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Historic Summit, North and South Korean Meeting; President Donald Trump and Emmanuel Macron; Iran Nuclear Deal; Canadian Man Helps Syrian Refugees; Dr. Jackson's Nomination; Kim Jong-un to Meet Moon Jae-in At Korean Border for Summit; Businessman Give's Fresh Start To Syrian Refugees; Guessing Game Over Royal Baby's Name; Legoland Japan Creates World Record Cherry Blossom Tree. Aired 2-3a ET

Aired April 26, 2018 - 02:00   ET


[02:00:01] John VAUSE, CNN, ANCHOR: This is CNN Newsroom live from Los Angeles.

ISHA SESAY, CNN, ANCHOR: Ahead, the meeting that will make history. We're hours away from a major summit between North and South Korea, plus.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: No hate, no fear, refugees are welcome here. No hate, no fear, refugees are welcome here.


VAUSE: President Trump's controversial travel ban goes to the country's highest court.

SESAY: And (Inaudible) hundreds of Syrian refugees to Canada, helping them to start over.

VAUSE: Hello, everybody. We'd like to welcome our viewers all around the world. Hour number three here. I'm John Vause.

SESAY: And I'm Isha Sesay. Newsroom L.A. starts right now.

VAUSE: A historic summit months in the making is now just hours away. Kim Jong-Un will soon be the first North Korean leader to cross the border into the south. A walk across the Military Demarcation Line, and there, (Inaudible) greeted South Korean President Moon Jae-In.

SESAY: Then the two leaders will begin their much anticipated, painstakingly planned with a great deal of pomp and circumstance. Both sides have been holding dress rehearsals and the main meeting room in the Peace House has been redesigned specifically for the summit.

VAUSE: CNN's Paula Hancocks joins us now from not far from the DMZ. And Paula, the stakes seem incredibly high. And many analysts believe the summit could either set the scene to end the Korean War, but if it goes badly, it could create conditions for a new one. PAULA HANCOCKS, CNN, CORRESPONDENT: That's right, John. I spoke to

an official close to President Moon Jae-In, and he said that the President feels like he does have the world's pressure on his shoulders. He is well aware of just how significant this is. And of course, the key from the South Korean side is that within this meeting they want to make sure that they nail down exactly what denuclearization is.

The U.S. and South Korea want complete verifiable, irreversible denuclearization. But I have yet to meet an expert on North Korea who believes that Kim Jong-Un is actually going to give up his nuclear weapons completely. So there are many lessons learned from previous summits, in 2000 and 2007.


HANCOCKS: It was a powerful image, the leader of two countries that tore each other apart 50 years earlier embracing and smiling. The 2000 summit between North Korea's Kim Jong-Il and South Korea's Kim Dae-jung made history. But Kim Dae-jung's son said it was a massive gamble for South Korea.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Unlike other summits, he says, where you work out the agenda in advance, there were no pre-talks. The north said just come, everything will be fine. My father said Kim Jong-Il did not want to concede anything. He had to really convince him, even joking, saying I'm much older than you and I came all the way to Pyongyang. If I return empty-handed I will lose face.

HANCOCKS: The summit ended with a June 15 declaration signed by both leaders, pushing for humanitarian and economic cooperation. A visit later that year by the then Secretary of State Madeleine Albright intended to lay the groundwork for a visit by U.S. President Bill Clinton, which never came.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: If Clinton had a little more time, if he had visited North Korea, Kim says, it would have had a huge impact on peace in this region. My father really regretted it never happened. One lesson learned, President Moon Jae-In is starting early, meeting Kim Jong-Un within the first year of his Presidency.

His goal, his office says, is to complete the whole denuclearized process within his five-year term. Two thousand and seven, the second in the Korean summit, this time Kim Jong-Il met (Inaudible), President Rowe, walking across the border, another historic first. A further agreement signed with Kim Jong-Il pledging towards to work towards a permanent peace. One top diplomat, who met Kim Jong-Il before the second summit, says that his son, Kim Jong-Un is in a far stronger position, having developed his nuclear and missile programs, and that feeling of security could help.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The inter-Korean summit meeting would be a historic and turning point that led the two Koreas from hatred and confrontation to reconciliation and cooperation.

HANCOCKS: One source of optimism for supporters of the first two summits is U.S. President Donald Trump, agreeing to meet Kim Jong-Un, ensuring some kind of momentum, but some more conservative elements question whether the lesson to be learned is if you can trust North Korea.


HANCOCKS: So John and Isha, we now have the schedule of what to expect on Friday morning local time, 9:30 a.m., which is Thursday, 8:30 p.m. Eastern. We are expecting Kim Jong-Un to come up to the MDL, the Military Demarcation Line within the DMZ and meet President Moon Jae-In. He'll then step over from the North Korean side of the NDL to the South Korean side, the first time that a North Korean leader will ever have done that.

[02:05:00] They will then be welcomed by South Korean traditional guards taken from the navy, the army, and the air force. And then they will go to an official welcoming ceremony. They'll then go inside the Peace House. Kim Jong-Un will find the guest book. They'll have a reception. But then the hard work starts, the actual summit will start around 10:30 in the morning. Now we understand they will have separate lunches, but then in the afternoon they'll actually plant a tree from 1953, which is the year the Korean War ended.

And we're being told there's a huge amount of symbolism surrounding this act. There will be soil used from North Korea and from South Korea. The water to water this tree will be from North Korea and South Korean rivers. But then the hard work starts. Again, continuation of the summit, and at the end of it hopefully a closing statement or some kind of agreement, possibly an announcement that we're being told, it really demands o what the leaders feel like at that time, John and Isha.

VAUSE: And Paula, you know when it comes to the symbolism and the details it seems Seoul is pulling out all the stops here. You know blue carpet has been laid out in the Peace House to symbolize the peninsula's streams and mountains. It's a sign of a new beginning as well. There's an oval table, which has replaced a rectangular one. The oval shape, they hope will encourage candid talks.

Just how exactly, I don't know. At the same time though, Tokyo is unhappy with all of this, lodging an official protest over the mango mousse desert which will be served at the official dinner.

HANCOCKS: That's right. You just can't make this up, John. But the thing about the desert is that it has the Korean peninsula, the shape of the Korean peninsula on it. And South Korea has added the disputed territory, Dokdo, which they say is South Korean, the Japanese say it's Japanese, so they're not happy.

VAUSE: Right. So the mango mousse itself, it's a map which the Japanese aren't happy with. Paula, thank you.

HANCOCKS: That's right.

SESAY: It's going to be a fascinating couple of hours. Well, one year after U.S. President Donald Trump suggested progress and talks on the Iran nuclear deal, the French President said he thinks Mr. Trump is inclined to pull out of the agreement. In a speech before Congress, Emmanuel Macron challenged Mr. Trump's positions on a number of key issues, including the Iran deal, globalism, and climate change.


EMMANUEL MACRON, FRENCH PRESIDENT: There is an existing framework called the JCPOA to control the nuclear activity of Iran. We signed it at the initiative of the United States. We signed it, both the United States and France. That is why we cannot say we should get rid of it. Closing the door to the world will not stop the evolution of the world. It will not douse the flame, the fears of our citizens. We have to keep our eyes wide open to the new risks right in front of us.


SESAY: CNN European Affairs Commentator Dominic Thomas, Dominic, good to see you. So we saw the hugs, the air kisses, the hand holding, and lots and lots of compliments during Macron's visit to Washington. So much so people were beginning to call him the Trump whisperer. But as you hear his comments there at the end, saying he expects President Trump to pull out of the Iran deal, it is a reminder that no one can control Donald Trump.

DOMINIC THOMAS, CNN, EUROPEAN AFFAIRS COMMENTATOR: Right. I think you are absolutely right, Isha. That you know as we sort of look back over this visit and try to sort of ascertain what was really gained out of it, a lot remains absolutely open to question. Throughout the whole meeting, though, the interesting thing I think is that this constant reference to the historical relationship between France and the United States.

And President Macron was even careful to thank the invitation of France, for its official state visit. Not so much Emmanuel Macron, that history will take place. There is a past. There will be a future that will not involve these two individuals. And one has to wonder whether or not this sort persistent reminder to President Trump of the importance of this historical relationship and their own chemistry and friendship could serve as a metaphor.

And one could just only hope that out of this, President Trump gets to think a little bit more about whom his allies are and to whom his loyalties lie in this greater global context. And if Emmanuel Macron was able to move him along even a little bit in that direction. That could be a positive thing.

SESAY: Yeah, it could be. We're still trying to figure out what he gained. We're looking to that speech that he gave before Congress. And there were some striking moments. Take a listen to what he said to say when it came to the Paris Climate Accord and basically the state of the planet.


[02:09:59] MACRON: We are killing our planet. Let us face it. There is no Planet B. Let us work together in order to make our planet great again, and create new jobs and new opportunities, (Inaudible) our Earth.


SESAY: You know people have said, you know, we went from the back slapping of like the first two days, if you will, to what some are saying this was a back stabbing on Capitol Hill. I mean as we try and ascertain what Macron gained, did he certainly grow in stature, the fact that he as a diplomat, a politician, the fact that he would go to Congress and make such pointed jabs, if you will at President Trump?

THOMAS: Right. I mean the thing is with Emmanuel Macron, whether one likes him or embraces his policies, essentially he has remained constant, which is not something one can ascribe to President Trump. He is clearly in favor of liberal democratic values and all the things that he spoke about, from his dislike of strong leadership, strong leaders were quite clear. It's also important to look at the refrain that he had in there, when he kept saying I believe, I believe.

It's not just belief in the sense of -- it's a conviction here, and linking science and climate and so on was absolutely extraordinary. So to that regard, one felt like when we're listening to a leader, that we're sort of diametrically opposed to President Trump. And to that extent, the visit is about building a transatlantic a time when these -- when there's some tension there around the U.K. and so on and so forth.

And for Emmanuel Macron it's a chance to further consolidate this kind of global position that he's embraced. And what was extraordinary at this moment is when he's speaking there about climate change and so on, is that both the Vice President and the Speaker of the House are applauding him. And one has to sort of wonder how Donald Trump tomorrow and in the days to come is going to react. Usually on Twitter, he makes vicious attacks against people that disagree with him.

But as you just mentioned, for the past two days he's been hugging and kissing the President of France and praising him. So one has to wonder how he will respond to that and where this will take us.

SESAY: Yeah. We're very fascinated to see how he responds. We're almost out of time, but as we talk about being diametrically opposed. Angela Merkel is on her way, the German Chancellor to Washington. She will be meeting with President Trump on Friday. We're not expecting the same kind of hand holding and kissing are we?

THOMAS: No, we're not. And actually just to be very quick on that, that's also problematic, right, to the extent that you know we've seen these great relationships between you know Margaret Thatcher, Ronald Reagan, Bill Clinton, and George W. Bush and Blair in the U.K. But this kind of behavior, this sort of hyper-masculine behavior between the two Presidents is one could say slightly questionable and problematic, because it would be absolutely impossible for Angela Merkel to engage in that. But if there is anything that Angela Merkel can drive home here or

follow up on after the meeting with Emmanuel Macron, it's on the question of trade. And that was something that one could see President Trump sort of being -- talking a bit and a bit more flexibility about this question of trades, tariffs, and restrictions on the European Union and France. And it maybe that's something positive that could come out of that is if the American President can back down on some of those threats.

SESAY: Yeah. We'll see what happens. And certainly, I won't be disappointed to see so much kissing and hugging. We've had enough for the week. Dominic Thomas, we appreciate it. Thank you.

VAUSE: U.S. officials have told CNN some of the Russian diplomats expelled last month may have been spying on Russian defectors and their families who resettled in the United States.

SESAY: The fighting between the U.S. and Russia goes back decades. And new comments from fired FBI Director James Comey, a stoking theory is the Kremlin could have something on President Trump. Brian Todd reports.


BRIAN TODD, CNN, CORRESPONDENT: James Comey is continuing his media rounds, the fired FBI Director keeping afloat the possibility that Vladimir Putin has so-called kompromat on President Trump, the Russian phrase for compromising information.

JAMES COMEY, FBI, FORMER DIRECTOR: Honestly, I never though these words would come out of my mouth. But I don't know whether the current President of the United States watched prostitutes peeing on each other in Moscow in 2013. It's possible, but I don't know.

TODD: Just after that interview aired, the Trump administration held back on sanctioning Russia. It's Ambassador to the U.N. Nikki Haley first stating that sanctions would be leveled.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You will see that Russian sanctions will be coming down.

TODD: Then the next day, the White House said no new sanctions. The Trump team said sanctions might come later, but the move still led to some head scratching.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We're trying to understand why does Trump treat Putin so gently? He's got all these derogatory nicknames for everybody else, but why is he so gentle on Putin? And this is one of the things we've come up with. Putin must have something on him.

[02:15:09] TODD: Both Trump and Putin deny that there is any Russian kompromat on Trump. A key question now if he has damaging information, what would push Vladimir Putin to use it against the President?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: If Putin were to come to the conclusion that we are intent on actually overthrowing his government, his regime, destabilizing Russia. In other words, if he's in an extreme position and is going to employ all means necessary to fight back, that might be a situation where he were to do that.

THOMAS: Kompromat has long been used by the KGB. In the 1950s, the Soviet Spy Agency had pictures of a British diplomat in Moscow John Vassall, engaging in homosexual activity at a time when that was illegal in Britain. The KGB used those pictures to get Vassall to spy for them.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: If they have something on you and you don't want it out there in the public, then they can try to get you to do things for them, that you might not otherwise do. And of course, Putin is former KGB agent.

THOMAS: But intelligence veterans say it would also be advantageous for Putin not to use his kompromat on Trump, to leave it hanging over the President's head.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Information like that is most effective when it's not actually divulged, when you don't actually employ it. The threat of using it is the leverage that you have over the individual that you're trying to blackmail.

THOMAS: It's also possible that Trump could have kompromat on Putin. Analysts say the U.S government might have some sensitive information on how Putin has accumulated some of his of questionable wealth and where he stashed some of it, information that could be damaging to Putin if it was revealed publicly. And they say Putin might have that hanging over his head. Brian Todd, CNN, Washington.


SESAY: Well, new revelations could sink Donald Trump's latest cabinet nominee, just ahead Dr. Ronny Jackson responds to the allegations that he once crashed a government car while he was drunk.


VAUSE: The nomination of Dr. Ronny Jackson to lead the U.S. Department of Veteran's Affairs seems to be flat lining. White House officials say they're preparing for the possibility Jackson could withdraw.

SESAY: He faces a growing list of allegations, including handing out prescription drugs to staffers like candy, and wrecking a government vehicle while drunk. Jackson denies the car accident.

VAUSE: Joining us now is CNN Political Commentator and Democratic Strategist Dave Jacobson and Republican Consultant John Thomas. OK, so just a few hours before the allegations emerged that Dr. Jackson smashed that government car while intoxicated, White House Press Secretary Sara Sanders said this about the President's choice to lead the Veterans Affairs Department.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) [02:19:56] SARA SANDERS, WHITE HOUSE, PRESS SECRETARY: Dr. Jackson's record as a White House Physician has been impeccable. He has an incredibly strong background. He's a highly qualified, highly skilled individual. And if he didn't think he was capable of doing the job, he wouldn't have announced his nomination in the first place.


VAUSE: Here's a little more from that the New York Times report, which had the details about the car being smashed, reporting that Jackson provided such a large supply of Percocet, a prescription opioid to a White House military office staff member that he threw his medical staff into a panic when he could not account for the missing drugs, according to a summary of questionable deeds compiled by the Democratic staff of the Senate Veteran Affairs Committee, John, an impeccable record according to Sarah Sanders.

JOHN THOMAS, REPUBLICAN CONSULTANT: Look, I just don't think he's going to have the votes. It looks like they're not there. Republicans are backing off from this guy. He's not going to get confirmed. So the President is backing his man. He personally likes him, but if you don't have the votes to get confirmed you can't get confirmed.

VAUSE: David, if this was any other administration, any other nominee who faced these many scandals, he would have gone -- you know by the time -- you know when he was handing out the Ambien on the plane. We wouldn't have reached this point, right?

DAVE JACOBSON, CNN, POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Absolutely. I mean this is one of the most reckless administrations and cabinet that we've ever seen. Tom Price who had to resign in disgrace, you've got corrupt Scott Pruitt, the EPA administrator, you've got the Attorney General who had to recuse himself just weeks after being sworn in as A.G., and now you have this. You have a doctor who recklessly hands out prescription drugs, who drives drunk and wrecks a car, which the Secret Service has to calm down because he's knocking on doors in the middle of the night potentially waking up the President of the United States. Totally unacceptable, the guy is highly unqualified and unfit for this job.

THOMAS: OK. Look. That might be the case for this job, but remember, folks like David Axelrod and others have come to his defense, praising how good of a doctor he was priority to prior Presidents. So he had a good reputation prior to this going through this process.

JACOBSON: I don't think this should be a partisan issue. If those issues came forward, President Obama should have kicked him to the curb. Like he should not be serving in the White House, let alone overseeing one of the most vast and broad federal bureaucracies in the country, one of which is responsible for providing care for people who risked their lives for this country.

THOMAS: And I would assume Barack Obama didn't know it at the time or he would have fired him. And I am sure Donald Trump didn't know it at the time.

VAUSE: There's a big difference between being the White House doctor, which is obviously a very important job, but also leading you know the Department of Veteran's Affairs. I mean these are two different skill sets, two different backgrounds...


THOMAS: And that's why the vetting is so much more in-depth. Although handing out pills like candy is a pretty serious accusation, too.

VAUSE: OK. Even after these allegations were made public, the latest ones, the New York Times. The White House is still backing the candy man.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is, as the President said, Dr. Jackson's decision. We stand behind him 100 percent, depending on what he decides to do. We think that he'll make a great Secretary of Veterans Affairs, but this is nasty process right now.


VAUSE: This is not a nasty process. This is the process. If it's a nasty process, it's a nasty process because the White House blew it.

THOMAS: Well, it's also the confirmation process for every Trump nominee.

VAUSE: This is especially brutal because the White House blew it.

THOMAS: They didn't thoroughly vet him, and they should have, and not put him through this scrutiny. But, yeah, it is a nasty process. I think that spokesman just left the door open for him to decide to pull himself out and withdraw his nomination.

JACOBSON: I think this is Donald Trump playing fast and loose with this kind of stuff. He shot himself in the foot. He didn't listen to any advisers. There was no vetting process. Donald Trump just snapped his fingers and chose the guy.

VAUSE: OK. Continuing on with only the best people employed by the President, his personal lawyer Michael Cohen will invoke the Fifth Amendment right in the lawsuit filed against Donald Trump by the adult film star Stormy Daniels. Here's the relevant line from anyone who doesn't know what this is, it's from the U.S. Constitution. No person shall be compelled in a criminal case to be a witness against himself. And we all know what it means when someone takes the fifth.


DONALD TRUMP, UNITED STATES PRESIDENT: Have you seen what's going on in front of Congress? Fifth Amendment, Fifth Amendment, Fifth Amendment, horrible, horrible. The mob takes the fifth. If you're innocent, why are you taking the Fifth Amendment? When you have your staff taking Fifth Amendment, taking the fifth so they're not prosecuted, I think it's disgraceful.


VAUSE: John, if you're innocent, why do you take the fifth? Those are ominous words right now.

THOMAS: Yeah, the fifth seems like his only way to play this because he's in a conflict. He's being investigated by potentially Mueller and the state of New York and that he's involved in this civil suit, which in the scheme of things looks like a nothing. So why would he comply in the civil suit in L.A. when he's got much bigger fish to fry?

And by the way, people are talking about how Cohen's going to flip on Trump. It looks like it's harder for Cohen, whether he likes it or not to actually flip, that there are ethical boundaries that even prosecutors may not want Cohen to cross. So it might be harder than you think to just spill it.

[02:25:14] VAUSE: I gets it. That's interesting because we had Michael Avenatti, the attorney for Stormy Daniels. He tweeted this. This is a stunning development. Never before in our nation's history has the attorney for the sitting President's invoke the Fifth Amendment in connection with issues surrounding the President. This is especially stunning seeing Michael Cohen served as the fixer for Mr. Trump for over 10 years has taken (Inaudible).

Dave, on that point about being the President's fixer, this raises a lot of questions about what Cohen knows about where all the bodies are buried, you know, not just during the campaign and the administration, but for years and years and years of business dealings before that.

JACOBSON: Yeah. And this adds further credence to a judge approving the raid, right? It is a very big deal for the FBI to investigate and to raid an attorney's office with the whole client-attorney privilege dynamic. And so I think that's significant, and the fact that Michael Cohen took the fifth is noteworthy. And I think this also -- going back to the issue of whether he's going to flip, I think the big issue is not -- whether or not Donald Trump could potentially pardon him at the federal level, is can he charged at the state level, and can Donald Trump potentially impact that with a pardon.

Because if he can't, I think that's going to increase the likelihood that Michael Cohen could flip.

VAUSE: (Inaudible) New York State law because they had this situation where they can't be charged after the Presidential pardon, which they're trying to change. OK, we'll finish up here with the former FBI Director James Comey. He took part in a CNN Town Hall. He was asked about the President's accusations that Comey had leaked classified information. This is what he said.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) COMEY: I think he's just making stuff up. The memos are actually two pieces and the details matter because the facts matter and should matter even to the President. I sent one memo unclassified then, still unclassified, and it's recounted in my book to my friend Dan Richmond and asked him to get the substance of it but not the memo out to the media. After I was fired, I put together a legal team of three people, one of whom was Professor Dan Richmond at Columbia University.

After I had asked him to give this information to the media, I separately gave my legal team four memos, which were unclassified. They included the one that he had gotten to give the substance of it to the New York Times. The bottom line is I see no credible claim by any serious person that that violated the law.


VAUSE: Details matter, facts matter. Boy, this is a contrast. John, seems like Comey went to incredible lengths here to make sure that he did not break the law.

THOMAS: Yeah. It seems like he crossed his tees on this one. But my head just hurt in that explanation. All I heard was he leaked information, whether he made sure he walked right up to that line and made sure that it was legal in how he did it. He still leaked information. The President will blur the lines. He doesn't -- you're leaking government information, whether it's classified, unclassified, I don't think Trump cares.

VAUSE: Dave, very quickly, it's not illegal to leak information. People leak information all the time.



JACOBSON: But he said that he had not leaked information to Congress, and that's I think the (Inaudible).

THOMAS: I think Jim Comey is an extraordinarily polarizing person who got Republicans and Democrats hating on you and you're the former FBI Director. It's probably a good thing. It probably means that you're a law enforcement of integrity, you're not partisan, and you're not someone who picks one side over the other. And Trump's folks obviously have reason to have animosity with him as do the Clinton folks. But I think at the end of the day, it's good that these facts are coming out.

VAUSE: It is also -- it seems to me that he is big meticulous about everything that he's doing so that he can put it all out there, (Inaudible).


VAUSE: OK, so we'll see what happens with Comey. David, John, as always, good to see you.


THOMAS: Thanks.

VAUSE: Thank you.

SESAY: Quick break. The highest U.S. court may give President Trump a major win as his controversial travel ban faces its biggest challenge.

VAUSE: Plus, a Canadian businessman finds the secret to happiness by helping others, in particular Syrian refugees hoping for a new life.


[02:31:37] JOHN VAUSE, CNN INTERNATIONAL ANCHOR: Welcome back everybody. You're watching CNN NEWSROOM live from Los Angeles. I'm John Vause.

ISHA SESAY, CNN INTERNATIONAL ANCHOR: And I'm Isha Sesay. The headlines this hour. Less than 24 hours from now, Kim Jong-un will make history. He'll walk across the military -- the demarcation line into South Korea becoming the first North Korea leader to do so. Kim will meet -- well, will be meet by the Moon Jae-in and the leaders will sit down for an unprecedented summit.

VAUSE: French President Emmanuel Macron believes he made some progress in changing Donald Trump's thinking when it comes to the Iran agreement, but apparently not enough. He believes the president will still scrap that agreement. The key goal of Mr. Macron's visit to Washington was to convince Mr. Trump to keep it.

SESAY: Facebook has some of the business world. The social media giant posted a record first quarter $12 billion crushing expectations. Apparently, there was no financial fallout from its data breach scandal.

VAUSE: At least not yet.

SESAY: Not yet. But it is remarkable (INAUDIBLE) a lot of cash. Well, U.S. President Trump may score a big win on his controversial travel ban at America's highest court. Supreme Justices and swing vote justice as the Kennedy signaled support for the president's case during the oral arguments.

VAUSE: Now, the ban restricts visitors from five Muslim majority countries plus North Korea and Venezuela. Jessica Schneider has more now from Washington.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: No hate, no fear. Refugees are welcome here.

JESSICA SCHNEIDER, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: President Trump's travel ban is finally being judged by the nine justices on the nation's highest court after nearly a year and a half of different versions winding their way through the lower courts. In the initial chaos, the justices are considering whether the president has the authority to issue that travel ban. Arguments opened with questions and hypotheticals about how much the president's words matter.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Let's say in some future time a president gets elected to his a vehement anti-Semite. What emerges is a proclamation that says no one shall enter from Israel. This is a out of the box kind of president in my hypothetical and --

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We don't have those, your honor.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: And he -- yes. He thinks that there are good diplomatic reasons and there might, who knows what the future holds.

SCHNEIDER: Solicitor General Noel Francisco argued the president's comments on the campaign trail.

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Donald J. Trump is calling for a total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States.

SCHNEIDER: It should be dismissed since they came from a private citizen and that while the president lashed out when his first two bans were struck down by lower courts.

TRUMP: We're going to fight this terrible ruling.

SCHNEIDER: Francisco said the president never intended this latest ban to be a Muslim ban.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He made a crystal clear that Muslims in this country are great Americans and there are many, many Muslim countries who love this country and he has praise Islam.

SCHNEIDER: That it's crystal clear is still a question. The president only tweeted this following his third and final ban in September. We will not admit those into our country we cannot safely vet. The government argued the current travel ban underwent a lengthy security review and that the president has the authority to implement immigration restrictions to safeguard national security. And while Justice Kennedy early in the argument probed the president's words, in the end, he also acknowledged protecting the country is well within the president's purview.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Statue says -- the 1182 for such period as he deems necessary and he can have continuing supervision over whether it's still necessary.


[02:35:08] VAUSE: It's the tone and substance out of the questions from the nine justices as any indication then the court appears to be divided along ideological lines. Five conservative judges leaning towards the president's right to impose a travel ban, four liberal judges opposed. That said reading tea leaves from oral arguments can also be a fool's errand. A ruling in Trump versus Hawaii as he stated towards the end of June, in the meantime, to help read some tea leaves, the Lieutenant Governor of the Aloha State Doug Chin joins us now from Washington. Congratulations, Lieutenant Governor. Last time we spoke you were the attorney general.


VAUSE: OK. So you --


VAUSE: Well, we're talking to you now because in Washington because you were there for this legal hearing today before the Supreme Court.

CHIN: Yes.

VAUSE: Oral argument is one factor here, but there's also the fact the Supreme Court tends to lean more favorably towards the executive way compared to rulings from lower courts, and then there's the five justice conservative majority. Put it all together the safe assumption seems to be this is looking good for the president and his travel ban, maybe not so good for Hawaii.

CHIN: There's never been any question that U.S. Supreme Court and actually federal courts in general pay a lot of difference to a president under normal circumstances. Our oral argument from the very beginning has been that what has occurred in this case has been so extraordinary that it really has flouted constitutional norms as well as the laws that were put in place by Congress. And so, we believe that even though there obviously were some questions that came from the justices that indicated that they were going to be split. I don't know if -- I'd be so quick to throw in the towel on this one. I think that there were some good questions that were being asked on both sides.

VAUSE: OK. What seemed almost beyond belief, though, was the government's version of the process and the circumstances leading up to the president's executive order which implemented that travel ban keeping in mind this was the government's third attempt. Listen to this.


NOEL FRANCISCO, SOLICITOR GENERAL OF THE UNITED STATES: After a worldwide multiagency review, the president's acting homeland security secretary recommended that he adopt entry restrictions on countries that failed to provide the minimum baseline of information needed to vet their nationals. The proclamation adopts those recommendations.


VAUSE: You know, it seems also deliberate, so measured, so reasonable, so rational almost as if Donald Trump were sort of sitting back waiting for this advice to come to him. It just doesn't match reality.

CHIN: Right. That's correct. I mean that's a lot of lawyer's words to what essentially amounts to a report that actually Justice Sotomayor and Justice Ginsburg pointed out is a report that we've never seen. It has never been available to any of the courts or to any of the parties that have asked for it. And so, essentially, what we do have instead is we have statements from people like Rudy Giuliani and the president's surrogates that it said that the president had said to them, I want a Muslim ban, find a way for me to do that. And that was actually something that was brought up during the arguments to point out really what was going on behind this executive order.

VAUSE: You mentioned, you know, the sort of o the tone and the rhetoric of what was said by the president and those around him during the campaign and then after the campaign. But, you know, during the campaign, the lower courts believed that the rhetoric used by the president, his anti-Muslim comments, and his tweets during that election campaign, it was relevant, it was to be considered in their rulings against the travel ban. Right now, though, it seems the Supreme Court is heading in a different direction.

CHIN: Well, the Hawaii Federal District Court Judge Derek Watson had actually written these very brave words where he said the court is not going to crawl into a corner, pull the shutters clothes, and pretend that it's not seen what it has seen. And here what we have is we have several justices on the U.S. Supreme Court that seemed to be ready to pay a lot difference or to give a high benefit of the doubt to the president and what has occurred since then. I really hope that's not the case. We shouldn't forget and I don't think many people in the American public or people in the world will forget the very stunning things that the president has said, as you mentioned, not just before he became president but even after it. Even after the third travel ban was put in place he was tweeting anti-Islamic videos that were false. So I think there's a lot of evidence out there that cuts against that kind of thinking.

VAUSE: The reality is, though, these five conservative judges, there's four liberal judges. There's hope that maybe, you know, there will be a swing judge out there who sides with, you know, the liberal judges, you know, as far as those who oppose the travel ban.

[02:40:05] I guess the reality is that, you know, it does appear to be an uphill battle for those opposed to the travel ban right now. So if Hawaii loses this court challenge, you know, the Supreme Court now, what comes next?

CHIN: Well, and before we start thinking about what comes next, I just want to point out that just last week Justice Gorsuch actually very surprisingly went against all predictions and went with a liberal judges on deportations case. So we'll actually see what happens. If Hawaii loses this case, well, then that's the U.S. Supreme Court that's speaking about something like that. And I think then we should be very concerned about what next steps the president might take. And then I think we also might need to rely upon the other checks and balances that exist within the U.S. government which is Congress. And I think that there are steps that Congress could be able to take to really make it explicitly clear what they expect should be in our immigration laws. Our constitution says it's Congress that has the prerogative to decide who gets entry and who does not get entry into the United States.

VAUSE: Lieutenant Governor, great to see you. Thanks for being with us.

Chin: Thank you.

SESAY: Important conversation there.

VAUSE: Yes. It was always good to speak with Douglas Chin. He has some very interesting perspective. Very calm and explains it very well.

SESAY: Great voice.


SESAY: And still ahead, the U.N. investigators in Syria gather more evidence of a possible chemical attack in the rebel enclave of Douma.


SESAY: Well, after 40 years, 12 killings, and dozens of rapes that spread fear across much of it Western United States, police say the Golden State Killer is behind bars.

VAUSE: And the suspect is Joseph James DeAngelo, 72 years old, and a former cop. His crime spree started in the '70s. Police believe the man known as the Golden State Killer is also the East Area Rapist and the Original Night Stalker. He was taken into custody at his home near Sacramento in California.

SESAY: Very disturbing indeed. A Danish inventor has been sentenced to life in prison for the murder and mutilation of Swedish journalist Kim Wall. Peter Madsen has denied killing Wall claiming her death was an accident, but he admitted to dismembering her body and disposing of it.

VAUSE: Wall was last seen in August on a submarine Madsen had built to plan an interview him for his story she was working on. Madsen is appealing the verdict to Denmark's high court. And in India, a court has sentenced spiritual guru Asaram Bapu to life in prison for raping a 16-year-old girl. He was guilty of sexually assaulting the teen at his ashram five years ago.

SESAY: CNN's Nikhil Kumar has more on the court's decision and its impact.

NIKHIL KUMAR, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: A special court in the Northwest India City of Jodhpur handed down this verdict under a heavy blanket of security. Authorities here left nothing to chance, effectively sealing the city amid fears of protests by Asaram's followers. In fact, the entire courtroom was moved inside a high security prison to ensure that nothing disrupted the proceedings. Though his lawyers now plan to appeal the verdict. The judgment marks a startling fall from grace for Asaram. Before this case, the 77 year old, an influential guru to millions of followers both within India and beyond. He had scores of ashrams or spiritual retreats in his name. And he had lots of political friends, among them, the current Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

VAUSE: Our thanks there to CNN's Nikhil Kumar, and a spokesman for Asaram says, "That challenge on the verdict will go to India's high court."

ISHA SESAY: Well, chemical weapons experts have gathered samples from a second location at the site of the suspected chemical attack in Douma, Syria. U.K. official say some 75 people would kill in the attacked on the rebel stronghold. And U.S. official say, they believe chlorine and sarin gas were used. But both Syria and its most powerful ally, Russia, deny involvement and claim an attack was staged.

Meanwhile, the U.N. reports international donors, and Brussels have promised almost $4.5 billion dollars to help victims of the fighting. But that several billion short of its target.

The power of one. A Canadian businessman has brought 61 families, more than 200 people from war-ravaged Syria's on terror. Jim Estill is helping them start over. He just spent more than $1 million dollars of his own money to resettle them in and around the town of Guelph, which is about 100 kilometers from Toronto. He sees that they learn English, find work, and so much more. Jim joins me now from Phoenix, Arizona. Jim, it is so great to have you with us.


SESAY: You have seen a lot of global conflicts play out in your lifetime. So what was it about the situation in Syria that may you feel compelled to take action?

ESTILL: I actually believe Syria is probably the greatest humanitarian crisis in my lifetime in the world, or at least, I hope it is. And I was just trying to do my small part, and there's nothing special about Syria, it just happened to be a place where there is a humanitarian crisis happening, and I thought I could contribute something.

SESAY: You had the idea of contributing something of trying to help. It's one thing to have an idea. It's another thing to take the steps to make it a reality. Talk to me about the level of difficulty involved in terms of the process to bring all of these families out of Syria.

ESTILL: So, I approached it like a business. So, I have a director of housing, a director of food, a director of jobs, a director of mentorship, every family is assigned an Arabic speaking mentor family and English speaking mentor family. The mentors have checklist of -- you know, set off a bank account, get a health card, get a doctor, go to the library, get a library card, get a bus pass, ride the bus.

SESAY: Wow. ESTILL: And score carding. So, if we approached it like a business, and although, everyone gives me the credit for it, I have the 800 volunteers. So, it's more like running a business. Like what I do with Danby Appliance, I don't actually do anything, I have people to do everything.

SESAY: Not quite true, but I take your general point that it is a team effort. I know that you just had three more families arrive in April, I think, April 16th. Talk to me about what that first experience of meeting them is alike? What goes through your mind? How do they -- how do they respond when they finally land there in Canada?

ESTILL: Well, of course, it's a grueling experience to get here. So, that particular family had been waiting for over a year to get through all of the government red tape and the background checks and the health checks. And then, they had -- they were traveling for more than 24 hours straight by the time you took their layovers. So, they arrive extremely tired.

We were waiting at the airport for over four hours before they got processed by the customs and immigration so that we could take them back to Guelph. And we had four cars because it was -- you know, you've got seven people with luggage. And we arranged to have some of the volunteers set up their home, their temporary home, and arrange a dinner for them, so when they go out there they had something to eat. With a lot left over so their fridge is full, and then, we let them get their sleep that night.

SESAY: And it's just so amazing. How do you decide, though, Jim, who gets to leave Syria and start that new life?

ESTILL: Oh, that is the worst part because I've been approached by more than a thousand, probably close to 10,000 people that want to be brought to Canada. And people think I can wave a magic wand and do it, and it's not that simple. So, generally speaking, I've supported families that I thought had a chance of being self-supporting, and that means working and supporting themselves. Many of them had some family in Canada, so I'm supporting people -- bringing in people who had some connection to Canada already. And I think that gives us a higher chance of them doing well in Canada.

[02:50:13] SESAY: Yes. I mean, I know that -- you know, here in the United States, there have been some communities in the past that expressed some resistance opposition to having Syrian refugees relocated to those areas. I mean talk to me about Guelph, you know, a city of about 120,000 people, how welcome are they made to feel these people have come from such a long way away and have been through so much?

ESTILL: Well, Guelph, it's extremely multicultural to start with. It's a university town and you be watching the town as already for a multicultural. So, Guelph has been very, very supporting. I will say to answer that comment that every wave of immigrants and refugees tend not to be welcome. So Canada and the United States did not welcome the Italians. We didn't welcome the Irish, we didn't want the Catholics, we didn't want the Jews, we didn't want -- and then, within a decade or two, that wave of refugees is accepted.

In Guelph, the largest company is -- was started by a Hungarian refugee, and it has over 10,000 employees. And he was a refugee, and when he first arrived, you know, he lived in the train station for a couple of weeks while he got his -- and interestingly, enough he actually worked at my company, Danby Appliances.

SESAY: How as it way?

ESTILL: Yes. So it's a small -- it's a small world in that regard.

SESAY: Now, it certainly is. I mean, you know, Jim, people are going to watch this conversation and they're going to be saying to themselves, "Wow, that's amazing, he did that. He took the idea, he made it a reality, but I could never do that. I could never make a difference like that." What do you say to those people who sit on the edge of wanting to get involved?

ESTILL: Well, I think that you contribute what you can according to your means, according to your times. And that could be everything from simply being accepting and open through to donating money, through to being on a volunteer team, through to helping. And that is very helpful if people simply are open and helping. And I believe a few decades from now, the refugees will be -- you'll see the success that they bring. And everyone in North America, except for the people are -- you know, they're immigrants. And it's only very recently in our history that any -- you know, people like me have been here.

SESAY: Yes, no doubt. Last question to you, you talk about the future, and you know your expectation that these families will do well, and all these immigrants being -- you know, being accepted in Syria -- from Syria. What about you? I mean, talk to me about you and the impact this is had on you and how it has changed you for the future.

ESTILL: So, I was always very philanthropic, and Danby Appliances tagline is, do the right thing. And this one just happened to get more press than some of the other initiatives that we have.

However, I did discover the secret of happiness through this venture. And I believe the secret to happiness is being grateful for what you have, not ungrateful for what you've lost or ungrateful for what other people have. And I see the people who have come and have lost everything. And the ones that are happier, the ones that are grateful, and the ones who are bitter are the ones who are ungrateful for what they've lost or ungrateful for what others have. And I think that applies to all of us.

SESAY: I think those are very, very wise words to end this conversation on that we should all contemplate. Jim Estill, thank you for all that you do in the world and thank you for making time to speak to us.

ESTILL: Thanks, Isha.

VAUSE: Yes, and the risk of embarrassing you, you walk the walk and talk the talk as well. You have your charity in Africa which helps girls out, which is you know incredible.

SESAY: Thank you.

VAUSE: And you need to go and do what they can do. Some do a lot, some do what they can then the world would be better.

SESAY: Just do what you can.

VAUSE: Yes, so if you like good for you, feel like home of --

SESAY: Thank you.

VAUSE: You make me want to try a little harder. OK, we'll be back right after this.


[02:55:45] SESAY: Well, we are still waiting to find out the name of Britain's new royal baby. Catherine the Duchess of Cambridge, give birth to the little prince on Monday.

VAUSE: OK. Now, we should have found out on Wednesday, because we found out George's name on few days after he was born. Same for the Charlotte, so, it was a little late and the reason for that is because Anzac Day is on Wednesday, which is the Australia's and New Zealand's commemoration. And so, (INAUDIBLE) of that.

So, OK, everyone is making on a couple of names here, but apparently, William was overheard saying that he fancies the name Alexander. So, naturally, that's going to the top of the list.

SESAY: Oh, well, I had no idea. Well, and that name will go on top of the list of the other babies --

VAUSE: Yes, everywhere.

SESAY: Because they set -- they set the trend.

VAUSE: And then, it would be Alexander, and then, you're stuck with a name you probably want.

SESAY: I still say, Lenny. We're sick with Lenny, it's been two days in counting that's my choice and I'm sticking with it.

VAUSE: Prince Cyril.

SESAY: Prince Cyril. OK, penguins are so cute but I bet you've never seen them look quite like this.

VAUSE: Then let's have it.

SESAY: Scientist of the Britain top survey --

VAUSE: So, I'll have this --

SESAY: Strapped the camera onto the back -- they strapped a camera onto the back of one of the (INAUDIBLE), which immediately took off on a wild bobbing fishing hunt.

VAUSE: And it was also on a World Penguins Day. Yes, there is such thing, it happened on Wednesday. There are 17 different species of penguins, they all live in the Southern Hemisphere. No word on this penguin if he actually managed to get anything to eat.

You know what the first penguin is? That is -- you never knew are you the first penguin, because the first penguin is the penguin that jumps into the ocean first thing in the morning and gets eaten by the whales.

SESAY: You have used that before to describe some people --

VAUSE: Various people and taking government from -- but kind of -- those are very well.

SESAY: He is so very well.

VAUSE: That was very well, it's great.

SESAY: You've never going to get instigate watching the show. And finally, cherry blossoms are blooming all across the Asia. But we're about to show you one, unlike anything you've ever seen before. The creation of a cherry blossom tree -- I've run out of steam. The recreation of a cherry blossom tree made entirely of Legos. That's right, it was built in the Czech Republic, then, sent to Legoland Japan which celebrated its first anniversary with the creation and a world record.

VAUSE: Well, it holds the world record for the largest Lego cherry blossom tree as opposed to what the biggest penguin? It took more than 6,700 hours of labor using all 800,000 Lego blocks and it raises the question, "Boy, are they bored in the Czech Republic without a lot to do?"

SESAY: That's it for us. Keep it watching CNN NEWSROOM live from Los Angeles, I am Isha Sesay.

VAUSE: I'm John Vause. Stay with us, more news after this but not from us.