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New Claims of Trump Campaign Cover Up; Climate of Fear Grips Kabul; Larry Nassar Faces More Victims in Third Sentencing. Aired 12- 1a ET
Aired February 1, 2018 - 00:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[00:00:11] JOHN VAUSE, CNN ANCHOR: This is CNN NEWSROOM live from Los Angeles.
Ahead this hour:
ISHA SESAY, CNN ANCHOR: Many moving parts in the Russia investigation including new claims of a Trump administration cover up.
VAUSE: Opening ceremonies at the Olympic Village now under way. The Winter Games just opened --
SESAY: Actress Angelina Jolie rallies for the Rohingya refugees -- her powerful message to NATO.
VAUSE: Hello -- everybody. Welcome to our viewers all around the world. Great to have you with us. I'm John Vause.
SESAY: And I'm Isha Sesay. NEWSROOM L.A. starts right now.
VAUSE: We begin with troubling new claims by the top Democrat on the U.S. House Intelligence Committee. Adam Schiff accuses Republican Chairman Devin Nunes of changing a memo of alleged FBI abuses before he sent it to the White House.
President Trump is expected to make the memo public but a rare public statement from the FBI has expressed grave concerns about the memo's accuracy.
SESAY: Also developing, the "New York Times" reports a former legal spokesman for the Trump Team was concerned that White House communications director Hope Hicks may have considered obstructing justice. Hicks allegedly told the President that Donald Trump, Jr.'s e-mails about his meeting with a Russian lawyer quote, "will never get out". Hicks' attorney denies she ever said that.
VAUSE: Juliette Kayyem is a CNN national security analyst and former assistant secretary of the Department of Homeland Security. She joins us now from Cambridge, Massachusetts. So Juliette -- good to see you.
It seems that the FBI and the Department of Justice are on this collision course right now with the White House, with the President who campaigned as a law and order candidate because he is ready to release this information which the man he chose as director of the FBI says is misleading, reckless and could reveal classified information.
So how did we get to this point?
JULIETTE KAYYEM, CNN NATIONAL SECURITY ANALYST: We got to this point because in no small part due to Devin Nunes who has sort of asserted himself, the congressman who is the chair of the Republican -- I mean of the House Intelligence Committee who claims that this memo that's been the subject of attention for several weeks now exposes some sort of bad behavior by the FBI and it's absolutely necessary for him to get out.
The FBI and, of course, the Department of Justice know this not to be true, know that he has hand-picked certain information and wrote what can only be described as a line in the sand to the White House that if they actually did release this memo that it would cause grave harm to America security.
And just to remind people this is Director Wray who was appointed by Donald Trump. This is no longer one of these hold-over games that the White House tends to play.
VAUSE: You know, he made this argument that it seems almost as if Nunes is what, working for the Russians?
KAYYEM: You know, at this stage people say, you know, why is this happening. I think without sounding too conspiratorial, it's very difficult to know what's animating Devin Nunes but some, you know, either because he is being told by the White House to do this or because there's something compromising his good judgment.
I mean he looks not only very silly but of course, he's now being undermined by the very FBI and law enforcement agencies that he has been voted into office to protect and defend and to give him the resource the need.
I think also it's just worth noting there's so much noise at this stage it's hard to take a step back but at some stage I think we have to ask ourselves the White House trying so hard to cover up or to stop this investigation from going on that, you know, what is it that's underlying their fear?
At this stage it's no longer about obstruction of justice. Something is compelling the White House every day to launch an attack against Mueller, against the FBI, against leadership in the FBI, against the Department of Justice, against their own attorneys at the White House counsel's office.
You know maybe it's so in plain sight we're afraid to see it but it's hard to imagine that they're doing this because everything is benign at this stage.
VAUSE: You know, as the President was leaving the State of the Union he was asked on the way out if he would release the memo. That answer was caught on a hot mike. Listen to this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Let's release the memo.
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Don't worry -- 100 percent.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VAUSE: But now it seems maybe the President hasn't even read the memo.
VAUSE: Here's White House press secretary Sarah Sanders.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CHRIS CUOMO, CNN HOST: Has the President seen the memo yet?
SARAH HUCKABEE SANDERS, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: Not that I'm aware of. I know he hadn't as of last night prior to and immediately after the State of the Union.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VAUSE: You know, a very -- it seemed a very honest answer there from Sarah Sanders. Again though, it seems that there is just this determination to put this out there regardless of the consequences.
KAYYEM: Regardless of the consequences which we know what they are. The FBI saying that this is going to, you know, this is going to expose sources and methods of the FBI, our preeminent law enforcement agency. But it's also being done when everyone knows it's not accurate.
I mean this has to be said every time we talk about the Nunes memo. He had taken particular pieces of information, shut out others and created some narrative that we are now supposed to believe simply because he says he -- you know this comes from important information.
Nunes has no sort of validity I think now in terms of what's animating him whether it's pure politics or something else. And so there's more than one reason not to release the memo. And I hope that when it is or isn't, you know -- when it is or if it is released people will understand it is factually, as the FBI said, factually inaccurate. It is just a lie. And that is what this debate is about.
VAUSE: You know, on Tuesday, you know, before the State of the Union there was a lunch with the President and reporters.
Republican Speaker Paul Ryan was there. He said this about the memo and the FBI. "Let it all out. Get it all out there. Cleanse the organization. I think we should disclose all this stuff. It's the best disinfectant." You know, there was a time when many Republicans like Ryan, they sort
of stayed away from, you know, the President's unfounded allegations, the conspiracy theories they heard, you know, on Fox News. But clearly not now and particularly that word "cleanse the organization".
KAYYEM: It's the word purge. It's the Stalinist type word to suggest that the FBI which, you know, is not like a liberal institution, right, that the FBI somehow has it out for Trump. But I think what you see with Ryan and many others is that once you go down the path of defending the White House given -- and we don't know what it is -- where that path is taking us, right, in terms of this investigation.
It's very hard to step away and so what you're seeing is that any number of these, congressman Paul Ryan in particular, but you know, beginning with, ok I'm going to not talk about Trump/Russia slowly but surely getting sort of hooked in.
And I think you know, for others who have not gone down that path it's worth noting that they don't even know what they're defending at this stage because we have no idea what is underlying Mueller's investigation, let alone what's underlying this clear evidence of obstruction of justice from Trump, the White House and now the story today that the "New York Times" is reporting that Hope Hicks, his communications director.
You know it's a path -- it's a -- it's a silly path. It's a scary path for people to go down because who knows what shoe was going to drop at this stage.
VAUSE: You know, it seems that there's this 30 percent of the country which is you know locked on to Donald Trump and the administration no matter what. If you can convince that 30 percent that law enforcement is bias, take that one step further because then you get to the point where eve if Robert Mueller, the special investigator comes up with solid hard proof that the President has done -- is guilty of some wrong doing it seems unlikely that percent of the country is going to believe it's true.
KAYYEM: I think that's right. I think in some ways that 30 percent is just locked in. But the significance of what Mueller is doing is not necessarily that he's going to get an indictment against Donald Trump. There may be others in the family or others in the White House.
I think also what it will do, at least, it will be a political statement about what may have occurred either between -- either during the 2016 election or as many people suspect and certainly our reporting at CNN has shown that there might have been financial underpinnings between -- or financial propping by the Russians to support the Trump Organization that the Trump family wanted to hide during the campaign and after.
So, you know, in some ways even if Mueller doesn't come up with a leg solution it will be a document that will be used in the public debate to discuss you know essentially, you know, what animated the Russians to do what they did in 2016 and what's animating Trump -- and I say it again -- the Trump family from trying so hard to keep whatever that truth is from all of us. And that's where I think that this is going down.
[00:09:49] I tend to be the calm one on air with you guys as a (INAUDIBLE) -- I would say that I -- I think this country is in that moment we all feared and I think the pace of the breaking news stories suggest that the next couple of weeks -- we're all going to be tested. And it's nerve racking even for one of your experts.
VAUSE: You know, it seems like Trump years are like dog years. Every one -- every year lasts seven.
KAYYEM: At least it's February. At least it's February now and we got through one month.
VAUSE: Thanks -- Juliette. Good to see you -- appreciate it.
KAYYEM: Thank you.
VAUSE: Jessica Levinson is a professor of law and governance at Loyola law school and Peter Matthews is a professor of political science at Cyprus College. They're here to talk more about the -- today in Russia news.
Ok. Here's the key part of that statement from the FBI. "We have grave concerns about material admissions of facts that fundamentally impact the memo's accuracy."
Jessica -- this would appear to be a last ditch effort to try and stop the President from releasing the memo which is very rare. If this doesn't work, how long will it be before, you know, Director Wray is the second FBI director to be fired by Donald Trump?
JESSICA LEVINSON, LOYOLA LAW SCHOOL: Well, you know, potentially not that long if we just look at history and we look at his pattern of firing people and his pattern of firing people who speak out against him.
I just want to pick up on one thing that you discussed with past --
VAUSE: With Juliette -- yes.
LEVINSON: -- with Juliette where Speaker Paul Ryan said, you know, let's just let all this information out and let's -- you picked up from the word -- let's cleanse the organization. But I actually picked up on a different word which is that basically disclosure and sunlight is the best disinfectant. That's almost word for word putting a really famous passage from a Supreme Court opinion that Justice Brandeis wrote.
And I think that Speaker Ryan may -- it maybe someone who was a law student or a former lawyer just wrote that but I think he may be trying to telegraph something to the judiciary of saying this information should really be out here and you judges if this gets to you then I don't think that you should do anything about it because we're all about disclosure. Now, of course disclosure is great unless you disclose lies.
LEVINSON: And that's what the FBI and the Department of Justice are in an entirely unprecedented move saying.
VAUSE: And they don't want to disclose, you know, the Democrat memo that goes with it --
VAUSE: -- which will be a counterpoint.
But Peter -- the administration is arguing here the previous memo out there is all about being open and honest and transparent. Listen to this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
HOGAN GIDLEY, WHITE HOUSE DEPUTY PRESS SECRETARY: He absolutely wants transparency.
KELLYANE CONWAY, COUNSELOR TO THE PRESIDENT: We want it to be a deliberative process and we respect the process, the transparency and accountability.
SANDERS: We've said all along from day one that we want full transparency in this process.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VAUSE: So everyone got their talking points, they stuck to script but given the administration's record so far here -- honest, open transparency is a little stretch for this administration.
PETER MATTHEWS, PROFESSOR, CYPRUS COLLEGE: It's very strange because it's the opposite of transparency. They're putting out information that's inaccurate. It's been shown to have been altered by Nunes, not to mention his (INAUDIBLE) synopsis of the overall, underlying information is misleading. It could be very well so. So this is transparency is the height of hypocrisy -- using that word (INAUDIBLE).
VAUSE: And it's also been revealed that Nunes didn't even read the source material, you know. It's just basically the staffers' opinions all pulled together.
MATTHEWS: Pulled together.
VAUSE: Ok. One of the biggest issues is did the White House work with Nunes in putting this memo together?
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CUOMO: Did Devin Nunes work with anybody in the White House on that memo?
SANDERS: Not that I know of.
CUOMO: He wouldn't' answer that question.
SANDERS: Right. And I just don't know the answer. I'm not aware of any conversations or coordination with Congressman Nunes.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VAUSE: Jessica -- again credibility issues here when it comes to Nunes and the White House. If there was some kind of collaboration between the Congressman and the administration, what are the implications?
LEVINSON: Well, I mean I think the implications are that it just further undermines this document. So we already know that the FBI and the Department of Justice have said it's not only dangerous but it's misleading.
So it will put us in a position of threatening our national security and it will give the public the wrong impression. But if you add to that that the Trump administration is potentially -- and it's interesting because Representative Nunes also had kind of a non-denial denial.
If they're working in concert, I mean that just goes to show I think not necessarily what legal implications are but what political implications there are.
VAUSE: You know, part of the campaign to discredit the FBI and to prove there is this bias, deep state operating there against the President has been to highlight these text messages between these two agents who were having an extramarital affair and they're exchanging messages that were critical of candidate Donald Trump.
CNN has obtained e-mails that show Peter Strzok -- one of the agents supported reopening the Clinton investigation once the e-mails were discovered on disgraced former Representative Anthony Weiner's laptop, according to a source familiar with Strzok's thinking.
Peter -- again this seems to undermine the theory that, you know, Strzok and the woman -- the other agent who's having the affair, were leading, you know, the Trump resistance.
MATTHEWS: It totally undermines it.
VAUSE: And the texts don't even support that anyway. What do they got here?
MATTHEWS: It totally undermines this. It's contradictory and I don't think people are going to believe it once they see the texts are contrary to what they were saying.
[00:15:05] So I think that this is really an affront to the rule of law. This is much deeper than a few memos going around. The concept of the rule of law is that no one is above the law. The law should apply equally to everyone including the President.
And here is inside workers like Nunes trying to get the President the inside job so to speak to let him get away with thing by changing all the evidence and information that's around. That's a complete undermining of the rule of law principle.
LEVINSON: But I mean let's be clear. This is what would be or wannabe autocrats do. So this is -- we're looking at someone who's not respecting the -- how there's a separate branch, a legislative branch, that functions who's potentially conspiring with Representative Nunes about the memo who's undermining the Department of Justice who should be serving -- the members of the Department of Justice serve the constitution and they serve our country, not the President.
And so this kind of consolidation of power and undermining of the FBI investigation -- and that's to the last point that you talked about with Juliette. And that's the thing that worries me the most which is what if you have -- you come out with this smoking gun and a third of the country says --
LEVINSON: -- I'm sorry, I saw those text messages --
VAUSE: Fake news.
LEVINSON: -- between those two FBI agents.
VAUSE: I want to get to this reporting from the "New York Times". Mark Corallo, CNN understands that he will -- I received this request for an interview by Robert Mueller. He was the spokesman for the Trump legal team until he resigned in July last year.
The "New York Times" is adding this. "Mr. Corallo I planning to tell Mueller about a previously undisclosed conference call with Mr. Trump and Hope Hicks, the White House communications director, according to three people.
Mr. Corallo planned to tell investigators that Miss Hicks said during the call that e-mails written by Donald Trump Jr. before the Trump Tower meeting that was the one with, you know, every Russian in New York turned up including a lawyer linked to the Kremlin. This is also one where, you know, Mr. Trump was eager to receive political dirt about Mrs. Clinton from the Russian. Hope Hicks apparently said it will never out.
That left Mr. Corallo with concerns that Miss Hicks could be contemplating obstructing of justice. Lawyers for Hicks deny that she ever said that. But, you know, again it seems that, you know, they keep building this very strong case from the President on down for obstruction of justice.
MATTHEWS: A pattern throughout the administration at the highest levels. It's not just the President, obviously. Now, you've got Hope Hicks and many others involved in this pattern of obstructing the truth, obstructing an investigation that was ongoing and legitimate. This is very dangerous for our constitutional system.
VAUSE: (INAUDIBLE) How serious could this be?
LEVINSON: It could be very serious but I would say that statement of it will never come out, I'm not seeing oh, my God we've got obstruction of justice.
LEVINSON: Obstruction of Justice is a very specific statute and it requires a corrupt intent. That could say I hope -- I mean you could imply I hope it never gets out. I don't want it to ever get out. Or we'll make sure that we're protecting the President.
Wanting to slow the investigation and wanting to ensure that things don't hit the public eye is very different from lets go down the prongs of a statute.
VAUSE: Right. Ok. Glad you added that in. So Jessica and Peter -- good to see you both. Thank you.
MATTHEWS: Thank you.
SESAY: And now we turn to Afghanistan, a country reeling from a relentless string of terror attacks. In just the past couple of weeks terrorists have stormed a luxury hotel, attacked an officer of the aid group Save the Children, blown up an ambulance on a crowded street and targeted a military base. In all at least 140 people were killed, most of those in the capital of Kabul, a city now living in fear as our own Nick Paton Walsh reports.
NICK PATON WALSH, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: The still in the air of Kabul's normally hectic rush hour speaks of the panic gripping a city that was once a safe haven and now feels like the front line.
"Do you have papers," they ask, eerily targeting vehicles with vehicle with government plates, flashing police lights torn out. The focus on government vehicles or vehicles trying to look like they're part of the police or military clearly a nervousness they might be being used to bring insurgents into the capital.
This one seemed suspicious yet turns out to be a regional governor's security. Who can you trust in the oncoming blizzard? Barriers restrict the height of trucks and so darkly, the amount of explosive they could. And here where an ambulance car bomb killed over a hundred, thread and debris litter the streets still.
The ambulance suicide car bomb, pretty sophisticated. It came through this checkpoint saying they had an appointment in the hospital where they parked for 20 to 30 minutes and then came out again with bomb on board detonating just down the street in a devastating blast. It blew out windows meant to keep the sick warm.
[00:19:57] Even now ambulances aren't allowed to drive into the compound; the sick are hand-carried in. Hospitals are struggling across the capital from a week of savagery. But also too is the nation's confidence.
Actor Massoud Hashmi (ph) was the war hero face of anti-insurgency movies telling Afghans not to flee their homeland as refugees but stay, build and fight. In the recent attack on the Intercontinental Hotel in Kabul he watched as two friends were shot in front of him and he was then shot. And he still has a bullet inside of him.
MASSOUD HASHMI, AFGHAN ACTOR: We all kept silence in a corner. I was bleeding, horribly bleeding. It's very hard to see your death is coming to you and step away from you. So after three hours the Afghan Special Force entered the salon (ph). I introduced myself, everybody know me and the soldier also know me that's ok come out. We took 14 people with myself and saved their lives.
WALSH: Yet his conscience means he must change his message.
But now you're telling people that they should leave?
HASHMI: Most people want to leave (ph), but you're encouraging people to stay in Afghanistan I'm not saying that again because I feel guilty. If I do that -- you know I'm a famous person if I say something people will accept. Most of the people ask me on the street, you say stay in Afghanistan what should we do? There's no hope people know. I'm not feeling secure inside my house.
Now Kabul is changed into a war zone.
WALSH: And the hot violent summer months are still far away.
Nick Paton Walsh, CNN -- Kabul.
VAUSE: Well, convicted sexual abuser Larry Nassar is back in court for yet another sentencing hearing. We'll have those details in just a moment.
SESAY: And one of his alleged victims is speaking out. Why Simone Biles said she couldn't attend Nassar's hearing.
SESAY: Hello -- everyone.
Larry Nassar, the disgraced former doctor for U.S.A. gymnastics in Michigan State University is back in court facing more victims.
VAUSE: Last week he was sentenced to 175 years in prison for sexual abuse after more than 150 women confronted him in court. U.S. Olympic gymnasts and gold medal winners were among the victims who spoke out.
SESAY: CNN's Jean Casarez has details of Larry Nassar's third sentencing hearing.
JEAN CASAREZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Larry Nassar's sentencing hearing is now under way. Tomorrow court will be dark but on Friday, it will resume and young woman after young woman is stepping up to the podium to tell their stories, give their victim impact statements.
[00:24:53] And the reason we are here in Charlotte, Michigan Eaton County which is about 35 minutes outside of Lansing is because Twistars Gymnastics facility is located here. It is known as where the young athletes practice their craft of gymnastics. Many have gone on to Olympic medals and Larry Nassar was the doctor that serviced Twistars. Listen to some of the victims in their own words.
REBECCA BOEVING, NASSAR VICTIM: I encourage anyone who feels uncomfortable or something to speak up, to talk, to keep talking until someone takes action because we all know talk is cheap. It's time to make a change. We are that change, all of us together.
ERIN BLAYER, NASSAR VICTIM: I survived the hospital, the MRIs, the x- rays, all the other tests, the physical therapy and the countless numbers of doctors. And now I have survived you not as a doctor which was a right you should have lost over 20 years ago (INAUDIBLE).
CASAREZ: On Wednesday, Michigan State University board of trustees voted unanimously to have former Michigan Governor John Engler preside as the interim president of the university while a national search is ongoing.
Although there is controversy by students wondering why they couldn't have been part of the decision making process, Engler said he will preside as the interim president as if his own daughters were attending the university.
And U.S.A. Gymnastics officially has said that their board will step down as asked for by the U.S. Olympic Committee. They also say they will comply with an independent investigation asked for and conducted on behalf of the USOC.
Jean Casarez, CNN -- Eaton County, Michigan.
SESAY: An important move there, the board stepping down, the U.S. A. Gymnastics board for the girls and for the women who endured so much.
Meanwhile four-time Olympic gold medalist Simone Biles is speaking publicly about Larry Nassar.
VAUSE: She posted a powerful note on Twitter two weeks ago alleging she was one of his victims.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SIMONE BILES, U.S. OLYMPIC GYMNAST: I think it's hard for someone to go through what I've gone through recently and it's very hard to talk about. But other than that I think the judge is my hero just because she gave it to him straight and didn't him get any power over any of the girls. And letting the girls go and speak was very powerful.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VAUSE: Biles didn't attend Larry Nassar's sentencing because she said she wasn't emotionally prepared to face her abuser again.
SESAY: We're going to pause here for a quick break.
Still ahead, Rohingya women and girls are fleeing sexual violence in Myanmar only to be victimized again as refugees. Actress Angelina Jolie is among the celebrities speaking out.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ANGELINA JOLIE, ACTRESS: I'm very concerned about the Rohingya. I'm very angry that the response internationally has been lacking.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
[00:27:46] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
JOHN VAUSE, CNN ANCHOR (voice-over): Welcome back, everybody, you're watching CNN NEWSROOM live from Los Angeles. I'm John Vause.
ISHA SESAY, CNN ANCHOR (voice-over): And I'm Isha Sesay. The headlines this hour:
SESAY: In recent months there have been rallying cries to help Rohingya refugees living in squalid conditions. But sadly, that is just one of the many atrocities they're dealing with daily.
Sexual violence committed against women and girls is a rampant problem affecting the Rohingya right now. On Wednesday, actor Angelina Jolie visited the NATO headquarters to voice her concerns about sexual assault in conflict zones.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ANGELINA JOLIE, ACTOR AND ACTIVIST: I'm very concerned about the Rohingya. I'm very angry that the response internationally has been lacking. I'm very concerned about the stories of the 10-year-old girls who are being raped.
And there's a lot of discussion -- there's maybe too much discussion and very, very little action. Then we see this is all too often the case these days.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SESAY: Mayesha Alam is a fellow at Yale University and the author of "Women and Transitional Justice." She joins us now from New York to discuss the plight of the Rohingya.
Mayesha, thank you for being with us.
MAYESHA ALAM, AUTHOR: Thank you so much for having me.
SESAY: So rape is used as a weapon of war for a multitude of reasons.
Why is it being used in such a fashion against Rohingya women and girls?
ALAM: You know, Isha, this is one of the most difficult but important questions in trying to understand what's been happening to the Rohingya people. Now since August, when this ethnic cleansing campaign began, but certainly even before then.
What's important to remember is that sexual violence in conflict is as old as war itself. And but that doesn't mean that it's inevitable. I think there's growing recognition in the international community in academic and policy circles that, far from inevitable, it's really important to understand and prevent and counteract sexual violent in conflict, which can take many forms and be perpetrated for many reasons by a range of actors.
In this context it seems like, based on reports by groups like Doctors without Borders, Human Rights Watch as well as my own time spent in the camps -- I just came back recently -- that gang rapes are prevalent. This is a very particular type of sexual violence.
So countless stories of women and girls being brutalized by groups of uniformed military personnel in their homes as well as elsewhere, you know, being taken away. And it really seems to be part of the military's clearance operations -- or that's what they're calling it -- where something like 85 percent of Rohingya villages have been cleared of people.
And this is, you know, this is going to be one of the most difficult but important parts of this crisis to address, not just in terms of what happens to these people but looking to the future in terms of justice and safe lives.
SESAY: Yes, absolutely. And it going to be very hard won, as you make the point, to address.
For these woman who are now in these camps in Bangladesh, women and girls who you've spoken to on your visits there, what is life like for them?
Are there the actors on the ground to meet their needs, like their social and their health needs, to provide them with safe spaces after everything they've been through?
ALAM: The women and girls that I met and the organizations that I met during my visit --
ALAM: -- to numerous camps in Bangladesh, they're traumatized. They left with little more than the clothes on their backs. They have suffered brutality and indignity and disenfranchisement for generations. So this is not new. This has been going on for a very long time.
But the escalation, the nature, the pace, the scale of brutality since August is unprecedented. So of course they're dealing with the trauma of that and of course also with the physical health problems that come with that. To my point earlier about, you know, the way in which sexual violence seems to be perpetrated, it's evocative of what we've seen in places like Bosnia and Croatia and Kosovo during the breakdown of Yugoslavia.
So in terms of what their life is like now in the camps, there are a host of new insecurities and risks that they're facing. These include trafficking, both in terms of sex trafficking as well as indentured servitude and labor trafficking.
I met this young woman, so fragile, in Kutupalong refugee camp, which, by the way, is now the most densely populated place on Earth. So it gives you an idea of just the enormity of the crisis -- who after a few weeks, arriving in the camps, was approached by an individual who lured her away from the camps with the promise of a good job.
And this young woman was naive. She was desperate and of course she wanted to improve the condition of her family and herself. And instead of actually being taken away and offered a good job, she was forced io prostitution. And for a week she was raped and held against her will.
And in fact, it was one of the men who had paid for sex with her, who, because she was so manic, because she was so distressed, arranged and somehow managed to get her out of that situation and return to the camp.
So you can just imagine not just what she experienced back in Rakhine but then in the camps. This is just one of many, many stories and organizations as well as the government and security personnel are aware of this. They're trying to address it. But it's difference. These are criminal networks that are operating.
SESAY: Such an atrocity. Thank you to Mayesha Alam, our important conversation continues two hours from now, right here on CNN NEWSROOM L.A.
VAUSE: North Korean athletes flying south for the winter, the Winter Games, that is. And they're arriving in Seoul on a rare direct flight. The very latest when we come back.
(COMMERCIAL BREAK) (MUSIC PLAYING)
SESAY: Hello, everyone. With the clock ticking down to the start of the Winter Olympic Games, the athletes are arriving in South Korea.
SESAY: We are awaiting the remaining members of the North Korean team, due to land in the coming hours.
VAUSE: A chartered plane will bring figure skaters and skiers and officials. The North's women's ice hockey team is already there. They arrived last Thursday. And they'll all form a unified term with athletes from the South, the opening ceremony a week from Friday.
SESAY: Let's go straight to Seoul, South Korea, our own Paula Newton is there. (INAUDIBLE) some of the excitement.
Paula, hello; let's start with the impending arrival of those North Korean athletes.
What do we know of the welcome, their movements, once they touch down?
PAULA NEWTON, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Certainly there's a whole lot of scrutiny on this, as you can imagine. As you mentioned, some of the athletes are already here; most notably it's the South (sic) Korean women's hockey team. They're training together with the South Korean team because they will be on the ice together as one joint team.
These 10 athletes, including that high-profile figure skating pair, will arrive and then they will be greeted at the Athletes' Village. Given where we were a couple months ago on this whole story, it's extraordinary that this team is here on the ground.
Keep in mind these athletes had no idea they would be allowed to compete in the Olympics and nonetheless coming into those Olympic ceremonies under a unified Korean team. It really has been a diplomatic coup of sorts for the president here.
But it's not without its controversy. I have to say, Isha, the one thing you really feel for these athletes, you think about the hours, the days, the years that they spend training and whenever politics gets involved with this, you have to think that the scrutiny's going to be incredibly high on these athletes.
And hopefully they'll be able to put it to one side and actually enjoy the moment.
SESAY: You make a good point. Not everyone in there South Korea is behind the joint women's ice hockey team. Some feel there have been too many concessions given by the South Korean president, Moon Jae-in.
That being said, could there possibly be a political price to be paid by the president for this road he's gone down?
NEWTON: It doesn't seem so far. In fact, one would say, what choice did he have, given the scrutiny on these Olympic Games?
There were very serious security doubts about how these games would held. He himself even capitulated and said, very off the cuff, saying, look, as much as I want this to a peaceful games and I think that unified hockey team was a good idea, I do realize that it came as a surprise to some of those South Korean athletes who were on that women's hockey team. Some will not get the ice time that they were expecting.
Putting all of that to one side, we're really in uncharted territory here. Some people believe that this is really a coup for North Korea and North Korea alone, that they've been able to stall a lot of what's going on, in terms of the sanctions against them and the scrutiny that they've been under.
And on top of that, they get to come here most notably, not just with those athletes, Isha, but culturally; they'll have presentations, exchanges and those cheerleaders that will be allowed to be here.
It really will be interesting what happens in not just the weeks to come but the days to come. Our Will Ripley reported yesterday that in fact there will be a large military parade the day before the opening ceremonies in North Korea.
They may put as many as 100 missiles on display and one diplomat told him that this is to scare the hell out of America. That is not going to look too good as within 24 hours then you have the opening ceremonies of these Olympics.
Still perhaps as you say, Isha, a high political price to pay here in South Korea. At the end of the day, everyone here is holding their breath, I can tell you. They want a good, safe games that's a good experience for everyone. They will deal with the rest after the closing ceremonies.
SESAY: I think we can all agree that's what we want. Let the athletes shine, let us have a peaceful time and let sports dominate the day.
Paula Newton, joining us there from Seoul, always appreciate it, my friend. Thank you.
And thank you for watching CNN NEWSROOM live from Los Angeles, I'm Isha Sesay.
VAUSE: I'm John Vause. Stay with us for "WORLD SPORT." You're watching CNN.