Return to Transcripts main page
President Trump Set to Deliver State of the Union; Violent Attacks in Afghanistan; Casino Mogul Steve Wynn Loses Millions; Ireland to Hold Abortion Referendum; Chimamanda Adichie's Epic Clapback; Fact Checking the President's Climate Change Claims. Aired 12mn-1a ETa ET
Aired January 30, 2018 - 00:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
ISHA SESAY, CNN ANCHOR (voice-over): This is CNN NEWSROOM live from Los Angeles. Ahead this hour:
JOHN VAUSE, CNN ANCHOR (voice-over): On the eve of his first State of the Union speech, it seems the U.S. president plans to talk bipartisanship and coming together.
But will he stick to the script and use his indoor voice?
SESAY (voice-over): Chimamanda's clapback: the renowned author, asked if the country of Nigeria has bookstores, her epic response and the global reaction.
VAUSE (voice-over): And President Trump on climate change. the planet is getting colder and hotter and the icecaps, they are expanding.
Hello and welcome to our viewers all around the world. I'm John Vause.
SESAY (voice-over): And I'm Isha Sesay. NEWSROOM L.A. starts right now.
VAUSE: Just hours away now from Donald Trump's first State of the Union address and it's being overshadowed by more chaos in Washington in a sudden and surprising, FBI deputy director Andrew McCabe has stepped down. He has been a constant target of President Trump ever since he briefly took over for the ousted FBI director, James Comey. That was back in May.
SESAY: Then there is this: House Republicans voted to release a controversial classified memo alleging the FBI misused a surveillance program in relation to the Trump campaign. Democrats claim the memo misrepresents intelligence in order to discredit the FBI and special counsel Robert Mueller's Russia probe.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Sadly, we can fully expect that the President of the United States will not put the national interest over his own personal interest. This committee voted to put the president's personal interest, perhaps their own political interests, above the national interest.
In denying themselves even the ability to hear from the department and the FBI.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VAUSE: Let's bring in our panel now, Democratic strategist Adrienne Elrod and CNN political commentator and Republican consultant John Thomas, also criminal defense attorney, Brian Claypool as well with us as.
Brian, let's start with you with that Republican memo that argues the Department of Justice and the FBI misused their authority to obtain a secret surveillance order on the former Trump campaign worker, Carter Page.
CNN was told it cites the role of Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein and outgoing Deputy FBI director Andrew McCabe after their roles in overseeing aspects of the investigation.
Rosenstein's believed to have signed off on the continued surveillance of Page. That happened around April of last year. So now the president has five days to decide if he'll make the memo public. That will probably happen.
Does not it basically take blind free at this point to see it's all creating a narrative for Donald Trump to fire Rosenstein and ultimately get rid of Robert Mueller?
BRIAN CLAYPOOL, CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEY: Well, John, make no mistake about it, this is a 12-round prize boxing match. In one corner, you've got the FBI and in the other quarter you've got President Trump.
And I think what is happening here with this Nunes memo is that there might be some evidence that the -- that there was not enough information to support probable cause for a search warrant on Carter Page. And that is a pretty big violation, John.
In other words, in order to get a search warrant to do surveillance on Carter Page, he is a domestic person, he is a U.S. citizen. He is not a foreign agent. So the standard is much higher in order to get a search warrant to do surveillance on him.
For example, you have to prove that there is probable cause that he is, first, a foreign agent that he is doing something to transmit information to a foreign government and then you have to show that part of this surveillance, that a significant amount of the information gleaned from the surveillance will lead to credible evidence of Carter Page being a foreign agent. And I think -- I really do not think this is like Trump pounding his
chest or the Republicans pounding their chest. I think Rosenstein, Rod Rosenstein could be in a heap of trouble if he signed off on this warrant when there was not enough probable cause to support the warrant.
And I think this could lead to Trump potentially firing Rosenstein. But, John, here is another problem. If he does that, President Trump is looking in the face of possibly being interviewed by Robert Mueller in this Russian probe investigation.
And everybody has been clamoring that Trump is trying to unduly influence that investigation. So if he fires Rosenstein, then this could fuel the argument that he is trying to influence and this Russian probe investigation.
VAUSE: OK. So John, to you, just to move it forward from Brian's point, some of the reporting out there is that the memo from the Republicans argues the wrongdoing by the FBI's concealing that the warrant for surveillance --
VAUSE: -- on Carter Page came actually from the Trump Russia document, the salacious one that had all sorts of accusations in there. But apart from the allegations, which have got a lot of attention about what happened in that Moscow hotel room, that was clearly -- hasn't been proven.
There is also delegation that Trump wanted Michael Cohen to travel to Prague in 2013 to meet with a Russian spy, a Russian-high-ranking official, to conspire with.
What else in that dossier is actually wrong?
Because what seems is that most of the information in that dossier has borne out to be true.
JOHN THOMAS, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: I think the challenge is, first of all, who funded the dossier, which was arguably the Clinton -- I think it started out with an anti-Trump Republican --
VAUSE: -- which was the anti-Trump group.
THOMAS: -- and then it transferred --
THOMAS: -- the Hillary Clinton campaign, which was then essentially handed over to the FBI. I think the issue is, if they are using Carter Page as an example to get a FISA warrant, the issue here is, everyone is saying Trump wants to fire Mueller. And that's what this is about. But this is really about the politicization of our justice system and our FBI. This goes well beyond a Trump collusion investigation. I think that is the concern here.
VAUSE: Carter Page was under FBI surveillance all the way back to 2014, long before the campaign began, so I guess we'll know more I guess, in the next couple of days.
THOMAS: I also just do not understand why it is such a big deal to release the memo. I mean, just release it and then we can pick it apart.
VAUSE: (INAUDIBLE) with a Democrat response.
ADRIENNE ELROD, DEMOCRATIC STRATEGIST: Well, I think some of the concerns about releasing it is the information in the memo factual. Is there --
VAUSE: Well, it's cherry picked, I think is the accusation.
ELROD: Right. Of course, of course. And look, the broader picture here, John, is that this is a continuous distraction by the Trump administration to try to deflect from the problems that he has with the Russian investigation, the fact that Mueller is closing in, that we know that Donald Trump is likely going to be interviewed or at least is going to have some sort of negotiation with his attorneys and with the Mueller investigation, whether it is going to be a written testimony, whether it's going to be some sort of taped process as opposed to an actual in-person interview.
But whatever it is, he's getting very nervous about it. And you're seeing his allies in Congress, i.e. Devin Nunes, with this memo is trying to shift everybody off the real facts with the Mueller investigation and focus on this memo, which may or may not have proper or correct information in it.
VAUSE: At the very least, why wouldn't the Republicans, if they want to put this memo out there and they do because they voted for it, Why wouldn't you lease the Democrat response to avoid all the accusations of politicization?
THOMAS: I am sure they will at some point.
THOMAS: Well, I think because it just does exactly what the Democrats want, which is muddy the waters, which confused the situation. Release this memo, let us vet it, let's go through exactly if, in fact, it is clean and the FBI did not collude essentially with Barack Obama to influence 2016 elections, wonderful. I hope we clear that up.
But we need clear that up first and look, one thing we've learned is leaks happen in the last year, we've learned this. That counter memo will get out whether or not the committee releases --
ELROD: -- confuse the -- you're talking about Republicans or Democrats trying to confuse the situation. I mean, Republicans are doing that and have been doing that, especially the Trump administration, for the last three years.
VAUSE: OK, well, there's another theory out there that the FBI director, Christopher Wray, who was at the White House over the weekend, he read this memo and there was something in there so compelling that he was forced to remove Andrew McCabe as his deputy. He made that announcement on Monday morning that he is stepping down early.
The White House though says it has had nothing to do with McCabe's decision to step down. This is what Sarah Huckabee Sanders said during the briefing.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Can you say definitively that the president did not play a role in Andrew McCabe stepping down?
SARAH HUCKABEE SANDERS, DEPUTY WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: Yes, I can say the president wasn't part of this decision-making process and we would refer you to the FBI, where Christopher Wray serves as the director, which, as I said last week and I will repeat again today, the president has full confidence in him and has put the decisions at the FBI in his hands.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VAUSE: But the president has made no secret. He never liked McCabe; NBC News is reporting Donald Trump was furious that after he fired James Comey, the former FBI director, Comey was allowed to fly home from L.A. on a government plane.
Trump then called McCabe who was, at that point, the acting director of the FBI. He wanted to know who authorized it.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: McCabe told the president he hadn't been asked to authorize Comey's flight but if anyone had asked, he would have approved it. The president was silent for a moment, then turned on McCabe, quote, "Ask your wife how it feels to be a loser," Trump said.
McCabe replied, "OK, sir."
Trump hung up the phone.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VAUSE: OK, there was a reference to McCabe's wife and her failed bid for the Virginia State House in 2015. Here is a very quick timeline for what happened after that phone call. In May, McCabe was summoned to the White House by the president, who asked him who he voted for. Two months after that --
VAUSE: -- came a tweet, "The acting head of the FBI and the person in charge of the Hillary investigation, Andrew McCabe, got $700,000 from Hillary for wife."
The next day again on Twitter, the president called out his attorney general for not replacing McCabe by August. Christopher Wray is sworn in and McCabe is his deputy. Last month it was reported that McCabe was planning to retire in March, two months from now. That is when he would be eligible for a pension.
The president repeats the criticism about his wife's campaign finances on Twitter and later adds this, "FBI deputy director Andrew McCabe is racing the clock to retire with full benefits, 90 days to go. And of course just last month reports the attorney general was putting pressure on the FBI director to fire McCabe.
So, Brian, to you. Yes, the president may not have directly ordered McCabe to be fired but it seems absurd to say he didn't play a role.
CLAYPOOL: Well, John. I actually do not think he did he did play a role but here is the bigger problem for President Trump. Because he has been pounding his chest and he has been jabbing at Andrew McCabe and his wife for the last six months, public perception is going to trump reality in this situation.
And I think most people out there are going to think that he did have something to do with McCabe leaving. But here is here are -- leaving early. But here is the irony in this, John, real quick. I think the FBI actually here is pulling a sneaky maneuver by allowing McCabe to step down now in advance of his retirement.
Because there is a memo that we have not talked about, this memo that is coming out from the office of inspector general that is supposed to disparage McCabe immensely in his investigation of Hillary Clinton. And I think that the FBI is trying to preempt any negative feedback from that scandal. And that's why they're letting him go now.
VAUSE: Very quickly, we're almost out of time but Adrienne, I want to get to Hillary Clinton and the story that broke on Friday, that she basically covered up (INAUDIBLE) sexual harassment. She protected the accused harasser, gave the person making the accusations a new job, got them her out of her 2008 campaign.
Her campaign manager was on CNN earlier but she -- earlier on Monday. She said basically she investigated it all. She thought there was sexual harassment but she was overruled by Hillary Clinton.
For all the talk about Hillary Clinton empowering women, at the end of the day, actions speak louder than words.
ELROD: Well, let's take it a step back here. Secretary Clinton was not covering this up. This is something that happened 10 years ago on her 2008 campaign. I will say this, though, hindsight is always 20/20. She may have -- be looking back down and wishing that he had been removed.
But what matters the most now is that 10 years later, the environment and the culture is far different than it was 10 years ago and what might be -- been considered standard process at that time, which is dock the guy's pay a couple weeks, put him in counseling, put the subordinate at a different job that is equal or more advanced than where she was before and if this happens again, then he's kicked off the campaign.
That is not going to stand today and that's what matters the most. And what also matters the most is that women who had been victim to him feel comfortable speaking out and sharing their stories --
VAUSE: -- very quickly, hindsight's a wonderful thing but Hillary Clinton had a chance to correct the record and she put out of the tweet; there was no apology. There was no admission of guilt --
THOMAS: No and that's because she lives in a glass house. Look, her husband has been accused of raping and harassing women. Is she going to divorce him? Probably not. She doesn't want to go down that road. She doesn't want to have that conversation. At the same time, she opened up her 2016 campaign saying every woman has a right to be believed.
It just -- it's very hypocritical, not the first time a politician has been hypocritical.
THOMAS: So she believes Juanita Broderick (ph)?
VAUSE: Hypocrisy in politics?
Oh, my God.
There's gambling going on here, I do believe.
ELROD: No, the one -- I just wanted to make one final point though. I am really tired of seeing the woman always blamed for bad men out there. SO let's like move forward as a society and you know.
VAUSE: A teachable moment.
ELROD: Embrace the #MeToo movement, absolutely for what it is.
VAUSE: Adrienne, John and Brian, thanks to all of you. Most appreciate it.
CLAYPOOL: Thank you, John.
VAUSE: And be sure to tune in to CNN's coverage of President Trump's State of the Union address. Begins Tuesday at 8:00 pm in New York, that's Wednesday; 9:00 am in Hong Kong.
SESAY: Turning our attention to Afghanistan now, where four attacks in just the past nine days have claimed more than 130 lives. The latest unfolding at a military base in Kabul, where 11 Afghan army personnel were killed early Monday.
Two of the assailants blew themselves up; two others were killed by Afghan army troops and the fifth was captured. ISIS is claiming responsibility for this latest attack and one other in Eastern Afghanistan.
The Taliban are claiming responsibility for two other attacks in the past week and a half. Let's bring in journalist Ali Latifi (ph), who joins us now from Kabul.
Ali, good to have you with us. Let me ask you about this latest attack on the Kabul military academy.
ISIS claiming responsibility but have they provided any further information to support that claim?
ALI LATIFI (PH), JOURNALIST: There is no specific information to support the claim. But the fact that they are able to conduct the attack is what is frightening for people because what we have seen is that forces claiming allegiance to daish have been able to not only claim more attacks in the capital but also in other cities.
And in fact, if you look at the past year of attacks, the highest number of casualties have come from daish-claimed attacks.
SESAY: How should we read this general uptick in violence, not just from ISIS/daish as you call them, but also the Taliban.
What is at play here, this uptick in urban violence?
LATIFI (PH): So the Taliban and the so-called Islamic State, they both tried to basically make a play for the big cities. For the last two years or so, it has been a very concerted effort by all of these groups to really target urban centers because what it does is, A, it erodes the faith in the central government and it also creates fear amongst the people.
Because if you look at, for instance, the last attack, the ambulance attack that the Taliban claimed, that was in an area that housed the former Ministry of Interior building but the current ministry of interior is not there. And the truth of that matter is that the highest number of casualties
in that attack were civilians.
SESAY: OK, so you make the point about the intention, your read is the intention is partly to weaken faith in the central government. So let us talk about the central government. The central government led by Ashraf Ghani is said to be riven by infighting.
The president himself said to be feuding with the regional governor, who is refusing to step down, again we still talk about corruption being rife in Afghanistan.
Is this a government that is in a place to do something different to meet this step-up in the violence?
LATIFI (PH): So this is exactly the problem, right, is that they have all of these internal divisions, since the formation of the so-called national unity government. This has been the exact dilemma that they face because what happened was you had two election rivals coming together to form a government.
And then now you have, as you said, a provincial governor, refusing to step down; a police chief in the south, saying the same thing, that the provincial governor has to step down. I will not step down and that I will defend him.
And this is again what people are asking, they're saying what is happening, what has been done different? Can something be changed?
Because people are saying, for instance, that the heads of the security organizations need to resign. But then the other issue --
LATIFI (PH): -- once they (INAUDIBLE) Trump strategy been in Afghanistan and what has the government strategy been and what can either one really do at a time when they are in conflict themselves?
SESAY: Yes, a very good point, can either party rise to meet the moment?
Ali Latifi (ph), we appreciate it. Thank you so much, great insight.
LATIFI (PH): Thank you.
VAUSE: Well, the cost of allegedly behaving badly. Accusations of sexual misconduct against Steve Wynn. They're taking a huge financial toll on him and his casino empire. Details in a moment.
(MUSIC PLAYING) VAUSE: Well, Steve Wynn and his gambling empire are taking a huge financial hit as investors watch the fallout from a "Wall Street Journal" report, which detailed dozens of allegations of sexual assault and misconduct against the casino mogul.
Since the story broke last Friday, shares in Wynn Resorts have fallen 19 percent, wiping $3.5 billion from the value of the company. For Wynn personally, the falling stock price has cost him almost $0.5 billion. At the start of the year, his net worth was believed to be around $3.5 billion.
Over the weekend, Wynn stepped out as finance chairman for the Republican Party and some Republican lawmakers are donating to charity campaign contributions linked to Wynn. But critics say that is just not enough.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The mere silence is deafening coming from the Republicans. I really believe this should not be about any one party, it should not be partisan. This kind of behavior is not OK, it is not acceptable.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VAUSE: I'm joined now by CNN's legal analyst, Areva Martin, who is also a civil rights attorney.
Areva, good to see you. We should point out one of the big issues here for the drop in the share price from Wynn Resorts, it's because there's concerns about how this scandal could impact operations in Macao because of morality clauses; those licenses are coming up for renewal next year.
But regardless, Areva, Mr. Wynn is still a very wealthy, a very powerful man. And he will be regardless of what happens here, unlike the women who have come forward to make these accusations and this is a classic example of the economic disparity.
AREVA MARTIN, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: Yes, this is as really significant story as we look at the whole #MeToo movement and as it has unfolded over the last several months because these are low-wage earners, working in a resort in Las Vegas where we're told the wages were higher than other casinos on the Strip.
So to come forward and risk losing that high-paying casino job was a really big deal for these women and we're talking about women that may only make $12, $14, $15 an hour, so not the celebrities that we saw tweeting and coming forward.
And I don't want to take anything away from those women because they use their platform and that was important. But these are the women that oftentimes suffer in silence because they do not have money for legal fees. They do not have the courage because if they lose that job, that could be the difference between having a roof over their head and being homeless. VAUSE: OK, so here is part of our opinion piece from "The New York
"There is a reason Mr. Wynn's accusers have remained unnamed."
This goes to your point.
"They do not have a legion of Twitter followers to mobilize around them or people of power to affirm them or forthcoming movies to support them financially. Socioeconomic status plays a significant role in their ability to say #MeToo."
As difficult as it was for Angelina Jolie and Heather Graham and Ashley Judd to come forward, it was -- must have been so incredibly difficult, much more so for these women, who earn an hourly wage. This is why it is important for women to have a good livable wage, to be in an environment where laws protect them, where they can feel that they can come forward and safely make allegations or say something without being punished. Because these jobs -- this is the difference between food on the table or not.
MARTIN: And that's why the movement has to go further than what we're seeing on social media. So I give a lot of credit to the #TimesUp movement because one of the first things they did was
establish a legal defense fund. And almost $13 million was donated to that fund to help women just like these, that work at casinos, women who can't go out and pay $10,000, $20,000 in a retainer fee just to start the process of filing a lawsuit.
And the #TimesUp movement is looking at legislation because we've got to do something that is going to protect women like those that work in casinos or factories or restaurants so that the workplace, one, is safe and then that there is a safe way for them to make complaints without retribution because that's the biggest fear, is if I come forward and tell my story, I will lose my job --
VAUSE: Or a whole lot worse.
MARTIN: -- my benefits and then the opportunity to maybe even work in that industry because I would imagine, the casino industry is probably close-knit and if you get fired for making a complaint against one of the biggest casino owners in the country, I do not imagine you could find a job pretty easily in that town.
VAUSE: So this started in Hollywood; it's gone to politics, to sport. It's spreading. It seems like now this is the biggest test of all, for this #MeToo movement because it's going into the heartland. It's going into this place where the vast majority of workers are in fact women; they're hourly wage earners.
And this is a place, as you say, that a boss on the factory floor can control the destiny, has all the power. So this seems to be like a real test of this #MeToo movement, is in fact --
VAUSE: -- a cultural and seismic shift in the way this country operates.
MARTIN: And I think, so far, what has happened to Steve Wynn tells us that this movement is here to stay. That it does have legs, that it is sustainable and you see the reaction to these allegations were swift. The stock prices dropped. He was forced to resign from the RNC.
And although we didn't here enough Republican leaders coming out and, you know, speaking out against these allegations, we did see some. And I think that the tolerance level is changing in this country. It is no longer acceptable to turn a blind eye.
It is no longer acceptable to victim shame the woman that comes forward and women are being believed. And that's the biggest thing is, in my history of practicing civil rights law and litigating these cases and representing women in these cases, that is so, so, so significant. I cannot really emphasize enough how different this is than even five years ago, when a woman would come forward, instantly the blame game would start. And she would be shamed and the man would be automatically believed.
He would keep his job; oftentimes he would rise in the company and the woman would be out on the streets.
VAUSE: We're out of time but let's just say it again, women (INAUDIBLE) come forward with allegations of sexual harassment for fun.
MARTIN: They suffer great consequences when they --
MARTIN: -- so hats off to these women for having the courage to step forward and tell their story.
VAUSE: Especially (INAUDIBLE) a guy like Steve Wynn, so...
VAUSE: Areva, thank you, always good to see you.
MARTIN: Thanks, John.
VAUSE: Thank you.
SESAY: An important conversation there and also an important conversation taking place in Ireland, where Irish voters will get their first chance in 35 years to weigh in on the country's strict abortion laws in late May. The Irish cabinet approved a referendum on whether to repeal the Eighth Amendment to the Irish Constitution, which gives equal right to life of the mother and the unborn child. Abortions are allowed only when a woman's life is at risk.
The prime minister said he backs a yes vote to repeal the Eighth Amendment.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We know the (INAUDIBLE) of Irish women. Women from every single county in Ireland travel abroad for abortions every year. We know that women obtain abortion pills through the post to end their pregnancies without any medical support or counseling or supervision.
So we already have abortion in Ireland but it is unsafe, unregulated and unlawful and, in my opinion, we cannot continue to export our problems and import our solutions.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SESAY: A recent "Irish Times" poll found 56 percent of Irish voters support changes in the abortion laws.
VAUSE: Well, a short break here and then from a ridiculous question asked of this writer, an epic response was born.
VAUSE: Welcome back, everybody, you're watching CNN NEWSROOM live from Los Angeles. I'm John Vause.
SESAY: And I'm Isha Sesay. The headlines this hour?
SESAY: Now a French journalist is facing backlash for asking acclaimed Nigerian writer Chimamanda Adichie if there are any bookshops in her country. It happened during an interview at an event called "A Night of Ideas" where Adichie was a guest.
Midway through the conversation, journalist Caroline Broue asked the question that led to awkward exchange. Take a look.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CAROLINE BROUE, JOURNALIST: Do people read your books in Nigeria?
CHIMAMANDA ADICHIE, AUTHOR: They do, shockingly.
(LAUGHTER) BROUE: Are there bookshops in Nigeria?
ADICHIE: You know, I think --
ADICHIE: -- I think it's -- I think it reflects very poorly on French people that you have to ask me that question. I really do. Because I mean --
ADICHIE: -- because I think, surely, I mean, it's 2018. You know, I mean, come on.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SESAY: A very, very graceful response there Chimamanda Adichie.
CNN digital editor Stephanie Busari joins us now from Lagos.
Stephanie, good to see you, my friend. So Chimamanda responding with great calm. But there in Nigeria, the reaction has been less restrained. Tell us about it.
STEPHANIE BUSARI, CNN PRODUCER: Good morning, Isha. Absolutely, the reaction here is one of outrage, shock and people just cannot believe that someone would ask this question.
I mean, they're just outraged. The people that we spoke to on the streets, on social media and not just Nigerians. It has to be said, you know, she put Chimamanda in a situation where she was forced to actually just respond in a calm way.
But so many people are saying we would not have been so calm, because this question is ignorant and it actually has kind of lazy and racist kind of undertones. That is what some people are saying on social media.
But on the streets of Nigeria, the response is a little more measured but there is still shock and anger. Take a listen, Isha.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Oh, God, really?
Is that even a question?
Of course, we had bookshops even in my dad's time. We had bookshops when there was independence happening.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: So I'm glad it was asked and I'm glad about Chimamanda's response because it is indeed a poor reflection of anyone to ask questions like that about Africa. It just reflects your ignorance, which may not be entirely your fault. But again, you should hold responsibility for whatever truth you believe. And it's your responsibility to try to find out the truth.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SESAY: So interesting responses there, Stephanie. Clearly those women really summing up a general feeling there in Nigeria, that it was offensive, that it crossed the line.
Here's the journalist justified the question. Let's play the clip.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BROUE (through translator): Yes, it's a big cause you're reacting that way, that I'm asking the question to feed into the next one. You were talking about single stories. Now when you talk about Nigeria in France, unfortunately, there is not much said about Nigeria. But when people talk about Nigeria, it is about Boko Haram. It is about --
BROUE (through translator): -- violence, it is about security. Now I should like you to tell us something about Nigeria which is different, talk about it differently. And that is why I am saying are there bookshops. Of course, I imagine there are.
But I could ask the question to the French, do people read in France? I think less and less so.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SESAY: So she says essentially she's asking the question because French people don't know. So I ask you then, Stephanie, to give us a little bit more context, to the general state of literacy and access to books there in Nigeria because if Ms. Broue says they don't know, you tell them.
BUSARI: Sure. I'm very happy to. So this is a country of nearly 200 million people. So in just a simple matter of economics, there are millions of school age, university students. So it just goes to show, it's just a given that businesses will be set up to cater for these -- this demographic.
So there are thousands of bookshops in Nigeria. And I am happy to inform Caroline and the French people who do not know and, you know, they are relatively cheap. You have the highbrow bookstores, where you get imported books and you also have roadside bookstores, where people can pick up books for as little as $1 in some cases.
So it is -- this is also actually, Isha, I must say, a country where reading is very, very prioritized. And Nigeria given the world some great authors, Chimamanda is one of them. We have the first African Nobel Prize literature winner from this country, Wole Soyinka. And many, many thousands of great Nigerian authors, Chinua Achebe, the list is endless.
So really I am very happy to inform Caroline and the French people that reading bookshops are very, very important here and they are many.
In fact, I tweeted Caroline herself and invited her to come to Nigeria and I will be very happy to show her all the wonderful things happening here that she should report to the French people -- Isha.
SESAY: Let me tag along when she shows up because I'd love to see that tour. Stephanie Busari, we very much appreciate it. As we let you go, I also want to share this with our viewers. Actually, let's put that back on screen and back in prompter, the statement that Chimamanda put out there, kind of giving some context to why the statement, the question was so offensive.
She said this, she says, "I do not expect a French person to know almost everything about Nigeria. I don't know almost everything about France. But to be asked to tell French people that you have bookshops in Nigeria because they don't know," she goes on to say, "is to cater to a woefully retrograde idea that Africa is so apart, so pathologically different that a non-African cannot make reasonable assumptions about life there."
And I think that is the point that African and people like myself take offense at, that you naturally reflexively go to a place where you don't think something good, cultural, positive could come one of this space but merely if she reverts to saying, you know, French people know about Boko Haram.
Stephanie, sadly, we're out of time but this is a conversation we're going to keep going, at a time where we obviously have the president, the U.S. president's comments about shithole African countries.
So clearly we're going to keep talking about this in the days and months to come. Stephanie Busari there, in Lagos, appreciate it. Thank you.
Well, she did ask it although I also want to add that Chimamanda also said that it was a flat attempt at irony.
SESAY: That -- so we shouldn't pillory her too much.
SESAY: Yes. OK. Quick break.
VAUSE: OK. Well, President Trump appears to believe the polar ice caps are not melting. So we'll fact check the president's claims about climate change.
(MUSIC PLAYING) VAUSE: It's been a busy first year in office for the U.S. president. He's rolled back dozens of environmental regulations and now he is saying that the climate is both cooling and it's heating.
VAUSE: Same time.
SESAY: Well, cooling, heating the president also told Piers Morgan in an interview that the polar ice caps do not seem to be melting. So here's Jake Tapper with a fact check.
PIERS MORGAN, ITV BROADCASTER: Do you believe in climate change?
JAKE TAPPER, CNN CHIEF WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): That question is one the overwhelming majority of scientists worldwide have answered with a confident yes, climate change is real.
But when Piers Morgan asked this of the President of the United States...
TRUMP: There is a cooling and there is a heating, I mean, look, it used to not be climate change. It used to be global warming, right. That wasn't working too well, because it was getting too cold all over the place. The ice caps were going to melt, they were going to be gone by now. But now they're setting records, OK, they're at a record level.
TAPPER (voice-over): This is Doctor Brenda Ekwurzel, a senior climate scientist at the Union of Concerned Scientists. She studied the environment for more than 25 years. Does she believe in climate change?
BRENDA EKWURZEL, SENIOR CLIMATE SCIENTIST, UNION OF CONCERNED SCIENTISTS: That's like asking if you believe in gravity. I know from the facts as a senior climate scientist that climate change is real and it's affecting us now.
TAPPER: Now back to President Trump. Let's start with this part of his response.
TRUMP: There is a cooling and there's a heating. I mean, look, it used to not be climate change. It used to be global warming.
TAPPER: Actually it's always been climate change and global warming.
EKWURZEL: As a scientist, we tend to use the term climate change because there's all sorts of changes that are happening on the planet, including global average temperatures rising over the long term. And that latter part is called global warming. TAPPER: The president has a theory as to why global warming isn't used as much in his view.
TRUMP: That wasn't working too well because it was getting too cold all over the place.
EKWURZEL: It is not getting too cold. The global average temperatures for the Earth is warming and that's a fact.
TAPPER: Take a look at this heat map from NASA showing rising temperatures from 1884 to 2016. According to researchers, 16 of the 17 warmest years on record have occurred within the last 20 years.
And lastly, how about those changing ice caps?
TRUMP: The ice caps were going to melt, they would be gone by now, but now they're setting records. According to National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, last year saw the second smallest annual sea ice area on record. This images from NASA show how quickly the ice is in fact disappearing.
EKWURZEL: We're losing vast tracts of Arctic sea ice in the summer. And just because it's winter time, doesn't mean that you can point to sea ice in the winter and say climate change is not happening. That's just gobbledygook.
TAPPER: Gobbledygook versus science. You be the judge -- Jake Tapper, CNN, Washington.
SESAY: Facts are facts.
SESAY: Thank you for watching CNN NEWSROOM live from Los Angeles. I'm Isha Sesay.
VAUSE: I'm John Vause. "WORLD SPORT" is next. You're watching CNN.