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What Does Mueller Want to Ask Trump? Netanyahu in the News. Aired 12-1a ET
Aired May 1, 2018 - 00:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
ARWA DAMON, CNN CORRESPONDENT: I'm Arwa Damon at Mosul Dam in Iraq and this is CNN.
JOHN VAUSE, CNN HOST: You're watching CNN Newsroom live from Los Angeles.
ISHA SESAY, CNN HOST: Ahead this hour new insights into the mind of Robert Mueller, the questions the special counsel wants to ask President Donald Trump, un-leaked to the media.
VAUSE: Plus Israel's Benjamin Netanyahu uses a rod of lying big time over his nuclear program, claiming to have proof Turan was working on building an atomic bomb.
SESAY: And the Vatican treasurer at Cardinal George Pell will stand trail for alleged historical sexual abuse.
VAUSE: Hello everybody thank you for joining us for into this hour number one, I'm John Vause.
SESAY: And I'm Isha Sesay, this is Newroom L.A.
VAUSE: Well the justice department, special counsel, investigating Russian meddling in the 2016 U.S. election has more than four dozen questions specifically for the President Donald Trump. Now according to your time they focus on whether Trump may have actually obstructed justice.
SESAY: The report says Robert Mueller is interested in the Trump campaign's title, Russia and Mr. Trump's business dealings with Moscow. The special counsel also wants to ask about foreign national security advisor Michael Flynn and why the President fired FBI director James Comey.
CNN analyst room, Areva Martin is here with us in L.A., Areva always good to see you. First your initial thought on these questions and the specific area's of focus.
AREVA MARTIN, CNN ANALYST: Well they confirm actually what we've always known, which is that Mueller is hyper focused on an obstruction of justice case. These questions also confirm that he's talked to a lot of people. The witnesses that we know who have gone to speak and have given
interviews to the special counsel, apparently have given him a lot of information because these questions appear to be the kinds of questions you would ask if you all ready know the answers. A lot of questions that focus on intent, we know that in order to prove an obstruction of justice case, the prosecutors will have to prove criminal intent.
And so a lot of questions about what Trump was thinking, why he did certain things, how he reacted to certain events and occurrences. And I think what shocking the most about these questions, is that, so much of what Mueller is asking about has to do with Tweet's. Public statements that Trump made himself, interview questions that he answered on air to certain media outlets, so he dug himself into what appears to be a very big hole.
SESAY: Yes indeed. I want to run through some of these questions. As we mentioned the specific area's of focus is Flynn, there's Jeff Sessions but also there's the firing of FBI director James Comey, which of course triggered the whole special counsel investigation.
Here is some of the questions about Comey, let's put some of them up on the screen. What was the purpose of your January 27, 2017 dinner with Mr. Comey and what was said? It goes on for more questions along this line regarding the decisions to fire Mr. Comey, when was it made? Why? Who played a role?
Areva, again to your point when you look at the questions about Comey, these are all pretty much open ended, giving the President the opportunity to speak at large.
MARTIN: Not only that Isha, these questions - these are just the initial questions. If you're deposing someone or interviewing someone, these are categories. So you may start with, you know, what happened at that dinner on that particular day but that question itself may create 40, 50, 60 untold number of follow up questions.
And as to the question about why he fired James Comey, we know that the answer to that has been all over the board. From this was about the way he handled the Hilary Clinton e-mail investigation to - from that extreme to the extreme the answer to Lester Holt, I fired him because of the Russia investigation.
So he's going to have to commit if he does agree to sit down with Mueller and to answer these questions, he will have to commit to an answer. He won't be able to be all over the board, which has been the case to date.
SESAY: Well that's the big question, if he sits down with Mueller. Of course Rudy Giuliani, his long time pal is now on the legal team, what does that mean for the chances of the President sitting down with Mueller?
MARTIN: Well we're hearing two things. We know that Trump ahs said repeatedly I will sit down with Mueller, I have no problem, I'm anxious to do it, I'm raring to do it. But we also know that his legal team, Dowd who left the team, was the one who was vehemently opposed to Trump sitting down, because he knows Donald Trump.
He knows that Donald Trump has difficult time telling the truth, he knows that he has a difficult time staying on point, that he often rambles, that he gives inconsistent statements. And any lawyer would be concerned about having his client talk to federal prosecutors given the history of this particular President, because if you lie to a federal investigator, if you lie to the Department of Justice during one of these interviews that is a crime end of itself.
So I don't think, honestly, that Trump is ever going to sit down on his own with special counsel Mueller but let's not forget there is the subpoena power and the special counsel has the ability to subpoena Trump and to force him to answer those questions and to give truthful answers.
And his only recourse if he is subpoena would be to take the fifth amendment which would be a shocking turn of events for the sitting President, our sitting President, who is supposed to be our leader in terms of enforcing the law, to refuse to answer questions when the American public deserves to have honest and accurate information on all of these questions that we see in this long and very shocking and stunning list.
SESAY: Yes and the President has said a great deal about people who plead the fifth. But that's for another time, Areva Martin we appreciate it, thank you.
MARTIN: Thank you Isha.
VAUSE: Joining us now for a lot more on this here in Los Angeles, California talk radio host Ethan Bearman and California Republican national committee member, Shawn Steele and thank you both for being here, good to see you. No hat this time, so good to see you.
ETHAN BEARMAN, TALK RADIO HOST: Very Good.
VAUSE: OK, here's a little more about the Mueller questions from the reporting in the New York Times. The majority relate to possible obstruction of justice, demonstrating how an investigation into Russian's election meddling grew to include an examination of the President's conduct in office. Among the moqueries on any discussions Mr. Trump had, that is a chance to fire Mr. Mueller himself and what the President knew about the possible pardon offers to Mr. Flynn.
Shawn, so it seems the prisoners and this administration, if it would have been open and transparent on this issue of what Russia did and what the connections were with the Russians from the very beginning. They would not be facing these problems now. Which then gets the other question, why did they cover it up? What are they hiding that is so big that they're willing to go down this road?
SHAWN STEELE, CALIFORNIA REPUBLICAN NATIONAL COMMITTEE MEMBER: I'm going to have to tell you and your viewers, this is such a comic relief after little things like North Korea and Iran, let's talk about Mueller again. This is the most comical thing, Michael Smith wrote the article as you well know from New York Times. He's been twice rebuked reporting false news by the New York Times himself, goes to these anonymous sources.
We don't know if this is from Mueller or not, he hasn't acknowledged that. We don't know if he wrote the questions or not, he has lied on the record before, he's not a well known and not a highly regarded journalist number one. Number two, assuming these - he got this pilfered from FBI, which in itself from Mueller's investigation, probably a federal crime in itself.
Somebody if they leaked it from Mueller, Mueller would probably want that person probably prosecuted. If he received it he might have problems himself, but to looking at these questions I don't buy it. It's another piece of fake news, but keep - let's go further. This is the liberal's wet dream and it's not happening, not a single person has been prosecuted for anything to do with Russia. (Inaudible) is still complaining.
BEARMAN: Besides the fact that Shawn has it all wrong.
VAUSE: Yes, he usually does.
BEARMAN: So, these questions were apparently sources from Trump's legal team, not from Mueller. And that's where the (inaudible).
VAUSE: Well provided Trump's legal team, I'll think they'll provide it outside of the legal team.
BEARMAN: But it was somebody on Trump's legal team that wrote this up.
BEARMAN: After the conversation.
VAUSE: This is all part of the negotiations are having for the President.
BEARMAN: So President Trump, I'm shocked that Shawn didn't jump on. The leaks, the leaks, where are these leaks happening? Since that normally the refrain, these are serious questions, they're real connections now being made between people like Paul Manafort and Russia that were not alleged before, at least not to this degree that you would want to have this conversation with the President.
STEELE: Leaks you're calling allegations because there's no facts behind it.
VAUSE: OK Shawn, let's assume that this list is real. If you look at the questions which are being --
STEELE: Now you're really stretching it, give me a better (inaudible) "The New York Times".
VAUSE: If you think these questions are being drafted in such a way, assuming of course that this is accurate. Are they being dropped in a way to specifically trip up the President? STEELE: Look, I don't know how legitimate any of these questions are, but there's clearly a very expensive investigation to bring down the President by us, unfortunately --
VAUSE: By the republican special counsel?
VAUSE: By the republicans and FBI.
STEELE: Absolutely wrong(ph).
VAUSE: Appointed by the republican (inaudible).
STEELE: The bottom line is every single prosecutor living here - every single prosecutor is a hardcore democrat, half of them have given money to Ellenot a single republican are on the prosecutorial team.
VAUSE: (Inaudible) giving more money to democrats than these people.
STEELE: It's a partisan team --
VAUSE: It's a ridiculous idea.
STEELE: -- that's out to get Trump and everybody knows it.
BEARMAN: Everything that was just -- (inaudible).
STEELE: Of course they are, everybody knows it. You know it.
BEARMAN: I don't know if these are necessarily formulated to catch President Trump, what I think they are is to get into the intent, the mens rea, and I think that's really important that we're going down that path with these questions now. Because that means we're coming to a head with this investigation and I'm looking forward to Robert Mueller, the republican, the decorated Vietnam war hero, coming out --
VAUSE: The managed(ph), the country, and the FBI after the data.
BEARMAN: No, all of these really important things --
VAUSE: He's praised by republicans and Dick Cheney and the --
BEARMAN: So we can maybe come to the conclusion of all of this and find out really what they have.
VAUSE: OK, Ethan on hold, Shawn stay with us because there was another big story, which actually was our lead until this story broke --
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There is?
VAUSE: -- in the New York Times. This other big headline comes from Israel, where the Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu appeared on national television to claim that Iran has been cheating on the nuclear deal.
BENJAMIN NETANYAHU, PRIME MINISTER OF ISRAEL: Tonight I'm here to tell you one thing. Iran lied, big time.
VAUSE: Ian Lee is live in Jerusalem this hour and Ian Netanyahu called it one of the great achievements in the history of Israeli intelligence. The only problem it seems, all his documentation, none of it is new and it was known to the (inaudible) at the time while (ph) negotiating the deal.
IAN LEE: That's right, John. Everyone knows that Prime Minister Netanyahu, as well as President Trump, do not like the Iran nuclear deal, they've said it from day one and they've worked hard against it. And last night, Prime Minister Netanyahu probably gave his most damning speech yet of the Iran nuclear deal. He was talking about weapon schematics; he's talking about delivery systems, missiles, as well as a covert plan.
But like you said, a lot of experts say, none of this is new, they say that the IAEA, the International Atomic and Energy Agency, knew about all this information and that so far the IAEA has said that Iran has upheld its side of the Iran nuclear deal so with all this new information that the prime minister says he has, he said he's going to take to the other countries that signed on to that nuclear deal. You have Germany, you have the U.K., France, Russia and China; is going to make his case to them. Also he's going to give this information to the IAEA and really, John, it's going to be up to them to decide because --
VAUSE: Something to (inaudible).
LEE: -- they are the experts, they have the experts, John - - they have - - the spe - - the talk last night given to Netanyahu - - or by Netanyahu was delivered for mass consumption; it was done in English, it was done in prime time here in Israel, but it is going to be up to the experts to verify in fact that this information is damning or if it's not new at all and they have known about this. So really right now, what we'll be watching is those other countries, as well as the IAEA to see what they make of this new information.
VAUSE: Yes absolutely, Ian. I would argue it was not for mass consumption, it was for an audience of one, but we'll get into that right now with Shawn and Ethan (ph). From Israel (ph), Ian, thank you. OK so clearly the U.S. President liked what he heard coming from Benjamin Netanyahu, listen to this.
PRESIDENT TRUMP: That is just not an acceptable situation and I've been saying that's happening. They're not sitting back idly, they're setting off missiles, which they say are for television purposes, I don't think so. So we'll see what happens, I'm not telling you what I'm doing but a lot of people think they know. And - - or before the 12th we'll make a decision.
VAUSE: OK so Shawn (ph) is it a fair thing to say that what Donald Trump and other critics don't like about the Iran nuclear deal is that on the one hand, Tehran gets economic relief from sanctions, but yet on the other hand there's nothing in that deal to prevent the Iranians from testing missiles and essentially causing trouble in the region and places like Syria.
STEELE: I suspect most people, most observers and experts believe that the Iranians are not a group that you can trust. They're run by a theocracy, religious zealots, people that believe in the end of the world and in it, Israel must be destroyed and all Jews killed. When you're dealing with people like that, it's hard to have a rational discussion, I think the Israeli defense forces have come up with something serious that needs to be investigated, that need to be balanced, but it's something you just don't take for granted. Just because the Europeans made a foolish deal and Obama went along with it, with the $150 billion in barrels of raw (ph) cash doesn't mean that's a rational choice.
VAUSE: Which is (inaudible).
STEELE: In this case, don't underestimate Trump.
STEELE: They did on North Korea and he's liable to get a Nobel Peace Prize.
VAUSE: Well we'll see. Ethan I want to get right back (ph) because essentially the deal that Trump and the critics hate with Iran is exactly the same deal they're offering the North Koreans. Give up your nukes, stop the missile testing and there'll be economic sanctions relief; that other stuff, the human rights, the trouble in the region, you know the terrorism; killing your families in other countries, more worry (ph) for later on.
BEARMAN: Yes absolutely true. A couple of key points here; one it was the Republicans, since you brought up North Korea, hypocritically claim that Barack Obama did the wrong thing when he was president to want to meet with Ahmadinejad. And - - but what just happened here with President Trump is going to meet with Kim Jong-Un, but more importantly, the deal is done, you can't go back and change history, the money has already been transferred.
VAUSE: Signatures have been signed (ph).
BEARMAN: Look President Emmanuel Macron from France, last week here in the United States, I thought gave the right speech, which is you don't just give up on the deal as it sits now, you get a better deal.
VAUSE: Amend it, don't end it.
BEARMAN: That's right I thought that was the right approach.
VAUSE: Yes OK stay with us because with that we will go live to Seoul and Alexandra Field, and Alex is seems the U.S. and North Korea may have
actually agreed to where these talks will actually take place.
ALEXANDRA FIELD: Yes and John not exactly a done deal yet by any stretch, but certainly this is an idea that we've heard before and it is gaining traction now the idea that these two leaders would meet at the DMZ, that heavily fortified area between North Korea and South Korea and of course the same site as the Inter-Korean Summit that happened just days ago. John millions of people watched that historic moment when you saw Kim Jong-un and Moon Jae-in meeting, stepping over that line of demarcation. Apparently President Trump himself liked what he saw; the handshakes, the pomp and circumstance, the ceremony of it all.
And this is now the first venue that he has sort of publicly suggested for this summit that could take place at - - sometime this month. He has said publicly that he finds the idea intriguing, he has tweeted about it, he has said that if things were to work out, to go well in this meeting with Kim Jong-un, that it would be a fitting place for a celebration, perhaps more fitting than a third-party country.
Of course other countries have been talked about, specifically there have been suggestions that the summit could take place in Singapore or Mongolia; a more neutral place of course than the DMZ, but certainly less of a symbolic choice. Skeptics in the U.S. worry that a trip from President Trump to the DMZ could perhaps appear too conciliatory to North Korea, to Kim Jong-un himself. Of course from the North Korean perspective, the DMZ would certainly be - - we would imagine, a welcomed location, this is an easy trip for Kim Jong-un to make. There would be the historical opportunity potentially for President Trump to cross into the northern territory of the DMZ.
Also the logistics here have to be considered for Kim Jong-un to travel to a summit location, the DMZ would certainly make sense, there are concerns about the aging fleet of aircraft within North Korea and exactly how far Kim Jong-un can go, we know that his father preferred to travel by armored train so certainly this is a location that is being heavily and publicly considered --
FIELD: -- by both sides. And we know that really it's the kind of made-for-TV image that President Trump would seemingly appreciate (inaudible - technical).
VAUSE: He does like those made-for-TV images and Kim Jong-un (inaudible - technical). It seems like it might just work out. Alex, thank you. OK Shawn let's face it, Donald Trump saw a great photo op last week on Friday and he wants the same thing and it does seem there's a focus from this president on the fluff, all the photo ops and the hand shakings and the cameras and the detail and the substance, maybe not so much.
STEELE: We don't know, you're right, I think there could very well be a lot of unhappy gestures and maybe people badly disappointed, but when CNN political journalist, and just about the entire spectrum says, this is really exciting, maybe Trump had something going along after all. Maybe the pomp (ph) or the bluster has actually been working, but let's face it, today we've seen more from North Korea with its relationship with the South and the utterances than we've ever seen in 60 years and no other president has gone this fair.
VAUSE: No, that's not fair.
STEELE: Will it mean peace in our time? I don't know (ph), but it's much better than Obama and Bush did together.
VAUSE: I would (ph) argue how much influence had over the Inter-Korea Summit, I don't think a lot because that Moon Jae-in, the South Korean President, but Ethan they used to say (inaudible) or the Israeli prime minister, a broken clock is right twice a day.
BEARMAN: Yes well --
-- this is very interesting because clearly we want there to be peace on the Korean Peninsula and so if President Trump is able to work something out with Kim Jong-un, obviously we've got to celebrate that.
BEARMAN: The question becomes - - I had a conversation with Secretary Madeleine Albright about this the other day, how much credit can you really give? You have to give some credit to the period of time leading up to this and to your point, South Korea is a bigger partner in this than Donald Trump is, China is more important in this than Donald Trump is. By the way, the failed and destroyed test center, underground, is probably more to do with this than Donald Trump.
VAUSE: And the fact they've tested their missiles and they've got to the point where they don't need to test them anymore, but looking (inaudible). Shawn and Ethan thank you so much, good to see you.
ISHA SESAY: All right, quick break here; one of the most powerful figures in the Vatican faces allegations of historical sexual abuse. Now a judge has decided if Cardinal George Pell will stand trial, details next.
VAUSE: Also ahead, how the youngest victims of Syria's civil war are given a start on a new life as well as some new hope thanks to a college student right here in Los Angeles.
SESAY: Vatican treasurer Cardinal George Pell has pleaded not guilty to multiple counts of historical sexual abuse. In northern Australia, a magistrate ruled the 76 year old will stand trail and the process gets started Wednesday.
VAUSE: Well, the magistrate's ruling follows a month long hearing to which dozens of witnesses gave evidence. The judge dismissed half of the original charges against Pell. The Cardinal has repeatedly and strenuously denied all of the allegations.
Journalist Lucie Morris-Marr joins us now from Melbourne. And Lucie, this case, it dragged on for months. So, what's the timeframe here for Cardinal Pell and the coming trial?
LUCIE MORRIS-MARR, JOURNALIST: Well, it's moving quite forward - quickly - forward very quickly already, actually. Tomorrow morning at nine a.m. Cardinal Pell has been called to the higher court across the road from where I am, in the county court here in Melbourne, to start these proceedings.
It's just a direction hearing. It will be mostly administration of what's going to happen. But this shows that it is moving very quickly. And what's it's usually (inaudible) moving legal situation.
But overall, it's likely to take several months for the trial to start. And his legal defense team, even today, suggested they would like (inaudible) trials because there's a multiple number of charges and accusers. And then, of course, if there's a guilty verdict there may be a (inaudible) lodged (ph). So, it could go on for quite some time.
VAUSE: These cases often do. Has there been a reaction, at this point, from the Vatican? And will Pell actually resign, now? From his duties, now that this case is actually moving forward?
MORRIS-MARR: Well, that's interesting because during the case that was in court, he made no real emotional at all - a reaction at all. But then, afterwards he puts out a statement thanking supporters, thanking for their prayers. He called the situation exacting which is probably something of an understatement.
But he expressed his absolute innocence, which he has done since he was charged in June, last year. And he continues to do so. He, very much, wanted to clear his name and have his say in court.
He's very ambitious and always has been. And I think he, very much, hopes to clear his name and return to the Vatican, but only time will tell, depending on the verdict of the jury, whether that will happen at all.
VAUSE: OK. Well, interesting times there. Thank you so much, for being with us though, Lucie. Lucie Morris-Marr, good to see you, thanks so much.
SESAY: When we come back, so how far is too far when it comes to joking about the President?
VAUSE: (Inaudible) you're on. SESAY: Next on Newsroom L.A., we'll get a comedian's take on the backlash over this weekend's White House Correspondents Dinner. Oh, it was icy at points.
VAUSE: Yes and not happy, not happy.
SESAY: Hello, everyone. You're watching CNN Newsroom live from Los Angeles. I am Isha Sesay.
VAUSE: I am John Vause. The headlines this hour, Special Counsel Robert Mueller has deployed 50 questions to President Trump in his investigation of Russian interference in the 2016 election. The New York Times obtained the list of questions. Among the issues, they cover the Trump campaign's ties to Moscow and the firing of the FBI Director James Comey.
SESAY: Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu claims he has proof Iran is proceeding with the secret nuclear weapons program. Iran called the allegation as childish and laughable. But President Trump says it shows he was 100 percent right to criticize the Iran nuclear deal.
VAUSE: Cardinal George Pell has pleaded not guilty to multiple charges of historical sexual abuse. In Melbourne, Australia a magistrate ruled the 76 year old Vatican treasurer will stand trail. This follows a hearing in which dozens of witnesses gave evidence. The magistrate dismissed half of the original charges. Cardinal Pell has denied all of the allegations.
SESAY: Well, two days after the White House Correspondents' Dinner, Washington is still buzzing --
SESAY: -- bubbling --
SESAY: -- reflecting about comedian Michelle Wolf's brutal jokes about President Donald Trump and his staff.
VAUSE: And the President tweeted this, the Correspondents' Dinner is dead as we know it. He called it a total disaster and an embarrassment, he added (inaudible) is alive and well and (inaudible) represented on Saturday night.
SESAY: The head of the White House Correspondents' Association did not apologize for all of that, but, but did say the monologue wasn't in keeping with the groups mission. Part of that monologue were met with a (inaudible) uncomfortable silence then laughter, like when Wolf went after Press Secretary Sarah Sanders, watch this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) MICHELLE WOLF, COMEDIAN: I actually really like Sarah. I think she's very resourceful, but she burns fat and then she uses that ash to create a perfect smokey eye. Like, maybe she's born with it, maybe it's life, probably life.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VAUSE: No (ph), OK. Let's bring in the comedian - we have a real comedian with us.
HAL SPARKS, COMEDIAN: Yes, that's true, finally.
SESAY: Yes. We've been waiting.
VAUSE: We've waited a long time for this.
VAUSE: OK. A little more on the statement from the President of the White House Correspondents' --
VAUSE: -- Association. Last night's program was meant to offer a unifying message about how a common commitment to a vigorous and free press while honoring, similarly, great reporting and scholarship winners. Not to divide people. Unfortunately, the entertainers monologue was not in the spirit of that mission.
I thought the mission of the White House Correspondent's Association was to support free speech and journalism. And, you know, I always though the dinner should be dead anyways, but for very different reasons.
SPARKS: Well, you know, I like that it's an institution. I think it's good that to some degree it is like bringing the bit of sport to the fact that we're dealing with some very serious things on a very regular basis.
The court jester is not dead and it is an important aspect that we -- as divided as we are, we do have a peaceful transfer of power and there is a reminder every so often that you can make fun of the leaders and they can -- and you don't get --
VAUSE: Well, they can't kill you.
SPARKS: Yes, exactly. And it matters.
SESAY: What did you think of the monologue?
SPARKS: I thought -- well, I mean -- Monday morning quarterbacking anybody else's act is one thing --
SESAY: But when watch and did you watch it? SPARKS: Yes. I watched it.
SESAY: In real time?
SESAY: So, what did you think?
SPARKS: I -- I felt like I could see where she was going in that she allowed the President to set the tone. Every word that she said that untoward, swear word wise, where words that the President had said at a rally in front of men, women and children in Indiana, Florida, Alabama, Michigan, what have you.
I felt some of the stuff was harshly pointed, if you'll remember Colbert's monologue a few years ago which was almost dead silent in how biting it was. The only difference was effectively language, swearing, because Colbert didn't and she did and I think that allows -- the problem is you can't let them find a crowbar point in you and I think they used that against her.
That being said, the Sanders stuff, I've seen the most pushback against (inaudible). Is somehow being cruel to Sarah Sanders or what have you. Let's be abundantly clear, the jokes she made were not about Sarah Sanders appearance, they were about how Sarah Sanders affects her own appearance and that's a huge difference.
It's one thing to make fun of someone's nose, which is something they cannot change without surgery, it is another thing entirely to make fun of the swan dress that Bjork wore -- that's not body shaming her, that's style shaming her and affectively that's been a big factor of Sarah Sanders.
VAUSE: Right. Guys, can we just jump ahead to number five here, because we're talking about Sarah Sanders. She came in from a lot of rough treatment. Maggie Haberman of "The New York Times" came to her defense tweeting this, "The Press Secretary sat and absorbed the intense criticism of her physical appearance, her job performance, and so forth, instead of walking out on national television was impressive.
SPARKS: I like Maggie Haberman a lot, I really do. I respect her a lot. That's stupid.
SPARKS: Because she did not make fun of her appearance, she made fun of what she does with her appearance. And there's a very distinct difference in that. If you make fun of the immutable, it's cruel --
VAUSE: Three weeks before --
SPARKS: Yes. VAUSE: -- her boss, Donald Trump, tweeted this about Haberman. "The New York Times" and a third rate reporter names Maggie Haberman, known as a Crooked H flunkie who I don't speak to and I have nothing to do with, are going out of their way to destroy Trump, blah, blah, blah.
VAUSE: OK and just because, here's some of Trump's greatest hits on this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I don't know what I said. I don't remember.
Rosie O'Donnell's disgusting; I mean both inside and out. You take a look at her, she's a slob.
He's a war hero. He's a war hero because he was captured. I like people who that weren't captured, OK, I hate to tell you.
Jeb Bush is a low energy person. For him to get things done is hard.
Maxine Waters, a very low I.Q. individual.
We have a representative in Congress who they say was here a long time ago, they call her Pocahontas.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VAUSE: OK look, so this administration where the (inaudible) for the President on doubt, he's not just the only one that dishes this stuff out.
VAUSE: They dish it out, they've got a glass door. They can't take it when it comes back at them.
SPARKS: Well, the big difference with this one too and I think this is indicative of the Trump circumstance we find ourselves in because he's not present. There is a huge difference when the person that you are spending most of your time addressing, talking truth to power, saying the most powerful man in the world has to come and sit with all of us who report on him and take a joke. And when he does it for two years straight, it creates this artificial idea that the person making the jokes is somehow cruel.
SESAY: Somehow bullying him.
SPARKS: Because he's not present.
SPARKS: Which you cannot bully the leader of the free world, it is not possible.
SESAY: Is the rub(ph) here and I don't know what one perceives it be that the comedians who do this and Michelle Wolfe was playing to the audience watching. Is the whole fact that it's televised? I mean, so they really don't care about who's in the room.
SESAY: And is that the issue the that -- fact, those people who were in the room who seem so offended, it's because they knew there were cameras on them.
SPARKS: Yes, I think it's their -- they're going --
SESAY: Do you know what I mean though? They don't want to be --
SPARKS: I don't want to laugh at --
VAUSE: They're associated with the --
SESAY: They don't want to be --
SPARKS: There's going to be a shot of me laughing.
SESAY: Exactly. Exactly.
SPARKS: That is -- absolutely.
SESAY: Because that's what I saw.
SPARKS: Yes. And there's also -- we are in kind of a sensitivity policing era right now. It will eventually fade, it will go it's own way, but you will see a lot of people there who are like grown policing jokes, not because of what the content of the joke is --
SPARKS: -- but because of certain words used within the joke and that's not -- that's unfair to the context, that's unfair to the performer and it's also unfair to the ability to joke about things that deserve to be ridiculed, especially in the case of the President and his staff.
SESAY: And that's what -- that was my --
VAUSE: Very quickly, I want to -- let's go back question three here, because I want to pull the Kelly Ann Conway gag, because this is --
VAUSE: Listen to this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) MICHELLE WOLFE, COMEDIAN: You've got to stop putting Kelly Ann on your show. All she does is lie, if you don't give her a platform she has nowhere to lie. It's like that old saying, if a tree falls in the woods, how do we get Kelly Ann under that tree. I'm not suggesting she gets hurt, just stuck.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VAUSE: It was a pretty lame joke to begin with and then she pulled a punch at the end, oh I don't say this --
SPARKS: Yes right, you kinda can't go there. Plus, the idea is like --
VAUSE: She's worried about obviously being caught up in this, so she makes everyone(ph) sort of qualify as --
SPARKS: Sure. Well, I mean while she's crafting it I'm sure there's parts of here where she's going, if I stop here --
SPARKS: -- I'm going to get a visit from the Secret Service, as you should --
SPARKS: -- to some degree. I mean we -- there's got to be a standard at some point. You don't wish any violence on anybody within the jokes, that's what makes it a joke because it's stopping short of that actual point.
I've always said, they like -- comedy is going 90 miles an hour towards jerk and making the quick turn right at the end. So -- and not actually getting there, and I think there was too many soft petals in that just covering mostly, not even for her, because you get the feeling she would actually go further if allowed.
SESAY: Yes. That's what I thought.
SPARKS: In a club you should be able to. But that's not a club crowd, that's a bunch of people in tuxedos, you're supposed to pick off everybody kind of relatively equal, especially as the key note speaker. When I do it will be a lot of fun.
VAUSE: I hope so.
SESAY: And it will be -- it's dead. I thin, you missed your moment.
SPARKS: Never. I'll be 75 and I'll be hilarious. I do it like a chair --
SESAY: It will be A.I. by that point.
SPARKS: That's right. Yes, I'll just -- I'll do it in hologram --
VAUSE: There won't be any president, they'll just be the King Trump --
SPARKS: That's right. Hal Sparks hologram -- the Hollywood and of course we'll be on Mars.
VAUSE: Still looking goods. Thanks.
SESAY: You're going to have --
VAUSE: A lot more of this when we come back.
SESAY: Stay with us.
VAUSE: Well the death toll in Syria in numbers in the hundreds of thousands, countless others have been badly injured in this unrelenting violence including children, many children, who've lost limbs, they've also lost hope.
From a college student here in the U.S., who grew up in Syria, is now helping provide prosthetic arms as well as legs.
SESAY: Well joining us is the young woman responsible for it all, Haya Kaliounji joins us here in the studio. Haya, welcome.
HAYA KALIOUNJI, SYRIAN IMMIGRANT: Hi, thank you so much.
SESAY: First of all let me just say, it's a wonderful thing that you're doing --
KALIOUNJI: Thank you.
SESAY: -- for people back in Syria. I understand that this started as a project while you were a Girl Scout.
SESAY: Talk to me about how this came to be.
KALIOUNJI: So, when I -- I've always been a Girl Scout my entire life and so when I moved here I met with my Girl Scout troop leader and she told me about this project, the Gold Award, which is the highest awards a Girl Scout can earn and so it's a community service project where we choose something to give up to the -- to our community.
And so I chose to do it and work on -- give something back to the Syrian community and at first I wanted to give something to the people who are already here, but I realized that they need things like insurance, homes, educations, things very hard to provide just as a girl scout project. And so I decided to do something for the people who are still there and I thought that so many people are injured specially the amputations and I came with the idea of prosthetics.
SESAY: And when you said when you came up - you are Syria and you moved here to the states.
SESAY: And you moved here and you've been living here in California since about 2013 right?
KALIOUNJI: February 2013.
SESAY: February 2013. I mean lots of people have thoughts about how to help those that they've left behind but it involved money.
SESAY: Talk to me about how you've raised the money to make it more than a dream, make it a reality.
KALIOUNJI: Yes, so when I was doing it for the girl scouts I used to paint small handy crafts myself and then I would go to churches, present the project after mass and then have a booth outside with the small little handy crafts and people would give donations and I would give them their souvenir - the handy craft as a souvenir. And then when I was done with the project, when I was working by myself I started doing other fundraisers as well. I did a recycling project, I basically collect - I told everyone I want to collect their recycling for an entire month and then I sold it to recycling company.
SESAY: That's amazing.
KALIOUNJI: Another way was Pasadena College, the community college I went to, my sociology professor she actually offers a project to where we can fundraise money instead of writing a paper.
SESAY: Now that's a smart move.
SESAY: And I want to ask you about the people you've helped. It's not just children, also adults.
SESAY: Tell me about how it's changed their lives and what it means to have these limbs?
KALIOUNJI: It can - when - helping one person can change an entire families life. One of the women we've helped she's the mother of six. She had lost both her legs, even though the prosthetics are very expensive but I thought that helping her will have a family of seven people. Another young man, he got back to work after - after getting his prosthetic device and now he's working and supporting his family as well.
SESAY: It's amazing.
SESAY: It's absolutely amazing. We're almost out of time. You're at UCLA, you're a junior, you'll specialize in physiological sciences.
SESAY: More service in your future, more helping and giving back?
KALIOUNJI: Yes I'm going to keep helping as many people as possible as long as they need it and even maybe go international one day to the countries around Syria as well.
SESAY: We're wishing you the very, very best.
KALIOUNJI: Thank you very much.
SESAY: You're doing something very special.
KALIOUNJI: Thank you.
SESAY: Thank you Haya.
VAUSE: Did I just hear say back to doing what you can?
SESAY: Doing what you can.
VAUSE: Some people do a lot more than others.
VAUSE: Which is amazing, that's great. Thank you for watching News Room LA. I'm John Vause.
SESAY: And I'm Isha Sesay. World Sports starts after the break.
SESAY: That is it for us. Thank you so much for watch Stay with CNN. The news is back.