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North Korean Soldiers Shoot Defector at DMZ; Mugabe's 37-Year Rule Ends in Zimbabwe; Trump Breaks Silence, Defends Roy Moore. Aired 12-1a ET

Aired November 22, 2017 - 00:00   ET



[000009] JOHN VAUSE, CNN ANCHOR: This is CNN NEWSROOM live from Los Angeles.

Ahead this hour --

Dash for freedom, a North Korean soldier runs to the DMZ but in trying to stop his defection, it appears his comrades may have caused a major violation of the 1953 Armistice Agreement.

Dancing in the streets of Zimbabwe -- Robert Mugabe's 37-year-long rein comes to an end but will this be the beginning of a new era of democracy.

And U.S. President Donald Trump finally weighs in on the Roy Moore scandal and seems he would rather have an alleged child molester in the U.S. Senate over a Democrat.

Hello and welcome to our viewers all around the world. Great to have you with us. I'm John Vause.

NEWSROOM L.A. starts right now.

We begin this hour with United Nations Command accusing North Korea of violating the armistice agreement with South Korea twice. It all happened last week as soldiers chased a defecting soldier, first by firing more than 40 rounds across the demilitarized zone, then a North Korean soldier chasing the defector briefly crossed over the DMZ.

CNN's Andrew Stevens following all of this for us from Beijing. He is with us live.

So Andrew -- I gave the broad brushstrokes of what happened. But the U.N. command of the DMZ, they have released a video of this incident. So walk us through exactly what happened. happened.

ANDREW STEVENS, CNN NEWS CORRESPONDENT: Yes. That six and a half minute video which does though show in quite clear terms what actually happened there. This video starts off with a jeep -- a military style North Korean jeep driving along a deserted tree-lined area with it looks like speed to, John, into the joint security area.

This is also known as the Truce Village. It's an area within the demilitarized zone which is occupied both by the south and the North Koreans. And it's split down the middle by something called the military demarcation line.

This car drives towards that. And the next thing we see is North Korean soldiers obviously realizing something is wrong, something is amiss and they start running towards the car. The next shot is that car which apparently now got stuck in a ditch because we see the defector jumping out and making, as you say, a dash for freedom across that demarcation line.

And just meters behind him you see four North Koreans opening fire, both with handguns and what looks like automatic weapons as well. It's extraordinary they let loose something like 40 rounds and five or so actually hit that person.

And that is where these offenses the U.N. command talks about actually occurred. What you will see -- one of the North Korean soldiers actually chased the defector and in doing so crossed the demarcation line and also shot over the demarcation line.

And finally in this video we see the motionless body of that defector lying in what is now clearly the South Korean part of the zone. And then it sort of switched to a night vision where you see South Korean soldiers crawling towards this body very, very carefully, getting to the body and then dragging it back out of the zone into South Korea.

We now know that defector, he was helicoptered out, he's in a hospital in South Korea, critically injured. He has regained consciousness. The South Koreans saying he was shot something like five times.

We still don't know from his own mouth what actually happened, why he was defecting, John. But very clearly, we see both the demarcation line being breached by the North Koreans and actually what happened in those dramatic moments at the DMZ.

VAUSE: And this is also, filling in the backstory here from saying which we had heard a few days ago about this North Korean soldier who'd been shot and being treated by the South Koreans also had those incredible parasites inside him.

STEVENS: Well, that's what we know. Again -- we're just getting reports at the moment, certainly vague reports. Something like a 27- centimeter parasite actually inside that man's intestine -- John. It's one of dozens as is being reported.

This does point to the fact that obviously there was a nutrition problem, to put it mildly. And it does give you an idea perhaps of the conditions that the North Korea -- average North Korean soldier is facing.

So John -- we don't know at this stage what the actual health condition was other than it was very, very poor and there was, as we now know, these parasites certainly living within his intestines.

[00:05:02] VAUSE: Yes. If I remember correctly he was 5'5 tall, weighed 135 pounds. Andrew -- we'll get more on you from this, next hour. Appreciate you being with us.

Ok. Now to Zimbabwe and preparations for the country's first new president in nearly four decades. 93-year-old Robert Mugabe resigned on Tuesday, one week after an apparent military coup. He had ruled with an iron fist since independence in 1980 with hardline policies which drove a once-flourishing economy into ruin. His decision to stand down sparked wild celebrations in the streets of Harare, with many declaring a new era for Zimbabwe. Former vice president Emmerson Mnangagwa is expected to be sworn in as president by Thursday.

CNN's Farai Sevenzo is in Harare. He joins us now live. So Faria -- what will happen now in the next 24 hours ahead of the swearing in of Mnangagwa as the next president?

FARAI SEVENZO, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, John -- this is the night -- beg your pardon -- the morning after the night before. And it's likely that the nation will wake up this morning -- it's morning in Zimbabwe, it's about 7:00 in the morning -- and try to digest what happened yesterday. It was such a seismic event.

Our team, the CNN team basically heard (ph) about four hours ago. And it was incredible, the sense of relief about the fact that the man actually resigned.

So what will happen in the next 24 hours is an amalgamation of many things. First of all Emmerson Mnangagwa, the fired vice president, will jet back into the country. Second of all, we will we see some kind of clear direction hopefully of what the army intends to do because they are the people in control.

I am here just opposite parliament on my left hand side. And there's an armored personnel carrier just on my right hand side. And it's a state of thinking, ok, when will the men in camouflage handover -- John?

VAUSE: So at this point, Farai, there's no clear indication of when the generals will order the troops and the tanks back to the barracks because that will clearly be an important moment here because that will be an indication of returning to some kind of normalcy.

SEVENZO: Well, you know, that is a very, very good point. At the moment in Harare -- I mean since we arrived here -- well I did from Nairobi a week ago today. And in one week I have not seen a single policeman on the streets. Not that poses all kinds of problems.

The other day, saw a traffic jam, a car hits another car and there are no people. They were all standing -- the citizens are standing around waiting to see when the police will come. When will the police get back to the streets? First question.

Second question, as you say, when will the army get back to the barracks? We can only imagine that once tomorrow comes and Mr. Emmerson Mnangagwa, the former vice president gets back in, and assumes the former vice-presidency, then he's sworn in as the new president, things will fall into shape pretty rapidly.

At the moment they're not falling into shape. But we have a nation that's woken up to a massive joyous hangover. They were very pleased yesterday when Robert Mugabe signed his resignation. And at the moment, you can only say that the army is still in control -- John.

VAUSE: Well, we can say, if nothing else, this new era is starting with one mighty big hangover.

Farai, given the role the military has played over the years in keeping Mugabe in power. It seems almost baffling that there is now so much praise for the generals and the troops for being some kind of champion of democracy and regime change.

SEVENZO: Well, this is it. I mean Zimbabwe finds itself in this position. They were faced with one sort of monster in Robert Mugabe's deterioration into an utter dictator who wanted then to hand over power to his wife, 53-year-old Grace Mugabe, who had never held political office, never went to the liberation war, absolutely detested by all Zimbabwean.

And then, of course, on the other hand we have the army saving the nation from this fact. I mean the other day we were over at the University of Zimbabwe and a student said to me after I asked him, isn't this just a mirage? How can you trust, you know, the people who had been at Robert Mugabe's side for so long to save you.

And he said, it's a very simple thing. He said, yes we are all aware that we're swapping a snake with another snake. But we have to admit that this is a preferable alternative -- John, that at the moment, you know, what they had suffered for so long, their parents have suffered so long, is over. That can only be accepted as a blessing until the next stage of this change.

[00:10:02] VAUSE: Maybe a snake for a crocodile.

Farai -- good to see you. Farai Sevenzo there in Harare on a very bleary morning, by the looks of things. Thank you.

Well, many Zimbabweans have known no other ruler other than Robert Mugabe. But now they're ushering in this new era with eagerness as well as exhilaration. Take a look.


ROBERT MUGABE, FORMER PRESIDENT OF ZIMBABWE: I, Robert Gabriel Mugabe, (INAUDIBLE) 96 subsection 1 of the constitution of Zimbabwe, hereby formally tender my resignation as the president of the Republic of Zimbabwe with immediate effect.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He's gone. He's gone. He's gone. He's gone.

DAVID MCKENZIE, CNN NEWS CORRESPONDENT: There's a real sense of euphoria here on the streets. Once the word got out everyone streamed onto the streets celebrating. First, it was slow, a couple of people cheering. And then thousands are streaming on to this park here near the houses of parliament celebrating the end of an era.

ROBYN CURNOW, CNN NEWS CORRESPONDENT: The only leader this country has really ever known since independence, resigned after an attempted coup last week. There were questions on why it was taking so long and then suddenly, the old man as he called -- as he's called resigned.

MCKENZIE: We have old ladies celebrating, saying he's gone; professionals as well. And I'll take you right -- right on to the center of the street, in the middle of town here in Harare. And the scenes here are incredible.

Zimbabwe flags in the air, people on trucks here celebrating, jumping up and down. I can't overstate what this means to ordinary Zimbabweans.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It feels like my children can come here and be free to take their cameras out all day, a backpack and zoom (ph) whatever they want without being arrested for anything. That anyone can make a joke about the president without being arrested for insulting the president.

The freedom is really back in play in this country after such a long, long hiatus and hibernation. Freedom is back in Harare.

MCKENZIE: What do you feel about tonight, then new independence?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We are so excited and we are very happy. We feel liberated.

MCKENZIE: It's like the entire country took a deep breath, heard the news and as they rushed out in celebration. Tomorrow is another day but today, this is how the people feel.


VAUSE: Quite a party. Journalist and talk show host Redi Tlhabi joins us now from Johannesburg. Redi -- thank you for being with us. It's what -- 7:12 in the morning there.

Right now, a lot of optimism in Zimbabwe about what could be a Democratic future. Will there be indications relatively soon to know if that optimism is in fact justified or if the people there have replaced one dictator for another dictator?

REDI TLHABI, JOURNALIST AND TALK SHOW HOST: Well, that's exactly it. There are many skeptics including myself, John, that Emmerson Mnangagwa has a very troublesome history and you cannot separate him from the deeds of Robert Mugabe.

But you know, John -- the Zimbabwean frustration of institutions (ph) who are in Johannesburg with whom I spoke who are Harare, they are saying, give us our moment. We very well will have a very difficult journey in rebuilding our country. Perhaps our euphoria in victory is short-lived. But the fact of the matter is that this man who has been a torchbearer of oppression for 37 years is gone. And I think that we should afford Zimbabweans their moment because nothing happened in Zimbabwe without Robert Mugabe's sanction (ph).

So I think getting rid of Robert Mugabe is not insignificant and we shouldn't diminish that victor because of Mnangagwa. I also think that John, if Mnangagwa has any brains whatsoever he will read the writing on the wall, he will learn from this humiliation and fate of Robert Mugabe and know not to repeat the mistakes of the past.

Secondly, John -- remember that the regional countries in Africa are very clear about dictatorship and coups. That's why the military was at pains to create this veneer of a constitutional transition.

So I really think that Mnangagwa is a smart man. He has a troublesome and violent history but I think that he will avoid being isolated as the leader of Zimbabwe. He certainly waited so long for this moment.

VAUSE: Redi -- we'd love to give the Zimbabweans their moment but we're 24-hour news. We have to talk about something.

[00:14:48] So let's talk about Emmerson Mnangagwa and ask if he has actually given any indication, any reason for anyone to believe apart from hope here -- is there anything that will indicate that, you know, he is actually prepared for a democratic Zimbabwe and he is willing to institute these reforms and actually listen to what so many people there are actually demanding?

TLHABI: Well, I suppose he's responding to the moment. At the moment he is sending a message that is the opposite of what Robert Mugabe represented. In other words, he said that in his conversation with Robert Mugabe just yesterday he persuaded him to listen to the will of the people. He persuaded him to really open his heart trying to what the people were trying to tell him.

That certainly sounds like the voice of a democrat. But John -- I'm sorry. It is just impossible to ignore his history. It is impossible to ignore the repression, the silencing of dissenting voices, the repression of media, the arrest and murder and kidnapping of activists and opposition party members.

So I just think that let's welcome this moment but we need to be very, very cautious and not forget what a formidable figure Emmerson Mnangagwa has been.

VAUSE: Yes. It's hard to believe that a man called the "crocodile" would inspire a lot of hope and trust. But clearly, one of the biggest priorities right now is surviving the economy. How much time does he actually have to do that before people start asking questions and, you know, essentially lose hope or lose faith that this man can actually get something done?

TLHABI: Well, he doesn't have much time. Remember even the human capital has fled from Zimbabwe. People with skills, people with options to go elsewhere have started a new life elsewhere.

He will have to go out and persuade them that he wants to collaborate and rebuild the country. Zimbabwe hit high point inflation a couple of years ago and the country has really not recovered.

But right now, I think that there are many nations who are standing by. We saw the statement from the U.S., from Britain, a former colonizer of Zimbabwe. I think there are many partners who are coming with a message of goodwill because everybody agrees that a collapsed Zimbabwe is not good for the region.

So Emmerson Mnangagwa is really under pressure. This is not a honeymoon as it were. He has to hit the ground running and he has to reestablish those relationships and demonstrate that he is up to the task and he doesn't have much time for that.

VAUSE: Ok. Redi -- thanks for being with us. Redi Tlhabi there at 7:17 in the morning at Johannesburg. We appreciate it.

And we will take a short break.

When we come back it just a four minute Q&Q with reporters but that was just long enough for the President it seems to turn politics and the Republican Party on its head by essentially giving his endorsement to the controversial senate candidate Roy Moore.


VAUSE: After more than a week of deafening silence, the U.S. President has finally spoken publicly about Alabama's Republican Senate candidate, Roy Moore -- all but endorsing the man accused by multiple women of sexual harassment at worst.

Several women say Moore pursued them when they were just teenagers, he was in his 30s and the district attorney. A few have accused Moore of assault.

[00:20:04] Initially the White House called the accusations troubling and said it was just up to Alabama voters to decide.

But now President Trump points to Moore's steadfast denials as reason enough for Alabamans to vote against the Democratic challenger Doug Jones in the election next month.


DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I can tell you one thing for sure. We don't need a liberal person in there, a Democrat. Jones -- I've looked at his record. It's terrible in crime, it's terrible in the border, it's terrible in the military.

I can tell you for a fact, we do not need somebody that's going to be bad on crime, bad on borders, bad with the military and bad for the second amendment.

(END VIDEO CLIP) VAUSE: And Donald Trump is leaving open the possibility of campaigning for Moore. He says he'll decide about all of that next week.

Well, joining us here now, Ben Shapiro, editor-in-chief of the conservative news Web site The Daily Wire and host of the "Ben Shapiro Show". Thanks for coming in.


VAUSE: Ok. So how much damage did this Republican President just do to the Republican Party by throwing his support behind this Republican senate candidate who among others is an accused child molester?

SHAPIRO: Well, I mean I don't think it's helping the image of the Republican Party among undecided voters, among the young, among people who are looking at which party is going to look for some sort of moral standard here, obviously.

Do I think that Trump saying this has made a large difference in how people perceive the Republican Party? No. Because we already -- we're having the Roy Moore debate before Trump weighed in and we had this debate partially about Trump during the 2016 election.

So it seems to me that in terms of additional damage that he's doing, I'm not sure he's doing so much as additional damage but he's continuing to double down on the damage that's already been done.

VAUSE: Ok. Listen to this. This is how Donald Trump rationalized his support for Roy Moore.


TRUMP: He totally denies it. He says it didn't happen. And you know, you have to listen to him also.


VAUSE: He actually said that like about 10 times that, you know, Roy Moore denies this. Is this all just because Donald Trump is desperate for a political win? He wants to get his tax cuts through and so he needs that Republican seat in the Senate? Because it seems like there's more here than just Roy Moore.

SHAPIRO: I really don't think that it's -- yes, I really don't think it's that much about the tax cuts per se. I don't even think it's about a Supreme Court seat per se if that were to come up.

I think that there's this binary model that Trump has relied on politically which is you've got to vote for Republicans because Democrats are worse and it doesn't matter what the Republicans have done. That's part of it.

For Trump, the most obviously sort of political out here is to quietly back Moore or to at least say as little as possible here. I think there also is the possibility that if he were to go after Moore really hard here about these allegations, that the next can of worms that's opened is we go back to all the allegations that were made about Trump personally in 2016.

VAUSE: And I just want to -- you know, does Donald Trump sort of identify in a way with Roy Moore? You know, Roy Moore is the outsider. He's, you know -- he's been accused of all these allegations of sexual harassment. Donald Trump is accused of sexual harassment. Moore denies it. Donald Trump denies it, you know.

Mitch McConnell does not like Roy Moore. Mitch McConnell does not like Donald Trump. He does not see himself in Mitch McConnell. He kind of sees himself more in Roy Moore.

SHAPIRO: You know, I don't want to get into, you know, psychoanalyzing the President of the United States --

VAUSE: Right.

SHAPIRO: -- it seems like a dangerous business.

VAUSE: A lot of people are doing it for sure.

SHAPIRO: Yes. I do think --

VAUSE: A booming business.

SHAPIRO: Yes. I do think that, you know, the President tends to side with whomever he feels there is a wave of media attention against. That seems to be his sort of his gut reaction, at least people who his politically aligned with.

And so for Moore, the tsunami of media attention and apparently there's an article in "Politico" today about how he felt like this was all staged and maybe the accusers were not telling the truth.

You know, I don't know if that's identifying with Moore as though Moore is innocent. But, you know I don't think it's unfair to say that the President feels very anti-media and he does abide by a simple rule which is the enemy of my enemy is my friend. The media hates Roy Moore then maybe Roy Moore is my friend.

VAUSE: How difficult will it now be for Republican lawmakers in Washington essentially to force Moore out of this campaign to say some kind of write-in campaign? Or even refuse to see --

SHAPIRO: He's not leaving. I mean this is it. The only person who may have been able to come down with both feet and try to push Moore out of the race was the President. You might have been able to say listen, everybody in Alabama -- it's a disaster. He's running -- at the very least, from a political standpoint, he's now running neck and neck with Doug Jones. He may be running behind Doug Jones in a state that goes 66-33 Republican on a typical election.

So you know, if you really want to win the seat at the end Roy Moore move over to Jeff Sessions, for examples. He could solve two problems. He doesn't like Jeff Sessions apparently, he could move now to the AG spot and have him run as a write-in candidate in Alabama.

Trump didn't do that. Roy Moore was disinclined to drop out anyway because that's Moore's kind of M.O.

VAUSE: Last question. It's kind of related. It's about a piece you wrote on Tuesday in the "National Review". It's about preventing sexual harassment. Here's part of it.

"Conservatives have long proclaimed that men left unchecked will act like pigs with regard to women." So you argue what's needed is a return to tradition social norms like "sex would be connected with marriage, thus cementing the connection between sexual activity and commitment, carefully cultivated rules of conduct between men and women including in many religions prescribed physical contact, an expectation that men would protect women in chivalrous fashion."

[00:25:09] It sounds like you're saying let's get back to the good old days that were all so much better.

SHAPIRO: Well, it's not really that. There were certain -- the basis for a lot of conservative thought is that human beings are inherently flawed, that we are sinful people who are capable of doing bad things and that there are all these rules in place to protect women against men. Like a lot of these rules were designed to keep men in check. It's why men were taught to be gentlemen.

Now, not all men acted like that. And I think what the feminist movement and a lot of the left said was these rules didn't keep men in check, what if we just got rid of all the rules.

And now what's happening is a sort of the ad hoc formation of new rules but these new rules don't really seem to be particularly coherent.

So you'll see the same people saying that it's totally fine for men and women to go out to bars at night whether he's an employer and she's an employee and they get drunk together and then if they have sex and everything goes well it's fine.

But if they got drunk together and they have sex and it doesn't go well and she doesn't -- you know, she's unhappy about it, then this some sort of an exploitative situation. You can see this in the split on Monica Lewinsky now where --

VAUSE: Right.

SHAPIRO: -- you're actually seeing some people on the left saying that Clinton should have resigned over Monica Lewinsky. At the time they weren't saying that. They were saying it was a fully consensual relationship.

What I'm saying is that whether you accept conservative rules or a new set of rules we have to have some set of rules that acknowledge that no matter how much we wish that men would stop being pigs, men are going to be pigs except that there are rules in place. And just shouting at the winds saying I wish men would be better, I wish men would be better too. And that's why, you know, I intend on teaching my son standard behavior in being a gentlemen. It's what my father taught me.

But I think that living in a standardless world and then just magically expecting human nature to change I think is a recipe for disaster.

VAUSE: You're not going to (INAUDIBLE) Mike Pence, the Vice President, who would not eat alone with a woman who was not his wife?

SHAPIRO: I mean I don't think there's anything wrong with Mike Pence's rule for Mike Pence. You know, I think that the idea that -- by the way, this has been a long standing religious tradition in Orthodox Judaism is that men and women are not supposed to be alone in rooms with members of the opposite sex who are not their spouses.

VAUSE: But you're not saying that, you know, 27 years ago that there was no sexual harassment --

SHAPIRO: Of course not.

VAUSE: -- that women weren't being followed. I mean at least now, there seems to be, you know, it is safe for women to come out and say I was sexually harassed by that guy.

SHAPIRO: And that's great. And I wish that had happened, you know, 20 or 30 years ago. I wish that it happened 40 years -- in fact I think that some of what drove the feminist movement was exactly that, right. It was a rebellion against the madman culture -- this idea that there is this repressive hierarchy that is treating women as sex objects.

But the problem is are women not treated as sex objects now? Because it seems to me that every single person in Hollywood that I know of is now being accused of this stuff. And that is the most leftist permissive society in America. So what exactly happened here?

The point that I'm making is that the problem is not necessarily some of the rules. The problem is failure to adhere to the rules --

VAUSE: Right.

SHAPIRO: -- the left tore down all the rules and now they're trying to create rules through this backdoor mechanism like yes means yes in California. Those rules in many cases are going to end up being more puritanistic than a lot of the original rules.

VAUSE: Right.

SHAPIRO: The rules in California -- this yes means yes rule is basically I'm supposed to have a lawyer there with me when I'm having, you know, sex with somebody going down the checklist of consent. And that seems to me a lot less doable than an expectation that you're only supposed to have sex with the person you're married to. VAUSE: We're out of time. But I guess at the end of the day, a

return to common decency --


VAUSE: -- is probably not a bad idea.

SHAPIRO: Exactly.

VAUSE: Ben, I've wanted to have you in for a long time. It's great to talk to you.

SHAPIRO: Thanks for having me. I appreciate it.

VAUSE: We appreciate it -- thank you.

Ok. Well, Russia looks to take the lead on ending the conflict in Syria. And it seems the Trump administration more than happy to let it happen.

And while the U.S. steps back, Putin consults with Iran and Turkey. What will that mean for a final Syrian peace deal? Details -- after the break.





JOHN VAUSE, CNN ANCHOR (voice-over): You're watching CNN NEWSROOM in Los Angeles. I'm John Vause with the headlines this hour.


VAUSE: Russia is pushing for a political solution to the Syrian civil war after tilting the conflict in favor of the dictator, Bashar al- Assad. Activists now fear that the Syrian leader will not be held accountable for war crimes. The Russian president spoke by phone about Syria with U.S. President Donald Trump.


DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We had a great call with Putin. We're talking about peace in Syria, very important, we're talking about North Korea. We had a call that lasted almost an hour and a half. We just put out a release on the call but we're talking very strongly about bringing peace to Syria. We're talking very strongly about North Korea and Ukraine.


VAUSE: And Putin is taking his Syria agenda to key regional powers. In a few hours he's expected to host the Iranian and the Turkish presidents in Sochi. The three leaders support different sides in the Syrian conflict but they say conditions are now favorable to reaching some kind of an agreement.

Meantime the Israeli prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, says he told Mr. Putin over the phone to end Iran's influence in Syria. Good luck with that.

CNN national security analyst Gayle Tzemach Lemmon joining us now. She's also a senior fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations.

Gayle, it's been a while so good to see you, welcome back.

There's a lot of things are happening right now with Russia and Syria. We had Assad meeting with Putin also in Sochi and there was this photograph of those two men in this embrace and hug. There it is right there.

You look at that photo, it seems to remove any doubt about Assad's role and his place in the future of Syria.

GAYLE TZEMACH LEMMON, CNN NATIONAL SECURITY ANALYST: It's the hug heard around the world. That picture sends the message that not only is the real policy Assad will stay for now, he has Russian backing to stay for now. So nobody expects to see him gone any time soon. I think that photo sends the message that this is where we are right now.

VAUSE: (INAUDIBLE) in the next few hours, we've got Putin, Erdogan, there's Rouhani, I think you described this as the axis of mistrust, these three leaders, who -- there is not much camaraderie between these guys, there's not much binding them, is there?

LEMMON: No. Everybody has their certain interests that they will pursue at the table. And there is this axis of mistrust. Iran and Turkey don't trust Russia on the Kurds. Iran doesn't like that Russia just made a joint communique on Syria with the United States.

Turkey doesn't necessarily agree on Assad's future with Iran and Russia. So you have all of these players at the table who don't necessarily have a lot of grand strategy in common but they do have tactical interests that they will be discussing.

VAUSE: They're the major players and they don't trust each other. You have the minor players, the moderate opposition groups which have been cobbled together to attend this summit.


VAUSE: So out of this group they will come up with some kind of peace deal. So what does that look like and will Assad be allowed to retake all the territory he's lost over the years?

LEMMON: That is a huge question and there's seven letters that will lead a little closer to the answer, which is Geneva, right, so November 28th is the Geneva talks. In theory, there will be some sort of discussion about how to go into those talks among these three. But the real question is what happens with the Syrian Kurds who now

hold one-fifth --


LEMMON: -- of Syria, about half of the Syria-Turkey border and the U.S. is backing them. Russia is very friendly with them. Turkey and Iran, you do not want to see them as part of Syria's future. So I think you will see that as one of the central questions on the table.

VAUSE: And the Kurds don't really want to be in Syria, do they?

Do they want to hold all this territory in Syria?


LEMMON: It's fascinating. We were there this summer and there is this democratic project that they have, which is local councils in Manbege (ph), in Kobani in northern Syria. And they are locally governed, half male, half female, or a female-male co-head, something we've never even in this country.


LEMMON: So they have this democratic project as they call it. The question is what happens to that going forward? It is really Turkey's worst nightmare. Really, to Turkey, this group is terrorist. The United States is the best fighting force it's worked with. And you've seen U.S. secretary of defense Mattis really try to keep Turkey on board as America works with Syrian Kurds and that's been a very delicate dance.


Is the Putin plan, regardless what it is, if it ends this conflict, is it better than no plan at all?

LEMMON: It depends. There is no question this war, in some shape, way, or form is winding down, right?

So much blood has been spilled. So many little ones have lost their homes. We interviewed a family in taco (ph), a girl, 16, with two children, who told me that every girl in her class had either kidnapped, killed or been forced into marriage, a lost generation of children.

So I think people are exhausted. Syrians told us, if we could push a button and go back to 2010, we would. So I think this is the reality of it. At some point, there will be enough blood spilled.

VAUSE: Yes. Wars end when people get tired of dying and spilling blood.

Gayle, thank you.

LEMMON: Great to join you. VAUSE: Appreciate it.

OK. (INAUDIBLE) now he is facing judgment. We're waiting on the verdict of a former Bosnian Serb general accused of genocide in the massacre of more than 7,000 Muslims in Srebrenica. More details on that when we come back.




VAUSE: Bosnian Serb general Ratko Mladic will in just hours away now will be hearing the verdict on genocide and other war crime charges. He's accused of orchestrating the massacre of more than 7,000 Muslim men and boys in Srebrenica in 1995. The U.N. court will hand down its ruling at The Hague. Christiane Amanpour now looks back at Mladic's controversial life.


RATKO MLADIC, FORMER BOSNIAN SERB COMMANDER (voice-over): We'd be poor without the Muslims, it's good to have them around but in a smaller concentration.

CHRISTIANE AMANPOUR, CNN HOST (voice-over): Chilling words from the man they called the butcher of Bosnia, general Ratko Mladic, the snide human masked his killer instinct. It defined Mladic and it made him --


AMANPOUR (voice-over): an uncomfortable man to confront.

We'd see this preening smile again and again as the war unfolded.

The Muslims, the Bosnian government said, I had been covering the Bosnian War more than a year by the time I met him, living in this shelled, sniped and besieged city of Sarajevo, a year of witnessing the ferocious war machine that the Bosnian Serb commander had unleashed and he did not like my reporting.


What is the lady's name?


MLADIC: Christiane? (INAUDIBLE). I like Kennedy's Christina.


MLADIC: (INAUDIBLE). It wouldn't be difficult for her to understand because when I saw her first reports from Sarajevo, I was very angry. AMANPOUR (voice-over): Mladic was commanding the Bosnian Serb military mission to carve out their own ethnically pure republic and join it into a greater Serbia.

This was a daily occurrence, dodging bullets as we covered the unfolding tragedy. For the Bosnian Muslims, the villain was clear.

AMANPOUR: Your own people and your soldiers, to them, you're a great man, you're a hero. To your enemies, you're somebody to be feared and somebody to be hated.

How do you feel about that?

VLADIC (through translator): Very interesting question. The first things you say are correct.

AMANPOUR (voice-over): Prosecutors say what Mladic believed to be his greatness was, in fact, ethnic cleansing and genocide. It would reach its climax with the massacre at Srebrenica, July 11th, 1995, more than three years into this brutal war.

It was meant to be a U.N. protected zone for Muslims. When Mladic's forces overran U.N. positions and invaded the tiny enclave, they handed out candy and General Mladic promised the townspeople they would be safe.

MLADIC: (Speaking foreign language).

AMANPOUR (voice-over): Of course, they were not. His soldiers slaughtered more than 7,000 Muslim men and boys who tried to flee.

Huram Suryich (ph) was one who miraculously survived the massacre. I tracked him down in the Bosnian-held town of Tuzla four months later.

HURAM SURYICH (PH), SREBRENICA MASSACRE SURVIVOR (through translator): The Serbs said, don't look around. Then I heard a lot of shooting and bodies fell on top of me. They were the people standing behind me. I fell, too.

AMANPOUR (voice-over): Here, he says, he saw Mladic one last time.

SURYICH (PH) (through translator): He stood there and waited until they killed them. When they killed them, he got back in his car and left.

AMANPOUR (voice-over): After that massacre, the U.S. led a bombing campaign against Bosnian Serb military positions and peace negotiations that eventually ended the fighting.

Mladic became a wanted man and soon went into hiding. I never knew if I would see him again, the man with whom I had stood on a Bosnian hilltop at the height of the war. But it was with deep satisfaction that I watched Mladic stand in the dock of The Hague to finally face the justice he so brutally denied others.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (Speaking foreign language). AMANPOUR: America has -- calls him a war criminal. And under any kind of U.N. tribunal, he may have to be prosecuted.

What does he think about that?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (through translator): It's a tough question but he's a tough man and he can answer it.

VLADIC (through translator): Yes, I can take it. I've taken more rough ones. I can take hers, too.


VLADIC (through translator): I defended my people and only my people can judge me. And there's no greater honor than defending your people.

AMANPOUR (voice-over): Some twisted definition of honor -- Christiane Amanpour, CNN, London.


VAUSE: Well, he was a singer and heartthrob in the 1970s. But now those were David Cassidy has died in a Florida hospital after suffering organ failure.

He struck fame on the small screen with "The Partridge Family" and also won him a huge fan base for his music. He toured the world, packing concert halls with screaming teenage girls that loved the poppy sound, songs like, "I Think I Love You" and "I'll Meet You Halfway."

Health problems took a toll, though, in later years and Cassidy struggled with alcohol as well as dementia. He was 67 years old.

Thank you for watching CNN NEWSROOM live from Los Angeles. I'm John Vause. "WORLD SPORT" is up next. You're watching CNN.