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U.S. Sanctions Russia Over U.K. Poison Attack; Argentina Senate to Vote on Legalizing Abortion; Saudis Retaliate After Criticism from Canada; Oscars Getting a Makeover with Three Big Changes; Harlem Globetrotter Makes Basket from Plane. Aired 12-1a ET

Aired August 9, 2018 - 00:00   ET


[00:00:00] JOHN VAUSE, CNN HOST: This is CNN Newsroom live from Los Angeles. Ahead this hour the U.S. announces new sanctions on Russia for the nerve agent attack on a former Soviet double agent and as required by American law, the Kremlin could soon be facing even tough penalties.

Protests in Argentina (inaudible) to the side is abortion should be legal in the country Pope Francis calls home.

And a growing diplomatic crisis between Saudi Arabia and Canada. How a rude(ph) statement on human rights by Ottawa(ph) sent Riyadh off the deep end.

Hello, welcome to all of you all around the world. I'm John Vause. Newsroom L.A. starts right now.

Russia is about to be hit with new U.S. sanctions, not for election interference, but rather for the nerve agent attack on a former Russian spy and his daughter in the U.K. Once U.S. intelligence found the Kremlin was behind that attack, Washington was legally required to impose sanctions under U.S. law.

And as CNN's Fred Pleitgen reports, a second round of tougher, harsher penalties might becoming if Moscow fails to convince the White House that it won't use chemical weapons again.

FREDERIK PLEITGEN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: The sanctions were announced pretty late on Wednesday night by the State Department. And essentially what the State Department is doing is it's saying, Russia violated international law for the poising of Sergei and Yulia Skripal in the United Kingdom earlier this year.

Now, we know that the Russians have always denied being behind that attack, but we also know that the United States, the United Kingdom and many of their allies don't buy what the Russians are saying.

So, these new sanctions are being put in place, but under what is called the Chemical and Biological Weapons and Warfare Elimination Act of 1991. Essentially what could happen under all this is that once all these sanctions get into place, the State Department is saying, could be around August 22, that in the first days of these sanctions that certain goods might be banned from being exported to Russia, mostly electronic goods that could be banned there.

And it's a second round of sanctions that could be much tougher, actually, could be put into place around three months later that could actually see a downgrading of relations between Russia and the United States. Possibly even restrictions on the Russian national carrier, Aeroflot, flying to the United States and other measures as well.

Now, whether or not that's going to happen obviously will depend on what the Russians do and also whether or not to the United States really wants to get tough on them on this issue.

But of course it also comes at a time when many in the United States are wondering what exactly are the relations between the Trump and Putin administrations are like. Of course, President Trump did speak very highly of Vladamir Putin after that summit in Helsinki and we just had Senator Rand Paul here, in Russia, who met with top level Russian -- Putin officials, saying that he wants better relations.

So, the Russians surely, after these new sanctions have been put in place, will be very angry about this. We haven't gotten any comment officially from them yet, but we do expect that they will comment, be quite angry in the not too distant future.

Fred Pleitgen, CNN, Moscow.

VAUSE: Robert English is director of the School of International Relations at the University of Southern California. He joins us now. Good to see you. Welcome back.


VAUSE: Okay, so lets just start with the big picture. What will be the impact of these sanctions on the Russian economy?

ENGLISH: You know John, till now I've been kind of skeptical. Russia's had the resources to (inaudible) sanctions, oil prices have gone up and they found alternative trading partners, so for the last two years they've weathered them and in fact the Russian economy has turned around.

Now, it's looking like they're really starting to bite and the domestic pressure on Putin is building, the reserves are nearly exhausted. He's been forced to take measures such as raising the retirement age, raising taxes that are extremely unpopular and so maybe things are changing now and it will force a break.

VAUSE: Okay, so if you look at the '90-'91 law, which essentially required the U.S. to impose these sanctions, the Kremlin now has 90 days, under this law, to convince the U.S. it will no longer us chemical weapons, it's also required to allow international inspectors to verify compliance.

Okay, if they don't that there will be a second round of even tougher sanctions which could be imposed, so what are the chances that the Kremlin or Putin will agree to that to sort of giving up chemical weapons be like or allowing international inspectors in and what are the chances he doesn't do that that there will be this second round of sanctions?

[00:05:00] ENGLISH: If, a lot of his popularity is built on the strongman image, standing up to the west and repaying the United States for what they see as a decade of maltreatment, then to back down, even admit, right, it would mean a tassed(ph) admission, an explicit admission that, in fact, what they said before, they weren't responsible for the Skripal poisoning was, in fact, a lie.

So, it's hard to image Putin's popularity, his image surviving that. That would simply be forcing him to cry uncle and it's hard to see that happening. Therefore, what's most likely is an accelerating downward spiral.

VAUSE: The White House, there's lots of news on sanctions in the past couple of hours because the White House is reportedly preparing an executive order, which will authorize the president to impose sanctions on foreign nationals who are found to have interfered in U.S. elections.

Here's the report, the eight page draft order, a copy of which was reviewed by "The Washington Post," appears to be an effort to stave off aggressive legislation, including a bill introduced in Congress this month and it called criticism that Trump seems to give more credence to Russian President Vladimir Putin's denials of interference than to U.S. Intelligence Agencies' conclusion that the Kremlin sought to undermine the 2016 election.

Okay, that's all before Congress includes sanctions on issuing new Russian sovereign debt, which some have warned, could lead to the collapse of the entire Russian-Baiting(ph) system, we saw the ruble fall today, big time, to crumble to the lowest levels since November 2016, just on news of these possible sanctions before Congress.

So, Cruz has set the executive order though, it's basically ineffective because it doesn't apply to the present act. But has this got more to do with trying to stop the sanctions bill, which is before Congress, was actually by the president. I mean, essentially, what is the play here and what is the ultimate outcome.

ENGLISH: John, I don't know, and it's partly because we don't know what's going on within that administration. We see Trump go to Helsinki, ignore the advice of all of his advisors, take a very line and then, of course, the chaos that came after and that's happened again and again. So, to try to puzzle out what chess moves are behind it, that's one likely scenario what you've said. It's probable, but then again, it's so unpredictable.

VAUSE: I guess you threw(ph) out sanctions downplay. You've got one's which are legally required, you've got others which the -- being looked at by the white house, which the critics say are an attempt to undermine a third lot of sanctions, which are incredibly tough, and before Congress right now.

So, you've got this criticism that essentially the president only acts when Congress is about to act or something is about to happen outside of his control, if you like. It does go this sort of perception that the president is there in some capacity to either not actual to protect Vladamir Putin. But yet, Putin, you know, is still being hit hard by this and I guess for Donald Trump, he has this situation now with Putin, that Putin is being exposed despite -- essentially out of his control, if you like.

ENGLISH: But the irony is Trump is causing this in large measure. Had he not done and said what he said at that press conference, that would have been a kind of anodyne typical summit agreement to form working groups trying to find common ground and go forward.

Instead, he went off on Hillary Clinton, on Mueller, he credited Russian intelligence over America and brought this on himself. Congress is acting in these ways because he's repeatedly done that. So, it's just remarkable how he steps all over his own policy and, by the way, for his part, so does Putin.

You know, the Skripal incident, other meddling in European affairs, they are causing this hardening of the European line, which otherwise, would probably softening and lifting sanctions. Two remarkably clumsy leaders I have to say.

VAUSE: Okay. And the end result of these sanctions, which are in place and possibly more to come. Good to see you. Thanks so much.

ENGLISH: Thank you.

VAUSE: Meanwhile, Donald Trump's legal team may have said the last word on an interview by the president with the Special Counsel Robert Mueller. Rudy Giuliani did not specify what that counteroffer was, they did say there is an area where the Trump team could actually agree if Mueller agrees.

Giuliani, though, wants it settled and he wants it settled soon.


RUDY GIULIANI, PRESIDENT TRUMP'S LAWYER: You do not want to run into the November elections. So, you back up from that, this should be over with by September 1. We have now given him an answer, he obviously he should take a few days to consider it, but we should get this resolved.


VAUSE: Well, David Katz is criminal defense attorney and the former Assistant U.S. Attorney here in Los Angeles and California. David, good to see you again.


VAUSE: This is all a little bit surreal, on Wednesday, you had a situation that Rudy Giuliani was appearing on a radio show hosted by Donald Trump's other television lawyer, Jay Sekulow, here's an exchange, listen to this. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

[00:10:00]JAY SEKULOW, AMERICAN ATTORNEY: Ultimately this is the president's decision, but he -- we are hopeful that he will take the advice of his lawyers as this process continues to mature.

GIULIANI: Absolutely. And then it's his decision, both as an individual and as the president.


VAUSE: Okay, we know that in the past that Giuliani and the other lawyers have said they do not want the president sitting down talking one-on-one with Robert Mueller. The president said, he wants to do it because he thinks he can essentially get in there and you know, argue his case better than anybody else.

So, what happens now?

KATZ: Giuliani, himself, called this a possible perjury entrapment. If he has that mindset and the president's lawyers seem to have that mindset, I still do not believe that this sit down is ever going to take place, but the president has to appear, especially to his base, to look like a tough guy who's willing to sit down and answer questions.

So, I think he puts that out through his representative, but I don't think it's going to happen and if you want a negotiation to fall apart, obviously, one way to do that is to keep asking for things that you know are not going to happen and it's also not going to happen, I don't think, soon.

Because there's a rule that you're not supposed to do anything and Mueller follows this rule within 60 days of the election. So, they're about to run out of time right now and it's August.

VAUSE: Okay, so does that then mean that it's the president's team, since he says not, does Mueller then issue a subpoena?

KATZ: Well, the president could be subpoenaed. Nixon was subpoenaed for tapes, Clinton was subpoenaed for testimony. The Supreme Court ruled, even a conservative court ruled, that the president, President Nixon has to comply, they ruled eight to nothing, and of course that was the beginning of the end of Nixon's presidency.

VAUSE: Okay, so if it does get to this whole subpoena issue, there is a subpoenaed issued and it's uncertain what the law is, here's Jay Sekulow again on the time, all this was taken legally and the response that they would -- he's actually said in process, should Mueller go this route.


SEKULOW: If you get subpoena, you filed what's called a Motion To Quash. That will be argued at the district court, then it would go to the court of appeals, then it would go to the Supreme Court of the United States. A subpoena for live testimony has never been tested in court as to a President of the United States and there's a lot of language, articles and precedent against that.


VAUSE: Oka, so ultimately what you could be looking at here is this issue going before the Supreme Court, which is a Supreme Court which potentially has two Justices on the bench chosen by the president, at the center of an issue which they would be deciding. With those two Justices, I don't know, would they recuse themselves at any capacity? What would happen?

KATZ: I don't believe that those two Justices would recuse themselves. I believe that one reason that it may be that they're picking Kavanaugh is precisely because he's written on this subject, a law review article saying that the president should not be inconvenienced because of the need for him to attend to his official duties during his presidency.

Now, of course, he was on the star group that took the exact opposite position and mercilessly hounded, subpoenaed, questioned Clinton and forced Clinton, eventually, to an impeachment trial. But, that's at least what they're saying.

VAUSE: Right. So, to have a situation, quite possibly, that the Justice hand picked by the U.S. President will be deciding on the fate of the U.S. President.

KATZ: Well, this may be a major issue in the confirmation battle over would be Justice Kavanaugh. But if you take Gorsuch, for instance, and Gorsuch, while he was picked and got Merrick Garland's seat, the one that they never had any even hearings about, that was stonewalled completely by the Republicans. But there's no reason why Gorsuch would have to recuse himself.

Having said that, there were eight conservative and moderate judges, Justices on the Supreme Court who decided that President Nixon had to comply with the subpoena. So, there is hope (inaudible) this group.

VAUSE: A different time. Okay, one case which may -- probably will not drag on I'd say, is this Congressman Chris Collins, he's been charged with 70 counts of security fraud, conspiracy to commit wire fraud, wire fraud, making false statements. He's accused of having insider information about negative clinical trial tests, which were carried out by an Australian biotech company. He then found out this information whilst at a picnic at the White House and it was from the White House that he then called his son Cameron, who had stock in the company. Okay, not only -- so, if you look at the time there, this does seem to be a fairly open and shut case. They don't have wire taps, they just have the timeline of events.

KATZ: Well, when I was the head of the Southern California Fraud Task Force here, one of our components was the Securities and Exchange Commission. And I saw some good cases, but this seems to be a slam dunk case.

VAUSE: Right.

KATZ: Now, his lawyers may be great, they may be -- have a plan to pull a rabbit out of the hat, but it sure looks like a very strong case, because it's against the law to tip inside information. Let's assume for a second, this one Congressman did not sell his own shares, but to tip off ...

VAUSE: A family member, son.

KATZ: It's a family member and another person ...

VAUSE: Another friend. Yes.

KATZ: ... close to him and for $900,000 in losses to be saved and the timeline is terrible, because it's non-public material information. It's traded upon and then a day or two later the public is advised that this trial has not gone well for the M.S. drug that they're trying to develop and the stock crashes 92 percent. It loses 92 percent of its value. All the other poor suckers were wiped out, but they came out of it OK, didn't they? The -



KATZ: ...this time he spent with his (ph) family.

VAUSE: (INAUDIBLE) family didn't he? He has denied any wrongdoing which you say there. He also plans to stay on the ballot for the midterm elections.


CHRIS COLLINS, U.S. HOUSE REPUBLICAN: Because my focus is to defeat the charges in court, after today I will not address any issues related to Innate Immunotherapeutics outside of the courtroom.

As I fight to clear my name, rest assured, I will continue to work hard for the people and constituents of the 27 Congressional District of New York and I will remain on the ballot, running for reelection this November. Thank you very much, and have a great night.


VAUSE: OK, Collins was the first member of Congress to publically support then candidate Donald Trump. So, you know, keep that in mind because this indictment isn't exactly an unexpected House finding. An investigation, ultimately, concluded there was substantial reason to believe he violated rules, standards of conduct, and potential - potentially, federal law.

He was the guy who put it in the Washington Post who boasted about making millionaires with his stock tips. And all of this is back in October. I mean, we're almost a year on since that House ethics investigation.

KATZ: Well, I believe this is the same stock that caused such a problem for Price who had to resign.

VAUSE: It didn't help that he was secretary.

KATZ: Yes.


KATZ: He had to resign as secretary. And - just on top of that, it's - it's a situation where, as you say, the House Ethics Committee, which is suppose to be a watchdog, said there was substantial evidence, but they didn't do anything. Only today the Speaker finally asked - or finally removed him from a key committee that he's on. But this is really a startling sequence of events.

VAUSE: So, there is a trend here though within those - within the administration and those close to the administration. You know, Donald Trump promised to drain the swamp and it's looking more like an affinity call right now with what's going on.

KATZ: Well, there sure seems to be a lot of swamp creatures still left in the swamp and some of them seem to be propagating and proliferating.

VAUSE: OK. David, we'll leave it at that, good point to end on. Thank you.

KATZ: Thank you.

VAUSE: Well, groundbreaking news to expand abortion rights is about to be put to the test in one of the most catholic of all countries, Argentina. The issue has triggered big demonstrations both for and against since a bill to decriminalize abortion narrowly passed the law house of Congress back in June.

Just the fact the vote is taking place at all is remarkable, after all, Argentina is the birthplace of Pope Francis. Now, the Senate is said to take up the measure in the coming hours. It would permit abortions during the first 14 weeks of pregnancy.

President Mauricio Macri opposes abortion, but says he won't veto the bill if it passes this final hurdle. CNN's Rafael Romo joins us now from Atlanta. So, what can we expect in the coming hours?

[00:20:00] RAFAEL ROMO, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, a lot of debates have began, John. They started debating Wednesday, mid morning, and they're still at it, at this hour, and so, it's going to take a while. And so far there's 72 members of the Senate in Argentina, 38 have already said that they are going to vote against the bill, 31 for the bill.

There is a couple of extensions and one that didn't show up. But in any case, the bill has divided Argentina as a country. And those against were dressed in blue. Green was the color of choice for those in favor.

Both, supporters and opponents of a bill that would legalize abortion in Argentina up until the 14 week of pregnancy, took to the streets in massive numbers. Protestors surrounded the Senate building in Buenos Aires, the capital where lawmakers were engaged in the same fiery abortion debate that has divided Argentina.

MARTA VARELA, ARGENTINA SENATOR (THROUGH TRANSLATOR): Today I feel like never before, that I'm part of a wide sector of our people who defend life in general, from the moment of conception and until death, this conservative legislator said. Current laws allowed the procedure only in cases of rape or when the mother's health is at risk, those in favor of the bill say, that has to change.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (THROUGH TRANSLATOR): I'm here because I no longer want to accompany my teenage students to have abortions in secrecy, this teacher said.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (THROUGH TRANSLATOR): The bill should be approved just because we shouldn't try to keep on hiding reality, the supporter said. Abortions won't stop just because we have a law banning them.

ROMO: But in this still, deeply, Catholic country, the birthplace of Pope Francis, the church and conservative groups have mobilized like never before to strongly approve legalization. The pontiff issued a letter in March as the abortion debate began, urging Argentines to make a contribution in defense of life and justice.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (THROUGH TRANSLATOR): Abortion means society has failed. We believe it is a false solution to our country's problems, to women's problems, this protestor said.

ROMO: The bill was, narrowly, passed by the lower house of Congress in June. But as it prepares to hit the Senate floor, analysts say, it faces a very uphill battle. The battle over abortion in Argentina has also galvanized women's rights groups elsewhere. Protestors showed up at the Consulate of Argentina and Barcelona, also dressed in green.

Those who die in secret abortions are women, chanted protestors during a march in Mexico City. And at this hour, John, former President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner and now a senator, is speaking in the Senate.

When she was the president, she said that she was against abortion. This time she was planning to vote in favor of the bill, but it may not make any difference, John.

VAUSE: OK well, Rafael, we appreciate the update. Thanks for being with us. Still to come here, in California, tens of thousands are now under a mandatory evacuation order as officials are warning it could take weeks to contain the biggest fire in the state's history.


VAUSE: In California more than 16,000 structures are being threatened by three major fires which may not be contained until September. The biggest fire in California's history is nearly the size of Los Angeles, burning 1200 square kilometers, destroying almost 120 homes. And just outside the city of Los Angeles, 20,000 residents are under a mandatory evacuation order as another fire burns in Riverside County. A 51 year old man is facing arson charges for that blaze. He's being held on $1 million bail.

It turns out July was the hottest month ever recorded in California creating ideal conditions for wildfires. The previous record was set in 1931. Meteorologist Ivan Cabrera joins me now with more on that. And, you know, I can verify that. It was hot - July was real hot.

IVAN CABRERA, CNN METEOROLOGIST: Very hot. It's good to see you, John. And also, very dry as well as we continue to, kind of, just putting things together here to - made for firefighting conditions that are just horrific.

So, let's put this is perspective, right? We've been keeping records in California for quite a long time, in fact, it has been the hottest month and the hottest July ever on record, that surpasses that '31 record you mentioned, surpasses the 1900s and the 1800s.

So, this is a huge deal with the temperatures in California. Of course, we've been seeing it as planet wide, but let's focus in. Well, we do have the 18 large active fires which, at times, have just grown out of control, not only because of the heat and the low relative humidity, but also the winds that have been impacting the area.

So, this is where we are if you're keeping track here. At least, the River fire, now, 81 percent containment there and the Ranch fire, part of the entire complex of (ph) Mendocino, that's 46 percent that's contained.

And as far as history goes, back in '07 and '08 we had a very bad time of it here, with the fires. And now, since 2015, look at what's happened every single year as firefighters and officials have been talking about the new normal, right? We don't like to get used to it, but this is exactly what we have to deal with here.

California's fire season, basically, is now 265 days a year. This is the forecast, now terrible, but not great either. Temperatures will continue into the mid and upper 30s. We'll have overnight lows in the mid teens, and we'll have sunny conditions throughout.

Record heats, California, north eastern U.S., impacting with Europe, and Northern Africa, and of course, into Asia as well. We've been tracking that, and then on top of this, we've had, of course, the drought situation which combines, there, with the record heat to make for just terrific fire seasons.

California, heading into portions of Europe as well, especially across the south (INAUDIBLE), the fire is enforceable (ph) there and Italy as well. And now comes word from Australia that we have an extreme drought, the entirety (ph) of New South Wales is under drought.

So, you can imagine the fires are coming with that as well as we don't see any significant rain forecast for Australia, John, because we're getting into an El Nino and that favors a drier than normal time for it there. So, you get the pattern here? The planet's getting warmer. We're melting the icecaps. The oceans are getting warmer. And so, you're going to get these events that are going to be more frequent and more violent each and every time. Record heat, more fires. This is the new normal unfortunately and we've got to do something about it.

VAUSE: Well, that's the question (ph). Just with regards to that drought in Australia, it's in New South Wales, the worse in more than 50 years, right now. And what they're saying is that it doesn't look like it's going to get better anytime soon which seems to be the situation, you know, in many places across the world, right now.


VAUSE: So, Ivan, thank you. Saudi Arabia has upped the ante in a diplomatic dispute with Canada. Just ahead, Riyadh's latest response to what seemed a fairly mild criticism of its human's rights record.


[00:30:00] VAUSE: Welcome back, everybody. You are watching CNN NEWSROOM, live from Los Angeles. I'm John Vause with the headlines this hour. The United States has announced new sanctions on Russia in response to that nerve agent attack on former Russian spy, Sergei Skripal and his daughter in the U.K., back in March.

The U.S. says Russia violated a chemical and biological warfare law. Russia denies any involvement in the poison attack.

Senators of Argentina are expected to vote in a few hours on a bill that would legalize abortion during the first 14 weeks of pregnancy. This is the scene there right now on the floor of the Senate. There's a former president there, I believe, talking.

Just having the vote, no, is a significant development in this mostly Catholic country, which is also the birthplace of Pope Francis. Argentina's president (INAUDIBLE) Mauricio Macri, says he will not veto the measure, should it pass.

Relief agencies won the full scope of the damage when the earthquake in Indonesia may not be known for days. The Red Cross says aids cross can't get through the mountainous region because of debris and landslides. State run news now has the death toll at 347.

U.S. financial regulators (INAUDIBLE) Tesla CEO Elon Musk, the Wall Street Journal reports their concern. He tweeted about his plans to take automaker, private, when former official says Musk may have violated rules against artificially inflating Tesla's stock value.

A growing number of countries are lining up to side with Saudi Arabia in its Human Rights dispute with Canada. The Russian foreign ministry says Riyadh has the right to decide its own internal issues and doesn't need criticism from "a moral superior." We have latest details now from John Defterios.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE) JOHN DEFTERIOS, CNN EMERGING MARKETS EDITOR: Saudi Arabia has taken what can be described as a diplomatic club and is pounding Canada with wave after wave of tough measures. There were two more aggressive actions coming from Riyadh. Saudi patients under care in Canadian hospitals will be moved outside the country.

And the Financial Times, reporting that banks managing assets on behalf of the kingdom have been instructed to diverse Canadian holdings. That means there has been six measures in total, including the removal of the Canadian ambassador from Riyadh, suspension of trade ties, Saudi college students in Canada relocated and Saudi Airlines flights being suspended.

The sharp response is just the latest hooray by the young Saudi crown prince, Mohammad bin Salman. He's led the economic embargo against neighbor, Qatar, is fronting a coalition in Yemen and adopted a much tougher stance against rival, Iran, all this, while he's trying to welcome investment as part of his vision 2030 reform plan.

Middle East tensions are high, but his regional backing remains firm. Wednesday, allies, Egypt, Jordan, Kuwait and Bahrain, all put out statements of support against the external interference by Canada. Then there's the Trump factor. The crown prince may feel more embolden to challenge Canada with the close ties he's forged with the U.S. president. John Defterios, CNN, London.


VAUSE: For more on that, on why Saudi Arabia has gone all DEAFCON one on Canada, CNN Global Affairs Analyst is with us now from Washington. Good to see you.


VAUSE: OK. Let's pick up on that last point from John Defterios, not only could the Saudi crown prince be feeling empowered, because his close relationship with the U.S. President Donald Trump. But Washington, traditionally a friend and ally of Canada, has made it very clear it's staying on the sidelines in this dispute.

DOZIER: Yes. It has made it clear that it wants Saudi Arabia and Canada to sort this one out amongst themselves. And you can see why, if you look at the Trump administration's foreign policy, since it took office, Jared Kushner, the President's advisor, is a close friend of the crown prince, Mohammad bin Sultan. They speak regularly. That is supposed to be a very warm friendship.

And Saudi Arabia is essentially the U.S.' linchpin in terms of foreign policy across the gulf. They're relying on Saudi Arabia to prosecute the war in Yemen, against the Iranian-backed Houthis, and Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula. They're also relying on Saudi Arabia just as an offset to Iranian influence in general, and to help fund the coalition fight against ISIS and rebuilding in Iraq.

So, it's kind of like they will say these things in private but publicly, they don't want to shame the Monarch or the Prince, or rock the boat.

VAUSE: OK. Well, Canada, with that in mind, is reportedly asking Britain to try and mediate this dispute. But we've heard from Saudi's foreign minister, who said on Wednesday, just don't bother. Listen to this.


ADEL AL-JUBEIR, MINISTER OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS, SAUDI ARABIA (through translator): Regarding mediation, there's no need for it. Canada committed a grave mistake towards Saudi Arabia and it needs to fix that mistake. And Canada knows exactly what it needs to do in this regard.


[00:35:19] VAUSE: You know, apart from the fact it sounds incredibly passive aggressive, like my mother say, you know, what you've done, you know what you've got to do to fix it. You know, what isn't it -- what is in it here for the Saudis to take this hard line?

DOZIER: Well, they tried this twice before, with Germany and with Sweden. They were upset at Human Rights criticisms, and they kicked both of those ambassadors out. Apparently, that didn't produce the result they wanted.

So, this time, when Canada stepped out and tweeted about this, that was possibly the foreign minister's biggest mistake because a lot of Saudi Arabia is on social media, so would have seen something like this.

So they've responded with these incredible all-pistons firing blow- back that a lot of Saudi watchers are saying is, over the top and smacks of tyranny rather than a measured response to criticism from a trading partner and some time, ally.

VAUSE: OK. And, so, look, let's go back and look at that tweet, an egregious act from the Canadians which started about a week ago. The Canadian government put out this tweet. It was concerned about additional arrests of civil society and women's rights activist in Saudi Arabia, including Samar Badawi. We urge the Saudi authorities to immediately release them and all other peaceful human rights activists.

And that's it. You know, it's kind of the statement that the U.S. may have issued in the past when, you know, the U.S. actually cared about human rights.

DOZIER: Well, the Trump administration did release a pretty strong report last year, which listed Saudi Arabia's various sins, including detention of people, unlawfully, torture, abuse of prisoners, but they put it inside a state department report.

So, I think if Canada had even released this from the foreign ministry's podium that would have been different than putting it in this -- that would have been different than putting it in this context in a very public way.

But, you know, from the U.S.' perspective, what they've done is, they have said these kind of things behind closed doors because they need Saudi Arabia and the Crown Prince's reforms to succeed.

VAUSE: OK. Well, look out, because the Canadian prime minister has had enough. He's not going to take it anymore. Here's Justin Trudeau.


JUSTIN TRUDEAU, PRIME MINISTER, CANADA: We continue to engage diplomatically and politically with the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. We have respect for their importance in the world and recognize that they have made progress on a number of important issues. But we will, at the same time, continue to speak clearly and firmly on issues of human rights at home and abroad, wherever we see the need.


VAUSE: OK. You get the idea. But, you know, if Canada was a character of The Simpsons, it would Ned Flanders. You know, he's the boy scout of international diplomacy. But, you know, it's just a couple of months ago when there was this verbal mind fight between Trudeau and Donald Trump over who said what in prior to the G7.

You know, there's been a few others, sort of, dust ups internationally, recently as well and then, of course, now, this head kicking from Saudi Arabia. You know, is Canada paying the price here for being, you know, the nice guy in a world which has sort of gone mean?

DOZIER: Well, just possibly. But, when you look at this on both sides, both from Canada's perspective and from Riyadh's perspective, this is a risk that they're each willing to take. They're not major trading partners. And Saudi Arabia is like, number 20 of the partners trading with Canada.

So they can stay in this deep freeze for quite some time and not pay too much of a price in terms of their own populations and each stand for their principles, which is important, with each of their populations back home.

VAUSE: Yes. It just seems like it came out of nowhere, escalated in, you know, with lightning speed. Clearly, no one really knows where this is all going to go at this point. But Kimberly, thank you so much, great to see you.

DOZIER: Thank you.

VAUSE: Still to come, it could have been a bomb, but it wasn't. But it was oh so embarrassing when the gentleman, with the multiple unknown items in his luggage, was asked to step forward.

Also, it might just be the basketball shot to end them all from an airplane, success or not? Find out in a moment. (COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[00:40:00] VAUSE: Welcome back, everybody. Expect some big changes to next year's Academy Awards show, including a new, apparently, very controversial category, achievement in popular film. The criteria has not been released, but the intention here is to recognize the big commercial block busters which are often neglected for the meaningful artsy high-brow films.

The awards show will also be held earlier before February, where currently it's held. The show will also be reduced to a maximum of three hours, thank the Lord. The Academy hopes the changes will actually boost viewership because this year, it was at a record low.

Well, a part of Berlin airport was shut down because of some suspicious items which were detected in a man's luggage. Police thought there may have been a bomb so they paged the owner of the luggage over the intercom.

Perhaps, a little bit embarrassed, he explained the items were technical stuff, technically, they were sex toys. After an hour-long investigation, the terminal was reopened.

The Harlem Globetrotters transformed basketball, winning almost every game. The exhibition team has played in 92 years, by making some incredible trick shots, but never before, have they tried a stunt like this. Globetrotter Bull Bullard was in an airplane, traveling about 112 kilometers an hour.

The basket was on a landing strip below. He took game from two- seaters to pick up, got nothing but net out of the (INAUDIBLE) shots he made from a helicopter and a rollercoaster, makes you wonder what's next.

And thank you for watching CNN NEWSROOM, live from Los Angeles. I'm John Vause. Stay with us. "WORLD SPORT" is next. You're watching CNN.


[00:45:00] (WORLD SPORT)

VAUSE: You're watching CNN NEWSROOM, live from Los Angeles. Ahead this hour, forced to act --