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NFL Players Must Stand for U.S. National Anthem; Officials Not Sure How Long Volcano Will Erupt; U.S. Illnesses in Cuba Remain a Mystery; Thirty-Year-Old Evicted from Parents' House Explains; Korea Officials Say U.S. Risking Nuclear Showdown; Trump Suggesting FBI Planted a Spy in Campaign; Nerve Agent Victim at Undisclosed Location; Italy Names New Prime Minister. Aired 1-2a ET

Aired May 24, 2018 - 01:00   ET


[01:00:27] JOHN VAUSE, CNN ANCHOR: You're watching CNN Newsroom live from Los Angeles.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE) ead this hour, so now it's back to threats and insults. North

Korea calls the U.S. Vice President a "dummy" and warns if there is no agreement at next month's summit, it's ready for a nuclear showdown,

Plus, the new Prime Minister of Italy, a never before heard of political novice leading a populous coalition, which might just be the final shock to break the E.U.

And, the NFL takes a stand against players taking a knee, what the league describes as a compromise looks like a huge political win for the U.S. President.


VAUSE: Hello everybody, thank you for being with us. I'm John Vause, happy to have you with us for this second hour of Newsroom L.A.


There could be more trouble ahead for next month's U.S.-North Korea summit. North Korea's Vice Minister for Foreign Affairs is warning Pyongyang is ready for a nuclear showdown if Donald Trump and Kim Jong-un cannot reach a deal when they meet in Singapore.


VAUSE: CNN's Alexandra Field is in Hong Kong with more.

So, Alexandra, this seems to be the first time since we've saw those diplomatic relations say the war that the North has issued a significant threat. So, is it the shift in how Pyongyang is looking at these negotiations? Is this an indication that the summit really is in some serious jeopardy?

ALEXANDRA FIELD, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, the rhetoric is absolutely heating up, it certainly harkens back to what we were more used to seeing say a year ago than all the pleasantries that were essentially being exchanged just a few weeks ago.

The question is why this kind of rhetoric? Why now? What does it mean as you ask is this a political calculation, or is indication that this whole thing could fall apart?

Well, if you take a look at what this North Korean official, the vice minister for foreign affairs is saying in state media in North Korea. She essentially says it's up to the United States to keep this summit on track right now, to not offend North Korea any further, to the point where she might have to suggest to the leadership that they pull out of this summit all together.


This is a woman who is believed to be a rising star, so to speak, within North Korea. She has quite a mouthful when it comes to the Vice President of the United States, not only calling him a "dummy", but also calling his remarks "stupid".

This is in regard to remarks that the vice president made concerning Libya. He follows on comments that were made by the National Security Advisor, John Bolton, about how the U.S. could look at negotiations with Libya in the early 2000's as it turns to working with North Korea, or negotiation with North Korea.


FIELD: That is certainly always a sore point for North Korea. This official quick to point out that North Korea is nothing like Libya, asserting the fact that they've been developing their nuclear program for years and, of course, North Korea looks at Libya as the very reason for why it needs to maintain its nuclear weapons.

So, certainly when you point to Libya, North Korea is always quick to react, but what we're seeing right now, John, is a pattern that's developed in the last week, or so, of a much a harsher tone toward the United States. This really started when the U.S. and South Korea went forward with joint military exercises out on the peninsula.

This is something that North Korea, of course, sees an offensive action. They are affronted by it every year, it's something that they potentially didn't expect to see as a result of the agreements made between North Korea and South Korea, to not have any hostilities leading up to the North Korea-United States summit.

But certainly, the U.S. and South Korea have always said that they were going to move ahead with these drills regardless of how North Korea feels or stands - - what position that North Korea has taken. The question now in terms of this heated rhetoric that we're hearing, is this really just posturing for the hardliners inside of North Korea? Is it a negotiating tactic before this summit happens? Or, does it indicate any kind of change of will within North Korea?

What we know concretely right now is that North Korean teams are scheduled to head to Singapore to continue with preparations for that summit, which is supposed to take place on June 12th, just this weekend.

So, there is still motion, there is movement forward here at least.


VAUSE: But, what moves forward can always move back, I guess. And, we will see what happens, as you say, less than three weeks to go.

Alexandra, thank you.

Alexandra Field, live for us there, in Hong Kong.

Well, in the meantime, President Donald Trump is running hard with his conspiracy theory the FBI spied on his presidential campaign.


Donald Trump, his allies, right wing media, they're all pushing the idea as an all but certain fact. They say it's part of what they call a "deep state conspiracy" against the president.

[01:05] Here's the problem, though, no one has any proof.


DONALD TRUMP, U.S. PRESIDENT: All you have to do is look at the basics and you'll see. It looks like a very serious event, but we'll find out. When they look at the documents I think people are going to see a lot of bad things happen. I hope it's not so, because if it is, there's never been anything like it in the history of our country.



VAUSE: Ain't that the truth? For more on this, we're joined now by radio host Ethan Bearman, Californian Republican National Committeeman, Shawn Steel. Also with us, CNN's Loren Flossman, contributor and former FBI special agent, Steve Moore, who will keep everybody honest, because that's his job.


VAUSE: Okay. Ethan, I want to start with you. What is truly amazing about this conspiracy theory being pedaled by the president, and not just the absolute lack of evidence - - that you know any real evidence to support it. Trump jumped onto this story, what about five days ago? After it appeared a bit earlier than that on a right winged blog - - it had been kicking around in right winged circles for a while.

But, it accelerated so quickly to not just a scandal, to now one of the biggest - - if not the biggest scandal in the history of the U.S. and maybe by the end of the week, it'll be the biggest scandal ever the world's seen.

ETHAN BEARMAN, CALIFORNIA TALK RADIO HOST: Yes, clearly and what's so funny is he doesn't even know what a witch hunt is, because that's the other language that's been used here. Go back to the Salem witch trials here in the United States.


BEARMAN: But, here's the deal. The Republican Party has gone off the deep end. Alex Jones style conspiracy has taken over and facts simply don't matter. The connection to reality is not important.

So, what we have now is what used to be the party that ran on the idea of national security, doesn't believe that the FBI exists in any form other than as a "deep state conspiracy" anymore. Which, by the way, even the idea of a deep state is what we call the administrative state, which serves a purpose.

VAUSE: Sean, I know you're itching to get into this. We've done this dance before with Donald Trump, you know. Remember Obama ordered Trump Tower to be wire tapped? Wrong.



VAUSE: Trump gave every indication that there were secret recordings of his conversation with the former FBI James Comey. Wrong, that never came out.

Trump, you know, for a time he was leader of the birth conspiracy that Obama was not born in this country. Wrong. And even before that, he was the guy that said you know Muslims were celebrating in the streets of New Jersey after 9/11. Again, that was wrong.

So, given this guy's history - - you know, isn't there some kind of responsibility to him at this point in time to put up or shut up?

STEEL: Let's start off on another foot altogether. Let's start off with The New York Times. Now, it wasn't . . .

VAUSE: So, you don't want to answer the question?

STEEL: It wasn't Donald Trump that comes up with this problem.

Well, attacking Trump gets tiring after a while. Even Nancy Pelosi's tired of attacking Trump.

Look, this was a secret FBI informant. Now, some people call that a spy, but . . .

VAUSE: Well, the president calls that a spy.


STEEL: But, a lot of people including implied in some mainstream media, but he's a confidential human resource and they wanted to keep that person's name secret. So, it sound like a secret informant. Look, this is the first time - - and we have to investigate and we have to get transparency, that one administration actually politicized a legal organization to spy, to look at, to investigate a political opposition. If that's true . . .


STEEL: Let me finish. Let me finish. If it's true, then it's worse than . . .

VAUSE: If it's true.


STEEL: Except, we have a name of a person who is trying to encroach themselves, if there's one person, there may be more. We need a special counsel and the president can, and should, reveal the document to the FBI and department of justice.


STEEL: And then we have three FBI leaders - - top leaders, that have been disgraced and removed. There is a problem in the top levels of the FBI. Most everybody that's honest will admit that, those who are not honest won't admit that.

VAUSE: Steve?


VAUSE: Does he see at least one fact that the president is basing his case on? And Shawn touched on this, an FBI informant spoke with at least two Trump campaign aides, George Papadopoulos and Carter Page, given that those two men were already on the FBI's radar before those meetings with you know possible ties to Russia, this seems to be pretty standard operating procedure.

MOORE: It is standard operating procedure, but you have to realize that it is in the midst of a political campaign and it is the opposition party's leading candidate at that point.

So, I don't want to minimize the fact that the FBI is always extremely careful about going at any organization, the press . . .


MOORE: -- because of stuff like this.

So, it appears that there was an informant within the organization. He was directed by the FBI, which is another issue. After 9/11 I wanted to do things on the Al-Qaeda task force that would have gone against things that people hold dear, like mosques and things like that.

You have to balance the value of what you're going to get against the risk. There's so many things that could happen, most of them bad.

So, before this could have been approved, it would have had to have gone to the highest levels of justice.

VAUSE: All the way to the AG?

MOORE: If it didn't I would be surprised.

STEEL: Could it have gone to Obama?

VAUSE: Okay. Would the president have been involved?

MOORE: I don't know.

VAUSE: If we suspend disbelief for just a moment, and we still believe and we try and pretend that this was in fact an Obama conspiracy, then Stephen Colbert from The Late Show explains how it all worked.


STEPHEN COLBERT, HOST OF THE LATE SHOW: Yes, follow Trump down the rabbit hole, here, okay? They embedded a spy early on and paid him massive sums of money to sabotage the Trump campaign with false claims of Russian collusion in the press to help Hillary Clinton win.

And then - - and here's the insidious part, they didn't tell the press and Hillary Clinton lost. So, when Trump revealed this plot he was seen like a desperate criminal spinning conspiracy theories to stop the walls from closing in. Nice try deep state, nice try.


VAUSE: Or, here's another reason why the FBI was investigating the Trump campaign and it's from the former Director of National Intelligence, James Clapper. Listen to this.


JAMES CLAPPER, FORMER DIRECTOR OF U.S. NATIONAL INTELLIGENCE: The parallelism between what the Trump campaign was doing and saying, and what the Russians were doing and saying, was remarkably parallel. Particularly when it came to attacks on Hillary Clinton. All her alleged physical and mental maladies, and there was almost an echo chamber between the two.

Now again, I got to make clear, I'm not saying there was collusion there, but just the appearance of it.


VAUSE: Shawn, pick one of them. Which one sounds more likely to you?

STEEL: What - - what - - what is Clapper saying? I mean, the guy's not making any sense. He's gone very political right after he's left his job. He's on a competing station right now. He's the one that lied to the American people saying there was no spying on American citizens.


BEARMAN: Washington Post keeps track of President Trump's lies, we're well north of 3,000 now.


STEEL: We've got a Richard Nixon problem here that was under Obama's watch. I'm not saying that he knew this, but we need an investigation, we need the truth. Would you object to having a special counsel to this?

Ethan, would you object to it?

BEARMAN: Yes. And let me explain why, because this is - - my grandfather was a magician, I know all . . .


VAUSE: Okay. Let's move on.

BEARMAN: What about the meeting with Trump, Jr., with the Russians? Who was actually a Russian agent connected to Vladimir Putin, you guys don't want to talk about that.

STEEL: Everybody's talking about it. He talked about it for seven hours. You want to read the transcript, it was open to the public.


VAUSE: What we're seeing also play out in all of this, is this feedback loop between the president and his allies, and Fox News. And, it's been going into hyper drive over the last couple of days.


TUCKER CARLSON, FOX NEWS: The center of maybe the greatest scandal in modern political history, the FBI spying on 2016 Trump campaign for nearly two years. Obama administration officials and their dutiful lackeys in the press, hysterically denied any of that even happened. Now we know that it did happen.

UNIDENTIFIED FOX NEWS ANCHOR: The latest details on the Russia investigation are beginning to make Watergate look like child's play.

SEAN HANNITY, FOX NEWS: We will lose the country. We will destroy the rule of law. We will shred our Constitution completely.


VAUSE: You know, this is how the Fox News channel has been operating and we have this Monmouth poll, which came out last month showing that support is slipping for the Russia investigation, a growing number want it over. You know, this idea of hammering away at the deep state seat (ph), but

Steve, the public may want this all to come to an end, but what about the FBI agents who are constantly being portrayed in a negative light here? How worn down are they by all of this?

MOORE: You know, the FBI agents by and large, don't watch the news.

VAUSE: Surely, there has to be some impact, though.

MOORE: There's impact, but it's not something where it's going to impact the job. And, what you learn from day one at the FBI is that people aren't going to like you. They're used to people they're investigating not liking them.

BEARMAN: Well, that's good.


MOORE: So, this is certainly probably surprising to them that the conservative party doesn't like the FBI all of the sudden, but I can tell you I know them and it is not slowing them down. They don't come in the morning and say, "Oh my gosh, he criticized us again".

[01:15] They are going to work on their cases and more - - if this type of rhetoric motivates them to do anything, it is to complete their job in the most unbiased and thorough manner they can.

VAUSE: Also, on Wednesday we had the president owning his decision, embracing his decision to fire James Comey, the former FBI Director.


DONALD TRUMP, U.S. PRESIDENT: This was a terrible situation. What we're doing is we're cleaning everything up, it's so important. What I'm doing is a service to this country and I did a great service to this country by firing James Comey and - - excuse me, a lot of people have said it.

And, you go into the FBI, and a lot of those great people working in the FBI, they will tell you, I did a great service to our country by firing James Comey.


VAUSE: Ethan, the president told NBC news that he fired James Comey because he wanted to bring the Russia investigation to an end. How does that help America?

BEARMAN: Yes, right. No, that is what he told Lester Holt in that interview. So, he has a different story every time, whichever fits best. I thought that was the Republican's complaint about Hillary Clinton and yet, here is President Trump doing it.

It doesn't necessarily help America. Look, James Comey didn't make friends on either side, right? I mean, the Hillary supporters didn't like him for bringing up the - - the - - the investigation during key points in the campaign. The Republicans don't like him now because he was bringing up issues about Russia and conspiracy, it's not collusion.


But, here's the crux of all of this, why the president continues to interject himself in all of this, if I was his attorney - - which he has plenty of attorneys that he keeps going through, it only continues to make him look more and more guilty. But, somehow, magically to his supporters he's the Teflon Don.


VAUSE: Right. Very quickly, I want to take this with Steve, though, because this is important - - because on Thursday two Republican lawmakers head to the House Intelligence Committee.

They will get to see classified documents about the informant along with other members of the Intelligence Committee; there'll be a bipartisan group which gets to see those documents next week.

What are your concerns about those classified documents being released to politicians?

MOORE: Well, obviously, methods and sources are the one thing you're always worried about having leaked. And, we know from history that if it you know, the best way to get something out is to telegraph, telephone and tell the Congress.

And so, they're going to lose the sanctity of a confidential informant and when that happens it's hard to get the next one.

VAUSE: Yes. Because Comey said in a Tweet that basically there's serious damage being done here. What sort of damage?

MOORE: The damage that's being done is if this comes out - - if anything from this is leaked, then it hurts the agent in the field because the next person they want to recruit as an informant is not going to have anything to do with them. And they'll say, "Hey, this thing just made Fox, CNN and everyone else".

VAUSE: Yes, it's that trust.

We're out of time, sorry.

Shawn, love you.

STEEL: Transparency.

VAUSE: Wouldn't that be great?


Thank you. We appreciate you all being with us. Thank you so much.

Next here on Newsroom L.A., a long and painful recovery. (BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

The daughter of a Russian double agent has gone public for the first time since she was poisoned with her father by a nerve agent.

Also ahead, Italy chooses a new prime minister to lead a government many fear could spell disaster for the European Union.



[01:21:16] VAUSE: Yulia Skripal says her world has been turned upside down since she and her father, a Russian double agent were poisoned in a nerve agent attack in England.


On Wednesday, Yulia called her recovery slow and extremely painful. We have more now from CNN's Phil Black.

PHIL BLACK, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yulia Skripal looked well, surprisingly well. The video tape shows her walking, even smiling slightly and speaking strongly. There's no obvious sign that she's recently experienced a life-threatening trauma apart from what appears to be a tracheotomy scar on her throat.

It's likely that incision is what allowed her to keep breathing during the 20 days she says she was in a coma. She said she only learned that she was poisoned after she woke up, that she was shocked to learn that it was because of a nerve agent and she believes both she, and her father Sergei Skripal, are very lucky to have survived what she describes as an attempted assassination.


BLACK: She's very grateful for the medical treatments and the help that has kept her alive. But, she says that treatment was invasive, painful and depressing.


YULIA SKRIPAL, DAUGHTER OF RUSSIAN EX-SPY: as I try to come to terms with the devastating changes thrust upon me both physically and emotionally. I take one day at a time and want to help care for my father until his full recovery.

In the longer term, I hope to return home to my country. I wish to address a couple of issues directly and I've chosen to interrupt my rehabilitation to make this short statement.

I ask that everyone respects the privacy of me and my father. We need time to recover and come to terms with everything that has happened.

I'm grateful for the offers of assistance from the Russian Embassy, but at the moment I do not wish to avail myself of their services. Also, I want to reiterate what I said in my earlier statement that no

one speaks for me or for my father, but ourselves. I would like to thank, again, everyone involved in my continued care in this difficult period of my life.

My priority remains on my recovery and my father's health. Thank you for your attention.


BLACK: Yulia Skripal was speaking from an undisclosed location somewhere in the United Kingdom. She was released from hospital in early April. Her father, Sergei, left hospital only last week. His location is also a secret.

Yulia didn't comment or speculate on why she thought someone may have wanted them both dead. The British government position is that it's still highly likely, it believes, that this was a Russian state operation using a weapons grade nerve agent. The Russian position rejects that.


BLACK: President Putin has said that if this was a weapons grade nerve agent, there's simply no way these two would still be alive.

Shortly after the video statement was released, the Russian Embassy in the U.K. Tweeted that it's glad to see Yulia Skripal alive and well. But, the video only strengthens its concerns that she's being held and made to speak against her will.


BLACK: Phil Black, CNN, London.

VAUSE: Well, two months after a populous wave swept through Italian politics, the country finally has a new prime minister.


Giuseppe Conte is a political novice, a law professor with no government experience. His appointment is rattling nerves across Europe, fearing he might just spell disaster for the E.U.

The new prime minister's mantra, "Italy first".


GIUSEPPE CONTE, ITALIAN PRIME MINISTER: I am a lawyer and throughout my life I have taken care of many people. I'm preparing myself now to defend the interests of all Italians in all places in Europe and internationally, speaking with European institutions and with representatives of other countries. I will be the defense lawyer for the Italian people.


VAUSE: CNN's European Affairs commentator, Dominic Thomas, is with us now. Good to see you.

Okay. So, we've got this new guy and the question's going to be, where did he come from?

He's got no experience, he's never been in government before. No one knows who he is, and I guess the assumption is - - it seems a fairly reasonable assumption, that this guy essentially will be a puppet, you know, of the League and the five state?

DOMINIC THOMAS, CNN EUROPEAN AFFAIRS COMMENTATOR: Right. That is the big question, beyond the five that nobody really knows you know who he is and, as you said, does not really have that experience. Is what does he really do at this particular stage?

Now, he still has to get through the Chamber and the Senate, but he is the candidate and normally a prime minister would be appointed and would name their cabinet, and announce it to the public. But, in the pre-negotiations that took place between the Five Star movement and the Northern League.


THOMAS: All of these appointments are basically being determined, it was part of their negotiations. So, he's really at this stage, barely a puppet. Just somebody there to come in - - a figurehead and we'll have to see if he actually you know is officially appointed, whether that is merely his role or whether his role will be that of simply a mediator between the two. Whether he will be able - - which seems unlikely to carve out some kind of autonomy, you know, as he tries to shepherd these two parties.

VAUSE: He doesn't have any support base, though. He's got no . . .

THOMAS: He has absolutely no support base there, too. And, of course, what's so you know interesting about this is that we know that the, you know sort of the average time that a prime minister lasts - - for the vast majority it's under two years.

VAUSE: Don't go buying a new house on the prime minister's wages.

As, you'd expect Europe has a lot of nerves right now about this. Listen to the French Foreign Minister.


JEAN-YVES LE DRIAN, FRENCH FOREIGN MINISTER: We must respect Italy's choice and work with this new government. Even if we can be concerned about a number of announcements.


VAUSE: Yes, and there seems to be a lot of reasons to be concerned. In Italy the party leagues have promised to cut taxes, hike spending and this is in a country which you know is already dealing with a lot of debt and a weak economy.

THOMAS: Which is also fueled the support for so many of these for the Five Star movement, not a political party. And, for the anxiety and fear upon with the Northern League is built because of its xenophobic and anti-immigrant, one could even argue racist platform.

For Europe, yet again, this is a bad story to the extent that it detracts from the work that Europe wants to do. And, we see increasingly the sort of two track Europe, right? The Europe of Macron (inaudible) that want further integration and to move ahead with so many issues that yet again have to address this.

Now, the political context in Italy is also, perhaps, might alleviate that situation given the fact that there is a long history of sort of unstable government is really more the norm, than a stable government.

So, the thing keeps going, but as you point out, too, this is an important economy, but its relationship of debt to GDP is right up there just under Greece, and that is of great concern. And also, the fact that these two entities are really unknown.

The Northern League has some experience in government that the Five Star movement does not.

VAUSE: There was a great opinion piece in Bloomberg this week by Clive Crook, this is part of it, here's a warning.


THOMAS: "The new government finally taking shape in Italy is one of the weirdest coalitions you could imagine and a pretty effective combination if your aim was to sabotage the European Union. Although predictions about where this Italian misadventure is heading are difficult, it could easily be worse than Brexit for the E.U."


VAUSE: Is he right?


THOMAS: We've seen so many between Brexit and the uncertainty around the French election and the time it took to create a government in Belgium, in Germany of course. So, it's clear that you know Europe is going through some difficult moments and that there's a recalibration taking place on the political landscape.


THOMAS: I think what's of great concern here with the Italian context, on the heels of the problems forming a coalition government in Germany and of the Austrian election, where we saw this coalition with the far right. is that you've got political entities and movements that are winning not so much on concrete policies, but on really the politics of kind of fear, anti-establishment rhetoric and sort of anti, anti, anti, right? Anti-immigration and so on.

VAUSE: Make America great again?

THOMAS: Exactly. So, we see how that has also impacted it, right? the sort of "make Italy great again" and the kind of protectionist element of it, the nationalist element and the problem is, is that unless these governments are able to deliver on some of their promises, it will unfortunately - - the spiral of disillusionment that has fueled them will continue to burgeon.

VAUSE: When you listen to what the leader of the League has been saying, you know essentially there's nothing to fear, we want a government for all Italians, we're going to put national interests in the front and center, we respect all and everybody, but we'll put Italy at the center, first for Italians.

I mean, it does sound like Donald Trump or Nigel Farage, or these sort of right wing populous leaders.

THOMAS: The divisions are there. The fact that it's taken almost three runs to create a coalition government and the fact that obviously the Northern League, just by its name, strongly represents the northern part of Italy whereas the bulk of the support for the Five Star Movement has come from the south.


Two different Italys within a very divided European context, one could argue, with some quite different policy approaches. Ways of thinking about ruling in government and a virtual total lack of experience.

VAUSE: It makes you think that Berlusconi was dull and boring really.

THOMAS: Well, he is still there in the back ground.

VAUSE: He's still hovering.

THOMAS: Right.

VAUSE: Dominic -- thank you.

Well, pro football owners have banned players from taking a knee during the U.S. national anthem, a move critics say is a bow down to Donald Trump.


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

We'll check the headlines now.

Donald Trump says we'll know next week if his summit with Kim Jong-un will go ahead as planned. North Korea warns it's prepared for a nuclear showdown if the talks fail but says that's entirely up to the decisions made by the United States. He calls the recent comments by the U.S. Vice President ignorant and stupid.

President Trump is escalating his suggestion the FBI spied on his presidential campaign. In a series of tweets Wednesday Mr. Trump indicated without a shred of evidence the spying was real and part of a broader deep state conspiracy against him. U.S. officials say the FBI source that Mr. Trump has complained about and called a spy was not embedded in the campaign and asked aides instead simply about ties to Russia.

Italy's new prime minister. a political novice Giuseppe Conte is a law professor who's promising to put Italy first. His appointment comes after weeks of negotiations among these rival parties now controlling Italy's parliament.

Well, in the United States owners of pro football teams have agreed players must stand during the national anthem or they will be penalized. The controversy started in 2016 when San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick knelt during the anthem to draw attention to racial and social injustice. The protest grew and so did the backlash. Many including President Donald Trump said the country and its flag were being disrespected.

Under the new National Football League rules players can stay in the locker room during the anthem if they so choose. But if they're on the field, they must stand.


ROGER GOODELL, NFL COMMISSIONER: We want people to be respectful to the national anthem. We want people to stand, that's all personnel, and make sure that they treat this moment in a respectful fashion. That's something that we think we owe.

[01:35:04] We've been very sensitive in making sure that we give players choices. But we do believe that that moment is an important moment.


VAUSE: Ephraim Salaam was in the NFL for 13 seasons -- that's a long time. He played for the Falcons, the Broncos, the Lions, the Jaguars and the Texans. Thank you for coming in. I should mention you are on crutches.


VAUSE: We really appreciate you.

SALAAM: Well, I limped in here just for you. It's fine. I'm touched.

VAUSE: Ok. I want you to hear a little more from Roger Goodell because he believes that this plan, it hits that sweet spot of compromise. Here's what he said.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) GOODELL: We think that we've come up with a balanced process here and a procedure and policy that will allow those players who feel that they can't stand for the anthem to stay in the locker room. And there is no penalty for but we are going to encourage all of them to be on the field. We would like all of them to be on the field and stand at attention.


VAUSE: You know, to me the bigger story here seems to be how a protest movement started by Colin Kaepernick was just, you know, intended to highlight social injustice has been transformed into this debate about players and if they're showing enough respect for the flag and for anthem.

SALAAM: Yes. And they completely missed the mark --


SALAAM: -- right. So it never was about, you know, being unpatriotic to the national anthem or the flag. It was all about being aware of the social injustice that was happening in our communities with police killing unarmed African-Americans --


SALAAM: -- and people of color. And so Colin Kaepernick chose to use his platform as one of the best players in the National Football League to start a protest, to bring awareness to it. And it shifted.

And with the help of Donald Trump it shifted from not being about the actual protest but being about being unpatriotic and being disrespectful to the flag.

Now when Colin Kaepernick originally started this, he was sitting down on the bench. And he reached out to veterans and the people from the military. And they told him, they said look, that's a sign of disrespect. But if you kneel, that is not a form of disrespect.


SALAAM: And so he --


SALAAM: -- exactly because he didn't want to offend the country or the people. He just wanted to bring awareness to a situation so he began to kneel.

VAUSE: Ok. So here's the question. So who gets to decide what's disrespectful? Because the "Detroit Free Press" is reporting Art Rooney of the Steelers said well, it is not defined. He believes that raising a fist and linking arms during the playing of the anthem would also constitute disrespect of the anthem. I mean that's absurd.

SALAAM: Yes, it's absurd but that's what happens when you implement a rule like this. Now you take the players down a rabbit hole --


SALAAM: So what can and can't you do? And oh by the way, if you do decide to kneel or show any form of protest, we're going to take the money from you.


SALAAM: Right. So instead of coming together with the players, so you've got to remember, the owners locked themselves in a room and they came up with this themselves.

VAUSE: And the players' association has no part of it. The players had no part of it, they had no voice in it. If they had had an opportunity to speak then they would have known that this was a terrible situation because it's only going to call more division within the team.

Say you do want to stay in the locker room, right. So what does that do if all the media looking for which players aren't out there doing the national anthem. And that's where the questions will be directed. And that's beside the point.

VAUSE: Ok. This, you know, may never say -- this is a political victory for Donald Trump. He made it clear --

SALAAM: Absolutely.

VAUSE: -- last year back in September when he --


VAUSE: -- protesting players.

SALAAM: Right.

VAUSE: Here's what he said.


DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Wouldn't you love to see one of these NFL owners when somebody disrespects our flag -- to say "Get that (EXPLETIVE DELETED) off the field right now. Out. He's fired. He's fired."


VAUSE: And we all saw this from "The Bleacher Report". The NFL, according to this report is terrified of Trump.

"This is a fact. This is the truth. This is the core basis for the NFL's decision. 'Our league', one team official said, 'is f-ing terrified of Trump. We're scare of him'."

You know, it seems the NFL has made it clear it was down with the President against protesting players who are mostly black.

SALAAM: -- which is this disappointing, it's disheartening because when he came out of made those divisive statements the owners fooled us into thinking that they were with us, right. We're going to protest together. We're going to lock arms. We're not going to stand for someone talking about our players like that. And a few months later they go back and they spit in our face and they actually implement the rule that he wanted them to implement anyway.

So where do you leave the players. Where are the players in this situation? Do they speak out against this? Do they protest? Where's the money going if they're find. What's going to happen?

So instead of making this go away and coming up with a solution, they've just intensified it and guess what, we're still not talking about the original protest and what needs to be talked about and that's the police brutality in our community.

[01:40:00] VAUSE: Yes. You know, one last point here. The owners of the NFL teams for the most part are hugely conservative. I mean just look at that in dollar terms --

SALAAM: Oh, absolutely.

VAUSE: -- and you know, money matters to these guys. Essentially they've given between 2015 and 2016, they gave 40 times more to Republican causes compared with Democratic causes. So, you know, this is essentially the people who support Donald Trump. These are his guys.

SALAAM: Yes. Multiple owners actually contributed to his campaign, in the inauguration. You know, Mr. Kraft the owner of the Patriots, a good friend of Mr. Trump's. Bob McNair, the Houston Texans owner, great friend of Mr. Trump's.

I remember, you know, the Republican Party, the Bushes used to come to the practice when I played out there all the time. But it just creates more divisiveness within the locker room or within the league. And I think they had an opportunity to do something good and they just grossly misjudged.

VAUSE: I think they had a chance to solve this but they just --

SALAAM: This would have been over.

VAUSE: Exactly. But now this is going to keep it going.

SALAAM: Yes. It's going to keep going but there are just more loopholes and more pitfalls that you're going to fall into.

VAUSE: Exactly.

Ephraim -- thanks so much.

SALAAM: Thank you.

VAUSE: Hope the leg gets better. It looks really painful.

SALAAM: I'm all right. I can take it.

VAUSE: Appreciate it. Thank you.

Short break here. When we come back the danger posed by Hawaii's Kilauea volcano, a man defending his own safety is lucky to be alive after being hit by a lava bomb -- ow, that hurts.


VAUSE: Three weeks on and there's no end in sight to the volcanic eruptions from Kilauea in Hawaii. Hundreds of people remain under evacuation orders because of the lava flows and toxic gas.

Our Stephanie Elam is on the Big Island. She spoke to residents whoa re worried about what might yet be to come.


STEPHANIE ELAM, CNN CORRESPONDENT: More than three weeks in and Kilauea shows no sign of letting up.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: This is my backyard.

ELAM: Residents forced to dodge creeping lava flows as they rush in and out to check on their property.

Are you concerned about how much you're breathing in here?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I am. I feel saturated when I go home at time. I just feel like I can't get clean. It feels like it's stuck on my skin and my lungs.

ELAM: The images getting stranger by the day. Here methane gas from burning vegetation creates blue flames rising from cracks in the road. Lava bombs raining down on homes -

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Snapped it in half at the ankle and foot.

[01:44:59] ELAM: Darryl Clinton was struck by a bowling ball sized lava bomb as he checked on his home.

This CNN interview with Clinton just the day before showed the danger of the falling lava.

CLINTON: I just wanted to live. I didn't care if they cut my leg off down there or not.

ELAM: Where lava isn't the problem, cracks are.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And the house is literally falling into that crack system here.

ELAM: This home in Leilani Estate on the verge of being swallowed; the crack itself offering neighbors a rare glimpse deep underground. Officials say lava is still dripping into the ocean creating toxic gas laced with glass particles.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Not knowing hour to hour where it's going to pop up.

ELAM: For residents like Stacy Welch, it makes for a risky trip home as long as home is still there.

When you look at this and you see this black lava now -- what does that make you think?

STACY WELCH, HAWAII RESIDENT: Uncertain. That's uncertain that we're safe.

ELAM: And while each day Stacy goes in to check on her house she is also looking for the cracks in the road that continue to get larger on her street. Some so big you could probably fit a small car in there.

And if that's not enough there's also the threat of methane gas that is now coming up from the earth as well as those toxic volcanic gases which some days don't blow away in those trade winds as much and so it makes it much more difficult to be in there. Nevertheless Stacy says she has to go in every day to check on her home.

Back to you.


VAUSE: Stephanie Elam -- thank you

Let's go to Derek Van Dam now, our meteorologist, with all the details and an explanation of exactly where we are at this point.

DEREK VAN DAM, AMS METEOROLOGIST: Well, there is really no direct sign that this is going to end. In fact all geologists and volcanologists are saying to prepare for the long haul for the residents on the Big Island.

So John -- what they're seeing here is just more signs that this very difficult, dangerous, and escalating situation is going to continue well into the future.

And these signs right here with these incredible blue flames that are starting to show themselves on the breaks in the cracks within the roadways just in and around the Kilauea Volcano.

What's happening here is in fact we're starting to see the methane starting to seep out into the open. And that is all thanks to the lava flowing up and over some of the vegetation within that area eventually allowing for the methane to escape into those cracks. And once it is ignited by some of that surrounding molten lava it actually ignites this blue flame; kind of mystical to look at but nonetheless still again, dangerous to say the least.

There are still several threats going forward for this particular Kilauea Volcano not only the toxic gases that are impacting this area but we have had over 85 -- that is not a mistake -- 85 earthquakes just within the past 24 hours. So we have the potential for more earthquake activity, nonetheless they have been very small in size and magnitude as well.

But the earthquakes continue to be a concern, the toxic gases being released into the sky including the sulfur dioxide. We can't forget about the fissures and the lava flow that continues to impact the region and the potential for another larger explosive eruption similar to what happened three weeks ago, last week Thursday.

We just hope and pray that this shows some signs of coming to an end soon. But it doesn't look like it is going to -- John.

VAUSE: Three weeks is a long time. And it's going to be longer yet. Thank you -- Derek.

Well, the U.S. has issued a health alert and advised Americans living in China after a consulate staff in Guangzhou reported abnormal sensations of sound and pressure. The staffer who was sent back to the U.S. was diagnosed with brain injuries. Officials say it's similar to so-called sonic attacks on Americans at the U.S. embassy in Cuba.

But exactly what happened in Cuba more than a year ago remains a mystery. U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo says he is expecting a report by next week.

CNN's Patrick Oppmann has more now from Havana.


PATRICK OPPMANN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: When the U.S. embassy reopened in the Havana in 2015 it appeared that America was coming back to Cuba.

U.S. officials predicted the embassy could soon quadruple its number of staff. American businesses could come pouring in and that the U.S. would again be a player after more than five decades of broken relations with the communist-run island.

Instead in November 2016 right after the U.S. presidential elections U.S. diplomats in their homes or hotel rooms in Havana began to experience strange symptoms such as vertigo, nausea and hearing loss often accompanied by a loud sound similar to insects or grinding metal.

Some of the diplomats returned to the U.S. for treatment and were told by doctors there they were suffering from symptoms similar to those seen with traumatic brain injuries like victims of a car crash or a bomb blast.

[01:50:00] Diplomats were told they were being targeted by a precise beam of energy possibly from a sonic weapon and that if they felt the mysterious symptoms to leave the room or walk out of their houses.

DR. CHARLES ROSENFARB, U.S. STATE DEPARTMENT MEDICAL SERVICES: We inform people that should they hear or feel a sensation to move away as quickly as possible. We know from our patients already who've been there that the less exposure the better.

OPPMANN: In February 2017, U.S. diplomats complained directly to then Cuban President Raul Castro. Castro denied that Cuba was involved and promised to cooperate eventually letting the FBI travel multiple times to the island to investigate it.

For months the U.S. kept the alleged attacks a closely guarded secret as many of the diplomats to first report the incidents were CIA officers secretly working under diplomatic cover.

U.S. officials have told CNN that the Cuban government did not appear to have the motive or the capability to carry out the alleged attacks but would likely know if another government was involve din such an operation on the island.

After the news broke in August 2017 of the incidents the U.S. expelled 15 Cuban diplomats and withdrew all but a skeleton staff to the newly- reopened U.S. embassy in Havana.

Canada also said some of its diplomats may have been targeted and in April ordered family members of diplomats to leave Cuba until further notice.

Cuba has denied any knowledge or involvement in the incidents.

JOSEFINA VIDAL, CUBAN OFFICIAL: There is no evidence of any kind. Not of the cause, not of the perpetrator, not of the origin.

OPPMANN: But the mystery incidents have damaged the Cuban economy by scaring away tourists and further eroding the already frayed U.S.- Cuban relationship.

American hopes that the U.S. would play a larger role in Cuban affairs are for the foreseeable future on hold. All non-essential staff has been pulled from the U.S. embassy which has been all but shut down.

Now U.S. citizens can't get their passports renewed here and Cuban citizens have to travel to a third country to apply for U.S. visas. And many of the U.S. government employees who acted as America's eyes and ears here have left and may not return until this diplomatic mystery is finally solved.

Patrick Oppmann, CNN -- Havana.


VAUSE: Next here on NEWSROOM L.A. after a judge ruled it was to leave mommy and daddy's home, the 30-year-old man baby says he will appeal the decision and he's not going anywhere.


VAUSE: This might just be the worst out of the year. Supposedly in honor of the recent royal wedding but quickly denounced as racist. A popular German candy company posted a picture on Facebook of a chocolate decorated like a bride with the words, "Don't you want to be Meghan today?" It generated all kinds of outrage before the candy maker apologized admitting the post was stupid and embarrassing. Prince Harry's bride, Meghan Markle, is of course biracial.

Five eviction notices, a promise of cash, even an order from a judge has not been enough to force 30-year-old man to leave his parents' home. Michael Rotondo says he's not going anywhere even though he's not even talking to his parents.

Here's CNN's Lynda Kinkade.


LYNDA KINKADE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: While mom and dad looked on Michael Rotondo demanded in court that he be allowed to continue living in his parents' home.

Michael ROTONDO, EVICTED BY PARENTS: I am not a burden to them in the home. They don't provide laundry or food.

[01:54:59] KINKADE: But the judge told the 30-year-old who's been living rent-free at his parents' house for eight years it is time to move out.

Rotondo's parents gave their son five written notices since February telling him to leave their home upstate New York. They even gave Rotondo money to help him get his own place. When he still didn't leave the parents started legal proceedings.

The 30-year-old said he wasn't given enough time on start living on his own but the judge said that's plenty.

DONALD GREENWOOD, NEW YORK STATE SUPREME COURT JUDGE: Granting the eviction -- I think the notice is sufficient.

KINKADE: Rotondo says the eviction warnings began after he lost custody of his own son which he claims is unfair. He called the ruling outrageous.

And in an interview with CNN Rotondo says he's trying to strike a deal with his parents' lawyer so he won't to have move out right away.

ROTONDO: I'm saying to the attorney if you put this proposal for three months in or proposed order for three months in I won't fight any more for the case.

KINKADE: Despite the ruling he doesn't seem to be in a big hurry to leave or to find a job.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: One of the things your parents asked of you -- there were jobs available even for those with a poor work history like you. Get one -- you have to work. Are you working on that?

ROTONDO: I have plans to be able to provide for myself with the income I need to support myself but it's not something that's going to come together tomorrow.

KINKADE: While it remains to be seen if the court ruling will be enforced the court of public opinion is drawing conclusions of its own; the story becoming a water pool (ph) of fodder for talk shows.

WHOOPI GOLDBERG, TV HOST: Dude -- you're 30 years old, ok.


GOLDBERG: Your parents look tired. You know?

KINKADE: And some are drawing comparisons to the 2006 comedy "Failure to Launch".

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You live with your parents.


KINKADE: Lynda Kinkade, CNN.


VAUSE: Time to go, pal.

You're watching CNN NEWSROOM, live from Los Angeles. I'm John Vause.

Join us on Twitter. You can find us @CNNNEWSROOMLA for highlights and clips from the show.

And I will be back with more news right after this.


[02:00:06] VAUSE: This is CNN NEWSROOM live from Los Angeles.