Return to Transcripts main page
Trump White House; Foreign Summit; Meeting with Macron; Protests in Nigeria; Cabinet Position Vetting; Meeting With Kim Jong- Un; Indian Guru Asaram Bapu Found Guilty Of Raping 16-Year-Old Girl; Hundreds Of Immigrants Seek Asylum In U.S.; Trump And Macron Get Touchy-Feely. Aired 2-3a ET
Aired April 25, 2018 - 02:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[02:00:16] JOHN VAUSE, CNN, ANCHOR: This is CNN Newsroom live from Los Angeles, ahead this hour.
ISHA SESAY, CNN, ANCHOR: Donald Trump and Emmanuel Macron at a state dinner with rack of lamb on the menu and a huge heaping of Iranian diplomacy on the side.
VAUSE: From little rocket man, to honorable, the U.S. President has high praise for North Korea's brutal dictator.
SESAY: Plus, four years after the (Inaudible) kidnapped in Nigeria, concern growing as the government is trying to silence the Bring Back Our Girls Movement. Hello and welcome to our viewers around the world. I am Isha Sesay.
VAUSE: I am John Vause. Don't worry if you missed the first two hours because we now have the third hour of Newsroom L.A. A small elite group of Washington insiders attended the first state dinner of Donald Trump's presidency. President Trump and the first lady greeted France's Emmanuel Macron and his wife at the White House.
SESAY: About 150 guests were invited to the dinner, the menu featured American dishes with French influences, and the toast underscored the special relationship between the two countries. Melissa Bell has more on what's ahead during Mr. Macron's third day in Washington.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MELISSA BELL, CNN, CORRESPONDENT: Day three of Emmanuel Macron's state visit to the United States, and today will be marked by an attempt to speak more broadly to Americans. First of all, with a speech to Congress that will be delivered in English, but also with a meeting with students at George Washington University. The big day of the bromance was Tuesday, and the amount of touching and feeling that went on between the two Presidents seemed at times to leave the French President fairly awkward.
But seemed fairly genuine on behalf of both Presidents, the culmination of a real strategy on behalf of Emmanuel Macron as seeking to reach out to Donald Trump in order to get him to shift on certain issues, whether or not he has succeeded on any of the issues that the leader had made clear with their priorities remains fairly unclear.
So what do people here in France make of that bromance? Well, there is remarkably little interest this Wednesday morning. Two of France's newspapers mentioned the fact at all. Les Echos with a small picture there of the two men on a headline on Iran, and Le Figaro, which had at the bottom of its front page a fairly small article about the fact that behind the bromance a number of different tensions and failures to agree question marks over what the two men can actually get together behind remains.
So some skepticism about precisely what Emmanuel Macron has managed to bring back from Washington here in France. Melissa Bell, CNN, Paris.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VAUSE: Mr. Macron's major priority during this visit has been to persuade Donald Trump not to scrap the Iran deal. And Donald Trump has indicated that possible progress with European negotiators has been made. The U.S. and Europe have agreed on supplemental issues like Iran's missile program, nuclear inspections in Tehran's so-called nefarious activities in the region.
Mr. Trump has threatened to withdraw and restore sanctions on Iran by May 12th unless major changes have been made to the deal. Meantime, Iran's President has issued a warning to Washington.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
HASSAN ROUHANI, IRANIAN PRESIDENT: I am telling those in the White House that if they do not live up to their commitments, the Iranian government will firmly react. If anyone betrays the deal, they should know that they would face severe consequences.
DONALD TRUMP, UNITED STATES PRESIDENT: If Iran threatens us in anyway they will pay a price like few countries have ever paid.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VAUSE: Well, for more now on the good, the bad, and the ugly or Iran nuclear deal, former U.S. Intelligence Officer Michael Pritchard is with us Washington. Michael is the Former Director for the Veterans Against the Iran Deal. Also with us the Founder and President of the National Iranian-American Council, he joins us from Portland in Maine. So thank you both for being with us.
OK, just over an hour of alone time with Donald Trump in the Oval Office, it seems the French President may have convinced him the Iran nuclear deal might not be the most horrible, no good, awful, horrendous deal ever made in the history of the world. Listen to President Trump.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: There is a chance, and nobody knows what I am going to do on the 12th, although Mr. President, you have a pretty good idea. But we'll see. But we'll see also if I do what some people expect, whether or not it will be possible to do a new deal with solid foundations, because this is a deal with decayed foundations. It's a bad deal. It's a bad structure. It's falling down.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
[02:05:01] VAUSE: So Michael, the U.S. President as we know could still change his mind. He could scrap the whole thing. But does it look to you as if there is some kind of grand deal in the works here?
MICHAEL PRITCHARD, UNITED STATES, FORMER INTELLIGENCE OFFICER: Well, the proposition by Macron to actually lay something over the Iran deal doesn't have any teeth. It is not binding. It would basically be an agreement between the United States, France, and our European partners. And we expect Russia, China, and Iran to oppose it. So it really does nothing.
Again, we don't know what the President's going to do, but indications are that if those top three measures aren't fixed, dealing with ballistic missiles, (Inaudible) Iran's influence, and ending the sunset clause, the President is likely to walk away from the Iran deal. However, we just don't know what this President is going to do
VAUSE: And to that point about just who is actually making the adjustments to this agreement. There seems to be one significant sticking point, and that is the fact that the negotiations so far have been between the Americans and Europeans. The Iranians have actually not been included in any of this. Listen to what the Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said earlier on Tuesday.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MOHAMMAD JAVAD ZARIF, IRAN, FOREIGN MINISTER: It is a package. You cannot pick and choose between the package and say I want this, that, and the other element improved.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VAUSE: OK. Here's what he said. It's the issue of the principle. You reach an agreement. You keep that agreement. You implement that agreement. You don't ask for more. You need to respect. I mean it is the most important principle that holds agreements together, and that is the need to respect your signature and the signature of the United States. Doesn't matter which President signed it, it is the signature of the government of the United States acting on behalf of the nation.
So, Trita, this seems you know a fair point, especially as the United States heads into negotiations with the North Koreans over their nuclear program. The United States needs to keep its word.
TRITA PARSI, NATIONAL IRANIAN-AMERICAN COUNCIL, FOUNDER AND PRESIDENT: What the foreign minister is pointing to is actually what a lot of European and Chinese and Russian diplomats are also saying privately, which is why would they agree to renegotiate a deal that they are all happy with when the United States under Trump seems to have no respect for the signature of the United States. So even if Trump actually was looking for a new deal, which I am not
convinced that he is. Even if that was the case, I'm sure he would've approach this in such a way that wouldn't have been as reckless and alienating the other partners (Inaudible), because at the end of the day you need to have them onboard in order to be able to get a deal and you have them on board in order to be able to bring the Iranians onboard.
VAUSE: So Michael, to the point here of the United States being good to its word, honoring previous agreement. You know this deal is not being -- this agreement, all these negotiations is not happening in a vacuum. You know it has implications way beyond Iran.
PRITCHARD: Correct. The interesting thing here is this wasn't a treatise. The signatures, the Iranian's never signed the Iran deal. There is no signature on the Iranian's side. North Korea wanted an Iran-like deal, something laden with incentives, with weak enforcements. This is actually giving the United States leverage with North Korea. The JCPOA was not a treaty. If it was a treaty it would have had 60 votes.
It wasn't. It was an agreement between the Obama administration and the Iranian government. And the Iranian government did not even sign the Iran deal. So the implications here are it actually gives the United States leverage with North Korea. If we walk away from a bad deal and actually hold North Korea accountable and make whatever deal we make with North Korea a treaty, that way to treat us (Inaudible) and through other signatories of the Iran deal. We actually keep our word.
You know a treaty is binding. An agreement isn't, especially one that wasn't signed by the other side.
VAUSE: Trita, I want you to pick up on that.
PARSI: Well, this agreement was embodied in the U.N. Security Council resolution. So it's actually part of international law. The United States voted in favor of that resolution, so did every other member of the Security Council. It was a vote of 15-0. So that's how this is binding. It is part of international law, and as a result, all of the parties are supposed to live up to it.
Donald Trump has not lived up to it so far, and he's done quite a lot to damage it already. So technicalities as to whether it's a treaty or agreement, etcetera is actually nullified by the fact that this was embodied in a U.N. Security Council resolution.
VAUSE: And just to pick up (Inaudible) Michael just said because we also heard a similar sentiment coming from the U.S. President about this deal. Michael, you said it was a deal. The President said it was falling apart. In the Atlantic on Tuesday, two former senior Obama administration officials laid out the case why this deal is actually not falling apart, but in their view they say it is working.
They write, it's the view of the international atomic energy agencies, the United Nations body charged with monitoring Iran's compliance. It's the view of all other JCPOA signatories, not just Russia and China, which tends to side with Iran, but ado Germany, U.K., and even the traditionally hard line France. Indeed it's been the assessment of the Trump administration itself, which has repeatedly admitted that the Islamic republic is in technical compliance with the JCPOA.
[02:10:08] All of these actors have verified Iranian compliance, not once but several times. And so Michael, again, how can the Trump Administration justify scrapping an agreement, changing an agreement with Iran when Iran has kept its side of the (Inaudible)?
PRITCHARD: OK, well, not to get into the details but annex one section T, we can't verify whether or not Iran is actually developing triggers for these devices. And when we see suspicious activity and we ask the IAEA to inspect, they refuse to because they say they don't want to be a political tool of the United States.
When it comes to the JCPOA, if you just leave the nuclear part alone and focus on annex two, which reactivated the RNGC's operational and logistical terror networks, most people that actually support the JCPOA to include Macron, want annex two addressed. They want to hurt the regime's ability to export terrorism.
They want U.N. Security Council resolutions strengthened to go after Iran's ballistic missile tests. Again, the biggest part of the Iran deal was not necessarily for Iran to become a nuclear power at some point. It was to be able to get sanctions relief so it could reactivate its terror, logistical, and operational logistical networks, which we've seen destabilize Syria, Yemen, Beirut, and also Iraq.
VAUSE: And just the last word, Trita, because what Michael is saying a lot of those amendments or modifications essentially are what the United States and the Europeans is in agreements about. That's what they want as well.
PARSI: Not really. First of all, when it comes to the agreement itself, it is the IAEA that is the judge of this (Inaudible) wants refereeing this issue and they've issued 10 reports saying that Iran is in compliance. When it comes to asking the IAEA to inspect other things, what is required is that the country making that ask provides evidence.
So far, nothing has been provided to the IAEA, so the IAEA has nothing to act on. The IAEA cannot just roam around without any guidance of evidence. And as a result, the IAEA has stated clearly whatever access they have required of the Iranian's, the Iranian's have given them. When it comes to other issues, RNGC etcetera, the Europeans would also like to see some changes, but not at the expense of killing this deal.
If we want to see those other issues addressed, we need to first make sure that this deal survives and that it is respected and then adhered to. Only then will we have the credibility to go on with additional diplomacy to address these other issues.
(CROSSTALK) PRITCHARD: -- if we address annex two.
PRITCHARD: The deal falls apart of (Inaudible).
VAUSE: OK. We're out of time, but obviously this is something which a lot of people are talking about right now, and this debate is happening in many parts of the world.
PRITCHARD: -- more contentious next time.
PRITCHARD: We're too respectful to each other, Trita. We need to argue more.
VAUSE: Enjoy each other's company. Thanks, guys. We appreciate it.
PRITCHARD: Thanks a lot for having us back.
PARSI: Thanks a lot. Talk to you soon, Michael.
SESAY: Well, President Trump has softened his tone on the North Korean leader as they prepare for the historic meeting. Three months ago, the President was trading with insults with Kim Jong-Un, calling him little rocket man and a mad man. But listen to how the President now describes the North Korean leader.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: Yeah, Kim Jong-Un, he really has been very open, and I think very honorable from everything we're seeing.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SESAY: Well, President Trump did not explain why he said Mr. Kim has been honorable, but that assessment rather is not sitting well with activists who pointed the human rights violations of Kim Jong-Un. Our Will Ripley is following this for us from Seoul in South Korea, so Will, President Trump assessment of Kim Jong-Un being open and honorable raising eyebrows of some here in the U.S.
Let's put up a graphic on the screen to remind our viewers of some of Mr. Kim's past actions, which include killing some of the members of his own family. And given that lengthy list that we up on our screens, give me a sense how Mr. Trump's honorable comments are playing where you are.
WILL RIPLEY, CNN, CORRESPONDENT: It really depends the political views of people who you're speaking with. And in fact, we've been walking around the streets here in Seoul, asking people what they think about all of this. Some people are optimistic about the talks, but very pessimistic, because they say of the character of the North Korean leader.
And of course, he's been accused of a number of brutal acts inside of his country. North Koreans have a different perspective on their human rights record than much of the rest of the world. Obviously, the United Nations has documented many instances of widespread alleged human rights abuse. Yet, there are others here, those who are supporters of South Korea's progressive President Moon Jae-In, who by the way has approval ratings above 70 percent.
[02:14:52] He's the most popular elected leader in the free world right now. And they say that engaging with North Korea is a good thing, despite what may be happening in that country. They feel that talking is just better than the alternative, which would be military conflict.
SESAY: Those are incredible approval ratings. The President in the United States said there on Tuesday that Pyongyang is eager to have the meetings with the U.S. as soon as possible. Does that square with what you're hearing?
RIPLEY: Yes. And in fact, we just confirmed with the Blue House here that President Moon Jae-In is going to be having a summit with President Trump after his summit on Friday with Kim Jong-Un. Presumably, that is so that these two leaders can meet face-to-face, and Moon can brief Trump about everything that he learned from the interactions with Kim Jong-Un, because it really will be a historic moment here on Friday.
The first time in history that a North Korean leader has walked across the military demarcation line into South Korea, they'll be going into the peace house, which was newly renovated for this event, with a circular table as opposed to the traditional rectangular table so that people can actually sit together and have what they describe as more candid conversations.
Look, this South Korean government is doing everything they can to try to make Friday summit a success. But their bigger goal is to tee up these talks with the United States, and they want President Trump to be prepared for this, to know what he's walking into.
SESAY: Yeah. I mean speaking of teeing up the biggest summit between the U.S. and North Korea. At the weekend, the President tweeted basically regarding North Korea and their intentions saying, wow, we haven't given anything and they've agreed to denuclearization, so grateful world, site closure and no more testing.
Then he had to walk it back because basically North Korea hasn't said effectively that they're going to denuclearize. So on Tuesday, President Trump was pressed on what he means by denuclearization in North Korea. And he said basically, he wants to see Pyongyang get rid of all its nukes. The question now is you know what is the definition of success for that U.S.-North Korea summit, I mean, do we see any evidence that Kim Jong-Un would be willing to be parted from his nuclear weapons. RIPLEY: Well, if you listen to the messaging in North Korean media...
[02:20:00] VAUSE: Welcome back. You're watching CNN. The Trump administration continues to find out the hard way the value of vetting nominees to cabinet positions. When the President tapped White House Doctor Ronny Jackson to head Veteran Affairs, there were some concerns over his lack of experience. But now there are more serious allegations. At least 20 people have come forward accusing Jackson of being drunk on the job, handing out prescription drugs like candy, and creating a toxic work environment.
SESAY: Well, Mr. Trump says it's up to Jackson if he wants to go through a contentious confirmation process.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: Great doctor, great everything and he has to listen to the abuse that he has to. I wouldn't - if I were him -- actually in many ways I would love to be him, but the fact is I wouldn't do it.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VAUSE: A ringing endorsement. Wendy Greuel is a former L.A. City Councilwoman and Joe Messina is a Radio Host and Conservative Commentator. And we're glad you are both with us. OK, a few hours after that glaring flashy neon invitation by President Trump to Admiral Jackson essentially drop out. The administration decided to rally behind the doctor.
Reuters is reporting the White House provided copies of Jackson's performance reviews with hand written notes of abusive praise from former President Barack Obama as well as Trump, and said the FBI have given him a clean background investigation, also provided reports from military medical inspector general that shed light on that toxic work environment at the White House medical unit in 2012.
The background story is there was a confrontation between Jackson and the then Director of the White House Medical Unit staff, that it said it was like being caught between two parents who were in a midst of a divorce. But there are still these allegations that Dr. Jackson was drinking on the job. He handed out prescription medication so easily they called him the candy man. Listen to this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The word is, is that on overseas trips in particular that Admiral would go down the aisle of the airplane and said who wants to go to sleep and hand out the prescription drugs.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yeah, that's exactly right, and put them to sleep and then give them the drugs to wake them back up again.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VAUSE: Joe, shouldn't the White House, shouldn't the President have been aware of all these allegations before nominating the good admiral?
JOE MESSINA, CONSERVATIVE COMMENTATOR: Look, you're saying that he should have information and have all this information at his fingertips. I don't think Mr. Obama had that much information either. There were problems on both sides. Remember, this doctor was there at the time President Obama was in office, were these things going on then, did he know about it. Why did he keep him there?
So yeah, I think they do a lousy job at vetting. I agree with you and it makes for lousy TV, but I do agree with you there.
MESSINA: But they're allegations -- you want a guy giving out drugs in the White House?
VAUSE: No. That's a good point, Wendy?
WENDY GREUEL, LOS ANGELES, FORMER COUNCILWOMAN: Look, they have not done a very good job. They have a history of not vetting people. And I think this is a prime example, (Inaudible) I like the guy, and I think he looks good. And in fact, what you see here is someone -- even the President of the United States said today he has a performance problem in being able to experience problem, being able to run the Veteran's Administration. That in it of itself should discredit somebody.
VAUSE: Joe, I'm glad you mentioned Obama because in the eight years in the Obama administration, from what we can find, it seems only two candidate nominees were forced to withdraw amidst scandal. None were actually rejected, one forced out was the former Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle, who has been through the Secretary for Health and Human Services.
It was sunk by issues of unpaid taxes on a limo service and unreported consulting income. At the time that Daschle was forced out, President Obama told CNN this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BARACK OBAMA, UNITED STATES, FORMER PRESIDENT: I think this was a mistake. I think I screwed up, and you know, l take responsibility for it, and we're going to make sure we fix so it doesn't happen again.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VAUSE: So, Joe, will we hear a similar apology from President Trump? And you know isn't this why there is a process?
MESSINA: Well, look, if you're going to hear an apology from Trump, I don't think so. We all know the answer to that question and as far as the process goes...
MESSINA: Of course we should. Anybody who makes a mistake, no matter what position they're in should be able to openly admit to you know -- maybe that was a bad choice.
VAUSE: This was sort of the old days of how things used to be done.
GREUEL: When you actually said I made mistake and here's what I would do...
GREUEL: And he vetted nominees, and you had a time, which you had a transition in which you could do that. None of those protocols or experience actually had been demonstrated in this White House. And I Think I am not sure we will ever hear from this President that maybe I did the wrong thing and maybe I should have done it differently.
[02:25:10] VAUSE: You know if there had been problems vetting, maybe Scott Pruitt, if he had been vetted before he was appointed to the EPA, then maybe the administration could have avoided, but it's been one scandal after another scandal after another scandal. Finally, we're hearing from some Republicans that they seem to be growing impatient. Here's the Louisiana Senator John Kennedy.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JOHN KENNEDY, LOUISIANA STATE, SENATOR: More and more allegations keep coming, and you know, you've got to be respectful of taxpayer money. The secretary wasn't elected. He was appointed. His power is derivative. It's through the President of the United States. And some of his behavior has hurt the President of the United States. It's hurt the President's credibility. It's hurt the credibility of all of us. And it would be way cooler if he'd behave.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VAUSE: Way cooler if he'd behave. And Joe, that's about as stern as it gets right now. Because correct me if I am wrong, but I don't know one Republican who has come out and said with the Democrats, Pruitt should go because of these scandals that he has been involved in. And even now, he still enjoys the support of the President. It's not very drain the swamp-ish, is it?
MESSINA: But you know we keep talking about scandals and we wouldn't talk about them in the prior administration. I realize that we're how and we're talking about what's happening today. But I find it kind of hypocritical that we accept certain -- depending on the party we're in, we accept certain behavior when we're in power. But when the other group is in power, we don't want to accept that behavior at all.
You talk about vetting. It's not just the White House that vets these people. It's our security people that do that as well. If there were that many problems with Pruitt early on, then who should (Inaudible) it forward, just the White House?
VAUSE: Every administration has scandals, but there does seem to be an extraordinary number of scandals in a very short period of time.
MESSINA: We could do this for the next hour, and I could say to you no, you're calling what's happening a scandal, yet every time there was a scandal in the last administration, oh, that' not a scandal, it's just an issue.
GREUEL: Look, I think the numbers just you know, prove the point that we're making, which is you know they did not have these kinds of individuals who were put out there to be nominated for a cabinet position, a cabinet position, and then have to, you know, push back or not be able to be appointed. I think the important -- what the Republican should do in the senate is say we will not even have a hearing until you have demonstrated to us you have vetted these individuals. We are not going to be embarrassed again.
VAUSE: Well, according to CNN reporting on Pruitt, some aides to the President questioned whether Pruitt simply has the ethics necessary for government service, according to a one White House source. Again, Joe, on Thursday Republicans will have their moment when Pruitt faces some ethics questions before congress.
MESSINA: I have a problem. We're constantly throwing the allegations out there. How about we get in front of -- as you say, get in front of the senate, let's find out what he did do, what he didn't do, what he knows, what he doesn't know. And it's amazing how quickly today, in today's media on allegations. We accuse -- we convict on an allegation nowadays.
VAUSE: But these allegations haven't been refuted, they have not been denied.
MESSINA: Well, he hasn't had a chance to speak.
VAUSE: He spoke to Fox News and he denied then he got called out basically in you know in an untruth.
GREUEL: Expenditures have been made. I mean you know these kinds of things that have been reported factually are correct.
VAUSE: OK. Continuing now with the (Inaudible) of hiring only the best people, the U.S. President shot down a reporter on Tuesday who asked if he would pardon his personal attorney, Michael Cohen, who is under criminal investigation.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) TRUMP: I thank you very much. Stupid question, go ahead, anybody else, please?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VAUSE: OK. Joe, last month you know Times reported that Trump's then attorney John Dowd had raised the possibility of pardons with both the Former National Security Advisor Michael Flynn, former Campaign Chairman Paul Manafort. Last year, the Washington Post reported the President was asking about his authority to shoot pardons to his aides, family members, even for himself.
I'm told that we have the recently agreed to -- granted rather full pardon for Scooter Libby, who was a former senior aide to Dick Cheney through the Bush administration. Libby was pardoned for obstruction of justice and perjury. So why is it a stupid question if Trump is considering a pardon for Cohen?
MESSINA: Well, I don't think he should tell anybody. It's just like when Sarah Sanders is walking out of the room and certain reporters are screaming is Trump a racist? Are you going to answer that question? Isn't that kind of a stupid question to begin with? Why would you holler that out as a Press Secretary is walking out?
VAUSE: But about the answer to the question.
MESSINA: We're professionals, right. Well, the answer to the question now I would say, look, let's see what happens. I think he's frustrated. I think he's irritated. You're pounding at him 24/7 on things that -- if somebody like me on the right even approached President Obama, you'd be calling me a racist and all kinds of other stuff.
GREUEL: I disagree. I mean I think -- you know number one it is a conversation and a question that should be asked. He did Sheriff Arpaio before he was even sentenced to what he was convicted for. I think that you know it was an accurate conversation to have and one that should be going forward. So, I don't think it was a stupid question and I can only imagine that the President of France was sitting there just feeling very uncomfortable which most do when they're sitting next to him and he's being asked questions.
VAUSE,It was an interesting day. Jon and Wendy, I thank you so much.
GRUEL: Thank you.
VAUSE: OK. And this note, a week after it went on sale, the former FBI Director James Comey's book A Higher Loyalty has become a blockbuster selling more 600,000 copies and tomorrow Comey is taking question from the public right here on CNN. Anderson Cooper hosts Comey, Truth, Lies and Leadership Wednesday 7:00 p.m. Mexico City. That's 8:00 a.m Thursday for anyone who is watching us from Hong kong. You'll see that only here on CNN.
SESAY: Going to be interesting.
VAUSE: It will be. The questions l can't wait to hear because those questions can be quite tricky sometimes.
SESAY: While Preside Trump considers whether to stay in the Iran Nuclear Deal, Tehran is having a say. The warnings to Washington on where talks could go from here.
VAUSE: Also a head of religious leader in Indian with millions of followers people around the world apparently waiting for a verdict in his rape trial. We're live in New Delhi with the latest.
VAUSE: And if you're just joining us you're watching CNN NEWSROOM live from Los Angeles. I'm John Vause.
SESAY: And I'm Isha Sesay. The headlines this hour. The Trump administration held first state dinner Tuesday with French President Emmanuel Macron as the guest of honor. First lady Melania Trump spearheaded month of planning for the event. More than 100 guests were invited.
VAUSE: With historic talks possibly on the horizon, President Trump is now praising North Korean leader Kim Jong-un as being very honorable though he refused to explain what he actually meant. The White House is still tampering expectations for their potential summit and President Trump insist he wants Kim to get rid of all his nuclear weapons.
SESAY: President Trump suggested there may be progress in talks with European negotiators about the Iran Nuclear Deal. Mr. Macron is trying to convince Mr. Trump to remain in the agreement. The U.S. and Europe have agreed on supplemental issues like Iran's missile program, nuclear inspections and its activities in the region.
VAUSE: Well, a popular Indian religious leader who claims to have millions of followers around the world is waiting for a verdict in his rape trial.
SESAY: Asaram Bapu accused of raping a 16-year-old schoolgirl at one of his ashrams in 2013. He has denied any wrongdoing. New Delhi Bureau Chief Nikhil Kumar joins us now. Nikhil, where does things stand out with this verdict?
[02:35:01] NIKHIL KUMAR,CNN DELHI BUREAU CHIEF: We're still waiting, Isha. This is all unfolding in the City of Jodhpur, in the State of Rajasthan where the entire place has been put under a blanket of security for this case. The verdict as you is -- as you mentioned is slow due. The case dates back to 2013. Asaram Bapu, 77 years old now has millions of followers not just in India but beyond -- he was accused -- and he's accused of raping a 16-year-old. A 16-year-old was in one of his as ashrams. Her parents, her family were followers of this self-styled god man. And she was alleged to have been raped during what was a ceremony to cure her of a "evil spirit." And now, Asaram Bapu since 2013 has applied multiple times all the way up to the Indian Supreme Court for bail. He's been denied it. And today, the Special Court which is in fact holding proceedings inside the jail (INAUDIBLE) but that's how concerned everybody is about the potential for unrest from his followers is unfolding. That's why the trial is taking place. And the context is very important. The case dates back to 2013. As I said he was arrested in September 2013 which where the charges were framed.
Just the previous year at the end of 2012 you had that new Delhi gang rape which really turned a very harsh spotlight on sexual violence in this country. And Asaram Bapu himself around that same time was quoted in local media as saying that the victim in that awful 2012 was partly to blame for what happened. So everyone's been watching very, very carefully to see what happens. And, you know, people are also particularly nervous because last year, you'll recall last summer, there was another god man in Northern India who was convicted of raping two women. Around that time of that case, the conviction and the sentencing, those are lot of unrest in North India. And so the authorities are taking no risks at all. Special provisions of the law have been involved to stop people from gathering. And as I say, everything is unfolding inside this jail in the City of Jodhpur, in the State of Rajasthan and we're all waiting to hear and see what happens. Isha?
SESAY: Yes. And Nikhil, given the level of interest, given the concerns about violence, I guess the question is, do we feel that will play into the decision made by the judge here? I mean what is the sense there?
KUMAR: Well, Isha, no that -- I think the, you know, I think -- I think they've gone to great lengths, the authorities at -- in the State of Rajasthan where this is happening which is not too far from Delhi. Have gone to great lengths to ensure the, you know, the justice unfolds as it should. And so the provision of the law that I mentioned earlier to prevent people from gathering have been enforced for a few days now. They will remain enforced for a couple of days after the verdict is out and known to everybody. So they've gone to great lengths to make sure that the justice is done and unfold per as the law. And everybody is watching very, very carefully. You know, the police has been -- we spoke to some very senior police officers in that state last night. They have been monitoring the movement of, you know, buses and so on coming in and out of the city to see if people are massing there to -- ahead of the verdict. They've been sending out security all across the city to make sure that nothing comes in the way of justice being done.
SESAY: All right. We're going to watch this very closely and still awaiting that verdict there. Nikhil Kumar joining us from New Delhi. Always appreciate it. Thank you.
VAUSE: The 25-year-old man accused of running down pedestrians with a rental in Toronto has made his first appearance in court. But as CNN's Alex Marquardt reports, investigators are still no closer to knowing why he did it. ALEX MARQUARDT, CNN SENIOR NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Authorities here
in Toronto are providing more information about this horrific attack right here on young street in the heart of downtown Toronto claimed the lives of some 10 people. They say they are revising the counts of attempted murder against Alek Minassian, the alleged attacker to 14. That's up from to 14. He is also of 10 counts of first degree murder. The authorities say they are waiting to release the names of those killed because they want to let the next of kin, the, family know first, but we are beginning to learn some of their identities. Among them, one Jordanian father who was here in Toronto visiting his daughter. There was also one Canadian citizen as well as two South Koreans among the dead. The authorities are also appealing not just for more eyewitness accounts and videos but for more time to determine the motive behind Minassian's alleged attack.
[02:40:02] So far they have said they do not believe it was terror inspired, they do not believe that it was a national security incident. They did not raise the terror threat level. But there's one element. Just before this attack was carried out that they say could prove to be rather instructive in terms of determining the motive. Take a listen to the police.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GRAHAM GIBSON, TORONTO POLICE DETECTIVE SERGEANT: As has been reported in the media, the accused is alleged to have posted a cryptic message on Facebook minutes before he began driving the rented van. And he drove it southbound on Young Street and onto the crowded sidewalks.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MARQUARDT: Now, that Facebook posts that Detective Sergeant Gram Gibson was referring to is one in which Minassian allegedly writes in part, all hail the supreme gentlemen Elliot Roger. Elliot Roger was a 22-year-old who carried out a shooting and ramming attack in early 2014 near the campus of U.C. Santa Barbara. He left some six people dead. So investigators are now looking into whether Minassian might have been inspired by Roger.
SESAY: Let's (INAUDIBLE) still to come on NEWSROOM L.A., protesters say the government is cracking down on them in Nigeria openly trying to silence the Bring Back Our Girls activists by force. Someone who's looking for answers.
SESAY: Well, 19 people are dead after a gunman opened a fire at a Church in Nigeria. Police say two priests and 17 worshippers were killed Tuesday when armed men believed to be Fulani herdsmen stormed the Catholic Church during morning mass in Nigeria's Benue State. A police spokesman says the suspects also set nearly 50 houses on fire.
VAUSE: Violent clashes between the herdsmen (INAUDIBLE) Christian farmers date back to 2013 in that region SESAY: Well, it's been four years since 276 schoolgirls were abducted
by Boko Haram in Nigeria. Since that anniversary in April 14th something has been happening. Activists say the government is shutting down protests, certain marches that have taken place every day for years. Demonstrators feel as if they are under siege, so the question is what's going on here. Let's talk to woman who is looking for answers, Oby Ezekwesili, former vice President, World Bank Africa and foreign minister of education for Nigera, as well as cofounder transparency international. Oby, always good to see you. I've seen the videos posted by Bring Back Our Girls showing the scuffles, security officials disrupting BBOG's attempts to gather. Tell me about what you've been experiencing in recent days.
OBY EZEKWESILI, VICE PRESIDENT OF AFRICA AT THE WORLD BANK GROUP: In the past 12 days, today would be the 12th day should they continue with their attitudes towards the movement. All would seem -- has been the Nigerian police taken over the public space where we have advocacy. We have advocated for Chibok in the last 1,456 days.
[02:45:07] Today is 1,472 days since Chibok girls were abducted. And for us, the attacks, they have confiscated our task as chairs, they have made it impossible for us to gain access to the location. They have used tear gas on us, they have beaten some of the members of our movement. It's unbelievable, the level of attacks we're getting from the government that --
EZEKWESILI: -- made promises from sending Chibok girls.
SESAY: Yes. Absolutely, I mean, I've been to those sit-ins. I've seen them in action, I've been that Unity Fountain. And these sit-ins have gone on for years. Why would the government want to such escalated action now? How do you read it?
EZEKWESILI: You know, some of the people are speculating that this has to do with the fact that the government is in election mode. And that because elections are going to be in 2019, we are socially reminder of the failure that they have -- that they have -- that are associated with their inability to make true the promise that had been made.
Chibok girls would be three years now under the government of President Buhari, where -- and 112 of the girls are yet to be back. And the mad management of the process, of accountability of government, is a source of shame and would push to the government. Unfortunately, in dealing with this the government just decided that it would go anti-Democratic, unconstitutional, violating our rights. And we simply are saying BBOG is not for coming.
We made a commitment on the past year of April 2014, but we would not stop advocating for the rescue of our Chibok girls because that's the justice that's due to those girls and their parents. And that's promise will stand, we'll never go depart.
SESAY: The Abuja Police Commissioner Sadiq Bello, says that basically the pro-Democracy and good governance advocates across Abuja, they say, constituting a public nuisance with these gatherings. What's your response?
EZEKWESILI: Well, I did already say to that commission of police that he's the nuisance for our Democracy. And people like him have a very short link often. He needs to go ask his colleague who was at doing exactly the same thing in a -- on that the last administration -- the biggest administration.
That Commissioner Police AIG Mbu, when he took on our movement, we want to talk we are established that we are within our constitutional boundaries in doing advocacy in a very peaceful manner. We have not been associated with unruly behavior. Nobody is going to clamp down on us. We are citizens of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. The Nigerian constitution gives us the freedoms. Freedom of expression, our voices would not be muscled if such freedom of association, gives as freedom of our peaceful assembly, gives us freedom of the human life, the dignity to human life. We stand on all of this, and there is no commissioner that can stop us.
SESAY: Oby, you say that the speculation, is this may be tied to the elections because this is a reminder that the Buhari government which we must point out to our viewers, used or certainly, made a plank of the election campaign in 2015. That they would succeeding bring back these girls, and it is seen widely for, and this is having played a part in seeing the election of President Buhari.
Given that speculation by people, is this an actual fact going to be an issue again this time around in the Nigerian elections of 2019, as you read the situation right now the issue of 112 missing Chibok girls?
EZEKWESILI: I know that -- you know, citizens of the country are watching. They are watching the way that the government has acted on the promise that was made to the appearance of Chibok girls. And I know that people are taking in everything. I don't know -- I don't know the political speculations of the government. But all I know is that this is the government that's (INAUDIBLE), who is not a cross sender for the president.
We are not going to be cross sender, we are driven by the sense that fundamentally, we have shared humanity with our Chibok girls. We are driven by the fact that there's a social contract between the (INAUDIBLE) and government, we are not (INAUDIBLE).
When the government has done well, we have praised the government. We were delighted to have 107 of our Chibok girls back. But there are 219 girls that -- there were 219 girls missing. There are still 112 to which our government posed accountability for the justice suppress. And we're going to continue to demand for that.
SESAY: The lives of those 112 girls are valuable. And as I said from the beginning with you, Oby, they must come back. We must know what has happened to them. Oby Ezekwesili, joining us there from Abuja, with Bring Back Our Girls. Thank you, Oby. Thank you for making the time to speak to us. [02:50:15] EZEKWESILI: Thank you, Isha.
VAUSE: Well, hundreds of migrants escaping violence and poverty in Central America are arriving at the U.S. border and plan to seek asylum. And that makes yet the stand for a possible standoff after President Trump, told federal authorities to stop them from crossing over. Leyla Santiago, reports.
LEYLA SANTIAGO, CNN CORRESPONDENT: A wave of the Central American migrants with the caravan has just arrived in Tijuana, just got off of one of two buses here. And you can actually see that many of them are taking the few belongings that they have brought with them from Guatemala, El Salvador, as well as Honduras, many of them from Honduras.
Now, they are expected to be here for a few days meeting with a legal experts who will help them with their asylum case. We have been following one family. This is Gabriella and her two children, they came from Honduras. I'm going to ask her how she is feeling.
GABRIELLA, ASSYLUM SEEKER FORM HONDURAS: Muy cansado.
SANTIAGO: She say she's very tired. You really hear it in her voice. (INAUDIBLE). I'm asking her what it's been like since they left Guadalajara?
GABRIELLA: As you know -- (INAUDIBLE).
SANTIAGO: She says it's been very difficult for herself, as well as her two kid. She is also pregnant, and she says, it's been very difficult, but somebody provided for them some buses to continue their journey north. They've also been staying in churches along the way, and she talks about the train, what's called the La Bestia -- The Beast.
Many of these migrants actually had to travel on top of a train, on top of scrap metal and trash to arrive here. I'm asking her if she thinks she'll be able to get into the United States.
GABRIELLA: Well, (INAUDIBLE).
SANTIAGO: She says, she's hopeful that they will. I'm asking her about what President Trump said that they don't plan to let anybody in if it's illegal.
GABRIELLA: Si, (INAUDIBLE)
SANTIAGO: Gracias, and she's talking about how the organizing group, Pueblo Sin Fronteras has organized another march of people going to meet them at the border, right there, right now in Los Angeles. And she's hoping that, that will enough support to help them get to the United States to claim asylum, to seek asylum. Something that they are doing legally. Going to a port of entry to ask for help, seek asylum. What will happen there is the big question. Layla Santiago, CNN, Tijuana.
VAUSE: Well, still to come here, the presidents of both the U.S. and France boasted all day long about their very special relationship. So special, since Macron and Trump just couldn't keep their hands off each other.
SESAY: In case you hadn't heard, French might just be the language of love. Some do that. But during the statement of the French President Emmanuel Macron, dance did all the tour gate.
[02:55:04] VAUSE: OK. President Trump and his French counterpart were so handsy with each other. It kind of felt little competitive, that was at first, and then, it just goes down right uncomfortable. Here's Jeanne Moos.
JEANNE MOOS, CNN NATIONAL NEWS CORRESPONDENT: These two just can't quit each other when it comes to public displays of affection.
EMMANUEL MACRON, PRESIDENT OF FRANCE: Thank you, thank you.
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I like him a lot.
MOOS: Get a room. Actually, they did, the Oval Office.
TRUMP: Thank you, and you are a special friend. Thank you.
MACRON: Thank you.
MOOS: President Trump and President Macron didn't just shake hands, they had to add a pat, or a hand on the back, taking turns, even a hand on the chest. They stared into each other's eyes and muttered sweet nothings. Using first names, my dear Donald. MACRON: Mon cher President Donald.
TRUMP: Emmanuel and myself --
MOOS: Dialogue out of a bromance novel.
TRUMP: I will be feel the same way.
MOOS: The French president even tweeted their clasped hands. Brace yourself, bet you've never seen this before, one world leader grooming the other.
TRUMP: But we do have a very special relationship. In fact, I'll get that little piece of dandruff off -- a little piece. We have to make him perfect." MOOS: One French newspaper called the gesture disturbing and noticed
Macron later examining the spot President Trump flicked. The first lady was less accessible, her hat made attempts to air kiss even a wider miss than usual. Tweeted one critic that hat is called the Trump Repellant Hat. As they posed for pictures, the president and Melania, seem to play footsie with their fingers, which the daily show put the music. But the presidents couldn't keep their hands apart.
MACRON: Thank you.
TRUMP: Thank you very much.
MOOS: All the hugging left them so slaphappy.
TRUMP: It's an honor to call you my friend.
MOOS: That President Trump, missed a slap the French disconnection rare for these two. Jeanne Moos, CNN, New York.
SESAY: He was kind of pulling --
VAUSE: Where are they going?
SESAY: What would they three bring?
VAUSE: Oh, my God, I believe at that. OK, bye.
SESAY: You've been watching CNN NEWSROOM. Bye.
VAUSE: See you later, see you tomorrow. Rosemary is up next in Atlanta.