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Suspect In Pipe Bomb Pledged Allegiance To ISIS, Officials Say; Scientist Link California Wildfires To Climate Change; Dozens Hurt In Protests Against U.S. Embassy Move. Aired 2-3a ET
Aired December 12, 2017 - 02:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
JOHN VAUSE, CNN HOST: This is CNN Newsroom live from Los Angeles. Ahead this hour.
ISHA SESAY, CNN HOST: Donald Trump's accusers band together asking Congress to investigate the president and the new atmosphere brought on by the Me Too movement.
VAUSE: Bell (ph) terror attack in the heart of New York City. A pipe bomb partially detonates, mainly wounds the terrorist suspect himself and has claimed allegiance to ISIS.
SESAY: And, as one of the biggest fires in California's history continues to burn the state's governor blasts U.S. President Donald Trump for his stand on climate change. Hello and welcome to our viewers around the world. I'm Isha Sesay.
VAUSE: I'm John Vause. Great to have you with us for the third hour of Newsroom L.A. It's down to the wire in the U.S. state of Alabama in the final hours of a stunning Senate campaign that has exploded on the national stage.
SESAY: Voters will choose between Roy Moore, the republican accused of sexual misconduct and assault and Doug Jones, a democrat fighting an uphill battle in a deeply republican state. Monday night's rally was Moore's first campaign event in nearly a week. He had virtually disappeared from the campaign trail in recent days.
When Moore took to the stage he had some harsh words for Alabama's senior Senator Richard Shelby who says he's not voting for Moore.
ROY MOORE, AMERICAN POLITICIAN: We've had several senators to contest my election, one from this state.
You know, we talk about draining the swamp. I don't know if you remember this but it's difficult to drain the swamp when you're up to your neck in alligators.
And, that's where we are. (END VIDEOCLIP)
VAUSE: Doug Jones, the democrat, he says, "The women who made the allegations against Roy Moore were courageous just like an American civil rights hero."
DOUG JONES, AMERICAN POLITICIAN: I was so happy to be in Montgomery in December 1st, which is the anniversary of Rosa Parks sitting down at a bus and not moving and let me tell you I was so happy because, let me tell you something, if we have ever had a year of courageous women it is 2017 right now.
VAUSE: If Jones actually manages to win, he'll be the first democrat to represent Alabama in the Senate in more that two decades.
SESAY: Well, sexual harassment and misconduct have been major issues in the Alabama Senate race but similar accusations have reached the top levels of political power.
VAUSE: All the way to the Oval Office and the U.S. president. Both, Roy Moore and Donald Trump deny all of the allegations against them but now three of Trump's accusers are back in the spotlight calling for a congressional investigation. Here's CNN's Jim Acosta.
JIM ACOSTA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: For the White House the questions aren't going away even if the answers remain the same.
SARAH SANDERS, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: The president has addressed these accusations directly and denied all of these allegations.
ACOSTA: Women who accused President Trump of harassment or even assault are telling their stories once again to join the Me Too movement that is shining a bright light on the issue of sexual abuse in the U.S.
RACHEL CROOKS, TRUMP ACCUSER: This was serial misconduct and perversion on the part of Mr. Trump. Unfortunately this behavior isn't rare in our society and people of all backgrounds can be victims. The only reason I am here today is because this offender is now the president of our country.
(END VIDEOCLIP) ACOSTA: The women are also speaking out as the president is endorsing republican Senate Candidate Roy Moore who's denying accusations of sexual assault or abuse by four women including one woman who alleges he molested her when she was 14.
JESSICA LEEDS, TRUMP ACCUSER: In some areas of our society people are being held accountable for unwanted behavior but we are not holding our president accountable for what he is and who he is?
ACOSTA: Press Secretary Sarah Sanders claim there are eyewitnesses who will back up the president's denials.
SANDERS: Several reports have shown those eyewitnesses also back up the president's claim in this process. And, again, the American people knew this and voted for the president and we feel like we're ready to move forward in that process.
ACOSTA: Sanders made that claim despite Mr. Trump being caught on tape with Access Hollywood bragging about forcing himself onto women.
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I'm just start kissing them. I'm sort of a magnet. You just - (inaudible). And when you're a star they let you do it.
ACOSTA: U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley appeared to differ somewhat with the White House view that the issue of the president's past behavior was settled in the last election.
NIKKI HALEY, U.S. AMBASSADOR: Women who accuse anyone should be heard. They should be heard and they should be dealt with and I think we heard from them prior to the election and I think any woman who has felt violated or felt mistreated in any way, they have every right to speak up.
JIM ACOSTA, CNN REPORTER: So before the election, the Trump campaign tried to argue past behavior does matter according to women who have accused former president Bill Clinton of this conduct.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Bill Clinton raped me. ACOSTA: In an exclusive CNN interview, Senator Kirsten Gillibrand joined a growing number of democratic senators who say there's enough evidence to call on the President to resign from office.
KIRSTEN GILLIBRAND, U.S. SENATOR: President Trump should resign. These allegations are credible, they are numerous, I've heard these women's testimony and many of them are heart breaking.
ACOSTA: As the President's accusers were sharing their stories. Mr. Trump was lashing out once again at the news media on Twitter. A line of attack on the American press picked up in the White House briefing room.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Journalists make honest mistakes and that doesn't make them fake news but the question that -
SARAH HUCKABEE SANDERS, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: When journalists make honest mistakes, they should own up to them sometimes and a lot of times you don't. There's a difference - there's a very big difference - I'm sorry, I'm not finished. There's a very big difference between making 2honest mistakes and purposefully misleading the American people.
ACOSTA: As for the press secretary's claim that there are eye witnesses who will back up the denials That he even engaged in sexual misconduct, the White House has passed along a few new reports that came out during the 2016 campaign. The days that the President has hardly produced enough evidence or eye witnesses to refuse all of the claims of abuse directed at the President. Jim Acosta, CNN, the White House.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Jessica Levinson is with us now. She's the professor of Law and Governance at Loyola Law School. Jessica, god to see you.
JESSICA LEVINSON, PROFESSOR AT LOYOLA LAW SCHOOL : Good to see you.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: OK, you know how many allegations we heard on Monday actually new but are more people willing to believe these women now. And what does that actually mean for the President? This continues to insist that they are all liars.
LEVINSON: The President seems to be wearing suits made of Teflon. These allegations are just bouncing right off of him and so Sarah Sanders is right in the sense that the American public knew about these allegations against President Trump and still voted to elect him.
Now that was before the Me Too movement which I truly think is a movement but if you notice about the people who are calling for investigation, calling for the president to step down. It's still based of party affiliation, so it's still all democrat and it's still predominantly women and I think it's time for this to not be a fight that is just about an exaggeration of a partisanship fight and it should be much bigger than that. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: But just to be clear, that argument that the White House continues to put forward that the American people knew about this, they still voted him President. That is not an exoneration of guilt, that doesn't mean that his is clear of it.
LEVINSON: No, it's an indictment of all of us. The fact that we knew that and then still elected him is deeply disturbing. She is correct that all of these allegations are not new. We're in this idea that there are people who are going to cooperate the fact that this didn't happen. We have the then candidate, now President of the United States on tape admitting to sexual assault.
This isn't just inappropriate behavior; it's not so called locker room talk, so this is a deep indictment on the American public that because he had an R next to his name and because he was popular in some respects, we still elected him to be leader of the free world.
It wasn't a vote about whether or not he actually sexually harassed -
LEVINSON: No. This was not the jury said you didn't - I think it was accepting that it happened but we're going to vote for you for president anyway.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: OK, all of this outcome's full circle with the President campaigning for Roy Moore, the Alabama Senate candidate. He's accused by multiple women of sexually inappropriate behavior. The former White House advisor, Steve Bannon, he was out campaigning on Monday. He made it clear; this election was all about supporting the president against the republican establishment. Listen to this.
STEPHEN BANNON, FORMER WHITE HOUSE ADVISOR: All that staffing up there everyday that doesn't have Trump's back; you know they don't have his back at all. What they want him for is that corporate tax cut, that's all they want him for. As soon as they get that tax cut, you want what happens. There's a special place in hell for republicans who should know better.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That last past there, special place in hell. Clearly that is aimed at the President's daughter; Ivanka had used those words in criticizing Roy Moore. She said there's a special place in hell for people who abuse children. Bannon's going after everyone.
LEVINSON: He is. He is a very - this kind of vintage thief Bannon, he's going after everyone. It is absolutely not a surprising; also not a coincidence that he used this phase, there's a special place in hell.
What is fascinating about the Alabama race is not just that Steve Bannon is attacking everybody but the President of the United Sates has aligned himself with someone who is facing incredible allegations of not just - he did something's he shouldn't have but credible allegations of pedophilia.
And yes it's Alabama and yes it's a special election, but the only reason we're talking about Doug Jones is because he's running against someone who's been accused of sexual assault.
JOHN VAUSE, CNN HOST: Well yes, Doug Jones has received a lot of high profile help from the Democrats you know Cory Booker the Senator here for instances being campaigning with him. President Obama recorded a (robo) call for Jones and there's also the retired NBA star Charles Barkley he ripped into Moore at a campaign rally on Monday.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CHARLES BARKLEY, FORMER NBA PLAYER: It's unbelievable that this guy is still in the race. When people in your own party say they won't vote for you or support you, that's a dead give away.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VAUSE: At least Barkley's from Alabama, but to all of this outside help ultimately back fire could it end up helping Roy Moore?
LEVINSON: It could, but again I think the most important thing here is that if you look at the demographics of who's registered to vote in Alabama and overwhelmingly those people have an R next to their name. So, there's a lot of talk and we like to think that celebrity endorsements help and who's on the campaign trail helps and who's making robocalls helps.
It helps to a certain extent because this is a special election so it's very low turnout, but unlike most special elections it's not at all low information. People tend to make up their minds and know who they're going to vote for without Charles Barkley or President Obama telling them what to do. We like to think that all those things matter, but the truth is most people have made up their minds by the time they see the name and the party affiliation.
VAUSE: OK, but I want to get back to that exchange between the White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders and (Jim McCalister). Sanders kind of went a little nuclear during the White House briefing on Monday accusing reporters of deliberately putting out stories intended to mislead. Calling it ultimately fake news, it seems what she was describing was exactly what President Trump has done.
Putting out these fake news stories, these misleading items and then not correcting it like Trump's (inaudible) was bugged by President Obama. Millions of unregistered undocumented immigrants voted for Hillary Clinton. And it all began with the size of the inauguration crowds. This is a President who continuously puts out misleading information and then does not correct the record.
LEVINSON: So there's two deeply dangerous things that happened. One is information coming from the President of the United States through him and through his Press Secretary that is just false and it is never corrected. And then and that is something that we should not, again we should not normalize or accept.
The second thing, which is I think is just as dangerous is the President and the Press Secretary trying to undermine the media. Which is something that we know is the foundation of our democracy and this is what happens, I mean not to sound too traumatic, but this is what happens with autocratic leaders. Where they say you can't trust the press, you can't trust what those reporters are saying.
And what Sarah Sanders is talking about here is mistakes have been made by the press, but absolutely no evidence that the press is actively trying to mislead the American public. Where as we know, just as we know gravity exists that the President has said that there are things - said things that are false and never gone back and said I'm sorry about that.
I mean down to the idea of how many people are in a space, as you said down to the inauguration. So, I think we all need to be particularly aware when we are at the point where we are trying to undermine the free press, which is where we are today.
VAUSE: A bunch of mistakes in the last couple of days has not helped that, but clearly reporters are trying their best. It's not a deliberate campaign to supply what Miss Sanders may have to say. It was so good to see you, thank you.
LEVINSON: Thank you.
ISHA SESAY, CNN HOST: We're turning now to New York on what authorities call an attempted terrorist attack. A law enforcement source tells CNN the man accused of detonating a homemade pipe bomb had at least two devices. The pipe bomb went off in an underground passageway at the cities main bus terminal during the Monday morning rush hour. Surveillance video captured the blast, five people suffered minor injuries.
So as you look at these images here you can see the suspect lying on the ground injured after detonating the explosive. He's been identified as 27 year old Akayed Ullah. He immigrated to the U.S. from Bangladesh. And the source says he told police he pledged an allegiance to ISIS and carried out the attack because of recent Israeli actions in Gaza.
Well, CNN Law Enforcement Contributor and Retired F.B.I Supervisory Special Agent Steve Moore joins us now right here in Los Angeles, Steve good to have you with us.
STEVE MOORE, CNN LAW ENFORCEMENT CONTRIBUTOR AND RETIRED F.B.I. SUPERVISORY SPECIAL AGENT: Good to be here.
SESAY: All right, so the suspect here 27 year old Akayed Ullah tried to do some serious damage with a device he says he made at home described by the New York Police Commissioner James O'Neill as an improvised, low-tech explosive device attached to his body and he intentionally detonated that device says Commissioner James O'Neill. I wanted to talk specifically about the composition here.
As far as we understand there we're being told that it was a foot long pipe, contained black batter, a batter, wiring, nails and screws. This according to a source telling CNN it was attached to his person with Velcro and Zip Ties. What does the composition holder say to you? MOORE: Well it says to me, first of all, that this guy was somebody
who learned how to make bombs by reading the instructions on the internet, which always works in our favor because they either make bad bombs or their killed by the bombs they're trying to make.
And it shows that there was no direct training from Isis. I suspect what happened here is he made a mistake in the amount of ingredients he put in the pipe bomb. And bombs can go off, what we call high order, which means they're extremely efficient or low order, which means they don't go off hardly at all.
I mean, you say not a lot of blood in this situation, if any at all, which indicates to me that his injuries were burns not fragmentation.
SESAY: Yes, which is what we're hearing that they were burns to the abdomen and his hands. The fact that -- well first let me ask you, how easy is it to find this stuff on the internet?
MOORE: I can get it for you in four clicks.
SESAY: OK, four clicks. How easy is it to make such a thing? I mean, it's one thing to...
MOORE: Make it right?
MOORE: To make right is very difficult. One thing we had to do at bomb investigation school is literally learn how to build them ourselves so that we would learn how to put together these defragments of these bombs after they had gone off. And one thing that struck me repeatedly was that it is much too easy to kill yourself if you are not doing these things right. And that actually is working in our favor at times.
SESAY: It's our understanding, as we've been sharing with our viewer, that there were two devices. That's what we're being told, but we're not getting any information on the second device. What does that say to you?
MOORE: I'm guessing, because these people tend not to try to do two different bombs. I mean he didn't even get the first one right, so I'm guessing that it's probably going to be a lot like the first one and I'd be interested in little archaic things like the diameter of the pipe? Where he bought the pipe? And things like that.
But what this is, is the problem over and over again, is we're getting individuals who tell no one that they've decided to conduct an attack in the name of Isis. When the tell no one, the only way we're going to find them is through some type of...
SESAY: Leakage, right?
MOORE: ...yes, leakage in the community, leakage from them and actually we're going to have to look at people who go into your average Home Depot and ask for a foot long pipe threaded at both ends. SESAY: I mean, whether or not he got direct assistance from Isis,
which by all accounts judging by the standards of this device, it doesn't appear he did. It seems unlikely, let's say that. There's still the question of how he became radicalized.
MOORE: Yes and I think that's going to be answered by the fact that he was back in Bangladesh earlier this year, then he went to the United Arab Emirates. And what we as law enforcement are going to have to get better at doing is following people who go overseas to potentially...
SESAY: That's a lot of people Steve. A lot of people with limited reasons.
MOORE: Some of my real good friends, in the last year, have gone to India, Pakistan and the UAE and so I understand how big it's going to be. But, World War II was a real big thing we had to do.
This is what we're going to have to learn do to stop this, is screening everybody before they get on airlines. That's a huge thing that we had to do and unfortunately we're going to have to do some monumental things if we want to stop this. Because, had he been just a little bit better, he could have killed a lot of people.
SESAY: Indeed, but what's also noticeable here is that this is the first time a (inaudible) reporting a lot of investigating that we have seen someone try and blow themselves up as a lone wolf actor here in the United States. Vehicles, that's one thing. Planting devices that you detonate from afar, that's another thing. He strapped it to his body.
MOORE: Right, right. One thing in common for all of them is they don't expect to survive. And this guy was probably reaching a little bit too far. Had he used a car, he could have probably killed some people, had he used a knife. But I think the golden egg here is getting down into the subways or getting into large office buildings.
SESAY: Let me share a point made by William Bratton, the former Police Commissioner. He said this, the reality is that if someone wants to take time to plan an attack, there's no shortage of places they can plan an attack on and in New York City.
He also said, the pace of the attacks has accelerated which is naturally a concern. Your response to what he said, because I mean the fact of the matter is, New York is a big city. They can go anywhere and they seem to be trying their luck. I mean the last one we talked about was Halloween.
MOORE: Bill Bratton is very smart. Bill Bratton is correct. The pace is increasing and that's very troublesome. And so to -- you know the definition of insanity is just doing the same thing and expecting a different result.
If we do not follow the travel habits of people from certain countries, and I realize the civil liberties concerns and the concerns we as Americans have in not wanting to judge people by religion or their travel habits. But it is very easy to determine whether something was a -- was legitimate travel or not.
We cannot go ahead and do the same things that we've been doing and expect to win against terrorism.
SESAY: Steve Moore, appreciate it. Thank you.
VAUSE: Our next here on NEWSROOM L.A., we'll have an update on the Thomas fire, one of the largest (ph) wildfires California has ever seen.
SESAY: Hello, everyone. Now that (ph) the firefighters are dealing with dry weather and strong winds as they battle the fifth largest wildfire in modern California's history.
VAUSE: The tallest fire is one of six major fires burning in Southern California right now. The (ph) details from CNN's Kyung Lah.
KYUNG LAH, SENIOR U.S. CORRESPONDENT, CNN: The Thomas fire, the largest of Southern California's wildfires remains a significant threat even as the weather begins to shift. What you are looking at is the Southwestern flank of this fire. This is the area where firefighters have been making a stand. In part, because what is directly below this area, if you were to continue to burn at a high rate of speed, Santa Barbara, Carpinteria, towns, many, many homes.
But, the wind shifted today. What you're seeing is that smoke heading upwards. Yesterday, it was burning down. The smoke was covering this area. You couldn't see the sun. The evacuation area was expanding rapidly. Today, it is much more of a slow burn. A positive development, say firefighters, but this fire still remains a significant problem.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
LAH: Is it too soon to say things are looking up?
MIKE ELIASON, PUBLIC INFORMATION OFFICER, SANTA BARBARA COUNTY FIRE DEPARTMENT: It's -- it's not too soon. It -- you know, hope springs eternal and every day, we're going to hope that this is progressing and getting closer and closer to being put to bed. But right now, we're going to need some rain. And the long range forecast doesn't show that.
This fire can burn -- we're number five on the list of biggest fires in the state of California's history. We moved up a slot from yesterday, when we were number six. We're going to need a lot of work. We've got some -- a lot of folks. Over 6,000 people are attached to this fire and they're working hard and they're going to be here until this fire's completely out.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LAH: More than 6,000 firefighters remain, trying to fight just this one fire. They say what would make a significant difference, the game changer would be some rain. But so far, rain is not forecast for weeks in California. Kyung Lah, CNN, Santa Barbara County, California.
SESAY: Well, (ph) meteorologist Pedram Javaheri joins us with the latest conditions in Southern California. Pedram, you're saying the last hour, that the rains are still a way out, still about 10 days out or so. But when they come, will they come in sufficient amount, if you -- if you know what I mean? To make a difference?
PEDRAM JAVAHERI, METEOROLOGIST, CNN: Yes. You know -- so you need about a half an inch or so. So we're talking about 12 or so millimeters of rainfall to put a good dent in a fire of any significance, Issa. And this, of course, is a historic one. Looking at the models going in towards the 22, 23 of December, there's a fair amount of rainfall in there. Of course 10 days out, it could change dramatically.
But at this point, it is targeted right over Southern California, it has been showing that trend for about a week, that is a good sign to look at carefully of course and we'll continue to monitor and see if that trend holds as it has. But look at what's happened of course.
We know 90 percent of the land consumed across this entire region of Southern California in the last seven days has all come from this one fire, the Thomas Fire itself, 93,000 hectors of land consumed. That is upwards of 104,000 consumed when you put in the other five fires together.
And for course you take the burrow -- the five burrows of New York and then put Boston together, this is more land than all of that. And all of it because of high pressure sitting in place, fanning the flames of course to historic values.
But we're seeing this fire from this high pressure at least begin to list (ph) a little bit and weaken as it does. As that happens, we allow a couple things to occur, one, the moisture content to try to increase a little bit as we get more of a marine influence.
Two, the winds to lightening up a little bit as well. So the temps across places like Ohi (ph) where they've been really hard hit across Ventura Country, still into the upper 20s. That is well above average, but notice the winds over the next couple of days at least sitting on the calmer end.
And we think it could pick back up again. Now, looking at more detail here very carefully across the southern portion of Ventura Country, the high resolution model showing as a good 50, 60 kilometer power winds still in the early morning hours of Tuesday, but that's a possibility.
We get these every single morning across this region of the Santa Anna's really begin to pick up. But that is a far cry from the 80 and 90 kilometer power winds we saw this time last week. Again, here's the perspective of the other fires, notice the containment numbers up around 100 percent, only 20 percent left in place across the Thomas Fire as well. And what's really concerning is when you look at the month of December
stand out as a historic fire, one as it relates to size and also structures consumed, that's impressive.
And of course, climatologically speaking and looking at the data, we know the number of large active wildfires in the U.S. have actually been pushing up towards pretty impressive numbers as well, upwards of 250 or so every single year from the 2000 to 2012, the latest data suggests and you notice that is an increasing trend of extending that fire season.
Of course, when you're in the month December, your wet season, you can begin to see fires, that is concerning as well. And Thomas Fire coming top 10 in the most destructive, notice top three now all occurring in 2017 guys. So we're waiting for that rain and I think there is a good chance there about a week and half away.
VAUSE: OK. Something to look forward to.
SESAY: Yes, thank you, Pedram.
VAUSE: Thanks, Pedram. Well coming up here, all in for Roy Moore, presidential embrace for a Congressional candidate in an election which could be a defining moment for the republican party.
[02:30:22] JOHN VAUSE, CNN INTERNATIONAL ANCHOR: Welcome back. You're watching CNN NEWSROOM live from Las Vegas. I'm John Vause.
ISHA SESAY, CNN INTERNATIONAL ANCHOR: And I'm Isha Sesay. The headlines this hour: Authorities say the suspect who detonated a homemade pipe bomb in New York City's main bus terminal had at least one more device with him, at least five people were injured in the Monday morning blast. Police said it was an attempted terrorist attack and the device failed to fully explode. The suspect is in custody and officials say he pledged allegiance to ISIS.
VAUSE: Three women who accused Donald Trump of sexual harassment now want the assault to be investigated by Congress. The allegations are not new, they're all made before last year's election just like he did through the campaign. Donald Trump denied these allegations with the White House. Now adding there are eyewitnesses to prove the president's innocence but gave no specific details.
SESAY: It's time to push your votes in the Alabama senate race Republican Roy Moore is hoping to overcome allegations he harassed and assaulted teenage girls while in his 30s. So the President of Democrat Doug Jones is trying to compete in a fiercely Republican state. On Monday Jones compared Moore's accusers to civil rights to iconic music pop. VAUSE: When Roy Moore was first accused of inappropriate sexual behavioral by multiple women, there was initial just deafening silence from the White House. And then three weeks ago came the president's arm's length task of endorsement when he urged voters in Alabama not to support Doug Jones, the Democrat running against Moore for the Senate. Now there is nothing arm's length about it. The president is all in for Roy Moore, a candidate who is also an accused child molester.
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Hi. This is President Donald Trump and I need Alabama to go vote for Roy Moore. We're already making America great again. I'm going to make America safer and stronger and better than ever before. But we need that seat. We need Roy voting for us.
VAUSE: The support from Trump has been a lifeline for the Moore campaign. And if he's elected to the Senate on Tuesday it will be a no small part because of the president's backing. But could this be a fleeting victory for the Republican Party? Is this lose-lose scenario? Well, now CNN Political Analyst and Princeton History Professor, Julian Salazar is with us now from New York. Professor? Good to see you.
JULIAN SALAZAR, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: Thank you for having me.
VAUSE: Can you -- can you explain the president's evolution here from the silence to the hedging to no. No holding back, is this about something more than just getting a tax plan through Congress?
SALAZAR: Yes. I think there's two things that work, one is the president gradually realized or at least was willing to acknowledge the value of the seat in the Senate. And as it became more real that it could go to a Democrat, I think he decided to double down and be more vociferous in his support of this candidate. But I also think the candidate in some ways represents the kind of Republican Party that he envisions. And I'm not talking about the sexual molestation issues. But I am talking about the pretty extreme positions Moore has taken on a number of issues involving race, involving immigration, involving religion and the state. And I think in some ways he likes this anti-establishment-in-your-face kind of candidate.
VAUSE: Well, there are Republicans who spoke it out against Roy Moore notably Richard Shelby, the Senior Senator from Alabama. Listen to this.
SEN. RICHARD SHELBY (R), ALABAMA: Well, I'd rather see at the Republican win but I hope that Republican would be a right end. I couldn't vote for Roy Moore. I didn't vote for Roy Moore.
VAUSE: And on Monday we all heard a Republican Congressman from Texas. He publicly went against the president.
REP. WILLIAM HURD (R), TEXAS: I disagree with President Trump on a recent thing, Roy Moore. I think Roy Moore is an abomination to the Republican Party. And that's one thing Republicans and Democrats agree on, and the Senior Senator from Alabama even said that Alabama deserves better and the American people deserve better.
VAUSE: But most Republicans seemed to have followed Trump's lead. They've fallen in line that seems to suggest that Roy Moore is not an outsider and he's welcomed by the public.
SALAZAR: That's exactly right. I think while there are a handful of voices who have said something including Senator Shelby, most Republicans have really not said much. They've certainly not done anything like campaign for the Democrat to really express their opposition to this candidate. And then you have the president who is now an open and enthusiastic supporter of Roy Moore.
[02:35:02] The RNC has recommitted its resources, the Republican National Committee to this candidacy. And so it's not so easy for the Republicans to say he's not really our candidate. He is. He's on their ticket. Most Republicans are supporting him either openly or not saying nothing. And if he wins, he will be a big piece baggage for this party.
VAUSE: So essentially what you're saying is that this is now sort of judgment day, if you like, for the future of the Republican Party. Because there's this short-term game keeping this majority in the Senate but it comes with long-term consequences politically and I guess in a moral sense as well.
SALAZAR: That's exactly right. If you go back to the presidency of George W. Bush. He had ambitions of creating a broad Republican coalition that included immigrants, that included educated suburban voters, that included more female voters. And what we've seen since President Trump and this election will be a key test is the Republicans have actually narrowed their appeal and narrowed the kinds of arguments that they are making, focusing much more on white male voters. So this election is really quite important because if he is elected, assuming he's not expelled from the Senate, he will be here for six years. And he will be another very loud voice for the Republican Party. And come election time in 2018 and 2020, you can bet Democrats will remind voters all over the country this is the party of Trump and the party of Roy Moore.
VAUSE: Well, a pro-Trump group it's called the America First Project. They sent a 12-year-old girl called Millie March to interview Roy Moore. This will happen on Monday. Millie is well-known among conservatives as being one of the president's biggest fans. Here's a part of the interview.
MILLIE MARCH, DONALD TRUMP'S PRESIDENTIAL CAMPAIGN SUPPORTER: What are the most important issues to the voters of Alabama?
ROY MOORE, REPUBLICAN NOMINEE FOR U.S. SENATE: Well, I think one is religious liberty. I think we got to look at that. Madison said a long time ago that if we don't preserve that we will -- they will become tyrants and we will become slaves.
VAUSE: Well, the interview was really obvious. But it seems an odd strategy to send a little girl to interview a man who is an accused pedophile. It seems to fail to recognize the serious incidents allegations against Moore especially when you compare it to what's happening within a Democratic Party forcing two of their high profile lawmakers out because they're accused of sexual harassment.
SALAZAR: I think you're exactly right. I think it's in many ways this is an effort to dismiss the accusations that are being made. It's a -- it's an advertisement meant that were message that says we're just not taking any of this seriously and so much that were willing to broadcast this kind of a message. And there are many commentators who are noting sort of an asymmetric attitude between how Democrats are handling this issue now, purging some of their biggest stars and the Republican Party which specifically, in this case, is really not doing much. Well, see if that changes, but I think this ad is a reminder how the parties are in a very different place in terms of how to respond to these kinds of issues that have emerged.
VAUSE: Professor, thank you very much for being with us. Some really good insights there.
SALAZAR: Thank you.
VAUSE: Thank you.
SESAY: Really fascinating there.
VAUSE: Yes, the interview with young Millie was interesting.
SESAY: We're going to take a quick break. When the U.S. withdrew from the Paris climate accord in June. France's President said he'd welcome you a scientist with open arms now see how he's following through on his promise just that.
VAUSE: Also California's governor has a grim message after a week of wildfires. This is the new normal of the impact of climate change and natural disasters. That's also coming up.
[02:40:58] VAUSE: Well, before President Trump decided to pull the U.S. out of the Paris climate agreement, the French President Emmanuel Macron tried unsuccessfully to get him to change his mind.
SESAY: Well, now Mr. Macron is taking the lead in pushing the accord forward without the U.S. Melissa Bell reports.
MELISSA BELL, CNN REPORTER: It was the deal that few had imagined possible.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (INAUDIBLE)
BELL: A universal and binding climate change treaty aim at keeping global warming below two degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels. Francois Hollande may have been the man of the hour on this day two years ago, but it is his successor Emmanuel Macron who has made the deals rescue his mission.,
EMMANUEL MACRON, PRESIDENT OF FRANCE: Make our planet great again. BELL: A message delivered within hours of Donald Trump's announcement
on June 1st of America's withdrawal from the deal.
TRUMP: We're getting out.
BELL: And in practice also the French president wasted no time in picking up the mantle of global leader on environmental issues launching with the help of the former U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki- moon a draft global charge for the environment and this about three weeks after Donald Trump's decision.
MACRON (via translator): I doubt about the deal that have emerged with this decision by the President of the U.S. to pull out but you saw as I did that it seems to have made no difference at all.
BELL: And that is perhaps partly because where the American president left off other high profile Americans stepped in.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'm here with President Macron we're talking about the environmental issues in the green future.
MACRON: And now we will work together, to make the planet great again.
BELL: On Sunday, Macron lit the Alsace Christmas Tree just ahead of a summit that he hopes will be a gift to the world, but can the Paris deal targets still be met?
JEAN JOUZEL, FRENCH GLACIOLOGIST AND CLIMATOLOGIST: It's still possible to keep (INAUDIBLE) we have -- we have obviously to change our development scheme obviously to go towards look up on society. It will create jobs economically and psychologically it's -- you will win if you do it and you will lose if you don't do it.
BELL: The question is whether Paris has determined as it is has the power to lead even where the United States refuses to follow. Melissa Bell, CNN, Paris.
VAUSE: Well, the summit comes on the heels of a number of extreme climate events around the world. And currently the wildfires here California. And for more on this joining us from Oakland, it's science journalist, Jacob Ward. Jacob, good to see you.
JACOB WARD, CNN SCIENCE JOURNALIST: Hi John.
VAUSE: And you know if you look at the record, if you look at the numbers, there is a temptation to make this simple connection between the fires and global warming. The world is getting hotter and we've seen southern California 10 biggest wildfires in the last 14 years. So one begets the other but it's not quite straightforward as that, is it?
WARD: No, it's not. That's right. You know, there is this temptation to sort of think of it as this kind of linear trend that the planet is just getting warmer and warmer. But this is why scientist don't believe further with this global warming anymore where they refer it as climate change. It's much more complicated than that. So, you know, in the case of these wildfires in California, certainly we have seen the increased drought but we've also seen drenching rain as a result of climate change. The forces here are just far more complicated. There's just much more about -- sort of a mix of things rather than the sort of linear trend of warming that people used to think of.
VAUSE: There has been at least, what? Four, maybe five, major studies over the past decade which warned that this was coming. So why is anyone, surprised?
WARD: Well, there's really just a tendency I think among human beings not to really think about anything beyond really the next 20 minutes much less, you know, the next year, five years or the case of climate change the next 100 years which is where the really big impacts are going to be felt. You know, in this case, we're talking about trends that feel as if oh, just sort of crazy weather.
[02:45:01] But the truth is they do seem to sort of fit into a pattern. One of them -- as to do with what they call the east coast, west coast diode. This idea that, basically, the changes in the prevailing winds are going to make it such that the east coast gets this just -- get really just hammered by these cold, cold winters while the west coast gets warmer and warmer. And that difference between the two coasts seems to sort of create a situation in which weather is kind of pauses. It basically sort of freezes in a certain place.
So, right now, California, where I am, should under an incredible amount of rain. But that's being sort of held off the shore. Basically off the coastline right now is where all that rain is. It should be here onshore, keeping fires like this at bay. But because of this east coast-west coast diode, it's making it worse. So, like you say, you know, we knew this kind of thing could be coming but it changes every year. It has to do with much more of a sort about a fluctuation from year to year, rather than being this kind of consistent Trans, so, is it hard, I think for people to keep track over their minds?
VAUSE: We heard from the California Governor Jerry Brown, he was interviewed by 60 minutes over the weekend. He believes global warming is, in fact, making the States fires, a whole lot worse than it should have been. He had some strong words to the U.S. President and his decision to withdraw from the past recall on climate change. This is Jerry Brown, said.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GOV. JERRY BROWN (D), CALIFORNIA: I don't think President Trump, has a fear of the lord, the fear of wrath of God which leads one to more humility. And this is such a reckless disregard for the truth and for the existential consequences that can be (INAUDIBLE) --
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VAUSE: We should note that, you know, Governor Brown did train to be a Jesuit priest. So, that's why I guess, you know, that warning comes from. But the concern that he has of that -- is that -- is that, this is not any just new normal now. We just saying this incredible fires raging in California, Snowflakes, and Houston at the same time. But, the new normal is going to continue to get a whole lot worst.
WARD: Yes, it really just seems to be the case, you know, and when you couple, John, the effects of climate change that Governor Brown is talking about, there with really just some of the facts on the ground here in California. I mean, one really interesting thing to note is that California's landscape is actually intended to burn. Of the natural cycle of California's landscape according to researchers at U.C. Berkeley and elsewhere, is such that, that in the old days up to 10 percent of the statewide burn every single year.
That was just a natural course of things, but those some researchers say that if today, 10 percent California burned, it would be the single largest natural disaster in the history of the United States. So, were in this situation where not only as climate change making it, that much more complicated, that much more challenging for Americans to adopt -- to adopt all the sacrifices that we might have to make economically and otherwise also just the fact of growing population in the world. Makes it such that we are living in the path of fire.
And so, for a President -- in the case of President Trump who really has not taken to thinking about the big sacrifices the climate change may ask of us. Certainly asking to also think about, just the fact that human beings are living in the fires path, the path of natural fire. You know, all of that seems like maybe just a little too complicated for the current political situation.
VAUSE: Yes, we're out of time, but it does seem that 2017 will be the year when climate change went from signs to be fiery to terrifying reality for so many people.
VAUSE: Jacob, it's always good to see you, thank you.
WARD: Thank you, John.
VAUSE: Please join us for a special report from the Arctic. CNN's Clarissa Ward travels to Green land to see first-hand how climate change has impacted the region. A report global warning, Arctic Melt as 9:00 a.m., in London, that's 5:00 p.m. in Hong Kong. Few hours after that, join us for a special edition of CNN talk focus on climate change. That's at noon in London, 8:00 p.m. in Hong Kong. (INAUDIBLE) it's very happy of that.
SESAY: I doesn't (INAUDIBLE) burst in bubble. Welcome to the show.
Up next, we have some the Middle East, next was the scene in Beirut, Sunday.
We'll have more on the growing angry Lebanon, over U.S. President Trump's decision to recognize Jerusalem as Israel's capital.
VAUSE: Plus, (INAUDIBLE) in Gaza to West Bank over that Jerusalem decision, the latest demonstrations have turned violent.
VAUSE: A chilly warning from Israel for the leader of Hezbollah.
SESAY: It comes as tens of thousands of protesters has took on the streets of Beirut again. Denouncing the U.S. move to recognize Jerusalem as Israel's capital.
VAUSE: CNN's Ben Wedeman is in the Lebanese capital.
BEN WEDEMAN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Death to Israel goes the chant at the largest protest so far in Lebanon against President Trump's recognition of Jerusalem as Israel's capital.
Death to America they then chanted. Hezbollah organized this massive march attended also by Palestinian groups and Lebanese leftist Parties. Other Arab countries have allowed limited protests over the American move but in Lebanon, almost every day these seen demonstrations peaceful and occasionally otherwise.
Israel invaded Lebanon multiple times, its troops occupied part of the south for decades until they withdrew in May 2000. The depth of animosity here is genuine, but not surprisingly especially in Hezbollah's stronghold in Southern Beirut.
Jerusalem is not America's to give to Israel says (INAUDIBLE). Hezbollah backed by Iran has been deeply involved in the wars in Iraq and Syria. With those conflicts winding down the group's fighters battle-hardened and experienced are beginning to return to Lebanon. Hezbollah fought Israel to a standstill after 34 days of war in 2006. Hezbollah Secretary General Hassan Nasrallah addressed the crowd calling on the Palestinians to launch a third intifada. Trump's decision he declared, is the beginning of the end for Israel, God willing. The will to make that happen is here, just not the way, yet. Ben Wedemen, CNN, Beirut.
VAUSE: In Gaza and the West Bank, dozens of Palestinian have been hurt during a fifth day of protest over President Trump's decision on Jerusalem.
SESAY: But the CNN's Arwa Damon explains some of the recent demonstrations haven't been as large as expected.
ARWA DAMON, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: The billowing smoke from the burning tires creates a dramatic backdrop as cars try to weave their way through. (INAUDIBLE) walks in the ground, their face is covered, both in a vain attempt to diminish the effect of the tear gas. But also so that they are not identified by Israeli forces leader. Parents do try to halfheartedly convince their children to stay away from the clashes. But like any rebellious generation, they are not listening, especially not now. Not now that they feel that Jerusalem has slipped from their hands.
DAMON: My parents say don't go, and if the Arabs and the big Arab leaders are taking action, it's not going to be liberated with rocks or young men and women. This 19-year-old tells us, but I do what's in my head. But the numbers of Palestinians who have taken to the streets remains relatively speaking, low.
This sort of a back and forth it's pretty much the norm here, in fact, a little muted at least by what the expectations were. People say that they are exhausted, they say that they still will continue to fight, it just gets that much harder every day. Yet, that is hardly a reflection of what is happening within the population's hearts, the anger of it all. And, this Mustafa Barghouti, says, observers should not rush to any conclusions.
MUSTAFA BARGHOUTI, GENERAL SECRETARY, PALESTINIAN NATIONAL INITIATIVE: I do, its 50 years of occupation, 17 years of displacement, lots of disappointment one after the other. Of course, it has its effect on people's psychology but I know our people.
DAMON: Back in 1987, it was the same, Barghouti explains. The population suffocated by its collective disappointments and that resulted in what he described as the most fantastic uprising in Palestinian history. The first intifada that led to the outgo occurred in 1993.
The banner carried in this small demonstration reads, Jerusalem is the red line and to the gateway to peace and war. The onus is not just on the Palestinian street but on its leadership and the Arab and Muslim nations who many say could and should do so much more.
BARGHOUTI: I would not say that this is the end of the story, I think what we see today is a beginning of a new chapter, a whole new chapter in our relationship to Israel and the United States.
DAMON: A new chapter that may see America replaced as a mediator. A new chapter with all its unpredictability and unknowns. That people can only hope will be for the first time authored by the Palestinians themselves. Arwa Damon, CNN, Ramallah.
VAUSE: Well, after a 35-year-long ban going to the movies might soon become part of everyday life in Saudi Arabia. Commercial cinemas will be granted licenses starting early next year.
SESAY: The kingdom called it a watershed moment for the cultural economy, it's part of an economic overhaul under vision 2030. Saudi Arabia's blueprint for becoming less dependent on oil, it plans to have 300 movie theaters up and running over the next 12 years.
VAUSE: Was a (INAUDIBLE) aggressive move.
SESAY: Yes, absolutely.
VAUSE: Yes, although the ban was free irrelevance, they will this downloading stuff of the event.
SESAY: They going to watch -- and say, they can watch the Lego movie now.
VAUSE: Hey, hey.
SESAY: Hey, you've been watching CNN NEWSROOM live from Los Angeles, I'm Isha Sesay.
VAUSE: I'm John Vause, the news continues with (INAUDIBLE) to Atlanta after a short break. You're watching CNN.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The MeToo movement is refocusing on President Donald Trump, a trio of his accusers is now asking Congress to investigate his behavior. And the U.S Senate candidate involved in sexual harassment allegations will know his political faith soon, it is Election Day in Alabama for Republican Roy --