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U.S. Government to Reopen after Three-Day Shutdown; Trump Campaign Releases Anti-Immigrant Ad; Turkey Expands Offensive against Kurdish Military in Syria; Pope Francis Faces Backlash after Defending Chilean Bishop; Push to Register One Million New Voters & Elect Women; More Emotional Testimonial on Fifth Day of Nassar Sentencing; "FRIENDS" Movie Trailer Goes Viral. Aired 1-2a ET

Aired January 23, 2018 - 01:00   ET




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

Ahead this hour: the U.S. government is back open for business after a weekend shutdown.

But many are asking, what was the point?

Plus: first came the controversy then the rare papal apology. Pope Francis is facing growing criticism over how he dealt with the clergy sex abuse scandal.

And the former Olympic coach accused of molesting more than 100 girls could soon learn his punishment.

Great to have you with us. I'm John Vause, this is NEWSROOM L.A.


VAUSE: We haven't heard a lot from Donald Trump over the past 48 hours over the weekend. But now we are. The president claiming victory in the government shutdown, tweeting late on Monday, "Big win for Republicans as Democrats cave on the shutdown. Now I want a big win for everyone, including Republicans, Democrats and DACA" -- the so-called DREAMers.

"But especially for our great military and border security. Should be able to get there. See you at the negotiating table."

The House and the Senate ended the shutdown Monday with an agreement to extended funding for three weeks -- mark the date here. That's February 8th. The Senate leader in -- the Senate Republican leader, Mitch McConnell, he helped break the impasse with a promise to take up the immigration reform.

Democrats are demanding legal protection for hundreds of thousands of immigrants brought to the United States illegally as children.


SEN. CHUCK SCHUMER (D-N.Y.), MINORITY LEADER: It's a shame, Mr. President, that the American people and the Senate have had to endure such hand-wringing, finger-pointing stridency to secure a guarantee that we will finally move to address this urgent issue.

SEN. MITCH MCCONNELL (R), MAJORITY LEADER: I think if we've learned anything during this process, it's that a strategy to shut down the government over the issue of illegal immigration is something the American people didn't understand.


VAUSE: For more, joining me now, former L.A. city council woman Wendy Greuel. We have talk radio host and political columnist and Trump supporter John Phillips, also CNN's senior political analyst and senior editor for "The Atlantic," Ron Brownstein.

OK, John, one of the big lessons in all this, I guess, if you want a deal between the Republicans and the Democrats, lock the president in a room somewhere and keep him out of the mix.


JOHN PHILLIPS, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Last week they were saying he had dementia, his critics were saying that. And this week he out maneuvered Chuck Schumer --

VAUSE: By doing nothing.


PHILLIPS: Well, sometimes nothing is what's required to get the best of your opponents. I think the lesson to be learned here is a lesson that was learned by Republicans when President Obama was in the White House and when President Clinton was in the White House, which is this, do not shut the government down until you're 110 percent certain that the reason you're shutting it down is what the majority of the American people believe in as well.

It didn't happen then, it didn't happen now.

VAUSE: OK. With the president locked away, the messaging was left to a number of administration officials, including the vice president, Mike Pence. He was with U.S. soldiers in the Middle East over the weekend.


MIKE PENCE, VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Now the American people know what happened here. A minority in the United States Senate chose to shut down the government, denying our soldiers benefits and wages that they earned, jeopardizing government services just to advance an issue pertaining to illegal immigration. But the Schumer shutdown failed.


VAUSE: Ron, apart from the fact that McConnell actually shut down two attempts by Democrats to ensure that the military got paid, we also saw McConnell making similar remarks, standing in front of U.S. soldiers. I think he was on the Jordanian border.

How unusual is it for U.S. soldiers or troops to be used as political --

RON BROWNSTEIN, CNN SR. POLITICAL ANALYST: (INAUDIBLE). I mean and it drew a lot of criticism understandably for the vice president for doing that.

But to John's point, shutting down the government is a weapon that is too indiscriminate to really be effective in American politics. The blast radius is too wide. There's always some interest that is hurt, whether it is military families or national parks or people who are depending on various government services.

There's almost -- I think almost no cause for which the country would say, yes, this is worth shutting down the government. It kind of smacks of a level of extremism that I think people are uncomfortable with.

You're still now left with the underlying issue, this underlying conflict over the DREAMers, the DACA recipients, where 80 percent plus of the American public wants the government to find some way to allow them to stay.


BROWNSTEIN: But it is really unclear there's a way to do that. They probably can find 60 votes in the Senate to do that. They found 60 votes in the Senate in 2006 and 2013 for immigration reform. And each time the House Republican majority refused to take it up. Without the president's leverage, without him leaning on House Republicans, you could easily see the same thing again.

VAUSE: Well, with that in mind, Politico reporting in the past few hours the president is eager to be part of those negotiations. This is what it says. One close White House adviser predicted this victory, coupled with the passage of the historic tax bill and the healthy state of the economy would only embolden Trump to return to his habit of getting directly involved in trying to orchestrate events.

"It's a foregone conclusion he's going to escape," another White House adviser said Monday. "He's like Houdini. If you keep him in a cage, he's going to get out."

Wendy, the president blew up the original deal. (INAUDIBLE) bipartisan deal on the table.

What are the chances he could very well do it again? WENDY GREUEL, FORMER LOS ANGELES COUNCILWOMAN: I think it's very likely. In fact, what you saw this weekend is that Republicans and Democrats in the Senate criticized the President of the United States.

Here was this great dealmaker, who was going to bring people together. And in fact, he's one of those that really created a greater wedge. What we came out of this weekend was that Trump was really, to me, the biggest loser and to many people because he really didn't have that many fingerprints on this.

This was done by the Senate and ultimately 25 senators came together and said, we've got to and Republican and Democrat solve this problem and move forward.

We have another deadline, February 8th; that's just at the corner and DACA is still one of the biggest issues and the Republicans are going to have to figure that out. And so Donald Trump may get involved but I think there's going to be some Democrats and some Republicans in the Senate who are going to say, wait a minute. We have got a plan, we need your help but don't get too involved.

VAUSE: Back off, right.

But, John, everyone looked at this, what was in this shutdown, what everybody wanted. It was agreed that they all wanted children's health care to continue for the financial aid for low-income families, they wanted a deal on DACA, a whole budge of stuff they wanted to continue from the military.

So why was there a shutdown?

PHILLIPS: Well, you would have to ask Chuck Schumer about that because the deal that he accepted today was the deal that was offered to him on Friday and he turned it down and we had the three days of the government shutdown.

This is something that is very important to President Trump. This is something that he absolutely has to do if he wants to win reelections. The border issue, the issue of border security was probably, in my opinion, the biggest thing that separated him from the rest of the pack.

I mean, you look at the tax reform bill, you look at repealing ObamaCare, any of those Republicans would sign that. What separated Donald Trump from other Republicans and I think what helped him win those industrial Midwestern states that previous Republicans lost was this issue.

He's got to come through and use those negotiating skills.

BROWNSTEIN: There was a moving-the-goalposts element to this, right, because you had, on Friday, Chuck Schumer saying, look, we are going to give you money for your wall if you legalize -- or I think he had pathway to citizenship for the DREAMers. That's not enough anymore for the hardliners on immigration, who also want significant reductions in legal immigration as well, which is a big escalation of the kind of dispute.

We've seen a Republican Party that's gotten tougher and tougher over the last 20 years on undocumented immigration but many of them often try to draw distinctions, saying it's the undocumented kind I don't like, I support legal immigration.

Now they're looking for those cuts as well. And if that is ultimately the position the House Republicans are demanding, it's going to be hard to ever get to 60 votes in the Senate, I think, for anything that has significant reductions in legal immigration.


VAUSE: -- in the Republican Party who obviously opposed to get any type of legal immigration as well (INAUDIBLE) get any kind of deal in the next couple weeks, the president and the Republicans will need Democratic support.

So keeping that in mind, we have this new campaign ad, which was released just hours after the shutdown began, a campaign ad for President Trump.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE (voice-over): President Trump is right. Build the wall. Deport criminals. Stop illegal immigration now. Democrats who stand in our way will be complicit in every murder committed by illegal immigrants.


VAUSE: So, Wendy, what does that say to Democrats, when they go into these negotiations with the president?

GREUEL: Well, I think Trump who, in some ways, has now said he doesn't know about this or what's happening. Look, he's never been someone who really wants the bill of love. I think that has changed and continues to change.

His position continues to change. He says he wants to help DREAMers but I don't think that's really going to happen. And I think the Democrats are going to work with the Republicans in the Senate to try to come up with a deal that he's going to have to live with. And I think it's an important issue coming up into the elections of 2018.

VAUSE: Yes, a lot of Republicans are trying run away from that campaign ad. But the White House spokesperson --


BROWNSTEIN: Not this one.

VAUSE: Not this one.



VAUSE: He's all for it.

But Sarah Huckabee Sanders, the White House spokesperson, was asked specifically about this ad during the Monday briefing.



UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Would you describe that as an accurate representation of his belief about what Democrats are and what their position was --


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: -- during the shutdown?

They were complicit and would be complicit in any future murders because of the shutdown?

SANDERS: I think that if people are unwilling to secure our borders, that they're unwilling to end chain migration, unwilling to end the visa lottery system, unwilling to fix all of the problems that we have in our immigration system and aren't willing to negotiate and actually do things that fix that system, that we know to be problematic, then, yes, that would be a problem and certainly allow for future incidents to take place.


VAUSE: And John, just to your point, you're clearly for President Trump and for many Republicans, they see this as something of a campaign issue which could be a winner.

PHILLIPS: Absolutely. If you look at the map in the U.S. Senate, there's 10 red state Democrats up for reelection, including some in states that he won by wide margins, places like West Virginia, where Joe Manchin is running for reelection.

If those Democrats don't vote for tough border security, I would hammer them over and over and over again on that subject.

BROWNSTEIN: But those are not the only states on the map. So look, this is -- you can't understate what a gamble it is for the Republican Party to accept and move into the Trumpian direction of not only opposing undocumented but also legal immigration at a time when the country is inexorably diversifying.

Hispanic population 2:1 against Republicans at this point. The Asian population, which used to be a 50-50 constituency in the Reagan era and the George H.W. Bush era is now 2:1 or more against Republicans and they are struggling as well in white collar white suburbs where you have voters who accept the idea of a diversifying, tolerant America. On the other hand, as John is noting, they are doing better in blue

collar, rural and heartland states. That is the long-term trade that we are living through that Trump is accelerating.

What you may really see dramatically accelerated by this election, where Republicans are facing a lot of risk in these white collar suburbs, Democrats are trying much less ability in blue collar places and Republicans may make gains in the Rust Belt while losing grounds in diverse places like Arizona and Nevada.

The trench between the two Americas after this election may look like the Grand Canyon.

VAUSE: OK, so in all the accusations and the recriminations that the Senate minority leader, Democratic Chuck Schumer, he caved, he blinked, he choked. We heard from Congresswoman Debbie Wassermann Schultz on Monday and she found a glimmer of good news.


DEBBIE WASSERMAN SCHULTZ, FORMER CHAIR, DEMOCRATIC PARTY: Well, one thing I would say that he did get is the potential for momentum.


VAUSE: Wendy, what's the potential for momentum?

Was it worth shutting the government down for?

GREUEL: Well, I believe that the Democrats really strongly that here was Mitch McConnell saying he has every intention of bringing this DACA bill and --

VAUSE: Can you trust Mitch McConnell, though?

GREUEL: Well, I think there is a suspicion, rightly so, but I think he has publically said that, the pressure is going to be incredible for all of us that have been watching and the public to say, you said you would do it not only once but twice and the pressure is going to be on.

So I think it's more than just momentum; it is about holding his feet to the fire.

VAUSE: No guarantees though, that the House will take it up or the president will even look at it, right?

BROWNSTEIN: It will be pretty shocking if Mitch McConnell doesn't allow the vote after that. But that isn't the real issue.

The real issue is, can you get the House to consider it?

Because it's entirely possible they'll get over 60 votes in the Senate. But very much like what Graham and Durbin brought to the president last week, does the House then do what it did in 2006 and 2013, refuse to even vote on the bill even though there are likely 218 votes?

The question is the majority of the majority, this idea that they will not bring this bill to the floor without --

VAUSE: That's not very --

PHILLIPS: And that would be potential for gridlock.


GREUEL: And I think it will impact the 2018 election.

VAUSE: So Republicans can win the shutdown but they could die on the hill of immigration.

GREUEL: That's right.

VAUSE: OK, we'll see. OK, again, Wendy, Ron and John, thank you very much. Appreciate it.

GREUEL: Thank you.

VAUSE: OK, to Syria now, where Turkey says there are no plans to step back from a military offensive targeting Kurdish militia in Northern Syria. America's top diplomat is urging Turkey to exercise restraint as their warplanes and troops (INAUDIBLE) a border safe zone by pounding Syrian Kurdish forces, the same forces who were U.S. allies in the battle against ISIS. More now from CNN's Sam Kiley.


SAM KILEY, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Day three of Turkey's invasion of Syria's Afrin province, targeting Kurdish militia, adding another layer of conflict on an already shattered nation.

These troops are from the Free Syrian Army. They're fighting alongside Turkey. But the Kurdish fighters they're attacking have been Western allies, armed and trained by the U.S. in the fight against the so-called Islamic State.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): We ran out of armor and food when we got there. Eleven of us got wounded in the legs and the stomach but we took three hostages from the PKK, thank God.

KILEY (voice-over): The Kurds released video of the moment of missile launch --


KILEY (voice-over): -- and the destruction of a Turkish tank. CNN cannot independently verify it. But the Kurds are outgunned and Turkey is a vital NATO partner. So the U.S. response to attacks on this American-backed army is muted.

REX TILLERSON, U.S. SECRETARY OF STATE: We are concerned about the Turkish incidents in Northern Syria. Having said that, in a statement I issued yesterday, we recognize and fully appreciate Turkey's legitimate right to protect its own citizens.

KILEY (voice-over): Turkey's president is insisting that there was no going back.

RECEP TAYYIP ERDOGAN, PRESIDENT OF TURKEY (through translator): We will handle Afrin. There's no stepping back from Afrin.

KILEY (voice-over): But Turkish border towns are being hit from Kurd areas by rockets. A sign that the Kurds will not go quietly -- Sam Kiley, CNN, Istanbul.


VAUSE: Well, next here on NEWSROOM L.A., a rare apology from the leader of the Catholic Church but that then sparks another controversy. Details in a moment.

Also ahead, Larry Nassar faces the women who accused him of sexual abuse. We'll have what's happening in court. We'll have more of their emotional testimony -- just ahead.




VAUSE: Pope Francis has apologized for controversial comments he made while defending a bishop accused of covering up sexual abuse committed by a priest.

During the pope's visit to Chile, Francis called the accusations of the cover-up by Bishop Juan Barros "slander" and said there was no proof against the bishop.

And on Monday he issued an apology.


POPE FRANCIS, PONTIFF, ROMAN CATHOLIC CHURCH (through translator): What are the abused ones feeling?

Here, I have to apologize because the word "proof" hurt them. It hurt a lot of abused people.

I know how much they suffer in hearing the pope say to them, "Bring me a letter with the proof." I realize that this is a slap in their faces and now I realize that my expression was an unfortunate one, because I did not mean it.


VAUSE: Supporters of sex abuse victims challenged the pope's suggestion. He did say that proof is a prerequisite to believing a victim's account. And his comments cast a shadow over his entire South American trip. All of this happened on the flight back to Rome. And the pontiff simply added to the controversy by saying this.


POPE FRANCIS (through translator): The investigation of the Chilean bishop Juan Barros went on but no evidence came out. For this reason, what I meant is that I can't condemn him because I don't have evidence and because I am convinced he is innocent.


VAUSE: For more now on the controversy, the pope's apology which followed and the controversy which followed that, we're joined now from Orange County by Joelle Casteix with SNAP --


VAUSE: -- a support group for survivors of clergy sexual abuse.

And in New York, CNN's religion commentator, Father Edward Beck.

Thank you both for being with us. Let's just go back to last week. It seems all of this started with this comment from Pope Francis about the bishop.


POPE FRANCIS (through translator): The day they bring me proof against Bishop Barros, then I will speak. There is not one bit of proof against Barros. All of it is slander.

Is that clear?


VAUSE: Father Beck, to you, Pope Francis, he was apologizing for that comment, that there was no proof against Bishop Barros.

So then answer this question that many are asking, why then did he continue to doubt survivors of sexual abuse by essentially saying the same thing, that there was no evidence of wrongdoing by Barros?

FATHER EDWARD BECK, CNN RELIGION COMMENTATOR: Well, he wasn't doubting the survivors in the sense that he wasn't doubting they were abused. What he was doubting was that Bishop Barros knew or watched abuse. What he said was that there was no proof. And he later apologized for that word and meant evidence against the bishop.

He of course has great empathy and sympathy for those who have been abused; he's never called that into question. But the headlines made it sound as though he was questioning their veracity. But all he was saying was that they've investigated this about Bishop Barros and he could see no evidence linking Barros to knowing about the abuse or covering it up. VAUSE: So, Joelle, with that in mind, there is a cartoon by a Chilean satirist, which has been getting a lot of attention on social media. And in English it reads, "To believe in me, you have to have faith. But if you want us to believe in you, you must bring me evidence."

So to Father Beck's point, he's saying that Pope Francis wasn't doubting those who say that they were abused but he just says that there's essentially this need for this evidence here to be presented against Bishop Barros.

JOELLE CASTEIX, SNAP: Well, there are a couple problems with this. There are plenty of survivors in Chile, Karadima survivors, who are more than willing to talk about what happened to them, that Pope Francis hasn't met with.

And then there's the other side of this. We hear all about these Vatican investigations but they were all done behind closed doors. We have no idea what this lack of evidence is or what evidence might have been there.

All Vatican trials, all Vatican investigations are secret and take place behind closed doors and under what they call the pontifical secret, which means that if you give away anything that was said in these particular investigations, you're excommunicated from the church.

So we simply don't know. And if any other country or any other group have investigations like that, there would be an international outcry.

VAUSE: And, Joelle, what we're hearing from a lot of survivors about these recent comments by Pope Francis about a lack of evidence, they say this is taking the church back to the worst days of the sex abuse scandal.

CASTEIX: It is because every survivor, when they came forward, was told no one will believe you; let's see your proof.

And what child -- as Juan Carlos Cruz said, what child takes a selfie while they're being abused?

So we know that the church keeps canon priority 9 (ph) files of every abusive cleric. We know the Vatican did a thorough investigation of Karadima and found that he did commit these crimes.

Why can't we see what happened there and what Barros said in those investigations?


BECK: John, no one is questioning that Karadima did those crimes and that the victims' reports are accurate with regard to that.

CASTEIX: Of course.

So why don't we know what Barros' involvement was? So that, again, we should be able to know about that. And that's

vitally important because of course, the crime of sexual abuse is horrible and happens everywhere. The reason that there's a clergy sexual abuse scandal is because of the coverup.

And that's what people in Chile and the victims there want to know.


BECK: Pope Francis has said he has reviewed those files. Pope Francis has reviewed those files. He sees no evidence against Barros. So what you're saying is you don't believe what Pope Francis is saying about having seen no evidence, that you think evidence are in those files.

But Pope Francis has certainly reviewed the files and said there is no evidence against the bishop in the files.

VAUSE: I just want to interrupt because there was a report in "The New York Times." And this is interesting; goes to this issue of where does the pope stand in all of this. And "The New York Times" quoted an Italian investigative journalist, who said, "When it is people he knows," as in the pope knows and respects, "like Barros, it's really hard for him to accept the accusations.

"In the Vatican they often say his people are protected."

So Father Beck, is that a possibility here, that this is the blind spot --


VAUSE: -- for Pope Francis, especially those who may be close to him?

BECK: I think it is certainly a possibility, John, and I think it was an ill-advised appointment. I don't think Barros should have ever been appointed when any shroud (sic) of this was hanging over him, whether there was evidence or not.

Why appoint someone that you know is going to cause this kind of controversy?

So I think it was a mistake to make the appointment. But having made the appointment, I think what the pope is feeling is, he cannot have the bishop maligned with accusations that he does not see any evidence, again, for.

So, yes, I think it's possible there's a blind spot here. I don't think Pope Francis has done everything that's necessary with regard to this crisis in the church. I think there's more yet to be done.

But, in this instance, I think what he's saying is, that with this bishop, he just doesn't have a reason, at this point, to say that he's guilty of anything.

VAUSE: But Father Beck, isn't there -- there's a theory out there, that there is a rift within the Vatican; that's been exposed recently, with the funeral at the Vatican for the disgraced Cardinal Law, for example, that there are those who believe that zero tolerance and accountability remain essential within the church.

Although there are others who say, well, the church has done enough, it time to move on and they now believe -- some accuse the pope of falling in that latter group.

So is that a possibility?

Just to Father Beck first, Joelle.

BECK: It is certainly a possibility although this pope has reaffirmed again and again his zero tolerance policy. Remember 25 priests have petitioned this pope for a pardon, pedophile priests. He has refused all of them, all 25, down to every last one. So from his perspective, zero tolerance is the policy that he's enforcing.

VAUSE: OK, last word to Joelle.

CASTEIX: I really see this as case of clericalism, as a testament of protecting the institution over the Catholic Church. We see Cardinal Law's funeral and we see this case as the number one priority is protecting the agenda of the institutional church over the agenda of protecting children and healing the wounds of survivors.

VAUSE: OK. Obviously this is a controversy which will continue on and it's a discussion which many people are having right now. And we appreciate you both being with us, Joelle and Father Beck, thank you so much.

JOELLE: Thank you.

BECK: Thank you, John and Joelle.

VAUSE: Still to come here on NEWSROOM L.A., first they march, now they're set to run. A record number of women will run for public office this year.

Could this be a watershed moment in U.S. politics?


[01:30:00] VAUSE: You're watching CNN NEWSROOM live from Los Angeles. I'm John Vause, the headlines this hour.

The three-day U.S. government shutdown is over. Donald Trump has signed a bill to fund the government only until February 8th. Democrats agreed after the top Senate republican promised his intention to take out the immigration debate which prompted the shutdown in the first place. Donald Trump says the Democrats came tweeting, "See you at the negotiating table."

Turkey says it will not pull back from an ongoing military offensive against U.S.-backed Kurdish militia in Northern Syria. Both the U.S. and the U.N. has urged Turkey to exercise restraint. Turkish troops ended the Kurdish-held Afrin area on Sunday, one day after Turkish warplanes targeted Kurdish military forces.

And ashes falling over the evacuated towns near the Philippines Mt. Mayon. Officials say lave spewing from the volcano reached up to 700 meters high. One town reportedly has zero visibility. The threat level has been raised with authorities warning an eruption is imminent.

Organizers of the Women's Marches across U.S. now are hoping the momentum there can carry to the voting booth come November. Thousands turn out over the weekend one year after Donald Trump's inauguration and the first Women's March in Washington.

This year's theme, power to the polls with the goal to register one million new voters and put more women in office. This comes as new polling shows Donald Trump losing support among white women, a key demographic which helped him win the 2016 election.

CNN Senior Political Analyst, Ron Brownstein back with us for more on this. OK. So almost a year ago, this is back in last April, support for Donald Trump among white women stood at 47 percent, this is according to "ABC News," "Washington Post" poll. Now it's at 37 percent. If you look at college educator women, 40 percent back in April, 27 percent now.

BROWNSTEIN: That's a really long number.

VAUSE: There's a big drop, right? But here's the question, does this approval of the president translate into votes? Because Hillary Clinton won women overall but Donald Trump won white women and they disapprove of it.

BROWNSTEIN: Yes. So, it's important to understand kind of the distinctions here. There's no question that across every line of race, income, and education, women are more alienated from Donald Trump than men.

So whether it's African-America women, Hispanic women, blue-collar white women, or white collar white women, they're all more resistant to Trump than men in the same category. But there are differences among the women themselves, Donald Trump and as we have seen in Virginia and in Alabama special elections in 2017, African-America women are very energizing against Donald Trump.

He's also seen a big movement even relative to 2016 among the college- educated white collar white women. Hillary Clinton won them but only narrowly and now two-thirds or more of them in polls and that poll even more than two-thirds say they disapprove of him. The piece that is still missing for democrats are those blue-collar working class white women.

Trump's approval among them has declined and I think that's largely around the healthcare bill, they didn't like the idea of trying to undermine that healthcare safety net that had been constructed under Obama but Democrats have not yet shown they can translate that into votes among the blue-collar white women whether it was in Virginia or in Alabama. And as long as that is the case, as long as their gains are confined to minority and the more upscale women, it's hard to put into play those nonurban, those rural, those blue-collar districts that would make winning a House majority a lot easier?

VAUSE: Which in many ways reflects the overall voting population of Donald Trump.

BROWNSTEIN: Yes, it does.

VAUSE: OK. What we're also having now is a record number of women who plan to run for the House of Representative next year, so far, 390 and counting. Also, 49 women likely to run for the Senate, that's up from I think 29 back in 2015 which was a pretty big deal as well.

Not all of them obviously running as Democrats, some will run as Republicans but most of them will, in fact, be democrats. But just the general sense here, the U.S. has a pretty poor record of having women as elected representatives, is this the moment all of that changes?

BROWNSTEIN: It feels like another year of the women. Like after Anita Hill's testimony against Clarence Thomas --

VAUSE: That's what I'm pointing out. Yes.

BROWNSTEIN: Yes, in 1992. And I think is a moment -- in midterm elections which is what we have now, enthusiasm matters, turnout falls significantly from the presidential year and the fact that a year after the first march, so many people turn out again --

VAUSE: With the next (INAUDIBLE), yes.

BROWNSTEIN: For the next one. I think that is a signal of what's coming. And historically, John, in the U.S., strong disapproval and strong approval of the president have been a good gauge about how votes in this midterm elections. Right now, Donald Trump's strong disapproval is running at about double the strong approval.

VAUSE: Yes. What's driving this? Is it the fact that the first female presidential candidate, Hillary Clinton, she lost to Donald Trump all -- yes, essentially the revenge factor. And how much of this has to do with what Donald Trump has done over the last 12 months not just in policy but in whole lot of other areas as well?

[01:35:07] BROWNSTEIN: I think it's about him more than her. I mean look, I think especially against the context of the entire MeToo Movement which is causing this historical reckoning of the way women have been treated in the professional sphere and in the personal -- in often case, in the personal sphere.

The fact that Trump has seem to be immune to all of that who, again, where we have this new allegation of paying off a porn star to cover up what she alleges as a relationship that he has seem to be completely without consequence for any of the behavior that in many cases even more egregious the behavior that brought down others, at least according to the allegations. I think that is a -- is the core.

But, again, that is something that is very powerful among I think professional women. It has not yet proven to be as much of a vote motivator among the blue collar women who I think are more focused on issues of kind of economic security.

VAUSE: I'm just wondering if there's a certain level of toxicity which it raises who -- reaches to them suddenly, there's a turning point. But Ron, it's always good to see you.

BROWNSTEIN: Good to see you, John. Thank you.

VAUSE: Thank you. OK. A quick break here. And then sending a message to a monster, the young women and girls showing unbelievable courage and strength and we will hear their words in just a moment.


VAUSE: Well Monday was the fifth day of emotional testimony from victims at Larry Nassar's sentencing hearing. In the past week, nearly 100 young women and girls shared stories of sexual abuse which they suffered at the hands of the former USA gymnastics doctor.

Nassar has pleaded guilty to seven counts of criminal sexual conduct, he has also admitted to sexually assaulting and abusing young girls under the guy that's providing medical treatment. As part of his plea deal, all of the victims who reported assaults to the Michigan State Police were allowed to give impact statements to the court.


TAYLOR LIVINGSTON, NASSAR ACCUSER: What you have done is despicable. What you have done, you have done you can never erase. I have found a little bit of peace knowing that the rest of your life all you will be doing is rotting but I find more peace in knowing that one day you're going to die and when you do, your pain will not subside.

BAILEY LORENCEN, NASSAR ACCUSER: (INAUDIBLE) of the defendant, you ended up right where you always like to be, number one sports medicine doctor, number one gymnastics doctor in the country, and now you're the world's number one child molesting pedophile that has ever been discovered.

EMMA ANN MILLER, NASSAR ACCUSER: I have never wanted hate for my life but my hate towards you is uncontrollable. Larry Nassar, I hate you.


VAUSE: Former Gymnast, Rachel Denhollander was the first woman to publicly accuse Larry Nassar. She testified last Friday that remained in the courtroom as other women has spoken out. And she sat down and spoke to my colleague Isha Issay about her experience.


[01:40:01] RACHEL DENHOLLANDER, NASSAR ACCUSER: There are so many dynamics to what had been taking place in that courtroom. I mean, in one sense it is incredibly empowering to see so many women reclaiming their voice.

But the reality is that there is an incredible amount of damage that led that Larry has done and the most sobering thing for me is I have sat through testimony after testimony is seeing how many victims came after that first report of sexual assault, the first two reports of sexual assault in 1997.

Had those first two reports of sexual assaults in 1997 made to MSU head coach, Kathie Klages been handled properly, the vast majority of the women that you're hearing from would not be in that courtroom today.

ISHA SESAY, CNN INTERNATIONAL ANCHOR: Yes. So many dynamics, as you said so much emotion. How has this journey been for you?

DENHOLLANDER: It is an incredibly painful process. Stopping a pedophile, stopping a predator requires losing an extreme amount of privacy. It includes having to relive the abuse over and over and over again.

It includes it becoming part of your identity in a way you never wanted it to be. So it has been a very painful process but it has been worth it. And with every survivor that stands up and reclaims her voice, it's a constant reminder that it's been worthed it.

SESAY: You have said, you know, in the part -- you said, "We were -- we were silenced, we were mocked, and our abuser was told time and

time again, I'm on your side." The culture that allowed this predator to keep abusing has yet to end.

As you look out what has been put in place as a result of your bravery and the bravery of other women, where are we in terms of achieving that goal of ending that culture, that culture of silence and making sure that young women and girls feel brave enough to step forward if something wrong is happening.

DENHOLLANDER: You know, for both organizations, USAG and MSU, I don't think we've seen anything more than posturing to be perfectly honest. I am grateful to see the steps to close the Karolyi Ranch.

But outside of that, every single person, outside of having a new president at USAG, every single person who is responsible for this culture is still on the board at USAG, is still employed at MSU and both organizations have very clearly sent a message that they find that behavior and that conduct acceptable, that there will be no consequences for that behavior and for that conduct.

And as far as USAG's new guidelines and new reports, this is all I can say about that, if you have to pay a private investigator to come in and tell you to report the sexual assault of a child, you have no business being on the board of an athlete and child-focused organization.

SESAY: Yes. Larry Nassar has been in court throughout these days of survivors sharing the impact of his wild actions and on Thursday we learned that he sent a six-page single-spaced letters to the judge in which he accused the judge of turning the sentencing hearing into a "media circus" to put himself in the spotlight.

He also wrote this, "I'm very concerned about my ability to be able to face witnesses this next four days mentally." When you heard that Rachel, what went through your mind? I mean, is this a man who feels remorse, any remorse for what he has done?

DENHOLLANDER: No. No. Larry does not feel any remorse for what he has done. To be honest, at this point, I pity Larry, I really do. And I don't think that letter was anything more than an example of how far he has fallen. I truly found it laughable because (INAUDIBLE) ready to face him and he can't handle it.

SESAY: Yes, I think your sentiment is shared by the County Court Judge, Rosemarie Aquilina who read from the letter in courtroom Thursday and she also said this which I think was very poignant.

She says, "Spending four or five days listening to them is significantly minor considering the hours of pleasure you had at their expense ruining their lives." I mean, the judge's compassion throughout the sentencing hearing procedures has been clear and touching and I think, again, back to what you're talking about in terms of officials, MSU, Michigan State University, and USA Olympics (INAUDIBLE) contrast to those other officials who over the years were told something wrong is going here. Something wrong is going on here.

Help our viewers understand just how hard it is for young people as you were then to speak up in an environment such as gymnastics and in this kind of environment where adults hold all this power.

[01:44:59] DENHOLLANDER: I mean, it is almost impossible for multiple reasons. One is because you are powerless, you're not the one in authority. The other dynamic, so many dynamics, is either putting words to it makes it real. So, when you have been through an experience that is incredibly traumatic and degrading and humiliating and confusing. Especially, when it is someone like Larry who you trusted, the ability to put words to what happened is almost never present because the shame is so great. And the confusion is so great. And you know, studies have borne out repeatedly that the trauma of sexual assault is the greatest trauma from a criminal standpoint that is inflicted upon a victim who lives.

But the other thing that studies have consistently shown is that the impact of sexual assaults is really directly proportional also to the societal response the victims received when they speak up. And so, when you have children who have been sexually assaulted and they raised their voice and they are silenced and they are disbelieved, that just exponentially increases the damaged that they have already experienced at the hands of their predator. And that needs to be taken very, very seriously.

SESAY: As you have been through this painful journey and that's how you described it at the beginning and you have heard from these other survivors. Has there been any, you know -- I don't -- I will say closure, because again, you know, some would say that's a made-up word but has there been any catharsis have you been able to move forward in your healing? Because you've spoken plainly but how this has impacted you in many ways, big and small.

DENHOLLANDER: You know, I really was able to reach an incredibly good place of healing before coming forward, which is -- which is what allowed me to be able to do what I did, to be able to hold on to the truth no matter what Larry was saying, no matter what the people around me were saying, no matter what society was saying. Because it was pretty ugly for the first little bit there. Until the child porn was found on Larry's computer, it was very ugly. And so, I am grateful that I was able to do that. I do find that the process, in general, what has been incredibly painful has also then very rewarding. Particularly, again, to see so many women and even children, still, able to reclaim their voice. That's an incredibly beautiful thing to see amidst all of the damage.

SESAY: I want to give you the last words to share any messages you may have to any other children or adults who are out there who have been the victim or who are suffering through abuse, who wonder how you found the courage to step out into the light to share your story. What would you say to them?

DENHOLLANDER: I would tell them that it is not their fault and that there is hope. That they can call what happened to them evil without minimization, without mitigation. And because they can identify it is evil, they can also be certain good exists. Good and evil exists in opposites. And when you can call something evil, you can also find the good. And where there is good, there is always hope.

SESAY: And we can call you brave, Rachael. And we thank you for speaking to us and for sharing your story and setting the wheels in motion to bring this terror to an end. Rachael Denhollander, thank you.



VAUSE: And since that conversation that Rachael had with Isha, top executives from USA Gymnastics have stepped down. The organization announced Monday its Chairman, Vice-chairman, and Treasurer have resigned. President and CEO Kerry Perry issued this statement, "We support their decisions to resign at this time. We believe these will -- this step, rather, will allow us to more effectively move forward in implementing change within our Organization."

Michigan State University is also speaking out. Larry Nassar worked there from 1997 to 2016. Here's their statement: "Words cannot express the sorrow we feel for Nassar's victims; the thoughts and prayers of the entire MSU community are with these women as we listen to their heart-breaking testimony. But as we have said previously, any suggestion that the university covered up Nassar's horrific conduct is simply false. Nassar preyed on his victims, changing their lives in terrible ways." A short break. More news after this.


[01:50:52] VAUSE: Well, fans of the T.V. Sitcom "FRIENDS." have gone absolutely crazy over a trailer for a new movie which reunites the cast.


MATTHEW PERRY, ACTOR: Are you out of your mind? I'm sorry, I hadn't realized how attractive you are. Would you mind if I asked you that question without yelling?


PERRY: Are you out of your mind?


DAVID SCHWIMMER, ACTOR: What in the world? Oh, my God.

SCHWIMMER: It's not fair.

JENNIFER ANISTON, ACTRESS: I know it's not fair. Nothing's fair. Ignore him. Just ignore him.




LEBLANC: You got me.


VAUSE: It's fake. It was edited by a fan using clips of all the casts from other shows. But, I guess, we still have all the reruns, and they're available on Netflix and Amazon. Segun Oduolowu, Entertainment Journalist and host of "See it/Skip It, "with Rotten Tomatoes. Why do people care so much about this reunion? Because people are freaking out about this on social media.

SEGUN ODUOLOWU, ENTERTAINMENT JOURNALIST AND HOST: Well, because this was a better time. This was when white people could live in New York, and they never have to see a brown or black face. I mean, that's how real "FRIENDS" was. Now, I'm -- look, I'm kidding to all the "FRIENDS" fan that will now send me hate mail. But, I mean, it's nostalgia, and nostalgia sells. And "FRIENDS" was on for, you know, a decade.


ODUOLOWU: They made -- look, they made a boatload of money. They were one of the flagship shows on NBC. And people really like "FRIENDS." I don't.

VAUSE: OK. This is -- this is what Anniston said a while back about, you know, why everyone love "FRIENDS." "Not only was it a gift for us." Yes, you better believe it. 1.7 million per episode.


ODUOLOWU: Making a million dollars an episode. I'm sure it was.

VAUSE: Yes, it is. "But it's something that people have been able to carry with them. It's comfort food. And it makes them feel better when they're feeling down, and they want to distract themselves because it's always on."

ODUOLOWU: Yes. See, listen, I am a fan of the cast of "FRIENDS." I like Jennifer Anniston. I think Lisa Kudrow is back-breakingly funny. Matthew Perry, Matt LeBlanc, David Schwimmer. Look, I like them. And all the more Courteney Cox. I like them, I think they're funny. I never liked the show. The show was unrealistic to me. And the show, honestly, does not hold up in today's society. It really doesn't.

VAUSE: I was going to ask you. So, the question is, would "FRIENDS" actually be made today? Because it's part of an opinion piece that we found in The Independent: "Storylines laced with homophobia, sexism, borderline emotional abuse and sexual harassment are portrayed as punchlines. The lack of diversity within its 10 seasons is inexcusable and embarrassing. Truth be told, several of the jokes written in the show that began 24 years ago probably would be thrown out before they even got into the writer's room."

ODUOLOWU: Absolutely. It does not hold up. It doesn't. Listen, NBC, if you're listening and you want to bring a show back, bring back "Frasier". Bring back "Frasier". "Frasier" holds up with the people in the -- our studio audience, they're screaming for "Frasier". Bring back "Frasier". You can see "Roseanne" is coming back. NBC has already brought back "Will and Grace"

VAUSE: That didn't work, though, really, did it? I mean,

ODUOLOWU: "Will & Grace"? "Will and Grace" is why don't you -- just Jack. But I love "Will and Grace"

VAUSE: It's because the old stereotyping of, you know, this gay guy with his, you know, straight woman friend that hangs out with him. It just seems like we just moved on from that in television shows.

ODUOLOWU: I don't know if people have moved on. I really -- I really don't. Look, it's -- funny is funny. And at least when I was -- when you watch "Will & Grace," you see a side of society or you're seeing a side in the society that, first of all, when they first came out, it wasn't shown. And now, it's being -- it's being shown again, and it needs to be shown.

VAUSE: It was groundbreaking when it first started. I'm not so sure it is now. (INAUDIBLE)

ODUOLOWU: I think there are a lot of shows that actually show a -- gay people and straight people living together and having fun and laughing and if not always being contentious.

VAUSE: OK. Well, going back to "FRIENDS", OK, because, you know, yes, this is a show which made fun of fat people. Let's have a look.



COX: Over here dad.

ELLIOTT GOULD, ACTOR: Wait, how do you zoom out? There she is.

LEBLANC: Some girl ate Monica.

COX: Shut up, the camera adds 10 pounds.

PERRY: So, how many cameras are actually on?


[01:55:01] VAUSE: This is a -- this is a program or a sitcom which was regularly homophobic?


PERRY: Drew, are you seeing anybody right now? I'm not asking for me. I'm not gay. I'm not asking you out. I'm not gay.

DREW: I didn't think you were gay. I do now.


VAUSE: You mentioned this, this was a show where a black person or a minority was almost nowhere to be found throughout the entire 10 seasons.


VAUSE: Very quickly, we found one, though.

ODUOLOWU: We found one. Is it Aisha Tyler? Is it Aisha Tyler?

VAUSE: We'll find out.



AISHA TYLER, ACTRESS: I'm looking for someone; do you know by any chance know a Ross Geller?


SCHWIMMER: Hey! Hi, I'm Ross Gellar.

TYLER: Oh, hi, I'm Professor Wheeler.


VAUSE: OK. So, I may get in trouble with this?

ODUOLOWU: You could get in trouble.

VAUSE: Are we too sensitive today? Because that stuff -- I mean, you know, obviously, some people laugh. You know, it wasn't meant any kind of malicious way.

ODUOLOWU: Yes. Absolutely, we're too sensitive today. Listen, I don't disagree with that, we are too sensitive today. But we've also lost the ability for nuance and subtlety. You can be for something and against something, you can have two thoughts in your head, and it'd be OK. This wasn't funny, though. Showing a fat girl, now skinny, and say -- and laughing at that. That's not funny. I mean, like I said, I mentioned "Roseanne" before. "Roseanne" dealt with weight and it can be funny. You can make fun of different segments of society. And it'd be funny it could be subversive. But it should be smart. There's nothing smart about that.


VAUSE: -- that smart humor takes a lot of stigmas or, you know, whatever society attaches to certain minority. Once people sort of engaged in laugh then it just becomes sort of normalized.

ODUOLOWU: Yes. Absolutely. You know, there's a -- way back when "FRIENDS" was still going on, a supermodel did a T.V. show of which she dressed up in a fat suit. And was surprised Tyra Banks. And was surprised that people treated her differently, like, that she was in a fat suit, and was the dumbest premise that a supermodel is, like, they treat fat people different than me when I'm an -- and that's what "FRIENDS" was.

VAUSE: Right.

ODUOLOWU: The premise is behind most of the shows. It was so bail, it was so asinine that it doesn't work now.


ODUOLOWU: Well, it worked back then because that's all we had. And we were so happy. People were so happy to see T.V. and must-see T.V. and it was branded well. But honestly, you put that on right now, people will turn it into "This Is Us". People want smart, people want funny, they want multi-ethnicity.

VAUSE: They're still watching it on the, you know, the reruns and on the -- on the Netflix and the --

ODUOLOWU: Well, those are people who voted for Trump, though.


VAUSE: We'll leave it there. Thank you very much.

ODUOLOWU: Good to see you, too. VAUSE: You're watching CNN NEWSROOM live from Los Angeles, I'm John

Vause. Stay with us. I'll be back with a lot more news after a very short break.