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Trump Declares Opioid Crisis Public Health Emergency; Trump Releases Some But Not All Secret JFK Documents; MSF: Sexual Assault Against Children By Myanmar Military; America's Opioid Crisis; Deadly Niger Ambush; Catalan Leader Calls of Elections; Australian Leader Loses Seat over Citizenship. Aired 2-3a ET
Aired October 27, 2017 - 02:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
JOHN VAUSE, CNN ANCHOR (voice-over): This is CNN NEWSROOM live from Los Angeles. Ahead this hour:
ISHA SESAY, CNN ANCHOR (voice-over): With tens of thousands of Americans dying each year, President Trump declares the opioid epidemic a national public health emergency.
But did he go far enough to fix the problem?
VAUSE (voice-over): Thousands of government files on the JFK assassination have been made public with new details about the killer's ties to a Russian embassy (INAUDIBLE) decision (INAUDIBLE) some of those files have actually been held back.
SESAY: (INAUDIBLE) American soldiers fighting to the bitter end taking down 20 ISIS fighters, a new account of that deadly ambush in Niger.
Hello and welcome to our viewers from all around the world. I'm Isha Sesay.
VAUSE (voice-over): I'm John Vause. The third hour of NEWSROOM L.A. starts now.
VAUSE: It was a busy day in Washington with a lot to cover this hour, starting with echoes of last year's presidential election. The Trump campaign distancing itself from Cambridge Analytica, a data firm which contacted WikiLeaks trying to secure Hillary Clinton's missing emails from her time as secretary of state.
Back in May, new video shows a senior executive at Cambridge Analytica describing how the firm was intimately involved in decision-making.
SESAY: The Clinton camp also appears to be caught in a contradiction. CNN has learned that both campaign chair John Podesta and then DNC chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz told congressional investigators they didn't know anything about funding the now infamous Russia dossier.
But we learned earlier this week that the organizations they were running paid for the research.
VAUSE: And the administration has released thousands of classified files on the assassination of former president John F. Kennedy. About 300 files were held back after a last-minute request from national security agencies.
SESAY: Finally, earlier Thursday, Mr. Trump declared the country's opioid crisis a public health emergency that effectively passes the baton to Congress, who can now pass a funding bill. In rare public remarks, it was the first lady who spoke first about the epidemic. Take a listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MELANIA TRUMP, WIFE OF PRESIDENT-ELECT DONALD TRUMP: But what I found to be the common theme with all of these stories is that this can happen to any of us. Drug addiction can take your friends, neighbors or your family. No state has been spared and no demographic has been untouched.
DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: It is time to liberate our communities from this scourge of drug addiction. Never been this way. We can be the generation that ends the opioid epidemic. We can do it.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VAUSE: Many experts call the opioid epidemic the deadliest drug crisis in U.S. history. Drug overdoses are the leading cause of death for Americans under the age of 50.
SESAY: Last year overdoses killed more people than guns or car accidents. The most recent statistics show roughly 2 percent of deaths in the U.S. -- that's one in 50 -- were drug related.
VAUSE: Let's get to our panel now. Los Angeles council woman Wendy Greuel is with us, so is CNN political commentator talk radio host John Phillips, also a Trump supporter. Also have addiction treatment specialist Howard Samuels.
So, Howard first to you. Notably, the president declared a national public health emergency which stops short of a national emergency. The administration argues that's a distinction without a difference.
But a public health emergency doesn't release any extra funding and the president didn't request any on Thursday. So it's a lot more than just a distinction, right?
HOWARD SAMUELS, ADDICTION TREATMENT SPECIALIST: Well, I can tell you, all this is, is a photo op. I'm on the front lines here in Los Angeles, at my treatment center, The Hills treatment center. And all I know is private insurance gives 15-20 days inpatient care for a heroin addict or an alcoholic, doesn't make a difference. The government insurance, Medicare, gives 3-4 inpatient days.
So what are we talking about?
The whole system is broken as far as treatment is concerned.
SESAY: Wendy, to you, you hear Howard saying the system is broken and then you hear Chris Christie, who has chosen to head up the opioid commission a couple months ago, say the president deserves praise for the bold action he took.
How do you see it?
WENDY GREUEL, FORMER LOS ANGELES COUNCILWOMAN: Well, it's been months. months. That bold action took a long time. And in fact, it's really not bold. It's kind of been a pattern, where the president will I want to do something but I'm going to push it off to Congress to actually find funding.
And in fact, when he declared this type of emergency, not the national emergency but a public health emergency, it doesn't allow there to be immediate funding. So you have to wait. And for the families who are impacted by the opioid crisis, they don't want to wait --
GREUEL: -- to see the federal government step in and be able to help address a crisis that was clear.
VAUSE: Well, as you say, this announcement was months in the making. It was in July when his panel were looking into it came up with the recommendation. And shortly after that, the president promised that he take action and this is what he said.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
PRESIDENT TRUMP: The opioid crisis is an emergency and I'm saying officially right now it is an emergency. It's a national emergency. This is a national emergency and we are drawing documents now to sew a test (ph).
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VAUSE: So, John, in case you missed it, it's a national emergency, it's a national emergency, not a national public health emergency. So my question is, why did the president walk that back and stop short of calling it an actual emergency, calling it a public health emergency?
Is it because he didn't understand the difference between the two or because there's just not the money there after so any hurricanes hit the country or he understand the extent of the problem?
JOHN THOMAS, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: I think the main point of what he was trying to do there is to shining a spotlight on what's going on right now with this epidemic in the country. And to be perfectly honest with you I don't know if this is a problem that government can solve.
What we have going on right now is very different from what we saw in the 1980s and what we've seen in years past with various other drug addiction explosions in terms of numbers.
Now the drug dealers, you have a certain idea in your head of what a drug dealer looks like. Now the drug dealers are guys with receding hairlines and stethoscopes and degrees from fancy universities. And it's people from every age range, it's people from every racial background, it's people from every geographic area, who are addicted to these things. I was on a plane last week and this woman who had to be in her 50s threw her purse on the seat next to me, like five pill bottles came out. I thought I was at Graceland.
And this woman could be a grandma. And they probably don't consider themselves to be drug addicts but they take lots of drugs but they get it from a pharmacy. They don't buy it off the street.
SESAY: And, Howard, to that point and you hear and you know, you're on the front lines. But you hear what the president said, calling it a public health emergency, and then you also hear him talk about big, big, bold advertising, effectively just say no so people just don't start down this road.
You heard that today and thought what?
SAMUELS: Well, you know, it's about education; it's about treatment. It's about interventions. The heroin epidemic, the opioid epidemic has been here for a long, long time.
It's been years, OK. And it's just gotten worse. And like I said before, it's now through every community, rural, city, suburban area than it was 50 years ago. It's not going away. We've got to treat it. And that's what we've got to do to solve it. And these ideas about more money, well, where is the money going?
We ought to have government sponsored treatment programs that are lockdown facilities, where the addicts have to spend at least a year in treatment. Not three days, 20 days. It's a joke.
VAUSE: "The New York Times" editorial criticized the lack of funding, additional funding and then added this.
"Combine this with his" -- as in Donald Trump's -- "(INAUDIBLE) health care for poor and middle class Americans, and the president has offered few tangible solutions for a scourge that now kills about 50,000 Americans a year," Wendy, I just want to pick up on John's point, though. John is saying that this is a problem which maybe government cannot solve.
Then who solves it?
GREUEL: Exactly. And I think that when you have a problem that is this -- is filling every single house in is country is impacted by it one way or another. All of us may know someone who is addicted in this crisis. That the federal government does have to step in on a number of levels.
And I think the frustration is that we've been waiting since July, this big report, opioid, this is a crisis to now suddenly say, well, it's a crisis but we're not going to put any funding and it's going to -- it's only 90 days, an emergency is only declared for that 90 days.
This is something that is going to take years to solve and we have to be able to step up to plate and say we have a role to play, we have to be able to look at funding and we have to look at laws and not kick the can down the road.
SESAY: John, just to ask you because this is something that affects working-class people across every band and every stratum, as we've already said but Donald Trump supporters they had a large bloc that were working class. They are affected by this issue.
Are they going to see what the president did today as a promise kept?
THOMAS: Well, I think it largely is the public relations campaign that he's putting on. So they'll see it on the front page of their paper; it'll be something that they talk about. But in terms of fighting it, I would go back to the future.
What did we do in the 1980s? We went after the drug dealers. Right now, I'd go after the doctors. I'd go after these pill mills. There are some facilities that exist out there that exist solely to provide people with these pills --
THOMAS: -- when don't need it. And people get addicted to it and they die of overdoses. I'd go after those people.
VAUSE: The problem that we have right now is that John's just going after the drug dealers but you have a member of Congress who was nominated or Trump's picked to be the drug czar who's actually helping big pharma by weakening the laws that the Drug Enforcement Agency so they can distribute more opioid pills around the country.
SAMUELS: That's why, this whole administration, the way they're handling it, is a joke. I've got to say, I used to be a heroin dealer. I'm a recovering heroin addict. I used to sell heroin. So it's not so much the dealers. Most of them are addicts trying to support their habit. That's why need to educate.
It's the cartels and it's not just about the pills anymore that the doctors are doing, which is beyond the beyond. But there is heroin by the cartels in every community in this country.
What's going on?
SESAY: I mean, Wendy, it's a multilayered --
GREUEL: -- can't be just a public relations campaign. It has to be more than that. It has to be looking at drug treatment. It has to be looking at educating people about the fact that you can get addicted to these drugs. And it means that you're going to have to have in every department that's in the federal government is going to have to work together to address this.
THOMAS: I don't think that's realistically going to happen. We have schizophrenics living on the street right now, where we can't throw them and lock them up. There's no way we're going to be able to come up with the money or have the courts agree to let us take people and put them in facilities for a year. I don't see that happening anytime soon.
GREUEL: I think the important part is that we have to deal with it at every single level. And the simplification of this that Donald Trump is trying to say is just we're going to declare this emergency and in 90 days we'll look back at it again.
We have to step up to the plate and do more to address it at every single level in the federal government.
VAUSE: President Trump made a very rare mention of his older brother, Fred, who was an alcoholic, who struggled with addiction and died aged 43. Listen to this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
PRESIDENT TRUMP: I had a brother, Fred. Great guy, best-looking guy, best personality -- much better than mine.
But he had a problem. He had a problem with alcohol. And he would tell me, "Don't drink. Don't drink."
He was substantially older and I listened to him and I respected -- but he would constantly tell me, "Don't drink."
He'd also add, "Don't smoke." But he would say it over and over and over again.
And to this day, I've never had a drink. And I have no longing for it. I have no interest in it. To this day, I've never had a cigarette.
Don't worry. Those are only two of my good things. I don't want to tell you about the bad things.
There's plenty of bad things, too.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VAUSE: Clearly Donald Trump understands the pain of addiction but what he seemed to have the emphasis on here is educating kids before they actually the opportunity to start using opioids or abusing heroin. In his case, just don't take up substances so that you're not vulnerable to substance abuse.
What seems to be lacking is the immediate empathy and care and treatment, which is needed right now.
SAMUELS: Exactly. Well, exactly. You know, if you get arrested for heroin like I did in the '70s I was given a choice of four years in prison or a year in rehab. That saved my life. OK?
There's got to be a combination of government and law enforcement that pushes the addict into treatment again their will because the addict like I was, we were crazy. And if we don't do something to intervene in a very strong manner on the treatment level, there's going to be a lot more dead people.
SESAY: John, to pick up on Howard's point about law enforcement and the combination with treatment, there is again that contradiction that Jeff Sessions' Justice Department seems to taking more a much harsher line when it comes to drug addiction or (INAUDIBLE) sale of drugs and the rest of it.
There is that kind of contradiction right there going hard, the rest of the administration is trying to find a way to help these people out of the problem.
THOMAS: Right. And this isn't new. We saw the Rockefeller drug laws back in the 1970s where they very aggressively went after people who were using illegal drugs. But, look, I have a strong Libertarian streak in me and I just don't think the government will ever, regardless of how much money you spend, the government will never be able to fully solve this problem. You look at little kids when they see one of those swivel chairs.
They twirl around in the chair because they're trying to alter their reality. People have been trying to alter their reality since the beginning of humanity. Some people can do it in moderation; some people can't and --
THOMAS: -- it's just not something can fix.
VAUSE: Just very quickly, the opioid epidemic spread across the Eastern United States; the highest rate of drug overdose is in West Virginia. Between 2014 and 2015 the city seed that there was alarming increase in number of overdoses in New Hampshire, in Pennsylvania.
Wendy, last year, West Virginia and Pennsylvania went to Donald Trump. While Hillary Clinton narrowly took New Hampshire. So in pure political terms, it's a bipartisan problem. Doesn't that mean that there be some kind of bipartisan solution --
GREUEL: Absolutely. And I think there those that voted for Donald Trump are saying where's the real solutions here?
Yes, where's the beef? Yes, you can't put your head and say it's a problem that's existed forever and it's going to go away with no intervention. It means that there has to be intervention at every single level.
And I think today it was short on details as to how they're going to do it. It was again a comment about we're going to do something but there was no meat there.
VAUSE: We're out of time but there's also questions too about the president's attention span and how long he can be engaged in this before moving on to something else.
Wendy and John, thank you.
And also Howard, thanks so much --
SESAY: Appreciate it. Thank you.
SAMUELS: Thank you.
VAUSE: Appreciate it.
SESAY: We have extensive coverage of the opioid crisis in the U.S. on our website. Hear from those fighting it day in and day out battle against deadly drugs and those who have managed to kick their addictions. That's all for you at cnn.com/health.
VAUSE: Coming up here, new details about that deadly ISIS ambush in Niger and it's raising new questions, like why U.S. troops were not wearing body armor and why they had just one automatic weapon on that patrol.
SESAY: Plus on Thursday in Spain as Catalonia's leader walks back his bid for independence. What this means for the country in crisis.
VAUSE: To Niger now, where an eyewitness has revealed to CNN new details about the ISIS ambush earlier this month which left four U.S. and five Nigerian troops dead. He spoke about intense firefight between U.S. troops, who were outnumbered by ISIS militants.
SESAY: The U.S. troops were said to have fought to the very end and despite their wounds they were able to kill 20 ISIS fighters. Our Arwa Damon is in Niger's capital with more.
ARWA DAMON, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: A Nigerian soldier who we spoke to, his unit was first on the scene, describes how when they arrived, the surviving American and Nigerian troops were back to back in defensive positions. Many of them were wounded. He said that he saw the bodies of two of the American soldiers in the
back of a U.S. vehicle; a third one very close by and then the bodies of three Nigerian troops.
He says that helicopters first arrived to evacuate the wounded and then to take away those who had been killed in this horrific battle. He said that villagers later told him and his unit that the attackers, as they were trying to withdraw, set portions of --
DAMON: -- the landscape on fire to create a smokescreen. His unit, along with another unit, overnighted. He described how more Americans arrived, this time with night vision capabilities, trying to search for the body of Sergeant La David Johnson.
They did not find him that night. The search resuming the next day and then the village chief coming out and telling the soldiers that he believed he knew where the body was and that was when they were able to recover it.
The soldier who we spoke to said that the Green Berets and their Nigerian counterparts had actually stopped at his base the day before the attack. He did not know where they were going. But then he said when they received the news that they had been ambushed, he was surprised that they had actually even been out a mission because he described them as being a light convoy, meaning a convoy that does not have sufficient or significant enough manpower or firepower.
He himself has been rotating in and out of the zone for the last five years. And he was saying that when he and his own men go out on missions especially those that go deep into this volatile area, they move around in a force that is at least 80 to 100 soldiers.
He also expressed his surprise that the U.S. was not monitoring already these troops, as they were going on what we now know to be an intelligence gathering mission against a high-value target.
He was also quite surprised that the U.S. did not have a more aggressive response to this attack. He said that perhaps is now the time for America to reassess its mission in Niger, reassess how it's carrying out its mission in Niger because, as he put it, terrorism has now arrived to Niger. And what the Americans are doing here so far it is not generating sufficient results -- Arwa Damon, CNN, Niamey.
VAUSE: (INAUDIBLE) Spain and Catalonia is down to the wire with all eyes on the parliament in Barcelona and Madrid. The leader of Catalonia is backing away from a plan to call snap elections and is putting the decision to his parliament.
SESAY: This as Spain is set to vote on Friday whether to suspend the wealthy region's autonomy. Catalan and Spanish leaders have been in a political deadlock since Catalonia held an independence vote more than three weeks ago. VAUSE: Our European affairs contributor, Dominic Thomas, is with us now. Dominic is also chair of the Department of French and Francophone Studies at UCLA.
So thank you for coming in. We're now in this cycle where one action triggers another, triggers another. The Spanish senate expected to approve the use of Article 155. Explain what will happen after that.
And then the chain of events, you know, after each event that happens.
DOMINIC THOMAS, CHAIR OF THE DEPARTMENT OF FRENCH & FRANCOPHONE STUDIES, UCLA, CALIFORNIA: Right. So there's been back and forth constantly. We're waiting for the Catalonian parliament to weigh in today. That's continuing on until tomorrow morning.
The big event tomorrow is that the Senate, where prime minister Rajoy has gone to ask for them to essentially back up measure 155, which will allow him to legally put the region of Catalonia into receivership. That process has already started.
Media outlets have already been controlled by the government, TV 3 and others, they will take over different institutions. They will send ministers into the area to control the financing and so on.
And perhaps the most sort of problematic aspect of it is take over the local police force, which, of course, is going to upset people in the area.
VAUSE: Putting aside the police force, because that could easily be an area of conflict or it could all go smoothly, wait and see what happens. But essentially, when this takeover is done, I guess to what extent it is done, will there be any real noticeable change to daily life?
THOMAS: Well, the daily life is going to be the disruption that's going to happen if Article 155 is officially triggered and they start to come in and control the area. And I think that this is the goal of Carles Puigdemont. This is why --
VAUSE: But the banks still open on time. The schools are still open. Life goes on.
THOMAS: It could.
VAUSE: Will people notice anything -- ?
THOMAS: Well, I think they will because there will be civil disobedience. I think that there will be separatists who will occupy some of these buildings, there will be obstructionists.
The tensions in the area already are so heightened by weeks of this going on and has become the most divisive question in the area, where there is no longer any neutrality.
You're for or you're against. This is splitting apart the community. They're under financial pressure from economic exodus and other such factors --
VAUSE: I guess it's a reaction to that move that will cause the upset.
But the move in and of itself doesn't mean massive changes for the people of Catalonia.
THOMAS: No, because they'll be governed by someone else. But I think there will be an obstruction to the possibility of that happening and that's where the tensions will ratchet up.
VAUSE: OK. So Madrid was pushing for these elections in December. They saw that as a way out. The Catalan president, Carles Puigdemont, briefly seemed to be on board and then suddenly got cold feet.
THOMAS: Right. I think that it's a lose-lose situation. And right now the outcome of such a vote is highly unpredictable. And folks in that area, of course, who do not support independence or who found out the potential consequences of independence, such as exiting from the European Union and so on, will not support this.
And so at that particular point, at which he cannot predict winning and probably knowing that the support is not there to pass the ball back to Madrid, that already has the support of the king and of the E.U., further gives oxygen to the narrative that the region is being treated unfairly by Madrid and that can potentially, as far as Puigdemont goes, galvanize support for his cause. It's the only thing he has left right now.
VAUSE: Because he's getting it from all sides, right?
THOMAS: Absolutely. Within his -- huge divisions now within the party, who understand some of these consequences. He has a very narrow lead because of this relationship with the CUP, within his parliament. . And so any vote is likely to disrupt him.
So his way out of it is to say that, even if they were to run regional elections, he's not sure that he can trust that Madrid won't interfere with it in such a way to shape the outcome.
VAUSE: And all this, yet again, another weekend of uncertainty across Spain.
THOMAS: Right and a potential huge civil disobedience and incivility there.
VAUSE: We'll keep a close eye on it. Dominic, thank you so much. Appreciate it. THOMAS: Thank you.
SESAY: We shall see what happens.
In Australia, the deputy prime minister has been removed from parliament for being a New Zealander. Barnaby Joyce says he wasn't aware he held dual citizenship.
VAUSE: This is all about an obscure part of the Australian constitution, which until a few months ago made politicians were not aware of, that you cannot be elected to federal parliament if you have allegiance to another foreign government.
SESAY: Why didn't he just give up his --
VAUSE: Well, that's what he had to do before he got elected. But he didn't do it. Now the high court has come in to clarify the situation, stripped him about six or seven other MPs of their eligibility to sit in parliament but the reason why Barnaby Joyce is so crucial in all of this because he -- because the current government has a one seat majority.
And so now it's hanging in the balance. The independents have guaranteed supply for now. But you know how long that will last.
SESAY: Yes. Well, we'll be turning to you when we need more information on that.
Time for a quick break here. "STATE OF AMERICA" with Kate Bolduan is next for our viewers in Asia. For everyone else, the White House releases some of the files on the assassination of JFK but it keeps others under wraps.
[02:30:18] JOHN VAUSE, CNN ANCHOR: Look at that, half past the hour. You're watching CNN NEWSROOM Live from Los Angeles. I'm John Vause.
ISHA SESAY, CNN ANCHOR: And I'm Isha Sesay. The headlines this hour, U.S. President Donald Trump has declared the country's opioid crisis a public health emergency. But the memorandum he signed says it does not call for new money to combat the massive problem. And that means relief funds won't be available right away. Congress hasn't contributed to the public health emergency fund in recent years.
VAUSE: U.S. Defense Secretary James Mattis is inside of the demilitarized zone between North and South Korea. Mattis says the U.S. goal is not war with North Korea but complete denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula. Mattis is in South Korea meeting with military officials.
SESAY: In Kenya's Presidential election, clashes between police and opposition protesters have left at least one person dead and several others wounded. But across most of the country voting was peaceful. The election was a rerun of the disputed vote in August which the nation's Supreme Court tossed out over irregularities. Final results from Thursday's votes are expected within seven days.
VAUSE: The White House has released some but not all of the documents related to the assassination of U.S. President John F. Kennedy in 1963. But so far, nothing ground-breaking, I'm afraid.
SESAY: The Warren Commission, of course, concluded decades ago that Lee Harvey Oswald killed Kennedy. We have a team going through the documents right as we speak and they have found a couple of interesting things, let's share them with you. When Oswald was in Mexico City weeks before the assassination, he called a KGB officer at the Russian Embassy there. And after the assassination, a cable describes a Cuban intelligence officer, who said he knew Oswald is saying, Oswald must have been a good shot.
VAUSE: Merely an excellent picking it's nothing really sensational. 2,800 documents were made public by the National Archives a few hours ago, but President Donald Trump is keeping 300 files private for now. The CIA is also reviewing 18,000 other records and says they will ultimately be released.
SESAY: Well, a little earlier, I spoke to Larry Sabato, he's the author of the Kennedy Half Century and Director of the Center for Politics at the University of Virginia. I asked him about the significance of Thursday's document release.
SESAY: There was a great amount of excitement surrounding the release of the JFK files. I mean, as you know, the President himself seemed to have caught the bug. And this is what he tweeted on Wednesday. "The long-anticipated release of the JFK files will take place tomorrow, so interesting." But then, come the day Larry, only some of the documents were released, others withheld, pending a six-month review. And we're learning that this is due to pressure brought by the FBI and CIA.
My question to you is, after all this time, is there still a credible argument to be made by these agencies that the release of these documents would have been harmful to National Security?
LARRY SABATO, DIRECTOR, CENTER FOR POLITICS, UNIVERSITY OF VIRGINIA: In 99 percent of the cases or more, I don't believe that it's justified. Now, there may be a few cases of a contact, a source for the United States or an operative for the United States who is either still active or whose family is prominent. It's possible that you could make an argument that somebody might be in danger. I can understand redacting that name.
But it's always abuse, it's always overused. CIA and FBI, and much of the government overclassifies. They do it all the time, we've even seen cases of newspaper clippings marked secret. They're published newspaper clippings. So, that's what government does, knowledge is power. They have the power, they don't want everybody else to have it.
SESAY: So, bearing that in mind and bearing if the -- as you put it, their desire to exert power. The tweet in and of itself that the President put out on Wednesday, raises questions. I don't know to you, but to me, it raises questions about the sequence of events in all of this.
I mean, the President on Wednesday was saying, you know, this stuff is coming out and it's so -- and it's interesting. They feel like, you know, geeing up the tension and then this happens. So, how do you read how this played out behind the scene, as you know the battles that happen to get papers release?
SABATO: Well, my own sources say, this all happened in the White House. At the last minute -- or I should say for the President, at the last minute. There's been someone on the National Security Council, looking at some of this material and talking with the agencies for some time.
But apparently, maybe cleverly, the CIA and the FBI waited until the last possible moment, and then delivered powerful memos and got allies to contact their -- the President or key people in the White House that absolutely these things cannot be released. They will threaten national security, they will threaten our foreign policy, they will threaten our national defense. So, you could say what's a President to do?
My answer to that is, it's been 54 years since the assassination. They've had 25 years with an exact date set on October 26, 1992, that in 25 years, October 26, 2017, all of this should have been released or must have been released. Well, we all know that now it's going to be another six months for the good stuff. They withheld a lot of the good stuff. There's a lot of gossip and the pieces I've been through so far. But I wonder if we'll ever see a lot of it. I'm really discouraged.
[02:35:54] SESAY: Yes, the documents that your team there at the University are pouring through 2,800 documents that were released. Just you know, a few tidbits coming out, you know, for instance, we're learning that a memo was sent warning the FBI Director and then- Attorney General Bobby Kennedy of a book that was coming out that detailed what the author characterized as an intimate relationship between Bobby Kennedy and Marilyn Monroe. You know, stuff that has been out there, gossip as you say.
I guess my question is, I know you haven't been through all of them, the papers just came out. But what your sense of the historical value of the pages that have been released so far?
SABATO: We've actually found some very interesting nuggets of not all of them relate directly to the assassination. But, I think there's a lot in here, much of it, of course, is ancient history, certainly, to most Americans and most people around the world. But for historians and for people who study the Presidency, there is a lot of interesting information. I just hope that the attention isn't drawn purely to the shiny objects like whether Bobby Kennedy had an affair with Marilyn Monroe. Maybe that would have been important at one time. It is insignificant today. SESAY: As you know, in 2013, which was the 50th anniversary of the death of JFK, there was a lot of polling done. And basically, several of them found that many Americans believe that the murder was not to work of one man, but part of a broader plot. In fact, Gallup found that 61 percent felt it was a conspiracy involving others. Just 30 percent said it was the work of one man.
I guess my question to you is why has this line of thinking persisted and what the withholding of these thousands of pages will do for all those conspiracy theories out there?
SABATO: In a poll conducted for my own book, Kennedy half century in 2013, the 50th anniversary of the assassination. We actually found 75 percent --
SABATO: -- of Americans believed in some form of conspiracy. Why did it happen? Because it was the crime of the century. At the time at least, and I think, you could argue for the entire 20th century.
Second, there were so many unanswered questions. It was clear that the Warren Commission wasn't told everything that many avenues were not explored. And over time, the questions raised became cumulative. Most Americans who lived through this didn't believe it was just one person, even then.
SESAY: Larry, final question before I let you go, because I want to pick up on the something you said. You said, you hope that the good stuff is released in time, eventually, after the six-month review. What do you mean by "the good stuff"?
SABATO: The good stuff is going to be information about, say, Lee Harvey Oswald's trip to Mexico City, just seven weeks before the assassination. Credible report -- reported by the FBI Director in the 1960s, suggested that Lee Harvey Oswald said before leaving the Cuban embassy, "I'm going to kill John F. Kennedy."
Well, did anybody else know that? Was the information ever transmitted to anybody? And more generally, why did the CIA and the FBI drop the ball on Lee Harvey Oswald? One of about nine defectors to the Soviet Union. And one who came back and immediately started campaigning for Fidel Castro. This was an unusual individual who was sending up red flags galore. He should have been followed carefully, they did follow him. But not nearly enough and they never told the Secret Service what they were doing.
SESAY: Larry Sabato, the questions persist, we'll see what happens. I can't wait to get you're -- your take on all 2,800 pages, to be precise, that your people of pouring through. Thank you so much for joining us.
SABATO: Thank you very much.
(END VIDEOTAPE) VAUSE: Well, still to come on CNN NEWSROOM, an already desperate and terrible situation could soon get a whole lot work for Rohingya refugees who fled Myanmar and now living in Bangladesh. We'll explain in a moment.
[02:42:14] SESAY: The Rohingya people fleeing Myanmar are living in a situation so horrific. The head of the International Red Cross, says he is overwhelmed by the magnitude of the crisis. Bangladesh will soon move more than 800,000 people into one enormous refugee camp. Life there is bad, with all the hospital beds being scarce. And malnutrition and illness are on the rise.
VAUSE: A brutal military crackdown on August sent more than a half a million Rohingya across the border. Relief workers with Doctors Without Borders say, they've seen cases of sexual assault on girls as young as nine. And gang rape carried out by the Myanmar military.
SESAY: Well, let's get straight to our guest, Robert Onus, he is an emergency coordinator for Doctors Without Borders. He joins us via Skype from Cox's Bazar, Bangladesh. Thank you so much for joining us, Robert.
That news that came by MSF a couple days ago about Rohingya girls, some younger than 10, receiving treatment for rape. What's your estimation of this scale of the sexual abuse of Rohingya children during this crisis?
ROBERT ONUS, COORDINATOR, DOCTORS WITHOUT BORDERS (through Skype): Thank you for the invitation. I think that's a really difficult question to answer and that's part of the problem, actually. That certainly we're receiving young women, we're receiving girls coming into our clinics who are victims of sexual violence, who were victims of rape. But in order to understand the scale, it's not really something that's possible.
As you mentioned earlier, we're talking about 600,000 new arrivals now. And only a small proportion of those are yet accessing services. And this is one of the challenges that we face in trying to roll-up this kind of service and being trying to provide the medical care for victims of sexual violence.
Because they're in a new country, a new environment, they don't know what service is available, they don't know how to access them, they don't know whether they'll be prosecuted for accessing them. And so, that's probably the difficult -- the most difficult part of it is trying to figure out how widespread the problem is. And how to ensure people have confidence and the confidentiality in terms of accessing those services, that they can reach the medical care that they require.
SESAY: I mean, you know, when you do find yourself in these terrible situations facing children who have being through this enormous trauma, what level of care can you give them? ONUS: Sure. Well, MSF is not the only organization here. So, what we focus on is being able to provide medical care and also mental health support through counseling and try to support those families. There are other organizations that are also much more focused on working with children, on working with women and providing that direct case management support in the -- in the medium term.
[02:45:01] SESAY: More than 600,000 Rohingyas have fled to Bangladesh, every -- as we said, living in squalid conditions, in these overcrowded camps. Generally speaking, what kind of health issues are you and your colleagues dealing with quite apart from the separate situation dealing with children that we just talked about?
ONUS: Sure, I think squalor is probably quite a good way to describe the conditions here. I mean, it's quite dire. When you have that many people living in such a confined space with absolutely zero infrastructure when they arrived, you're always going to be racing behind the clock. I mean, 600,000 people, no roads, no sanitation facilities. It means that it's incredibly difficult to try to catch up.
The main illnesses that we see are directly linked to the living conditions and the -- and to the density of the population. So, we see a lot of respiratory tract infections which can lead to pneumonia in young children. We see a lot of diarrhea and other water-borne diseases which have great potential to lead to outbreaks. And we also see a lot of skin diseases which are also linked to the water and sanitation situation inside the settlements.
SESAY: Robert, what are -- what are your biggest concerns in terms of going forward here from the health perspective?
ONUS: I think, when you have such a large settlement and now we're talking about one of the largest refugee concentrations in the world, it's incredibly fragile. So, how we move from the situation we're in now, where the conditions are poor, the conditions are incredibly difficult for the people that are -- that are living there into a situation that can become, you know, frankly catastrophic. If one of those -- one of the core elements is -- breaks down. Whether that's the nutrition's situation, whether that's a disease outbreak, whether that's the inability for aid agencies to access all of the populations. I mean, this is -- this is the major concern.
SESAY: And we've been watching these people come over the border, fleeing the horrors in Rakhine State. Did the numbers of people fleeing show any signs of slowing down from where you are from your advantage point?
Certainly, the number of people crossing now is less than what it was in like August and early September, but we still see waves of people coming out. Just last week, there were 700,000 people who crossed in and they were stuck at the border for few days. We had our teams out there providing, setting up a quick emergency room. So that we can provide that direct care for people as they were crossing into Bangladesh. We've seen still thousands arriving every day and more crossing in as or more waiting on the other side in Myanmar as we speak.
So, we don't really have a good picture of who is coming, because we don't have our eyes on the ground in Myanmar. We have our teams there, but they're not able to access the populations there. Our operations have been severely hampered by this crisis. So, it's really a guessing game of when this might stop. It could be another 10,000. It could be another 100,000. Nobody really knows.
SESAY: Well, Robert Onus, we thank you for everything you guys are doing out there. And the work of MSF and all the -- all the other organizations is critical right now. Thank you. Thank you for speaking to us and giving us some insight. Robert Onus there from Bangladesh. Thank you.
ONUS: Sure. Thanks very much.
VAUSE: Next here on NEWSROOM L.A., President Trump's mental health has been a subject of much debate. But those who have an expert opinion are prevented from speaking out because of a Code of Ethics. But a growing number of psychiatrists are asking if those rules should still apply in the era of Trump.
[02:50:28] VAUSE: At first, it was mostly just plainly old name- calling and insults, suggesting Donald Trump was a lunatic, a delusional narcissist. This is all driven by a race to the bottom during last year's presidential election.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. MARCO RUBIO (R), FLORIDA: The world has become a very dangerous place. There is a lunatic in North Korea with nuclear weapons, and some would say a lunatic trying to get us ahead -- a hold of nuclear weapon in America but that's different.
SEN. TED CRUZ (R), TEXAS: This man is a pathological liar. He doesn't know the difference between truth or lies. He lies practically every word that comes out of his mouth. And he had a pattern that I think has straight out of a psychology textbook.
JEB BUSH, FORMER GOVERNOR OF FLORIDA: I'm not a psychologist or a psychiatrist but the guy needs therapy.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VAUSE: And since then, political commentators, critics, and opponents have labeled the President fatty, a nut job, deranged, unhinged. But more recently, the conversation about the President's mental state has taken a more serious tone. Could Donald Trump be unfit for office? This is just speculation right now, and to be sure, is not without a good degree of political motivation. And while almost everyone seems to have an opinion, there has barely been a word from the one profession whose opinion would actually matter. For the most part, psychiatrist and psychologists have stuck to the Goldwater rule, named after Barry Goldwater, the 1964 Republican Nominee for President. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BARRY GOLDWATER, FORMER REPUBLICAN PRESIDENTIAL NOMINEE: I will remind you that extremism in the defense of liberty is no vice.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VAUSE: In September that year, Fact Magazine published this cover story. 1,189 Psychiatrists Say Goldwater Is Psychologically Unfit To Be President. A misleading headline given, that more than 12,000 psychiatrists who are asked for their opinion, and 80 percent did not reply. Goldwater was diagnosed even so as megalomaniac, paranoid, psychotic, the list went on, and he went on to lose to Democrat Lyndon Johnson in a landslide. And so, after that came the Goldwater Rule which says, "It is unethical for a psychiatrist to offer a professional opinion unless he or she has conducted an examination and has been granted proper authorization for such a statement."
But now, more than half a century later, in the age of Trump, a growing number of mental health professionals are questioning if that rule is not only appropriate but whether or not there is a responsibility to speak out, like Leonard Glass who joins us now from Boston. Doctor Glass is a Psychiatrist and Associate Professor of Psychiatry at Harvard Medical School. Doctor Glass, thank you for being us. I should also --
LEONARD GLASS, ASSOCIATE PROFESSOR OF PSYCHIATRY, HARVARD MEDICAL SCHOOL: It's good to be here, John.
VAUSE: You resigned from the American Psychiatric Association in protest of the Goldwater Rule. So what were your reasons?
GLASS: Well, the Goldwater Rule essentially imposes a gag rule on psychiatrists and says that they're not -- they may not make any comment, even the comment saying that the public official does not have a mental illness unless they've conducted an examination and as you have described. But that's on a mistaken basis because the person who is being spoken about is not a patient. And so, the obligation of having a full examination is really inappropriate. This is a public figure whose mental health and mental functioning is a broad concern and specialists in all medical field can comment on public figures and their health problems whether it's Hillary Clinton's fainting spill or star quarterback's high-ankle sprain. And everybody knows that they are not patients but they want the expert opinion of a medical specialist. And there's only one medical specialty that gags its members. And that's the psychiatric profession in the United States.
VAUSE: OK. Well, here are some statements which the President has made about himself, listen to this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: You know, I went to the Wharton School of Finance, I did great.
Guarantee, I have a vocabulary better than all of them. Certainly, most of them. I know I have an I.Q. better than all of them. I guarantee my I.Q. is much higher than any of these people like (INAUDIBLE).
My uncle was one of the great professors at MIT. I mean, believe me, it's good genes, we believe in genes, right? We're allowed to say that.
Trust me, I'm like a smart person.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
[02:55:00] VAUSE: OK. So, given that you are no longer bound by the Goldwater Rule, in general terms, what does that behavior indicate to you?
GLASS: Well, it's certainly self-grandiosing and it's protesting too much. It's kind of stoking of oneself up, a kind of reassurance against one's own insecurity, and a kind of inflation that, you know, if you're very intelligent, that should be obvious to the people who are listening to you. You shouldn't have to constantly announce your virtues and compare yourself favorably to everybody in the world. There's a certain transparent absurdity about it, and I was sort of forced to laugh as I listened to that string of repetition, and insistence. You know, and Macbeth, Lady Macbeth says, "methinks he doth protest too much." Well, there's a reason why that line is remembered over the centuries.
VAUSE: OK. So, there's obviously a lot of politics involved in what -- in all of this, but if we put, you know, the politics to one side, mental illness, what you believe and has proven to be, not a disqualifying factor for higher office. Abraham Lincoln many believed suffered from depression, for example.
GLASS: Right. And Winston Churchill mostly likely from by bipolar disorder. They are exemplary leaders. And it's not an issue of mental illness, it's an issue of functional impairment. In my opinion, Donald Trump, based on watching videotapes of his reactions in real time to think he is not someone who is able to process information, he's not able to collaborate, he's not able to sift through to find out the heart of the matter. It's all about him, it's always about self-aggrandizement, it's always about making himself huffed up and looked better than whoever it is. When there's no other person to be compared, he brings someone in, whether it's Barack Obama, or Hillary Clinton, or I don't know who. Always trying to privilege his grand appearance over other people who are qualified and competent in their own right, but it always boils down to Donald Trump and his self-esteem being threatened by things that don't accord with his preferred outlook.
VAUSE: Doctor, I could go on, we could talk for a very lengthy time about this, but unfortunately, we don't have that luxury right now. But it has been a very interesting conversation. Thank you for being with us, Sir.
GLASS: Thank you, John. SESAY: Well, you've been watching CNN NEWSROOM live from Los Angeles, I am Isha Sesay. The news continues with Cyril Vanier in Atlanta right after this. You're watching CNN.