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Trump Withdrawing U.S. From Iran Nuclear Deal; Trump: Ready To Make A New Deal With Iran; Avenatti Confident On Claims About Payments To Cohen; ; U.S. Secretary of State in North Korea for Talks; Rockets Advance after Eliminating Jazz in Five Games; David Takes on Goliath in French Cup Final; Fornite Celebrations Sweep the Sports World. Aired 12-1a ET

Aired May 9, 2018 - 00:00   ET



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

ISHA SESAY, CNN INTERNATIONAL ANCHOR: President Trump follows through on his pledged to walk away from the Iran nuclear deal. An announcement that U.S. will renew its sanctions. Will Iran now renew its nuclear program?

VAUSE: The U.S. secretary of state has arrived in Pyongyang to negotiate final details in the upcoming summit at the same time raising hopes three American prisoners may soon be released.

SESAY: And CNN exclusive, the special counsel questions a Russian oligarch about hundreds of thousands of dollars paid to Michael Cohen after the election. Was that money used to pay Stormy Daniels?

VAUSE: Hello. Welcome to our viewers all around the world. Great to have you with us. I'm John Vause.

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

Donald Trump has made one of his most consequential foreign policy decisions to date pulling the U.S. out of the Iran nuclear deal. The president says he is keeping his promise to withdraw from the agreement, which he described as defective at its core. The move breaks with European allies who are now expressing concern.

VAUSE: CNN senior international correspondent, Fred Pleitgen is live in Tehram. Fred, explain the process here. We have the first round of sanctions from the United States, which will be imposed in 90 days and then another round of more consequential sanctions after that.

FREDERIK PLEITGEN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes, additional sanctions. Those are the ones that will be in about a half year. The first one is after about 90 days, those are the sanctions that were in place before the nuclear agreement was actually put into effect. That's what the U.S. is going to do. Now at the same time, of course, the Iranians are also going to have to see what they want to do as well. President Hassan Rouhani has come out right after President Trump gave his speech or shortly thereafter.

And he said that he would like or he's thinking about at least an agreement between Iran and the other signatories of the original JCPOA. That of course being China, Russia, and the European countries.

Now the big thing is going to be those additional sanctions that the U.S. is going to put in place. They are set to target Iran's automotive sector as well as the oil and gas sector. And of course, that's something that could hurt international companies that want to do business here, German companies but especially French companies.

The French have been very quick to move back into Iranian automotive sector especially (inaudible) then, of course, you have the oil and gas sector where Total has moved into as well. So, those are the more comprehensive things, really, really big problems for some international companies that have already moved into Iran after the nuclear agreement went into effect -- John.

VANIER: Fred, surely after the U.S. made this announcement, Iran's foreign minister tweeted this, "In response to U.S. persistent violations and unlawful withdrawal from the nuclear deal, as instructed by President Rouhani, I'll spearhead a diplomatic effort to examine whether remaining JCPOA participants can ensure its full benefits for Iran. Outcome will determine our response."

But now the question now is this, can this nuclear deal stay alive without the United States? Can the Europeans as well as the Russians and Chinese make this deal work and survive those second-degree sanctions because any non-U.S. company doing business with Tehran will face sanctions?

PLEITGEN: Will face sanctions exactly if it wants to do business in the United States as well (inaudible) any sort of legal entities in the United States. It certainly is going to be very, very difficult to keep this deal alive.

Certainly, the Europeans have said that they want to stay in the agreement, that they want to make it work. The leaders of all three countries that were privy to the negotiations of a nuclear agreement, they say they want to make it work as well.

But in reality, it will probably be a lot harder than that and John, not just on the international stage, but here inside Iran as well because, of course, the Iranians, while they negotiated all this, it wasn't just about them giving up any sort of nuclear efforts that they were making.

But it was also about them reaping benefits in return for that. That's something that, for instance, Javad Zarif, has been saying in the past couple of days as well. There's many people in Iran who feel that with the nuclear agreement, those benefits have not come because they felt there was that pressure from the United States.

Now, if there is no betterment in sight, nothing in sight that would bring new jobs here, international investment because of American pressure then it's hard to see how Iran would stay in this agreement.

We also have to keep in mind, John, that the agreement itself was pretty controversial if you're in Iran as well especially the hardliners always felt that President Rouhani was giving up too much of Iran's nuclear program and receiving too little in return -- John.

VAUSE: Finally, Fred, at the very end of his remarks, the U.S. president opened the door for a new round of negotiations, maybe a possible, new deal with Iran. Listen to what he said.


DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA: They are going to want to make a new and lasting deal. One that benefits all of Iran and the Iranian people.

[00:05:09] When they do, I am ready, willing and able.


VAUSE: At this point, is it fair to say, the chances of Tehran negotiating another deal are about the same as Mexico paying for the border wall?

PLEITGEN: Yes. I mean, I think it is pretty much that. The Iranians certainly at this point have no interest. If you look at some of the statements that have been coming from Iranian politicians not just now after the president's announcement, but also, of course, in the days leading up to all of this.

They've always been saying, look, it is the U.S. that's isolated it. The U.S. has shown it does not live up to international commitments and the Iranians also said, of course, the U.S. left the Paris Climate Accord trade deals and now the Iran nuclear agreement.

So, they say, look, how can we negotiate with the United States? And then, of course, there's that anger that is here in Iran right now especially, of course, among the folks around President Rouhani, but of course, among the hardliners as well.

Right now, it's very difficult to see that anybody with this close to the time that President Trump has essentially nixed the deal on the part of the United States for them to go into new negotiations seems like a long shot at best -- John.

VAUSE: A long shot indeed. Fred Pleitgen, our man in Tehran, thanks so much.

SESAY: We're covering the story from around the world for you. CNN's Ian Lee is in Jerusalem. Melissa Bell is in Paris and Jomanah Karadsheh is in Istanbul, Turkey. Ian Lee, to you first. The Israeli prime minister made no secret of his desire to see the Iran deal scrapped. But the big question has always been once the deal is killed off, what happens the day after? What's the answer from Israel's point of view?

IAN LEE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, yes. We've heard Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu say fix it or nix it, well, last night, President Trump nixed it. Now what is going to happen. Now the Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu has said the things that he would like to see, he would like to see a deal that curbed Iran's nuclear ambitions, but also one that curbed its regional aspirations as well as its missile program.

So, these are things that Israel would like see. The prime minister hasn't laid out any detailed plan about how -- what that would look like. Also, you know, he has said that there should be a military option that is on the table.

You know, while we heard President Trump speaking last night, there has also been further tensions in the northern part of Israel as well as along the Golan Heights. The Israeli military has said that there's been irregular activity by Iranian forces.

Also, the United States has said that there's concerns that Iran might attack Israel, although, they didn't give any details about what that would be or any evidence. But Israel has stepped up alert in the northern part of the country.

They've opened up bomb shelters. Also, calling up reservists. They do not have a combat role. These are people who would gather intelligence, provide medical services, also operate Israel's iron dome system, which can shoot down incoming missiles here.

We are also hearing from the Syrian official media that last night Syria says they intercepted two Israeli missiles. So, in the aftermath of the United States pulling out of this deal, we are seeing this increased tension in the region.

SESAY: Ian Lee, thank you. Appreciate it. To Melissa Bell there in Paris. So, French president, as you know Melissa, traveled to the U.S. to personally lobby President Trump, if you will, to stay in the deal, he failed. The U.S. pulled out.

The other parties have said they will keep this deal alive, but that could come at a significant financial cost to the likes of France, Germany and U.K. I guess my question to you, Melissa, is how far is Europe willing to go to keep this deal alive?

MELISSA BELL, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, this is very much going to be the question today here in Europe. We are going to be looking for signs about precisely how Europeans intend to go about, saving this idea of a new deal with Iran and the current deal as well.

In its communique yesterday, the European countries that are signatories to the deal said that they would continue to apply it saying that this was actually about the worldwide mechanism for preventing nuclear proliferation.

So, they are committed to staying within it. A lot will depend, Isha, on European negotiations with the non-U.S. signatories of the deal. That is China, Russia and Iran over the coming days, and their ability to find some sort of agreement that allow them to move ahead.

But of course, as one European diplomat has said in a sense the other signatories have rather lost their leverage as a result of the American decision. So, there will be a lot of furious diplomatic activity behind the scenes going on to try and rescue what can be rescued of this deal, and of mutual confidence, trust really in the respective partners and their abilities to go forward.

[00:10:08] The other big question that will looking for answers for today, Isha, is, how Europe intends to go about, as you say, either getting around those sanctions and continuing to do business under the terms of the current deal or indeed getting their companies to withdraw (inaudible) substantial investments especially for French companies in Iran as a result of those American sanctions (inaudible) on foreign companies as well.

So, a lot of questions that have yet to be resolved today. But of course, you're asking, right, Emmanuel Macron personally invested so much political capital in this. Whether now this decision has been made and we are in day one after the American withdrawal.

We really had to get here to have a look more closely in a more real sense precisely what all the outcomes might be and all the unintended consequences and how each of those might impact on the other.

The big question will be whether Emmanuel Macron can now succeed in what was his second gamble if America withdrew of seeking this wider deal. Is there the necessary trust? Is there the necessary will? Can the rest of the world do it without the United States?

SESAY: That is a very big question. Can they go it alone? Melissa Bell, we thank you. To Jomana Karadsheh there in Turkey. Jomana, President Trump in railing against this deal, as time and time again this deal as it stood Iran nuclear agreement did nothing to change Iran's regional behavior making the point that Iran continued aggressions in places like Syria and in Yemen.

As you just heard, we are speaking to Ian Lee and now we are hearing that there have been further tensions in Northern Israel and in the Golan Heights, irregular Iranian activity we are being told, no evidence to support that, but that's what we are hearing from officials. What's the view in the region now, now that this deal is on the ropes, and what it means for peace in the region?

JOMANA KARADSHEH, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Isha, as you know very well, this is a very divided and polarized region and Iran is essentially at the heart of so many of these divisive issues and the conflict in this region. So, you would expect a mix reaction from the different countries.

You know, straight after that announcement, we heard from the Syrian government through their state media condemning President Trump's decision, and saying it reflects the United States doesn't abide by international agreements and its commitments.

And no surprise Iran's Sunni rivals in the region, Saudi Arabia, for example, at the helm, and also hearing from the United Arab Emirates, they are welcoming this decision. They have been opposed to this deal.

They feel that the international community has not been tough enough on Iran to try and curb what they say is their destabilizing behavior in the region. So, they were very welcoming of this decision.

One top UAE official describing it as the correct decision by President Trump. Then you have the warnings coming from other leaders in this region including President Erdogan yesterday speaking with our colleague, Becky Anderson, and warning saying that, you know, he is concerned that this would lead to new crises.

That this could destabilize further destabilize this already very turbulent and unstable region. The feeling is, Isha, the ball right now is in Iran's court. What are they going to do in the next few weeks, but of course, a lot of concern, a lot of tension.

SESAY: Yes, absolutely. Stakes are high. Jomana Karadsheh joining us there from Istanbul, Turkey. Our thanks to you. Also, thank you to Melissa Bell in Paris and Ian Lee there in Jerusalem. Appreciate it. Many thanks.

VAUSE: Well, coming up here, the swamp seems to be getting a little swampier. A kremlin-linked company paying hundreds of thousands of dollars to the president's personal attorney, Michael Cohen. Those details are coming up.



VAUSE: A source has told CNN investigators working for the Special Counsel Robert Mueller have questioned Russian oligarch, Viktor Vekselberg, about hundreds of thousands of dollars paid to the president's personal attorney, Michael Cohen. The payment was made by a company linked to Vekselberg called Columbus Nova. It denies it was used as a conduit and says it is 100 percent owned and controlled by Americans.

SESAY: Well, the attorney for porn star, Stormy Daniels, says half a million dollars went to a shell company setup by Cohen and that account had been used to pay off Daniels to keep quiet about her alleged affairs with Mr. Trump.


MICHAEL AVANETTI, STORMY DANIELS' ATTORNEY: So, this is after the election that occurred in November 2016 and then up through approximately August of 2017. So, about an eight-month time period of payments totaling approximately half a million dollars. We have yet to hear an explanation from Michael Cohen as to why the personal attorney to the president of the United States, who at the time, at least for a portion of that time was employed by the Trump Organization, would be accepting payments from a Russian oligarch to the tune of half a million dollars.


VAUSE: Michael Avanetti (inaudible) on television. Joining us now former Los Angeles Councilwoman Wendy Greuel and CNN political commentator, John Thomas. OK, CNN broke the story about the Russian oligarch (inaudible) the "New York Times" is also on to this. He's part of their reporting.

Transactions adding up to at least $4.4 million flowing through Essential Consultancy starting shortly before Mr. Trump was elected president and continuing to this January, the record show. John, more than $4 million to Michael Cohen access? That's a pretty steep price to get access to the president's fixer? Yes, it seems like a ton of cash.

JOHN THOMAS, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Well, it's a lot of cash. But I mean, groups like AT&T paid 200,000 and they say it was for like key insights. The 200,000 sounds like a bargain. I mean, this is the guy -- it's not just about access to the president. It is understanding how the president thinks. It's understanding how he structured his administration and that's valuable especially because remember the old guard lobbyist class were never Trumpers. These people don't have access to the White House.

VAUSE: OK, we'll just stick with that because here's a little more of our reporting. The questions asked of Vekselberg suggests that Mueller investigators have been examining some of Cohen's business relationships as part of the investigation into Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential election.

Vekselberg is one of two Russian oligarchs the FBI stopped earlier this year after the private jets landed in New York are airports as part of Mueller's investigation. Wendy, it is enough for John, clearly, there is enough there to pique the interest of the investigators --

WENDY GREUEL, LOS ANGELES COUNCILWOMAN: There is a lot there. I mean, if Mueller is interviewing, there is something in that connection. He is a smart guy and they are looking at how that connects to Russian involvement in elections, Russian involvement and trying -- Donald Trump.

And I think -- is you are receiving that much money and you are selling your access, there's reporting, ethical kind of violation. Just look at Manafort and Flynn, what happened to them. A lot of it was based on they did not report that they were actually doing business for these of foreign countries.

VAUSE: (Inaudible) a billionaire on his private plane and on an airport -- OK, the company at the center of this issued a statement earlier today both say that Viktor Vekselberg used Columbus Nova as a conduit for payments to Michael Cohen are false. The claim that Viktor Vekselberg was involved or provided any funding for Columbus Nova's engagement of Michael Cohen is patently untrue.

That could be the case, but sources tell CNN that Vekselberg's cousin, Andrew Entrata (ph) is the head of the company, and according to our reporting, Entrata donated $250,000 to the Trump inauguration fund, $35,000 to the victor fund, $29,600 to the Republican National Committee in June 2017.

According to the Center for Responsible Politics, these donations were a sharp increase from previous cycles, what was $1,200 to Democrat Bill Richardson in 2008, 2,600 in 2014, and Republican Chris Day's congressional race in New York. John, still nothing?

THOMAS: I mean, I don't know, but what I'm hearing is I didn't see any laws broken.

VAUSE: Still nothing?

THOMAS: Look -- OK, a Russian -- a Russian billionaire -- wants access as do American companies in American business people. I mean, if we scrutinize the same level we are looking at Russians as Reed Hastings on Netflix, who just gave what $12 million to a local former mayor running for governor. I mean, what does he want? Is it nefarious? No, they want access.

VAUSE: Well, he's allowed to give money because --

GREUEL: But he reported and what he's using it for, I mean, that's the big difference here and I think they put money in the same account that was for Stormy Daniels payment.

THOMAS: That also could be sloppy lawyering --

GREUEL: You are marrying what the Russians have with Stormy Daniels and I think that in and of itself is a problem too.

VAUSE: Let's keep playing this game. Here's another fun fact, Wendy, (inaudible) Trump's inauguration, but he was also that now infamous Moscow dinner back in 2015 with Putin and the former national security adviser turned FBI knock, Michael Flynn. Again, you know, it just keeps getting sloppier.

GREUEL: There is kind of a common theme, Russian, Russian, Russia.

VAUSE: Looking awfully swampy yet, John?

THOMAS: I mean, look, these guys are trying to buy access --

VAUSE: Like in 2015?

THOMAS: They are trying to buy access, what can I say -- I just -- I haven't seen --

GREUEL: It's different president, government like you're not in the swamp, none of this can happen --

THOMAS: It sounds like you're got these members or these people like Michael Cohen that are trying to make a buck off of their access to the president. They are willing to sell it to anyone.

GREUEL: Or do anything, I think that's the other part.

VAUSE: OK. We'll move on to let's break a deal, President Trump make good on that campaign promise on Tuesday, scrap the Iran nuclear deal, and John, really along the way, he (inaudible) creepy slap in the face to European allies.

THOMAS: He did, but he also was pretty consistent along the way. This is something he said from day one on the campaign trail is a bad deal that he was going to tear it up. By the way, it wasn't just Donald Trump, it was Ted Cruz, Marco Rubio, I mean, almost universally Republican said this is a terrible deal. John Bolton, new members of his administration says it's a terrible deal and Israel is applauding the deal as you can imagine because a nuclear Iran is a huge threat to Israel.

VAUSE: Wendy, I think the discussion now has moved beyond the fact whether this was a bad deal or whether this was a good deal. I think we've been feeling that because it was a done deal and now it's not another done deal.

GREUEL: And it was -- universally people said it didn't get us everything that we wanted, but you don't want to throw the baby out with the bath water. There are so many people whether it is the European countries or even some of the Republicans who say give us a chance to kind of add to it. Let's not throw that out but improve upon it. But this kind of flies in the face of an ability to really negotiate.

VAUSE: One of the issues was the breakout time that Iran would have to get to a nuclear weapon. Last year, it was actually at least a year I should say and this nuclear deal which was put in place as being heavily (inaudible) the IAEA and the IAEA said the Iranians were in compliance. President Obama back in 2015 explained why that one- year break out time is so important.


BARACK OBAMA, FORMER U.S. PRESIDENT: What is a more relevant fear would be that in year 13,14,15 they have advanced centrifuges they can enrich uranium fairly rapidly and at that point the break out times would have shrunk almost down to zero.


VAUSE: John, if this nuclear deal goes away, what (inaudible) the Iranians going back to that point?

THOMAS: Leverage that the U.S. has a military muscle.

VAUSE: They've always had that leverage. They've always had these sanctions. I mean, what's changed?

GREUEL: And the president is saying he is not going to go to war. I mean, he said that a lot in his campaign. I'm not going to get --

THOMAS: There's economic sanctions --

VAUSE: (Inaudible) have been place?

THOMAS: Yes, but we can strengthen the economic sanctions.

VAUSE: Really?

THOMAS: Yes, we can. I mean, here's the deal, it's -- we can argue about whether TPP is a good financial deal for America. This is a public safety hazard and the Trump administration feels that way. Netanyahu feels that way. Most Republicans feel that way and we are not just going to try to renegotiate a fundamentally bad deal.

[00:25:10] We are going to throw it out and start again.

VAUSE: Well, the decision to reimpose sanctions on Iran has been welcomed by Saudi Arabia, UAE, Bahrain as well as Israel. (Inaudible) "New York Times" argues this, "For President Trump and two of the allies he values most, Israel and Saudi Arabia, the problem of the Iranian nuclear accord was not primarily about nuclear weapons.

It was to delegitimize and normalize the clerical Iranian government, reopening it to the world economy with oil revenue and finances adventures in Syria and Iran and in support of terror groups. Mr. Trump and his Middle East allies are betting they can cut Iran's economic lifeline and thus break the regime, as one senior official described the effort.

John, just to back up that point, here's the new national security adviser, John Bolton, speaking back in 2007.


JOHN BOLTON, NATIONAL SECURIT ADVISER: But I think ultimately the only thing that will stop Iran from getting nuclear weapons is regime change in Tehran. This regime has shown zero evidence that it's change in strategic decision and to date the pressure that's been applied to them has not moved them an edge.

(END VIDEO CLIP) VAUSE: Looking a lot regime change as opposed to (inaudible) with the nuclear weapons program.

THOMAS: We'll see how it plays out. I mean, I honestly don't know the answer, but I also think it's good in a way as we go into North Korea talks, which basically Trumps saying I'm going to drive a much harder bargain. We are not just going to accept something that kicks the can down the road.

GREUEL: The other thing he is saying is I can break a deal, you know, I'm going to go in and I may promise something, but I can change my mind in a few years. And the hardliners in Iran didn't like deal in the beginning so it's not as though it's going to come in and go wow --

VAUSE: They can't do over on a contract once it's done, it's done --

GREUEL: But you can improve upon it, you can have amendments or whatever you can do and I think that's --

VAUSE: The timing is interesting because H.R. McMaster, national security adviser is out and John Bolton is in. Rex Tillerson, secretary of state is out and we have Mike Pompeo. Pompeo and Bolton are both (inaudible) on Iran.

THOMAS: And they are also saying, Mr. President, don't forget this is one of your fundamental campaign promises. You said you're going to tear up this deal.

GREUEL: But also, the administration was in front of the U.S. Senate and said Iran is following exactly what was said we were going to do and the Security Council and is also suggesting that.

VAUSE: There is no plan B.

THOMAS: They're going to have to do that. I'm sure Bolton has some ideas.

VAUSE: I'm sure he does.

GREUEL: There's no Plan B today so we're kind of out there on a limb.

VAUSE: OK, Wendy and John, thanks.

SESAY: All right. Quick break here. Allies are reeling after Donald Trump pulled the plug on the Iran nuclear agreement, but will the deal go down without America? We are going to analyze ahead on CNN NEWSROOM L.A.



VAUSE: Welcome back everybody. You're watching CNN NEWSROOM from Los Angeles. I'm John Vause.

SESAY: And I'm Isha Sesay at the headlines this hour. President Trump is filling the U.S. with the Iran nuclear deal and re-imposing economic sanctions on Tehran. He says the agreement is effective and will prevent Iran from getting nuclear weapons. Iran says it will take a few weeks to decide how to respond.

VAUSE: A source is telling CNN, Special Robert Mueller team has questioned Russian oligarch Viktor Vekselberg the hundreds of thousands of dollars paid President Trump's personal attorney, Michael Cohen. The money came from a U.S. firm linked to Vekselberg but the campaign denies it was used as a conduit. SESAY: Mike Pompeo is now North Korea for more talks on the proposed summit between President Trump and Kim Jong-un. And the South Korean official believes Pompeo will leave there with the three American detainees, North Korea has held for months. This is Pompeo's second face-to-face meeting with North Korean official.

Paula Hancocks is in Seoul and joins now live. Paula, the U.S. president is expected to meet with Kim Jong-un in the near future. What's the view where you are when the U.S. withdrawal from the Iran nuclear deal?

PAULA HANCOCKS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Isha, we're still waiting for an official reaction from South Korean side. We've had that reaction from the Japanese side saying it would be regrettable if this decision actually made it difficult to maintain the nuclear agreement framework, saying that they fully supported the nonproliferation treaties and they wanted this to remain in place.

But from the South Koreans side, we're really not hearing much they are having a trilateral meeting will just finished at the moment between the leaders of China, South Korea and Japan, say what potentially they could be some reaction soon but certainly from a critics point of view there are concerns of what sort of message this does give to North Korea from the year the U.S. official view, clearly from the U.S. president. They're saying it shows that they want a fair deal. That they're not going to accept anything less than that. And that is the message to North Korea.

But for other critics, there is a concern that Kim Jong-un could see this as a lack of guarantee that whatever he signs up to with the U.S. president Donald Trump that doesn't necessarily carry to the next U.S. administration. So, certainly, there will be some concerns at what sort of message this would give. Isha?

SESAY: Yes, no doubt. I mean, this thought within the administration, I believe, you know, of the pulling out on the Iran deal that it helps the U.S. in the talks with Kim Jong-un because the U.S. is seen, as you said, wanting a tougher deal and not being afraid to walk away from the table. But I guess that might be the administration's play but how much is the undercut by the sides that were seen this warming of relations between China and North Korea now.

HANCOCKS: Well, that's a good point, Isha. There are so many moving parts to this. There are so many diplomatic efforts that are ongoing at the moment and that second meeting in two months between Xi Jinping of China and Kim Jong-un of North Korea really did take people by surprise. There were reports that maybe Xi Jinping would head to Pyongyang for the next meeting. But once again, Kim Jong-un went to China to meet with the Chinese leader potentially to get guidance, to get advice ahead of that key meeting with Donald Trump, the U.S. president. And certainly, it shows once again, that China is very much in this, is very much behind-the-scenes when it comes to North Korea and what Kim Jong-un is going to decide almost the so he had gone to get the seal of approval before he went ahead with any specifics of the date, maybe the location or any specifics of this upcoming summit. So, there are many moving parts and it's really unclear as to whether this does play into the White House's hands. Whether this does show that Donald Trump is a stronger person to be talking to because we heard from Donald Trump already that he's willing to walk away if he's not happy with the way the talks are going. He's willing not to turn up. He's willing to walkout midway. So, that's something that we already knew.

SESAY: We'll be watching it very close. Paula Hancocks, joining us there from Seoul, South Korea. Paula, always appreciate it. Thank you.

VAUSE: So everything affects something else.

SESAY: Everything.


VAUSE: Nothing comes back consequences.

SESAY: No coincidence Kim Jong-un is having a -

VAUSE: The law of unintended consequences can be quite bleak at times. OK. So, break, a lot more when we come back.


[00:36:57] SESAY: Well, Donald Trump says the Iran deal will not keep Tehran from getting nuclear weapons. So, he's pulling out. He wants a best agreement that addresses Iran's missile program and its support for terror groups in the Middle East.

VAUSE: And this decision by Donald Trump is seen as a slap in the face of European allies but some in the Middle East like Israel and Saudi Arabia support the president's decision. Iran now says it will take a few weeks to decide how to respond.

SESAY: Ramin Asgard is a former frontal adviser to the U.S. Central Command and former U.S. diplomat specializing in the Iran. He joins us by Skype from Tampa, Florida. Thank you so much for being with us. As you well know, no one has acclaimed the Iran nuclear deal was perfect. But it was widely thought to be working. It is now on the ropes with the U.S. withdrawal. As you look at the situation now, what gives you the biggest concern?

RAMIN ASGARD, FORMER U.S. DIPLOMAT: I think the biggest concern is exactly how our allies will react. You have to keep the Europeans began negotiating with Iran in 2003. The United States joined much later. How they will react to this change and approach remains to be seen. And we hope that there won't a rift with our European allies.

SESAY: How quickly do you think we'll begin to see the effect of this?

ASGARD: I think what will happen in Iran is usually what they do is they keep quiet for some time and deliberate. And then they make their pronouncement. So, Iran will probably, won't talk, they won't say anything formal for it several days. Countries will weigh in and they already have. And we'll have to also see how this plays out as you were discussing earlier with the North Korea negotiations. It may have an impact on how those proceed.

SESAY: So, I mean, from where I sit, I don't see a clear plan b here from this administration. But I'm wondering whether you do.

ASGARD: You know, that's a very good point to make. I mean, this does make a lot of tactical sense. The president made a promise. The president is keeping his promise. And a lot of folks take them very seriously and it does keep in line with a lot of the other policies that have been in place but from the standpoint of international impact, it's not really clear what the overarching strategy that's going to be implemented based on the step is. And it may take some time before it really comes into view what the ultimate strategy ideas are coming out of the White House, coming out of the new Secretary of State. You have two key appointees that are very recently joining the administration. So you could see a big change but it will take some time to manifest that, I believe.

[00:40:00] SESAY: Given that we know the orientation, if you will, of the new appointees, John Bolton and Mike Pompeo considered to being hawks, if you will. Given that knowledge, do you see a part here, a path forward to the U.S. renegotiating this deal with Iran and Britain, France, Germany, Russia and China?

ASGARD: It's really hard to say. I mean, right now, it would be very difficult politically inside Iran for anybody to reach out and try to find the domestic political support for re-engaging with the United States. If the Europeans, the Russians and the Chinese all adhere to the deal and can - perhaps can convince Iran with incentives involved to maybe includes some of the other, what's called destabilizing behavior into a new negotiation. It is conceivable that down the road there could be a path forward. And the president alluded to that in his statement today.

SESAY: Down the road, as you point out, they could get that eventually. But in the meantime, you know, again they would have to keep Iran at the table.

ASGARD: Right.

SESAY: The Europeans have said that they were willing to keep this going but to do that would incur economic pain on their part. You know given the sanctions the U.S. is you know about to initiate in the next 90 to 180 days.

ASGARD: Right.

SESAY: Do you see the appetite on the part of the Europeans to do whatever is necessary to keep this deal alive?

ASGARD: Well, that's a very good question, Isha. The last time when they came to the table that was because the sanctions have really, for the first time ever, severely contracted their economy to the point where they really did have no alternative but to step forward. But you have to keep in mind that at that time in 2015, all of the parties were on board. It's an open question whether all of the parties will be on board again to again bring Iran to the negotiating table in a position where the United States enjoys leverage.

Right now, what the world is reacting to is the perception that the United States is responsible for withdrawing from the deal and the implications about our - that it may be hard to get that kind of consensus back.

SESAY: Ramin Asgard, so good to speak to you. Thank you so much for the perspective. Thank you.

ASGARD: Thank you, Isha.

SESAY: So many unknowns.

VAUSE: A big night.

SESAY: Big night.


SESAY: Nothing new. Thank you for watching - I'm Isha Sesay.

VAUSE: I'm John Vause. We'll try to put it together. You watch WORLD SPORTS. That's up next. And then we'll be back at the top of the hour.


VINCE CELLINI, CNN ANCHOR: Hi and welcome to WORLD SPORT at CNN Center. I'm Vince Cellini. We start with the NBA. A night after Cleveland punched their ticket to the conference finals.

[00:45:02] Two more teams could follow suit, the Golden State Warriors and the Houston Rockets, rocketed the Jazz at home and a veteran point guard exercising his playoff demons. Here it comes. It is Chris Paul his rockets led three games to one, his team coming up a poor shooting game in Utah. They led by eight at the half within the third quarter. Utah working Donovan Mitchell went for Zerk. So, first half when he was hitting from everywhere in the third, 14 straight points in one stretch. He outscored the Rockets 22-21 in the third with later lead with a leg injury in the fourth.

Also, in the fourth, Chris Paul goes wild. He didn't even past the second round in nine previous playoffs but he made sure their curse was going to be broken, magnificent in the final period. 20 of this career post-season high, 41 in the fourth. Paul made eight of 10 from three, no turnovers. Houston wins 112-102, a trip to the conference finals for the second time in four years. They will host to Golden State New Orleans in game 1. That will take place on Monday.

Now, in the other semi-final, taking place at Oracle Arena the Warriors are trying for fourth straight trip to the conference finals and they are on their way although New Orleans is giving them a real battle here. Big third quarter against New Orleans, 36-19 outscoring the Pelicans there, Curry, Durant, Thompson and combined for over 70 points. If it ends before the show does, we will certainly fill you in and bring you up to speed on that's happening in that semifinal game.

Well, football has a long history. So, is it hyperbole to label a pair of teams matched up against each other. The biggest mismatch of the history of the sport, if it isn't the mismatch is certainly a conversation. It's Paris Saint-Germain versus Les Herbiers.

PSG had already won the title in France's top league while Les Herbiers are close to relegation in the third division. It's one of the richest clubs in the world 640,000,000 total budget against the team that spends barely $2 million which is crazy. PSG stadium holds almost 48,000 people. The entire town of Les Herbiers has a population of just 15,000. How's that hyperbole? Let's see how it went down.

This game could have been a blowup. So, credit to the third division side for keeping it respectable. They held study for 25 minutes until Giovani Lo Celso scored the opening goal. And it was still just paddling in the second half from Edinson Cavani that Paris knew they'd won the game. 2-nil the final score, meaning Paris have completed a domestic trouble this season. Les Herbiers must try to avoid relegation if they're unsuccessful, they'll be slaying against PSG's reserved team next season.

But yet in defeat, this is really worth to look. Ordinarily, losing the cup final is a show of frustration and misery. Les Herbier head held high, celebrating the incredible won to the final, lot of applause for them. It was a wonderful showing until the very end.

For the very end, is truly come for West Brom in the English Premier League that is, the baggies relegated after Southampton top Swansea Tuesday night. And you might remember that even the last place team in the Premier League can make upwards of $130 million. You don't want to miss out on that.

Well, here's how it happened. And as you respect it was a tense game but there was a winner. 17 minutes remaining, Charlie Austin has a shot saved. Marco Gabbiadini followed up to give Southampton the lead. And that's how it finished. In that moment he might just have relegated two teams and saves the Saints. Southampton is not totally safe because their chances of staying up had now increased dramatically.

As mentioned, that results sends West Brown down and Swansea aren't looking too good either. They're on 33 points and could only get a maximum of 36 by the end of their last game on Sunday. Southampton and Huddersfield who both have 36 points to the bank already aren't safe. It could be decided by goal difference as to which of these three will be relegated.

We have to take a break but coming up JR Smith of the Cleveland Cavaliers when shirtless two years ago for an NBA championship parade. Will this snooker world champion took it much, much further in meeting the press as clothing was optional.


[00:51:33] CELLINI: Welcome back the champions league final still two and a half weeks away but there is concern that Real Madrid could be without their superstar striker Cristiano Ronaldo. However, Real's manager said it is a damn. It is trying to calm fears that he'll be off for that game against Liverpool, saying that his team will be at full strength for the match and give Madrid are trying to win their third straight European title and their fourth in just five years.


ZINEDINE ZIDANE, REAL MADRID COACH (through translator): We're going to get up. I'll give - the most effective one is Cristiano because his injury is the most recent one, only 48 hours ago but he's fine. He is walking normally. What we need to do is to remain positive. Something is going to happen and whenever it happens with Cristiano, for example, which is a minor injury, we have to fix Cristiano as soon as possible and that is it.


CELLINI: So, major sports athletes are taking their love for the videogame Fortnite Battle Royale to the field by imitating some of the celebrations that characters in that game used to highlight their own accomplishments.

Our Don Ridell looks at the popularity of the game among professional athletes and found out they loved it and live it.


DON RIDELL, CNN SPORTS CORRESPONDENT: Celebrations on the field have often been silly, but this usually has meaning behind them. And right now one sentiment is sweeping the globe, connecting players from completely different continents leagues and sports. It's a survival videogame Fortnite Battle Royale and this is where two worlds collides the intersection between circled real sports and digital sports. England midfielder Delhi Ali loves it. You can watch him play the videogame online and then see him re-create the same moves on the football field. He recently posted on Twitter to confirm the connection.

Video games on what they used to be the best sports players compete for millions of dollars in prize money, a massive fortune. In the meantime, their fans watch them streaming online. Gangs like League of Legends, Counterstrike and DOTA 2 are the biggest. They played in stadiums.

But Fortnite and its Battle Royale mode is commanding mass pop culture appeal. This year, Fortnite in breaking records on the streaming platform Twitch and also for the amount of game clips viewed on YouTube. And professional ball players are getting in on the action in very creative ways.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's best way to explain is a bit of Hunger games dropped into a map and there's a hundred people and you fight against a hundred people and you got to be the last one standing.

RIDELL: The Australian rugby league player George Dugan is renowned for being injured. So there was only one way to celebrate a recent try.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You pick bandages, guns and all that sort of thing along the way and you know when you get shot you have to bandage up.

RIDELL: In Fortnite, players have to forage for materials. So the next time you see an athlete pretending to swing an axe, you'll know where it came from. Then there were other dancers. It's a whole medley for Fortnite characters to choose from.

The world series champions, Houston Astros, has celebrated their recent wins from world. So too as Red Sox under Bogart's favor is a shame equal take the L. You can probably see why.

[00:55:00] And it is no secret that these athletes are obsessed with this virtual world during a rain delay in Cleveland Fortnite appeared on the stadiums Jumbotron. Fortnite is also penetrating the MBA. The real-life shoes of the Lakers guard Josh Hart were inspired by the videogame.

We can now follow our favorite athletes while they are engaged in an alternate reality although the real world is never far away, as players were on Fortnite, when they heard that their London Rivals Arsenal had been knocked out of Europe.

Thanks to Antoine Griezman the Fortnite craze has also penetrated La Liga in Spain and is taking off in Germany's Bundesliga too. You might be seeing these moves at the World Cup in Russia. And Fortnite's popularity surges the future for the game itself looks bright. You can't win money playing Fortnite yet, but if it becomes in these both the knot will quickly change and there will be no shortage of professional athletes giving it a try or at the very least keeping it real. Don Ridell, CNN.


CELLINI: Don, thank you. A major league baseball no hitter is where a no-hitter thrown by a Canadian pitcher in his home country had never happened until Tuesday night in Toronto 29-year-old James Paxton of the Seattle Mariners was coming up at 16 strikeout game in his last start. Tonight, versus the Blue Jays and pumping at fast balls at 100 miles an hour, he struck out seven to 99 pitches in this gym. And the biggest game came with two out in the seven tiles having a smash by Kevin Bullard and he threw across the diamond one half to end the frame and a salute from this pitcher. Paxton finish off the Blue Jays to record the third no-hit game of the baseball season.

Joined Dick Fowler of the 45 Philadelphia is the only Canadians to author a no-hitter. Five nothing the final also a note all three no- hitters in baseball - major league baseball have come in different countries, the U.S., Mexico and now, Canada.

And a quick update before we leave. Golden State Warriors have advanced to their fourth straight Western Conference Finals. Moving on, being in New Orleans Pelicans 113-104 and winning in five games. They will now play the Houston Rockets. The Rockers will host them in game one of the conference finals. And that is going to do it for us. I'm Vince Cellini. We'll talk to you next time. This has been WORLD SPORT. The news continues on CNN.