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North Korean Official: Trump Risking Nuclear Showdown; Trump Allies Pushing "Spy" Theory as Fact; Activist Bringing Education to Rohingya Refugees; Emmanuel Macron in Russia for High-Stakes Talks with Vladimir Putin; Boston Celtics 96, Cleveland Cavaliers 83; NFL Announces New National Anthem Policy; Carlo Ancelloti To Replace Maurizio Sarri At Napoli. Aired 2-3a ET

Aired May 24, 2018 - 02:00   ET




JOHN VAUSE, CNN ANCHOR (voice-over): This is CNN NEWSROOM live from Los Angeles. Ahead this hour: insults and threats. North Korea calls the U.S. vice president a dummy and warns if talks with the United States fail, it's ready for a nuclear showdown.

The U.S. president says it could be one of the worst scandals in American history but there's a problem. He doesn't have a shred of evidence to prove it.

And a campaign to educate: one man's mission to bring the classroom to Rohingya refugees.

Hello, everybody. Great to have you with us. I'm John Vause and, yes, the time has come for the third hour of NEWSROOM L.A.


VAUSE: And so we begin this hour with a harsh new warning from North Korea. Less than three weeks before a summit with the United States. A senior North Korean official says they're ready for a nuclear showdown if the summit fails but that it's entirely dependent on the U.S.

The vice minister of foreign affairs also called U.S. vice president Mike Pence a political dummy for saying North Korea could end up like Libya if it does not make a deal at the summit. CNN's Alexandra Field joins me now live from Hong Kong.

I guess, Alexandra, is this more brinksmanship before the summit?

Or should this be seen as another nail in its coffin?

Because this certainly sounds a lot more heated than what we've heard in the last week or so.

ALEXANDRA FIELD, CNN CORRESPONDENT: It certainly is more heated than what we've heard, John. And when you set that against the backdrop of the U.S. president, Donald Trump himself saying there is a substantial chance that the summit might not happen on June 12th, you've got to take this kind of rhetoric seriously and try to decipher whether it could be an indication of North Korea pulling back on its intention to follow through with this summit or it could be any number of other calculations, like potentially appeasing some of the hardliners within North Korea or a perhaps a negotiation tactic before Kim Jong-un potentially comes face-to-face with Donald Trump in Singapore.

But what we are seeing is certainly a more fiery kind of language than what we've seen recently. It certainly pales in comparison to just a few weeks ago, when everyone seemed to be saying just the right things in order to all get to the table.

Now you've got this vice minister from the foreign ministry in North Korea, someone who is thought to be a rising star, really offering a mouthful up for vice president Mike Pence, calling him a dummy, calling his remarks stupid, particularly taking umbrage at comments that he made about Libya. Those were comments that made on FOX News.

And certainly we know when U.S. officials talk about Libya, it is a trigger point for North Korea. They see the example of Libya as the reason for why they need nuclear weapons. And certainly this official wanted to make it clear that the vice president was wrong to compare North Korea and Libya in any way because North Korea has worked for years to develop its nuclear program, making it different from Libya itself.

If you look at the comments Vice President Pence made, he was reiterating something President Trump had said in the past, which is that Libya would be the model for what would happen if Kim Jong-un didn't come to the table.

That's certainly a differentiating factor from what the national security adviser, John Bolton, said before, which was that the United States could look to the negotiations with Libya back in the early 2000s as it approaches North Korea.

So how is North Korea interpreting all this language from the U.S.?

Well, they're spitting rhetoric back, they're reacting strongly to what they are hearing out of Washington.

What does it mean for the summit?

We'll have to wait and see. But part of those comments made by the vice minister said it's up to the U.S. to keep this summit on track -- John.

VAUSE: I guess if there's one point in all of this which we should point, when Donald Trump made very similar comments, which was assuming being repeated by his vice president, the North Koreans didn't actually react to that. So maybe there's an indication that the summit could still be on track. As you said I guess we'll have to wait and see. Thank you, Alexandria Field, live for us there in Hong Kong. Now to U.S. politics where the president is making a stunning allegation without a shred of evidence. Donald Trump, his allies, right-wing media, they're all peddling a story about the FBI planting a spy or even spies inside the Trump campaign, part of what they call a deep state conspiracy against him.



TRUMP: 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. I hope it's not true but it looks like it is.


VAUSE: Well, for more on this, we're joined by talk radio host Ethan Bearman, California Republican national committee man, Shawn Steel, and CNN law enforcement contributor, Steve Moore.

Shawn, let's get right to it.


VAUSE: What's the evidence all these people are talking about?

Who are these people?

What are their names?

Because so far the president and everybody else who is supporting this, they got nada.

SHAWN STEEL, CALIFORNIA REPUBLICAN NATIONAL COMMITTEE: Stefan Halburg (ph), let's start with him. That's a name that was supposed to weigh into the most dangerous thing in the world. If you release the name of the person who was spying for the FBI, who's an old CIA guy going back to 1980, we all know who his name is because "The Washington Post" and the "The New York Times" told us.

This whole story was created by "The New York Times." We have hard evidence and now --


VAUSE: He was a professor who went, interviewed George Papadopoulos and Carter Page, who were on the FBI's radar long before he spoke with them. He was not embedded in the campaign. He spoke with these guys who were on the radar --


STEEL: -- we don't know if he was embedded in the campaign or not. (CROSSTALK)

VAUSE: -- no, no, no, we know that he was not embedded in the campaign.

STEEL: -- at the direction of the FBI he was asked to meet those people and now there's evidence that he was trying to meet other people and insinuate himself --

VAUSE: There's one guy who used to work for the campaign that made an allegation that's got nothing to back it up.

STEEL: Except, of course, he has personal experience. The fact is "The New York Times" has opened the door in this and they're the ones that used the word spy. Now it's not --


VAUSE: -- they did not use the word spy.

STEEL: Well, you know, informant --


VAUSE: -- Steve, there's a big difference between an informant, Steve, as an FBI agent, and a spy.

STEVE MOORE, CNN LAW ENFORCEMENT CORRESPONDENT: Well, they're two totally different things. So it could be just a difference in terminology. But a spy and an informant have nothing to do with each -- that's like saying a fireman and a policeman.

But I would say, I'm not alleging that anything happened here but the FBI is always extremely careful about putting sources and investigative tools into parts of our democracy, which we depend on for freedom -- the press, the judiciary, the Congress.

But we've done it successfully with Abscam and Greylord. But before you put somebody into a presidential campaign, if that's the case, it's going to have to be vetted all the way to the top of the Department of Justice.

Again, I'm not alleging it but the person would not be a spy. It would be a confidential informant.

VAUSE: A source, exactly, OK.

Here's an example of the president trying to give his allegations some credibility.


TRUMP: If you look at Clapper, he sort of admitted that they had spies in the campaign yesterday, inadvertently. But I hope it's not true but it looks like it is.


VAUSE: OK, see, now this is what the former Director of National Intelligence, James Clapper, actually said a day earlier.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: So I ask you was the FBI spying on Trump's campaign?

JAMES CLAPPER, FORMER U.S. DIRECTOR OF NATIONAL INTELLIGENCE: No, they were not. They were spying on -- a term I don't particularly like -- but on what the Russians were doing, trying to understand, were the Russians infiltrating, trying to gain access, trying to gain leverage and influence?


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: So why doesn't he like that?

He should be happy --

CLAPPER: Well, he should be.


VAUSE: Ethan, this is one example; it's received a lot of play. But there are so many other examples that just go unchecked from this White House, from FOX News, from the allies of the president, because there is just simply not enough hours in the day to fact check everything that comes out of this administration.

ETHAN BEARMAN, TALK RADIO HOST: Yes, well, that's part of the point, right, is to flood up so we can't fact check everything single thing that he says. It's odd to me that the Republican Party has been taken over by Alex Jones-style conspiracy. It's really, really weird and it's uncomfortable.

We have the Russians, who, clearly, for a long time, have tried to infiltrate and influence our democracy. They did it in a whole new way in 2016. Anybody who has worked in information security knows it's been going against our banks, our corporations and our government since the 1990s on the Internet.

This is not new. The fact that the Republicans are no longer the party that can tout national security is a weird change of events.


STEEL: Except the Russians have always been trying to infiltrate the United States and they had great success in the 1930s in the Democratic Party. Everybody understands that's --

VAUSE: We want to stick with this century, Shawn, OK.

If this was an Obama-driven conspiracy to sink Donald Trump's chances of winning the presidency, it was a pretty lousy one. Because, Shawn, long before Election Day, the FBI had a lot of information, didn't have a lot of conclusions but it had a lot of information which they could have leaked.

As "The New York Times" reported last week, the facts, had they surfaced, might have devastated the Trump campaign. Mr. Trump's future national security advisor was under investigation, as was his campaign chairman. One adviser appeared to have Russian intelligence contacts. Another was suspected of being a Russian agent himself.

And Shawn, instead of leaking that information, if you want to take the "The New York Times" report as the basis of this allegation, "The New York Times" reports the FBI went to extraordinary lengths to keep that under wraps, to make sure it didn't leak.

STEEL: Except it didn't quite work out that that way. The FBI --


STEEL: -- under Obama knew about the Russian incursions going back to 2014, took virtually no steps to alert the public, alert the political campaigns. What the Russians were trying --


STEEL: -- under Obama's watch that this massive --


STEEL: -- this information came about. But now --

VAUSE: Why didn't they leak the information before the election?

STEEL: I don't buy that because you have Samantha Power on a daily basis --

VAUSE: Why didn't they leak the information -- why didn't they leak the information before --


VAUSE: -- there was a lot of information that came out because, if this was a conspiracy --

STEEL: Let's talk about truth and consequence. Clapper is the one that's the international liar.

VAUSE: No, no, no.

STEEL: You can't believe anything --

VAUSE: Let's stick with facts, because, again --

STEEL: He's the one that said nobody --

VAUSE: -- before the election, October 28th, less than a week before, the FBI director, James Comey, announced the Clinton e-mail investigation was being reopened because of the -- they discovered all these emails of Anthony Weiner. He was married to Huma Abedin, her close aide.

And then "The New York Times" report, October 31st, law enforcement officials say that none of the investigations so far have found any conclusive or direct links between Mr. Trump and the Russian government. And even the hacking into Democratic emails, FBI and intelligence officials now believe was aimed at disrupting the presidential election rather than electing Mr. Trump."

Ethan, this is the dumbest conspiracy ever --


STEEL: So you're saying that there's no collusion between Trump and Russia because that's what everybody --


STEEL: -- so you believe that story or have you changed your mind since then?

VAUSE: That was what the case was in 2016.

Steve, this was the case in 2016.

There's been an investigation, which has since uncovered other evidence, right?

MOORE: Right. Right. And by the way, if the FBI improperly didn't want Donald Trump to be president, the proof would be that Donald Trump wouldn't be president. I don't mean to speak out of turn. But the FBI could get that done.

STEEL: Thank you for admitting that. That's absolutely true. And he's president --


MOORE: They've always had it. And as you've heard me say "improperly" didn't want him to be president. And so he is president. So I -- the fact that they didn't come forward with the fact that Russians were trying to infiltrate campaigns is a sign of how the FBI works.

You don't tell them because then they stop dealing with the Russians and you don't get your evidence.

BEARMAN: And what's so damning for the Trump administration right now, based on what Steve was just saying, they got rid of the head cyber guy. Ambassador Bolton, now NSA Bolton just said we can't have a cyber chief directly reporting to the president in all of this, the Trump administration has decided we don't need somebody coordinating cyber --

(CROSSTALK) STEEL: -- huge organization. Rank and file are good and there was tremendous consternation within the FBI under Comey that forces dug in once a month. It was a top echelon. Remember, the top FBI guy was fired. Number two was fired in disgrace. The number three counter intelligence officer, Stark, he was the one that was --

VAUSE: Shawn, OK, look, when we do have an FBI guy --


STEEL: -- terrible corruption under Obama --

VAUSE: -- again, because this is what Trump is saying, it's what FOX is saying, is that it's rotten at the top, that when -- and Trump said this today, he owned the firing of Comey. He said it was the greatest thing he could have done for the country, that everyone, all, everyone was complaining about Comey, he was a terrible leader. And there was great joy within the FBI ranks when he was fired.

Is that what you heard?

MOORE: Well, no. Obviously you're going to have some politically active people --

VAUSE: No, but people who don't like the guy --


MOORE: Right, right. There is no massive division. There are opinions. But what the FBI does is they survive administration after administration after administration. And while the country can survive any presidency, the country cannot survive a politically corrupt FBI.

And so the FBI, all along, have been dedicated to this. And if the agents had any issues with Comey, generally, it's the fact that he politicized the FBI with not -- with criticizing Hillary Clinton.

VAUSE: Yes, (INAUDIBLE) Hillary Clinton.

Very quickly, there are those Republicans who've stayed silent about this or, in fact, they've encouraged the president. Here's the House Speaker, Paul Ryan, throwing his support behind the inspector general's investigation into the FBI and the release of classified documents on that FBI informant.


REP. PAUL RYAN (R), HOUSE SPEAKER: I do think it's appropriate in the context of the legitimate Intelligence Committee investigation that this information be provided to Congress.


VAUSE: Ethan, remember the scandal around Hillary Clinton and her e- mails and it was all about protecting sources and methods? And now none of that seems to matter.

BEARMAN: The double standards are --


BEARMAN: -- utterly astounding. The hypocrisy from the Right on this topic is beyond anything. So Hillary should be in jail. We spent four years investigating Benghazi, six different times. We're frustrated that the Mueller investigation has gone on for a year.

But remember how much money, how much time we spent on all of the other investigations. This is just a simple, sad political play by the Republicans. It's not to the benefit of the American people.

By the way, if there's corruption, I think it's really important that all of us agree on this. If there's some sort kind of a corruption that's happening within the FBI or the CIA or the NSA, we need to get to the bottom of that.


STEEL: You just heard from our FBI specialist here that Comey had a definite political agenda.


VAUSE: No, he didn't say that at all.


STEEL: -- that's a criticism --


VAUSE: -- about Clinton, he blew it. That was the original sin that set the ball rolling for everything else. And then they're all gun- shy when it came to dealing with the Trump campaign. So they bent over backwards to keep that under wraps.

STEEL: And we don't know to the extent how many spies that they had because it's certainly going to be more than one.


STEEL: We need a special counsel. We have people that are a disgrace on the top levels of the FBI. And everybody here, if they're honest one minute, wouldn't -- McNabb. He was fired in disgrace because he lied to his own FBI.


VAUSE: He released information to the press about Hillary Clinton, that the Hillary Clinton investigation was still ongoing.

STEEL: And he may go to jail for that. MOORE: No, he's not going to go --

STEEL: -- this is a corrupt organization that requires a special prosecutor.


VAUSE: I will remind you, Shawn, you have an FBI agent just there to your left. And he's armed.


VAUSE: At that point we're going to leave it there.

MOORE: We'll see. We'll talk later.

VAUSE: Shawn, Steve, thank you all so much.

Still to come here, bringing education to Rohingya refugee children, many of whom have never been to a school.




VAUSE: A new report has found a Rohingya armed group massacred dozens of Hindus in Rakhine State last year. Amnesty International claims as many as 99 Hindu men, women and children were killed. The finding is based on dozens of interviews, photos and forensic analysis.

Eight women and eight children from the village survived, including this woman shown in the photo from Amnesty. Witnesses say the villagers were robbed, bound, blindfolded and then killed execution style. Amnesty says the killings happened the same day Rohingya militants attacked around 30 police outposts in the region.

And it was those attacks which sparked Myanmar's military crackdown, driving hundreds of thousands of Rohingya Muslims into Bangladesh. Myanmar's government has welcomed the report and says it has credible evidence of more terror attacks by the Rohingya militants.


VAUSE: The slow-motion human tragedy now playing out in squalid camps in Bangladesh will soon see more misery and death with the arrival of monsoon season. After fleeing a military crackdown in Myanmar, 700, 000 Rohingya crossed the border to relative safety.

But the flimsy shelters they now call home will be no match for the heavy rain, floods and landslides in the coming months. And it will be the young who are most at risk. And they make up almost half the population of the camps.

On top of all of that, one study found that a staggering 80 percent of them simply can't read. Most have never seen the inside of a classroom. And a child without an education is especially vulnerable. According to the United Nations, children who do not attend school are at a much higher risk of violence, exploitation, abuse and neglect.

Educator and human rights activist Rajiv Uttamchandani traveled to the camps in Cox's Bazaar last month. And while there, he did what he does best, he taught.


RAJIV UTTAMCHANDANI, EDUCATOR AND HUMAN RIGHTS ACTIVIST: So this is where you are, OK? In the world, this is where you are right now.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (Speaking foreign language).


VAUSE: And now he's building a network of teachers to try and help those children in those refugee camps, try and help them learn. Rajiv joins me here in Los Angeles.

Thank you for coming in.

UTTAMCHANDANI: Nice to meet you, thank you.

VAUSE: I just want to ask you about the subjects you taught these kids, first up, astronomy and basic science. Basic science I understand.

How did the astronomy go down?

UTTAMCHANDANI: So that's my academic background, in astrophysics. And the way I teach astronomy is to survivors of trauma. I think the way you approach that when you talk about galaxies and planets outside of our solar system and the possibility of extraterrestrial life existing in this universe, becomes so profound that, when you teach that to students or young minds that have not been exposed to such material before, it become a sense of healing for them.

VAUSE: It becomes an escape.

UTTAMCHANDANI: Yes, exactly, it's an escape from their terrible and harsh realities. And I teach them and I show them videos and pictures and photos of the sun and moon and Earth from outer space, from a perspective they've never seen before.

VAUSE: So they loved it?

UTTAMCHANDANI: They loved it. They loved it. I think unanimously, even if they didn't understand everything that I was saying, their expressions, the way they absorbed the material was just profound.

VAUSE: Even before these kids were living in these awful camps, when they were in Myanmar, they weren't getting exactly the best education. They were denied sort of basic education and supplies and dilapidated buildings and compared to Burmese kids or Myanmar kids, they were certainly not as well looked after.

So how did you find their ability and their eagerness, I guess, to be in school and to learn and essentially wanting an education?

UTTAMCHANDANI: So their ability is very low for sure. From the outset, I opened each class, I taught several classes in different areas in the camps. And I opened each class by showing them Google Earth.

So I said, where are you in the world now?

And they weren't able to identify that. I'd point to specific countries, the United States, India, China. And only one or two from an audience of maybe 90 or 100 were able to identify specific countries.

So their abilities are certainly very low, probably at the elementary school level, even for teenagers or youths that are 15, 16, 17 years old. But contrasted from that is their eagerness to learn. And that was unmatched and unbound. I've frequently said after my trip that I've never seen a more eager audience that what I saw --


VAUSE: And for a teacher, no matter where you are in the world, that's kind of awesome.

UTTAMCHANDANI: It is -- it was -- I felt like a rock star, you know, which as an astrophysicist, rock star --

VAUSE: It doesn't happen every day.

UTTAMCHANDANI: Yes, it doesn't happen every day and they just loved everything that we taught them. There were some struggles, of course, with language barriers. We had translators to translate from English to Rohingya. And that was a struggle but we managed to come across with some challenging material.

VAUSE: Here's part of the report from UNICEF.

Learning and recreational spaces for children have been expanded rapidly. But still fall well short of the needs. Over 260, 000 children are currently deprived of an education.

There is this warning from a lot of aid groups of this lost generation because of the Rohingya and the circumstances they've been facing. That's exactly what you're now trying to avoid, making sure that these kids do actually get an education. And your approach seems to be quite novel.

UTTAMCHANDANI: Yes. And the struggle there you have these learning centers or makeshift learning centers. They're mostly catering to the elementary school level of education.

So what happens now when we, by all means, all sources estimate that the Rohingya will be there for probably 10 or 15 years in these camps? So what if secondary school education, what are teenagers going to learn?

And that's the population that I really want to cater to because --


UTTAMCHANDANI: -- providing them with education is securing their future.

VAUSE: So you're trying to recruit teachers from everywhere?

UTTAMCHANDANI: Yes, exactly.

VAUSE: But will they actually go there or will they be doing this over Skype?

What's the plan?

UTTAMCHANDANI: So, realistically, even our trip to the camps themselves, we knew how difficult it was. It's very hot. There's no electricity. The journey to the camps themselves is rather arduous. So we know that this is not for everyone to do.

And on a regular basis at that. And when you're talking about a population of nearly 1 million, there becomes daunting challenges. But if you take that and you take that remotely, where you can do so via Skype, via FaceTime or all these other interfaces that we do have now, that's exactly what we're trying to do, to build an entire secondary school education program, formulate it from a core of astronomy, which is our unique spin and we take that virtual, that's our goal.

VAUSE: Well, Rajiv, we wish you well. These kids have already been through so much and clearly this is very much needed and they can certainly do it.

UTTAMCHANDANI: Thank you so much.

VAUSE: Thank you. Good to speak with you.

UTTAMCHANDANI: Appreciate that.

VAUSE: And thank you. We'll take a short break right now. A lot more to come. You're watching CNN.



UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Bye-bye. Bye-bye. Bye-bye.








VAUSE: Welcome back, everybody. You're watching CNN NEWSROOM from Los Angeles. I'm John Vause with a check of the headlines this hour.


[02:30:00] VAUSE: Matthew Chance is in St. Petersburg. He joins us now live. Matthew, if Emmanuel Macron had bromance with Donald Trump then could this relationship with Vladimir Putin be described more like frenemies? Can they work together? Unfortunately, now, we have Matthew there. OK. I lost my voice. We didn't have Matthew. This is going well. OK. Matthew, very quickly. There was a bromance we saw in Washington when Macron met with Trump. That will not be the case when he met with Putin. Can we describe their relationship more like frenemies?

MATTHEW CHANCE, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes, sorry about the technical difficulties a moment ago. But, yes, I think that might be -- that might be a fair description of the relationship between Macron and Putin. Emmanuel Macron, the French leader has made it is his business to try and forge relationships with these -- sort of (INAUDIBLE) leaders. He's been pretty close to Trump, not for that did he much good when it came to the U.S. decision to pull out of the Iran nuclear deal and he's been sidling up to Vladimir Putin who's in Russia today. He's meeting with the Russian president. They're discussing trade deals. We understand that later today there are going to be some significant trade deals before Russia and France that are announced. But, of course, there are outstanding issues between the two figures over the situation in Ukraine, and Russia's annexation of Crimea, and Russia's continued backing of Bashar al-Assad, the Syrian president.

All that adds to what is a very complicated dynamic in this relationship, particularly made more complicated by the fact that of course there's this U.S. pullout of the Iran nuclear deal has left Russia and France as well as other Europeans on the same side against the United States. And so it's all becoming a very complex picture of diplomatic relations. But, you know, Emmanuel Macron, the French president is here to try and cut through that and to get some kind of deal whether or not that'll be possible though. I think he's unclear, John.

VAUSE: Is it -- is it fair to say that with the U.S. pulling out of the Iran nuclear deal that Russia's role here at least as far as the Europeans concerned has sort of been alleviated in trying to salvage what's left of that agreement?

CHANCE: Well, I think it is in a sense that, you know, the Iranians want to see as much -- as much agreement as possible and the Europeans want to make sure that Russia and China who are also signatories of that Iran nuclear deal continue to uphold their side of it if there's any chance of that deal surviving the American withdraw. And so, you know, all the parties apart from the United States are on the same side at the moment. They still see this Iran nuclear agreement which has been dealt a devastating blow by the U.S. withdrawal as the best way of ensuring that Iran does not get nuclear weapons. And of course, there's a shared concern as well about what the Plan B maybe for the United States whether it involves going to war with Iran and orchestrating regime change. That's something that the French are against and it's something that the Russians are fundamentally against as well. And so they are divided over some issues but united in other important ways.

VAUSE: OK. Matthew, thank you. Senior International Correspondent Matthew Chance live for us in St. Petersburg ahead of that meeting between Vladimir Putin and Emmanuel Macron of France. Thank you. Well, we'll take a short break. When we come back, football team owners in the U.S. are taking a stand over players taking a knee while the fallout over the national anthem protests in just a moment.


[02:35:59] VAUSE: In the U.S., owners of pro-football teams have passed new regulations who say players must stand during the national anthem. The controversy started in 2016 when San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick knelt during the anthem to draw attention to social and racial injustice. The protest grew and so did the backlash. Under the new National Football League rules players have the option of staying in the locker room during the anthem, but if they are on the field, they must stand.


ROGER GOODELL, COMMISSIONER, NATIONAL FOOTBALL LEAGUE: You want people to be respectful to 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. We have been very sensitive in making sure that we give players choices, but 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 Texas. Thank you for coming here. I should mention you are on crutches, so this --


VAUSE: We really appreciate that.

SALAAM: I limped in here just for you to inspire.

VAUSE: I'm touched. I want you to hear a little more from Roger Goodell because he believes that this plan and he said sweet spot of compromise. This is what he said.


GOODELL: We think that we've come up with a balanced procedure process here and 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's no penalty for that, but we are going to encourage all of them to be on the field. We'd like all of them to be on the field and stand attention.


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

SALAAM: Yes. They completely missed the mark, 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 what's happening in our communities with police killing unarmed African-Americans 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, hey, so look, that's a sign of disrespect. But if you kneel, that is not a form of disrespect. And so he does that --


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 a question. Who gets to decide what's disrespectful? Because the Detroit Free Press is reporting (INAUDIBLE) said, well, it's 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, 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, right? So instead of coming together with the players, so you got to remember the owners lock themselves in a room and they came up with these themselves.

VAUSE: And the players association.

SALAAM: Players association had 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 cause more division within the team. Say you do want to stay into the locker room, right? So what does that do? If the all media looking for which players aren't out there doing the national anthem and that's where the questions would be directed and that's beside the point.

[02:40:04] VAUSE: Here's a story going -- yes. OK. This, you know, make no mistake. This is a political victory for Donald Trump. He made it clear last year back in September when he --


VAUSE: -- of 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 son of a -- off the field right now? Out. He's fired. He's fired.


VAUSE: And we also have 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 scared of him. You know, it seems the NFL has made it clear it will stand with the president against protesting players who are mostly bright.

SALAAM: Which is disappointing, it's disheartening because when he came out and made those divides of 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 is the money going if they're fine? What's going to happen? So instead of making this go away and coming up with a solution, they 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 communities.

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 double terms and, you know, money matters to these guys essentially they're given between 2015 and 2016, they gave 40 times more 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 and the inauguration, you know, Mr. Kraft, the owner of the Patriots is a friend of Mr. Trump's, a lot, Bob McNair, the Houston Texans owner, a 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 and within the league, and I think they had an opportunity to do something good and they just grossly misjudge --

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

SALAAM: It would have been over.

VAUSE: Exactly. But now, it's going to keep going.

SALAAM: Yes. It's going to keep going because there's more loopholes and more pitfalls to people that fall in it.

VAUSE: Exactly. Ephraim, thank you so much.

SALAAM: Thank you.

VAUSE: Hopeful it gets better. It looks really painful.

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

VAUSE: Appreciate it. Thank you. He's tough. Thank you for watching CNN NEWSROOM live from Los Angeles. I'm John Vause. Follow us on Twitter at @CNNNewsroomLA for highlights and clips of the show. Stay tuned now for "WORLD SPORT." You're watching CNN.

[02:44:57] PATRICK SNELL, CNN INTERNATIONAL SPORTS ANCHOR: Hi there, thanks for joining us. Welcome to CNN WORLD SPORT. Wednesday night, what a night of playoff action in the United States as both the NBA and the NHL had crucial matchups on the slate.

In the NBA, LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers came into the night all tied at two apiece in their series against the Celtics. The winner, just one victory from the NBA finals. While in the NHL, it was the decisive Game Seven between Alex Ovechkin, and this Capitals, and the Tampa Bay Lightning. The Vegas Golden Knights await the winner of that game for a chance to play for the Stanley Cup. Kristina Fitzpatrick now has the roundup of all the action for us.

KRISTINA FITZPATRICK, CNN SPORTS ANCHOR: Thank you, Patrick. Well, on a crucial Game Seven situation, The Caps, and the Lightning have a noticeable record. Tampa Bay, owning the best record of the NHL at five and two. Washington, the worst record at four and eleven.

Tonight, that didn't reflect much for the Capitals that they dominated their way into the Stanly Cup final. The Caps Russian superstar Alex Ovechkin, wasted no time setting the tone just over a minute into the game with this solid shot to the back of the net. 1-0 Washington just a minute into the game. Later in the first after coming out of the penalty box for minor penalties, the gloves were off for Braydon Coburn and Tom Wilson, who immediately started swinging resulting in fighting majors.

But the Lightning didn't put much of a fight to the Caps offense. The hero of the game was Andre Burakovsky who had two goals on the night after not scoring in his last six contest and missing 10 games due to a hand injury he suffered in the first round of the postseason. 4-0 was the final, so after 13 seasons with the Washington Capitals, Alex Ovechkin, celebrates for the first time a trip to the Stanley Cup finals.

And the Caps will now head to the Las Vegas for Game One of the Stanley Cup finals. Vegas has made a miraculous run to the final in their inaugural season, and it should be a wild atmosphere when they begin the best of seven series Monday night. It's only the second Stanley Cup final appearance in the 44-year history of the Caps. They're seeking their first cup.

Only two games in the NHL East were won at home, but in the NBA East, it's a different story. Will all of the first four games won by the home team? And the Celtics were home trying to break a 2-2 deadlock in a pivotal Game Five against the Cavs. Boston was off to a fast start with six three-pointers in the first quarter, two of them effortlessly made by Jaylen Brown, for the Celtics to take a 13 point lead headed into the second quarter.

Tensions mounted for a moment early in the second when Marcus Morris and Larry Nance, Jr. got into a little bit of a scuffle that resulted in technical for both. Well, you'd think that might have fired up the Cavs, but it really didn't. The Celtics led by double digits the majority of the night, with a whole team effort.

Jayson Tatum with a steal late in the third quarter resulting in a layup over LeBron. He, at 24 points on the night, and in the fourth year (INAUDIBLE) hustling down the court with an alley-oop to Al Horford, who throws it down. The Celtics remain undefeated at home in the post-season with 10 wins at the Garden, 96-83, the final.

So, the Celtics can close out the series in Game Six, Friday night in Cleveland. But remember, has only won one win in seven rough games this postseason. Thursday night sees a pivotal Game Five of the Western Conference series as the Rockets return home to Houston, having even up the best of seven with the Golden State Warriors. The Rockets have two of the final three games at home.

So, an exciting night of action here on the States and we look forward to Thursday with that Rockets and Warriors' Game Five. Back to you, Patrick.

SNELL: Thank you, Kristina, for that. Well, other stories are following a significant developments on a really key storyline that here at CNN WORLD SPORT, we have been following very closely indeed over the last couple of years. Ever since August of 2016, in fact, that's when then, San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick, refused to stand for the American national anthem in protest of perceived social injustice.

His gesture would trigger the ongoing and indeed highly heated debate over kneeling protests before NFL games in this country. But similar demonstrations spreading right across the league. Some would kneel, others choosing to link arms in support.

Well, this whole issue spread beyond the world of sport as well with Donald Trump even weighing in on the matter with America's president, highly critical of the protest. Up until now, players had to be on the field of play for the anthem. But there was no exclusive requirement for them to stand during the aforementioned anthem.

On Wednesday, though, National Football League owners meeting up in Atlanta. And the upshot really significant indeed with the decision taken that players on the field must now stand during the anthem this coming season. And under a new policy, teams will be fined if team members do indeed kneel. And the sports Chief Roger has been outlining another key provides though, as well.


[02:49:56] ROGER GOODELL, COMMISSIONER, NATIONAL FOOTBALL LEAGUE: We think that we've come up with a balanced process here and a procedure and policy that will allow those players to feel that they can't stand for the anthem to stay in the locker room. And there's no penalty for that. But we are going to encourage all of them to be on the field. We'd like all of them to be on the field and stand at attention.


SNELL: And you can be sure we haven't heard the last to this. We'll keep you, of course, across all the key developments for you. Remember the NFL 2018 regular season that starts up in September.

A football's managerial merry-go-round appears to be already in full swing. Arsenal fans know that their club's new boss is -- and his past is knew for one of the sport's most respected and decorated head coaches. So, where is next now for Carlo (INAUDIBLE)?


SNELL: Welcome back now. If you're a Peruvian football fan, and you likely just can't wait for next month's World Cup to get underway in Russia. That you can see why at the last time the Peruvian's qualify was at Spain, 1982. That's 36 years ago, but just imagine knowing you're now face for the prospect of your country's most famous player and captain Paolo Guerrero, not being allowed to play at all.

The 34 year old was issued a 12-month ban in October last year. This following a positive test for a substance found in cocaine after drink what he claims is a simple cup of coca leaf tea. He appears to wonder a free on that. In just a moment after continuing to protest his innocence, he does feel completely hard done by many back in his homeland. Feel the skipper is being unfairly treated as well, by the anti-doping system. On Sunday, thousands taking to the streets, in the capital city, Lima, to protest his innocence and even Peru's president has offered his support on the matter. On Monday, his teammates spoke out in his defense.


MIGUEL ARAUJO, DEFENDER, PERU NATIONAL FOOTBALL TEAM (through translator): You know, what Paolo gives in, what Paolo is as a person. I believe that affects us greatly with the words of a teacher and psychologist. I think he has an internal fight. It's necessary to support him in every training session we have.

YOSHIMAR YOTUN, MIDFIELDER, PERU NATIONAL FOOTBALL TEAM (through translator): In addition to being our captain, our leader, he's our friend. He's a friend, a brother. So, we've also suffered during the whole process with him and we continue to suffer. We hope he gets to World Cup.


[02:54:29] SNELL: All the process of clearing his name has not be an easy ride for Guerrero, who after originally testing positive for that bad substance after for his World Cup qualifier late last year, suspended for 12months. So, Guerrero, then appeal to FIFA who in December reduced the ban to six months which meant he would have been clear to play in the World Cup, that was the apparent reprieve. But to clear his name, Guerrero took the case to the Court of Arbitration for Sport which in turn reverse FIFA's decision last month, the increasing the suspension to 14 months. While accepting that Guerrero had not been attempting to performance enhancing.

And now to the latest comings and goings on football's managerial scene, with one of the world's most decorated head coaches, Carlo Ancelotti, is on the move and he's taking the top job at Serie A runners-up, Napoli.

The Italian has been out to work since being dismissed by Germany's Bayern Munich in September of last year. Ancelotti, agreeing a three- year deal. Meaning, it's the end of the road for Napoli's now outgoing boss, Maurizio Sarri.

Just a context here, Ancelotti is one of the most sought-after names in football when it comes to elite level management. This is a real cool for Napoli, to assign a man who's won four top-flight titles in different countries, and three Champions League crowns, as well. Two, with Milan, and one with Real Madrid.

Well, as for report with Maurizio Sarri, he must be feeling pretty hard down by after guiding the Neapolitans to a second place finish behind Serie A champions, Juventus. So, where could he be heading next? Well, could he be to English Premier League Chelsea? Where speculation remains ripe over the future blues Italian head coach Antonio Conte.

Russia's -- that is Saint Petersburg. They are also being linked with the now former Napoli boss. And to Sarri, the Neapolitans amassed 91 points in the season just ended. Not enough, though, in the end, to deny about bianconeri a seventh straight scudetto.

Well, change too at England's Arsenal, after one of the world's kept secrets in football fan who became public. Yes, Unai Emery is indeed the clubs new head coach to succeed Arsene Wenger, whose in-charge of the Gunners for over two decades.

Emery, taking in his new surroundings there in London on Wednesday, as he takes the helm following to seasons at Paris Saint-Germain at France's League, where he led Persians to the champion that crown now last season. Earlier to his carrier, the Spaniard won the Europa League with Sevilla on three consecutive time. That's some achievement. For now, though, he's fully focused on his new life in England


UNAI EMERY, MANAGER, ARSENAL PREMIER LEAGUE CLUB: We'll work with them and for will they have create a new present and future Arsenal. Thank you, Arsene Wenger, for your legacy.


SNELL: The Unai Emery era is underway. For the team here in Atlanta, thanks for joining us. Stay with CNN. Thanks for watching.