way to the month of October, that is when the wet weather is at its heaviest. And July and August are actually the heaviest single two months of the year. Look at perspective, we know it is been excessively wet across this region. Just since July 1, in Freetown, we're talking 300 percent of normal in the precipitation.

The concern we get these sorts of patterns where a convergent of winds from the southern hemisphere and the northern hemisphere collide, you get a line of active thunderstorms. Persistent storms develop, say, every three to four days along this boundary. So that's where we sit right now. And these storms eventually become tropical disturbances as well.

But I want to show you something when it comes to deforestation across this region of Western Africa because it is a pretty incredible graphic to conceptualize exactly how things have played out. Since about the year 1900, you see a dramatic drop in the amount of square kilometers of the land area that have been covered by forests and eventually depleted land area coming down to less than about 100,000 or so square kilometers. This is an area of concern. We look at this with additional storms coming across this region and in fact, the storm that impacted portions of Sierra Leone. Now for the portion of the Atlantic Ocean right now, that would be Tropical Storm Harvey. These storms eventually become tropical waves and eventually become hurricane. That is how Hurricane Andrew formed, a tropical wave off the coast of his region, exactly 25 years ago. So all of this, kind of seasonal norm. But what happens with deforestation, of course, construction, mining across this region, a lot of runoff and a lot of land left here susceptible to damage as well -- guys?

VAUSE: OK, Pedram, thank you.

SESAY: Pedram, thank you.


SESAY: India is celebrating its 70th Independence Day. Prime Minister Narendra Modi unfurled the national flag and addressed the nation from the ramparts of the Red Fort. VAUSE: A day earlier, Pakistan celebrated its Independence Day with military pageantry and fireworks. Pakistan was founded after 200 years of British colonial rule of India came to an end. Millions migrated, based on their faith. At least a million died in ethnic fighting. And tension between the countries continues to this day.

For more on all of this, we're joined by Mallika Kapur, in India, and Sophia Saifi in Pakistan.

Thank you for joining us, ladies.

Mallika, to you first.

This milestone anniversary is obviously being celebrated with the expected pomp and ceremony in India. Amid the job, this is also a time of some very painful memories.

MALLIKA KAPUR, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: It is. It is a time for some very painful memories because, remember, as you said, as we mark 70 years of independence, which, of course, is a moment of great pride for India, we are also marking another significant milestone. It is 70 years since partition. You mentioned earlier, when we saw India in 1947, we carved into India and Pakistan. It led to about 12 to 15 million people rushing to cross the border. It is estimated to be one of the largest mass migrations in history. And 12 to 15 million people crossing the border, there was so much communal violence. It was a virtual bloodbath at that time. About one million people died in communal violence, 75,000 women and girls were abducted and raped. People had no warning. They had to leave their houses really quickly. They rushed, leaving their homes behind with very few belongings, just what they could carry. It was a really harrowing experience for people at that time.

And now 70 years later, people are now finally talking about partition. It is interesting, for so many decades, really, there was very little conversation about partition here in India. But this anniversary, people are talking about it, trying to get some sort of closer to some very old painful memories.

SESAY: Yes, indeed.

Mallika, thank you.

Sophia, to you now.

Talk to us about how this anniversary has been marked in Pakistan and how people that are remembering the partition, the independence that came 70 years ago.

SOPHIA SAIFI, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORERSPODNENT: Well, Isha, there's been the usual pomp and ceremony. There were air shows across the skies for the major cities. There were flags hoisted. Lights, fireworks, bunting, the work.

But, of course, like Mallika said, it's also a time of reflection of sorts, looking back. This generation has been silent for a very long time. It's been a time where people have spoken to the grandchildren, to their children, spoken about memories that have been repressed for a very long time. As part of CNN's coverage, we spoke to somebody as well. I went and I spoke to somebody whose mother was killed while she still held him I her arms. And this was 70 years ago. This old man, he's quite positive about dialogue with India and Pakistan. He says they should look ahead.

And although relations between the two countries has been continually hostile and frosty, there is a desire on the ground for better relations between the two countries.

SESAY: Let's hope the next 70 years are better.

Mallika Kapur and Sophia Saifi joining us there from India and Pakistan, respectively. Thank you.

[01:40:07] VAUSE: Next on NEWSROOM L.A., Australia's deputy prime minister has been outed of holding duel New Zealand citizenship, and that could cost his government a slim majority in parliament. The reason why is next.


VAUSE: The Mooch is on the loose. The fired White House communications director is not holding back. And he appeared on "The Late Show" with Stephen Colbert. He suggested he may be able to rat out who was behind the White House leaks.

SESAY: There are suspicions of the former White House chief of staff, Reince Priebus. He also pointed a finger at President Trump's chief strategist --


SESAY: -- Steve Bannon.


STEPHEN COLBERT, HOST, THE LATE SHOW: Now, you thought he was one of the leakers?


COLBERT: OK, he's gone.


COLBERT: Who is leaking now? Is it Steve Bannon?

SCARAMUCCI: Well, I said that. I'm --


SCARAMUCCI: I've been pretty open about that.



SCARAMUCCI: Let me explain. I said he was. Obviously, I got caught on tape saying he was so I have no problem saying that.


VAUSE: He also said about Steve Bannon --


Comedian and actor, Hal Sparks --

HAL SPARKS, COMEDIAN & ACTOR: He's saying it. Yes, yes, I got called out. I'm on tape saying it, might as well say it. This is the same guy, by the way, who is like, I'm not going to tell you who told me this.


VAUSE: The president

SPARKS: For God's sake, at this point, we have entered to like voting people off the island of this particular presidency.

VAUSE: My question, tell the Mooch that his 15 minutes of fame ended like weeks ago?

SPARKS: Oh, no. Colbert had -- like they literally created a cartoon for this guy, for the of the cartoon Trump they do, and they were mad they did not get to use it because he was fired so quickly. Literally, Colbert invited him on as a standard comedy call back.

VAUSE: Right.

SPARKS: Literally just like, I got six more jokes we wrote and they're too good to pass up, let's bring him on. And since he is like the Carter Page of the Sopranos set and is stupid enough to walk into any rake you lay in his yard, he, of course, came on the show. And --


SPARKS: I said that guy --


SPARKS: They're all little Tony Sopranos. That's the amazing part. He's literally got Rust Belt guys going, yes, you know, that Trump guy, he's going to save our jobs. He knows what I feel every day, man. Meanwhile, they're like, oh, you know, I made a deal with the Chinese guys.

[01:45:12] SESAY: Well, as you know, the White House always provides the fodder that is always drawn from this White House.



SPARKS: And by the way, for the record, can I just say Nazis suck?


SPARKS: So the people --


SESAY: Only two days.

SPARKS: -- to say it.

SESAY: It's funny that, because Stephen Colbert did ask Anthony Scaramucci about the way his former boss handled the whole thing over the weekend. Take a listen.


SCARAMUCCI: Let's be fair to him today. He did condemn the Nazis today.

COLBERT: Two days later. Does he order his spine on Amazon Prime? Why did it take so long?



SPARKS: In his defense, after the entire world was finished decrying Nazis and white supremacists, he did get in under the wire. There is an element of this, like you have an opportunity -- almost every Republican cannot immediately after this happened this happened said something. You can check off the list of who will be a primary candidate in 2020 by how fast they did. With the exception of Orrin Hatch, I think everybody else who did it, were like, oh, I'm going to make sure I'm in the 2020 running. And the fact that people are giving him a pass or letting this slide, there is only two options. He's stupid or he is incompetent, like he does not realize it is an issue or he is too dumb to know this is what you say.


SPARKS: Which is an absurdity. You can't have both. You can't be like, oh, masterful on Twitter. He knew how to control the voters. Listen to him. And, boy, he just --


SPARKS: -- magic. And you go, ah. How to you not retweeted an Alt- Righter guy a day and a half after


SESAY: The president's polls numbers, as you know, are moving in the wrong direction from his point of view.

SPARKS: I don't know. From his point of view? I think he thinks like this is just a refinement of sunlight. Like this is an eclipse through a cardboard hole. He's like it's just getting brighter and getting -- I got rid of all the crap and now only has the best support --


SESAY: When you have numbers this low, for comedians, I mean --

SPARKS: I have never had numbers that low.


I haven't. I have never had it.


SPARKS: I have literally my ratings have consistently been higher than his, my entire career, even before I had my own show.

SESAY: Does this mean all the gloves are off and there's no restraint? If the president's numbers are this low, you could just go for broke. Is that where we're at now?

SPARKS: I think we have always felt -- I felt that since Election Day.


SESAY: I'm wondering whether we've turned a page or we're going elsewhere.

SPARKS: Now it is indicative of moral strength. At a certain point, the rats are leaving the sinking ship. There is a certain point of like the rats that are remaining, why? What's their motivation?

VAUSE: The problem with Scaramucci is (INAUDIBLE). Because if (INAUDIBLE) was still around, he's perfect for


SPARKS: Oh, yes, yes.

VAUSE: This guy isn't going away.

SPARKS: No. That's the thing, everybody is - now there's a pundit cycle, very important, that you get fed back into. And to some degree, he was there for a short time, but it was a very intense time. You can pretend for a second he didn't have very specific conversations with this president, very open conversations. Clearly from how he talks to the press, he and Trump have a language similarity that was (CROSSTALK)

SESAY: Where do you go from here? What's your money on?

SPARKS: I don't think "Dancing with the Stars."


VAUSE: He's already turned that down.

SPARKS: Yes. You know, I think peaked at Tucker Carlson.


SPARKS: We split up that way. I think, quite frankly, you know, "The Apprentice" needs new host, I think, right?

VAUSE: Perfect.

SPARKS: Yes, right.

VAUSE: He would be awesome. He'd be great at it.

SPARKS: No, he wouldn't. He'd suck.


But that doesn't mean he won't get the job.


SESAY: Hal Sparks, the one and only. Thank you.

VAUSE: Thank you.

SPARKS: On that I have no opinion. But Nazis and white supremacists that is anti-American


SPARKS: For the record.


SPARKS: -- I'll say the same thing.


VAUSE: Awesome.

And with that, we'll take a short break. We'll be back in a moment.


[01:50:50] VAUSE: Australia's really conservative coalition is in danger of losing its one seat majority in the House and it's hold on power after it was revealed Deputy Prime Minister Barnaby Joyce has duel New Zealand citizenship, a potential breach of Section 44 of the Constitution, which forbids any from being a candidate for federal parliament who is a subject or citizen of a foreign power. The citizenship crisis is now threatening the government began last month, when the previous deputy leader resigned because he had duel New Zealand citizenship as well. Since then, four other lawmakers, including the deputy prime minister, have either resigned or come under scrutiny. For weeks, Joyce insisted he was note a Kiwi.


BARNABY JOYCE, AUSTRALIAN DEPUTY PRIME MINISTER: I'm not a New Zealander. You have to apply. You can't a bloody thing. You have to apply to become a New Zealand citizen. And I've never applied to become a New Zealand citizen, nor do I want to.


VAUSE: But on Monday, New Zealand's prime minister announced that Joyce was a citizen of that country by descent because his father was born there. The legal issue is now with Australia's high court.


JOYCE: To provide clarification to this very important area of the law, for this and future parliaments, I have asked the government to refer the matter to the high court, sitting as the court of dispute of returns.


VAUSE: For more, we're joined now by Simon Cowell, with the Centre for Independent Studies.

Simon, good to see you.



VAUSE: Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull seems pretty confident the court will rule in favor of his deputy. This is what he said to parliament.


MALCOLM TURNBULL, AUSTRALIAN PRIME MINISTER: The leader of the national party, the deputy prime minister, is qualified to sit in this hour and the high court will so hold.


VAUSE: But it might not be so clear cut. What happens if the court rules that Joyce has violated the constitution? Politically, what comes next for the government? COWELL: So this is an interesting situation going on here. Up until yesterday, when Joyce hit the news, everyone who had the under- citizenship threat was actually in the Senate. In the Senate, what happens is they seem to replace with the next person on the ticket. Unfortunately, for the government, if Barnaby Joyce is found to be a citizen of New Zealand and is found to be ineligible as a result of that, his seat will be declared vacant and there will be a bi-election held. At the moment, the government is very, very low among the public. They've lost 17 news polls in a row. They're really at risk of seeing a strong negative vote.

Joyce had a council majority in his seat, so it may still hold on. But they're going to have to fight an election and their government will be up for grabs.

VAUSE: All this seems to be a very strange twist for a country that actually prides itself on being a nation of immigrants.

COWELL: Absolutely. One of the things you need to keep mind is the section of the constitution has been made since the beginning. We've always had this requirement. And there is actually no restriction on people who were born in foreign countries or who hold dual citizenship from running for parliament in Australia. You don't have to be born here to do it. But what you do have to do is you have to give up that dual citizenship before you run for parliament. What we've seen is a number of people who didn't think they were dual citizens, who were unaware of the situation. In one case, we've had a Senator blame their mother for submitting the forms to become a citizen without their knowledge. But all of these people consider themselves Australian but found out subsequently they aren't.


COWELL: Exactly. So the mother submitted the forms for herself and her son with his knowledge, that's one of the cases that were determined by the high court. Whether this is actually something that disqualified someone. But the wording of the section and the rules of the constitution seem pretty clear.

VAUSE: OK. Joyce is most famous internationally with his confrontation with Johnny Depp and his two dogs that didn't go to quarantine. That was moving the goal posts. Remember, Joyce insisted at the time that "the rules are the rules and they apply to everyone." This is what he said.


JOYCE: Mr. Depp has to either take his dogs back to California or we're going to have to euthanize them.

It's time that Pistol and Boo bugger off back to the United States.


[01:55:10] VAUSE: All this has led to much merriment online. This is some of the postings on Twitter. "Can't wait to see Pistol and Boo's reaction to the Barnaby Joyce dual citizenship news. As he said, rules apply to everyone."

Also, "Incredible that the man who went after Pistol and Boos is actually an undeclared foreign pest."

And of course, much has been made of the New Zealand connection. Here's a tweet. "Joyce enters parliament on Monday, making sheep noises."

But here was a tweet, "Barnaby Joyce, a Kiwi. The signs were there. If only we knew to read them."

Holding a sheep. Pretty clever.

All of this is pretty much the reaction you would expect from Australia.

COWELL: Absolutely. We've fine with that sort of responses. The one I think I like the best is actually Amber Heard, who was Johnny Depp's partner at the time. She tweeted that she had seen a box of New Zealand's national fruits that Joyce enjoys. Finally managed to get through the corn things, which I thought was quite a clever little twist on what happened.

VAUSE: Oh, Simon, excellent.

OK, I guess we'll see how this all plays out. But it could actually have some very serious consequences for this Australian government.

But thanks for being with us. Appreciate it.

COWELL: My pleasure.

SESAY: And before we go, pop star, Taylor Swift, is celebrating her legal victory after four hours of deliberation. The Colorado jury ruled in favor of Swift in her counter lawsuit against a former radio host. The singer accused David Mueller of groping her at a meet-and- greet in 2013. Mueller was later fired in that incident. The jury also sided with Swift's mother. Mueller had sued her as well, accusing her of interfering with his $150,000 a year contract by making false accusations. Swift was awarded the symbolic one dollar in damages. The pop singer thanked the jury and her legal team for finding on her behalf. She also donates to organizations that help sexual assault victims defend themselves.

You're watching CNN NEWSROOM, live from Los Angeles. I'm Isha Seay.

VAUSE: I'm John Vause. Be sure to join us on Twitter, @cnnnewsroomla for highlights and clips from the show.

We'll be back with more news after a short break


[02:00:06] SESAY: This is CNN NEWSROOM, live from Los Angeles.

VAUSE: Ahead this hour -- (HEADLINES)