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Trump Makes Foreign Policy Shifts; Tillerson Mets Lavrov, Putin in Moscow; Trump: China Ready to Help with North Korea; Russia Vetoes U.N. Resolution on Syrian Chemical Weapons Attack; U.S. Commander Making Final Preparations to Liberate Raqqa; Arrest in Football Club Attack in Germany; Turkish Voters Go to Polls on Presidential Powers Referendum. Aired 2-3a ET
Aired April 13, 2017 - 02:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[02:00:16] ISHA SESAY, CNN ANCHOR: This is CNN NEWSROOM live from Los Angeles.
Ahead this hour --
SESAY: Hello, and welcome to our viewers from around the world. I'm Isha Sesay. This is NEWSROOM L.A.
U.S. President Donald Trump is sounding pessimistic about relations with Russia. Though he's revowed to reset the relationship, he admits it doesn't look likely.
Jim Acosta reports that's one of a number of foreign policy shifts President Trump made Wednesday.
JIM ACOSTA, CNN SENIOR WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Still touting his decision to call in missile strikes in Syria, President Trump made his feelings clear about Syrian leader, Bashar al Assad.
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: He's a butcher. That's a butcher. So I felt we had to do something about it. I have absolutely no doubt we did the right thing.
ACOSTA: Standing with the NATO secretary-general, the president did offer something of a shift in his tone toward Russia.
TRUMP: Right now, we're not getting along with Russia at all. We may be at an all-time low in terms of a relationship with Russia.
ACOSTA: But the president stopped short of any criticism of the man that is Assad's biggest backer, Russian President Vladimir Putin.
TRUMP: Putin is the leader of Russia. Russia is a strong country. We're a very, very strong country. We'll see how that works out. ACOSTA: That's despite the fact that U.S. officials suspect Russia of
covering up Syria's use of chemical weapons. The president even acknowledged the Trump administration is investigating whether Moscow had advanced knowledge of the chemical weapons attack that prompted last week's missile strikes.
TRUMP: I think it's certainly possible. I think it's probably unlikely. I know they're doing investigations into that right now. I would like to think that they didn't know. But certainly, they could have. They were there. We'll find out.
ACOSTA: Syria has placed the president in a tough spot when it comes to Putin.
TRUMP: Wouldn't be nice if we got along with Russia?
ACOSTA: During the campaign and transition, Mr. Trump repeatedly held out home for better relations between the U.S. and Russia.
TRUMP: If Putin likes Donald Trump, I consider that an asset, not a liability. We have a horrible relationship with Russia. Russia could help us fight ISIS, which is, by the way, number one, tricky. If you look, this administration created ISIS by leaving at the wrong time. The void was created, ISIS was formed. If Putin likes Donald Trump, guess what, folks? That's called an asset, not a see a liability.
ACOSTA: The president is defending his actions in Syria, saying they were aimed at preventing the deaths of innocent children.
TRUMP: You see these beautiful kids that are dead in their father's arms, or you see kids gasping for life, and you know it's over. It's over for them.
ACOSTA: But in December 2015, then-Candidate Trump scoffed at Iraqi Leader Saddam Hussein's use of chemical weapons.
TRUMP: Saddam Hussein throws a little gas, everyone goes crazy, oh, he uses gas.
ACOSTA: Another shift for the president on Russia is President Trump's sudden support of NATO, an organization he once described as obsolete.
TRUMP: I said it was obsolete. It's no longer obsolete.
ACOSTA (on camera): That wasn't the only shift in tone for the president on this day. He told the "Wall Street Journal" he no longer considers China to be currency manipulators. That is a huge 180- reversal for the president who said he would label China as a currency manipulator on day one of his administration.
Jim Acosta, CNN, the White House.
SESAY: President Trump's top diplomat seems just as pessimistic about relations with Russia. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson met with Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and President Vladimir Putin on Wednesday. And as if the Syria dispute isn't enough, Russia is facing questions about whether it meddled in the U.S. election.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REX TILLERSON, SECRETARY OF STATE: We, frankly, discussed the current state of U.S.-Russia relations. I expressed the view that the current state of relations is at a low point. There is a low level of trust between our two countries.
I think as to the question of the interference with the election, that is fairly well established in the United States. And I think that has been spoken to on the Hill, as well, with the Congress, and it is a serious issue. It's one that we know is serious enough to attract additional sanctions.
[02:05:06] SERGEI LAVROV, RUSSIAN FOREIGN MINISTER (through translation): Not a single fact has been confirmed. Who saw those facts, we don't know. Nobody has shown us anything. And we have said to them, show us the evidence for these very slanderous attacks.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SESAY: Let's bring in Paula Newton, who joins us live from Moscow.
Paula, was any common ground reached in the Tillerson/Lavrov meeting?
PAULA NEWSTON, CNN CORRESPONDENT: It seems like the common ground was found that, yes, our relations are at a low point.
Having said that, a departure -- they agreed, right?
SESAY: Take what you can get.
NEWTON: Yeah, exactly. The thing about this moving forward is that working group. So they established a working group moving again to those G20 talks in Hamburg in July. As expected, not confirmed, but expected that Donald Trump and Vladimir Putin will both be there. Let's give this three months, they're saying. They literally have a list of irritants which they will continue to rifle through and make progress on each and every one. Obviously, Syria being the most prominent among them right now. In Syria, they're looking for more of a joint coordination on what is going on with ISIS and fighting ISIS, and moving on to any kind of resolution, cease-fire, political progress, humanitarian corridors, no-fly zones, anything that they can put in place in Syria to try and improve the situation.
I mean, look, Vladimir Putin met with Rex Tillerson for almost two hours yesterday at the Kremlin. There was much made about whether or not he would meet with him. The fact that he met with him for two hours means that this is not a freeze, OK? These are in fact quite tense relations, but they are talking, and as long as that happens, as they say, Isha, watch the space. SESAY: Not to be overly cynical, but working groups do have a bad
rap. They get together, they chat, they chat some more. But rarely anything comes out of it. Should we be less cynical about this working group, given the mood music, the back story here?
NEWTON: This is different. That doesn't mean that Donald Trump and the Trump administration are going to get what they want and, quote, unquote, "get along with Russia." But, no, this is different. When you're dealing with two of the major powers -- and, look, the problems are difficult. No one is going to say they aren't. This is an opportunity. Sometimes out of these kinds of crises, you do have the opportunity to gain the momentum.
I'll tell you another thing, Isha. The whole point that the Trump administration is unpredictable. We've just had a list of things that Donald Trump has done a 180 on. Vladimir Putin is watching that very closely and saying, if we can't get through some items here, what might he do? What can he do? I can't reliably measure and predict what this administration is going to do, the way I did with the Obama administration. And that's going to feature into the calculus, as well.
Absolutely. Nothing came out of this meeting in a few hours. But definitely in the weeks and months to come, something may be happening that may improve the situation in Syria. At least they're trying.
SESAY: Our Paula Newton, ever the optimist. Paula, we appreciate the insight. thank you.
Now, a group that monitors North Korea warns another nuclear test could be coming soon. 38 North published a report with these images of a major nuclear site. The group says they show increased activity and that the facility is "primed and ready." Any action would be seen as a challenge to the U.S., which recently moved a naval strike team toward the Korean peninsula. U.S. President Donald Trump says he believes China is ready to help reign in Pyongyang.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: I think he wants to help us with North Korea. We talked trade, we talked a lot of things. I said the way you're going to make a good trade deal is to help with North Korea. Otherwise, we're just going to go it alone, that will be all right too. But going it alone means going it with lots of other nations. But I was very impressed with President Xi and I think he means well and I think he wants to help. We'll see whether or not he does.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SESAY: Joining us now, Alexander Field, in Seoul, South Korea; and Matt Rivers in Beijing.
Alex, first to you.
That report from 38 North, that a test site is ready. I'm wondering how that is being viewed in Seoul, South Korea, and whether that is raising tensions significantly.
[02:09:43] ALEXANDRA FIELD, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Tension is significantly high right now. While South Korea is used to seeing missile launches, they didn't ignore there has been an unprecedented number in 2016 and a barrage just since the start of the year, and now what seems to be preparation for a sixth nuclear test. U.S. intelligence officials are saying that North Korea is ready to pull off that test at any time and it will likely come without warning, which is why these images of North Korea is being so closely watched. And they've got their eyes trained on this North Korea's main nuclear area, where there is new signs of activity. They're saying that they have seen increased activity in those areas. These images recorded on the heels of images that were released a few weeks ago, which seem to suggest an activity around the site's tunnels, and frankly, this site has been the subject of a lot of interest for the last few months. 38 North has been releasing these images and saying it's closely watching and seeing signs that this facility was back up and running, indicating that another nuclear test, a sixth nuclear test could be coming.
South Korean officials pointing out that the time seems opportune, that North Korea does time these provocative actions to coincide with major internal events. This Saturday is a very important holiday in North Korea, the celebration of the founder's birthday. Also, as we know that North Korea could be preparing for a sixth nuclear test, you have the "USS Carl Vinson" returning to the waters off of the Korean peninsula, a move seen as provocative inside North Korea. They see it as an affront. U.S. officials are insisting this strike group needs to be there as they consider all options while North Korea clearly ratchets up both their missile program and their nuclear intentions here -- Isha?
SESAY: Alex, appreciate it. Stand by for us.
Matt, to you.
We heard the U.S. president say China wants to help in efforts to reign in North Korea. Then we get word that China turned back a fleet of North Korean coal-carrying cargo ships from North Korea. Give us a much-needed perspective on this. Is everything as it seems? Is China really taking a more muscular approach forwards North Korea?
MATT RIVERS, CNN ASIA-PACIFIC EDITOR: Well, when it comes to coal, yes. China is complying with U.N. sanctions that limited the amount of coal that can be purchased by other countries from North Korea. They announced a ban for 2017 on February 18th, saying they wouldn't be buying any more North Korean coal. That is significant given that China is the largest historical purchaser of that North Korean coal. That's a huge way that the North Korean regime makes money. Donald Trump, during that press conference, said that China had turned away those coal-bearing ships. That really is just a continuation of what we've been hearing. We have a source that told CNN, from a big port city, that nearly all shipments of North Korean coal had been sent pack back to North Korea.
So on the one hand, yes, it's a very muscular stance from China. But on the other hand, just this morning, we got trade data from Chinese customs officials that shows, overall, the total trade volume between China and North Korea went up in the first three months of this year by 40 percent, year over year. So on the one hand, yes, they're not importing coal anymore. But on the other hand, they are still providing North Korea an economic lifeline. They are still sending hard currency into North Korea. And they are not putting the kind of economic pressure that the Trump administration wants them to be putting on Pyongyang to force them to stop developing these weapons.
SESAY: We shall see if, in the hours ahead, the Trump administration makes any kind of comment on those trade numbers that you just shared with us, Matt
Alexander Field in Seoul, South Korea, and Matt Rivers in Beijing, China, thanks to you both. Appreciate it.
Quick break here. And then a military showdown is looming against ISIS in Syria. The U.S. general in charge of the operation speaks exclusively to CNN about when that battle will start.
[02:17:55] SESAY: We're learning more about the evidence the U.S. claims linking Syria's government to last week's sarin attack in Idlib. A senior U.S. official tells CNN the U.S. intercepted communications between the Syrian military and chemical experts talking about preparations for the attack. The official emphasized the U.S. did not know about it before hand. They went back and reviewed their intercepts and uncovered the information after the attack. Russia and Syria deny any involvement. At least 70 people were killed.
Russia has vetoed the U.N. resolution condemning that chemical attack. It's the eighth time they've taken such an action regarding Syria during the course of its civil war. Russia says the U.S., U.K., and France, who backed the resolution, rushed to judgment. The U.S. ambassador to the U.N., Nikki Haley, slammed Moscow after the vote.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
NIKKI HALEY, U.S. AMBASSADOR TO THE U.N.: With its veto, Russia said no to accountability, Russia said no to cooperation with the U.N.'s independent investigation, and Russia said no to a resolution that would have helped promote peace in Syria. Russia once again has chosen to side with Assad, even as the rest of the world, including the Arab world, overwhelmingly comes together to condemn this murderous regime.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SESAY: CNN's Ian Lee joins us from Istanbul. Ian, let me ask you the view there in Turkey from the government of
Russia's move to veto this U.N. Security Council resolution and what that means for any investigation to get to grips on how that attack in Idlib played out.
IAN LEE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Isha, we haven't heard specifically from the top Turkish officials, but when it comes to this investigation about this chemical weapons attack in Idlib, the Turks have been clear from the beginning that they believe that it was the Assad regime that carried out the sarin gas attack. They said it was sarin gas after they were able to take samples from people affected by it and conducting autopsies on people who died from this attack. And they've been very clear from the beginning that they want more military action against Assad to not only end this war in Syria, but to oust him.
But when it comes to Russia, Russia, ironically, from the beginning, said they wanted a full investigation. They blamed the rebels along with Assad for this chemical weapons incident, as they call it. And they said they want a full investigation. That's what this U.N. Resolution was going to do, was having this investigation. But we heard from the Russians. They said it placed blame on Assad before it was even conducted. They vetoed it, which wasn't much of a surprise. Here we are again, one side saying one thing, another saying another.
[02:20:45] SESAY: Well, President Bashar al Assad is expected to be conducting an interview, which will be his first since the chemical attack in Idlib and, of course, the U.S. air strikes on the air base there in Syria. Talk to me about the expectations for this interview. One would imagine he would be defiant. The question is, will he take on Donald Trump directly in this interview. These are some of the questions we have.
LEE: That's what we're going to be hooking for when it comes out in the next few hours. Not really sure what is going to be said. We haven't heard any leaks. But expect President Assad to stick to the main talking points that he has since the beginning of the war, being defiant against any international pressure, saying that he is fighting extremists and terrorists in his own country. Probably defiant against that chemical weapons attack saying that it wasn't him, but the rebels. And also expect him to say that he's still the legitimate president of Syria. So these were the same talking points that we heard before.
When it comes to President Trump, we have seen a real shift in U.S. policy when it comes to Assad from earlier in the administration, saying that -- or having a softer tone when it came to him to really a 180-degree turn, with him saying that Assad must go, similar to that of Barack Obama's administration, saying Assad must go.
SESAY: Ian Lee joining us from Istanbul, Turkey. Thank you so much. We'll see what he says in that interview. Thank you.
Well, the U.S.-led military push to dislodge ISIS from the Syrian stronghold Raqqa could get under way soon, possibly within months. Since 2014, the terror group has lost a huge amount of territory in its so-called caliphate. The losses are indicated in green on this screen.
Our Nick Paton Walsh spoke with the U.S. commander, now making the final preparations to liberate Raqqa.
NICK PATON WALSH, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): He commands the fight against ISIS in Iraq and Syria and flies now over a battlefield that seems to go from impossibly complicated to worse day by day. But the next key fight for is' de facto capital Raqqa is now very close.
LT. GEN. STEPHEN TOWNSEND, COMMANDER OF FORCES IN IRAQ & SYRA: I certainly hope that the assault on Raqqa is under way by this summer.
PATON WALSH (voice-over): Completed by when?
TOWNSEND: Don't know. Up to them.
PATON WALSH: Months?
TOWNSEND: It's up to them.
PATON WALSH: Would you be surprised if you're still fighting that fight by 2018?
TOWNSEND: In Raqqa city? Yes.
PATON WALSH (voice-over): Another long, hard fight, he may need more U.S. boots on the ground for it.
TOWNSEND: Right now, I think we have the resources to do the task we're doing right now, which is complete the isolation of Raqqa. After the isolation of Raqqa, will come the assault. And we're still evaluating what resources we need. If I need more resources, I'll go to my leadership, my chain of command and tell them what we need to get the job done.
PATON WALSH: Now he must evaluate another complexity after President Trump launched 59 Tomahawk missiles against the Syrian regime backed by Russia for a chemical weapons attack in Idlib.
(on camera): Has your thinking about Russia or Syrian regime involvement and Raqqa had to change since the air strikes in the past weeks or so against Syrian regime targets by the U.S.?
TOWNSEND: Yeah, I would say that probably our thinking has changed a little bit. But I'm not -- I couldn't say specifically how.
PATON WALSH: Are you having to take into account the possibility the Syrian regime might use sarin against assets here?
TOWNSEND: Sure, we have to take that into account. I'm not greatly concerned about that.
PATON WALSH: Is that a risk in your mind?
TOWNSEND: Of course, it's a possibility, so it's a risk. But I think it's a very small risk.
Let me just say on that last question, I don't think the Syrian regime wants to pick a fight with the United States or the global coalition against ISIS. If you take what you just said a step further, that's what they're doing. They're choosing to directly fight the United States and the global coalition. I don't think they want to do that.
[02:25:04] PATON WALSH (voice-over): U.S.-backed rebel Syrian forces are isolating Raqqa from the north, east, and west, and may soon move to isolate from the south, nearer where Russian and regime forces are. But he says he is not coordinating the Raqqa push with Russia or Syria at all.
(on camera): Do the regime or Russian forces have any role in your planning for the liberation of Raqqa?
TOWNSEND: Right now, we are not planning -- we are not -- we're not planning or coordinating with them. They're not each located near Raqqa.
PATON WALSH: But they don't figure as part of your operations to liberate that city?
TOWNSEND: We think they have their hands full doing their tasks in Syria, and they're probably happy to let the Syrian Democratic forces and the coalition tackle Raqqa.
SESAY: That exclusive report from our Nick Paton Walsh.
Next month, former U.S. President Barack Obama is expected to make his first public appearance since leaving the White House. He'll meet with German Chancellor Angela Merkel in Berlin to mark the 500th anniversary of the Protestant church. At the same time, Donald Trump is expected to make his first trip overseas as U.S. president. He'll meet with NATO allies in Brussels on May 25th.
Time now for a quick break. "State of America" with Kate Bolduan is next for our viewers in Asia.
And German police detain a suspect in Germany after an attack on a major football club. What they say could have been the motive, next.
Also ahead, Turkish voters head to the polls soon on a referendum that could dramatically shake up the constitution and shift power to the nation's president.
[02:30:10] SESAY: Hello, everyone. You're watching CNN NEWSROOM, live from Los Angeles. I'm Isha Sesay.
The headlines this hour --
(HEADLINES) SESAY: Police have detained a suspect on an attack of a football club in Germany. That suspect and another are associated with, quote, "the Islamist spectrum." One player was wounded and fans and teammates paid tribute to him Wednesday.
Let's bring in Chris Burns, CNN's former Berlin bureau chief, live in Dortmund.
Chris, what is the latest on this investigation? Were these suspects previously known to authorities?
CHRIS BURNS, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: The investigation focuses on those two people. As you said, they are linked to some kind of Islamic extremists. They have their homes searched in the area. Searches have gone on. It also focuses on a letter. There were three copies of this letter found near the blast site against that bus that was carrying the team. It mentioned that it wanted to see the Ramstein U.S. Air Base closed in Germany. It wanted to see Germany -- it demanded Germany withdraw its tornado jets against ISIS in Syria. And it said that there was a death list against German and other celebrities, sports and show business celebrities. But the authenticity of the letter is still being looked at. There are other possible suspected people involved in this. It is not clear on that. So the investigation goes on. We hope to find out more later.
At the same time here, the mood is quite dark among a lot of players and also the fans. Last night, there were some 80,000 people that turned out for that match that was supposed to happen the night before. It happened last night. Monaco won 3-2.
Many here, the fans and players, say they should not have played last night. Let's hear from one of the fans.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FAN: It's a very special mood this night. Because of the special situation, it was a bit better than normal.
UNIDENTIFIED FAN: It's difficult because of yesterday. I think the players were a little bit -- by the attack.
UNIDENTIFIED FAN: I think in the beginning it was a little bit weird because of things that happened yesterday. But I think during the match we were really into the match, I must say.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNS: OK. So, and also even the coach of the team of Dortmund saying they should have waited longer. But they have another match on Saturday. That was the quarterfinal. There was the Bull Rushes still in the game right now, so, they still might be able to pull it off. Let's see how that goes -- Isha?
SESAY: We shall see. We'll be watching closely.
Chris Burns, joining us from Berlin. Thanks so much. Now, voters in Turkey go to the polls Sunday for one of the most
important referendums in that country's modern history. Among other things, passage would allow President Recep Tayyip Erdogan to remain in power for another 12 years. The push for sweeping constitutional changes all began last year with an attempted military coup.
CNN's Becky Anderson has our report from the Turkish capital.
BECKY ANDERSON, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): One night last summer, Turkey changed forever. A small army faction trying to snatch control of the country. For hours, it seemed like the plotters would pull off their coup. But as word spread, Turks poured out of their home demanding they stop. They were met with violence. More than 200 lost their lives, including Sevin's (ph) 35-year-old son, Batal (ph).
UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translation): It was Friday and we worked together. We prayed. Then we heard the fighter jets. After a while we heard the calls to prayer and my son left.
[02:35:05] ANDERSON (on camera): Tell me, what happened on the night of the coup.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translation): Two people were shot right in front of us, then we stood up to pray. It all happened very fast. While we were about to begin the prayer, they opened fire on us.
ANDERSON (voice-over): Thanks to people like Batal (ph), the coup was crushed. From it emerged an almighty purge. Under a state of emergency, tens of thousands of military officials, civil servants, academics were fired or worse, arrested. Most of them charged with links to this man, Fethullah Gulen, who President Erdogan blames for orchestrating the coup, an accusation Gulen denies.
The crackdown caught countless victims in its net. Like Nesla and Seti (ph), they used to work at Ankara University until last February, that is, when they were fired for a petition for peace calling for an end to the crackdown on the Kurdish population.
(on camera): Neither of you had any involvement in the coup, correct?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes.
ANDERSON: Are either of you supporters of Gulen? Are you Gulanists?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: No, no. The Gulen organization.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We are just academics of this country.
ANDERSON: Personally, how has this whole episode affected you?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Personally, actually, I felt that my academic life finished in Turkey.
ANDERSON: So, will you move away?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Oh, we want to move away, but now all passports are canceled. They don't give us. As I know --
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: -- visas right now.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Suspect of curses.
ANDERSON (voice-over): Now Turkey is on the brink of yet more political upheaval.
(on camera): In less than a week, people here will go to the polls to vote in an important referendum. A "yes" vote would mean more power concentrated in the hands of President Erdogan. A "no" vote would be a rare political rebuke for his ambitions.
(voice-over): But regardless of the outcome, one thing is clear, Turkey is polarized, and it will be awhile before the rift brought about by the coup and the purge that followed are healed.
Becky Anderson, CNN, Ankara.
SESAY: Time for a quick break. Next on CNN NEWSROOM, it has been a busy week filled with apologies. But who is the most sorry? United Airlines CEO, Pepsi, or the White House's Sean Spicer?
[02:40:05] SESAY: "I'm sorry, it's not just an old Brenda Lee song after a passenger gets kicked off a jet liner, a poorly conceived soft drink commercial, and Sean Spicer's remarks about Hitler, "I'm sorry" is seen more.
As Jeanne Moos reports.
JEANNE MOOS, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): For a while, it seemed tough dragging an apology out of United.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Oh, my God.
MOOS: But finally, the CEO said "sorry."
OSCAR MUNOZ, CEO, UNITED AIRLINES: The word ashamed comes to mind.
MOOS: You didn't need a poll to gauge public opinion.
JIMMY KIMMEL, HOST, JIMMY KIMMEL LIVE: What do we think of United Airlines? (BOOING)
KIMMEL: The company lost $255 million in market value in one day.
KIMMEL: That means they could have given each of those poor passengers they kicked off the plane their own jet planes.
MOOS: It's been a banner week for apologies. First, Pepsi had to pull their new commercial, the one spoofed by "SNL."
UNIDENTIFIED COMEDIAN: I stopped the police from shooting black people by giving them a Pepsi.
UNIDENTIFIED COMEDIAN: I know. It's cute, right?
MOOS: Then Sean Spicer had to admit --
SEANN SPICER, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: I screwed up.
MOOS: -- for his Hitler comments lampooned on Kimmel.
SPICER: Somebody as despicable as Hitler who didn't use chemical weapons. You have to, if you're Russian --
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Oh, no. Did I just defend Hitler?
MOOS: Sean Spicer versus Oscar Munoz.
(on camera): We present the battle of the abject apologies. Who groveled most?
MUNOZ: It's an awful, bad moment.
SPICER: It's not a very good day in my history.
MOOS: Take it from Brenda Lee.
SPICER: This was my mistake, my bad. That was on me.
MUNOZ: It was my blunder.
MUNOZ: This will never happen again on a United Airlines flight.
SPICER: It was a mistake. I shouldn't have done it. I won't do it again.
SPICER: I sought people's forgiveness because I screwed up.
MUNOZ: No one should be treated that way. Period.
MOOS: Who was the sorriest?
SPICER: Painful to myself to know I did something like that.
MOOS: Sean Spicer seemed most contrite.
One Internet poster put him in full apologetic regalia, wearing a United uniform, holding a Pepsi.
SPICER: It was insensitive and inappropriate.
MOOS: Jeannie Moos --
SPICER: Inexcusable and reprehensible.
MOOS: -- CNN --
MOOS: -- New York.
SESAY: Oh, dear, a lot of "sorries" to go all the way around.
You've been watching CNN NEWSROOM, live from Los Angeles. I'm Isha Sesay.
"World Sport" is up next.
[03:00:10] ROSEMARY CHURCH, CNN ANCHOR: More tensions between the U.S. and Russia as their differences over Syria --