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U.S. Threatens Sanctions On The International Criminal Court; E.U.'s Chief Negotiator Expects Brexit Deal By November; White House: No Lie Detector To Find Op-Ed Author; Trump's Approval Rating Drops; U.S. Threatens Sanctions against International Criminal Court; Airstrikes Pummel Idlib While Humanitarian Crisis Looms; America's Choice 201. Aired 12m-1a ET

Aired September 11, 2018 - 00:00   ET




JOHN VAUSE, CNN ANCHOR (voice-over): This is CNN NEWSROOM from Los Angeles.

Ahead this hour: "Fear" is here. The latest tell-all book about the Trump administration hits the bookstores, pitting the credibility of former Watergate journalist Bob Woodward against the 45th president.

It could all be over in just months. The E.U.'s chief negotiator says a Brexit deal could be within sight. But to win parliamentary approval, the British prime minister risks tearing apart her Conservative Party.

Also 1 million Americans head for safer ground as Hurricane Florence takes aim at the U.S.

Hello and welcome to our viewers all around the world. I'm John Vause. NEWSROOM L.A. starts right now.


VAUSE: Just a few months until the U.S. midterm elections. The news is not looking good for Republicans, President Donald Trump's approval rating has dropped. The number who don't trust him has risen. Mr. Trump's false claim about GDP growth and unemployment numbers on Monday won't do much to help that perceptions.

This all comes amid two devastating accounts of a chaotic and dysfunctional administration, one a "New York Times" op-ed, the other that new book by Bob Woodward.


SARAH SANDERS, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: A number of people said that Woodward never came out before attributing statements for him, which seems reckless for a book to not take the time to get a $10 fact checker to call around and verify that the quotes from happening. Seems a careless and reckless way to write a book


VAUSE: Joining us now, Republican commentator DeAnna Lorraine and CNN political commentator and Democratic strategist Dave Jacobson.

Good to see you. This is a first time for us, one on one.


VAUSE: Today's political panel is brought to you by the word hypocrisy. Just what Sarah Sanders said, this is a woman who has stood at the podium, day in, day out, for more than a year and has peddled in falsehoods and misleading statements and muddying of the waters and she's out there criticizing Bob Woodward, Mr. Credibility.

And this is a president, which according to the latest CNN poll, 32 percent actually believe he's honest and trustworthy.

So DeAnna, if anyone can use the $10 fact checker, is it Bob Woodward or the administration?

LORRAINE: We have credibility issues on both sides. Woodward has a long track record of being credible and a great writer and publisher of books. However, you know, when everything that Trump does is a lie, which is what the media likes to portray, it's hard to believe who has a credibility issue here.

Clearly the administration wants to protect him and tout his accomplishments, which there are many. And it's drowned out by all this fear. We may as well call the book "Fear-mongering."


LORRAINE: It's more of the same. Does it help the country?

Yes, it's sowing seeds of doubt until midterm. It's very convenient, the release of this. And sowing this negativity --


VAUSE: When it comes to credibility so this, is the first White House briefing we've had in, I think, 19 days. Yes, they had to dust off the podium, because they haven't used it. The White House has been --


VAUSE: You never know. With that in mind, the Woodward book was front and center. Sanders was asked specifically why is it, what is in the book that the White House disputes. Listen to this.


SANDERS: I would certainly rather take the actual, on-record account from people who are here, who have been working in this building, who have interacted with the president day in, day out, like General Mattis, General Kelly, myself, not disgruntled former employees that refuse to put their name on things when they come out to attack the president.


VAUSE: So all these people are unhappy. Bob Woodward was on NBC. He talked about what he sees from his perspective.


BOB WOODWARD, JOURNALIST AND AUTHOR: There's a war on truth by him. And he says, oh, these are unnamed sources. But these are not unnamed incidents, specific people on specific dates.


VAUSE: OK. So Dave, you know --


VAUSE: -- obviously we have generalities and broad brush strokes from the administration and this goes to the heart of credibility.

DAVE JACOBSON, CNN COMMENTATOR: It's not Bob Woodward that "The Washington Post" wrote a story about, saying he lied 4,000-plus times.

VAUSE: It was 7,000.


JACOBSON: -- underestimating. Facts matter. There's no such thing as alternative facts, which Kellyanne Conway so eloquently said on "Meet the Press" a year ago. I think this is a testament to the fact there's no credibility in the White House. It's diminished. It's gone. There is zero, nothing.

That's why you have a lack of a press conference for almost three weeks. That's why you see Donald Trump's approval rating tick down and down further below. It's also why in the CNN poll that just came out recently, 32 percent of Americans believe that the president is honest. Every single day there's an onslaught of lies, whether it's the president through his Twittersphere, or Sarah Huckabee Sanders. The reality is, these folks are divorced from reality.

VAUSE: Sanders was asked what the White House finds troubling about the book, would they list examples, this is her answer.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'm assuming you read Bob Woodward's book. A lot of us have.

Can we expect, other than repeating denials from Jim Mattis, John Kelly, John Dowd, can we expect the White House to give a list of all the things in the book that are wrong and that qualify Woodward to be a liar? SARAH SANDERS, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: I think it would be an utter waste of our time, no.


VAUSE: DeAnna, why would it be a waste of time?

This book is full of consistencies and misinformation, untruths, false claims, put it up there.

LORRAINE: Would you feel it was a waste of your time to clean up things, picking up the garbage, it's not your job.

VAUSE: You mean like producing a birth certificate?


LORRAINE: They are trying to do their job. They are trying to make this country better for the American people. They are trying to work on jobs, the economy and the safety of our country. That is what their jobs are. And they are getting tied up every day with these slanderous attacks, accusations.

It's one after another. It's Stormy Daniels. It's Omarosa the next week. Now it's "Fear" and I'm sure next week it will be something else. If they tied themselves up in these details of proving what is true and not true, they can never just do their job and make the country better.

What she means by that is exactly that. The American people who elected him want to see the country improve. And they want to see him go to work without having handcuffs on him, which is happening every day. We want to let him do his job. It's frustrating to see so many constraints on him.

VAUSE: There's an insert from fear, which is in "Vanity Fair." According to Woodward this is a conversation between the president and a former economic advisor, Gary Cohn, who was telling Trump the Fed would likely raise interest rates during his first term in office.

Trump said, "We should just go borrow a lot of money, hold it and then sell it to make money."

This suggestion and lack of basic understanding about how federal debt works apparently sent chills up the spine of Cohn, who explained that borrowing more money would, in fact, increase the deficit and add to the debt.

Dave, that's what your crazy delusional uncle driving an Uber talks about between the drinks at Christmas.

JACOBSON: This is why individuals in the Trump administration people write things like, well, I don't agree. They should have put their name on the anonymous op-ed in "The New York Times." That's why people are doing that. Sarah Huckabee Sanders refuses to back up any of her claims that all

of these are lies in the Bob Woodward book. If you look at what Bob Woodward said in that same interview, he even said that John Dowd, Donald Trump's former attorney, called him a liar, like the guy who is representing Donald Trump in the Russia probe for many, many months.

Bottom line is Donald Trump is in a downward spiral. This is his worst nightmare. The combination of "Fear," Bob Woodward's book; Omarosa out there. You've got "The New York Times" op-ed and the midterms coming up.

VAUSE: It's bringing the economy and false claims all together with that tweet from the president, that the rate of the economic growth in the U.S. is higher than the unemployment rate for the first time in over 100 years.

Last time this happened was back in 2006. It was 12 years ago. It happened 62 times over the last seven decades, according to the Federal Reserve.

DeAnna, this is my point. So there are good -- there are things to brag about for the administration there's a few.


LORRAINE: Let's be honest.

VAUSE: Every time he steps on a rake by overinflating it or putting stuff out there which isn't true and steps on the message.

LORRAINE: Honestly, I wish he wouldn't do that. I'm not someone who just blatantly defends him. I wish he would tell exactly what was true and even maybe underpromise and overdeliver.

VAUSE: That would be nice.

LORRAINE: Saying hey, let's wait and see, instead of overpromising --


LORRAINE: because it will be shown in the media the next day anyways. And the fact is that it detracts from his message and it detracts from the great things he is doing. I would love for the country to get on board --


VAUSE: -- we continue to talk about it?


LORRAINE: He's the branding master. Right. It's possible. But it would be great if people can see the accomplishments for what they are and that would be a uniting factor in our country. Instead, we are focusing on being tit-for-tat whether it's within a percentage point or not -- (CROSSTALK)

JACOBSON: It's something as a strategy, something to tell our candidates, and that is stay on message.


VAUSE: John Bolton was very much on message, giving his first public address since becoming national security advisor. The topic was not Iran, it was not North Korea, it was not Syria, it was not China, Russia, Yemen, Myanmar but it was, in fact, the International Criminal Court and warning there would be retaliation, including sanctions, if the court follows through with an investigation of alleged war crimes carried out by U.S. troops serving in Afghanistan.


JOHN BOLTON, TRUMP NATIONAL SECURITY ADVISER: The United States will use any means necessary to protect our citizens and those of our allies from unjust prosecution by this illegitimate court. We will not cooperate with the ICC. We will provide no assistance to the ICC. And we certainly will not join the ICC. If the court comes after us, Israel or other U.S. allies, we will not sit quietly.


VAUSE: Dave, the U.S. has had a long, uncomfortable relationship with the ICC since back in 2000. But this threat for sanctions on the court if it follows through with this investigation seems to take it to a whole new level.

JACOBSON: Yes, it's absolutely reckless I think bottom line, this is a pivot. They are trying to deflect away from the chaos surrounding the White House and the domestic issues. They are trying to change the narrative and change the conversation. This is precisely what this press conference is about.

VAUSE: This is part of a wider pattern from this administration, tearing apart these international institutions -- the WTO, NATO, Paris climate accord -- all these systems and mechanisms that the U.S. built post-World War II, which have effectively provided a period of peace, stability and prosperity.

And now this administration seems to want to tear them apart.

Shouldn't it be mend it, not end it?

Because it's harder to build. It's a lot easier to tear it down.


LORRAINE: Sure, unless it's a bad deal, something that is ineffective. Trump can say what he wants. But he is looking for places where we we've been treated poorly and is pulling us out of bad deals or situations that haven't really been putting America first. So he has to go in, yes, he's shaking things up and maybe breaking

things up. If they are not good for us as America. He is putting America first. You know and I think we ought to give him a chance.

Obama made a big deal about pulling out of the Paris accord. And we are doing things that are unconventional. But are they good for America in the long term?

Or are they good for the world?

We have yet to see that. He does seem to meet with leaders across the world and reaching across the aisle. And, you know, nobody else is making that kind of headway.

Is it good for the world?

I think we have to wait and see. But I think he has the right mind.

VAUSE: There's a lot to be said for a new approach. I guess --


VAUSE: Staying with John Bolton and the ICC. Bolton's claim about the ICC, on the same day the State Department was announced it would close the Palestinian Liberation Organization office in Washington. The PLO has been urging the ICC to investigate Israel for alleged war crimes in the Palestinian territories carried out by the Israeli soldiers.

Palestinian Authority officials were not pleased about the closing of the office.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is a confirmation for us that we need to double our efforts both in the ICC and the international organizations, using international law and also double our efforts in the U.S. to address and engage with the American people.



UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is an intimation of the U.S. administration's determination to continue its policies of blackmail and extortion and undermining the peace process and the two-state solution.


VAUSE: Dave, I was CNN's Jerusalem correspondent for about three years. And we had a Palestinian producer. And she always said to me, John Vause, I tell you, it is better to have a smart enemy than a dumb friend. I just wonder if, at the moment, the U.S. is being a dumb friend to Israel.

JACOBSON: I think the question is, do we want peace? Bottom line, in order to accomplish peace, you need a conversation, a

dialogue, an opportunity --


JACOBSON: to talk about whatever issues are at hand. And I think what this symbolizes is we are cutting off the conversation. I think that takes us a step in the wrong direction.

LORRAINE: Well, I think that it's interesting. When he does things like this, people accuse him of cutting off the conversation or being too harsh. When he reaches across the aisle and has meetings with people like Vladimir Putin and Kim Jong-un, they say they are embracing them. It feels like he can't win no matter what he does.

JACOBSON: I think it's a little different when you have the Helsinki press conference, where Donald Trump basically sided with Vladimir Putin over the U.S. intelligence --


LORRAINE: How is he siding with him?

JACOBSON: -- or the North Korea, where we haven't had any meaningful progress --


VAUSE: He sided with Putin when he said that's what the intelligence agencies tell me, that the Russians are involved in hacking the election. But Putin denies it. Could be either. That's --


LORRAINE: Sure. I think that -- I trust, I do, unlike a lot of people. I do trust where his head is at. I think he's ultimately wanting peace. I don't think he's being a dumb friend.


VAUSE: There's so many things that the Israeli right really wants. Ultimately it's not good for one party to be, I guess, what is the word, is to have everything their way. There still needs to be checks on government to protect them against their more extreme instincts.

And that is where that role is seen by the U.S.. This one is bending a lot more to the right wing part of the Israeli government. And in the past, that is what the U.S. has done, is played the role of reining in the excesses of the government.


VAUSE: Thanks, guys.

JACOBS: Thank you.

VAUSE: Good to see you.

Well, the last rebel stronghold in Syria is under heavy and escalating fire. Syrian government forces and Russian airpower is trying to flush rebels out of Idlib province in Syria' northwest. Three million live in the region. Among them 70,000 rebel fighters. The Syrian government says the strikes are targeted. The White Helmet volunteer rescue group says more than 2 dozen people have been killed in recent days.

The European Union and the United Nations warn a full-scale military offensive will have catastrophic humanitarian consequences.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There needs to be ways of dealing with the problem that don't turn the next few months in Idlib into the worst humanitarian catastrophe with the biggest loss of life in the 21st century.


VAUSE: A 22-year-old volunteer with the White Helmets was filming a bomb factory in Idlib on Friday. He was caught in the middle of an airstrike. Wounded and bleeding, he still kept filming as his friends tried to pull him to safety. We get more now from CNN's Clarissa Ward.


CLARISSA WARD, CNN CHIEF INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Rescue worker Anas al-Diab is shooting the aftermath of an airstrike.

Moments later, more strikes hit. This time, Anas is the victim. His camera is still rolling, revealing serious injuries to his legs.

"Guys, guys, please come get me," he calls out to his fellow rescue workers. "I can't move."

The men try to drag him to safety. Without so much as a stretcher, it is hard work. Another strike lands, pinning them to the ground, and another. They call for backup.

Scenes like this are playing out across Idlib as regime forces begin an operation to take back the last rebel-held province, raising the specter of a bloodbath. Russia provides most of the airpower and claims that it only targets terrorists, an assertion that's contradicted by facts on the ground.

Here a woman's hand pokes up through the rubble, still moving. Rescue workers rush to free her from beneath the concrete. Eventually, they succeed. But it's not clear if she survives.

Anas was lucky. He made it safely to a hospital though his injuries are serious.

"They are targeting innocent civilians," he says. "They're trying to kill as many of us as possible."


WARD (voice-over): In spite of the risks, some of those civilians are taking to the streets again, in scenes reminiscent of the early days of the protest movement against President Bashar al-Assad.

"Idlib, we are with you until death," they chant.

They may well be the last words of this uprising -- Clarissa Ward, CNN, London.


VAUSE: It's large, extremely dangerous and getting closer to the U.S. Hurricane Florence intensifies to a category 4 with predictions that it could cause historic destruction.

Also ahead: they call themselves the forgotten Americans. They were the big reason for Donald Trump's stunning victory two years ago. Trump's most diehard supporters are sticking with him amidst all of the scandals. More on that in a moment.




VAUSE: Well, Hurricane Florence is getting stronger, bigger and closer to the U.S. East Coast. In just hours, Florence intensified to a category 4. That means more than a million have been ordered to evacuate South Carolina. Hundreds of thousands are also under mandatory evacuation orders in Virginia and North Carolina.



VAUSE: It seems hard to imagine a midterm election in the United States so eagerly anticipated by so many. Donald Trump is not on the ballot. But this vote in two months is seen by many as a referendum on his presidency. Donald Trump's approval rating fell to 36.1 percent, 6 points in one month, according to a new CNN poll.

Martin Savidge has talked to the real rock-solid, diehard Trump supporters to find out why they're still loyal amid the controversies and the chaos.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Next President of the United States, Donald J. Trump.

MARTIN SAVIDGE, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Donald Trump became president not by winning in the big cities people know but by winning in the places many people know little about, the America in between the big cities, Middle America. The heartland. What people here call the forgotten America.

Where people tell you they work hard and play by the rules and have faith in God and rely on their neighbors. Statistically these Americans are older and more often white and less often college graduates.

The only thing globalization did prevent, they'll tell you is shut down the factories. And as American's economy became more tech and service-focused and its population more diverse and morally accepting, these Americans say they felt left behind, politically ignored. Almost unwanted.

RICK GREEN, IRON WORKER: The core foundation of our country is slipping away.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I mean, it got to a point where I did not like the direction that my country was going.

SAVIDGE: Then came Donald Trump.

TRUMP: I love all of the people of our country.

SAVIDGE: Trump, the New York City billionaire had the remarkable ability to relate with this very dissatisfied group.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: He seemed he had the workers, the blue collar workers in his radar for helping them out.

SAVIDGE: They liked he was a businessman, his tough stance on immigration.

MARIANO RODRIGUES, TRUMP SUPPORTER: It's not that I'm opposed to people coming over, but what I want is them to come legally.

SAVIDGE: They liked he was pro-guns and anti-abortion rights. They like he supported appointing conservative judges and his pledge put America first. They loved he was not a politician. Not part of what they see as the dysfunction Washington.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The man in overhaul has built this country. The man in suit to destroy it.

SAVIDGE: But he is a man on the suit.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: But he has touched the working people. He stood up for the working people.

SAVIDGE: And what about now after the Russia investigation, after the scandals, after the turmoil and turnover all of those tweets, how are these voters feeling? Satisfied but exhausted.

They see a president who has delivered on many of his promises, tax reform, a strong economy, who ended the Paris environmental accord, the Iran nuclear deal and cracked down on immigration.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I think exactly what I voted for we wanted a little bit of a change.

SAVIDGE: They would like less turmoil. But the Russia investigation most blame on Democrats and Trump's opponents considering the whole thing--


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Political witch-hunt from the get-go. To be honest, it's a disgrace.

SAVIDGE: As for the two women who were paid hush money after allege affairs, these voters say that they're willing to accept some bad in the man in exchange for the good they see in his policies.

SAVIDGE: Does it bother you that if our president is not always truthful?


SAVIDGE: They do have advice for the president. They're not always fans of his tweeting, believing it distracts from his accomplishments and could suggest a president who was vindictive, compulsive and off balance. There is a sense of fatigue with the political brawling.

KURT MUELLER, VIETNAM VETERAN: I think the man has a lot of capabilities but sometimes he just lets his mouth overload sometimes and it's very unfortunate.

SAVIDGE: Trump voters are tired of being blamed for being like Trump simply because they voted for Trump.

WAQAS KHAN, TRUMP SUPPORTER: I had to receive comments like I never knew you were racist, you're anti-Islamic, you're a traitor.

SAVIDGE: Many are swing voters who voted President Obama, not once, but twice. There's another R word that comes up a lot of conservations, respect. Trump voters remain bothered that those who didn't vote for the president have never seemed to accept that he won.


SAVIDGE: Do you think he's being treated fairly?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: No. I think it's awful.

SAVIDGE: In their minds, if you don't respect this president then you don't respect the people who voted for him. And it was feelings of disregard and being ignored that turned them to Trump. And now, many still feel Trump was not just the right choice but the only choice.

SAVIDGE: How is he doing?


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Better than I would have dreamed. I mean, that sincerely.

SAVIDGE: Really?


SAVIDGE: Show of hands who would vote the same --

[00:30:00] UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And now, many still feel Trump was not just the right choice, but the only choice. How is he doing?



UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Better than I ever would've dreamt. And I mean that sincerely.



UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Show of hands who would vote the same.


JOHN VAUSE, CNN INTERNATIONAL ANCHOR: Only in third, DJT. We'll take you to a short break. When we come back, Boris Johnson gets the brush off his latest criticism, ignored by Britain's prime minister, who's facing an uphill battle, selling her plan for a Brexit deal, while trying to stop her Conservative Party from tearing apart.


VAUSE: Welcome back, everybody, you're watching CNN NEWSROOM, live from Los Angeles. I'm John Vause. We'll check the headlines this hour. Bob Woodward's new book, Fear, describing chaos and dysfunction at the Trump White House, officially comes out on Tuesday. President Trump calls it fiction.

Meanwhile, a new CNN poll shows President Trump's approval rating, dropping six points in just one month.

The Trump administration is running sanctions on the international criminal court, National Security Adviser, John Bolton calls the ICC, ineffective and dangerous and says the U.S. will use any means necessary to protect its citizens and allies from prosecution by the court. THE ICC says it acts strictly within its founding treaty.

Hurricane Florence is heading to the U.S. East Coast after quickly intensifying to a Category 4. The large and dangerous storm is forecast to make landfall in the Carolinas on Thursday. It is possible Hurricane Florence could strengthen further, which will make it a Category 5.

Theresa May, brushing off Boris Johnson's attacks on her Brexit plan. The British prime minister's spokesman says, Downing Street does not want to give any further oxygen to the former foreign secretary's controversial comments.

Johnson has accused Mrs. May of wrapping a suicide vest around the British Constitution with her Brexit plan. Meantime, she is starting a major push to try and minimise the opposition. She's sending ministers across the U.K. to sell -- to sell her so-called Chequers proposal.

Despite the infighting in London, the E.U.'s Chief negotiator for Brexit is optimistic a deal can affect be reached and maybe reached within a couple of months. The U.K. leaves the European Union in less than 200 days.

Right now, I'm joined here by CNN'S Europe Affairs Commentator, Dominic Thomas. OK, two months. Right, OK. Here's the thing, explain this to me like I'm a 12-year-old, but don't sound like you're talking to a 12-year-old.

Essentially, you have two choices now before the race file on, you have got a no deal Brexit, or the Chequers plan, the one that May wants. So in broad terms, essentially, what are we --what are the differences here?

DOMINIC THOMAS, CNN EUROPE AFFAIRS COMMENTATOR: And she's talking about both of them, right? She's talking about going to her cabinet and to members of the Conservative Party to talk about what a no-deal Brexit would look like.

So essentially, they just walk away from the European Union, with no specific, any kind of trade deal, any kind of benefit in place. We just go global.

[00:35:16] VAUSE: That's the divorce, where you pack your bags and just leave and you leave everything behind.

THOMAS: Pack off and they're talking about the World Trade Organization, which of course, at the same time, Donald Trump is talking about, the need to dismantle that organization. But it's, sort of, this idea that, you know, Britain goes global, signs up trade deals with whatever country it likes and tries to deal then with the European Union as one bloc thing.

VAUSE: The Chequers deal --

THOMAS: Well, the Chequers deal has a broad combination of deals, and what Boris Johnson doesn't like and this, sort of, the right wing of her Party overall the, sort of, what we call the hard core Brexiteers, is that it involves maintaining contact with the European Union through a set of common rules and regulations.

And so, this is what Boris Johnson has been talking about from the very beginning, as it essentially -- VAUSE: Right.

THOMAS: -- shackles the U.K.'s ability to deal with tariffs and --

VAUSE: Norway has something similar.

THOMAS: Right.


THOMAS: Exactly. Well, that's the thing, it's not just Norway, there's Norway deal, the Canada deal, all these different variations they've been talking about.

VAUSE: OK. So, here's where the politics comes in, because if Theresa May wants her Chequers plan to get through parliament, because they're hard right, we'll within her Conservative Party, she -- does she have to go to the labor opposition? And if she does that --

THOMAS: Right.

VAUSE: Is that, you know, the Tories are torn apart?

THOMAS: Well, actually (INAUDIBLE) then, if you just put the, sort of, the United Kingdom in that broader European context, what we've seen for the last two years, throughout the European Union, is a proliferation of micro or smaller political parties representing the different views of European citizens, right, which have led to this incredibly complex coalition talks throughout Europe.

And what we have in the United Kingdom is you basically got the Labour Party and the Conservative Party, the two parties that are gathering the greatest attention and support when you compare to, sort of, the withering socialist parties and so on and so forth.

But both parties have deep divisions within them, from the right and the far-right within Theresa May's Party. So if she moves towards a, sort of, greater discussions and engagement with the Labour Party, she's going to scare those people away.

And the Labour Party under Jeremy Corbyn's leadership is engaged in a, kind of, purging of the Party of anybody who speaks out against him or doesn't go along with him. And they've basically said, we'll go along with the deal, so long as it has certain components in there that look a lot more like the Chequers deal than, of course, the walking away.

VAUSE: Jeremy Corbyn, the Labour leader, is he under as much pressure as Theresa May?

THOMAS: Well, he's under tremendous pressure because his Party is completely divided. And what's keeping them united, if anything, is the potential of a collapse of the Conservative Party.

So, there's, sort of, meeting that Barnier is talking about, right, that somehow, miraculously, after all of this months, they'll get suddenly going to be able to put together a deal -- VAUSE: In two months.

THOMAS: -- in a just a few weeks. He says it's possible. But as we know, nothing is impossible, right?

VAUSE: Exactly. OK. Let's gets to Bo Jo, former foreign secretary Boris Johnson.


VAUSE: Sort, of, throwing rocks from a (INAUDIBLE) he does that. Here is part of his column which he writes in the telegraph. It starts out with first dealing with the infrastructure project. He talks about the need to invest (INAUDIBLE) when it comes to championing HS2, the so-called high speed rail scheme, I am afraid my sword rather sticks in my scabbard.

The bill for HS2 has soared passed 60 billion pounds, and increased 70 billion. It will probably top 100 billion by the end, and say he goes on about this, and then he moves on to taxes and the British people paying too much for taxes, and said there should actually be some, kind of, freeze on any increases contrary to the predictions, before the E.U. referendum of 2016.

The public finances are improving. Now is the time for this Conservative government to show post-Brexit. Britain will be happy and dynamic economy that fosters enterprise, that rewards the strivers and the innovators and where people can hope to take home more of their pay to their families.

Brexit hasn't happened yet, so --

THOMAS: No, it hasn't happened yet. But as you mentioned earlier, let's try and go through what a hard Brexit would look like for the Chequers plan and explain it to a 12-year-old. That piece in the telegraph today, that have been written by a 12-year-old, you would have sent them home to redo their homework.

VAUSE: Right.

THOMAS: Because he literally jumps around, 10-15 different points that are being made.

VAUSE: He wants to be prime minister, just not yet, because it's really hard.

THOMAS: Well, interestingly enough, though, right at the moment when, you know, June 23rd, you know, 2016 when David Cameron --


THOMAS: -- essentially stepped aw from his position. Boris Johnson wanted nothing to do with that at that time other. So, both he and his Brexiteers on the far-right of the party are very good at, sort of, undermining these negotiations. Now, of course, that may be very well fine, that many people don't want Brexit to happen at all. But what would be interesting would be really for them to come up with some really concrete ideas and to demonstrate beyond the scare Mandarin, the xenophobia, and just the crazy conversations.

VAUSE: Some leadership.

THOMAS: Some leadership and what is planned envision might actually be for it, beyond just simply moving away from the -- from the European Union.

VAUSE: Dominic, let me take you back. It's been too long, but good to be back here. Thanks. OK. We'll take a short break. When we come back here, the White House hunts for the author of that scathing anti- Trump editorial, and the Vice President says, he'll take a lie detector for Donald, to prove he actually didn't write it.


[00:40:00] VAUSE: Well, the White House has ruled out lie detector tests to find out the author of that scathing New York Times op-ed about Donald Trump and his administration. But, maybe they should have a lie detector test to find out who actually believes the President is competent, maybe, here's Jeanne Moos.


JEANNE MOOS, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Folks in the White House must be quaking of the spectre of lie detectors.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'm going to hook myself up to the lie detector.

MOOS: No, not him, the senior staff, as the President tries to find out who wrote that op-ed, even if Sarah Sanders said.

SARAH HUCKABEE SANDERS, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY, UNITED STATES: No lie detectors are being used or talked about.

MOOS: They were talked about to Vice President Pence when he was asked if he would take one.

MIKE PENCE, VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I would agree to take it in a heartbeat.

MOOS: Seems like there's a lot of lying to detect. The President tweets, Bob Woodward is a liar. Bob Woodward says of the President.


MOOS: President Trump has depicted pressing start with his Pinocchio nose as he makes staffers take the test. Former U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara tweeted, "If anyone in the administration has to take a lie detector test, it should be Trump."

Back during the campaign, an impersonator on CBC, played the candidate testing himself.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I am going to build a wall at the border that is going to be a --

Yes, I am, buzzer, yes, I am. And do you know who's going to pay for it? Mexico. A long --

MOOS: Though the lie detector got one big thing wrong.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We are going to win this thing.

MOOS: Comedian Ricky Gervais did an unscientific a survey, what would be the funniest test for Trump to take? I.Q. beat out lie detector.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I'll ask you a few yes or no questions, and you just answer truthfully. Do you understand?


MOOS: And while the President is looking for rats in the White House, NBC Washington unearths surveillance video they described as showing an actual rat pulling a fire alarm, forcing the evacuation of a D.C. condo. That rat is smart enough to operate a White House polygraph, takes one to know one, to ferret one out.

Jeanne Moos, CNN --

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You're a loser.

MOOS: New York.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I just want to say we are going to win --


VAUSE: Thank you for watching CNN NEWSROOM, live from Los Angeles. I'm John Vause. Please stay with us. "WORLD SPORT" is next. You're watching CNN.


[00:45:00] (WORLD SPORT)