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Radical Islam in Britain; The White House Defends President Trump Retweeting Violent Anti-Muslim Videos; Nikki Haley Calls On All U.N. Nations To Cut All Ties With North Korea. Aired 2-3a ET

Aired November 30, 2017 - 02:00   ET


[02:00:00] ISHA SESAY, CNN ANCHOR: Hello (to you around the world), I'm Isha Sesay.

JOHN VAUSE, CNN ANCHOR: I'm John Vause, good to have you with us for the third hour, (Newsroom) L.A.


VAUSE: The U.S. President is not backing down on this bunking (ph) outrage by re-tweeting three violent, inflammatory, anti-Muslim videos posted by Britain's First (ph), far right fringe group, which until now have few followers and a fairly low profile.

SESAY: The combination was strong and it was swift. A member of the British Parliament said that President's Trump's invitation to visit U.K. next year should be revoked and First Person (ph) for British Prime Minister, Theresa May said Mr. Trump was wrong to share the videos. Well that didn't seem to go over too well with the President.

On Wednesday, he tweeted unsolicited advice to the Prime Minister saying, don't focus on me, focus on the destructive, Radical Islamic Terrorism that is taking place with the United Kingdom. We are doing just fine.

And once again, the White House is having to defend President Trump's actions.


SARAH HUCKABEE SANDERS, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: I think his goal is to promote strong boarders and strong national security.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: But is it important to verify the videos before he speaks to other people?

SANDERS: Look, I think it's important to talk about national security and national security threat, whether it's a real video, the threat is real and that is what the President is talking about. That is what the President is focused on that is dealing with those real threats and those are real no matter how you look at it.

UNIDENTEFIED FEMALE: So, it doesn't matter what the nature of the video. SANDERS: Look, I'm not talking about the nature of the video. I think they're focusing on the wrong thing, the threat is real. And that is what the President is talking about.


VAUSE: Joining us now is CNN Political (INAUDIBLE) Democratic Strategist, Dave Jacobson and Republican Consultant, John Thomas.

John, tell me. Did you see anything wrong in what Sarah Sanders said in her defense of the President?

JOHN THOMAS, POLITICAL STRATIGIST: First of all, it is her job to defend the President no matter what.

VAUSE: Well, her first duty is Spokesperson to the White House.

THOMAS: Yes, but defend the President (ph), is what Spokespeople do, they defend the administration.

VAUSE: They are employed by the government.

THOMAS: That's true but it's the reality of the position, but regardless, look it was a mistake. There's no question about it.

VAUSE: So, but to the tweet or the defense or what?

THOMAS: Well, I don't fault her so much for the defense because you're just trying to make lemonade out of lemons in the situation. The re-tweet shouldn't have been done. But I gotta (ph) say -- Look, I've been guilty not of posting, re-tweet far right radical stuff but re-tweeting fake accounts, sometimes. So, look the President --

VAUSE: You're not the President.


THOMAS: That's true. The President should have been more cautious and this is the thing that pains me about the President's social media strategy. Is that It's not a vetted through you know multiple offices in the communication department. He just re-tweets something. He shouldn't have done and now he's backed himself into a corner.

VAUSE: Dave, let's help John out here, OK, because the problem with what Sarah said (is sad). This is an administration which is railed against fake news even when a report is not fake news. Now we have Sarah Sanders saying, So, the video is a fake (ph) because it's to prove a point which is real. So, I guess now what little creditability that this White House ever had, it seems, that has taken a great big gallon of gasoline, poured it over the creditability and lit it on fire.

DAVE JACOBSON, POLITICAL STRATEGIST: Yet, another fire storm that the Trump Administration has caused. It's a self inflicted wound. And I think it's further evidence of the fact that the White House, whether it's Donald Trump or his administration or officials, like Sarah Huckabee Sanders, pushing that false or misleading information. It's whether, Washington Post is consolidated many of these lies and it's about 1600 plus that the President and his folks has pursued since the President has been inaugurated. It's unprecedented.


VAUSE: I think the 1500 is just Trump. It averages at (full point) (inaudible)


John, if the White House is okay using fake evidence to prove that to prove this point that there's a threat to the country, what else are they making up? You know, it seems you what Sarah Sanders is arguing here is that - that you know the end justifies the means.

THOMAS: It was a screw up, I mean through and through but I don't the facet is he doesn't, he doesn't need this video to make the case that Radical, along with Terrorism, is a serious threat. And he's right to Theresa May, they have their own problems over there.

I understand that she's under political pressure to correct the record but really, does she need to be focusing on the President social media account? I mean, they do have serious problems over there. Not to mention our economy doing better than theirs. I mean, we're doing better than them on pretty much every (inaudible). She should focus on her own house instead of our President's tweeting.

VAUSE: Explain to John why the President shouldn't be lecturing the British Prime Minister.

THOMAS: Well, I mean I don't think that is even that's the issue. I don't think that this was a mistake; I think he did this on purpose. I think the President this GOP vote, today, in the Senate, when it came to the tax bill and it was a deflection opportunity, a (head think), almost for the media to like change the narrative because perhaps the White House thought they weren't going to pass this initial sort of fist step in the Senate.

Number one and number two, on the hills of North Korea's launch yesterday with their intercontinental missile, I think the President looks weak when it comes to Foreign Policy and perhaps this was an opportunity for him to look like the tough guy.

VAUSE: Well, maybe he liked the videos. Maybe --


THOMAS: For sure. That's option number three potentially.

VAUSE: You know, even by this administrations standards, the crazy has been off the charts this week. OK. You know, according to a number of reports, the president again is questioning if Barack Obama was born in the United States.

He's questioning the now-infamous Access Hollywood tape where he was recorded say crude remarks about women and where he grabs them. Same comments which he apologized for at the time. The Washington Post reports this, Trump has asked others whether they think the voice sounds like him, suggesting that it does not.

And he has wondered aloud whether perhaps the tapes was doctored or edited in an unfair way to villainize him. A second person who has discussed the tape with Trump recalled he says, it's really not me, I don't talk like that. OK. Well take it from the people at Access Hollywood.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Let us make this perfectly clear, the tape is very really. Remember his excuse at the time was locker room talk. He said every one of those words.


VAUSE: John (ph) big picture here. What's going on with the president? He seems a little --

THOMAS: All this stuff -- all this stuff is unnamed sources so it's hard for me to comment on the validity of these. But I can see him making these remarks you know, off -- in a back room. But until I see it in his Twitter feed or in his statement, it's hard for me to respond.

But remember, John (ph) this is at a time when republicans if Roy Moore in Alabama wins, the Republican establishment says he's immediately going to be booted. Meanwhile the -- the leader of the Democratic party is calling all of their predators icons.


THOMAS: There's -- there really is something --


VAUSE: (Inaudible). OK. But again, on Wednesday we had the president returning to this bragging about the last 10 months in office.


TRUMP: I will tell you this in a nonbraggadocious (ph) way, there has never been a 10 month president that has accomplished what we have accomplished.


TRUMP: That I can tell you. That I can tell you.


VAUSE: (Inaudible) may in fact be a 10 month old presidency. So I guess we'll find out. But Dave (ph) unless the president is actually talking about tweets and golf, has there been a president who has done less than Donald Trump?

JACOBSON: I don't think so. I mean, he's been an epic failure. And look, this is just -- this is 1,600 and one when you go that Washington Post list of the Trump lies. This guy is a pathological liar. I don't think we've ever seen in the modern day anybody so unsuccessful as president. But this is Donald Trump, this is an egotistical maniac who thinks he's the best at everything. So I'm not surprised that he's going out there and creating this facade.

VAUSE: John (ph), don't (ph) tell (ph) me (ph) this is (ph) marketing that he's selling what he's doing.

THOMAS: Well no --


THOMAS: I mean, I think the presidents looking less and -- he doesn't have legislation to brag about, but he does have consumer confidence being up high, unemployment low, the economies GDP growth keeps exceeding. If we get these tax cuts, which I think we will, some of the people on my side are saying we might hit 4 percent GDP growth. I mean, that's something to brag about.

VAUSE: Yes. But you know, the argument you can make is that all Donald Trump, you know, since he took --



VAUSE: Barack Obama gets no credit for the economy. Nothing at all?

THOMAS: I mean, he gets some credit. But I don't -- I mean, it's taken off like a rocket ship since he's taken over. Plus he's appointed a great judge to the Supreme Court. I think he's appointed more judges in his time than Barack Obama or any president. There are some things to brag about.

VAUSE: OK. Quickly, let's get back to the tweet to the British Prime Minister, the one the president fired off a couple of hours ago. Initially he linked to it @TheresaMay. Well Theresa May (inaudible) is probably wondering what she did wrong. The British Prime Minister is Theresa_May. You know, Dave (ph), the first rule of Twitter fight club, you've got to get the right name.

JACOBSON: You've got to get the right name. And you would think from like the Twitter expert that Donald Trump wouldn't screw something like this up. But I think is really you know, indicative of the fact that Donald Trump just doesn't know how to, you know, build relationshipos with allies anywhere around the world.

This is -- we've got a special relationship with the U.K. and the fact that Warren Hatch, the Republican United States Senator has to go out and essentially apologize for you know, Donald Trump's behavior. It's just mind boggling. VAUSE: Hasn't been a real dispute what, President Cleveland and Prime

Minister Sol (ph) Robeo (ph). We'll leave it there. Dave (ph) and John (ph), good to see you.

THOMAS: Thank you.

JACOBSON: Thank you. Take care.

SESAY: Well, the British group that first posted the video that Mr. Trump retweeted is rabidly anti-Muslim. It's deputy leader has even been convicted on religious harassment. And the man who murdered the British MP reported yelled the slogan Britain first.

Though it has been said there is no connection between that man and the group itself. CNN's Nick Paton Walsh reports from London where the president's action has left many stunned.

NICK PATON WALSH, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): In a presidency where the extraordinary and baffling is redefined weekly, it still rang an ugly bell. President Trump retweeting violent videos from tweets intended to inspire anti Muslim hatred posted by a far right British political group. All three were originally posted by Jada Fransen. She's deputy leader of Britain's First, a fringed political party who has been convicted of religiously aggravated harassment.

Her group often protests the building of mosques in a country barely 5 percent of which is Muslim. She complains of frequent run-ins with the police and films them avidly.

What's been most remarkable. This isn't really a group she would have heard of much. They're the obscure angry fringe of nationalism here. About 18 percent of Britains according to one poll think Donald Trump is bad for America. It even has the practice of being stunned that he would chose to promote and give oxygen to radical views like this.

Remarkably the British Prime Minister spokesman said the retreating was, "wrong and the Britain First seeks to divide communities through their use of hateful narratives which peddle lies and stoke tensions." One lawmaker suggests that President Trump should cancel his delayed visit here. And most pointedly the widower of murdered lawmaker Jo Cox condemned the President's retweets for spreading hatred. His wife's disturbed killer reportedly shouted, "Britain First," as he stabbed the mother of two.

BRENDAN COX, BRITISH WIDOWER: I think when you see hatred in any form when you've been a victim of that hatred and that hatred has changed every element of your life, it's horrific. But when you see that hatred being espoused by somebody who is the President of the U.K.'s closest ally, it feels surreal frankly. It feels like something that shouldn't happen. It feels like there should be some mechanism to stop those things from happening. It feels like there should be some accountability. But I think we know enough now about this President, that this is how he operates. It is not a mistake; it's a strategy.

WALSH: The casual flick of the smart phone in the early hours without sized and real ramifications on the other side of the world leaving nobody the wiser. Nick Payton Walsh, CNN, London.


SESAY: Well with me now European Affairs commentator Dominic Thomas and Omar Noureldin, the Vice President of the Muslim Public Affairs Council. Gentlemen welcome to you both. Omar, if I could start with you, the President's retweeting of these anti-Muslim videos is being held up by some as proof of his anti-Muslim stance, is proof of Islamaphobia. What's your read of what's now happened?

OMAR NOURELDIN, VICE PRESIDENT OF THE MUSLIM PUBLIC AFFAIRS COUNCIL: Well I think what's different today is that in previous policies and statements that the President made, there was always some sort of pretext for the reasons whether it's national security or immigration or our Christian ideals as a nation. Here there was no pretext. There was a retweet of anti-Muslim propaganda that was put out there by virulent anti-Muslim group in the U.K. So here there is no pretext. This is really the President's genuinely-held beliefs for the world to see without any couching.


SESAY: And to those who say maybe he didn't know what the group was about, does that matter to you?

NOURELDIN: I don't think, I mean when you are the President of the United States you are held to a higher standard. And to say that he didn't know what the group was about or what these videos was about, the guy, the guy knows what he's doing. And this is a part of a deliberate tactic against Muslims, against immigrants, against African-Americans, against the LGBT community. What the President is trying to do is sew fear, fear monger and create divisions in the country.

SESAY: And Dominic to bring you in, the group behind this, this, these images, the far right Britain First bunch if you will, and they spout a kind of religious nationalism. Where does that come from? What is it born out of?

DOMINIC THOMAS, BRITISH ACADEMIC AND EUROPEAN AFFAIRS COMMENTATOR: Well the group itself is an outgrowth of the BNP, the British National Party, a far right extremist, nationalist party, you could argue a nativist party in the language of today. But essentially it's goals are to harass Muslims, to spread false news about the ways in which Britain is moving toward Sharia Law and so on. And, as they themselves claim, to restore Christianity to the United Kingdom. So it's construct of a kind of unbroken kind of tradition and a religious condition linked to whiteness, linked to national identity that unfortunately has a history but has also gained currency in recent years.

SESAY: The irony I find in having a religious nationalism of returning it to Christian ideal of when the U.K. is fiercely secular, right? I mean, the big contrast in the U.S. religion doesn't really hold that much currency in that country. THOMAS: Right, but its proof to be in these videos proof to be a highly divided untold and I think what's interesting about them is that when one - first of all when one retweets, one endorses, that's an issue.

Secondly, when one retweets, one retweets things that one has found some kind of satisfaction, provocation and so on and the big question would be what is it about those particular videos, these sort of horrendous representations, propagandas representations of Muslims that appeals to Donald Trump's perception of Muslins. And this is not the first time that this has happened. This cannot be construed as an innocent retweet --

SESAY: Isolated, yes --

THOMAS: -- this is to be inscribed in a much longer history of Islam phobic statements, racist statements and so on. Some of which also took place in the context of the U.K., what he found and took upon himself insult the mayor of London who happens to me a Muslim man and an ethnic minority.

SESAY: Well I want to bring Omar back in because the reaction in the U.K. was swift. Politicians from across the Isle of (INAUDIBLE) was swift and they condemned the President's actions. Including obviously, the Prime Minister's office as we know and the foreign secretary, Boris Johnson, let's put up his tweet and what he put out.

He said, Britain First is a divisive, hateful group whose views are not in line with our values. U.K. has a proud history as an open, tolerant society & hate speech has no place here. As we read the point, the President double downed tweeting back at Theresa May just to remind our viewers, this is what he said.

Theresa May, don't focus on me; focus on the destructive Radical Islamic Terrorism that is taking place within the United Kingdom. We are doing just fine. Omar, what is the end game here? So, OK, he's framing Islam as this encroaching fret, this danger supposedly to wipe out western civilization. What is his end game other than separating communities? Where does it go? Where does it end up?

OMAR NOURELDIN, MUSLIM PUBLIC AFFRAIRS COUNCIL: Before I get to that, I just want to say it's a sad day when you have both the British Prime Minister who's head of the Conservative Party and the Opposition Leader, head of the Labor Party both equally condemning the President of the United States while he's being praised by a former Ku Klux Klan leader -

SESAY: Yes, yes -

NOURELDIN: But to answer your question, the end game is to wage an ideological war between the West and Islam. This is something that Steve Bannon had - when he part of the Trump Administration said plainly. He said it before he was part of the administration, he said it afterwards and the idea is that they want to frame this as a kind of existential treat to the United States, to what they believe the United States is as a Christian nation. Because when you look at the actual numbers, Muslins are one percent of the United States, there is not creditable existential threat here.

SESAY: Dominic, what does this kind of attention to (INAUIBLE) first mean for this group and for these ideas in Europe, this kind of nationalism, this kind of retreating if you will?

THOMAS: Well as we know and elections have reflecting the ways in which so many of these views have been mainstreamed in the past year whether it's the Dutch elections, the German elections, the French elections and so it is extraordinarily dangerous to engage in this kind of polemic which is essentially the oxygen upon which these far right populist, extremist, activist, radical groups, what ever it is that we're going to call it, a feed.

And Donald Trump's speech in Poland very much echoed what Omar just mentioned is sort of civilization, it's conflict at stake and it's extremely difficult than for Europe in general that is trying to reaffirm it's commitment to liberal democratic values to come up against this leader who is of course a important Atlantic partner for Theresa May. And to be focusing on these kinds of questions that reap sort of divisiveness in these societies.

SESAY: Omar, to give you the last one, you referenced David Duke, the former KKK leader, I want to put up the tweet he posted after the President took his course of action putting out these anti Muslin images. He says Trump retweets video of a crippled white kid in Europe being beaten by migrants, and white people being thrown off a roof and then beaten to death, He's condemned for showing us what the fake news media WON'T. Thank God for Trump! That's why we love him.

Yes, well the videos, we can go into it and how we've done the research and they're not what they claim to be. At least it's not the full story, first of all the issue with the crutches and Netherlands, that wasn't a migrant, he was born in the Netherlands and we don't know enough about the other two but be that as it may.

Let me just ask you this, Omar, what are the real world consequences here in the United States of the President's worlds, his actions?

OMAR NOUELDIN, VP OF MUSLIM PUBLIC AFFAIRS COUNCIL: Well words matter. The President has hugely important symbolic power, the bully pulpit of the White House and the SBI data that was released just a few weeks ago on hate crimes in 2016, the largest single increase, percentage wise, was hate crimes against Muslims.

A 19 percent increase from 2015 to 2016. So words do have consequences. We saw Dianne Feinstein, ranking member of Senate Judiciary, link this rhetoric to the hate crimes data. So, it's no longer something that's just pie in the sky type stuff.

SESAY: It's quite the day when, again, David Duke is praising you and this counties closest allies are shaking their head in disbelief. Dominic Thomas, Omar Noueldin, thank you so much for the conversation. An unfortunate one. Thank you. VAUSE: Well still to come here, after North Korea's latest missile

launch, the U.S. is calling for global action and makes a stark warning at the U.N. Security Counsel.



VAUSE: Well a stark warning from the U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. after North Korea's latest missile launch. Nikki Haley accused Pyongyang of bringing the world closer to war and if there is a war, she says, the regime will be utterly destroyed.

The U.N. Security Counsel strongly condemned the launch of the ICBM while the U.S. President, unexpectedly insulted North Korean etiquette during his speech on tax reform.


TRUMP: These massive tax cuts will be rocket fuel, little rocket man, rocket fuel for the American economy. He is a sick puppy.


VASUE: Paula Newton joins us now live from Seoul in South Korea. So Paula, the North Korean's have released images of the launch of this missile and those images reveal some big steps forward in this missile technology.

PAULA NEWTON, CNN COORESPONDENT: Yes John, obviously highly significant in the sense that they release these images and then experts pour over them to look for exactly what the trajectory was, when it was launched, where it might have been launched. Certainly as we have discussed before, the size of this missile has even impressed the experts, especially the war head. And all of these things, as I said, will be poured over, this is a source of pride for North Korea because now North Korea and the North Korea regime have basically international experts and governments agreeing with them that this represents quite a change, certainly, to their missile program and what their capability is.

And again to remind everybody, they claim that they are very close to what they call nuclear completion. So, this is them actually being able to have a nuclear warhead assembled, that's one and two, is to master the reentry phase, and what does that mean?

That means the warhead won't break up upon reentry into the atmosphere. South Korean officials have been saying the last couple of days, experts have said it would take two or three years. Now they're actually preparing for the reality that that could happen by the end of 2018.

Extraordinary really, when you consider where we were just a few years ago. Nikki Haley there speaking at the U.N. trying to step up sanctions but again, a huge debate here as to whether or not that will actually work and so people - and when I say people, I mean military official, political and diplomatic working on many different levels in China, Japan, South Korea, the United States to figure out what kind of pressure can be brought to bear.

And of course, the American administration believes that China can actually handle this. China is skeptical and even if you don't believe them, you tend to wonder with the Kim regime now so close to actually completing it's goals with these missiles that we've seen, whether or not even extra sanctions at this point have they just not run out of time?

And aging, many governments now preparing to deal with North Korea as a nuclear state and that is definitely a watershed compared to where we were just 18 months ago.

DAVE BRIGGS, CNN ANCHOR: Yes, absolutely, Paula. We also have word that Donald Trump has spoken to the Chinese President, Xi Jinping. And between there are a whole lot of new sanctions, make you wonder exactly where they're going to be sanctioned at this point. Paula Newton, thank you, there live for us in Seoul.

ISHA SESAY, CNN ANCHOR: Well a bizarre seen in a Dutch courtroom just as the judge was announcing his decision, a former Bosnian Croat general proclaims his innocence on war crimes charges then drank a small vile of liquid. The judge suspended proceedings and called for an ambulance.

BRIGGS: The former general was rushed to the hospital then died. He was one of six Bosnian Croat leaders found guilty of crimes against humanity, war crimes for their roles in the Balkan war in the early 1990s.

SESAY: Well take a quick break here; state of America with Kate Bolduan is next. Our view in Asian. For everyone else, the husband of a murdered member of the British Parliament speaks out on the latest tweet storm from the U.S. President, Donald Trump.

BRIGGS: Also ahead, the complaint came Monday, the termination Tuesday and now Today is looking for a new anchor after Matt Lauer, a veteran anchor on U.S. Morning television was fired accused of sexual harassment.


[02:30:17] VAUSE: Welcome back everybody. You're watching CNN NEWSROOM live from Los Angeles. I'm John Vause.

SESAY: And I'm Isha Sesay, the headlines this hour. U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley is calling on all countries to sever ties with North Korea. She spoke at the Security Council meeting one day after Pyongyang's latest missile test. Haley says, North Korea has brought the world closer to war and she says that, if war does come to the North Korean regime would be utterly destroyed.

VAUSE: U.S. President Donald Trump has sparked outrage by retweeting three inflammatory anti-Muslim videos from a British far right website. Among those speaking up British Prime Minister Theresa May. Mr. Trump though tweeted criticizing Mrs. May for criticizing him.

SESAY: Well, those videos per say posted by the Deputy Director of the ultra-riot anti-Muslim group Britain first lastly a member of the British Parliament Jo Cox was shot and stabbed to death in London.

VAUSE: At the time witnesses say the killer shouted the phrase, Britain first during the attack. Brendan Cox is the husband of the late Jo Cox. He spoke to CNN's Anderson Cooper.

ANDERSON COOPER, CNN HOST: Mr. Cox, first off, I just wondered what went through your mind when you read this retweet from President Trump this morning?

BRENDAN COX, HUSBAND OF JO COX: I think we probably got used to a degree of absurdity of outrageous retweets and tweets from the president. But I think this felt like it was a different order. Here he was retweeting a felon you know somebody that was convicted of religiously aggravated harassments of an organization that is a hate- driven organization on the extreme fringes the far, far right of British politics. This is like the president retweeting the Ku Klux Klan. This is not a mainstream organization from the President of the United States our greatest ally as a country to be retweeting to be providing a microphone to those voices. I think everybody no matter what your political persuasion in the U.K. I think has been shocked by that.

COOPER: And in fact not just providing a microphone. I mean it really has amplified those voices. I looked the woman who he retweeted has some 40-some thousand followers on twitter. The president has 40 million or whatever the number -- exact number it is.

COX: Exactly. And the reason this matters is that -- is that these words, these narratives have impact, you know, you would live in a society where people decide what they do on the basis of what they think is socially acceptable. And when you make hatred like this against a minority whether it is Jews, or Muslims, or whatever else, when you make hatred like this normalized, when you retweet and endorsed an organization like this, what that does is it changes people's views of what is acceptable. It means people are more open about hatred. It means they're more likely to act on their hatred to, you know, one of the things that we often talk about in the aftermath of an Islamist-inspired terror attack is, who are the hate preachers? Who are the people that are feeding this cancer of hatred in our societies? And we should ask exactly those same questions on the far right and these people are the people who are inciting attacks against minorities, and the president has just been providing them a microphone.

COOPER: Yes. I mean this group Britain first which I think many people in the United States have not heard about. I mean the man as far as I understand who murdered your wife actually shouted Britain first as he shot and stabbed her.

COX: It's also true that the trial -- forthcoming trial in the U.K. of a suspected terrorist who mowed down using a van, a group Muslims outside a mosque was also a follower of theirs. So this organization is one that has very strong connections to violence. It's an organization on the far extremes of politics. And you know, for a country -- for a -- for a president to be legitimizing these voices it has real impact. This isn't a hypothetical. This isn't something which is just a tweet here or a tweet there. It's something that the president has had an impact on and therefore changed the public discourse in our country for the worse.

COOPER: So when the White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders defends the president's retweet saying that he did it to, "Start a conversation about border security and immigration", does that make any sense to you?

COX: No. I think it is an absurd justification. I mean I'm sure she has the hardest job of anybody in the world but I think even in the list of desperate attempts to defend something that was indefensible. This was a pretty pathetic attempt at doing so.

COOPER: This is the first time that we've spoken. Can you just tell us about Jo? I mean she stood up against this kind of hatred and was killed for it.

[02:35:20] COX: Yes. Jo was somebody who had spent her life in humanitarian work around the world as an aid worker for humanitarian aid organizations. She'd worked in Sudan. She'd worked in the aftermath of the tsunami. She'd worked in earthquakes. And she decided that her calling took her into politics. And it was that humanitarian calling and she spent a lot of her time working on the conflict in Syria, working on loneliness in her own constituency. She was as worried as anyone about the impact of our communities falling apart. And she would have been if she was still here as outraged I think as anybody that the president that whom -- with whom we should have an incredibly close relationship is actively undermining our cohesion as a country is actively supporting the group -- this extremist group. I think she would be horrified but --

COOPER: Is there anything else that you wanted to tell people in United States?

COX: I think, you know, the relationship between the U.K. and the U.S. is incredibly important, and this president is undermining it. And frankly, the statutes which the U.S. is seen and that is awful for those of us who care about this. It's a damaged which goes on every single day and eats away the relationship and the prestige with which the president see and in some extent the U.S. is held. Now, I think our relationship without blast this president but in the meantime, we're left with somebody who is not just doing this by accident. These tweets are not a mistake.

They are a strategy and he's done it with anti-Semitic means around Hillary Clinton. He's done it following the Charlottesville, you know, not see much is and he has done it in the campaign against Mexicans and Muslims and migrants and that hated has no place in our society. Of course, we can disagree about the role of Islam in the society. We can disagree about immigration. We should be able to disagree about all of these things and still say that hatred has no part in our society. This president has become a purveyor of hate and it's time that we all said that, enough is enough. We won't tolerate that no matter what of political disagreements.

COOPER: Mr. Cox, I appreciate your time. Thank you.

COX: Thank you.

VAUSE: A day after he was fired by NBC, Matt Lauer is facing new allegations of sexual misconduct. The long-term fixture of morning television in the U.S. lost his job on the Today Show and quote, "Inappropriate sexual behavior in the workplace."

SESAY: And now the latest U.S. personalities to be disgraced by a sex scandal. He was reportedly paid $20 million a year and he one of the biggest names at NBC News. Brian Stelter has more. Good morning. Breaking news overnight. Matt Lauer has been terminated from NBC News.

BRIAN STELTER, CNN COMMENTATOR: Matt Lauer fired from NBC News for what the network calls, inappropriate sexual behavior in the workplace, new bombshell allegations breaking tonight. After a two- month investigation, three women telling Variety Magazine, they were harassed by Lauer. One says the veteran Today Show anchor gave her a sex toy and detailed how he wanted to use it on her. Another employee says he exposed himself in his office and reprimanded her for not engaging in a sexual act. CNN has not independently confirmed Variety's reporting. The allegations came hours after Lauer's stunned co-host Savannah Guthrie delivered the news of his firing following a separate complaint.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We just learned this moments ago just this morning. As I'm sure you can imagine, we are devastated and we are still processing all of these.


STELTER: The big question now is who knew what when. Variety quoted staffers who said they tried to alert executives about Lauer's behavior. In response NBC says, we can say unequivocally that prior to Monday night current NBC News Management was never made aware of any complaints about Mat Lauer's conduct. On Monday night a female NBC employee and her attorney met with NBC HR and detailed, "Outrageous acts of sexual harassment and misconduct." The network investigated and decided to fire him less than 24 hours later. Guthrie, his co-host of the past five years, found out overnight.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I'm heartbroken for Matt. He is my dear, dear friend and my partner. And he is beloved by many, many people here. And I'm heartbroken for the brave colleague who came forward to tell her story and any other women who have their own stories to tell.


STELTER: That accuser is remaining anonymous, as are the women in the Variety Magazine Account. NBC has known for weeks that these damaging stories were coming. In a staff memo NBC News Chief Andy Lack alluded to this saying, we were also presented with a reason to believe this may not have been an isolated incident. For now NBC's handling of the Monday complaint against Lauer is getting praise from the accuser's attorney. He writes, "Our impression at this point is that NBC acted quickly and responsibly. It is our hope that NBC will continue to do what it can to repair the damage done to my client, their employee, and any other women who may come forward. Now, the floodgates may just be opening even as Lauer's former morning show family tries to move on.


[02:40:25] UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'm still dealing with the news of a friend of 30 years, and we're all trying to process it.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We are grappling with a dilemma that so many people have faced these past few weeks. How do you reconcile your love for someone with the revelation that they have behaved badly?


STELTER: Brian Stelter, CNN New York.

SESAY: Well, she's certainly right that many people are trying to grapple with that across different --

VAUSE: This is -- so many people wake up every day with Matt Lauer. It's a family or they have this cast of characters, and they promote this

SESAY: And they have this idea of him.

VAUSE: And then suddenly a member of the family has done something really, really awful. And now they have to deal with that. And it's not just NBC.


VAUSE: CBS has lost Charlie Rose for the first time I think ever in the U.S. These two morning shows are without their male anchor.

SESAY: Let's see how they respond in terms of casting the shows going forward.

VAUSE: Interesting times.

SESAY: Still to come on CNN NEWSROOM, Pope Francis heads to Bangladesh but some are disappointed by what he didn't do in Myanmar.

VAUSE: Also ahead to Bangladesh new president looking to the future for many as they're struggling with his violent past.


SESAY: Pope Francis is on his way to Bangladesh after spending the past few days in Myanmar. He left Yangon a short time ago and is scheduled to arrive in Dhaka in a little more than an hour. The Pope will visit the Presidential Palace and later celebrate mass at a park in the capital.

VAUSE: Earlier in the day, he held a mass in Yangon but the Holy Father is facing some criticism for not publicly speaking out about the Myanmar's government violent crackdown on Rohingya Muslims. He didn't even mentioned the Rohingya by name after being warned to do so for being Christians and Muslims in Myanmar were place a backlash from the military.

SESAY: Well, CNN's Ivan Watson joins us from Hong Kong. So Ivan, bearing in mind the situation facing the Rohingya. It's been called ethnic cleansing by the U.S. and the United Nations and the Pope didn't directly at least publicly address those issues as many had hoped he would do. I mean what's the view of this trip to Myanmar? Is it considered a success?

IVAN WATSON, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: I -- you know, his spokesperson, the Vatican's spokesperson gave a press conference last night in Yangon, Isha, which was pretty revealing and he was pretty candid about some of this. He made it clear that the purpose of this journey to Myanmar was diplomacy and I think that's what we saw from the Pope during that visit. He apparently heeded the advice of a Catholic Cardinal in Myanmar and avoid the use of the word Rohingya clearly not getting up on stage and criticizing Aung San Suu Kyi, the de facto leader of the government or the military in public.

[02:45:00] We don't know what was said behind closed doors. But when he was pressed on this, the Vatican spokesman said let's just wait and see what the pope does in the coming days. So, he's traveling to Bangladesh then. He is scheduled to sit down with Rohingya refugees, and we may hear a different message during that meeting that perhaps will highlight -- would likely highlight the plight of the Rohingya Muslims.

Another point that the Vatican spokesman made was that the meeting that the pope held with the commander of the armed forces in Myanmar on the day of his arrival, that meeting was pushed up apparently at the last minute, and the Vatican spokesman said that is because the military requested it. And it wasn't actually wanted from the Vatican side, and he went on to say that this probably didn't look good, the fact that the pope sat down with the commanders of the military in a country that's had a half-century of military dictatorship before he sat down with the civilian-elected leadership of the country.

So, we're getting a sense that some of the difficulties and the diplomacy that have gone in for the spiritual head of the Catholic church wearing the hat of the leader of the Vatican, which has embassies around the world and established full diplomatic relations with Myanmar just last May. Isha?

SESAY: It certainly was a difficult trip, I mean, even before he touched down in Myanmar. It had been said that this would be his most challenging outing since becoming pope, and it certainly was that. Ivan Watson joining us there from Hong Kong, always appreciate it, Ivan. Thank you.

Well, Zimbabwe's new president will soon name his new cabinet official. Since taking power last week, Emmerson Mnangagwa has vowed to rebuild his nation's economy and lift Zimbabwe up from years of corruption under former President Robert Mugabe's rule.

VAUSE: But the new leader's legacy remains haunted by a massacre of thousands of civilians in the early 1980s. Mr. Emmerson Mnangagwa served under Mugabe at the time but denies any role in the atrocities.

SESAY: Well, CNN's David McKenzie recently traveled to the scene of the slaughter where shallow mass graves still line in the roadside, and David joins us now. I mean, David, what is the view of Zimbabwe's new leader who has such a dark past?

DAVID MCKENZIE, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, that's right, Isha. You know, Emmerson Mnangagwa is trying to make a clean break with Robert Mugabe -- the man who led this country for 37 years until he was pushed out. But he does have this dark past, and many people in Zimbabwe, particularly in one region, are very skeptical about that clean break and say that he was deeply involved in what many called a genocide.


MCKENZIE: For 34 years, her physical pain has been a constant reminder. Every time she moves, Alice Quayle relives her trauma. "The soldier got hold of me," she tells me, "moved me around and they threw me on the ground. And they said we're lucky we don't kill you. We're going to show who we are." The soldiers broke her back. They were from the notorious fifth brigade, sent in to crush rivals of Robert Mugabe. Alice says, they wrapped her neighbors in plastic and set them alight. "Yes, I saw the people being killed," she says. "I saw them killed, and you could not say a word."

The operation was called "Gukurahundi" in Shona, all the rains that wash away the chaff. In January 1983, the North Korea trained units swept through the part of Matabeleland, we're traveling to, targeting mostly civilians. They chose their victims along ethnic lines. Zimbabwe's new-President, Emmerson Mnangagwa, says Zimbabweans must look to the future and let bygones be bygones, and praised Mugabe as a mentor. Given a hero's welcome in Harare, the new president is deeply implicated in Zimbabwe's painful past. He's showing us a mass grave on the side of the road here that is scattered all throughout this part of Zimbabwe, and they're often hidden, and the government doesn't like this at all.

Leifak was eight when the soldiers moved in. These 11 murdered souls are his heroes of Zimbabwe. The phrase handwritten into the concrete, a simple, somber act of defiance. Why did they bring them here like this?

"When these people were killed, the villages ran away and went to hide in the mountains and the fields," he tells me. When they came back after a couple of days they could not stand the stench. That is why the villagers brought the bodies here and buried them. They can't openly commemorate the victims and no one has ever been brought to justice. As then-Security Minister, Emmerson Mnangagwa said that the dissidents were cockroaches, that the fifth brigade was the government's DDT.

[02:50:13] "We cannot say we trust the president because he was involved in the killings," he says. "I did not go to school because my father was killed during that time. There was no one to take me to school. So, for me, to see that Mnangagwa is president, I really don't know what the future is like." Mnangagwa has repeatedly denied involvement in the massacres. But without a full reckoning of his own past, many here struggled to trust their new president.


MCKENZIE: Well, these killings happened more than 30 years ago; tens of thousands are estimated to have been killed. But because there's never been any public reckoning of what happened, these Zimbabweans say that they don't trust the new president. They want to move on, but they say there needs to be an apology, even communal reparations, something, they say, to at least heal the wounds of the past if they are going to have a new Zimbabwe as the new president has called it. Isha?

SESAY: Hard to move on when those wounds are still raw. David McKenzie joining us there. We appreciate it, David. Thank you.

Quick break here. Next, on CNN NEWSROOM, we'll hear from the people behind CNN's shocking report on human slave auctions and learn what it's prompted a U.S. lawmaker to do.


SESAY: U.S. congresswoman is taking action after CNN's disturbing report on human slave auctions in Libya.


NIMA ELBAGIR, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: One by one, men are brought out as the bidding begins. 400. 500. 550. 600.


VAUSE: Well, Congresswoman Karen Bass decided to introduce a resolution into the House condemning the slave trade and calling for the international community to take immediate and meaningful action.

SESAY: Well, the move comes after Libyan media outlet tried to discredit CNN International's credibility by citing the tweet from President Donald Trump. CNN stands by the accuracy, fairness, and objectivity of Nema's reporting. And let be clear stories like this, of this sort don't just happen. Correspondent Nima Elbagir and her team started working on this more than three years ago.

VAUSE: There's a long haul and they spoke about it to CNN's Max Foster on "CNN TALK."


ELBAGIR: I think the one thing that we have all learned in our careers as journalists is people can talk themselves into doing anything. It is extraordinary, the cognitive dissonance that people -- how does somebody use rape as a weapon of war? You dehumanize someone. So, these people, big, strong boys, you've dehumanized him. He's like a horse pulling a cart for you.

ALEX PLATT, CNN PHOTOJOURNALIST: I think when you were approaching the auctioned people were talking of these people as merchandise.

ELBAGIR: Yes. Yes.

MAX FOSTER, CNN ANCHOR: If we show the image of the initial slave auction, why is he smiling?

ELBAGIR: I think that was really important for us to show that image because it goes to the heart of this. These people have sold everything to get to Europe. They still, in that moment that you see there, they still have hope that even though this sounds like the most horrific thing that can happen to them, that if they play along with this, they're told by the slavers that they owe a debt to the smugglers. And in order to pay off this debt, they're going to be sold. So, in that moment, that man still thinks that his dream of Europe is within reach.

Then, we take you to speak to Victory, who is this 21-year-old former slave, and he explains to you what happens between that moment when you see that smiling man and then his reality. He was resold three times because every time he was told, oh, no, actually your debt hasn't been paid off. And actually, your dream of Europe is slipping further away. And I think for me, in a way, that was almost the more heartbreaking thing that all of this inhumanity, all of this dehumanizing behavior, being auctions off like cattle, that wasn't the worst thing for Victory. For Victory, it was that he has sold everything and he was going home to his family empty-handed.

[02:55:42] FOSTER: Raja, I'm going to play you some of the sound bite that really, sort of, stood out to us, because it really expresses the amount of attention this has received.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I am horrified at news reports and video footage showing African migrants in Libya reportedly being sold as slaves.

NIKKI HALEY, U.S. AMBASSADOR TO THE UNITED NATIONS: To see the pictures of these men being treated like cattle, and to hear the auctioneer describe them as, "big, strong boys for farm work," should shock the conscience of us all.

FOSTER: For you to have the attention of the world like that must be, you know, satisfying at least.

RAJA RAZEK, CNN PRODUCER AND LEAD REPORTER: It's incredible because of the people that we saw in Libya -- so, specifically in the detention centers. When we went in there and we saw them, and all you heard a lot of them say is we just want to go home. And hearing all this, if it helps some people to go home sooner, it makes such a difference.

ELBAGIR: And it has. And it has. The Nigerians have already put on extra flights in the face of the uproar. I think they -- that's what's been amazing. All of these people tweeting and commenting and sharing this story and the outright, it has had a tangible impact.


SESAY: Yes. Incredible work by Nima and the entire team.

VAUSE: A lot of work.

SESAY: A lot of work that is making a real difference. Word and images matter. You've been watching CNN NEWSROOM live from Los Angeles. I'm Isha Sesay.

VAUSE: I'm John Vause. Stay with us. The news continues with Rosemary Church. You're watching CNN.