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"Clock is Ticking" on Tillerson; Pope Francis Heads to Bangladesh; The Culture Of Sexual Harassment. Meghan Markle's Roots. Aired 12-1a ET

Aired December 1, 2017 - 00:00   ET



[00:00:32] JOHN VAUSE, CNN ANCHOR: This is CNN NEWSROOM live from Los Angeles.

ISHA SESAY, CNN ANCHOR: Ahead this hour --

Time may be running out on the U.S. Secretary of State -- why sources say the White House wants to publicly shame Rex Tillerson.

VAUSE: Also Pope Francis heads to Bangladesh in the coming days. He will meet with some of the hundreds of thousands of Rohingya Muslims who fled neighboring Myanmar after a military crackdown.

SESAY: And later, the scandal has already caused the careers of several big names in media and entertainment. So have America's political survived the allegations of sexual misconduct?

VAUSE: It's a mystery.

Hello and thanks for joining us. I'm John Vause.

SESAY: And I'm Isha Sesay. NEWSROOM L.A. starts right now.

Well, the Trump White House is signaling a likely shake-up at the U.S. State Department just when the U.S. is facing some of its most dire political challenges in decades.

VAUSE: It could a Rexit (ph). U.S. President Donald Trump is said to be deeply unhappy with his Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and plans to replace him with CIA director Mike Pompeo.

A source tells CNN quote, "The clock is ticking for Tillerson".

SESAY: But those familiar with the situation say Mr. Trump doesn't want to fire his Secretary of State. He certainly hopes public shaming will force Tillerson to quit. The President had little to say on the matter on Thursday as he met with the Crown Prince of Bahrain.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Mr. President do you have Rex Tillerson on the job -- Mr. President?



VAUSE: Well, for more on this, joining us now CNN's Paula Newton in Seoul, South Korea. Also here in Los Angeles, national security analyst Rebecca Grant, an expert on international relations. Thank you both for being with us.

Rebecca -- let's start with you. Rex Tillerson has been a dead man walking for a while. The only question has been when will they bury the body.

But if these reports are true why would any administration not only force out the Secretary of State but then replace him with the Director of the CIA. These are two crucial departments in the midst of a crisis, a nuclear standoff with the North Koreans?

REBECCA GRANT, CNN NATIONAL SECURITY ANALYST: I think it's a question of now still of when and if. So people that have left the Trump cabinet have typically left on a Friday night. So that would be tomorrow. But what we're hearing is that this is a plan that's going to take place over a period of weeks.

And there are others like Jim Mattis at the Pentagon who say don't make anything of it. So I think it's a little too early to say for sure that Tillerson will go.

You know, Tillerson is a bit of cipher. He's very contained -- very different personality from the President and he may just not like Washington.

But you raise a good question. Why in the midst of the North Korea tensions? Is there some political motivation here? I think we have to hear a lot more about what's going on with Tillerson before we start counting the days.

VAUSE: Being cautious? Ok -- we will run with that.

Paula -- the biggest problem of all with Rex Tillerson when it comes to other world leaders is that they just don't believe that he speaks for the U.S. President. Is that how it's perceived there in Seoul and I guess, even more importantly in Pyongyang?

PAULA NEWTON, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes. I'm not sure Rex Tillerson believes that he can speak for the President especially given the double-speak. It doesn't matter if I'm in Moscow or if I'm in Seoul, you hear that every time from the diplomatic corps here.

And in terms of what's going on here -- I mean look the relationship between South Korea, Japan, China and the U.S. military is solid. Those lines of communication are all open.

What you see though is a growing frustration with the fact that Rex Tillerson and that diplomatic track does not seem to be working in any kind of functional way. Now, to kind of prove that he did have some insight on this issue, Rex Tillerson around this crisis has said that there will be a diplomatic summit in Canada in Vancouver in early January. That was to appease the South Koreans to say look all, you know, defenses put aside we can talk about anti-defense missiles until we're blue in the face. But we want to know how we're going to bring North Korea to the table. So to that end, Rex Tillerson set up this summit.

The problem is now, if you're South Korea you're wondering, ok wait a minute so he is leaving? Is the summit still going to go on? He's the only sponsor of it. We haven't really even heard from the White House about this entire summit.

So it definitely is incredibly unsettling for allies especially when you get to this situation with North Korea and especially that advancements in that ICBM.

[00:05:01] VAUSE: And Rebecca -- with that in mind, who is actually going to sit down and have a serious conversation now? Even if this story isn't true it's out there. Tillerson has been undermined for months by the President. So which world leader will have a serious conversation with Rex Tillerson now?

GRANT: Well, I think there are a lot of world leaders that will have these serious conversations, you know, with Tillerson and with others in the U.S. And it's going to take a group effort by world leaders to eventually talk with North Korea.

I expect this still to end in talks and we're really waiting now to see if there's any sign that North Korea might be ready to talk at some point now that Kim Jong-Un has declared his arsenal to be complete.

I was very interested to watch South Korea's response. We are hearing that Trump and Moon have talked a couple of times. South Korea has very carefully said they didn't think that ICBM test crossed any red lines. I hear that meaning that they're still trying to leave the door open for some negotiation.

Of course, we're hoping China is going to make some of those talks happen, too.

VAUSE: And with regards to that, Paula -- with more time to save the images which were released by the North Koreans of this ICBM, it seems there is a lot more revealed about just how far advanced this technology is.

Listen to part of Brian Todd's reporting.


MICHAEL ELLEMAN, ROCKET ENGINEER: Now you have two which provides double the thrust which means this missile can carry a much larger payload to a longer distance. In other words he can threaten the entire United States with a nuclear warhead.


VAUSE: This is a new navigation system as well. There's quite a lift. They actually had a dummy warhead which was a kind of a nuclear warhead.

So Paula -- there seems to be almost a collective gasp by many in the U.S. and now very well concerned over just how quickly this missile program is advancing.

NEWTON: Yes. Absolutely. And everybody' been watching that especially because predictions did not prove true, did they -- John? I mean we weren't -- we didn't think we'd be talking about it at this point.

Now even though they haven't nuclearized that warhead yet -- miniaturized, pardon me, that warhead yet, look, even South Korea is saying this could happen by the end of 2018.

What does that mean? It means exactly what Rebecca said. What is the program here? What is the opening for North Korea to go to that table? And for that, listen it's going to take a lot of diplomatic heavy lifting from China, Japan but obviously principally the United States and you're left wondering who is left to do that.

VAUSE: And Rebecca -- this missile flew, what, ten times higher than the National Space Station which is 500 miles higher than any previous missile test. It was in the air for about 50 -- that's eight minutes longer than the previous launch. So how can those advances have come in less than a year?

GRANT: We have to remember this is frightening stuff but it's still 1960s technology. And they have done -- under Kim Jong-Un, they've done over 50 tests of these missiles.

So there's some things we don't know. We don't know how good the burn rate is in boost phase. We don't know if they can do a standard trajectory. We've only seen a loft trajectory. We don't know if they can have a warhead survive re-entry.

So we know that what they may have right now is just a great big missile that they can launch and that we can intercept with our interceptors in Alaska should they try it.

You look at the lines of the range and it covers everything. It covers Canada, the U.S., it covers all of Europe. And I think that's why we see such a strong international coalition at the U.N. saying that we have to denuclearize the Korean Peninsula.

We still have a lot to do. We have a jarful of military and diplomatic options. We are still using sticks. We may have to start with the carrots.

But I do expect this to end in talks. We have to keep the military pressure on and we have to keep the pressure on China until that happens. VAUSE: I'm just curious. Are the North Koreans getting help from

another country maybe from Russia or Iran? And here's a tweet from one missile expert in the U.S. He shows the launch vehicle here, the transporter launch. Eventually he says it's big one.

But if you take a look at the vehicle it has nine axles. The North Koreans said they made these trucks themselves. But they're probably Chinese trucks which had been modified.

So Rebecca, you know, that's one example, I guess, of the Chinese helping out the North Koreans. Could they be getting from someone else?

GRANT: Oh, absolutely. Yes. The Chinese have helped a lot. Most of this, of course, starts with Russia. They have Chinese technology not only in their military forces. There have been rumors for a long time about assistance from Pakistan.

But again, this is 1960s technology. They've mastered it. But, you know, we need to stop it before they go out and develop or procure something worse like cruise missiles or hypersonics.

No question that they are getting some help. They are still carrying on a little bit of their international arms trade. the U.N. is really trying to pinpoint the firms that are involved and the financial mechanisms to shut down the last of North Korea's arms trade that helps them get in some of the money and the expertise for this missile program.

[00:10:03] VAUSE: Ok. Rebecca -- thank you. Rebecca Grant there with us in Los Angeles; and also Paula Newton in Seoul, South Korea. Thanks to you both.

Ok. Well, let's look at the politics of all of this now.

Mo Kelly is host of the "Mo Kelly Show". We also have conservative commentator Alexandra Datig, editor in chief of Front Page Index with us here. Welcome, good to see you -- Alex. Thank you.

Ok. So the report that we have is that the White House has floated this story about Tillerson in an attempt to humiliate the Secretary of State. Listen to this.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: This was put out really in an effort to essentially say to Tillerson you're going to have to go soon whether you do it yourself or we do it for you it will be happening by the end of the. And to lock in the President so he doesn't change his mind.


VAUSE: Alex -- is this the right time for, you know, sort of "Game of Throne" tactics at the White House? What message does, you know, all this sends to the North Koreans? ALEXANDER DATIG, EDITOR IN CHIEF, FRONT PAGE INDEX: Well, I think the

message is that 11 months of trying to reorganize the State Department hasn't exactly been helpful. And I think there seems to be a lot of chaos going on in that State Department.

I'm also concerned about the fact that Secretary of State Tillerson has called the President a moron. And so I'm not really -- I really don't know if we're talking about public shaming because I mean at this point, in my view, he should have been gone already.

VAUSE: Right.

DATIG: You know.

VAUSE: And that's the point Mo, because right now the State Department, only ten of the top 44 political posts have been filled right now in the midst of this crisis with the North Koreans. There is there no U.S. Ambassador to Seoul. No assistant secretary of State to East Asia and Pacific Affairs. No undersecretary of State for arms control and international security affairs.

But who owns that? Is that the responsibility of the Secretary of State or is it -- does the President own that?

MO KELLY, RADIO HOST: It's not either/or; it's both. We had the President say on Fox News in the past 24 hours that I'm the only one who matters?

VAUSE: All about me, I think --

KELLY: Right.

In terms of diplomacy and foreign policy which is concerning to me. But then you still have the Secretary of State who's responsible for all those who are under him, in this case Rex Tillerson to have a coherent strategy and policy which the rest of the United States may understand as far as the direction in which they're moving. I don't think anyone really knows what we're doing in North Korea or with North Korea at this point.

VAUSE: You know, as you say Alex -- Tillerson called the President a moron. He certainly doesn't deny calling the President a moron. The President has undermined him continually with tweets, you know, like this one saying you know, it's a waste of time negotiating with the North Koreans.

So Alex -- if these two men actually had a better relationship maybe could they be more effective in dealing with this crisis out of Pyongyang?

DATIG: I really don't think so. I think we're looking at two different philosophies completely because I think trying to control the Middle East with Saudi Arabia alone through oil I don't think that's the answer. And I think that cutting off oil supplies to North Korea I'm not sure if that's the answer either. I think that the more pressure we put on North Korea and the more the President tries to smoke out Kim Jong-Un, the more he's going to be revealed as a coward.

And I think that, you know, there's a lot of smoke and mirrors going on. We've always had problems with North Korea. This is nothing new. I just think that it's elevated right now because we have a lot of provocation in the Middle East. We had ISIS. We had, you know, problems with Iran chanting "death to America".

So I think Kim Jong-Un just wants to kind of gain a lot of negative attention. And besides which, why would he sacrifice his own people like that? That's terrible.

VAUSE: Well, this is the question. Yes -- he may be like that but he's not suicidal.

KELLY: Here's the thing, we know that Kim Jong-Un wants the attention of the world stage. He knows -- we know that he wants that credibility. But I would say the President unfortunately has played into that with the tit-for-tat responses of the insults. And now Kim Jong-Un I think is a bigger player than ever before.

What has not been discussed is how the President has devalued the role of the State Department --


KELLY: -- in affairs like this. If you at least -- if you had the people in place -- the envoys, the ambassadors then you could have the back channel communications at least develop a relationship and rapport which could be more effective.

VAUSE: Ok. Apparently Rex Tillerson, Secretary of State he's been unhappy for a while but he was especially unhappy with the President retweeting those anti-Muslim videos which were posted by a far right group called Britain First.

And the former director of National Intelligence James Clapper, he said it was reckless.


JAMES CLAPPER, FORMER DIRECTOR OF NATIONAL INTELLIGENCE: These things have a way of inciting -- although, you know, he may think they're innocuous, in certain parts of the world they are not.

[00:14:58] And you know, tweeting is a great way to communicate. I just wish the President would exert more discretion and have people fact check things before he tweets them out because some of these -- to me this smacks of recklessness.


VAUSE: Alex -- we hear this over and over and over again. You know, but they don't want the President to stop tweeting because people love it. Well, some people love it. A lot of people love it. But there just needs to be another layer of control. Why wouldn't Donald Trump agree to that?

DATIG: You know, I'm not always sure if he's the one doing the tweets.

KELLY: I think he is.

DATIG: You know, and sometimes I wonder.

VAUSE: Right.

DATIG: But I do think that one of the reasons I voted for Donald Trump and, you know, he is my President is not because of so much what he says but what he does. And I believe that he's a man of accomplishment in many ways.

In terms of the videos, yes I do think a little fact check would have helped there.


DATIG: I have to agree with you. But I also think that one of the videos which was authentic -- two of them were not, one was.

VAUSE: Which one was authentic?

DATIG: The one with the Virgin Mary.

VAUSE: Right. But that was, you know, that was ISIS, wasn't it. It was in the Middle East --

DATIG: But, you know, I believe -- for me that rang very real because when I was a child, when I was a minor I was in Egypt. And I had my gold necklace taken from me from a Bedouin who molested me in Cairo. So I mean I think, you know, I think it's very real -- as an American tourist, you know.


VAUSE: -- we also think it's crime issues there.

KELLY: But we're talking about tweeting without context --


KELLY: -- and we're also talking about these are unfiltered responses and tweets which are going out to all the world without any type of vetting.

VAUSE: Very quickly the President has also been taking a lot of heat for his tacit support of Roy Moore. He's the Republican Senate candidate from Alabama. He's been accused of sexual misbehavior, also molesting a child.

Now the Roy Moore campaign is using the President's words in this television ad. Watch this.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: A vote for Roy Moore means securing the border, defending the Second Amendment, tax cuts and conservative Supreme Court judges. And Doug Jones -- well, we'll let President Trump tell you about Doug Jones.

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We don't need a liberal person in there. Jones -- I've looked at his record. He's terrible on crime, bad on borders, bad with the military, bad for the Second Amendment

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Roy Moore, the right choice.


VAUSE: CNN has now confirmed the President will hold a campaign Friday rally on Friday in Florida about 25 miles from the state border, the state line with Alabama.

So Mo, you know, along with the allegations of sexual misconduct Moore is homophobic. He's Islamophobic. And also it seems he's being embraced by President Trump.

KELLY: Well, you can go one step further. You could look at a tweet that he sent last night regarding the registering of felons which is legal within Alabama and then putting a photo with it of two African- American. I would say that's #race-baiting and you can throw that into the mix as well.

It's almost like President Trump doesn't want to be too close to Roy Moore but at the same time he wants to seem like that he's supporting the Republican Party in that regard in that state.

VAUSE: Alex -- would you make a bet (INAUDIBLE). Let me go all in.

DATIG: You know, I don't like Roy Moore. You and I had that conversation.


DATIG: And I really don't think that the people of Alabama should choose him.

VAUSE: But he's practically campaigning for him.

DATIG: Well, you know, I think the President didn't all out come out and give him a full-fledged endorsement. He really didn't. He said he endorsed Luther Strange and he didn't -- you know, he didn't come out and say hey, support him -- he didn't say that.

A lot of people wish he did. And a lot of people are trying to say that he did -- he didn't.

VAUSE: He came awfully close. DATIG: Yes. But he didn't. But Roy Moore --

VAUSE: He said we need a conservative in the House. He said we need a Republican. He's the only Republican running.

DATIG: And Roy Moore loves the constitution so you should check Article I section 5, so you know, the one about the two-thirds vote to, you know, kick him out --

VAUSE: Ok. Article 25.

DATIG: Once he's in -- two-thirds vote. Yes, 1 section 5.

VAUSE: Got you. I'll go look it up.

DATIG: A good one.

VAUSE: Thank you.

SESAY: Well, we're going to pause here for a quick break.

VAUSE: Article 25.

SESAY: Yes, I know that's what --


SESAY: I know that's what you were thinking.

VAUSE: I don't know -- where's Alex was going with this.

SESAY: I know where you were going.

So we're going to pause and take a quick break.

Still to come, Pope Francis mentions Myanmar's refugee crisis but still doesn't say the word everyone is focused on.

VAUSE: Also ahead some people think marrying into the British royal family sounds like a fairytale come true. We'll explain why those who know Meghan Markle says Prince Harry, well he's the lucky one. d


VAUSE: Welcome back, everybody.

Pope Francis has been celebrating mass and ordaining priests in Bangladesh. He'll meet with 18 Rohingya refugees in the coming hours. And these are live images from Dhaka in Bangladesh.

SESAY: Well, earlier in Dhaka he urged the international community to find a way to solve the humanitarian crisis in Myanmar where more than 600,000 Muslims have fled since August. But he refrained once again from using the word "Rohingya".

Our own Delia Gallagher joins us now from Dhaka with more on the Pope's trip.

So Delia -- given the dismay expressed by some due to the fact that the Pope didn't say the word "Rohingya" or publicly explicitly speak of their plight, how is he handling the issue there in Bangladesh where thousands have taken refuge?

DELIA GALLAGHER, CNN VATICAN CORRESPONDENT: Well Isha -- shat the Pope is doing from Bangladesh is giving a political and humanitarian message. That's what we heard last night -- an appeal to the international community to take decisive measures to help find a solution politically to the problem but also -- and appeal to the international community to provide immediate material assistance to Bangladesh to help them with the humanitarian crisis here.

As you say, he did not mention the name "Rohingya". He called them Muslims from the Rakhine state. That is terminology which is accepted by Myanmar's leadership and it is terminology which we have seen throughout this trip the Pope sticks to.

And the thinking on that is that the Vatican's line is they want to try and encourage a political solution to the problem. And if you're going to do that anybody who is involved in negotiations will tell you if you have two sides that need to sit down and talk the first thing you have to do is agree on terminology.

So that seems to be a deliberate choice on the part of the Vatican. The Pope had been advised to stay away from the term in order to help facilitate an eventual discussion on a political solution to the problem -- Isha.

SESAY: Well, as we speak we have these pictures up on screen there -- the Pope celebrating mass in Dhaka. And we know he will be ordaining a priest.

And so by the end of the Pope's visit to Myanmar, the Vatican seemed to painfully (ph) stress that the visit was never considered a refugee trip. So basically -- I guess my question now is just so we're all clear, what does the Vatican say now about the purpose of this trip to Bangladesh?

GALLAGHER: Well, look. In part the purpose of this trip is what you're seeing right now which is a visit to the Catholic community. That's always the first point of departure for any papal trip. In this case they're really a minority community with only some 375,000 total in a country of about 158 million. There's about 100,000 of them at the mass.

But what the unfortunate terminology of kind of this I not a refugee trip means is that it this were a trip specifically to visit refugees the Pope would be down in Cox's Bazar doing that.

This is a trip, form the Vatican's point of view, to encourage a political and humanitarian solution to the crisis. That's why we've heard the terminology that the Pope has been using staying away from the "Rohingya". But at the same time the meeting today with the Rohingyas that he will be doing in a few hours from now is kind of the message because while he's trying to work the political angle, of course, the Pope has great attention to this plight of refugees wherever they are in the world.

[00:25:09] So, of course, that is going to be a major point of this trip but with an attention to the political angle and trying to help solve the problem in the long term -- Isha.

SESAY: Our Delia Gallagher traveling with the Pope speaking to us from Dhaka, Bangladesh. Appreciate it -- Delia. Thank you so much.

VAUSE: Well, breaking news into CNN.

Pakistani police say there is an ongoing attack in Peshawar at the city's agricultural training institute. At least two, maybe three armed men are believed to be inside that school. Army troops are being deployed.

About 30 students are inside the university. A police superintendent has told CNN so far seven people have been wounded. That is all we know right now and we will continue to follow this breaking news, bring you more details as they become available.

Meantime -- a short break.

When we come back Matt Lauer, Charlie Rose, Harvey Weinstein -- sexual harassment allegations ended their careers. But Senator Al Franken, Congressman John Conyers and President Donald Trump -- they're all still in office. What's with the double standard?


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

VAUSE: And I'm John Vause. We will check the headlines this hour.

Pope Francis has been celebrating mass and ordaining priests in Dhaka, Bangladesh. We're also hearing he will meet with a few Rohingya refugees in the coming hours.

Earlier he gave a speech urging the international community to finally end the humanitarian crisis in Myanmar's Rakhine state where hundreds of thousands of Rohingya Muslims have been the victims of a military crackdown which began in August.

SESAY: U.S. President Donald Trump may be looking to replace Secretary of State Rex Tillerson. So far there's no decision on the timing. Asked about Tillerson Thursday, President Trump said simply "Rex is here".

CNN has learned the White House wanted the reports (ph) out there to shame Tillerson.

VAUSE: The British Prime Minister Theresa May had publicly criticized President Donald Trump for retweeting those three violent anti-Muslim videos from a far right extremist group. Mrs. May says it was wrong to show the videos. She faces intense pressure now to cancel Donald Trump's upcoming state visit to the U.K. So far, that visit still on.

SESAY: Well, Matt Lauer, Harvey Weinstein, Charlie Rose, Kevin Spacey -- the list goes on. All once powerful men in entertainment and media brought down by allegations of sexual misconduct.

[00:29:53] VAUSE: But going to politics it's a different story. Roy Moore, Senator Al Franken and Congressman John Conyers and, of course, the commander-in-chief President Donald Trump. They've all faced allegations of sexual misconduct or worse either running for political office or still holding on to it with both hands.

So why are they all different for politicians? Cyril Vanier takes a closer look.


REP. NANCY PELOSI (D-CALIF.), HOUSE DEMOCRATIC LEADER: Congressman Conyers should resign.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Is it fair how you did just call for Conyers to resign?

PELOSI: I said he should resign.

CYRIL VANIER, CNN ANCHOR (voice-over): Only a few days ago, Nancy Pelosi refused to say those words. The leading Democrat in the U.S. House of Representatives gave John Conyers, a fellow Democrat and the oldest serving member of the House, the benefit of the doubt, despite multiple accusations of sexual misconduct and workplace harassment.

PELOSI: Just because someone is accused, was it one accusation, was it two?

I think there has to be -- John Conyers is an icon in our country.

VANIER (voice-over): But with the accusations mounting and the political costs of supporting Conyers rising, Pelosi distanced herself, shining a light on the uncomfortable choices facing Democrats and Republicans alike as accusations against their members pile up.

Al Franken, a Democratic senator, has been accused of groping by multiple women and forcibly kissing a former colleague. There's even this picture. His response: contrite but he's not stepping down.

SEN. AL FRANKEN (D-MINN.), MEMBER, HEALTH, EDUCATION, LABOR AND PENSIONS COMMITTEE: I have a long way back to win back the trust of the people of Minnesota. I've let the people down.

VANIER (voice-over): On the Republican side, Alabama Senate candidate, Roy Moore, is not bowing out of the race, despite accusations of child molestation.

ROY MOORE, ALABAMA SENATE CANDIDATE: The truth is, this is not really odd at all. This is simply dirty politics.

VANIER (voice-over): And of course, there is Donald Trump himself, elected president after 12 women accused him of sexual misconduct.

Allegations against U.S. politicians have been both numerous and detailed yet, so far, there has been little measurable consequence. This stands in stark contrast with the private sector, where similar allegations have ended careers in matter of hours.

In the media, U.S. anchors Matt Lauer and Charlie Rose are out. In entertainment, Pixar's John Lasseter has stepped down and music mogul Russell Simmons is gone, all in the last few days, prompting the question, how long will elected officials be able to hold themselves to a different standard? Cyril Vanier, CNN.


SESAY (voice-over): Rebecca Ruiz (ph) a gender equality reporter from Mashable. She is joining us now from San Francisco, California.

Rebecca, welcome. You wrote a great piece on Mashable, entitled "Matt Lauer is what happens when men who are terrible to women are given every benefit of the doubt." In the piece you describe how journalists like Lauer have monetized to great gain the appearance being an unimpeachable news authority. And you go on to say this, we're going to put it up on the screen.

"They've operated in a system that handsomely rewards the perception of objectivity, which is perversely both something that men feel they are the arbiters of and something that only men of certain backgrounds can claim."

What type of background are you referring to?

REBECCA RUIZ (PH), MASHABLE: Sure. I think that's a terrific question. I hope it's a conversation we continue to have objectivity, especially in journalism. What I mean by that, typically we often think you have to have a certain background or a certain point of view which is neutral or you see both sides of every argument.

While that's an important trait to have, being fair and honest about your viewers and the way that they might affect the things that you see, I don't think anyone is truly objective.

And yet men, often, especially white men, can come at their audiences and come at their bosses, insisting that they have no stake in the game, that they can be completely removed from everything that's going on.

SESAY: With that sense of entitlement, if you will, which is supported by the surrounding culture, you get moments like this. I want to play this for you, with Matt Lauer and actress Anne Hathaway.


MATT LAUER, FORMER NBC HOST: Anne Hathaway, good morning, nice to see you.

ANNE HATHAWAY, ACTOR: Good morning, Matt.

LAUER: Seen a lot of you lately.

HATHAWAY: Sorry about that. I'd be happy to stay home but the film.

LAUER: Let's get it out of the way, had a little wardrobe malfunction the other night.

What's the lesson learned from something like that, other than that you keep smiling, which you always do?



SESAY: Rebecca, to see it now, it's shocking. It was shocking then but people didn't put it in its proper context. The kind of abhorrent behavior Matt Lauer is accused of carrying out in private was clearly bleeding into his public/professional life. According to the experts you cite in your piece, that's not surprising.


RUIZ: That's exactly right. I think as the expert I talked to, the psychologist talked to said, it's impossible to keep a facade up between what your private behavior is, such as that Matt Lauer is accused of doing, in the workplace, behind the camera, when he's off camera and when he's interviewing women.

And that interview in itself, I'm cringing just listening to it. I've already watched it but listening to it again makes me cringe again, because there are elements of shaming, Anne Hathaway making a joke of it. You can tell she feels compelled to apologize; it's true, it's awful to watch now that we know what we know.

SESAY: What do you think of in the case of Matt Lauer and Charlie Rose, these men swept out of their respective networks, leaving their female cohost to be the face of the cleanup, to mend the bridges between the networks and their audiences, which are principally female at that time of day?

RUIZ: I think if we're honest it's a savvy move by those in charge and I can't ascribe anything to their motivations, it's only a guess, to put a characteristically softer face on the fallout. It makes sense from a commercial point of view. And I've heard from other women, that it's upsetting to see them have to clean up that mess.

SESAY: Lauer went Tuesday night. The world found out Wednesday and as we all processed the unseemly allegations, involving the "Today" show host, FOX News host Geraldo Rivera tweeted this.

"Matt Lauer, great guy, highly skilled and empathetic with guests and a real gentleman to my family and me. News is a flirty business and it seems like current epidemic of sexual harassment allegations may be criminalizing courtship and conflating it with predation. What about Garrison Keillor?"

But he wasn't done, Rebecca, there was more.

"Sexual harassment allegations should require, one, made in a timely fashion, say within five years; two, some contemporaneous corroboration like witnesses, electronic or written communications with money settlements in multimillions slight change of this some victims are motivated by more than justice."

SESAY: Rebecca. You read those and my takeaway was, A, Geraldo Rivera thinks women are stupid and can't tell the difference between courtship and predation and there's nothing in the accounts alleging Lauer's behavior that would be ascribed to courtship and, B, that he thinks greed is the motivating reason for women who are speaking out. So his view is let's make it difficult for them to speak.

What do you say?

RUIZ: My takeaway is I will not listen seriously to anything Geraldo Rivera has to say about how we should treat victims of sexual harassment or sexual assault. I think it's as simple as that, particularly given that, as we've been reminded in the past 24 hours, Bette Midler, the actress, accused him of groping her, I believe, in the '70s.

So I don't really believe Geraldo Rivera is who we should look to in this moment for guidance and wisdom about how to handle these cases.

SESAY: A very good point. The question is, is he representative of a viewpoint among men rather listening to his specific recommendations?

Rebecca Ruiz, a pleasure to speak to you. Please come back and speak to us soon. Thank you.

RUIZ: Thank you.

VAUSE: Still to come, Britain's first newly engaged royal couple will make their first joint appearance on Friday. And their choice of venue is all about who they are and what they value.





VAUSE: Britain's Prince Harry and his fiance, Meghan Markle, will make their first joint public appearance at an affair for World AIDS Day, honoring the memory of Harry's mother, Princess Diana.

They'll also be reaching out to the people of Nottingham about 200 kilometers north of London.

SESAY: It's their first official outing as an engaged couple. They have a packed schedule among the charities they'll visit. There's one that Harry started back in 2014 which provides mentorship to keep kids in school.

Meghan Markle says Prince Harry's passion for humanitarian work is one of the things that attracted her most.

SESAY: As an accomplished actor and philanthropist, Markle herself is no shrinking violet. Stephanie Elam takes a look at her roots.


STEPHANIE ELAM, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The spotlight on Meghan Markle was already hot. Now it's intense after her engagement to Prince Harry.

MEGHAN MARKLE, ACTOR: As a matter of fact, I could barely let you finish proposing. I was like, "Could I say yes now?"


ELAM (voice-over): But Markle, a Hollywood native, is no stranger to attention. A regular on the USA network series, "Suits," she grew up around television.

Her father worked on the hit TV show, "Married with Children." Markle often visited the set, telling "Esquire" it was, quote, "a really funny and perverse place for a little girl in a Catholic school uniform to grow up."

The all-girl school behind that uniform is Immaculate Heart, nestled in a Hollywood hillside.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: How many of you plan on getting up in the middle of the night in May to watch the wedding.

What do you think?


ELAM (voice-over): The students here are thrilled that one of their own is now making her mark internationally.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It's just super cool that she came from here, like L.A. and just spread out all over the place. And you know, who doesn't love a good love story?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: My first reaction was, he is so fortunate to have found her.

ELAM (voice-over): Markle's former teachers say she was a standout on stage and in the classroom.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: A person like that who isn't just beautiful and smart and an actress but has this depth. that's what Prince Harry saw in her. ELAM (voice-over): At an early age Markle yearned to help others. She volunteered on L.A.'s Skid Row. At just 13, scared but determined, she turned to a teacher for advice on how to do it. Markle said in Harper's "Bazaar,", quote, "I remember one of my mentors, Ms. Maria Polia (ph), told me that life is about putting others' needs above your own fears. That has always stayed with me."

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Mattis (ph) has helped her is to do the great things that she has been doing and will continue to do. It's immensely humbling but it also demonstrates the kind of heart that she has.

ELAM (voice-over): After high school, Markle left L.A. for Northwestern University outside Chicago.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There is a presence that makes you aware of this person as being smart, intelligent, hard-working, destined to succeed.

ELAM (voice-over): Professor Harvey Young (ph) recalls Markle embracing her biracial roots, speaking openly during his class on contemporary black theater in 2003.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And that stands out, the fact that she is a person who was willing to reflect upon her experiences and to share that perspective of the life that she lived.

ELAM (voice-over): After graduating, Markle remained focused on human rights and women's rights.

MARKLE: This has to change.

ELAM (voice-over): A topic she addressed before the United Nations in 2015.

MARKLE: Women need a seat at the table. They need an invitation to be seated there. And in some cases, where this isn't available, well, then, you know what, then they need to create their own table.

ELAM (voice-over): Philanthropy is one thing the royal couple says drew them together. Now they share the scrutiny of a worldwide press, Harry chastising British tabloids for racially charged headlines about where Markle grew up. In reality, this is Markle's family home in a desired historically black neighborhood in L.A.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: What do you guys want to see the most?



ELAM (voice-over): Hometown excitement of a local girl turned star now getting the royal treatment -- Stephanie Elam, CNN, Hollywood.


VAUSE: There's always one in every crowd, right? OK. You're watching NEWSROOM L.A. I'm John Vause.

SESAY: And I'm Isha Sesay. "WORLD SPORT" is next.