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Meeting Between North Korea and The United States; Koreas Tensions; Story Daniels Says New Details of Her Affair; Southwest Jet Mid-Air Nightmare; Passing of Barbara Bush; Syria U.N. Envoy Says U.N. Security Team Visited Douma on Tuesday; Scientists Tackle Plastic Pollution; Legend Tendulkar Plays Street Cricket With Fans; Boston Marathon Coming From Nowhere To Finish 2nd. Aired 2-3a ET

Aired April 18, 2018 - 02:00   ET


[02:00:24] JOHN VAUSE, CNN, ANCHOR: This is CNN Newsroom live from Los Angeles. Ahead this hour, those stunning new reports from North Korea, a secret meeting between the head of the CIA and North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un. Plus, horror in the sky, an airplane seat turns deadly, as a woman is nearly sucked out of the window after an engine blast.

And she was the wife of an American President, the mother to another President. We look back at the life of former First Lady Barbara Bush. Hello and welcome to our viewers all around the world, great to have you with us. I'm John Vause. And we're now into the third hour of Newsroom L.A. Well, there are plans for a face to face meeting between Donald Trump and Kim Jong-Un, and those plans seem to be moving faster than many have anticipated.

Sources have confirmed to CNN that CIA Director Mike Pompeo travelled to North Korea over the Easter weekend and actually met with the North Korean leader. On Tuesday, while hosting Japan's Prime Minister in Florida, Mr. Trump said the U.S. and North Korea have been talking at very high levels, and officials are now considering five locations for this upcoming summit.

Mike Pompeo talked about the Trump-Kim meeting last week during his Senate confirmation hearing to be the next Secretary of State.


MIKE POMPEO, U.S. SECRETARY OF STATE: I am optimistic that the United States government can set the conditions for that appropriately so that the President's and the North Korean leader can have that conversation and we'll set us down the course of achieving a diplomatic outcome that America so desperately -- America and the world so desperately need.


VAUSE: CNN's Will Ripley live this hour for us in Hong Kong, also standing by, Paula Hancocks in Seoul. Will, first to you. I guess we now know why Mike Pompeo was so optimistic about the possibility of success at these upcoming talks. He just came back from North Korea. What do we exactly do we think that Pompeo learned while he was there, and what are the details of the backgrounds of this trip, which no one obviously knew about it until last couple of hours.

WILL RIPLEY, CNN, CORRESPONDENT: It is remarkable that this week, the administration managed to keep it a secret for so long, and a source familiar with discussions tells me that it was a pleasant meeting. And not only was Kim Jong-Un and personable, but he was also very well prepared with a whole sheet of notes in front of him, several pages in fact.

He was well-versed on the subject matter, of course, the main sticking point at that meeting then and now continues to be finding an appropriate venue for where President Trump and Kim Jong-Un could meet. You heard President Trump talk about five possible locations. What Mike Pompeo was able to come away with obviously, is a sense for the first time from a member of the Trump Administration of what Kim Jong-Un is actually like.

What is his personality? What is he thinking? And he can take that information back to President Trump who now has just a matter of weeks, possibly to prepare for this historic and potentially monumental summit, the first meeting between the U.S. President and the North Korean leader.

VAUSE: And we should also note that this meeting with Pompeo and Kim Jong-Un, this is one the highest level meetings between Pyongyang and Washington since Madeleine Albright went there as Secretary of State. But Paula, we also have the -- there was a bunch of summits. Everyone (Inaudible) Pyongyang, it seems since Kim Jong-Un.

The Blue House is preparing for their own great negotiations with the North Koreans. And now they're talking about achieving a peace system with the North. What does that actually look like? What does that mean?

PAULA HANCOCKS, CNN, CORRESPONDENT: Well, John, what we've been hearing from the Blue House, from South Korean officials all along all along is that that's going to be on the agenda. They're going to talk about how to sustain peace on the peninsula. I think what we're hearing today is in reaction to the U.S. President Donald Trump saying that he gave his blessing for the North and South Koreans to be talking about how to end the war.

Now, there is technically a war still ongoing in this country because there was an armistice, another peace treaty signed in 1953. So effectively, what we're hearing from Blue House officials today is that they will be discussing how to put some kind of peace system in place, how to make sure that specifically, they were going to be no hostilities from the North Koreans towards the South Koreans.

Of course, it is not as simple as that. This treaty or the armistice was not signed between North and South Korea. It had a myriad of players within it, not least, the United Nations commands. It's not as simple as North and South Korea agreeing that they're going to decide a peace treaty. So it's one of the things on the agenda that the South Koreans are saying is important, that the relationship has to be improved, the denuclearization they say is still the most important issue, although of course, as we know that would look very differently depending on whether you come from the North or South Korean perspective.

[02:05:09] So it's still unknown whether or not they're talking about the same word when they say the word denuclearization.

VAUSE: I can't even say that word most of the time. But let's listen to Donald Trump talking about his blessing for that peace deal between North and South.


DONALD TRUMP, UNITED STATES, PRESIDENT: They do have my blessing to discuss the end of the war. People don't realize, the Korean War has not ended. It's going on right now, and they are discussing an end to the war. So subject to a deal, they would certainly have my blessing and they do have my blessing to discuss that.


VAUSE: Will, why is this so important to the North Koreans? Why do they want this formal end to the Korean War? What do they get out of it?

RIPLEY: Well, the North Koreans every day of their lives are reminded that the Korean War is ongoing. If you go around Pyongyang, you are surrounded by propaganda reminding citizens of the looming threat from the United States. And some may argue that that is what has helped keep the North Korean government in power.

It helped to reinforce its legitimacy, because they are claiming that they protect their citizens from the United States, which they say could attack at any moment. However, North Korea does want a peace treaty, as does this progressive South Korean government. And of course, their eventual goal, they always say, is reunification of the Korean Peninsula.

Although, it's hard to imagine exactly how that would work, given that you have a booming democracy to the South and you have a socialist country with a struggling economy, which they are managing some economic growth, but certainly vastly different systems, vastly different ideologies.

Nonetheless, they do share the same goal. And they say that's what they're going to be discussing, this peace agenda. They have to be careful, though, not to let the peace agenda overshadow the denuclearization agenda, which is key to the United States and its allies. That is going to be priority number one when Donald Trump and Kim Jong-Un sit down.

VAUSE: OK. Will and Paula, thanks to you both, Will Ripley there in Hong Kong. Paula Hancocks live for us there in Seoul, thank you. Ron Brownstein is CNN's Senior Political Analyst and Senior Editor at the Atlantic. He is with us here in Los Angeles. Thanks for coming in, Ron. OK, we should to preface this by saying the situation in the Korean Peninsula. It could turn on the dial at any moment.

Having said that, though, right now there has been no nuclear tests, there have been no missile launches. Nothing coming out of the North Koreans, no hostile language, nothing out of state media, it seems that maybe this is one foreign policy success that Donald Trump might be (Inaudible).


RON BROWNSTEIN, CNN, SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: Yeah, and on most days, in most ways, the term presidency has really revealed the risks involved in a President who is willing to go outside the box on everything, and North Korea is kind of the exception here so far, where you know his willingness to go further, both on the threatening side and further on the diplomatic side than other Presidents have gone.

It does seem to be producing some movement. But as Will said, I mean all of these roads really point toward the same big rock in the road, which is that it is highly unlikely that we are going to see significant concessions on the nuclear side from North Korea without some major concession on the withdrawal of U.S. troops, which would -- from the South Korea which would have an enormously, I think, unnerving effect on American allies through the region.

VAUSE: So essentially, what we're saying here is that the style and the process of the Trump Administration is like nothing we've ever seen before.


VAUSE: Like everything.


VAUSE: That doesn't actually mean anything when it comes to the issues with past administrations have been unable to resolve.

BROWNSTEIN: Right. Look, I think you know in the past, North Korea has said they would consider denuclearization. But what do they always tie that to? You know demilitarization, the removal of American troops. Now, if in fact there is something different on the table, that would be a major shift in the calculus, but it is not at all clear.

As Will was saying, there is -- and by the way, there is not a factor in all of this, which is between now and this summit, if it happens in June, is the President going to pull out of and decertify Iranian compliance with the Iranian nuclear deal, and if you're -- you know and sitting there in North Korea and you're looking at that, isn't that -- how is that going to affect calculus or whether...


VAUSE: OK. There is also this issue of Russia. Once again, the President has undercut... (CROSSTALK)

VAUSE: -- cabinet, this time it's the U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley, who on Sunday was on television, actually made this announcement.


NIKKI HALEY, UNITES STATES, AMBASSADOR TO THE U.N.: You will see that Russia and sanctions will be coming down. Secretary Mnuchin will be announcing those on Monday if he hasn't already.


VAUSE: The President was apparently yelling at the television.


VAUSE: (Inaudible) New York Times, the sanctions were never announced. They were put on hold, essentially. On Tuesday, the White House Economic Advisor Larry Kudlow basically took Haley to task, saying she was just confused.


LARRY KUDLOW, WHITE HOUSE, ECONOMIC ADVISOR: She got ahead of the curve. She's done a great job. She's a very effective Ambassador. There might have been some momentary confusion about that.


[02:10:02] VAUSE: OK. (Inaudible)


VAUSE: Nikki Haley talked to CNN's Jake Tapper. With all due respect, I don't get confused. Kudlow has apologized. But how much damage has now been done to Nikki Haley's credibility?

KUDLOW: First of all, in American baseball, there is a phrase called chin music. It's where you throw a fastball right under somebody's chin. That was chin music for Larry Kudlow, and really quite a striking moment. Look, it's just a reminder. As we said, North Korea was a case where kind of unpredictability and erratic breaking of rules has produced some benefit.

This is more the reminder of what it usually is. You have an administration in which there is no process, in which -- and when there is, the President seems to be existing independently of it. And this question of who is speaking for the President at any given moment is always been extremely marketed.

There has been no one who has been more effective and has kind of garnered more respect across the aisle than the Nikki Haley. But even she and her privileged position and the administration are really unable to impose order. So on the one end, you have the issue (Inaudible) about Russia with Donald Trump and how far he will go. But I think this is again, indicative of a larger issue, of the kind

of level of chaos that is -- they are on a daily basis and which is enormously confusing for everyone, from people in congress, to people in you know -- diplomats and capitals around the world.

VAUSE: All around the world. And while the President continues to deal with Russia and North Korea, as well as Syria, there is the ongoing Stormy Daniels lawsuit. And now the adult film star who says she had an affair with Donald Trump is offering some new details on her story. So Ron, you'll stay with us. But right now, we'll get details from Sara Sidner, Sara.

SARA SIDNER, CNN, CORRESPONDENT: John, we're finally getting more details now from stormy Daniels herself about the person who she says threatened her in Las Vegas back in 2011. This is the first time we have seen the sketch now of the man she says was behind the threat.

After more than a week of teasing it, porn actress Stormy Daniel revealing this sketch of the man she says threatened her back in 2011 to keep her from talking about her alleged affair with Donald Trump.


STORMY DANIELS, ADULT FILM ACTRESS: The thing that I remember so clearly about him is that nothing was alarming about the way he looked at first.

SIDNER: Daniels appeared on ABC's the View, revealing more details about the incident she said happened in a Las Vegas parking lot while she was headed to a mommy and me workout class with her infant daughter.

DANIELS: He had his hands in his pocket and he looked at my daughter and I just remember him saying like, oh, it's a beautiful little girl. It would be a shame if something happened to her mom. Forget about the story. Leave Mr. Trump alone.

SIDNER: Her attorney, Michael Avenatti, says he has gotten hundreds of tips since releasing the sketch, and he tells CNN's Jake Tapper Daniels has looked at photos from people who, may be, the mysterious stranger.

JAKE TAPPER, CNN, HOST: You said you have some names in mind of whom that sketch might be of. Has Ms. Daniels looked at photographs of these individuals who it might be.

MICHAEL AVENATTI, STORMY DANIELS' LAWYER: She has reviewed, Jake, a number of photographs over the last few weeks, couple weeks actually. And we've narrowed it down.

TAPPER: The photographs that you have that she's looked at, are they individuals who worked for Mr. Trump or Mr. Cohen at some point in the past.

AVENATTI: We believe indirectly. SIDNER: But she didn't go to the police, saying she feared her

husband would find out about the alleged one night stand with Trump in 2006.

DANIELS: First of all, I was scared. I would have had a towel. An entire police department and police reports are public record. I know that for a fact. I had sex with Donald Trump. And then the whole world would have known and I was in the process of trying to quiet that or figure out what to do, and honestly I was just afraid, and I didn't want everyone to know.

SIDNER: But she did tell her story that same year for a deal worth $15,000 to In Touch Magazine, which didn't publish the story until this past January, reportedly because Trump's lawyer threatened to sue. Daniels is talking openly about the alleged threat, insisted she can recall vividly what the man looked like enough to commission this sketch, drawing from her memory seven years prior.

DANIELS: I knew I would have been asked the question that you asked. You just asked me like why didn't you say anything. And I did tell quite a few people actually from back then and...

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Who did you tell?

DANIELS: I told a family member and two friends and people that I worked with.

AVENATTI: I think it's obvious. She just didn't sit down with the sketch artist and fabricate this. I mean this is a very detailed sketch.

SIDNER: And as for President Trump's recent denial...


SIDNER: The porn actress and director is now reacting, Stormy Daniels isn't buying it.

DANIELS: Let me just say, I work in the adult business and I'm a better actress than he is.


SIDNER: Not only has Michael Cohen said in the past that he did not threaten her in any way. He says he's never emailed her, talked to her, texted her, but the only contact he had was with her then attorney, Keith Davidson. Now as for Stormy Daniels and as to whether she believes the President knew anything about the deal, she says she doesn't believe a word he has said about it, John.

[02:15:15] VAUSE: Sara Sidner, thank you. We had this reported from the Daily Beast last couple of hours. Stormy Daniels will now appear in next month's edition of Penthouse, which apparently saw around...

(CROSSTALK) VAUSE: She'll be donating $130,000 to Planned Parenthood, the money from her appearance. This is a Daily Beast reporting. Sources close to Penthouse have informed the Daily Beast that Daniels talks about everything concerning her alleged 2011 affair with President Donald Trump. During the interview, including several not safe for work bit of her 60 Minutes chat.

BROWNSTEIN: You know there are Democrats who worry that the party is drifting back into the same position that Hillary Clinton was in the 2016 campaign as all this unfolds, which was -- as you recall, Clinton put almost all of her dollars and effort on disqualifying Trump on moral grounds. And he was morally unfit to be President, right, and did not really make an economic case against him.

You know there's no question that all of these accusations and just the way he has comported himself have been a huge head wound. It's the principal reason he's at about 40 percent in approval. But the Democrats may have maxed out on the number of people who are going to abandon Trump, and thus abandon Republicans, because they view him as morally unfit.

And the more Stormy Daniels is the story, for example, on today's tax day, we're not talking about the tax bill, and whether it fulfilled Donald Trump's promise...


BROWNSTEIN: What Trump promised during the campaign was that he was going to defend the economic interests of working people, and there were voters who were willing to accept or swallow their doubts about his moral character, because they believe that. No question is given (Inaudible) lot to shoot at on the moral character. But Democrats, as I say, may have maxed out on how people leave him for that.

And if they're going to get him further down and create more vulnerability to the Republicans, they have to challenge that self- image of him as someone who is defending the interest of order. It is its worst period, other than Charlottesville was when he was trying to repeal the Affordable Care Act. And if the entire dialogue between now and November is about whether Trump is morally fit to be President, that will cause problems in places like suburban (Inaudible) Orange County district to talk about with our friends here all the time.

But to really go beyond that, ultimately they have to find a way to introduce a dialogue about whether he is effective...


VAUSE: It's very hard to though, with Avenatti, her lawyer...


VAUSE: -- master showman...

(CROSSTALK) BROWNSTEIN: And there is another tabloid -- there is going to be another tabloid scandal between now and November that we don't know about.

VAUSE: Almost out of time. So I want to finish on (Inaudible).


VAUSE: Former First Lady Barbara Bush. She died age 92. There is a statement from her son, President George W. Bush. My dear mother has passed on at age 92. Laura, Barbara, Jenna, and I are sad, but our souls are settled because we know hers was. Barbara Bush was a fabulous First Lady and a woman unlike any other who brought levity, love, and literacy to millions. To us, she was so much more.

Mom kept us on our toes and kept us laughing until the end. I am a lucky man that Barbara Bush was my mother. Our family will miss her dearly, and we thank you all for your prayers and good wishes. The ones (Inaudible) Barbara Bush said yes, she was so different than Nancy Reagan...


VAUSE: She was the grandmother as (Inaudible) Nancy Reagan (Inaudible).


BROWNSTEIN: The one word that I think explains Barbara Bush is hold and our place in the American consciousness was authentic, especially in the contrast in Nancy Reagan. As you say, rightly or wrongly, was viewed as very controlled, even a little plastic, the gaze that she had on Ronald Reagan. Barbara Bush was seen as someone who spoke her mind, who was not necessarily always warm and cuddly.

She was kind of tart and astringent but drew enormous respect because she seemed enormously comfortable in her own skin. She was authentic. She was seen as someone who was always really being herself. And you saw that, and I think people responded very well to that throughout her life. You know in 2015, when she was talking about Donald Trump, you know?

I mean she did not mince words or suffer fools gladly.

VAUSE: Donald Trump found out just how loyal she is to her family over the Republican Party, that moment where he went after Jeb Bush. Ron, it is good to see you. Thank you.


VAUSE: A little bit more now on First Lady Barbara Bush. She died in her home in Houston, Texas. As we said, she was 92. She was the matriarch of a Republican dynasty. Here is Wolf Blitzer.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: America loves Barbara Bush.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Barbara Bush was the woman behind two U.S. Presidents, the wife of one, the mother of another. Barbara Pierce was born in Queens, New York on June 8, 1925. She grew up in suburban New York. At a Connecticut country club dance, she met a young man who would change her life, George Herbert Walker Bush.

BARBARA BUSH, FORMER FIRST LADY: (Inaudible) square all through high school. I just try to do the best I could. I married the first man I ever kissed. You talk about a bore, I am the world's worst.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: George Bush focused on building an oil business. Barbara Bush focused on building a family.

[02:20:10] George Bush eventually entered a life of public service, and while Barbara's candor might not have made a good match for his job as CIA Director.

BUSH: That's because I can't keep a secret.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Her charm was a definite asset to her husband's political career.

BUSH: Find the joy in life, because as Ferris Bueller said on his day off, life loves pretty fast. And if you don't stop and look around once in a while, you're going to miss it.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: George Bush served two terms in Congress and in 1980 was elected as Ronald Reagan's Vice President. Eight years later, he sat in the Oval Office. Barbara Bush loved living in the White House, keeping diaries of her time there and using up to help write her memoirs. Two other books showed her lighter side, and a dog's eye view of the executive mansion.

Mrs. Bush knew well her vision of a First Lady's role.

BUSH: I think the person who has the courage to run for the office is the one you should hear, not the wife or the husband. Having said that, of course, I told George how I felt.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: For George and Barbara, they are more than 60 years together and included decades of devotion, this letter to her written by George while he was serving in World War II.

GEORGE H.W. BUSH, UNITED STATES, FORMER PRESIDENT: I love you, precious, with all my heart, and to know that you love me mean my life. How often I have thought about the immeasurable joy that will be ours someday, how lucky are our children will be to have a mother like you?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Two of those children, George W. and Jeb would solidify the Bush political dynasty as President and Florida Governor. But in a surprising comment in 2013, as talk of a Presidential run by Jeb's world, the matriarch told NBC's Today Show, there should be a limit on the family's White House claim.

BUSH: There are other people out there that are very qualified and we've had enough Bushes.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: But after Jeb did decide to run for the 2016 Republican nomination, she fully backed him and hit the campaign trail.

BUSH: He's decent. He's honest. He is everything we need in a President.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: In and out of politics, the legacy Barbara Bush nurtured will live on through her family, children, and grandchildren.

BUSH: I know that I am the world's luckiest woman. I think if I sort of put it in a nutshell, these are the things that are important to me, faith, family, and friends.



[02:24:58] VAUSE: Well, officials are investigating the first passenger fatality on a U.S. airline in nearly a decade. There was chaos in the cabin of a Southwest Jet after an engine fell shortly after takeoff from New York. Shrapnel shattered the plane's window and a woman sitting near that window was nearly sucked out of the cabin. She later died, bringing more details now from Paula Sandoval.


PAULA SANDOVAL, CNN, CORRESPONDENT: The terrifying moments were captured by passengers who thought they'd never see their loved ones again. Not long after takeoff from New York's La Guardia Airport, passengers aboard Southwest flight 1380 describes fury and explosion.


SANDOVAL: This horrifying sight was captured by one passenger at a left window. Fragments of the engine blew off, damaging the fuselage, breaking a window, and causing a sudden depressurization of the cabin. The pilots described the harrowing situation for air traffic controllers.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Is your airplane physically on fire?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: No, it's not on fire, but part of it's missing. They said there's a hole, and someone went out.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'm sorry, you said there's a hole and somebody went out.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Flight 1380, it doesn't matter. We'll work it out there.

SANDOVAL: As one witness recalls, passengers held on to one woman, keeping her from being sucked out of the plane. At least 12 terrifying minutes went by after the explosion and before the plane's emergency landing in Philadelphia, altitude readings from flight radar 24 shows a Boeing 737 descended rapidly from nearly 32,000 feet to 10,000 in only minutes.

Passenger Morty Martinez described the experience, posting on Facebook. I literally bought Wi-Fi as the plane was going down because I wanted to be able to reach the people I loved, thinking these were my final moments on Earth and put in a position to have to prioritize the people I love to send them my final words was an absolutely gut-wrenching feeling.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There are protection rings around the engine to keep shrapnel from coming out. Even though we believe that there were parts coming out of this engine, it may not have been in that section of the engine that technically would qualify this is an uncontained engine failure.

SANDOVAL: The plane's voice and data recorders are being sent to NTSB for analysis. It may provide crucial clues in determining what caused the mid air nightmare.


VAUSE: Thanks to Paula Sandoval for that report. When I come back, for days, Russia insisted it could find no trace of any chemical attack in Duma, Syria. But now, as the U.N. (Inaudible) is about to enter that town, the Russians suddenly have a different message.


[02:30:14] VAUSE: Welcome back everybody. You're watching CNN NEWSROOM live from Los Angeles. I'm John Vause. It's time to check the headlines. Sources confirm to CNN that CIA Director Mike Pompeo meet with Kim Jong-un during a trip to North Korea over the Easter Weekend. U.S. President Donald Trump says the U.S. and North Korea have been talking at the highest levels as event on the planned summit. He's meeting with the Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe in Florida the next two days.

Former U.S. First Lady Barbara Bush is being remembered for her devotion to the country and family. Mrs. Bush died Tuesday at her home in Houston, Texas. She was 92 and one of just two women in history to be both the wife and mother of an American president. She also helped raised more than a billion dollars of literacy and cancer charities. A woman was killed after she was being sucked out of a Southwest jet for a shattered window. Passengers say there were two explosions after one of the engines valve shortly after takeoff from New York. This is the first passenger fatality on a U.S. airline in nearly a decade.

Well, Syria's Ambassador to the U.N. says international chemical weapons inspectors are expected to arrive in Douma on Wednesday that is if a U.N. security team believe it's safe. The town is the site of a deadly suspected chemical weapons attacked earlier this month. They're expected to be looking for evidence that chemical substances has been used in the April 7th attack which the United States, France, and Britain blame on the Syrian regime. Russia had claimed it had found no trace of chemical attacks so far. They now say it has found a chemical lab in the emergency that belongs to the militants. The United States says it's critical inspectors reach Douma as soon as possible.


HEATHER NAUERT, SPOKESPERSON, UNITED STATES DEPARTMENT OF STATE: The longer that it takes to get OPCW inspectors in to take a look at soil samples then other information that they can get from the ground, that delay further degrades any evidence that's on the ground. So that is our chief concern. We want them to be able to get in as quickly as possible, as safely as possible, but we also want that evidence to be as pure as possible for their investigation.


VAUSE: CNN Ben Wedeman live this hour in Beirut, Lebanon. So Ben, can we clear this up? What exactly is the reason for the delay? Is it just simply up to the United Nations to make a call on how safe it is for these inspectors or is there a lot more going on here?

BEN WEDEMAN, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: To tell you the truth, John, it's not altogether clear what is going on. Yesterday, the Syrian state media, the Russians as well as the civil group -- defense group called the White Helmets said that the OPCW had gone to Douma. Now, it appears that what happened was that was an advanced security team to make sure that the situation was safe enough for today the OPCW to go to this town where 11 days ago there was an alleged chemical attack that left more than 40 people dead. Now, obviously, the concern is that after 11 days whatever chemical residue might be there may well have evaporated. What is interesting is that as the world waits for the OPCW to get to this town where the alleged incident took place.

Three days ago a crew from the U.S. television network "CBS" went there, spoke to eyewitnesses who said that there was a chemical attack that they smelled chlorine and actually took video of what appears to be one of the bombs used to deliver that. So at this point, the Russians, yes, they are saying that they have discovered a chemical lab where weapons were being made by the rebels. We don't know to what extent that this might actually be true because they have sort of between the Russians and the Syrians, they have more or less complete control of what gets out of Douma with the exception of that interesting "CBS" reporter. This came -- at this point, John, it's sort of a case of he said, she said, and probably nobody is ever going to be able to get to the bottom of this, John.

VAUSE: Interesting stuff with the "CBS" guys. I'm just wondering where this chemical lab the Russians say that they found, any evidence a chance to say to prove it was in fact operated by the rebels just preserve by the Russians at any point?

WEDEMAN: We don't know. And then certainly, we mustn't be naive. Some of these so-called rebel groups are just as odious as the regime in many respects and there have been reason that -- has been reason in the past to believe some of them may have used these crude chemical weapons. I mean choline whereas in a different category from -- for instance sarin gas. Chlorine, we're talking about the same thing people used to sterilize their swimming pools. [02:35:04] All you have to do is get a bag of this stuff and put a

stick of dynamite inside and that is your chemical weapon in a sense. So it's a whole different category. But a month ago, the Russians did say that we could expect or the rather some of the rebel factions were preparing some sort of staged chemical attack and now they can point to this lab they say they've found and say, this is proof. But the fact of the matter is 11 days after this attack, there's very little that you can be sure about when it comes to the OPCW actually getting to the site of the alleged attack in determining what happened and who did it, John.

VAUSE: I'm pretty certain that there's not a lot of swimming pools in Douma and clearly not a lot of these chlorine to keep them clean I guess at this point. Ben, as always, good to see you. Thank you, sir. Joining us now Michael Cross, former U.S. Marine Captain and State Department, contractor, a man with experience in the region. So Michael, thank for being with us.


VAUSE: OK. We just hope for the U.S. State Department unable to confirm that U.N. inspectors have actually gained access to Douma. Listen to the Syrian Ambassador to the U.N. His version of that stuff.


BASHAR JAAFARI, SYRIAN AMBASSADOR TO THE UNITED NATIONS (via translator): Today, the U.N. security team entered Douma around 3:00 p.m. Damascus time and 8:00 a.m. New York time in order to assess the security situation on the ground. And if this United Nations security team decides that the situation is sound in Douma then the fact- finding mission will begin its work in Douma tomorrow.


VAUSE: OK. Riddle me this, how is it the Syrians can have one version of event complete with time (INAUDIBLE) but the U.S. and the U.N. constantly confirmed that there are people are there. I mean that seems like the most simplest basic thing you can do (INAUDIBLE)

CROSS: It's -- well, I mean it may not be that simple. I mean they're under control. It's Russian and Assad controlled areas. So from what I heard they've been able to get access today but I'm not sure in terms of access --

VAUSE: Well, there's access and then there's access.

CROSS: Yes. The access to the Douma Region or --


CROSS: -- because we don't know exactly how large the attack like was.

VAUSE: So I mean is this -- is -- it sounds like the Russians is playing games.

CROSS: Of course, the Russians always plays game.

VAUSE: We let you into Douma. They're in Douma and what more do you want? (INAUDIBLE) maybe tomorrow, sit tight, you know, this is what happens a lot.

CROSS: They're stalling. It's been 11 days since the attack. This particular agents whether it was chlorine or sarin, they're not persistent agents. Meaning they dissipate over time under normal environmental conditions over whether it's a couple of weeks, they're going to be gone. That's without the Russians or Assad, or the Iranians bring in and decontamination troops that could have -- because American decontamination army troops or marine troops would be able to go and clean the sites, so when the inspector showed up, there's no trace of any chemical weapons.

VAUSE: So 11, 12 days now under normal environmental circumstances, you're saying they could still find traces of these chemicals if there were uses of that or --

CROSS: It depends on what was used. Chlorine is used in normal -- yes, normal industrial, you know, environmental, you know --


CROSS: Water purification cleaning materials, things like that. Sarin however is going to be a little more persistent in terms if you find a trace of it, you know that there is an attack rather than --


CROSS: Like I said it just depends on the environmental conditions, how much was used based on the first responders reports, it seems to me that it was sarin gas. To get the kind of results that was happening in those individuals, you would have to use a lot of chlorine. But like I said, it just depends on time and how much access of these inspectors going to get once they're actually on the ground.

VAUSE: Tell us, are these sort of (INAUDIBLE)

CROSS: The Russians, it depends on if the Russians really want to play out the theory that it didn't happen. They could have flown people in from Moscow. They could have --


CROSS: Which could say a couple of days but like I said American troops depending on how large it was the target area, they could clean up all traces.

VAUSE: OK. Another topic, the U.S. Defense Secretary James Mattis was talking on Tuesday about why these airstrikes were carried out in the first place. This is what he said.


JAMES MATTIS, UNITED STATES SECRETARY OF DEFENSE: The French, and the United Kingdom, and the United States allies or NATO allies, we worked together to maintain the prohibition on the use of chemical weapons and that's how we came together. That's why we came together. We did not have to search for common ground. We have common ground and we did what we believe was right under international law, under our nation's laws, and I hope that this time the Assad regime got the message.


VAUSE: Yes. OK. We'll see. Mattis will also brief lawmakers on Tuesday. It was a classified briefing. May left that meeting more than a little concern like Republican Senator Lindsey Graham. He told reporters as he left. I'm very unnerved by what I'm hearing and seeing.

[02:40:09] He said the briefing on the strikes made him worried not less. The administration he said is going down a dangerous path with regards to Syria to give any details actually. But clearly there is this concern now that despite this one of the military action that they feel is not the strategy to deal with Assad that, you know, we're not into this path of, you know, a lot of talk over long period of time and then maybe a couple of missiles get lobbed in and then we will go back to square one.

CROSS: I agree. I've tried to figure out what exactly the policy is what is the strategy and I don't know. I've talked to a lot of people. The three things that I pulled out of all the information that's out there is number one, we want to try to contain Assad. The second is we want to give notice to bad actors which is what the strike did. If you use chemical weapon --


CROSS: Anywhere around the world which I also think was a sign to North Korea as well which it seems that the Trump administration is focus more on North Korea which, you know, is reported earlier was -- there's some really good development in that area. And the third I think the one strategy because the American people do not have a stomach for putting more ground troops, 200,000 troops. If you want to get rid of Assad, we can do that. But we are going to be in direct confrontation with not only Assad's forces because we're going to remove him --


CROSS: So I think the Trump strategy or the Mattis strategy is contain, put people on notice, and then recently the past week we talked about an all-air force, going in and replace our 2000 troops that are in Northern Syria. The problem with that is if the air forces are going to be led by the Saudi's because the Egyptians just said that they don't want to any part of it. If you have an air force that is led by the Saudi's and Emirati troops are going to be there as well, that -- they're in a cold war with Iran right now. Iran back Houthi rebels are launching ballistic missiles into Riyadh --



CROSS: It's them going to (INAUDIBLE) they're going to have Saudi troops fighting Iranian-backed militias with the Russians on the border with Israel and it could get messy really fast. Once --


CROSS: It's absolute chaos.

VAUSE: OK. Michael (INAUDIBLE) Michael, thank. Good to see you. Well, a short break. When we come back (INAUDIBLE) how plastic is recycled along (INAUDIBLE) pollution problem of global reporters. That story when we come back.


VAUSE: Well, it can take after 450 years for a plastic bottle to decompose which is part of the reason why the planet is drowning in plastic. (INAUDIBLE) to breakdown plastics in just hours.


[02:44:54] ROBYN CURNOW, CNN CORRESPONDENT: PET is found in everything, from plastic bottles to clothing. First to their left in the 1940s is now a major part of our plastic problem. Euromonitor International forecast that more than 600 billion PET bottles will be made next year alone. PET can take hundreds of years to break down in the environment. But now, scientist have stumbled upon a shortcut.

JOHN MCGEEHAN, PROFESSOR, STRUCTURAL BIOLOGY, UNIVERSITY OF PORTSMOUTH: To a couple of years ago, there was a Japanese group that have made this spectacular discovery of a bacteria that can digest PET plastic in a recycling dump in Japan. And what we've done is we've taken the enzyme that this bacteria produces --

CURNOW: That enzyme is called PETase. It works, but it doesn't work fast enough to use on an industrial scale. Using this particle accelerator in Oxfordshire, U.K., begin along with his colleagues in Brazil and the U.S. examined the enzyme right down to the atomic level. They found that by tweaking it slightly, it could break down plastic at an even faster rate.

MCGEEHAN: The bacteria can break this down in a matter of days or weeks. But what we're hoping to do with the enzyme is just in the same way years, an enzyme and a biological washing detergent breaking down grass tins. This enzyme we hope can break down PET ideally in a matter of hours, that's our goal.

CURNOW: McGeehan, says there was the scientific community that develop plastics. And now that same community must use all the technology at they disposal to find solutions to problems plastics have caused. (END VIDEOTAPE)

VAUSE: Robyn Curnow, there with that report. And with that, we'll say thank you for watching CNN Newsroom live from Los Angeles. Always remember to recycle. I'm John Vause. "WORLD SPORT" is next. You're watching CNN.


KATE RILEY, CNN INTERNATIONAL SPORTS ANCHOR: Hello and welcome along to WORLD SPORT. I'm Kate Riley at CNN Center. We start with the English Premier League on Tuesday. And we may already know who the champions are, but now it's a race for those Champions League places in the EPL table as well as though who are also fighting for their lives at the bottom of the table to avoid relegation.

Tuesday's Premier League match between Brighton and Spurs was of interest at both ends of the table. It was goal number 26 for Harry Kane this season to get the London as the lead, as they hope to consolidate fourth place. But moments later, the host equalized after a penalty which is taken by Brighton half goal. Gross 1-1 is power ends on England at South Coast. WORLD SPORT, of course, will be disappointed, they're now only eight points ahead to Chelsea. And The Blues have a game in hand. Chelsea are running out of time to break into the top four, though.

In other news today, one of the victims of the USA Gymnastics sex abuse scandal has spoken out. McKayla Maroney, fulfilled a dream when she came away with the top honors at Olympic level. Having one gold and silver at the landing games in 2012, she was speaking in New York on Tuesday, at a launch on benefiting the prevention of cruelty to children.

That was the first time Maroney had spoken since admitting that she was one of many young girls who've been abused by the team's former doctor, Larry Nassar. He's now serving a 60 year prison sentence. Maroney was highly critical of USA Gymnastics, and the U.S. Olympic Committee saying, "They don't build champions, they break them. All they cared about with money, medals, and it didn't seem like anything else. They demanded excellence from me, but they couldn't give it to us."

OK. Coming up on the show. He's a Mega Star of Cricket. House from unsuspecting fans but the shock of their lives in Mumbai.


[02:50:16] RILEY: Welcome back to the show, there is no denying that international sport in India, they love it so much but it actually more over religion to some at least. Well, the biggest name in the sport is Sachin Tendulkar. He retired five years ago, but still celebrated as one of the greatest batsmen of all time. He is the only man to have scored a hundred international entries, and the only player to have scored over 30,000 runs in the international game. Those are just some of his records. Anyway, the other day, he was driving through Mumbai, when he decided to get out of his car and join in a street game at a construction site. Can you imagine what a treat if master being to these fans? The master blaster took at easy on them. He space a handful of delivery. Some men holds for some photos afterwards. And you can take the man out on cricket, but clearly, you can't take cricket out of the man.

Yes, what a great story that well, we all know how hard marathons are. In fact, some of us will no more than that. At least myself completed those 26.2 miles, are absolutely brutal out leg. And the Boston Marathon is one of the most prestigious of them all. But the conditions this year were shockingly bad, while the CNN's Don Riddell, has the story.

DON RIDDELL, CNN SPORTS ANCHOR: In piercing rain and wind, the winners of the Boston Marathon brave the coldest race in decades to deliver a victory thoroughly worthy of their efforts. And one of the many extraordinary wins this year, an American woman took first place.


ANNOUNCER: Desiree Linden, wins the Boston Marathon.

RIDDELL: Desiree Linden is the first American woman to win the Boston Marathon since 1985. She burst across the finish line after showing extreme sportsmanship. When she fell back to wait for fellow American she linked fun again who stop to use the restroom.

ANNOUNCER: DesLin is kind of waiting back for her almost to say, "Hey, catch up to me."

RIDDELL: Both eventually, re-entered the winning group.

ANNOUNCER: She is now back on the race course.

RIDDELL: Linden news a two-time Olympian, and the second in the 2011 Boston Marathon, just two seconds behind the winner. In another stunning up said, Yuki Kawauchi, of Japan, had the fastest mail time. The first Japanese man to win the Boston Marathon in more than 30 years. The runner-up and perhaps, the most extraordinary story of all is a non-heard off and reportedly unsponsored hobby runoff from Arizona named Sarah Sellers.

SARAH SELLERS, NURSE, RUNNER-UP, BOSTON MARATHON: I still think I'm going to wake up, and that's going to be (INAUDIBLE).

RIDDELL: Not listed as an elite runner for the race and only her second career marathon ever, Sarah, has crossed the finish line four minutes behind Linden, qualifying for the U.S. Olympic trials. Paying $180 to enter the race, Seller's leaves Boston with $75,000 in prize money, and surely, a bright future ahead of her. Don Riddell, CNN.


RILEY: All right. Well, those are some remarkable stories, but it's actually the runner-up, Sarah Sellers who is really captured the public's imagination. Social media exploded with inquires about who this woman actually is? And earlier, our Don Riddell, spoke to her to find out.


RIDDELL: This it you were able to do this, were you just brilliant? Was the field just off? Did the weather play a factor? I mean, can you put your finger on what it was?

SELLERS: Can I click all the deploy? All of the above? You know, I think, the weather was a factor that everybody dealt with. But I think it affected everybody drastically different. You know, for me, mentally, the weather didn't really save me because -- you know, I run in conditions similar in college. And so, it wasn't really -- I know how to run and flee, you just prepare to be kind of miserable like you're not going to die, nothing terrible is going to happen.

But you just going to be a little bit miserable whole time, and if you just planned on that like there's nothing -- you know, your time is going to be slow, you're not going to feel great, but you can work hard and you can push yourself, and that's a good change.

RIDDELL: Can you explain to me how it is that you can finish 2nd in a race like this, and not know it.

SELLERS: To give perspective, there are about, I think, 56 women that started with me at 9:30, so, you know, kind of mid-pack. So, early on in the race, a lead group broke ahead, and I knew that they were out my sight for the majority of the race. So, kind of -- is the final miles unfolded? I knew I was passing people obviously, but I had no idea how many people are in front of me. So, I just assume that even though I pass quite a few on the last three miles, I thought there were probably a good 10 more. But he'd finish before me, I just had no idea.

[02:55:26] RIDDELL: So, how did you find out?

SELLERS: I crossed the line, I start my watch. I asked from one of the officials what place I was and they said, second, and I have to at least hold a few times because I just in complete disbelief.

RIDDELL: When you finally believe it, how did you feel?

SELLERS: I mean, it took a long time, I don't know by I still believe it. Pretty static and I saw my husband about 30 seconds after a cross and he actually didn't know a place like finish. So, when I saw him and I told the most second like seeing his reaction, kind of made it real, and you lose just ecstatic and that's pretty awesome.

RIDDELL: Well, you went off this race for what? A couple of 100 bucks and you want I believe the $75,000 which is just a little insane. What are you going to do with it?

SELLERS: Definitely, feel great was some of it. I haven't even --- you know, I never -- I didn't even know the prize structure or the prize money breakdown because, again, not something I would have remote reconsidered being a reason for me, or something that I needed to look at. So, I had no plans for it. Definitely, celebrate with some and then, try to do adult things like work towards getting rid of stint moms.

RIDDELL: How do you feel about the Tokyo Olympics in 2020?

SELLERS: Really, that is just a whole other ball game. I'm 100 percent going to compete at the trials, like that. You know, barring some injury which I hope doesn't happen. But, yes, a dazzling plan on competing and again, American women distance running is incredibly deep right now. There's a lot of really season athletes, a lot of new faces that have fast track times. So, I have a ton of respect for who's going to be going into it.

But I think, yesterday, kind of give me faith that -- if I can't working it like surprising being seen happened and I don't know. This put my nose to the grindstone and work as hard as I can to do what I can on sport.


RILEY: Kind of great to her from her birth. Thanks to Sarah for her time earlier. That is it from us, thank you so much for watching. Stay with CNN, the news is next.