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World Reacts to Trump Comments; Trump Cancels Visit to London; Trump Faces Deadline on Iran Nuclear Agreement; Anger over Pakistani Child's Rape and Murder, $90,000 Reward Offered in Pakistani Girl's Murder; 43 Missing, 17 Killed as Search Continues; Ecuador Grants Citizenship to Wikileaks Julian Assange. Aired 1-2a ET
Aired January 12, 2018 - 01:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
ISHA SESAY, CNN ANCHOR (voice-over): You are watching CNN NEWSROOM live from Los Angeles.
JOHN VAUSE, CNN ANCHOR (voice-over): Ahead this hour, the U.S. president sets off a firestorm of criticism after using racially charged comments to describe some (INAUDIBLE). Critics say Donald Trump has hit a new rock bottom.
SESAY (voice-over): Plus raped, murdered and dumped on a garbage pile, the angry protests in Pakistan over the death of a 6-year-old girl.
VAUSE (voice-over): And dozens are now missing after a river of mud washes over neighborhoods in Southern California.
SESAY (voice-over): Hello and thank you for joining us. I'm Isha Sesay.
VAUSE (voice-over): I'm John Vause. This is NEWSROOM L.A.
SESAY: U.S. President Donald Trump made very clear on Thursday how he feels about immigrants from certain parts of the world. His remark was extremely vulgar and let's call it what it is, racist.
VAUSE: The president was talking with lawmakers in the Oval Office about possible changes to immigration policy.
But when that discussion turned to Haiti, Africa and Central America, a source says Mr. Trump asked in frustration, "Why do we want all these people from shithole countries coming here?"
SESAY: These are among the countries the president was apparently referring to, temporary protected status is giving to places enduring natural disasters or serious political unrest. In referring to Haitians having temporary protected status, he said this, "Why do we need more Haitians?
"Take them out."
VAUSE: A short time ago, Donald Trump announced he has canceled a trip to the United Kingdom. There had been no former announcement but the trip was expected to happen next month.
SESAY: Much of the world will find Mr. Trump's comments disgraceful. CNN's Farai Sevenzo joins us live from Nairobi, Kenya, for some reaction from that part of the world.
So, Farai, according to the U.S. president, Africa is a shithole.
So how are Mr. Trump's comments playing where you are and further afield on the continent?
FARAI SEVENZO, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Happy New Year to you, Isha. Look, it's just gone just after 9 o'clock this morning here in Nairobi. You can be certain reaction will come. But the day is just beginning in East Africa and indeed all of Southern Africa.
But it is -- signals, really, there is a kind of two ways that Africa looks at the United States in the current state of diplomacy. First of all, you have the charges d'affaires in Somalia, Ambassador Martin Dale (ph), representing the United States.
And when that awful bomb went off in Mogadishu, another of the country's special protected status, in October 2017, Mr. Dale and his staff all rushed out to Mogadishu to give blood. But the noises coming out of statehouse are very different. And of course you asked me what the reaction is going to be.
It will be treated as you said in your introduction, racist and, of course, we know that in September, at the U.N. General Assembly, Mr. Trump hosted African leaders for a special lunch (INAUDIBLE) there, Museveni was there. But if these are his private thoughts, many African diplomats will wonder how real his reach to Africa has been all this time.
SESAY: Yes. Farai, let me ask you this and just remind our folks around the world, I would hope it wouldn't need repeating, but there are 54 countries that make up the African continent.
Do we think any African leaders will come out and publicly condemn Mr. Trump's comments?
SEVENZO: I think you can be certain of that. I've already reached out to the presidential spokesperson here in Kenya. We are waiting at the moment. South Africa is an hour behind us, another big force, Nigerians of course.
And of course, let's not forget, there is a great deal of conflicts that are still being helped out by the United States; first of all, Al-Shabaab in Somalia and then of course we are talking about the very dire situation in South Sudan. Not all those countries that Mr. Trump so rudely referred to in those
private comments. So the world of diplomacy is going on and this may well be seen, come history in the next few years to come, as a blip, the United States' diplomacy over Africa because it's really reached a very low level.
SESAY: Yes. I certainly agree with that. Farai Sevenzo, joining us there from Nairobi --
SESAY: -- always appreciate it, my friend. Thank you.
VAUSE: Joining us now CNN political commentator Mo' Kelly and CNN political commentator and Trump supporter John Phillips.
We will get to the comment from Donald Trump in a moment. But first we are now being told by Donald Trump on Twitter he will not go to the United Kingdom; as he said, this was expected. It hadn't been announced. There was some pushback on the day when it was going to happen, whether it would be a state visit or just a working visit. Now it's not happening at all.
This is the tweet from the president.
"The reason I canceled my trip to London is that I am not a big fan of the Obama administration having sold perhaps the best located and finest embassy in London for peanuts only to build a new one in an off location for $1.2 billion. Bad deal. Wanted me to cut ribbon. No!"
JOHN PHILLIPS, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Well, this is a president that certainly plays to a domestic audience. I suspect if he were to go to the United Kingdom, there might be some protesters. There might be a response that is less than welcoming. And he likes to go where the love is and the love is not in England right now.
VAUSE: Well, that would probably be Florida and Alabama -- well, not even Alabama these days.
But Mo', the reality is, we're being told that the decision to sell off the embassy was made by George W. Bush, not Barack Obama. It was bought by the countries in 2009 under Obama. So I mean, this excuse just doesn't even make sense.
MO' KELLY, RADIO HOST: Regardless of whether he is factually inaccurate, it's a misdirection because obviously I'm quite sure the president does not schedule his itinerary around where an embassy is located or who might have paid what or offer what funds for it.
Obviously, to John's point, yes, this president likes to be adored wherever he goes and he will not have as sympathetic an audience that he would be accustomed to.
VAUSE: This is true. OK. Let's move on to the big story on Thursday. That's the comments the president made about immigrants from certain developing countries. Here's the official reaction to all of this from the White House.
"Like other nations that have merit-based immigration, President Trump is fighting for permanent solutions that make our country stronger by welcoming those who can contribute to our society, grow our economy and assimilate into our great nation."
John, a few weeks ago, the White House strenuously denied a "New York Times" report that Donald Trump had referred to Haitians as all of them having AIDS. This time, though, there's no attempt to deny these latest offensive comments.
So do we just now accept the fact that Donald Trump holds these racist views and they are a feature, not a glitch?
PHILLIPS: I don't think it's race-based, I think it's culture-based. And I think that, at this point, we know that Andrew Dice Trump uses vulgarity from time to time. We certainly saw that here. So I'm going to defend the use of the profanity. But having merit-based immigration is something that countries all over the globe have.
VAUSE: This is not about merit-based immigration.
VAUSE: There are people who have merit and could come from all of the countries that Donald Trump was referring to.
PHILLIPS: Right now we give preferential treatment to the list of countries that you put up on the monitor and it's what he's suggesting --
VAUSE: -- because this was a discussion about the lottery. This is about -- a discussion about people coming here under some kind of refugee program or it was essentially about the lottery. That's when this --
PHILLIPS: Right, which is something that he ran on --
PHILLIPS: -- and prior to 1964, we did have a policy that rewarded people who could easily assimilate. We did have a policy that rewarded people who could come here and support themselves and support their families. Donald Trump, throughout the campaign, suggested going back to those policies and the American people decided that was a good idea. KELLY: These points don't connect. If you want to have a merit-based immigration program, then it should be on the merits as opposed to the countries and what you may personally feel about them.
If we are trying to assess whether these individuals coming from these black and brown countries can offer something to America, then let it be on the merits as opposed to preordaining and describing them in vulgar ways, having nothing to do with the actual individuals who is want to petition to come to this country.
VAUSE: Australia got rid of the White Australia policy back in the '70s. OK. I just want to throw that in there.
Here's now the spin from Donald Trump's favorite news network, FOX News channel.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: -- fake news or if it's true, this is how the forgotten men and women in America talk at the bar. This is how Trump relates to people if you're at a bar and you're in Wisconsin and you're thinking they are bringing in a bunch of Haiti people or El Salvadorians or people from Niger, this is how some people talk.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VAUSE: OK, Mo', so nothing to see here because this is how all Americans talks. This is what they all really believe.
KELLY: So we have gone from locker room talk to bar talk.
KELLY: There is no accountability for what this president says. After a certain point, can we take him at his word? He speaks disparagingly of black and brown people consistently, vehemently, historically, perpetually. I believe him at this point. I'm going to take him at his word.
VAUSE: OK, I want to jump ahead here to number four, guys in the control room.
VAUSE: Here's how Donald Trump talked about Haitians in the past, in public, during a roundtable meeting with a group of Haitians.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: Whether you vote for me or you don't vote for me, I really want to be your greatest champion and I will be your champion whether you vote for me or not.
(APPLAUSE) TRUMP: I'm running to represent Haitian Americans and African Americans and Asian Americans and everyone who lawfully resides in our borders. We're going to take care of people. We're going to take care of our people.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VAUSE: And this is how Donald Trump has talked publicly in the past about his attitude toward race.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: I am the least, just so you know, I am the least racist person, the least racist person that you have ever seen, the least. I mean, give me a break.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VAUSE: John, it would seem public Donald Trump is very different to private Donald Trump in many ways.
PHILLIPS: But immigration Donald Trump is the same Donald Trump.
VAUSE: "I want to represent the Haitians. We love you."
But in this private conversation, he wanted to --
PHILLIPS: But go back to the campaign and look at what he said about immigration. And he was very clear --
PHILLIPS: -- going back to merit-based immigration. And I think most people assume that when we allow someone to emigrate here, that they will be able to assimilate to American culture. They'll be able to pay their bills. They won't go on the government dole.
And by switching the policies, going back to pre-1964 Ted Kennedy, that's a move that most Americans, I think, or at least most people that voted for him, would subscribe to.
KELLY: Can we take the president for what he actually says as opposed to translating and often what we wished he would have said or hoped he would have said?
That is not what he's expressing. He's not expressing a vision of America in which there's merit-based immigration. He's saying, I don't want those people from those S-hole countries coming in.
VAUSE: Yes. OK. Here's the headline from "The Washington Post" for an opinion piece.
"A banner day for the 'stable genius'."
John, if the president has been trying to convince the country he has the mental stability and the temperament for the job, how is it working out?
PHILLIPS: Well, look, if the president is going to win reelection, he's going to have to get his immigration policy through. The metrics for success for him are very different than the metrics for success for the Republicans in Congress.
ObamaCare, repealing that; the tax bill, all of that matters to Republicans in Congress. To President Trump, if he is going to win reelection and he's going to keep his base happy, he has to get his immigration policies through.
That means building the wall, that means ending sanctuary cities and sanctuary states. That means ending chain migration and, yes, it means merit-based immigration.
VAUSE: OK, Mo', very quickly?
KELLY: But if this isn't inoffensive, if this isn't unacceptable, what is?
What exactly is too far across the line?
VAUSE: OK. Keep in mind and stay with us because this is a president who has until Friday to weigh the pros and the cons of the Iran nuclear deal. That's the deadline on Friday, which will be continuing sanctions relief or not to continue sanctions relief.
If the relief continues that means the deal will continue. CNN's Fred Pleitgen has traveled extensively to Iran to cover the story and he joins us now from Berlin this hour.
So, Fred, as the clock ticks down, what are they expecting in Tehran?
FREDERIK PLEITGEN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: I think in Tehran they say that they expect that he will continue to sign that waiver form. One of the things that the Iranian foreign minister has said is the Americans have to understand and everybody who is signatory to the JCPOA, which is, of course, the nuclear agreement, they need to understand that they have to abide by the agreement just like everybody else.
And the Iranians have said that if he does not continue to sign this sanctions waiver, then that will mean that the United States is in breach of the agreement.
It's quite interesting to see the flurry of diplomacy that is taking place ahead of President Trump's decision, which is, of course, a very pivotal one with Javad Zarif, the Iranian foreign minister, traveling to Europe, meeting with European foreign ministers there as well as the head of the European foreign policy, Federica Mogherini.
All of them saying that they believe the U.S. should continue to abide by the deal and especially continue to sign the sanctions waiver. So the Iranians are doing this on the one hand, they're saying, look, we are abiding by the agreement. The agreement is working. The Europeans are saying that as well.
But they're also saying, if this doesn't work out, if the U.S. doesn't abide by it, then Iran could go back to nuclear enrichment very, very quickly. So there is a bit of a threat out there as well.
I think most European diplomats and I think the Iranians as well are expecting that this agreement will continue. I think a lot of it hangs on them for all parties. I think it's very important to the Europeans because they have already started doing business in Iran as well, much more so than the Americans.
And obviously it's very important to the Iranians as well. Then of course, there is one factor that is going to be very interesting and probably will play into the president's decision making as well and that's the protest that took place a couple of weeks ago in Iran and, of course, a lot of that discontent is still there.
How is that going to influence his decision making because of course he was one who very --
PLEITGEN: -- heavily criticized the Iranian leadership over that and at the same time also said he supported the protesters. It will be interesting to see how that plays in and what sort of decision he is going to make -- John.
VAUSE: Fred, thank you, pulling early morning live shot duty there in Berlin, 15 minutes past 7:00 in the morning. So, Fred, thanks for getting up early.
Let's go back to our panel now.
So, John, in terms of the big picture here with regard to Donald Trump's behavior and his choice of words and what he says and does, this is a president, whether he likes it or not, he has to make these big decisions about Iran. He has to make these big decisions about North Korea. These are important and serious issues.
And when Donald Trump said the type of stuff that he said on Thursday about immigrants coming from shitholes and all this kind of stuff, he hates the way he behaves and talks about his big nuclear button, would you at least concede that in some ways, not with his base but in this country and around the world, that chips away ever so slowly but continually and persistently at the moral authority of this country?
PHILLIPS: I would say to look at the results of what you have seen internationally since Donald Trump has been president. ISIS has been dismantled. For the first time in a long time, we've seen the North Koreans and the South Koreans speaking to one another after some of the strictest, most harsh sanctions have been passed against North Korea at the U.N., which Donald Trump and his team pushed through. Nikki Haley at the United Nations. In Iran, we've seen protests in
the streets where that regime is barely hanging on. So I think we have seen a lot of progress on the international level since President Trump has been elected.
VAUSE: Just very quickly to push back because you can argue that the groundwork was set by Obama to defeat ISIS. North Korea and South Korea are talking not because of Donald Trump but despite Donald Trump because Kim Jong-un is trying to drive a wedge between Seoul and Washington.
And on the last point, what was it, the Iran protest. They are protesting because Donald Trump is putting the Iran nuclear deal in jeopardy. And so the financial benefits are not following through to the people --
PHILLIPS: -- government that was helped to be propped up by that nuclear agreement.
VAUSE: Anyway, I will leave that there.
KELLY: Yes, I don't know if you can ascribe any type of responsibility to Donald Trump in terms of undermining the Iranian government. I think that happens regardless of who is in office in the United States because their issue is with the Iranian government, not with the United States. So that happens regardless.
The president, unfortunately, is only speaking to one audience, his base, Trump supporters, Americans. But unfortunately, he has not embraced what that means in terms of on the world stage. And that's what concerns me the most.
If he wants to extricate America from the Iran deal, what does that mean for our standing and our place in regards to international relations?
VAUSE: Yes, there are 300-plus million Americans and it seems for the most part he governs for 30 million or 40 million or whatever it is. Anyway, we shall leave it there. That was a good discussion, thank you, guys.
John, thank you especially for coming in. A difficult day for you, I imagine. Appreciate it.
PHILLIPS: I'm doing fine.
VAUSE: I know. Thank you. SESAY: Quick break. Coming up, rage in Pakistan and anger around the world over the brutal rape and murder of a 6-year-old girl. How authorities hope to catch her killer.
VAUSE: Also ahead, Donald Trump hours away from his first physical exam since taking office amid questions about his mental health.
VAUSE: Massive protests have erupted in Pakistan after a little girl was raped and murdered and her body was found dumped on a pile of garbage.
SESAY: Now Pakistani authorities are giving police 24 hours to arrest whoever killed Zainab Amin (sic). They're also offering a cash award to anyone who helps identify who carried out this horrific crime. CNN international correspondent Sam Kiley reports.
SAM KILEY, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: This is the last time that Zainab Ansari was seen alive, walking hand in hand with her suspected killer on CCTV. She was supposed to be on her way to a Quran recital. But days later, her body was found in a local dump. She was raped and strangled.
The 12th victim of similar murders in the past two years in and around Kasur, a village in Eastern Pakistan. The police say five killings have been linked by DNA evidence.
Zainab's father is incredulous that her attacker is still at large.
ZAINAB'S FATHER (through translator): Next, she was traced by camera. Who is the person with her? In these advanced technology days, the footage should have been analyzed and kidnapper caught.
KILEY (voice-over): Two demonstrators were killed in clashes with police. The grief of Zainab's mother almost drowned out by the anger of an impoverished community under threat.
ZAINAB'S MOTHER (through translator): I want justice. I want justice. I don't know anything else. I just want justice. I don't have Zainab with me anymore.
KILEY (voice-over): The cause is being taken up more widely across Pakistan now. In the western city of Pushaba (ph), almost 400 kilometers away, men and women are also on the streets, demanding justice.
KILEY: Amid the public outrage, authorities are pledging to do more. The province's chief minister has ordered the police to arrest the girl's killers in the next 24 hours and offered a reward of $90,000 for anyone who helps identify those responsible.
He has also asked police to provide full details of the 11 murders that happened before Zainab was killed -- Sam Kiley, CNN, Abu Dhabi.
SESAY: (INAUDIBLE) horrific.
We are joined now by Somy Ali. Somy grew up in Pakistan and has witnessed these injustices firsthand. She is now a champion of women's rights and the founder of No More Tears, a nonprofit organization that helps victims of abuse and domestic violence.
Somy, thank you for being with us. There have been at least 12 murders of children in the city of Kasur in the past two years.
Why do you think the killing of this particular little girl, Zainab, has struck such a nerve, sending people out into the streets in protest?
SOMY ALI, NO MORE TEARS: I think people are just sick and tired and I think something needs to be done significantly, quickly when it comes to the murder of these young girls and the rape and the brutal crimes in Pakistan.
And I think the reason that nothing has been done and people continue raping children and killing children is because there is no accountability. There are absolutely no consequences. There is immense amount of corruption in countries like Pakistan as well as other countries.
And unless and until there is accountability and there is ethical law enforcement, this will continue. And it will keep going on. As a society we need to get involved. As a community we need to get involved and put an end to this.
SESAY: So on the one hand, Somy, I hear you saying about the lack of accountability, effectively the impunity that is in place in areas of Pakistan, where children are being assaulted. And there in Kasur, we have people expressing outrage and grief, pointing the finger of blame at authorities for the assaults on children.
But then the Pakistani newspaper "Dawn" is quoting the law minister of Punjab province, which is where Kasur is located, as saying a child's safety is its parent's responsibility, which begs the question of commitment, back to your point.
The commitment of authorities to keeping children safe.
ALI: Absolutely. There is -- again, I have to emphasize, having grown up in Pakistan and having been a victim of sexual abuse at the age of 5 and then told that I should not tell anyone because I'm a girl and no one will marry me, I grew up in this environment. I grew up in Karachi, Pakistan. I know how law enforcement works. And it is the job of the law enforcement and the higher authorities to
take actions against this. And the problem is that the country is based on bribery and corruption.
ALI: Until and unless that is eliminated, these problems will continue to occur. So we really need to change as a society. We need to change the mindset of people that it is OK to treat women and children poorly and, in this case, the guy cannot be able to get away with what he has done.
He should be caught and he should be held accountable for what he has done.
SESAY: I want to pick up on something you just said. You talked about what happened to you as a child and being told not to speak out about it.
How much does a culture of silence play into the prevalence of these crimes against children?
ALI: It's a huge problem, it's a very, very, very big problem. When I was sexually abused at the age of 5 by the house help, I was told by family members that if I were to tell anyone this, nobody would want to marry me. And it took me 40 years to be able to understand that it wasn't my fault. And I did nothing wrong.
And now I'm able to, as a human rights advocate, I'm able to talk about this and understand that I did absolutely nothing wrong. But it wasn't just one incident. There were numerous incidents and in all incidents, I was told that I should not tell anyone.
And this is the culture. Sexual abuse of children is swept under the rug. Nobody wants to talk about it, nobody wants to address it. Same thing with No More Tears. We help victims of domestic violence and human sex trafficking and, again, we have women from Pakistan that are brought here, children that are brought here that are sexually abused and the parents do not want to talk about it. They want to sweep it under the rug.
So this is a huge cultural problem and we, as a society, need to speak up and do something about this; otherwise, these heinous crimes will continue and they will not stop.
SESAY: Yes. I mean, it is worth pointing out to our viewers that, in 2016, the Pakistani parliament passed a law criminalizing sexual violence against children, trafficking and pornography. But effectively that is just legislation on the books. If ultimately nobody is speaking about it and authorities are not actually going after perpetrators, I mean it's effectively useless.
ALI: Yes. Absolutely. No matter what bill is passed, what legislation is passed, it is a moot case because everything runs on corruption. The cops are running on bribery and the political system is corrupt. The society as a whole is corrupt. People are treating women, children and men very, very poorly. There is no value of human life.
And that needs to be changed as a society. So communities need to get involved and take a stand. We need to protect our children. We must protect our children. These kids are our future.
And I must say again, within my nonprofit organization, we have rescued over 6,000 adult victims that are victims of human trafficking and domestic violence, and 16,612 victims, that were victims, children that were victims of sexual and physical abuse.
And in many instances, I have dealt with parents, where they do not want to do anything about it. So it happens everywhere. But in countries like Pakistan, India, South Asia and the Middle East, these crimes against women are swept under the rug.
And we need to change our mindset. We need to stop the corruption and take a stand and someone like Malala, she has done so much for the rights of women and children. And we need more women. We need more voices like Malala to speak up and take a stand against this.
A 6-year-old child was brutally raped and murdered. It's horrendous. I cannot understand how much longer we have to see these things happen against these poor, innocent children. We must do something about it.
SESAY: Yes. Something must be done. Hopefully the voices will be heard and certainly in the case of Zainab and every child that is assaulted, their perpetrators will be caught and brought to justice.
Somy Ali, we appreciate it. Thank you. Thank you for speaking so honestly. We appreciate it.
ALI: Thank you so much. Thank you for having me. I appreciate it.
OK. Next up here on NEWSROOM L.A., the number of missing continues to climb in the wake of those deadly mudslides in Southern California. The very latest in just a moment.
SESAY: You're watching CNN NEWSROOM live from Los Angeles, I'm Isha Sesay.
VAUSE: Thanks for staying with us, I'm John Vause, we'll take the headlines this hour.
U.S. President Donald Trump is being widely criticized in making a highly offensive comment about allowing patients and Africans into the U.S. During a White House meeting on immigration, a source says Mr. Trump asked, "Why do we want all these people from shithole countries coming here?"
SESAY: Pakistani authorities are giving police 24 hours to arrest whoever killed this young girl. They're also offering a $90,000 reward to help -- to another who helps identify who carried out this horrific crime.
This little girl's (INAUDIBLE) is one of a dozen children killed in Kasur, Pakistan within the past two years. Outrage of her rape and murder has set off massive protests and deadly crashes.
VAUSE: Forty-three people are now considered missing after a deadly mudslide in Southern California. The death toll stands at seventeen. And a mandatory evacuation order is now in effect to parts of the disaster sites.
SESAY: Well as we've often seen in disasters, regular people jump in and they do whatever they can to help. One of them is Emily Clemens, she's helping locate folks and she joins us on the line now.
Emily, thank you for taking the time out to speak to us. I want to ask you about the last couple of hours, the last few days, talk to me about what you've been doing. I know that you've been part of the effort to help those that were missing.
EMILY CLEMENS, MONTECITO, CALIFORNIA RESIDENT (via telephone): Absolutely. I live in downtown Santa Barbara, so a little bit of ways from the actual area of the slide but I think our whole community has been affected. There are people missing loved ones, who have lost their homes, their pets.
And at very minimum obviously it's a small community, everyone knows everyone and it's just been absolutely devastating.
SESAY: I mean, where do you even start? I mean, when we look at the pictures, we have some of them up on our screens right now, it's just covered by this thick sludge that you can't see underneath. It's just changed the landscape.
I mean, what have you actually been doing? Have you been making calls, have you been checking Facebook, what have you been doing?
CLEMENS: Both. I think so many have relied on the news and social media when loved ones in Montecito especially are without power or way to communicating. I have a health practice where several clients of mine are directly affected.
And so especially in a panic, just trying to come from their safety, reaching out to resources like the Red Cross and social media just to make sure they're safe and well, it's a really -- it's a stressful time.
SESAY: And when you look at -- first of all, let -- before I can get through your thoughts on just looking at these pictures because every time I look at them, I'm kind of stunned for a second. But I believe you helped locate a couple a couple of hours ago, can you tell us about that?
CLEMENS: Yes. So they live in Montecito and I guess I would love to say that Montecito especially is known as an affluent community and so many are affected especially in the primary area of the slide near an area called Butterfly Beach. [01: 35:15]
There are a lot of condominiums and a lot of families affected who are very much more middle class. And so, my client happened to be right near a golf course in particular and just a beautiful community and I had not heard from them in days. I know that they have pets that are pretty stationary, just knowing their lifestyle.
So my heart absolutely broke just not being able to reach them and confirm that they were safe and after reaching out to several other and reporting it to the local news is missing. We were able to confirm through others that they're trapped in their neighborhood, they can't get out. Even neighbors can't communicate, next door neighbors due to down power lines and with the mudslide itself.
SESAY: Yes. Well I'm so -- amid to all of this tragedy and just this awfulness that some good news that you were able to find that this couple -- I mean for you personally, I mean, as you look at this community, as you look at the neighborhood, the roads, the -- just everything around you, what's going through your mind?
I mean, it's hard to even think about what comes next in terms of the cleanup. How are you feeling right now?
CLEMENS: I think it's affecting everyone's emotions. Even most of us are trying to live life as normal, for lack of a better term as we can. But even going to the grocery, the tone, the overall mood is different.
There are -- the death toll obviously has risen, it's more so the number of those who are missing. I work with individuals whose children go to school in Montecito, and entire families are unaccounted for and it's just -- our beautiful town will not be the same for quite a while, it will take time to heal, physically, emotionally, and everything.
SESAY: Yes. Every single one of you will be in our thoughts and prayers. Emily Clemens, thank you. Thank you for what you've done and for taking time out to speak to us, we appreciate it.
VAUSE: It will be a massive cleanup.
SESAY: Yes. You don't even know where to --
VAUSE: Really sad.
SESAY: --where to start.
VAUSE: Yes. OK. And next here on NEWSROOM L.A., Donald Trump, he loves fast food, not big on exercise with just two hours every day. So how those lifestyle choices affect his first presidential physical?
VAUSE: On Friday, we could learn a little more about the health of the U.S. president after he visits Walter Reed Medical Center for his first physical as commander-in-chief.
He's 71-years-old, has a high-stress job, does very little exercise, he's overweight, sleeps about five hours at night, has a preference of fast food and lots and lots of diet coke. But Donald Trump and those around him say he's a picture of presidential stamina.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: How do you think the physical will work on?
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I think it's going to go very well. I'd be very surprised if it doesn't. It got to go well, otherwise, the stock market would.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VAUSE: Neuropsychiatric or neurological tests are planned despite ongoing questions about Trump's fitness for office. Well, for more, Dean Obeidallah, host of the "Dean Obeidallah Show" on "Sirius XM Radio" joins us now from New York. Dean, thanks for coming in.
DEAN OBEIDALLAH, SIRIUS XM RADIO HOST, DEAN OBEIDALLAH SHOW: Sure. Thanks for having me.
VAUSE: OK. So Donald Trump was any other 71-year-old American, he'd qualify for Medicare's annual wellness visit among other things, it's specifically screened older patients for mental impairment.
It's all covered under ObamaCare, that may explain why the president has an aversion to it. But is it sensible for every other older American to be eligible for this type of medical checkup? Why isn't it sensible for the president?
OBEIDALLAH: It absolutely is sensible. I wrote articles for saying that opinion imploring Donald Trump, if he wants to put the rest, these allegations and questions about his mental health, there's a simple way of doing it.
On Friday, he's having his exam, Walter Reed National Military Hospital by military doctors, there's no partisanship, they're above board. He could ask for it because it's not part of the usual exam, he could ask for a mental stability exam, and then release that. And assuming there's no problems, that's the end of this discussion.
But Donald Trump is not the usual person. As a reminder in his 20s, he was going to be drafted in the U.S. military this year from Vietnam but he had physical ailments that did not allow him to serve. Flash forward, he's 70-years-old and his doctors says he's the fittest guy ever, so he's like the Benjamin Button of presidents, he's gotten younger and healthier while the rest of us as we get older, we have medical issues.
So Donald Trump -- I think Americans would be put into a vote, would like to see him have a mental exam and all presidents frankly have a mental stability exam.
VAUSE: This is also the president who claimed on Twitter among other things to be a very stable genius. Even though his recent statements, his recent behavior have many questioning his mental health, there's also that "Tell All" book from Michael Wolff about what happens inside the White House and so many are questioning Trump's mental clarity here.
From Donald Trump though, does that statement about being stable, does it come on to the category if you have to tell everyone how great you are then chances are you're probably not.
OBEIDALLAH: Yes. I would say yes, I would have to think that here's some breaking news, everything someone tweets on -- Twitter is not always accurate and Donald Trump has a pension for exaggerating and embellishing the truth.
But all it did was turn into a trending topic on Twitter after he tweeted it and led to more people speculating there might be something mentally array that you should have an exam. I mean, again, being president has got to be the one of the most challenging and pressure- filled jobs out there regardless of your age.
When you're 71, you're overweight, the man doesn't do any physical activity, has a horrible diet, doesn't sleep much, it's sort of is begging to get an exam. So, yes, saying you're very stable, stable genius, more likely neither, that's Donald Trump. He likes to tell us things that he really aren't truthful.
VAUSE: And if the president is trying to prove his mental capability for office and his stable personality, all that kind of stuff, the comments that we have on Thursday about immigrants coming from shithole nations, that doesn't do a lot to reassure the country right now.
OBEIDALLAH: No, it does not at all. I mean -- and when you have a comment like that report and you taken its full context as reported that, "I don't want people from Haiti and African countries and I want people from Norway" the message sent here in America and the state is he doesn't want brown or black people, he just wants white people.
So while there might have been a mental instability issue there, they're showing an issue of bigotry and racism that we've seen from Donald Trump as well.
VAUSE: OK. Let's look at the physical side of things here, Donald Trump, he has a preference for fast food, here he was back in 2016 tweeting a photo of himself about to tackle that huge bucket of KFC, apparently, that's one of his favorites.
In the G7 meeting in Sicily last year, he took a golf cart while all the other leaders walked the short distance to the group photo, and a few years ago he told the "Washington Post" he doesn't like to exercise because -- and he believes we all have this finite amount of energy if you exercise, you use it up, you don't get it back. Despite all of those things and the responsibility he has right now of being commander-in-chief, there's no requirement for even the president to have a regular physical and even if he did have a regular physical, there's no requirement for the White House to release those results. Shouldn't that be basically a requirement or a job of being president of the United States?
OBEIDALLAH: Certainly. And when you look at Donald Trump, he looks like the before picture in an ad for a health fitness club and this is a guy who really should be working out and there's debate in Congress right now about obligating presidents to have physical exams and even mental exams.
And it's really -- it's remarkable in 2018 that our president is not obligated to have such exams when people who are in the military such as the ones who would actually send the missiles if they were ordered by the president to be launched, have periodic mental examinations.
You would think we would want that. And, again, I would want for democrat or republican, this is one of those issues that should be trans in politics, Americans should want to know our president is physically capable, physically strong, and mentally stable regardless of their age but especially if it was a man now at 71-years-old, be 72 in a few months.
VAUSE: Yes. All the other presidents have routinely released the results of their health checks but they weren't required to do it much like they released their tax returns, but they weren't required to do it.
Dean, we'll leave it there but good to speak with you, thank you so much.
OBEIDALLAH: Nice speaking with you as well John.
SESAY: Well now some stunning turnaround from British politician, Nigel Farage who is one of Brexit's largest champions. He's saying he might welcome a second referendum on E.U. membership.
In 2016, 52 percent of British voters elected to leave the E.U. That decision sent shockwaves right around the world, some in the remain camp of petition for a second referendum. Now the voters understand the consequences of the first vote. But Farage says a new vote may help a case for Brexit.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
NIGEL FARAGE, BRITISH POLITICIAN: I'm (INAUDIBLE) thinking that we should have a second referendum because --
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: On what?
FARAGE: On E.U. membership.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The whole thing?
FARAGE: Yes, of course. Of course. Unless you want to have a multiple choice referendum.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No, no, no, no.
FARAGE: Excuse me but I think if we have a second referendum with E.U. membership, we'd kill it off for generation. The percentage that would leave next time would be very much bigger than it was last time.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SESAY: Meanwhile, Prime Minister Theresa May's office says, "The government remains very clear, there will not be another E.U. referendum."
Well, the U.K.'s diplomatic standoff with Ecuador over Julian Assange has taken a new turn. Ecuador says it has granted citizenship to the WikiLeaks founder. This comes after Britain rejected Ecuador's request to give Assange diplomatic immunity. He's been hold up at the Ecuadorian Embassy in London since 2012.
Assange faces allegations over revealing U.S. government secrets through WikiLeaks, he said he face the death penalty if extradited.
VAUSE: OK. It's the racial slur said in the Oval Office and heard around the world. Up next, musician Will.I.Am and his take on Donald Trump's description on some countries as shitholes.
VAUSE: Well for his New Year's resolution, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg wants to fix the social media giant. That means prioritizing user experience rather than catering to publishers and brands.
SESAY: What that really means is a revamp of users newsfeeds, Facebook wants to rebalance if you will the ranking algorithm to move up posts from families and friends and move down responsive content.
VAUSE: I don't know what that means. The (INAUDIBLE) show in Las Vegas brings together, tech entrepreneurs from all around the world including Will.I.Am, frontman for the Black Eyed Peas.
SESAY: Even though it's promoting tech company among other things but the racially charged him up from the U.S. President Trump are bringing everyone back to the question Will.I.Am has been asking for years, "Where is the love?"
Joining me now, music superstar, member of the Black Eyed Peas and tech entrepreneur, Will.I.Am. Will.I.Am, thank you for joining us.
WILL.I.AM, MUSIC SUPERSTAR, TECH ENTREPRENEUR: Thank you. SESAY: We're going to get to why you're at the Consumer Electronics
Show in just a minute but I have to start this conversation by asking for your reaction to President Trump's really offensive comments about immigrants coming to the U.S. from "shithole" countries, comments in reference to people from African countries and Haiti. What do you make of what the president said?
WILL.I.AM: I try not to let that kind of stuff influence my emotions. And I just keep my eye on the things that I can do to bring opportunities to those that are left behind. So -- but then at the same time, remember, going to places like Bangalore, India in 2006 when one can say was not in the best condition as far as opportunity.
But now, if you look at Bangalore, India this city and this awesome country is responsible for allowing the innovations that we see in Facebooks, and Googles, and Apples, and the likes of Amazons. A lot of the engineers come from Bangalore, India. Bangalore, India at one point in time wasn't thriving and I'm happy that I have awesome employees out of Bangalore, India and I'm happy that I go to places like Davos and part of the young global leaders and doing the things that I'm doing in the ghetto that I'm from where we're teaching kids computer science and robotics.
I started off 10 years ago with Dean Kamen and Laurene Powell Jobs with only 65 kids. Since then all of our kids that join the program went off to go to school and are now going to school for robotics, and engineering, and mathematics. And these were low performing kids right here in our country, right? There's shithole communities in America that need help and likewise around the world.
But I'm an opportunist and my heart is in the right place. So I don't like to get discouraged by division and skepticism about being agent of change.
SESAY: Yes. And I know how passionate you are about innovation and broadening the opportunity to those who come from disadvantaged backgrounds. We talked about this when I saw you a couple of months ago in New York. Tell us why you're at CES right now.
WILL.I.AM: I'm at CES with my company I.Am Plus. A couple of months ago we were at Dreamforce, Salesforce's conference announcing our enterprise artificial intelligence platform and our partners like Deutsche Telekom in Germany who are using our system for our customer service joined us to -- when we announced our enterprise software.
We're also here with our partner (INAUDIBLE) who's the manufacturer of these products that we're about to bring to market that will be powered by our artificial intelligence, so I was one of the founding members of Beats and since then I've took my earnings and started my own company.
I come from the projects, I was blessed to go to an awesome school and see what wealth look like. I was blessed to have a loving mom, single mom that cared about me and made sure I had the right opportunities. And I have -- I was blessed to have great friends that dreamt the impossible dream and did things in music that we never thought we were going to be able to do.
I was blessed to be a part of Beats and I'm blessed to have this awesome squad called I.Am Plus and I can't wait for you guys to see the products that we're using and if it isn't, for anything, Deutsche Telekom has validated our platform, our AI platform and it goes to show you what could happen when you apply yourself when you come from "shithole community."
SESAY: So, again, your tech -- you're an innovator, you're a tech entrepreneur, you're also a musician, as you mentioned Black Eyed Peas. I want to tell your music fans that music still has a very big place in your heart.
And in fact, the Black Eyed Peas just released a new strong, "Street Living" from your first album in eight years. Let's play a clip from the video.
SESAY: So Will.I.Am, this song, it takes on racism, mass incarceration, police brutality amongst other issues. Take us into the creative process and why this song at this moment in time?
WILL.I.AM: This song at this moment in time is really important to keep people awake on the issues. We're going to solve these problems together and we put this out to show that the stuff that our freedom fighters were fighting for in the past are similar to the things that are happening now.
Police brutality is not a new thing, it's been happening when my uncle and my grandfather and his grandfather were 20 and younger back in the past. When it comes to immigration, these aren't new issues but we have an amazing world today with connectivity and if we could only reflect and try our best to mimic the way technology connects us today, just spiritually, mentally, and open our hearts we could solve of these human errors.
And we try our best to really like paint a picture on a lot of the heavy work that still needs to be done. But it's really not heavy and hard when you open up your heart and you see people as equals. And I think with that in mind, I think the world is not as suffered as you -- as we might say it is. That's just me being an optimist.
SESAY: Yes. Yes. Well, we're grateful for your optimism, your creativity, and the innovation. Will.I.Am, thank you so much for making time to speak to us, thank you.
WILL.I.AM: Thank you so much.
SESAY: Will.I.Am there.
VAUSE: It was good interview.
SESAY: Important message, where's the love? VAUSE: Yes. Absolutely.
SESAY: You're watching CNN NEWSROOM live from Los Angeles I'm Isha Sesay.
VAUSE: I'm John Vause. Please follow us on Twitter @cnnnewsroomla for highlights and clips of the show. We will be back with more news after the short break.
SESAY: This is CNN NEWSROOM live from Los Angeles.