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Mudlides in California kills 17; No collusion with Russia say President Trump; Myanmar arrests two Reuters journalist. Aired 2-3a ET

Aired January 11, 2018 - 02:00   ET



[02:00:00] ISAH SESAY, CNN HOST: This is CNN Newsroom live from Los Angeles.

JOHN VAUSE, CNN HOST: At this hour the search continues for the missing (INAUDIBLE) mudslides surge through neighborhoods in Southern California.

SESAY: From 100 percent certainty to we'll see, the U.S. president hedges on a promise to be interviewed by the special counsel investigating Russia meddling in the 2016 election.

VAUSE: And more than $5 million in jewelry gone, we'll have more on the ax wielding heist at one of Paris's most luxurious hotels.

SESAY: Well hello and welcome to our viewers in the United States and around the world. I am Isha Sesay.

VAUSE: I'm John Vause. This is the third hour of "Newsroom L.A."

SESAY: Well, the death toll in those devastating California mudslides has risen to 17, some of them children.

VAUSE: At least 17 others are missing including a couple in their 80's. Crews are moving from house to house looking for survivors and Coast Guard choppers are rescuing stranded residents from roof tops.

SESAY: Heavy rains triggered the mudslides on Tuesday sending rivers of mud from the fire ravaged hillside into the neighborhoods below and damaging hundreds of homes and anything else in its path. One woman said for some reason her 69-year-old friend opened her front door and was swept away. We are hearing of a harrowing story including how a baby was pulled out more than a meter of mud.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We heard a little baby crying. (INAUDIBLE). We got down and found a little baby. I don't know where it came from. We got it out, got the mud out of its mouth.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: This looks like war zone like somebody just dropped a bomb and it actually felt that way in some ways. Just in shock. I am in disbelief and wondering if my friends are alive. UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Within minutes there were cars washing down,

power lines washing down, huge boulders coming down, huge trees coming down. There was an RV that passed our housed with like the rushing of the mud and water and the power was amazing.


SESAY: One official says it was literally a carpet of mud and debris everywhere.

VAUSE: And this ongoing rescue operation is huge with more than 500 first responders. Paul Vercammen is there and he has the latest.

PAUL VERCAMMEN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: John, Isha, hard work behind. You can see the work crews trying to clear another road in this flood zone in Montecito. The boulders that came cascading down from the Thomas Fire burn zone and off in the distance, let's give you a sense of what the search and rescue effort was like.

We saw the crews go into that white house over there and search that area. You see a sort of orange pink marking. That's to let other crews know we've gone through and searched it. We didn't see them take anybody out or any bodies out. In front of it a car that was also searched. They know there are people still missing. People are crossing fingers and hoping they don't turn up deceased.

And then over here, more of the heavy lifting. This is southern California Edison, trying to restore power to an area that doesn't have power. And I want to give you more of a sense for just how devastating this was. Here's yet another house that in a sense was water rocket blasted off its foundation and now is just a mangled mess. And then you look around this area, the search and rescue crews also came through here. What's left of some houses? Just a pile.

Basically you've got your floor and your kitchen and everything tangled up with debris, trees and the rest and the search and rescue crews also had to go through some of this. It is no easy task. It's going to be a long time before they get all of this back up. They got some heartening news that the Army Corp of Engineers and state emergency officials would jump in and help out beleaguered Santa Barbara County that first got hit with fire and then flood. Back to you now, John, Isha.

SESAY: Our thanks for Paul Vercammen there. Well, the mudslide happened in the middle of the night. Most people would have been asleep. Marco Pharrell was not and he captured the scary moments on video. Take a look at this.


Oh, my god, mom. Close the door. Get ready to go out. Wake dad up.

[02:05:00] Wake dad up. (BLEEP) wake up!

(END VIDEO CLIP) SESAY: Wow. Well Marco Pharrell joins us now by phone. Marco, thank you for joining us. That video is incredibly dramatic. I have to ask you and I'm sorry to do this, to take me back to that moment when you saw that water, when you saw the earth moving -- moving down that slope and you ran in and basically said wake dad up. We heard you speaking to your mom there. Take us back to what happened. How quickly were you guys able to get out of the house?

MARCO PHARRELL, EYEWITNESS(via telephone): Well, I ran back into back hallway and had about 20 seconds after that video ended before the enormous pounding began on the walls and doors and then about 10 seconds-- 20 seconds later the kitchen door was breached and mud started flowing everywhere. We got my dad up. We got our three-legged dog, Lucas, and we sheltered in a hallway inside deep mud that was rushing and swirling all around us for the next hour and a half to two hours.

I was evaluating our potential best every second and trying to evaluate the front and the back of the house and how the torrents of mud and boulders and trees was either rising or dropping.

SESAY: It's terrifying. Just hearing it is terrifying.

PHARRELL: It's a sound I'll never forget. And we were not even in a voluntary evacuation zone. We were near it but not in it and I tell everyone just get out, get out, get out. If the authorities warn that something could happen, it's not worth the terror at the best. I have got many friends that are missing or have passed so.

SESAY: Yes. Our heart goes out to you for your losses and for the devastation to your community. You were in that hallway for some time as you say with this mud rushing around you, I mean, what did you say to your parents? I believe your parents -- they're in their 80s?

PHARRELL: Yes, my dad is in his 80s, my mom's in her 70s, and I got them to calm down and just focus on the moment, establish what we had. I had to go back into my dad's room to get a pair of shoes for him because he lost one of his shoes. And I just kept them calm as best I could while still evaluating every second of change in the condition.

SESAY: What was your thought in terms of the next action in terms of what you were planning to do? I mean, talk to me about the calculation in your mind as you say you're assessing moment by moment.

PHARRELL: No, as soon as the mudflow lessened a little bit, started to drop in the house, the rain let up and I was worried about a secondary flow so I tried to go outside in the back to climb a ladder to either get on the roof or see if we could climb up in the hill. But I couldn't find a ladder and there was just no way to get both them and my dog up on the hill so we just stayed and stayed and stayed.

And finally, it lessened enough to where I could get out to the street. It was about 10 minutes before first light and then finally saw a fire truck that I waved over and walked my mom and dad out and my dog.

SESAY: How are they doing? How are you guys doing?

PHARRELL: We're warm and dry and safe and then processing all of this. It's been a long day and we're alive. That's the most important part. The rest is just stuff.

SESAY: The rest is just stuff, but I will ask you about the stuff. Have you been backing to the house? Do you know what state it's in?

PHARRELL: I did go back today. It was as much as waist-deep mud, damage in the kitchen. Can't get into the garage and the rest of the house is anywhere from knee as high mud. So, it's sort of little bit better than I had expected but it's still devastating. There's priceless artwork. It's going to be a very long road ahead of us.

SESAY: I know you share the sad news of having friends who, you know, didn't make it out of this tragedy. I mean, tell me what goes through your mind, what you're thinking as you process what has happened to your community and how quickly everything changed.

[02:10:05] PHARRELL: We've been dealing with a state of emergency since early December with the fire so I think everybody is dealing with evacuation fatigue and I think that caused a lot of the complacency and the fatigue of people just being tired of being away from their homes, from their safe zones, from their comfort zones.

And there was a big fire just minutes before the flow hit and because we're so on point about fire, it woke many people up and I think it saved many people's lives because they were out and then all of a sudden they saw a wall of mud and they were able to climb on top of their roofs or second story or whatever the case may be.

We didn't have a second story to go to, but many, many, many stories of people seeing that big orange glow that was a gas main that got sheered by another land slide and blew up several houses.

SASEY: We are grateful you are safe and you are warm with your parents. I mean, what do the next few days hold for you?

PHARRELL: We're staying here with my sister in town and just trying to process and start making calls to the different agencies and just barely starting to think about, you know, what are we going to do to rebuild and, you know, at the same time still thinking about friends that are missing. So, it's a very hard time of a little bit of hope and joy of having survived, but still deep, deep sadness.

SESAY: Yes. Our hearts go out to you. You're in our thoughts and prayers. This is a difficult time. We are thinking about you guys and rooting for you. At least you're safe, you and your parents. Marco Pharrell, thank you for joining us.

PHARRELL: Thank you very much.

VAUSE: Well, for the U.S. president, the Russia investigation is a phony cloud over his administration and it continues to repeat ad nauseum there was no collusion, no collusion between his campaign and the Russians. During a joint appearance with Norway's prime minister, the president was asked if he would agree to an interview with Special Counsel Robert Mueller. In just over a minute and a half, he said there was no collusion eight times.


DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: It's a Democrat hoax that was brought up as an excuse for losing an election that frankly the Democrats should have won because they have such a tremendous advantage in the electoral college so it was brought up for that reason. But it has been determined that there is no collusion and by virtually everybody. So we'll see what happens. We'll see what happens. I mean, certainly I'll see what happens. But when they have no collusion and nobody's found any collusion at any level, it seems unlikely that you'd even have an interview.


VAUSE: Joining us now, Jessica Levinson, professor of law and governance at Loyola Law School and Michael Genovese, he's the president of the Global Policy Institute at Loyola Marymount University. Good to see you both. OK, so somewhere in that answer during the sort of, you know, two-minute lon bobbing and weaving and ducking, it seemed we did get the president's real intentions. This is the bit that I think is relevant.


TRUMP: Certainly I'll see what happens. But when they have no collusion and nobody's found any collusion at any level, it seems unlikely that you'd even have an interview.


VAUSE: Michael, is Donald Trump laying the ground work here essentially to refuse to talk to Mueller?

MICHAEL GENOVESE, POLITICAL ANALYST: I think he's doing two things, that's one of them. The other thing is he's trying to frame this for the audience. And if you think collusion -- collusion's not a crime. Instead of thinking obstruction then it plays into his hands. So he keeps on using the term no collusion, no collusion. There may be obstruction and that's the really serious thing. And so he's trying to have it both ways but I think he's also trying to set himself up so that if the special counsel wants him to speak under oath, if they will, he wants to have an out.

VAUSE: Jessica, legally though, is there a president-- I think there is -- for a president to be subpoenaed and to be forced to answer questions before a grand jury or questions by a special counsel, right?

JESSICA LEVINSON, PROFESSOR OFLAW AND GOVERNANCE, LOYOLA LAW SCHOOL: Yes, there is. And so I would say a couple of things. One, Donald Trump keeps saying there's no collusion. I've said this to you before. This makes me insane because --

VAUSE: You must have a lot of problem right now because he's saying it a lot.

LEVINSON: -- collusion is an issue dealing with antitrust laws so indeed there will be no collusion, but what he's really saying is there's no conspiracy or there is no grand agreement or there is no, as he said, there is no obstruction of justice. So, one, that's inaccurate. Two, it's inaccurate to say

[02:15:00] virtually everyone who's looked at this has found that there is no collusion. That's not true with respect to the House committee, with respect to the Senate committee and certainly with respect to the special counsel.

Now to your question, yes, I believe there have been five presidents in the past who have been called to testify under oath for a variety of issues. Bill Clinton of course famously -- I think his testimony led to his impeachment in the House. And so it certainly is not without any historic president.

VAUSE: OK. The president is now saying we'll see about that possible interview. It is a marked change from what he has said in the past.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Would you be willing to speak under oath to give your version of events?

TRUMP: 100 percent.


VAUSE: You know, Michael, this is a president who thinks he can vent (ph) his way pretty much out of anything. So what has brought on this change? Do you think he's got some legal advice here that maybe he's facing some serious issues?

GENOVESE: No, I think his attorney is probably giving him very good sound advice but I think Donald Trump supersedes that. He thinks he is above that. And it's not his call to make. This is the special counsel. Mueller's going to decide what to do and if necessary, he can subpoena the president.

And so, Donald Trump again is trying to frame it so that it looks like it's his decision. It's not his decision. He's the one who's going to have to respond when the special prosecutor comes knocking on his door.

VAUSE: And what's interesting somehow, Hillary Clinton has something to do with all of this because the president spoke again about Hillary Clinton today. Just do this.


TRUMP: When you talk about interviews, Hillary Clinton had an interview where she wasn't sworn in, she wasn't given the oath. They didn't take notes, they didn't record and it was done on the Fourth of July weekend. (END VIDEO CLIP)

VAUSE: OK, for the record, FBI agents took 58 pages of notes. It's irrelevant if someone is under oath because it's a crime to lie to the FBI anyway, just ask Michael Flynn. They don't normally record interviews unless someone has been charged with a crime, again, ask Michael Flynn about that.

But Jessica, here's the question. Did the president just sell a scenario here when someone interviewed by the FBI should be sworn in, notes have to be taken and it should be recorded because in his own words, if that does not happen it would be a very serious breach?

LEVINSON: Well, maybe. I mean I think a couple of things are happening. One, it seems to me to be someone who can say to the president we're concerned about that you did X, Y, Z and he says Hillary Clinton.


LEVINSON: And someone says what's your legislative achievement and he says Hillary Clinton. So I think that's one of the -- the broad thing that I think he's doing is saying don't look over here. Look at my favorite target over there. But I think he is trying to set up or I have to say I'm really not sure what he's attempting to achieve. But it's not I don't think serving him -- it's not doing what I believe he hopes for it to be doing. In addition to the fact that he's just lying, none of that actually happened.

VAUSE: Yes. I mean the (INAUDIBLE) is to the extreme here. We also have the situation that in the wake of "Fire and Fury," the tell all book about the White House by Michael Wolff, Donald Trump once again, he wants to tighten up this country's libel laws. Listen to what he said


TRUMP: Our current libel laws are a sham and a disgrace and do not represent American values or American fairness. So we're going to take the strong look at that. We want fairness. You can't say things that are false, knowingly false, and be able to smile as money pours into your bank account.


VAUSE: You know, Michael, we'll get to the American values thing and the line a moment. But the president has zero authority, right, to change the libel laws in this country.

GENOVESE: That's correct. And I think in the case of the president, he can give but he can't take. Who has been more involved in libeling people than the president? The birther movement. If libel is knowingly saying something that's not true with malicious intent, there's the birther movement right there.

And so, Trump lives in his world where he can do anything, but anything done to him, he's so fragile and sensitive that he explodes whenever someone even, you know, gives him any kind of mild criticism.

VAUSE: He's clearly frustrated by this book and the reaction to it, right?

GENOVESE: Well, the book is pretty devastating and while the book has met with some criticism, I mean, there are some things -- Don Jr. and treason and the whole case that's being made and discussed very openly now that questions the president's mental capacity and his cognitive skills, I'd be pretty upset too. But you know, presidents have to have a tough skin and you have to just let it roll off your back. You can't respond to every criticism because that's all you do all day and that's what Trump is doing.

VAUSE: Exactly. OK, it's surreal to hear a president calling out those who deliberately make false or misleading statements especially what (INAUDIBLE) process recorded Donald Trump making more than 2,000 misleading claims in less than a year in office. You know what, should we quote Bull Durham here, Jessica, the world is made for people who are cursed with self-awareness.

[02:20:00] LEVINSON: Well, yes, and let's talk about libel laws for a second. These are state laws. The president of the United States as the leader of the federal government has no power over them. Let's also talk about what the law is with respect to libel laws. What he's saying in terms of we need to make hat you can't make a false statement about somebody that harms their reputation, and he's basically quoting the actual malice standard. Meaning with respect to a public figure, you either knew or had reason to know it was false. That is the law right now and that's actually a constitutional guard.

So, he's almost quoting I think by accident the Supreme Court rule in this. So, not only does he not have power over states, but he also doesn't have power to change the constitution. You would either need the Supreme Court to change the law or a constitutional amendment. And regardless of what Neil Gorsuch is doing on the Supreme Court, neither one of those things is going to happen.

VAUSE: Gorsuch is a big defender of the libel laws as I understand (ph).

LEVINSON: He is but his response in his confirmation hearings won this issue and the case is called New York Times versus Sullivan would actually in my mind, it was kind of surprisingly tempered and I think that was in part because his appointer, his nominee had been talking for so long in the campaign trail about these libel laws which, you know, we need to look at. He can't and he won't.

VAUSE: OK, Jessica and Michael, good to see you both. Thank you.

GENOVESE: Thank you.

SESAY: Next, two journalists facing potential jail time in Myanmar after working with first crime committed by the military.

(COMMERCIAL BRAK) SESAY: Hello everyone. Two Reuters journalists arrested in Myanmar

are charged with violating the country's Official Secrets Act. The (INAUDIBLE) Wednesday greeted by a crowd of journalist wearing black to protest their detention. The men were arrested last month while covering the Rohingya crisis. The charges stem from a colonial era law and could get them up to 14 years in prison. Many nations, media groups and the U.N. Secretary General are all calling for the journalist's release. Reuter's editor in chief calls the arrest a travesty.


STEPHEN ADLER, PRESIDENT AND EDITOR-IN-CHIED, REUTERS: We are extremely disappointed that the authorities seek to prosecute Reuter's journalists Wa Lone and Kyaw Soe Oo under Myanmar's official secrets act. We view this as a wholly unwarranted blatant attack on press freedom. Our colleagues are innocent of any wrong doing and should be allowed to return to their jobs reporting on events in Myanmar. We believe time is of the essence and we continue to call for Wa Lone and Kyaw Soe Oo's prompt release.


SESAY: One executive director of the Asia division at Human Rights Watch Brad Adams joins me now. Brad, good to see you and thank you for joining us. What does the charging of these two journalists say about Myanmar's civilian and government and their commitment to democracy and press freedoms?

BRAD ADAMS, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR ASIA DIVISION, HUMAN RIGHTS WATCH: Well, we had very high expectation because the National League for Democracy was a victim for these kinds of laws.

[02:25:00] Over half of their members in parliament were political prisoners at one point, and Aung San Suu Kyi herself, the leader of the party and in fact the leader of the civilian government was both a prisoner and under house arrest for most of the past 20 years and they made commitments that they would end these practices.

Instead, what we're seeing is that not only are the military having people arrested and setting up journalists like the Reuters journalists, but members of the National League for Democracy, the ruling party themselves are filing cases. This is just the most prominent case, but there have been dozens of cases filed since Aung San Suu Kyi came to power, against journalist, against peaceful protesters.

And they're using some of the harshest laws in the country and its official secrets act was put in place by the British but it was used by the Burmese military to basically make the disclosure any government information, a crime, and we didn't expect it. We thought that Aung San Suu Kyi would lead a revolution of freedom and openness.

SESAY: Yes. I mean these gentlemen face a maximum sentence of 14 years in prison for violation of the Official Secrets Act. I mean, what are the implications here for other independent journalists working to report on what is happening in Myanmar and specifically what's happening in northern Rakhine state?

ADAMS: Well, it's quite striking that when the military government was still running the country before the national elections have brought Aung Suu Kyi to power. This was in the beginning of the reform area, journalists had much more freedom than they have now. The trend towards openness ended after the NLD came to power. And right, now journalists and activist are very afraid.

I have not seen since 10 years ago such nervousness among journalists and activists who are speaking out because many of them, are being arrested. They're being threatened. They're seeing their colleagues threatened. We're having a hard time getting some people who were very open to speak to us now and this is really quite striking in an era of what is supposed to be reform.

And it's even worse for people who want to try to report on what's happening in Rakhine state. If Burmese journalist or NGO workers want to go up into Rakhine state and talk about what's happened to Rohingya and even name the Rohingya as a victim group, they face a very serious back lash and a number of them have been arrested and been threatened with arrest.

SESAY: Right. As you know, Reuters journalists were charged on Wednesday. They were reportedly investigating reports of a mass grave. On the same Wednesday, hours later, the military admitted they were responsible for the deaths of 10 Rohingya found in a mass grave in northern Rakhine state. Is it a coincidence the timing of the disclosure and how significant is this admission of guilt that the military owning up to the killing of 10 Muslims? Admittedly, they are calling them terrorists though.

ADAMS: You make a very good point. This is not a coincidence. The military has steadfastly denied ever having committing any abuses and any extrajudicial killings against the Rohingya. They set up their own investigation which was a farce, which came back with a predetermined conclusion that the military had had done nothing wrong. But this shallow grave was discovered and we are sure that there are many more mass graves around Burma and in northern Rakhine state.

And they've admitted that these 10 were killed and they said they were killed because the military had arrested them and didn't know what to do with them so they killed them, and then they called them terrorists to make it sound like it was OK. And the reason these journalists are in trouble is because they were doing their job of trying to dig up the news on these killings.

And of course, if you call the string on these killings, you will find that there are many, many more. An NGO recently -- a concluded medical NGO that they were probably more than 6,000 killings of the Rohingya during (INAUDIBLE). And they themselves said that was conservative estimate.

SESAY: Brad Adams, we're going to continue the conversation in the days ahead. We appreciate you joining us. Thank you.

ADAMS: Thank you. VAUSE: Well, still to come here, the fate of the Iran nuclear deal

once again in the hands of the U.S. President. Will he listen on the advice coming from his senior (INAUDIBLE).


[02:31:24] JOHN VAUSE, CNN INTERNATIONAL ANCHOR: Welcome back, everybody. You're watching CNN NEWSROOM live from Los Angeles. I'm John Vause.

ISHA SESAY, CNN INTERNATIONAL ANCHOR: And I'm Isha Sesay. The headlines this hour. The death toll in those devastating California mudslides has risen to 17. At least 17 other people are unaccounted for and hundreds are still waiting to be rescued. It comes after flooding rains sent a mountain of mud and debris into the neighborhoods of Santa Barbara County.

VAUSE: Germany's moving coalition partners facing the most challenging issues in talks on Thursday. Chancellor Angela Merkel's conservatives and the central of Social Democrats will decide whether to hold formal negotiations to establish a new government, both parties lost votes in the September elections.

SESAY: Donald Trump repeated his claim that there was no collusion between his campaign and Russia eight times in 95 seconds on Wednesday. The U.S. President refused to say if he would submit to an interview with the special counsel. Back in June he said he was 100 percent willing to testify

VAUSE: U.S. President Donald Trump is facing a Friday deadline to renew a temporary waiver of sanctions on Iran.

SESAY: U.S. officials say the President's top national security advisers are encouraging him to speak to the terms of the 2015 Nuclear Deal. But will he listen? Becky Anderson reports on the options.


SARAH SANDERS, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: We haven't made a final decision on that. And we certainly will in the coming days and we'll make sure once again you guys are some of the first to know.

BECKY ANDERSON, CNN INTERNATIONAL ANCHOR: The White House not giving much away as Donald Trump weighs his options on the Iran Nuclear Deal. So what are Donald Trump's main choices? One scenario is that he certifies their own compliance with the deal and extends sanctions relief. The other more uncertain scenario is that he doesn't. Iran desperately needs sanctions relief. The reason unrest there has been a big wake-up call for the government it has to speed up economic growth and many more sanctions would make that very difficult. If the president doesn't certify the agreement then the U.S. would be in contravention of the deal. This could trigger its collapse altogether. We've been here before.

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Today, I'm announcing our strategy along with several major steps we are taking to confront the Iranian regime's hostile actions and to ensure that Iran never and I mean never acquires a nuclear weapon.

ANDERSON: 90 days ago the president didn't certify the deal either. Back then it went through Congress but not much changed. This time around the Iranians are fed up, threatening to walk away if the U.S. fails to respect its commitment. It's a high stakes game while the Americans may be holding many of the cards, they are the only players, China, Russia and the European Union all opposed any move to sabotage it. Britain's foreign minister recently highlighted the importance of keeping a stand as well.

BORIS JOHNSON, FOREIGN AFFAIRS SECRETARY OF STATE: The JCPOA should continue and that agreement which prevents the Iranians from acquiring nuclear weapons in exchange for greater economic partnerships with the Western world. That agreement remains useful, remains valid and we continue towards our friends in the White House not to throw it away

ANDERSON: Two and a half years on, the deal has held refuse a nuclear crisis. The International Atomic Energy Agency certifying Iran's compliance eight times but President Trump insists Iran's compliance is hard to enforce and does not address their missile program.

[02:35:02] TRUMP: The Iran deal was one of the worst and most one- sided transactions the United States has ever entered into. Becky Anderson CNN Abu Dhabi.


SESAY: Turning to domestic policy and President Trump's moves that had benefitted the coal industry. His rollback regulations on coal- fired plants raising environmentalists' concerns and they've accused the president of taking his cues straight from a top coal executive.

VAUSE: New York Times published a memo by Robert Murray, CEO of the largest coal mining company in the U.S. and it would -- it stated March 1st last year. And (INAUDIBLE) headlines more than a dozen policy changes he'd like to see the president make. And many of that are now being fulfilled. President Trump is taking all the credit to The New York Times, I'm the one that saved coal, I'm the one that created jobs. You know West Virginia is doing fantastically now.

SESAY: Martin Savidge went to West Virginia to see if the people there agree.


MARTIN SAVIDGE, CNN ANCHOR AND CORRESPONDENT: In West Virginia, they measure progress by the number of coal trains and coal trucks and lately they're seeing more of both. Coal production is up 31 percent according to the State Chamber of Commerce. A welcome change after 2016, saw the state's lowest coal production in decades. A year ago Adam Roark had been laid off four times in 12 months.


SAVIDGE: Do you work in fulltime?

ROARK: Fulltime, six days, seven days a week now.

SAVIDGE: So as much work as you can want or handle.


SAVIDGE: There are more mining-related jobs that are qualified people to fill them at least according to the president of the West Virginia Coal Association. 32-year-old James DeHart has laid off from a mine in Arkansas. He came to West Virginia four months ago. West Virginia you hear is hiring minors or at least there's opportunity for you?

JAMES DEHART, LAID-OFF COAL MINER: Yes. There's a lot of things in the works to where there's a lot of jobs opening up.

SAVIDGE: James got a mining job in less than a week. In 2016 in the town of Welch, things were so bad even though Wal-Mart closed. Today small businesses are opening. There's a new barbershop, talk of the restaurant without a drive-through and there's once boarded-up building has become a thriving car repair with five full-time and two part-time employees. At the Eva's House, the local bed and breakfast they're seeing something unheard. Tourists.

SANDI BLANKENSHIP, OWNER, EVA'S HOUSE B&B: I would say it's doing really good.


S. BLANKENSHIP: So many people didn't give us a chance to make it and we're making it.

SAVIDGE: When I met Sheriff Martin West in 2016, he was laying off by deputies nearly half his force due to budget cuts. Now, thanks to increased coal revenues he's got more money. And what does that meant for your department?

MARTIN WEST, MCDOWELL COUNTY SHERIFF: We were recently able to hire one deputy (INAUDIBLE) we hired a processed server back. So we feel that, you know, things as -- we are optimistic.

SAVIDGE: So for this turnaround, who do you give the credit to?

ROARK: Donald Trump.

SAVIDGE: Everyone we asked says that.

ROARK: I can't think him personally enough.

SAVIDGE: Things may be better but life here is not all good.

LINDA MCKINNEY, HOMETOWN HERO: This stuff just came in.

SAVIDGE: Linda McKinney and her husband run the county food bank. Last year they helped 16,000 of the county's roughly 19,000 residence and that is not the worst of it. 47 percent, is that what it is?

MCKINNEY: Yes. SAVIDGE: -- of children in this county --

MCKINNEY: Are considered homeless. That means that 47 percent of the children are living without a biological parent in the home.

SAVIDGE: In part because McDowell ranks last for almost everything in West Virginia. It is second in the state for deaths due to drug overdoses. Something Sheriff West who's also a local church pastor knows personally and painfully. So you know of these deaths? It isn't like these are just numbers somewhere.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I've conducted many of the funerals who have overdosed. Whole families, I've seen sister and two brothers, nephew out of one family.

SAVIDGE: Martin Savidge, CNN West Virginia.


VAUSE: And while there has been increasing coal jobs in that one county in West Virginia that is not the case across the entire industry. By the end of Donald Trump's first year in office, sending 500 new coal jobs were added. That's a one percent increase.

SESAY: And the coal mining in Pennsylvania, West Virginia border is going to close permanently in the coming months. That will eliminate 370 of those jobs.

VAUSE: OK. Commercial break. When we come back, dozens of French women including a very famous movie star who denounce the #MeToo Movement are now facing a backlash themselves.


[02:41:55] VAUSE: Well to France now where actress Catherine Deneuve and dozens of other well-known women writers, artists, and academics has about to furious backlash after they denounced the #MeToo campaign as a witch hunt against men. They all signed an open letter published in newspaper Le Monde earlier this week warning of a new Puritanism and denouncing what they said was a hatred of men and sexuality. The response from that 30 French feminists was scathing. Lately, Deneuve and the others apologist to rape and defenders of pedophiles is part of that response. Many of them are often quick to criticize sexism when it comes to men from working-class areas but a hand on the ass when done by a man from their milieu is all part of their right to hit on someone. Ouch. So how's the #MeToo movement really gone too far? Joining us now to discuss all of this, Rebecca Sun, Senior Reporter with Hollywood Reporter and CNN's legal analyst Areva Martin. OK. Good to see you guys.


VAUSE: OK. So this is (INAUDIBLE) a big deal. It's been all over the television, all over the newspapers. Here's one of the co-editors of that original Deneuve open letter explaining why the #MeToo campaign is going too far. UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (via translator): There are women who will

denounce men whose only wrongdoing was one, five or 10 years ago to try to steal a kiss during a party or send a text message and he's a little too gritty. By criminalizing this behavior by putting it exactly on the same level as rape. Rape is a sexual crime. Heavily flirting is certainly not one.

VAUSE: OK. So Areva to you, legally there's obviously a huge difference between stealing a kiss and, you know, and rape. But is she right when she says because I think what she's saying is because this now there's sort of zero tolerance for all forms of sexual harassment that all forms of sexual harassment are now being treated as the same?

AREVA MARTIN, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: She's absolutely wrong. All forms of sexual harassment are not being treated the same and intelligent people understand the difference and no one is equating rape with touching someone on the behind or kissing someone or making a crude comment. Unwanted sexual, you know, advances in the workplace are illegal and it's major problem. This isn't made up, this isn't something we've just created from whole clock, this is a real issue in the United States. Not sure about how impact will this is in France --

VAUSE: It has been. Yes.

MARTIN: But this is a real issue.

VAUSE: OK. Rebecca, during an interview last year, 92-year-old Angela Lansbury said this. We have to own up to the fact that women since time immemorial have gone out of their way to make themselves attractive and unfortunately it is backfired on us. We must sometimes take blame. Also, Donna Karan, 69 years old apologizing for saying some of the women is insulted by Harvey Weinstein, they're asking proof. Also, Catherine Deneuve, she's 74 (INAUDIBLE) is there a generational divide?

SUN: I think that for a long, you know, this was so entrenched in the culture that sometimes you have seen women from that that generation, you know, have those kind of views. Although it's not -- that's not always the case, Rose Marie who was on the Dick Van Dyke Show and just passed away last week. You know, at the age of 80 or 90, even she spoke out and said, I had experienced this kind of treatment, my entire career and it was absolutely not OK. So you also have women realizing that, you know, just because they didn't have any out letter, any way to say that, you know, any recourse. It doesn't mean that they all thought it was OK.

[02:45:14] VAUSE: The other point being made is that the woman who wrote the original letter are all wealthy, they're all white, they're all professionals, there are bus drivers in there. And all the cooks and cleaners here for that letter as well.

SUN: Right.

MARTIN: And we've seen that even in the United States, with respect to the MeToo movement. You have high profile celebrities who have been able to garner the attention but when you get to, you know, housekeepers and cashiers and clerks, their experiences are really different -- mainly resource difference.

So, if you are a celebrity, you can choose to file a lawsuit, you can choose to hire lawyers. That often isn't the case when you are a low- income worker or you are in one of these jobs. We just don't have access to those resources. So, it's important to note that this issue doesn't just impact those high profile celebrities that you see but it impacts everyday women.

VAUSE: Well, one actor to recent accuses sexual harassment on Twitter is James Franco. This all started brewing after the Golden Globes. This is gentlemen Franco wearing a time's up pin that shows support for women who dealt with harassment or assault. Other are number back to agencies they went out online, including this one from actress Violet Paley, who tweeted, "Cute, times up pin James Franco. Remember the time you push my head down in the car towards your exposed penis, and that other time you told my friend to come to your hotel when she was 17? After you'd already been caught doing that to a different 17- year-old."

So, Rebecca, what's the backstory here?

SUN: I mean, there's a lot of -- you know, he has had had some encounters online. That refers the 17-year-old refers to some direct messages he had an exchange on Twitter with the girl who said she was 17. And he was kind of --

VAUSE: It was in the New York, she was at Scotland --

SUN: Yes, yes, she's a fan. You know, I mean, I think that what you're seeing with this kind of reaction is, women who have had experiences, sort of feeling a little bit of anger or feeling frustration when they see men publicly a spouse support for this movement. And kind of what they see as a bandwagon type of thing without actually owning up to their own behavior, and so.

VAUSE: Well, Franco appeared on a late show on Tuesday and he had a very carefully worded denial to this.


JAMES FRANCO, ACTOR, FILMMAKER: The things that I heard that I want on Twitter are not accurate, but I completely support people coming out and being able to have a voice. Because I didn't have a voice for so long. So, I don't want to -- I don't want to, you know, shut them down in any way. It's -- I think of as a good thing and I support it.


VAUSE: You know, looking this before allegations and denials all being played out in public. But do we believe accusations which come from Twitter or do we believe accusations which are well-source? Do we believe The New York Times? Do we believe some blog? I mean, what's the best -- where do you go with this? MARTIN: Yes, this is in the court of law. So, we should be clear about that. This isn't the situation where someone has to come in with, you know, verified information. They have to submit to -- you know, take an oath and testify under the penalty of perjury.

How someone tells their story is their right to tell it the way they feel most comfortable to tell it. Now, clearly, if the story isn't true, that's a problem. But there's such a small percentage of the stories are aren't true. The reality is, over 97 percent of the women they come forward to tell stories of sexual harassment, they are telling the truth.

VAUSE: If their stories untrue, there's legal remedies?

MARTIN: Yes, this is something called defamation to assume -- if he knows someone who threatens --

VAUSE: Exactly.

MARTIN: -- women all the time which such lawsuits --

VAUSE: And then doesn't follow through.

MARTIN: And doesn't follow through with them, because there is a defense and that is true.

VAUSE: Right.

MARTIN: So, there is no lawsuit when you're telling the truth.

VAUSE: OK, Rebecca and Areva, thank you so much.

SUN: Thank you.

MARTIN: Thank you, John.

SESAY: Well, the MeToo movement is sharing their signs of slowing down or going away. And then Hollywood, it is a pivotal moment.

VAUSE: Christiane Amanpour sat down with Meryl Streep and Tom Hanks, to tell us this watershed moment as well as the Harvey Weinstein scandal and what's next for the MeToo movement.


CHRISTIANE AMANPOUR, CNN CHIEF INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: What's the next sort of -- instead the dominoes to four. I mean, people talk about, I know the assistance, the agency. All the people who help people like Harvey Weinstein lure peoples in their bedrooms.

MERYL STREEP, AMERICAN ACTRESS: The next -- the next one is in the military, it's in the hospital industry. It's in a Goldman Sachs, it's not just Hollywood. Hollywood is where why we pay attention because they've all face names and that stands out, but it's everywhere.

And I think that the fix is in. People are not -- women's are -- women are not going to turn around and go back to the old that way.

AMANPOUR: As what to the Meryl, because obviously it's been all over the place, and you rebottled it very movingly. What is it with Rose McGowan, who's accused you of tacitly knowing and not saying, and all these years he worked in some respect for Harvey Weinstein, he must to know.

[02:50:02] STREEP: I'm sure, I'm sure. In many ways, she wished, I knew. What happened to Rose is on unbearable. And that it's six and knife in everyone's heart that this man was allowed to continue in his -- the way he worked on people, over the bodies of women.

He made a business over the bodies of women and going forward, we have to support the survivors, figure out solutions where legislatively it will never happen again. I mean, really we have had the ERA. The ERA will protect or would make it illegal. I mean, and there is so many imbalances but for Rose, I think I have nothing but empathy and a hope that she finds a way to heal.

I really do, and I think she, and so many of the women who'd step forward, Annabella, Mira Sorvino Asia Argento. This will wheel with them a debt of gratitude because they've changed the 21st century. I really have been on the record you said that you were probably too big for him to try anything like that on you will behave like that around you. You know, I think the assumption is that I needed him for my career, but I mean the iron lady was -- I was paid $1 million to make the iron lady by PVC films and passe.

Harvey picked up that film, oh, and I also gave my entire silo salary away to the effort to build a national women's history museum. I in need Harvey, Harvey needed me and he I guess hired Mossad spies so that people would not know this information. So, it would be suppressed but what happened to Rose will never happen again because there's a network of women now that is pretty formidable.

We all talk to each other, our business has benefited from the fact that we didn't for years and years and years and is making people in the corporate suites shaking their boots, the agents shaking their boots. It's going to change the face of our industry because for so many years we've been undervalued, underpaid, and exploited.


VAUSE: OK. Then you heard on Tom Hank said that he did -- you give words since been of you during Christiane show. But we heard a lot on Meryl Streep, which was good to hear. Welfare women is the developing world apply to be treated as equals is everything is real, and their stories have just that's inspiring.

SESAY: Well, CNN's partner with the European journalist in center over the coming year. And a special indirect section while though, on a Web site, we'll show you the challenges these women are facing. And you see what's being done to bring down barrier wherever they exist. Log on to equal, to find that more.

Well, coming up, GOC, strike again. This time, hitting the Luxury hotel in the heart of Paris. The details after a very quick break.


[02:55:01] VAUSE: Well, one of the most famous and expensive hotels in the world's was to see of a (INAUDIBLE) smash and grab jewels highs on Wednesday. Five men on with access mass display windows on the ground floor of the Ritz Hotel in downtown, Paris.

SESAY: Two robbers, made up with jewels tallied at more than $5million dollars. But three other members of the gang were arrested at the scene.

VAUSE: Oh dear. CNN's Jim Bittermann, join us now live on outside the Ritz hotel in Paris. He's got the very latest, hey, Jim, this is about the Paris, which is being the scene of armed robberies before. It's also a pile of power which is home for the Justice Ministry. Out of apparently is on the 24-hour on the God.

JIM BITTERMANN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Absolutely, John, this very -- there's some of the bravest stars, some of the must robbers around because when the five-man came here last night, just the -- as evening was coming in. We're setting -- some were sitting here in Paris.

They appear at Reds, addressed apparently. But in reports as (INAUDIBLE), they went in angry on ax. And in fact, broke the window of the jewelry -- a lot of jewelry source inside the Ritz. Grab the loot about 4 million euros worth of loot, that's about $4.8 million, and try to get away

But, the security forces as the Ritz, and because there have been robbery in this place before, there are a lot of awareness about it. A lot of securities been stepped up over the years. The security forces on Ritz were able to apparently doing reports, automatically lock the doors.

Three of the robbers were trapped inside, two got out. They're made they got away on a motorbike, manage to dropped a one-way street the wrong way and knocked over women. She wasn't badly hurt. But they got away with a part or all of the loot. We're not quite clear on that, police are in saying, how much to the loot they have recover?

So, basically, the robbery was pretty much foiled. Then, actually, two groups have police who were able to apprehend the three robbers.

VAUSE: You know, I gave very few -- Well, can get away with "SAY IN THE WORLD" like you can. But that was great. We appreciate the report. Jim Bittermann, there, live from outside the Ritz. Keep an eye as is on very dashing looking trophy to looking good this morning I guess in Paris. Jim, thank you.

The loot.

SESAY: The loot.

VAUSE: The loot. SESAY: Is an expensive -- (INAUDIBLE)


SESAY: Well, and you been watching CNN NEWSROOM Live from Los Angeles. I'm Isha Sesay.

VAUSE: I'm John Vause, follow us on Twitter @cnnnewsroomla for highlights and clips of the show. Isha is going to risk one to everything because she's been away to settle on to miss you all terribly. Well, News continues with Rosemary Church.

ROSEMARY CHURCH, CNN ANCHOR: The death toll is rising in Southern California after mudslides engulf entire neighborhood.