Return to Transcripts main page
Trump Speaks at ASEAN Summit; Quake at Iran-Iraq Border; Trump and Duterte Avoid Addressing Human Rights; Hariri Plans to Return to Lebanon; Trump And Putin Spoke At Summit In Vietnam; Trump Called Russia Critics "Political Hacks"; No Mention Of Rohingya At 2017 ASEAN Summit; Church Opens As Memorial For Victims Of Massacre. Aired 2-3a ET
Aired November 13, 2017 - 02:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE (voice-over): This is CNN breaking news.
CYRIL VANIER, CNN ANCHOR (voice-over): Breaking news. Let's go to Manila in the Philippines, where U.S. President Donald Trump is speaking at the ASEAN summit. Let's listen in.
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: President Duterte, distinguished leaders, friends and partners, I'm honored to represent the United States of America at this U.S.-ASEAN Commemorative Summit. We gather today at a time of great promise and great challenge. I speak to you on behalf of 350 million Americans with a message of friendship and partnership. I'm here to advance peace, to promote security, and to work with you to achieve a truly free and open Indo- Pacific where we are proud and we have sovereign nations and we thrive and everybody wants to prosper. This year we mark 40 years of friendship and cooperation between the United States and this organization --- that's a long time. I also want to congratulate ASEAN on 50 years of promoting peace and prosperity and stability in Southeast Asia and in the broader Indo-Pacific region. Rodrigo, I would like to commend you on your success as ASEAN chair at this very critical moment in time and in the association's history, such an important event. And I want to thank you for incredible hospitality and the show last night, the talent at that show, I assume mostly from the Philippines, was fantastic. Thank you. And you were fantastic also very much from the Philippines. We couldn't tell the difference. I send the people of the Philippines warm greetings from the people of the United States. I also want to thank Prime Minister Najib of Malaysia for the excellent job you've done as coordinator and I appreciate it very much. I really appreciate it. You have coordinated so well with us. For five decades, this organization has brought together a vital assembly of nations to build consensus on critical issues facing the region and the world. You have created a forum for all nations with a stake in the Indo-Pacific, to listen, learn and develop solutions to common challenges through strategic dialogue. The United States remains committed to ASEAN central role as a regional forum for total cooperation. This diplomatic partnership advances the security and prosperity of the American people and the people of all Indo-Pacific nations. In recent decades, nations across the regions have built strong societies, robust economies and vibrant communities and citizens really proud, totally proud always of the heritage and confident in who they are. Today, we celebrate your incredible success and we also seek economic partnerships on the basis of fairness and reciprocity. As the world knows, the United States since our election on November 8, has been moving ahead really brilliantly on an economic basis. We have the highest stock market we've ever had. We have the lowest unemployment in 17 years. The value of stocks has risen, 5.5 trillion dollars and companies are moving into the United States. A lot of companies are moving. They're moving back. They want to be there. The enthusiasm levels are the highest ever recorded on the charts. So we're very happy about that and we think that bodes very well for your region because of the relationship that we have. So we want our partners in the region to be strong, independent and prosperous. In control of their own destinies and satellites to no one. These are the principles behind our vision for a free and open Indo-Pacific. So again, I wish you all the best of luck. It's an honor to be here. And, Rodrigo, thank you very much for the way you treated all of us. Thank you.
VANIER: Well, you've been listening to the U.S. president, Donald Trump, speaking there just moments ago in the Philippines capital at an ASEAN summit, a summit gathering the leaders of Southeast Asian nations.
Now several things that Mr. Trump said that we heard throughout his trip, really. First of all, mentioning the Indo-Pacific region a number of times. That's a word we've --
VANIER: -- heard throughout the trip. Of course, this part and parcel of the new U.S. strategic vision for that region in opposition to Mr. Obama's pivot towards Asia. Mr. Trump calling that the Indo- Pacific region.
Also heaping praise on his host, the Philippines president Rodrigo Duterte saying, quote, "You were fantastic," referring to the welcome ceremony that Mr. Trump received last night.
And another theme that we've heard throughout this trip when Mr. Trump has been addressing foreign leaders, saying that -- well, heaping praise on himself, saying that the stock market in the U.S. has been doing better than it has in a long, long time. All right. We'll continue to keep an eye on what's going on in the Philippines.
But for now, another top story here this hour. We continue with coverage of the earthquake on the Iran-Iraq border. Officials say at least 207 people have been killed after that powerful quake, just on the northeastern border of Iraq near Iran. more than 1,700 people were injured and, in Iraq, at least four people have died and dozens were injured as well. The 7.3 magnitude quake was felt throughout the region.
(WEATHER REPORT) VANIER: Let me turn now to Jomana Karadsheh for more on this.
Jomana, what more can you tell us and do we know anything at this stage about the search and rescue efforts in particular?
JOMANA KARADSHEH, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, as Ivan was saying there, this was a really powerful earthquake. It was felt throughout this region in countries, including Lebanon, Kuwait, Israel, even in Pakistan.
As you mentioned earlier, Cyril, this was mainly focused on Iran-Iraq border. When it comes to Iran, it seems the hardest hit is the western province of Kermanshah (ph). That's where we're hearing from Iranian authorities that more than 200 people have been killed. And we're seeing that death toll rising hour after hour.
And more than 1,700 people have been injured. And as you can imagine, when it comes to the search and rescue operations, this happened late in the evening, making it very difficult to assess the damage, assess casualty figures.
So now that we are in the daytime hours, we are seeing these casualty figures rising. When it comes to Iraq, Cyril, we still don't have clarity on damage, on casualty figures. The latest we had heard from --
KARADSHEH: -- authorities there that it was several people killed, dozens wounded. It was mainly concentrated in the Kurdistan region of Iraq. It seems that the city, town of Dirbandifan (ph), this is to the east of Silimanier (ph), this was the hardest hit. Some fatalities also reported in eastern province of Diyala.
And, of course, the concern here is when it comes to Iran, Cyril, is that these are rural areas, where these houses there are built of mud bricks and they really cannot withstand powerful earthquakes like this.
VANIER: Jomana Karadsheh reporting live from Iran, Jordan, on one of the two top stories that we're following this hour.
Jomana, thank you.
And now I want to go back to the other top story that we're following. We opened this show with remarks from the United States president, Donald Trump, who was speaking at an ASEAN summit.
That's in the Philippines, where he is being hosted with leaders of the Southeastern Asian region. Matt Rivers is covering that from Manila.
Matt, what was your takeaway when you listened to what the U.S. president had to say?
MATT RIVERS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, what we saw what the U.S. president said, talking from very scripted remarks. He wasn't really off the cuff, definitely talking in a way that generally has a lot of people breathing a sigh of relief in the sense he does stick to prepared remarks and moderating his tone in a way that we've seen him do throughout this Asia trip.
We know he talked about a gathering in a great time of purpose and great challenging. He praised Rodrigo Duterte, the president of the Philippines, for his success as the chair of the ASEAN summit.
And then he talked about how good the U.S. economy is doing right now, something we've seen him talk about a lot. And then he also talked about seeking economic partnerships based on fairness and reciprocity.
That's, again, the kind of recurring themes that we have heard from this U.S. president throughout his trip to Asia. The big question, human rights, we do know according to the White House that human rights and the alleged human rights abuses committed by the Duterte administration, this ongoing war against drugs, was brought up very briefly, according to the White House, in the context of the Philippines' fight against illegal drugs.
Not a very expanded note flare (ph) from the White House. We might hear a little bit more about it as the day goes on. But clearly it wasn't talked about at great length.
For more on that I would like to bring in Maria Ressa (ph) with Rapler (ph) here, one of the well-known media institutions here in the Philippines.
What is your takeaway from the fact that it doesn't appear that there was a long conversation about human rights between these two men?
MARIA RESSA, RAPLER (PH): We expected it. What's interesting is the Philippines spokesman actually said that President Trump did not bring it up, that it was president Duterte himself who brought it up.
And in that context, that President Trump just nodded and seemed supportive of it. What we know for sure is that these two men like each other. We've seen this in the videos and the photos of them in the last day and a half.
And they share many things in common, including the fact that they're both maverick styles of leaders. They often leave the institutions behind and they both share a passion for dealing with drugs.
RIVERS: How will that be viewed by the Filipino public in terms of not having a very long conversation about human rights, at least from, what we can tell so far?
Generally speaking, do people here care about it?
RESSA (PH): The Philippines always has. But keep in mind president Duterte is an extremely popular president. One of the surveys pointed out he is the most popular of our last three presidents. He holds from 72 percent to 80 percent approval ratings. I think it goes to a question of values. The fact that the United
States did not bring it up. Again, former president Barack Obama, expected; the former U.S. ambassador, that was expected. But I think what you're seeing is not just in the Philippines but globally there is this kind of turn that is more personality driven.
And so the questions many Filipinos have here is, what are the values that will guide both the United States and the Philippines?
Having said that, president Duterte has also been extremely important in a pivot of the Philippines from the United States to China and Russia. That's something president Duterte himself brought up. And that has changed the geopolitical power balance around the South China Sea, what we call the West Philippine Sea, and around the region.
So a lot of eyes are on this. And again, you go back to what are the values that are going to guide this.
RIVERS: Does the fact that at least so far the President of the United States has not really been critical of the president of the Philippines, does Rodrigo Duterte take that as a sign he should keep on keeping on, so to speak, continue to do what he has been doing over the last year?
RESSA (PH): I think what you've seen is a man, Rodrigo Duterte, nothing stops him from what he sees as his mission --
RESSA (PH): -- his vision. This is a man who came to office and was elected with very clear ideas of what he wanted to do. And he has done it with or without the institutions in the Philippines.
RIVERS: I want to touch a little bit about what you said about pivoting away from the United States. Under the Obama administration, president Duterte even went so far to question the military alliance. These are treaty allies between the United States and the Philippines.
So clearly there was a pivot towards Russia, towards China, away from the United States. Under the Trump administration, I know that we heard General H.R. McMaster, the national security adviser, talk about a pirouette, completing the circle so to speak.
Do you think the Philippines is now eyeing the United States more or are we still more pro-China or pro-Russia?
RESSA (PH): I think what you saw before President Trump took office was a United States that was in a place that it had never been in the Philippines. At one point, Filipinos liked the U.S. government more than the Americans did.
But now with this personal relationship between the two men, I think the U.S. in terms of policy making, in terms of defense, now stands a chance against China and Russia.
Because what you're seeing, you're seeing this with the leaders of both China and Russia here now, right?
You're seeing a tussle for who can provide the most. And in that way, you go back to Trump unashamedly saying we're America first. And in a way, these leaders are saying we want our countries first but we can take you along with us, maybe.
RIVERS: Fascinating times. Thank you for your insight. We'll hope to keep you around and continue to get some of that insight as we move forward the rest of the day. Maria Ressa (ph), thank you so much for joining us.
And so, Cyril, clearly a very interesting meeting between these two men. Human rights perhaps not talked about as much as human rights advocates around the world would have liked them to.
But it's not over yet. We do expect to hear more from the president of both countries throughout the day today. So when we hear from them, we'll certainly bring it to our viewers.
VANIER: Absolutely. It's not over yet, Matt. We'll have more questions next hour. Do stand by. Thank you very much. Matt Rivers live from Manila in the Philippines.
Next up on CNN NEWSROOM, they ran freely in the Beirut marathon but Saad Hariri was conspicuously absent. We'll have the latest on Lebanon's political crisis. Stay with us.
VANIER: In a new interview, Saad Hariri says he is coming back to Lebanon. He has been in Saudi Arabia since announcing he was stepping down as prime minister more than a week ago. He says he will return to formally resign but he also signaled that he could stay in his post.
Hariri's absence has fueled speculation that he is being controlled by the Saudis. In his resignation speech, he said that he condemned Saudi foes like Iran and Hezbollah. Here is what he says about Hezbollah now.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SAAD HARIRI (through translator): We had to adhere to the fact that the interest of Lebanon is first and foremost. I am not against one party against another party. I am not against Hezbollah in the sense that it is a political party, which is what it should be. But that doesn't mean that Hezbollah should ruin Lebanon.
(END VIDEO CLIP) VANIER: Hariri also said that he is free to leave Saudi Arabia and that Saudi King Salman sees him as a son. But by staying in Riyadh, he missed one of his favorite events in Beirut this weekend. Senior international correspondent Ben Wedeman has this story.
BEN WEDEMAN, CNN SR. INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): And they're off, runners in the 15th Beirut Marathon. In a country where divisions have led to war, this is a race about unity, joining athletes professional and amateur, young and old, the able and the disabled and others.
A record number of people are participating in this year's Beirut Marathon. However, one person who participated in the past is conspicuously absent and that's runner number 3.
That's Saad Hariri, who resigned suddenly as prime minister from Saudi Arabia more than a week ago. Sunday evening Hariri spoke up on Lebanese television for the first time in eight days, explaining his resignation was intended as a wake-up call for the people of Lebanon to the dangers facing them from Iran and others.
And he promised to return soon. There were plenty of reminders of the 47-year-old leader left out of the running. May Halil (ph) organized the first marathon in 2003.
MAY HALIL (PH), MARATHON ORGANIZER: The prime minister has been a great supporter to the Beirut marathon. A sportsman himself, young, very dynamic. And not having him here today definitely we all feel very sad.
WEDEMAN (voice-over): His absence from the race and from politics has left a gaping void and sparked intense concern Lebanon could be sucked into a proxy war between Saudi Arabia and Iran.
The Lebanese have long been accustomed to outside involvement in their internal affairs. But that doesn't make it any more acceptable.
"Hariri's fate is unknown and that makes us angry," says veteran runner Katya Rashad (ph). "We completely reject any interference in our country."
Says another runner, Aleen (ph), "In the end, anti-Lebanese and the Lebanese are all brothers, regardless of their sect. And that's our goal, to be united."
After the race, the United for Street Party, overseen by Santa Claus, dancing to a song close to the hearts of a people weary of outside interference.
WEDEMAN (voice-over): Ben Wedeman, CNN, Beirut.
(END VIDEOTAPE) VANIER: U.S. President Trump rarely pulled his punches and he had some choice words for some former U.S. intelligence chiefs. Now they've hit back. We'll explain after the break.
VANIER: Welcome back, everyone. Good to have you back with us. I'm Cyril Vanier. Let's get another recap of our headlines here on CNN.
VANIER: Two U.S. intelligence chiefs tell CNN that President Trump is downplaying the threat posed by Russia's election meddling and that's dangerous. After Mr. Trump met with Russian president Vladimir Putin, he told reporters that he believes Russia was not responsible.
The president stopped short of saying Russia did meddle in the election, saying only that he is with his intelligence agencies.
[02:30:04] But he had said earlier that former officials who overstate the Russian threat are, "political hacks." Well, two of them now have responded.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JOHN BRENNAN, FORMER DIRECTOR, CIA: Well, first of all, he was referring to us as political hacks because he was trying to delegitimize the intelligence community assessment has done. Jim Clapper, James Comey, John Brennan did not write that assessment. It was written by the professional intelligence officers and law enforcement officers of this great country.
Secondly, I feel very honored to be associated with Jim Clapper and Jim Comey in the same category. And considering the source of the criticism, I consider that criticism a badge of honor. And third, I found it particularly reprehensible that on Veterans' Day, that Donald Trump would attack and impugn the integrity and the character of Jim Clapper who served in uniform for 35 years. Who responded to the call of this country to go to Vietnam, flew in over 70 combat support missions over Vietnam.
And like Senator McCain really did put his life at risk because of this country's national security. And to impugn the character of somebody like Jim Clapper on Veterans' Day who has dedicated so much of his life to this country, I just find that outrageous, and it's something that -- I think Mr. Trump should be ashamed of. But it doesn't seem as though anything he does he feels any shame whatsoever.
JAMES CLAPPER, FORMER DIRECTOR OF NATIONAL INTELLIGENCE: Putin is committed to undermining our system, our democracy, and our whole process. And to try to paint it in any other way is I think astounding, and, in fact, pose peril to this country. I have to reciprocate what an honor it has been to serve with the likes of John Brennan and Jim Comey who are dedicated public servants and have served this country long and well and with great integrity. I think it can have a positive -- cannot have a positive impact on the morale of the workforce intelligence community. But I do believe in my heart that the men and women of the intelligence community will continue to convey truth to power, even if the power ignores the truth.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VANIER: Joining us now is CNN Political Commentator and Conservative Radio Host, Ben Ferguson, from Dallas, Texas; and from New York, Columnist for Metro Papers, Ellis Henican. Gentlemen, glad to have you both with us.
BEN FERGUSON, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR AND CONSERVATIVE RADIO HOST: Good to be here.
VANIER: So, Ellis, let's start with you. Is this, is this the talk of political hacks? We just heard Mr. Brennan, Mr. Clapper, is that the talk of political hacks?
ELLIS HENICAN, COLUMNIST, METRO PAPERS: No. It's somebody who loves his country and is trying to answer someone who's a peril too. Listen, this is absurd, right? I mean, this work was done by the professionals there. There's no credible argument on the other side of it. I think Donald Trump may be the last person in America who seems to have a real tough time getting it through his head that the Russians indeed tried to influence our election in 2016, and they, as far as Trump is concerned, may never pay a price for it.
VANIER: Ben, we've been down this road before.
FERGUSON: Yes. Look, Clapper and Brennan have a right to their opinion, but they also have a right to be criticized. And it's very clear that both these individuals have an extreme and probably the most disdain for Donald Trump of any political individual in this country. Because it --
VANIER: They're not pundits. They're former U.S. intelligence chiefs.
FERGUSON: And now, they currently are pundits. Let's be clear, they're not in the intelligence community anymore. They are being paid for their opinion as a pundit now. And they're clearly wanting to settle the score with Donald Trump. They don't like the fact that Donald Trump questioned the intelligence community and some of their friends, and they took offense to that. Look, you should be able to criticize those in the intelligence community. And guess what, when you retire, or you're forced out, these two individuals have a right to their opinion. But I also don't think that you know, the intelligence community should always get a pass.
VANIER: Is Donald Trump giving Russia a pass?
FERGUSON: No, I don't think he's given them a pass at all. I think what he's saying is, is that he's the president of the United States of America. He's going to look at issues whether it be China or whether it'd be North Korea that maybe we can find some common ground on, and see if we can have a consensus on, while also not necessarily trusting hmm on everything else. It's actually the same policy that Barack Obama and George Bush both had.
VANIER: Ellis, same question to you: is Donald Trump giving Vladimir Putin and Russia a pass?
HENICAN: Well, so far, yes. He doesn't seem to be able to condemn him in any straight way, right? I mean, 24 hours ago, he was saying how sincere he sounds and he's showed he believes that he didn't do anything bad at all. And when pressed on it, we got a kind of a lukewarm, well, maybe I sort of believe the guys who I have in the intel community. This is not a president who is ready to say anything condemning of Vladimir Putin ever on any topic, and I'm still waiting for the first.
VANIER: Let's listen to that what you're referring to. When Donald Trump was asked to stay unequivocally whether Vladimir Putin had meddled in the U.S. election, this is what he said.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
[02:35:13] DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I believe that he feels that he and Russia did meddle in the election. As to whether I believe it or not, I'm with our agencies, especially as currently constituted with their leadership. I believe in our intel agencies, our intelligence agencies. I've worked with them very strongly. There weren't 17 as was previously reported, there were actually four. But they were saying there were 17, there were actually four. But as currently led by fine people, I believe very much in our intelligence agencies.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VANIER: All right. So, for a politician who can be so crystal clear in his statements and in his views, this one is muddled at best. I mean, Ellis, why is this one so confusing?
HENICAN: Because he doesn't believe it, right? I mean, for whatever reason, we still don't know the motivation. We don't know what Putin holds over him. We don't know what secret thoughts are in his head. But he does not believe it. So, he can't say.
FERGUSON: Look, he said he believed what the intelligence agency said. The intelligence agencies have pretty clearly said they believe that there was meddling in the last election, they tried to meddle. They also said they tried to meddle in virtually every election that we've had since the Cold War. So --
VANIER: Ben, hold on. Just a second. He said that he believed, indeed, what the U.S. Intelligence Agency said. He also said that he believes Vladimir Putin is sincere when he denies meddling. The only way those two statements can be true is if there was large scale meddling in the U.S. election going on in Russia unbeknownst to the Russian President and former KGB Spy himself, Vladimir Putin. Is that something that seems likely to you?
FERGUSON: Look, I think that you have a president of the United States of America that has said that he believes his agency. And I also think that he wants to move forward on multiple issues, including North Korea and other issues that are very near and dear to the U.S. heart when it comes to Latvia, Lithuania, Estonia, Crimea, and other areas. Again, I don't understand why people are so obsessed with him talking directly about Vladimir Putin when clearly there are other issues out there. You know for a fact Russia doesn't like America. You know that they meddled in the election.
VANIER: Ben, why can't you answer my question? There are two parts of the president's statement that don't seem to just connect.
FERGUSON: I think his point that he made about him talking directly about the intelligence agency, he believes what they say is what the president believes. I also believe that thinks this is something that Russia is a part of and deals with constantly on a regular basis. I don't know if it's on Vladimir Putin --
VANIER: So, he believes meddling went on in Russia and that Vladimir Putin knew nothing about it?
FERGUSON: That's not what he said, and that's not what I said either.
VANIER: No, that's the only possible inference.
FERGUSON: No, that what -- the inference is that, that's the way that you want it to be.
VANIER: No, no, no. Those are the words of the U.S. president.
FERGUSON: I'm saying it again. I'm saying it again.
VANIER: Ben --
FERGUSON: I think that Russia constantly is meddling in not just our election, but every other election where they think it could have interest to them. I also think that I doubt it's at the front desk every single day of Vladimir Putin. He's doing a lot of other shady things in his own country, and other countries, and other places. But when the president says he believes the intelligence community and the intelligence community clearly says they believe that Russia meddled in our election, I think at that point it's time to say that's what he believes and move on.
VANIER: I get that. But there are two statements that are juxtaposed here. And my point to you, Ben, and Ellis, I'll give you a chance to answer this, is that they don't square unless you're saying that Vladimir Putin was unaware that there was large scale meddling in a foreign country's election, which it seems implausible.
FERGUSON: I do think there's a little bit. Here is my point about this: I think there's a little bit of hypocrisy here. If you go back and look at the lack of criticism of when you're trying to somehow try to normalize relations, and I'll give you a great example with Barack Obama with Cuba, people didn't have him be forced into attacking Castro while they were trying to help build relationships and open up some sort of diplomatic relations with Cuba. Clearly, he knows that the Cuban people are being punished by their leader. Clearly, they know the Castro family and the Castro regime is a terrible regime, but he's also (INAUDIBLE 39:19) relationship.
You can do two things at the same time, and it makes sense for the interest of the United States of America. That's exactly what the president is trying the do right now. And I didn't see anybody out there criticizing Barack Obama for not going hard enough at the Castros and what they had done in the past when he was trying to normalize his relations. I think what you see from Donald Trump is trying to be diplomatic here. You want to keep having a verbal war with the Russians when there are big issues like a North Korea nuclear power that you might have to have a consensus on, and issues like China?
Those are issues where you do need to have some sort of a conversation and some sort of dialogue with Russia. And I think when he says I believe and back the U.S. and what we have said in our intelligence community, I'm not going to get into a verbal war with Vladimir Putin. I think that's one of the things the president of the United States asked to be the same with what Obama did it with Castro family and the regime when he was trying to normalize things with Cuba.
VANIER: Ellis, real quick, last word.
HENICAN: I could probably do a little quicker. I'm not going to go down the rabbit hole in Cuba. But clearly, this is a president who is unable to do that. Of course, he wants to move on. This is very uncomfortable for him. There's a serious investigation, several of them, in fact, that are closing in on him. He would like us to talk about anything but this. But he still can't say anything bad about Vladimir Putin.
VANIER: Gentlemen, Ben Ferguson, Ellis Henican, thank you both for joining us. Thanks.
HENICAN: Good seeing you.
[01:40:47] VANIER: And brutal violence is driving hundreds of thousands of Rohingya Muslims from Myanmar to Bangladesh. Why is that not being mentioned at the Regional ASEAN Summit? We'll ask the question after the break.
VANIER: Myanmar Leader, Aung San Suu Kyi, is currently in the Philippines for the ASEAN Summit, but the humanitarian crisis in her country probably will not be a topic of conversation. More than 600,000 Rohingya Muslims -- that's more than half a million people -- have fled violence in Myanmar since August. The U.N. has called this "textbook ethnic cleansing." Yet the draft statement for the summit makes no mention of this exodus. And Suu Kyi herself did not mention the Rohingya in a pre-summit speech, despite global pressure to do something about this humanitarian crisis.
Let's talk to Jeffrey Gettleman, he's a New York Times South Asia Bureau Chief, he joins us from New Delhi, India. Jeffrey, when you last spoke to CNN, you gave us an absolutely harrowing account of the persecution of Rohingya Muslims. I would encourage anybody to go read that in The New York Times archives. Jeffrey, this is being done by Aung San Suu Kyi's government. Is she going to face any criticism for this?
[02:45:02] JEFFREY GETTLEMAN, SOUTH ASIA BUREAU CHIEF: She's faced enormous criticism. I was just hearing today that she had visited Oxford University a few years ago, and they have decided to take her name off of several places on campus because they're so disgusted with her inaction on this issue. She was celebrated as this peace activist. She was -- she was herald and the world over for taking a stance against this harsh military regime, and now that she's in power, that same military regime is massacring people. I myself had victims of --
VANIER: Jeffrey, I meant, is she going to face criticism from her neighbors, from the regional leaders?
GETTLEMAN: You know, from what I'm gathering, the region has not been that organized on this issue. There really has not been a strong voice supporting the running of people in that entire area and there's not a lot of hope that the ASEAN nations are going to come together and solve this crisis.
VANIER: Now, back when I was in young, Suu Kyi was fighting for democracy in her country, and when she was under house arrest, she blamed ASEAN countries for saying nothing. And there's a rule of political non-interference in neighboring countries' political affairs. Today, she is benefiting from this same silence.
GETTLEMAN: She's in a really awkward position obviously because she probably does not support the widespread massacre of civilians like we've been hearing in this area. But at the same time, the military remains very power in Myanmar. Her position is fragile and it's not clear where her heart is on this issue because these people have suffered so much. As you said 600,000 have fled with almost nothing. They're continuing to come. Just last night, there was hundreds that came across this body of water on these makeshift rafts, risking their lives and we're just -- we're just not hearing any sense of outrage or deep concern by the leader of this country where this has happened.
VANIER: And I think what's difficult to understand for the international community is that Aung San Suu Kyi was long seen as a democracy icon. I know she herself does not like this world icon but she is a Nobel Peace Prize winner. For years, she was under house arrest, and she's one of those world figures that stood up for democracy. And yet, she seems to be condoning this. So, what are we missing? Is it just the price to pay for her to stay in power? GETTLEMAN: You know, I frankly don't know. But there's a very complicated issue in here with the Rohingya. The people and many people, the vast majority of people in Myanmar do not believe the Rohingya are true citizens of their country. And they have been prosecuted and demonized for decades. They've been called insects, and snakes, and vermin and many people across the country have no sympathy for them. And so, what we're seeing in her position is a transmission of wider Myanmar society feels.
There's even been denials that these people are making this up, it burned down their own villages, which you know, is beyond believable. So, it's a deeper problem within Myanmar and I think it's -- sadly, these people don't have anywhere to go and I don't think there's going to be a solution anytime soon.
VANIER: Yes, and as you speak, we're seeing pictures what it looks like when these people leave their country and crossover into neighboring Bangladesh. In fact, tell us about that? What is Bangladesh, if anything doing about them because they've become Bangladesh's responsibility now.
GETTLEMAN: So, Bangladesh is saying they're not, you know, from Bangladesh. They need to go back to Myanmar. Myanmar is saying, no, they're not from Myanmar, they need to go back to Bangladesh. There's few people in the world, few ethnic groups, that are truly stateless. And that's what we're seeing with Rohingya is that nobody wants to claim them. Their very origins are in dispute. So, they're coming into Bangladesh by the hundreds of thousands. Bangladesh's ambivalence is translating into the back that they don't want to build big roads, they don't want to put in water towers, they don't want to schools to be built to accommodate these Rohingya children because they don't want them staying there forever.
And so while they're in this limbo, the services they get and the life they're going to lead is going to be pretty desperate and uncomfortable and they don't want to go back to Myanmar because as you said in the introduction, this was an ethnic cleansing campaign to get rid of these people, to wipe the landscape clean. And so, why would they want to go back to that country that just did that to them.
VANIER: Yes. Jeffrey Gettleman, thank you very much for coming on the show, and thank you also for your great work on this topic. And this is also a story that CNN wants to give you an in-depth understanding of. So, our Clarissa Ward will give us a rare look into the lives of persecuted Rohingya Muslims.
[02:49:58] CLARISSA WARD, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Noral Hak says, he fled a brutal massacre in his village of Tula Toli. Others who escape Tula Toli tell a similar story. We wanted to find out more, so we traveled to a sprawling refugee camp along the border, and met 30-year-old Mumtez. The burns that cover he body only hint at the horror she's survived.
Describe to me what happened to you? What did you see with your own eyes, exactly?
VANIER: Their stories in their own words, that's Monday only on CNN.
It's been a week since a shooter in Texas turned a Sunday church service into a massacre. Now, the sanctuary has reopened to memorialize the victims. The message from the church's pastor when we come back.
IVAN CABRERA, CNN METEOROLOGIST: I'm CNN meteorologist Ivan Cabrera with your weather watch. And the winter preview has been extended, right. We've been talking about much colder than we should be for this time of year, especially across the Northern United States although that cool air has funneled all the way into the Southeastern U.S. new system born after the other that will bring in some rain, snow, and some significant winds as well for portions of the Pacific Northwest.
But if you're traveling across the Northeastern U.S., we'll have temperatures that will continue rather cool. We're not going to have a big warm up but basically through the middle part of the week, the chunk of this very cold air will begin to lift to the north and what that will do is will allow for temperatures at least for a few days to recover and things to thaw out a little bit after the big chill. The mild temperatures as you see the trend there continue across further south and the east.
And there you see Atlanta getting out of the cool lower teens to mid and upper teens and eventually with 20 degrees by the end of the week. New York City, there is the cool there. That's going to feel nice between eight degrees and jump into 12 by Thursday as a little push of milder air begins to move in. There's the front clearing things out and really pretty quiet across the mid-section of the U.S. with the exception of this new low, you see that spinning up and continuing to crash into the north and west. And again, that will clip also parts of Northern California with some rainfall.
VANIER: One week after the deadliest mass shooting in Texas history, a church has reopened to remember the victims. The pastor of the First Baptist Church of Sutherland Springs said the shooter chose darkness but the community will choose light. 25 people and an unborn child were killed including the pastor's 14-year-old daughter. Our Kaylee Hartung has more.
[02:54:59] KAYLEE HARTUNG, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Twenty-six chairs now sit inside First Baptist Church. Each chair placed in a location that a victim's body was found. As you walk among the chairs, you see the names handpainted in gold lettering. You see where Joann Ward threw her body on top of her children in an effort to protect them from gunfire. You see the vantage point that Karla Holcombe had as the horror unfolded before her, her chair the lone chair sitting on the altar. Each chair has a red rose sitting in it.
There's one pink rose in the seat of the unborn baby Holcomb. You hear a recording being played in the sanctuary now. It's the voices of the victims from moments when they were involved in church services past.
This sanctuary reopened to the public from 10:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m. Monday through Friday of this week. And the church leaders expressed a sense of urgency they felt to reopen the church's doors so that it could be a part of the healing process for some, to bring a sense of closure to others, particularly the victims' families. And next Sunday, the congregation of First Baptist Church will gather on the church's grounds for their worship service.
Kaylee Hartung, CNN, Sutherland Springs, Texas.
VANIER: All right. Thank you, everyone, for being with us this hour. Stay with us. We're back with another hour of news right after this.
VANIER: U.S. President Donald Trump is on the final leg of his Asia trip. He just had his first formal sit-down with Philippine President --