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CNN NEWSROOM

Rally For Peace In Charlottesville; Charlottesville Holds Candlelight Vigil; Trump Ends Business Councils As More Executives Out; Charlottesville Remembers Heather Heyer; Trump Faces Backlash Over Charlottesville Remarks; U.S. Military Leaders Condemn Racism Extremists; Crowd Softly Sings "Lean On Me" At Candlelight Vigil; Cities Quietly Removing Confederate Statues; Source: Trump Moving Forward "Without Regret"; U.S. Joint Chiefs Chairman in Tokyo for Talks; Global Condemnation of Trump's Remarks on Protests; Hundreds of Bodies Recovered after Sierra Leone Mudslide; Daniel Craig Breaks Silence on James Bond. Aired 1-2a ET

Aired August 17, 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] ISHA SESAY, CNN ANCHOR: This is CNN NEWSROOM, live from Los Angeles. Ahead this hour, candles in Charlottesville; a rally for peace of the hate invaded this city. There will be no war on the Korean Peninsula -- strong words from the South Korea president on his 100th day in office. And hundreds of dead, hundreds more missing in Sierra Leone; the devastating aftermath of a mudslide. Hello and welcome to our viewers all around the world. I'm Isha Sesay. NEWSROOM L.A. starts right now.

Four days after a White Supremacist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia turned deadly, the college town is responding.

(CROWD SINGING)

SESAY: A huge crowd gathered on the University of Virginia campus Wednesday night for a candlelight vigil. Marchers say, there's no room for racism and bigotry in Charlottesville, and many are upset over President Donald Trump's response to the violence. CNN's Sara Murray reports.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SARRA MURRAY, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: President Trump, increasingly isolated as the backlash to these remarks, a day ago, builds.

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I do think there's blame -- yes, I think there's blame on both sides. You look at -- you look at both sides, I think there's blame on both sides, and I have no doubt about it, and you don't have any doubt it either. And if you reported it accurately, you would say.

MURRAY: Trump acquitting neo-Nazis and White Supremacist, marking through Charlottesville with an outburst of anger from counter protesters opposing their White Nationalist ideology. The president's comments swiftly drew rebuke from GOP leaders in Washington, former presidents, and Wall Street executives. Business leaders, including the CEOs Campbell and 3M, began fleeing the president; quitting the White House Advisory Council.

On Tuesday, Trump insisted he had plenty of CEOs vying to replace those departing. By Wednesday, he scrapped the councils altogether saying, "Rather than putting pressure on the business people of the Manufacturing Council and Strategy and Policy Forum, I am ending both. Thank you all!" Meanwhile, Presidents George H.W. Bush and George W. Bush offered pointed words in a joint statement saying, "America must always reject racial bigotry, anti-Semitism, and hatred in all forms."

Even if Trump shed supporters, the White House doubled down releasing a set of talking points declaring: "The president was entirely correct -- both sides of violence in Charlottesville acted inappropriately and bear some responsibility." And insisting Trump has been a voice for unity and calm. Today, Vice President Mike Pence was one of the few Republicans to stand by Trump, though he avoided answering a question on whether he agreed with the president's statements that there were very fine people on both sides.

MIKE PENCE, VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I spoke at length about this heartbreaking situation on Sunday night in Colombia, and I stand with the president, and I stand by those words.

MURRAY: As for the president, he recognized the memorial service held for Heather Heyer, who was mowed and killed by an alleged White Supremacist in Charlottesville with a tweet: "Memorial service today for beautiful and incredible Heather Heyer, a truly special young woman. She will be long remembered by all. Trump had not announced any plan to travel to Charlottesville. When asked about it Tuesday, he used the opportunity to tout a Trump branded winery.

TRUMP: I own, actually, one of the largest wineries in the United States, it's in Charlottesville.

MURRAY: Now, even though President Trump's comments had been widely panned, sources tells CNN he is defiant in the face of its criticism and has no regrets about the comments he made on Tuesday. Sara Murray, CNN, Washington.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

SESAY: Well joining me now: Political Commentator and Talk Radio Host, Mo'Kelly; President of the Global Policy Institute at Loyola Marymount University, Michael Genovese; and the Host of "America Trends," Trump supporter, Gina Loudon. Welcome to you all. Thank you so much for sticking around.

Mo, to pick up with you. The president spoke on Tuesday and presented this picture of equivocation and equating neo-Nazis and hate group with the counter protesters. One of the things he said was that you know, the alt-right, if you will, he didn't use those words but he made that those people had a permit. They had a permit their demonstration unlike the other -- the counter protesters. That is wrong.

CNN has learned from the Charlottesville spokesperson that, in fact, the counter protesters did have two permits. They had two permits for two locations downtown, and when it came to emancipation park where we saw a lot of this violence play at, they did not a permit to be on the street or in the park. The point I'm making here is the president said on Saturday, the reason he didn't speak out sooner because he was waiting for all the facts. He spoke out on Tuesday, and his facts were wrong.

[01:05:26] MO'KELLY, POLITICAL COMMENTATOR AND TALK RADIO HOST: If there's any consistent theme in all of this, the president doesn't have any humility in anything that he does or says. One thing towards facts, he wants to be right. But this an issue of righteousness. This is not about him that he wants to make it about him. He wants to be about what he believes, what he feels, proving the media wrong. When he made the statement on Monday, Charlottesville was the third item after he touted his supposed economic successes. Humility is not within this man. And if you understand that there's no humility in him, then he will never understand what is the righteous path to follow on all of this.

Let's not forget, we're talking about the Republican Party; most of the Republican Party stood at opposition to this president from Paul Ryan, Mitt Romney, Jeb Bush. There's all these statements from the joint presidents -- the Bushes -- are in down. If there's a political debate here with the Republican Party, evangelicals need to speak up. But this man doesn't have an ounce of humility in him.

SESAY: Gina, to you. As you're well aware that being a host of people coming out and condemning the president's comments. You heard Mo just mentioned the joint chiefs -- all five of the military leaders came out and in their various ways, put out statements on Twitter in which they basically condemn the statements of the president. This is unprecedented in this country to have these individuals wade into the social or political debate. Bearing that in mind how unprecedented it is, what does it say to you?

GINA LOUDON, TRUMP SUPPORTER AND HOST: I don't think it's unprecedented at all. I think that those same people who opposed this president when he was candidate Trump, tried to tag him with all sorts of slurs at that time, and it didn't work. And the American people are --

SESAY: The military leaders?

LOUDON: The swamp in general. And it pervades. It is the deep state. And this is the reason why conservatives elected this president. And this is the reason why conservatives will continue to elect this person. People like Paul Ryan are the precise reason why President Trump was elected. People throwing --

SESAY: We're not talking about Paul Ryan right now. We're not talking about Paul Ryan. We're talking about the military leaders.

LOUDON: Well, that was part of -- that was in part of your story.

SESAY: We're specifically about the military leaders who took the unprecedented step.

LOUDON: I didn't see the things that they said. I mean --

SESAY: They all came out and they condemned the president. They all came out and took a position of saying bigotry and racism are unacceptable, while they did not name the president.

LOUDON: And so did the president.

SESAY: Clearly, the president would create -- the president put a position out that was more, of more equivalency. That's what the president did on Tuesday. The president equated neo-Nazis with the counter protesters.

LOUDON: The president's word: "We condemn the strongest -- in the strongest possible terms this egregious display of hatred bigotry and violence. It has no place in American." He named the groups. These people --

SESAY: You keep talking about Monday.

LOUDON: In fact, they echoed what he said.

SESAY: You're talking about Monday, we are talking about Tuesday. We are talking about Tuesday which echoed the president comments on Saturday. That is what we are talking about, where the president basically laid blame at many sides. And basically, said there were many sides to blame. That moral equivalency is what America and the world are discussing. Nobody is denying that the president came out and name the group on Monday. Gina, you're absolutely right, he did. But he came out on Tuesday and he equivocated, that cannot be denied.

LOUDON: The talking heads of the world and the political bubble inside of Washington D.C. seemed to be very concerned with this. The American guy out there just trying to make a living, trying to get a job is much more concerned with the jobs that this president has created that are wholly color blind, much more concerned with the fact that this president is giving so much money and attention and time to the inner city, building up the lower class making them into the middle class. This is what's going to help minorities across this country.

And truly, put this country back on the right course. This is what the guy at home is thinking about. It is only people like us sitting here parsing these details that have in (INAUDIBLE) and are probably following this kind of weedy stuff.

SESAY: No. Let me be very clear, it's not just people like us. It is people of color, which clearly, I'm one of. It is people like me and other people of color, and other minority groups, and the things to what the president said.

LOUDON: OK. I have a minority background and I have minority file so.

SESAY: So, don't -- that's not accurate. Let me bring in Michael. Let me bring in Michael. No, but don't -- let me bring in Michael. You heard what she said. She said that it's just talking heads that care this moment, but the president is doing things which then, you know, the person at home doesn't care about. The person at home doesn't care these things. He cares about the president's actual, actual actions. I mean, give us some perspective.

[01:10:24] MICHAEL GENOVESE, PRESIDENT OF THE GLOBAL POLICY INSTITUTE AT LOYOLA MARYMOUNT UNIVERSITY: Well, I think, with all due respect, Gina, underestimates the inherent goodness of the American, and the inherent good common sense of the American people. We all know what the president intended. We all know what he said. We all know what it meant. And so, this is a test for us. It's a test for us in the kind of people we are, and who we want to be. It defines who are. Do we rise to this occasion or do we shrink? Do we face up to what's going on or do we hide under a carpet? And I think the American people -- and yes, they want jobs, and they want all these other things. But they also want goodness, they also want truth, and they also want justice.

LOUDON: Of course. Of course.

GENOVESE: And to say that all we care about is this little thing? No, I'm sorry this is not so.

SESAY: Mo?

KELLY: As an African-American man --

LOUDON: No. What the American people care about, is the fact that a woman dies in this. And the American people want to have a conversation, but they don't want to hear -- they don't want to hear you or me aspire mode --

KELLY: Too bad, the president doesn't care about that. He did not mention her. Was he at the funeral or was he golfing?

LOUDON: Attribute motive to what the president didn't say or when he said it. This is not a great concern people. They're concerned about the woman who died. They're concerned about our race relations. They're concerned about their First Amendment Right, to express their free speech and have civil discourse. They are not concerned with parsing words. I don't believe that.

SESAY: Gina, why did that woman die on Saturday? What killed that woman?

LOUDON: Hate. I would submit to you --

SESAY: Hate? Hate killed her?

LOUDON: That it is a racial division, an identity politics that is propagated by people who want to get people's votes by keeping them down. I would submit to you that that is the case.

SESAY: You submit to me that that is what killed Heather Heyer?

LOUDON: And it is absolutely hatred. SESAY: So, let me put to Mo, the statements by -- no, go ahead. Sorry, go ahead, Gina. You said it's absolutely hate. We were definitely in agreement there --

LOUDON: Yes, there's a little bit of a delay. Yes. I'm sorry, there's a little bit of a delay. But again, I agree with you that it is absolutely hate. I think the slime that initiated these protests in the first place, I have no use for them or whatsoever, and I think they should be called on it. And I disagree with some conservatives. I do believe they bear the brand of responsibility just like I believe that the alt-left bear the brand of responsibility in the five police officers that were killed.

And every time that there is a murder by a radical fringe group, I hate giving them any attention, but I hold them accountable, and I detest that those people -- I think it's un-American just like the president said. I don't like that they are here. I don't like that they're in this country. But I think that what is important here is that we can begin to come together like the family of Heather Heyer asked. And to begin to talk about how we can heal, and how we can get better, and how we can unify as Americans here.

SESAY: Mo, to bring you in. You heard Gina mentioned: identity politics. The president's Chief Strategist, Steve Bannon, made some comments on Wednesday that were published by a progressive publication -- American Prospect. This is what he said, he said, "I want them," he's referring to Democrats, "I want them to talk about racism every day. If the left is focused on race and identity, and we go with economic nationalism, we can crush the Democrats."

KELLY: Yes. For me, as an African-American man, this doesn't have anything to do with politics. When Donald Trump says, what you have to lose, African-Americans? This is the answer: I have a job. I'm not worried about economics and grand scheme of things. African- Americans are more worried Tiki torches, and people walking down the avenue talking about blood and soil and trying to bring back the Confederacy -- the south rising again.

And what that portends as opposed to whether the stock market went up by 10 points this week, or whether the president creates another 200,000 jobs. Because that, which happened in Charlottesville, can happen in my city. That can kill someone that I love. If we're not talking about this in terms of right and righteousness, then, what's the point? Because we're wasting our time, and wasting our breaths if we're going to talk the politics of it all or people who hate Donald Trump and don't what him to succeed. Forget all that.

SESAY: Michael, Steve Bannon, you know, talking about strategy, political strategy, electoral strategy, looking ahead to the president's next run effectively; talking about what the game plan is. But talking his statements in context and looking at where the president stands now, can this president effectively lead this country after what happened in Charlottesville? I mean, that first before we even get to what Steve Bannon is saying.

GENOVESE: Well, it's a question of whether he wants to lead the country or wants to lead his base, and he's spoken only to his base. Bannon is a very useful lightning rod for the president because we focus on him and say, oh, look at what he said another terrible thing. But he speaks for the White House. He speaks of the president. And so, I think when you say can the president lead? Only if he wants to. And if he wants to lead, he has to change. He has to speak to all of us. He can't just speak to the base. And the base is not monolithic; there are different segments of it. And right now, he's in jeopardy of losing the establishment of the Republican Party. He cannot govern without them.

[01:15:29] SESAY: Gina, what do you say to that?

LOUDON: He lost the establish of the Republican Party a long time ago when he came out against them and said he wanted to drain the swamp and break up the political cartel that has controlled for far too long. Steve Bannon is right about this matter when he said that it is this identity politics that lost the election for the Democrats in the last election. And the more they continue to talk about it, the more they continue to incite racial division, the more they will continue to lose.

The Washington Post admitted that identity politics failed the Clinton campaign. Human Right Watch said, identity politics is failing not only in the United States but failing worldwide. Identity politics time has come and gone. People want to heal, and they want unity. And I would submit to you, this president could cure cancer, and the Democrats would somehow attack and either try it to tie to Russia or to the KKK or some other outlandish claim. But the American people, they're not having any of it. They didn't have it during the election, and they're not having it now.

SESAY: We have to wrap. But I do want to ask you one quick question as you that about the American people. One quick question to you Gina: bearing in mind everything you said about -- the American people not caring about any of this, why is the president's approval rating so low?

LOUDON: Well, most of the polls that you see are the polls that completely failed during the election. They are Democrats sample plus 15, which means that the president's approval rating is actually well above 50 percent if you break down the date in those polls. And that's one of the things that I do on a regular occasion, and that's why we saw evidence when he lost -- when he won the election before. The polls are wrong. They're still wrong. Same message. Same polls. All lost the election. All will lose in 2018 unless Democrats change their message away from identity politics and start to talk about unity and moving America forward.

SESAY: And Michael, is that how polls work?

GENOVESE: Not at all. This is a whelm moment; I'm shocked to hear this. It is not connected to social sciences, not connected to anything legitimately respectable in terms of social science and polling. He's not above 50 percent. It's just -- it's just fantasy.

KELLY: Hashtag fake news. SESAY: We're going to leave it for now. Thank you to the panel. I know you're going to stick around. The conversation continues after a quick break, so do stay us everyone, and thank you for this first part of the conversation. Thank you. But I want to talk now about the woman who lost her life on Saturday. She was formally remembered at a tearful memorial service.

(A MAN SIGNING AMAZING GRACE)

SESAY: 32-year-old, Heather Heyer, was a Paralegal, who helped people struggling with personal bankruptcies. A car ran her down while she was protesting against the White Nationalist rally. One friend said, Heyer, was nervous about counter protesting but wanted to stand up for her belief. Her parents spoke out about their daughter.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MARK HEYER, HEATHER HEYER'S FATHER: She loved people. She wanted equality. And in this issue of the day of her passing, she wanted to put down the hate. And for my part, we just needed to stop all this stuff and just forgive each other.

SUSAN BRO, HEATHER HEYER'S MOTHER: I think the reason that what happened to Heather has struck a chord is because we know that what she did is achievable. We don't all have to die. We don't all have to sacrifice our lives. They tried to kill my child to shut her up. Well, guess what, you just magnified here.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(CROWD SINGING LEAN ON ME)

[01:21:41] SESAY: A public outpouring of hope and solidarity in Charlottesville, Virginia, aiming to rise above the deadly hate of last weekend. Take a listen.

(CROWD SINGING LEAN ON ME)

SESAY: We all need somebody to lean on. The (INAUDIBLE) charged confrontation last weekend in Charlottesville, Virginia has brought renewed focus to Confederate monument around the country. In some places, city officials are quietly removing the statues from public places before they can attract demonstrations like the ones we saw in Charlottesville. CNN's Jake Tapper has our report.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

JAKE TAPPER, CHIEF WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT: In Baltimore, a stark reminder that even that which has set in stone can be removed with enough force. Statues of Confederate Generals Robert E. Lee and Stonewall Jackson were among four monuments pulled off into the night on a flatbed truck. Hours earlier in Birmingham, Alabama, crews put up plywood to obscure a 52-foot Obelisk, honoring Confederate soldiers and sailors. All just hours after President Trump posed this question: TRUMP: I noticed that Stonewall Jackson's coming down. I wonder, is it George Washington next week? And is it Thomas Jefferson the week after? You know, you really do have to ask yourself: where does it stop?

TAPPER: For Baltimore's mayor, the answer is simple.

CATHERINE PUGH, MAYOR OF BALTIMORE: The Confederate chief did not fight to unite this country, and we are the United States of America. We should be focused on how we become a more united, more loving city, state, country.

TAPPER: Days after violent protests, sparked at least in part, because of the Robert E. Lee statue in Charlottesville, Virginia, government officials in at least nine other states are publicly contemplating the fates of their memorials to those who fought for slavery on the losing Confederate side. In Durham, North Korea, some broke the law and took the matter into their own hands. Another nationwide debate whether these monuments set in stone, honor heritage or hate. Were they erected by grieving mothers of Confederate soldiers or by someone else?

The Southern Poverty Law Center says the majority of the more than 700 Confederate monuments in public spaces across the country were erected decades after General Lee surrendered.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They were erected when they were erected at the same time that White southerners, conservative White southerners were if you will seize in power for White southerners, and imposing Jim Crow segregation and White Supremacy on the society more broadly.

TAPPER: This carving on Georgia's stone mountain planned in the early 20th Century but finished in 1972 -- used to be a well-known gathering place for White Supremacist. Just far west as Arizona, a state not yet part of the nation during the Civil War, Confederate memorials are up for debate as well. Some say the memorials are important to keep, to remind Americans of our racist past.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I don't think we should try to hide our history. I think we ought to try to, to, to teach it and make people understand we've overcome a lot of mistakes.

TAPPER: Where should the line be drawn? Washington D.C. is a city named after the first but not the last slave owning president. Statues of Confederate leaders grace the halls of the capitol building. Interestingly, Robert E. Lee was once asked about placing memorials at Gettysburg in 1860. The former general replied, "I think it's wiser not to keep open the source of war but the follow the example of those nations who endeavored to obliterate the marks of civil strife, to commit to oblivion, the feeling engendered." Jake Tapper, CNN, Washington.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

[01:25:31] SESAY: While my guest is still with me, Mo, Michael, and Gina thank you for sticking around. Michael, to you first. When the president talked about the statue of Robert E. Lee in the manner that he did, and bring the questions of Jefferson and Washington; it's well-known that those are the talking points of the far-right. I say it's well-known but do you think the president knows that?

GENOVESE: Well, I think the president's making an argument of consequence and convenience. It's true and a lot of southerners say this, I want to protect my history. This is part of who we are. It's part of our tradition. I understand that. And history is important that we should not cover it up, we should not obliterate. We need to learn the lessons of history: the good, the bad, and the ugly. But the equivalency argument that the president and some others make is a false one. You're talking about the difference between those who may build and invented America versus those who are traitors to it, who tried to destroy it. And so, who you'll honor, tells a lot about who you are. And I don't think honoring traitors is by any means the best thing we can do as a people.

SESAY: Gina, to you. What do say to those who say -- who strongly believe that this country cannot heal, it cannot move forward as long as those monuments are out there when there are so many people that they cause pain too?

LOUDON: Well, I think you -- it is good that we are discussing this, I think. And I think it's good that we want to learn history and talk about it and have this dialogue. I think it's important to know that the hate, and the bigotry, and the slavery, and all those things have come always out of the left not just in this country, but historically, and globally it has always come out of the left. The right has always been the party of freedom, and the party of constitutional liberties that we see today, like the First Amendment that is everybody to speak about this.

But regarding the monument, I find it fascinating that not once, civil right leaders from Martin Luther King Jr. to any of the others ever talked about removing monuments. Having said that, I want to say, that I think it's OK to have this conversation. What I don't think is OK is the ISIS sort of tactics where we're ripping things downs or we're defacing the Lincoln Memorial. Those kinds of things -- I think that's a disgrace. If we want to have the conversation, then handle it in a lawful way on a state and local level. I think that that's what America has always been about and always will be about.

SESAY: Mo?

KELLY: As far as Civil Right luminaries go, if you're Dr. King and you're worried about Bull Connor, getting beat over the head, or dying over the Edmund Pettus Bridge, trying to get the right to vote, trying to in segregation, trying to legalize people to sit in the front of bus and drink from the same water fountain. Statues and monuments are secondary and tertiary, that's the first thing. And I don't think anyone's advocating unlawful, criminal behavior as far removal. But the point here is statues and monuments are for Reverends; we can learn our history without revering these figures and history.

There are no statues of Adolf Hitler, but he's not been removed from history. We have not sanitized our history. They even talk about Adolf Hitler in the Museum of Tolerance. These statues are putting these individuals, who were enemies of the state on a level commensurate with our presidents, which goes back to Jefferson, or as you say Washington in terms of people who are acknowledged leaders of this country. These weren't leaders, these were traitors.

SESAY: Michael?

GENOVESE: Well, you know, history is a funny thing and we need to learn from it. And to say that, for example, all the movements against freedom come from the left. World War II, Nazis -- that's not from the left, it's from the right. And so --

LOUDON: That's on the left.

GENOVESE: That's just not so, and you know it's not so. You must know it's not so.

LOUDON: The national socialist, they're the same socialist we see today trying to take away all of our First Amendment Right, right in this moment.

KELLY: I'm sorry, I have to jump in.

SESAY: Go ahead.

KELLY: The fact of the matter is, the Confederacy, the KKK, was formed by former Confederate soldiers.

[01:30:00] That is not the left. They are trying to preserve the hierarchy, the racial hierarchy of the United States. I would love to find some good former Confederate soldiers or people support the Confederacy who did not vote for Donald Trump.

GINA LOUDON, AUTHOR & COLUMNIST: I would love to find some members of the network is a member of the Confederacy that weren't Democrats or some members of the Socialist movement that weren't on the left. I mean, if we're going to talk about it, I'm fine having a conversation. But let's be honest --

(CROSSTALK)

LOUDON: -- it has always been leftist politics that have been --

(CROSSTALK)

KELLY: It's not true.

LOUDON: It has not been the right side of --

KELLY: No.

(CROSSTALK)

LOUDON: Are you telling me Abraham Lincoln was a racist? Are you telling me that it wasn't the Republicans who fought against slavery? Are you telling me that the -- (CROSSTALK)

KELLY: Are you telling me that LBJ wasn't the president who signed --

(CROSSTALK)

LOUDON: -- Nazis.

KELLY: -- into law the Voting Rights Act. The Democratic President Lyndon Baines Johnson signed with the South for the next 40 years, are you saying that did not happen? Are you saying that people like Strom Thurmond and Jesse Helms, who were Democrats, left the Democratic Party and then went to the Republican -

(CROSSTALK)

ISHA SESAY, CNN ANCHOR: OK, I'm going to have to jump in and leave it there.

I want to thank you say for passion, for your energy.

Thank you, Gina, Michael, Mo, thank you.

Let me just say, I think it all comes down to it is not about history, right, left. It's about wrong or right. I think that's what a lot of people think right now.

Thank you for joining us.

We're going to take a very quick break. We'll be back with a lot more after a quick break. Thank you.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SESAY: Hello, everyone. You're watching CNN NEWSROOM, live from Los Angeles. I'm Isha Sesay.

The headlines this hour --

(HEADLINES)

[01:35:00] SESAY: And now for the standoff with North Korea. South Korea's president just held a news conference to mark his 100th day in office. When asked about the threat from Pyongyang, Moon Jae-in said U.S. President Trump has assured South Korean officials he would consult them before making any military decision. Mr. Moon said he was confident there would never be a war again on the Korean peninsula.

At the same time, the chairman of the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff is traveling through Asia. General Joseph Dunford is reassuring allies concerned about the tensions between the U.S. and North Korea.

Paula Hancocks joins us from Seoul, South Korea, and Kyung Lah is in Tokyo.

Paula, to you first.

President Moon Jae-in, in this 100-day conference making the decision to project strength?

PAULA HANCOCKS, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: That's right, Isha. It was a very definitive line that he was taking that they will never be another Korean War. He spoke to those at the news conference saying that we have built this country up from the ruins of the first Korean War so we won't let it happen again. He said that he will stop war at all costs. He was very persistent in saying that the U.S. and South Korea are in tandem, they are on the same page when it comes to how to deal with North Korea. I asked the president, given the fact that he has said there will be no ministry action on the Korean peninsula because he will be the one who has the final say on it, I asked what does he make of the fact that President Trump had said things like "fire and fury," military options are "unlocked and loaded," does that undermine what he is trying to say and send a mixed signal to Pyongyang. Here was his answer.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MOON JAE-IN, SOUTH KOREAN PRESIDENT (through translation): The stance of the U.S. and Korea is not fundamentally different. The stance of the U.S. and South Korea is the same, that we should make North Korea stop additional provocation through strong sanctions and pressure, and leading them to the table of discussion for giving up nuclear. The U.S. imposing sanctions through the UN as well as its own additional sanctions. President Trump, of the United States, is trying to pressure North Korea through showing strong will.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

HANCOCKS: He also insisted that the U.S. cannot go it alone, they can't carry out military action on the Korean Peninsula with South Korea saying so. He said that he would not sign anything like that.

Certainly, he was trying to betray a very strong line, saying that there is also a red line. That red line for South Korea is when North Korea has an ICBM, an intercontinental ballistic missile, that is functioning, that can work and that can have a nuclear warhead on top. He did not get further to specify what he would do if that red line was crossed or what he thought that would be -- Isha?

SESAY: Paula, appreciate it.

I want to go to Kyung Lah now in Tokyo.

Kyung, as we mentioned, General Dunford will be in Japan meeting with officials, trying to reassure Japanese allies. We heard Moon Jae-in in South Korea projecting strength and saying basically he would be involved in any decisions taken by the U.S. in dealing with Pyongyang. When General Dunford has these meetings in Japan, do we expect his Japanese counterparts to take a similar line of saying that we have to be at the table and involved in any decision making?

KYUNG LAH, CNN CORRRESPODNENT: We're anticipating something a bit more muted from the Japanese side, that there are not any cracks in the alliance between Japan and the United States. That is generally the line that we heard from the government over and over again. Despite some of the discomfort that were hearing from people on the street, governmentally, that alliance remains strong, according to all the official lies that were getting. We are seeing a number of diplomatic meetings ahead of Dunford's arrival tomorrow. What we are seeing in Washington, on the U.S. side, are a number of meetings between the Japanese foreign and defense minister with their counterparts, McMaster and Tillerson and Mattis. That Tillerson and Mattis meeting is expected in just about eight hours. So making sure that there are any cracks there, that they are all on the same page. That's the line we're getting from the Japanese government.

Now on the ground, what we're also hearing is a very similar line from the military. What we saw was a joint U.S., Japanese drill. And what we saw there, about 3500 ground forces all working in concert. They are working on coordination, making sure that they know what to do, should anything occur.

Militarily, we have heard that line over and over again that Japan is there on the same page as the United States, that there are no cracks or divergence on the overall mission and making sure that that alliance is strong.

[01:39:37] SESAY: Kyung Lah joining us from Tokyo, Japan. Appreciate it.

Also, thanks to Paula Hancocks, who joined us earlier from South Korea.

Thank you, ladies.

Time for a quick break. Donald Trump's response to the violence in Charlottesville was met with criticism here in the U.S. And I some cases, the reaction abroad has been even stronger.

Plus, hope vanishing in Sierra Leone as more victims of massive mudslides are found. The latest is just ahead.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SESAY: Around the work, many are criticizing U.S. President Donald Trump's comments blaming both sides for the racial violence in Charlottesville, Virginia. The gist of most of the comments is that racism and anti-Semitism should be condemned directly and definitively. Here's a sample of what public figures and newspaper headlines in different countries are saying.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

OREN LIEBERMANN, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: I'm Oren Liebermann, in Jerusalem, were Israeli politicians from across the spectrum have slammed President Donald Trump's equivalency between white supremacist and counter protesters. One said the symmetry legitimizes, quote, "dark and evil forces." Another said the neo- Nazis need to stand trial. A muted reaction has come from Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who issued his own direct statement only three days after the white supremacist rally in Charlottesville and then only on social media, and only after President Donald Trump condemned white supremacists.

His son, meanwhile, on a post on his public Facebook page suggested Neo-Nazis are a, quote, "dying breed," even after they just held a torch-bearing rally brandishing Nazi swastikas in Virginia.

Benjamin Netanyahu's son said there is a growing danger from movements on the left, such as the so-called Antifa, a loosely associated group of anti-fascist movements, saying that it is a greater threat to America. A source close to the Prime Minister said Netanyahu's son is an adult and his views are his alone.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

CHRIS BURNS, JOURNALIST: Hi, I'm Chris Burns, in Berlin.

Strong reaction from some German media and German politicians. "Des Spiegel" online saying, "The downplaying of hatred." And they showed a transcript of Trump's exchange with reporters. Saying how Trump strengthens hatred and violence. "Bild" newspaper leading with "The haters, how Trump trivializes rightist violence in Charlottesville. We heard from the justice minister today, saying, "It is unbearable how Trump also glosses over the violence during the march."

Reaction from Angela Merkel, the German chancellor, over the weekend, saying what happened in Charlottesville is racist. Far-right violence and clear forceful action must be taken against it.

The Social Democrat candidate, running against here, saying, "Nazis must be decisively confronted. What Trump is doing is a fire hazard.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

ISA SOARES, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORERSPONDENT: I'm Isa Soares, in London, where Prime Minister Theresa May has been condemning the far- right views being expressed in the United States. She says she sees no equivalence between those who espouse such views and those who oppose them. But she didn't go as far as to mention President Trump by name. However, M.P.s in the U.K. who have been calling on the prime minister to cancel President Trump's state visit to Britain. No word yet from Mrs. May on that.

We had heard a similar strong-worded statement from Ireland who says, and I'm quoting here, "It condemns outright, with no equivocation, the bigotry as well as the fascism that is playing out in the United States."

(END VIDEOTAPE) [01:45:07] SESAY: Iran's supreme leader posted his reaction to the Virginia protests on his official Web site. He said, "If you are a powerful state, then go manage your own country. If you really care, then tackle the insecurities and violence on the streets of Washington, D.C., New York City and Los Angeles. If you really care, go fix racial discrimination and the disastrous violations of human rights of both whites and blacks in your own country. Mind your own business rather than meddling with other nation's affairs."

We must point out that the ayatollah is an on-the-record denier of the Holocaust.

The North African nation of Sierra Leone is in the midst of several days of mourning. Rescue workers have recovered more than 300 bodies after a devastating mudslide and heavy flooding near the capitol, Freetown. More than one-third of the victims were children. The death toll is expected to rise even further, with more than 600 people still missing.

Farai Sevenzo reports.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

FARAI SEVENZO, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: A disaster so unexpected, so massive, it buries everything in its path. Carrying people and houses below more than a mile from where they had been sleeping.

(SHOUTING)

SEVENZO: Now, days later, rescuers search through thick red mud outside of Sierra Leone's capitol.

(SHOUTING)

SEVENZO: Hope that anyone survived is gone, as body after body is pulled from the mud.

(SIREN)

SEVENZO: The military is out in force. Some of the dead will be buried in mass graves.

(SHOUTING)

SEVENZO: Desperate families crowd outside, waiting for news of their loved one.

(CRYING)

SEVENZO: Disaster has struck again.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: (SPEAKING FOREIGN LANGUAGE)

SEVENZO: Heavy rains Monday caused a mudslide down the mountain, turning homes in the streets below into rushing rapids of wet earth and mud, ending hundreds of lives, many of them children.

(SHOUTING)

SEVENZO: Survivors rush now to register themselves and their little ones as alive.

(SHOUTING)

SEVENZO: Farai Sevenzo, CNN.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

SESAY: That is so difficult to see those.

Meteorologist Derek Van Dam joins us now.

Derek, there is concern of another landslide being on the horizon. What does the forecast showing? Talk to us about what you are seeing.

DEREK VAN DAM, AMS METEOROLOGIST: Isha, we're just now rounding the second half of the rainy season across West Africa. That's means we have weeks left of the potential for heavy rainfall. It doesn't mean a landslide is imminent. It just means that the likelihood is still there for additional landslides for this part of the world. Frequent tropical waves ultimately turn into our hurricanes across the Atlantic Ocean, they form across West Africa. And unfortunately, it has been raining extremely hard. In fact, they have seen over 700 millimeters since the beginning of July, which is over 200 percent of their normal average rainfall. Our computer models are picking up what we're seeing and our computer models are picking on at least another 100 to 150 millimeters of rain over the next two to three days. Adding more concerns for additional landslides. But there's a whole myriad of problems that have added or contributed to the potential for landslides, and it's not only the heavy rainfall. It is also the deforestation problem that continues to occur. If we go back past 100 years, we have lost nearly 90 percent of what is called the Upper Ghanaian Forest (ph), which stretches from Sierra Leone right through the Western Africa region. And that has led to a major problem in terms landslides. In fact, deforestation, losing vegetation can increase the threat of a landslide by 50 percent.

Let me try to explain here. So when you have a steep mountain slope that has trees and vegetation in place, the root structure actually holds the mountainside in place. But we come in and clear out the forests, you actually lose that and the mountainside destabilizes. Heavy rain comes and ultimately the water, the rock and debris needs to go somewhere. And it is going to go down downhill and that is where we see communities that gets ultimately obliterated by these fast-moving landslides that push through the region.

You have to see this as well, because when you look into Sierra Leone, particularly in the Freetown region, you can say just how mountainous this part of the world actually is. The region hit the hardest is near the Sugarloaf Mountain region that they were talking about a moment going to in the package, that is the region that is so mountainous and that has seen this high amount of deforestation. So you can imagine that that any amount of heavy rainfall will continue to slide right down the mountainside and impact communities across this area.

So going forward, Isha, we do expect more rainfall again. We still have several more weeks of the rainy season to go. It does not end until the end of October. So the potential for landslides still exists.

[01:50:05] SESAY: Yes. It is my home country. I spent my childhood there. I have family there. This is a devastating time for the entire nation. And with all this rain and the bodies that have not been found, comes the threat of disease as well.

Derek Van Dam, we thank you. Thank you.

VAN DAM: Thanks, Isha.

SESAY: Let's take a quick break. Actor Daniel Craig says he gave a stupid answer the last time someone asked him if he would play James Bond. Find out what he's saying now, next on NEWSROOM L.A.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SESAY: Now to a story that has invited so much speculation and rumor, he could have been an MI6 secret. But finally, the secret is out.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

STEPHEN COLBERT, HOST, THE LATE SHOW: Daniel Craig, will you return as James Bond?

DANIEL CRAIG, ACTOR: Yes.

(CHEERING)

(APPLAUSE)

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SESAY: That was Daniel Craig confirming to Stephen Colbert that his license to kill hasn't expired quite yet. The actor will return for the 25th James Bond movie. This will be his fifth time as Bond. And Craig says, yes, yes.

Sandro Monetti joins us now, entertainment journalist in L.A., friend of the show.

Before we get to the fact that he's come out and said he'll be Bond again, let's remind everyone of how strongly he felt about not going down this path again. Let's play Daniel Craig.

Well, we don't have the sound of him saying he would rather slit his wrist. He was asked, can you image doing another Bond movie, and Daniel Craig said, now, I would rather break this glass and slash my writes. All I want to do is move on."

Pretty strong words. Yet, you see him Colbert and he's all smiles and he says he's ready to do it again.

SANDRO MONETTI, ENTERTAINMENT JOURNALIST: This James Bond hasn't had Q. He's had P.R. That is what's needed. That is what's needed to move forward for this disaster.

Daniel Craig has been making movies for 25 years. He's too experienced to make the rookie mistake like that. He said, oh, I was tired when I made that comment about slashing the wrist. That is no excuse whatsoever, whatsoever. And he also said that quote they would have to pay me a lot of money to

SESAY: Apparently, they are.

MONETTI: to bring me back. They are.

SESAY: How much?

MONETTI: The rumors are anything up to $100 million.

SESAY: Wow.

MONETTI: But is a cheap at half the price because Daniel Craig, whatever you think of him, is the most commercially successful 007. His films have made $3.1 billion.

SESAY: Wow.

So if there any chance, does any part of you think his saying I'd rather slash my wrist was a bargaining ploy? If was really about driving up the price?

MONETTI: It is a pretty strange one, if it is, but he certainly has driven up the price. So whatever it takes. And the James Bond producers could not afford to lose him because it is not just the money these films take the box office. The brand brings in so many licensing and merchandising deals. Remember when James Bond used to drink vodka martinis?

SESAY: I do.

MONETTI: Under Daniel Craig, he drinks Heineken because they pay $45 million.

SESAY: $45 million?

MONETTI: $45 million reportedly for that deal. So this is a moneymaking machine. So it does not matter if he says I'm tired of it. I am a bored. Just send a huge truck of cash around to his house and get his enthusiasm back. And you know it's flippant about P.R. thing but there is a risk here. Because if the audience thinks, oh, well, he is just doing this one last cash in, that is no good. So on Stephen Colbert, when he said this is what I always wanted, that is great. He needs to hammer home this message for the next two years and say I love it.

[01:55:16] SESAY: Not to be contrarian but you know there is a large segment of the population -- I don't know if it's large -- but a part of the popular that was maybe not too disappointed at the thought of losing Daniel Craig, as much as he'd like, that this might be an opportunity to reimage Bond with somebody new.

MONETTI: It's a great point. I do not see where the films can go creatively. Yes, they have reinvented them under Daniel Craig. And it seemed like that to me that Specter was the exclamation point, the period, that was the end of the road. But he is back for one more. It's actually a great opportunity, you know, so let us hope that he gives a performance full of energy and enthusiasm and shows the same enthusiasm on screen that he did on Stephen Colbert. If you think back to Roger Moore, Roger Moore was always great. When asked about James Bond, said how much he loved it. It was about the money. Daniel Craig --

(CROSSTALK)

MONETTI: So it's up to Daniel Craig now. He really has a great chance to do this P.R. offensive for the next two years and say I really love it.

SESAY: For $100 million, he should just smile, smile, smile.

(LAUGHTER)

MONETTI: I would.

SESAY: Sandro, we know you would.

(LAUGHTER)

Sando Monetti, thank you very much.

MONETTI: Thank you.

SESAY: Let's see if he can get over the hurtle of his own words. We'll see.

That does it for us here.

You've been watching CNN NEWSROOM, live form Los Angeles. I'm Isa Sesay.

Be sure to join us on twitter, @cnnnewsroomla for highlights and clips from our shows.

We'll be back with more news right after this.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[01:59:42] SESAY: This is CNN NEWSROOM, live from Los Angeles.

Ahead this hour --

(HEADLINES)

Hello, and welcome to our viewers all around the world. I'm Isha Sesay. This is NEWSROOM L.A.