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Korea Talks; Immigration Impasse Could Force Government Shutdown; Trump White House; Steve Bannon Subpoenaed in Russia Probe; House of Horrors; U.N. Chief And Rights Groups Raise Concerns Over Rohingya Deal; Larry Nassar To Be Sentenced For Sex Abuse; Jamaican Women Carving Their Own Bobsled Core. Aired 2-3a ET
Aired January 17, 2018 - 02:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[02:00:00] ISHA SESAY, CNN ANCHOR: This CNN Newsroom live from Los Angeles. Ahead this hour, tenuous stage and ominous outlook from the U.S. secretary of state, urging Pyongyang to talk options and to do so now.
Thirteen brothers and sisters in prison in their homes and tortured by their parents. What the police are saying about the horrific conditions they found and how the children are doing.
And it seems months in the making, now repatriation plan to Myanmar's Rohingya has been finalized, but there are lots of concerns about the deal.
Hello and welcome to our viewers around the world. I am Isha Sesay and Newsroom L.A. starts right now.
Well, after a day-long meeting on the North Korean nuclear threat, foreign ministers from 20 countries are ready to consider unilateral sanctions. The measures will be all in U.N. Security Council resolution. The details are still not clear. U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson did say it is time to talk to the north, but Pyongyang has to indicate that it is willing.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REX TILLERSON, UNITED STATES SECRETARY OF STATE: A sustained cessation of North Korea's threatening behavior is necessary -- is a necessary indicator of whether the regime is truly ready to pursue a peaceful, diplomatic resolution to the security threat that it has created. Our nations must remain on sustaining pressure until North Korea takes concrete steps toward and ultimately reaches denuclearization.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SESAY: Meantime, the third round of talks between the north and south yielded in agreement to return the bodies of four North Korean nationals found off the South Korean coast. The two sides have been meeting to work out the details of North Korea's participation in the upcoming Olympic Games. Our Ivan Watson joins us now from Seoul with the very latest. So, Ivan, clearly an agreement on the Olympic games and the north being represented. I think you said something like 230 cheerleaders and well over 100 members of North Korean orchestra will make their way to the upcoming Winter Games. But, I mean, there is progress in that direction, any progress when it comes to nuclear talks?
IVAN WATSON, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: To the best of our knowledge today, no. And the South Korean delegations in the previous rounds of discussions, notably the very first one last week, did raise that issue and the leader of the North Korean delegation bristled at that. And North Korean state media as well, saying that it does not want to talk about getting rid of its nuclear arsenal, that that's pretty much a nonstarter.
So, the focus of the discussions has really been on the logistics of getting what seems to be an enormous North Korean delegation to the Winter Olympics. So on Monday, the north and south agreed that North Korea would be able to send members of this orchestra, about 140 members, down to South Korea for several performances.
The proposal that has come out today from the northern side is to send more than 200 cheerleaders to attend. We don't have a concrete answer yet from the South Koreans. We know that both sides have also discussed the possibility of a joint women's ice hockey team.
And it does appear that they have discussed the possibility of doing some kind of joint cultural event, some of which could revolve around a luxury ski resort in North Korea, though, again, we don't have a concrete answer as to what the South Koreans have said about that.
We do know that it does appear that the North Koreans want to attend the Paralympics which will follow the Winter Games. So, there has been a significant amount of progress on the kind of Olympic diplomacy, if you will, that really has been groundbreaking considering the two countries didn't speak for some two years until last week's first round of face-to-face talks. Isha?
SESAY: Ivan, I'll be switching gears to talk about the talks in Vancouver being led by Secretary Tillerson and his Canadian counterpart. There is now conversation about unilateral sanctions on the table. Are we clear on whether the front line allies, the U.S., Japan and South Korea are all on the same page in terms of what happens next in going forward in dealing with North Korea?
WATSON: Well, certainly, the gathered foreign ministers in Vancouver from some 20 nations including the ones you mentioned, they were all trying to send a real broad message of unity, saying, OK, we all support North Korean's participation at the Winter Olympics, we support the inter-Korean dialogue that is underway, but we also want to make clear that we do not
[02:05:00] support North Korea being armed with nuclear bombs, and we all agree that the goal is to get rid of those weapons and to stand together with United Nations sanctions to try and make that happen. Notable is who is missing at those talks in Vancouver, China and Russia, two big players who also have economic ties with North Korea.
And the ministers made clear to point out that they need China and Russia to enforce those United Nations sanctions. Isha?
SESAY: Important absences there at that gathering in Canada. Ivan Watson speaking to us from Seoul, we always appreciate it. Thank you, Ivan.
Now, Donald Trump's former chief strategist is facing two subpoenas in the Russia investigation. Steve Bannon met for 10 hours with House Intelligence Committee Tuesday, refusing to answer questions about the time between the election and the inauguration.
The top Democrat on the panel says the White House put a gag order on Bannon. Also, sources are saying that Justice Department special counsel Robert Mueller has subpoenaed Bannon to testify before a grand jury.
President Trump could be marking his first anniversary in office with a government shutdown. Democrats say they probably won't vote for a spending bill without protecting "dreamers," hundreds of thousands of people who have been living in the United States for years brought to this country illegally as children.
The president's vulgar comments on immigration are only making these negotiations a lot more difficult.
CNN's Jim Acosta reports.
JIM ACOSTA, CNN SENIOR WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): President Trump tried again to clean up his comments on immigrants coming from what he referred to as shithole countries. Visibly annoyed, the president snapped at the press when we asked about his remark that he would like to see more people entering the U.S. from places like Norway.
(on camera): Did you say that you wanted more people to come in from Norway? Is that true, Mr. President?
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I want them to come in from everywhere. Everywhere. Thank you very much, everybody.
ACOSTA (on camera): Just Caucasians or white countries, sir, or do you want people to come in from other parts of the world whether people at Poland?
ACOSTA (voice-over): In another side, the White House has grown weary of the questions. Two aides to the president stood right in front of the press and shouted at another event with the president of (INAUDIBLE).
The president is insisting he is not racist and he did nothing wrong. Senator Dick Durbin who heard Mr. Trump referred African countries as shithole at a White House meeting totally misrepresented what was said.
SEN. LINDSEY GRAHAM (R), SOUTH CAROLINA: This has turned into a show and we need to get back to being a great country.
ACOSTA (voice-over): But Durbin's Republican colleague, Lindsey Graham, who was also at the meeting is all but confirming the president made the remark.
GRAHAM: I don't want to talk about the meeting other than I know what I heard and I know what I said.
ACOSTA (voice-over): Graham appear to be speaking through the media directly to the president, urging him to behave more like he did in a separation immigration meeting in front the cameras last week when he appeared open to a bipartisan deal.
TRUMP: This should be a bipartisan bill. This should be a bill of love.
ACOSTA (voice-over): Graham blamed the president's apparent new hard line stance on White House advisers including his chief of staff.
GRAHAM: I will say I don't think the president is well served by his staff. I thin the president that we saw previously is that Donald Trump exists. And somehow by 12 o'clock on Thursday, something happened. And I don't think he was well served by his staff, but he is responsible for the way he conducts himself, and so am I. I can't blame that on the staff but I do believe his staff was --
UNIDENTIFIED MALE (voice-over): Would that be General Kelly?
GRAHAM: Pretty much missed the mark here. I think General Kelly is a fine man but he is also part of the staff.
ACOSTA (voice-over): The latest White House melodrama is unfolding just days before possible government shutdown. Democrats want a spending deal that would protect young undocumented "dreamers" from deportation. The White House is demanding that no strings be attached to the spending bill.
In exchange for protecting the "dreamers," Mr. Trump is insisting that Congress give him billions of dollars to build the wall on the border, tweeting, we must have security at our very dangerous southern border. We must have a great wall to help protect us.
But the president's racially charged comments have poisoned talks with Democrats even as the White House offered up a new reason why Mr. Trump is no bigot.
SARAH HUCKABEE SANDERS, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: Look, I think that is an outrageous claim. Frankly, I think if the critics of the president were who he said he was, why did NBC give him a show for a decade on TV? ACOSTA (voice-over): The White House also responded to questions about the president's fitness for office, presenting the results from Mr. Trump's recent physical exam which included an assessment of his neurological health.
RONNY JACKSON, PRESIDENTIAL PHYSICIAN: His overall health is excellent. Are there a few things he could do to make himself a little healthier with diet and exercise, absolutely. He is tracking that, I'm tracking it. We're working on that. But overall, he has very, very good health.
ACOSTA: As for the president's recent physical exam, Dr. Ronny Jackson told reporters the president asked specifically for a test of his cognitive abilities. The doctor said the president passed that test, but he also emphasized to reporters that is not the same as a psychological exam.
Jim Acosta, CNN, White House.
[02:10:00] SESAY: A lot to break down. Joining me now, CNN political commentator and democratic strategist Dave Jacobson, Republican strategist Charles Moran, and professor of law and governance at Loyola Law School Jessica Levinson. Welcome to you all. Good to see you.
Jessica, I want to start with you. So they have Steve Bannon on Capitol Hill on Tuesday, and the only thing that is very clear from his appearance is that he wasn't prepared to say very much at all. Take a listen to Adam Schiff, the ranking Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee. Take a listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. ADAM SCHIFF (D), CALIFORNIA: He refused to answer a broad range of questions concerning any meeting, conversation or discussion that took place either during the transition or while he was with the White House, any significant set of conversations that may have taken place even after he left the White House.
So, we served him with a subpoena during the hearing to convert it from a voluntary appearance to a mandatory one. He was counseled then went back to the White House and came back to us. It was essentially the same (INAUDIBLE) from the White House which is they have instructed not to answer anything during those time periods.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SESAY: Jessica, Adam Schiff insisting that there was a gag order imposed on Steve Bannon. Let us be clear for our viewers. Is there anything wrong or unethical in the White House effectively telling Bannon not to cooperate and answer questions?
JESSICA LEVINSON, PROFESSOR OF LAW AND GOVERNANCE, LOYOLA LAW SCHOOL: Yes, if Steve Bannon is under subpoena, then he is required to answer to the extent that he can. And unless he can validly assert a privilege, then he is in contempt of Congress if he doesn't produce either evidence in the form of testimony or documents. And so one of the things, it looks like they're potentially asserting this idea of executive privilege. So let's unpack that for a minute.
Executive privilege is actually a fuzzy umbrella term that is not found in the constitution, but it includes four privileges that falls within two buckets, which means we don't want to tell you because it's within the issue of national security and we don't want to tell you because the president's deliberative process should be private and there is an overwriting public interest in keeping his deliberative process private.
Now, it is not clear to me that Steve Bannon's conversation fall into either one of those buckets, but let's also talk about the fact that this is with respect to the chief executive, not the president-elect.
SESAY: Dates the transition period, is that correct?
LEVINSON: I think the potential assertion of the privilege is from the election to the inauguration and then from the inauguration onward. As far as I know, no understanding in the courts that the executive privilege would extend to conversations that happened during the transition.
SESAY: OK. So, we have that clear, that it is fuzzy, they are on shaky ground at best. Dave, what do you make of Steve Bannon's refusal to answer question even when was slapped with the subpoena while there on Capitol Hill?
DAVE JACOBSON, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: I will tell you what really struck me today. There were several reports that came out that said, this was unprecedented, that one of the most polarizing committees in all of Congress, one of which that is so critically vital to this Russia investigation but which has been dysfunctional, this actually united both the GOP and Democrats.
And I think that is promising. I think that is a good move. I think they are going to continue to sort of try to compel Steve Bannon to answer some tough questions. But what also was really fascinating, there was a New York Times story that came out that said Bob Mueller is going to pursue questioning. There is grand jury.
And so Steve Bannon is going to have to grapple whether or not he goes before the grand jury or potentially cut a deal with Mueller and go on a more soft setting and answer investigator questions at Mueller's office. But that either way you look at it, that is going to be a bad day for Steve Bannon, but also for the Trump administration.
SESAY: And Charles, I want to bring you in here. To that point, either way you slice it and dice it, Steve Bannon who was once part of the president's inner circle is now in the spotlight and it really does at least with regards to the Mueller probe, it really does push back on this assertion from the White House that this probe is about to wrap up. CHARLES MORAN, REPUBLICAN STRATEGIST: Well, you know, part of the story that came out from Michael Wolff's book was about a meeting that allegedly happened and various figures that were brought into Trump Tower. All of these things happened well before Steve Bannon even showed up on the campaign.
So, again, there is so much muddying of the waters here about what happened that Steve Bannon saw, what did he not see, what did he know about, what did he not know about, and there can't be this conflagration of all of these things if it looks like maybe it happened or he knew about one thing that he was there for to see it.
He wasn't. He wasn't there when the meetings happened. He was not an employee of the campaign. He was not in the inner circle when some these allegations of these meetings took place. The point of this committee is to get to the bottom of potential Russian interference in our election.
[02:15:00] And what they are specifically looking at, what Michael Wolff has asserted in this book, which has not been proven true, I think that Steve Bannon was never even on, he was not even employed by the campaign when these things happened. It was months away.
SESAY: I think that is a very valid point. Jessica, if you could respond to that, because I have read some analysis that says in the case of Mueller, it's not the question of whether he was there and witnessed it, but it is how he can draw contrast with what other people who were there could testify or have said in the questioning.
LEVINSON: Yes. So, let's be clear. Steve Bannon does not have to have been in the room for every potential meeting or has to have knowledge of every potential meeting that might be useful for the Robert Mueller investigation.
And so we are looking at more than just this issue of was there a conspiracy between the Russian government and the Trump campaign. And there is a number of things that Steve Bannon as an absolute controverted member of the inner circle could be useful for. We are looking at issues of obstruction of justice. Steve Bannon was in the White House during the firing of James Comey. We are looking at variety of election -- potential election law violations.
SESAY: Michael Flynn. All of that stuff.
LEVINSON: We are looking at false statements, Michael Flynn. And so the idea that because he wasn't in the room or wasn't part of certain meetings is really legally irrelevant to what Robert Mueller is looking at.
SESAY: OK, Charles, quickly.
MORAN: But all things that have nothing to do with the Russian investigation, which have nothing to do with the investigation of this congressional panel, which is how we started this conversation to begin with, this is a witch hunt and it is going down a rabbit hole, that is needless and spiraling out of control. SESAY: It is a (INAUDIBLE) situation with the Mueller investigation alongside what is happening on Capitol Hill. So, yes, we did start with Capitol Hill with the Mueller investigation, is very much part of this conversation.
I want to turn my attention to the president's vulgar remarks last week about countries in Africa and of course Haiti. You heard the president in that Jim Acosta piece, striking a decidedly different tone, saying, he now want people from everywhere in the world. Dave, what gives? Are we in clean up mode?
JACOBSON: I don't think we are. Several reports came out after the shit hole comment came out that Donald Trump was bragging to his friends and his allies and his supporters throughout the course of the weekend. And let's not forget the White House didn't initially deny that he made the comment the day after, right?
I think the fact of the matter is, Donald Trump is a liar. We know that. The Washington Post has now up their story to now 2,000 times that either Donald Trump or his cronies have lied publicly to the American people. So I think Donald Trump is just trying to tamp down the flames. The fact of the matter is, Donald Trump is a racist.
Donald Trump started his campaign, saying that Mexicans were drug dealers and rapists. He called Judge Curiel biased because of his Mexican heritage. He went out and (INAUDIBLE) a gold star family. He has come out and said horrifying things about women. There is extraordinary amounts of evidence out there that Donald Trump is a racist. So I don't buy this argument.
SESAY: Charles, I will bring you in, according to Sarah Sanders, the White House press secretary, if Donald Trump was a racist, NBV wouldn't have given him a show or made him a host. I think that's how she put it.
MORAN: I will use another example she didn't use, AACP gave her award, the same people, I saw Jesse Jackson up there running his mouth, Al (INAUDIBLE). Several years ago, they were on the same stage, handing him awards for advancing the issues of the African-American community in New York and across the country.
So, this issue of OK, do you flip a switch, are you a racist, are you not, he has a demonstrated history of working with disadvantaged communities throughout this nation to promote equality and opportunity.
SESAY: He also has demonstrated (INAUDIBLE) racist thing. Jessica, to bring you in here very quickly before we wrap this conversation, I want you to take a listen to the attorney general who has also been weighing in on, I guess, the president's sentiment on immigration. Take a listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JEFF SESSIONS, ATTORNEY GENERAL OF THE UNITED STATES: What good does it do to bring in somebody who is illiterate in their own country, has no skills, and is going struggle in our country and not be successful? That is not what a good nation should do. And we need to get away from it.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SESAY: Why bring illiterate unskilled immigrants which I guess again is (INAUDIBLE) to what President Trump said last week about Africans coming from shithole countries. I guess those of us who come here were illiterate and have nothing to add to the economy. What do you make of what the A.G. said?
LEVINSON: Well, let's remember that Jeff Sessions was a senator who was nominated to be a district court judge and his nomination was ultimately foiled because there were -- let's say generously potentially racist remarks that he made that were problematic.
I think that this idea that we are degrading people because they come from certain countries and that they are not only made to sound illiterate and problematic and that we don't want them in our country, but this idea that we are categorizing people by what they look like and where they come from and that they are less then, I think is deeply troubling
[02:20:00] and goes directly against what we are as a nation. Unfortunately, it also is now absolutely presidential and it is something that we could look to the head of the Department of Justice and say, yes, these are two people who are espousing these views that I think are deeply problematic.
SESAY: I want to thank all of you for the honest conversation. We always appreciate it. Dave, Charles, Jessica, thank you. We appreciate it.
Coming up, new details about the children police say were trapped in a home against their will and the encounter that stood out to a neighbor, next.
SESAY: Hello, everyone. The California couple accused of holding their 13 children captive in their home will stand before a judge at a court hearing on Thursday. Authorities say the siblings' condition indicates they were subjected to abuse for prolonged period of time. CNN's Dan Simon has more on this extremely disturbing story.
DAN SIMON, CNN CORRESPONDENT: We know that when authorities first arrived at the house behind me that the mother, 49-year-old Louise Turpin, she was said to be perplexed as to why deputies were even there. We don't know what the father, 57-year-old David Turpin, was taking but of course the question is being asked what was going on in their lives to make them think that this kind of parenting was OK.
We know that authorities were alerted to this whole situation by one of their daughters, a 17-year-old, escaped through a window very early Sunday morning. She called police, 911, just before six in the morning and when deputies came and met her, she said that she was being held against her will, that her siblings were also being held against their will.
She showed them some photos on her cell phone and what that did is it made authorities believed the story that she was telling them. They came to the house and they saw the horrid condition. They saw that at least three children were being chained to some furniture. They were all evacuated from the house.
They were taken to various hospitals. Their psychological well being as well as their physical well being being looked after. And of course the couple now in jail. Both being held on $9 million bail, charged with torture and child endangerment.
Dan Simon, CNN, Perris, California.
SESAY: Just terrible. Judy Ho and Bobby Chacon join me now. Judy is a clinical and forensic psychologist and Bobby is retired FBI special agent. Welcome to you both. Bobby, I want to start with you. This is truly awful. The children were found in shocking state and the conditions in the house were described as horrific. Talk to me about the process of building a picture of what happened in this home.
BOBBY CHACON, RETIRED FBI SPECIAL AGENT: Right. So this is going to require a series of interviews with the children. They are the victims and really the only witnesses that we have. So you have the two parents who are the suspected criminals in the case, and now you got 13 witness victims.
And so really it is going to -- these interviews are not going to be easy to conduct. You know, there is a lot of emotion involved. That is going to be conducted by
[02:25:00] experts who have expertise in interviewing children in these circumstances. And so it may take a series of interviews to actually sort out what was happening.
The prosecutors and the investigators are going to have to sort all that out and figure out what criminal violations we actually have here. The obvious ones are kidnapping and child abuse. But you have to get the evidence to support that. That is going to have to come from those children.
SESAY: Judy, to bring you in, how difficult is that going to be? You heard that neighbor say when she said something completely innocuous and pleasant, the children froze.
JUDY HO, PSYCHOLOGIST: Right.
SESAY: How do you begin to unpack this?
HO: And because of the prolonged abuse that they probably suffered, they were not exposed to other people outside of the family to socialize, to have conversation, and that is why they acted so strangely.
I am also concerned for the cognitive development of these children because if they have been malnourished for all of this time, it is very likely that a lot of their executive function centers didn't develop and that's why they couldn't make good complex decisions.
This is why it is so wonderful that this 17-year-old somehow got the wherewithal to actually break out and have the skills to do that. But I am really concerned about how these interviews are going to go, how much they can even recall, because their learning and memory are probably impaired as well.
SESAY: Yes. Bobby, I do want to come to the question that we always ask in these moments. How did neighbors, how did family members not suspect, not know something allegedly -- I mean, there is no allegations -- the kids were found in terrible conditions. Who did it? You know, you can pause that, but that something terrible was happening in the house?
CHACON: The biggest thing is isolation. So they kept them out of the public eye. They were home schooled. They didn't go out socially. So nobody had contact with these children. So that was the biggest thing that they did, they isolated these children.
Some of these children, some of them have never had a conversation with anyone outside that house. You know, this 29-year-old daughter may have never talked to another adult in her life. Some of these children may not know bad things were happening to them because they don't know those things are bad.
SESAY: But the children were seen in videos. The children were seen at their parents renewing their vows. These children -- I mean, they were --
CHACON: They lined them up. If you see some of those videos, they were always lined up, very regimented, very controlled. So even when they were in public, they were under control of those parents, mainly the father.
HO: And the key is the control here.
HO: The fact that they really kept it under such scrutiny and there are reports that they were basically not allowed to go outside of the house unless it was dark and only a few at a time. And I think to Bobby's point, some of these children because they don't know any better, this is their normal and they were potentially probably even told by their parents that they were doing this to protect them.
I mean, we don't know what kind of messages these parents are sending. And so of course my biggest concern now is the psychological development of these children and what is going to them because this type of abuse is much more likely because this is prolonged lead to much bigger issues as they get older.
SESAY: What kind of issues?
HO: Things like dealing with social development, having relationships with other people. We know that from research 30 percent of people who have been abused themselves will repeat that cycle of abuse. And whether or not they are going to be able to even hold a job or understand that people can out of basic level still be trusted. All of those thing have to be sorted out and they need to get professional care as soon as possible.
SESAY: I want you both to weigh in on this issue. To me, it was just incredibly striking. I want your expert view. When the police got to the home, the mother was puzzled that they were there. And even as they went into the home where, according to authorities, they found some of the children shackled --
SESAY: She was still kind of puzzled.
HO: And this is where I believe that there might be a piece where either of the parents or maybe both was carrying on some type of a delusional thought process. Maybe a paranoia where they actually thought what they were doing was in the good interest of the children, and that is why the mom was so surprised, because somehow in her mind she had it twisted that this is actually how you take care of your kids.
CHACON: I am sure that is the case. I am sure that the mother did not think they were doing anything wrong. As warped as that sounds, I think the mother at least probably thought that she wasn't doing anything wrong and she was doing what was best for her children.
SESAY: Let me ask you this again, back to the question of who knew what, when, if anyone did, if someone did know, if it is proven that other people knew that these children were being abused, are we looking at potential extension of prosecution of those individuals?
CHACON: Sure, I mean, the only one I've seen is the grandmother speaking and she said they were the perfect family. So I don't know if there is going to be many other people that were involved with exposure to these children. I think the success that they have if you want to call it success in carrying this out for so long has been the isolation, has been keeping
[02:30:00] them from other people.
SESAY: I am going to ask questions that I know our viewers have at home. How did child welfare, how did -- I mean, this was registered as a school, this home. How did the authorities or officials didn't have contact?
CHACON: California law does not require private schools to be inspected.
HO: Right. And that is really scary because they're not really subject to any of the laws or the policies but the other part of it is it's probably hard for people who have witnessed some weirdness, some secrecy to say I'm going to step forward and actually report them for a welfare check. But I just think this is a good lesson for all of us that hey the worst thing that could happen to you is be a little embarrassed but hey, you can really be saving lives. And we know that one in every single day about five children in America die of child abuse and maltreatment. And so if there's any potential in preventing that many people can just be a little bit, we're just going to go ahead and report it and see what happens.
SESAY: Yes, I mean, cross that line. If it is going to save lives cross the line. Judy Ho, Bobby Chacon, great conversation. I thank you.
CHACON: Thank you.
HO: Thank you.
SESAY: Coming up. Hundreds of thousands of Rohingya fled a brutal military crackdown in Myanmar but soon they may be going home. Details next.
SESAY: You're watching CNN NEWSROOM live from Los Angeles. I'm Isha Sesay, the headlines this hour. Prime ministers from 20 countries are agreeing to consider more functions on North Korea. The U.S. Secretary state says time to talk to Pyongyang but the north to indicate its willing. Meantime, a third round of talks between the north and the south wrote an agreement to return the bodies of four North Korean nationals found off the South Korean found coastline.
The U.S. is holding back more than half of the funding and plan to give the U.N. agency which supports Palestinian refugees. The Trump administration wants the aid group to make unspecified reforms. Critics say the cut is meant to pressure the Palestinians into negotiating a peace talk with Israel. The White House is denying that. Some children are paying the ultimate price of the wall gripping Yemen and UNICEF says the conflict between Yemeni rebels and the Saudi lead coalition had killed and wounded more than 5,000 Yemeni children since March of 2015. Another 400,000 children are starving and severely malnourished and at risk of death.
Well, Myanmar and Bangladesh have hammered out a timeline repatriating hundreds of thousands of Rohingya Muslims. 650,000 Rohingya fled a brutal military crackdown in Myanmar seeking refuge in Bangladesh. Both countries released details of the plan on Tuesday in the course of the return of Rohingya refugees to Myanmar within the next two years.
[02:35:00] Bangladesh set up five transit camps, the Rohingya transit camps to reception centers in Myanmar. This plan applies only to Rohingya who fled Myanmar off of October 2016. The U.N. estimates 200,000 Rohingya will already in Bangladesh before that date. Repatriation process is set to start next Tuesday and the U.N. warns no one should be returned forcibly.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ANTONIO GUTERRES, UNITED NATIONS SECRETARY GENERAL: And we believe it would be very important to have UNHCR fully involved in the operation to guarantee that the operation abides by international standards.
What is it that is essential on this is to make sure that the return is voluntary, it's in safety and dignity and that people are allowed to come back to their places of origin, which means that the huge effort of investment, because there is a lot of reconstruction to be done, and a huge effort of reconciliation is needed to allow it to take place properly.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SESAY: Well, joining me now is Zanni a known resident fellow with the Cambodia Genocide Documentation Center. And he joins us from London. Zanni, good to have you with us. A lot of people around the world are struggling to reconcile the violence playing out in Buddhist majority Myanmar, with the image many of us have here in the west of Buddhism being a pacifist, peace-loving religion. Has the west been romanticizing Buddhism and got it wrong all this time?
ZANNI, FELLOW, CAMBODIA GENOCIDE DOCUMENTATION CENTER: Well, absolutely. I mean this is a -- this is a result of what I call, you know, positive orientalism as supposed to negative orientalism regarding Islam. And, you know, like Buddhism as a system of God has always been, you know, in juxtapose with the violent history of Buddhist countries like the Sri Lanka, Burma, Japan back in the 10th or 11th century. So any religion can be manipulated into a justifying political ideology for violence and military conquest for sanity and, you know, anything like the Judaism. So Buddhism is no exception, Buddhist have no special people. And so the west has romanticized Buddhism to the point that, you know, the popular perception of Buddhist is like, you know, this meditating, yoga, eating, new age Buddhist from Hollywood, follow us, Dalai Lama. And then Burma is a textbook example of how a peaceful dock turn religion can be turned into an ideology that justifies a genocide.
SESAY: So Zanni, help me understand this. How is it that some of the same Buddhist monks who particularly active in the push for democracy in well, as Burma a few years ago are now being implicated in this latest rounds of violence against the Rohingya. What are the roots in that country? What are the roots in now Myanmar of the strident ethnic-religious nationalism?
ZANNI: Well, it, you know, military and the military control state that has propagated this false view that Rohingya people are in particular in the west part of Burma and the Muslims in general Islamophobia are -- and national security threat, a threat of Buddhist way of life and the Muslims in general and Rohingyas, in particular, have been portrayed as Burman viruses, to be eradicated, to be, you know, removed from the body politics, the society of Buddhist Burma.
And so once a particular ethnic or religious community has been so viciously misframed then, you know, the people or whatever they call themselves Buddhist or Christian. In my case -- you know, in the country -- in my country's case, Buddhist monks have been, you know become, the leading mouths espousing this genocidal view towards Muslim and particularly Rohingyas. That's why the whole country, the entire society is not just a circle -- several circles of ruling class military and collaborating Aung San Suu Kyi and her political operation and now in semi-power.
SESAY: So I want to ask you about Aung San Suu Kyi because you have gone this far as to say that Aung San Suu Kyi we all know has refused to condemn the atrocities being perpetrated against Rohingya, you have gone this far to say she is a racist. What is your evidence on that?
ZANNI: Well, there, you know, back in 1970s when she was living in Oxford, England.
[02:40:06] One of the Patriots or one of her closest family friends who made -- who facilitated her coming to U.K. was a senior figure in the British government erode in internal memo exposing her racism towards non-Buddhist Shan people in Burma. And again like a few years ago she was interviewed by BBC's leading journalist named Mishal Husain, British-Pakistani. Suu Kyi reportedly stormed out of the BBC studios saying no one had to brief her that a Muslim would interview her on the subject of violence against Muslim. So what is it -- what does Mishal Husain's religious background or ethnic background have to do with the interview that she conducted personally?
And so this is well-known because she has been put on falsely in my view on pedestal in the league with Martin Luther King Jr, Mahatma Gandhi, and Mandela. People around the world are completely incredulous that she is showing her true color and then she is not just simply looking the other way when the military is conducting all these genocidal campaigns against Rohingya. She is proactively covering up and dismissing all kinds of credible allegations coming even from the United Nations that Burma is committing, you know, misotheism.
SESAY: She certainly had been muted in what she has to say about what is playing out in the country. So I have final question and I'm almost out of time. As you know the deal has been struck between Myanmar and Bangladesh for the return of the Rohingya. Talk to me about whether anything has really changed in the country and whether these people are potentially just going back to a hate-filled pressure cooker if you will.
ZANNI: Well, we have been here before like a repatriation has been done like three times since let's say 1978 when the first wave of terror struck the Rohingya community. And so I think this is like you know forcing the survivors of the Nazi -- the genocide, the holocaust back into Auschwitz and other place, the society -- the entire society and the military had made it abundantly clear they do not want Rohingya. They will not integrate them. Where will they go? They will be in so-called like temporary camps where they will rot to death. This is such a bad news. Bangladesh should not be like engaged in this repatriation. I think this is going to end in tears for the Rohingyas. The U.N. Secretary-General is absolutely right to insist on safety and save and voluntary return otherwise this will be like a forced repatriation back into the killing fields of Burma. SESAY: Well, the Rohingya have already shed many, many tears. And
Zanni, thank you. Thank you for joining us. And we appreciate your insight and your perspective. Thank you. We're going take a very quick break here. We'll be back with more news after this.
[02:45:26] SESAY: Hello everyone. After 112 days with no electricity, the lights are finally back on at a school in Puerto Rico. And that moment for the staff and students was one of pure happiness.
That is the definition of joy. You see those children jumping up and down. I mean, just pure excitement. Still, almost four months after Hurricane Maria, the government estimate about 40 percent of customers in Puerto Rico are still waiting for their power to be switched back on. Thus, at least these students and their staff of very, very happy moment indeed.
And thank you for watching CNN NEWSROOM live from Los Angeles, I'm Isha Sesay. Stay tune-up for "WORLD SPORT". You're watching CNN.
KATE RILEY, CNN INTERNATIONAL SPORTS ANCHOR: Hello, and welcome along to WORLD SPORTS, I'm Kate Riley at CNN Center. The four-time Olympic gold medalist Simone Biles, has become the latest athlete to allege that she was sexually abused by Larry Nassar, the USA Gymnastics team doctor.
He was entrusted to treat and care for the young stars for total of four Olympics. Back in December, you will remember that Nassar was sentenced to 60 years of prison for child pornography charges, is now facing additional sentencing after pleading guilty to 10 charges of sexual assault. Over the next few days, almost 100 victim impact statements are expected to be heard in court.
DONNA MARKHAM, MOTHER OF DECEASED CHELSEY MARKHAM: In 2009, she took her own life because she couldn't deal with the pain anymore. And it will be ten years in March that I lost my baby, she was 23 years old. She would have been 33 now. And every day I miss her, every day. And it all started with him, it all started with him.
JADE CAPUA, FORMER GYMNASTS: I am no longer broken by you. Every day I grow a new strength and look into the mirror to see a strong unbreakable person. Nothing will ever take away what you have done to me or to others that been behind me. However, we can walk free and radiate the strength that we have gained from your horrific acts, something you will never be able to do.
RILEY: OK, earlier our Don Riddell, spoke about this topic with Christine Brennan. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CHRISTINE BRENNAN, CNN SPORTS ANALYST: Well, we know that leaders failed to lead. We know that no one was asking questions apparently about what was going on. We know that the trust that was placed in a doctor who of course, which should have been the last person on earth to get this trust, this trust was placed in him not only of course, by the leaders of USA Gymnastics and the coaches which include Bally Kiraly, and even more important his wife Maria Kiraly, who of course, has been the top coach and the top director of the U.S. women's program now for several Olympic Games.
We know that they either didn't know, perhaps, we have no knowledge of they knew, but their leadership, what's going to world was going on in this program? And we know that parents and of course the athlete themselves trusted in this program and were totally failed by the program.
So, that's what we know, and the idea that this is been going on in this -- in the most popular summer Olympics sport done. For the United States gymnastics the most successful sport you can argue in terms of just producing medal after medal, gold medal, it is -- it is appalling.
[02:50:41] DON RIDDELL, CNN SPORTS ANCHOR: So, many young female athletes have come forward with their stories. Of course, Simone Biles, the four-time gold medalist has only just broken her story and her involvement. How significant is it that she has now come forward?
BRENNAN: I think it's very significant because she had been quiet and she had been supporting her teammates as each one of them it come forward and yet she hadn't. And she said this was so hard to come to grips with. The idea that "Was she naive, was she at fault?"
Her statement, if people haven't read it, it's online because it really speaks science about how tough it is. Even as this is one of the great athletes in the world. One of the most decorated, celebrated and strongest athlete we have seen over the last couple of years.
Simone Biles is now person, and at that strength, it was so difficult for her to come forward as a human being in this private -- is a person, as a human being to be able to tell this side of the story, this horror story that she lived.
And so, hopefully, there were people out there to put a positive spin on this time. Hopefully, there are people out there who say, OK, if Simone Biles, could overcome that and realize that she was not at fault, and she was in fact, a victim. And then, she says, "No, no, it was not my fault.
It may be it will help others to come forward and address these incredibly difficult times in their lives if, in fact, they were assaulted or attacked or in some ways harassed. And maybe this is the lesson of Simone Biles. That you -- no matter how long you've waited to come forward, you still can, there is still time and for this story, Simone Biles is the exclamation point of all exclamation points.
I mean, the biggest name in the sport coming forward at this moment. It's a bombshell, and it just -- it's some so important, she did say it but it justly you shaking your head. That what an absolute horrifying -- whatever adjective word I can come up with is not enough to say what was going on in this metal producing -- national governing body of USA gymnastics.
RIDDELL: Yes, if you want to go to the Olympics, really in any sport, you're going to be starting young. You're going to be really good when you're young, and parents, really have to trust the coaches and the mentors with whom they are placing their most precious thing in the world, their kids. So, how can parents of young gymnast in the United States possibly trust this system that are going forward?
BRENNAN: Well, that's the great question, they can't. I mean, we know for a fact that there were parents who were in the room and Dr. Nassar would pull a curtain between the parent and the gymnast and work on the gymnast supposedly helping them with back problems or whatever it was that he was dealing with and that the athlete dealing with,
While he was then, sexually assaulting them with a parent in the room and a sheet between them. That shows the level of trust that these parents have and the kids have. And of course, throwing them next year that often these children have moved away from home. Or at least have gone away from home for some period of time to be a part of a training, a camp.
The moms and dads has spent so much money on this stream because I know their people are saying how in the world that people not speak out? How did they not know? How did they believe? You want to believe, you want to trust the process.
You will put your kid into this process, and frankly, you don't want to speak out because if you're so afraid and concerned as you're in the -- in the Olympic pipeline, so to speak, you don't want to be the one to say "Wait a minute, this doctor is doing this to me."
You can understand the fear and the terror for this teenagers as they're coming up in the system --
RILEY: OK, we're heading to Melbourne now, on the Australian Open where Caroline Wozniacki, the number two seed was in action. She faced 21 year old, Jana Fett from Croatia. Amid to one win the distance, the player ranked 119, and the world race ahead claiming the first set.
Meanwhile, the former number one, won the second step determined to avoid an early upset here that. So, with the game going to three sets, Wozniacki, definitely feeling the heat is that take a 4-1 lead in the (INAUDIBLE) This was ending 6-3, 2-6, 7-5, Wozniacki sneaks through. Elsewhere Leonardo Mayer took a set at Rafael Nadal at the U.S. Open last year. Will the Argentine be able to cause an upset against the well number one once again while they are playing right now as you can see? And there was some great tennis on display as the month for (INAUDIBLE) raise to a two set to lovely Carly. In the third set, you can see that they are tied at four games apiece.
All right, three decades after the Jamaican amend Bobsled Team. Thrilled fans at the Winter Olympic now, women's Bobsled Team from the Caribbean Island, he want to make a cool running.
[02:56:07] RILEY: Welcome back, the countdown continues to next month Olympics in South Korea, and history will be made for the Jamaica's first ever women bobsleigh team. Three decades after the Caribbean Island send a men team to the 88th games in Canada, that piece of history, sparking one of my favorite film, Cool Runnings, of course, Carrie Russel, (INAUDIBLE) Gray, and Jazmine Fenlator.
Victorian all qualified over the weekend, in fact, Jazmine has done this all before competing for the American team in 34 years ago while Carrie won a gold medal in the sprint relay at the world championship in 2013. All right. That does it for this edition of WORLD SPORT. Thanks so much for watching from the team and me. We'll see you soon. Stay with CNN, the news is next.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: At the demilitarized zone, North Korean officials are working out details within neighbors about taking part on the Olympics. But South Korea's allies are warning that Pyongyang maybe up to its own tricks.