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Putin Flexes Global Muscle; Trump Threatens Government Shutdown in Fall; Trump Relying on China to Pressure North Korea; Hamas Announces Major Policy Changes; UK Leaders Campaign for Coming Snap Election; Brawl Breaks Out on Tokyo Los Angeles Flight. Aired 12-1a ET

Aired May 3, 2017 - 00:00   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


[00:00:10] JOHN VAUSE, CNN ANCHOR: This is CNN NEWSROOM live from Los Angeles. Ahead this hour Vladimir Putin flexing his global muscle talking Syria and North Korea with three of the world's most powerful leaders.

Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas goes to Washington on Wednesday. How his White House visit is being received in the Middle East?

Plus, Brexit talks turn nasty as the all-important snap election in the UK is looming.

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

It seems the Russian president Vladimir Putin is at the center of global diplomacy talking with world leaders on issues like Syria and Ukraine. He'll welcome Turkey's president to Russia on Wednesday. A day before that Mr. Putin hosted German chancellor Angela Merkel who has led the push for sanctions on Russia for its annexation of Crimea. And Mr. Putin also spoke with the U.S. president Donald Trump for the first time since the U.S. launched airstrikes on the Syrian air base.

Details now from Matthew Chance.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

MATTHEW CHANCE, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, the Kremlin described the phone call as business like and construction, with Presidents Trump and Putin discussing the prospect of a joint fight against the international terrorism in Syria. The kind of cooperation in other words that's been discussed many times in the past without success.

The situation on the Korean peninsula was also discussed in detail, according to the Kremlin, with President Putin calling for restraint and a reduction of tension. Putin and Trump also discussed a first personal meeting on the sidelines of the G-20 summit in July.

But it's what was not discussed that's perhaps most revealing. The conflict in Ukraine over which the U.S. has imposed tough sanctions on Russia. Allegations of meddling in the U.S. presidential election and the politics of other countries. The issue of gay rights in Russia.

The German chancellor, Angela Merkel, raced all of those issues in her talks with President Putin several hours before. President Trump, though, apparently deciding to take a less confrontational line.

Matthew Chance, CNN, Moscow.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

VAUSE: Another Twitter bombshell from Donald Trump. The U.S. president now embracing the idea of a government shutdown just days after Congress passed a short-term spending bill to keep the federal bills paid until the end of September.

Jim Acosta has details.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: This is what winning looks like.

JIM ACOSTA, CNN SENIOR WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Even though President Trump is crowing at a new government spending bill represents a win for White House.

TRUMP: After years of partisan bickering and gridlock this bill is a clear win for the American people.

ACOSTA: He is clearly irritated he did not get everything he wanted namely funding for his signature proposal, a new wall on the U.S.- Mexico border and he's threatening to shut down the government to get what he wants.

The president is warning he won't take no for an answer during the next budget battle in the fall, tweeting, "Either elect more Republican senators in the 2018 or change the rules now to 51 percent. Our country needs a good shutdown in September to fix mess."

That's just one week after he complained Democrats were prepared to do the same thing. "As families prepare for summer vacations in our national parks Democrats threaten to close them and shut down the government. Terrible."

MICK MULVANEY, DIRECTOR, OFFICE OF MANAGEMENT AND BUDGET: A good one would be something that fixes Washington, D.C. permanently.

ACOSTA: White House budget director Mick Mulvaney tried to defend the president's desire for a shutdown despite the fact the administration just reached a compromise.

(On camera): Isn't that what the American people want? They want their government to work and pass budgets that can be a compromise, both sides can agree on? How can a shutdown be good?

MULVANEY: That's exactly what I think they want and that's exactly what we have given to them with this agreement. My point to you in response to a couple different questions was that the president wants to see Washington better. Get better, get fixed, change the way it does business.

ACOSTA: But isn't this better this week when you had a compromise?

MULVANEY: It is. It absolutely is. Which is why it's so frustrating -- which is why it's so frustrating to have the Democrats go out and say they won and we lost.

ACOSTA (voice-over): In his own attempt to spin the compromise as a win Mulvaney says some of the money was going to, quote, "a new wall," but it's really just beefing up existing fencing.

MULVANEY: You can call it new wall, you can call it replacement, you can call it maintenance, you can call it whatever you want to, the president's priority was to secure the southern border.

ACOSTA: Democrats were quick to pounce on the shutdown talk.

SEN. CHARLES SCHUMER (D), MINORITY LEADER: We don't like government shutdowns and we avoid them at all costs.

ACOSTA: This rare episode of compromise isn't exactly sitting well with some Republicans who complained they gave up too much to reach a deal.

[00:05:02] SEN. LINDSEY GRAHAM (R), SOUTH CAROLINA: I think the Democrats cleaned our clock. I think, you know, there are things in this bill that I just don't understand. This was not winning from the Republican point of view.

ACOSTA (on camera): The president also tried to spin the new border security money as a victory saying in an event earlier in the day we're putting up a lot of new walls but that's in reference to the large fencing that's already in use to enhance existing border security measures. It's not the kind of new wall the president promised to build during the campaign.

Jim Acosta, CNN, the White House.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

VAUSE: Well, joining me here in Los Angeles, Ron Brownstein, CNN's senior political analyst and senior editor for "The Atlantic."

Ron, good to see you. Yes, the big new set, huh? It's been awhile.

RON BROWNSTEIN, CNN SR. POLITICAL ANALYST: Yes.

VAUSE: OK. I guess we can talk about Hollywood.

BROWNSTEIN: Very Hollywood. Yes.

VAUSE: It is very Hollywood. I guess we can chalk up another first for the Trump administration. We actually have a president saying that a government shutdown is needed, essentially saying it's a good thing.

As a general rule government shutdowns are considered to be a bad thing.

BROWNSTEIN: Are a bad thing and they kind of -- they hurt the people in power. That's the one thing that we know. And unlike the other -- first of all, this will be the first government shutdown that I'm aware of with unified control of government. I mean, the idea is almost incomprehensible. In the past where we've had government shutdowns it's because you've had a president of one party and a Congress of the other that was unable to reach agreement.

That was the case with Bill Clinton and the Republicans in the '90s. It was the case with President Obama and Republicans in his second term. This, the idea that you would have a government shutdown while Republicans are in unified control of the government is unique. And I think a frightening concept to many Republicans in Congress who recognize that they're already skating on the edge of an image of dysfunction with all the trouble over health care and so forth.

And if they shut down the government at any point later this year, I don't think many of them -- it's a great way to go into --

(CROSSTALK)

VAUSE: OK, so --

BROWNSTEIN: It is an election year.

VAUSE: I guess so then maybe this is a negotiating tactic? It seems an odd thing to do, pull a negotiating tactic once the negotiations are over.

BROWNSTEIN: Yes.

VAUSE: I guess -- is this being driven by, you know, the Democrats who've been taking a bit of a victory lap over what they managed to get into that spending bill and what they've managed to get out of it?

BROWNSTEIN: Yes. I think -- I think, yes, I think clearly. I mean, the president responds to provocation almost immediately and almost from any source. I mean, it was -- you know, during the campaign, Hillary Clinton said, do you want someone as president who can be baited with a tweet? And we are kind of seeing the ups and downsides of that as president, because it's pretty clear he can be baited with a tweet. And it clearly -- you know, this is -- this is about negotiating over this. So what they did was they had the spending bill now that will take us through the end of this fiscal year in September.

I think what the president was talking about was a fight over the spending for the next fiscal year in which he wants to try again on some of these priorities. But the divisions among Republicans, where you have certain conservative members who simply will not vote for any of the spending means they need Democratic votes to keep the government open. And if that's the case, he's not getting his wall. VAUSE: You know, there are a lot of questions about these tweets

coming from the president on Tuesday, also about health care, a whole bunch of things. But unfortunately, no one got to ask those questions to the White House because this happened.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: Hey, Sean --

UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: Sean --

UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: Sean --

(CROSSTALK)

(END VIDEO CLIP)

VAUSE: Yes, the cries of, "Sean, Sean, Sean," Sean Spicer, the White House spokesman. He walked out. He stayed there for like 53 seconds. So what --

BROWNSTEIN: Yes, look, there have been chaotic periods in this presidency. But if you think about the last several days, about the kind of the frenzy leading into the 100th day, the interviews that he's given, all of the unexpected and unusual things that he has said about Andrew Jackson, about North Korea, I mean, this has been a period at the high level of stress, I think, and chaos.

And I think a lot -- you know, I was reading our "National Journal" publication tonight and one Republican said to one of our reporters, I have -- I have already given up on trying to understand what the messaging is at any given moment. I mean, even people in the White House have acknowledged it's not really clear what the point of all these interviews were. And I think, you know, the administration again, you know, for perhaps the second or third time in just 100 odd days, kind of needs a moment to kind of step back and start over because, again, on health care, they are facing another existential moment.

VAUSE: But because they're trying to pass the repeal or the replacement -- the repeal and replace of Obamacare, this will be the third attempt in the next couple of days.

BROWNSTEIN: Yes.

VAUSE: They want to get it through before the recess. It's not looking likely. If it doesn't get through this time, if it doesn't happen, I guess the question is, why is it so hard for Republicans?

BROWNSTEIN: It is a great question because they've been passing it over and over when it had no chance of becoming law. But I said to you, I think from the beginning, the core problem is the shifting nature of the Republican coalition. It is now heavily dependent on lower income and older whites, many of whom have benefited from the Affordable Care Act. You know, we did analysis today, looking at the 20 or so Republican

members of the House who have indicated they're not supporting this bill. And it's not what you would expect. They are not predominantly from districts that Hillary Clinton carried. In fact, most of them are from districts -- two-thirds of them are from districts that Donald Trump carried and in most of them, he did better than Mitt Romney did in 2012.

[00:10:03] The common thread is that they're districts that tend to be older. That's why Donald Trump did better. He does extremely well among older whites. But the idea of eliminating the guarantee on pre- existing condition, rolling back some of the other provisions in the law that would have significantly, according to the Congressional Budget Office, raised premiums for older adults, most of whom are white, most of whom vote Republican, that, I think, has been the core challenge.

I mean, President Trump seemed to get this during the campaign when he talked about exempting Medicare and Social Security from budget cuts. He's been led down the path of more traditional, small government, Paul Ryan agenda. And they simply cannot get enough members, even if they get it over the top in the House by a vote, very different -- yes, very difficult prospects in the Senate.

VAUSE: And with health care in mind, there's a lot of talk about, you know, this monologue by the late-night TV guy, Jimmy Kimmel.

BROWNSTEIN: Yes.

VAUSE: He spoke with great emotion about his newborn son who had heart surgery and, at the same time, Kimmel went on to make this call for affordable health care. Listen to this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JIMMY KIMMEL, HOST, "JIMMY KIMMEL LIVE": Before 2014 if you were born with congenital heart disease like my son was, there was a good chance you'd never be able to get health insurance because you had a preexisting condition. You were born with a pre-existing condition. And if your parents didn't have medical insurance, you might not live long enough to even get denied because of a pre-existing condition.

If your baby is going to die and it doesn't have to, it shouldn't matter how much money you make. I think that's something now whether you are a Republican or a Democrat or something else, we all agree on that.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

VAUSE: You know, this is all pretty nuanced because --

BROWNSTEIN: That is a very powerful statement.

VAUSE: Yes.

BROWNSTEIN: And, look, we have seen in polls approval of the Affordable Care Act is going up. Agreement with the idea that government has a responsibility to provide health care for all Americans is going up.

You know, for a long time I thought the ACA was kind of defying the law of political gravity. Many people, including President Obama, thought that once you provided health care to this many people, you simply could not take it away politically or in fact we have not.

VAUSE: Yes.

BROWNSTEIN: We have not had an entitlement, I think, rescinded this far away from its initial passage. For a long time, it looked like that was not kicking in. Now when the rubber is meeting the road, it really feels that way. That people kind of look at this and say, are we really going to take away health care from 24 million people like the Congressional Budget Office said? And by the way, as I said before, not all of the 24 million-plus who got covered under Obamacare were Democrats. Many of them were of Republican constituencies.

For example, in just one example, in Kentucky, there are seven times as many people receiving opioid treatment, substance abuse treatment, under Medicaid as two years ago. 71 percent of the people covered under the expansion of Medicaid in Ohio were white and three-fifths of them don't have -- don't have any more education than a high school degree. These are Republican voters and I think that is the big rock in the road that they simply cannot get around.

VAUSE: Yes, and, you know --

BROWNSTEIN: Facts on the ground matter.

VAUSE: And this is needed. You know, this is not something you can do without.

BROWNSTEIN: Facts on the ground matter. Yes.

VAUSE: We also heard from Hillary Clinton. She is back in public. She is talking about --

BROWNSTEIN: Yes.

VAUSE: You know, taking the blame and who is to blame for her election loss.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

CHRISTIAN AMANPOUR, CNN ANCHOR: Do you take any personal responsibility?

HILLARY CLINTON (D), FORMER PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Oh, of course. I take absolute personal responsibility. I was the candidate. I was the person who was on the ballot. But I was on the way to winning until the combination of Jim Comey's letter on October 28th and Russian WikiLeaks raised doubts in the minds of people who were inclined to vote for me but got scared off.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

VAUSE: So it seems the president is up late watching cable because he has been tweeting a short time ago, "FBI Director Comey was the best thing that ever happened to Hillary Clinton, in that he gave her a free pass for many bad deeds. The phony Trump-Russia story was an excuse used by the Democrats as justification for losing the election. Perhaps Trump just ran a great campaign?"

BROWNSTEIN: Wow.

VAUSE: Referring himself in the third person.

BROWNSTEIN: Yes. No. I think former Secretary Clinton's remarks were interesting because I think it can be true -- two things can be true. It can be true that the Comey letter and the Russian interference may have been enough to tip the election. But the fact that it was close enough --

VAUSE: Right.

BROWNSTEIN: That those events could tip it when she was running against a candidate who 60 percent of the country was saying was not qualified, nearly as many were saying they considered racially biased, that was an indictment of her and her campaign.

The fact that she was within range for president -- for now President Trump, for these other factors to tip the election, I think, is the part of responsibility that she is not fully acknowledging.

VAUSE: It does not sound as if she has embraced that --

BROWNSTEIN: No, it does not sound she has fully embraced that.

VAUSE: -- part of the election.

BROWNSTEIN: Right. Right. And all those visits to Wisconsin and Michigan, you remember that.

VAUSE: Yes.

BROWNSTEIN: In the fall, the constant drumbeat of advertising. VAUSE: Yes. Not a bit.

BROWNSTEIN: Yes. Yes. You know, so there we go.

VAUSE: Ron, good to see you. Thanks so much.

Well, on the North Korean nuclear issue Hillary Clinton is telling President Trump be careful how you negotiate. Mr. Trump has said he'd be honored to meet with leader Kim Jong-un under the right circumstances.

[00:15:05] Now the former secretary of State is warning Mr. Trump any talks should be part of a regional strategy.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) CLINTON: The North Korean are always interested, not just Kim Jong-un but his father before him, were always interested in trying to get Americans to come to negotiate to elevate their status and their position. And we should be very careful about giving that away. You should not offer that in the absence of a broader strategic framework to try to get China, Japan, Russia, South Korea, to put the kind of pressure on the regime that will finally bring them to the negotiating table with some kind of realistic prospect for change.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

VAUSE: Well, for more on this, CNN's Paula Hancocks is in Seoul, Matt Rivers standing by in Beijing.

So, Paula, first to you. Just picking up on Hillary Clinton's point, you know, Donald Trump did speak with the Russian president on Tuesday. North Korea was part of that conversation. We know Mr. Trump has been pressing Beijing as well. Is this sort of the start of a regional strategy, if you like, Trump style?

PAULA HANCOCKS, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Potentially it could be, John. I mean we have seen a lot more engagements from President Trump in recent weeks. He's as you say spoken to the leaders of China and Russia, also the leader of Japan. Even the Philippines president Duterte, he said that he was discussing North Korea with him. He's spoken less to officials here in South Korea. Obviously a tricky political situation without an official president here, just an acting president means that he hasn't spoken to South Korea as much.

But he has been quite vocal in trying to drum up support. We know that the secretary of State, the Defense secretary, have already been to this region. The vice president. I mean there is definitely a focus, a strong focus on Northeast Asia and all of the officials coming through and trying to drum up support for the North Korea solution.

But of course we are hearing some conflicting comments. We're hearing conflicting messages not least from the U.S. president himself suggesting during campaigning he'd meet with president -- with Kim Jong-un, the leader of North Korea and then going to the point of the military option is on the table. And then once again saying he would meet him. So there is a mixed message. Some in the region are confused about what exactly the North Korean policy is. But he is certainly talking to all the leaders -- John.

VAUSE: And Matt, to you there in Beijing, we know that Congress has started the process of imposing sanctions on North Korea. Any company anywhere which does business with Pyongyang and its missile and nuclear programs, they'll be facing sanctions as well. And according to the man nominated to be the next U.S. ambassador to Beijing his testimony his nomination process, he says that that includes Chinese companies as well. Listen to this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEN. CORY GARDNER (R), COLORADO: Do you believe there is a roll for U.S. secondary sanctions on Chinese entities should China fail to live up to its commitments?

TERRY BRANSTAD, U.S. AMBASSADOR TO CHINA NOMINEE: I think there -- there may well be. Obviously that decision will be made by the administration and by the leadership here in Washington, D.C.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

VAUSE: So, Matt, how enthusiastic is Beijing about that policy of punishing their own companies?

MATT RIVERS, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, they're not going to be too enthusiastic about that. And I think also more broadly speaking China is generally opposed to any sort of unilateral sanctions that -- of this kind of form that would be imposed against North Korea. China consistently holds the position that any sanctions levied against North Korea should go through international mechanisms at the United Nations Security Council and even then there really shouldn't be sanctions moving forward unless they are coupled in some way, shape or form with direct dialogue with the regime.

As you know, China's longstanding position on the Korean peninsula is that the only way to solve the crisis in a lasting way is to have direct negotiations with the regime namely between the United States and Pyongyang.

That said, though, John, we have to remember that there was two different rounds of sanctions that China helped draft in 2016. And if North Korea has another provocation like a new nuclear test perhaps, then they could revisit that sanctions policy.

VAUSE: OK. Matt, thank you. Matt Rivers there in Beijing, also Paula Hancocks live in Seoul as well.

Well, still to come here, a day a after the Palestine group Hamas announced a new charter, a new softer, kinder approach with international acceptance we'll sit down with the Hamas leader Khaled Mashal to find out exactly what Hamas hopes to achieve.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[00:23:19] VAUSE: Donald Trump will host the Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas at the White House on Wednesday. Aides to Abbas say he is eager to engage with President Trump and he's hoping the U.S. president can offer a fresh approach to restarting peace talks.

The meeting comes just a day after Hamas released a new policy document which for the first time accepts a future Palestine state within the borders that existed in 1967 before Israel took control of the West Bank, Gaza and all of Jerusalem.

CNN's Nic Robertson sat down with Hamas Khaled Mashal in exile in Dubai.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

NIC ROBERTSON, CNN INTERNATIONAL DIPLOMATIC EDITOR: Hamas has issued a new political document. Has anything changed -- has Hamas changed its position on anything?

KHALED MASHAL, HAMAS LEADER (Through Translator): Of course. Since its birth in 1987 Hamas has been evolving and changing. Groups are like living creatures. If they don't evolve they die. Hamas is a serious movement and is aware of variables of the conflict within the regional and international context. Consequently Hamas has developed itself. It has opened up.

ROBERTSON: So what is it in that document that you want the world to understand, that changes the way that they should view you to get this engagement that you want?

MASHAL (Through Translator): In the document, there are numerous articles and political stances and concepts that the entire world, especially the Western countries, ought to positively engage with. For example, when Hamas addresses internal Palestinian issues and stresses that it's keen on democracy and stresses its respect for election results, its keenness to build the Palestinian society and political order on democratic foundations.

[00:25:06] ROBERTSON: The spokesman for the Israeli prime minister says that you're just trying to fool the world. You're trying to pull the wool over the eyes of the world that in fact Hamas still attacks Jews, that Hamas still calls for the destruction of Israel. Are they correct in that?

MASHAL (Through Translator): Netanyahu and the Israeli leadership try to frame blame the Palestinians for their own crime. They are the ones occupying the land, they are the ones building settlements, stealing land.

The second point, Netanyahu wants to see Hamas and the Palestinian people the way he wants. Weak on the ground and hard liners in their political and media rhetoric. Hamas is doing the exact opposite of what Netanyahu wants.

ROBERTSON: Will Hamas stop its shelling of Israeli civilians? Will you renounce violence?

MASHAL (Through Translator): We don't practice or apply violence. We practice legitimate resistance against the occupation. If the occupation and the settlements are gone, then there is no need to use force or resistance.

ROBERTSON: What I'm not hearing from you -- and help me understand this. I'm not hearing the sort of language that's going to move the dial for the international community. You're not saying that you'll renounce violence, stop shelling on Israeli civilians, stop the tunneling, and that you'll recognize the state of Israel, the sort of language that would make the international community pay more attention to Hamas. I'm not hearing that.

MASHAL (Through Translator): It's not equitable to ask the Palestinians or to ask Hamas to be subject to the criteria of the Israelis. How should Hamas be asked to stop resistance while its lands are occupied, swallowed by settlements. I am saying now that the charter is enough for equity. World capital should seize the opportunity and engage seriously with Hamas, Palestinians, the Arabs and to exercise pressure on the intransigent party which is Israel.

This is a plea from me to the Trump administration, the new American administration. Break out from the wrong approaches of the past and which did not arrive at a result. And perhaps to grab the opportunity presented by Hamas's charter. This is an opportunity for a new rapprochement that adopts the positive stance of Hamas, the Palestinians and the Arabs.

ROBERTSON: Does President Trump have the approach, the personality, do you think, to break the log jam?

MASHAL (Through Translator): Yes this provides an opportunity that this administration has approaches that are different. It has a greater threshold for boldness. Naturally without changing the conditions we can't expect to change the results. If we continue with the same faulty and redundant approaches, how can we expect different results? Like Einstein said that would be insanity. As such I believe that the current administration is capable of effecting change in the way it engages with the Arab-Israeli conflict.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

VAUSE: Nic Robertson speaking with Khaled Mashal.

We'll take a short break. When we come back, Britain's election campaign just getting started. Already the Labour opposition is under pressure while the ruling conservatives are facing some tough questions if they really grasp the true cost of leaving the EU. And the prime minister who called that vote facing some claims she is out of touch and that she can't eat chips.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[00:32:00] VAUSE: Welcome back, everybody. You're watching CNN NEWSROOM live from Los Angeles, I'm John Vause with the headlines this hour.

Russia's president seems to be at the center of global diplomacy right now holding talks to 12 leaders. He discussed Syria and Ukraine with the German Chancellor Angela Merkel on Tuesday. Later, spoke with the U.S. President Donald Trump by phone for the first time since that U.S. strike on a Syrian air base. And in the coming hours, Mr. Putin will meet with Turkey president.

President Donald Trump thinks the U.S. could use a good government shutdown. He made the comment on a pair of tweets on Tuesday, venting his frustration that Congress won't deliver on many of his budget priorities. Lawmakers announced on Sunday they reached a deal to keep the government running through September.

About five weeks from now, the UK will vote in a snap election with major ramifications for Brexit negotiations. Prime Minister Theresa May is trying to consolidate her power ahead of those talks. And the early poll suggests she should easily win, but opposition leaders are pushing back on her platform.

Once again, here's our Nic Robertson.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Hello, how are you?

NIC ROBERTSON, CNN INTERNATIONAL DIPLOMATIC EDITOR (voice-over): The battle for votes well underway. Opposition leader Jeremy Corbyn fighting to boost his flagging support --

Targeting the government on health care, education, the economy.

JEREMY CORBYN, LEADER, LABOUR PARTY: They're a government that is very strong against the weakest and very weak against the strongest, the wealthiest and the richest. That is the difference between them and us.

ROBERTSON: The British Prime Minister Theresa May campaigning on her party's successful 2015 election slogan.

THERESA MAY, BRITISH PRIME MINISTER: Vote for me and the local conservative candidate is a vote for strong and stable leadership.

ROBERTSON: Strong and stable, a mantra we hear plenty of.

MAY: Every vote for me is a vote for strong and stable leadership.

ROBERTSON: May wants to make the election a binary choice, her or him, the pitch only she can get the country out of Europe successfully.

MAY: Every vote for him is a vote for a chaotic Brexit. Every vote for me is a vote to strengthen our hand and negotiating the best deal for Brexit.

ROBERTSON: In truth, other options than Corbyn are on the table, liberal democrats for a gentler Brexit. The Scottish National Party pushing for Scottish independence weaken May. But between the P.M. and the main opposition, the battle lines are clear.

CORBYN: Mr. Speaker, the election on the 8th of June is a choice between a conservative -- yes, between a conservative government for the few and a labor government that will stand up for all of our people.

ROBERTSON: Not everyone is taking kindly to that idea.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It is again without really a good chance of significant difference, I think, isn't helpful.

ROBERTSON: Without doubt, the election is another big ask at the of the British people. A Brexit referendum last year, a general election two years ago. For May's election gamble to pay off with a bigger majority, she needs as many people as possible to go out and vote.

MAY: And again at the weekend.

ROBERTSON: This election still a long way from the slam dunk May hopes it will be.

Nic Robertson, CNN, London.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

VAUSE: Ryan Heath is a senior EU correspondent for "Politico." He joins me now from Brussels.

Ryan, good to see you. You know, the conservatives and Theresa May, they seem to have taken this whole message discipline thing to a whole new level.

Apart from one kind of unfortunate moment when Prime Minister May was photographed struggling to eat chips by the sea side. On the opposition side, the Labor side, it's been quite the opposite hasn't it. They've really been struggling for at least in the opening stages.

RYAN HEATH, SENIOR EU CORRESPONDENT, POLITICO: Well, it's almost a role reversal and back for the 1990s. Theresa May just reminds me precisely of what Tony Blair was like when he rode to victory in that landslide victory in 1997.

I think she is very lucky that she faces a weak and divided opposition and she's been very good at that sort shot shift political management. She sees that voter backlash around globalization. She obviously knows what was driving the Brexit vote. And she's been very, very good at cordoning off this sort of working class support of the Labor Party of the UK. And she called Nicola Sturgeon bluff and she's just sticking to that message and saying that over and over again.

So domestically and in the short-term looking very good for Theresa May, but she might be storing up some longer term Brexit problems at the end.

VAUSE: Yes, we'll get to that in a moment.

I want to talk about with labor because it was interesting. About a week or so ago, the Labor Party tweeted out this, "Could you be a brilliant local MP? We're looking for parliamentary candidates for the general election. Apply now."

What does it say about a party if they need to advertise on Twitter to get people to stand in the election?

HEATH: Well, they've really been able to mobilize that core activist base, but they've alienated all of the sorts of people that can build a majority in the electorate, in parliament and for Labor to be casting around for candidates in that sort of way when they have ready ranks of members of the European parliament, when they had 20 years, not 20 years, but more than 10 years of solid governing experience and to still have to be looking around when someone calls a snap election that is not a sign of organization. It's a sign of a divided party. And I think that's the real problem for Labor is that people don't necessarily disagree with their policies. They don't necessarily love Theresa May, but they don't look at Jeremy Corbyn and see prime ministerial material and that's what Theresa May is able to capitalize on.

VAUSE: And we know that Prime Minister Theresa May said she called this election to basically shore up her political position before those Brexit negotiations begin. She's already had some tough words for the president of the European Commission -- listen to this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MAY: I think what we've seen recently is that at times these negotiations are going to be tough. Now during the conservative party leadership campaign I was described by one of my colleagues as a bloody difficult woman. And I said at the time the next person to find that out will be Jean-Claude Juncker.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

VAUSE: Not just simply for domestic politics or an ominous sign of what lies ahead.

HEATH: Well, it's a clever line from Theresa May, but what we have to remember here is that the EU's survival is at stake not just around Brexit but also with French election that's taking place on Sunday. And the EU never gets more united and never gets tougher itself than when its back is really against the wall.

It's one thing to stay off the Scottish National Party or a bunch of other opposition politicians at home, but when you have really 450 million people and 27 governments lined up against you, sometimes you need to more than a bloody difficult woman. You need to have a really good negotiating strategy and not just have these sound bites that Theresa May wheels out.

So I think that does work at home. I think she will be a tough negotiator. But she is going to have to be really, really organized not come out as the loser of these Brexit negotiations.

VAUSE: OK. Ryan, we shall leave it there. Ryan Heath, senior EU correspondent of "Politico."

Thank you.

VAUSE: We have this just in to CNN.

At least three people were killed in a suicide attack near the U.S. embassy in Kabul, Afghanistan. 15 others were wounded. There is still no word on who is responsible. Of course, we'll bring you the very latest information as soon as we get it right there on CNN. In the meantime a short break. Back in a moment.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK) [00:41:50] VAUSE: Whoever said getting there is half the fun clearly was not a passenger onboard a flight from Los Angeles to Tokyo. We'll take you to Los Angeles.

A fight broke out even before the plane left the ground. Here's Jeanne Moos.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

JEANNE MOOS, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): It wasn't quite an in flight fight. The Japanese All Nippon Airways plane was still on the ground preparing for depart tour L.A. when the man in the Hawaiian shirt started attacking other passengers --

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Someone help. This guy is crazy.

MOOS: Was still on the ground preparing for departure to L.A. when the man in the Hawaiian shirt started attacking other passengers.

The guy in the black, though, landed some good punches did he not?

COREY HOUR, PHOTOGRAPHER: Oh, yes, he had a good left. A good solid left.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Come on.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Hey, hey, hey.

MOOS: That's when the passenger shooting the video, a professional photographer from Arizona named Corey Hour turned off his camera and intervened.

HOUR: Hey.

He was still on a rampage, and I actually got up, and at that point I confronted him and I said you need to get off the plane. I said what you're doing is crazy. You need to stop this. And that's when he said, oh, you think I'm crazy, what about the government.

MOOS: He then exited the plane and was arrested after allegedly choking a gate agent. Japanese police confirmed a drunk passenger was arrested at the airport.

Add this to the collection of recent shocking airline cell phone videos.

Joining the passenger dragged off the United plane and a crying mother who had her stroller snatched away by a flight attendant who was then challenged by another passenger.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Hey, bud, you do that to me and I'll knock you flat.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Sir, you stay out of this.

MOOS: An American Airlines executive told a congressional hearing Tuesday that the incident was improperly handled. Congress called the airline execs on the carpet for their customer service.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I was going to ask only slightly in jess why do you hate the American people.

MOOS (on-camera): But in the case of the Japanese airline, you know who deserves a medal in this, the flight attendants, I thought.

HOUR: They handled it superbly in my opinion.

Watch her get in the middle like a referee, who refuses to flee.

Jeanne Moss, CNN, New York.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Hey, hey, hey.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

VAUSE: You know, life really is too short.

Thank you for watching CNN NEWSROOM live from "Los Angeles," I'm John Vause. "World Sport" is up next. And then yes I will be back with another hour of news from all around the world. You're watching CNN.

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