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Abortion in America; Malala Visits Pakistan; South Korea and North Korea Talk; Save The Children Colombia Director Speaks on Children Fleeing Venezuela to Colombia to Avoid Hardships. Aired 12-1a ET

Aired March 29, 2018 - 00:00   ET


JOHN VAUSE, CNN ANCHOR: This is CNN Newsroom live from this Los Angeles. Ahead this hour -

ISHA SESAY, CNN ANCHOR: The two Koreas holding high level talks, the DMZ at this hour as both sides prepare for the upcoming presidential summit.

VAUSE: Point of contact we now know where a former Russian spy was first exposed to the deadly nerve agent, which almost killed him.

SESAY: And challenging Roe versus Wade in America, how President Trump helped inspire a wave of strict, new abortion laws.

VAUSE: However, great to have you with us. I'm John Vause.

SESAY: And I'm Isha Sesay. Newsroom L.A. starts right now. Well, high level talks are underway right now between North and South Korea in the demilitarized zone. They're expected to discuss details of a summit to be held next month, which in North Korean leader, Kim Jong- un, and South Korean President, Moon Jae-in.

VAUSE: This all comes on the heels of Kim's surprise trip to China where he reportedly said he is committed to denuclearization with conditions. And Kim is still on track with potential meeting with U.S. President, Donald Trump. Attentively (ph) scheduled for May.

SESAY: Right. Well, our Alexandra Field is near the border with North Korea and joins us now. Alexandra, a little while ago we saw pictures of the South Korean delegation making its way to these talks. Set the scene for us. What details are emerging?

ALEXANDRA FIELD, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, look. It started on an optimistic note with the leaders of both delegations acknowledging the progress and the developments that have brought them this far. The heads of both delegations are the same men who sat down together in Panmunjon Village in the DMZ back in January, and that was the conversation that really led to this incredible breakthrough that resulted in the North Korean Olympic team going to the South Korean Olympics, or rather the Olympics in South Korea. And from there, we've seen this cascade of diplomatic developments. Quickly, we then learned that there would be a South Korean-North Korean summit, and then word that President Donald Trump had accepted an invitation to sit down with Kim Jong-un.

The task at hand today inside the DMZ, inside North Korea - you can see North Korea just behind me - is for these men to hash out the details of this summit, specifically they've still got to set a date for the time when President Moon Jae-in will actually sit down and meet face-to-face with Kim Jong-un, the first time a summit like this has happened between the two Koreas in more than 10 years. They also want to work to set the agenda for that meeting, set up any of the logistics and the details that will help to ensure that that goes off and that it goes off smoothly. The goals of that summit, of course, according to President Moon Jae-in, is also to help to create the right kind of atmosphere for the meeting that is supposed to happen following that between President Trump and Kim Jong-un. Certainly that's a meeting now that become increasingly complicated with the developments of the last few days, this surprise visit of Kim Jong-un to Beijing. Beijing now certainly stepping up to take a more prominent role in these talks as we move forward here, Isha.

SESAY: Alexandra, what does that mean, a prominent role for Beijing when we talked specifically about the Korea Summit?

FIELD: Yes, this has been a really interesting thing to watch unfold because really it's been South Korea that has been driving these diplomatic developments, orchestrating the summit with North Korea, and also helping to facilitate this potential meeting with Donald Trump. They then sent their envoys around the region to China, to Japan, to Russia to get others on board to try and sort of bring them into the fold as they work to negotiate these summits going forward and these conversations.

The South Korean and U.S. diplomatic efforts have probably, however, benefited from the strain that we've seen between China and North Korea, which have increased over the last few months and really over the course of the last year or two, but don't forget North Korea relies heavily on China. This visit - this surprise visit, Kim Jong- un traveling to Beijing to meet with Xi Jinping certainly shores up the relationship there, and it certainly would seem to give Kim Jong- un some added muscle as he moves into these talks with the South Korean president and also with the United States. It's also an opportunity, certainly for China, to show that they have strengthened the relationship with North Korea and that they cannot be shut out of talks with North Korea moving forward, that anything that involves North Korea will implicitly involved China now, too. It's a powerful move from President Xi Jinping and also from Kim Jong-un, one that seemed to catch leaders in South Korea and the U.S. by surprise to some extent, Isha.

SESAY: Yes, I think so. I think you might, even though it's important (ph) to say, by a large extent. I mean, this move by Kim Jong-un to turn up in Beijing ahead of the summit with Korea and the U.S. if that one does indeed happen. I mean, talk to us about how it's maybe changing the optics about or the optics surrounding Kim Jong-un himself because there are those who certainly say that it's shown that he has some diplomatic muster to him.

FIELD: Right. There are some who suggested that was going to Beijing sort of hat in hand that it was important for appearances for the North Korean leader to at least meet face-to-face with the Chinese president before meeting with President Moon or President Donald Trump. Don't forget this is a leader in North Korea who has never met any other global leader, hasn't left the country North Korea since 2011 when he came to power. But really that narrative has been rewritten in the last day or two as everyone has reflected on this visit. It's being seen as a shrewd calculation by Kim Jong-un to shore up that relationship with China. It would certainly seem to give him support as he moves into the meeting - of the potential meeting with Trump, the potential meeting with Moon. He really does need a stronger ally.

The narrative previous to this was the one that had come from the U.S. that sanctions were really hitting North Korea hard, that North Korea might be in a severely weakened position, a compromised position because of these international sanctions, which China has signed onto and been a part of. But certainly you would think if you see a strengthening of the ties now between China and North Korea that Kim Jong-un has established that he is now moving into these meeting with a stronger position.

He laid out some of the guidelines in Beijing. We've heard before that he was moving into these talks operating on the premise of denuclearization. He made it clear, according to state news in China, that he's talking about denuclearization with conditions. That poses the big question what kind of conditions are we talking about here that could be agreeable to the U.S., South Korea, and North Korea moving forward. So many question to go from here, Isha.

SESAY: So many questions talking about good well (ph) on the part of South Korea and the U.S. We shall see. Alexandra Field joining us there from close to the DMZ. We appreciate it. Thank you.

VAUSE: British police believe the nerve agent used in the attack on former Russian double agent, Sergei Skripal, was placed at his front door. They say the concentration of the chemical at the Salisbury home is higher than at any other location, which is where investigators are now focusing their attention. Russia denies any involvement in the attack and has warned there will be retaliation after the mass expulsion of Russian diplomats from more than 20 countries.

Steve Hall was the Head of Russia Operations for the CIA. These days he's a CNN National Security analyst. He joins us now from Tucson, Arizona. Steve, thank you for being with us. There's a lot of focus on Novichoks, which is the family of nerve agents. It's not just one single toxin. What we publically know about this comes from this Russian chemist, Vil Mirzayanov. I think I've got his name right. He spoke out back in 1991, but a few years ago there was this report from the organization for prohibition of chemical weapons in note of that (ph) there has been no confirmation of his claims nor has there been peer review undertaken in regard to the information on these chemicals in scientific literature.

Also the Royal Society of Chemists - I am going somewhere with this - said there have been no independent confirmation of the structures or the properties of such compounds has been published. Does that at least raise some doubt if Novichoks actually exist or if they've ever been produced? What other intelligence is out there which links Russia to this poison discripple (ph)?

STEVEN HALL, CNN NATIONAL SECURITY ANALYST: The problem here is that this is precisely what Putin and Russia, who operate in a closed society, can do whatever they want without telling anybody versus an open society here where we have these things like peer review and we have public understanding and making public things that are of interest to the public. That's something that the Russians take great advantage of and this is exactly what they're doing in this particular case.

I have no doubt that the intelligence services, the MI5 almost certainly, the British external (ph) intelligence service, has very sensitive information that confirms a lot of what they have sort of eluded to during their public statements on this. Of course, the Russians are going to say, "prove it," and, of course, we can't because it's a secret and that is something that Putin and the Russians will play to a well-meaning western viewer who will say, "well, isn't it fair that we ask these questions?" The Russians don't play by those rules though and that gives them the advantage in a situation like this.

VAUSE: OK, just over two weeks ago, the British Prime Minister, Theresa May, was in Parliament. She was laying out the case against Moscow. This is part of what she said.


THERESA MAY, PRIME MINISTER OF THE UNITED KINGDOM: It is now clear that Mr. Skripal and his daughter were poisoned with a military grade nerve agent of a type developed by Russia. This is part of group of nerve agents known as Novichok. Based on the positive identification of this chemical agent by world leading experts of the Defense Science and Technology Laboratory at Porton Down. Our knowledge that Russia has previously produced this agent and would still be capable of doing so.


VAUSE: That one line though, a military grade nerve agent of a type developed by Russia. Would the U.K. have the ability to determine not only what the nerve agent is but also the specific way it was made, a process which would be unique to Russia?

HALL: Sure, that's what intelligence services do. They try to steal secrets from other country, specifically military and technological secrets of weapons of mass destruction whether it's nuclear or whether they're chemical and biological. So I have little doubt that the prime minister would have made such a comment because, of course, again, in a western society, intelligence services and the political system are subject to checks and balances and oversights. They can't just make this stuff up. You can't just lie about it without having some intelligence behind it. You can in Russia, but you can't do it in the west. VAUSE: Novichoks have never been declared, never classified by the chemical weapons convention which means it's not known of other countries may have produced them. Does that again raise the possibility of a third party here, looking to cause trouble for Moscow? Maybe they carried out that attack just to cause problems for Vladimir Putin? I'm just putting possibilities out there.

HALL: Sure yes. So it's a valid question. So what you need to do, I think, is just sit back and say one scenario is, is that some third country, I don't know, somebody whose capable of coming up with a nerve agent like this, for some reason decided to kill a Russian in the U.K. or you could say well we have a former Russian Intelligence officer who spied against Vladimir Putin and the Russians. Living in the U.K., who ends up dead, like several others, recently.

So then you just got to ask your self, well which is more likely? In my book, it's the Russians that is much more likely.

VAUSE: Explain to me though, something which doesn't make a lot of sense to me. Clearly the Russians would know that using novichok in this attempted assignation would be like leaving a photo behind of a bare chested Vladimir Putin at the scene or a graph(ph) saying from Russia with love. Surely there are other options, right?

HALL: Yes I'm going to try to unsee that visual that you just provided but I mean sure. But think of this way, Mr. Litvinenko was killed with polonium which was traceable back to Russia. Look what - what Vladimir Putin is doing here, he's doing a couple of things but one very important thing that he's doing and again remember he's a former KGB officer himself, so I think he takes these things personally. Is he saying to potential, former - future Russian spies, future members of the FSB and the other Russian intelligence service who may be considering cooperating with a western intelligence service, i.e. spying for them.

And saying look, if you do such a think, it doesn't matter whether you go to the west, it doesn't matter whether you go to London or any place else. We will find you and we will kill you and your family members and we'll do it in a particularly horrible and painful fashion. That's a powerful detriment or has a detrimental effect to it. Anybody who is planning to do that type of thing. So that's an important part of Vladimir Putin's message John.

VAUSE: And it seems if it's real likely that Skripal daughter will actually make a recovery after this poisoning. If they do it will be close to a miracle. Steve where out of time but thanks so much, good to have you with us.

HALL: Sure my pleasure.

SESAY: Heading now to Venezuela and head prosecutors says at least 68 people were killed in a fire at a police detention center in the city of Vincula. Some media reported a riot and an attempt at a jail break. Police clashed with relatives who gathered outside the holding cells. There demanding information about their loved ones. The country has been gripped by chaos for many, many months with souring unemployment and a quantic shortage of food. Families have been getting out, trying to find a better life in neighboring Colombia. Save the Children has came out with a warning.

Joining us now from Brocatelle(ph) is Maria Paula Martinez. Maria is the executive director of Save the Children Colombia. Maria thank you so much for joining us. We know that children are fleeing with their families and in some cases on their own. They're heading to Colombia in an attempt to escape the hardships in their native Venezuela. Just how bad are things for them there in Colombia?

MARIA PAULA MARTINEZ, DIRECTOR, SAVE THE CHILDREN COLOMBIA: I know we are seeing a humanitarian crisis in Colombia. We are seeing that at least 300,000 children's are here in Colombia immigrants from Venezuela. They don't have access to any basic right. They have - they're at risk to be also included but illegal arm it(ph) actors(ph) which has presence in all the other departments from Colombia bordering with Venezuela. We see sexual exploitation and abuse, we see non(ph) are confining(ph) children's. And we - we're seeing a big crisis of malnutrition of those children.

SESAY: It is very bleak indeed, the picture you paint. Tell me how they're coping. How(ph) sure not coping physically and mentally being in these conditions.

MARTINEZ: When we receiving children - trying - when we ask the children, why are you alone with out your family? Why you are here in Colombia? So they answer because I am here because I am looking for my father who left Venezuela a few years ago looking for a better future. So right now we are seeing those children's alone. We are seeing those children's without any dream, any hope of future. And looking for a new opportunities is Colombia starting by eating and having access of health and education services.

SESAY: And Maria how much is Save the Children able to do for these kids. Talk to me about the work you're doing right now and how wide spread is it in Colombia?

MARTINEZ: Well we are here, Save the Children in Colombia is 9091. We have been responding to many emergencies and for us (inaudible) and emergency. So we bring - like we respond immediately in two main sectors, protection and education and emergency. And we are bringing in those 3 departments from this basis, is what we call like the perfect to face(ph) war(ph) with children. They are care givers, their families, their tutors, their community leaders. In order to protect them in those emergency, in those crisis as we mentioned before, children's are like they are facing many risk.

And we want to keep them in the safest place to bring them their right and the basic services we can provide them. So Save the Children is providing hygiene kits, some nutrition and food items. We are providing shelters and the most important is type(ph) of social, emotional support. To them, their families and their community.

SESAY: And lovely Maria. Before I let you go, what more could the Colombian government be doing for these children? MARTINEZ: On the first of all is to realize this equation and the prices. As for many years we are dealing with like our currency (inaudible) Colombia. And related children is to they are with the big(ph) things like recreations and compensation and we are seeking displaced communities. So to see that in those neighborhoods like farmers(ph), seconders(ph) where those children coming from Venezuela are leaving right now. They are sharing this space with displaced communities in Colombia. And those neighborhoods are unsafe for children as they are controlled by illegal arm adaptors(ph). And they are plucked from Venezuela a many risk and many persecutions. And right now they are living in - on safe conditions. So what the Colombian government can do is to seek them and to be more proactive. Trying to respond to the crisis's without reflecting(ph) into a conflict if they have like a passport or not, they are illegal or not.

Only providing the best we can to link the co-reservation with the local authorities in Colombia can do to provide them with basic rights.

SESAY: Oh well, we're hoping that they get the support that they need and that the donations come into help Venezuela and Colombia for that matter. Maria Paula Martinez we appreciate it, thank you so much for painting the picture of what these kids are going through. We appreciate it.

MARTINEZ: You're welcome.

VAUSE: OK well when we come back we'll have more of that surprise visit to Beijing by Kim Jong-Un. A trip which seems to have taken the Trump administration by surprise. Unaware it was happening and only briefed by China once it was over and with that queue the spin.



VAUSE: Well back now to the ongoing diplomacy with North Korea and US President Donald Trump is weighing in on Kim Jong-un's surprise meeting in Beijing with Chinas President Xi Jinping. Tweeting this "Received message last night from Xi Jinping of China that is meeting with Kim Jong-un went very well. And that Kim looks forward to his meeting with me."

OK, David Siders is a senior reporter with "Politico" and Austin Dove is a criminal defense attorney and former prosecutor. And Austin we'll get to you because it's a lot of legal issues swirling around in the past 24 hours. But David let's start with you, because it seems the US is caught off guard by this meeting between the North Korean and the Chinese leaders.

Beijing informed the White House after it had happened. And "The Washington Post" adds this. Amid debates about the Chinese move was good or bad for the US, of the USA rather. Administration officials ultimately decided to declare it a positive result of its maximum pressure campaign against North Korea. And then first thing Wednesday morning the Under Secretary of State, on "Fox" with our old friends at "Fox & Friends", listen to this.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: This is further indication that the Presidents maximum pressure campaign is working. Through a lot of countries around the world, coming together and recognizing the destabilizing threat that North Korea poses. Not just on the region but on the entire world. So we think that with out this maximum pressure campaign this kind of thing wouldn't be happening.


VAUSE: And then a few hours after that came the White House briefing. And the same line from Sarah Sanders.


SARAH SANDERS, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: We're going to be cautiously optimistic. But we feel like things are moving in the right direction. And that the meeting yesterday was a good indication that the maximum pressure campaign has been working.


VAUSE: OK, so here's the question. Yes it could be part of this maximum pressure campaign. But it's also and probably more likely Kim outflanking Donald Trump. Going to Beijing, proving he has other options out there that the US isn't the only game in town. That proves that North Korea is not isolated as the United States had hoped. And add into the mix that "The New York Times" is reporting that the North Koreans are building another nuclear reactor.

DAVID SIDERS, POLITICO SENIOR REPORTER: Kim can't put all of his eggs in this basket with the United States. So he can't come to that meeting and be bare back home. And so really this repairing of the relationship with China I think does improve his flank as you point out.

VAUSE: But it - you know in short it may be because of the sanctitude, clearly because everything is being tough (ph). But for the administration to go out there and say that that is the most likely reason why, I get it. That's the politics of it all. But it's not - It just seems incredibly misleading.

SIDERS: It's so interesting to settle on that because the information that even the White House has out of that meeting with China is so vague. And the read outs that we saw out of the Chinese read out as opposed to the North Korean read out, totally different. Are we talking nuclear weapons or not? And I think - I'm not sure - I think your right. That the politics in the messaging comes a head of the information.

VAUSE: OK. OK we also have a situation the man who is set to become the National Security Advisor number three, John Bolton. He wrote back in 2007, it was his personal mission at the time to basically - what was it? To shatter the nuclear agreement which was in place with the North Koreans. This is what he wrote.

"The idea that a road stake could be persuaded to give up nuclear weapons was an illusion. The DPRK will gladly engage with us. Accept our cessions and then violate its own commitments. Ironically North Korea's policies have often been more sensible then our own with the hope of the high minded seems always to triumph over contrary experience."

OK so you go to the White House now where the hawks are circling. I'm just going to - It sounds counter intuitive, but is this a situation where those most employed to diplomacy are the ones who could most likely make it work.

SIDERS: I think this is going to be a massive fight with in the White House. And you've heard the more peace - peace minded folks in the White House say, recognizing John Boltons previous comments and say I can work with him. He's an American. He's not representing John Bolton he's representing the Presidents strategy.

Which it's self has changed dramatically over months. Look at what he used to be calling Kim. And now we're looking forward to a meeting. So It think your going to see, we're not just looking at what's happing with the meeting with North Korea but this internal struggle in the White House.

VAUSE: OK, Austin the other big story of the day "The New York Times" is reporting that lawyers for the First National Security Advisor Michael Flynn and Paul Manafort. He who headed up the Trump Champaign had talked to John Dowd, who was until recently Donald Trumps lead attorney on the Russia investigation. Apparently got the prospective Presidential Pardons, here's part of the reporting.


The discussions came as the Special Council was billing cases against both men. And they raised questions about whether the lawyer John Dowd who resigned last week was offering pardons to influence their decisions about whether to plead guilty and to cooperate in the investigation. Austin there's been a lot of speculation that one of the reasons why Manafort has not done a deal with Bob Mueller is because he has been promised, or is holding out hope for a pardon.

AUSTIN DOVE, CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEY AND FORMER PROSECUTOR: I think that's absolutely correct. I mean in the layers of complication here are significant. On the one had you've got - even so when an attorney is advising his client, you know this is Dowd advising his clients about what to do. And one sentence one phrase at a time he's advising Donald Trump.

And then - but that spills over to the representation of the other men. So there's and issue, there's sort a lingering question of obstruction of justice. But then you sort overlap that with to what extent a lawyer's job is to sort of advise his client on his or her client how to stay out of trouble. So to the extent that well is it obstruction of justice on the one hand, or is it just sound legal advise, it kind of skirts against both of those areas. VAUSE: What tells you that it's not obstruction of justice?

DOVE: Well I think the argument is that within the scope, an attorneys going to have to - their making a projection. And their saying you're not just looking at what's the pure legal context here. Their saying well what's going to happen to my client eventually? What's the best strategy for them overall? There are sort of non legal factors, extrinsic factors that weigh into this. And I think if you're calculating the benefit to your client of saying hey look I'm going to advice you on doing something.

Knowing the position that you hold and the relationship that you have with the President might impact the way my legal advice will play out. I'll take a - we can take a bigger risk in the scenario. Is it sort an obstruction of justice in the purest sense? Yes but when you know how the cards are going to play out and you certainly have a stacked deck here. It allows you to sort of push the envelope on the legal advice.

VAUSE: OK, we're almost out of time. But another Senior Trump appointee has been canned. This is the Veteran of Affairs Secretary David Shulkin. And guess what? This is a guy who the President says will be the next Secretary of the VA, try and guess who he's talking about here.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He has a lot - a lot of energy, a lot of energy and a lot of stamina. Well look at his vision. I mean he's 71 years old and his bilateral uncorrected vision is 20/30. I mean he can drive if he wants to without glasses. I mean he washes his hands frequently. He uses Purel. And as many hands as he shakes in a day he'd be a fool not to. It's called genetics.

I don't know, some people have just great genes that that Presidents health is excellent. But its overall health is excellent. He has incredible genes I just assume, I think he will remain fit for duty for the remainder of this term and even for and even for the remainder for another term if he's elected.


VAUSE: So David how do and the good doctor manage to get a job over which he has no experience of actually doing, and he's another outsider. And running the VA has been a problem regardless of whether you're a Republican or a Democrat and it's not an easy job. And this guy is now going to be in charge?

SIDERS: I think the jury's out. And there's been some mixed reaction in Washington. Clearly the President was happy with his performance at that press conference. But it has been said even by some critics of the President that it doesn't matter how many bureaucracies you've managed the VA is an animal unlike anything else. And so there is I think some desire to give this person a shot, largely around where he falls on privation. This could be a real referendum in his conformation here.

VAUSE: Right, yes he's an outsider I guess. And Donald Trump likes and outsider. Like many of his other appointees that have worked out.

SIDERS: Excellent genes.


VAUSE: Or not so well over the last 14 minutes. Also low so on time, but thank you Austin and David, appreciate it.

SESAY: Well alright we're going to pause here for a quick break. And Donald Trump has emboldened anti abortion movement in the US. But could it actually lead to the reversal of Roe VS Wade? We'll discuss.




VAUSE,(voice-over): Welcome back, everybody, you're watching CNN NEWSROOM live from Los Angeles. I'm John Vause.

SESAY(voice-over): And I'm Isha Sesay. The headlines this hour:


SESAY: The debate over abortion has never ended here in the United States, despite the Supreme Court ruling which made it legal back in 1973. Americans opposed to abortion have a powerful supporter in President Trump.

In a January speech he promised a continued anti-abortion push for the rest of his time in office. Well, as of March 1st of this year, at least 38 states and Washington, D.C., have introduced bills to restrict abortion in some form or fashion. But none of those have been enacted.

Mississippi did pass the most restrictive law in the country, banning abortions after 15 weeks but the state's only abortion clinic sued and a federal judge temporarily blocked the law from taking effect until April 13th.

Joining us now for more on this are AnneElise Goetz, an attorney in San Diego, and in San Francisco, Rebecca Ruiz. She's the gender inequality reporter for Mashable.

Ladies, welcome, thank you for joining me.

AnneElise, to you first. Picking up with that halted law in Mississippi, this piece of legislation prohibits abortions before a fetus is viable.

Doesn't that automatically put it at odds with federal law?

ANNEELISE GOETZ, ATTORNEY: It puts it at odds with Roe v. Wade and that is what we're ultimately going to see if it can work its way up the court system to have it -- to challenge Roe v. Wade and its precedent. I don't think it will.

In fact, we saw the federal court put a restraining order on the legislation as soon as it was signed. So I don't think this is the piece of legislation that may go all the way up the court system. But, yes, it was immediately -- there was a ban immediately put on it because it is opposed to federal law right now.

SESAY: Rebecca, to you. Let me read this quote from "The New York Times" editorial board. It says this rash of radically unconstitutional bills is appearing by design. The antiabortion movement has been trying to pass pre-viability abortion bans like the Ohio bill. They passed something similar hoping that efforts to overturn them would lead to a challenge of Roe v. Wade that would end the 45-year-old decision's reversal. It would end with the 45-year- old's reversal in the Supreme Court.

Talk to me about the political angle here and how the election of Donald Trump and Mike Pence has energized the antiabortion movement.

REBECCA RUIZ, MASHABLE: I think they're extremely energized. I think they see something in sight that hasn't been in sight for them for many years and that is constitutional overturn of Roe v. Wade essentially, bringing that case to the Supreme Court --


RUIZ: -- whichever case it might be, they're testing a bunch of different cases under the states and trying to overturn that Supreme Court decision. That would be huge for folks who oppose abortion.

SESAY: AnneElise, to you again --


GOETZ: I wouldn't --

SESAY: -- go ahead.

GOETZ: I just wanted to point out that it is very, very difficult to overturn precedent that's been in play for 40 years. We have had many presidencies over the past 40 years and many of our presidents have been prolife and campaigned on that. And they haven't been able to do this.

We saw in Planned Parenthood versus Casey some chipping away at Roe v. Wade but most recently as 2016 in women's health it was buttressed again and we had the support of the justices for Roe v. Wade.

And every time we've seen a case go to the Supreme Court, we've never heard that rhetoric of actually overturning it. And even though there might be some groundswell and we see all this legislation, it takes a lot for those justices to overturn their decision.

They have reviewed it multiple times. I know that prolife movement feels that there might be some energy in order to make it happen, especially if Trump can have some more appointments. But it is very, very difficult to do.

SESAY: Rebecca, do you want to weigh in?

Does this moment feel different?

RUIZ: Absolutely AnneElise is right. I think what the folks who oppose abortion see is that there's a possibility of getting another Supreme Court pick under the Trump administration, whether that's Donald Trump or Mike Pence. And I think there's a lot of hope in that for them.

Whether or not the justices would actually overturn Roe v. Wade, obviously we'd have to see that play out in real time. But I think the excitement is around the possibility of being closer to that possibility than they were during the Obama administration.

SESAY: Rebecca, you've written fairly substantially about this issue.

What do the actions taken by this administration when it comes to reproductive health access to these services, what does it say to you about their vision for women?

RUIZ: It says to me that they want to limit things that have been available to women previously, particularly things that came to pass during the Obama administration, access to birth control, access to federal family planning money for low income women, that being on different terms than it used to be, maybe enforcing abstinence, only education or abstinence-only family planning methods, limiting abortion.

I have a hard time believing that the Trump administration and those who are working on its behalf want women to have full access to the different options that they may have had previously, accusation to not just abortion but that includes different types of birth control.

SESAY: AnneElise, do you agree?

Is that the picture you're coming away with as you look at all these pushes which are energized by the administration?

GOETZ: Yes, I would agree with that. I think there is the political game at play and then there's the legal game at play. And obviously I'm not the one that's going to speak to the political game.

But what they're doing so far has been, you know, within the constraints that they've been able to work with the Congress, it'll be interesting to me, if we keep it on the abortion issue, is that whether we'll see Congress take any acts.

They have talked about in the past, a 20-week ban. And if that were to happen and President Trump were to sign that, I think we would very quickly see something move up into the Supreme Court.

And that would be you know, it would depend on what the makeup of the court was at the time. But that's probably the most likely scenario of actually seeing a true challenge to Roe v. Wade. I know they're doing a lot of things at the state level but I just don't think that they're really going to have the impact that people believe they may.


SESAY: People have said over and over again or have raised the point, why are lawmakers so bent on trying to legislate a part of life that you cannot fully legislate?

AnneElise, Rebecca?

Rebecca, you go first.

RUIZ: I can't speak to every individual, you know, politician who wants to legislate abortion out of existence. What I do think is there is a large group of people in this country who believe that the path to parenthood should look uniform, the way that perhaps they see it for themselves. Perhaps it involves abstinence until marriage and then once you're married, whatever sex you have is to procreate and whatever children you have, and maybe use family planning but you don't maybe use hormonal birth control.


RUIZ: I think there are people out there who think that's what the path to parenthood should look like. And whether or not they think of it in terms of reducing women just being vessels for human life or whether or not they think about it more complexly, what it comes down to, if you deny women the access to safe, legal abortion, you deny them their autonomy. And so I think that's what we're looking at.

SESAY: AnneElise, what do you make of this push to legislate something that you can never fully legislate?

GOETZ: I mean, as a woman, I find it very frustrating. I find it frustrating when I see acts like the legislation we see Mississippi. It find it frustrating when you see them try to roll back access to birth control.

I would think that most women, when we know this is a right we have, especially when it relates to choice, whatever choice that may be, it is very frustrating, especially when, for the most part, you're looking at a bunch of lawmakers that are men telling you these things. It can be very, very difficult to swallow that pill.

SESAY: AnneElise Goetz and Rebecca Ruiz, thank you for the spirited conversation. Very much appreciate it.

VAUSE: OK. When we come back, sometimes you can go home again. Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai is visiting Pakistan six years after she was shot by Taliban militants.

SESAY: Plus a wish comes true for a young cancer survivor who got to meet his hero. That's all just ahead.



SESAY: Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai has returned to Pakistan for the first time since Taliban militants shot her.

VAUSE: She's now 20 years old, a human rights activist and student at Oxford University in England. She's expected to meet with the prime minister at some point but details of her schedule are not being released.

SESAY: You may remember that a gunman shot Malala in the head in 2012 because she was campaigning for girls' education. She was then flown to a hospital in Britain for treatment. She recently told an interviewer she missed the rivers and the mountains of her home, Pakistan's Swat Valley.

VAUSE: She's incredible.

SESAY: She really is.


A 12-year-old American boy is giving thanks after his wish to get a kiss from Pope Francis finally came true. Peter Lombardi and his family had planned to see the pope in Philadelphia in 2015 but Peter (ph) was diagnosed with cancer.

When the pope arrived, he was in hospital starting chemotherapy.

SESAY: Three years later, Peter's (ph) cancer is in remission. The family traveled to Rome on Palm Sunday, where Peter not only got a kiss from the pope, he got to sit on the Popemobile.


VAUSE: That's a cool pope.


SESAY: Thank you for watching CNN NEWSROOM live from Los Angeles. I'm Isha Sesay.

VAUSE: And I'm John Vause. Please stay with us, "WORLD SPORT" is up next. You're watching CNN.