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North Korea Could Use Holiday For New Nuclear Provocation; Trump Not Clarifying Cryptic Messages On North Korea; U.S. Defense Chief Urges Diplomacy, Army To Stand Ready; Catalonia Awaits Leader's Independence Decision; Catalonia Remains Divided On Independence; Leader To Discuss Political Situation With Parliament; Administration Fires Back At Corker's Comments; Pence's Trip Cost Taxpayers At Least $240,000; Trump Praises Owner Who Threatens To Bench Players; Pence Left Game After Players Knelt During Anthem. Aired 1-2a ET
Aired October 10, 2017 - 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 ANCHOR: You're watching CNN NEWSROOM live from Los Angeles.
ISHA SESAY, CNN ANCHOR: Ahead this hour, high-stakes standoff; there's worry North Korea will use a public holiday to respond to Donald Trump's latest threat.
VAUSE: Plus, to declare or not to declare. (INAUDIBLE) addressed to the regional parliament, Catalonia's president under pressure to drop his plans to break from Spain.
SESAY: And later, soap maker Dove is forced to clean up a public relations mess after releasing an ad, critics are calling racist.
VAUSE: Hello, everybody, great to have you with us. I'm John Vause.
SESAY: And I'm Isha Sesay. This is NEWSROOM L.A. Officials in the U.S. and around the world are standing by for a possible nuclear provocation by North Korea. Pyongyang often celebrates state holidays with nuclear or missile test. And today, the North is marking a major anniversary: the founding of the ruling party.
VAUSE: Meanwhile, President Trump is refusing to clarify recent vague comments about North Korea, but it appears the president is warning a possible military action. And on Monday, on Twitter, he posted: "Our country has been unsuccessfully dealing with North Korea for 25 years giving billions of dollars and getting nothing. Policy didn't work!"
Adam Mount is the Senior Fellow for the Federation of American Standards. He joins us now from Washington. Adam, thank you for being with us. We've been on this road before: waiting for the North Koreans to do something to coincide with a big public holiday last month. I think it was the birth of Kim Sung-un -- Kim Jong-un's grandfather and founder of North Korea. So, what are those specifically about the coming days? The next week or so, which makes something like a nuclear test or a missile launch more likely than before?
ADAM MOUNT, SENIOR FELLOW FOR THE FEDERATION OF AMERICAN STANDARDS (via Skype): Well, North Korea all through the spring has been testing missile and nuclear warheads in an accelerated pace. In some ways, the international community starts to expect a test when a couple of weeks have gone by without one. We know that they have several priorities for testing, they have new solid missile fuel missiles that they want to test, and we know that they are interested in continuing to test their new ICBM at an increasingly longer range. So, there's a great deal of a need to test. There's been some analytic work that suggests that in fact, the test doesn't tend to correlate with holidays, but there have been signs in recent days coming out of South Korea intelligence and so on that there are tests impending.
VAUSE: Yes. It just seems to me like one of those theories that it can be hit or miss if it happens. So, will they get the theory work, it didn't, well, then, we'll move to the next time.
VAUSE: Anyway, the U.S. Defense Secretary on Monday; he urged military leaders in the U.S. to be ready should diplomacy fail. Listen to General Mattis.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GEN. JAMES MATTIS, SECRETARY OF DEFENSE: But there's one thing the U.S. Army can do and that is you have got to be ready to ensure that we have military options that our president can employ if needed. We currently, we currently are in a diplomatically led effort, and how many time did you see in the U.N. Security Count for vote unanimously, now twice in a row to impose stronger sanctions on North Korea. The international community has spoken, but that means the U.S. Army must stand ready.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VAUSE: Yes. Adam, and the current context with all the, you know, the tensions and what's been going on. You know, that sounded particularly ominous but, if you just take it out of the context here, it's not any different from what you would expect from any administration in Washington, is it?
MOUNT: John, that's exactly right. It's the job of the secretary of defense to have military options prepared for any eventuality -- should the president decide to select them. It's important to recognize that the United States Military is not now actively preparing to launch a preventive war. So, U.S. force structure in and around the peninsula has maintained their current state of readiness, but we have not seen additional forces flowing towards the peninsula, we've not seen military operations change.
Now, given these heightened tensions as the president continues to warn darkly that this is the calm before the storm, that he continues to imply that war is on the horizon. We should be alert for any indication that U.S. Military operations are changing, and that North Korean Military operations are changing. Given these heightened tensions, those could be misinterpreted and they could easily spiral out of control.
VAUSE: Yes. If there is to be a conventional war with North Korea, it would take months of any kind of military build-up by the U.S. On the North Korea side, what is interesting, our Nicholas Kristof, he recently returned from North Korea -- rings around at New York Times -- he's been there a lot over the years. And he said, he's never seen that country so ready and mobilized for war.
Here's part of his report for the Times: "For more than when I previously visited, North Korea is galvanizing its people to expect a nuclear war with the United States. High school students march in the streets in military uniform every day to denounce America. Posters and billboards along the public roads show missiles destroying the U.S. capital and shredding the American flag.
In fact, images of missiles are everywhere -- in a kindergarten playground, at a dolphin show on state television. The military mobilization is accompanied by the ubiquitous assumption that North Korea could not only survive a nuclear conflict but also win it." That in and of itself is kind of terrifying, that last bit, but is this internal dynamic inside North Korea, is that being driven primarily or solely the U.S. president who's been playing this sort of rhetorical war of nuclear chicken with Pyongyang?
MOUNT: Well, that's the complex game that -- it's what a political scientist called a two-level game. Leaders single to their domestic publics in order to gain credibility in international affairs. Notice this is what Donald Trump is probably doing also; he continually warns about war, he says that it's on the horizon, he says that it's nearby. It's a way of sounding tough domestically. While these threats are not materializing in practice, North Korea risks drawing the wrong conclusion.
They have said, for example, that it's the frightened dog that barks the loudest -- referring to President Trump's tweets. That's a dangerous miscalculation; they should not draw the conclusion that they can aggress against American forces and get away with it or that they could win in any kind of conflict. The U.S. Military stands ready to repulse that kind of conflict, but at the same time, both these leaders should not allow their domestic message to spiral out control at the international level and start a war that nobody wants to fight.
VAUSE: So, if you could just look at that sort of day to day domestic messaging for bit North Korea for bit for the United States, it seems like there is a sort of an all-consuming obsession here with the tactical and no one's sort of really looking at the bigger picture where this is all going to end up.
MOUNT: Right. This has to be part of every conversation that military leaders have with the president on this issue. They have to convince him that this is a not solution to the nuclear problem; short of all-out invasion and regime change. It's threatening the North Korean leadership with invasion, with decapitation that is exactly what could cause Kim Jong-un to fire his nuclear missiles. That's exactly the event that we want to avoid. So, while we need to maintain our preparedness for a war, it's
important to recognized that going too far, raising the tensions for war, raising the possibility that North Korea believes that there's a war coming unprovoked, could create exactly the kind of event, exactly the eventuality that we should be hoping to avoid -- which is these nuclear missiles being used against the United States or (INAUDIBLE).
VAUSE: Yes. This is an unchartered territory in dealing with North Korea that we're seeing from Donald Trump and freaking a lot of people out right now. Adam, good to see you, thanks so much.
MOUNT: Thank you, John.
SESAY: Well, staying with the issue about unchartered territories, Catalonia's standoff with Madrid is reaching a tipping point as leader Carles Puigdemont decides whether to declare independence Tuesday at the regional parliament. But huge rallies during the weekend are putting pressure on him to hold off. This decision comes after a divisive referendum that found the majority of Catalans voters favored independence.
Spain's central government said, it will suspend Catalonia's autonomous status if it tries to break away. Well, joining me now is Dominic Thomas, he Chairs the Department of French and Francophone Studies at UCLA; and Global Business Executive, Ryan Patel. Gentlemen, welcome. Ryan, to start with you. Obviously, there were the rallies that we saw on the weekend, those pro-unity protesters.
But that aside, there's an enormous amount of economic pressure being brought to bear on Puigdemont, basically urging him to rethink this move. We've already seen in recent days that a number of banks have relocated, have left the Catalan region, and the feeling is that going down the road, if they went ahead with this, we will see more this kind of capital flight. Talk to us about what we're seeing so far, and what this could mean for their economy if indeed they took the step, the brave step, of stepping away.
RYAN PATEL, GLOBAL BUSINESS EXECUTIVE: Well, I mean, I think the business is telling you that this is a big deal, and they're not waiting for this decision. They're moving headquarters because of the E.U.'s hands in the region. If you think about the last three years, 65 percent of Catalonia's region of E.U., the E.U. exports, and then 70 percent over the last three years in (INAUDIBLE) during investments have been from the E.U. So, when you look at these decisions that these are moving, they're not moving specifically because of politics, they're moving --
[01:10:11] SESAY: Business.
PATEL: It is strictly business. And they're making a big point of saying we cannot be cut on the independent side and be left out of the E.U. where they can enjoy the free market as we are seeing. And so, this is -- hate to compare it to Brexit -- in a short term, this is a pretty big deal for the business that they're there. And the fight of capital, you'll see more of this if they choose to go independent. People are going to see where the E.U. lands, and right now, I haven't anything that there's a backup plan, a backup deal anything like that that the Catalonia region has done.
SESAY: Yes. You mean prepare to Brexit, we do that all the time right here. That's our barometer. Dom, there is a populous secessionist slogan that is being banded around Madrid (INAUDIBLE): Madrid is rubbing us. I mean, this is a received wisdom there in the region of Catalonia that Madrid is basically taking from them more than they give back. Is there truce to this notion that Catalonia is being robbed by Madrid.
DOMINIC THOMAS, CHAIRMAN, DEPARTMENT OF FRENCH AND FRANCOPHONE STUDIES AT UCLA: This political crisis has been deeply divisive and shaped by feelings and sentiments from the very beginning. Some of them are historical, a widespread perception that Madrid with the central government sits, it's overly controlling of the region of Catalonia. It has been easy to manipulate voters into believing that. And when the Prime Minister, Rajoy, sent in, of course, the police and these paramilitary forces suppressed voters, took away their ballots and so on. It's to reinforce that percent.
Now, there are some genuine grievances that people living in this region have, that it's that they're a wealthy region that feels like it is disproportionately taxed and that some of those tax, that tax revenue does not go back to infrastructure in that region, public transportations, schools, roads, those kinds of things. Had the government done a better job of working with the Catalonians on these kinds of issue, you might find that those who support the referendum that is not hardcore separatist, that simply people with grievances may have stayed home and not gone up to vote a week ago when they had an opportunity to do so.
SESAY: Ryan, picking up on what Dominic was just saying that this offense in Catalonia that they get tax disproportionately for what they get in return. I mean, even if they were to succeed and get, you know, a tax bump if you will, and some tax revenues because it's not, you know, being taken in by a central government. That's (INAUDIBLE) will get swallowed up pretty quickly by everything else they've need to do to exist as an independent entity. You know, build public institutions, sort out borders, and all that kind of thing.
PATEL: Yes. I mean, it hurts also Spain and Madrid; almost 20 percent of revenues are from there. But what you don't look at what you just mentioned, well, who's saying how much money they're going to be making, and where are they going to use if they really independent; you now have to structure with no help from the government. And as you've seen when it comes to this business that they're leaving, you're losing all the tax revenues from the business that they're leaving, which is another huge, huge point that now they're going to be in a down position to leverage with who? Who's going to do business with them at their level?
SESAY: Yes. I mean, Dom, if they pull out, as you mentioned last hour, they're out of the European Union, they are out of the economic union, the Euros out of the average supermarket. Even if they were to say move at whoop speed and start their applications, it's going to take a while, it's not a foregone conclusion. And Spain and Madrid can make it very difficult for them. D. THOMAS: Well, first of all, the referendum is unconstitutional and illegal, so it doesn't really match on whether they're declaring independence or not, it would not be recognized. Now, whether that triggers Article 155, you know, a sort of a take of the region is one particular thing. The fact is that the separatist movement does not really have a mandate. They were told in the region that the votes wouldn't count. The folks that are opposed to it did not show up and vote.
And so, for the separatist to declare that they an -- with a 43 percent turnout, 90 percent fluent, it's absolutely false -- first of all. Secondly, there was absolutely no way that even those who showed up to vote were voting to withdraw from the European Union and to give up their rights to circulate as labor, to move around Europe, the capital and good to move around the region. And if there was a referendum held in Catalonia on withdrawing from the European Union, there is no way it would pass. So, these are two separate issues that nevertheless one could potentially trigger the other.
PATEL: Well, I'm telling you, the E.U. as a whole doesn't want this to happen, either.
SESAY: No. They're worried about, you know, presidents, and they're already dealing with the U.K., and there were negotiations that are going so well.
D. THOMAS: Yes.
SESAY: Dom, Ryan, we appreciate it. Thank you so much. Thank you.
[01:15:02] VAUSE: Next on NEWSROOM L.A., the White House fires back after a top Republican Senator says the U.S. president could be stirring the U.S. towards World War III.
SESAY: Plus, flames moving so quickly, firefighters simply cannot get out in front of them. 1000 homes and business reduce to ashes as the wildfire devour California's wine country.
VAUSE: Popcorn's popping because the White House official tells CNN, President Trump's Twitter feud with Republican Senator Bob Corker is unlikely to end anytime soon.
SESAY: Get comfortable. The two men traded blistering insults on Twitter and in the media, and as CNN's Jim Acosta report, one casualty of this fight could be the president's legislative agenda.
JIM ACOSTA, CNN SENIOR WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): As the president was hitting the Trump golf course in Virginia with Senator Lindsey Graham, all eyes are on another top Republican who's teeing off, escalating his war of words with the president, Senator Bob Corker issued a dire warning telling the New York Times that Mr. Trump is treating his administration like a reality show that could put the U.S. on the part of World War III. Adding, he would have to concern anyone who cares about our nation. And Corker is making the case he's hardly alone, adding: "Look, except for a few people, the vast majority of our Caucus understands what we're dealing with here."
The interview followed this Corker tweet: "It's a shame the White House has become an adult daycare center, someone obviously missed their shift this morning." The White House is not amused.
KELLYANNE CONWAY, COUNSELOR TO THE PRESIDENT: I find tweets like this to be incredibly irresponsible, and absolutely insulting that the mainstream media and the president's detractors almost a year after the selection, they still can't accept the election result. It adds to their ability and their cover to speak about a president of the United States -- the president of the United States in ways that no president should be talked about.
ACOSTA: But Corker who's retiring was firing back at the president who tweeted: "Senator Bob Corker begged me to endorse him for re- election in Tennessee, I said no and he dropped out. He also wanted to be a secretary of state, I said no thanks. Hence, I would fully expect Corker to be a negative voice and stand in the way of our great agenda. Didn't have the guts to run." Corker's office said that's not true. Adding, "The president called Senator Corker and asked him to reconsider his decision not to seek re-election, and reaffirm that he would've endorsed him as he has said many times." The ongoing feud flared up last week when Corker praised Rex Tillerson after tensions between the president and secretary of state spilled in the public view.
SEN. BOB CORKER (R), TENNESEE: I think Secretary Tillerson, Secretary Mattis, and Chief of Staff Kelly are those people that help separate our country from chaos, and I support them very much.
ACOSTA: It's not the first time Corker has sounded the alarm the president's controversial handling of white supremacist violence in Charlottesville.
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Very fine people on both sides.
[01:20:00] ACOSTA: Corker was far more critical than many of his GOP colleagues.
CORKER: The president has not yet been able to demonstrate the stability nor some of the competence that he needs to demonstrate in order to be successful.
ACOSTA: The question is whether the back and forth will damage tax reform and other items in the president's agenda with all the GOP help it can get.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I think the president's a little bit frustrate that his own team has taken shots at him and his fighting back. So, I get the president's frustration, but I don't think that's the best strategy.
ACOSTA: Vice President Pence Released a statement defending the president with a general reference to critics, but there was no direct reference to Senator Bob Corker, who still carries a lot of weight here in Washington. Jim Acosta, CNN, the White House.
VAUSE: Joining us now, CNN Political Commentator and Democratic Strategist Dave Jacobson, also with us CNN Political Commentator and Republican Consultant John Thomas. OK, here's a little more from the now retiring Bob Corker who has taken his truth serum, retirement. Telling the Times, most of his colleagues feel the same way about the president as he does. "Look, except for a few people, the vast majority of caucus understands what we're dealing with here. Of course, they understand the volatility that we're dealing with and the tremendous amount of work that it takes by people around him to keep him in the middle of the road." You know, John, if that is true and surely isn't there a responsibility here or an onus for all those other members who feel exactly the way as Corker to come out and say something publicly, put those on the record, and if they don't, why won't they?
JOHN THOMAS, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR AND REPUBLICAN CONSULTANT: Sure. If that's the truce, they should.
VAUSE: Do you believe that Corker is not telling the truth about that?
THOMAS: I'm certain that members of the Republican Party that are elected officials don't like Donald Trump's approach to politics. And this is not something -- they didn't get elected by doing that. They probably don't think it's becoming of the president. And look, now Senator Corker is engaging in what Trump -- he lives in this environment, he thrives in this environment. And it's not going to end well for Corker, I think, at the end of the day, he may have a couple of snapping close, but Republicans are not going to like him, so his base popularity --
VAUSE: He's retiring so he doesn't care.
THOMAS: I suppose, but -- I mean, his legacy will probably largely be that of this final spat, not of his legislative career.
SESAY: Well, I mean, Dave, as John made the point, you know, he's taking his truth serum, retirement, is liberating clearly for Corker. But do you think this the opening of groundswell for people to come out and start to more openly take on the president?
DAVE JACOBSON, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR AND DEMOCRATIC STRATEGIST: Yes. I don't think the criticism of the president is necessarily confined just to Corker. I mean, it was Jeff Flake who wrote a book.
THOMAS: Who is now vulnerable from a primary challenge. JACOBSON: OK. You got John McCain, you got Dean Heller, you got Susan Collins, I mean, the list goes on. Here are the facts, like, Donald Trump needs like, the 52 votes in the Senator. He can't really afford to lose those two votes, plus one, otherwise, his legislative agenda is going to go nowhere. Whether its tax reform, Bob Corker sits on the Budget Committee; Foreign Affairs, I mean, Bob Corker Chairs the Committee, so if Donald Trump wants to appoint anyone, let's say another secretary of state --
THOMAS: Well, that's true but I think if Corker gets in the way of common sense legislation that all Republicans are united behind, he's going to be under so much pressure and it's not just going to be from Donald Trump.
JACOBSON: Well, but here's the challenge though, like it was Donald Trump who went up against Mitch McConnell over the summer, an open warfare against the leader of the Senate. And Bob Corker is a known ally of the Senate leader, so I think that's the big question. It's like, is Mitch McConnell going to like kick off Bob Corker from his chairmanship? I don't think.
VAUSE: OK. So, you know, in another case, (INAUDIBLE), still with his war with the NFL for the president to keep himself busy.
THOMAS: And he's winning.
VAUSE: We'll see. OK. He tweeted. The president tweeted a few hours ago, you know, (INAUDIBLE) of the game are the Cowboys: "A big salute to Jerry Jones, owner of the Dallas Cowboys, who will bench players who disrespect our flag. Stand for the anthem or sit for game." Jones took his stand after Vice President Mike Pence walked out of the Colts-49ers game in Indianapolis over the weekend. John, if there was any doubt that that walk out by Mike Pence was a political stunt, by Monday came to the fund-raising e-mail from Team Trump: please make a contribution of at least $5.00 to show your support announcing "I stand for the flag" sticker.
THOMAS: This isn't unusual for any politician to do. I think when -- during the confirmation hearings for a lot of Trump appointees. Senator Sessions with Kamala -- her Senator Kamala Harris grilled Senator Sessions over being such a racist. Within two minutes of that event happening, I got a fund-raising e-mail from Kamala Harris. That's smart politics. But the fact is, if you'd look at the war between NFL and Trump, it's really about NFL versus America. And right now, America's a more powerful brand in the NFL.
VAUSE: But when Kamala Harris sent out her e-mail after what she did in the Senate hearing, it didn't cost American taxpayers more than $250,000 for, you know, for the photo op of the Vice President flying to Indianapolis telling the pool of crew to stay in the car, we're not going to be long fellas and then they flew back to the west.
[01:25:03] JACOBSON: Well, that's the question where you've got all these exposes coming out about Trump officials taking military jets, going in these lavish corporate jets going abroad or across the United States costing millions of dollars the taxpayers like that's the question. Donald Trump campaigned for the little guy, right? For poor working class white folks in the middle of the country, and those were the folks that are going to look at this, and they're going to say this is an egregious abuse of government this is corruption.
THOMAS: I was tickled to see the Cowboys, America's team and my team do the right thing. But what's interesting, the twist in what Jerry Jones, the owner said, was that it was actually Donald Trump that flipped his opinion on the issue, siding the NFL rulebook that does say --
VAUSE: Which is a policy but --
THOMAS: Where you should stand during the national anthem.
VAUSE: Well, it is a policy, but not a rule.
SESAY: Not a rule. Dave, to pick up on that, obviously, John said at the beginning the president is winning. He's winning now. What's the long-term gain here? What's the long-term political implication? The president, to open up a new front in the culture wars clearly with this? I mean, how does this play midterms? How does this play in 2020? Not just now. How do you see this going?
JACOBSON: Well, in terms of the winning question, he's winning with his base but he's not winning with the broader --
THOMAS: Well --
JACOBSON: Wherein if you look back at the poll that came out.
THOMAS: NFL watchers, he's winning.
JACOBSON: Well, if you're looking at the poll that came out by USA Today, a couple of weeks ago, is that over two-thirds of Americans don't think that the president should be dictating to the private sector particularly to NFL owners whether or not they should be firing individuals who stand or don't stand. But the fact is, these individuals are standing up for racial injustice and inequality in this country, and that is an issue that Democrats need to campaign on --
THOMAS: NFL's core supporters in recent polling, like as of this week are down 35 percent. The rating continues to --
VAUSE: A lot of people are can sort of governor over the rule of nine when he presents at the national anthem. Not so sure of the politics, but the polls are always on the right of this week. But anyway, do you remember back in November when the vice president, (INAUDIBLE) because the cast was worried that this incoming administration would not protect minorities, in case you don't remember.
SESAY: Just to refresh your memory.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
(CROWD BOOING) (END VIDEO CLIP)
VAUSE: Pence said at the time, he was not offended by the boos or the cast had to say to him, he said that's what freedom sounds like. Dave, can you cherry pick what your freedom sounds like a moment? I mean, I know it's a little different, but seriously, this seems like, you know, one rule for the cast of Hamilton and another rule for NFL players.
JACOBSON: This was a premeditated political stunt and I think this is -- it's no secret, right? This is the divisive racist, administration we've ever had in this country. And it's sad, and I think, look, I hope Americans are waking up to this as we go to the midterms in 2018 and send a message to the Trump administration by Democrats coming back to the House.
THOMAS: That is an apples and oranges comparison. I think Vice President Pence would still say that Hamilton, although he might not agree that they -- that the booing was inaccurate, they had the right to boo. This wasn't during the pledge of allegiance, that is the president's point. That there is a moment in time in which we should set aside our differences and be proud American. Hamilton was booing Pence because didn't like his politics.
VAUSE: We heard once from the president saying, I understand your protest --
VAUSE: I get it. But not
SESAY: And to your point, if this was genuinely a case of not merely just, as people would say, racially motivated. If he truly cared about the people who are taking a stand, he would to John's point have that moment and say, listen, you know, there are issues in this country, let's get together and talk about them.
THOMAS: If I were advising Trump, that's what I would say. I would say, nuance the two issues. I mean, he's --
JACOBSON: Even if he actually cared about some of these issues, like he'd work with Republicans like Rand Paul on criminal justice reform. Like, the Trump administration has been dead silent on the issue.
VAUSE: Well, that's our very time people in the chalice. Well, we shall leave it there.
SESAY: I feel like we're out of the rabbit hole.
VAUSE: What did we do? SESAY: Gentlemen, thank you.
VAUSE: Good to see you.
SESAY: We appreciate it. Let's take a quick break here. The pressure is growing on top Democrats. The disavowed movie mogul, Harvey Weinstein; how some politicians are trying to make amends? That is just ahead.
[01:29:11] VAUSE: And later this hour, the Dove ad that was offensive and ill-conceived, but was it racist as well?
[01:31:45] SESAY: You're watching CNN NEWSROOM live from Los Angeles. I am Isha Sesay.
VAUSE: I'm John Vause. Thanks for staying with us. We'll check the headlines now.
North Korea could mark a major state holiday to launch another nuclear provocation. Pyongyang is celebrating the founding anniversary of its ruling party. Meantime, U.S. Defense chief is calling on the Army to stand ready in case diplomacy with North Korea does not work.
SESAY: Spain is on edge as Catalan leaders threaten to declare independence. Carles Puigdemont could make a decision Tuesday as the leader of parliament. In Madrid, Spain's governor says it will suspend Catalonia's autonomous status if it tries to break away.
VAUSE: There's new details about the Las Vegas gunman who killed 58 people, wounded at least 500 last week. Police say Stephen Paddock shot a security guard before he opened fire on the crowd. Authorities had previously said they believed the guard had drawn Paddock's attention away from his shooting.
SESAY: Well, some of Hollywood's top actresses is speaking out against media mogul Harvey Weinstein over allegations of sexual harassment. Meryl Streep calls the news disgraceful. Judy Dench says the accusations are horrifying.
VAUSE: But a number of Democratic politicians are under pressure to also speak out.
Here's CNN's Athena Jones.
ATHENA JONES, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): This time last year Hillary Clinton was bashing then fellow candidate Donald Trump over his treatment of women after the release of an "Access Hollywood" tape in which he was caught on a hot mic bragging about grabbing women's genitals.
HILLARY CLINTON, FORMER PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Donald thinks belittling women makes him bigger. He goes after their dignity, their self-worth.
JONES: Now in the wake of the bombshell "New York Times" report about decades of sexual harassment allegations against Harvey Weinstein, a Hollywood heavyweight and major democratic donor, there has been no such backlash from Clinton or from President Obama who also benefited from the movie mogul's financial support over the years.
That silence from leading Democrats hasn't gone unnoticed with Republicans like National Committee Chairman Ronna Romney McDaniel calling out what they view as hypocrisy.
RONNA ROMNEY MCDANIEL, CHAIRWOMAN, REPUBLICAN NATIONAL COMMITTEE: Where's Hillary Clinton? Where is she standing on this issue? She has been silent. Her silence is deafening.
JONES: And Donald Trump Junior tweeting, "Weird. Hillary has been really quiet about Harvey Weinstein. You would think she would be all over this. Hashtag, what happened?"
Weinstein hasn't just been a longtime supporter of the Clintons. According to Federal Election Commission filings the now former studio exec donated more than $650,000 to Democrats since the late '90s including a long list of candidates from Obama to Elizabeth Warren and to various Democratic organizations.
His activism, his deep pockets and his success on the big screen the kind of track record that earned him praise.
MICHELLE OBAMA, FORMER FIRST LADY OF THE UNITED STATES: He is a wonderful human being, a good friend and just a powerhouse.
JONES: A few of his old beneficiaries are turning on the movie mogul.
SEN. CHUCK SCHUMER (D), MINORITY LEADER: I think what he did is just awful, awful, awful.
JONES: The Democratic National Committee was called the allegations deeply troubling, plans to donate some $30,000, a small portion of the money Weinstein contributed over the years to several groups including Emily's List, an organization that works to get pro-choice Democratic women elected to public office. All part of efforts to distance themselves from a now disgraced former patron.
[01:35:06] (On camera): And several Democratic senators who have received contributions from Weinstein have now given that money to charity, in many cases are giving to groups that are aimed at helping women in particular.
Earlier today, speaking on CNN, Connecticut Senator Richard Blumenthal encouraged his colleagues to use the money they got from Weinstein to support causes like combating sexual harassment, sexual assault, and domestic violence. He donated the money that he got from Weinstein to the Connecticut Alliance to End Sexual Violence.
Back to you.
SESAY: Our thanks to Athena Jones.
And joining us now CNN legal analyst, the civil rights attorney, Areva Martin.
Areva, always good to have you with us. So, you know, a lot of eyes on Hillary Clinton. A lot of eyes on her because she, you know, took money from Harvey Weinstein.
AREVA MARTIN, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: Yes.
SESAY: When she was running for office, Senate as well as for president. And because, you know, as Athena said, she has put herself out there as an advocate for women and children.
SESAY: And to some people it seems surprising that she hasn't come out and spoken. I mean, Donald Trump Jr. put out that tweet, "Weird. Hillary has been really quiet about Harvey Weinstein. You would think she would be all over this. Hashtag, what happened?"
MARTIN: Well --
SESAY: Is it fair to accuse her of hypocrisy or letting women down?
MARTIN: Look, Aisha, I would like to see Hillary Clinton come out, but I don't this argument about, you know, Democrats and women coming out speaking against Weinstein should get clouded by one person. Hillary Clinton is one person. There have been an amazing number of women, Democrats, pundits, women's rights advocate who have spoken of, who talked about the abuse of power, who've talked about the vulnerable position that women in the workplace particularly those in Hollywood still find themselves in.
So I don't think Donald Trump Jr. is the right messenger for this message because I don't remember seeing him out speaking publicly against his father in the "Access Hollywood" tape. And all of the allegations that have been made against the president. We have not seen the Trump children championing the causes of women.
So I don't think we need to buy into the talking points of Donald Trump Jr. or the GOP, that are pointing fingers at Democrats, because we've seen so many Democratic elected officials come out and say we're giving back the donations that Weinstein made to us, we're donating those monies that we received from him to women's rights organizations. So there has been a groundswell of support for women around this issue.
SESAY: I think the point has been made, and I mentioned -- take a listen, it's not just the case of, you know, Democrats and lawmakers responding and how they have responded in this case versus, say, the president or Bill O'Reilly or Roger Ailes. It's also the liberal media, if you will. It's like "Saturday Night Live" didn't do any jokes on Harvey Weinstein. It's the fact that the late-night hosts didn't do anything until John Oliver on HBO "Last Week Tonight" covered it, that there has been a reticence on the part of liberals, if you will, to take this on and utter the same kind of condemnation they brought to O'Reilly and Ailes and Trump.
MARTIN: They're not just rejecting that narrative. I think that's a false narrative. I think it's a talking point of the GOP. I read a gazillion newspapers a day. I've been following this up and watching it very closely and there has been tremendous outrage by A-list celebrities that Weinstein has pretty much their careers. There are people in Hollywood like Meryl Streep who has numerous Oscars because they have appeared in films that have been financed and produced by Weinstein --
SESAY: But it is notable, though, Areva, that late-night shows which are topical, which are very political these days, which never shy away from the subject of the day, did not take on Weinstein.
MARTIN: Look --
SESAY: That is notable.
MARTIN: We can focus on that group of entertainers or that group of talk shows and say they didn't, you know, express the outrage as perhaps some would like for them to express. But I don't think that in any way diminishes the large number of influential people who've come out and have expressed their outrage and talked about the need for change in all work places particularly in Hollywood. So, yes, have seen the night -- you know, the nighttime talk show hosts come out --
SESAY: Or the vanguard of the liberal media --
MARTIN: With the story after story or monologues about this. No. But does that make the voices that have spoken about it any less important? And I think we can -- we should focus on those actors. Those politicians, those advocates, those champions that have come out and said this is disgusting. This is unacceptable and things need to change.
We cracked the door, now we need to bust that door down as it relate to women in the workplace and the rights of women, the safe places that we need to create for women to come forward so that we're not talking about this after decades of allegations.
[01:40:05] SESAY: So one last point before I let you leave because sadly we're out of time, you're right. Judy Dench has come out, Meryl Streep has come.
SESAY: Jessica Chastain.
MARTIN: Yes. SESAY: I mean, a lot of people who've won Oscars. And we've heard
from, you know, Judd Apatow and notable males. But that crop of Hollywood A-listers, the Matt Damon, the Ben Affleck, that kind of top tier, we haven't heard from. And you've had Lena Dunham, the creator of "Girls," put out an op-ed for the "New York Times." She said this, and let's put it up on screen and then I want to get your final thoughts on this.
She said -- she said she's calling for men, all men to step up. She said, "The reason I'm zeroing in on the men is that they have the least to lose and the most power to shift the narrative, and are probably not dealing with the same level of collective and personal trauma around these allegations. But here we are, days later, waiting for Mr. Weinstein's most powerful collaborators say something, anything. It wouldn't be just a gift to the women he's victimized, but a message to the women who are watching our industry closely."
MARTIN: I agree with her 100 percent. No doubt. This should not be a gender issue. This shouldn't be a political issue in terms of partisan politics. Democrats versus Republicans or men versus women. This should be an American issue. This should be anyone who values women so whether it's your mother, your wide, your sister, your friend, everyone should be speaking out about the unacceptable behavior of Weinstein and any men in a position of power, that uses that power to take advantage of women in the workplace.
I would love to hear the Matt Damons of the world and some of these other male A-listers talk about it. But again I don't want their lack of talking about it to prevent anyone from focusing on the women like me, and the champion civil rights lawyers, advocates, A-listers who are speaking of, saying women deserve to be treated better in the workplace. And as long as we keep beating that drum, I'm hopeful that eventually we won't be talking about the best known secret that's not a secret in Hollywood.
We'll be talking about that first allegation of sexual harassment and the horrendous consequences that the male, some male, face when he made that first unlawful act of sexual harassment towards a woman.
SESAY: Hear, hear. Areva Martin, appreciate it. Thank you.
MARTIN: Thank you.
SESAY: Thank you.
VAUSE: And still to come here on NEWSROOM L.A. firefighters struggling to contain deadly wildfires sweeping through California's wine country. More on that in a moment.
SESAY: Well, a deadly wildfire is engulfing larger areas of California. They're burning across eight counties, from Orange County in the south to the famous Napa wine country in the north.
VAUSE: So far the official death toll is at 10. Authorities are warning that number will climb until the fires are brought under control. Authorities say more than 100 patients are receiving in treatment in hospitals because of fire-related injuries. We should also mention hospitals were forced to evacuate because of the fire.
One official says the weather conditions are so dry right now firefighters having a little trouble trying to get in front of the flames.
Meteorologist Ivan Cabrera tracking all of this. He joins us now from the international weather center.
[01:45:05] Ivan, welcome back. Good to see you.
SESAY: Welcome back, Ivan.
VAUSE: This fire, this wildfire just seemed to come out really out of nowhere. Just sort of exploded.
IVAN CABRERA, CNN METEOROLOGIST: Yes, absolutely. Good to see both of you as well. You talked to the battalion chief last hour and he absolutely, just to put it right, explosive fire weather conditions across California.
We'll talk about some better news. This is now, though, 24 million hectares. Now it's the annual average that we burn in California. So far this year, we're 10 million above that and that would make it the fifth highest year in the California so we're dealing not with just a regular fire season here but a terrible one. When you make the top five list, that's a problem.
Let's talk about the 28 active fires that are ongoing here. 15 of those particularly terrible right now and have seen explosive growth. By the way, 48,170 hectares is what we burn. Take a look at this. This is from our new satellite up above in space. Obviously these are not clouds. This is smoke coming from those fires. And by the way, that was not there just two days and that's exactly what we've seen over the last 24 to 48 hours.
Take a look at these winds. We've basically added a dry hurricane to these fires. That's exactly what we're seeing here. Winds of 79 miles an hour. Are you kidding me? 75 for Mount Diablo which by the way is what they call the winds. You're familiar with the Santa Ana's in Southern California. It's those offshore warm winds. Well, they call them the Diablo winds aptly across the north.
Now take a look at the better news I have for firefighting efforts. Not only are the winds will subside. It's still going to be warm. The winds are not going to be as strong and the key will be the moisture coming in. The Pacific glove it's going to come in. That is going to penetrate a little bit further to the east but we have the fires burning and that will at least get the relative humidity up enough so that we don't have explosive fire conditions that we have.
It's still going to be a problem but I think a couple of the ingredients here that we look for are looking much better in the next couple of days, guys. VAUSE: Ivan, good. Thank you. Some good news and good to see you.
SESAY: Yes. Thank you.
Well, CNN's "Freedom Project" is committed to shining a light on modern-day slavery.
VAUSE: This week, we're heading to the Dominican Republic, a beautiful tourist destination which is sadly a center of human trafficking and child prostitution.
SESAY: CNN's Don Riddell tells us about an organization that is trying to change that.
DON RIDDELL, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Benjamin Watson is back in action with the Ravens this season. The Titan is focused on the task in hand, winning a Super Bowl for Baltimore. But he does have other things on his mind.
During the off-season Watson took a trip to Dominican Republic, a country where human trafficking and in particular the sexual exploitation of children is a major problem.
BENJAMIN WATSON, BALTIMORE RAVENS TIGHT END: It was an easy decision, we just wanted to come and learn. These criminals prey on the poor. They prey on the vulnerable, they prey on the voiceless.
RIDDELL: Watson, along with his wife Kirsten, and five other NFL players and their families arrived in Santa Domingo to partner up with International Justice Mission, an NGO dedicated to fighting the problem.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: So we are IJM. We work with children around the world.
RIDDELL: This included a day of activities and fun for some of the children IJM has held free and it was billed as a day of joy.
SEAN WEATHERSPOON, LINEBACKER: Definitely looking forward to spending my time learning into some, you know, bring us some more awareness about this whole mission and bring it back to the stage, you know, spread it to my buddies. I think that's my job.
DON DAVIS, FORMER NFL LINEBACKER: To be able to look into the eyes of a child and, you know, not to inspire them but just to say somebody loves you, you know, you're valuable. Your life has value.
WATSON: My hope is that people here, survivors here, know that people a world away care and understand and know about what they're going through.
RIDDELL: And IJM says it's not just girls who end up exploited. They have encountered an alarming number of young boys who were forced into pornography and prostitution often by their families just to make ends meet.
TREY BURTON, PHILADELPHIA EAGLES TIGHT END: I have three kids, three young kids of my own. And I just, you know, couldn't fathom that ever happening to my children. And I just -- I believe there needs to be justice, you know, to these men and these women. They are forcing these children to do these horrible acts.
RIDDELL: Daisy Nunez who is on the ground in the country as part of IJM's efforts knows what this means to the children.
DAISY NUNEZ, DIRECTOR OF AFTERCARE, IJM DOMINICAN REPUBLIC: So when these people come and they know their names and they bring gifts and they want to play games with them or have a snack with them it's really meaningful. That means to them I am valuable.
[01:50:03] RIDDELL (on camera): It's clear that these players have been profoundly moved by this experience. At times I've seen them lost in soul, all on the verge of tears, but it's also been inspiring and uplifting.
WATSON: Any time you go into a situation like this you think that there's going to be a sense of despair and hopelessness, but on the contrary there is always a glimmer of hope, interacting with some of these boys. They're smiling, they've been through so much.
DAVIS: To be able to bring someone who some relief who is suffering. There is no better feeling than that, right? And it seems so cliche to say but playing football and winning championships is so minor when you think about helping the world, bringing relief to the world, doing good to those who don't even know your name.
RIDDELL (voice-over): These children might never their names but it's quite possible they'll never forget the man who came to show them kindness. And by taking this story back home with them to the United States they will continue to help from afar.
Don Riddell, CNN, Dominican Republic.
[01:57:50] VAUSE: Welcome back, everybody.
The soap brand Dove was under fire after posting an ad on Facebook. Critics say it is clearly racist. It's a short clip. It's questionable to say the least. The first frames show a woman with dark skin lifting up a shirt revealing a light skinned woman wearing a beige shirt.
SESAY: Dove removed the ad and tweeted an apology saying they missed the mark in representing women of color truthfully and they deeply regret the offense it caused.
Here to help us wade through this PR debacle is entertainment journalist Segun Oduolowu. They missed the mark in representing women of color. I will say they
did indeed. Do you think it was racist, though?
SEGUN ODUOLOWU, ENTERTAINMENT JOURNALIST: I think it was in very, very poor taste. I hesitate to say racist because I don't know who was at the table making the decisions, but I know one thing. I know who wasn't at the table because there's no way a person of color at the advertising would have sat there at the table and been like, you know what's cool? Let's take the sister and do morphing --
SESAY: And lighten her up.
ODUOLOWU: And lighten her up. And black people and people of color are going to have -- are going to be OK with that.
ODUOLOWU: -- and lightening her up. And black people and people of color are going to have -- are going to be OK with that. And that might be the more racist thing, that a group of people OK'd this ad and never once thought about how it would affect people of color young girls. For it to be Dove who have had their own issues with questionable advertising, there was a 2011 --
SESAY: Right. We have that 2011. Let's put it up.
ODUOLOWU: Do we have it? OK. Great. I want to --
SESAY: Let's put it up on the screen.
ODUOLOWU: Yes, they need to see this.
SESAY: We do have that in the system. There you have it. This is an ad from 2011 they put out. They were criticized for this because what it shows is three women standing side by side, each with lighter skin than the woman next to her. Behind them were signs reading before and after. And the African-American woman shows, you know, crack -- she's, you know, got cracked skin, it's dry. And then the white woman on the end is all smooth and pretty.
ODUOLOWU: Yes. Which is absolutely crazy because as we know black doesn't crack and the natural oils in this skin, I -- you know.
SESAY: But he does look great.
VAUSE: You're actually 75 years old. You have amazing --
ODUOLOWU: I'm a 75-year-old man that has found some way -- somehow to not look that way.
VAUSE: Earlier this year, there were -- oh, maybe last year, I've lost track.
VAUSE: Anyway, there was an ad in China for laundry detergent and --
ODUOLOWU: Last year. VAUSE: Last year. They, you know, have a look at this ad. So they
put a black person into -- there we go. The black man goes into the machine and then viola he comes out again.
[01:55:08] SESAY: So awful.
VAUSE: And after this, he's white which is the (INAUDIBLE) bit. So everyone loves it. This is clearly obviously an act of racism. There is the guy.
SESAY: And now he's attractive as well, now she wants him.
VAUSE: Everyone was pretty -- I've heard about that being a racist.
ODUOLOWU: It is overtly racist.
ODUOLOWU: There's nothing better than -- I think it's more than overt.
VAUSE: It's extensively awful.
ODUOLOWU: Yes, pretty much.
VAUSE: So a lot of people are trying to cut Dove some slack saying if you look at the whole clip, a black woman, it goes to a white woman, goes to a white woman again. And it wasn't meant to be like that ad. It was all meant to be, you know, encompassing and this got us up. I'm not agreeing with it, but I'm saying, there also seems to be a double standard here.
Like everyone is willing to slam China with that but there seemed to be doing sort of verbal acrobatics here.
SESAY: Who's doing that with Dove?
SESAY: I actually haven't seen many people --
VAUSE: There's a whole ad on (INAUDIBLE). The "Chicago Tribune" saying we shouldn't throw them under the bus. Then another in the "USA Today" is saying, oh, these digital times, you'll never know as it goes through the air.
ODUOLOWU: Wait, it's not -- it's not necessarily about throwing them under the bus, but like we're all well-read individuals, melt and paradise lost. The road to hell is paved with good intentions. What they meant might have been great, what they did, what they executed was very, very bad and it was in poor taste, and they should know better.
SESAY: And can we just, you know, pick up on the fact that, you know, for anyone who's at home and isn't entirely clear on why this strikes a nerve with people of color, it's because it plays on that trope that we know from time memorial that black is negative, it's bad, it's pejorative, and moving towards lightness on the spectrum is what is desirable. And that we've seen through (INAUDIBLE) in advertising for decades.
ODUOLOWU: No, it's historically hurtful.
ODUOLOWU: And I don't -- and I think that people really need to understand there were old soap commercials from the 19th centuries.
SESAY: And we have some of those.
VAUSE: We have those.
ODUOLOWU: That show, you know, the black kid as being dirty and getting soaped. It was -- that's been said to me in Virginia when I was younger by a next-door neighbor who was completely just off their rockers. So I've not only lived it, I've seen it, it's historical. It's honestly -- it feeds into all of that, you know, pure Aryan white stereotype, pure as snow, black being vile and unworthy.
And it's not only -- it's not only hurtful and it's not only wrong, but in this climate, in this specific political climate, where it feels like there are government officials yanking the hoods of racism, so that they can march the street with impunity for an ad agency and for a company, a soap company for goodness sake, to be this tone deaf to what's going on. Like I said, I don't know if it's racist but it smells racist.
VAUSE: Very quickly, yes or no answer, is everything that appears racist actually driven by racism or is there stupidity and insensitivity and everything else goes into it? Quickly, there's no time. Yes or no?
ODUOLOWU: Well, racism is ignorance. So if it's ignorance or racism, however, you want to do it, it's one feeding the other.
VAUSE: Gotcha. Shogun, thank you.
SESAY: I think we -- we can all agree it was hurtful to many people.
ODUOLOWU: Yes, it was.
SESAY: I think that is the bottom line here.
VAUSE: You've been watching NEWSROOM L.A. I'm John Vause.
SESAY: And I'm Isha Sesay. Back with more right after this.
VAUSE: This is CNN NEWSROOM live from Los Angeles. Ahead this hour.
SESAY: Nuclear watch. President Trump teases about war with North Korea while the world watched Kim Jong-un celebrate a holiday.