Return to Transcripts main page


Poll: Sharp Drop in Approval of Global U.S. Leadership; New Polls Shows Warning U.S. Influence on Global Affairs; China-U.S. Collaboration Centers on North Korea; U.N. Children Conflict Living a Nightmare; Couple Married by Pope Francis in Flight; House Votes to Avert U.S. Government Shutdown, Senate Unclear; Trump Supporters Weigh In; Parents Plead Not Guilty to Torturing 13 Children. Aired 1-2a ET

Aired January 19, 2018 - 01:00   ET




JOHN VAUSE, CNN ANCHOR (voice-over): You are watching CNN NEWSROOM, live from Los Angeles.

ISHA SESAY, CNN ANCHOR (voice-over): We are less than 24 hours away from a possible U.S. government shutdown. And the blame game has already begun.

VAUSE (voice-over): Starved and chained: prosecutors outline their case against the parents who forced their 13 children to live in depraved and horrific conditions.

SESAY (voice-over): And later, a flight they will never forget. A couple is married on board a plane by none other than the pope.

VAUSE (voice-over): He does a lot of amazing things on planes, when you think about it.

OK. Hello, everybody. Thank you for being with us. I'm John Vause.

SESAY (voice-over): And I'm Isha Sesay. This is NEWSROOM L.A.


SESAY: It's become a time-honored custom in Washington, if you will: kicking the can down the road. And with the possible shutdown of the U.S. government just 23 hours away, it seems to be happening again.

VAUSE: The lower house approved a short-term funding measure to avert a shutdown. Then it went to the Senate and limbo. Senators adjourned a few hours ago without voting. They reconvened Friday morning on -- in Washington time but there's no agreement on the timing on the vote.

And while Republicans control both houses of Congress and the White House, President Donald Trump is blaming Democrats.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We'll see what happens. Now if there is a shutdown -- again, I really believe the Democrats want a shutdown to get off the subject of the tax cuts because they worked so well. They have been so good that I think the Democrats would like to see us shut down in order to get off that subject.


VAUSE: Let's bring in Democratic strategist Caroline Heldman and Republican National Committee man from California, Shawn Steel.

OK. So all of this is now in the Senate. And it seems unlikely there's the 60 votes, which this temporary funding bill needs. And again, for Republicans, even though they control the Senate, even though they control the lower house, even though they control the White house, Paul Ryan, the Speaker of the House, believes it's all the fault of the Democrats. Here's what he said.


REP. PAUL RYAN (R), HOUSE SPEAKER: We sincerely hope that cooler heads will prevail. And we sincerely hope that Senator Schumer will abandon this shutdown strategy. Help us keep the government open. Help us keep our military funded.

And let's continue to work together in good faith. That is the choice they have to make.


VAUSE: Shawn, let me put this to you. If there is in fact a government shutdown, which looks likely, what are the chances that the president blames not just the Democrats but the Republicans as well?

Because he has done it before.

SHAWN STEEL, CALIFORNIA REPUBLICAN NATIONAL COMMITTEE: I think that's not likely because that -- the odds are going too well for Trump this time. The Democrats are falling into a fantastic trap. I enjoy watching it. it's like a slow motion train wreck with the Democrats kind of hitting each other.

Now we do know that Republicans in the House with Democrats (INAUDIBLE) bipartisan vote got to -- you know, there's going to keep the government open. And now we know that one of the Democrats is defecting from Schumer. And I think there will be a few others.

But in the meanwhile there may not be enough. And it's kind of a suicide watch over an issue that most Americans don't think it's the number one issue. What's the number one issue is our security and having the government function, not over some strange ideological bent.

VAUSE: So Caroline, what are the calculations here by Democrats?

Why not support the short-term budget deal, keep the government open?

Because last time it closed down, which was essentially caused by the Republican senator Ted Cruz from Texas, I think it cost like $21 billion --


CAROLINE HELDMAN, DEMOCRATIC STRATEGIST: In 2013, right. And then the previous government shutdown in 1996, both of which were blamed on Republicans. I think this will clearly be blamed on Republicans because, unlike -- I would completely disagree with you. I don't think providing protections for 700,000 DREAMers and funding for the opioid crisis and funding for Puerto Rico and other disaster zones are things that people don't care about it.

They do care about and this is politics, right. This is the Democrats using leverage and they have no leverage right now because of the hyperpartisanship that is taking place in Washington.

And so they're using this one little opportunity. Every time it comes up, this continuing resolution, it's the one little opportunity that Democrats have to actually push their agenda.

And this is not a -- you know, there's no mandate right now for Republicanism. And so the fact that Republicans and Donald Trump are leading in Washington as though there is a mandate, it simply does not reflect the interests of the American people.

VAUSE: And, Shawn, this issue on the DREAMers -- 600,000, 700,000 a year, 800,000 children are brought to this country illegally by their parents, through no fault of their own, whose legal status is about to expire because Donald Trump revoked Obama's executive order, which gave them that legal status --


STEEL: Which was completely illegal.

VAUSE: -- (INAUDIBLE) the case. But this is an issue -- giving these kids some kind of legal status is supported by 72 percent of Republicans, last time I looked, and 84 percent of Democrats. This is a no-brainer.

STEEL: Actually, it is quite a brainer. I disagree. Look at the latest polls. I was cut short of ambivalent --


STEEL: -- on this issue. I'm not -- my number one priority -- but if you have a hard look and they're not actually technically DREAMers or actually DACA, it's a different class of people. They're not young. The average age is 25.


STEEL: They have been here for 10, for 15 years -- VAUSE: They don't know any other country apart from this one. OK? Let's just --

STEEL: Less than 5 percent have any kind of a college training --

HELDMAN: Oh, my goodness, 6 percent of them have started their own business, twice the national average.

STEEL: Not true.

HELDMAN: That is absolutely true.

STEEL: Most, most are terribly uneducated, much lower than the average --

HELDMAN: Those are racist stereotypes, Shawn. I have to stop you.


HELDMAN: You are repeating the rhetoric, the racist rhetoric of Donald Trump.


STEEL: Viewers, anytime the Democrats are upset --


STEEL: -- they bring out the racist mantra --

HELDMAN: Shawn, you cannot -- you cannot --


HELDMAN: -- demean DREAMers. And you're right. Trump did not --

STEEL: They're not DREAMers, they're DACA.


HELDMAN: -- Trump did win by conjuring racial resentment --


STEEL: -- racial resentment is always created by the Democrats. And they're the ones that created --

HELDMAN: -- maligning -- you are maligning -- you are maligning 700,000 people.

STEEL: -- Democrats only --

HELDMAN: You are maligning 700,000 mostly Latino people in the country.

(CROSSTALK) VAUSE: Shawn, I think your colleagues are out of line. I don't think they apply in this. The issue is, these kids were brought to this country against their will --


VAUSE: -- any other country. And you send them back to a place they know nothing about. This is an issue which --


STEEL: -- Australian immigration. Let's talk about Singapore immigration. Let's talk about Korean, Chinese, Vietnamese immigration. I will adopt those standards any day of the week. They would not tolerate an invasion of a large group of people --


VAUSE: -- they also have merit-based immigration but they have a refugee program. And they have a family reunion program --

STEEL: Certainly nothing like what happened in America. And they would not tolerate the massive invasion.

VAUSE: Let's move on because one of the other issues here is of course Donald Trump's border wall, this is all wrapped up in this funding measure.

On, what, Wednesday, John Kelly, the chief of staff, sort of raised questions about, will Mexico pay for it?

He said they won't directly pay for it. It won't exactly be a wall. It won't be 2,000 miles; it'll be 700 miles.

Anyway, Donald Trump took to Twitter to reassure everybody, that that campaign promise is still alive and well.

"The wall is the wall," he tweeted. "It has never changed or evolved from the first day I conceived of it. Parts will be of necessity see- through and it was never intended to be built in areas where there is national protection, such as mountains, wastelands, (INAUDIBLE) or water."

Shawn, no mention by the president, though, that the Mexican government will pay for it.

STEEL: Well, actually, he did mention in the tweet. The wall has become such an iconic issue. And the fact is that Democrats voted for that twice for full funding of the wall. George Bush said he was going to support it. And once again, it's like losing at football. The football keeps being taken away. And Americans just don't trust the government is actually going to do what the promised to do.

The funding has been there. The votes have been there. Now Democrats strangely have changed in the last 10 years. They don't want a wall at all. HELDMAN: Americans don't want a wall. Two-thirds of Americans don't want a wall.

STEEL: And then I just don't understand why we are not calling upon President Hillary to help us.

Oh, wait a moment. She didn't get elected. By the way --


HELDMAN: -- let Donald Trump know that, by the way, because he focuses on her a lot. But with the wall, he's flip-flopped back and forth. First, it's going to be a solid wall. Then it's going to be a tall wall.


STEEL: The fact that they're not welcome anymore as illegals and we're going to start having illegal immigration system because we have a tremendous -- we have 4 million --

HELDMAN: This is a country of immigrants. We are a country of immigrants.

STEEL: Exactly. And we have a right to choose our immigrants. We need a lot more coming who have merit, who have skills, that will add to America, not subtract from America.

VAUSE: Trump apparently was reportedly furious with his chief of staff, John Kelly. He said the president's campaign promises were not fully informed. That was Kelly. And so it seems Kelly just got the presidential kiss of death. Listen to this.


DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: He is great. I think he is doing a great job.

I think -- I think General Kelly has done a really great job. He is a very special guy.


VAUSE: Every time the president has described someone doing a great job and being a special person, what, days, weeks, they're out of a job, Caroline?


VAUSE: How long is Kelly going to last?

HELDMAN: I think you are right. I think that Kelly's days are numbered. I think that Kelly is trying to present himself as this person who will manage Donald Trump. But you do that behind the scenes. You let Republicans know and maybe some Democrats but you don't do it in public. I think that was his big mistake. And it's interesting to note that Donald Trump has had a 34 percent

turnover in his staff in the first year, almost twice as much at Ronald Reagan at about under 20 percent. And that's --


VAUSE: And that's three times higher than Obama.

HELDMAN: -- right, correct, three times higher than Obama's.

VAUSE: OK. One of the ongoing problems of this administration is the Russia investigation. On Thursday, the House Intelligence Committee, as opposed to Senate Intelligence Committee, released the transcripts of the testimony from the cofounder of Fusion GPS, the firm which put together the infamous --


VAUSE: -- Russia-Trump dossier. This was testimony that Glen Simpson made back in November. He told lawmakers that they had been looking into the possibility of money laundering by Donald Trump and Russian nationals.

This is part of the transcripts that were released.

"Generally speaking, the patterns of activity that we thought might be suggestive of money laundering were fast turnover deals and deals that would seem to have been efforts to disguise the identity of the buyer."

He also said, "If people who seem to be associated with the Russian mafia are buying Trump properties or arranging for other people to buy Trump properties, it does raise a question about whether they're doing it on behalf of the government."

Shawn, one thing which has become crystal clear is Donald Trump and his family, they know a lot of Russians, they travel to Russia a lot, and in the words of Simpsons, they have an apparent fascination with Russia.

STEEL: Part of that may be true. I really don't know. I don't know about the travel schedule. I personally wouldn't be interested in going to Russia.

But Glen Simpson is one of the least credible people in Washington, D.C. He's the ut swamp creature. And what we see here is that there is a big, big story that just came out today in the House Intelligence Committee, of a top secret memorandum that has shown tremendous collusion between Obama's Justice Department, Obama's FBI, that has used the FISA courts for a purpose of the spying on the Trump campaign during a presidential campaign. That's never happened in American history. Now that's the big issue and there's now a vote, that Democrats have opposed it, to take that top secret --


STEEL: -- to declassify. Just Google "top secret memo" in the House Intelligence Committee --


STEEL: -- the Democrats trying to keep it hidden so people can't read about it.


VAUSE: Not in this reality, Shawn. Seriously.

STEEL: Simpson is a small little parasite --


STEEL: -- having the Justice Department using the FISA courts to spy on a political enemy has never happened. This is Nazi Germany. The Democrats are --

VAUSE: Shawn.


HELDMAN: I would say that it should be very troubling for the Trump administration that four people have been swept up in the Mueller probe. And now we see the net going wider to look at the financial situation.

Why is it that we know so little about the Trump empire?

Why hasn't he released his taxes?

It is really clear because there is a path that leads to Russia.

VAUSE: And keep in mind that there is also the Russia investigation by the special counsel, Robert Mueller. And the president's lawyer, Ty Cobb, he says Donald Trump is actually keen to talk and to testify to Mueller.


TY COBB, WHITE HOUSE ATTORNEY: The president is very eager to sit down and -- and explain whatever is responsive to the questions.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Do you have any fear of a perjury trial?

COBB: No, but I think it would be -- I think it would be foolish to not proceed without considering that possibility.


VAUSE: OK, so, Caroline, what are the chances that Donald Trump will actually be able to testify without committing perjury?

HELDMAN: Well, I think he has a difficult time telling the truth. He has exceeded his 2,000th lie of his first year. I would be concerned if I were his attorney. But I understand that Mr. Cobb is going to try to use the very narrow path that Bill Clinton used in 1994 with that inquiry. So I don't think he will have much of an opportunity if his lawyers protect him properly.

VAUSE: I guess, Shawn, though, if Trump is forced to testify -- and there is a lot of danger because the president tends to stray off the facts, he tends to make big speeches. He sort of can't help himself. There is a fear that he might get into the politics of it all and say it's all about my enemies, this is about the swamp that kind of stuff, would it just be simpler if he is forced to testify to simply take the Fifth?

STEEL: That's a great idle and really strange speculation.

What would happen if Trump actually confesses to a bunch of murders?

And we're talking about something that is so strange and arcane, when we have a Lindsey Graham, who's a respected senator, on CNN. And they had a major presentation today, just three days ago, he wrote a letter to the Justice Department, suggesting that Christopher Steel undergo criminal investigation.

HELDMAN: Is that Donald Trump?

I thought the question was about Donald Trump.

STEEL: But the point is that there is a major problem here with these investigations against Donald Trump. But it is turning out to be the greatest boomerang in political history that we are finding --

HELDMAN: Four indictments is not a boomerang. Four indictments is not a boomerang.


HELDMAN: Manafort, Flynn, Papadopoulos, Gates.

STEEL: But not about Russian collusion. None of those charges are about Russian collusion.


STEEL: Abd we know that here. That's why --


HELDMAN: They're all being (INAUDIBLE) to testify.

STEEL: There are two conversations in America, much more worried about The Clinton Foundation and its corruption. I'm much more worried about --

HELDMAN: If Hillary Clinton is not at the White House, maybe you should just let that conspiracy go.


STEEL: No, no, she's going to get prosecuted and spend time in jail.


STEEL: There's two conversations.

VAUSE: Time. Thank you.

Shawn --

STEEL: Thank you.

VAUSE: -- always a pleasure.

Caroline, good to see you.

STEEL: My pleasure. My pleasure, indeed.

VAUSE: Have a good one, thank you.


SESAY: Well, "The New York Times" editorial board has been very critical of Donald Trump. It asked the president's supporters across the country to write in and make their case. Here's a sampling.

Stevenson Abrio (ph) of Oakdale, California writes, "Donald Trump has succeeded where Barack Obama failed. The economy is up. Foreign tyrants are afraid. And tax reform is accomplished. More than that, Mr. Trump is learning, adapting and getting savvier every day."

And Jason Peck of Hartsville, New York, writes, "Yes, he is embarrassing. Yes, he picks unnecessary fights (ph). But he has prioritized American citizens over illegal immigrants, has gotten us out of several bad international agreements and is putting real pressure on North Korea and Iran."

Well, across the United States in big cities and small towns, the debate over President Trump goes on. And sometimes that is at a fever pitch. One of those towns is Monticello, Iowa. There you'll find diehard followers and diehard opponents. And some with of a growing sense of buyer's remorse. Here's CNN's Bill Weir.


BILL WEIR, CNN HOST (voice-over): In Monticello, they still wind the clock tower by hand and still mix politics into their coffee down at Darryl's (ph).

WEIR: It is so great to sit at the table of knowledge in Monticello, Iowa.

WEIR (voice-over): It's a tradition that goes back to Truman. But no president has ever tested the limits of Midwestern politeness like number 45. WEIR: So this county went for Obama and then swung over to Trump.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Trump pulled the wool over their eyes. And they have most -- and his base gas not recognized it yet.

WEIR: You think Virgil has been conned?

You think Jerry has been bamboozled?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They're so ingrained with the crotch-grabbing liar.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Trump wasn't my first choice, either. However, he is doing hell of a good job. And he is playing three-level chess versus everybody else playing checkers.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The ones that support him are either greedy or bigots or they just don't see it yet.

If the vote were taken today, I think it would be different.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: If it wouldn't be for the electoral college, he wouldn't have won.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Can you sing, too?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We run 800 acres of corn and beans and then we do bale some hay. Our kids actually buy their own 4-H animals. They do the chores for them.

WEIR: That will teach you. Right?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: That teaches you, yes, yes.

WEIR (voice-over): Out at the Adams farm...

WEIR: Did you all vote for President Trump?



WEIR (voice-over): The family Republican shows little voter's remorse.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I think he is doing a decent job. I think we need to give him a chance.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: He went to the American Farm Bureau Federation meeting. You know, I haven't see that from other presidents. TRUMP: Throughout our history, farmers have always, always, always led the way.

WEIR (voice-over): Those words played really well around here. But his actions could end up hurting these folks. His nominee for chief scientist at the Department of Agriculture wasn't a scientist and then got tangled in the Mueller investigation.

He scrapped an Obama rule that would have protected small family farms against big corporate meat packers and he's threatening to tear up the trade agreement that keeps a lot of these farms alive.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Now with NAFTA, that is another story. You know, that does scare us pretty bad.

WEIR: You guys would go bankrupt?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We would go bankrupt, yes.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'm sure he has a plan. You know, if he does pull out, I don't know what that plan is.

WEIR: Somebody was telling me this town used to be called the Pittsburgh of the prairie because there's so many factories.


WEIR (voice-over): And there are worries that Oak Street Manufacturing, a mom and pop maker of restaurant furnishings...

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We're hopeful, as the far as the tax reform. We are positive about that. We have grave concerns about his actions, verbally.

WEIR: Like what?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Some of the -- some of the statements he makes...

There's just -- there's just a lot of disrespect for a large number of people. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: As a Republican he was worried about his grandchildren and the national debt. It doesn't seem to make a damn bit of difference anymore.

They'll have to have another Obama come and clean it up. Then we double our debt again. But he got us into the prosperity you are having now.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Oh, yes, yes, we'll give him all the credit for the stock market going up, yes. You bet. You betcha.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Get your head out of your butt, man.


WEIR: Is there a safe word when things get too heated?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What's a good time to cut your rosebushes?


WEIR: That's the safe word?


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We got into it one day real hard. And I was worried. So that's the safe word.


WEIR: So one year into Trump, a state he won by almost 10 points is producing a bumper crop of worry, even among those who love him most -- Bill Weir, CNN, Monticello, Iowa.


VAUSE: Well, coming up here, while President Trump's job approval is historically low at home, a new poll shows his leadership is even more unpopular all around the world.

SESAY: Plus while prosecutors describe the deplorable conditions inside a California home, where 13 children were rescued from a lifetime of abuse.




VAUSE: (INAUDIBLE) California, the alleged mistreatment of 13 children by their parents appears to have been (INAUDIBLE) than anybody could imagine. Beatings, strangulation and near starvation used as punishment for the smallest of infractions.

At their arraignment on Thursday, parents Louise and David Turpin both pleaded not guilty to torturing their children. Bail was set at $12 million each.

SESAY: The Riverside County prosecutor says conditions inside the home were so deplorable they can only be described as depraved. It says the emaciated children were taunted with food they weren't permitted to eat and with toys they weren't allowed to play with.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: All the victims were and are severely malnourished. Specifically, severe caloric malnutrition, associated with muscle wasting. To give you an example, one of the children at age 12 is the weight of an average 7-year old. The 29-year-old female victim weighs 82 pounds.


SESAY: With us now, CNN law enforcement contributor, Steve Moore.

Steve, you hear that, a 12-year old, who weighs the expected weight of a 7-year old, 13 children essentially 13, witnesses.

But do you think it's really come down to that one child, one who escaped, the 17-year old?

Because what we're looking at is 13 kids who have physical as well as emotional, psychological issues. And this one child, at least, had the wherewithal to try to escape.

STEVE MOORE, CNN LAW ENFORCEMENT CORRESPONDENT: That's going to be the one where you are looking for -- if you're looking for the one who had the most wherewithal, the most intestinal fortitude to do this, you had one that wasn't completely cowed by this psychopathic behavior.

And that one could be a very strong witness. But as we've said before, when I was in the FBI, we couldn't interview a minor without first talking to the United States attorney's office so it is always difficult when you're dealing with minors.

SESAY: Yes, absolutely. I think it's interesting that you said the psychopathic behavior, because we also know from authorities that, at this stage, from their initial assessment, because it is early days, neither the parents show any signs of mental illness.


SESAY: I guess my question is, do you expect that to play into the defense argument here?

MOORE: I expect them to come up with some type of defense, where they will probably try to diminish the kids' testimony. At the same time, they might even make this kind of into a cult thing, where the people believed that what they were doing was right.

And there you get into this question of legal insanity, is knowing the difference between right and wrong. I don't think and I hope it won't be a successful defense. But that may be where they're going with this.

SESAY: Let's remind our viewers of the charges. David and Louise Turpin are facing, they face a lot of them -- let's put them up on the screen -- 12 counts of torte. David Turpin is also charged with a lewd act on a child.

Other charges, seven counts of abuse of a dependent adult; six counts of child abuse or neglect and 12 counts of false imprisonment.

It's going to be interesting to see how this proceeds because there are also these journals, these journals that were found because while we know that the kids weren't allowed to eat regularly or shower -- they showered once a year -- they were allowed to write in journals, which will also be critical to this case and could lead to more charges.

MOORE: And that will verify what they say. It is -- one thing for them to say, oh, you know, a psychologist just put this in the mind of the child.


Did that same psychologist put this onto the paper, seven or eight years ago?

And Isha, in 25 years in the FBI, I kept thinking that each time I saw something, some horrible atrocity, I would get used to it or I would understand it or I could wrap my head around it. I can't with this one.

And we used to console ourselves by saying, if we understood how this could happen, we would have to have a little bit of that mindset. And that's -- this is just an abomination.

SESAY: One of the things that I am struggling with -- and I struggle all the time whenever these cases come up, when you hear of years of abuse, is the, where was everybody else?

How was this not seen, detected, suspected or at least acted upon, you know, in terms of that suspicion?

What's your takeaway here?

We hearing the authorities asking for those who have been close to the family, at least when they lived in Texas, to come forward. I mean, if they haven't come forward prior would they come forward now?

MOORE: Maybe. It depends on how culpable they think they are. But going back to an earlier question, these people, I believe, are psychopaths. And one thing -- and I've dealt with a lot of them in my years.

One thing about psychopaths is they're chameleons. And that is why they are so hard to detect. The Las Vegas shooter, I believe, was a psychopath. And they can be anything to anybody; they can sense what you need to hear from them to give -- to validate what you are -- what you are trying to push across.

And so I believe that a lot of people could be easily misled by somebody -- these people are as skilled in manipulating people as they are in torturing people.

SESAY: One unanswered question for you right now as this investigation goes on because we have got a pretty good sense, at least, as painted by the authorities, of what was going on in that house.

What else is -- do you want to know?

MOORE: I want to know all the things I really don't want to know. I want to know where the baby came from, whose baby it was.

I -- the problem here, Isha, is you could interview these children for the next 10 years and not uncover every single crime that occurred. There's going to -- like right now. The charges against them are nothing compared to what is going to be at trial.

But it is going to take years to debrief these children. I wouldn't be surprised if they get convicted on a whole bunch of charges and then, five years down the road, they hit them with a whole another set of charges if, if, there is not a sufficient sentence.

SESAY: It's very disturbing. Very, very disturbing, 13 young lives that, we just have to hope and pray they get the help they need to get back on track.

Steve Moore, thank you.

MOORE: Thank you.

VAUSE: It seems the U.S. President's historically low job approval at home has gone global, scoring the lowest ever for U.S. leadership around the world. The reasons and the consequences -- when we come back.



VAUSE: You're watching CNN NEWSROOM live from Los Angeles, I'm John Vause.

SESAY: And I'm Isha Sesay. The headlines this hour.

In Brazil, one child is dead and 14 other people injured after a car dashed through pedestrians in Rio. It happened on a private board work at the city's Copacabana Beach. This early media report, the driver was taken into custody. (INAUDIBLE) to say the incident wasn't terror-related.

VAUSE: The verdict of 13 severely abused children in California have pleaded not guilty to torture. Bail was sent to David and Louise Turpin at $12 million each. On Thursday, the prosecution said the children has been harshly punished for years. They were beaten and strangled and had been near starved. All of this punishment for the smallest of infractions.

SESAY: The U.S. government shutdown is now less than 23 hours away after the House of Representatives conducted a stopgap funding measure on Thursday. It's now before the Senate may vote on this on Friday ahead of a midnight deadline. The White House says its confident Congress will approve the measure and it expects President Trump to sign it before he leaves for another weekend at his Florida resort. VAUSE: If these record low poll numbers and Donald Trump go together like peanut butter and jelly. According to Gallup the U.S. president said at 2017 with an average approval rating of 39 percent, 10 points lower than Bill Clinton's first year in office which was the record low until now.

And globally, Gallup found the world's approval of U.S. leadership has plummeted from 48 percent in the last year of President Barrack Obama to 30 percent at Donald Trump. Again, the lowest level ever recorded by Gallup. Germany now tops the list of global leaders followed by China, the U.S. just a point behind, and then Russia.

For a president who campaigned on a promise to put America first, what the rest of the world thinks may not be in much consequence. But the Gallup report notes, "Research has shown that public opinion in foreign countries affects their policies towards the United States."

Well, for more on the consequences and the reason for this global disapproval, CNN Global Affairs Analyst, Kimberly Dozier is with us now from Washington. Kimberly, it's good to see you.


VAUSE: So, how much of this is being driven by policy decisions coming out of Washington? Like pulling out of the Paris Climate Change Accord and how much of it is a visceral reaction to Donald Trump personally in his controversial comments like we heard just like week, the s-hole comment he made about countries in Africa?

DOZIER: Well I think just the same way people ended up voting for Donald Trump or not voting for Donald Trump based on their emotional response. This has got to do a lot more with the message that Donald Trump is sending to the world through his tweets, through some of his public comments, it's actually overshadowing a lot of the policy.

But the policy isn't helping. The America first strategy that has been messaged through pulling out of the climate accord as you mentioned, pulling out of the TTP Trade Agreement reinforces his tweets where he does things like attacks the British Prime Minister, attacks the German leader, attacks people who are popular in their own countries and also globally.


Then he's also done things like visited NATO and purposely bald them all out for not spending enough on defense. He's done things that were meant to be in your face and this plays with his base but this doesn't play worldwide and I'm not even going into his latest alleged comments behind closed doors to a group of lawmakers where he said some awful things about countries allegedly in Africa, Haiti, et cetera, and indicated that he didn't want immigrants from those countries, that he wanted them from places like Norway.

VAUSE: Yes, predominantly white countries like Norway I think was the implication of all of that. One finding here which is notable is the sharp drop in U.S. approval in democratic countries. Take the U.K. for example where there's been a 26-point decline over the past 12 months.

So how difficult is it now politically for Prime Minister Theresa May and any other elected leader who's in a similar position to be seen working closely to embrace such an unpopular administration in Washington?

DOZIER: Well I think that she and others like her have to tread with care because, in places where opinion polls matter and results and changes at the ballot box, she can't be seen as strolling as she did outside the White House and holding hands with him when she visited.

It's going to be much more frosty from now on if she wants to message the right message to her own people. In places where opinion polls don't matter so much, the ballot boxes don't matter but you still have the vision mattering. The Middle East, places like Afghanistan, it is going to be tougher overtime, this is just the first year.

If you have a president who continues to message that, he thinks Americans are better than the rest of the world, when a foreign country has to make a tough call on a counterterrorism joint operation for instance, they're going to be more fearful of that being revealed in public because of how it would reflect on them and reflect across, say, the Arab street or the African street.

VAUSE: Yes. It's interesting because the U.S. took a big hit in this survey back in 2008, the last year of the Bush Administration, that was the time when there was an unpopular war in Iraq, it was government approved torture by Washington, extraordinary rendition, secret detention, financial crisis on top of all of that.

And even their global opinion of U.S. leadership was not as low as it is now. So what does that say about Donald Trump?

DOZIER: Well that says in large part that in this 24/7, everything is online environment. When you have a president who tweets at the world, they're watching and they're listening. But also think in terms of substance, Donald Trump's Twitter back and forth with Kim Jong-un, the head of North Korea and how close that seems to be bringing the world to a possible nuclear conflict, people are watching that and taking that very seriously.

So no, he hasn't gotten the U.S. into a war as Bush got the U.S. into the war in Iraq. But he's threatening much worst.

VAUSE: Yes. You know, at the end of last year in the "Washington Post" CNN's Fareed Zakaria noted this, "The Trump Administration's foolish and self-defeating decision to advocate the United States' global influence, something that has taken more than 70 years to build."

The U.S. is the architect of the world order after World War II, I guess what we're learning now is how fragile that system is. So the question is, how much damage has been done to that system over the past 12 months?

DOZIER: That is almost impossible to gauge. But the other place I heard that same opinion voiced recently was with a gathering of moderate republican defense and national security types. They are worried that this is going to have a lasting effect on America's influence in the world and they had put their hopes on people like Trump's Chief of Staff, John Kelly, the Secretary of Defense, Jim Mattis to reign in Trump's worst instincts. And they're really losing hope that they can get him to stop tweeting.

VAUSE: It's been an interesting first year, it will be an interesting three years I guess until we hit the next election. But Kimberly, as always, good to see you. Thank you so much.

DOZIER: Thanks, John.

VAUSE: Well he may have that low approval rating worldwide but the U.S president says he has a close working relationship with China's Xi Jinping. Well for more of those, let's get straight to Matt Rivers he's live in Dandong on the China-North Korean border. So Matt, is there's one big difference in the relationship between Beijing and Washington over the past year as the increase American pressure right now in China to take a much harder line with North Korea?


MATT RIVERS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes John, that's right. I mean the center really, the focus of the U.S.-China relationship has ended up becoming North Korea because of that pressuring issue.

And what you've heard from the Trump Administration is China needs to be doing more and that battle plays out right here on the border, that's North Korea right there in the other side of that river and here in Dandong, this is the main trading hub. But what we have seen over the course of this past year, the first year of the Trump presidency is things evolving on the Chinese side of the border not only because of American pressure to put more sanctions on there but also because of an increasing wariness on the Chinese government part about what's going on in the other side of that border.


RIVERS (voice-over): There are fewer trucks these days, the bridge quieter than months and years past and if bridge traffic is this light it means trade between and North Korea is slowing down.

That's the word on the ground in Dandong, a key trading hub on the Chinese North Korean border and the main reason comes from 7,000 miles away in New York City.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The draft resolution has been adopted unanimously.


RIVERS (voice-over): A series of increasingly top sanctions approved by the U.N. Security Council in 2017 has put the squeeze on North Korea and as a result, it's largest trading partner, China. These sanctions more than anything else have come to define U.S.-China cooperation under President Donald Trump.

And yet, few expected both sides to work together after Trump's divisive 2016 campaign.


DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Whether it's Philippines or whether it's China with our trade agreements, no matter what it is, it seems that we don't seem to have it.


RIVER (voice-over): China was a favorite target of the Republican candidate who accused China of, "Raping" the U.S. economically and for failing to solve the North Korea problem. But in April meeting at Mar-A-Lago in Florida changed the president's tune.

He got on well with Chinese President Xi Jinping and a calculation was made. The administration would back off on trade issues in the hopes of Chinese help on pressuring the Kim Jong-un Regime to stop developing nuclear weapons. The result, three rounds of sanctions all approved by the Chinese after different North Korean nuclear and missile tests.

They targeted everything from oil shipments to joint business ventures with North Korean companies. And Dandong is one of the places where you come to see if they're being enforced. Popular businesses here like these restaurants staffed and run by North Koreans have recently shuttered.

We've been to Dandong four times in the last two years and I can tell you that these streets used to be filled with North Koreans, buying items in these stores to sell back home but today, it's basically empty. We spoke to six different business owners in this area who told us that since the sanctions went into effect, business has plummeted. Though none of them would talk to us on camera for fear of weighing into a sensitive issue.

To be clear, trade is still happening. We still see trucks loaded down with goods, arriving from North Korea and the president recently told "Reuters" China could still be doing more to curb Pyeongyang's ambitions. One example, tackle smuggling still rampant all along the border.

Back in September, we saw illegal North Korean seafood being sold openly on Chinese streets. But back at the bridge, the effects of American lobbying for tougher sanctions is clear. According to Chinese customs data, total trade between China and North Korea fell by 50 percent in December 2017.


RIVERS: But this North Korea issue is not going anywhere in 2018 and so we -- as we look forward, we know the Trump Administration wants China to do even more, that the sanctions that have been put in place so far aren't enough according to the Trump Administration and the big question that we always keep coming back to is how much further is China willing to go?

We always pose that question to the government and the same line that they always give us we do not answer hypothetical questions.

VAUSE: They'll go as far as they want to. Matt, thank you.

SESAY: And that is a fact, not a hypothetical.

VAUSE: Absolutely.

SESAY: Next on NEWSROOM LA, children in the crosshairs of conflict all over the world once they separate from their families and leave their homes.



SESAY: Around the world, children in conflict zones are suffering at a shocking scale. The United Nations Agency for Children reports that children are being killed, used as human shields, recruited to fight, forced into marriage, and enslaved. UNICEF says this has become standard in places like Iraq, Syria, Yemen, and South Sudan.

VAUSE: And then there are the millions of children suffering indirectly from malnutrition and disease caused by no access to water, food, as well as basic healthcare.

SESAY: Well joining me now from Cuba South Sudan is UNICEF Executive Director, Henrietta Fore. Henrietta, thank you so much for being with us. So, you're currently -- you're currently speaking to us from South Sudan, a country wracked by conflict. What are the children there currently facing?

HENRIETTA FORE, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, UNICEF: I should say real crisis here in South Sudan. There is a crisis of violence, the families are fleeing from their fields and away from violence and the -- most part of the -- those that are fleeing are the children.

So it is hitting them hardest, it is a real difficult situation because they do not have school, they do not have nutrition, they do not have health access, and that is very difficult on the life of a child.

SESAY: From South Sudan to Syria, Yemen, Myanmar, DRC, to name but a few of the ongoing conflict right now, 2017 was a shocking year for huge numbers of children. Children became targets in their countries, in their respective conflicts. How did we get to his place Henrietta where such a line basically became routinely crossed?

FORE: Yes. It's shocking that we let it occur at the world. In all of these places, the children, they're the greatest of all. So here in South Sudan, one out of every five are fleeing, they're -- they've left their homes and thus everything has changed about their lives.

Not in school, they just do not have any of the environment for a life. They can't build a life and in many places now as you've mentioned, children are the ones that are bearing the brunt of the violence, brunt of the war, and even they're now being used as human bombs. I mean, this Is just unacceptable. The world just must wake up to the plights of children.

SESAY: eleven million children rather are in need of humanitarian assistance. To what degree are humanitarian groups agencies like UNICEF able to meet the needs of children in conflict zones?

FORE: Yes, it's very difficult. Here in South Sudan, it is the most dangerous place in the world for humanitarian work. But we all know how to do it and so UNICEF works in education, in health.

We were just yesterday, there's been some of the camps where the mothers are bringing their children to see if there is malnutrition and there is, it's already beginning. We are just entering the dry season and as a result, there will be less food available. So we are able to give food and nutrition, at the same time we're vaccinating for polio and for measles. We are just trying to keep this generation of children and young people alive here in South Sudan and that is true in many places around the world.

SESAY: And specifically, what is UNICEF calling for as we talk about this dreadful new normal if you will of children being targeted in the conflict zones around the world?


FORE: Well if we as adult can't make this world run in which children can grow and thrive and -- that they can build their own lives and build their own nations, then we have lost the future for our world. And that is not just good enough, we must help them.

UNICEF focuses on education, malnutrition, and on rights. Yesterday, we also brought several children back from -- they were separated from their family, they've been separated for four years, it was due to violence and by reunifying families, children have a chance again.

So the world just must wake up, we must get access to these children, and we must have immediate funding. But with that, we know how to do this. We can reach them and we can save this generation.

SESAY: And as you're talking about world waking up and there is also much talk of conflict fatigue on the part of the general public, do you feel that the horrors of children, some having caught up in all of this and that they're somehow -- or in some way a detachment and the lack of sufficient outrage of what is happening to kids in places like South Sudan, Myanmar, Syria, et cetera?

FORE: Absolutely Isha, you are correct. It happens to all of us. You -- we don't live with the conflict and so we do not see it as being important in our daily lives. And yet, if it's happening somewhere in the world to some child, we must try to help as a world, it's our responsibility.

SESAY: Henrietta Fore, we're very grateful for your time and you sharing your insights and just giving us the view of what's happening in South Sudan and around the world, thank you.

FORE: Thank you. And thank you for your interest.

VAUSE: Yes. We will take a short break. We've got a lot more news in just a moment.


SESAY: New Zealand's Prime Minister is getting ready to take on another important role, that as a mother.

VAUSE: Yes. Big (INAUDIBLE) send her out in.

SESAY: John. And last Friday, she and her partner, Clarke Gayford are expecting their first child in June. The 37-year-old says she'll multitask both jobs once the baby is born.


JACINDA ARDERN, NEW ZEALAND PRIME MINISTER: I take very seriously the role of becoming a mom as does Clarke becoming a dad. But we equally take seriously the role that I've taken on as Prime Minister of New Zealand. That means that I will be taking six weeks of leave after the baby's arrival in mid-June.

I've already spoken to the deputy prime minister and ask that he take on the duties and functions of the office of prime minister while I'm away but we'll be working together through that time as we do together now.


VAUSE: I think if you're going to be pregnant and prime minister of any country in the world, New Zealand would be the best one. Prime Minister found out she was pregnant back in October, six days before securing a coalition deal to form government.

But like most couples, they just kept the news to themselves, they wanted to wait a few months, of course. They know the baby's gender but for now, they've decided that it's a state secret.

SESAY: Congratulations to them. Well, a Chilean couple is flying high after their surprise wedding, a jet airplane was their chapel.


But it's not just the fact that it was on a plane and who performed the ceremony, the Holy Father himself. Rosa Flores explains.


ROSA FLORES, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: The papal plane turned into a wedding chapel when Pope Francis spontaneously married two flight attendants at 36,000 feet.

CARLOS CIUFFARDI, FLIGHT ATTENDANT MARRIED BY THE POPE (through translator): He offered and we said, "Well" --

PAULA PODEST, FLIGHT ATTENDANT MARRIED BY THE POPE (through translator): This is once in a lifetime opportunity.

FLORES: Paula Podest and Carlos Ciuffardi were sitting near the pontiff during a customary flight crew photo when the conversation began. Small talk turned into a full blown catholic wedding when Pope Francis asked if they were married.

The couple responded, only civilly for a natural disaster turned their wedding day upside down when the 2010 earthquake hit Chile destroying the church where they were supposed to tie the knot. According to the couple, Pope Francis didn't waste any time before asking, "Do you want me to marry you?"

CIUFFARDI (through translator): He invited us to sit down and we started talking to him and then that was the moment.

FLORES: Pope Francis then said, "We need a witness." So the CEO of the airlines served as such. The good thing about papal trips is that cardinals travel with Pope Francis, so the pontiff turned around and asked the cardinal to draft the wedding certificate.

With few resources on the plane, the says one of the Cardinals used a sheet of paper from the airline to draft the document. After a brief blessing of the wedding rings by the Pope, the couple and their boss turned witness signed the wedding certificate and made history for this is the first wedding ever on a papal plane according to Vatican officials. The Pope asked, is she still the boss?

CIUFFARDI (through translator): I told him yes.

FLORES: A reference to how the couple met, she was his boss at the time. Pope Francis gave the couple rosaries as gifts and then said, he hopes this motivates couples around the world to marry. Rosa Flores, CNN Northern Chile.


SESAY: I mean, it's hard to match that.


SESAY: I don't know.


SESAY: Yes. No, no, it was great. It was great. Congratulations to them too.

VAUSE: You're watching CNN NEWSROOM live from Los Angeles, I'm John Vause.

SESAY: We're pro-marriage. And I'm Isha Sesay. Be sure to join us on Twitter @cnnnewsroomla for highlights and clips from our shows, we'll be back with more news right after this.