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North Korea Warns Denuclearization May Fall Apart; U.N. Accuses Myanmar Military of Rohingya Genocide; Vatican Power Struggle; The Humor of John McCain; South American Leaders Discuss Response To Refugee Crisis; U.S. Pressures Canada Agrees With Mexico On Key Changes; White House Flags Return To Half Staff; Trump Comments On McCain After Staying Largely Silent; Is Donald Trump The Middle East's Friend Or Foe? Aired 1-2a ET
Aired August 28, 2018 - 01:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[01:00:00] JOHN VAUSE, CNN INTERNATIONAL ANCHOR: Your watching CNN NEWSROOM live from Los Angeles. Ahead this hour, for more than a year a range of Muslims have been the victims of rape, murder, and torture, the target of a crackdown by Myanmar's military and now the U.N. calls it out as genocide. Just like they do on real housewives, Donald Trump played his conversation with Mexico's president on speakerphone announcing a new trade deal in Mexico replacing what he calls that rip-off NAFTA deal.
And crisis in the Catholic Church, the Pope refusing to enter a call for his resignation after accusations he was aware of sexual abuse by a prominent cardinal and did nothing about it. Hello and thanks for being with us. Again, I'm John Vause and this is NEWSROOM L.A.
All those stories in a moment but we begin this hour with breaking news. North Korea has warned the U.S. that denuclearization may soon come to an end. A few sources have told CNN a letter recently sent to the U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said that denuclearization cannot move forward without Washington's commitment to a peace treaty. Pyongyang said it would resume nuclear and missile activities unless a compromise could be found. We'll have much more on this at a live report at the bottom of the hour.
In the meantime, Myanmar government says it has formed its own independent commission to investigate alleged human rights violation against the Muslim range of minority. But a new report by the United Nations says it doesn't expect the country will hold its military accountable to any such crimes. The report details accounts of murder, torture, and sexual violence. More detail now from CNN's Alexandra Field.
ALEXANDRA FIELD, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Myanmar's top military leaders are now accused by genocide by United Nation's investigators. The findings released in a report of the brutal military campaign waged against Rohingya people. The state was Muslim minority that has lived for generations in a majority Buddhist country. Violence erupted a year ago when military officials maintain they were only targeting terrorists which stage an attack on border post in August 2017, but the violence was widespread. Villages torched, women raped, thousands killed.
The carnage caused a mass exodus from Myanmar with hundreds of thousands running for their lives to take shelter in makeshift refugee camps in neighboring Bangladesh. Citing the greatest crimes under international law, U.N. investigators are now naming names and calling for the prosecution of Myanmar's Military Commander-in-Chief and five generals.
RADHIKA COOMARASWAMY, INDEPENDENT U.N. FACT-FINDING MISSION IN MYANMAR: The scale, brutality, and systematic nature of rape and violence indicate they are part of a deliberate strategy to intimidate, terrorize, or punish the civilian population. They used as a tactic of war that we found include rape, gang rape, sexual slavery, forced nudity, and mutilations.
FIELD: Myanmar's civilian government had little scope to contain military actions according to the report but there are scathing words for Myanmar's de facto leader, human rights icon and Nobel Prize Winner Aung San Suu Kyi for failing to do more to stop the violence.
COOMARASWAMY: We are deeply disappointed that State Counselor Aung San Suu Kyi has not used her position or her moral authority to stem, prevent or condemn the unfolding events in that kind of state.
FIELDS: The report calls for immediate action, referral of the case to the international criminal courts. And CNN's calls for comment haven't been returned. But Facebook has responded, moving to ban 20 individuals and organizations including a senior military commander named in the report. A statement from the company says "we want to prevent them from using our service to further inflame ethnic and religious tensions." The company also saying it was "to slow to prevent the spread of hate and misinformation." Alexandra Field CNN, Hong Kong.
VAUSE: British Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt plans to travel to Myanmar to raise questions about the treatment of Rohingya. And U.S. State Department says it supports the U.N. fact-finding mission but a spokesman added this disqualification. "The United States would only offer a conclusion on whether genocide or crimes against humanity had been committed after a thorough review of the available facts and relevant legal analysis."
Well, the Venezuelan refugee crisis is increasingly being felt by neighboring countries in South America. Hundreds of thousands of Venezuelans are fleeing from political and social and economic chaos at home only to face strict border controls and xenophobia when they leave. Now, the country is taking in most of the refugees are trying to find a response. Journalist Jorge Luis Perez Valery has more now from Caracas.
[01:05:10] JORGE LUIS PEREZ VALERY, JOURNALIST: This is going to be a Tuesday's meeting in Bogota where officials from these three countries Peru, Ecuador, and Colombia are trying to find coordinated solutions to what it is according to the United Nations one of the biggest migration movements that Latin American has ever experienced. They are also comparing it to the migrants -- the immigrants, that crisis in the Mediterranean.
And what is concerning countries like Colombia, for example, is a recent measures that has been taken for these other two countries from Peru and from Ecuador. For example, Peru starting this week are imposed -- is imposing restrictions on 13 Venezuelan individuals who are trying to enter the country. Before these restrictions, any Venezuelan could enter in Peru just showing an identification card, but now they are requesting their passports. So it is important to remark that many of these Venezuelans that are leaving the country are doing it without any traveling documents, just their own national I.D. documents so this is causing, of course, a trouble for Ecuador and Colombia because some Venezuelan immigrants are going to stand stranded in there.
Something important also to remark is the position of the Venezuelan government that insists in denying such humanitarian crisis as the international community is denouncing. The government has also criticized those Venezuelan citizens that have decided to leave the country amid one of the worst economic crises that Venezuela has ever experienced. So it's going to be at Tuesday's meeting. It's going to happen in Bogota. Solutions are still not known but of course, what they are trying to contain is such massive movements of people going to these countries.
2.3 million Venezuelans have left the country, 1.6 of them did it since 2015 and 90 percent of them are going to South American countries, so this has caused a lot of troubles for the region. Columbia said is not a national problem, it's a regional problem so they want to tackle this.
VAUSE: Journalist Jorge Luis Perez Valery there reporting from Caracas. We'll go now for political crisis in Nicaragua which is spilling over to neighboring Costa Rica. Thousands have been protesting Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega's increasingly authoritarian rule leading a hike in Social Security taxes and a crackdown on dissent. Well, 300 have been killed since demonstrations began back in April. Nicaraguans have been pouring into Costa Rico to try and escape the violence of persecution and threats. The U.N. says on average every day 200 leave Nicaragua seeking asylum in Costa Rica.
U.S. President seems to be putting pressure on Canada to agree to a revised North American Free Trade Agreement. In the latest presidential made for T.V. moment and with the outgoing Mexican president there on speakerphone, Donald Trump announced the U.S. and Mexico have agreed to make some crucial changes to NAFTA. President Trump suggested that both countries could reach a bilateral agreement if Canada does not come on board and doesn't do it quickly.
Canada's Foreign Minister will travel to Washington on Tuesday for trade talks at Indiana, it could all come down to having a revised NAFTA under a different name.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: They used to call it NAFTA, we're going to call it the United States-Mexico trade agreement and we'll get rid of the name NAFTA. It has a bad connotation because the United States was hurt very badly by NAFTA for many years and now it's a really good deal for both countries.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VAUSE: Andrew Sullivan is the former Head of Sales Trading for Haitong International Securities and he is with us now from Hong Kong. So Andrew, thanks for taking the time. The U.S. President, he can change the name, he can call it whatever he wants but the core element of all of this is still NAFTA and it's still in place. But Donald Trump it seems he's not too interested in negotiating with Canada. Listen to what he said here. Here he is.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: I think with Canada frankly the easiest thing we can do is to tariff their cars coming in. It's a tremendous amount of money and it's a very simple negotiation. It could end in one day and we've taken a lot of money the following day. But I think we'll give them a chance to probably have a separate deal. We could have a separate deal or we could put it into this deal.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VAUSE: You know, the U.S. makes their talks on this last -- I think what five weeks towards Canada. I've got -- that schedules like four or five days. That does not appear to be a good sign for Canada if you're part of the deal.
ANDREW SULLIVAN, FORMER HEAD OF SALES TRADING FOR HAITONG INTERNATIONAL SECURITIES: No and I think -- I mean, I think a lot of it is actually Canada standing up to the states. A lot of it to do with their agricultural policy and supporting their own farmers which has been in place for many years and would require them to undo that which is a big move for Canada. And I think at the same time Mexico has been under a lot more pressure to do a deal. You've got an outgoing President and incoming regime, you know, the time was ripe.
[01:10:13] VAUSE: You know, the Mexican President, he mentions Canada a number of times during that -- whatever that loudspeaker real housewives moment in the Oval Office. At one point, he said this. It is our wish Mr. President that now Canada will also be able to be incorporated in all of this. And I assume that they are going to carry out negotiations on the sensitive bilateral issues between Canada And the United States." So you know, would Mexico honor this revised NAFTA deal if Canada
wasn't included. Is it still a good deal for them without the Canadians?
SULLIVAN: I think it is a good deal for them, yes. I mean, they've got a lot more of the auto manufacturing that they are so reliant on. And that's part of the reason they were prepared to sort of bow down on some of the terms as you are seeing the percentage of parts made in the U.K. -- in the U.S. rise, see the minimum wage. And of course, to them you know, this deal allows them to continue the process for America. I mean, it may be that some of these manufacturing companies decide that you know, they can keep these plans working, they can still supply some to the U.S. but historically Mexico supplied a lot of the stuff elsewhere around the world as well, so it has a lot of other agreements. So keeping the U.S. onside is important to them.
VAUSE: OK. Well, the National Association of Manufacturers in the U.S. issued a statement which read in part, "Because of the massive amount of movement of goods between the three countries and the integration of operations which make manufacturing in our country more competitive, it is imperative that a trilateral agreement be inked." So there are questions if a bilateral deal is good business and on top of that, questions if it's even legal to go from a three-country deal to a two-country deal.
SULLIVAN: That's certainly true. And I think one of the things we've got to remember is that Trump still has to get this passed through Congress. So you know, he can say it's a great deal and say that we got a handshake on it but actually until Congress passes it, it means nothing and that could still be a lot of issues that Congress wants to raise there. And as you say, I mean, the other point here I think really is that you know, Trump is really being pushed by the midterms. He needs to get a deal in place. So having Mexico onside kind of gives him something he can go to the voters with even if Congress doesn't pass it by the time the midterms come up.
VAUSE: You know, let -- OK, I am going to try to find something positive here because if all this manages to hold together, one of the positives is that it actually includes a review process every six years. That was a point touched on by Mexico's Economy Secretary. This is what he said.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ILDEFONSO GUAJARDO VILLARREAL, ECONOMY SECRETARY, MEXICO: As a matter of fact, we are in this situation because the U.S. has the right or any country to pull out. So our problem is that we let NAFTA go for 22 years without worrying how the countries were adapting to this agreement 22 years ago. The good thing about the review process is that now we have the opportunity to every six years get together, analyze and try to adapt to make a success story for everybody involved. So we are not in a position as we were the last couple of years. So this review mechanism will increase the certainty of NAFTA and also the time span of this agreement and we avoid any sudden debt or automatic expiration.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VAUSE: So this sort of you know, release valve if you like, this mechanism actually might -- if it was there in the first place, you know, you could've avoided all the complaints and problems that NAFTA had over the years.
SULLIVAN: Well, it might have done. I mean, I think the key thing now is because of the breakdown of the NAFTA agreement was the fact that Mexico is worried about how is it going to encourage manufacturing firms to invest if there was no review agreement. So now we know the agreement if it gets passed will last for six years and then there will be a review process which will probably take another year or so.
So anybody investing in the automotive you know, manufacturing business knows that they've got a seven-year return on their -- on their investment which is very important for Mexico and for obviously for the companies making the investments.
VAUSE: Andrew, as always good to have you with us. I appreciate your insights. Thank you.
SULLIVAN: Thank you.
VAUSE: Well, next on NEWSROOM L.A., it was down and then up and then down again. The President begrudgingly lowers the White House flag again in honor of one of his biggest critics, John McCain. Also, some say he's crazy, others they like what he's doing, the latest progress report on the 45th President of the United States.
[01:16:50] JOHN VAUSE, CNN ANCHOR: Well, the death of U.S. Senator John McCain has not gone unnoticed in the country that once held him captive. Vietnam's foreign minister praise McCain to helping to heal the wounds of war. And for preventing punishment between Vietnam and the U.S. McCain spent more than five years as a prisoner of war in North Vietnam before he was released in 1973.
And John McCain's fellow Senators acknowledged his passing. On Monday, as this tradition, McCain's desk in the Senate chamber was blanketed black, white roses placed on the desk, and McCain's longtime aide also shared a farewell message urging Americans to focus on unity and not divisions, and to tear down walls rather than hid behind them. All an apparent reference to President Trump within McCain, often spotted.
The president's bitterness towards McCain seemingly on display at the White House where flags were lowered, Saturday in McCain's honor, then raised again Monday morning earlier than is custom. But, Monday afternoon, the president appeared to relent ordering flags to once again be lowered.
Joining me now for more on this, CNN political commentator and Democratic strategist Dave Jacobson, Californian Republican national committeeman Shawn Steel. And I thank you guys for being with us, and you know we might say -- you know, our respects to John McCain.
I'm sure everyone here respects his service maybe don't agree with his policies in the past but he was a man who served his country.
So, all day long on Monday, the president has repeatedly given the opportunity to say something -- anything about John McCain. Listen to this.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Mr. President any -- any -- Mr. President, any thoughts on John McCain? Mr. President --
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Do you believe John McCain is a hero?
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Thank you.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Nothing at all about John McCain.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Why won't you say anything about John McCain?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Mr. President, any comment on John McCain, sir?
VAUSE: You know, it's not like he needs an invitation to say anything. He is the President of the United States. It was only late Monday while meeting the Evangelical leaders that Donald Trump actually made some very brief remarks. Here it hit.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: Also our hearts and prayers are going to the family of Senator John McCain, there'll be a lot of activity over the next number of days, and we very much appreciate everything that Senator McCain has done for our country.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VAUSE: And Dave, it would seem those remarks only came because the public outcry over the president's refusal to say anything. It was one stop short of pitchforks and torches descending on the White House.
DAVE JACOBSON, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Yes, I mean, Senator Johnny Isakson from Georgia today on the Senate floor said, anybody who tarnishes John McCain's reputation should get a whipping.
JACOBSON: I say that to the president. I don't think we've heard the Senator from Georgia speak out against Donald Trump before. So, this was really unprecedented. John McCain was an American icon, a hero. He was somebody who put country first.
In fact, John, that was the slogan of his 2008 campaign. And that is indicative of his career. If you look back throughout the course of his career, he's somebody who has built relationships and coalitions with Democrats and Republicans alike.
And he's really been a heartbeat for integrity and American values in the United States Senate and throughout the course of his career in Congress. And this is a major loss for this country. And the fact that the president took so long to come out to say those words, I think it's just really disheartening.
[01:20:26] VAUSE: Shawn, were you proud of your president over past couple of days?
SHAWN STEEL, REPUBLICAN NATIONAL COMMITTEEMAN, CALIFORNIA: Let me tell you, I'm really proud of Dave for showing his love and his heart for John McCain because --
VAUSE: I do like -- you know, how Democrat to falling in love with John McCain, who give you that.
STEEL: But, because Wesley Clark, the key Obama supporter, said that any man that gets shot down in an interplane doesn't qualified to be President. New York Times attack McCain in 2008 for being a racist and cultivating unworthy sources.
So, I see the Liberal Democrats who have hated McCain four either the 60 years or about 50 years, because he's been a pretty solid Republican. I, unlike that perhaps anybody in this -- in this building, I supported McCain in 2008.
The bottom line is this, nobody's perfect. But what -- you know any man that is in a jet plane, fighting for American gets shot down and then, he lives to tell about it. Then he's in POW for seven years, he gets all kinds of bonus points at Shawn steel's index. And then, you look at his, his father was a four-star Admiral, his grandfather, four-star admiral. It's like royalty on a certain level.
He is an icon but let me tell you, I've had -- I would have little differences, plenty policy differences.
VAUSE: OK, get to your point.
STEEL: But the bottom line is he was a great American. Now, the Democrats are the most hypocritical in the world --
VAUSE: OK, let's move on. At latest CNN's reporting, "Trump was urged by senior-level staffers including Chief of Staff John Kelly, to deliver a more robust statement on McCain, starting early Monday morning, but he resisted, maintained that he would not alter his planned schedule because of McCain's death.
Trump told some advisers, he believed the television coverage of McCain's death was over the top according to one person familiar with the --
STEEL: So, what -- you have a source?
VAUSE: Yes, according to one person familiar with the deliberations. It seems, at one point, the president was so eager to divert attention away from this. He called reporters and camera crews into the Oval Office for this speakerphone moment on trade with Mexico's president. Listen to this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: And I believe, the president is on the phone. Enrique? Yes, you can hook him up and tell me when. How are you? This is a big deal. A lot of people waiting.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Introducing Pena Nieto.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Hello.
TRUMP: Do you want to put that on this phone, please? Hello.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VAUSE: Yes. You know, Dave, it did work out so well, you know this was hurried but, you know, obviously, it seems like Donald Trump was -- you know, desperate to try and divert attention away from McCain in some way, and it just get backfiring.
It's almost like he knew that this like of respect that's just doing him so much time harm. But he couldn't bring himself to change this behavior which seems so petty.
JACOBSON: Well, and talk about such a softball, right? It's so easy to talk about and to recognize and acknowledge John McCain's extraordinary service to this country. And the fact that Donald Trump couldn't do that very simple task as the supposed moral leader of the country as president.
JACOBSON: I mean, that's what you're supposed to do. You're supposed to be the moral compass of our country. He wasn't. He came off yet again as thin-skinned, as childish, and that display right there of a diverting attention dynamic was absolutely pathetic.
VAUSE: OK, very quickly, one minute on -- because, because, Donald Trump, according to Washington Post, he did actually admit over the weekend that he did come and say anything nice, it would just not ring true. So there was a self-awareness from the president that he -- you know, they hated each other, they didn't like each other.
VAUSE: But here's the thing, Shawn, after when they lowered the flag -- you know, out of respect for McCain, normally there is a presidential proclamation to keep it lowered at half-staff until that person, whoever that prominent politician is, is buried.
Donald Trump did not issue that proclamation. Now, he can have his -- that disagreement with McCain they're not sending. But the flag is beyond Donald Trump, the flag represents the White House, it represents the country, it represents liberty, and freedom, and human rights, OK? And that's what Donald Trump's flag, it's something altogether different. He doesn't have a right to do that.
STEEL: Well, actually, he did do it. But this is a sick pit. That partake --
VAUSE: Only (INAUDIBLE) he lowered the flag back down to half-staff.
STEEL: This is deep take in her historic level. Let me give you another very piece of important information. NAFTA was changed today. The trade agreement are completely different. (CROSSTALK)
VAUSE: We did that last -- we did that (INAUDIBLE), come on, move one minute.
STEEL: That's all, this is not a diversion that's the story. I don't want to --
VAUSE: You don't agree on that to get, it's going to get recovered.
STEEL: This is a huge change for the working people in America, that's not a debris. He had the President of Mexico agreeing with him. That's news.
STEEL: Now, look, we don't want to see anybody die. You know, Simon died, the great -- the great playwright. I mean, people die all the time and we respect this too.
JACOBSON: Please start minimized.
[01:25:01] STEEL: But for a Democrat to sit next to me that worked against him day and night, said bad things about him, at least, his friends dead, and to say that he's the greatest guy in the world, and Trump's less than a human being is so hypocritical but nobody buys it.
VAUSE: OK, 30 seconds, Dave.
JACOBSON: Look, it's a function of whether or not you are a true patriot to this country.
STEEL: Go, my God, don't have a Democrat tell me about patriotism.
JACOBSON: Are you going to be true -- are you going to be a true partisan who just you know, goes into your tribal corner and just stays al back in that corner?
STEEL: Wait on, you're not going to take McCain from me, he's not yours. You don't have any right.
JACOBSON: For alterably, look, I don't want to own his policies or political (INAUDIBLE).
STEEL: You don't have any right -- you don't have any right to say nice things about him.
JACOBSON: But in terms of the person standing up that you can treat the power like President Trump --
STEEL: How dare you say nice things about John McCain, when you really hate him?
VAUSE: OK. We will agree that John McCain was a man who served his country.
VAUSE: And maybe not everyone agreed with that we agree that he was patriot.
STEEL: Yes. So glad he was a Republican and not a Democrat.
VAUSE: Good point there on Shawn. I give it that to you because it's your birthday over the weekend.
STEEL: It is.
JACOBSON: Happy birthday.
STEEL: Thank you.
VAUSE: Thank you guys.
Well, after a year and a half into the Trump administration, and many in the Middle East continue to ask, is Donald Trump friend or foe?
Does he really have a plan or does he even care about trying to stabilize the region of the world which seems almost constantly racked with conflict. CNN's Ben Wedeman, reports now from Lebanon.
(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE) BEN WEDEMAN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: President Donald Trump's first overseas trip was to Saudi Arabia, a signal that his stump speeches aside, he might actually be reaching out to this troubled corner of the world.
His every word is followed closely here in Lebanon where regional and global rivalries run right through the minutiae of local politics. A harsh critic of U.S.'s Mideast policy, Commentator Marwa Osman, was hoping Trump might live up to his promise of putting America first and pull out.
MARWA OSMAN, POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: When he visited the region and changed his mind about leaving because he said he wants to leave, he wants to leave the Middle East. And this is what we all want to hear, we want to be left alone.
WEDEMAN: That was not to be. Since becoming president, he reversed decades of U.S. policy and recognized Jerusalem as Israel's capital. Next, the Iran nuclear deal, and reapplied draconian sanctions. He's backed Saudi Arabia to the Hilton its Yemen War.
In the Palestinian refugee camp of Shatila, site of the 1982 massacre. Majd, an official with the Fatah-al movement scoffs at Arab rulers who leaped on the Trump train. "Trump," he says, "considers you cow's to milk."
But mostly, the U.S. president leaves these third and fourth generation refugees baffled. "He is crazy," says (INAUDIBLE) shop owner, Samir.
Not everyone disses the Donald. Analyst Toufic Hindi gives him high marks for ditching the Iran deal.
TOUFIC HINDI, POLITICAL ANALYST: It is a beginning to say to the Republic -- Islamic Republic of Iran, stop. And not only for the nuclear deal. It to stop going all around the region. Stop expanding your empire from Iraq to Syria to Lebanon to Palestine to Yemen.
WEDEMAN: On Beirut's Hamra Street, I asked Diana and Miriam what they think of President Trump. "He's the world's worst," says Diana. "He's a mistake."
Back to Shatila, Hanadi the baker, better known as Umbaker, doubts the president of the United States of America cares what anyone here has to say. "If I, Umbaker, say, Trump, Trump, Trump, do you think he will listen to me?" Good question. Ben Wedeman, CNN, Beirut.
VAUSE: Well, a new U.N. report uses Myanmar's military of crimes against humanity. Just ahead, the humanitarian crisis created by their cracked down on Rohingya Muslims.
[01:31:36] VAUSE: Welcome back, everybody. You're watching CNN NEWSROOM and we are live from Los Angeles. I'm John Vause.
Time to check the headlines.
The U.S. and Mexico have agreed to make crucial changes to the North American Free Trade Agreement; President Trump once again threatening to terminate NAFTA and instead sign a bilateral agreement with Mexico. The Canadian foreign minister will be in Washington Tuesday to restart negotiations.
The South American countries most affected by the Venezuelan refugee crisis are now trying to agree on how they all should respond. Officials from Colombia, Peru, Ecuador and Brazil will meet for a second day on Tuesday. The U.N. is warning the crisis could soon be on a par with the mass migration of refugees across the Mediterranean three years ago.
And our breaking news this hour, North Korea warning the U.S. it will resume nuclear and missile activities without a firm commitment to peace. Sources tell CNN a letter sent from North Korea to the U.S. Secretary of State is warning the entire denuclearization process is again at stake and, in their words, may fall apart.
For more on this Will Ripley joins us on the line from Hong Kong. So Will -- the exact wording of that North Korean letter to Pompeo isn't known but if reports on state media in Pyongyang over the last few days are any indication, relations between North Korea and the U.S. have taken a major turn for the worse.
WILL RIPLEY, CNN CORRESPONDENT (via telephone): They really have. I mean this kind of reach (ph) of history in that, you know, negotiations have seemed promising at the very beginning but then reality sets in of what the United States expects and what the North Koreans expect are vastly different.
And in this case, the key sticking point here appears to be that the North Koreans want a peace treaty, a formal end to the Korean War which has been in a technical ceasefire since 1953, and they want that before the denuclearization process can begin. Whereas what the United States is insisting upon is that denuclearization happens first and then the North Koreans get with the U.S. to build a concession like the peace treaty and the lifting of sanctions and what-not.
So that is really where the two sides have gridlocked ever since really Secretary of State Mike Pompeo traveled to Pyongyang in early July. And presumably the letter that was delivered from the North Koreans saying that if there is not movement on this peace treaty Pompeo is going to leave once again empty-handed because he was scheduled to be in Pyongyang just this week.
That was enough for President Trump to just call off the meeting for now, feeling that they really weren't going to make any more progress. And frankly the trip may have actually done more harm than good -- John.
VAUSE: Will, are we now at the point where it can confidently be said what pretty much everyone said months ago when all of this began, that this Trump-style of diplomacy is simply not the way to negotiate with North Korea?
RIPLEY: People said all along that with the North Koreans the key is going to be specifics because if it seems increasingly clear that what President Trump thought he walked away with from Singapore and what North Korean leader Kim Jong-un thought he walked away with were vastly different concepts of this agreement.
President Trump seemed convinced that Kim would easily give up his nuclear weapons in exchange for economic concessions without frankly realizing that for the North Koreans, security guarantees trump -- no pun intended -- everything else including any economic benefits. And they're not going to give up their nuclear weapons until they feel that their government, their survival with Kim Jong-un at the top is assured.
[01:34:57] And so from the North Korean point of view, they perhaps feel just as the United States feel that the other side is simply not living up to the commitments that were made. But the problem is the statement that was signed in Singapore was so vague that it was really open for interpretation. And that was what a lot of experts pointed to at the time it was signed, that this was unlikely to go very far and it certainly hasn't.
VAUSE: Yes. It was so broad you could fly an IBM (SIC) through it. Will -- thank you. Will Ripley there bringing us up to date with the latest developments on the situation with North Korea and the U.S. and those negotiations which appear to have taken a turn for the worse.
In the meantime the United Nations has accused Myanmar's military leaders of genocide and is recommending they face prosecution for brutal violence against the country's minority Rohingya Muslims. Hundreds of thousands of refugees have fled to camps in Bangladesh trying to escape the violence.
Phil Robertson is the deputy director, Asia Division for Human Rights Watch and is with us from Colombo in Sri Lanka. Phil -- -- thanks for taking the time. This U.N. report is calling for all of this to be referred to the International Criminal Report. Myanmar never signed on to the (INAUDIBLE) statute. It does not fall under the court's jurisdiction so what's the point of that?
PHIL ROBERTSON, DEPUTY DIRECTOR ASIA DIVISION, HUMAN RIGHTS WATCH: Well, it's going to be very difficult to get it to the International Criminal Court, as you said, because the U.N. Security Council would have to approve that and there are at least two members of the council -- China and Russia -- that we think would probably veto such a resolution.
But the report also calls for the creation of an ad hoc international criminal tribunal if such a referral to the International Criminal Court is not possible. And we think that is something that can be done.
So we are hopeful that we -- and if we can't get it to do the ICC we will get it -- these generals before international court justice one way or another. VAUSE: Yes. They've sort of been down this road before. They know
how to play this game, they just close itself off to the rest of the world. What is interesting about this report though all five acts deemed genocide without -- well, four of five acts, I should say, without any president in Myanmar and its treatment of the Rohingya.
The report goes on to hope (ph) the civilian leaders as well, in particular Aung San Suu Kyi -- it says she failed to use her moral authority to stem or prevent the unfolding event or seek alternative avenues to meet the responsibility to protect the civilian population. "Through their actions and admissions the civilian authorities have contributed to the commission of atrocity crimes."
Is it time once and for all just to say what seems to be pretty obvious right now? Suu Kyi, you know, this once towering figure of freedom and of human rights -- she has now gone above and beyond defending the military and it seems in many ways could actually be supportive of her generals implementing a policy of genocide?
ROBERTSON: Well, I think what we would say is that is she's been part of the cover-up. And that's a big problem because obviously she was the one person who could intervene and try to sort of turn this around. She was, as the foreign minister, the person who could allow the fact-finding mission to have access to these areas and really turn the attention where it belongs -- on the generals who ordered these atrocities.
She had plenty of opportunities to step up and she has not so I think now it's fair to say that she's part of the problem. But I don't want to lose focus on the generals. I mean these are the people who, you know, are commanding troops in the field. These are the people who have done this not just to the Rohingya but also to the Kachin and the Shan as we had found in this report but also other ethnic minorities throughout the last four or five decades in Myanmar.
VAUSE: It's a good point you make about keeping the focus on the generals but you cannot forget in many ways that Aung San Suu Kyi benefited from international outrage and how she was treated and how the Burmese people were treated. And you know, I remember when she walked free from years of house arrest.
Anyway, here's part of an editorial from "The New York Times". "Most of the atrocities detailed by the report have been described before. But the panel's charge of genocide and the naming of six senior military figures including the commander-in-chief of the armed forces and his deputy raised accusations that cannot be neglected by the international community."
You know, to be honest it hasn't entirely been neglected by every country. You touched on this. One of the biggest problems has been China. China has backed the military. It's backed (INAUDIBLE), building high-speed railings across the country in deep water port. Beijing has veto power at the U.N. Security Council. So anything which they may try and do, you know, in the coming days Beijing can essentially veto. ROBERTSON: Well, I think they are not going to be able to veto the
resolution that's going to come at the U.N. Human Rights Council next month. We're just going to set up we hope an international impartial mechanism to look at these crimes and start documenting them.
You know, the process is going to grind forward. The situation will ultimately be one where China is going to have to decide what sort of member of the international community it wants to be. Does it want to defend genocide? Does it want to fight against Europe and North America and the OIC -- basically all the Islamic countries around the world.
I mean these are the supporters of these kind of resolutions and China is going to actually I think have to bend if not in its resistance to allowing these generals to be sent for the kind of justice in an international court that's due to them.
[01:40:05] VAUSE: You are an optimist and I hope you're correct.
VAUSE: Let's just finish up here. If you are to be brutally honest right now, what does the future hold for a million Rohingya refugees living in overflowing camps right now in Bangladesh?
ROBERTSON: Well, they are not going home anytime soon. There's no political will that we've seen within Myanmar to allow them to come back despite all the various, different statements by Aung San Suu Kyi and others.
I think they're going to have to settle in for the long haul. I think the international community is going to have to help Bangladesh carry this burden. And I think ultimately that, you know, when we see an international accountability process that actually cracks this problem and starts to move toward some sort of resolution in Rakhine then ultimately I think they will be able to go back. But it's going to be years. It's absolutely going to be years.
VAUSE: Yes, years -- at least. Phil -- thanks. Appreciate you being with us. At least there's movement -- thank you.
ROBERTSON: Yes -- thank you.
VAUSE: Well, a power struggle inside the Vatican -- a former top Vatican official has accused Pope Francis of covering up alleged sexual misconduct by a cardinal. He said he should step now. And now the leaders -- the leader rather of bishops in the U.S. demanding answers directly from the Pope.
VAUSE: Well, the head of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops is requesting an urgent audience with the Pope after he was accused -- that is the Pope -- by an archbishop of years' long cover-up of sexual misconduct by a U.S. cardinal.
CNN's Delia Gallagher reports on the deep rifts these allegations have now exposed within the Vatican.
DELIA GALLAGHER, CNN RELIGION CORRESPONDENT (on camera): Pope Francis was asked by journalists on board the papal plane returning from Ireland on Sunday evening about accusations mad by his former papal envoy to the United States that the Pope himself knew about sexual abuse allegations of one of his top cardinals, former Cardinal Theodore McCarrick of Washington, D.C. and that he failed to do anything about it for years.
The Pope told journalists onboard that he had read the accusations and that he has this to say about it. "Read the statement carefully," the Pope said, "and make your own judgment. I will not say a single word on this. The letter speaks for itself." So, Pope Francis essentially not confirming or denying the accusations but instead refusing to engage the question.
[01:45:01] Now, supporters of Pope Francis say the Pope is right to do this because they say the former envoy is a conservative who has an ax to grind against Pope Francis and wants to embarrass him.
Others however say that there are details in the accusation that could be easily denied or verified by the Pope and the Vatican should they wish to do so. What is clear is that for the moment anyway, Pope Francis has no intention of doing that.
Delia Gallagher, CNN -- Rome.
VAUSE: With us now, CNN's religion commentator, Father Edward Beck. And again, it's good to see you -- Father.
Ok, in some ways this now seems to be Vatican politics sort of being played out. I guess in simple terms -- possibly too simple, we have the very hard right conservatives sort of versus the liberals. It's being played out almost on the world stage. So how does that statement from Cardinal DiNardo feed into all of this?
FATHER EDWARD BECK, CNN RELIGION COMMENTATOR: Well I think you're right -- John. This is an ideological split. And you can say if those who are for Francis, those who are against Francis; you can use progressive, conservative -- whatever.
But DiNardo I think is a different. He's somewhere in the middle. If you look at some of his policies, they are rather leftist. I mean he's pro-immigration. He's pro-prison reform.
I think what he's asking for is a hearing and an investigation by a lay commission. He's asking Francis, send them -- and especially with this McCarrick letter -- he wants to meet with Francis. And he says let's get it all out there. So he wants a good hearing. So I wouldn't say that this is an agenda -- a rightist agenda on DiNardo's part. VAUSE: Ok. Let's get back to the allegations, the letter from
Cardinal Vigano. Pope Francis says all 11 pages speak for themselves. Here's part of the letter that Vigano wrote. "To restore the beauty of holiness to the face of the Bride of Christ, which is terribly disfigured by so many abominable crimes and if we truly want to free the church from the fettered swamp into which she has fallen, we must have the courage to tear down the culture of secrecy and publicly confess the truth we have kept hidden."
He's not just talking about the secrets here of child abuse. He's conflating throughout this letter, tolerance and the existence of homosexuality with the crimes against children. And just as a sort of general sentiment (ph), he's long been opposed to Pope Francis when it comes to being more accepting and more welcoming of members of the LBGTQ community, right?
BECK: He certainly seems to have been obsessed with homosexuality --
BECK: -- constantly talking about the gay lobby. I mean, in fact he speaks in this 11-page screed about homosexuality more than he does the victims of sexual abuse. So who is he really concerned with here?
You know the 2004 John Jay Report said that there is no link between homosexuality and a propensity to abuse. He seems to disregard that report. For him it is everything.
I think an interesting note is there was an archbishop in Minneapolis- St. Paul, John Nienstedt --
BECK: -- and he was investigating him for the Vatican about sexual misconduct. Now that archbishop was pretty anti-gay in his rhetoric. Yet the allegation was that he had come on to seminarians and to priests.
So this Cardinal Vigano short-circuited that investigation.
BECK: He destroyed evidence. He shut it down so if he's so anti- homosexual when it was a conservative archbishop that was involved, he didn't want to hear about it, so there's a lot of inconsistencies here.
VAUSE: There's also history between Pope Francis and Vigano's personal history. I want you to listen to part of CNN's reporting for Pope Francis' first visit as pontiff to the U.S. It was back in September 2015 and it was not without controversy.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GALLAGHER: Pope Francis cheered by the masses during a U.S. tour packed with public appearances. But he also found time we are now finding out for a private visit.
KIM DAVIS, KENTUCKY COUNTY CLERK: It was really very humbling to even think that he would want to, you know, meet me or know me.
GALLAGHER: Kim Davis, the Kentucky county clerk jailed for refusing to issue same-sex marriage licenses says she and her husband Joe spent time alone with the Pope in Washington, D.C.
DAVIS: I put my hand out and he reached and he grabbed it. And I hugged him and he hugged me. And he said thank you for your courage.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VAUSE: You know, conservatives in the U.S., they cheered that meeting. Liberals were left confused to say the least. It was about a week later the Vatican released a statement. "The Pope did not enter into the details of the situation of Mrs. Davis and was meeting with her should not be considered a form of support of her position in all of its particular and complex aspects."
It was Vigano who organized that meeting and he was fired from his job with the Vatican because of it.
[01:49:54] BECK: Hell hath no fury like an archbishop scorned. He was passed over for being named cardinal. He wanted to be president of the Vatican City state, the commission there -- he was passed over for that. And many see this 11-page screed as a vendetta against prelates who passed him over or did him in, and a vendetta against Pope Francis.
VAUSE: Because he's done -- you mentioned he was being passed over for cardinal and the presidency which is the Vatican -- of the governance. When that happened he made of allegations against those who were around him, in particular the number two in charge. And those allegations turned out to be unfounded as well.
BECK: Against Cardinal Bertone and that was part of the whole Vati- leaks with the butler did it and all of that and all of his allegations -- not all of them -- most of them were unsubstantiated at the time. So he was kind of exiled unfortunately to the United States and made ambassador to Washington and he did not want that assignment. He did not like it. And I'm afraid he started trouble here too.
Ok. The specific accusation made against Francis is that he reversed or he refused to impose punishment which had been placed on, you know, former Cardinal Theodore McCarrick that had been put in place by Pope Benedict over allegations that McCarrick had a history of sexual abuse of children.
Right now, it seems there is no conclusive proof that that actually happened. But regardless of that, here are some of the headlines just on Monday. "The Wall Street Journal": Pope Francis -- crisis of credibility over cover-up accusations; "The Atlantic": The sex abuse scandal has come for Pope Francis; CBS News: Archbishop's claims against Pope Francis like an earthquake for the church.
You know, this does seem to be would you say a crucial moment not just for Pope Francis and how he is seen by everyone around the world but also for the church itself.
BECK: Most definitely a crucial moment.
However, headlines do not capture the nuance and the complexity. Just for an example here when he says that Pope Benedict censored and restricted Cardinal McCarrick and that Pope Francis reversed that. There is video evidence of Cardinal McCarrick concelebrating mass with Pope Benedict. Pope Benedict surely knew that Cardinal McCarrick was functioning publicly as a priest.
Pope Francis is the one who removed the cardinal from doing any priestly ministry --
BECK: -- not Pope Benedict. So how he puts that in the letter with a straight face when there is evidence that Benedict allowed McCarrick to function -- I mean this is part of the inconsistency that people are pointing to here.
VAUSE: You don't expect this kind of stuff -- maybe you do -- from you know, those visiting Vatican, I guess. But that's why for some it's kind of surprising.
BECK: A lot of backbiting. It's very disheartening, I'm afraid.
VAUSE: Yes, it is. Hopefully though we'll move through better days ahead. Father Beck -- thank you.
BECK: Thank you.
VAUSE: Senator John McCain being remembered not only for his years of public service but also for his quick wit as well. We'll have some of his funniest moments when we come back.
VAUSE: Whether poking fun at himself or his colleagues, John McCain had a quick wit and a sharp tongue. For a man who's known for so many achievements with so many qualities it's the legacy of his unique humor which is bringing so many smiles in a moment of such sadness.
Here's Randi Kaye, with a look at some of his funniest moments.
SENATOR JOHN MCCAIN (R), ARIZONA: Good evening, my fellow Americans. I ask you, what should we be looking for in our next president? Certainly someone who is very, very, very old.
RANDI KAYE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Senator John McCain, two months after winning the 2008 Republican Party nomination cracking jokes on "Saturday Night Live", one of countless opportunities the Senator took to poke fun at himself.
MCCAIN: I've also opposed federal water projects even when they benefited my state. That's why, thanks to me, 15 percent of Arizona citizens must get their drinking water from cactus.
[01:55:01] KAYE: He was the first sitting senator to host "Saturday Night Live" and returned to the show many times -- his comic timing always impressive. McCain played everything from a creepy husband --
MCCAIN: You are so lovely. I could watch you for hours.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Oh my God, David -- how did you get in here?
MCCAIN: The door was open -- Angel. Shall I loofah at your back?
KAYE: -- to a character he called Sad Grandpa.
MCCAIN: It's where I get on TV and go come on, Obama's going to have plenty of chances to be president. It's my turn.
KAYE: McCain's humor wasn't always self-deprecating. He could be cutting too, like when someone asked him back in 2007 if he's too old to be president.
MCCAIN: Thanks for the question, you little jerk. You're drafted.
KAYE: But humor suited him and seemed to come naturally.
In 2008 he relished putting his opponent, then Senator Barack Obama, on the spot at the Al Smith dinner.
MCCAIN: Let's not add to the mounting pressure he must be feeling. Just prepare yourself for nonstop hilarity.
KAYE: At times, his jokes were spur of the moment, like when he did this to a CNN reporter while he was on live TV.
MANU RAJU, CNN CORRESPONDENT: -- department playing out a series of --
KAYE: McCain got such a kick out of himself he tweeted about it later, calling it revenge. He liked to joke with the media, even our own Anderson Cooper during this interview in Washington, D.C.
MCCAIN: It is always good to see you here and trying to do the Lord's work in the city of Satan.
KAYE: while not everyone appreciated his sarcasm, those who did often enjoyed being part of the joke. Like Senator Chris Coons who fondly remembers McCain teasing him when he was a junior senator.
SENATOR CHRIS COONS(D), DELAWARE: And he spots and he says Coons you -- get off my plane. And I answer "what". And Lindsey comes over and grabs my arm and says that's how you know he likes you.
KAYE: Whatever inspired his sense of humor, Senator John McCain left us all laughing and smiling in his memory.
Randi Kaye, CNN -- Florida.
VAUSE: You're watching CNN NEWSROOM, live from Los Angeles. Thanks for your company. I'm John Vause.
The news continues next with Rosemary Church. She'll be with you after a short break.