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Pakistani Law Minister Resigns; Bali Volcano Shuts Down Air Travel; Pope En Route to Myanmar; Campaign of Rape in Myanmar; Trump Administration Sued over Consumer Watchdog Pick; Egypt Mosque Attack; Al Franken Apologizes; Private Media Outlets Must Register in Russia. Aired 12-1a ET

Aired November 27, 2017 - 00:00   ET


[00:00:11] NATALIE ALLEN, CNN ANCHOR: Multiple eruptions from a volcano in Bali and Indonesian officials warn another big one could happen at any time. Tourists and residents are being told to get out of the way but the international airport in Bali has been shut down. We'll have the latest.

CYRIL VANIER, CNN ANCHOR: Plus, a historic trip to Myanmar by Pope Francis to try to ease the Rohingya crisis. He'll meet with leaders of the country where just the name Rohingya is a problem.

ALLEN: It's all ahead here on this hour at CNN NEWSROOM.

Thanks for joining us. I'm Natalie Allen.

VANIER: And I'm Cyril Vanier. You're watching CNN NEWSROOM.

We want to start with breaking news out of Pakistan. State TV reports the country's minister Zahid Hamid has resigned after more than two weeks of protests.

ALLEN: The protesters are religious conservatives who accused him of blasphemy. They have been blocking a key Islamabad road and violence broke out when authorities tried to move them this weekend.

VANIER: CNN's Sophia Safi is in Islamabad and joins us now with the latest.

Sophia -- it looks like the government gave in to the protesters. What are you learning?

SOPHIA SAFI, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, yes Cyril -- it does appear so. And that's the kind of criticism that's being levelled against the government as well here on the ground and in the local press.

So early this morning -- I mean yesterday there were a lot of rumors -- we've had 24 hours of the media being blacked out. There was no social media. There was a lot of confusion and unease all across the country as to what is going to happen, whether the demand of the protesters for the Law Minister to resign will actually come true.

And you know, on Saturday when these (INAUDIBLE) actually broke out, protesters had tried to get into his house. They vandalized his home. He was not present.

He released a video last night, you know, claiming that he does -- he hasn't committed blasphemy; that he does believe in the Prophet Muhammad. And early this morning on state media, we got reports that he has in fact resigned for the peace of the country -- Cyril.

VANIER: Is this going to be enough to put an end to the protests? Has there been any reaction yet that we've heard from the demonstrators?

SAFI: Well, it's all a little uncertain at the moment, you know. We are in Islamabad, there have been road blockades all over for the past two weeks. So what I saw on the road right now is that some containers are being moved, roads are being cleared. But protesters are not moving and they're not likely to move until the leader of their movement officially says that this protest is over.

In the other cities of Pakistan, in Karachi for example, protests are still ongoing. Schools are still shut and there is still an uncertainty as to what is going to happen next.

VANIER: Now, the protesters accused the minister of blasphemy, is what they're telling us. Why did they think that that was the case?

SAFI: Right. In early October there was an attempt made to change electoral laws since the general elections for Pakistan are going to be held next year in 2018. The protesters are claiming that in these electoral laws, an oath that's made by lawmakers regarding the finality of the Prophet Muhammad as the last prophet of God in Islam, that oath was attempted to be -- there was an attempt to change that oath within that bill.

The government initially said there was no such change. They then said it was a clerical error. They did apologize. But that's where this whole blasphemy thing came up from.

And Zahid Hamid, who was the Law and Justice Minister, federal minister for Law and Justice -- he was kind of the scapegoat. And that's all they've been asking -- they've been asking him to resign. And the government had been pushing back for the past two and a half, resisting that demand.

However, this is now looking like the protesters have won. In that way the operation was suspended, it appears to be unsuccessful. The military had to be called in. And even though there wasn't much violence, over 100 people were injured. There is still -- there is still this uncertainty as to how, you know, strong the government is at the moment, its position.

VAUSE: As you say, the protesters got what they wanted with the resignation of the minister. We'll see whether they actually end their demonstrations on account of that.

Sophia Safi reporting live from Islamabad is Pakistan. Thank you.

ALLEN: And now we turn to Indonesia which said a major eruption from Mount Agung in Bali could come at any moment. You're looking at live pictures here. Authorities issued their highest alert after the volcano spewed ash and flame several times over the weekend.

VANIER: And they're urging residents within a ten kilometer radius to leave that area. About 25,000 people have already been evacuated and hundreds of flights cancel.

The main airport in Bali has been closed for 24 hours, starting early Monday. The volcanic ash -- you just saw the picture is dangerous for planes and the shifting winds make it unpredictable. That means thousands of passengers are now stranded.

[00:05:12] Let's get straight to Allison Chinchar at the CNN Weather Center. Allison -- tell us what we need to know about this volcano at the moment.

ALLISON CHINCHAR, AMS METEOROLOGIST: I think the immediate concern is for those folks stranded at the airports or people who may have travel plans to this region and just the unknowingness. Because as you mentioned the winds are going to take a lot of this volcanic ash and shift it and they can do it very quickly. Even a slight adjustment in the wind can make all the difference in the world.

So we talk about where this is located. Let's take a wider stance for folks unfamiliar with this region you know what we're talking about. This is all of Indonesia right here. The area in question is in the southern region. This is where that volcano is located right on the eastern edge of Bali.

This is the particular volcano. Now again, it's a pretty wide area that they've blocked off for a lot of flights going in and around this region and for good reason.

Here's what you have to understand, as that ash comes up, it is incredibly, incredibly hot. The pulverized rocks in between and the volcanic blast are pulled into that the engine.

Now again, when you talk about temperatures like that, it can melt components. It can also melt event he combustor inside of the plane. But as it lifts -- as those particles lift they cool, they condense in some cases or in others some of those particles actually turn into rock.

So that's another concern. If that gets into the engine, if that gets into a part of the airplane that can truly destroy the airplane. Some of the results could just be for minor flameouts, others we talked about a total loss of the engine. So for that reason they obviously don't want to fly anywhere near this particular volcano.

Here is the region; here is the wind forecast in this general zone. Now this red outline, this is the red aviation warning. This is where they are preventing those airlines from flying into.

However this region could expand, it could shift as those winds shift. And we do expect several changes over the coming days. So guys, unfortunately, I wish I had better news for travelers but at this point it looks like they're just going to have to sit tight until they can get a better handle on exactly where those winds are going to take the ash before they'll allow some of those flights to continue.

ALLEN: Thank you. I wouldn't want to fly in that.

VANIER: Absolutely. And the airports remain closed. We'll keep monitoring that here on CNN.

Allison Chinchar, thank you very much. The teams across the CNN Weather Center are looking at this.

Now let's talk about Pope Francis, who is expected to arrive in Myanmar next hour.

ALLEN: He's making the first ever visit by a Pope to the country as it struggles with a humanitarian crisis. More than 600,000 Rohingya Muslims have fled across Myanmar's border to Bangladesh to escape violence in Rakhine State.

VANIER: The situation is so delicate that the Pope has been warned not to even use the term "Rohingya".

ALLEN: Jeffrey Gettleman is the "New York Times" South Asia bureau chief and he joins us now from New Delhi, India to talk more about this. Jeffrey -- thanks for being with us.

We'll talk about the Pope's in a second but first, if you could, share the story you wrote about recently -- it's horrific -- of a young girl trying to flee, standing in the river and surrounded by the military. This story certainly illustrates what these people are being put through.

JEFFREY GETTLEMAN, "NEW YORK TIMES": Yes. Listen, I appreciate you guys having me on.

Atrocities against the Rohingya Muslims in Myanmar have been some of the worst things I've ever covered. I've been doing this conflict journalism now for almost 20 years.

And I was there in these refugee camps a couple of weeks ago and I met this young woman who was clearly traumatized -- very frail, very quiet. And she started telling me about what happened to her, and it was almost too horrific to believe.

She told me how she was pulled out of a burning house, gang-raped, she was holding a small baby boy in her arms and the soldiers just ripped the baby out of her arms, threw him into a fire and then raped her repeatedly, and did this across her village to hundreds of other women possibly.

And I just felt completely helpless and stunned, listening to the story. And then I heard many more just like it --

ALLEN: Right. GETTLEMAN: -- from other women.

ALLEN: Yes. And you also reported that her sisters were raped and killed, her mother and brother were shot and killed.

We also have a story on rape following this interview with you.

So you say this is one of the worst things you've seen -- you've covered so much.

So let's talk about the Pope's arrival. He is set to arrive. Help us understand the complexity of this trip to Myanmar and in Bangladesh -- very delicate. For example, he has been asked to appease the political leaders, appease the various religions, appease the military, and to not use the word "Rohingya". Why is that?

[00:10:02] GETTLEMAN: This is like going to be one of trickier trips he's ever going to make. Because he's going there purely on a humanitarian mission to speak about these atrocities that we just talked about and he's in this very tight box.

Myanmar is so controlled by its military. People in that country vilify the Rohingya. They dehumanized them. They demean them. They call them things like insect and vermin.

And so the Pope now is trying to appeal to the authorities in Myanmar to watch after these people, to welcome them back, to stop killing them. And he's not allowed to use this term "Rohingya" because the people inside Myanmar consider the Rohingya to be illegal trespassers and terrorists and they call them Bengali Muslims.

And so he's in this position where he's appealing to their humanity but this is a country that's shown in the recent past almost no humanity towards these people.

ALLEN: Exactly. They're just -- I think they're hated by the Buddhists.

There is a plan to send the Rohingya, some half million who fled, back to Myanmar. But rights groups are very concerned about their safety. Who can protect them if this happens?

GETTLEMAN: This is it. I mean there's few people in such a bad situation. They're truly stateless. Myanmar says these people came from Bangladesh and they're not welcome inside Myanmar. That was part of the reason why all these violence happened.

And Bangladesh meanwhile says no, they're not part of us, they belong in Myanmar. And so right now you have 620,000 people packed into this little space along the border living in these muddy, squalid, crowded camps and carrying around enormous amount of trauma, like I witnessed when I talked to this young woman.

I mean all these people have seen their relatives killed, their homes burned -- everything that they've ever worked for destroyed and seen people that they care deeply about killed in front of their eyes. ALLEN: Yes. It's absolutely horrendous. Well, Pope does things his

own way. So we'll certainly see how he handles this situation and what the impact may have.

Jeffrey Gettleman -- thanks so much for joining us.


VANIER: And in addition to all these journalistic reports, about what's been happening to the Rohingya, a recent report by Human Rights Watch accuses Myanmar's military of carrying out the vicious campaign of rape against Rohingya Muslim women and girls always in the country's Rakhine state.

A U.N. envoy says sexual violence was quote, "being commanded, orchestrated and perpetrated by the armed forces of Myanmar".

ALLEN: That mirrors what Jeffrey Gettleman was just talking about in his reporting.

The military has released a report denying all allegations of rape and killings by its security forces. Myanmar also announced it was replacing the general in charge of Rakhine state.

CNN senior international correspondent Clarissa Ward has spoken with multiple Rohingya women at refugee camps in Bangladesh who described being raped.


CLARISSA WARD, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Rashida Begim (ph) rarely speaks these days.

But she does tell her story. She speaks quietly and mechanically as if trying to recount what happened without reliving it.

"We were five women with our babies", she says. "The military grabbed us, dragged us into the house and shut the door and they raped us."

She tells us they stabbed her and tried to kill her. She survived by pretending to be dead.

"It will be good if I had died," she says because if I die then I wouldn't have to remember all these things."

Stories like Rashida's are all too common in the Bangladesh camps that now host nearly one million Rohingya Muslims. Every tent it seems has a story of agony, shame and death inside it.

When the military came to Aisha's village, her husband fled, leaving her alone with five children.

"Two soldiers stood guard in front of my door," she says, "another came in and pointed his gun at me. He raped me."

Did he say anything to you? "He punched me and ripped off my clothes. He said if you move, I will kill you. If you scream, I will kill you. And he covered my mouth with his hand," she says. "I felt so awful, he did it so roughly. He did it without mercy".

Human rights groups say that rape is one of the Myanmar military's most feared weapons. While it's difficult to estimate how many women have been assaulted, hundreds of cases have been reported.

These Rohingya women are learning songs to offer support to the victims. "Rape can happen to anyone," the lyrics go, "within three days of rape you need to consult a doctor."

[00:15:00] The program developed by Doctors without Borders is headed by midwife Aerlyn Piell (ph).

She explains that beyond practical concerns many victims are struggling to reclaim their dignity.

AERLYN PIELL, DOCTORS WITHOUT BORDERS: The piece for me that is kind of the most heartbreaking is that the women coming in are still wearing the same skirts. Just heartbreaking that three months later, you're still putting on the same skirt that someone assaulted you in.

WARD: For Aisha (ph), the pall of shame still hangs heavy. "When I remember what happened, tears come to my eyes. Why did they do this to me," she asks, "Why did they rape me?"

She finds peace in reading the Koran. For many here, faith and ritual provides some solace amid the squalor. Rashida's anger still burns.

What do you want to see happen to the man who raped you?

"If we get the opportunity then we must take revenge," she says. "We'll be pleased if the military who raped us and killed our parents are hanged."

But for now, survival takes priority over justice. There are mouths to feed and a new generation to protect from the horrors of the past.

Clarissa Ward, CNN -- in the Kutupalong camp, Bangladesh.


VANIER: Another breaking news we're following this hour.

President Trump faces a new legal battle over his appointee to run a consumer watch dog agency. We'll tell you about the latest on the Mick Mulvaney controversy when we come back.


CHINCHAR: This is CNN Weather Watch. I'm meteorologist Allison Chinchar.

We've got two big stories. First the system out in the Pacific Northwest. It's finally going to begin to make its way off to the east taking with it the rain and snow chances.

But before it can get there, the other big story is the record warm air that's going to be surging out ahead. In some cases we are looking at temperatures that would be warmer in South Dakota than they will be in northern Florida.

Here's a look at the moisture -- again, making its way from areas of Washington, Oregon and Idaho, pushing off to the east moving towards Wyoming and Colorado. Now the good news is most of the moisture is going to be wrung out so you're not looking at a flooding potential for some of those states that we have been dealing with in areas of Washington State.

With that said we've got another system that will be arriving just after the first one leaves. So there is still going to be more moisture brought in for cities like Vancouver, Seattle and Portland. And a lot of these cities really don't need it. They would like at least a little bit of a longer break in between systems coming in.

[00:19:57] We talk about the temperatures -- 12 for the high in Chicago, mostly sunny skies. 26 in Dallas -- that may not necessarily be a record but it's going to be awfully close. Denver -- looking at high temperature around 23 degrees with partly cloudy skies. If they hit that, that would end up breaking their record.


ALLEN: U.S. President Donald Trump is being sued over his pick to head the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. Court documents show attorneys for Leandra English filed the suit. She was named acting head of the watchdog agency by its outgoing director but Mr. Trump on Friday named this man you see here, Mick Mulvaney, to the post.

VANIER: The White House has defended the President's pick. Here's what press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders says about the lawsuit. She says, "The administration is aware of the suit filed this evening by deputy director English. However the law is clear. Director Mulvaney is the acting director of the CFPB. Now that the CFPB's own general counsel who was hired under Richard Cordray has notified the bureau's leadership that she agrees with the administration's and the Department of Justice's reading of the law, there should be no question that Director Mulvaney is the acting director."

ALLEN: So, who's right in all of this?

For analysis, let's go to Troy Slaten in Los Angeles. He's a criminal defense attorney and former prosecutor. So Troy -- it comes to this and both sides are saying they are right.

Any idea who is really right here?

TROY SLATEN, CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEY: Well, the Trump administration is no stranger to lawsuits challenging executive actions. Here the Trump administration is saying that pursuant to the Federal Vacancies Reform Act that they're entitled to appoint a director of an agency when there is a vacancy, even when that's subject to senate confirmation.

But this specific agency that was created in the wake of the global financial meltdown of 2008, what is known as the Dodd-Frank Act, created this bureau to be independent and said that when the director steps down, the deputy director becomes the acting director. It's a very specific provision of the law.

So the deputy director here, Miss English was elevated to the position of director -- acting director.

VANIER: Why are there different readings of this act? I mean it sounds like appointing the head of an agency should be a process that's a little simpler than what it appears to be right now.

SLATEN: So the Federal Vacancies Reform Act was created to avoid this type of confusion. But most laws that create a federal agency don't have specifically a provision that was created here.

Here it appears that Congress, if you look at the -- what's called the legislative history and that's what lawyers and judges do when you're trying to figure out what a law means. In the legislative history there was a provision of the Dodd-Frank Act that left the filling of a vacancy to the President under the Vacancy Reform Act.

But here in this law, in Dodd-Frank, it's specifically went around the Federal Vacancies Act and created a process to fill the vacancy within its own ranks. And so when Richard Cordray stepped down, he specifically appointed Miss English to become his successor.

ALLEN: Troy -- everyone has been wondering, so who is going to show up to lead the bureau on Monday here in a few hours? Will this lawsuit put that to rest for now? Is everyone just going to be on hold while this is looked at?

SLATEN: Well, somebody's going to have to take the helm. And the Consumer Protection Bureau's own legal counsel said that the executive reading of this provision -- the President's interpretation of the law, is that he has the authority to, appoint an acting director, which he did in Mick Mulvaney, who also has the job as director of Management and Budget.

Now he -- what the lawsuit is essentially asking is for the feral court to step in and issue what is called a declaratory judgment, and a temporary restraining order keeping the President from being able to install Mick Mulvaney and keeping Miss English as the director.

[00:24:55] The Department of Justice's office of legal counsel has said that the President is right. The Department -- the Consumer Fraud Protection Bureau's own legal counsel said that the President is right so it's unlikely that Miss English is going to be in the job come tomorrow morning.

VANIER: We'll just have to wait to see who walks through the door.

ALLEN: yes. interesting to watch. Just so many twists and turns with this administration and then this is thrown up -- unique situation to be sure.

Troy -- we appreciate it. Troy Slaten -- thank you.

SLATEN: Thanks for having me.

ALLEN: I'm sure we'll talk with you again about this.

Coming up here, Egypt releases more details about the Sinai mosque attack. We'll tell you what we're learning about the attackers.


VANIER: Welcome back to CNN Headquarters, everyone. I'm Cyril Vanier.

ALLEN: I'm Natalie Allen.

Here are the top stories we're following this hour.

Indonesia is urging residents within ten kilometers of Mount Agung in Bali to evacuate. We can see why right there. It has already erupted several times over the weekend and authorities warn a major eruption could happen at any time now. The country has issued highest alert.

VANIER: Airstrikes and shelling killed at least 57 people in two Syrian towns on Sunday. That's according to the U.K. based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights. It reports that Russian aircraft targeted and ISIS-held town in Deir ez-Zor province and killed more than 30 civilians. The attacks come ahead of peace talks set for Tuesday.

ALLEN: Pope Francis is making the first ever visit by a Pope to Myanmar. He arrives there in the coming hours. Over 600,000 Rohingya Muslims have fled from Myanmar to Bangladesh to escape violence. The Pope will meet with Myanmar's leader Aung Sang Suu Kyi before traveling to Bangladesh where he may meet with Rohingya refugees.

[00:30:11] Egypt is searching for answers after Friday's brutal terror attack. It is still not clear who killed more than 300 people at a Sufi mosque in the Sinai. But authorities say at least one of the attackers carried an ISIS flag.

VANIER: They also repeatedly had machine guns, wore military uniforms and arrived in SUVs. Let's find out more about this. We're joined from Istanbul, Turkey, by Mohammad Sabry. He's an Egyptian journalist and author. He's been talking to us over the last few days.

Mohammad, the military had been waging war on Islamist groups in the Sinai for years now. And yet clearly the threat remains.

So what can Egypt do that it hasn't already done to combat these groups?

MOHAMMAD SABRY, JOURNALIST: I believe that Egypt has been following the specific military strategy in the Sinai Peninsula and has been insisting on not changing or amending that strategy (INAUDIBLE) despite the continuous failure or continuous terrorist attacks that succeed in claiming military and civilian lives alike.

I think the Egyptian military should seriously look into overhauling the idea of using a conventional combatant military in face of an terrorist organization which has proven to be a failure in many countries.

There is a clear intelligence failure and there's a clear lack of will on the side of the Egyptian authorities to initiate a professional, efficient counterterrorism operation, rather than just deploying the masses of conventional military arms and personnel, who are most of the time not trained and not efficient enough to fight the terrorist organization in the rugged peninsula, such as the Sinai.

ALLEN: It almost seems like this attack on the Sufi mosque was easy. What about the pressure this puts on Sisi?

He came in to office, saying he would be the security president. His policy has basically failed there.

So what else can he do?

Who should be around him to try to change his tactic?

SABRY: The president actually came out a couple of minutes ago after the attack to repeat the same sentences he's repeated several times before in the aftermath of several unprecedented attacks that took place over the past few years.

I think one of the main problems is that President Sisi does not see the bridge (ph) to change the policy in Sinai or relieve the opposition and start looking into economic and social and economic developments and projects that should help the situation.

He's a military man with a background in military intelligence. And he's been following the same strategy in the Sinai which seems more like collective punishment rather than counterterrorism.

Who should be around him?

This is a question that everyone in Egypt has been asking.

Who is around the president?

No one seems to know exactly who advises this president and who actually advises the entire regime in (INAUDIBLE) its policies and strategies. But again, we have got to understand that this is a regime that capitalizes on terrorism activities, terrorist attacks rather (INAUDIBLE).

We've seen terror wars, we've seen stifling laws being passed by this regime to shut down the civil societies here. The NGOs. We've seen laws that put journalists in jail just for saying something that contradicted the regime's rhetoric.

And this is simply how the regime has been dealing with the entire situation since it came to power. VANIER: Is Egypt in more danger now because ISIS is losing ground in Syria and Iraq?

I mean, could that put ISIS to redirect their effort towards other countries around the region, such as Egypt?

SABRY: This is definitely an actual situation that's developing now in different other countries, especially with the returning fighters from countries like Egypt, Libya and so many other examples.

But you also have to put in consideration that Egypt has had a thriving terrorist organization before it pledged allegiance to ISIS in 2014. Again, during that time, when it was (INAUDIBLE) rather than the Sinai province, it carried out attacks that were, again, marked as the first in the history of Egypt, like -- such a downing a military helicopter, such as taking over a city in North Sinai for 10 hours, completely paralyzing the military.

And, again, dealing with a terrorist organization --


SABRY: -- that has never shown this much capability and this much sophistication in Egypt's history, which has (INAUDIBLE) terrorism before.

And, again, this draws us back to the question of, should Egypt use the same policies that it used back 20 or 30 years back against the Islamic jihad (INAUDIBLE) or should it actually develop those policies and amend those policies, given the fact that we're dealing with something unprecedented?

VANIER: All right, Mohammad, thank you. Mohammad Sabry, Egyptian journalist, joining us from Turkey today. Thank you very much.

Stay with us. We'll be back with you right after this.




ALLEN: Welcome back to CNN NEWSROOM.

U.S. Senator Al Franken says he's embarrassed and ashamed of the allegations against him but he has no plans to step down. Several women have accused Franken of touching them inappropriately.

VANIER: A LAX radio anchor said that Franken forcibly kissed her and groped her during an entertainment tour for U.S. troops in 20o6. On Sunday, Franken talked about the photo that she posted, that appears to show him groping her as she slept on a military plane.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) SEN. AL FRANKEN (D-MINN.), MEMBER, HEALTH, EDUCATION, LABOR AND PENSIONS COMMITTEE: What matters is that I am ashamed of that photo. I -- she is, you know, she didn't have any ability to consent. She had every right to feel violated by that photo. I have apologized to her. And I was very grateful that she accepted my apology.


ALLEN: Franken says he will cooperate fully with an ethics investigation.

VANIER: And here's another U.S. lawmaker that's in trouble. He's stepping down as the top Democrat on the House Judiciary Committee. John Conyers is accused of sexually harassing several members of his staff. He denies these accusations but says that his presence on the committee during an ethics investigation would nonetheless be a distraction.

ALLEN: The 88-year old is the longest serving member of the House. Twelve former female staffers say he never behaved in a sexually inappropriate manner in front of them.

The U.S. president is back in Washington from Florida and tweeted this.

"Since the first day I took office, all you hear is the phony Democrat excuse for losing the election. Russia, Russia, Russia, despite this, I have the economy booming and have possibly done more than any 10- month president."

VANIER: Speaking of Russia, the government there is taking aim at one of Mr. Trump's favorite targets, the media. President Vladimir Putin signed a new amendment into law that will let Russia label international media as foreign agents. Officials say it's retaliation after the U.S. made a similar move against Russian news outlets operating --


VANIER: -- in the United States.

ALLEN: On CNN's "RELIABLE SOURCES" program Sunday, CNN's Brian Stelter spoke about how this new law will work.


BRIAN STELTER, CNN HOST: Basically, this law in Russia is the precursor to regulating news outlets that are based in other countries. So, what that means is that the U.S. government funded outlets like "Voice of America" will probably have to register in Russia as foreign agents, the same way "Russia Today" had to register that way in Washington.

Now, outlets like CNN, they are not government-funded, but are based in the U.S., are also likely to be targeted by Russia. Within a few hours of that decision by the Russian president, U.S. President Donald Trump singled out CNN as fake news, quote: "FOX News is so much more important in the United States than CNN. But outside of the U.S., CNN International is still a major source of fake news. And they represent our nation to the world very poorly. The outside world does not see the truth from them."

CNN responded, "It's not CNN's job to represent the U.S. to the world. That's your job. Our job is to report the news. #factsfirst."

Now, some observers said they felt this was Trump's way of telling Putin, make sure you crack down on CNN International or maybe it was just a complete coincidence. But either way, Trump's tweet reads like an invitation to un-democratic regimes around the world to harass CNN journalists with the blessing of the U.S. president.

Is this presidential?


Is it petty?


And speaking of petty, let's talk about the president's other tweet this weekend, about "TIME" magazine. This is something involving TIME's Person of the Year choice. Of course, that's coming up in about 10 days. The magazine has to consider who should be on the cover.

It's logical Trump would be one of the contenders. But he tweeted that he does not wanted to be considered because he won't give an interview.

You can see the tweet here.

He said: "'TIME' magazine called to say I was probably going to be named Man/Person of the Year, like last year, but I would have to agree to an interview and major photo shoot. I said probably is no good and I took a pass. Thanks anyway."

I'll tell you what I thought that tweet was so interesting, right, it reveals something about the president's psychology, but it also speaks to his lack of interviews with any outlets not named FOX News.

You know, for more than six months now, President Trump's been avoiding major television networks like CNN, ABC, NBC, CBS and only speaking to his friends, really the pro-Trump hosts on FOX News.

Let me show you a graphic we put together to really document this. You'll see his interviews since Robert Mueller was appointed special counsel: nine with FOX News, one with CBN, which is the Christian Broadcasting Network, one with another Christian Broadcasting Network and one with Sinclair -- and none for any of the major U.S. television networks. The last time President Trump spoke with "TIME" magazine was also back in May, right before Mueller was appointed. So, I wonder if his rejection of the Person of the Year prize or award or honor, whatever it is, is actually just a way to avoid a real news interview.


ALLEN: Brian Stelter's take on Mr. Trump obsession with "TIME" magazine.

VANIER: And that's the first hour of CNN NEWSROOM, thanks for joining us. We'll be back in 15 minutes.

ALLEN: Right now, "WORLD SPORT" is up after a quick break.