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Guatemala Rescue Effort Continues; Volcano Still a Threat on Big Island; Facebook Gave User Info to Chinese Phone Makers; Trump Hosts Iftar Dinner at White House; Kate Spade's Husband Speaks Out; Plastic and Pollution Encroaching on Antarctica; Japan Seeks U.S. Assurances on North Korea; Japan's Abe to Meet Trump Ahead of G7 Summit; EPA Director Under Fire for Chicken Franchise Request; Rudy Giuliani: Mueller's Team Trying to "Frame" Trump; Grandmother Leaves Prison After Trump Commutes Sentence. Aired 1-2a ET

Aired June 7, 2018 - 01:00   ET


[01:00:10] JOHN VAUSE, CNN ANCHOR: You're watching CNN Newsroom live from Los Angeles.


Ahead this hour, just days before the U.S.-North Korea summit, Japan's Prime Minister arrives in Washington to remind Donald Trump of their decade's long security alliance with the U.S.

Plus, free after 21 years, a great-grandmother released from prison after one reality TV star pleaded her case and another former reality star granted her clemency.

And, Antarctica, one of the most isolated parts of the world, but it's not immune to pollution. We will go there.


VAUSE: Hello everybody, thank you for being with us. I'm John Vause, this is Newsroom L.A.


With the summit between Donald Trump and Kim Jong-un now just days away, Japan wants to ensure the United States is looking out for its interests as well. Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is in Washington to meet with President Trump. He says he wants to coordinate on the nuclear issue, missiles, and most importantly for him, the Japanese citizens abducted by the North.


VAUSE: Joining me now, live from Seoul in South Korea, CNN's International Diplomatic Editor, Nic Robertson.

So Nic, we also know that Shinzo Abe is looking for security guarantees from the U.S. President. Also, he wants to know that Donald Trump will be pushing for the release of Japanese citizens being held by the North Koreans.

NIC ROBERTSON, CNN INTERNATIONAL DIPLOMATIC EDITOR: Yes, that's been one of his priorities, but I think what he is - - and we've heard this through Japan's Defense Minister this past weekend, what the big concerns are at the moment is the broader picture of how reliable a partner is the United States going to be for eth security of Japan going forward.


In an era where China becomes more assertive in the region, and the reason that's called into question is because President Trump is going into this meeting with Kim Jong-un over Shinzo Abe's best advice, which is don't sit down until you have something firm on denuclearization from the North Korean leader.

He would have concerns about what sort of a deal President Trump might strike. Will President Trump really just work on focusing on getting rid of those intercontinental ballistic missiles that Kim's developed, leaving the shorter range missiles that could still strike Japan? Makes America safe, but Japan is still left, you know, with a security threat from North Korea.

We've heard from Secretary of Defense Mattis that there won't be a reduction in U.S. troops on the Korean Peninsula, but there'll be concern from Shinzo Abe about could that come at some point in the future? And again, that gets in the heart of their security in the region.


ROBERTSON: And, I think there's really you know, when it comes down to it, if he looks very broadly and sees the way President Trump is dealing with all his allies around the world, there will be a very serious concern about President Trump's intent and his ability to keep his word, and he'll be trying to figure that out as well.

He's had a lot of meetings so far with Trump, however, so he really should be in a better position to get a handle on that.

VAUSE: This will be meeting number seven between Abe and Trump. We've got this bizarre situation that Rudy Giuliani, the man who was never chosen to be secretary of state - - for some bizarre reason, is talking about the North Korea-U.S. summit. And he said after the president cancelled it a couple of weeks ago, Kim Jong-un got down on his hands and knees, and begged for the summit to happen.

You know, whether or not that is true, it's a comment which will not go down so well with the North Koreans.

ROBERTSON: Sure, and Giuliani went onto say that that position of getting down on his hands and knees is exactly where you'd want him to be. Kim Jong-un doesn't see himself as a supplicant coming to this meeting. He certainly wants to portray himself back home as an equal, that's the whole point of getting face-to-face time with an American President, so he can have that image back home. Giuliani is sort of seems to be going down the same track that John Bolton, National Security Advisor to President Trump, went down.


Suggesting that North Korea should sort of do what Muammar Gaddafi, the former leader of Libya did, in handing over his nuclear weapons back in the 2000's. That didn't go down well with North Korea, that got into that spat. But, if you look at the language that North Korea responded to President Trump, saying it was cancelling the meeting.

The vice foreign minister said that you know, they were pleased that President Trump was doing what other president's hadn't done, which was trying to take a new position towards North Korea and that they remained open, and ready for talks.


ROBERTSON: So, unless Rudy Giuliani knows something that was said by Kim Jong-un to President Trump behind closed doors, at the moment that doesn't stand the test of what we know to be the facts and may play very much against President Trump - - all depends on how Kim Jong-un responds, however.

VAUSE: There is a reason why Rudy Giuliani was never chosen as secretary of state.

Nic, thank you. Nic Robertson, live for us there in Seoul.

Michael Genovese is President of the Global Policy Institute at Loyola Marymount University.

[01:05] Just on that point about Giuliani and talking about Kim Jong- un on his hands and knees crawling - - is Kim Jong-un the one who's begging for this summit? Or, is it Donald Trump who seems to be more eager for this to actually go forward?

MICHAEL GENOVESE, POLITICAL ANALYST: The answer is yes. I mean, they both need it, they both want it, they both have something to gain and a lot to lose.


What's unusual about the summit is that in normal presidencies, there's a lot of work that's already done in the background, so the meeting itself is simply to confirm what's already been agreed to.

VAUSE: It's a ceremony?

GENOVESE: Ceremonies are important, but in this case, the president - - I'm smarter than the generals, I don't need anyone else, he thinks he's going to go in there and just cat with the North Koreans and get what he wants. He's lowered some expectations by saying it's going to be a meet and greet, but he really wants something big out of this.

(END VIDEOTAPE) But, you don't get something big unless you've done the background

work. But, Trump's not a normal president and the question is did his unusual style get Kim to the table, and will it get him to make a deal?

VAUSE: Well, if he wants something big, the concern is that you know he will give away the farm in the sense that he will trade off security guarantees for a country like japan, which is why we have Shinzo Abe in Washington set to meet with Trump for a two hour meeting at the White House.

And given everything that we've seen of the Trump presidency over the last year and a half, Shinzo Abe would have every reason to be concerned that he'll be thrown under the bus, as Trump tries to you know, seek out a photo op and a handshake from this summit.

GENOVESE: Well, the president has said numerous times, I'm the President of the United States, I'm going to look after America first and all of you - - to the other leaders, are going to do the same thing. Well, the fact of the matter is, we got to where we are in the Western alliance by being an alliance, by working together, by giving up a little bit to gain a lot.

Trump is not of that ilk, he thinks that he's President of the United States, he'll make whatever deal he can cut for the U.S. - - if Japan, or Europe, is tossed along the sidelines, well, that's just the way it is. And, I think he's shortchanging the importance of the alliance.

The importance of Japan as an ally and Europe is any ally, in favor of this independent, go it alone, strategy.

VAUSE: All of this should make for an interesting G7 Summit in Canada in the next couple of days. Especially now, that once was a one sided war, is now an all-out war we have on tariffs.


We have the E.U. slapping tariffs on $3 billion worth of U.S. exports. We have Canada targeting almost $13 billion worth of U.S. goods, Mexico, $3 billion worth of goods. And then there was Wednesday's conversation between Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and President Trump.

According to sources, Trudeau pressed Trump on how he could justify the tariffs as a national security issue. In response, trump quipped to Trudeau, "Didn't you guys burn down the White House?" Referring to the War of 1812.


VAUSE: Apart from the fact that Canada did not burn down the White House, it was the British who burned down the White House - - who says that to another world leader?

GENOVESE: Donald Trump says it. And, he's got a history of - - of - - of foot in mouth disease. He says things he wants to be true, thinks may be true and doesn't care if the fact checkers say you're wrong, because it's all fake news.

And so, you've got Donald Trump trying to pick a fight with Canada, our great ally, peaceful border for hundreds of years and also picking a fight with Mexico, as he's picking a fight with North Korea, as he's picking . . . how many fights can you fight at once?

VAUSE: You know, we have the president's economic advisor, who's trying to play down you know, the open hostility that is now out there with the European Union, Canada and Mexico with these tariffs - - what Larry Kudlow said.


LARRY KUDLOW, TRUMP ECONOMIC ADVISOR: We're talking everything through. There may be disagreements, I regard this as much like a family quarrel. I'm always the optimist, I believe it can be worked out.


VAUSE: Optimism is a good thing, but this seems like a lot more than a family quarrel and this doesn't seem like it's going to end anytime soon.

GENOVESE: But, what Larry Kudlow said is wise and smart, and true, but he's not the president. The president's the one who's causing all the fires to be exploded and causing all the dissention between friends and allies.

So, Kudlow may be reasonable, and he may even be right, but the president is fanning the flames of the warfare between the U.S. and its allies, which is not necessary, is not productive and can't lead to anything good.

VAUSE: Yes. Back to the tone and the attitude, which permeates this administration, you know, from the president on down.

A reporter from the Atlantic - - when she called the Environmental Protection Agency on Wednesday inquiring about a senior aide - - to director, Scott Pruitt, who had resigned - - here is the quote of the year.


"When reached by phone, Johan Wilcox, an EPA spokesperson, would not comment. He said, 'You have a great day, you're a piece of trash'". And again, who speaks like that to somebody?


GENOVESE: People feel empowered to say that because they hear the president saying snarky things and getting away with it. And so, the fish rots from the head and from the head everything permeates out and so, if the president's giving you clues as to what it's okay to say, and not okay to say, that means that the president is giving his pass and approval. You wouldn't say those things if you thought the president was going

to come and slap you around afterwards. No, the presidents going to say great job, we love it, yes, keep saying that.

VAUSE: Yes, and of course a reminder, this is the EPA where Director Scott Pruitt is under no fewer than 13 investigations, the latest involves a fast food chicken franchise, Chick-fil-A. Drew Griffin has details.


DREW GRIFFIN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Scott Pruitt apparently tried to use his position as head of the Environmental Protection Agency to get his wife a franchise with Chick-fil-A. As astonishing as that sounds, even more astonishing, it's all in writing in government emails.

On May 16, 2017, Pruitt's former aide, Sydney Hupp, from her official EPA email account writes to Chick-fil-A CEO, Dan Cathy. "Administrator Pruitt asked me to reach out to you about a potential meeting." Days later, Hupp sends a second message to Chick-fil-A, "The administrator would like to talk about a potential business opportunity with Mr. Cathy." Pruitt's wife started the process, but never became a Chick-fil-A franchisee.

It is just the latest in a long stream of ethically questionable moves and spending gaffs that has ethics experts amazed just how Pruitt is able to hold on to his job.


WALTER SHAUB, FORMER DIRECTOR, OFFICE OF GOVERNMENT ETHICS: It's mind boggling how long the list of potential ethics violations are.


GRIFFIN: Earlier this week it was revealed Pruitt sent an EPA staffer, on government time, to run personal errands including asking the Trump Hotel about buying a used mattress for him. The list of probes or investigations into Pruitt is a long one.

From leasing a D.C. condo from a lobbyist's wife, below cost, to spending tax dollars on first class travel and weekend trips home, handing out jobs and pay raises to political aides, holding questionable meetings with companies seeking EPA favors. 13 separate probes now underway involving Pruitt, and yet he keeps his job.

Walter Shaub, who headed the government's ethics office until last year, says he has never seen anything like this.


GRIFFIN: You don't doubt that that is the message Scott Pruitt is basically saying through his actions, ethics to no apply to me?

SHAUB: I think that's certainly - - I mean, you even have inconsistent explanations for different things that he's done. And, I don't even think it's simply ethics rules, it's compliance with all of the safeguards and restraints on government officials.


GRIFFIN: All of Pruitt's scandals do not seem to be bothering the one person who matters, the president. Who, today said this of his EPA administrator.


DONALD TRUMP, U.S. PRESIDENT: Administrator Scott Pruitt, thank you, Scott, very much. EPA is doing really, really well.


GRIFFIN: Why? Because big energy, big business, big coal, big mining, big oil - - in other words, big financial supporters of the president say they like what Pruitt is doing to the EPA.


DOUG DEASON, REPUBLICAN DONOR AND PRUITT SUPPORTER: Two things that have done more to lift the poor out of poverty than anything else, number one, fossil fuels; second is capitalism.


GRIFFIN: Doug Deason is part of the Koch Brothers network. His father is a billionaire. They donate to super PAC's that support Donald Trump and they say they could not be happier with Scott Pruitt running the EPA into the ground.


DEASON: The EPA, obviously, needs to go away.


GRIFFIN: Until it does, Deason and others hope the president will keep Scott Pruitt right where he is.

Drew Griffin, CNN, Atlanta.


VAUSE: So, Michael, back to you. Their swamp runneth over and yet it seems Donald Trump is perfectly happy to keep Pruitt there, because he's tearing the EPA apart. And, what seems more important in all of this is that core group of Trump supporters, really like Pruitt being there tearing the EPA and all this stuff just doesn't seem to matter.

GENOVESE: Well, you know John, in any other administration Pruitt would today be looking for a job as a cashier at Chick-fil-A. But, he has done Trump's bidding, he's done it very well, he's very effective at tearing down the EPA, what Trump and his supporters want.

The future is in jeopardy with the environment. Mar-a-Lago will be underwater someday, but for today, the president thinks that the short-term economic gains are worth the long-term environmental costs. Scott Pruitt is his man and it's amazing that he's been able to survive. He only survives because he has one fan and that's Donald Trump.

VAUSE: What is equally amazing is how Jeff Sessions, the Attorney General, is vilified and humiliated, and emasculated, day in and day out by this president for following justice department guidelines and by all accounts doing the right thing and recusing himself from the Russia investigation.

[01:15] GENOVESE: Well, the rule of law is the enemy. Personal politics is what the president wants. He wants to be above the law and we've seen it in so many areas, but the public slapping down of Sessions time and time again, it's snarky, it's bullying and it's small.

VAUSE: It's awful to watch.

Let's finish with this new lawsuit from Stormy Daniels. She's accusing her former attorney (inaudible) of essentially colluding with Trump's personal lawyer, Michael Cohen. Daniels basically negotiated that original payout of $130,000 in hush money. There's a series of text exchanges which indicate the two men were very close.

Now, in response to all of this, we've heard from Donald Trump's lead lawyer, Rudy Giuliani, again didn't argue the facts, didn't argue the law, he went after Stormy Daniels.


RUDY GIULIANI, DONALD TRUMP'S LAWYER: The business that you're in entitles you to know the degree of giving your credibility any weight. She has no reputation. You're going to sell your body for money, you just don't have a reputation.


VAUSE: That's an extraordinary comment.

GENOVESE: It's a horrible, horrible thing to say. But again, as long as the president likes what he's saying, he's going to be out there on TV throwing fuel onto the fire, trashing people, talking about how Kim Jong-un was begging to get the meeting and now Stormy Daniels is basically subhuman is what he was saying.

VAUSE: This seems to be a new low, even for this administration.

GENOVESE: And for Rudy, who's really gone down the tubes in the last couple of months for Donald Trump, it's amazing that there isn't more of a moral outrage against the administration for some of these things that are not necessary and they're just not right.


Thank you, good to see you. Well, just hours after her prison sentence was commuted by President Trump, there was an emotional reunion for a grandmother who served more than 20 years behind bars.


We'll have more on that in just a moment.

Also ahead, the latest from Guatemala and rescue efforts after that deadly volcanic eruption. It's hot and dusty work, so hot it melts plastic as crews dig through the smoking ash trying to find anyone who remains missing.



VAUSE: Donald Trump's lawyer, Rudy Giuliani, says the justice department's special counsel is trying to frame the president.


[01:20] The former New York mayor has been on a media blitz for the past month trying to discredit Robert Mueller and his investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election. His latest comments came at an investment conference in Israel.


GIULIANI: They are a group of 13 highly partisan Democrats that make up the Mueller team, excluding him, are trying very, very hard to frame him, to get him in trouble when he hasn't done anything wrong.


VAUSE: Joining me now from New York, CNN Legal Analyst and former federal prosecutor, Michael Zeldin.

Michael, good to see you again.

As someone who worked with Robert Mueller, somebody who knows Robert Mueller, what do you make of that comment from Giuliani that this is all a great big frame-up, who framed Roger Rabbit?

MICHAEL ZELDIN, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: Right. Well, there's no factual basis for Rudy's statement. Giuliani, you have to understand, really is not operating as a lawyer for the president. He's operating as a public relations person for the president.

There is no hint of indication that Mueller is trying to frame the president.


All the Mueller team is trying to do is investigate what they were mandated to do, which is whether there was a counterintelligence effort against the election of 2016 and whether anyone cooperated with them. They want in the course of that to interview the president.

Giuliani is of the mind that the desire to talk to the president about those events is an effort to frame him because perhaps he won't tell the truth is the fear, and therefore, he'll face potential perjury - - you know sort of allegations.

So, frame-up is a political characterization that is not supported by any factual predicate.


VAUSE: I'm just wondering, is this just another sign that maybe the president and his legal team have made this calculation that Mueller won't indict him because he's a sitting president and there's DOJ guidelines for that.

So, the legal jeopardy the president could be facing is impeachment, which is a political issue, that's why they're muddying the waters to try and influence public opinion.

ZELDIN: Yes, I think that's right, but as a preliminary step to that ultimate muddy water on whether this is an impeachable event, whatever that event may turn out to be, is their desire to turn public opinion against the need of the special counsel to interview the president.


I think what's the heart of all of this is they are trying very hard to keep the president from going under oath before Special Counsel Mueller, for fear that he may unwittingly or intentionally be untruthful and find himself in legal jeopardy in the same way that Bill Clinton found himself in legal jeopardy.

Remember, Bill Clinton got in trouble for lying to the prosecutors in his deposition.


VAUSE: Okay. Well, in the meantime the president continues to use his power to grant clemency with great abandon. Here's what that actually looks like.


On Wednesday, 63-year old Alice Marie Johnson was released from a prison in Alabama. There was an emotional family reunion after she served 21 years of a life sentence for first time non-violent drug offenses. Her sentence was commuted by the president after the reality TV star Kim Kardashian pleaded her case during a recent visit to the White House.

This is the sixth time Mr. Trump has used his clemency powers and sources tell CNN he's considering maybe as many as 30 more pardons somewhere down the track.

(END VIDEOTAPE) VAUSE: So, back to you Michael. Essentially, is this how the Constitution sees the president to use the power of pardons and clemency?

ZELDIN: In a sense, yes. In that the president's power of pardon and clemency is singular unto him and he can use it as he sees fit. And, I'm happy for Ms. Johnson, the sentence that she served was unconscionably long.


And, it is a byproduct of an ancient time in our sentencing system, but there are scores of people that are similarly situated and this has to be addressed systemically, and not one-by-one if you get a reality TV star to plead your case to the president.

So, you know, happy for Mr. Johnson. Have nothing to say about the president's use of his clemency powers in this case, other than to say you know, Mr. President, you should use this power on a broad basis in the way that Congress is encouraging you to do, but what your justice department at the moment is resisting.


VAUSE: You know, CNN has this report that at least 30 more pardons could be in the works. That seems to be anything but normal if you look at past tradition and norms. But, could this actually be part of the normalization process by this administration?

Somewhere down the line, the president may be getting ready to use his pardon power for those around him who've been implicated in the Russia investigation, be it Michael Flynn, or Paul Manafort or Michael Cohen. And so when those pardons are issued, you know, the vast majority of people would just shrug it off as something normal.

ZELDIN: Possibly, and what's sort of problematic in one sense about this, though lawful - - the president can do this, is that there is a process that's been established in the justice department where they have a person who is called the pardon attorney.

And that person's job is to receive petitions for pardons or commutations, and they review that and make recommendations to the president. So that it's done you know sort of in a coherent way across the various driplines of the justice department and that is what is not being done in this case, which is the criticism of the president.

So, if the president is going to do one-by-one pardons of people that lead to the conclusion that you're suggesting that he then has normalized the process by which if he then pardons Manafort or Papadopoulos, or anybody else, people will shrug their shoulders.

So, possibly there's something at play here that you know, to be careful about, but we've yet to see that play out fully.

VAUSE: It was primary voting day across eight states in the U.S. on Tuesday and part of that process - - it seemed a California judge who gave a six month sentence to a college athlete who was found guilty of sexually assaulting an unconscious woman, he ended up being voted out of office.


Many argued that Judge Aaron Persky's 2016 sentence for Brock Turner, the guy seen right here, was far too lenient. This marks the first time in what, almost 90 years - - California voters have recalled a sitting judge?

He's not spoken publically since Tuesday's vote. But, you know, Michael, are there fears now and are they warranted of the impact that this could have on other judges who might decide they should lean on the side of the heavier, harsher sentences?

ZELDIN: Absolutely. I think the great tragedy of this case in respect of that, is precisely the problem that you raise, which is judges may now say you know I'd better give sentences more like Alice Johnson got - - you know, life sentence for distribution of crack cocaine, and not thereby face the possibility of recall.


Now, it's very hard to know from the outside what the facts of the particular case here and what led to the six month sentence. I know from the court filings at the probation department recommended that sentence. The lawyers who prosecuted wanted six years, the judge followed the recommendations of probation.

So, it's hard to know exactly what happened in that particular case, but notionally, removing a judge for the exercise of his discretion in a case like this will potentially be something that the voters rue the day of when more and more sentences come down that are harsher than they'd like to see.

VAUSE: Very quickly, are there other legal remedies here? If the prosecution is unhappy with the sentence, can't they appeal?

ZELDIN: No, not really. In our system the judge gives the sentence and pretty much that's how it goes. You know, there used to be a guideline system where if they deviated from the guidelines they could appeal it, but I think in a case like this where the judge has full discretion and there are no mandatory guidelines, it's hard to take an appeal of a sentence of this sort.

VAUSE: Law school was in, I hope everybody was taking notes.

Michael Zeldin, thank you so much for being with us.

Well next here on Newsroom L.A., the death toll from Guatemala's volcano is approaching the 100 mark.


And the search goes on for the missing who could not outrun the lava. (END VIDEOTAPE)


[01:31:11] VAUSE: Welcome back, everybody. You're watching CNN NEWSROOM live from Los Angeles.

I'm John Vause with the headlines this hour.

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is set to meet with Donald Trump in a few hours from now just days before the U.S.-North Korea summit in Singapore. Mr. Abe says he wants to ensure Japan's interests are represented. Both leaders are to travel to Canada for the G-7 summit. That starts on Friday.

A 63-year-old great grandmother has been released from a prison in Alabama hours after Mr. Trump commuted her sentence. Alice Marie Johnson had served 21 years of a life sentence for first-time non- violent drug offenses. Reality TV star Kim Kardashian met with the President last week at the White House to plea Johnson's case.

When the Fuego volcano in Guatemala erupted, hot ash quickly swept over villages, 99 people are believed to have been killed, over 100 are missing and rescuers are digging through rock and ash trying to find survivors, aware that a new eruption could happen at any time. The devastation in Guatemala is, in one word -- staggering.

Here's Patrick Oppmann.


PATRICK OPPMANN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Guatemalan police have let us in for a brief time into one of the hardest hit areas. And let me just show some of the incredible scenes that are seeing here. It really just takes your breath away the idea that this volcano behind there, that is the Fuego volcano, when it erupted that as far away as we are standing that it sent such a powerful river of ash and lava and superheated mud that it picked up cars and it flung them. There are cars further down the road that we saw; their wheels had melted. That even as people are trying to flee and take all their belonging with, that they could not drive because the wheels had completely melted into the ground and those cars then caught on fire.

Homes are burned on both sides of what used to be a street here. Now it is just a pile of ash. We've actually been cautioned to be careful where we're walking because some of this ash is still very hot. We talked to one rescue worker and he said that his boots actually began to melt yesterday when he veered off a little bit.

So while rescue workers are back here, they're keeping a very close eye on that volcano, it is still putting out smoke this morning. It's still a very dangerous situation. They asked us to park our cars facing downhill in case we have to evacuate. So while they are here -- while they're still trying to find survivors, while they're still recovering the bodies of victims, they're also keeping an eye on this volcano which could blow again at any minute. Patrick Oppmann -- near El Rodeo, Guatemala, CNN.


VAUSE: And there is no let up in Hawaii as the Kilauea Volcano continues to threaten communities on the Big Island. It shot a plume of ash three kilometers into the sky, yet another indication the volcano is still very active and unpredictable.

And Dan Simon is there.


DAN SIMON, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, things continue to be surreal here on the Big Island. This is Highway 130. You can see the checkpoint behind me. This road ultimately leads to the part of the volcano that is currently spewing lava. Specifically it is called fissure number 8.

Now, to put things in context, you've had 24 of these fissures that broken out over the past month. Only one of them is currently spewing lava and with that you get that dramatic sound at times. It's reaching 200 feet in the air and with that you get this dramatic lava river.

And on Monday night this absolutely swallowed up two communities called Kapoho and Vacationland. Now it's called Vacationland for a reason because most of those homes are second homes.

But we did speak to an individual who lives there full-time. This is what he had to say. Take a look.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: My house was 16 feet above, on piers above -- top of four feet above sea level. And yet the lava wall is as high as my house was on top of that. And you really can't survive that kind of wave coming at you.

[01:34:58] SIMON: And you could see that gentleman seems be taking things in stride. And I think that's pretty much the attitude of the overall community. And they just don't know when this is going to stop.

You have several thousand people who are currently under an evacuation order. Two shelters have opened up in the area. One of them is completely full.

Scientists say this has gone on far longer than they could have envisioned. And there still is a danger with the summit itself, with the volcano where you've seen all of these earthquakes that have broken out over the past month, the number is just absolutely staggering -- 12,000 earthquakes.

And of course, the danger also remains with laze. That's where the lava meets the water and you get this toxic cloud that can happen as a result. And of course, residents have to be on the lookout for that.

Dan Simon, CNN -- on the Big Island of Hawaii.


VAUSE: Still to come here -- guess who is not coming to dinner? The President holds an end of Ramadan dinner, unlike previous years it seems American Muslim groups were not invited. That's next on NEWSROOM L.A.


VAUSE: If you still have a Facebook account, there's a good chance your personal information has been given to a smart phone maker in China including some companies the U.S. government warns could pose a risk to national security.

CNN's Samuel Burke explains.


SAMUEL BURKE, CNN BUSINESS AND TECHNOLOGY NEWS CORRESPONDENT: Well, once again Facebook users are having to ask, "where is my data". The social network has a very interesting explanation about all these data-sharing agreements with companies like Huawei, a Chinese smart phone maker, which the U.S. intelligence agencies have long said poses a security threat, something that company denies.

Now Facebook says this is all from a bygone era when there weren't app stores. So the phone companies were making their own tools so that you could post to Facebook.

But what that doesn't explain is why such personal data would have been part of these agreements. Just look at what "The New York Times" says Facebook handed over to these device makers about users -- education and work history, relationship status, religion, even political leanings.

Now a Huawei spokesperson says the company has never collected or stored any Facebook user data while a Facebook but VP tells us the social network along with many other U.S. tech companies has worked with Huawei and other Chinese manufacturers to integrate their services on to these phones.

[01:39:58] Facebook has also said they're not aware of any abuse by these companies. But that word abuse right there highlights the fact that Facebook's policy made user data vulnerable to abuse.

Even though Facebook says this is much ado about nothing they do admit they started winding down this program as part of their clean up after, not before, right after the Cambridge Analytica scandal broke.


VAUSE: Our thanks to Samuel Burke, CNN technology correspondent.

The U.S. President Donald Trump has hosted his first Iftar dinner at the White House on Wednesday -- that's the meal at sundown for Muslims to break their fast during the holy month of Ramadan. The White House said the dinner would be for the diplomatic community.

For more on this, joining me now here in Los Angeles, Omar Noureldin, vice president of the Muslim Public Affairs Council. Omar -- thank you for coming in.

I guess we've been playing that game for the last four days -- guess who's not coming to dinner. And it seems there were diplomats from mostly Muslim majority countries, cabinet officials but no one actually representing real American Muslims; unlike previous years going all the way back to Hillary Clinton in 1996, which says a lot about this administration.

OMAR NOURELDIN, VICE PRESIDENT, MUSLIM PUBLIC AFFAIRS COUNCIL: I think that's exactly right. I think that this was part of a larger theme that's come out of the Trump administration, that American Muslims don't exist, that they're not part of this country, and that Islam is actually a religion that's a foreign religion and not something that has been a part of this country since its founding.

You know, American Muslims have fought in every war since the revolutionary war. American Muslims are a part of every sector of society and are thriving in every sector of society. But that's not the tone or the theme that the President wanted to make with this -- his first Iftar.

VAUSE: He didn't really mention American Muslims during the dinner. He spoke about Muslims around the world.

NOURELDIN: That's correct. During his brief remarks at the Iftar he wished Ramadan -- happy Ramadan to Muslims from around the world but didn't acknowledge American Muslims. He talked about his great trip to Saudi Arabia as the first place -- the first foreign trip and how it's such a great religion from Saudi Arabia but didn't talk about the way in which Saudi Arabia actually has painted a bad picture for Islam around the world and even here in the United States.

VAUSE: Ok. There was sort of almost unanimous agreement though among American Muslim groups that even if they were invited to Iftar, they wouldn't go.

But, you know, there is this story in the Koran from the prophet, peace and blessings be upon him. It teaches this. "Shall I inform you the best most beneficial traits for this world and the hereafter? They are pardoning one who has done injustice to you, bonding with one who has cut off ties with you, doing good to one who has wronged you and giving to one who has withheld from you."

Ok, I guess it's a moot point now. But you know, isn't it within the teachings of Islam and within the Koran that if there was an invitation that it should have been accepted? And maybe if there was, you know, an indication from American Muslims that they would have gone, you know, they would have been at this dinner.

NOURELDIN: I think, you know, if the Trump administration had decided that they wanted to make an overture to American Muslims, that they were going to show that they were ready to build a bridge, to extend that olive branch, the Iftar could have taken a different type of tone or theme. For example, the Iftar could have been a celebration of the achievements and contributions of American Muslims to American society.

If the Trump administration had done something like that or said that they were going to abandon their litigation on the Muslim travel ban at the Supreme Court or backtracked statements like Islam hates us. If something like that had been coupled with an invitation, I think there would have been a legitimate reason to start engaging that administration. But unfortunately there wasn't an invitation and there haven't been any other types of overtures.

VAUSE: You mentioned the statement about Islam, you know, hates us. That's from Donald Trump. He said it during the campaign. Let's listen to it right now. Here it is.


DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I think Islam hates us. There is something -- there is something there that -- there is a tremendous hatred there. There's a tremendous hatred. We have to get to the bottom of it. There is an unbelievable hatred of us.


VAUSE: And you know, some have said, well, that was just campaign rhetoric. But we've also seen it during his time as President. He re-tweeted the anti-Muslim videos which have been made by a far-right British group.

And also we have, you know, concern from Islamic and Jewish groups about, you know, appointments to his cabinet, in particular John Bolton and Mike Pompeo.

Here is part of a report from "The New York Times". Mr. Bolton and Mr. Pompeo both have ties to individuals and groups promoting a world view that regards Islam not so much as a religion but as a political ideology that is infiltrating the United States and other Western countries with the goal of imposing Sharia law, the Muslim legal code.

These groups believe that the vehicle for this takeover is the Muslim Brotherhood, and they alleged that American mosques, civic organizations and leaders and even government officials who are Muslims are suspected of being Muslim Brotherhood operatives."

[01:45:01] If you're not, you know, being invited to the White House, if you're not even meeting these people face to face, because that often is the best way to end bigotry and discrimination. You know, oh, you're a real person after all.

If you're not even in that path (ph) how do you have any kind of impact on this administration?

NOURELDIN: And I think that's the million-dollar question. You know, when we've engaged with previous administrations, my organization, the Muslim Public Affairs Council, we always did so even though we disagreed with the Bush administration, with the Clinton administration, with the Obama administration on certain policy issues. We thought there was some room there to move the needle.

Unfortunately here with the White House itself we don't believe that there is at this time an opportunity to move that needle. But remember, the federal government is large and it's not monolith.

There are ways to influence what's happening in federal policy through the Department of Justice, through the Department of Homeland Security, through the State Department, with career officials that work there and are actually doing the day-to-day work of making our federal government work.

VAUSE: Right.

Just very quickly, you know, it's not like American Muslim groups have always turned up to Iftar. They boycotted I think in 2014, for example, because of the U.S. response to the Gaza war and that was when Obama was president.

NOURELDIN: That is correct. And you know, the Iftars have always been -- you know, any event at the White House is a symbolic event and a boycott of it can be equally symbolic. I think with previous administrations that there was that idea that we can influence policy and we can have a dialogue so there wasn't this unanimous boycott as there is with this White House and this Iftar.

VAUSE: Ok. Omar -- thank you so much.

NOURELDIN: Thank you.



VAUSE: Ok. Comedian Samantha Bee is apologizing again for that crude remark that she made last week about President Trump's daughter Ivanka.


SAMANTHA BEE, COMEDIAN: Let me Just say, one mother to another, do something about your dad's immigration practices, you feckless (EXPLETIVE DELETED). He listens to you.


VAUSE: That was the comment. Bee says she never intended to actually hurt anyone except maybe Ted Cruz. He hates that her remarks distracted from more important issues, like separating immigrant l children from their parents.


BEE: You know, a lot of people were offended and angry that I used an epithet to describe the President's daughter and adviser last week. It is a word I have used on the show many times, hoping to reclaim it.

This time, I used it as an insult. I crossed the line. I regret it and I do apologize for that.


VAUSE: And she adds, civility is just nice words, but she wishes people would be more concerned about the niceness of their actions.

Well, the husband of fashion designer Kate Spade is speaking out about his wife's apparent suicide. He says she suffered from depression and anxiety for years. She was also receiving treatment.

Jean Casarez has details now from New York.


JEAN CASAREZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT: A spokesperson has given to CNN a statement written by Kate Spade's husband, Andy. In it he says that his wife Kate was the most beautiful woman he has ever known. "She was the kindest person I have ever known and my best friend for 35 years. My daughter and I are devastated by her loss and can't even begin to fathom life without her."

He goes on to say that he and his wife have been living separately for the last ten months, but he says he lives only blocks away from right here, the apartment where his wife Kate lived. He said that they share their daughter, that they have family meals together, vacations together, not officially separated and haven't even mentioned the word divorce, that they were trying to work out their problems as best friends.

He also says that his wife has fought depression and anxiety for years and was getting treatment and that it was a shock. There was no warning that something like this would happen.

While the family is still grieving, the medical examiner and New York City's Police Department continues their death investigation.

Jean Casarez, CNN -- New York.


VAUSE: Well, next here on NEWSROOM L.A. pollution at the bottom of the world. CNN's Arwa Damon takes us to Antarctica where scientists are hoping to preserve one of the world's best remaining buffers to climate change.


VAUSE: Antarctica is about as far away from civilization as you can get. But as we prepare to mark World Oceans Day on Friday it's becoming disturbingly clear that plastics and pollution have finally reached this pristine environment.

CNN's Arwa Damon is there. (BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

ARWA DAMON, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Nature sets the rules out here with its wild winds, raging waters and freezing temperatures. We're off the coast of the western Antarctic Peninsula on the last leg of a three-month long Greenpeace expedition to raise awareness about the need to create ocean sanctuaries and fishing buffer zones within these waters.

THILO MAACK, MARINE BIOLOGIST AND GREENPEACE CAMPAIGNER: The Antarctic is a cooling chamber that mitigates the effects of climate change. And what happens here is having an effect on the climate of the planet. The ocean currents are driven by the cold waters of the Antarctic.

DAMON: This entire region from its waters to its seabed to its wildlife is central to the battle against our planet's dangerously claiming climate. Because it's what's called a carbon sink, a place where the carbon dioxide we emit into the atmosphere is held making the plane habitable.

And that's more crucial now for this amazing ecosystem than ever before. Scientists say rising global temperatures are causing Antarctica to lose about 183 billion tons of ice each year, the largest decline in sea ice in 1,500 years.

This is the awesome site of a whale feeding frenzy on krill. And beneath the surface lies so mu more. Krill is a keystone species, holding the entire Antarctic food chain together.

But krill is at an all-time low, in part because of rising ocean temperatures and melting ice. If the krill continue to decline, it could be a problem not only for the Antarctic but for the entire planet because scientists are discovering that these shrimp-like crustaceans actually help capture carbon dioxide emission, the main culprit behind warming waters and rising sea levels.

Here's how it works. Algae absorb carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. Krill feed on the carbon-rich algae and as they fill up, they sink to the bottom where they rain down their carbon-rich fecal matter into the icy Antarctic Ocean's depth. There, since cold water holds more carbon than warm, carbon can be stored in this liquid deep freeze for millennia.

And scientists have now discover, that krill swim to and deposit their fecal pellets in even deeper depths than previously anticipated, which means they trap even more carbon than previously thought -- a lot more.

The extra depth these tiny creatures swim to in the Antarctic is believed to offset the carbon emissions of the entire United Kingdom and benefit other parts of the ecosystem in the process.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Now we know that the carbon sinks and goes to the bottom where there's like very, very diverse communities so that they are able to use to capture these carbon and they use it or sometimes they make it available for other organisms.

DAMON: What you're basically saying is that the actual organisms that live on the ocean floor are in and of themselves also a carbon storage facility to a certain degree.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes, yes, yes. Basically that's the way it works.

DAMON: But the sense that the Antarctic is pristine is deceptive. It's already being threatened by us.

Dr. Marcelo Gonzalez shows us what they found in some of the Antarctic clams they tested.

DR. MARCELO GONZALEZ, MARINE BIOLOGIST: You can observe this material. They're wet materials and plastic and also we can see fiber.

DAMON: Fiber.


DAMON: And so this was found in --

GONZALEZ: This was found in the intestine of the Antarctic clam.

DAMON: And if this is what scientists are finding here, imagine what there could be in oceans and seas closer to our dining tables.

[01:54:56] The microplastics found could be due to the human presence in Antarctica, but Dr. Gonzalez suspects that they originated in other oceans, other continents. But further testing still needs to be done.

Greenpeace also tested for microplastics and found elements in most samples they tested. And that's not the only toxic material in this remote region.

GONZALEZ: We just take a walk around this little bay, find us a place that is untouched for the last -- for the last weeks, at least.

DAMON: Thilo Maack is going to take snow samples to be tested for PFAS, polyfluroalkyl substances. PFAS are the chemicals used as stain and water-repellant coating in things like outdoor gear. They're not biodegradable, which means that once they've been released, they stay in the environment forever.

Greenpeace has been testing snow in remote areas for the last few years for traces of these toxic compounds.

MAACK: We already found it in snow samples of China. We found it in snow samples in Russia, in the Alps in Europe. And it would be really outrageous if it would be already here in the Antarctic.

DAMON: Sadly, it is. And some of the freshly fallen snow samples suggest that the presence of these chemicals don't come from local sources but were carried by the atmosphere. It's so beautiful and quiet you almost don't even want to speak above

a whisper. And there are two whales right there. This is absolutely unbelievable. Do you see them?

Nature here gives off a deceptive illusion of indestructibility. It's not. That is why Greenpeace is fiercely advocating for action at the source but also for the creation of large-scale marine reserves to give the ecosystem here a fighting chance.

Scientists are only just beginning to understand the scope of the Antarctic's role as a carbon sink and buffer against climate change. There is still time to protect it, not just for the beauty of its majestic creatures but also could it could protect all of us.

Arwa Damon, CNN -- the Antarctic.


VAUSE: And if this is an issue which concerns you, please check out CNN's special web page, Zero Plastic Lunch Day to learn what children around the world are doing to reduce the use of plastic in their school cafeterias. Good for them.

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

The news continues with Rosemary Church in Atlanta right after a short break.