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Furor over Trump Remarks Threatens Immigration Deal; Pope Arrives in Chile; Trump Denies He's Racist. Aired 1-2a ET

Aired January 16, 2018 - 01:00   ET




ISHA SESAY, CNN ANCHOR (voice-over): You're watching CNN NEWSROOM, live from Los Angeles. Ahead this hour: as Americans honor the life of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., the president is also responding to claims that he's a racist.

Plus French actor Catherine Deneuve apologizes to sexual assault victims only after joining in a letter that criticizes the #MeToo movement.

And later we remember the lead singer of the Irish band, The Cranberries and her sudden, unexpected death.

Hello and thank you for joining us. I'm Isha Sesay. This is NEWSROOM L.A.


SESAY: Donald Trump is facing new challenges at home and abroad as he nears his first full year in office. For decades, Mr. Trump has been accused of racially insensitive comments dating back to his time as a New York real estate developer.

Now his latest remarks are casting a shadow over his presidency. CNN's Pamela Brown reports.


DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I'm not a racist. I am the least racist person you have ever interviewed. That I can tell you.

PAMELA BROWN, CNN JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Tonight, President Trump is responding to charges he's a racist amid the fallout over his disparaging comments about African nations and Haiti.

Two Republican senators who attended the Oval Office meeting last week, Tom Cotton and David Perdue, say they didn't hear the president use the word S-hole.

SEN. TOM COTTON (R), ARKANSAS: I didn't hear it and I was sitting no further away from Donald Trump than Dick Durbin was. SEN. DAVID PERDUE (R): I'm telling you he did not use that word.

BROWN (voice-over): But Illinois Democratic senator Dick Durbin says he did.

SEN. DICK DURBIN (D-ILL.), DEMOCRATIC WHIP: I know what happened. I stand behind every word that I said in terms of that meeting.

BROWN (voice-over): Senator Lindsey Graham, who also was in the Oval Office meeting, confirmed to a fellow senator Trump used the term and told "The Post and Courier" in South Carolina today, quote, "My memory hasn't evolved," Graham said. "I know what was said and I know what I said."

But a senior GOP source familiar with the matter says instead of hearing the president say that word, some Republicans actually heard the word S-house."

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I don't know that changing the word from hole to house changes the impact which this has.

GRAHAM: The discourse right now is pretty low. It's pretty embarrassing when you have to take your children out of the room just to report the news.

BROWN (voice-over): The controversial comments have cast a shadow over a potential deal on DACA. Lawmakers on both sides of the aisle have said they want a bipartisan DACA fix before Friday's government funding deadline.

SEN. CHRIS COONS (D-DEL.), MEMBER, FOREIGN RELATIONS COMMITTEE AND JUDICIARY COMMITTEE: It's going to get even harder now for us to come together and reach any sort of an agreement on DACA.

We've got a federal government that shuts down this coming week, this Friday, if we can't come to an agreement. And it's just getting harder when we have a president who, rather than tamping down our distances and disagreements, fans them and inflames them.

BROWN (voice-over): Senator Graham said lawmakers need to do more to work together.

GRAHAM: Mr. President, close the deal; 80 percent of Americans want to give the DACA kids a better life and 80 percent of Americans want a secure border and change a broken immigration system. It's going to take you, Mr. President, working with Republicans and Democrats to get this done. It is not going to be done on Twitter by tweeting. It's going to be done talking and understanding.

BROWN (voice-over): The president is trying to blame Democrats for standing in the way of a deal.

TRUMP: I don't think the Democrats want to make a deal. I think they talk about DACA but they don't want to help the DACA people. I think you have a lot of (INAUDIBLE) but they're all Democrats (INAUDIBLE) because we are ready, willing and able to make a deal but they don't want to.

BROWN (voice-over): Even as House Speaker Paul Ryan says there won't be a government shutdown, some Democrats are insisting they will oppose a government funding vote if there is no deal on DACA.

REP. JOHN LEWIS (D), GA.: Well, I for one would not vote for government funding until we get a deal on DACA.

BROWN: The war over immigration has turned into a war over government funding and who would be to blame if the government shuts down. One White House official told me today that the blame would be squarely on the Democrats if that did happen and that it will be unfathomable for them to withhold critical funding for national security over DACA.

However, that could be a tough sell if it comes down to it, because Republicans control Congress -- Pamela Brown, CNN, the White House.


SESAY: Let's take a closer look at all of this. Ethan Bearman is a California talk radio host and Shawn Steel is a California Republican National Committee man.

Gentlemen, great to have you with us.

Ethan, to start with you, I want to go back to the president's comments last week, the president's racist comments last week, that --


SESAY: -- have generated a firestorm right around the world and right here in the United States. Take a listen to what Val Demings (ph) from the Congressional Black Caucus had to say.


REP. VAL DEMINGS (D), CONGRESSIONAL BLACK CAUCUS: When the President of the United States has to repeatedly say, because of his words or his actions, that he's not a racist, we have a definite problem.

I think the fact that we are talking about this during Martin Luther King's birthday, it is just a painful reminder that racism is still the ghost in the room and it has found its way to the White House.


SESAY: Ethan, what about that point, that we reflecting on the President of the United States having to say, I am not a racist?

ETHAN BEARMAN, TALK SHOW RADIO HOST: Yes, it's sickening, it's horrible, his bellicose language, his racist statements from the past. That led me to the point of saying openly now, yes, you must be a racist to say this many things. It's a pattern that is happening and it is tragic on Martin Luther King Jr.'s holiday.

It is a federal holiday, here we celebrate his life of him working to bring all people together, all culture, poor people, people of any economic group, any cultural group, any ethnic group. We're all supposed to be working together for a better world and here we are and it feels like were fighting the civil rights movement again, all the way back to the early 1960s. It's sad for me.

SESAY: Shawn, before you weigh in, I want you to take a listen to Mia Love. She is a Republican congresswoman. She's the first Haitian American voted to Congress. Take a listen to what she told our Jake Tapper in reference to these comments.


REP. MIA LOVE (R), UTAH: I still think that he should apologize. I think that there are people that are looking for an apology and I think that that would show real leadership.

JAKE TAPPER, CNN CHIEF WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT: Were the comments racist, do you think?

LOVE: Well, I think they were -- yes. I think that they were unfortunate.


SESAY: Shawn, the Republican defense seems to be that the president didn't say and the words are so vulgar to have to keep repeating them -- the president didn't say "shithole;" he said "shithouse."

Does it make a difference?

SHAWN STEEL, CALIFORNIA REPUBLICAN NATIONAL COMMITTEE: Of course, it doesn't. But the real truth is, there are six people in the room, five of them do not confirm that he said either one of those words.

And by the way, you don't have to repeat those words --


SESAY: If they're good enough for the President of the United States then I'm --


SESAY: -- I'll repeat them.

STEEL: -- five of the six do not confirm that. Four of them actually say it didn't happen. You have one partisan Democrat --


STEEL: -- no, no, he has lied before and he's lying again. Durbin is not telling the truth.

SESAY: Take a look at the screen. There you have Dick Durbin saying Trump said "shithole countries." There you have Lindsey Graham saying "reports are basically accurate." On the other side, on Friday, Senator Tom Cotton and now Senator David Perdue are now coming out and being full-throated advocates for the president on Friday.

And said we cannot recall.

Now they say suddenly, with the passage of time, the president didn't use those words.

Do you condemn the words?

STEEL: And you also, everybody condemns the words. Everybody should condemn the words. You forgot the Department of Homeland Security. She was there. She certainly didn't confirm that --


SESAY: -- she muddled it, bearing in mind the --

STEEL: -- that's a majority of the people.

SESAY: -- defense that has been called.

STEEL: I don't buy it for a minute. That's the problem.

SESAY: You don't buy the defense?

BEARMAN: I don't think Trump --


BEARMAN: -- you can be bombastic all you want but you're making up stuff.


STEEL: -- talking about style.

SESAY: We're not going down a rabbit hole.

STEEL: Guess what? The Democrats don't want DACA.


SESAY: We're not going down that hole. We are going to (INAUDIBLE) these comments.

You know why we're going to focus on these comments?

Because there are 50-plus countries in Africa, 54 countries that are offended by these words attributed to the president --


SESAY: -- we're not talking about that. We're talking -- and if you want me to litigate what President Obama allegedly said --


SESAY: -- what he said was, he said Libya had become a shit show in reference to the conflict that was specifically at play.

He was not denigrating an entire country of people, which is what the President of the United States was saying, by inference, as an African, that we somehow are useless, worthless and have nothing to bring to the table.

So keep --


SESAY: -- be that as it may, I'm just correcting you on the Obama thing so that we don't have to talk about that again.


SESAY: -- so we don't have to talk about that again.

STEEL: He's the one that created these --

SESAY: So we do not have to talk about it again. So I'm going to move on and --


STEEL: -- you have slavery in Libya because of Obama.

SESAY: We are going to --



SESAY: Time out. Martin Luther King Day, President Trump, not following in the footsteps of his predecessors and taking part in any volunteerism, any service, acts of service, we've seen that from President Obama, George W., Clinton.

Guess what he did today?

STEEL: He probably lived his life and had -- and is probably --

SESAY: He went golfing.

STEEL: But I also think he also did -- I think he also did a couple of things that recognize Martin Luther King. I think you'd have to look at it but I don't think he just completely ignored.

SESAY: He did not. He broke the tradition of his predecessors at a time when he's under fire.


STEEL: Let's keep in mind who Martin Luther King was.

(CROSSTALK) STEEL: -- was a registered Republican. He was also very much into non-violence and, unlike a lot of Democrats today, he wasn't a racist. He believed in the content of the character, not the color of the skin.

He was a melting pot. He was a universal American.


STEEL: Sadly, many of the Democrats have long since divorced themselves from the legacy of Martin Luther King.

SESAY: And that is -- you know, again --


SESAY: -- yes, I mean, it's a great thing you highlight all that is good about Martin Luther King because (INAUDIBLE). So you could keep going. But we're not talking about that. We're talking about the president chose not to actually participate in commemorating his -- what would have been his 89th birthday --


SESAY: Let me ask you this, you know, it seems ironic to me that you are so full-throated in denying that the president could possibly have said something like this, given his history --


STEEL: -- behind closed doors --

SESAY: -- given the history of comments that the president has made in most recent memory, saying Nigerians were -- want to go back to living in their huts if they come to America and talking about all Haitians having --


STEEL: -- which is a really foolish statement considering that most Nigerians are better educated and more successful than most Americans.

SESAY: Absolutely.

STEEL: We need more Nigerian --


SESAY: So let me ask you this, I guess my question is why haven't more Republicans come out to condemn the statement?

STEEL: I think you have to look at the entire picture and if you parse and find little statements like that, that you don't like, in fact I'm not even aware of that Nigerian and the huts. I will look it up --


STEEL: -- the trouble is most of the charges against the -- inflammatory charges against Donald Trump have been fake. And most of the Americans know that. And most of the -- it's been mostly hate of a D.C. nature. Just tonight in this building, I heard more hate, more attacks against Donald Trump's personal character that I've heard against any human being on Earth.


STEEL: He is hated by people --


SESAY: -- not my question but thank you for ducking it. I appreciate it. It was a boldfaced duck but I appreciate it.

Ethan, the fallout from all of this is that people around the world are insulted. I make no bones about it. As an African, these words attributed to --


SESAY: -- I'm not kind of trying to parse that. I'm being very up front about that.

But the -- this country has strategic interests on the continent.

What happens next in your view?

How damaging is this to U.S.-African relations from where you sit?

BEARMAN: Yes, it's actually terrible and to add to that, we still have a State Department that is underfunded and understaffed. So on top of it all, you would normally expect the career diplomats to be out there, trying to repair some of this damage with our friends all across Africa, as you already pointed out, including Haiti and other countries, too.

But we aren't able to do that right now. So it's up to us, the American people now, to step up and issue our own direct apologies to the people of Africa. The people of South Africa has formally lodged a complaint against our government, as they should. I support them in bringing this us. So I personally -- I'll apologize. I mean, I feel horrible.

This is wrong. American people don't feel this way, even though our president said that. The vast majority of American people love meeting other people from around the world. We welcome people to our country. We welcome Africans from all over Africa. We welcome Haitians to our country.

We understand and recognize that there are great contributions to the United States of America coming from Africa and that Africa and the 50-plus countries therein are our friends.

SESAY: Well, thank you.

Shawn, would you like to also extend an apology?

STEEL: I would like to -- like to hear more countries in the world that have appreciated America supporting them, providing more aid --


SESAY: Thank you. (INAUDIBLE) grateful. (INAUDIBLE).

STEEL: I would like to hear a little gratitude from time to time.


STEEL: -- countries like Israel you'll find most of the countries in the --


STEEL: -- world voting for the tyrants and against --


SESAY: -- so you want us to thank you.

STEEL: But let's keep one fact of my most countries in the world are under tyranny. Most countries are not democratic and that, unfortunately, is largely true in Africa. These are countries that have very bad --


SESAY: -- so you don't get to school me on Africa. You do know that?


SESAY: I'm just saying, you don't get to sit here and --


SESAY: -- telling me about --

STEEL: -- Africa is a democratic republic.

SESAY: I will say that their democracies that have issues but, yes, by and large, yes.

Yes. They may be --


BEARMAN: -- majority is greater than half. And I agree with Isha.

SESAY: -- my point being clearly you want us and so to be grateful to you. But thank you --


SESAY: -- I'm sure our viewers around the world notice -- take note of that as well.

STEEL: Ethan can apologize. I won't.

SESAY: And it is very well noted --

STEEL: Indeed.

SESAY: -- that you did not, instead asked us Africans to be grateful to you.

STEEL: I'm not talking about you.

SESAY: We're going to pause --

STEEL: But I don't like the tyrants and the dictators --


SESAY: We're going to hit pause.

STEEL: -- anywhere in the world.

SESAY: We are going to hit pause and I'm going to thank you for your contribution to the conversation.

BEARMAN: Thanks, Isha.

SESAY: Ethan Bearman, Shawn Steel, thank you.

All right. Quick break here. African countries are summoning their diplomats in the wake of President Trump's remarks. Just ahead, how the U.S. State Department is telling them to respond to the controversy.

Plus Pope Francis is being welcomed in Chile with cheers and admiration. But he's also facing threats and protests. We are going to explain why.




SESAY: Hello, everyone. In a few hours, Pope Francis will begin his day in Chile. Crowds welcomed him on Monday in the capital, Santiago. Later in the week, he heads to Peru and as our Rosa Flores reports, the pope is facing threats and protests.


ROSA FLORES, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Pope Francis is on Chilean soil. He was greeted by the president of this country and by the military. This trip is supposed to be all about the indigenous community and also about the environment.

But violence, protests and the clerical sexual abuse scandal could take over all of the headlines about the violence. There have been at least five churches that have been vandalized since Friday and the vandals left behind a very menacing message, saying that Francis was next.

Authorities here have been investigating and they say that they have revisited their security plan and also revamped it.

Now about the protests, Francis has come under fire after he appointed Bishop Juan Barros (ph) to (INAUDIBLE) Chile, which is just south of this Chilean capital. Barros (ph) is accused by sexual abuse victims of coverage up the abuse of his mentor, a priest named Fernando Garadima (ph).


FLORES: The Vatican has confirmed and found Garadmina (ph) guilty of sexual abuse and Barros denies all of these allegations.

And as Francis told us on the papal plane, he has been to Chile. He has been to Peru before. He knows these countries' history and he's from South America. So even though this trip could generate some controversial headlines, we know that Francis is not one to shy away from controversy -- Rosa Flores, CNN, Santiago, Chile.


SESAY: Turning back to U.S. politics, a growing number of countries are summoning U.S. diplomats in the wake of President Trump's recent vulgar remarks. South Africa and Ghana diplomats there are calling the latest -- just the latest, rather, to call in top envoys.

U.S. State Department officials say diplomats have been advised not to try to soften or interpret Mr. Trump's remarks but to listen, acknowledge countries' concerns and reaffirm the U.S. cares deeply about their people.

Joining me now from Johannesburg, South Africa, journalist and talk radio show host, Redi Tlhabi.

Redi, thank you for being with us. Listen, as you may have heard, the defense from Republicans seems to be that the president didn't say shithole in reference to African countries. He said shithouse.

Let me ask you, just because I have to, will that lessen the outrage felt by Africans?

REDI TLHABI, JOURNALIST: Isha, this is preposterous. It doesn't matter what the derogatory terms he used; it is what he meant that matters. What he meant was that these countries are subhuman somehow. They're not deserving of equality and respect.

So I could very well say why do you allow people from this (INAUDIBLE) countries? It's the same intent. The difference (INAUDIBLE) basically doing was reaffirming (INAUDIBLE) president from Norway. And that context is very important.

What he was saying was that these countries are inferior and people from those countries should not be allowed in. That is the meaning. And I'm just appalled, like people are nitpicking over semantics when the meaning and the intent behind the word is so clear.

SESAY: It's also ironic to me, personally, bearing in mind we heard President Trump say a few month ago that a lot of his friends were off in Africa, making a lot of money, that -- so there is some value on the continent, at least for people that the president to golf and make money.

We also know as a statement of fact that the United States has a great many strategic interests on the continent. So it's hard to square those realities with what the president was saying about the continent and by extension its people.

TLHABI: And not only that, Isha, he's been very ahistorical. Even his emphasis on the fact that he has friends who are making money in Africa, (INAUDIBLE) revelation. We know the history of colonialism. We know the raw materials in Africa. We know that human resources, (INAUDIBLE) slavery, the artwork from Africa, all of these have been exploited.

We know that in order to build (INAUDIBLE) first world economy, that is history. There's no point going there. But Donald Trump has forced us to evoke that by making (INAUDIBLE) the discovery of Africa is something new.

It has been recovered in time, in history and it cannot be changed. African economies and raw materials and resources have built economies elsewhere to the detriment of its people.

Well, that is the history.

What is the --


SESAY: You know -- go ahead, Redi.

TLHABI: -- Isha.

SESAY: No, no, go ahead.

TLHABI: No, I'm saying that even currently, Africa continues to provide raw material, its human resources. There are a lot of Americans who are in Africa, (INAUDIBLE) South Africa, they're making a living. They're (INAUDIBLE) their skills and they don't want to be kept into this kind of archaic mode of debate that Donald Trump is kind of forcing the world into.

SESAY: We are trying to judge what the true impact of the statement will be going forward. I mean, from where you sit, what do you think in terms of lasting damage? I mean, we also need to give our viewers a context that China is making huge inroads on the continent. I mean, what does the president's attitude, as demonstrated by these words, mean for the U.S. and also the advancement of China on the continent?

TLHABI: I think that Africans are under no illusions about where Donald Trump stands. But I'll be very surprised if an entire country is tarnished with the same brush. I think that people are well traveled. There's a (INAUDIBLE) sophisticated and have (INAUDIBLE) in their analysis and interpretation. They know that these are extreme politics that are present in other parts of the world.

It's just that the (INAUDIBLE) --


TLHABI: -- that these are views demonstrated by the president of the so-called superpower. But be that as it may, I don't think that there will be a lasting and permanent fallout. I think what Africans (INAUDIBLE) state and government and (INAUDIBLE) will say that Donald Trump is not our friend.

But we are looking forward. We will work with the citizens of the world who are progressive and hold egalitarian (INAUDIBLE). And even here in South Africa, the (INAUDIBLE) South African authorities and affirmed the importance of collaboration, cordial relations which have been happening throughout history during the George W. Bush years, when South Africa was opposed to the war on Iraq.

(INAUDIBLE) cordial relations. So I do think Donald Trump -- in fact, he shouldn't be allowed to destroy relationships that have been built over much sweat and effort.

SESAY: Yes, indeed. Redi Tlhabi, we appreciate it. Thank you so much for the well thought-out analysis. It is very much appreciated. Thank you.

Now Hawaii is taking immediate steps to prevent another false missile alert. The governor says internal warning drills are on hold until a full review of Saturday's false alarm is completed. And a two-step, two-person rule is now in place for all TV, radio and cell phone alerts.

Those safeguards could be critical, given the short amount of time the U.S. has to react to a missile launch from North Korea. Brian Todd reports.


BRIAN TODD, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): For hundreds of thousands of people in Hawaii, a gut-wrenching 38 minutes.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The U.S. Pacific Command has detected a missile threat to Hawaii. A missile may impact on land or sea within minutes.

TODD (voice-over): Alerts were sent to TVs and cell phones. "This is not a drill," sending people all over the islands running for cover. Now new warnings from nuclear experts that other scares like Saturday's false alarm could prompt American or North Korean leaders to take measures that could take us on a path to war.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You've heard of the fog of war. Well, the fog of nuclear war is even thicker. So we have to be aware that these tensions will and can get out of control.

TODD (voice-over): CNN is told President Trump was briefed within just a few minutes of the initial alert in Hawaii that it was a false alarm.

But if somehow it had become unclear whether a North Korean missile was really flying toward the U.S. or not and the president felt he had to act, he'd have a frighteningly short amount of time to respond.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The president has five or six minutes to make a decision. There will be three or four minutes to implement that decision by the War Room in the Pentagon; one additional minute for the underground crews to fire their missiles and another 15 minutes for submarine crews to fire their weapons.

TODD (voice-over): At that point, nuclear-tipped missiles are flying at four miles per second. Analysts now warn of what could happen in the coming months during this period of what one expert calls "the Wild West of ballistic missile testing."

The North Koreans may take the next major step in their weapons program and test a nuclear-tipped missile over the Pacific.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Instead of sending it high over the Earth's atmosphere and almost straight down, they could sent it almost all the way across the Pacific Ocean. That would look like a missile intended to hit a target in the United States. The United States would not know whether that missile was armed with nuclear warhead or a dummy warhead.

So in that event we might have a U.S. reaction that then could lead to a kinetic response on the part of the North Koreans.

TODD (voice-over): Bruce Blair, a nuclear launch officer at the height of the Cold War, says Kim Jong-un's regime will soon have its nuclear weapons on launch ready alert like the U.S. does now.

BRUCE BLAIR, FORMER NUCLEAR LAUNCH OFFICER: In the future, if they deploy weapons on high alert, then they're going to be susceptible to false alarms and we're going to be vulnerable to mistakes made by the North Korean military and Kim Jong-un.

TODD: Another dangerous component to all this: the personal attacks between the president and Kim Jong-un. Experts warn a misinterpreted tweet from the president could lead Kim to think that an attack on North Korea is imminent and then he could launch against the U.S.

They point out the young North Korean leader doesn't have the long experience with brinksmanship that the Americans do -- Brian Todd, CNN, Washington.


SESAY: quick break here. California police have launched an investigation after finding a dozen people aged 2 to 29 allegedly held captive in this home. Just ahead, what police saw when they went inside.

Plus Catherine Deneuve is apologizing for some of the uproar caused by an open letter against the #MeToo movement. Why she's also saying sorry, not sorry. We'll explain.


ISHA SESAY, CNN INTERNATIONAL ANCHOR: You're watching CNN NEWSROOM live from Los Angeles. I'm Isha Sesay, the headlines this hour.

Democrats and Republicans are blaming each other for possible U.S. government shutdown, the controversy over President Trump's vulgar remarks derailed bipartisan immigration deal and that's threatening a spending bill to keep the government funded past Friday.

Pope Francis insisting Chile where he toured the streets of the camp of Santiago's cheering crowds but keeping him safe is a concern. The pope is facing threats and protests. Many there furious of how the Vatican has dealt the scandals of child sex abuse.

A bridge collapsed in (INAUDIBLE) South Colombia has killed at least 10 people, that's according to the country's civil defense authorities which adds that the bridge was under construction. Rescue workers are looking for missing people, all the victims were construction workers.

A California couple is facing charges of torture and child endangerment after police found 12 of their children held as captives in their home, some chained to bed. David and Louise Turpin were arrested Sunday after a teenage girl escaped and told police that her siblings were being held prisoner. Authorities say the victims range in ages we said from two to 29-years-old. They also say they were severely malnourished that even the adults look like children. Here's how some of the neighbors describe them.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The older kids, they -- I thought they were like 12 because they look so malnourished, so pale. So because of that, I thought that they were much younger than they what they were.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: They were very, very pale-skinned, like -- almost like they've never seen the sun but I've seen a couple of the older ones that they all -- and it's mostly girls and then kind of small-framed, I'd say kind of tiny, almost looked all malnutrition.


SESAY: Well record show their home -- there's a school, David Turpin as a principal. Child and adult welfare authority are investigating. Well, two high profile actors are issuing apologies of sort as a need

to movement grows. French actress Catherine Deneuve apologized to sexual assault victims who are offended by an open letter she signed just last week. It argued that the #MeToo Campaign against sexual harassment has spiraled out of control. Ninety-nine other women also signed the letter which defended men's freedom to pest the women. Deneuve says she salutes victims but is still skeptical on the #MeToo Campaign.

And actor Mark Wahlberg is donating his $1.5 million reshoot fee to the Time's Up, that's a legal defends fund and it comes in actress Michelle Williams name. It follows a report that said Williams was paid the minimum $80 a day to redo scenes for their film, "All the Money in the World." Wahlberg says he supports the fight for fair pay 100 percent. The talent agency that represents Mark Wahlberg and Williams says it will also make a $500,000 donation to the fund also in Williams name.

Well let's bring in Rebecca Ruiz now, she's a gender and equality reporter for "Mashable" and joins us from San Francisco. Good to see you once again. Let's start with that apology of sorts from Catherine Deneuve, let me read part of it.


It is sort of kind of a mea culpa let's put it up on the screen. Says, "I'm a free woman and I will remain one, I fraternally salute all women victims of odious acts who may have felt aggrieved by the letter in Le Monte. It is to them, and them alone, that I apologize."

What do you make the way Catherine Deneuve has handled all of this? And as I said, that's the sort of kind of mea culpa.

REBECCA RUIZ, GENDER AND EQUALITY REPORTER, MASHABLE: Yes. I think it's indicative of the messy State of Affairs that we found ourself in trying to move forward. As need to moves forward unto itself with different people coming forward.

And I think that she's figuring it out as she goes along, she's improvising and I sense that victims stood up and said, "I'm sorry, what? How are we defending the behavior of men who've hurt women and explain that some more?" So it's complicated and it's messy.

SESAY: I think it's also interesting because it also highlights the schism among feminists in different parts of the world. In essence, French feminism is different from American feminism it would seem, at least in what Catherine Deneuve put down in that letter and the surrounding conversations.

RUIZ: Absolutely, I read the same thing that there were feminists in France who are worried that American feminism has sort of corrupted French feminism and it's absolutely a schism and I think it's important obviously to keep this cultural context in mind when we're having these conversations that are now become global.

SESAY: Do you see a splintering of the coalition here in the United States? In other words, what is captured in that letter by Catherine Deneuve and the other women there in France? Do you see it bubbling here in the United States?

RUIZ: I don't see a splintering of a coalition as much as I see a brewing backlash. And the backlash concerns me in a sense that I worry about people who are putting their foot down and saying, "OK, enough, enough with the stories, enough with the reports. We're crossing lines that we shouldn't be crossing" simply because I don't think that they've argued very well, that we should stop having these conversations or have them on their turns, on the critic's terms.

SESAY: And to that point, these people are saying, "Enough with the stories." Well, these aren't just stories, these aren't just statistics, these are people's lives we're talking about.

Recent example, U.S. Gymnast Simone Biles coming out now and she's the latest of pointing her finger at Dr. Larry Nassar who has already been found guilty of sexual assaulting other gymnasts. Here's part of what she tweeted, "I too are one of the many survivors that was sexually abused by Larry Nassa. Please believe me when I say it was a lot harder to first speak those words out loud than it is now to put them on paper."

And I think that's the point of being lost here. When people say enough, enough with all of this, we're talking about people's lives that will be forever altered by what they say happen to them.

RUIZ: I think that's absolutely right and I think that victims of abuse or harassment or assault are -- have every right to stand up and say, "Wait a second, this moment isn't over." You may feel like a backlash is coming, you may feel uncomfortable with this, but maybe sit with that discomfort.

Figure out why you feel uncomfortable with it, feel -- figure out why you are -- don't like the fact that the status quo might be changing that we're having hard conversations about what sex and sexuality mean, what consent means, and more.

SESAY: Yes. Speaking of trying to make good of the moment, Mark Wahlberg, we're going to talk about that. He's trying to make good of the wage disparity that was revealed to the media. You know he gave up his $1.5 million that he got for the reshoot.

Here's part of what he said in a statement let's put that up, he said, "Over the last few days my reshoot fee for "All the Money in the World" has become an important topic of conversation. I 100 percent support the fight for fair pay and I'm donating the $1.5 million to the Time's Up legal defense fund in Michelle Williams name."

Before you respond, let me also bring up what Michelle Williams said, part of what she said in her statement. She came out and said this, "Today isn't about me. My fellow actresses stood by me and stood up for me. My activist friends taught me to use my voice and the most powerful men-in-charge, they listened and they acted. I guess today is one of the indelible days of my life because of Mark Wahlberg, WME, and a community of women and men who share in this accomplishments." So, I guess question to you is this, you just heard Michelle Williams describe this as an accomplishment, how significant is it?

RUIZ: I'm not a Hollywood insider but from the outside looking in, I think it's terrific the way that Mark Wahlberg stood up and said, "I don't think this is right."


And in fact, I'm not just going to say that out loud, I'm going to put some money behind it, a significant amount of money and that Williams stood up and said, "This really isn't about me as much as it's about everyone else." And I think in a way that dynamic is such a model for how we move forward in these difficult times as we're having these hard conversations that two people who have huge professional careers and lots of money at stake could both find a way to come to the table and do their part. I think it's really important.

SESAY: Maybe I'm the only skeptical one here and I'm now be sitting here and maybe I'm the skeptical one who says, is this really going to change anything when it comes to negotiations down the road or do they just lock them behind on disclosure agreements and it doesn't come out that male co-stars make so much more than their female co-stars, I don't know, maybe I'm just a cynic in my old age.

RUIZ: No, I think you're right to be skeptical. I think it's important to keep that cynicism especially when it comes to Hollywood because it's easy to see the optics of it and be kind of fooled by them.

But -- I mean if you're just looking at it as a gesture that maybe we can all think about and model in some way in our own life and that is itself could be important.

SESAY: No, that's true. I mean, Mark Wahlberg did make $12 million for the film. But anyway, moving on Rebecca, appreciate the conversation. Thank you very, very much.

RUIZ: Thank you.

SESAY: All right. Well, the leader of Britain's Independence Party has broken up with his 25-year-old girlfriend over racist message that she sent about Prince Harry's fiance Meghan Markle. Jo Marney has been suspended from the Right Wing Populous Party. Henry Bolton left his wife the morning shortly before Christmas. He announced the relationship end Monday but is refusing to step down as party leader.


HENRY BOLTON, UKIP LEADER: As of last night, our -- the romantic side of our relationship has ended. We had that conversation last night when I returned from Yorkshire. And --

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And what did you say to her?

BOLTON: Well the conversation, of course, will remain a private conversation but it was a long and upsetting conversation for both of us. They -- but at the moment, it is obviously quite incompatible as you say to continue the relationship.


SESAY: Well this is what Marney said, Marney insist that her remarks that Markle who is by racial would taint the royal family were taken out of context.

Next, on NEWSROOM LA, I look back at the distinctive voice and music of Dolores O'Riordan, lead singer of the Cranberries.


SESAY: One of the world's most active volcanoes, the Mayon Volcano in the Philippines has begun erupting again. Thousands on the main island of Luzon were forced to evacuate. Authorities have created a 11-kilometer danger zone around the volcano to protect against falling rocks. Landslides or collapse of the volcano's dome.


Well, Dolores O'Riordan, the lead singer of the Irish band, "The Cranberries" has died. She was 46 years old. Her publicist said she died suddenly in London. She was in the British capital for a recording session and no details yet on the cause of her death. CNN's Amara Walker has more on the music that made her a 90s icon.


AMARA WALKER, CNN INTERNATIONAL ANCHOR: Dolores O'Riordan was the voice of Irish alternative rock. With an unmistakable unique and powerful sound, her music and her band, "The Cranberries" resonated worldwide. With hits like Zombie and Linger. The band from Limerick Island sold more than 40 million albums worldwide with your biggest hits coming in the mid-1990s. Last year, The Cranberries released something else, an album featuring their classic songs remixed with an orchestra. O'Riordan told CNN she was really excited to go on tour.

DOLORES O'RIORDAN, LEAD SINGER, THE CRANBERRIES: You know, you'd like for them to have a really good time and to get a relief from their daily stresses and burdens and just come in and be able to let go and just enjoy the hour and a half that's in it, you know?

WALKER: But the band canceled many of their tour dates, citing O'Riordan's back problems as the reason. As the youngest of seven children, O'Riordan explained she grew up with a wide range of musical influences.

O'RIORDAN: (INAUDIBLE) was a good part of my childhood. With also church music, I played the organ at church. So, I was (INAUDIBLE) a lot of the glory and (INAUDIBLE) you know, and I loved that. (INAUDIBLE) and there's a lot of unusual chords and chord sequences in that music, you know? And then, also, I like rock.

My parents listen to Elvis, The Beatles, Bing Crosby, Frank Sinatra, all that kind of stuff. And then I had a lot of brothers and sisters who were listening to everything from, you know, Status Quo, English bands, like that, or -- and the Sex Pistols, you know, all of that stuff because they're all (INAUDIBLE) enough lot of music around me.

WALKER: The Cranberries formed in 1990 when O'Riordan became the singer of a band started by Noel and Mike Hogan.

O'RIORDAN: But when we came together, we were all teenagers. Mike was 16, I was 18. We were all between 16 and 18 and at that time, we were all mixed bands, and we were all Cure fans, we were all into similar music at that time even though we all grew up with many influences, we were just at that time where, you know, it was like, you go to your room and shut the door and just listen to the Smiths and say this is how I feel. You know, The Cure and just as how bad I feel about like that. How I hate like that.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Meanwhile, that song is (INAUDIBLE) like you know --

O'RIORDAN: And I don't fit in. Why don't I fit in?

WALKER: Musicians around the world have reacted with shock to the news of her death. And the President of Ireland said in the statement, to all those who follow and support Irish music, Irish musicians, and the performing arts, her death will a big loss.



SESAY: We are just a few days away from the one year anniversary of Donald Trump's inauguration as President of the United States. As we look back, our own Hala Gorani went to small Georgia town Mr. Trump got 90 percent of the vote to see if they're still behind him.


HALA GORANI, CNN INTERNATIONAL SENIOR CORRESPONDENT: Glascock County, Georgia. The small rural community of Gibson in America's deep south. Zoom into the heritage house.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Thank you, ma'am.

GORANI: A restaurant that caters to the after church crowd. Here, Donald Trump is a hero. Almost 90 percent of voters cast ballots for the president in 2016. Today, Dalton Lamb (ph) is running the family business.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Everyone in this county, for the most part, is Trump supporters. Not everyone, but for the most part.

GORANI: So, almost one year to the day since the president was inaugurated. What did Trump supporters in this part of America think of their president? Glascock County Sheriff Jeremy Kelly.

JEREMY KELLY, COUNTY SHERIFF, GLASCOCK COUNTY GEORGIA: I'm a God- fearing Christian. You know, and the Bible tells us that the greatest commandment is love, who would love our neighbors as ourselves. I think that's what we have to do as not necessarily a country but as a humanity as a while. Just love and respect each other. And I'm glad to see a president of the United States given an emphasis on that. You know, being for one another.

GORANI: Yes. But I'll be honest with you, the perception from the outside is he's not doing that at all. He's being divisive, he's insulting entire continents when he called, you know, the s-hole word for Africa, et cetera. So, that's where some people watching this outside the U.S., but sheriff, what you're describing sounds great, but that's not what we see in the president at all. How would you respond to them?

KELLY: Well, and that's one thing. I'm (INAUDIBLE) the position as well. Some of the things that I say or I may do may not be perceived as to the way it was intended. As far as the comments he would make, I don't know the context around those comments that were made. I'm not going to comment as to how he mean it or what he mean or what they were --

GORANI: Elizabeth Lamb is the matriarch of the family that runs the heritage house.

ELIZABETH LAMB, OWNER, HERITAGE HOUSE: I admire the man because I think he truly loves our country. And this is what we've got to have for the United States of America, somebody that truly cares and not after a lot of power. The man didn't go in for money. He's got plenty of power. He truly has shown me that he loves America. And he wants to change it, go back the way it used to be.

GORANI: For Linda Wasden, President Trump may be the most powerful man in America, but she still thinks is being treated unfairly.

LINDA WASDEN, PRESIDENT, GLASCOCK COUNTY: I think some of the things maybe he has said, I think, well, you know, that's -- don't say that.

GORANI: Like what??

WASDEN: Well, just if he said what he said about the other countries, when you get upset, you say things sometimes in heat of passion that you should not say.

GORANI: But Elizabeth, one of the things that I hear often living abroad is people, people that the President is unpredictable, that he's probably reckless and not maybe very stable when it comes to his reactions. He reacts a lot in the heat of the moment. This is -- I'm just being honest with you, this is what people say. They're worried, you know, that in the heat of passion, he'll start a war with North Korea, or he'll do something dangerous for the whole world. What would you say to people outside the U.S. about the president because clearly, you don't think they should be concerned about this?

LAMB: I do not. I think no certain thing is -- the proof is in the pudding. I would say give him a chance. Some of this stuff that's just getting blown up so out of proportion. GORANI: But President Trump seems to me like not necessarily the most obvious choice for a God-fearing Christian person to support. Why? Because of some of the things he said, because of some of the issues surrounding for instance in that Access Hollywood tape or he brags about touching women and things like that. It seems to me like that isn't necessarily logically the candidate you'd support. Can you explain to me why you find him appealing?

WASDEN: Well, we hear that about pastors. I mean, he knows that there's things that they should not do butt --


GORANI: But you still support them, you mean?

WASDEN: No. Who are we to judge? We're not going to be the judge. But I feel like Donald Trump, like she says, loves America.

GORANI: Do you think there is something to this notion and there's an investigation going on now that the campaign of the president when he was a candidate got help from Russia or colluded with Russia? Do you believe any of that?

LAMB: No, no, I do not.

GORANI: You do not?

LAMB: I do not.

GORANI: Why not?

LAMB: Well, I just -- I just think that that would be fruitless. The man has got out and done more in his trying to get elected. I mean, he just -- you could tell it was going his way most of the time. Yes, he'd say a little act -- little things that would just make you so mad you want to hit him, but the next day, I mean, it was something that wow, look at this man. He's very intelligent.

GORANI: All right. The fact is the president said when he was a candidate, I'm going to build a wall, Mexico is going to pay for the wall. He said it, I don't know how many times, dozens, possibly hundreds.

WASDEN: But the wall is not built yet.

GORANI: Not only that. Not only that but then the president is asking for the money from Congress which means he's asking for money from all of you taxpayers. Is that not a broken promise?

LAMB: Wait a minute, he's --


GORANI: That's an admission of a broken promise.

LAMB: He can't perform miracles in one year. WASDEN: He has to have someone to help him.

KELLY: We have to get to where America is our personal agenda. And I want to see that from whether it'd be Donald Trump, whether it'd be Barack Obama, or whether it'd be whoever --

GORANI: Oprah Winfrey?

KELLY: I mean, if -- then she's -- if she's elected by the majority.



KELLY: If she -- if she is elected --

GORANI: There was all this talk about her possibly running. You don't -- Linda, you don't sound like you're --

WASDEN: I can't comment.

KELLY: But at the same time, if she's elected president and as long as her personal agenda is America, and she works for that, more power to her.

GORANI: Here, the America First mantra resonates more than ever. And attacks against the president don't stick. One year on, and no sign of a shift in opinion in this Trump heartland. Hala Gorani, Gibson, Georgia.


SESAY: Well, you're watching NEWSROOM L.A., I'm Isha Sesay. I'll be back with more news right after this.