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Pope Francis Wades Into Diplomatic Mire On Myanmar Visit; Saudi Arabia Eases Blockade In Yemen Amid Outcry; Pixar's New Film "Coco" Scores Big At The Box Office; Trump Administration Sued over Consumer Watchdog Pick; Indonesia Warns of Possible Major Eruption; Islamist Leader Calls of Pakistan Protests. Aired 2-3a ET

Aired November 27, 2017 - 02:00   ET




ROSEMARY CHURCH, CNN ANCHOR (voice-over): Pope Francis has just arrived in Myanmar and everyone will be listening for if and how he talks about the Rohingya Muslims.

In Bali, officials warn of an imminent and big volcanic eruption. Yet tens of thousands of residents still need to evacuate.

And U.S. President Trump returns from his holiday to a list of heavy agenda items and a brand-new lawsuit.

Hello and welcome to our viewers here in the United States and, of course, all around the world. I'm Rosemary Church and this is CNN NEWSROOM.


CHURCH: Pope Francis has just arrived in Myanmar for the first ever papal visit to that country. And we're looking at these live pictures now of people lining the streets to greet him when he makes his way through the city there. Now during his visit, he will discuss the growing humanitarian crisis with the de facto leader there, Aung San Suu Kyi.

More than 600,000 Rohingya Muslims have fled across Myanmar's border to Bangladesh to escape violence in Rakhine State. And the situation in Myanmar is so delicate, the pope has actually been warned not to even use the term "Rohingya." His advisers are concerned it could cause a diplomatic incident.

CNN Vatican correspondent Delia Gallagher is traveling with the pope. She joins us now on the phone.

And, Delia, this is the thing, isn't it?

So the papal visit to Myanmar, of course, has brought all global attention to the situation and the plight of the Rohingya people. The big question now is how likely is it that the pope will actually use the word "Rohingya?" And will he appease the military and the government there in Myanmar?

DELIA GALLAGHER, CNN VATICAN CORRESPONDENT: That's right, Rosemary. As you said, it's a bit complicated for the pope. He's coming into a situation, where all eyes are on what's happening in Myanmar.

He has already used the word "Rohingya" from the Vatican. I think it is clear to people here that he is in support of rights for minority groups in the country.

At the same time, he is coming as a guest of this country. He has met with Aung San Suu Kyi several times already. He has a relationship with her and probably wants to try to support a kind of burgeoning democracy that is trying to form in this country. So we shouldn't expect him to come with a heavy hand and lecture.

These are Buddhist leaders here. This is a predominantly Buddhist country. And he will be meeting with the supreme council of the Buddhists. They are very influential here.

He will also be meeting with the head of Myanmar's military. That's going to be a crucial meeting because it is said that the power here in the hands of the military, not necessarily Aung San Suu Kyi.

So a last-minute (INAUDIBLE) for the pope's agenda is a Thursday meeting with the senior general of Myanmar's military. And that will be an important face-to-face between the pope and the general -- Rosemary.

CHURCH: Indeed. And, Delia, there are so many restrictions for the pope visiting Myanmar. But he is a man and we know that he pushes boundaries.

How far might he push those boundaries on this papal visit?

GALLAGHER: Rosemary, I wouldn't expect it. I think that he is a very savvy diplomat, if you want. He -- yes, he is the pope but he has been in a lot of situations where you have opposition and you've got two people sitting down at the table, trying to work things out.

He is not coming and representing anybody's special interests. He is coming as a neutral third party. And I expect for his language and his whole attitude to be one of openness to both sides, certainly to this host country as well, but not step back from his responsibility clearly to speak out on behalf of those who are persecuted, not just in the Rohingya situation; there is a situation of Christian persecution as well here. There are a number of religious and ethnic conflicts going on.

As well, Rosemary, these are two of the poorest countries in Asia. They're two of the countries most vulnerable to climate change. There are a couple of other issues that are around this trip that we'll be hearing from the pope as well, I'm sure.

CHURCH: All right. CNN's Delia Gallagher, traveling with the pope there on his visit to Myanmar, the first papal visit to that country. Many thanks to you, Delia.


CHURCH: Well, Kate Vigneswaran is with me now from Bangkok in Thailand. She is the legal director at Fortify Rights.

Thank you so much for joining us. Given the de facto leader of Myanmar, Aung San Suu Kyi, has been reluctant important to talk about the plight of the Rohingya people, why do you think she invited Pope Francis to the country and how big a gamble this could be for her?

KATE VIGNESWARAN, LEGAL DIRECTOR, FORTIFY RIGHTS: First, thank you so much for manage me. It's an interesting question. I think she has a standing relationship with the pope. She met with him back in May this year when she was visiting Europe.

And so I think her reaching out to him was (INAUDIBLE) of a standing relationship in which obviously developed some sort of trust. I think Aung San Suu Kyi, as well as the Myanmar government and military, have been very critical of international scrutiny. And as your prior guest was saying, the pope represents more of an impartial third party in this situation.

So I think it's an opportunity for her to mix with the outside world with the international community but do so in a way that might be a more -- in a less critical environment.

That being said, the pope has been a champion for human rights for religious groups and minorities. So he has been taking a strong stand on human rights violations against all groups.

And so this presents an opportunity for him to speak out on behalf of those groups, not only the Rohingya but other ethnic and religious minority groups that have been subject to human rights violations.

CHURCH: So in all, how significant is this first papal visit to Myanmar?

And how might it change the way the world views what's happening to the Rohingya people?

What all might he achieve on this visit, since he is going to be very diplomatic and very careful about the words he uses?

VIGNESWARAN: I think it's going to be quite significant. I think he is one of the first international figures that's had access to Myanmar since the Rakhine conflict broke out again in August of this year. And as I said, he is there at a time when the government and the military have been highly critical of international scrutiny.

So I think he -- his visit alone is going to draw a lot of national attention to the situation. He also has political, moral and spiritual authority across religions. And his voice has been really strong and carries weight.

And I think there is going to be a lot of groups watching with interest what he has to say. I think he also is in a unique position to push other governments to take stronger action, based on what he finds while he's there.

CHURCH: And as we mentioned, the pope will meet with Aung San Suu Kyi, who invited him.

What will he likely say to her?

And why it is that a woman, revered for her peaceful protest against the military dictatorship of Myanmar, seems unable to speak for Rohingya people or have any understanding at all for what the military is doing to those people?

VIGNESWARAN: Yes, look, I think, just to answer your second question first, I think Aung San Suu Kyi, when she was under house arrest, was in a position where she could be highly critical and voice her criticism of the military, the human rights violations that they had perpetrated against a range of different communities in Myanmar.

I think now that she has been elected into power, she is a politician and she's fulfilling that role. She also acts under a constitutional structure, which gives her little control in terms of making real progress for legislative reform (INAUDIBLE) through parliament.

I think also, in Myanmar, we've seen decades of rhetoric about the Rohingya particularly and about who they are. They're called Bengali interlopers. They're now being labeled as terrorists.

And that has had an influence on her constituency and what they believe. And I think she is bound to that constituency. I think, in terms of the pope and what he might say, I think he needs essentially (INAUDIBLE) to be diplomatic. (INAUDIBLE).

I do hope he takes a strong stance, though. I think we get to see really what he is going to do. We have seen him make some comments over the last few days (INAUDIBLE), talking about how he was there to confirm the Catholics who were coming to meet him in Yangon. But, yes, we do hope he takes a stronger stance.

CHURCH: All right. We'll be watching throughout the world what the pope says on this matter. Kate Vigneswaran, thank you very much for joining us. We appreciate it.

We're also tracking some major news out of Washington. A lawsuit seeks to halt --


CHURCH: -- U.S. president Donald Trump's choice to run the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. That is a government watchdog group that oversees Wall Street. On Friday Mr. Trump named Mick Mulvaney to lead it. And that's controversial for several reasons.

Mulvaney already leads the Office of Management and Budget and has been highly critical of the watchdog agency. Also, the outgoing CFPB director, Richard Cordray, already named a

successors. His pick was Leandra English and she is behind the lawsuit trying to block Mulvaney's appointment. The White House is defending its choice. White House press secretary Sarah Sanders said this about the lawsuit.

"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 Department of Justice's reading of the law.

"There should be no question that Director Mulvaney is the active director."

A lot to take in, I know. So for analysis of all this, let's go to Troy Slaten in Los Angeles. He's a criminal defense attorney and former prosecutor.

So what is likely to happen with this lawsuit?

Who will end up leading the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.

And what does the law say about that?

TROY SLATEN, ATTORNEY: Well, Rosemary, I think that the law is pretty clear on this although, if the law was completely black and white, lawyers like me wouldn't have a job.

So the Trump administration is no stranger to lawsuits seeking to enjoin executive action. And here that's exactly what happened.

The successor to Richard Cordray has filed a lawsuit, actually asking a court to make her director of the CFPB. Now normally when there is a vacancy, according to the Executive Vacancies Act, what happens is the president is able to pick someone until the Senate can get around to confirming whoever it is that the president appoints.

But here, under the Dodd-Frank law that was formed in the wake of the 2008 global financial meltdown, the drafters of this law specifically made it so, that way, that the deputy director would become the acting director in the event of a vacancy. And that's what happened here.

CHURCH: Interesting.

So how does a situation like this happen?

And where the director of the bureau appoints his own successor and then the U.S. president tries to override that and appoint his own pick and both sides saying they're right on this. You're saying the law will ultimately decide that Leandra English is supposed to be leading the bureau.

According to the law, right?

SLATEN: Well, yes and no. So the law says that the deputy director becomes acting director. But there is no argument that the president has plenary authority to appoint the director of this agency.

However, what's not clear is whether or not the president has the authority under the Vacancies Act to appoint somebody to lead the agency until the Senate confirms a permanent director.

So what the court is going to have to decide here is whether or not the law, specifically Dodd-Frank, allows the president to appoint his own successor during the vacancy, that period until the Senate can act in a confirmation hearing, or whether the director, Cordray here, gets to pick his own successor.

CHURCH: Another lawsuit, another wait-and-see situation. We will just see what happens in the coming hours and days. Troy Slaten, many thanks to you for your legal analysis. Appreciate it.

SLATEN: Thanks for having me, Rosemary.

CHURCH: U.S. Senator al Franken says he is embarrassed and ashamed of the allegations he touched women inappropriately. But he says he has no plans to resign. In a round of interviews the Democrat admitted he let a lot of people down and now he hopes to regain their trust.


SEN. AL FRANKEN (D-MINN.), MEMBER, HEALTH, EDUCATION, LABOR AND PENSIONS COMMITTEE: I think this will take some time. But I think that with a -- I'm taking responsibility. I've apologized to women who have felt disrespected and to everyone I have let down.

I'm cooperating fully with the Ethics Committee. And I am trying to handle this in a way and to -- that adds to an important conversation and be a better public servant and a better man.


CHURCH: And another Democrat facing sexual harassment allegations is stepping down from his top post on the House Judiciary Committee. John Conyers denies harassing staff members. But he says serving on the committee while under an ethics investigation would be a distraction.


CHURCH: Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi refused to criticize Conyers but insisted zero tolerance means consequences.

And next here on CNN NEWSROOM, mass evacuations, grounded flights and stranded travelers in Bali, as authorities warn a dangerous volcano could erupt at any time. We're back in just a moment.





CHURCH: Welcome back, everyone.

Well, Indonesia says a major eruption from Mt. Agung in Bali could come at any moment. Authorities issued their highest alert after volcanoes spewed ash and flame several times over the weekend. They're urging residents within a 10-kilometer radius to leave the area.

About 25,000 people have already been evacuated. Starting early Monday, Bali's main airport is shut down for 24 hours, leaving thousands of passengers stranded.



CHURCH: I want to go now to Mumtaza Tjatra. She is a reporter with CNN Indonesia.

Thank you so much for joining us.

So, Mumtaza, what more are you learning about this volcano and why have so many people refused to evacuate the area, given the dangers?

MUMTAZA TJATRA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, the recent data that I have received, Rosemary, basically there are over 25,000 people that have fled their homes, especially those who live within disaster-prone areas of 7.5-kilometer radius from the crater.

And the head of the command post who was dealing with this disaster basically have confirmed that everyone who lived within 7.5-kilometer radius have left the area toward temporary shelters just outside the 10-kilometer total exclusion zone.

However, the people who live within the 7.5-kilometer radius to 10- kilometer radius, basically they're yet to leave their areas because there are certain things they're worried about.

First things first, about the cattle, the Balinese are basically farmers and they're cattle workers. Basically they're thinking about whatever that they have left they need to leave behind, those are the things that they're worried about.

And also, they're worried about the vehicles because not all of them have cars to go away from the disaster-prone areas to the safe zone.

So basically, those are the things that make people very reluctant to leave at this moment. But the government, including the search and rescue team, the policemen, the military, army staff, they are currently going all out to help the people to leave the area immediately as the eruption becomes imminent.

And they're hoping that over 50,000 people who live within the 10- kilometer radius zone will leave at this moment -- Rose.

CHURCH: All right. Mumtaza Tjatra, thank you so much for bringing us up to date on the situation in Bali. I appreciate that.

Well, Egyptians are still mourning after Friday's brutal terror attack. Funerals like this one are being held for the more than 300 people killed at a Sufi mosque in the Sinai. Who was behind the attack is still unclear at this point but authorities say at least one of the attackers carried an ISIS flag.

Here is what an imam at the mosque says happened.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): I began the sermons Friday. And after two or three minutes, I heard the sound of an explosion or two outside the mosque. I saw everyone running out of the door and the windows. Some people were hiding behind the stand.

I found myself lying on the floor. And above me, there were two or three people, bleeding. They fired a lot on everyone who was still alive in the mosque.


CHURCH: And we are also tracking developing news out of Pakistan. The Islamist leader, whose group clashed violently with Pakistani security forces, has called off a weeks-long protest.

Now this comes after news that Pakistan's law minister has resigned. The protesters accused him of blasphemy and were blocking a key Islamabad road.

CNN's Sophia Saifi is in Islamabad and joins us now with the latest.

So, Sophia, the protesters have gotten what they wanted, the resignation of this law minister.

Is this the end of the matter?


SOPHIA SAIFI, CNN ANCHOR: Well, it appears so. The leader of the movement that was causing these protests (INAUDIBLE) had a press conference earlier today. And he said within 12 hours by, this evening, they're going to start clearing off the interchange that protesters had blocked between the capital and its twin city of Rawalpindi.

Now the law minister has resigned. But the protesters also had an entirely new list of demands, which included the government paying for all the damage that had occurred at the (INAUDIBLE) interchange where this protest took place, where the clashes took place.

They also want all of the protesters who have been arrested to be released. And, by the look of things, it appears that the government has actually acceded to all of their requests at the moment -- Rosemary.


CHURCH: How unusual is that, to see the government bow to a request like this and to force the resignation of one of its ministers?

And what is behind these accusations of blasphemy?

SAIFI: Well, it is a very unusual situation. There is a lot of commentary on the ground here that this is showing the government and even democracy as very fragile at the moment in Pakistan.

The protest actually began in early -- it goes back to early October, when there were attempts -- when the electoral laws were being changed there are going to be general elections in Pakistan at mid-2018.

According to the protesters, an oath that is made by lawmakers regarding the finality of the Prophet Muhammad as the last prophet of God, according to the protesters, there was an attempt to change that (INAUDIBLE).

The government initially said there was no such attempts and it said it was a clerical area. It ended up with (INAUDIBLE), the (INAUDIBLE), becoming a scapegoat and them asking for his resignation.

Now all Muslims believe that the Prophet Muhammad is the last prophet of God. But the fact when blasphemy comes into the argument in Pakistan, it's a very sensitive issue. Very senior politicians have lost their lives when these topics have been, you know, touched.

So it was just something that everyone was treading on eggshells on when it came to this. So at the moment it appears that the protests across the country are now wrapping up. But the state of the government and its mandate of the state is looking a bit shaky at the moment.

CHURCH: All right. We'll watch what happens there. Sophia Saifi bringing us that live report from Islamabad, many thanks.

President Trump has made his feelings known on the controversial Senate race in Alabama. But ultimately it's the voters who decide.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Who are you voting for?


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Do you know who you're going to vote for, Roy Moore or Doug Jones?



CHURCH: We will look at the impact of the president's support of Roy Moore. That's still to come. Please stay with us.


[02:31:10] CHURCH: And welcome back to our viewers here in the United States and all around the world. I'm Rosemary Church. Time to update you now on the main stories we've been following this hour. Pope Francis has arrived in Myanmar for the country's first ever Papal visit. The pope plans to discuss Myanmar's the growing humanitarian crisis with leader, Aung San Suu Kyi. More than 600,000 Rohingya Muslims have fled across the border to Bangladesh to escape the violence.

U.S. President Donald Trump has a lawsuit waiting for him as he returns from his Thanksgiving Holiday. He's being sued over his appointment of this man, Mick Mulvaney as acting director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. That set off some confusion since the outgoing Director Richard Cordray had already named his own successor. Court documents show attorneys for Cordray's picked, Leandra English filed the lawsuit seeking to block Mr. Trump's appointee. And the lawsuit and the president implied endorsement of Alabama Senate Candidate, Roy Moore will likely loom over Mr. Trump during a critical week. He still has to get a tax reform bill pass in the Senate and hash out a deal on government spending and do it all before the end of the year. More now from CNN's Boris Sanchez.

BORIS SANCHEZ, CNN ANCHOR: The president returning from a Thanksgiving Holiday at Mar-a-Lago to the White House on Sunday with no shortage of items on the agenda and no shortage of controversy. The president on Sunday digging in his heels in his support of Roy Moore's stopping just short of endorsing the embattled Republican Senate candidate in Alabama. On Sunday, the president attacked Moore's opponent, Doug Jones via Twitter writing in part, the last thing we need in Alabama and the US Senate is a Schumer/Pelosi puppet who is weak on crime, weak on the border, bad for our military and our great vets, bad for our Second Amendment, and wants to raise taxes to the sky. Jones would be a disaster.

The president continued, I endorsed Luther Strange in the Alabama Primary. He shot way up in the polls but it wasn't enough. Can't let Schumer/Pelosi win this race. Liberal Jones would be bad. It's a clear case of the president seeming to split with a lot of members of his own party. If you recall, the initial White House response to the allegations against Roy Moore echoed what many other Republicans were saying that if these allegations against Roy Moore were true, then he should drop out. But as more and more establishment Republicans have said that it is best for the party and for their country as Senator Tim Scott of South Carolina did this weekend, that Roy Moore dropped out of the race.

The president has left the door open to even potentially go to Alabama and campaign for Roy Moore, all of this coming amidst a very busy week legislatively of a Senate could vote for tax reform as early as Thursday, and it is really a make or break moment for the president's first year in office after a first year that has lacked in any major legislative accomplishments.

The Republicans have a lot riding on tax reform. So the president is actually headed to Capitol Hill during the early part of the week to meet with Senate Republicans to discuss tax reform and then another major thing on the horizon after that visit to Capitol Hill. The president is set to meet with leaders from both parties at the White House to discuss finalizing a budget to fund the government. Government funding runs out on December 8, so we could potentially see not only a deal to fund the government, but one, on raising the debt ceiling, and on thing like DACA. So it's very interesting to see the president so on the other side of the issues when it comes to Roy Moore even when it comes to his own party. Boris Sanchez, CNN in Washington.

CHURCH: Ellis Henican, columnist for Metro Papers and political analyst joins me by Skype from New York. He's also the author of Trumpitude: The Secret Confessions of Donald's Brain releasing on Tuesday. Thank you so much for being with us.

[02:35:26] ELLIS HENICAN, COLUMNIST AND POLITICAL ANALYST: Yes. Hey, good to be with you Rosemary.

CHURCH: So as always, a lot to cover. And I do want to start by reading out one of two tweets that President Donald Trump posted Sunday essentially endorsing Alabama Republican Senate candidate Roy Moore who has, of course, been accused of pursuing relationships with teenagers when he was in his 30s. This is tweet, "The last thing we need in Alabama and the US Senate is a Schumer/Pelosi puppet who is weak on crime, weak on the border, bad for our military, and our great vets, bad for our Second Amendment, and wants to raise taxes to the sky. Jones would be a disaster." He is there, of course, referring to Roy Moore's Democratic opponent in the Alabama in the Senate race candidate, Doug Jones. So Ellis, Henican, GOP Senator, Lindsey Graham reacted to that tacit endorsement questioning, "Why the president would throw a lifeline to a candidate facing serious sexual assault accusations?" How problematic could this prove to be for the US President going forward?

HENICAN: It could be very problematic and maybe even more so for his party, right? If the last thing that America needs is a Democrat from Alabama in the Senate, where does the alleged child molester in the Senate stay? And probably Republicans could spend a whole lot of time explaining that in the years to go.

CHURCH: Of course, the Democrats have problems of their own, don't they? With representative John Conyers stepping down from his powerful judiciary post. I mean the accusations of sexual harassment and Senator Al Franken admitting, he's embarrassed and ashamed about sexual harassment allegations that he's facing. Although he does vow, he'll be back at work Monday. What impact does all this likely to have on the Democrats and, of course, on the leadership team?

HENICAN: Well, I mean we certainly learned that the runaway human libido is not the captive of any one party or any one ideology. This stuff cuts across every kind of line in every branch of government, and when we get to it probably a whole lot of other industries besides politics in the entertainment business. I mean everyone is -- and I hate to use this word, but everyone is groping to try and figure out how to deal with it and I don't think we know what the right story yet. CHURCH: Who do you think in the end that sort of cancels itself out? Because people think, well, I mean both sides of the political spectrum misbehaving like this, so we'll just accept it and move forward and vote.

HENICAN: You know, I'm not sure that's where it's going honestly. I think what it does is, it's not so much that it cancels both sides out. It's more that they're just -- it just raises the disgust that the people have about all these guys. You know, whether it means that you're going to start throwing out a bunch of Democrats and the Republicans, or whether it leaves eventually, they're just kind of so many allegations that they meet with a shrug. Well, let's see who it is. But I don't know. It still feels to me like the stories got a lot of life left in.

CHURCH: Yes. I mean that's the -- that's the problem here, isn't it? I mean, do you think that there's some sort of seed change that we're all witnessing here in America or perhaps across the globe?

HENICAN: No, definitely. I mean let's just watch how Congress changes its rules or not in order to be with it, right? There's -- there is no place that an abuser is safer than in the Congress of the United States where all of the rules are stacked against the accuser. Let's see if something actually happens there. But, oh, my goodness, the politics of this have changed. The willingness of the victims to step forward has changed. The public conversation has changed. I don't think there's any going back on any of that stuff.

CHURCH: And of course, as these all plays out, the country is facing big issues ahead not the least of which is a vote on the Trump tax plan. What is likely to be the outcome of that vote and what's your understanding of the tax plan, and who gains, and who doesn't?

HENICAN: And that's right. Sometimes it's easy to forget the real issues isn't the -- there is likely to be a vote in the Senate this week at Thursday I think is the date they're looking at right now. Republicans under huge pressure to deliver some kind of victory something to take in to next year's midterms and to say, you know, hey, look, we've actually done something here. But, man, there are a lot of divisions in that Republican Senate caucus right now. I don't think they're yet, probably six votes more to go, and it's going to be a squeaker up until the end.

CHURCH: Yes, presumably a lot more debate to come on that issue and many more. Ellis Henican, always a pleasure to chat with you. Many thanks.


CHURCH: Well, ultimately, it will be for the voters of Alabama to decide whether Roy Moore heads to the Senate. Gary Tuchman reports President Trump's support for Moore is having mixed results there.

GARY TUCHMAN, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: This is the shopping mall in Gadsden, Alabama where Roy Moore has been accused of looking for high school girls when he was an Assistant District Attorney in his 30s. It's where we came to talk to Alabama voters. And who are you voting for?

[02:40:18] UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Roy Moore.

TUCHMAN: Do you know who you're going to vote for, Roy Moore or Doug Jones?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Definitely not Roy Moore.

TUCHMAN: Shopper and voter, (Rachel Hostetler) says, she doesn't want to publicly say which Senate candidate she supports. Donald Trump's words saying that Judge Roy Moore denies this and saying that he doesn't want a liberal on the seat which is an implied endorsement of Roy Moore. Do you feel that has any influence on how you're going to vote?


TUCHMAN: And why not? Why aren't the president's words influential to you?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: He doesn't run my choice, so my choice is mine.

TUCHMAN: But President Trump's statements are proving to be very influential to others. Do you know who you're going to vote for in the Senate election?


TUCHMAN: (Felan Dickerson) says her support of the Democrats has been strengthened because of the president's words.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I'm anti-Trump just to be honest with you, so he's endorsing Roy Moore. And I just -- I don't feel like I want Roy Moore up there.

TUCHMAN: (Onisha Bryant) feels similarly. Does it disappoint you that President Trump said that?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes, it does. As much as a lot of other things that comes out of his mouth, it does.

TUCHMAN: Across from the mall at the waffle house, the president's words are also influential to your customer, Donald Mitchell. Who are you supporting in this race?


TUCHMAN: Influential because he very much appreciates the president's words. He could have said, I'm not supporting anyone in this race or he could have said, I'm going to pick the Democrats over an accused child lawsuit.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: If anyone -- if he's -- if he's saying one supporting him, I might change my opinion in it.

TUCHMAN: Really? UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What Trump says pretty well -- pretty looks good.

I like him.

TUCHMAN: So his word means a lot to you?


TUCHMAN: His wife feels the same about what the president says.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: And I voted for him and I trust him.

TUCHMAN: This Judge Moore supporter also trusts the president but says, he didn't need his guidance. If Donald Trump were to said, I don't think you should vote for Roy Moore because these women may be telling the truth, would you have changed your votes?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No, absolutely not.

TUCHMAN: So it just helps solidify it?


CHURCH: Gary Tuchman reporting there. The special election for that Alabama Senate seat is set for December 12th. We'll take a short break here, but still, to come under pressure, Saudi Arabia is allowing some food and aid into Yemen. But activists warn, it's is not enough to prevent famine or deadly diseases. We will discuss that with a guest up next.


[02:45:00] CHURCH: Welcome back to CNN NEWSROOM. Saudi Arabia has eased its blockade in Yemen after facing international pressure. Food and medical aid were allowed to enter parts of Yemen controlled by Houthi fighters for the first time in three weeks. The blockade contributed to the country's catastrophic food crisis and cholera epidemic. Nadine Drummond with Save the Children, joins us now from Aman, Jordan. Thank you so much for being with us. Explain to our viewers, if you would, the situation on the ground right now in Yemen and what the people there are dealing with.

NADINE DRUMMOND, SAVE THE CHILDREN (via Skype): The situation in Yemen is dire. It's bleak. It's a hopeless situation. And the tightening of the blockade hadn't helped anything. There are already over 900,000 people-plus with cholera. In addition to that, as you mentioned earlier, Yemen has the worst food crisis in the world. And so, you have people that are literally starving to death. And, of course, in any of these types of conflicts or situation, children are always the worst off and they're suffering the most.

By the end of this year, 50,000 children would've died from starvation and preventable diseases in Yemen as a result of the tightening of the blockade. That situation is worse. Yes, we are seeing some medical supplies being able to enter the country, and yes, some commercial food supplies which is really important. And we are better off than we were last week, but we're far worse off than we were two weeks ago. CHURCH: Those numbers are simply horrifying. 50,000 children will

have died, you say. What is the outlook for these children, their parents, and people across Yemen?

DRUMMOND: That seems like a really easy question to answer, but it's so hard. We cannot look at the deaths of children. We cannot look at the level of disease in Yemen without looking at the inner context of the conflict. Now, in order to help the people of Yemen, this has to have a multifaceted approach. What's happening is there are lots of discussions being held around whether it's cholera or it's a potential famine. And that's not what it is, this is a man-made war. And all of the suffering in Yemen is as a result of the conflict.

So, for me, the real question and the best answer is: we need to end the violence in Yemen. That's the only way this is going to stop. So, we can discuss stopgap measures which is really important. But if we want the suffering of the Yemeni people to stop, we have to commit to ending the violence and sustaining a political and peaceful situation.

Now, of course, we need commercial supplies. Some supplies have landed that had they deport and have been, I guess, disembarked, and its (INAUDIBLE) as well. But then that aid or those commercial supplies have to be distributed throughout the country -- and that takes time. And Yemeni people don't have time.

In the west, most of us live from paycheck to paycheck. In Yemen, people live from day to day. Two and three people have no idea where their next meal is coming from. They don't have jobs, even if they do have jobs, they often don't get paid for them. And these aren't your regular day work because these are teachers, these are doctors, these are nurses. These are people that have done things some would argue the right way, and they're going to get professional qualifications and developed the skills they needed to look after their families. And in Yemen, even those people that would make up middle-class in the countries that we come from are suffering.

CHURCH: Just shocking, shocking details, Nadine. And who is coming to the aid of these people?

DRUMMOND: Well, presently, it's all of the humanitarian actors in Yemen which are all NGOs and the United Nations. And those governments that have the power to put pressure on the parties to the conflict, to find a peaceful solution. The violent osculate is very clear, this conflict has been going on for more than two years. It's very clear that violence as a solution isn't working.

There are fronts all over the country. And people fight and they die, and nothing changes. All that happens is the people of Yemen suffer the most. And I think there needs to be some kind of a moral adjustment, a global moral adjustment to the suffering of human beings.

In the 21st century, children should not be dying of cholera, children should not contract diphtheria and die as the results of the tightening of this blockade. 156 people had diphtheria in Yemen. A third of them died. And most of them were children. And those vaccines were sitting on the tarmac in Djibouti, waiting to be filed into Yemen. So, you had more people that died absolutely for no reason.

[02:50:22] We have the support. We don't have enough funding. But as the humanitarian community, we have some funding. We have the will to help the people. But we cannot do that without the political will from the global powers that be. So, we do what we can on the ground. But we cannot do that without support. And that support has to be global. Otherwise, we are fighting a never-ending battle. And the disease is never-ending. The violence is never-ending. And death is a norm. And it shouldn't be a norm.

CHURCH: The forgotten plight of the Yemeni people. But it is people like you, Nadine Drummond, putting this issue front and center. As you say, you described the situation there on the ground as dire and bleak. Hopefully, things will change. Many thanks to you. Well, do stay with us. We'll have more news for you after the short break.


ALLISON CHINCAR, CNN METEOROLOGIST: This is CNN WEATHER WATCH, I'm Meteorologist Allison Chinchar. Well, 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 of warm air that's going to be surging out ahead. In some cases, we are looking at temperatures that will be warmer in South Dakota than they will be in Northern Florida. Here's the 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 rung out, so you're not looking at the 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 first to these -- like, Vancouver, Seattle, and Portland, a lot of these cities really don't need it.

They've like at least a little bit of a longer break in between systems coming in. 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 a high-temperature around 23 degrees with partly cloudy skies. If they hit that, that would end up breaking their record.



[02:55:05] UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You know that feeling like there's a song in the air and it's played just for you?


CHURCH: That's a song from "Coco", Disney and Pixar's new animated film about a young boy in Mexico exploring music, life, family, and death, and it's already a smash hit to critics and viewers alike. It earned about $71 million on its opening weekend in the U.S. alone. And the Washington Post reports it is now the highest-grossing film in Mexican box office history, bringing in more than $48 million there.

A must-see apparently. But Coco's victory comes at a difficult time for Pixar studios. Its Co-Founder, John Lassiter, is on a six-month sabbatical after a Hollywood reporter article described allegations of sexual harassment against Pixar employees. In an internal memo, Lassiter said he is facing his missteps and wants to apologize to anyone who felt disrespected or uncomfortable by his actions.

And thanks for your company here on CNN NEWSROOM. I'm Rosemary Church. I'll be right back with another hour of CNN NEWSROOM after a short break. Do stay with us.


[03:00:11] CHURCH: Delicate diplomacy.