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Two More Women Describe Unwanted Overtures By Roy Moore At Alabama Mall. Zimbabwe Is Under Military Control As Army Seizes Power. Aired 2-3a ET
Aired November 16, 2017 - 02:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[02:01:12] ISHA SESAY, CNN ANCHOR: Zimbabweans are anxiously waiting to see if a military takeover will bring political change. President Robert Mugabe who's ruled Zimbabwe with an iron fist for almost four decades is now said to be safe under house arrest.
JOHN VAUSE, CNN ANCHOR: Military leaders denied they staged a coupe. Despite that, it sure looks like they have. Tanks and troops stationed around key government buildings and a number of officials have reportedly been arrested.
It's unclear what political role, if any, the 93-year-old president will have in a new government and was believed that military had done this to try and prevent the president's wife, Grace, from taking over from her husband.
SESAY: CNN's Eleni Giokos joins us now from Johannesburg.
Eleni, good to speak to you once again. I guess the basic question here is what happens next?
ELENI GIOKOS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, exactly. What is going to happen next? We've got the military on the ground. Huge presence taking over the whole place this morning. We've had almost propaganda-style information coming through about peace and stability and they are going to be embarking on a peace and stability summit over the weekend.
You have the airport still in operation under the control of the military with a lot more vetting that is coming through.
You've got SADC, regional body that is going to intervene. President Jacob Zuma sending an envoy, but importantly the African Union chair Alpha Conde, he is also the Guinean president, who is very pro- democracy. And in fact, I spoke to him over the years. He's always said that presidents that have overstayed, they welcome to start rethinking their position.
The African Union and SADC, January, have dragged their feet when it comes to the Zimbabweans situation over the years despite hyperinflation and food shortages. Very little change had been pushed forward by these regional bodies that perhaps these have a lot of clout.
Now what next, we know that the Vice President Emmerson Mnangagwa was fired by President Robert Mugabe last week and this is one of the reasons that the military says that it's going to intervene. But, remember, that anyone that is in (INAUDIBLE) at the moment had a very strong hand to play in the situation that played out in Zimbabwe over the last two decades.
And importantly, they were complicit in some or another. Whether it would be Grace Mugabe, whether it would Emmerson Mnangagwa.
The question is are the opposition parties going to be involved in this transitional government. Are they going to be included in the conversation? And is this going to perhaps give the Zimbabwean people finally a voice to vote for what they really want. Change? Looking at an opposition party as an example or still vote for Sonny Phiri under a new office.
SESAY: Yes. And, Eleni, as you talked about the future and the shape that could take in terms of allowing Zimbabweans to have a voice possibly in whatever happens next, the question also has to be asked whether Robert Mugabe will be held to account for his nearly four decades in power that brought immense hardship, death, violence, brutality to millions of people.
GIOKOS: We're talking about a 93-year-old man that is in the past say that he is not interested in anything that the international criminal court have to say or any kind of international intervention or force that the international community had on Zimbabwe.
I think it's going to be up to the courts, the global courts, to decide whether they are going to take Robert Mugabe to task. It would be interesting to see if the regional bodies are going to do something similar.
We've seen in the past that African presidents or, you know, people who stayed in power for longer than expected always say they welcome or even had spoke violence have perhaps gotten away with thing, specifically on the continent.
So there's a lot of things that could play out. First, is Robert Mugabe going to sit down and take this on and allow transitional government to form its SADC and the African Union going to allow that to happen?
It's, of course, going -- one of the repercussions going to be for Robert Mugabe and where he is going to go next. I mean, what is his next step. I mean, that's I guess one of the biggest questions right now.
SESAY: Yes, indeed. Many, many questions.
Eleni Giokos, really appreciate the reporting. Thank you so much.
[02:05:00] VAUSE: To Washington now. And fresh off his trip to Asia, President Donald Trump says America is back and he has restored U.S. standing in the world and he's claiming progress on North Korea fighting terrorism and trade.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I also had a very candid conversation with President Xi about the need to reduce our staggering trade deficit with China and for our trading relationship to be conducted on a truly fair and equitable basis.
We can no longer tolerate unfair trading practices that steal American jobs, wealth and intellectual property. The days of the United States being taken advantage of are over.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VAUSE: Joining us now, CNN correspondents Andrew Stevens in Beijing. Paula Hancocks is in Seoul, South Korea.
Here is Los Angeles, Democratic strategist Caroline Heldman and conservative commentator Alex Datig. I hope I got that right.
Thank you for being with us.
OK. So Caroline, this was a 35-minute long speech by the president. It was build as a major announcement, but it's seem more like it's a travel diary and mostly we say I was blight and dine and had a really good time.
CAROLINE HELDMAN, DEMOCRATIC STRATEGIST: And, apparently, he didn't have enough to drink because he was very thirsty.
This is what we remember about the speech. I thought he was teasing a major trade deal. His whole point him going on this trip was really two-fold. One was to establish a clear trade policy in the region which he's failed to do as much as he says that he has. There's nothing concrete. And the other was to share an idea of stabilization and get everybody together to coalesce against what's happening in North Korea.
That didn't happen either. He got into a petty Twitter squabble with Kim Jong-un, and then he flip-flopped on Russia after meeting with Putin. So this was not a successful trip. And his speech today really exemplifies the fact that nothing happened on this trip.
VAUSE: Alex, how do you answer that criticism? Also, the fact that, you know, what he did outline in his speech many say it's kind of overblown. It's exactly right.
ALEXANDRA DATIG, EDITOR-IN-CHIEF, FRONT PAGE INDEX: I like to begin by saying here's to you. You know, I think he accomplished a lot by bringing those UCLA basketball players home for starters and it would have been nice to say thank you.
VAUSE: I think one did.
DATIG: OK. Oh, if they did then I didn't hear it. But needless to say I thought that was a good accomplishment. And I thought, you know, I thought it was no good deed goes unpunished with this president. Nobody wants to give him any credit.
He freed these students and, you know, I mean, they got to admit to UCLA, what are they doing steeling stuff.
VAUSE: He didn't go over to Asia to free the three students.
DATIG: I understand and he could have negotiated something else had they not done that.
HELDMAN: Why he didn't get a trade deal, Alex. Because he was negotiating on behalf of the basketball players.
DATIG: He wasn't looking for a trade deal. He was looking to have good relations. He was looking to have good relations with China to help with Korea. He have an issue with Iran, because we do have this nuclear agreement that is being undone right now or in the works and so forth.
So I think it was a diplomatic tour very much for him. I think it was successful.
And I don't think we should have expected a lot more than just for him to have good relations so that we can have higher expectations.
VAUSE: Well, one of the big goals of the trip was to build pressure on North Korea especially to try and get China to do a lot more about North Korea and missile program.
This is the assessment the president had. Listen to this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: During our visit, presidency pledged to faithfully implement United Nations Security Council resolutions on North Korea and to use his great economic influence over the regime to achieve our common goal of a denuclearized Korean Peninsula. President Xi recognizes that a nuclear North Korea is a grave threat to China.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VAUSE: To Andrew Steven's in Beijing, did China actually agreed to making denuclearization a goal here? Is it in the past a priority as it has always been to maintain peace on the Korean Peninsula never going that far.
ANDREW STEVENS, CNN ASIA PACIFIC EDITOR: China has always been looking for a denuclearize Korean Peninsula, John. That is true.
And the president is right in saying that it does wield an awful lot of economic influence over North Korea. What China would also say and has been saying repeatedly is that it is abiding by all the UN sanctions, below those latest sanctions imposed after the September 3 hydrogen bomb test. They included capping oil exports to North Korea and also looking at banning exports of textiles and also cutting back visas for North Koreans working overseas.
[02:10:00] So China says it's faithfully implementing all those. It could go a lot further if it wanted to. That would take it beyond the remnant of the U.N. sanctions and its showing no indications they are prepared to do that.
I would say, though, and this is being seen as not a coincidence. A special envoy from Beijing is traveling to Pyongyang tomorrow to meet with senior members of North Korea's communist party.
We don't know whether he'll actually be meeting with Kim Jong-un himself. The Chinese are saying this is a protocol visit to tell the North Koreans what happened to this recent 19th national Congress held in Beijing. But a lot of the conversation here is the fact that the envoy will be bearing a message to Kim Jong-un from Xi Jinping. And relations here are not warm at all.
We don't know what the message of that -- what the content of that message will be. But certainly it's quite safe to assume that denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula would be very, very high on those talks. What happens from there we don't know, John.
But the president is right in saying that China has this massive economic influence. 90 percent of North Korean international trade goes through China, but there's no indication from President Xi or anyone else that it's going to do anything other than stand by the U.N. resolutions on dealing with North Korea.
VAUSE: Andrew, thank you from Beijing.
We'll head over to Seoul and we'll talk about the issue of North Korea, because -- Paula, good to see you.
Donald Trump talked about the progress he made in dealing with North Korea.
Listen to this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: We have ended the fail strategy of strategic patience and as a result we have already seen important progress including tough new sanctions from the U.N. Council.
We have a Security Council that has been with us and just about with us from the beginning.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VAUSE: So, Paula, what's the views from there. Is progress being made on ending Pyongyang's nuclear missile program?
PAULA HANCOCKS, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, what we did see was the U.S. president was in the region with Japan and South Korea coming out with unilateral sanctions against North Korea potentially in order to carry favor with the U.S. presidency.
I mean, we saw those two countries pulled all the stops in order to try and impress Donald Trump or something that set not too much of a stretch to say that. So we did have unilateral sanctions, but beyond that there was nothing concrete.
Interestingly, we haven't seen any missile launches from North Korea for about two months now. That is uncharacteristically quiet when you consider 2016, much of 2017 has been intense testing the likes of which we haven't seen in North Korean history.
But that can't be put down to the last couple of weeks at this U.S. president's trip in Asia. And certainly from North Korea's point of view when it comes to the rhetoric.
They are angered by the U.S. president, by what he has said, by the Twitter spat that he has got into once again.
One thing I wanted to read you a commentary from the North Korean newspaper on Wednesday said, quote, "Trump who is no more than an old slave of money dared point an accusing finger at the sun. He should know that he's just a hideous criminal, sentenced to death by the Korean people."
Now, that is because they are angered that he is making personal attacks against Kim Jong-Un, the North Korean leader and also a fairly unusual threat on his life against the U.S. President himself. So in that respect, he's not making much headway.
VAUSE: I guess on North Korea we'll give him an incomplete and maybe work on his people skills.
Paula Hancocks -- thank you, in Seoul.
And before you -- Andrew Stevens there in Beijing.
Thanks to you both.
Back to Alex here because the problem for the President is that the story dominating the news right now is the story that Donald Trump does not want to talk about.
Listen to this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: Thank you. Thank you all.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Should Roy Moore resign, Mr. President?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Should he resign?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VAUSE: OK. So this is Roy Moore, you know, the Senate candidate from Alabama accused by a growing number of women, two more have come out according to the "Washington Post" the last couple of hours accusing him of inappropriate sexual behavior.
Donald Trump won Alabama by 28 points. If he wanted to resolve this, he could do it quickly and he could do it easily. Yes?
DATIG: You know, yes. But I'm not sure if the President is even an issue here. We have 3.1 million registered voters in the state of Alabama; 1.3 million of which voted for Donald Trump; 700,000 voted for Hillary.
So, in last election in the primary they had 17.6 percent voter turnout which means 580,000 Republican votes and 109,000 Democratic for Jones.
Now Moore won that over Luther Strange. So, I mean, if you have Republican turnout it may not matter what the women do or what they don't do because it's a numbers game. And while -- if these allegations are true, I find that all very sad and very horrible.
[02:15:10] I just think it's very -- it is politically motivated. I do not -- I do not like seeing sexual harassment claims made at the eleventh hour against a candidate. But at the same time, children are off limits, you know?
And if you're talking about us having to decide whether or not to give someone the benefit of the doubt so they can run for the United States Senate, the answer's no. And that's just my position. It's been my position for a while and I came out on Facebook about it and I got called out. But now, you see what happens.
And I just, you know, I do not like sexual harassment being used in politics at all because the victims don't really get redress. They may get monetary relief but redress is impossible when they make this public.
VAUSE: Let's get Caroline in this --
HELDMAN: So they should have stayed quiet? I mean I think it's morally reprehensible that we are having a conversation about whether or not Roy Moore is fit or the timing of all of this.
It is really clear, we are talking allegations of pedophilia, of sexual assault. At this point, yes, the President could step in.
Terrible timing for the GOP but at the end of the day this is Steve Bannon's fault. This man was not vetted. He should have been vetted and this should have all been resolved. He never should have been the candidate.
VAUSE: Alex, one of the problems the President has is that if he gets up on a stage somewhere and says he believes that, you know, now seven women who accused Roy Moore of sexual misconduct. Does he then have to explain at the same time why he does not believe the 16 women who accused him of sexual misconduct during last year's campaign?
DATIG: I love that question -- John.
VAUSE: I'm sure.
DATIG: And the reason I love that question is because I'm a human trafficking survivor. I'm a sexual assault survivor. I'm a child molestation survivor. I'm a teenage rape survivor. And as a rape survivor and a sexual assault survivor, I can tell you today if I sued every person that sexually harassed me I'd be an unemployable millionaire.
HELDMAN: What about the 16 for Trump, though?
DATIG: But it doesn't matter. It's very damaging for a sexual harassment victim to come out and speak about this publicly because of the re-traumatization.
VAUSE: But doesn't that --
DATIG: It should belong in the therapist's office.
VAUSE: -- doesn't that lend credibility to those claims?
DATIG: I understand -- you know, I understand the sticking point and all that but this is not something that is healthy for a sexual assault survivor. It's not healthy.
HELDMAN: Wait -- no, no. They get to decide that. As a sexual assault survivor --
DATIG: I understand -- I understand why the sexual assault survivor gets to decide. I understand.
HELDMAN: They get to decide when they come forward.
DATIG: I understand but you know what as an advocate for child --
HELDMAN: You're speaking with one, as well. You're speaking with a sexual violence advocate so set that aside. Donald Trump --
DATIG: -- with the toughest laws in the country against child sex trafficking and Roy Moore is a child sex trafficker.
HELDMAN: And yet you're still -- and you're still --
DATIG: When you take a minor -- VAUSE: But should he be in the Senate?
DATIG: He should not.
VAUSE: OK. Good.
DATIG: He should not. Absolutely not. We agree.
VAUSE: We agree. OK.
Well, it looks like he's going nowhere because he tweeted this out a short time ago. "Dear Mitch McConnell," -- the Republican Senate leader -- "bring it on."
He obviously blames the Republican Party establishment for this -- what he calls a witch hunt and he's not leaving. So this goes on.
Alex and Caroline -- good to see you both. Thank you.
HELDMAN: Thank you.
DATIG: Thank you.
SESAY: So it's not going to end anytime soon.
Next on CNN NEWSROOM, President Trump has asked China to exert more pressure on North Korea. Now Beijing sending a top diplomat to Pyongyang. The high stakes behind that high level visit. We will explain.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I really truly believe that we would have had a horrific bloodbath in that school if that school hadn't taken the option when they did.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VAUSE: And staff on an elementary school praised for saving lives during a deadly shooting spree in California. We'll explain when we come back.
SESAY: Well, on the hills of U.S. President Donald Trump's visit to Asia during which North Korea was frequently discussed, China is now sending a special envoy to Pyongyang.
VAUSE: He's a senior diplomat and is expected to arrive on Friday amid speculation he has a message for the North Korean leader from China's President Xi Jinping.
CNN's Brian Todd has our report. BRIAN TODD, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): North Korea's brash young dictator could soon get some arm-twisting from his most important ally. China, he says, it's sending a special envoy to North Korea.
It comes in the wake of what experts say has been near hostility between Kim Jong-un and Chinese President Xi Jinping.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JONATHAN POLLACK, SENIOR FELLOW, BROOKINGS INSTITUTION: North Korean officials saying we don't we don't trust China; we didn't expect to play any kind of a major role here. In one context, Xi Jinping was accused of betraying North Korea.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
TODD: Experts say the Chinese president himself detest Kim Jong-un for his reckless pursuit of nuclear weapons.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
POLLACK: He really, really dislikes young Kim. He feels that Kim is doing nothing but creating bigger risks for China, bigger dangers for the region and that Kim isn't listening to anyone.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
TODD: Did the Trump team coordinate the Chinese envoy's visit to Pyongyang to build on the president's trip to Asia, the White House and State Department aren't commenting.
Experts say in Pyongyang, the Chinese diplomat may press the Trump administration's message, may try to get Kim to at least pause his weapons buildup, but they say the Chinese will never exert all their might on Kim to give up his nukes and they'll never squeeze him out of power.
A collapse of Kim's regime, analysts say is China's biggest fear.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ANDREW SHEARER, FORMER AUSTRALIAN NATIONAL SECURITY ADVISER: China would obviously be concerned about refugee uploads. It would be concerned about loose nukes as it were, where what happens to those nuclear weapons that the Kim regime has developed, but even more fundamentally it would be concerned about the potential for reunification of the Korean Peninsula on democratic terms.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
TODD: At the same time, Kim welcomes the Chinese diplomat. He's hurling more insults at President Trump. His regime calling the president an old lunatic, a mean trickster. Still, resentful of Trump's personal salvos about Kim's ambitions.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) TRUMP: A dictator's twisted fantasies of violent conquest and nuclear blackmail.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
TRODD: And a front to the dignity of the supreme leader that experts say can't go unanswered.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
POLLACK: The North Koreans clearly take great offense at things that attack Kim Jong-un personally, so at the end of day the North Koreans feel that they have to protect the sort of eternal wisdom of the Kim family and of the regime and the dynasty that they have built. So those kinds of words bite.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
TODD: And there is another potential piece of fallout here. Rex Tillerson and other U.S. officials and even President Trump have implied recently that they could someday sit down and negotiate with Kim Jong-un's regime. Experts say all these personal insults back and forth are starting to erode the possibility of that.
Brian Todd, CNN, Washington.
VAUSE: A psychiatric patient in Hawaii managed to not only escape but he made it all the way to California before he was caught after a tip off from a taxi driver.
Randall Saito escaped from a nurse facility where he'd been since 1981 after he was acquitted of murder by reason of insanity.
SESAY: He fled the grounds, called a cab from a park, caught two flights and got another taxi before he was finally arrested and stopped in California three days later.
Hawaii's governor is blaming his escape on a major breakdown in security procedures.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I am deeply concerned that such a dangerous person was able to escape from the Hawaii State Hospital and remain undetected for such a long period of time. Authorities and the public should have been notified much, much sooner.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
[02:25:00] SESAY: Well, a number of employees are suspended without pay pending an investigation.
VAUSE: Well, a quick decision to order a school lockdown appears to have prevented a much bigger tragedy during a shooting spree in California, which left four people dead.
The gunman, Kevin Neal, was on bail charged with firing shots at two neighbors and stabbing one of them earlier this year. Neal's sister told CNN, her brother has struggled with mental illness for decades.
More details now from Sara Sidner.
SARA SIDNER, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The shooter's deadly rampage may have started in the confines of his own home.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We were looking for his wife. We located her dead body concealed under the floor of the residence.
SIDNER: She had been shot multiple times authority said.
It didn't stop there. Investigators say the gunman went on a 25- minute shooting spree killing a neighbor with a restraining order against him, then turning his rage on complete strangers including those inside this elementary school. One child was hit by gunfire.
Mother Sara Gonzalez says she saw the gunman.
SARA GONZALEZ, WITNESS: It kind of swerved in front of me, stopped me, and he shot at me three times.
SIDNER: Her heart sank. She had just dropped off her 10-year-old daughter at the elementary school the shooter was heading towards.
GONZALEZ: I went to my daughter's school. Started honking, letting people know what was going on and try to go get my daughter out of the school when he shot towards me again and I had to leave to call 911.
UNIDENTIFIED GIRL: I heard like three times and then like it stopped and then it's like there was one big one that was before we went in to hide.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The whole school was sprayed with gunfire.
SIDNER: As terrifying as it was, the superintendent and assistant sheriffs says a massacre was avoided by the quick thinking of school staff and the shooter training small children across America are now drilled on.
PAUL JOHNSTON, TEHAMA COUNTY ASSISTANT SHERIFF: I really truly believe that we would have had a horrific bloodbath in that school if that school hadn't taken the action when they did.
SIDNER: Jesse Sanders says he lives near the school and was grazed by a bullet after trying to distract the shooter from the children.
JESSE SANDERS, WITNESS: (INAUDIBLE) and I said, hey, why wouldn't you shoot this way instead.
SIDNER: The school secretary heard the shots and initiated lockdown mode. The superintendent says 8 to 10 seconds made all the difference between survival and yet another school massacre.
SUPT. RICHARD FITZPATRICK, CORNING UNION ELEMENTARY SCHOOL DISTRICT: Between that time the shooter then took his weapon and ran a top speed around the corner into the main quads of the school. The reason that I'm standing here today and I'm able to speak to you without breaking down and crying is because of the heroic efforts of our school staff. Love and kindness and selflessness paired with the ability to professionally do what they did defeated evil.
SIDNER: Sarah Sidner, CNN, Corning, California.
SESAY: I mean, so lucky the way that one played out.
VAUSE: What's surprising is that people just getting used to school shooting.
SESAY: Yes, exactly.
VAUSE: It's now an automatic response.
SESAY: And we're going to take a quick break. The political future in Zimbabwe is uncertain. The military is now in control. The president is under house arrest and the world is waiting for what happens next as the new government is open. We are waiting to see details and analysis -- next.
VAUSE: And refusing to back down. Alabama's embattled Senate candidate Roy Moore goes after to his accusers.
[02:30:52] JOHN VAUSE, CNN INTERNATIONAL ANCHOR: We're in the homestretch now. Welcome back. You're watching CNN NEWSROOM live from Los Angeles. I'm John Vause.
ISHA SESAY, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: And I'm Isha Sesay. The headlines this hour, President Donald Trump says his trip to Asia has restored U.S. standing the world and made it clear America is back. He is claiming progress on trade, fighting terrorism and uniting the world against the nuclear threats from North Korea.
VAUSE: Alabama's embattled Senate candidate Roy Moore is showing no signs of dropping out of the race despite growing calls for him to step down. The Washington Post now reporting two more women have come forward accusing him of inappropriate sexual behavior decades ago. A total of seven women have now accused Moore of sexual misconduct. Moore's attorney though is challenging the credibility of at least one accuser suggesting a signature believed to Moore's in a yearbook might be fake.
SESAY: Flash flood has killed 30 people around Athens, Greece. Others are trapped in their homes without power or running water. A state of emergency has been declared in the West Attica region. Parts of the national highway system had been destroyed and many other roads are shut down as well.
VAUSE: Zimbabwe is waiting to see if a military takeover will bring political change. President Robert Mugabe is believed to be under house arrest after ruling with an iron fist for almost four decades. The 93-year old is now facing uncertain future. Analysts believe the military is trying to prevent his wife, Grace, from taking over from her husband.
SESAY: Well, Piers Pigou is a senior consultant on Southern Africa for the international crisis group. He joins us now from Johannesburg. Piers, it's good to have you with us. So, you said this moment in Zimbabwe for many a big sigh of relief but for others, it's a moment of apprehension. In your view, what exactly does this moment mean for the nation?
PIERS PIGOU, SENIOR CONSULTANT FOR SOUTHERN AFRICA, CRISIS GROUP: Well, it is a pivotal moment when one is coming to the end of -- you said in the intro, almost four decades of rule by Robert Mugabe. So, in many respects, while this may not lead to significant material change in the lives of Zimbabweans in the short or median term, this has enormous symbolism in terms of the life of history of independence in Zimbabwe. Seeing the end of the man who's dominated the political scene since its inception.
SESAY: You say might not lead to material change in the short or medium term for the people in Zimbabwe who have been crying out for change, I mean, would that be a case of dashed hopes and what might that lead to?
PIGOU: Well, dashed hopes on this, it's too early to say much depends on what kind of program of action they reconfigured government puts on the table. There's an enormous need for a reengagement with the international community and with international creditors to deal with the dataries problem to deal with related reforms that can lay the basis for some kind of broad base sustainable recovery for Zimbabwe. Its economy is in a seriously negative shape at the moment and is on a down with trajectory with real concerns about the return to hyperinflation.
So, there needs to be some kind of stabilization process immediately which can at least lay the foundations for that recovery. How that translates into the material benefits of ordinary Zimbabweans of course has yet to be seen. But one thing that could help of course is to rest the rising food and commodity prices which we've seen particularly in the last six to eight weeks which has really sharp intentions I think for a lot of people in terms of their living conditions.
SESAY: Yes. And the expectations is or the wide reporting is that effectively the ousted vice president would return to Zimbabwe and effectively in the wings and ultimately take the reins of power once Mugabe has been swept from the stage. He is a man to implement the necessary changes that you say a needed in Zimbabwe? Does he have the vision to stabilize the economy and do what's necessary to reengage with the west? [02:35:02] PIGOU: Well, Emmerson Mnangagwa has been presented by a number of people as the face of reform within insanity over the last couple of years. There has however been little evidence that he's been able to drive such an agenda and we get to really see the kind of vision that is necessary for the kind of recovery that I've been talking about. Mr. Mnangagwa has a reputation which will be difficult to overcome. But for many, he seems the most stable pair of hand in this -- in this current situation from within (INAUDIBLE)
But I think what is increasingly clear is the people don't see a solution coming exclusively from (INAUDIBLE) and that's why we see even a number of key allies from Mr. Mnangagwa who are calling for a more inclusive government that would include opposition elements, others that had been thrown under the bus in zone recently as a way of having some kind of national solution. What that would like and what would be convincing to the majority of Zimbabweans of course has yet to be seen.
SESAY: Yes, indeed. You know, we're all looking at statements coming from the African Union, which has been a lot of circumspect, you know, calling for restraint, looking at statements coming from South Africa. President Zuma currently the head of SADC, the SADC countries there in the region. He's been a little bit clearer and more forceful, saying that this is a coup and, you know, dispatching an envoy. How great a test is it for these bodies in terms of the way they handle this moment in Zimbabwe? How great a test is it of not just the efficacy but their commitment to Democracy?
PIGOU: Well, I think it's a huge challenge because, of course, this does represent on face value of coup d'etat. But most entities including the African Union, the SADC to a certain extent, and certainly from the west and from China and so forth, have avoided using the coup terminology. And of course, within Zimbabwe the military and those supporting this action have been at times to point out that this is not a military takeover. It is perhaps what crisis group are calling a curve of peculiar kind because it seems to me that the very people that -- the very person that they want to sweep from power, Mr. Mugabe, they require his endorsement for this process. So, I think part of the delay that we're seeing is the choreography, the legal and constitutional fig leaf that needs to be put on top of this is still being negotiated because it's extremely difficult for the African Union in particular and for SADC to endorse this kind of behavior by the military in Zimbabwe.
SESAY: Yes. Piers, final question before I let you go. You know, we talk a lot about the need to end impunity, we talk a lot about the need to hold people accountable for crimes, not just committed in Africa of course but, you know, around the world where wrongdoing occurs. How important is it in the course of ousting President Robert Mugabe that he is held to account for, you know, the allegations and claims and what we have seen over of course, four decades of rein in Zimbabwe that is led to untold suffering of his people. How important is it that that step is taken and the message that sends to the rest of the continent?
PIGOU: Well, I think at this stage, stability seems to be the priority. How people review what Robert Mugabe has been involved in and indeed his chief lieutenant whether it's from the within the ranks of those who support vice president -- former Vice President Mnangagwa, all indeed those that support the elements that have now been pushed to one side and we understand they're under arrest, remains to be seen. Certainly, Zimbabwe's own constitution promises a retrospective into past violations. We get to see a new significant movement on that run. So the whole issue is still very much on the table but the question will be at what time would it be appropriate for them to really engage in such activities.
SESAY: And a lot to sort through. Peirs Pigou, we really appreciate the insight. Thank you so much for the great conversation.
PIGOU: My pleasure. Thank you.
VAUSE: The lawyer for one of the women accusing Roy Moore of sexual assault is calling for a Senate hearing. She wants the judge and her client to testify under oath. A lot of the response from the Moore camp in just a moment.
[02:41:30] SESAY: Hello, everyone. Republican U.S. Senate candidate Roy Moore remains defiant and stepping up his defense amid sexual misconduct allegations and caused him to quit the race. The Washington Post says two more women have come forward claiming more made unwanted advances toward him when they were teenagers and he was in his 30s. Five other women have made similar accusations, he's denying all the claims.
VAUSE: Moore's attorney has questioned the credibility of one accuser, Beverly Young Nelson who says Moore sexually assaulted her when she was 16. Nelson says Moore signed her yearbook around that time but Moore's attorney has suggested that could be a forgery and he wants it analyzed. At the same time, Moore's lawyer is vouching for his client's character.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
PHILIP JAUREGUI, ROY MOORE'S ATTORNEY: I've traveled with Judge Moore all over the state, different states across the nation. I've been with him in probably over a hundred different meetings and been around probably in excess of 10,000 different ladies in Judge Moore's presence and not once, not one time have I ever seen him act even remotely inappropriate against any woman, toward any woman. Not when they were walking away, not when he and I were in private afterwards, that's the man that I know and that I've known for the last 24 years.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SESAY: Well, late Wednesday, the Moore campaign released statements from 12 women in an effort to defend Moore's character.
VAUSE: Joining us now, Attorney Gloria Allred who is representing Alabama woman, Beverly Young Nelson who claims Roy Moore sexually assaulted her when she was, what? 16-year old, teenager, I think, Gloria?
GLORIA ALLRED, AMERICAN WOMEN'S RIGHTS ATTORNEY: Yes.
VAUSE: OK. I just want to pick up on what we heard from Moore's attorney. The agent say, I've been with this guy, I've never seen him do anything inappropriate. Case closed.
ALLRED: Well, I mean, I can never be sure but looking at his attorney, it does not appear to be that he is a woman. And although sometimes appearance, they are deceiving. Having said that, so, there is no person who is an alleged victim so far who claims that he is a man who was sexually assaulted as a teen by Roy Moore.
VAUSE: OK. Roy Moore's attorney also seems to be saying that someone forged Roy Moore's signature in Beverly Young Nelson's yearbook. Listen to this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JAUREGUI: Judge Moore says he can't ever remember ever signing his name with D.A. after it but he had seen it before. You know where he had seen it? When he was on the bench, his assistant whose initials are D.A., Deborah Adams would stamp his signature on documents and then put D.A. That's exactly how the signature appears on the divorce decree that Judge Moore signed dismissing the divorce action with Ms. Nelson.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VAUSE: OK. And Moore has also written this on the letter defending himself. He goes on to say, the 7th in Christmas, 1977, in a note with different script on the 7th and the date, 12/22/77, also he evoke, I believe, he says, tampering has occurred. Is any of that significant?
ALLRED: Well, here's what significant. We have asked the Senate Select Committee on Ethics and the United States Senate Committee on the judiciary, John, to hold hearing as soon as possible but no later than two weeks from now, within two weeks. In which time our client, Beverly Young Nelson can go there and testify under oath to tell the truth, the whole truth, nothing but the truth, so help her god. And she will then answer any and all questions be agreeable to be cross- examined by the Senators and we would like the Senate those one or both of those committees to subpoena Roy Moore and have him testify under oath and also be cross-examined by the Senators.
And at that time too, we are agreeable to submit that your book, the signature in the yearbook, that you just discussed. And that would be to an independent signature handwriting examiner who could compared that signature to exemplars of Roy Moore's signature at or about the time that he allegedly signed this yearbook. So, we're certainly open to that, it's not a problem. The real question is: A, are the Senators going to hold such a hearing? It's time for them to answer that question. They could do it, it's a political forum. A former United States Senator told me today, absolutely, they could do that because it's political. They can do whatever they want to do. And the second thing is, let's hear from Roy Moore, will he be willing to testify under oath.
VAUSE: Yes, they kind of docked that question earlier today. And that would be the closest thing you could get right now to a court of law.
ALLRED: Exactly. Because any legal proceedings would take too long, and wouldn't happen before the election which is in the matter of only a few weeks. We'd like his hearing to be held in public so that the public can decide. After all, I mean, does Roy Moore have something to hide? If not, let them come forward and say, yes, I'll testify at that hearing. Let's get it on.
VAUSE: OK. One last -- I want to put one last thing to you, because there are two more women have come forward talking about, you know, unwanted or untoward advances from Roy Moore. This is the Washington Post. One woman in particular, Gena Richardson, she had turned 18, was about to turn 18. She met Roy Moore at that ball which he apparently been banned from at some point. He approached her, he asked for her phone number, he apparently called her while she was at school, and agreed to go on a date, and then The Post reports this, "They met that night at a movie theater in the mall after she got off work, a date that ended with Moore driving her to her car in a dark parking lot behind Sears and giving her what she called an unwanted forceful kiss that left her scarred."
That sounds very similar to the account from Beverly Young Nelson and what happened to her. It's not as dramatic, but, you know, it plays out on a very similar way.
ALLRED: Right. Not as serious but in terms because Beverly Young Nelson alleged that he had her alone in a car that she thought he was driving her home, and then she alleges unwanted sexual assault or conduct.
VAUSE: Yes. She (INAUDIBLE) right.
ALLRED: Yes. And she alleges that he took her head and tried to force it down to his crotch and --
VAUSE: And driving into the dotted parking lot.
ALLRED: And tried, you know, touched her breast and so forth. Having said that --
VAUSE: Just the M.O.
ALLRED: -- anything that is unwanted by a woman, any touching of her body, which she has the right to decide who may choose to touch -- who may touch her body and who may not, is I think, something that has to be taken seriously.
VAUSE: Gloria, we'll leave it there. Thank you.
ALLRED: Thank you.
VAUSE: Good to see you. ALLRED: Thanks, John.
VAUSE: Well, Republican leaders are continuing to demand Roy Moore drop out of that race. Lawmakers, though, are looking for ways to stop his election in the first place. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and Senator John Cornyn who both say they support Atty. Gen. Jeff Sessions as a write-in candidate. This is his old seat which he gave up to join the Trump administration. Tom Foreman explains how that would work and how it could be a win for the President.
TOM FOREMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Jeff Sessions could reclaim his title as a Senator from Alabama again in two ways. He could run as a write- in candidate against Roy Moore and Democrat Doug Jones counting on his popularity as a 20-year senator from that state to knock them both out in the December 12th vote or if he waits and Moore wins, two-thirds of the Senate could declare Moore unfit for that job and Sessions could be appointed senator by Alabama Governor Kay Ivey, also a Republican.
Either way, it could be a great big win for Donald Trump, and here's why. Remember, the President made it very clear he wanted Sessions as Attorney General to oversee the Russia investigation by special counsel Robert Mueller. Why? Because an engaged, politically friendly Attorney General could warn the White House about any serious issues, steer the investigation and potentially smother any final report, making the whole matter a lot less threatening to the President.
But Sessions recused himself, leaving the supervision of the investigation to his Deputy, Rod Rosenstein. If Sessions leaves, Rosenstein could be promoted to the top job. He has no known reason to recuse himself and he's already said he does not want the Russia probe to go too far afield in a fishing expedition into all of the President's affairs. And that could raise questions about Mueller's position and the future of the investigation.
[02:50:14] But the Republican Party could also benefit if Sessions became a senator again. Right now, they hold 52 seats out of the 100 in the Senate. And their slim majority will get slimmer if they lose even one of those to the Democrats in the special election. So, Majority Leader Mitch McConnell was the first big player to start floating Sessions name as a possible solution to the Roy Moore problem, someone with two decades of experience and knows exactly how the Senate works who could maintain the status quo. The only thing we really don't have any answer about yet though is how does Jeff Sessions feel about all of this? And after all the abuse he's taken from President Trump, is he interested in his old job?
SESAY: Our Tom Foreman there. Is he interested?
SESAY: No? (LAUGHTER)
VAUSE: I think he's pretty clear he does not want to go back to Alabama. He likes it in Washington, he's likes to (INAUDIBLE) but we'll see.
SESAY: We'll see. Things move so quickly. We're going to take a break.
VAUSE: For me, not right now.
SESAY: No, you're moving incredibly slowly. This is the scene in much of Puerto Rico right now, darkness, and the Island's struggle to regain power is as far from over. We'll go to San Juan for more after the break.
SESAY: Well, it's been nearly two months since Puerto Rico was decimated by Hurricane Maria and the island just can't seem to get a break. At one point on Wednesday, it looked as if really well (INAUDIBLE) the road to recovery but those hopes were quickly dashed.
VAUSE: Our Leyla Santiago has more on Puerto Rico's struggle just to get electricity.
LEYLA SANTIAGO, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Shortly after the Governor of Puerto Rico tweeted in celebration that Puerto Rico had reach its goal of 50 percent power regeneration, the power went out in the capital here in San Juan, that include hospitals and business and homes, left in the dark yet again. Even though they managed to get back on the power grid within the last few weeks. So, that adds to the frustration of people that are still living without power nearly two months after Hurricane Maria.
According to the power authority, it was some sort of a failure in a transmission line that had had issues last week as well. But the frustration among people, many people is the numbers. Puerto Rico is saying they were at 50 percent power generation, but that is generation, not the number of clients, so not the number of homes, number of buildings, business that actually have power. The government says those numbers, they do not have to report at this hour. And this comes as the island is trying to recover after the Category 4 storm destroyed the island.
The good news is in terms of water, the government is reporting they are at about 90 percent of the island getting clear water at this hour, but still so many are left without homes. Nearly 2,000 people are still living in a shelter nearly two months after Hurricane Maria destroyed the island. Leyla Santiago, CNN San Juan, Puerto Rico.
SESAY: Leyla Santiago there. Well, singer and actress Jennifer Lopez helped raise $35 million for Puerto Rico in the aftermath of Hurricane Maria.
[02:55:01] VAUSE: And Becky Anderson spoke to her about those efforts and asked her what message she wanted the island to hear.
JENNIFER LOPEZ, SINGER ACTRESS: To Puerto Rico, I mean, the message is, you know, that we haven't forgotten about you, and we were able to raise up a lot of money. But now, it's about distributing that money, how it gets distributed, where Puerto Rico need it the most and kind of like now the work really began after we raised it. People on the ground in Puerto Rico right now telling us what they need, where the money is needed most, what exactly they need, whether it's, you know, generators or diesel fuel or water or logistics put in place to get this stuff where it needs to because that's really been the problem because the island is so devastated and different roads and places some people can't get here and there.
I mean, there's so much stuff. And those kids in hospitals who need the generator -- I mean, it just -- it goes on and on and on, and we're just here and we're trying to help as much as we can, and you know, hope to take a trip down there soon and really see for myself what's going on.
BECKY ANDERSON, CNN INTERNATIONAL ANCHOR: Because if you hear people saying, you know what, crisis over, you will say?
LOPEZ: No. Oh, my God, no. It's not over. It -- I mean, it's going to take so long to rebuild and it's going to take so much more money, $30, $35 million that we raised. The past couple of years with so much division and sad events going on and devastating events and tragic events happening. For people to come together and show unity and show that they care, you really go, there's so many good people in the world.
ANDERSON: Were you disappoint how long it took for the U.S. government to get on and help?
LOPEZ: Listen -- and I can only control myself, so I would say that everybody who's frustrated in any way, do something, do something yourself. Because you can't ever really depend on anyone else in this world, right? You have to -- you have to take things into your own hands sometimes, so the way I combat any frustrations I may have with anything or anybody, it's to take it into my own hands and do something about it.
VAUSE: Watch the entire interview with CNN's Becky Anderson and Jennifer Lopez later on Thursday. "CONNECT THE WORLD" 3:00 p.m. in London. That is 7:00 p.m. in Dubai.
SESAY: You have been watching CNN NEWSROOM live from Los Angeles. That does it for us, I'm Isha Sesay.
VAUSE: I'm John Vause. Follow us on Twitter @cnnnewsroomla. There, you can find highlights and clips from the show. The news continues with Max Foster, our very own oil painting after the break.
SESAY: If you have $450 million.
VAUSE: Not even close.