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China Unveils New Leadership As Xi Cements His Power; Two Republican Senators Fiercely Rebuke Trump; Republican Senate Nominee Condemns Same Sex Marriage Ruling; Hope For U.S. Gun Control Legislation Fades; Study Compares Brexit To First Moon Landing. Aired 1-2a ET
Aired October 25, 2017 - 01:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[01:00:00] JOHN VAUSE, CNN ANCHOR: You're watching CNN NEWSROOM, live from Los Angeles.
ISHA SESAY, CNN ANCHOR: Ahead this hour, Xi Jinping's power move. The Chinese president unveils his new leadership team with no clear successor in sight.
VAUSE: Hostility has had broken out in the long-brewing civil war with the Republican Party. Two Republican Senators have unloaded on their president, and say they've had enough of Donald Trump.
SESAY: And later, few things are tougher than rocket science, but Brexit may actually be one of them.
VAUSE: I don't think so. Hello, thank you for joining us. I'm John Vause.
SESAY: And I'm Isha Sesay. This is NEWSROOM L.A. Well, Chinese President Xi Jinping's hold on power is now solidified. He revealed the line-up for the Communist Party's proliferous standing committee just a short time ago. Five new members replaced the retired members of this all-powerful group.
VAUSE: Also, the men will help run the country for the next five years. The line-up did not include a clear successor to President Xi Jinping suggesting he may try to hold on to power beyond 2022.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Over the past five years, we have set out a broad agenda. Some tasks have been completed while others need more work. This party congress has set new goals and new tasks. We must make coordinated efforts to see them through.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VAUSE: Matt Rivers is in Beijing. He joins us now with more on this; he's in Tiananmen Square. So, Matt, on Tuesday, the party enshrined "Xi Jinping Though" into the party's Constitution. On Wednesday, he became a leader for life, what does he do on Thursday? I guess, the question is: what comes next? MATT RIVERS, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes. You know,
whatever he wants, really, because you can look at what is happening today here in Beijing as kind of the final step, and President Xi's quest to amass more political power than any other Chinese leader since that guy, over my right shoulder, the guy with his picture on the wall, Chairman Mao Zedong, the Founder of Communist China. We saw the members, the new members of the standing committee walkout in their traditional (INAUDIBLE).
They stood stone-faced, arms at their sides, a very show of deference to President Xi. And if there was really a couple of takeaways here, I would say one, of course, is the fact that if you look at the new standing committee members, all of them are loyal to Xi. Some of them know him going back all the way to the 1980s. They have been with him for a very long time, and others -- he has gained their trust, or, rather, they have gained his trust over his years in office.
All of them are seen as people who are on board with the Xi agenda, for China moving forward. And then the other thing is that you mentioned the right at the top there, no obvious successor. Look no further than the fact that all of these men -- and we should add that they are all men, there has never been a woman on the standing committee. These are all men in their 60s, and generally, successors in the past have all been in their 50s. And so, if you look strictly at age, combine that with the fact that they are all loyal to Xi and with the knowledge that Xi has more power than any other Chinese leader since Mao, I think it adds up to a recipe where you could see President Xi -- many analysts are saying this here -- stay on in power past 2022.
VAUSE: You know, what was interest when Xi Jinping spoke after announcing the new standing committee of the politburo, he spoke about this rejuvenation of China will become a reality -- talking about all China's citizen's sharing equally and the prosperity. Because this has been, really, a hallmark of the last five years ending corruption, you know, essentially trying to move the economy forward. Not necessarily reform it, but get it to a point where, I guess, you know, it works more efficiently and more Marxist political system. I mean, what's his vision in terms of economic reforms and to get to that point of sharing prosperity?
RIVERS: Well, I think you heard it in the beginning of the Party Congress when he gave that mammoth three-and-a-half-hour speech in which he kept coming back to this same theme of the total, absolute party control over all aspects of society. And so, while a lot of people are holding out hope that there might be some sort of market liberalization that we might the government actually take its foot off of the economy a little bit. If you listen to Xi Jinping's words, it seems like he is an absolute true believer in the fact that China does best when the Communist Party is at his strongest, and when he is at the helm of the Communist Party.
[01:05:09] And so, when it comes to lifting people out of prosperity, when it comes to being the new center of the world, when it comes to being a model for new era of socialism around the world, Xi Jinping is talking about that in the realm of the Communist Party running all of those things. He firmly believes that and now that he has the power to kind of do whatever he wants in this government, or at least execute his vision, I think that's what you're going to see moving forward.
VAUSE: Yes, there are many people who've been thrown in jail, a lot of dissidents who've been locked up. And of course, to the crackdown on the Internet is the flipside of all of that. But, Matt, we'll talk about that next hour. Matt Rivers, live in Beijing, thank you.
SESAY: All right. Let's turn to U.S. politics now. And since the start of his presidency nine months ago, and indeed -- well, before Donald Trump has engaged in blistering attacks often on Twitter. Now, now he's on the receiving end. Two Republican Senators delivered stunning rebukes, Tuesday; the same day the president was on Capitol Hill to push tax reform.
VAUSE: Senator Jeff Flake and Bob Corker accused Mr. Trump of debasing and dividing the country. We get more now from CNN's Jeff Zeleny.
JEFF ZELENY, CNN SENIOR WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): President Trump on Capitol Hill today, trying to sell his tax plan and revive the agenda of a fractured Republican Party. But only an hour after leaving with the wave and a smile, Republican Senator Jeff Flake delivered a stinging rebuke of the president.
SEN. JEFF FLAKE (R), ARIZONA: When a leader correctly identifies real hurt and insecurity in our country, and instead of addressing it, goes to look for someone blame. There is perhaps nothing more devastating to a pluralistic society.
ZELENY: Flake's announcement: he would not seek reelection in his blunt concession that he's no longer comfortable with Trump Republican Party.
FLAKE: There is an undeniable potency to a populist appeal by mischaracterizing or misunderstanding our problem, and giving to the impulse to scapegoat and belittle -- the impulse to scapegoat and belittle, threatens to turn us into a fearful, backward-looking people.
ZELENY: Came on the same day, the Republican picked a new fight with Senator Bob Corker, Chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee -- it was an extraordinary moment for a party in power. White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders called Flake's decision to leave the Senate, good news, and blasted his speech as inappropriate.
SARAH HUCKABEE SANDERS, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: I noticed that a lot of the language I didn't think was befitting at the Senate floor.
ZELENY: She also defended the president's fight with Corker.
SANDERS: He's a fighter, we've said it many times before that person of this country didn't elect somebody to be weak. They elected somebody to be strong.
ZELENY: After Corker said in a round of morning television interviews, the president should leave details of the tax plan to Congress. Mr. Trump launched a searing attack on Twitter. The president said: "Corker, who couldn't get elected dog catcher in Tennessee is now fighting tax cuts." Seven minutes later, the president added: "Corker dropped out of the race in Tennessee when I refused to endorse him, and now he's only negative on anything Trump. Look at his record."
The senator fired off this rebuttal: "Same untruths from an utterly untruthful president. #alertthedaycarestaff." The extraordinary exchange between a Republican president and of the party's senior statesman (INAUDIBLE) from there. Corker, who also decided against seeking re-election next year, said the president did not refuse to endorse him.
SEN. BOB CORKER (R), TENESSEE: No, it's not accurate. You know, nothing that he said in his tweets today were truthful nor accurate, and he knows it. People around him know it. I would hope the staff over there would figure out why he's so controlling.
ZELENY: When asked by CNN's Manu Raju if the president is a liar, Corker had this today.
CORKER: The president has great difficulty with the truth on many issues.
ZELENY: Asked whether he would support him again, Corker did not hesitate.
CORKER: No way, no way. I think that he's (INAUDIBLE) with himself, unable to rise to the occasion.
ZELENY: Taken together, the decision by Flake who also has called repeatedly with Mr. Trump underscored the challenges facing the GOP, and potential complications to the president's agenda.
FLAKE: We must argue our positions fervently and never be afraid to compromise. We must assume the best of our fellow man and always look for the good. Until that day comes, we must be unafraid to stand up and speak out as if our country depends on it because it does.
ZELENY: The move stunned Republics, and overshadowed discussion of a tax plan the party still hopes will be the one major legislate accomplishment of the year. House Speaker Paul Ryan was among GOP leaders trying to extinguish the unusual and to much unseemly civil wars.
REP. PAUL RYAN (R-WI), SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES: So, all of this stuff you see on a daily basis on Twitter this, Twitter that, forget about it. Let's focus on helping people.
ZELENY: As Republicans watch this widening civil war inside their party, the question is: what effect will it have on legislating? Will they still be able to get the tax cut plan through with or without help from some of these Republicans who are now disenfranchised from the president? Once again, the White House message overshadowed by all of this fighting. Jeff Zeleny, CNN, The White House.
[01:10:23] VAUSE: Joining us now CNN Political Commentator and Democratic Strategist, Dave Jacobson; John Thomas, a Republican Consultant, also a CNN Political Commentator; and Michael Genovese, a Political Analyst and President of the Global Policy Institute at Loyola Marymount University. Nice to have you all with us. The White House Press Secretary, Sarah Sanders, she offered this tired old explanation about why the president was feuding with two senior Republican lawmakers. Here's what she said.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (INAUDIBLE)
SANDERS: Look, you've got an individual and the president, he's a fighter, we've said it many times, before. The people of this country didn't elect somebody to be weak. They elected somebody to be strong. And when he gets hit, he's going to hit back. And I think Senator Corker knows that, and he, you know, maybe trying to get a headline or two on his way out the door.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VAUSE: But, John, the presidents hitting back at Myeshia Johnson, the widow of a U.S. soldier who was killed in Niger. He's hitting back at her close friend, Democratic Congresswoman Frederica Wilson, he's hitting back at Senator John McCain. Last week, two former presidents spoke out against this type of presidency. Donald Trump is taunting the nuclear-armed leader of North Korea by, you know, insulting Kim Jong-un by, you know, using names. This is exhausting for the country, and it just never seems to end.
JOHN THOMAS, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR AND REPUBLICAN CONSULTANT: I mean, it is. It's terrible when members of Congress use dead soldiers for political gain to pick fights for with the president. That's what all of these people have in common, John, are they pick fights with the president. Now, sometimes the president does an issue --
VAUSE: I'm talking about the bigger picture.
THOMAS: Oh, yes! Oh, it's terribly exhausting. There's no doubt about it. I wish -- look, as a good conservative, I wish we didn't have as many spats, I wish we just focused on the legislative agenda. Well, like Sanders said, it's not who Trump is.
DAVE JACOBSON, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR AND DEMOCRATIC STRATEGIST: I just think like the lack of civility and the discourse is not sustainable. It just isn't. People are angry, they're frustrated, they want their government to solve problems and get stuff done. They want to see pragmatic leadership, and they're not seeing that. And the president is thinking he feels them. SESAY: And Dave, to that point, is Democrats exhausted? Is that why
it feels as if they're quieter and not really bringing the fight in terms of -- you know, in terms of -- and we're talking about the comity and the lack of civility. It just feels as if Democrats are like, Nah, let them do it, let them fight amongst themselves, we're not going to challenge or stand up for what is right?
JACOBSON: Well, I wouldn't make the argument the Democrats are sitting back. I mean, I think they're digging their heels, and in the sense of --
SESAY: It seems quiet.
JACOBSON: Well, I think they're doubling down on 2018. And they focus on fund-raising and looking at seats that they can flip. The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee is looking at 80 seats across the country -- the Democrats are targeting. We only need to pick up 24 seats to flip the house.
THOMAS: And the harder part they're having is the RNC and the Republican Party's dramatically our-racing the Democratic Party largely. I mean, the Democrats --
JACOBSON: Nationally, but not the Democratic Congressional Committee.
THOMAS: They've had their fair share of challenges.
VAUSE: And you know, when your enemy is shooting itself in the foot, you can have their way.
THOMAS: And that's also true. They're gambling that Republicans will solve this problem for them.
JACOBSON: It's not going to make headlines if Nancy Pelosi or Chuck Schumer go out there and obscure President Trump. It's going to make headlines when John McCain does it or Jeff Flake does it.
VAUSE: OK. After announcing he was retiring from the Senate, Jeff Flake spoke to Jake Tapper to explain his decision not to stand for reelection.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
FLAKE: But right now, the vast majority of those who vote in Republican primaries seem to be OK with the president's policies and behavior. I do agree with the president sometimes. I disagree with him other times. That's what I've done with Republican and Democratic for residents. But now, it seems that you know, if you deviate at all from, you know, the president's positions or if you fail to condone his behavior, then you're out of step with the party or at least a segment of the party that votes in the Republican primaries.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VAUSE: So, Michael, does that sum up the problems right now for the Republican Party there? Because there's almost rabid core group of voters who essentially don't reflect the wider GOP?
MICHAEL GENOVESE, POLITICAL ANALYST AND PRESIDENT OF THE GLOBAL POLICY INSTITUTE AT LOYOLA MARYMOUNT UNIVERSITY: You know, I think Senator Flakes in a tough position. He probably would have lost the election had he run. But I think, you know, the Republican Party is torn; it's torn between the old party of Lincoln, the party of Reagan. It's now becoming or in jeopardy of becoming the party of Trump, and I think a lot of very traditional Republicans find that to be morally obnoxious.
After all, that was a marriage of convenience, to begin with. And that marriage of convenience is now looking inconvenient. The president said Senator Corker has a distant relationship with the truth. I think, you know when the political autopsy is done 20 years from now, where are the pieces going to fall? Who's going to be at the front end of history and who is going to be criticized?
SESAY: But, John, that's the whole point. Doesn't it seem as if Republicans are worried about 20 years from now? I mean, they're not worried about --
VAUSE: 20 months from now.
[01:15:07] SESAY: Yes, exactly. I mean, because I think -- I mean, that's what Jeff Flakes -- that's his calculation, the one they look back. He doesn't want to have been on this side, although Republicans don't seem to have those issues.
THOMAS: Well, time will tell. But I think in politics the ways how we look at it is it's a sport of winning. He needs to win in order to get your legislation through. If you're not in power, you can't even have a crack at it. Now, Republics haven't been super successful in driving legislation. But certainly, if we lose in the midterms, we're toast. If you look at Senator Flake's approval rating in his own state is 17 percent. I mean, people talk about Trump's approval rating as being terrible in the high 30s, low 40s; he's at 17 percent. I think a lot this honestly -- I'm not saying that Senator Flake was being untruthful in his remarks, but he's upset. The guy lost his power because he went up against the president and lost.
VAUSE: He's also partly upset by what the president has been doing, right?
JACOBSON: I mean, certainly, because it's his style of the way he would do it.
VAUSE: OK. This Flake and Corker retiring, at least the way it opens a special breed of candidate ones like Steve Moore -- Roy Moore, I should say. The hard-right candidate who is backed by Steve Bannon.
SESAY: Steve Bannon. Merging the two.
VAUSE: Exactly, Steve Moore-Bannon. You know, this is the guy who, you know. There he is with his little pistol -- ping, ping, ping, ping. He was a judge. He described a Supreme Court ruling, which affirmed marriage equality; he said it's worse of a decision by the Supreme Court often described as the worst decision by the Supreme Court to legalize slavery. This is what he said.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. ROY MOORE (R), ALABAMA: In 1957, the United States Supreme Court did rule that black people were property. Of course, that contradicted the constitution and it took a civil war to overturn it. But this ruling in the (INAUDIBLE) is even worse in the sense. Because it forces not only people to recognize marriage other than the (INAUDIBLE) of God and recognized about nearly every state in the union. It says, that you now must do away with the definition of marriage and make it between two persons of the same gender.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VAUSE: John, is this the direction you want your party going?
THOMAS: That's not the direction the party is going. I mean, that clip was from November --
VAUSE: But he's under the Senate.
THOMAS: But hold on, he didn't run on that. That clip was on Pastor Radio from 2016. If you look at the --
VAUSE: But his views are well enough.
THOMAS: True. But if you look at the campaign advertising, what that whole election in Alabama was about, it's about who was the establishment and who wasn't. That was the conversation, and that's the broader conversation we're seeing internally across the Republican Party.
VAUSE: So, you think (INAUDIBLE) when he gets to the seat?
THOMAS: Well, no, but I'm saying not every candidate -- I mean, he happens to be incredibly socially conservative. But a lot of the other candidates that are running, they're not social conservatives, that's not the commonality. It's the anti-establishment crusaders like Bannon -- that's what they have in common. Versus the Tea Party wave, that was singularly focused on smaller government. If you didn't believe that guy you were -- you want to a contender.
SESAY: Jeff Flake is basing near the point, it's not enough to be conservative these days, you have to be angry. He said that's basically -- that's the defining factor of those coming to the forefront now.
JACOBSON: That's the manifestation of what the Bannon movement did today. And look, I think more came off as a barbarian with those kinds of comments. And I think Alabama is a special case because of this a state where Donald Trump won by 20 points. But if you look at the 2018 map in states like Arizona and states like Nevada where Democrats are angling to flips those seats red to blue, like you can't have a candidate run in a more moderate sort of purpled state like that and expect to just walk into Congress, right? Like Roy Moore and the 20-plus state that Donald Trump dominated in is a special case. I don't think like if you look at the broader electorate as we gear up for 2018. But, like, you can have these sort of fringe, Steve Bannon- backed candidate propelled to victory campaigning on a mandate like that.
VAUSE: I keep remembering what he says, "I'm not a witch."
THOMAS: And that's the way Republicans run is as of nominating somebody who may not be a witch.
VAUSE: I haven't checked my Twitter feed the late last 30 seconds but Donald Trump, I think, has yet to respond directly to Jeff Flake, but has lashed out repeatedly at Bob Corker. Among the many insult, tweets are this one: "The entire world was laughing and taking advantage of us. People like little Bob Corker have set the U.S. way back. Now, we move forward." Michael, this seems to be Trump's way of sort of framing this as a battle with the establishment not just with the Republican establishment but the establishment from both parties.
GENOVESE: And you wonder how long a shelf life, smallness, and anger has. You can't be the basis of governing philosophy. And so, you wonder when will, when will -- when might the American public tire of this? When will they say we want something better, we want something to be optimistic about, something to believe in. And the failure to Democratic Party has been that it has not offered an alternative. It has been sitting back, waiting for Trump to implode, waiting for the Republicans to crack up. That's not a governing strategy either. So, the Democrats need to offer something positive, hopeful, something about tomorrow. They have not done so, and so the Democrats are at fault in this as well.
[01:20:08] SESAY: Dave, which goes back to what I was saying to you about the Democrats' response to all of this. I mean, what's your response to what Michael just said that they haven't done enough?
JACOBSON: I think Michael's precisely right. I mean, Democrats, from a national perspective, haven't done enough in terms of coming up in articulating a broad social and economic justice message nationally. We've got the better deal. I don't think that's resonating with the electorates; it's not where we need to go. But you are seeing really comprehensive big and bold plans with leaders like Bernie Sanders and Kamala Harris and Elizabeth Warren, who are putting forward, you know, single-payer healthcare Medicare for all which is extraordinary --
JACOBSON: You know what, the polling there actually is in the majority. And if you look at a state like California, I think we've been a beacon for the Democratic Party, and at least for, like, the national resistance against the White House. And I think national Democrat was looking to states like California to help shake that narrative. But you're right, it does need to come from leaders in Washington and it hasn't yet.
VAUSE: But, John, that message can't get out because Donald Trump dominates every minute of every news cycle.
THOMAS: Well, and the game -- you're right. It's hard to get any other oxygen. You know you follow where the story is. But also, the Democrats, especially looking at 2020, they're all jockeying for who can be the most anti-Trump. I mean, that's the dynamic we see; they're not talking about who could have the best policies. It's who can foil to President Trump.
JACOBSON: Well, Donald Trump's vulnerable. I mean, look at his polling numbers.
THOMAS: No, what I'm saying is the Democratic base wants to crusader against Trump.
THOMAS: They don't want the economic plan against Donald Trump.
JACOBSON: Well, I think it's a combination of both.
SESAY: We'll do this again tomorrow.
VAUSE: You know what, there will be --
SESAY: There will be more.
VAUSE: Tomorrow, there will be more. Michael, John, and Dave thank you so much.
SESAY: Thank you, gentlemen, thank you.
VAUSE: OK. After the break, we'll have much more on our top story where China's new leadership team stays up President Xi's power and his plans for the future.
SESAY: Plus, officials fear the Russians did in the U.S. and now in the U.K. as well. British lawmakers want to know whether Russia used Facebook to influence the Brexit referendum.
SESAY: Hello, everyone. The biggest event on China's political calendar is now over, and indications are that President Xi Jinping's hold on power may well extend beyond 2022.
VAUSE: The Party Congress may be over but the implications live up for a long a time. President Xi unveiled the new members of the powerful politburo standing committee. The line-up does not include any obvious successor to the president -- there are five new members of the seven-member committee. They will help rule the country for the next five years.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: With decades of hard work, socialism with Chinese characteristic has entered a new era. In this new context, we must get a new look, and more importantly, make new accomplishments. The coming five years between the 19th and the 20th Party Congress is a period in which the timeframes of the two centenary goals will converge. Not only must we deliver the first centenary goal, we must also embark on the journey towards the second centenary goal. As I look ahead to the next five years, as these several important junctures and assigned post.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
[01:25:24] VAUSE: James McGregor joins us now from Beijing, he's the Chairman of -- China Chairman, a global communication consulting company. James, thanks for staying with us. OK. So, how do you think this will play out beyond, you know, the five years? Will Xi Jinping remain there in the position of authority, will he keep all the titles, will he keep some of the titles, will he just melt into the distance and sort of, you know, be the man behind the curtain pulling the strings.
JAMES MCGREGOR, CHINA CHAIRMAN, APCO WORLDWIDE: Well, five years is such a long way away in any political system. We can speculate based on what we see now. And if I were to do that, I would say he would probably stay on as party secretary, and then somebody else would become president.
They would separate those two -- those have been separated in the past. But because his name and thought are in the Constitution, it would seem that he'll be in power, have some sort of strong say and power until the day he dies, unless something happens. And the only other person that got fought in the constitution was Mao Zedong.
And of course, he was -- he remained his power until the end. I don't know, it's a new era. Just listening to your political panel on Washington -- I mean, to sit there and see the circus in Washington and to be here, and to see this strong man rule, and the tightness, and the pageantry of what's going on in China is enough to make your head spin right now.
VAUSE: They are -- they do seem to better images of each other in many ways. I guess, can you explain how Xi Jinping actually managed to do this? Because he came in as his compromised candidate; he didn't get to choose any of his people for that five-year term. But somehow, you know, over the years, he's managed to basically stack the party with loyalists and get to this point now where, you know, he's on the same level as Mao Zedong; it seems incredibly unlikely.
MCGREGOR: Well, you know, he is a -- he's a crowned prince of the party. His father was, you know, a revolutionary with Mao, he had his ups and downs, but Xi grew up in a party compounds with the leading families -- which are really the royalty of China, these leading families. Then, he spent his time in the provinces, so really knows the system, knows how it works at a local level, and he's really a person of the party.
By the time he comes into power, this place is a mess: corruption is off the charts, the party's authority and the party's integrity are shattered. And so, I think there was a lot of people in those leading families that wanted to bring back the power, the central power of the party. And I think he's a true believer; he's trying to save the party, and in the process, save China, but it's all about the party. And he's a very smart party operator. He got people around him who were loyal, and they just started going after the big guys.
I mean, when he went after (INAUDIBLE), this is like going after J. Edgar Hoover times a hundred. The big fish he went after, the leaders of the military commission on corruption, he just sit -- he just, you know, was a Tony Soprano cleaning up the street corners says, don't mess with me, don't get in my way. And everybody was vulnerable because there was so much corruption or everybody had some favoritism on gathering some assets, so everybody is vulnerable and scared, and they got to keep their head down.
And he's just, I think, he's a very smart operator. And actually, I do think he's a man with integrity in that, he believes in strong power, he believes in saving the party to save China. Now, many people would disagree, including me, with some of the very tough methods on cracking down on journalists and lawyers, and academic, and you name it. But he believes in strong Leninist System of discipline, he wants to make China more Chinese, so children in the schools don't question authority.
They worship the party, at the same time, he wants them to be the -- Steve Jobs, I don't know how he squares that circle. But given what's going on in the rest of the world, you know, it's hard to be too critical in that -- what he -- what's coming in front moving the country ahead. The question is what does he do with his power? You know, the third plenum right after he was put in power before five years ago was all about economic reform most of those economic reforms haven't happened.
[01:29:57] A year later, it was about legal reforms in the constitution; most of that hasn't happened. He has to turn this economy around. He's got to finally shed the power of some of these state-owned enterprises which seem to be going the other way. So, we're all going to be sitting on the edge of our chairs here, watching where he goes with all of this. Especially, in the turbulent world we have around us today.
VAUSE: Yes. James, I got to go to a quick break. It's obviously, you know, interesting times ahead. There's lots to talk about. So, thank you for being with us, James McGregor in Beijing, giving us some very important analysis and points of what we should be looking for with this new development of Xi Jingping eternally in power it seems in China. Thanks, James. SESAY: We'll be watching closely. We're going to take a very quick break here. And then, landing a man on the moon and getting Brexit done. One professor said they're both pretty complicated, politics and rocket science. We'll explain, sort of, next.
VAUSE: It's not brain surgery.
SESAY: You're watching CNN NEWSROOM live from Los Angeles, I'm Isha Sesay.
VAUSE: I'm John Vause. We'll check the headlines this hour, Chinese President Xi Jingping has revealed the new members of the old powerful Politburo Standing Committee. There are no clear successors to Mr. Xi among his deck of hands but suggesting the President intends to stay in power beyond the next five-year term.
SESAY: The U.S. Senate approved an aid package of $36.5 billion in response to recent naturals disasters. That includes emergency credit for the Puerto Rican government and further assistance for low-income residents on the island. The legislation now goes to President Trump for his signature.
VAUSE: Two Republican Senator delivered a blistering rebuke of President Trump on Tuesday, the same day he was on Capitol Hill to tour his tax reform. Senators Jeff Flake and Bob Corker both of whom are not running for re-election next year, accused Trump of degrading the country.
SESAY: Well, we're hearing from even more women accusing Harvey Weinstein of sexual assault. Dominique Huett's attorney says the actress is suing the Weinstein Company, alleging it condoned and enabled Harvey Weinstein's behavior. Huett claims the disgraced film executive lured her into Beverly Hills Hotel room in 2010 and sexually assaulted her. She says he would not take no for an answer and used his power to engage in sex acts with her.
And production assistant Mimi Haleyi is now speaking out against Weinstein. She claimed she repeatedly refused to sexual advances towards her after first meeting in 2004, but in 2006, she said he crossed the line when he sexually assaulted her inside his New York City apartment.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
[01:34:55] MIMI HALEYI, PRODUCTION ASSISTANT: I would not have wanted anyone to do that to me even if the person had been a romantic partner. I remember Harvey afterwards rolling over on his back saying, "Don't you feel we're so much closer to each other now?" (INAUDIBLE) No.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SESAY: And more than 40 women have come forward with claims of sexual harassment and rape against Weinstein. He's denied all allegations of non-consensual sex but admits some improper behavior.
VAUSE: It has barely been three week since the worst mass shooting in modern U.S. history and whatever hope there was for even the most modest changes to gun laws seems lost. After Stephen Paddock opened fire on a country music festival in Las Vegas, killing 58 people and wounding more than 500 others, there was a rare window of compromise between Republicans and Democrats on the need to ban bump stocks, a little non-gun accessory legally available which Paddock legally used to modify the firing rate of his semi-automatic weapons.
The device has changed the firing rate from 45 to 60 rounds a minute up to 800 rounds a minute, almost as fast as an automatic weapon. The ban on bump stocks had the best chance of success because it was the lowest of low hanging fruit, the narrowest gun control measure possible, but now the legislation to do just that has stalled in Congress and is going nowhere. James Burnett is the Editorial Director at the Trace, an independent non-partisan group, reporting on gun violence across the United States. James, thanks for being with us. Explain to us what actually happened here. How did these bills and there were multiple bills, how did they all die in Congress?
JAMES BURNETT, EDITORIAL DIRECTOR, TRACE: So, you mentioned that moment of compromise, and I think it's important to think about the different constituencies we are -- or who are involved. So, we have Congressional Democrats, Congressional Republicans, and particularly, the Republicans in leadership, right, who are going to control any bill that may come to the floor. And then the National Rifle Association, whose influence is felt particularly in the Republican Party on gun policy.
There was this moment where the consensus was we need to have tighter regulation on these bump stocks, but then you start to get into details, and the NRA says it's not endorsing a legislative text, it doesn't want Congress to deal with this. It says the ATF, the Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco and Firearms, which regulates firearms here in the United States, they should deal with it, but the ATF says, wait, we can't. The law says what it says, and we looked and it gets pretty technical. But the upshot is the ATF said the law as is written as is currently on the books, we interpreted it the only way we could. So, that if you want to regulate these or going to ban these, that has to happen in Congress. And so, we end up for the moment with nobody really doing anything. It's certainly possible the ATF is working behind the scenes on some sort of regulatory fix but their public position has been they enforce the law as written and there's nothing that they can do.
VAUSE: Given that, you know, the law as you -- as you say, prohibits the ATF from regulating gun accessories, which is kind of how I read it.
BURNETT: That's right.
VAUSE: Is that initial move by the NRA sort of supporting action on bump stocks, is it? I'm being totally cynical here, but was that just, you know, basically a diversion from the outset? BURNETT: Well, I think that in the -- the NRA had said in its public position. And actually has been consistent in supporting or at least being OK with the ban on machine gun or the strict regulations on those. And so, there is a way on the one hand, read their position as consistent but when it gets thrown back over to the ATF, it does look like potentially an effort to maybe let the situation diffuse and, you know, any sense of urgency dissipate a little bit. And that maybe what we're saying.
VAUSE: Yes, time and silence are sort of the biggest enemy of gun reform. And I'm just wondering -- this country did nothing after 20 elementary school children age, what, between five and six years old were shot and killed in cold blood at Sandy Hook. Is it -- is it really a surprise that this move to bump stocks looks like it's failed?
BURNETT: You know, I think we don't know ultimately. It's possible something could happen. I guess my answer would be that it's surprising that attention at the thorough level in Congress seems to have shifted as quickly as it has. There was more of a protracted debate certainly over extending background checks to private selling. After that (AUDIO GAP) there were sit-ins and other actions after the mass shooting at the pulse nightclub in Orlando.
[01:40:03] And so, you saw this, you know, more sustained interest and energy. And certainly, back forth, because there are opposing views on this after two of the previous mass shootings that really unriveted national attention.
VAUSE: What is truly astounding though is that -- in what, the 23 days since the massacre in Vegas, the number of people shot in the United States. According to the numbers you put together, more than 2500 people.
BURNETT: That's right. We ran the count through last Sunday that basically the three-week mark after Las Vegas using a non -- another non-profit here called the Gun Violence Archive, and they're a team of people who scour news reports, law enforcement data to create something like a (AUDIO GAP) of gun violence here in the U.S. 2500 was the number. About 774, I think, was the number of fatalities, but cumulatively over the decades we're seeing a total of gun violence that would certainly constitute its own crisis or could be considered at such. But we haven't felt that level of (AUDIO GAP) many civic engagement consistently. You know, week in and week out, that might produce change of some sort.
VAUSE: Even so, it is incredible to think what averages out to be about a hundred people a day being shot in the United States, come fatally shot as well.
VAUSE: James, thanks for being with us. We appreciate it.
BURNETT: Thank you.
SESAY: It is remarkable how quickly that kind of energy --
VAUSE: And this is what was different about the mass shooting, there's always protests, there's always people on the streets, there was always something being fought against just done nothing. It's amazing.
SESAY: We're going to take a quick break. We'll have much more news after this.
SESAY: In the U.S. and now in the U.K. Officials are investigating whether Russia used social media to influence elections.
VAUSE: British lawmakers are asking Facebook for information about ads linked to Russia which were bought during last year's Brexit referendum. Samuel Burke has more details now from London.
SAMUEL BURKE, CNN BUSINESS & TECHNOLOGY CORRESPONDENT: This has all the makings of the 2016 U.S. Presidential Elections, but this revolves around the 2016 Brexit referendum here in the U.K. The chairman of a U.K. Parliamentary Committee has sent a letter to Mark Zuckerberg asking for examples of all ads purchased by Russian-linked accounts. Examples of all pages set up by Russian-linked accounts, and information regarding the targeting of these ads and pages. The M.P. leading this inquiry told me what pushed him to send this letter.
DAMIAN COLLINS, BRITISH CONSERVATIVE M.P.: Now, Facebook have analyzed that elsewhere around the world. They've done it in America and they've done it in France. Around the French Presidential Election, they took down 35,000 accounts they thought were linked to spreading this information. There's not been the same sort of deep dive done in the U.K. from their data, and that's why I think it's important that we ask the company whether they have any suspicions based on data they have looking at the behavior of users of their own service.
[01:45:17] BURKE: Now, this M.P. has also sent a letter to Twitter asking for information about accounts run by bots that may have affected the Brexit referendum. Twitter says they're adapting their approach as patterns of malicious activity evolved and that their automated systems are now catching double the amount of suspicious activity. What's lacking now is any type of public evidence of Russian social media accounts affecting the Brexit Referendum and what may seem farfetched now, Mark Zuckerberg also dismissed the notion that the platform he designed had any effect in U.S. Presidential Elections until his own company found evidence to the contrary. Samuel Burke, CNN, London.
VAUSE: OK. Could it actually be possible that Brexit might not happen after all? On Tuesday, the President of the European Council suggested "no Brexit" is still an option. SESAY: With that wishful thinking. I don't know. During the speech in the European Parliament, Donald Tusk said it's up to Britain to make sure a deal is reached with the European Union. He also warned the E.U. would suffer if those talks ended in failure. Britain is scheduled to leave by May of 2019. The peace talks are moving so slowly and they are getting a lot more difficult.
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DONALD TUSK, PRESIDENT, EUROPEAN COUNCIL: As for the Brexit Negotiations, you have managed to build and maintain unity among the 27. But ahead of us is still the toughest stress test. If we fail it, the negotiations would (AUDIO GAP) our defeat.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VAUSE: Well, (AUDIO GAP): it's very complicated. But hey, you know, they're not rocket science. But maybe they are. Making it harder than putting a man on the moon. One professor did the research and he says maybe.
SESAY: Maybe. The analysis was inspired by Brexit secretary David Davis who said he is, quote, running a set up projects that make the NASA moonshot (AUDIO GAP) simple. But here, the question is (AUDIO GAP) tougher than rocket science? Also, all that academic study, Professor Roland (AUDIO GAP) us now. He's with Heilbronn University and specializes in risk assessment. Professor, thank you for being with us. So, you've analyzed David Davis's claim. The results are in. Which is simpler, Project Moonshot or Project Brexit?
ROLAND ALTER, PROFESSOR, HEILBRONN UNIVERSITY: Look, this is quite a -- good morning here from Germany. That's a very interesting question and I was kind of surprised when I learned about a statement. I was born in 1960. I watched myself in 1969 the Moonshot on a -- on a small T.V. screen. So, it made me curious. I said, let's have a look into that subject. And, you know, the first point is both projects are in themselves extremely complex projects. It's like you compare a jumbo jet Boeing 747 with a cruise ship, both (AUDIO GAP) complex systems and themselves. But what makes, really, difference that's what my conclusion is the difference is NASA has been a very professional organization and they put a lot of focus in building up capabilities. They understood the complexity and they invented project management if you like, the way we use it today.
And then, on the other side, we see the government of the U.K. and leading people who ignore complexity. That's what we see. They behave in a way like things are very easy. They're kind of a walk in the park and things like that is just a bad European Union that's not giving in and so on and so forth. And from that perspective, yes, it looks from the British side right now extremely complex and that is what we are observing right now.
SESAY: Professor, tell us a little bit about the risk assessment model you actually used to reach this conclusion.
ALTER: Yes. There are different models out there. The ones that I feel is one of the most appropriate ones to start with is one that was invent or let's say designed in Canada for public projects. It's a complexity and risk assessment model and it assigns points to the level of complexity and risk and you will find very quickly both Brexit and the moon landing are in the -- in the top spot there. Their so called transformational projects that they include everything that you could imagine. You have different types of organization, you're looking at big amounts of money, different types of resources, different types of organizations. They're everything you could imagine. They are transformational, that's one thing. That's where we start from. That's what I would call also objective complexity.
[01:50:04] I'll give you an example. If you build skyscrapers and to compare that with building like a small House, it's obvious building skyscrapers is more complex. That's what I would call objective complexity.
Now, once (AUDIO GAP) to next level with something like the relative complexity, you would look at how complex is the job in itself and am I able or my organization, do I have the capabilities to do the job? And if you're building a small, you would look for kind of a small building company but would never use the small company for the skyscrapers.
ALTER: So, the (AUDIO GAP) complexity is overwhelming based on the job. So, that's relative complexity.
ALTER: And move to the --huh?
SESAY: No, I was going to --
ALTER: It must be --
SESAY: Go ahead, briefly. Because what I wanted to ask you is, as you layout these complexities for us, and you talk about the British government maybe not being open to understanding just how complex the situation is with Brexit, I wanted to ask you, is -- does the British government have the capacity for course correction, so to speak? (AUDIO GAP) is this doomed to be a torturous process?
ALTER: Look, I'm a -- I'm a fan of Michael Collins, good to great and built to last. And his -- one of his most important points is, no matter what, you have to face reality. That's the starting point of all things. You have to face reality and that's where it has to start from. And the most important point in the whole Brexit thing is, you don't have a consistent set of objectives. Different stakeholders, different opinions. There is not one paper that I know of where they are laying out what they are actually trying to achieve in a reasonable manner, reasonable with respect to also the time horizon. You have people talking about getting free trade deals in one or two years when everybody knows it takes five, six, seven years. You know, this is not -- this is not realism. This try -- just ignoring facts. So, that would be the starting point. I think they would have to
start really with a broad consensus in, you know -- in the United Kingdom regarding the objectives and how long it would take. And if you're talking about two years transition and this is kind of -- it's not sufficient. So, there are basically just shifting from one aspect to the next one, but they don't look at the big picture because, yes, Mrs. May is concerned that she will -- basically, her government will have to step back. That's the point, it's the starting point from my perspective. It's not looking at --
SESAY: Well, Professor, it is -- well, it's clearly -- at least for the British government, clearly is much harder than rocket science. And Professor Oliver, we very much appreciate it. Thank you. It's going to be a long torturous process. Thank you, Professor.
ALTER: OK. Thank you. Good to talk to you.
SESAY: You, too (INAUDIBLE)
VAUSE: Yes, I was just making notes in to what happened two years post transition sitting --
SESAY: In other words, they're kidding themselves according to the professor.
SESAY: So, the Moonshot was a positive thing with a positive legacy. Brexit, we'll see.
VAUSE: After a quick break, the only thing hotter than the scorching temperatures during Game One of the World Series was the sizzling Clayton Kershaw, the Dodgers pitcher was on fire.
[01:55:05] SESAY: Well, the Los Angeles Dodgers beat the Houston Astros 3-1 to claim game one of baseball's World Series. A towering home run from Justin Turner gave the Dodgers the lead in the sixth inning and they never looked back.
VAUSE: The Astros had baseball's best offense this year but tonight just three hits in the game. But the home chance (INAUDIBLE) the series on Wednesday when they sent their ace pitcher Justin Verlander to the mound for game two.
SESAY: Well, the Astros were ice-cold Tuesday but Dodger Stadium, well, well.
VAUSE: 103. What's that? That's -- well, about 39 degrees Celsius?
SESAY: Yes. It was 39 degrees Celsius for that first pitch. Meteorologist Pedram Javaheri joins us with more. And it was -- it was unbearable -- let's face it -- in California today. And when you --
PEDRAM JAVAHERI, CNN METEOROLOGIST: Hot enough for you guys? That's what you get for leaving Atlanta.
SESAY: It's OK. I'll take the -- I'll take the (INAUDIBLE)
VAUSE: I'll deal with it. I'm fine. We're good. Thank you.
SESAY: So, we're going to say when it comes to World Series history and for a game one, was this the hottest on record?
JAVAHERI: Absolutely, it was. And, you know, what's fascinating about that? That fact alone the CNN Weather actually dug up that stat, shared it with Major League Baseball, they were able to go into their archives and verify that CNN Weather was indeed correct. In fact, 39 degrees being at first pitch temperature. 40 being the high temperature, the hottest temperature in this league into the season for Southern California. Previous record was back in 2001, where the Arizona Diamondbacks and Phoenix had a 34-degree temp.
But you noticed, all of these records, the vast majority of them have been standing for more than 50 years, one of the records standing for well over 100 years, that one coming (INAUDIBLE) around downtown Los Angeles, the observation there from 1909, the previous record. But part of 19 records scattered about portions of the Southwestern United States. In fact, we have high pressure toward east, the Santa Ana winds kick up as the winds coming down the Santa Ana mountains typically do.
And you have this perspective, you get heating by compression and I always use the analogy, pump a bicycle tire, pump a basketball, you feel the pump begin to warm up. Precisely, what's happening as the air sinks, it compresses, it warms up. And you have 20 million people underneath an extreme heat warning here because of these temps, and what a touch on this because you saw that home run in the first inning go way up into the stands across Southern California.
Well, we got a perspective here, in Dodgers Stadium, and in fact studies have been done, the single most important variable to how far (INAUDIBLE) travels is the air temperature. Temperatures above, say, 90 degrees Fahrenheit or 32 Celsius allow the ball to travel some five meters or 16 feet farther than if they were 10 degrees Celsius or 50 degrees Fahrenheit. So, yes, the players maybe didn't like it, the batters certainly a little advantage. And you noticed it stays pretty hot, they're going into game two, but then cools off into the overnight hours, of course, guys.
VAUSE: Hey, Pedram, how much for the tickets for your stadium? Are they like a thousand dollar deep like they asked to?
JAVAHERI: From my vantage point, they're affordable, but yes, it gets pricey down there.
VAUSE: OK. Thanks, Pedram. SESAY: Pedram, thank you. You were terrible.
VAUSE: You're watching NEWSROOM L.A., I'm John Vause.
SESAY: And I'm Isha Sesay. More news right after this.