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Trump Announcement on Jerusalem May Come Tuesday; Trump Officially Backing Roy Moore; Effort in Myanmar to Erase Existence of Rohingya; Life-Saving Surgery of North Korean Defector; Former President of Yemen Killed after Breaking with Houthis. Aired 12-1a ET

Aired December 5, 2017 - 00:00   ET



[00:00:17] JOHN VAUSE, CNN ANCHOR: This is CNN NEWSROOM live from Los Angeles. Ahead this hour --

ISHA SESAY, CNN ANCHOR: Going where no U.S. president has been before -- despite pleas from allies and Middle East leaders, Donald Trump may be about to announce the U.S. recognizes Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.

VAUSE: The former president of Yemen shot dead by Houthi rebels as mayhem sweeps the capital of Sana'a.

SESAY: And running out of room for refugees in Bangladesh as some Myanmar authorities try to rewrite the history in saying the Rohingya never even existed in that country.

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

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

VAUSE: Sometime this week, possibly as soon as Tuesday, Donald Trump is expected to break with the past three U.S. presidents and declare all of Jerusalem the capital of Israel.

SESAY: The move would upend decades of U.S. policy and, critics fear, inflame tensions in the Middle East. U.S. allies Saudi Arabia and France are urging the Trump administration to hold off.

French President Emmanuel Macron spoke with Mr. Trump by phone on Monday saying Jerusalem's status should be part of peace talks between Israel and the Palestinians.

VAUSE: Jordan, Egypt and Turkey -- all warning the move could spark anger across the Arab and Muslim world and have long-term consequences for peace efforts between the Israelis and Palestinians.

But outside the White House Jerusalem's mayor made a personal appeal to the U.S. President.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) NIR BARKAT, MAYOR OF JERUSALEM: In Jerusalem, we don't cave to pressure and we don't let threats or violence stop us from doing what is right. President Trump -- I encourage you to do the right thing. Recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and bring the U.S. Embassy home to Jerusalem.


VAUSE: Well, joining us now CNN political commentators: Democratic strategist Dave Jacobson and Republican consultant John Thomas. Dave -- it see on the surface at least, the President could be giving away a major leverage here with the Israeli saying if he does move the embassy or declare all of Jerusalem the capital of Israel.

The only possible exception to this would be if there's some sort of secret diplomatic negotiation that we don't know about given that White House adviser and son-in-law Jared Kushner is in charge of that and he's saying that the Mideast peace efforts -- it seems pretty unlikely that's the case, right?

DAVE JACOBSON, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: I think you're right. I mean Jared Kushner today gave a presentation with Haim Saban, who's a prominent American who supports Israel obviously and they were talking about the Middle East peace process.

Look, it's clear that the President wants to like deliver on this campaign promise because he hasn't delivered on much else in terms of what he campaigned on -- the wall, infrastructure bill, a range of other issues. And his tax bill, by the way, is a handout to corporations and the establishment not to hardworking families.

VAUSE: Stick with Israel for now.

JACOBSON: But anyway, let me get back to Israel. Look, at the end of the day, this could be some sort of negotiation tactic that the President's executing on. But at the end of the day he's going to meet his allies as part of the peace process and when you're alienating, you know, France or Saudi Arabia -- that's going to be a big issue.

VAUSE: John -- is the President looking to tick boxes before the end of the year? He made this campaign promise. You know, Congress passed this law back in 1995 which requires the U.S. embassy to move to Jerusalem but there was a six months waiver which Donald Trump signed when it first came up.

So he actually doesn't have to do anything here. He just has to sit on his hands and he can say to his base -- you know.

JOHN THOMAS, REPUBLICAN CONSULTANT: Well, and he's -- but he's walked it back in the sense of we were expecting this announcement a couple of days ago and now he's saying -- advisers are saying it may come any time but he is buying himself a little bit of time to kind of figure out the ramifications here.

But there's no doubt, he campaigned on it. He's under immense pressure from not just his donors but remember he ran on being pro- Israel. And so he's saying how can I show the fact the United States truly stands with Israel versus other administrations that more talk about it.

But you're right, it does remove a key of leverage in the Mideast peace talks that Jared Kushner is supposed to be heading up.

JACOBSON: And that's the big issue, right, like perhaps it illuminates the idea that there is no pathway to peace.

VAUSE: Right.

JACOBSON: And so this is the only thing that he can actually do in terms of like achieving some sort of deliverable.

VAUSE: Ok. I think the waiver came up December 1st which was a Friday and because there is some leeway in how long the President actually has to sign that.

But there is, you know, obviously another issue for Donald Trump. It's the accused child molester in Alabama -- Roy Moore who's running for the Senate seat there. It is now official that the President is backing the accused pedophile.

[00:04:59] He -- Roy Moore tweeted this out a short time ago. "Go get them, Roy. President Trump -- just got off the phone with President Trump who offered his full support and said he needs a fighter to help him in the U.S. Senate. I look forward to fighting alongside the President and make America great again."

Ok. A little over three weeks ago the Senate Leader Mitch McConnell, he actually found the spine when it came to what to do with Roy Moore.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Roy Moore -- what's the latest there? Are you calling for him to step down from that Senate race?

SENATOR MITCH MCCONNELL (R-KY), SENATE MAJORITY LEADER: I did. I think he should step aside.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: But do you believe these allegations to be true?

MCCONNELL: I believe the women, yes.


VAUSE: But -- didn't last long. Over the weekend he lost his spine.


GEORGE STEPHANOPOLOUS, ABC NEWS HOST: Do you believe that Judge Moore should be in the Senate?

MCCONNELL: I'm going to let the people of Alabama make the call. It's an election that's been going on a long time. There have been a lot of discussions about it. They're going to make the decision a week from Tuesday.


VAUSE: So John -- we are back to letting the voters decide. Moore's in, right? No matter what happens now. It looks like he's --

THOMAS: Well, not necessarily. Yes -- not necessarily. It looks like he's favored to win the electorate. It looks like enough Republicans are coming back home to get him across the finish line. I think he's at 49 percent.

VAUSE: Direct to the point -- John.

THOMAS: But remember, he's paying a price -- standard generic Republican should be 20 points ahead right now in the red state of Alabama. So the fact is even a wobbler is interesting. But yes.

What's more remarkable is if Roy does get elected and it does look like he will, the senate may not oust this guy --

VAUSE: Exactly.

THOMAS: -- which poses a huge brand challenge for Republicans going into the next --

VAUSE: The Republican National Committee is back in Alabama spending money supporting Moore.

THOMAS: Well -- they tend to follow the President.

VAUSE: Right. Exactly. Everyone's following the President it seems.

Ok. Billy Bush -- Donald Trump's partner in crime on the infamous "Access: Hollywood" grab them by the tape. He wrote a compelling op- ed in the "New York Times" over the weekend. He appeared a short time ago on "The Late Show with Stephen Colbert".

He told Stephen Colbert why he's speaking out at this point in time. Let's listen.


BILLY BUSH, FORMER "ACCESS: HOLLYWOOD" HOST: He last week for some reason came out with that's not my voice on the tape. Like I said, you can't say that. That is your voice. I was there. You were there. That's your voice on the tape."


VAUSE: And Dave - you know, so Donald Trump actually hadn't come out and said I don't think that's my voice. We wouldn't be talking about this right now.

JACOBSON: Precisely. I mean Donald Trump -- this is another example case of him being divorced from reality, period. This is a guy who lies, who misleads the American people on a daily basis. And it is disheartening for our country and it's dangerous for our country --

THOMAS: Well, that was on background and we're not entirely sure that he said it.

VAUSE: Sure. Very quickly Rachel Crooks (ph) who is one of the accusers of President Trump accused him of sexual harassment. This is what she said.


RACHEL CROOKS, TRUMP ACCUSER: We're forgotten by politicians who think it's more convenient to keep Trump in office than, you know, have him just sweeping his indiscretions under the rug. I think we're forgotten by the people who want to put party above all else. And that's sad because this should be bigger than politics.

VAUSE: And John -- finally to you, we're almost out of time. Everything she says is valid and it's happening on both sides of the aisle. It's not just Republicans.

THOMAS: Yes, I couldn't tell if she's talking about Nancy Pelosi or President Trump?


THOMAS: But you're right. I mean certainly you see it on both sides of the aisle.

JACOBSON: Well, I think Democrats are pushing some of these folks, like out of the way.

THOMAS: Only after they call them icons. Al Franken is still there groping his way through the Senate.

VAUSE: Ok. Dave and John -- thank you both.

JACOBSON: Thank you.

VAUSE: Good to see you, guys. Ok.

There are new details in the Russia investigation namely what President Trump knew about his former national security advisor's lie and more importantly when he knew.

Sources told CNN the White House's chief lawyer told the President in January Michael Flynn misled the Vice President and the FBI about a meeting with a Russian official and that Flynn should be fired. But Trump still kept Flynn on the job until mid-February.

Jessica Levinson joins us now. She's a professor of law and governance at Loyola Law School. Jessica -- thank you for being with us.

You know a lot of this now goes back to the allegation of if the President's guilty of obstruction of justice here. But his lawyer's come up with this new defense. John Dowd told Axios this. "President cannot obstruct justice because he is the chief law enforcement officer under the constitution's Article 2 and has every right to express his view of any case."

So, you know, this is basically about Trump asking the former FBI director James Comey to drop the investigation, go easy on Flynn. Does Dowd's logic hold any water here?

JESSICA LEVINSON, PROFESSOR OF LAW, LOYOLA LAW SCHOOL: In a word -- no. So there's a couple of things we need to unpack. The President is the chief law enforcement officer and he can express his opinions on cases. But he can't do so illegally and he still can't engage in obstruction of justice.

So the statement is a little vague but what it comes down to is potentially two different things.

[00:10:00] On the one hand is he saying the President can't obstruct justice, period? Just as a structural matter in the constitution? And that clearly cannot be the case because of a simple phrase that we all know which is that no man including the President is above the law.

Now he may separately more specifically be saying this President in this case can't be obstructing justice because he has the power to fire -- hire and fire the FBI director and he has the power to say I think you should pump the brakes on this investigation? Now that is also true. But not if it means you're obstructing justice.

And so if he said with a corrupt intent to James Comey, I really think you should stop this investigation, then we have problem.

I mean if you think about kind of -- taken to its logical extreme how could this statement be true just because the president has the authority, let's say, to tell people to create a deal, he doesn't have the authority to say I think you should engage in bribery?


LEVINSON: So, to answer your question in a word, no. That cannot be the case.

VAUSE: Ok. You know, charging someone with obstruction of justice and getting a conviction is extremely difficult. So this will probably come down to a political question of whether, you know, there is a basis for impeachment like it was for Bill Clinton back in 1998 and he went on trial in 1999.

Here's what the now leader of the Senate, Republican Mitch McConnell said during Clinton's trial. "I am completely and utterly perplexed by those who argue that perjury and obstruction of justice are not high crimes and misdemeanors."

Will those words come back to haunt Senator McConnell?

LEVINSON: Yes. I mean the department of irony is closed because they just have too many complaints right now. And so look, it's not just Mitch McConnell who has these problem where there's a statement that comes back to haunt him.

But I think it's important that you know, President Clinton and President Nixon if he were alive would be hugely surprised by the idea that the President cannot be subject to obstruction of justice charges because of course, they both famously did have impeachment proceeding drawn up against them and part of the charges were obstruction of justice.

Now, Mitch McConnell seems in many ways to be wearing a Teflon suit and so I'm not sure exactly what coming back to haunt him means but he is clearly on the record as saying you know, this is a high crime and misdemeanor.

We all know as you said that impeachment is really a political calculus and I think despite everything we've been talking about, we have not nearly reached that threshold of looking at drawing up articles of impeachment when it comes to the makeup of this House and this Senate.

VAUSE: And just as another note, I think the Department of Irony was burnt to the ground about six months ago.

Jessica -- thank you.

LEVINSON: That is true enough. Thank you.

VAUSE: Good to see you.

SESAY: Well the U.N. Human Rights Council will hold a special session Tuesday on the violence against Rohingya Muslims in Myanmar. Meantime rights groups are urging Bangladesh to allocate more land for Rohingya refugee camps as concerns grow over a possible outbreak of disease.

VAUSE: Last week the country approved a plan to move refugees to an isolated flood-prone island in the Bay of Bengal but Amnesty International calls the land uninhabitable.

SESAY: For more on this we're joined by Matthew Smith. Matthew is a co-founder and CEO of the human rights organization of Fortify Rights. Matthew -- good to have you with us once again.

MATTHEW SMITH, CO-FOUNDER AND CEO, FORTIFY RIGHTS: Thank you -- Isha. It's good to be here.

SESAY: Well, over the weekend the "New York Times" published a piece in which they say there is a concerted effort by authorities in Myanmar to rewrite history and claim the Rohingya never existed in that country. The article cites a report released in October by the office of the United Nations' High Commissioner of Human Rights which said Myanmar security forces had worked to quote -- let's put it up on the screen -- "effectively erase all signs of memorable landmarks in the geography of the Rohingya landscape and memory in such a way that a return to their land would yield nothing but a desolate and unrecognizable terrain". Matthew -- I'm wondering what goes through your mind when you see that, when you read that.

SMITH: Well, I think what we're seeing are certainly the landmarks or the hallmarks of ethnic cleansing but also the crime of genocide. And we have documented eyewitness testimony of the Myanmar military razing entire villages, which that quote speaks to. But beyond that also full scale massacres, killings of men, women and children. So this is a systematic attempt to effectively destroy or drive out the Rohingya population.

SESAY: Yes. According to the same U.N. report, the crackdown in Rakhine had quote, "targeted teachers, the cultural and religious leadership and other people of influence in the Rohingya community in an effort to diminish Rohingya history culture and knowledge".

[00:14:58] Matthew -- I guess my question is, what's to stop the Myanmar authorities from succeeding given the lack of meaningful intervention on the part of the international community?

SMITH: Well, that's just it -- Isha. In some respects, the authorities have succeeded inasmuch as they have perpetrated thus far these atrocity crimes with impunity, driven out you know, more than at this point in the last year, more than 700,000 new refugees into Bangladesh and effectively destroying many aspects of Rohingya culture let alone the Rohingya as a group.

So right now, the international community needs to act. We have seen too much inaction over the last three months, over the last year. And it's important. It's essential right now that governments band together and have a concerted strategy to not only end these atrocities but also to hold the perpetrators accountable.

SESAY: In the midst of all of this, we're now getting details of the memorandum of understanding signed by Bangladesh and Myanmar for the repatriation of those Rohingya who fled the violence in the northern Rakhine state.

Matthew -- I'm just going to put up on the screen some of the key points so our viewers can follow along. No forcible returns, no restriction on numbers of returnees, no legal consequences for those who return unless they've been involved in terrorism. All possible measures will be made to ensure returnees will not be settled in temporary places for a long time. Freedom of movement in Rakhine state will be allowed in conformity with existing laws and regulations. Myanmar will verify Rohingyas who return and the eventual issuing of identity cards will be based on evidence of past residence in Myanmar.

Matthew -- should Rohingya be heading back to Myanmar on the basis of this agreement? I mean how confident is anyone that they won't be interned in camps and once again subjected to systematic persecution?

SMITH: Well, in many ways this agreement is a diversionary tactic. It's diverting attention away from the fact that there is still this ongoing campaign of persecution against the Rohingya population. There are still 120,000 Rohingya who have been confined to more than 35 internment camps in eight different townships of Rakhine state for the last five years.

And there are still Rohingya fleeing across the border into Bangladesh. I was just there weeks ago and there were thousands of people still crossing over the border into Bangladesh. So the idea that the authorities would start repatriating Rohingya soon is a farce.

And on top of that Rohingya refugees are telling Fortify Rights that they would rather die on the border with Bangladesh than be forced back to their village under the current conditions.

SESAY: That is stark indeed and really puts it in perspective for just how afraid they are that they'd rather to endure that hardship.

So all of that being said, on Tuesday, the U.N. Human Rights Council is calling a special session on the Rohingya crisis. Do you expect anything substantive to emerge?

SMITH: We're hopeful. We do hope that U.N. member states will prioritize the need for accountability. Our biggest fear right now, Isha, is that will see more mass killing in Rakhine state. And until there is a meaningful effort toward accountability for the perpetrators, toward holding the Myanmar military soldiers and commanders who are responsible for this, until they're held accountable, until there are movements to hold them accountable we fear that we may see more mass killing.

And so what we hope is that U.N. member states will understand that, will take it seriously and will make some serious advancements toward ending the impunity.

SESAY: Yes. We certainly hope that.

Matthew -- we're going to keep telling the story. We're going to keep getting the stories out. Appreciate you speaking to us once again.

SMITH: Thank you -- Isha.

VAUSE: When we come back, the wheels of diplomacy continue to turn on the North Korean crisis with a rare visit to Pyongyang by a senior U.N. envoy. But at the same time a powerful display of military might with the U.S. sending some of its most advanced fighter planes to hold war games with South Korea.

SESAY: Plus an exclusive look into what it took to save a North Korean defector who was shot five times as he fled.


VAUSE: Well, a senior U.S. official will visit North Korea for the first time in more than six years but it's unclear if he'll actually get to meet with Leader Kim Jong-Un. U.N. political affairs chief Jeffrey Feltman, who is from the U.S. was invited by North Korea to speak with senior government officials. SESAY: Meanwhile the U.S. and South Korea are practicing how to

attack the North if it ever came to that. The U.S. sent some of its most powerful war planes to join the annual drills on the Korean Peninsula that includes stealth fighter jets which could be key to any potential military strike.

VAUSE: And North Korea's latest defector, a young soldier, is the focus of international attention after a death-defying escape to South Korea. He was shot several times as he fled across the border and medical teams worked for days to save his life.

SESAY: CNN was given exclusive access to the video of what unfolded in the operating room with the permission of the soldier. We warn you that some viewers may find these images disturbing.

CNN's Paula Newton has all the details.


PAULA NEWTON, CNN NEWS CORRESPONDENT: You are watching a U.S. Blackhawk chopper touch down as a South Korean trauma team gears up save the life of Oh Chong-Song (ph). This is an exclusive look at the harrowing efforts to save a North Korean defector shot five times as he escaped over the DMZ already (INAUDIBLE) out, he is turning blue and having trouble breathing.

LEE COOK-JONG, SURGEON: All was here, right here as well.

NEWTON: He is now in the protective care of trauma surgeon Dr. Lee Cook-Jong. He takes us through his crucial medical mission minute by precious minute.

And at this point he had already lost more than half his blood?

LEE: Much more. Much more. Yes ma'am. His vital signs were so unstable, so yes. He was dying of low blood pressure. He was dying of shock.

NEWTON: I'm watching all the transfusions of blood -- one, two, three.

LEE: Yes. That's right. That's right.

NETWON: Utterly composed and deliberate Dr. Lee shows us a 30-minute epic effort to keep Mr. Oh breathing -- something you can see on any given day in Dr. Lee's state of the art trauma bay. It's the key to Mr. Oh's miraculous survival.

LEE: As you can see here, we have been doing this kind of job every single day.

NEWTON: Mr. Oh stabilized, ready for the next battle -- a grueling five-hour surgery. Dr. Lee is methodical. (INAUDIBLE) and a system dangerously riddled with open wound.

The American-trained trauma specialist is ready for that but not this. Parasite -- worms squirm out of Mr. Oh's body -- a sign of severe malnutrition.

LEE: After the operation he was transported here. This is the --

NEWTON: For Mr. Oh, the nightmare isn't over. Dr. Lee says he was terrified when he awoke, afraid he was still in North Korea.

LEE: He actually asked me that is this really South Korea or something. So I actually answered him back and said hey, have a look at that flag.

NEWTON: And he knew immediately he was safe?

LEE: Yes, ma'am

NEWTON: The North Korean defector remains somewhere in this hospital under heavy security. Dr. Lee is very protective right now. He won't even let the South Korean government speak to him, fearing it will compromise his recovery.

You obviously have a fondness for him. You like him?

LEE: Yes ma'am. Yes ma'am. Yes. I'm really proud of him because he fled to -- from North Korea to you know, seeking for, you know, liberty and much more freedom.

NEWTON: From his daring escape to the air lift through the trauma and surgeries, Mr. Oh's survival is stunning by any measure. He still got a long road to recovery. At least now he is walking, talking and free with luck landing him in a place that seems ready and waiting to give him a whole new life.

[00:25:08] Paula Newton, CNN -- Ajou University Trauma Center, South Korea.



VAUSE: That's incredible.

SESAY: That really is.

VAUSE: Boy, what a life he's going to have. Ok.

Still to come, a dramatic shift in alliance leads to a violent end for the former president of Yemen. The deepening chaos -- when we come back.


VAUSE: Welcome back, everybody. You are watching CNN NEWSROOM, live from Los Angeles. I'm John Vause.

SESAY: And I'm Isha Sesay.

The headlines this hour. U.S. President Donald Trump may announce as early as Tuesday that the U.S. will recognize Jerusalem as Israel's capital. U.S. allies including France and Saudi Arabia want the President to reconsider saying the move could inflame tensions in the Middle East and hurt peace efforts between Israel and the Palestinians.

VAUSE: Brexit negotiators failed to reach a deal Monday on the future of the Irish border. It's a major sticking point in these talks. It appears a concession to allow Northern Ireland to keep some E.U. rules did not go through. British and E.U. officials are still hoping to reach an agreement before next week's E.U. Council summit.

SESAY: Well, a political gamble for Yemen's former strongman leader proved fatal. And the fate of millions of civilians is now in question.

Houthi rebels killed former President Ali Abdullah Saleh as he tried to flee the fighting in the capital of Sana'a on Monday. He supported the Houthis in 2014 but switched sides over the weekend calling on Saudi Arabia and its allies to end the war.

SESAY: A video showing Saleh's lifeless body appeared on social media and we must warn you it is disturbing. Saleh once compared governing Yemen to dancing on the heads of snakes. He managed that dance for more than three decades.

Joining us now from Istanbul is Tawakkol Karman. She's a journalist, human rights activist and a politician who won the Nobel Peace prize in 2011, the first Yemeni to win the award. She's known as the mother of the revolution and is a member of the Nobel Women's Initiative. This is group united to increase the visibility of women working for peace, justice and equality throughout the world.

Tawakkol -- thank you so much for joining us.

TAWAKKOL KARMAN, JOURNALIST, HUMAN RIGHTS ACTIVIST AND POLITICIAN: Thank you. Thank you for telling me to be with you.

SESAY: We're grateful you were able to join us. Tell me, what does the killing of Ali Abdullah Saleh mean for this long running conflict?

KARMAN: Really it's a tragedy. We didn't wish this end for him. We made a great peaceful revolution, struggling peacefully against him, forcing him to leave the authority peacefully.

[00:30:03] We give him immunity with billions of dollars he has stolen from our country during his 33 years of ruling our country.

But unfortunately, he made alliance with the militia of Houthi and (INAUDIBLE) coup against the legitimate authority and against the transitional period and, yes, unfortunately, he used to dance with the snakes. And now he been killed by the snakes.

And it's a tragedy. It's a tragedy, really. But now, the question, the most important question now, what is next after Ali Abdullah Saleh's (INAUDIBLE), what Yemeni should do. It's a new era for Yemeni to do something, to stop war, to stop the

coup. So here from CNN, I call that we all Yemeni should united enough to stop this war and also to stop the coup led by the militia of al-Houthi (ph) and former president Ali Saleh.

I call now we need really the GPC, which is the party of the ousted President Ali Saleh. They have to be national party, national party that have a national agenda, a national program, not be inherit by the -- by the family of Ali Abdullah Saleh, not following the agenda of Ali Abdullah Saleh.

This is the fairest thing that we need after the death of Ali Abdullah Saleh and there is two things that is very, very important, that we need now for negotiating. We need for dialogue with all the Yemeni people.



KARMAN: Together they have to -- yes.

SESAY: No. I just want to -- and I understand that what one hopes is that with Saleh out of the picture, that there's a road to peace, there's a road to the negotiating table, that is your hope.

But do you see either side, whether it's the Houthis or the Saudi-led coalition, do you see them willing to compromise and come to the table to make a deal?

KARMAN: It's very important to do that. For Houthis, they have now to, yes, to be convinced that they should throw their weapons. They should hand over their weapons within a process that will withdraw all the weapons from all the groups.

The militia, from all the armed groups and making the state to be the only body (ph) that's on the weapons. That is very important for the peace in Yemen and also it's very important for our legitimate president, for our legitimate government, for all the Yemeni parties to open the dialogue, to rank this (INAUDIBLE) that don't open to -- don't close it.

So it's very important now to make some kind of transitional justice, some kind of dialogue with all Yemenis. This is (INAUDIBLE) the Houthis but with -- (INAUDIBLE) what is the duty of Saudi and (INAUDIBLE) that now that they led the coalition in Yemen, there's very important thing that they should do.

They should stop, you know, the war. They should -- we have now, Isha, we have now more than 70 percent of the liberated land. It's under the control of Saudi and Emirates. They have, if they are really suborned our legitimate president, they have to allow him to return to the temporary


KARMAN: They have to leave the islands because the airports that they (INAUDIBLE), they have also (INAUDIBLE) --

SESAY: Let me ask you that.

KARMAN: -- to enter Yemen.

SESAY: So let me ask you, as you talked about the humanitarian situation. I know you know how bad it is. More than 100 children a day dying. Water, health, sanitation, facilities all destroyed, decimated. You are speaking to people in Yemen.

What are they telling you about life, how they're coping, the decisions they have to make every single day?

KARMAN: It's a catastrophe. It's a really that the most -- this is the worst humanitarian crisis in the world. Yemen people now live in the big prison. Yemeni people suffering every day from death, every day from hunger, from famine, from lack of education, from lack of access to water, access to electricity.

Yemeni people is suffering from the whole --


KARMAN: -- blockade against Yemeni in the air, in the land, in the sea. It is -- it's this blockade, because of the Saudi-Emirates coalition from one side and from other side, it's from militia of Houthi that subverted from Iran. Most of them they are putting Yemeni people (INAUDIBLE) and it's a big, big prison.

So they have to know. They have to -- yes, to stop the war and the international community should do something for Yemeni people.

SESAY: Yes. Absolutely.


KARMAN: -- land now. Should do it. Should stop this war and now it's, yes, they can do a lot but unfortunately they forget Yemen. They be silent, they keep silent against all the crimes that happen here, all the violation, all the hunger, all the humanitarian crisis. The international community, Security Council --


SESAY: They need to do more.

KARMAN: -- the international -- yes, they should do more for Yemeni people.

SESAY: Yes. Tawakkul Karman (ph), thank you so much as -- you know, I hear it in your voice, you're Yemeni. I can't imagine what it's like the see your country go through this moment. Thank you for speaking to CNN. Thank you for shining a light on what is happening in Yemen. We appreciate it.

KARMAN (PH): Thank you so much. Thank you. JOHN VAUSE, CNN ANCHOR: And awfully tough to watch from a distance.

SESAY: Yes. Very much. And she's using her platform.


OK. We'll take a short break. When we come back, these breathtaking views are at the center of the biggest environmental fight in the U.S. right now. A move by President Trump is set to open up millions of acres for drilling and mining.




SESAY: Two sprawling U.S. monuments are shrinking. In a historic move, U.S. President Donald Trump is slashing federally protected land in Utah by more than 800,000 hectares. President Trump announced the change Monday. It strips away protections the Obama administration put in place.


DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I've come to Utah to take a very historic action, to reverse the federal overreach and restore the rights of this land to your citizens. The families and communities of Utah know and love this land the best. And you know the best how to take care of your land.


VAUSE: Well, the website for the outdoor retailer, Patagonia, spells it out in black and white.

"The President Stole Your Land."

We're joined now by the company's director of environmental campaigns and advocacy, Hans Cole.

Thank you for coming in.

HANS COLE, PATAGONIA: Thanks. Thanks for having me.

VAUSE: There does seem to be a lot at stake here. This looks to be set to go down as a historic legal battle. (INAUDIBLE) not just to Bears Ears but also the Grand Staircase but all government land protected under the --


VAUSE: -- Antiquities Act, which is the (INAUDIBLE) sets up these (INAUDIBLE) in the first place, right?

COLE: Yes. Yes, absolutely. This is an unprecedented moment here in the history of public lands. We've never seen this quantity of land unprotected where the protections have been taken away at one time.

We are talking about millions of acres of land that are being stripped from the Bears Ears National Monument and Grand Staircase Escalante and, you know, it's shocking, really, to see the impact.

VAUSE: Many opposed to this have argued that Donald Trump as president does not have the authority to significantly change monuments which were declared by his predecessors, OK. But other presidents like Woodrow Wilson and FDR, they did just that. So this has never actually really been challenged in court.

So what's your argument to say that Donald Trump can't do this?

COLE: Yes. Well, it's true it hasn't been challenged in court and that's the main thing. We -- our belief is that the Antiquities Act leaves that control to reduce or change the size of a national monument up to Congress. It is not in the hands of the president. It was never granted to that office.

And so, we see this act by the president and his administration as illegal and, absolutely, you know, something that will have a huge impact on all American citizens. This is public land that belongs to all of us.

VAUSE: Yes. You know, when listening to the president make this announcement, he was almost speaking poetic at times about giving the land back and the unbreakable bond between the land and the people.

Clearly, he wasn't talking about the Native American tribes that asked for this monument initially in the first place. But he did say a few things, which I'd like you to fact-check.

He said the Antiquities Act is bad for the economy. He said states do a better job of land management and he also said this will be a win for local communities.

A lot of that doesn't ring true, right?

COLE: It's true. You know, the -- it's so amazing to think, you know, this idea, this false narrative that protected public land is bad for the economy. It's out there. It's being perpetuated by the administration, by other folks, the Utah congressional delegation.

It's one of their favorite narratives but the fact of the matter is, protected public lands are good for local economies. They bring in tourism, they bring in visitation from all over the world to places like this, which brings in jobs and new measures of economic prosperity.

And what they found is when control of public land is transferred to the state, which is oftentimes a goal with these types of actions, oftentimes 70 percent of that land is actually sold off to the highest bidder, which is not, you know, that's not good for people.

VAUSE: I'm just wondering because the Bureau of Land Management announced also on the same day, 29 parcels of land in Utah, many close to national monuments or these other protected areas, they've been made available for leasing for the oil and gas industry.

Is that what's set for Bears Ears and the Staircase?

COLE: Bears Ears and Grand Staircase Escalante both have resources that could be extracted in terms of fossil fuels and mining. And these are impacts, if you come in and frack or mine or drill, it absolutely changes the landscape.


VAUSE: -- just very quickly, are we certain that's what's going to happen here?

That's going to be the likely outcome of this?

COLE: Absolutely. That's one impact that we'd likely see with these protections removed.

VAUSE: OK. Thanks so much.

COLE: All right, Thank you, John. Appreciate it.

SESAY: Well, there we must leave it. Thank you for watching CNN NEWSROOM live from Los Angeles. I'm Isha Sesay.

VAUSE: I'm John Vause. "WORLD SPORT" is up next. You're watching CNN.