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Russia Banned From Winter Olympics Over State-Sponsored Doping; Millions At Risk Of Famine, Disease In Civil War; Johnny Hallyday, The Elvis Of France, Dies At 74. Aired 2-3a ET

Aired December 6, 2017 - 02:00   ET




JOHN VAUSE, CNN ANCHOR (voice-over): This is CNN NEWSROOM live from Los Angeles. Ahead this hour:

ISHA SESAY, CNN ANCHOR (voice-over): We're hours away from a decision that could rock the Middle East. Donald Trump will soon announce that U.S is recognizing Jerusalem as Israel's capital.

VAUSE (voice-over): Russia banned from competing in next year's Winter Olympics accused by the IOC of an unprecedented attack on sport.

SESAY (voice-over): And (INAUDIBLE) in Southern California ferocious wildfires growing by an acre a second.

Hello and welcome to our viewers around the world. I'm Isha Sesay.

VAUSE (voice-over): Glad you're with us. I'm John Vause. This is NEWSROOM L.A.


VAUSE: Just hours away now from president Donald Trump's announcement that the U.S. will recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.

SESAY: Senior administration officials say Mr. Trump will also signal his intention to move the U.S. embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. The U.S. State Department is warning of violence ahead of the decision.

VAUSE: Donald Trump called Middle East leaders on Tuesday. They all expressed concern and warned him of potential violent backlash to this. (INAUDIBLE) groups are also calling for three days of rage.

CNN has correspondents across the region to cover this major breaking story. Ian Lee is in Jerusalem; Jomana Karadsheh, Amman, Jordan; and producer Gul Tuysuz is in Istanbul, Turkey.

So, Ian, you're outside the Old City there. So I guess we'll start with you. The immediate concern is the threat of violence once this announcement is made.

What are the Israeli authorities preparing for, what are they expecting?

IAN LEE, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, we heard, John, from the defense minister, Avigdor Lieberman, who said if the United States does go forward with this plan to move the embassy and declare Jerusalem the capital of Israel that they'll be ready to provide the necessary security outside U.S. diplomatic missions.

But there is a heightened sense of security and anticipation of that announcement from President Trump. We know the Palestinians have called for three days of rage to protest against this. And the U.S. embassy has increased security and we know they've issued a warning, telling Americans, telling diplomatic personnel to stay away from the Old City and the West Bank.

But really right now it's waiting to see what happens when President Trump does make that decision. And then, from there, we'll play it by ear, because we'll wait to see if the protesters come out on to the street and then how the Israelis react -- John.

VAUSE: And Jomana, to you in Amman, Jordan. If there's violence in Israel and the West Bank in Gaza and probably elsewhere, that could be just the start of the backlash to this announcement.

JOMANA KARADSHEH, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, and everyone, John, is bracing for that possible backlash of such an announcement, not just in this country but also across the region.

Jordanian officials for days now have been warning of what they call dangerous consequences to any move to change the status of Jerusalem. The foreign minister saying that this would trigger anger not only amongst Jordanians and Palestinians but across the Arab and the Muslim world.

Yesterday we saw the Jordanian royal court releasing a readout of the call between President Trump and King Abdullah of Jordan, where the king warned yet again President Trump of any such move, saying that this could have ramifications on the security and stability of this region and undermines the U.S.' role when it comes to peace negotiations.

This is a very sensitive and critical issue for the Jordanians, John, as you know. For several reasons, Jordan is the custodian of the Muslim holy sites in Jerusalem. So they have that official role.

Then more than half of the population of this country is either Palestinian or of Palestinian descent. So there's always that concern about seeing any displays of anger on the streets of Jordanian cities.

And then King Abdullah of Jordan has really been at the forefront of effort to try to revive the peace process working with the U.S. administration and others in the region. And he has always said -- we heard this for months -- saying that the key to stability in this region, the key to fighting extremism is to reach a peace deal between the Israelis and the Palestinians.

And the Jordanian position has been clear, saying there's only one solution and that's the two-state solution. So really a lot of concern about what ramifications there will be to such a declaration by President Trump.

VAUSE: Stay with us, Jomana, because we'll head off to Istanbul --


VAUSE: -- and Gul.

So, Gul, Israel does have not diplomatic relations with a lot of countries in the region. It does have official ties with Turkey. But it seems maybe not much longer.

GUL TUYSUZ, CNN PRODUCER: That's right. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan came out and said that the Jerusalem issue is a red line for Muslims. And he also said that any action on the Jerusalem issue could lead to Turkey cutting diplomatic relations with Israel.

Strong words from him and, of course, that relationship, the Turkish- Israeli one, has been on the rocks over the last decade and has just only recently become better after a 2010 Mavi Marmara flotilla event.

But we also had Turkish prime minister Binali Yildirim coming out today and saying that any decision on Jerusalem would be unlawful and that it would only worsen the situation and the conflicts that are ongoing across the region.

The Jordanian king, King Abdullah, is supposed to be in Turkey today and this is a preplanned visit to Turkey and he's expected to meet with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. But, of course, this will be one of the things that is on the table that the two leaders will discuss.

And here on the streets of Turkey and on social media, there's a lot of talk about protests being planned for Friday. So far none of the routes that have been announced are expected to go past the Israeli consulate or the American consulate here in Istanbul. But we'll have to wait to see, to see how big those protests could possibly get.

VAUSE: OK, Gul, stay with us.

Ian Lee, back to you in -- outside the Old City in Jerusalem. We were talking about the very real consequence that this decision will have for Israel. So many people in Israel have been -- they want this day, they've been waiting for this day. Politicians have lobbied for this day.

Is there concern in some sectors about the scale or the potential consequences?

Is there any talk that maybe this is not the right time, this is not the right way?

LEE: Definitely, John. You're right, the majority of Israeli politicians have enthusiastically advocated for this day.

But when you look at it, Israel has lot to lose. First off, if the United States does go forward with this plan, it doesn't mean the international community is going to do it. Also it could have a backlash effect with not just Arab countries but other countries around the world.

But also you have to look at the peace process and that's something that President Trump has invested a lot into. He's called it the ultimate deal. He sent his son-in-law, Jared Kushner, to come and work on it.

And every Palestinian official we've spoken with says, if they go forward with this plan, the peace deal is essentially done. The Americans lose their seat at the table and they can't be credible. So real consequences for potential peace -- John.

VAUSE: Ian, thank you, seven minutes past 9:00 there on a Wednesday morning. We appreciate you for being with us. Also Jomana in Jordan and Gul there in Istanbul. We appreciate you being up and out for us, because this is going to be a very big day. Thank you.

There has been one very senior official within the Trump administration who, no matter what happens in the Russia investigation, regardless of sensational revelations, indictments or controversial tweets, there is one person who seems to remain above the fray, clean hands, no knowledge. That's vice president Mike Pence.

It started in January, when Pence said then national security advisor, Michael Flynn, told him sanctions were not discussed during a conversation with the Russian ambassador, Sergey Kislyak.


MIKE PENCE, VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I talked to General Flynn about that conversation. And it was actually initiated when, on Christmas Day, he had sent a text to the Russian ambassador to express not only Christmas wishes but sympathy for the loss of life in the airplane crash that took place.

It was strictly coincidental that they had a conversation. They did not discuss anything having to do with the United States' decision to expel diplomats or impose a censure against Russia.


VAUSE: Now details on Michael Flynn's plea deal with the special counsel reveal that to be false.

Flynn talked about sanctions with Ambassador Kislyak and Pence has since said he was just repeating that bad information which he was given.

And when it comes to any contact with Russian officials and the possibility of collusion, the vice president claims no knowledge. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

PENCE: I was not aware of any contacts or any collusion with Russian officials.


VAUSE: And keep in mind, Mike Pence was overseeing the transition team the same time Flynn was talking to the Russian ambassador. So Pence appears to be at least out of the loop, almost blissfully unaware, even though Flynn's court documents reveal a wide circle --


VAUSE: -- of Trump advisors. They all knew about the Flynn-Kislyak conversation. Now some in the vice president's inner circle think he could be called in for an interview with the special counsel, Robert Mueller. But a spokesperson for Pence says thing could be further from the truth.

For more, Seth Abramson, a lawyer and professor at the University of New Hampshire, joins us now.

Seth, it seems Pence wasn't just lied to by Michael Flynn about those conversations with the Russian ambassador but multiple senior members of that transition team, I guess they transpired, maybe outright lied to the then vice president-elect to keep him out of the loop.

Seth Abramson, Attorney: Well, based on the statement of offense in the Flynn case, the number of people who would have had to lie to Mike Pence or at least keep from him the fact that Michael Flynn was conduct negotiations with Russians in December 2016 would be an extraordinarily long list.

Most possibly even all of the rest of the transition team, as well as Mr. Trump himself, who found out January 24th the truth of the matter and it seems clear that he didn't pass on that information, if you believe Mr. Pence, to the vice president.

And so this has to be either the most out-of-the-loop vice president in U.S. history or someone who has not been candid with the American people.

VAUSE: I guess there's nothing inappropriate about these Russia contacts.

Why were so many people lying or trying to cover them up?

ABRAMSON: Well, I don't think it is the case, actually, that there was nothing inappropriate about them. I know that the president has tweeted that they were legal. In fact, negotiating with a foreign government under color of authority to negotiate an intra-governmental dispute is a violation of the Logan Act, which is a federal felony.

So I think one of the reasons that people like KT McFarland, Jared Kushner, Michael Flynn, possibly the president himself, have not been honest about these December 2016 contacts is I don't think that they were legal. The Logan Act is not regularly applied. In fact, only a couple people have been prosecuted under it.

But this is an extraordinary situation and the Logan Act was written for extraordinary situations just like this one.

VAUSE: There's also the ongoing problem of that weekend tweet from the president. The one, he said, "I had to fire General Flynn because he lied to the vice president" -- and the key point in this -- "and the FBI."

What is extraordinary is that Donald Trump has since disowned that tweet. His lawyer is taking the fall. It says he transcribed that tweet to an aide, he sent it out, which is a bit like those stars who say that their accounts were hacked. They had nothing to do with it.

On Tuesday, White House press secretary Sarah Sanders, she wouldn't directly answer if, in fact, the president knew that Flynn had lied to the FBI. Listen to this.


SARAH HUCKABEE SANDERS, DEPUTY WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: Look, the president knew that he lied to the vice president. That was the reason for his firing.


VAUSE: When you try to put all this together, it just doesn't seem to add up.

ABRAMSON: No, it doesn't. And I will say that actually the president has not himself directly disowned that tweet. As you mentioned, Sarah Huckabee Sanders simply referred people to John Dowd's statement, that he wrote the tweet.

Now there are a number of things to say about that. One of them is the fact that it would be extraordinary -- and I say this as someone who was a criminal defense attorney for a long time. For a criminal defense attorney to be writing tweets on behalf of a client, let alone tweets that ultimately seem to incriminate that client, in a serious federal felony, in this case obstruction of justice.

And then secondly, we have to note the fact that Donald Trump allowed that tweet to stand, even if he didn't know about it when it was posted, he allowed it to stand. The White House has previously said that presidential tweets are in fact presidential declarations and they're official.

So Mr. Trump, whether or not he knew the tweet had been written or posted at the time it was written and posted, he adopted that tweet and he is culpable for it.

VAUSE: Of course this all goes to the issue of obstruction of justice. As far as Mike Pence is concerned, he keeps using this Sgt. Schultz defense, "I know nothing, I see nothing." How is that going to hold up if he is, in fact, interviewed by the

special counsel, especially now that Flynn is a cooperating witness?

ABRAMSON: I think that we should expect that he will ultimately be interviewed by the special counsel. I know that Senator Blumenthal just said today that he wants the Senate Judiciary Committee to speak to Mr. Pence.

If Mr. Pence in fact did know about what Mr. Flynn was doing in December and was not honest when, on January 15th of this year, he told "Face the Nation" that he didn't know anything about it, then he's going to be in a real catch-22 when he talks to Bob Mueller, when he talks to the Senate because, in both cases, should he lie, he would be charged with making false statements, much like Mike Flynn was, and much like, earlier, George Papadopoulos was.

VAUSE: What do you make of this unique ability that Mike Pence has to go MIA? In all of these key moments, he was at his son's wedding when Flynn was speaking to Kislyak; apparently visiting at a homeless shelter in Indiana when Flynn and Kushner got wrapped up in that U.N. resolution over Israel, which proved to be very controversial and he's been radio silent last week, last, when Flynn was pleading guilty for lying to the FBI.

ABRAMSON: I saw a news article recently that said that either Mike Pence is a knave or he is naive. And I think it is one of the two. If he is --


ABRAMSON: -- naive, he is historically naive because he kept himself aloof from the most important conversations that were happening on the presidential transition team that he was in charge of for 50 days.

Or in fact he did know about these statements that were made by Michael Flynn to the FBI. He did know about what Michael Flynn was actually doing. And in that case, he really is going to find himself in some trouble when he sits down with Bob Mueller and when he sits down presumably with the Senate Judiciary Committee at some point.

VAUSE: Interesting days ahead for the vice president, who we don't get to see a lot of. Seth, good to see you. Thank you.

ABRAMSON: Thank you.

SESAY: The International Olympic Committee has banned Russia from the upcoming Winter Olympics in South Korea. It's an unprecedented punishment for the country's state-sponsored doping in the 2014 Winter Games.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The commission members produced a comprehensive and, I must say, excellent report addressing the systematic manipulation of the anti-doping system in Russia. The IOC Executive Board (INAUDIBLE) its decision today on this report. The report clearly lays out an unprecedented attack on the integrity of the Olympic Games and sport.


SESAY: Well, CNN's correspondents are following the story. Paula Newton joins us from Seoul, South Korea. And Clare Sebastian is there for us in Moscow.

Ladies, welcome.

Clare, to you first. Russians no doubt dismayed by this decision but the question is how are they going to respond. Some of the official Russian reaction for us.

CLARE SEBASTIAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, so far a conspicuous silence from the Kremlin. But as for other political quarters, there was a swift and frankly angry reaction. One Russian member of Parliament called this a humiliation and an insult. Another called it a political provocation.

The spokeswoman for the Russian foreign ministry also very quick to respond in a long and slightly philosophical statement saying they're constantly trying to prove the absurdity of our way of life, and our culture and our history and now sport.

She said we will survive. So certainly a sense of deficit there. And we went on the streets just within half an hour of this ruling coming out. We wanted to see how Russians felt about it very much echoing very much of the politicians.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): Our country should be able to participate. All the doping stuff has been twisted by international organizations. And I don't think that's right.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (through translator): Without Russia it's not going to be the Olympics. It all politics and it's not fair and it's a pity our sportsmen have to suffer.

SEBASTIAN: They've said they can compete under a neutral flag?

How do you feel about that?


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Actually Olympic Games is about unity but it's about unity of different nations. Well, if you're under some neutral flag, it's about nothing.


SEBASTIAN: So certainly a sense of dismay on the streets there. But as you say, the real question is, what will they do to respond?

Could they appeal?

Could they boycott?

The head of the Russian Olympic committee himself suspended from the IOC, said they're not ready to talk about an appeal yet. As for a boycott, the Kremlin said before this decision that they weren't considering a boycott. But we haven't heard from them yet and we expect possibly to hear from them later today.

SESAY: Clare, thank you. Let me bring in Paula.

So what's the reaction to all of this in Seoul?

And as Clare makes the point, we haven't heard recent reaction -- we haven't heard any reaction from the Kremlin specifically after this question of a boycott.

How great are fears of a Russian boycott where you are?

PAULA NEWTON, CNN CORRESPONDENT: The release that South Korean had was the fact that Russian athletes could compete if they could prove that they were clean, even though they wouldn't show any signs of being from Russia necessarily with an anthem uniform.

I want to give you the official statement, though, from the Olympic Committee here.

"We accept and respect the decisions of the IOC Executive Board that Russia may compete under a neutral flag. We will work with the IOC and other relevant stakeholders accordingly to ensure that the athletes and officials attending the games are part of the team, are given the best possible experience."

What is clear here is that the organizing committee did express some surprise they had gone this far. There is a lot of adversity ahead of these games. You have to think about the security situation. We talk about that every day.

And on top of that, ticket sales have been less than brisk. One area where that's not true is figure skating. And what's so interesting here is that Russia did get (INAUDIBLE), who is basically the star figure skater for Russia. She's not just a star in Russia; she's basically the star of these Olympic Games. She's 18, two-time world defender In figure skating. She appealed to the IOC on Tuesday to not take this decision.


NEWTON: She has said publicly that it would seem very strange for her not to be able to compete for her country using her country's uniform. She has not made a decision about whether or not to compete.

And a decision like hers is really crucial because it means a lot in terms of the kind of popularity these games will have and in terms of TV viewership. You cannot overstate how important some of those Russian athletes are.

SESAY: And, Clare, to that point, what is being said there in Russia, in terms of Russian athletes wanting to go ahead and compete under a neutral flag?

Do you expect a significant attempt to go down that path?

SEBASTIAN: The short answer is that no firm decision has been taken yet. We expect that a meeting will be held on December 12th for all Russian prospective Winter Olympians so they can make a firm decision.

A couple have already spoken to state media. We're seeing a range of views, one saying that athletes shouldn't be condemned for competing under the neutral flag and another saying it would be unsportsmanlike.

I do want to point out in terms of the popularity of this, the Russian main state-owned TV conglomerate have said they won't broadcast the games. I think they certainly telegraphed that ahead of time.

But to Paula's point about the difference it makes, the Russian athletes not being there and, specifically, not under the Russian flag, that is speaking to that point as well.

SESAY: Paula, just briefly to you, I guess the question is, now that the decision has been made, does this decision draw a line under this entire episode?

Does everyone move forward with the South Korean Olympics and put this to the back of their minds, so to speak?

NEWTON: Not at all, unfortunately, and you can see a situation where Russian athletes that do come here and compete may obviously voice their displeasure with the fact that this was the decision, especially athletes that vehemently say this kind of collective punishment is not fair.

All of this worries South Korean officials here and we have to say everything seems to be going well from an operations point of view in the Olympics. But also key to this is whether or not they can get a few, a very few North Korean athletes to participate as well.

So a lot of things still to be decided here in terms of what those Winter Games will end up looking like.

SESAY: It's just a few months away, happening in February. We'll see what happens between now and then.

Paula Newton in Seoul and Clare Sebastian in Moscow. My thanks to you both.

VAUSE: OK. A short break. When we come back, crews say the fires here in Southern California are out of control. Entire neighborhoods have gone up in flames. And it's happening incredibly fast.




VAUSE: Well, California is --


VAUSE: battling raging wildfires for the second time in just eight weeks. Strong, dry winds are quickly spreading at least five fires north of Los Angeles.

SESAY: At least two of the fires have not been contained at all. Tens of thousands of residents have evacuated, some at just a moment's notice. Two firefighters have been injured but no word of any deaths caused directly by the fires.

VAUSE: At one point the biggest of the fires was destroying an acre of land every second. And to make that point, that's almost the size of a football field going up in flames every second. The city of Ventura is now under curfew after hundreds of homes and buildings, including a hospital, were destroyed. Sara Sidner filed this report.


SARA SIDNER, CNN CORRESPONDENT: You hear the numbers, you're talking about tens of thousands of acres burned. You're talking about more than 96 square miles that have been burned.

But then you see the reality, the thing that hurts when the residents have to come back into an area like this. This was a home. We ourselves watched it burn to the ground after embers came flying over. You look up at those hills, flying over from there on to this home. And it just goes up like a matchbox. We have seen that time and time again, you are seeing fires all over this city here in Ventura.

This is where the largest of four fires were burning throughout the day. Firefighters having a very difficult time getting it contained because of the Santa Ana winds that we normally see in October but that are here now in an unusual way, going very fast, at some points upwards of 70 miles an hour, making it very difficult to get in front of the fire.

Plus, it's extremely dry and that is why, for hours and hours, this particular home and many others are just smoldering. You see them smoldering there, the firefighters have been out here for much of the day, coming back and forth, trying to put out those small fires that keep popping up.

But so has the neighbor, who is terrified that the fire will jump over this wall just here and land on his home. So he has spent time with his own hose coming over and trying to make sure he can wet down the area as much as possible. He's been calling over firefighters to say, hey, it's burning again. This is a dangerous situation and everyone in this neighborhood is

fearful that their home could be next. It has been a very rough time here in Ventura for those who live in and around this neighborhood -- Sara Sidner, CNN, Ventura, California.



VAUSE: Well, hours from now President Trump plans to recognize Jerusalem as Israel's capital. The past three U.S. Presidents avoided this decision, so why is Donald Trump upending years of U.S. foreign policy?


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

SESAY: And I'm Isha Sesay. The headlines this hour. The International Olympic Committee has barred Russia from next year's Winter Olympics for punishment for systemic doping. They too conclude they're clean will be invited to compete in South Korea but not for their country. Officially, they'll be Olympic athletes from Russia.

VAUSE: The top U.N. official for human rights -- I mean Human Rights Counsel rather believes Myanmar security forces may be guilty of genocide against Rohingya Muslims. This week later adopted a resolution condemning Myanmar for the very lively commission of crimes against humanity. Myanmar's ambassador rejected the resolution calling it a political move.

SESAY: Donald Trump is facing widespread the backlash and condemnation of his plan to recognize Jerusalem as Israel's capital. The U.S. President spoke with Arab Leaders Tuesday to warm that the decision will undermine regional stability. On Wednesday, he's also expected to announce plans to move the U.S. Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.

VAUSE: And then joining us our former L.A. City Councilwoman, Wendy Greuel, CNN Political Commentator and Trump supporter, John Phillips, Middle East expert with the RAND Corporation, Dalia Dassa Kaye. So thank you all for being with us. We are now learning a lot more about the reasons for this decision by the president. A senior administration official has told CNN, it seems clear now that the physical location of the American Embassy is not material to a peace deal. It's not an impediment to peace and it's not a facilitator to peace. After having tried this for 22 years, an acknowledgment of reality seems like an important thing. OK. So Dalia, with you with regards to where the embassy is actually located, moving it to Jerusalem seems like that the administration official has left out a third option which see that this could provoke violence and outrage across the Muslim world and could have long-term consequences for the United States.

DALIA DASSA KAYE, MIDDLE EAST EXPERT WITH THE RAND CORPORATION: Yes, absolutely. It is not just a question of jeopardizing a potential Israeli-Palestinian peace process which is already in a difficult position. But it is the broader implication for U.S. interest and regional stability that this move could lead to. So there's a lot of worry that this step recognizing all of Jerusalem and not even accepting Palestinian claims over East Jerusalem if that is what the decision will be will inflame the Muslim world and possibly, we don't know for sure, but could lead to protests and potentially violence that could harm U.S. interests in the region.

[02:35:20] VAUSE: And John, it seems this decision was not driven by diplomacy. It was driven by, you know, a desire to keep a campaign promise that Donald Trump made last year. Sheldon Adelson for one, the big casino in Las Vegas, very pro-Israeli. He donated $25 million to the Trump campaign. He's going to be very happy. Good return on investment.

JOHN PHILLIPS, CNN POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, he's keeping a campaign promise and I will say this, this is not something that's unique to Donald Trump or unique to the Republican Party. This is a promise that politicians in both parties have been making for some time. It reminds me of everyone making the New Year's resolution to lose weight. Well, Donald Trump is the only guy on the treadmill. He's the first one to actually keep this word and actually do what he said he was going to do. And I would add that in many ways, whenever the country has a bipartisan consensus, it's usually bad for the average person that's usually bad for the voter. One issue where there is a bipartisan consensus in this country and I think it's very good is support for the State of Israel. The fact that the Israeli Government is behind this, American politicians in both parties are behind this. I think it's a good thing and I think it's long overdue.

VAUSE: Wendy, President Obama didn't make this decision or this promise rather. President Clinton was in favor of it in principle. President Bush said he made his decision to move the embassy. But once they got into office, W. Bush and Clinton, they realized the huge ramifications that come with this, and they realized it was not a good idea.

WENDY GREUEL, FORMER L.A. COUNCILWOMAN: Well, I think you saw Senator Schumer just in October say, he believes that it should be in Jerusalem.

VAUSE: He said it's going to be moved in Jerusalem, yes.

GREUEL: And I think that important part of this is how is President Trump going to implement this? I mean, you know, his foreign policy accolades or what he's been able to do has not necessarily been so great as how his implementation, and I think that's a lot of questions people have, how will this occur in a way that will be seen by both Republicans and Democrats and hopefully he has been communicating with the Israelis about how this is going to be implemented. That I think is what people are going to be interested as well.

VAUSE: So do you go -- you and I seem to agree that there really is no political cost here for the president domestically?

GREUEL: I think -- I think we do agree. Shockingly, John and I actually agree on that.

VAUSE: Yes. I'm taking the backpedal of that.

GREUEL: But I -- and it is -- he is fulfilling that campaign promise.

PHILLIPS: And I also don't think that you should be able to be bullied by people who are promising three days of rage if you don't give them what they want. If suddenly we start tailoring American diplomacy to violent mobs, then we're going to end up making all kinds of bad decisions.

VAUSE: Dalia, I'd like to bring you on that because clearly, this decision has ramifications and quite often there's always been an issue that Jerusalem has special status. It has special status, you know, since 1948 because it's, you know, the center of religion for the three monotheistic faith. By Donald Trump making this decision, he said that he would make it clear that the United States is not taking a position on whether or how Jerusalem has divided between Israel and the Palestinians. But making this announcement, hasn't he already done that? And isn't that the problem here?

KAYE: Yes, absolutely. You know, there's a reason that for decades no U.S. Present, Republican, or Democrat, despite campaign pledges and rhetoric has ever actually done this before. So I think we should not underestimate what a radical move this will be for U.S. Foreign Policy putting domestic politics aside. And in fact, recent polling actually shows the majority of Americans are not particularly in favor of this move. So it is, I think a critical issue for regional stability and the reason that previous presidents, democrat, and republican have not done this and the reason why many national security advisors and reportedly even state department officials are opposed to this is because it does risk inflaming regional violence and it's not that we're being bullied. This is a sensitive issue in the region.

Jerusalem is key issue to identity to the Palestinians, to the broader Muslim community. It's a key identity issue to Israelis, so it's important to recognize this capital as an importance to both sides and that's why traditional U.S. Policy had said, this is an issue we need to leave this for the Israelis and Palestinians to negotiate in a peace process. This is not a decision to impose on one party or the other.

VAUSE: And before the negotiations before you go, John. Turkey's president for one among those who are expecting, you know, some anger at this, is outrage, and Recep Tayyip Erdogan, he's warning there will be consequences.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I would like to reiterate my sadness over the reports that the United States is giving ready to recognize Jerusalem as Israel's capital. Mr. Trump, Jerusalem is the red line for Muslims. Our struggle on this matter will continue with resolve. As a matter of fact, this can go as far as breaking off our diplomatic relations with Israel.


[02:40:07] VAUSE: So, John, I guess the point here is, John, OK, it may be good domestic politics but it's not good globally and this -- a lot of people say, does not move these two sides closer to a peace deal, the Israelis and the Palestinians.

PHILLIPS: Many of the countries in that region doesn't recognize Israel's right to exist.

VAUSE: Yes. Turkey is one of them and then as we're talking about breaking diplomatic relations.

PHILLIPS: Right. But it's not just them. There are my other countries in that part of the world that are criticizing this move. I don't think we should back down. I don't think we should alter our policy because they're threatening three days of violence or they're threatening any number of other things.

VAUSE: OK. Well, you know, we heard from the Arab and the Muslim world, we also hear from top diplomats with the E.U. who are concerned about with what this means for America's position in the world.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The European Union supports the resumption of a meaningful peace process towards a two-state solution. We believe that any action that would undermine these efforts must absolutely be avoided. A way must be found through negotiations to resolve the status of Jerusalem, the future capital of both states so that the aspirations of both parties can be fulfilled.


VAUSE: And so Wendy, you know, where does this leave America's leadership when it comes to the -- not just the Israeli/Palestinians issue but, you know, within the Aram Muslim world? I mean there -- is there now a credibility problem for Donald Trump? Some within the administration say, oh, he's incredible because he keeps his word. But how do you see it?

GREUEL: Well, I think it is -- again, if you look historically at all of the presidents who have said they're going to do this and the time it's going to take President Trump is not going to take three to four years. The issue is how you facilitate that implementation. The negotiations and discussions you have with those other countries. This is the beginning of that process. My concern is whether or not this administration has the ability to do it in a way that is not going to not cause that kind of consternation with those all other --

VAUSE: There's been a groundwork lately, you know, (INAUDIBLE) as it also came out of the blue which why so many people have been taken by surprise and the timing.

PHILLIPS: We coordinated with the Israelis.

VAUSE: But and they're happy. Well, I mean, anyway, it is good to see you, guys. Thank you, John, and Wendy, and also Dalia. Thank you very much.

KAYE: Thank you.

SESAY: Just hours away from the announcement.

VAUSE: Yes, 1:00 Eastern Time.


VAUSE: Coming soon.

SESAY: Now, quick break. Not much is certain in Myanmar except the growing possibility of a devastating humanitarian crisis, the challenges that eight groups are facing, next.


SESAY: Yemen has long been one of the poorest countries in the Middle East. But now, a civil war which erupted in March 2015 has brought away that a manmade catastrophe. And according to the U.N., we're currently witnessing the largest humanitarian crisis in the world. Right now, the 7 million men, women, and children are on the brink of famine.

[02:45:00] More than 100 children are dying every single day. The U.N. Security Council is calling on all sides in the conflict to de- escalate, as more innocent victims fall victim to this fighting. The prospects of peace further dim this week when the war-torn nations former President Ali Abdullah Saleh was killed in Sana'a by his one- time allies, the Iranian-backed Houthi rebels. In recent days, gunfire and bombing campaign have paralyzed parts of the country and all the while, Yemen's people are suffering. A suffering made worse by Saudi Arabia's partial blockade of Yemen's air, sea, and land ports, denying millions access to critical supplies they desperately need to survive.

Well, joining me now is Paolo Cernuschi, he is the country director for the International Rescue Committee. He joins me from Yemen's capital, Sana'a. Paolo, thank you so much for being with us. According to the Red Cross, at least 234 people were killed and 400 wounded in five days of fighting. Can you tell us about the last couple of days and what the situation is like now?

PAOLO CERNUSCHI, COUNTRY DIRECTOR, INTERNATIONAL RESCUE COMMITTEE: The situation has been very intense with almost consistent fighting over Saturday, Sunday, and parts of Monday. Which (INAUDIBLE) firing on both sides, airstrikes from Saudi-led coalition. And today, the situation seemed a little bit quieter. I'm not quite sure why there's been a long-end fighting but I think it's definitely well (INAUDIBLE) to allow the people to get out of their homes, restock on basic necessities, and basic supplies in case there's a calm before the storm.

SESAY: And that was -- that was my question. My next question, which is, you know, what level of freedom do people have to get out and find food and other basic necessities given this bombing campaign which you never know which turn it's going to -- it's going to take.

CERNUSCHI: I think over time, people in Sana'a have come almost to terms with the bombing and they will -- they will take it as an acceptable risk, almost, which is almost ridiculous to think about. But the lull in the fighting yesterday and today is what's really allowed people to get out of their houses because they have 72 hours before that, and there's just no possibility of leaving the buildings because of street fighting, artillery fire, and the airstrikes combine.

SESAY: Well, the U.N. has called this as we just said, the world's largest humanitarian crisis. Describe for our viewers how IRC is responding and what you're facing as you work to help the millions who are in need?

CERNUSCHI: So, what our response call spans a number of sectors. We provide health care for 10,000 people a week, nutrition support for 500 children per week. Clean water for 50,000 individuals. That's the difficult quite (INAUDIBLE) that we provide to the people of Yemen. It is a difficult context to operate in. We're working with both sides. Working in very complicated areas and right now, for example, we've had to halt operations in the north for the past three days, because of the uncertainty around these clashing and the escalating conflicts in and around Sana'a.

SESAY: There are 7 million people, at least, on the brink of famine and with the Saudi blockade only being loosened and the entry of commercial supplies still restricted, what are we looking at in terms of this famine? Can it be reverted or are we past the point of no return?

CERNUSCHI: I would like to hope we're not past the point of no return yet. But action needs to be taken urgently and I feel like we should. The courts needs to completely reopen to humanitarian as well as commercial traffic. Humanitarian aid alone which is being allowed to trickle in is just not sufficient to cover the needs of the entire Yemeni population. So, commercial supplies must be allowed in alongside the humanitarian aid. And until that happens, we will continue to stare down barrel of (INAUDIBLE) for Yemen.

SESAY: Paolo Cernuschi, we appreciate you joining us. Stay safe there in Sana'a. Thank you so much for the update.

CERNUSCHI: Great. Thanks for having me.

VAUSE: OK. A short break. When we come back, Rock 'n' Roll legend Johnny Hallyday has died. Many friends though are remembering him as a lot more than just their country's Elvis Presley.

SESAY: Plus, Colin Kaepernick awarded for his work in social justice. How sports illustrated honors the quarterback, next.


[02:51:32] VAUSE: Well, former NFL quarterback, Colin Kaepernick has received the Muhammad Ali Legacy Award. Muhammad Ali is one of Kaepernick's idols. He was presented this award by superstar singer Beyonce as part of the sportsperson of the year hosted by Sports Illustrated in New York.


BEYONCE GISELLE KNOWLES-CARTER, SINGER-SONGWRITER: Ladies and gentlemen, I'm so proud and humbled to present the Muhammad Ali Legacy Award to Colin Kaepernick.

COLIN KAEPERNICK, FORMER NFL QUARTERBACK: I accept this award knowing that the legacy of Muhammad Ali is that of a champion of the people and one who was affectionately known as the people's champ. I accept this award not for myself but on behalf of the people. Because if it were not for my love for the people, I wouldn't have protested. And if it was not for the support from the people, I would not be on this stage today. With or without the NFL's platform, I will continue to work for the people because my platform is the people.


SESAY: Well, Kaepernick's black rights protest has drawn comparison to Muhammad Ali's protest against the Vietnam War back in the late 60s. It will (INAUDIBLE) will air on Friday night here in the united states.

VAUSE: Johnny Hallyday, the Rock 'n' Roll son known as the Elvis of France has died at age 74. The cause of the death has not been officially announced, but last March he announced he was being treated for cancer.

SESAY: France's President Emmanuel Macron said Hallyday was a vibrant icon for more than 50 years. Our Jim Bittermann has more on Hallyday's life both on and off the stage.


JIM BITTERMANN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: He was one of France's most identifiable personalities. Appeared on the cover of French magazines more than 2,000 times and enjoyed a musical career that spanne more than a half-century. And while outside the French- speaking world, Johnny Hallyday was barely known, inside there was only one Johnny. His career began with the birth of Rock 'n' Roll. Elvis was gaining prominence in the U.S. and it was the music and style that Hallyday emulated.

JOHNNY HALLYDAY, FRENCH SINGER: My first idol was Elvis because he made me want to be a singer, I mean, to be a Rock 'n' Roll singer.

BITTERMANN: But it would be entirely wrong to dismiss Hallyday as a French Elvis, he was far more, he captivated French young people in the 60s, introducing them to the twist, motorcycle, and fast cars.

BERTRAND DICALE, MUSIC JOURNALIST: Elvis was abroad, Elvis was English speaking. He was a fun-kind of myth. But Johnny was Rock 'n' Roll, he was the real Rock 'n' Roll. The Rock 'n' Roll that you can understand about love, about fury, about rebellion, and about riding a motorcycle, having a brand new car. Every myth of the Rock 'n' Roll was in Johnny's voice.

BITTERMANN: Yet Hallyday also branched out from his Rock 'n' Roll origins, catching new trends as they came along. Trying practically every sort of popular music from rhythm and blues to country to acid rock. In all, throughout his long career, he recorded a thousand different titles and sold millions of records.

PHILIPPE MANOEUVRE, FRENCH JOURNALIST: He sold more records than David Bowie in France. David Bowie worldwide sold 140, Johnny sold 150. It's like incredible when you think of the figures and he's been playing the music of the French people since 60s.

[02:55:10] BITTERMANN: Over the years, Hallyday developed a bad boy notoriety which turned off parents but just then geared him more to their children. As time went on, his reputation grew more and more scandalous, alcohol, drugs, girlfriends, multiple marriages, he never denied any of it. And in fact, the gossipy stories just bounced off Hallyday and seemed to enhance his career.

MANOEUVRE: Many times people said that's it. That's the last draw. This is something that's going to stop his career. And it was never more evident than in the 90s when under front page Johnny Hallyday has a cocaine problem. His record company was worried and therefore this is it, you know, Johnny is not going to -- and that he always -- the people regrouped. He has this army of fans, some of them have seen him hundreds of times. This is incredible. You have people who really follow his tours from city to city.

BITTERMANN: And it was the tours, Johnny and Johnny's fans lived for. He loved the live audiences and went on nearly 200 concert tours playing not only the big cities, but the defibrillation and delight of his fans, he always managed to include small towns as well. If there was a disappointment for Hallyday, it was that he could never seem to transfer his appeal outside the French-speaking world. He tried recording in English and going on tour on the English accent countries but only with limited success.

It didn't matter. In his homeland, Johnny Hallyday was a legend. So much so that when it came time to commemorate the first anniversary of a terrorist attack at Charlie Hebdo, organizers chose Hallyday to sing in tribute. Johnny Hallyday, a Rock 'n' Roller whose career was woven into the life of France for more than a half century.


SESAY: I love the charisma.

VAUSE: Yes. Look, obviously a legend. But like Guinness Beer in Ireland, it doesn't travel outside the country very well. I guess, you know, he was huge in France, just never traveled outside.

SESAY: You've been watching CNN NEWSROOM live from Los Angeles. What can I say on his laugh, I'm Isha Sesay.

VAUSE: I'm John Vause. And Rosemary Church is in Atlanta (INAUDIBLE) next. SESAY: It doesn't always translate live --

VAUSE: You're watching CNN.


ROSEMARY CHURCH, CNN INTERNATIONAL ANCHOR: Trump's decision on Jerusalem despite warnings from world leaders.