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Concerns U.S. Air Strike on Mosul Led to Deaths; Democrats Want Nunes to Step Down from Trump/Russia Investigation; Trump's Son-in-Law to Talk with Senate Investigators; Cyclone Debbie Pounds Australia; Democrats Ask Nunes to Step Down as Trump Says Investigate Clinton/Russia; Trump's Son-in-Law to Talk with Senate Investigators; Trump Set to Roll Out New Plans for Environment; Trump's Actions on Climate Change Could Let China Take Environmental Lead. Aired 2-3a ET
Aired March 28, 2017 - 02:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[02:00:11] JOHN VAUSE, CNN ANCHOR: This is CNN NEWSROOM, live from Los Angeles.
ISHA SESAY, CNN ANCHOR: The headlines this hour --
VAUSE: Hello, everybody. Great to have you with us. I'm John Vause.
SESAY: I'm Isha Sesay. This is NEWSROOM L.A.
VAUSE: Iraqi forces are trying to surround the last ISIS forces in Mosul. They're using more snipers and drones to close in on the militants.
SESAY: But as they fight for the last ISIS stronghold in the country, investigations are underway into dozens of civilian casualties.
Jomana Karadsheh is tracking developments and joins us from Istanbul, Turkey.
Jomana, the exact details about what happened are still being investigated. But what are survivors saying now?
JOMANA KARADSHEH, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: As you mentioned, Isha, it's been more than 10 days since that strike that is being investigated, what happened on March 17th is really still very confusing, unclear, and you get very different versions of what may have happened on that day in that neighborhood of western Mosul. But people, residents who have been fleeing are reported to have been saying they've been living under really horrific conditions, scenarios they have gone through over recent weeks. You hear about people being trapped in their homes because of this fighting. ISIS using these civilians as human shields, using their homes as fighting positions. Indiscriminate weapons being used by, whether it's Iraqi forces or ISIS fighters. And that fear of these air strikes in these densely populated, crowded neighborhoods. And all this is really raising concerns about the real extent of civilian casualties in this battle for Mosul that is intensifying right now. And according to U.N. estimates, there's still, they believe hundreds of thousands of civilians trapped in what is left of western Mosul under ISIS control -- Isha?
SESAY: And these civilian deaths, Jomana, this kind of incident deepens the sense of mistrust between the government in Baghdad and the Sunni population.
KARADSHEH: This is a major concern. If you look back at history, what allowed ISIS to gain a foot hold in cities like Mosul, what created that incubator for ISIS and allowed it to take hold in these places is that mistrust, is those sectarian divisions. And so that is a major concern. What the Iraqi government wants to do here, what the Iraqi security forces say this is not 2013, this is not 2014, that things are different right now. In order to try and stabilize these areas that are under -- that were under ISIS control, they need to gain the trust of the local population and incidents like this really make that a very tough task for the Iraqi security forces, Isha, in cases like this. So I think the way this investigation is handled, what happens next is really going to impact trying to stop any other group, whatever its name might be, from reemerging in the future.
SESAY: It surely will.
Jomana Karadsheh, joining us from Istanbul, Turkey. Jomana, always appreciate it. Thank you.
VAUSE: Well, Democrats are losing faith in the chairman of the U.S. House Intelligence Committee, Devin Nunes. He's a Republican, leading one of the investigations into Russia's meddling in last year's presidential election. The ranking Democrat on the committee, Adam Schiff, is calling for Nunes to recuse himself.
SESAY: After Nunes said U.S. Intelligence incidentally picked up communication from Mr. Trump's team, now we know Nunes went to meet to the White House complex to meet the unnamed source who gave him that information.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. DEVIN NUNES, (R-CA), CHAIRMAN, HOUSE INTELLIGENCE COMMITTEE: We have to go to the executive branch in order to read classified intelligence. So that could be White House grounds, the White House, the Pentagon, it could be CIA. There's a number of places we go. The Congress has not been given this information, these documents, and that's the problem. There is no way for the folks that I have been working with to bring this forward to light. There was no way I could view that because they couldn't get it to the House Intelligence Committee.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
[02:05:22] VAUSE: Well, the controversy around Nunes is not helped by his past role as a member of the Trump transition team. Essentially, he's investigating the same people he was working with
during the transition. SESAY: And some are questioning whether he's acting more like a watch
dog or a lap dog.
CNN's Manu Raju reports.
MANU RAJU, CNN SENIOR CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): House intelligence chairman, Devin Nunes, facing growing questions about whether he compromised his committee's investigation by briefing President Trump last week on intelligence he obtained through a secret source.
NUNES: I've been working this for a long time with many different sources, and needed a place that I could actually finally go because I knew what I was looking for and I could get access to what I needed to see. I'm quite sure people in the West Wing had no idea I was there. Look, I go over there a lot. I go over there often for meetings and briefings.
RAJU: Today, Nunes revealed he met his source last week on White House grounds to review the information.
A government official said Nunes was seen Tuesday at the National Security Council offices at the Eisenhower Executive Building where classified information can be viewed securely.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What he is doing is obstructing the investigation. The president made a claim that has been proved to not be true. He's just helping the president.
RAJU: The revelation put the White House on the defensive after spokesman, Sean Spicer, said this last week when asked if the information came from the White House.
SEAN SPICER, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: It doesn't pass the smell test.
RAJU: Today, Spicer could not rule out that someone on the White House staff may have authorized Nunes to review the information in a classified facility.
SPICER: I think members of Congress need to be clear.
RAJU: But the House investigation is starting to break down along partisan lines with Democrats criticizing Nunes.
SEN. CHUCK SCHUMER, (D-NY), SENATE MINORITY LEADER: Without further ado, Speaker Ryan should replace Chairman Nunes.
RAJU: Despite briefing the president, Nunes still has yet to present the committee with intelligence showing that some Trump team communications had been picked up incidentally and that some individuals had their identities unmasked by the Intelligence community.
Nunes has given shifting explanations about what the information actually revealed.
(on camera): Was the president also part of that incidental collection? His communications?
RAJU: They were?
RAJU: You said the president's communications were incidentally collected and then you said it's actually possible. So was it collected or what it possible?
NUNES: I just know the answer to that yet.
RAJU: So you don't know if the president's communications --
NUNES: I know -- I know there was incidental collection regarding the president elect and his team.
RAJU (voice-over): Then later in the week, Nunes was asked if Trump officials were monitored or simply mentioned in the Intelligence reports?
NUNES: We won't know until -- we won't know that until we actually receive all of the documentation.
RAJU (oc0: And Congressman Adam Schiff, the ranking Democrat on the committee, saying that Devin Nunes should recuse himself from the Russia investigation, believing he's been too compromised on this inquiry to move forward. But Speaker Paul Ryan says he's fully supporting Nunes staying in that position. So this partisan standoff is only bound to continue.
Manu Raju, CNN, Capitol Hill.
VAUSE: Well, Donald Trump's son in law, Jared Kushner, who is also a senior White House aide, says he's willing to meet with Senators investigating the Trump campaign's contacts with Russia.
CNN's Fred Pleitgen joins us now from Moscow.
Fred, what are the new details about these meetings between Kushner and high-ranking Russian officials?
FRED PLEITGEN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, we've now learned that there were at least two meetings between Jared Kushner and high-ranking Russian officials. One was with the Russian ambassador. And during that meeting Kislyak asked about a bank, which is someone very close to Vladimir Putin, the head of that bank. And we asked that bank yesterday to give a statement, a confirmation, and they did confirm that, yes, there had been a meeting between Kushner and Gorkoff (ph). They were looking into further development possibilities for their banking sector and so they met with a lot of people in the financial industry and other industries as well, including Jared Kushner. Of course, we have heard from the White House that they said there was nothing of significance, nothing really came of that meeting, but we do know that meeting did take place and in December of 2016 -- John?
[02:10:02] VAUSE: What more do we know about this bank? It appears to be very close to Vladimir Putin. It went bankrupt. It has a very checkered history.
PLEITGEN: Yeah. It certainly has a bit of a difficult history, especially over the past couple of years. It is close to Vladimir Putin. It is state owned. The Economic Development Bank of Russia and the chairman of that bank, Sergey Gorkoff (ph), is directly appointed by Vladimir Putin. And in the past, they've funded development projects in Russia, many closely associated with the Kremlin, for example, massive infrastructure project around the Olympics in Sochi in 2014. Projects that are fairly risky for actual banks to do. Apparently, there were also bailouts that took place of high-level oligarchs, and has had holdings and financial interest in the east of Ukraine as well, particularly in the steel sector. Those have been very hard hit. And the bank is under sanctions. It was put under sanctions by the Obama administration, one of the first entities when the Ukraine crisis kicked off. It has a difficult history with those sanctions kicking in, making it hard for them. The chairman of the bank, Sergey Gorkoff (ph), went on Russian TV in December of 2016 and was asked whether he thought the Trump administration, when it came to office, maybe business would become better for them, maybe the sanctions would get lifted, he said at the time that he hoped, but wasn't putting much faith into it, and said he was preparing for the bank to remain under sanctions for a considerable amount of time -- John?
VAUSE: OK, Fred, thank you. Fred Pleitgen, live for us in Moscow.
One thing we should say, there's nothing unusual with someone from a transition team meeting with a bank, even if it was under sanctions. The issue is that the Senators are asking why it wasn't revealed.
SESAY: Why it wasn't disclosed. Absolutely.
We'll take a quick break. Coming up, Cyclone Debbie is battering a northeastern coast of Australia. We'll tell you where the monster storm is headed and the damage reported so far, next.
[02:16:09] SESAY: Hello, everyone. Northeastern Australia is being pounded by one of the biggest storms to hit the region in years. Tropical Storm Debbie is making landfall on the coast of Queensland with torrential rain and wind over 260 kilometers per hour.
VAUSE: Thousands of residents have been forced to evacuate. All the schools in the area have been closed. More than 50,000 homes right now without electricity. Residents had been warned of storm surges.
SESAY: Storm chaser, James Reynolds, joins us via skype from Australia.
Jim, good to have you with us.
Give us a sense of what you're experiencing.
JAMES REYNOLDS, STORM CHASER (voice-over): Extremely ferocious out there, much more so than when I spoke to you about an hour ago. The back end of Debbie is making itself very, very lashing, blinding rain and really some of the worst conditions we've seen so far in the storm.
SESAY: As you experience these conditions right now, have you been able to get a sense of damage? What are you hearing in terms of any local reports?
REYNOLDS: During the calm eye of the storm, I did manage to take a drive around town and see what had been effected in the first half of the cyclone. Mostly superficial damage. Some damage to houses, which weren't necessarily built so sturdily. But we're not talking about widespread devastation and the second half of the storm is hitting now and could be inflicting a lot more damage. We won't get an idea of the extent of the damage until tonight or tomorrow morning.
SESAY: What are expectations in terms of areas hardest hit during the storm?
REYNOLDS: We're looking at the northern Queensland down to McKie (ph), especially the south side of the center of the cyclone, is where we're expecting the strongest winds, the most damaging storms to take place, and it's a large storm that impacts a large area of the coast.
SESAY: And in terms of local residents and how they're coping with all of this, I know you've hunkered down, but what is your sense in how well they prepared for this? I know there's been massive evacuations.
REYNOLDS: During the build-up, people have been going about the preparations in a calm manner. We didn't see any at the supermarket or the gas station. So really a case of diligently preparing as best as they could and the government played a big part obviously and sending out warnings and evacuating residents. It's been a very organized process.
SESAY: You mentioned the storm surge. That's a major concern in all of this. What are you hearing? There's extraordinary statistics in terms of how much water, how high that water would be?
REYNOLDS: I personally haven't seen any evidence of storm surge in the town I'm in because it protects us from the wind coming straight off the Pacific Ocean. The authorities were warning of the possible storm surge two-meters high, which is capable of inflicting a lot of damage. We should get a better idea of that impact going into tomorrow after the storm.
SESAY: Well, James, do stay safe.
James Reynolds, on the phone from Early Beach (ph) in Australia. Stay safe, thanks for the reporting.
[02:20:00] VAUSE: And the premier of Queensland, Annastacia Palaszczuk, joins us on the line from the state capitol.
Premier, thank you for being with us.
What is your biggest concern over the next couple of hours and the best advice for everyone still in the storm zone?
ANNASTACIA PALASZCZUK, QUEENSLAND PREMIER (voice-over): What we're really concerned about is that we've had over 40,000 people lost power, which means they have no means of communication and we do not know the impact of the devastation that cyclone betty is causing as she crosses the Queensland coast and we have concerns for people in early beach, Hamilton Island and the edge of Bowen (ph) that are actually receiving these large scale winds and they have been battered for the last eight to 10 hours. So these people are going through a lot. These families bunkered down in their homes and they're in safe places but we do know that the veracity of these wind speeds is actually taking roofs off Houses, extended fences up in the skies. We simply do not know the impact of the damage and we can't get our emergency services personally to these homes, families, until it is safe to do so.
VAUSE: How long will it be before the emergency crews head out, before it's no longer too dangerous for them?
PALASZCZUK: We can't send them out until we know it's absolutely safe for them to do so and it is still quite a few hours to go in the different areas. So we'll wait till we get the advice from the Bureau of Meteorologist until we know. In some areas, another three hours to go. And Hamilton Island, maybe another four hours to go. But this is tough times that moment and all of the rest of Australia are behind the families at the moment and our thoughts and prayers are with them as we're seeing a lot of expressions of sympathy and concern from people across the world.
VAUSE: It's incredible to think 25,000 people -- that's the last number I saw -- actually headed towards evacuation shelters. That seems to be unprecedented for north Queensland, an area no stranger to dealing with cyclones.
PALASZCZUK: You're a Queenslander and you know what cyclones are like when they come across the coast. What we can do is get the best possible advice and Queensland is a leader when it comes to how we handle disaster management and we've been through Cyclone Marcia and now with Cyclone Debbie, we had to take the advice of the Bureau of Meteorologist and evacuate 25,000 people from Marcia because we were concerned about whether or not the storm tide surge would exceed 2.5 meters and thankfully, thankfully, it's definitely not going to get to that. We've had a huge sigh of relief when it comes to the residents in McKie (ph). They're still going to feel the strong force of winds from this cyclone. They're not out of danger yet. We're doing modeling now to see a large amount of rain that will flow into our river systems and we're seeing how that is going to impact on the rest of the state.
VAUSE: Premier, we wish you and everybody the very best of luck.
Clearly many, many more hours to go. Some good news, still, concerning news about people who have not been in contact with authorities because power lines are down and communications and power lines are down.
Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk speaking with us there with the very latest on the storm.
Thank you so much, Premier.
Let's go now to Pedram Javaheri, and he'll have more on the storm.
We just heard from the Queensland premier talking about good news. The storm surge in some spots not as bad as they thought but they have concerns about other parts of the state.
PEDRAM JAVAHERI, AMS METEOROLOGIST: Absolutely. What was really interesting to me was what premier said about how Queenslanders are so great at getting out of the way. It was Yassi just six years ago last month that was the costliest storm in Queensland history. That's nearly 2$2.5 billion U.S. in losses. It speaks volumes about how seriously they take these storms.
Take a look at this storm. It's quite large, over 1200 kilometers, so this storm system is significant. The wind gusts similar to what we saw with Yassi. And it's that progression, that forward movement that is extremely slow, concerning because water is the main element of concern with these tropical disturbances and anytime you're moving 10/11 kilometers per hour. You speed them up, 20/25 kilometers per hour. And the storm scoots on out of the particular area it impacts. We've already seen tremendous rainfall with this and this is pre- landfall. So still yet to come. And the wind gusts in some locations off shore. Hamilton Island, 262-kilometer wind gusts. And the storm itself will weaken rather quickly as we go in the next 12 or so hours and really going to be shredded apart but a lot of rainfall associated with this. But the rivers, the streams will not be able to handle this much rainfall. It will push off to the south. And Sydney could get rainfall associated with this later in the week and could see another half a meter of rain on top of what other areas have already seen. That's about four-months-worth of rainfall coming down and that is a major, major concern with water being the main element we watch in terms of heavy rainfall. The storm surge is moving inland and the coastal communities will begin the clean-up operations soon.
[02:26:34] VAUSE: OK, Pedram, thank you for the update.
Just to back up, Ned, Ernie, Ema (ph), and --
SESAY: Seem to be a lot.
VAUSE: -- so the place is used to it, but they haven't had one like this for many, many years.
Time for a quick break. "State of America" with Kate Bolduan is up next for our viewers in Asia.
SESAY: For everyone else, playing politics with the investigation into Russia's meddling in the U.S. election. We're learning about another Trump advisor's meeting with a wealthy Putin ally.
VAUSE: Also, pulling the plug on environmental protection. We'll look at Mr. Trump's approach to climate change.
[02:30:16] ISHA SESAY, CNN ANCHOR: You're watching CNN NEWSROOM live from Los Angeles. I'm Isha Sesay.
JOHN VAUSE, CNN ANCHOR: I'm John Vause.
Let's check the headlines this hour.
SESAY: The ranking Democrat on the U.S. House Intelligence Committee, Adam Schiff, is asking Chairman Devin Nunes to recuse themselves. They're investigating possible ties between the Trump campaign and Russia. The chairman was a member of President Trump's transition team.
VAUSE: Nunes is under fire for his handling of the Intelligence leaks, and briefing the White House before telling his own committee. President Trump tweeting earlier, "Investigators should be looking into the Clinton's ties to Russia. Trump/Russia story is a hoax."
SESAY: We spoke earlier with California talk radio show host, Ethan Bearman; and California Republican National Committee member, Shawn Steel.
VAUSE: So he goes to the grounds of the White House, learns top- secret information. He then leaves the grounds of the White House, he then returns the next day to tell the president all about that top- secret information, which gives Donald Trump wiggle room on the wiretap allegation.
So Ethan, it sounds like the White House is a bit like the Trump hotel lobby. Anybody can come and go and nobody really knows who's doing what.
ETHAN BEARMAN, RADIO TALK SHOW HOST: This is terrible, the optics of this, because we have four Trump members going back to the campaign. General Flynn, all kinds of new allegations. And now Devin Nunes himself getting in trouble like this. How are we supposed to believe anything his committee is going to investigate? How are we supposed to believe what Sean Spicer says at a press conference? How are we supposed to believe what President Trump says? This is damaging and dangerous for our representative democracy.
SESAY: Shawn, to bring you in here, the Democrats want Nunes to recuse himself from the Russian investigation. Listen to what the House ranking Democrats, Adam Schiff, had to say earlier.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. ADAM SCHIFF, (D-CA), RANKING MEMBER, HOUSE INTELLIGENCE COMMITTEE: The issue isn't whether I'm offended or members of the committee are offended, it's about whether the public can have confidence we'll get to the bottom about the Russian meddling in our election, that we can do so in a way that the White House won't be putting its hand on the scale.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SESAY: Shawn, you hear that and think what? Most people would say he has a point. That at least the optics of this make people think something quite right is going on here. It doesn't pass the smell test.
SHAWN STEEL, CALIFORNIA REPUBLICAN NATIONAL COMMITTEE MEMBER: I'm quite lucky, I know most of the congressmen. Adam Schiff has been one of the oldest hacks in the Democrat delegation for years. Devin Nunes is well known, respected on the Hill.
The bottom line is people that don't like Trump are not going to believe anything. People that don't like the Democrats aren't going to believe that version either. You have to look to the sources of the information. Devin Nunes is a widely popular chairman of the committee. He has information devastating to Comey, devastating to Obama's appointment, devastating for the net. Most people right now believe that our government has too much private information about our citizens, it's spying too much on our citizens, and now there's information coming out very soon that's devastating to people --
BEARMAN: Shawn --
BEARMAN: Shawn, what about Nunes on the White House grounds getting this information. You're talking about all these other things. What about Nunes on the White House grounds before his own committee.
STEEL: Very selective here. Nunes was getting information in the Eisenhower Building, where it's a national security, has a special room where you can look at this information. And I'm grateful he brought it out to the public. Often times, these secrets are kept behind closed doors and controlled by people that are also smart and he's opening it so we can see what's happening to the Obama appointees.
VAUSE: Shawn, he's actually not bringing the information.
VAUSE: Because we don't know what it is. We don't know where it came from.
VAUSE: Hang on.
Question for Ethan. At this point, should he just pull Democrats from the House Intelligence Committee? Because it seems to be a big fat waste of time?
[02:35:09] BEARMAN: No, I don't think they should withdraw from the committee. I think Democrats need to make sure to stay engaged. You need to keep a seat at the table and not withdraw completely. They must do everything they possibly can to call for an independent investigator and put excessive amounts of pressure on Representative Nunes to step back from any kind of investigation regarding Russia, regarding these leaks. And I have zero confidence in the administration or Representative Nunes at this point.
STEEL: We completely disagree on every bit of that.
STEEL: He's not stepping back.
STEEL: If anything, Adam should go back to Glendale and apologize --
SESAY: OK, so Devin Nunes and Adam Schiff, their bruhaha aside, let's bring up --
STEEL: It's all politics.
SESAY: Let's bring up the point that Jared Kushner, Trump's son-in- law, is to be questioned by the Senate Intelligence Committee over Russian ties in the coming days. Nobody wants to prejudge what he's going to say. But, Shawn, would you accept it does make it hard for the administration to get past the issue when the closest advisor is taking his place in the hot seat?
STEEL: And doing it voluntarily. Let's get to the bottom. Hillary had four times the money as Donald Trump.
VAUSE: Hillary's not around, Shawn. Shawn, not talking about Hillary. Hillary's no longer with us.
STEEL: -- time and time again --
STEEL: Especially when we're talking about government surveillance.
VAUSE: OK. Look, let's listen to Sean Spicer. He said it's all good, just a friendly chat. Listen to this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEAN SPICER, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: Based on the media frenzy that existed around this, he volunteered to make sure that -- he said, hey, we made contacts. I'd be glad to explain them. Let me know if you'd like to talk. Plain and simple.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VAUSE: Ethan, part of the unrecorded meetings, he met with a CEO of a bank under sanctions. This is the bank that did all of Putin's bidding around the world. This doesn't look good.
BEARMAN: By the way, why was Jared Kushner in charge of foreign relations during the transition? This guy has zero diplomatic experience. Condoleezza Rice, at Stanford, must be rolling around in her bed wondering what's happening? Why is Jared Kushner involved in foreign contacts and relations? And he's now in charge of deconstructing the administrative state per President Trump. We're turning into a third-rate banana republic where a man was elk elected and now is appointing immediate family members to take key positions. This is a tragedy and a travesty.
VAUSE: Last word, Shawn.
STEEL: I think that's a little over the top. Jared --
You can see how badly discouraged the Democrats are. They're throwing everything they can on the table, and none of it's sticking. Jared is going to show up at the Senate committee. He'll talk about all the Russians he might have met. The Democrats have been meeting the Russians a lot more frequently than the Republicans have, because they were in power.
VAUSE: OK (CROSSTALK)
VAUSE: None of it's sticking. Let's look at the lowest approval numbers from gallop. Down 36 percent, the lowest so far for Donald Trump, and 2 percent lower than Barack Obama was at in his lowest point ever. So some of it might be sticking. We have a lot more we can get to, but we'll leave it there for now.
Shawn, Ethan --
SESAY: Always a pleasure. Thank you.
STEEL: Thank you. Great stuff.
SESAY: Yeah. Yeah.
VAUSE: We've got to get going.
SESAY: That was real smooth.
SESAY: Even smoother, let's take a break.
President Trump is set to roll out some new plans for the environment. We'll have more on those details when we come back.
[02:42:33] VAUSE: U.S. President Donald Trump is expected to sign an executive order on Tuesday aimed at rolling back Obama-era protections for the environment and efforts to slow global warming. It appears the Clean Power Plan is likely to be scrapped.
President Obama unveiled the sweeping new regulations almost three years ago, which imposed higher standards for natural gas and stricter limits on coal-fired ones, all designed to reduce greenhouse gases. A year ago, the U.S. Supreme Court ordered a stay on those new regulations. That case is yet to be resolved.
Cutting carbon emissions is a key part of the Paris agreement on climate, signed on to by almost 200 countries. The new boss of the EPA, not only opposed the Clean Power Plan but Trump believes the Paris Accord was a bad deal for the U.S.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SCOTT PRUITT, DIRECTOR, ENVIRONMENT PROTECTION AGENCY: The Paris Accord is something that's nonbinding. It was not a treaty as such. The Clean Power Plan is not tethered to the Paris Accords. And so this is an effort to undo the unlawful approach to the previous administration and do it right with the mindset of being pro-growth and pro-environment and we can achieve both.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
Emma Sachs is with the advocacy group, AVAAZ. She joins us now from Chicago with more on the impact these changes could have on the environment.
Emma, good to see you.
It seems all these new regulations won't just knee-cap the efforts but also they're aimed very much at pro coal, pro fossil fuel.
EMMA SACHS, AVAAZ ADVOCACY GROUP: You know, it's true that's where they're aimed. But I'm afraid the ship has left the port. What we have right now is a global economy that is racing towards renewables, whether the U.S. gets on board or not and that's a great thing for the environment movement and people everywhere. These regulations can't stop that train.
VAUSE: We heard from the head of the EPA and he's outlined some of the details we can expect in this executive order.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
PRUITT: The past administration had a very anti-fossil fuel strategy. And so this was a promise these -- he's keeping to the American people saying we can put people back to work. There's been a stay against this Clean Power Plan. So our actions shortly after the executive order will make sure whatever steps we take in the future will be pro- growth, pro-environment and in the framework of the clean air act and legal.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
[02:45:10] VAUSE: What we're not hearing from the Trump administration is any talk on climate change. Just seems that doesn't exist as an issue for this new administration.
SACHS: What they seem to be focusing on is this false division that regular people don't abide by. We've had millions of members that signs on to 100 percent clean energy because they know what the numbers are telling them that one in 50 jobs combine come from solar alone. That's more than all the gas and oil and coal in the U.S. This is a pro-growth strategy. What's happening is that the Trump administration campaigned in coal country on bringing the jobs back and it's fake promises and they're trying to pretend to deliver on it.
VAUSE: We're hearing that Jared and Ivanka Kushner may have convinced him not to withdraw from the Paris Accord. With that in mind, if the Clean Power Plan regulations are scrapped, surely there will have to be some impact from rolling back these regulations.
SACHS: You know, on that day when the Paris agreement was signed, it was an incredible day for everyone, especially for those of us that had been campaigning for it because it was a line in the sand that's hard to go back from. It put all of business globally on notice to move in that direction and even if they scrap these regulations, which we don't know what's going to happen on Tuesday but that kind of regulation role back isn't going to change the fact that cities and states and businesses are already moving towards the promises of the Paris agreement. 12 states have introduced legislation to pursue clean energy futures. That's significant and that's in the few months since Trump was elected.
VAUSE: I guess we will now wait and see what happens and what the real impact will be.
Emma, thanks for being with us. Appreciate it.
SACHS: Thanks for having me.
SESAY: CNN's David McKenzie explains why Trump's actions on climate change could be an opportunity for China.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: So this whole area is industrialized, basically.
DAVID MCKENZIE, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Extending an invitation to Donald Trump.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's called capital --
MCKENZIE: -- one of the country's best known environmentalists.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: More people in China believe we need to get rich first before thinking about the environment but now we're suffering from that.
MCKENZIE: Suffering on an enormous scale. Choking on toxic smog. It's estimated bad air kills more than two million people a year. Hostage to rampant economic growth.
Chinese officials have a history of misleading the public about pollution and harassing activists like Ma. Now they are helping him, collaborating on a app.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Some of the factories are not in compliance.
MCKENZIE: It publishes real-time factory emissions data, shaming the violators, and harnessing the power of the crowd.
(on camera): Another extraordinary thing about this application is that users can take photos of suspected pollution and load it on to a map of China. Just a few years ago, doing this could have put them at real risk from the government.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Now finally, there's a real political will to try to control the pollution.
MCKENZIE (voice-over): In the U.S., the swing seems to be in the opposite direction. President Trump has signed off on a controversial Keystone XL Pipeline.
The Environmental Protection Agency is led by fossil fuels ally. That's making executives at this wind energy plant very happy. China is funneling more than $260 billion into clean energy, far outstripping U.S. efforts. And they ship these turbines across the world.
"Donald Trump is definitely an opportunity for us," he says.
The Chinese climate negotiator told CNN they are dismayed that Trump 's administration could roll back on climate commitments, and the irony isn't lost on Ma, that China, the world's biggest polluter, could take the environmental lead.
David McKenzie, CNN, being.
VAUSE: That's what a lot of people are pointing to that there are these industries in place generating a lot of income and economic growth and that train has now left.
SESAY: They're in the driving seat.
[02:50:47] VAUSE: A short break. When we come back, do you remember on the campaign trail, Donald Trump promised there was going to be a lot of winning, a lot, a lot of winning.
SESAY: A lot of winning.
VAUSE: A lot of winning. Now some are turning those words into some winning insults.
VAUSE: Donald Trump, he likes to win. He says he wins a lot until he loses.
SESAY: Well, the failure of the Republican's health care bill has some critics using the U.S. president's winning catchphrase to mock him.
VAUSE: Big league.
SESAY: Here's Jeanne Moos.
JEANNE MOOS, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): When critics make fun of President Trump losing, their favorite ammunition is his boasting about winning.
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We're going to win so much you may even get tired of winning.
You may get bore would winning. You're going to get so sick and tired of winning.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: So America, are you tired of winning yet? So much winning, winning.
MOOS: Even this Republican strategist couldn't resist.
UNIDENTIFIED REPUBLICAN STRATEGIST: Besides of being sick and tired of all this failing.
MOOS: Tweeted one critic, "So when exactly does the winning start?" Followed by a list of Trump setbacks.
The parody account for Donald J. Rump tweeted, "I'm really getting sick of winning, it's overrated."
All comedian, Bill Maher, had to do was play the video.
TRUMP: It's too much winning. We can't take it anymore.
REPORTERM: And shake his head.
(on camera): There is one other guy who made winning his catchphrase, but it ended up catching up with him.
UNIDENTIFIED ACTOR: Wow, winning, winning.
MOOS (voice-over): You know what also isn't winning, giving the White House briefing with something stuck in your teeth.
"Sean Spicer's teeth are a sanctuary city for spinach," snarked one viewer.
MOOS: Tweeted another, "It's appropriate that @pressec has lettuce in his teeth since he speaks in word salads."
And no one bothered to speak up as they did --
UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: Your pin is upside-down, Sean.
MOOS: -- when Spicer wore his flag pin upside down.
Also, not winning, the little portable desk --
TRUMP: This is smallest desk I've ever seen.
MOOS: -- the president had to use to sign bills in the Roosevelt Room.
Not quite as small --
(LAUGHTER) -- as the one presidential impersonator, Alec Baldwin, was relegated to on "SNL."
To this president, size matters, and winning is how he sizes himself up.
TRUMP: Please, Mr. President, we don't want to win anymore.
MOOS: Jeanne Moos, CNN --
TRUMP: You're driving us crazy.
MOOS: -- New York.
SESAY: Poor Sean Spicer.
VAUSE: It hasn't even been 100 days yet.
SESAY: Buckle up.
You're watching CNN NEWSROOM, live from Los Angeles. I'm Isha Sesay.
VAUSE: I'm John Vause.
The NEWSROOM continues next with Rosemary Church.
[03:00:12] ROSEMARY CHURCH, CNN ANCHOR: He's one of the top lawmakers investigating --