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Mugabe Faces Impeachment Vote; North Korea Again Named State Sponsor Of Terror; Second Women Accuses Franken Of Inappropriate Touching; Pressure On Parties To Return To Coalition Talks; Crew Was Ordered To Return Over Routine Battery Failure; Yemen Hospital Struggle To Treat Starving Children; Fighting Trafficking In Haiti's Orphanages. Aired 1-2a ET

Aired November 21, 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, deadline to back down. Zimbabwe's Robert Mugabe ignores an ultimatum to step down despite the threat of impeachment.

SESAY: Plus, Donald Trump names North Korea, "state sponsor of terror", but will that bring Pyongyang closer to the negotiating table?

VAUSE: And what might the biggest test of Germany's post-World War II democracy, Chancellor Angela Merkel plot their next move after coalition talks collapse.

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

VAUSE: I'm John Vause. Welcome, this is NEWSROOM L.A. We'll have that in a moment but first, the breaking news just into CNN, the Russian President, Vladimir Putin has been meeting with Syria's Bashar al-Assad in Sochi, Russia. All of this according to Russian state media.

SESAY: Well, the Russian military has been heavily involved in Syria's battle against ISIS, an anti-government rebel. Mr. Putin reported praised Assad for his work -- fighting ISIS. And the leaders agreed that military operation in Syria is nearing its end. They also stressed the need to find peaceful political solutions to the crisis there.

VAUSE: Well, now, to Zimbabwe. And it appears the reign of 93-year- old, President Robert Mugabe, is now coming to an end. His own party plans to introduce an impeachment motion in parliament in the hours ahead. Mr. Mugabe has resisted efforts, so far, to step aside after an apparent military coup last week.

SESAY: While its former vice president is expected to return to Zimbabwe soon for talks with Mr. Mugabe. Emmerson Mnangagwa was sacked earlier this month as part of Mr. Mugabe's apparent plan to have his wife Grace succeed him. Well, joining me now from Harare, Eddie Cross, is an Economist and Former Opposition Member of Zimbabwe's parliament. Thank you so much for being with us, Eddie. What does it say to that President Robert Mugabe did not follow the script as expected on Sunday, and in that address to the nation refused to relinquish power and let that mid-day deadline on Monday pass without stepping down?

EDDIE CROSS, ECONOMIST AND FORMER OPPOSITION MEMBER OF ZIMBABWE'S PARLIAMENT (via Skype): There's a mixture of his traditional widely tactics and also seen senility. I don't he really fully comprehend the situation he's in. Certainly, he's finished as president and he has no longer any kind of executive power here. He only has what the military would, in fact, allow him to do. And they're -- they are acting within their -- they are using him in a theater at play where they are trying to present to the world fact that they haven't had a coup, they're treating him with respect. And I think the main message of that bizarre activity is directed at African leadership.

SESAY: Director of African Leadership to send the message that they do not intervene and expel them from the African Union, what are you saying?

CROSS: Yes, I think precisely that. I think they actually neutralized SADC. And the SADC leaders are meeting this week in Congo, and that we're number one on agenda. And I think at one stage, the SADC leaders were seriously contemplating sanctions against Zimbabwe. I think that's being -- that's being defected now, but there still remains the problem. And if this is classified as a military coup, the African Union and the SADC states will not accept it. They will proceed, they don't proceed to the incoming government.

SESAY: OK. And with that being said, the president being powerless, the military clearly in control. We still have heard that President Mugabe plans to hold a 9:00 cabinet meeting. I mean, what are your expectation to that gathering?

CROSS: Well, that's completely bizarre. You know, as I say, you know, I think he's senile. I think we all saw that in his speech on Sunday.

He didn't show any understanding of the situation in peril, and I think that situation remains. So, I don't expect anything to happen this morning of significance. His only option now is to resign. The commander of the army has made a three-page statement yesterday where he said that a roadmap had been agreed with Mugabe.

He also said that Emmerson Mnangagwa is returning to the country imminently, and I presume that means today. And then talks are going to take place between two of them. But unless Mugabe resigns before 2:00 this afternoon, we in parliament will start the impeachment proceedings. And if it is fast-tracked, by the weekend he could be history.

[01:05:06] SESAY: Mnangagwa, the Vice President, and his imminent return, the expectation is, you know, now as the head of ZANU-PF, he's returning and will step into the leadership role and take the helm of some transitional interim government. Eddie, is he any better than Mugabe?

CROSS: Well, you know, he's been with Mugabe for 50 years, he's virtually Mugabe's right-hand man. They're an extension of one another. He has a reputation for ruthlessness, which I think is well justified. And I think he's an extremely tough character. He is very intimidating when he wants to be, and he's called the "The Crocodile", and he effectively behaves exactly like a crocodile.

You know, this attack on Mugabe has all the features of a Mnangagwa operation. He's a clever strategist. He was a very competent and good minister; he's a very intelligent man. The question is: he's got to win the support of the international community, and I $will put at the head of the list -- United States.

Because if he doesn't win the support of international community, he can't solve the problems of Zimbabwe, which are both political and economic. And the international community, and, in fact, the United States, I'm quite convinced will not grant him any kind of legitimacy unless he does set out very clearly a roadmap back to some kind of democratic disconcession, which has been absent in this country now for 20 years. And that's a tall order for him, a very tall order.


CROSS: And on top of that is national -- he will require, especially he goes back to the IMF, and he fulfills Zimbabwe's obligations under the IMF program. And then, again, there's another huge, huge, task ahead of us.

SESAY: Yes, I think that's a huge task, especially given the reliance Zimbabwe has built up over the years on China's influx of money. We shall see, we shall see what happens in the coming hours and days. Eddie Cross, good to speak to you, and we'll check in the hours ahead. Thank you,

CROSS: Thank you very much.

VAUSE: U.S. President, Donald Trump, has ramped up a diplomatic pressure on North Korea. He's reinstated that country in the list of state sponsors of terrorism, and that brings new sanctions expected to be announced in the coming hours. North Korea was removed from the list in 2008 -- it was seen as encouragement to continue negotiations to end this nuclear program. Donald Trump says that should never have happened.


DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: The United States is designating North Korea as a state sponsor of terrorism. It's should've happened a long time ago, it should've happened years ago. In addition to threatening the world by nuclear devastation, North Korea has repeatedly supported acts of international terrorism, including assassination on foreign soil.

(END VIDEO CLIP) VAUSE: No official response yet from Pyongyang, but on state

television, new images of North Korean leader Kim Jong-un touring a truck factory. We're joined now by Paul Carroll, Senior Adviser at N Square which works to combat nuclear threat. But first, we have CNN's Anna Coren standing by live in Seoul, South Korea. So, Anna, to you, South Korea and also Japan, supporting this move by the Trump administration, but I guess the big question is: how is North Korea expected to react?

ANNA COREN, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, John, as you say, we're yet to hear from North Korea. But it's a safe bet they will retaliate whether it be with angry rhetoric threats or more tests, and that, of course, is the concern certainly here in South Korea. It's been some two months since North Korea conducted its last ballistic missile test, that on the 15th of September.

And to have this lull, it really is quite a break considering that the frequency of testing that has been coming out of the north. Certainly, as far as South Korea's top spy agency is concerned, North Korea is ready to test another ballistic missile, if not another -- can carry out another nuclear test. They certainly are keeping a very close eye on any activity now coming out of the North.

They were predicting another missile test by the end of the year. That could be brought forward, because of this announcement, and Donald Trump places North Korea on this list of state sponsors of terrorism. what is interesting in all of this, John, that we are yet to discuss is the timing. And the reason I say that is that China has just sent in a special envoy at Donald Trump's insistence into Pyongyang.

[01:10:06] He spent the weekend there with senior North Korean officials to discuss North Korea's nuclear weapons program. Obviously, there are serious concerns about that: China wanting to re- establish dialogue. Thing has been strained between China and North Korea, for some time now.

Because of the further testing and because of the sanctions, China backing those sanctions. So, you know, by sending this special envoy in, hopefully, trying to get talks started, to take those first steps in what would be a diplomatic way of trying to go about this. But whatever progress, John, was made over the weekend, you'd have to assume -- has been eroded by North Korea now being on this list.

VAUSE: Anna, thank you. Anna Coren there live in Seoul. Let's go to Paul now for a little more. Paul, just to pick up on that last point, if the goal here is negation and diplomacy to try to end this crisis, how does this decision by the U.S. president to put North Korea back on the list of state sponsor of terrorism actually move the needle in any positive way?

PAUL CARROLL, SENIOR ADVISER AT N SQUARE: I don't think that it does moves it. I think it moves it in a negative way. And here's why once again we see another stick. The quiver that the United States has been using since the Trump administration took office has been stick after stick, after stick. Now, you can argue, yes, that's diplomatic pressure, and I would agree

that that is. But what is complete absent is any discussion or at least any evidence that the United States is talking to our allies, to China, and to North Korea about what the benefits might be if they change their behavior. So, I see this more as another, you know, piece of wood on the fire and more heat and not much in the way of an off-ramp for North Korea.

VAUSE: Anna mentioned this, it's been two months since the North Koreans test-fired a missile. Could that be seen as an attempt by Kim Jong-un to try and defuse tensions? And could this move by Washington bring an end to that?

CARROLL: I think it could be seen that way. But it's also important to keep in mind that the track record of North Korea's missile test always shows a lull in the winter months. Now, this may be because the army is redeployed to do agricultural or to harvest.

The record shows, clearly, that there's a far less frequency of missile test in the fall and winter. So, it simply may not be on their schedule. I would caution, you know, the viewer to not read too much into North Korea's behavior or lack of behavior every time the U.N. and the United States does something like this.

And in particular, these state sponsors of terrorism relisting by the U.S. is a completely unilateral move on behalf of Washington. I suspect they will respond -- it may simply be rhetoric, it may be something else, say, they have cyber capability and other types of things. But at this point, I have a hard time seeing what other diplomatic pressure cards the United States can play.

And we're sort of running out of those cards. What we need to begin to deal is, frankly, you know, more options of carrots, and make clear to Pyongyang, you know, there is another path. I worry that we're running out of this -- even the sticks that we've been using, and where that will lead us is not a happy place.

VAUSE: Very quickly, let me ask you to read into the behavior of Kim Jong-un a little. There are reports he's moved to discipline the military leadership in recent days. Some see that as an attempt to tighten his grip on power, any indication of why that may be happening at this point in time?

CARROLL: I think his grip on power has been fairly secure. I'm not saying that you know, he shouldn't watch his back, but he's been in office now and in the seat of power going on close to seven years. And we can read into some of his behavior -- you know, assassinations and tightening his grip. Why he would reign in the military at this point in time? Not completely clear.

I think one speculation -- I wouldn't say it's based on a lot of evidence, but one speculation is: because China has, in fact, been towing the line on sanctions. Not only agreeing to them and the U.N. Security Council but, in fact, administering and implementing them given this visit by the Chinese envoy, it might be aimed more at Beijing than at his own power. VAUSE: Yes. As you say, it's always difficult to know exactly what's

going on. But Paul, if anybody knows, we think you do, so thank you for being with us. Appreciate it.

CARROLL: My please, John. Thanks.

[01:14:51] SESAY: We're going to take a quick break here. Still to come, steering clear of stating direct support: The White House is hinting at how it wants a controversial Senate race to go.


SESAY: Hello, everyone. A second woman is accusing Democratic U.S. Senator, Al Franken, of inappropriately touching her. She says Franken grabbed her rear while taking to this photo taken at the state fair back in 2010. She posted the picture on Facebook at the time, commenting that the senator was a creeper who molested her.

VAUSE: Al Franken tells CNN he does not remember about taking that photo, but he feels badly that she got disrespected. And this comes on the heels of allegations made last week by a radio host Leeann Tweeden that Franken forcibly kissed and groped her whilst on a comedy tour that happened two years before Franken was elected to the Senate.

SESAY: Meantime, the White House is indicating it's open to Roy Moore Senate candidacy despite a number of sexual abuse allegations against him.

VAUSE: The Alabama Republican is refusing to get out of the race even though Republican leaders have withdrawn support for him; he denies all allegations against him. President Trump has been notably silent, but White House Counselor, Kellyanne Conway, says they need the votes to get tax reform passed, especially in the Senate.

SESAY: Well, Lee Kaufman is one of Moore's accuser. She described the encounter with him when she was 14.


LEE KAUFMAN, ROY MOORE ACCUSER: He basically laid out some blankets on the floor of his living room and proceeded to seduce me, I guess you would say. And during the course of that, he removed my clothing. He left the room and came back in wearing his white underwear, and he touched me over my clothing, what was left of it, and he tried to get me to touch him as well. And at that point, I pulled back and said that I was not comfortable.


VAUSE: Joining us here in L.A., Democratic Strategist Matthew Littman; Lanhee Chen, who is Republican Mitt Romney's Former Public Policy Director; and Jessica Levinson a Professor of Law and Governance at Loyola Law School. So, thank you all for being with us. OK. So, after what was a very detailed account from Lee Kaufman, the president was given yet again another opportunity to weigh in publicly about the Roy Moore scandal. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Your thoughts on Roy Moore, Mr. President? Do you believe his accusers? Do you believe Roy Moore's accusers, Mr. President?

TRUMP: Thank you very much. Thank you very much. Thanks.


VAUSE: Lanhee, you know, in the last, what, nine or ten days since the story broke, Donald Trump has tweeted about, you know, North Korea, about his poll numbers, about Al Franken, he's tweeted about the NFL players. You know, there's been sort of, almost no end to the topics that he is willing to discuss except this. How much damage is he doing to the party by staying silent?

LANHEE CHEN, FORMER PUBLIC POLICY DIRECTOR FOR MITT ROMNEY: A significant damage. And the issue is it's not going to end until the special elections, and perhaps not even in the special elections on December 12th. It's quite possible this extends beyond that. The reason why people are asking the president is because they expect the president as the president to have a point of view on this. This is a big deal. This is a big issue.

And frankly, I think it's a little bit short-sighted of the administration to say, well, we need the votes for tax reform. Because do they really want to be asking questions about Roy Moore if this guy wins for the next months? I would contend, they're better off with a Democrat in that seat than having to answer questions about Roy Moore for the next six months.

[01:20:29] MATTHEW LITTMAN, DEMOCRATIC STRATEGIST: Well, I think that if you had a Democrat in that seat, I suspect that that Democrat might actually vote for tax reform.

VAUSE: Right.

LITTMAN: So, I do think, in that case, the Republican Party may be better off if Doug Jones --

VAUSE: Because there's no guarantee that Roy Moore will actually support the tax reform.

LITTMAN: Right. Right.

VAUSE: So, Jessica. Jessica, you went on this, if you look at the situation for the president remaining silent, clearly, he has his own issues when it comes to sexual harassment, which is what many people (INAUDIBLE), he just can't really get into this.

JESSICA LEVINSON, PROFESSOR OF LAW AND GOVERNANCE AT LOYOLA LAW SCHOOL: Well, but he can and he should, and he's the president of the United States. And certainly, he has his own issues but that never stopped him before from weighing in on anything, including Senator Al Franken, who's -- as we said is also facing issues. So, he's been very quick to say, I can't believe Senator Al Franken, he was criticizing me, and now look at what is happening with him.

Now, why he is at a loss for words when the depth and breathed of accusations against Roy Moore is much worse. You know, it doesn't -- it doesn't strain our imagination, because we know exactly what going on, because Kellyanne Conway told us exactly what's going on. She said we need a Republican because we think he's going to vote for tax reform. And, you know, as we said, I think that's very short-sighted, but it shows how desperate they are for this one legislative win.

VAUSE: And that, Jessica, on that point, I mean, do you see this -- clearly, there is a double standard here. The president's willing to talk about Al Franken, but not Roy Moore. What do Democrats do with this?

LITTMAN: Well, I think in the case of Roy Moore, this is a much different story. We're talking about some women who are underaged, or that he was banned from a mall. Roy Moore's situation, he's lost a fair amount of support.

I think we can agree in Alabama while we don't know how that election is going to turn out. I think that in terms of Donald Trump -- listen, Donald Trump does have his own issues. There are about 15 women, I think, at last count who've accused him of some form of sexual harassment.

But let's also remember that he was -- went backstage in Miss Teen U.S.A Pageant to see those girls naked -- they were 15-years-old. So, I think part of the reason that Donald Trump isn't commenting on this Roy Moore situation is because he who's without sin should not -- with some glass houses, yes.

VAUSE: Glass White House. Our official count is 13 women accusing the president, there are reports there may have 16 women and even more. Before Miss Kaufman went on "The Today Show" and gave that interview, Roy Moore said during the interview, this plot was essentially all about the major parties colluding together to take him down.


ROY MOORE, REPUBLICAN SENATE CANDIDATE: This is just an attempt to stop a campaign they can't win, they didn't win, and it's a combination of not only the Democrats but the Republican establishment.


VAUSE: OK. Lanhee, you know, too many, you know, you listen to that just doesn't seem credible but, does that carry a lot of weight in Alabama, and for Roy Moore's supporters?

CHEN: Yes. Look, I think it is convincing to some voters down there. I think there is the sense that there is some kind of conspiracy that's being hatched by the media, by Mitch McConnell. I mean, look, if a lightning bolt struck Roy Moore's house and destroyed his roof, he'd blame Mitch McConnell. So, in my mind, this is part of the narrative that they trying -- and,

look, it's the best narrative they have. They have a very flawed and damaged candidate who's running a campaign where he's losing to Democrat in Alabama. And so, this is really the best they have, I think.

VAUSE: Matt, it seems that the more, if you like, Mitch McConnell weighs in on this and say, you know, he won't be seated even if he does win, the more people in Alabama believe it's a conspiracy.

LITTMAN: Why -- are all of that are true, because because Moore's losing in the polls right now. Now, those polls may not be accurate; people may actually be ashamed to say to polls that they're voting for Moore. But I don't think that it's necessarily true that people believe that. The other thing is if Roy Moore actually believes that Mitch McConnell with Democrats are conspiring against him, that alone is disqualifying.


VAUSE: OK. We have been talking about the fact that, you know, The White House really wants to keep its majority -- its two-seat majority in the Senate, which is why they're saying that the voters of Alabama decide. There was a lying (INAUDIBLE) by the White House Spokesperson Sarah Sanders on Monday.


SARAH HUCKABEE SANDERS, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: Obviously, the president wants people both in the House and the Senate that support his agenda. But as I've said, and as the hatcheck prohibits me from going further, we certainly think that this is something that the people of Alabama should decide.


VAUSE: Jessica, the idea that once heard is actually weighing on an election and put into office -- a sexual harasser, a child molester, a pedophile, and that's the end of it, that does seem to be at odds with U.S. law.

LEVINSON: Well, it certainly is at odds with U.S. law. I would say, at this point, it's still accused -- he's accused of all of these things. We haven't proven any of this in a court of law, but, of course, they're very credible accusations.

So, it does -- I mean, it just shows where we are, and the American public today that we're saying, yes, there's all these credible accusations of not just sexual harassment -- that's not even bad enough. But pedophilia, and we still think, well, voters, you know, you just go ahead and decide who you think. The voters listen to everyone.

[01:25:32] And, you know what, the White House believes that the voters listen to them on some things and the voters want to hear the White House weigh it. And to the extent that the voters of Alabama are persuaded by Roy Moore saying, the Earth is flat and that there's a conspiracy against him. They might also be persuaded by hearing from their president.

And I just think it's very dispiriting for many people watching because they feel like -- to the extent that there was any morality or moral high-ground left. It just dissipates when the president of the United States says, well, make up your mind despite, again, this mountain of accusations of incredibly troubling behavior.

LITTMAN: But I would just say to that -- I would just say to that, that the president lost that after Charlottesville. When he said that both there are good people on both sides, that was the end of looking at the White House as if this president had that type of credibility. And I think right now, that's already gone for this president.

VAUSE: It was the state that Trump carried by 28 points. We're just going to move forward with Al Franken because we're almost out of time. Another woman has come forward, saying, you know, she was a victim of inappropriate behavior by Franken. Matt, you know, where there's two, is there 20, and should Franken resign?

LITTMAN: You know, I hope not. You know, Al Franken, he's been to my house. My brother was his chief of staff, I really like Al Franken. I hope, I've heard Leeann Tweeden. I have no reason to doubt that story. I think what he did was very inappropriate, but I don't think its on a par with what we're seeing from either President Trump or from Moore.

CHEN: I think it's very dangerous when we start to say that some behavior is worse than others. All those behavior is bad, Senator Franken, absolutely needs to step aside. This behavior is intolerable, it's reprehensible. And I just think the problem is when we start to compare these things -- you know, is what Donald Trump did worse than what Al Franken did, worse than what Roy Moore; it's all bad. Let's call it for what it is, it's all bad.

LITTMAN: I don't think that you need to step down for every single thing that you've done.

CHEN: 100 percent he needs to step down.

LITTMAN: I don't, I don't --

CHEN: That picture, that picture -- was fundamentally offensive and that's reflective --

LITTMAN: Yes, it's terrible, but Al Franken is --

CHEN: -- is reflective of behavior that apparently, he's engaged in repeatedly.

LITTMAN: Well, it isn't. Al Franken was a comedian at the time, it was a stupid joke. He apologized for it. Listen, at least he apologized and is remorseful. Donald Trump is threatening to sue every single woman who's accused him of sexual harassment.

VAUSE: Last word to Jessica, can you conflate these two -- are they, you know, equally bad, essentially?

LEVINSON: Just because things are bad doesn't mean some things aren't worse. And we're talking about accusations, again, of pedophilia. That is worse. It's not to forgive or to try and apologize away anything else that's happening.

But I would say, I don't think Senator Al Franken thinks that there's more to come. I don't think he's two and then 20 because he said, hey, Senate, will you open an ethics investigation. Please come, I'm opening my doors. Please look at anything that you want to look at with respect to my behavior. Someone who thinks that there is 18 more people lined up, typically doesn't do that.

VAUSE: OK. Last word to Jessica. Lahnee, and Matt, and Jessica, thanks to you all. We appreciate it.

CHEN: Thank you.

SESAY: When we come back, coalition talks fell apart, throwing Germany into political crisis. A look at what could happen next.


[01:30:57] SESAY: You're watching CNN NEWSROOM live from Los Angeles, I'm Isha Sesay.

VAUSE: I'm John Vause. We'll take the headlines this hour. The Russian President Vladimir Putin and Syria's Bashar Al-Assad said the fight against terrorist in Syria is nearing an end. The leaders had a meeting in Sochi, Russia. Mr. Putin reportedly told Assad the priority now is to move towards a peaceful political solution in Syria.

SESAY: Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe has agreed to meet with his former vice president in an effort to end the country's political crisis. Mr. Mugabe has yet to resign despite the apparent coup last week. His own party is expected to introduce a peaceful plan in the days ahead.

VAUSE: In Germany, the president and business leaders are urging all political parties to return to coalition talks. Negotiations collapsed when the free Democratic Party walked out early Monday. Chancellor Angela Merkel says he would prefer a new election as opposed to a monarchy government.

SESAY: Well, Joining us now is Dominic Thomas. He is the Chair of the Department of the Department of French and Francophone Studies in U.S. -- UCLA. I'll get the words out. Dominica, hello.

Dominic Thomas, Chair, Department of the Department of French and Francophone Studies UCLA: Hi.

SESAY: So these coalition talks fell apart because the Free Democrats walked away. Do we know what the sticking point was and is there a chance of getting these talks back on track? THOMAS: Well, it seems that the FDP walked away that they really, sort of, were not trying to build any further bridges. And there were a number of issues that came up. What's been so complicated in these talks that there were so many people at the negotiating table?

This is really a first in German history. This has complicated things. One of the main issues for the FDP concerns the question of, let's say, your finance. And Angela Merkel and Emmanuel Macron upfront had been talking about great EU integration, expansion, having EU zone finance minister.

This is a red line for the -- for the FDP. There were issues around the question of the environment for the greens, carbon monoxide emissions and so on. And of course, the question that shapes so much of the election of immigration.

The question as to what the cap would be in terms of the number of migrants that would be let in. And another sticking point -- sticking point have to do with the question of family reunification. This is currently more important on that for Syrian refugees.

The greens would like to see that timeframe reduce and for the FDP and the CSU and so on, they wanted to extend in -- on how great to control over immigration. So lots of issues and it's complicated by the fact that there was so many people at the negotiating table.

SESAY: Yes. This would be exponential issue is what these parties stand for, what they represented. So the road to some kind of commonality, common ground seems pretty difficult.

Angela Merkel has said that rather than a minority government should rather fresh elections, what's the guarantee that -- new elections which are difficult to come by also in Germany because of the way that the laws are written. What are the chances it would be a different outcome?

THOMAS: Well, we're in completely uncharted territory because going back to Second World War, only once that there had not been a negotiation, you know, for coalition. So it's part of the DNA of the particular system. And there is no evidence to show what happened in 2017 which is so interesting, is that the two major parties in the decline has been taken place for a decade.

But then the SPD and the CDU, CSU sister party have gone from having 65, 70, 75, 80 percent of the vote to barely 50 percent. And we've seen a proliferation of smaller political parties. So Merkel's party only scored 32.5 percent.

The SPD were in the second place. Not only did the SDP not want to work with them, that there are several parties that Merkel won't work with, of course, the AFD on the -- on the far right, this nativist party. And so to have another election is very unlikely to produce a coalition line up that would look any different than the kinds of players that are in place right now unless the FDP is willing to go back into grand coalition and --

SESAY: Which they said they're not.

THOMAS: They said they're not and they probably be very unwise because they're anticipating 20, 21, the post-Merkel era when she wouldn't run again. And they would rather position themselves in the opposition and have an opportunity to rebuild. They had their worst score in the history of the political party.

SESAY: As part of the coalition.

THOMAS: As part of the coalition.

SESAY: So the expectation is that she will find a way, that Angela Merkel will find a way to cobble this all together, that want some people believe.

[01:35:07] THOMAS: Right.

SESAY: But let's say -- let's say she does, how damaged is she by this going forward?

THOMAS: Right. At the point of which she announced that she -- this is most likely going to be the last time that she was run -- that she would run and at the point in which one knew that her party would win essentially the election by coming out ahead, I think it allowed many people to experiment it a little bit with their vote. And to sort of go for other parties as also grand coalition fatigue and Merkel fatigue. And you could say that a lot of the votes that went to the AFD and to other parties were results of that that really the, sort of, the control in the outcome isn't exactly in her hands right now.

She's essentially an acting chancellor. The president is in his honorary kind of role. He's really the only one who can sort of move things along and he's asked her to go back to the negotiating table. So the hope is that she is able to achieve something and that the FDP might wise up.

They only score 10.5 percent of the vote. And this is after not even being in parliament in 2013 because they didn't reach the five percent threshold. So they may wake up and realize especially since public opinion has been speaking out and blaming them for the collapse of these coalitions. And actually, return to the negotiating table and try to get something done. Because new elections aren't likely to change the landscape here.

SESAY: Yes. Europe is watching this very, very closely. This has a huge implications for everything that they had planned, the Brexit talks and Spain Catalonian, all the rest.

THOMAS: Absolutely.

SESAY: Dominic, always a pleasure.

THOMAS: Thank you.

SESAY: Thank you. Thank you. VAUSE: Argentina's navy is continuing the search for one of their missing submarines but time may be running out for the 44 crewmembers on board. Officials believe distress calls and underwater noises recently detected are not from the sub. Before disappearing the captain reported a battery failure, normally considered routine. The Navy says the submarine's oxygen supply could be exhausted in two days.

Meteorologist Pedram Javaheri joins us with more on the conditions where the search area is now focusing on and what they're up against and what -- what's in store in terms of weather in this region? Pedram.

PEDRAM JAVAHERI, CNN INTERNATIONAL METEOROLOGIST: OK. You know, John, on a very good day it is blustery to put it lightly across the street. This is one of the windiest locations on earth. Easy depiction here, global depiction at this hour and across thousands of kilometers, South America, we go green contours indicative of extreme wind.

Notice where they're located across this region of the 40-degree latitude, no marking with. They're going to be sailing and this one is called the Roaring 40s, the furious 50s once you pushed down towards the 50-degree latitude mark. And even the screaming 60s and all of this because the westerly winds here prevalent throughout the entire year.

You get this wind go set up. And, of course, sailors still to this day set world records because if those winds. Unfortunately, they're persistent year-round and with that said, these sort of winds with an additional storm system on track here really going to make this problematic.

The best bet here for improving weather really since the last known as point of communication would be on Wednesday. Tuesday night into Wednesday, look at the model of depiction going from Tuesday into Wednesday. Notice the wind speed begin to die down a little bit.

You see the colors from the yellows to the greens and blues. That's a 20, 30 kilometer per hour wind but that's the windy typical pattern we speak of. But notice what happens as you push in towards Thursday.

Here comes the storm that pushes in right along in the last point of communication there. This would send the swells back up to potentially nine meters here in this particular wave height depiction yellow indicates nine plus meters or two-story high wave heights. All of this really spells a very, very difficult go here in the last couple of days of what we think it would be of oxygen left across the vessel there. John, Isha.

VAUSE: OK. So clearly, yes, the clock is running down.


VAUSE: OK. Pedram, thank you. SESAY: Thank you, Pedram. Well, millions of children in Yemen are facing starvation. Next, an exclusive report from indie a hospital with almost no resources and thousands of patients.


[01:41:15] VAUSE: Well, the war in Yemen means more than 11 million children are now in urgent need of humanitarian assistance.

SESAY: Aid groups are calling on the Saudi-led coalition to full lift the blockade. It has led to shortages of food and medicine contributing to a cholera epidemic. We have an exclusive report now from journalist Iona Craig who reached the hospital in rebel-held territory. Warning, some of the images in the story are graphic.


IONA CRAIG, INTERNATIONAL FREELANCE JOURNALIST: It's very easy obviously to get -- to get an impact of the war when you're traveling through areas that have been conflict-affected, where there's a lot of destruction, where there's been airstrikes, but it's the impact on the wider civilian population that you often don't really get to see. Abdul Aziz is a nine-year-old boy in Hodeidah Hospital. And as you can see from the footage, he is suffering from severe, acute malnutrition.

While it is very shocking to see a young boy in a state like that he is skeletally thin, and he was lifeless, just lying there while the doctors were trying to administer glucose to him. His female family members were with him and they've been unable to bring him into the hospital any sooner, because of the cost of getting him to the hospital. There are many children like him that I saw were starved there. The hospital is actually overflowing quite literally with patients.

And so Al-Thawra Hospital normally before the war was taking in sort of 700 patients or treating 700 patients a day and now they're treating around 2,500 patients a day. And you could see that so clearly in the hospital. It was like a bus station. You walked in there and it's elbow to elbow.

People just barging through the corridors trying to get access to medical care.

DR KHALID SUHAIL, DIRECTOR, AL-THAWRA HOSPITAL (through translator): We are overwhelmed by the number of patients and the lack of drugs and medical solutions and the increase of diesel prices and the fuel. And the increase of the exchange rate of the dollar. We have five generators operating 24 hours a day and there's not enough to operate the central air-conditioning system.

We are suffering from that especially the operating (INAUDIBLE) rooms need air-conditioning 24 hours.

CRAIG: In that particular hospital, the staff haven't been paid for more than a year. The government salaries haven't been paid. So effectively they're working as volunteers. When I was walking around the hospital with the director, people in the corridors, staff was stopping him, begging for money essentially.

And he wasn't able to give them anything. The hospital is struggling just over -- just to operate. And the director of the hospital said to me, you know, if this continues on this sort of level, for the next six months, they don't know if they'll be able to stay open for six months' time, that the hospital even will still be open.


SESAY: And that's the world's largest humanitarian crisis with the largest cholera outbreak.

VAUSE: And those pictures are so hard to watch.

SESAY: Turning our attention now to another CNN exclusive. An investigation from Puerto Rico. Hurricane Maria may have killed many more people on the island than originally thought.

VAUSE: Officially right now the death toll stands at 55. But CNN has learned simply by going to funeral homes and talking to the people who administer them that almost 500 people are believed to have died. Here's CNN's Leyla Santiago reporting from San Juan.


LEYLA SANTIAGO, CNN CORRESPONDENT: So here's why the numbers are so important. Experts tell us that if you don't have a good grasp on how people died, where people died or why those deaths happened, where or why, then it could be a missed opportunity to protect people in the future.

[01:45:00] It's just one of the reasons we decided to look into the numbers. And what we found there are several reasons to question Puerto Rico's death toll.


SANTIAGO: These are the images they'd rather remember. The ones capturing Jose Pepe Sanchez joking with his family. But there's another image his daughter, Roxana, cannot stop thinking about. The moment she opened the door and found him on the ground.

So she says if Maria had not passed straight through here, she believes her dad would still be alive today. She believes his nerves, stress, during Hurricane Maria, led to a heart attack when Maria struck in September. He had had a heart attack in February but the family says he had recovered, boarded up windows himself the day before the storm.

Just minutes before Maria made landfall, she tells us her father complained of breathing complications. When her uncle called 911, he says help was not available in the interior part of the island. No one from the government has come to ask questions about the cause or the situation surrounding his death. Over the same month last year, the number of deaths in Puerto Rico increased by 472. The government is reporting 55 people died at the hands of Hurricane Maria.

HECTOR PESQUERA, SECRETARY OF PUBLIC SAFETY, PUERTO RICO: It's accurate based on the factual information that we received, yes.

SANTIAGO: This is Puerto Rico's secretary of public safety, in charge of the death count.

MAYOR CARMEN YULIN CRUZ, SAN JUAN, PUERTO RICO: It appears for whatever reason, that the death toll is much higher than what has been reported.

SANTIAGO: Politicians, news outlets like CNN have raised questions about the accuracy of those numbers. So, we decided to count for ourselves. CNN called 279 funeral homes. We were only able to reach about half of them.

We asked how many of the deaths were believed to be related to Maria. Despite the official death toll, they claimed 499 hurricane-related deaths in the month after the storm. That's nine times the government's numbers. Why the gap?

PESQUERA: Because the -- as I said before, I work on factual. I can't -- I can't work on I believe.

SANTIAGO: So, we described Pepe's case. Gentleman is at home, he has a stroke, the person with him calls 911. 911 says, "We can't get to him in time because 150 mile per hour winds are pounding us right now."


SANTIAGO: Is that a hurricane-related death?

PESQUERA: Absolutely.

SANTIAGO: OK. Allow me to introduce you to Jose, Pepe, that was his case. A case not included in Puerto Rico's death toll. The discrepancy begins here, the death certificate. A doctor marked Pepe's death natural. Cases marked natural aren't supposed to go to forensics.

And forensic says if they don't get the cases, there's no way to investigate if it's related to the hurricane. On the certificate, doctors are not obligated to report if the hurricane contributed to the death.

PESQUERA: Quite frankly, they should, but you're right. They can't -- will they be obligated to do it by law? No. But I still submit to you that there's a moral and ethical responsibility to do that.

SANTIAGO: Pesquera plans on asking legislators to change the law, require doctors to flag natural disasters on death certificates. And that's not the only issue. He admits he needs people to flag cases, too.

PESQUERA: And you're the first person, the first media outlet, and I'll say it publicly, that brings in information for us to verify.

SANTIAGO: But is that the media's job or is that your job?

PESQUERA: So it's our job to take care of 2,900 bodies, doing every month, to see that the doctor -- the doctor certifies that the deaths occur in the way that it happened.

SANTIAGO: Pesquera tells us he will investigate the multiple cases CNN brought to his attention. Why is the government of Puerto Rico not double checking it? And why isn't the government of Puerto Rico doing what CNN did? Calling these funeral homes one by one, visiting these families one by one.

PESQUERA: Funeral homes, to begin with, are not the person to tell us what the people die or not die of.

SANTIAGO: He says families should be notifying the government if they believe Hurricane Maria is responsible for a death. Loved ones like Pepe's wife who tells us at the time, the priority was not to make sure their loved one was counted in a statistic, rather to make sure he had a proper goodbye. They were married when she was 20 and she misses him.


SANTIAGO: Families trying to make sense of tragedy and a death toll. According to forensics, they sent people to funeral homes, to cemeteries, the hospitals to look into suspicious cases.

[01:50:05] And forensic says every time they found falls claims even called them rumors, you heard the secretary in our piece say that he is willing to look into these specific cases that CNN brought to his attention. He gave us his word that he will investigate and if justified add to the death toll. Leyla Santiago, CNN, San Juan, Puerto Rico.


VAUSE: Well, next on NEWSROOM L.A., CNN's Freedom Project in saving Haiti's orphans from human traffickers.


SESAY: The U.S. will end the special status in 2019 that protects many Haitian immigrants from deportation. Thousands were granted temporary protected status in 2010 after the devastating earthquake in Haiti.

VAUSE: Since then the government has granted a number of extensions to the temporary stays but now says conditions in Haiti had improved enough for everyone to return.

SESAY: Well, this week CNN's Freedom Project focuses on the human trafficking in Haiti. The first part of the series showed how widespread this problem really is.

VAUSE: Part two now, and Michael Holmes has the story of those fighting to keep children safe and families together.


MICHAEL HOLMES, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: The view of Haiti from above allies the depths of despair on the ground. Haiti is the poorest country in Western Hemisphere and one of the poorest in the world. Christopher Jean Joseph says it is because of this poverty that he grew up in an orphanage.

He's not actually an orphan, though. His parents just couldn't afford to raise him.

CHRISTOPHER JEAN JOSEPH (through translator): "At least here, they do everything they can to provide. Pay for school, food, and healthcare.

HOLMES: Christopher was brought to this orphanage when he was four years old. He says he always well cared for and sent to school, but not all orphanages in Haiti are following good practices. The government top anti-trafficking official says many orphanages are trafficking in children.

FILS-LIEN ELY THELOT, PRESIDENT, NATIONAL COMMITTEE AGAINST HUMAN TRAFFICKING (through translator): They're forced into labor and not allowed to eat, not allowed to wear proper clothing, not allowed to bathe. And they're allowed to live in squalor so that foreigners will give money out of pity.

HOLMES: According to a report released at Haiti's first national conference on child trafficking in June there are at least 30,000 children living in orphanages and most of them have at least one living parent.

GEORGETTE MULHEIR, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, LUMOS: No one knows for sure how many orphanages there are in Haiti but we know it's around 750. Of those, it's probably 20 to 25 percent that are considered by the government to have conditions so bad they should be closed immediately.

HOLMES: Georgette Mulheir is executive director of Lumos, a nonprofit started by Harry Potter author J. K. Rowling that aims to end the institutionalization of children worldwide by 2050.

[01:55:00] Mulheir says one way to do that is to stop well-intention donors from supporting orphanages. A recent Lumos report estimates $100 million a year is being given to orphanages in Haiti, money that they say should be donated instead to community services aim to keeping families together.

MULHEIR: We have to educate the donors and the volunteers. And we've been working with faith-based organizations and the United States, Catholic and Evangelical, who are really trying to change the mind of their own communities and raise awareness. If you are giving money to orphanages, if you are volunteering in orphanages you are helping to drive trafficking in Haiti.

HOLMES: Pastor Reginald Celestin runs a ministry in a poor community outside Port-au-Prince. He used to support orphanages but today he's on a mission to close them. It's not been easy.

REGINALD CELESTIN, PASTOR: You cannot just take a kid from an orphanage and bring it back to the parent if you don't provide some sort of financial support to the parent in order to not send the kids back to another orphanage.

HOLMES: It makes great strides at the orphanage where Christopher was raised, that facility with just 18 beds once held 40 children. In the past few years, 25 have been reunited with their families including Christopher who now lives with his father. Even though the two-room block house is passed, Christopher says he is happy.

JOSEPH (through translator): I'm not saying I was mistreated at the orphanage but it is more important when you're closer to your parents, they'll always show you affection.

CELESTIN: The best place for kids to live is with the family.

HOLMES: Christopher still goes to the orphanage every day for meals and to visit friends and hopes that one day his younger brother and sister who still live at the orphanage will be able to move home too. Michael Holmes, CNN.


SESAY: Yes. Good to see them smile.

VAUSE: Yes. Good to finish on a happy story.


VAUSE: One of those stories.

SESAY: You've been watching CNN NEWSROOM live from Los Angeles, I'm Isha Sesay.

VAUSE: I'm John Vause. Stay with us, more news after this short break.


[02:00:11] VAUSE: This is CNN NEWSROOM live from Los Angeles. Our head this hour.