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Special Counsel Wants to Interview Trump; Globalism versus Protectionism at World Economic Forum; Trump And Erdogan To Talk Wednesday About Syria; 'Bored' German Nurse Charged With 97 Murders; Oscar Nominees. Aired 1-2a ET
Aired January 24, 2018 - 01:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
JOHN VAUSE, CNN ANCHOR (voice-over): You're watching CNN NEWSROOM live from Los Angeles. Ahead this hour: the Russia investigation moving closer to Donald Trump. Sources telling CNN special counsel Robert Mueller wants a little face time with the U.S. president.
A German nurse has been charged with murdering 97 of his patients and prosecutors say he may have been motivated by boredom.
And later it was one of the biggest movies of the year, a commercial and critical success. So riddle me this, how is that "Wonder Woman" did not get a single Oscar nomination?
Hello, everybody. Thank you for being with us. I'm John Vause. You're watching NEWSROOM L.A.
VAUSE: Well, the U.S. president Donald Trump may soon have a date with the Justice Department's special counsel in the Russia investigation. Sources tell CNN, Robert Mueller is especially interested in Trump's decision to fire FBI director James Comey and national security advisor Michael Flynn.
One source says both sides are holding preliminary discussions about this interview. We've also learned Mueller spoke with Comey last year and last week he spoke with the attorney general, Jeff Sessions.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Are you concerned about what the (INAUDIBLE) counsel?
DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: No, I'm not at all. Not at all.
TRUMP: No, I didn't but I'm not at all concerned.
Thank you all very much.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VAUSE: The president also denies reports about Sessions pressuring the current FBI director, Christopher Wray, to make staffing changes. A source tells CNN the attorney general wanted Wray to get rid of the deputy FBI director, Andrew McCabe, who had close ties to James Comey. Wray repeatedly threatened to quit if McCabe was removed or reassigned. The president says that's not true.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Did Christopher Wray threaten to resign?
TRUMP: No, he didn't at all. He did not. He did not even a little bit. No. And he's going to do a good job.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VAUSE: Let's bring in our CNN panel of commentators. We have Democratic strategist Dave Jacobson and Republican consultant John Thomas. Also with us CNN's legal analyst Areva Martin.
Good to see you both.
Areva, I want to start with you because all this came out during the course of Tuesday. And when it came out, it wasn't really clear where this was all heading. But by the end of the day we seemed to have a pretty good idea what was happening with the Russia investigation.
Mueller has this two-pronged track here, this Russia collusion on one hand and then you've got the obstruction of justice on the other, which I'm -- the appearance was focusing on those two events.
Trump asking Comey to drop the investigation of Michael Flynn and then the other event was Trump firing Comey when he refused to do that.
Now it seems that this investigation is a lot broader. It includes the pressure from the president on Sessions to resign and what they're saying is a pattern of behavior by Donald Trump.
So what's your take on how all this comes together and the significance, looking at the pattern of behavior from the president?
AREVA MARTIN, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: Well, I think something very significant happened today. You had a member of the president's cabinet interviewed by the special counsel. So that tells us that this investigation is getting very close to Donald Trump, which we can imagine is causing him a great deal of concern.
And not only do you have Jeff Sessions, you've had Michael Flynn. You've had James Comey testify. Now Trump is going to have to walk into a meeting with Mueller, as much as he doesn't want to although he keeps saying he does, we know that he doesn't, and answer questions.
And these are questions that the special counsel and his team will know the answers to. Roger Stone said this is a perjury trap and he's urged Donald Trump not to participate in an interview.
But he doesn't have a lot of choices because if he refuses to go voluntarily, Mueller has the option of issuing a subpoena and making him go before a grand jury.
And if he does that, he won't even have the benefit of having his crack, you know, legal team next to him.
VAUSE: -- Sessions has said to Mueller or what Comey has said, what everybody has said, right. So that's where it gets tricky.
MARTIN: That's the trap that Roger Stone is talking --
MARTIN: -- about, if he walks in there and as -- look, face it. Donald Trump cannot tell the truth. He can't tell the truth past --
VAUSE: He has a very loose relationship with the truth.
MARTIN: -- very loose relationship. So there's no reason to expect that he's going to walk into an interview with Mueller and, all of a sudden, be able to do that. And his lawyers know that, which is why they want him to testify via written statement rather than a face-to- face meeting.
DAVE JACOBSON, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: So they can actually write the responses not Donald Trump.
MARTIN: Or they can review his responses.
VAUSE: -- this pressure that Donald Trump has put on Sessions and why the attorney general is interested in this because, you know, for most all of last year, the president made it no secret of what he thought of Jeff Sessions.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: I am disappointed in the attorney general. He should not have recused himself almost immediately after he took office. And if he was going to recuse himself, he should have told me prior to taking office and I would have quite simply picked somebody else.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VAUSE: Dave, in many ways the problems for the president always seem to stem from, you know, the fact that he doesn't know how the system actually is meant to work. In this case, it seems he doesn't understand that Jeff Sessions as attorney general is not his personal lawyer. He's there to represent the United States. He has a totally skewed view of what the role of the attorney general
JACOBSON: I think it puts a bright spotlight on the fact that Donald Trump just doesn't understand the rule of law. But let me just go back to that clip. I mean it was mind-blowing just to see the President of the United States berate his sitting attorney general --
VAUSE: And it's not like it's his first time.
JACOBSON: Oh, my God. It's extraordinary. And I think that's the challenge now.
And then, you know, you've got Jeff Sessions, seeing these tweets from President Trump, you know, asking for the deputy director for the FBI, Andrew McCabe, to be fired and then now those reports coming out today, that you've got the attorney general trying to push the new FBI director to fire him.
I mean Jeff Sessions is doing everything that he can to please the president.
VAUSE: That doesn't seem to be working.
JACOBSON: It doesn't seem to be working. Anyway you look at it, this Russia investigation is going to continue to go on. The question remains for Donald Trump before he goes before Bob Mueller, like you mentioned earlier, is he going to contradict anything that the 15 or so folks who have already interviewed are going to say?
VAUSE: John, (INAUDIBLE) Sessions and what Trump has been saying, Sessions actually did everything right. That's what is so extraordinary about that statement from the president.
JOHN THOMAS, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Yes, I mean he was cautious in what he did. But I just think the president --
VAUSE: He followed advice of the Justice Department and recused himself.
THOMAS: -- the president was voicing his frustration that he feels like this whole situation is starting to get out of control. It could have been controlled better by Sessions still remaining in control.
Now I really think the most fatal thing that started this whole ball of wax was when Trump fired Comey. And that's what started this whole domino effect.
VAUSE: There's now this expectation that Trump will be interviewed by the Mueller team. Maybe in the next few weeks those negotiations are underway.
But, Areva, what is there here to actually negotiate?
What's the legal right here for the Trump lawyers to make demands on how this interview should actually be conducted?
MARTIN: Well, no one has an obligation to give a voluntary statement to the FBI. So if the FBI calls you and says they want to call you in for an interview, you can decline their invitation. But they have the power of subpoena.
So if you decline to go in on a voluntary basis, they can issue a subpoena for you to testify before a grand jury. And we saw in the case with Bill Clinton and Ken Starr, he used the power of subpoena and then he pulled it back and they negotiated and they decided that he would give testimony without the use of a subpoena.
So Trump's lawyers know they can make requests but there's only so far they can go before Mueller can pull the subpoena card and force Trump to go in. And they don't want that. They don't want Trump before a grand jury, giving testimony without the benefit of his counsel, under oath although, I should state even if he's not under oath when he goes in to talk to Bob Mueller, if you make a false statement to the FBI, that's a crime.
VAUSE: Ask Michael Flynn about that.
MARTIN: -- he's in a very difficult position because we know he's made contradictory statements. As you've indicated, over 15 or so witnesses have already testified. So he's walking in somewhat blindly, which is why his attorneys are very concerned. And they want to take as much control as possible over this process.
So if they can allow this testimony to be given in a written statement, that's the best position for the president, not for the American people but for the president personally.
VAUSE: OK, well so much for that promise or that commitment we heard from Donald Trump last year.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Would you be willing to speak under oath to give your version of those events?
TRUMP: 100 percent.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VAUSE: Maybe not. Even though eight in 10 Americans, according to our poll, believe that the president should testify under oath, Dave, there is no way in this world that his lawyers want him to sit down face-to-face with Mueller.
VAUSE: Because as we've been saying that is, you know, dangerous territory for this president.
JACOBSON: And you know what's significant about that CNN poll that came out today, 59 percent of Republicans want Donald testify before Mueller. Even more so, 75 percent of independent voters. Those are the key swing voters that are going to determine the 2018 election.
They want to see Donald Trump be transparent and testify. And so I think that's really significant for Republicans in Congress as they're overseeing theses investigations. That's a big deal. And when they're asked whether or not the president should testify, they're going to consider that poll.
VAUSE: So, John, politically those numbers and this promise of transparency and the commitments that were made over the past 12 months, there's no other choice for the president but to turn up, right?
If he doesn't, what happens?
THOMAS: Well, I don't think the president's lawyers will let him. I think they're going to strike some kind of deal where the president does sit down on a limited scope environment and answer some questions.
But there's no way -- it would be malpractice of his attorneys to let him go in. If nothing else, forget the fact that Trump says one thing here and another thing here, which is something we've learned from even Bill Clinton, who is far more savvy of a lawyer than Donald Trump. And Bill Clinton perjured himself.
VAUSE: OK. I want to get quickly to the Republican efforts to discredit the investigation. They're claiming bias within the FBI. They're pointing to these text messages between two agents, which are highly critical of Donald Trump, and a lot of other politicians as well.
But they've now seized on one text in particular, where this agent, Peter Strzok, is skeptical about the Russia investigation.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. RON JOHNSON (R), WISCONSIN: We're talking back and forth about their futures in the FBI and the recent appointment of Mueller. They're talking about what they ought to do. It indicates that they're considering joining that Mueller special counsel investigation.
Strzok says, quote, "You and I both know the odds are nothing. If I thought it was likely, I would be there, no question. I hesitate in part because of my gut sense and concern there's no big there there."
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VAUSE: Areva, very quickly, because the Republicans say this is the anti-Trump guy. Even he says there's no there there.
What's your take?
MARTIN: Well, when we look at the number of people who've been indicted and those who have pled guilty, I think it's just ridiculous to keep saying there's no there there.
VAUSE: Does this mean anything for the claim of bias or anything -- ?
MARTIN: I don't think so. They've selectively released text messages that play to the narrative that this whole Russia collusion issue is nothing. But we know there's too evidence. There's been too much produced by Mueller and his team to support the theory that there's nothing there.
And I just want to add one point. Trump can take the 5th Amendment. He's a citizen like the --
VAUSE: -- I can't plead or testify on the grounds of --
MARTIN: And this other thing that we've been seeing played out by Sarah Sanders Huckabee in particular, is this whole notion there being some kind of presidential or executive privilege. I wouldn't be surprised that if Trump and his team decide to use that, although we know the Supreme Court has ruled on that and it has no substantial -- it has no basis but it could be a tactic used to delay getting to the truth.
VAUSE: Stay with us because a government watchdog group wants an investigation into the reported hush money which was given to an adult film star to keep quiet about her alleged affair with Donald Trump. We get details from CNN's Brian Todd.
BRIAN TODD, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The Stormy Daniels case now presents a possible legal entanglement for President Trump. The Left-leaning watchdog group Common Cause has lodged a complaint, alleging that the reported $130,000 payment to Daniels in 2016 to keep silent about an alleged sexual relationship with Trump, was an illegal campaign contribution arranged by Trump's attorney, Michael Cohen.
PAUL RYAN, COMMON CAUSE: I think this payment to Stormy Daniels was for the purpose of influencing the election, that makes it a contribution to the campaign and an expenditure by the campaign, given the involvement of Michael Cohen and presumably President Trump himself.
TODD (voice-over): Common Cause wants the Federal Election Commission and the Justice Department to investigate. Common Cause says the timing of the alleged payment is crucial, that because Daniels was reportedly paid just weeks before the 2016 election and then stopped talking to media outlets around that time, the payment benefitted Trump's presidential campaign and, therefore, was a campaign contribution, a contribution that, if it existed, would have exceeded limits on donations and also may have violated the law if it wasn't reported.
Some campaign finance experts say it will be tough to prove it was a campaign related expense because Trump might have paid Daniels even if he wasn't a candidate. Still, if the FEC ends up deposing key players in this drama, it could get messy.
MICHAEL ZELDIN, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: They have to determine what the source of funds were. They have to gather facts and that could involve a conversation with Cohen, that could involve a conversation with Stormy Daniels. It could potentially involve a conversation with the president, all of which is not good.
TODD (voice-over): Daniels, who appeared at a strip club in South Carolina this past weekend and apparently booked other appearances since the story broke, denies --
TODD (voice-over): -- getting hush money. And both Daniels and Michael Cohen have denied the affair.
Now some influential leaders on the Religious Right are giving Trump a pass on the Daniels case.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We kind of gave him, all right, you get a mulligan. You get a do-over here.
TODD (voice-over): Tony Perkins, leader of the Christian group The Family Research Council, says Trump is providing the leadership his movement needs.
FRANKLIN GRAHAM, EVANGELICAL LEADER: Mr. President --
TODD (voice-over): Evangelical leader Franklin Graham, who said Bill Clinton should resign over the Lewinsky affair, said the same thing on MSNBC.
GRAHAM: We certainly don't hold him up as the pastor of this country and he's not. But I appreciate the fact that the president does have a concern for Christian values.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Obviously when Democrats crossed ethical lines, it was very easy for them to criticize Democrats but they did make character an issue. That was one of the hallmarks of the evangelical Christian political movement. What they did with President Trump is decide to throw that all out the window.
TODD: Trump attorney Michael Cohen has never denied making a payment to Stormy Daniels but Cohen tells CNN the Common Cause complaint is baseless as is the allegation that President Trump filed a false report with the Federal Election Commission.
But if he did make a payment, we had other questions for Cohen.
Specifically, just where did the money reportedly paid to Daniels come from?
From the Trump Organization, from Trump's personal funds, from the Trump campaign, from a donor or possibly from Michael Cohen himself?
Cohen did not get back to us on those questions -- Brian Todd, CNN, Washington.
VAUSE: You know, Dave, forget where the money came from. I know that's important. The president is accused of having an affair with a porn star and then paying her hush money not to say anything, what is it, a month before the election?
No one's talking about this, barely making a mention.
JACOBSON: It's unbelievable. By the way, no one's asking Melania what she thinks about all this --
VAUSE: Well, she's not going to Davos, so maybe that's an indication.
JACOBSON: Right but, look, good for Stormy Daniels for exploiting this and making money off of it. But I still can't believe this guy's our president. It's absolutely mind-blowing.
VAUSE: This is actually rated -- it's not getting a lot more airplay than it would have.
But, John, why are evangelical voters sticking with Donald Trump?
I had to look up what a mulligan was. Apparently, it's a golf term.
THOMAS: It's a do-over.
VAUSE: You take it. If you have a bad story, you get another shot.
THOMAS: Well, it's not surprising.
THOMAS: Well, first of all, Trump never ran as the family values candidate. He never said do as I've done in terms of his family relations. So I think where those groups come down is, if you say you're one thing and then turns out you weren't, Trump was pretty transparent. He'd had multiple wives. We get it.
The reason the evangelicals like him is because, unlike Democrats, they're getting what they want on a policy agenda. They've got Gorsuch. He's speaking to pro-life causes and they're getting policy wins. So for that, they're willing to look the other way.
JACOBSON: But they're also losing. Donald Trump backed Roy Moore, a child molester.
VAUSE: -- Two Corinthians walk into a bar.
VAUSE: -- is the campaign, is the source of the money going to impact campaign funds?
How serious is that?
MARTIN: It's very serious. We saw that John Edwards was worth -- was prosecuted on something very similar when he used what was allegedly campaign money to hide his mistress and to support his mistress who had had a child with him.
So we don't know. There was a prosecution and he was ultimately acquitted but there was a prosecution. And I think there's so much more to this story beside the salacious details, beside the hypocrisy of the evangelicals.
There is an issue about the president's lawyer, who will answer questions and say categorically he didn't have the affair but won't answer questions about where the money came from.
So if he's going to reveal the story, reveal the entire story because it's not fair to the American people to have the president paying some money through this shell company and yet we, the American people, not be able to know where that money came from and what the purpose of that money was.
I say to that lawyer, stand up, man up on this and tell us the whole story.
VAUSE: If it makes any difference, it did happen before he was elected.
MARTIN: Well, it happened a month and that could be very critical in terms of where that money came from. And we know Trump is not above using money from his non-profits for things that shouldn't be used with respect to non-profit dollars.
So there are a lot of questions that need to be --
THOMAS: Sounds like he might have been extorted for an event that happened in 2011.
VAUSE: OK, Well, we're out of time but it's unbelievable that it's barely rated a mention. But David and John and Areva, thank you so much.
MARTIN: Thanks, John.
VAUSE: OK, breaking news now on a suicide blast in Afghanistan outside the office of Save the Children in Jalalabad. At least 11 people have been hurt. They've been taken to hospital. No word yet on who was responsible for the attack.
World business leaders are gathered in Davos and Becky Anderson is there to rub shoulders and make friends and find out what's coming up.
BECKY ANDERSON, CNN HOST: Well, what's coming up, it seems, is a --
ANDERSON: -- fear of a new wave of protectionism, its impact, if that is in fact the case and what it means for the rest of us -- after this.
ANDERSON: Welcome to Davos in Switzerland and the World Economic Forum. Canada's prime minister delivered a stern warning to business leaders here in Davos.
Justin Trudeau said the business-as-usual approach to inequality in the workplace won't cut it anymore. He urged corporations to hire more women and address sexual harassment. He also urged leaders to recognize workers' concerns about the impact of rapid advances in technology.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JUSTIN TRUDEAU, CANADIAN PRIME MINISTER: You're rightly anxious about how quickly or business models are being disrupted. Still, if you're anxious, imagine how the folks who aren't in this room are feeling.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ANDERSON (voice-over): In a speech some took as a swipe at the U.S. president's America first position, India's prime minister defended globalization. Narendra Modi called for coordinated action on climate change and economic policy and criticized the rise in protectionism.
His opening speech to the forum comes just days ahead of President Trump's appearance here on Friday.
NARENDRA MODI, INDIAN PRIME MINISTER (through translator): Forces of protectionism are raising their heads against globalization. Their intention is not only to avoid globalization themselves but they also want to reverse its natural flow.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ANDERSON: And following the Indian leader's somewhat ironic warnings on protectionism, some might say, the French president is later today expected to provide a counterweight to the Donald Trump's America first mantra, putting globalization firmly center stage.
For more on all of this, Nic Robertson, my colleague, joining us now.
And he will have a captive audience, he being Emmanuel Macron, of course. There's some slugging this, the great Davos faceoff as it were, this sort of anti-Trump position to be taken by Emmanuel Macron, ahead of what will be Trump's positioning on Friday.
NIC ROBERTSON, CNN INTERNATIONAL DIPLOMATIC EDITOR: It's interesting, isn't it?
Because President Trump comes in right at the end when traditionally when many of the big leaders here would have left and his message, it sort of -- it appears, at least if he stick to his current message or the message of last year, America first, more sort of isolationism and it's going to stand separate to everyone else.
It's sort of a circling of the wagons. Everyone, all these leaders have had a year to judge President Trump.
Is it his words or his actions now?
They see it's his actions as well as his words.
ROBERTSON: So I think we're going to get a sense of that and think about it from President Emmanuel Macron's position. He comes to this with something of an ax to grind.
This whole Davos forum is not just about globalization. It is about building this sort of shared future in a fractured world. It is about dealing with global problems and coming together to deal with global problems, witness, you know, global climate change.
This is key to the French heart, key to President Emmanuel Macron. And President Trump is a big disrupter on that. So, yes, absolutely, Macron's going to be listened to.
ANDERSON: Well, he will speak later on today.
How significant do you think the Canadian prime minister announcement that the remaining 11 countries of the TPP, the Trans-Pacific Partnership, of course, Donald Trump said not interested in when he became the president of the U.S., how important and significant do you think it is that Trudeau said that partners have an agreed revised trade agreement at this point?
ROBERTSON: I think this is going to be an echo. We're talking about this as being a big faceoff with Donald Trump. It talked about a drum roll last year. And if you will, the drum roll came to a little bit of a crescendo in November, when President Trump was at the APEC Summit in Vietnam.
There he touted his America first offering, everyone to do trade deals with the United States, fair and balanced deals. He talked about come to us. The message the very next day from Shinzo Abe, the Japanese prime minister at the summit there, who had hosted President Trump just a couple of days earlier, the message was, yes, we're going to stand at the TPP, just the 11 of us.
So to get an echo of that, to get Trudeau saying that this is going to be in President Trump's face again on a global stage when he really can't turn away.
ANDERSON: There are those here who say that Donald Trump's tariffs have clearly triggered a wave of protectionist worries. And its tit- for-tat trade wars it seems, going forward, or the potential for those that are denting (ph) what is otherwise a pretty optimistic economic outlook here, isn't it, beginning in 2018?
ROBERTSON: Sure. Christine Lagarde, chief of the IMF, said that here, that President Trump's tax cuts were a help to confidence in investing in the United States' economy and confidence globally they're looking at three-quarters of the world's countries and their GDP improving.
So broadly speaking, there is a better outlook 2018 --
ROBERTSON: -- so he'll take that to the bank, so to speak. I think we can expect him to bask in some of that reflected good light there.
But, you know, the broader message is one of, look, you really need to work with us. I think many of the countries here or leaders already looking beyond Trump and looking to their own national interest to keep their strong connections with the United States, if not President Trump.
ANDERSON: Very briefly, tit-for-tat trade wars are one thing. The geopolitical risk of real wars in 2018 is another real issue, underpinning people's sense of sort of a vague insecurity here.
ROBERTSON: There's a sense of uncertainty among many world leaders. But there was last year, listening to what President Trump had to say and realizing that this could lead to trade wars. And that is one part, as he raises these tariffs on some Chinese goods -- washing machines, solar panels -- that what he has said is going to come to pass.
And it adds to that uncertainty that the global world order, that began after -- with the sort of economic growth 70 years after World War II -- is over. There are many pointers that would have leaders here worried, that level of uncertainty.
ANDERSON: Slight clouds then.
Later from Davos, we'll talk to Beatrice Fihn, who is executive director of the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons. And also the U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights and we'll have the musician will.i.am.
Why? I'll explain that when you join us in the next hour, next stop this hour, two American allies face off in Syria. How Washington is responding.
[01:31:41] VAUSE: Welcome back, everybody. You're watching CNN NEWSROOM live from Los Angeles. I'm John Vause with the headlines for this hour.
At least 11 people have been hurt after a suicide attack in Afghanistan outside Save the Children in Jalalabad. No one has claimed responsibility for the attack.
The U.S. President Donald Trump says he's not concerned about what his Attorney General may have told the Justice Department of Educators. Jeff Sessions met last week with Special Counsel Robert Mueller's team. Sources tell CNN Mueller wants to question Donald Trump now as part of the probe.
Venezuelan President Nicholas Maduro is trying again to stay in power. The government is calling for early presidential elections by the end of April. Analysts believe Maduro hopes to score another win because the opposition has been weakened. The Maduro government has jailed top opposition leaders or stop them from running from office.
Well, in the coming hours, U.S. President Donald Trump and the Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan are expected to talk by phone about Turkish offensive in Northern Syria. The Turkish military is battling U.S. back Kurdish militia. The White House says the conversation will focus on de-escalation.
Live now is CNN Sam Kiley on the Turkish-Syrian borders. Sam, how receptive will the Turkish president be for that call to de-escalate?
SAM KILEY, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, the Turkish position has been that they are extremely careful about not hitting civilian target and that they are actually conducting this operation in Afrin, in the landscape for -- in the distance behind me just across the border there into Syria.
Purely and only to rid the area of people they call Kurdish terrorists and the so-called Islamic state. Now there aren't that many if any Islamic state militants left in that area if there ever were in the first place but there are plenty of Kurds. There are also over 320,000 civilians, of them 126,000 of them internally displaced people from the civil wars elsewhere in Syria.
And it is the future of those people that is of most concern to the international community. The criticism of Turkey in terms of attacking the Kurds, remember that the Kurds have been allies with the American-led coalition in the fight against so-called Islamic state has been relatively muted because the Kurds in the enclave behind me were not really part of that operation, they are part of the same organization but didn't get American support and weren't really part of that fight.
So this phone call later on today between Mr. Erdogan and Mr. Trump, I think we can anticipate possibly (INAUDIBLE) among the Kurds to go no further than Afrin. And if he were to give that agreement, then that would be a diplomatic breakthrough because the major concern is that he has committed to go further east and that would bring Turkish troops into conflict, direct conflict with the very same Kurds that the United States has been working with and arming.
Ultimately though, the Turks want to see those Kurds disarmed, and removed from the border and that I think is something that would be extremely difficult to sell in Washington.
[01:34:55] VAUSE: Sam, thanks for the updates. Sam Kiley there on the Turkish-Syrian border. Well the U.S. is accusing Russia of failing to stop a chemical weapons attack on civilians by the Syrian Regime.
The U.N. Security Council met on Tuesday, a day after rockets loaded with chlorine gas allegedly fell on a town in the (INAUDIBLE) Eastern Ghouta in Syria. The U.N. Ambassador for the U.S. and Russia traded verbal jabs over just who is to blame.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
VITALY CHURKIN, RUSSIAN AMBASSADOR TO THE U.N. (through translator): Russia consistently underscores the importance of the most serious approach to the matter of production and use of chemical weapons. We are troubled by the emergence of chemical weapons terrorism in the Middle East which is not limited to Syrian territory.
Unfortunately, the joint investigative mechanism which has seized to exist has caused the investigation to collapse. The investigation failed.
NIKKI HAILEY, U.N. AMBASSADOR TO THE U.S.: Russia oppose the joint investigative mechanism because it collected facts about who used chemical weapons in Syria. Now, Russia questions this French effort to collect facts on who used chemical weapons.
What can we conclude? Simply put when Russia doesn't like the facts, they try and distract the conversation.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VAUSE: The U.S. says more than 20 civilians, most of them children were victims of the gas attack. The same area was the target of a lethal thereon nerve agent attack in 2013.
An eight-year-old Yezidi boy says he wants to be an American man when he grows up, he was just four-years-old when ISIS captured him. An ISIS fighter and his American wife took him into their home and raised him. Now he's back in his home village in Iraq but his family as Arwa Damon reports is struggling to deal with his past and also his present.
ARWA DAMON, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): In another lifetime, this would have been a moment as pure and simple as it looks. Two brothers playing together, looking out for each other but Ayham barely remembers his real family.
This propaganda video shows how he spent most of his childhood, raised in a so-called caliphate by an American ISIS woman and her Jihadi Moroccan husband. Were they nice to you?
AYHAM AZAD, KIDNAPPED BY ISIS: Yes.
DAMON: Did you love them?
DAMON: But they were also the ones holding him captive.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): Ayham was kidnapped when he was just four-years-old, separated from his real family, sold and traded until he ended up in Raqqa.
AZAD: He's really good to me and --
DAMON: Do you know what --
AZAD: Yousuf his real name, it's (INAUDIBLE)
DAMON: His ISIS family took everything from him, his childhood, his identity as a Yezidi but most of all, his innocence.
AZAD: They said you have to kill every -- if you be back, you have to kill every Yezidi.
DAMON: Do you feel like you want to kill all the Yezidis?
AZAD: No, no. No.
DAMON: "I have learned English quickly and became best friends with Sam's oldest son Yousuf." Who's this?
AZAD: There is Yousuf.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: When me and mom came to the Islamic state --
DAMON: I have said Sam was forced to let the boys make the propaganda video. AZAD: They put the gun on her head.
DAMON: "I have story of Sam portrays a woman conflicted, caught between her indoctrination and her humanity."
AZAD: She tell me don't forget name your family.
DAMON: She regularly had Ayham recite his real family's names so he would be able to find his way back home one day. And that day a couple of months ago as the caliphate crumbled, the ISIS family tried to make their escape but they were caught.
AZAD: They say you have to go to your family and she has to go to her family.
DAMON: Sam and her children are believed to be detained by Syrian Kurdish forces. Ayham returned to a broken family. His uncle who was looking after him takes him to see a counselor twice a week. Ayham's mother is still missing, she too was kidnapped by ISIS and no one has heard from her in years.
His father remarried and moved on. Ayham is rejecting his native language, Kurdish and struggles to communicate with his family. The counselor is trying to through the song that teaches colors and numbers help him accept his origins again.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (through translator): Ayham knows he's with his real family but Mrs. Sam and Yousuf, the only family he really knows. He's confused but in his mind, he's certain of one thing.
AZAD: Hello, how are you? My name is Ayham, I want to get out from here.
DAMON: Arwa Damon, CNN Dohuk, Iraq.
[01:39:51] VAUSE: Well, just ahead here on CNN, a nurse in Germany charged with murdering 97 of his patient apparently because he was bored and that number could be, in fact, be a lot higher.
VAUSE: Pakistani police say they've caught a serial killer who preyed on children for the past two years. The 24-year-old suspect was arrested in the Eastern City of Kasur. Authorities say his DNA was found on the body of seven-year-old Zainab Ansari, she was abducted near her home earlier this month and killed. Her body found dumped in garbage.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SHAHBAZ SHARIF, PUNJAB CHIEF MINISTER (through translator): This beast was exposed when DNA profiling of 1,150 people was carried out. When the DNA profiling was done, his DNA matched 100 percent with the specimen collected from the crime scene. (END VIDEO CLIP)
VAUSE: The suspect is also accused of raping and murdering several other young girls in Kasur and that led to widespread protests with police criticized for a slow response.
On Wednesday, a judge in Michigan will sentence a former doctor who admitted to sexually abusing the girls under his care. With only six days of painful testimony from Larry Nassar's victims who were young gymnasts in training. A 163 statements have been read in court so far. Three more expected before the sentence is handed down, one victim submitted an anonymous statement but then came forward on the record to address Nassar directly.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
EMILY MORALES, NASSAR ACCUSER: I believe in forgiveness, Larry. You and I are human beings, we make mistakes. Although you have hurt me, I want to forgive you and feel closure and move on to healing in my life.
I want you to apologize to me right here. I want to figure you but I also want to hear you tell me that you've regret the hurt that you caused. Thank you.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VAUSE: Nassar to face 40 to 125 years in prison after pleading guilty to seven counts of criminal sexual conduct. He's already serving a 60 years sentence with federal child pornography charges.
A nurse accused of killing patients out of boredom, maybe one of Germany's deadliest serial killers. Niels Hogel was charged with 97 counts of murder on Monday, he's already serving a life sentence for killing six other people. The total number of victims may never be known because some patients have actually been cremated, others left the country and then later died.
A Criminal Defense Attorney, Melissa Lefkowitz joins us now with more on this because some of the patients are actually from Turkey, although made in Turkey (INAUDIBLE) find their bodies, it's a mess. But the one thing about this case which seems to make it really unique in terms of serial killers is (INAUDIBLE) murder. This is from a reporting we had from CNN's Atika Shubert, listen to this.
ATIKA SHUBERT, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Apparently, in court, this nurse known here as Niels H for privacy reasons has said that he did because he had a certain amount of euphoria whenever he was able to revive a patient. But then, if he failed he fell into this despair. And it was this sort of cycle where he would then inject another patient with drugs in the hope that he would be able to experience that euphoria of saving another life again. So, it is a very strange and bizarre case.
[01:45:15] VAUSE: So, what do you make of this sort of spiral of events that it just seems to go from bad to worse, bad to worse, and, you know, to eventually 97 people?
MELISSA LEFKOWITZ, CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEY: Well, I think that this is something that we really have to look at the German Government about as well. You know, this could never happen in America. We're so heavily policed be it from the CDC or any other agency that looks over what hospitals do. A death rate coming up to 97 people, that just wouldn't fly. Bells, whistles, everything would be going off. What makes this case kind of interesting is the unique perspective of the serial killer that we're dealing with. This is man who wanted to resuscitate people. He got some kind of a rush out of it.
VAUSE: Yes, he didn't want to kill them, but wanted to save them, but -- which is bizarre.
LEFKOWITZ: And how many people did he save? And how many people ended up being killed? This is depraved any way you look at it. But his motive -- his motive what was so -- what's so unique here.
VAUSE: OK. You mentioned, you know, this couldn't happen in the United States. You know, questions are being asked in Germany. When Hogel worked in the City of Delmenhorst, the number of deaths in the ICU actually doubled. There was no investigation. All the places and other cities where Hogel carried out these killings are there. The police chief told reporters, "If the people responsible at the time particulate at the Oldenburg Clinic but also later in Delmenhorst hadn't hesitated to alert authorities, for example, police prosecutors. Hogel could have been apprehended sooner." So, there's now a handful of employees in Delmenhorst who are being charged for negligent manslaughter. You know, how many more people would you expect to be held accountable for this? Is this just the start of, you know, looking at those you may have been able to stop this?
LEFKOWITZ: Absolutely. I think this is just the beginning. It's all about who failed to act here. Who was negligent in their duties? And when you're up to numbers like 97, people need to start asking questions. Who didn't know about this? And how could they possibly not have?
VAUSE: Yes. And the interesting thing is because it's not actually 97. What we're hearing from the Police is that they're actually going with a lower number because they think that that will get -- will be easier to prosecute the case, they've got more chance of a win in court. So, explain that because this seems to be like a pretty open- and-shut case.
LEFKOWITZ: That seems like an interesting perspective, but it's not necessarily. We're talking about cases, where we have to exhume bodies. And whenever we have to exhume bodies, we're dealing with family members, we're dealing with coroners, we're dealing with a whole host of red tape. And this takes time and resources.
VAUSE: And then it also raises a question of why they're doing it? Because Germany does not have consecutive life sentences. So, he's serving a life sentence. One report I read said it's all about maybe -- it could have -- it meant his parole. This guy could actually be eligible for parole?
LEFKOWITZ: Not quite. Because even in Germany, that does have only a 15-year cap and does not have the death penalty, they still are eligible for parole, but they balance the severity of the crime. We're dealing with a mass murderer here. We're dealing with a person with the depraved indifference for the value of human life. And that's going to be taken into consideration. And he will likely not be paroled ever.
VAUSE: So, this actually is an attempt, if he wasn't -- if he wasn't about to serve the rest of his life in jail, he will now.
LEFKOWITZ: Absolutely. He'll never see the light of day.
VAUSE: OK. Good to see you. Thank you for coming in. Thank you.
LEFKOWITZ: Thank you.
VAUSE: Appreciate it. OK. Next here on NEWSROOM L.A., the Oscar nominations are out. We'll have the surprises, the snubs, and all the other stuff after the break.
[01:51:02] VAUSE: Hollywood's (INAUDIBLE) gazing season is now into high gear. Nominations for the 90th Academy Awards are out, and it seems there's something almost for everyone. Guillermo del Toro's fantasy drama, "The Shape Of Water" leads the field with 13 nominations including Best Picture, one shy of a record. The World War II drama "Dunkirk" has also emerged as a strong contender, eight nominations. Also, Christopher Nolan's first directing nomination. Rebecca Sun, Senior Reporter for The Hollywood Reporter is with us now. Don't they just love an award season in L.A. and Hollywood?
REBECCA SUN, SENIOR REPORTER, THE HOLLYWOOD REPORTER: You know, it's our Super Bowl.
VAUSE: Best time of the year. How good are we? Aren't we amazing? OK. Let's start with the snubs. Despite all the praise, the commercial success, the critical success, "Wonder Woman", strong female lead, female director. You know, not one nomination and, you know, this is the year of the woman. What happened?
SUN: Right. You know, it's not super surprising because comic books still are traditionally not seen as Oscar-type movies. I mean, anything that's sort of a summer blockbuster, commercially pleasing, a popcorn movie, still has that kind of bias. And, you know, it was interesting because "Wonder Woman" didn't even get a nomination to some of those technical categories where you usually do see action movies. Definitely, a lot of people on the Internet are mad about it. Especially, since "Suicide Squad" had an Oscar and "Wonder Woman" doesn't. VAUSE: Good point. Yes. OK. That's a -- that's going to be hard to swallow. James Franco won a Golden Globe for Best Actor in a musical or comedy. That was for "The Disaster Artist". He wasn't nominated for an Oscar. And what's interesting about this, this has all happened around the same time he's been accused of, you know, sexually inappropriate behavior, sexual misconduct. And two of his accusers were actually speaking out on Tuesday, the same day the nominations came out. Listen to this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SARAH TITHER KAPLAN, JAMES FRANCO'S ACCUSER: James abused his power by exploiting the non-celebrity women that he worked with under the guise of giving them opportunities. Being an actor and a filmmaker and working in the industry has, like, been my dream since I was, like, my God, I don't even -- maybe five or six. And I knew that by coming forward, I was risking my career.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VAUSE: You know, the timing in all of this is interesting because the accusations started long after the voting had closed for the Golden Globes. But it sort of was a day before the nomination voting had closed for the Academy Awards. You know, can you make that leap that, you know, he has been -- you know, this scandal cost him a nomination?
SUN: Right, it's hard to say that definitively because, you know, the Golden Globes happened. He won. He stood up on stage with the "Times Up" pin which caused women to come forward. The L.A. Times was already prepping a story with those five allegations of misconduct. And then I think a day after that story came out, the Oscar voting window closed. And so, were there, you know, late, you know, procrastinators who were going to vote for James Franco and because of that article, switched to somebody else? It's possible. But without actually looking at the tally, it's impossible to know how if that's true.
VAUSE: If it -- if it was a couple more days, maybe. You know, if it had run for a little longer --
SUN: Right. If there had been more time. Exactly.
VAUSE: Yes. Steven Spielberg not nominated for Best Director for the post. But the movie was nominated for Best Picture. You know, this is seen as a bit of a snub for Spielberg because, you know, this happens to him a lot. You know, he directs a movie, gets nominated for Best Picture, but he misses on it a lot.
SUN: I think that that's probably because of Steven Spielberg's consistency. It's -- in a way, it's almost like, well, Meryl Streep has gotten the most nominations. She's probably the --
VAUSE: Well, she's nominated again, but Tom Hanks isn't. SUN: Exactly. But she -- but because of that, she's probably the actress who's lost the most nominations, right? So, it's sort of a game numbers there. I think that what's interesting is, yes, Steven Spielberg missed out, in part, because there's so -- there was such a crowded field of new and exciting directors this year. And you saw a lot of them get in, even what you said, Christopher Nolan, who a lot of people were surprised he's never been nominated before.
[01:55:01] VAUSE: OK. You know, on the plus side of the surprises for me, "Get Out", this horror movie with four nominations. And, yes, and these are really good nominations. These are like the, you know --
SUN: Major categories.
VAUSE: -- best costume and, you know, best audio mixing.
SUN: Yes. Above the line.
VAUSE: Exactly. This is Best Picture, Best Director, Best Actor, and Best Screenplay. And although this means that, you know, maybe this is the moment when the horror movies are taken seriously, and they've sort of crossed that river (INAUDIBLE)
SUN: Yes, with "Get Out", you're breaking ground in a lot of ways. One is with genre, it's very rare for horror, thriller movies to win. I think the last one was "The Silence of the Lambs". If you have to go back all the way back to "The Exorcist" to find a horror movie that, you know, won an Oscar. And in addition to that, Jordan Peele is only the fifth black man to ever been nominated for Best Director. And he is only the third man to ever get Best Director, Best Picture, and Best Screenplay on his directorial debut.
VAUSE: It's fun playing editorial pursuit with you. You could (INAUDIBLE) entertainment. OK. Also, history with Rachel Morristown nominated for cinematography for "Mudbound" we should mention that, the first woman nominated in that category. I think we're almost out of time. So, let's move quickly on new rules this year to try and avoid envelope gaffe, no mixing up the names of the winners.
SUN: It's not going to happen. They've replaced those two PricewaterhouseCoopers accountant.
VAUSE: They were apparently there on social media at the time.
SUN: They -- they've put a -- yes. So, that, they've instituted a social media ban. They've added a third accountant who's going to sit with the producers backstage with his own briefcase. So --
VAUSE: Weren't they -- not allowed anywhere near the stage.
SUN: -- will not be on stage.
VAUSE: (INAUDIBLE) SUN: It's not going to happen again.
VAUSE: Right. I mean, and they are making a little bit of fun out of this, too, which I guess is a good thing.
SUN: They are. They're trying to make something -- you know, it will cause people to tune in. See if they'll mess up again.
VAUSE: I like that. Rebecca, thank you so much and, of course, you know, what is -- when are the Oscars award, how long to go?
SUN: Oh, my gosh. It's -- you know what, I've been up since 4:30 in the morning. In a few weeks. Look it up online, guys.
VAUSE: Sorry. You knew everything else. Take it easy, woman.
SUN: It's so close.
VAUSE: Thank you. And thank you for watching CNN NEWSROOM live from Los Angeles. I'm John Vause. Please join us on Twitter @cnnnewsroomla. There, you can find highlights and clips from the show. But don't go there just yet because I will be back with more news right after this.
[02:00:09] VAUSE: This is CNN NEWSROOM live from Los Angeles.