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Benjamin Netanyahu's Warning; Mark Zuckerberg Matchmaker; Myanmar Facing Pressure; Russia Investigation; Report: Robert Mueller Raised the Possibility of Subpoenaing Donald Trump; Teen Accused Of Cultural Appropriation Over Prom Dress; Toronto Restaurant Fined For Asking Blackman To Prepay Meal; Facebook Is Launching A Dating Service. Aired 2-3a ET
Aired May 2, 2018 - 02:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[02:00:07] ISHA SESAY, CNN, ANCHOR: You're watching CNN Newsroom live from Los Angeles.
JOHN VAUSE, CNN, ANCHOR: Ahead this hour, let the mocking begin. Critics say Benjamin Netanyahu's warning about Iran's nuclear program, it is just stuff which everyone's known for years.
SESAY: Plus, United Nation's envoy (Inaudible) to Bangladesh and Myanmar for the suffering of the Rohingya people for themselves. But it remains to be seen how close they'll be able to get to the truth.
VAUSE: Also, later this hour, Mark Zuckerberg done matchmaker but are users ready to trust Facebook (Inaudible).
SESAY: Hello and thank you for joining us. I'm Isha Sesay.
VAUSE: And I'm John Vause. We're in our third hour. (Inaudible) can you believe it of Newsroom L.A. The Israeli Prime Minister defending his allegations that Iran is lying about a secret nuclear weapons program. Benjamin Netanyahu laid out his case on Monday, weeks before the U.S. must decide if it will remain part of the 2015 Iran nuclear deal.
SESAY: Many international analysts say there is nothing new about Israel's claim and U.N. watchdogs says Iran hasn't been working on nuclear weapons since 2009. Mr. Netanyahu insists Tehran has no intention of honoring its commitment.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: So if you want peace, the crucial thing is don't let Iran get the clear path to the bomb. That's what that deal does, and I think if you want to assure the peace and security of the Middle East and the world, you can't let that happen.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SESAY: Well, CNN's Ian Lee is live in Jerusalem. And, Ian, the Washington Post has reported that European officials are meeting with the U.S. counterparts to come up with supplementary provisions to address Donald Trump's concerns about Iran's ballistic missile program, and those restrictions which would expire in this deal. Would such an amendment be enough for Mr. Netanyahu?
IAN LEE, CNN, CORRESPONDENT: Well, Isha, something that the Prime Minister has been saying for quite some time is he would like to see this Iran nuclear deal either fix it or nix it. And so fixing it would be a more comprehensive look at not just Iran's nuclear program, but also the ballistic missile program. The Prime Minister would also like to see Iran's involvement in the region looked at as well.
So we'll have to wait and see what comes out of that. But the French President recently said that he is open to expanding disagreements and working harder for it. This is what he had to say.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: First, the JCPOA was absolutely was a very important decision, and it is the best way to monitor the current nuclear activity of the Iranian government, the Iranian regime. And I think this is important -- was negotiated by our countries. I mean U.S. was involved and France. I don't know what the U.S. President will decide (Inaudible).
I just want to see what the decision will be. We will have to prefer such a broader negotiation on a broader deal, because I think nobody wants a war in the region, and nobody wants (Inaudible) and escalation in terms of (Inaudible) in the region.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LEE: So, Isha, you heard right there from the French President that they are open to expanding this agreement. But will it be enough for -- to please Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu if they do.
SESAY: That's the question. I'm just wondering whether there are concerns in Israel that this push by Prime Minister Netanyahu is actually playing into the hands of Iranian hardliners who will are pushing for Tehran to pull out of the deal, because they say the U.S. has acted in bad faith.
LEE: You know here's the thing for Iranian hardliners. Their whole reason for their position is to oppose the United States imperialism. They see Israeli aggression, and so when they do have these moves by the United States, if they say -- if the United States does pull out, the can say look, see, the United States is not to be trusted.
And that plays to their base. And so when you have moves like this, by the Israeli Prime Minister, by President Trump if they do pull out, if they you know if they do come to that decision, than that gives fuel to the Iranian hardliners to push their political agenda forward. You know they have been feeding off this the entire time. It does play to them. They did take a large hit when this nuclear deal came to power, because it showed the pragmatists in Iran, those on the other side of the government to say that we can work with the west.
[02:04:58] We don't have to have this animosity, and so we will have to see. May 12thth is that deadline for that Iran nuclear deal for the U.S. to sign on to it. Will they continue or won't they or will that feed to the pragmatists, the moderates in Iran or the hardliners.
SESAY: As you say, May 12th isn't far away, Ian Lee joining us from Jerusalem. Appreciate it. Thank you.
VAUSE: Dalia Dassa Kaye is Director of the Center for Middle East Public Policy, a Senior Political Scientist at the RAND Corporation. We're luck to have here with us now, great to see you. So the Israeli Prime Minister on Monday, he did the presentation on Tuesday, came the push to convince other world leaders the nuclear deal is a bad deal.
And the argument here seems to be is the Iranian's just can't be trusted. This is what Mr. Netanyahu said to CNN.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BENJAMIN NETANYAHU, ISRAEL, PRIME MINISTER: The whole premise that this deal somehow guarantees a safer, a more modern Iran is wrong. This deal paves Iran's path to a nuclear arsenal. If you got rid of it, the first thing that would happen is you would crash Iran's money machine, in which it is pursuing its dreams of conquest and empire. They're funding it with billions, tens of billions of dollars, their aggression throughout the region and this deal facilitates it.
If you take away the deal, they're going to be in a huge economic problem.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VAUSE: Dalia, there are a lot there. But let's start off with the European official reaction here. They're saying basically well, what (Inaudible) when you (Inaudible) program, this nuclear weapon's program, that's (Inaudible) in the first place.
DALIA DASSA KAYE, RAND CORPORATION, SENIOR POLITICAL SCIENTIST: Yeah, absolutely. I think the premise for Netanyahu, his argument is not going over well in European capitals, especially following President Macron of France's visit to the United States, where he made a very strong case that this deal is working and that it can be built upon to deal with some of the perceived weaknesses.
But the international community is in agreement that the deal is working and that Iran hasn't violated, and nothing that the Prime Minister of Israel presented yesterday really altered that view.
VAUSE: And Israel's Ambassador to the U.N., Ron Dermer, was interviewed on public radio in the U.S. on Tuesday, and was asked specifically about the evidence presented by the Israeli Prime Minister. This is what he said.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Does any evidence that was uncovered show that Iran is currently pursuing nuclear weapons are currently actively violating the nuclear agreement. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Sure. First you have the violation in terms of
their falsification of their statements.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Oh, because they lied about the past and what their intentions...
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Well, that was the key stage in actually going to the deal. It was December 2015, where the IAEA had to sign off, and the IAEA whitewashed it. And there is no way they could've done that if all of these revelations were made in November 2015. We didn't have the information then or else we would've released it.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: But nothing shows that in 2018, they are looking for a weapon right.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No, but now you've seen that there have been active program of concealing their nuclear weapons program. They put this information in these vaults recently. In 2017, they put that information there.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VAUSE: OK. So the argument here is -- OK, so they're not developing a weapon now but they could develop a weapon a little bit later (Inaudible) and that's a concern.
KAYE: Yeah. And that actually has always been a concern. The national intelligence estimate in 2007 actually confirmed or stated that Iran had intentions to develop nuclear weapons that the program has believed to have been halted in 2003. So all of this just reconfirms what was already known, which is that yes, Iran has lied, is likely to lie, and that's why there needs to be active international inspections on the ground to prevent Iran from resuming this program.
And that again, in that presentation or in the subsequent explanations really suggests that there is evidence. I think we would've seen yesterday or in the Prime Minister's presentation, that today there is an active violation of the Iran nuclear deal of 2015. So this is about past issues. Maybe new evidence will come to light, but again to this point, there does not seem to be anything that contradicts that.
VAUSE: Before the Iran deal, what was intelligence assessment on the timeframe of Iran's ability to develop some kind of nuclear weapon?
KAYE: Well, that's why the Iran nuclear agreement was so important because there were fears that Iran was -- could have been within months of weaponizing its programmer were within at least a year. And so it had an active nuclear energy program, but high levels of enrichment that got dangerously close to the ability to weaponize too close for neighbors to be comfortable or for the United States and even our allies.
So I think that is the main cruck of the nuclear deal, was to set that timeline further forward, so that Iran would be inspected in a way that it would lengthen the time Iran could weaponize its program if they chose to do so to at least a year, and that you have inspectors there to be able to alert the international community if there were violations and that sanctions could be immediately re-imposed and snapped back if there were violations.
[02:10:05] VAUSE: OK. And so just to go back to what Benjamin Netanyahu said that they need the sanctions because they want to crush Iran's economic (Inaudible) so they can't develop nuclear weapons, (Inaudible) developing nuclear weapons with the sanctions in place. So if Trump actually does go ahead and you know re-impose sanctions on May 12th.
What is the assessment on how long before Iran can develop nuclear weapons, because we know they've given up a lot of their material for nuclear weapon development as part of this agreement. So obviously, you know they may not be months but what are we looking at here.
KAYE: Well, first of all, I think we should be fair to the Prime Minister's statement, which I think was that it went -- that sanctions went necessarily -- lead to the resumption of Iran's nuclear program. But what it could do is maybe curtail some of Iran's regional activities that are nonnuclear. And to be honest, that is what the Israelis worry about most.
They worry about Iran's activities in the region, especially in Syria. And right now, actually it's no coincidence that this announcement took place of the context of escalated Israeli attacks on Iranian assets inside Syria. So there's a real escalation going on, on the nonnuclear front. But unfortunately, the Iranian's committal in the region without a lot of money, so it's not clear that re-imposition of sanctions is going to affect that.
And the Iranians have other options. They will likely move closer to the Iranians and Chinese if the Iran nuclear agreement falls apart. And what their nuclear intentions will be I think is uncertain, but it's also quite possible they may not immediately resume nuclear activity. They may try to salvage the deal with Europeans.
So I think a lot of those questions are still to be answered if this nuclear agreement...
KAYE: But hopefully it won't.
VAUSE: We are out of time (Inaudible). But if they decide to go down the nuclear road, are they months or years away from a weapon.
KAYE: Well, it would probably, at this point, more -- it would take at least a year to get back again. That's the kind of information we wouldn't know at this moment.
VAUSE: OK. Thank you so much.
VAUSE: Appreciate your insight and appreciate your opinions, great to have you with us.
KAYE: Thank you.
VAUSE: Jessica Levinson is a Professor of Law and Governance at Loyola Law School. We're going to kick off with the issue of Iran and the nuclear deal, but also there is a lot to get to in U.S. politics, a story which has broken in the last couple of hours regarding a subpoena and the U.S. President. But first, after Benjamin Netanyahu presented his case on Monday, the White House put out this statement.
These facts are consistent with what the United States has long known. Iran has a robust clandestine nuclear weapons program, but it has tried and failed to hide from the world and from its own people. That came out at 7:30 p.m. Washington time, Monday night. By 9:30 p.m., quietly, with no official announcement, no visual correction statement, that was actually changed to read Iran had a robust clandestine nuclear program.
There is a world of the difference between has and had not, OK? So the White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders, whose name was on that statement, she explained how this all happened.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: How does a mistake like this get made, and do you believe that the White House has the credibility problem around the world with a statement like this? Do you take this seriously?
SARAH SANDERS, WHITE HOUSE, PRESS SECRETARY: Absolutely, which is why we immediately corrected it, but again, I think the biggest mistake is the fact that the United States ever entered into the Iran deal in the first place. That, to me seems to be the biggest mistake in this process, not a simple typo that was immediately corrected and notified individuals as soon as we knew that it had happened.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VAUSE: OK. Two hours immediately corrected, I guess. You know at least she didn't blame the intern. But what does it say to you about this administration that it makes these kinds of errors and these kinds of statements.
JESSICA LEVINSON, LOYOLA LAW SCHOOL, PROFESSOR OF LAW AND GOVERNANCE: As it turns out, whether or not you have or had a nuclear weapons program, it's a really big deal. So I just want to say a couple things, one this administration is prone to typos. And really obvious, glaring typos and a number of them over basically any type of document that you can possibly think of. Having said that, we have to look at the time that this came out, what
President Netanyahu had just said and that the White House is basically supporting him in a lot of ways, and that the has as opposed to the had would be more supportive of what Israel had just said. So I think it's interesting though that Sarah Sanders always has the ability to pivot back to yes, but somebody else did something worse.
VAUSE: You know this is the White House that put out a statement on holocaust. They did mention (Inaudible) phenomenal what they do.
LEVINSON: Although, they never to their credit, so that was a clerical error.
VAUSE: OK. There are more serious issues at this White House right now than typos. According to the Washington Post, Special Counsel on the Russia investigation Robert Mueller has raised the possibility of issuing a subpoena to compel Donald Trump to testify. Mueller's warning, this is the reporting, the first time he has not to have mentioned a possible subpoena to Trump's legal team (Inaudible) from John Dowd, then the President's legal lawyer.
[02:15:02] This isn't something game, Dowd said, according to two people with knowledge of his comments. You are screwing with the work of the President of the United States. OK, there are a lot to get to this, first, based on these (Inaudible) that prosecutors never threatened an action which they cannot take, they cannot follow through on. Does that apply to you that Mueller first took this to the Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein and he signed off on this possibility subpoenaing Donald Trump.
LEVINSON: It does. And I would say there are certainly prosecutors who will take aggressive stances in order to try and get things from witnesses. But if we've seen anything from Special Counsel Robert Mueller, is that he actually is incredibly risk-averse and methodical and very strategic. So I think that this idea that he would be threatening a subpoena just as a kind of tactic to train strong-arm the President without knowing that the law is behind him, really just creates comments (Inaudible).
VAUSE: OK. It also seems to indicate the Special Counsel has not given up on this idea, although (Inaudible) talking to Donald Trump, getting him to you know sit down and you know talk on the record and answering their questions. OK, so one reason that could be the issue of obstruction of justice, especially if you look at this through the lens of the other big story this week (Inaudible) Tuesday.
The New York Times reported on those 49 questions, which Mueller wants to ask Donald Trump, and most of those focus on obstruction of justice.
LEVINSON: Yeah. And many of them did, and as he said, I mean so that -- you know the witch hunt will continue until we actually get President Trump to sit down and answer questions. And I think that if you look at those 48 questions, what's interesting are so many of them go to the issue that's the hardest to proof or obstruction of justice, whether or not there's a corrupt intent.
And so the questions are very open-ended. And I think that's for two reasons. One, it is an unequivocal good to try and get Donald Trump talking and rambling. And I think that is an unequivocal bad for President Trump. And so the other thing is these open-ended questions go often times to what did you know, what did you think, how did you feel about that.
Many of those are different ways of training and at the same issue of can you prove corrupt intent under the obstruction of justice statute.
VAUSE: (Inaudible) looking at those questions and it's what did you know and when did you know it. It's incredible that we just keep coming back to that. With regard to the questions, the President tweeted this on the Tuesday morning. So disgraceful, but the questions concerning the Russia witch hunt were leaked to the media. No questions on collusion. Oh, I see you have made up (Inaudible) crime, collusion that never existed.
And an investigation become with illegally leaked classified information, nice, exclamation point. OK, there are 13 questions I think (Inaudible) topics when it comes to collusion. These aren't really questions though. They're topics, which could then result in dozens and dozens and dozens of other questions. And you know it this actually plays out, this is an interview of the President which could last for days.
LEVINSON: That's true. So a couple things you said -- I mean we could unpack this for hours.
LEVINSON: But this issue of collusion is not a crime. You know that this is a pet peeve of mine. Collision is a crime in the area of antitrust law, but what the questions, about a fourth of the questions get at is was there some -- for lack of a better way of describing it, conspiracy between the Trump campaign and the Russian government.
And what we're looking at is whether or not we can find a statutory basis for -- an underlying basis for finding that, yes there was a crime with respect to collision. Now, I think that -- again, if you look at the questions and you look at the potential kind of legal buckets that they would fall within, I am very surprised that I think the people who leaked this were actually from Trump world.
VAUSE: OK. They didn't do the President any favors it seems.
LEVINSON: No, so one would think that they want people to say look at all these open-ended questions, so many questions, but there is no way that Robert Mueller doesn't already know the answers to those questions. And so I think the initial questions are important, but for sure, Robert Mueller knows the follow up questions because of all the people who he's gone to cooperate with him, Papadopoulos.
(CROSSTALK) VAUSE: (Inaudible) who've been interviewed. Very quickly, we're almost out of time, because there is also this question, this legal question about indicting a sitting President. We actually heard from the Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein on that (Inaudible).
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The Department of Justice has in the past, when the issue arose has opined that a sitting President cannot be indicted. There has been a lot of speculation the media made about this. I just think (Inaudible) more to say about it.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VAUSE: OK. So he's talking in general terms, but despite what Rosenstein says, you know this issue has not -- hasn't been fully tested in court about indicting a sitting President.
LEVINSON: That's exactly right. So we have memos from the office of legal counsel. We have Department of Justice memos that say we look at this and we don't think you can do it. What we have, unsurprisingly, is other lawyers who say I don't agree with those memos. My guess is that because, again, Robert Mueller is methodical and risk-averse.
[02:19:57] And you heard Rod Rosenstein basically say that's what the memos say, that the endgame here isn't to try and test in the Supreme Court, whether or not the President can be indicted. The endgame is a document that is released to the public that puts so much pressure on our legislative branch that they end up having to take action.
VAUSE: OK. And the action would then be impeachment.
LEVINSON: That action would be (Inaudible) of impeachment, not against Rod Rosenstein...
LEVINSON: -- those up against the President.
VAUSE: OK. Jessica, thank you so much. We didn't get to some of the other stuff, but there is also this possibility of Donald Trump taking the fifth which is mind-boggling.
LEVINSON: Well, according to him, only mobsters do that, but...
VAUSE: OK. Thank you, Jess. Mobsters.
SESAY: Mobsters. Quick break, envoy to the new U.N. security counsel have now seen firsthand (Inaudible) of what the U.N. calls ethnic cleansing of Rohingya Muslims. Can this type of (Inaudible) actually change anything for this persecuted minority? VAUSE: Also right now, they're on America's doorstep, but will scores
of migrants from Central America be granted asylum.
SESAY: Well, Myanmar is facing pressure from the U.N. Security Council that's allowing investigation into human rights violations of Rohingya Muslims. (Inaudible) stayed with Myanmar military has been accused of ethnic cleansing. At least 700,000 Rohingya have taken refuge at camps in neighboring Bangladesh, where they will soon face a miserable monsoon season.
VAUSE: (Inaudible) say Myanmar's civilian leader Aung San Suu Kyi promised an investigation, but activists are skeptical. Here is the British Ambassador to the U.N. Karen Pierce.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
KAREN PIERCE, BRITISH, AMBASSADOR TO The U.N.: Well, I think they everybody has been struck by what we've seen. They've been very moved (Inaudible) you know. I think today, everybody has (Inaudible) full- scale of the challenge because the efforts we have seen from the Burmese have been pretty small scale. Getting back 300 refugees today at best when there are a million who need to return home. So it's very clear that everything needs scaling up.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SESAY: For more, we're joined by Akshaya Kumar. Akshaya is the Deputy United Nations Director at Human Rights Watch, Akshaya, as always, thank you for being with us.
AKSHAYA KUMAR, HUMAN RIGHTS WATCH, DEPUTY UNITED NATIONS DIRECTOR: Thank you for having me.
SESAY: You believe the U.N. Security Council envoy is meeting with refugees in Bangladesh and the leaders in Myanmar. You believe this is a significant moment that sends an important signal. Explain what you mean by that.
[02:24:59] KUMAR: Well, the truth is that it's been almost 9 months since this ethnic cleansing campaign started. And the council has done very little. But by taking this step to go on a four day trip, to go and see the burned villages themselves, to meet with refugees in the camps, and then to go and hold the leader's feet to the fire, in both Burma and Bangladesh. That's a big commitment from them of time.
And it is also an opportunity to reset the council's engagements from a little bit of indifference or inaction paralysis to a moment to really put their backs into trying to make some change.
SESAY: You know ahead of this trip, my question was you know was this going to be a dog and pony show. I mean we've got the pictures now, the envoy's flying over burned and destroyed villages. I mean was this a highly staged managed affair, which effectively you know confiscated the facts. How do you see it? KUMAR: Look, it was absolutely stage-managed. I think that they were
in a helicopter at some point. They were in very structured government meetings. They met with just five civil society representatives. Then we hear that the Chinese ambassador chose not even show up to meet those civil society representatives in Myanmar itself.
So it was very structured. But there are some things that you can't just whitewash over. For example, they met with the senior general, the head of the army, and he told them that never in the history of the top (Inaudible) history of the Myanmar army has there ever been an active sexual violence committed by a soldier.
I mean that's just patently ridiculous. When you get to that point of stage managing, you actually make yourself look a little foolish.
SESAY: I mean the envoy, as you know, met with the refugees about (Inaudible) as I said. And it seems to me though, you know, coming out of that weekend visit that the mission was to put pressure on the government for the safe return of these persecuted people. But I guess my question and the questions others have is should the focus have been on stressing accountability and consequences for what has happened. I wonder what you think.
KUMAR: I think they're both really interconnected. It's hard for me to imagine anyone, especially someone who was driven from their home by a brutal campaign, feeling comfortable going back in an environment where the perpetrators are walking around with immunity, with absolute impunity. And so that accountability that is actually essential, and that's what we keep telling these ambassadors, that you can't just keep hoping that people are going to feel like they can return home safely or voluntarily if they don't get what they themselves are demanding.
And this is the other really important thing. The Rohingya have a voice here, and they make sure to organize and protest, and the one thing that you saw on most of their signs was the clear demand for justice and the clear demand for recognition. They're saying we're not Bengali. We're Rohingya. Recognize us for who we are.
And I think those things need to happen before people are really going to be ready to take the leap, to go back to a place that has become quite hostile to them.
SESAY: The U.K. ambassador to the U.N. Karen Pierce was quoted as saying there needs to be an investigation into what is going on in North (Inaudible) -- she added this, which I found interesting. She says it doesn't matter whether it is international or domestic, as long as that investigation is credible. In your view, does it make a difference, an international versus domestic investigation?
KUMAR: Well, at this point, I think we've seen that a domestic investigation just isn't going to be credible. At this point, we need international engagements. Otherwise, you're not going to have any credible justice. You're not going to build the trust with the Rohingya community. And then these ambassadors won't get what they want, which is people feeling safe and like they can go back home.
SESAY: If after all this time, diplomatic, getting that bit wrong (Inaudible) in the sense that they have heard the statements made by the authorities in Myanmar. They have heard the denials and the exonerations, so they know that they exonerate themselves and don't feel liable for what has happened. If they know that and they're still saying it after all this time, what will change after the U.N. envoys have made this visit?
KUMAR: It is a good question, and it's one that frustrates us a lot, because I would think that especially after going and seeing it with your own eyes, Karen Pierce herself sort of embraced a Rohingya refugee woman who was telling her account, her truth. If after all that, you cannot sort of recognize the asymmetry of power and the real crying need for justice, then there is a real question to say well, what will be the thing that tipped -- someone over the scale Ambassador Karen Pierce, first female ambassador to sit in that chair for the United Kingdom.
[02:30:00] And we have to think about what it means for her to stand up for victims especially female victims of sexual violence and if she is willing to hand over the baton or accept subpar justice. That's going to be part of her legacy.
SESAY: I think that's actually important point that we need to stress more and more. This will be their legacy when you have 700,000 people fleeing the world watching. Akshaya, it's always good to speak to you. Your insight and perspective is invaluable. Thank you much.
KUMAR: Thank you for having us.
SESAY: Well, next in NEWSROOM L.A., the migrant caravan, they've come thousands of miles to the U.S. border, but will they be forced to go home?
JOHN VAUSE, CNN INTERNATIONAL ANCHOR: You're watching CNN NEWSROOM live from Los Angeles. Welcome back everybody. I'm John Vause.
SESAY: And I'm Isha Sesay. The headlines this hour. And Donald Trump down in degree to an interview in the Russia investigation. He could face a grand jury subpoena. Sources tell CNN Special Counsel Robert Mueller raised that possibility during a meeting with the president's legal team last month.
VAUSE: Vatican Treasurer Cardinal George Pell is out on bail but he will be back in a Melbourne courtroom later this month facing multiple charges of historical sexual abuse. He has pleaded not guilty and his lawyer is asking for the case to proceed as soon as possible because of the cardinal's age. He's 76 years old.
SESAY: In Paris, protesters set this common fire during May Day demonstrations. Police say someone threw a Molotov cocktail into this McDonald's restaurant are the demonstration held rocks through the windows. Riot police used tear gas and water cannon to break up the crowd. At least they tried to. More than 200 people were arrested.
VAUSE: In Puerto Rico now where a national strike against sturdy measures has turned violent as protesters clashed with police in San Juan.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VAUSE: Many there are angry with the U.S. appointed board that oversees the finances of the government which is $72 billion in debt.
SESAY: The security measures have targeted the islands public education, healthcare, and social security. Puerto Rico is still trying to recover almost eight months after it was hit by Hurricane Maria.
VAUSE: At least 25 people from the migrant caravan are being processed hoping for asylum in the United States. There are more than 100 people who travelled from Central America to get to the Mexico- U.S. border.
[02:35:01] SESAY: Most are sort of intense promising to remain outside the processing center until, "Every last one is admitted to the U.S." Well, joining me here in Los Angeles is returning CNN Legal Analyst Areva Martin. Areva, thank you for being with us again. So these migrants arrive at that Tijuana border on Sunday and when they got there, this is what the Commission of Customs and Border Protection said. They said in a statement, the agency lacks sufficient space and resources to process persons traveling without appropriate entry documentation. Basically, they didn't have the means to process all these people. Do you buy that?
AREVA MARTIN, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Not at all. What we know is that this has been a big part of Donald Trump's campaign promises. It's been a big part of his first year in office, you know, he has vowed to his base to make the border stronger, to do something about immigration. We saw it with his travel ban. We saw it with him sending the National Guard to the borders and, you know, he has been for, you know, the last year spouting this rhetoric about increasing border security. And to see this caravan arriving at the border gave him the perfect opportunity to really show his base how tough and how strong he could be on immigration. So not having the appropriate personnel there, not having the adequate resources there to process these individuals was I think a nod to his base that he's getting tough on immigration.
SESAY: But it's sitting in the gap, right? Because the U.S. is signatory to -- of this U.S. law and there's international law says they have to process foreign legal points of entry who want to claim asylum, so to say they don't have resources, that's -- that line, right?
MARTIN: Socially, he's denying them their right to make a legitimate claim as you said under both United States law and the international law to claim asylum, to say we are entering the United States because we are fleeing prosecution. We're fleeing, you know, a government or a society that's crime ridden. It's dangerous. And they are entitled for a judge to make the determination about their ability to enter this country.
But Donald Trump sees this again I think as a way to appeal to his base to say, he's going to turn these people away by saying, we don't have the adequate resources to process them essentially saying they are not coming into this country and he's been speaking about this -- I mean this isn't the first time, you know, he's made similar statements and this is a perfect visual opportunity for him to say to the base, I'm getting tough on immigration in ways that the former administration did not.
SESAY: Last week, he tweeted that he had ordered the Secretary of Homeland Security to, "Not to let the large caravans of people into our country, adding it is a disgrace now." There has been 25 of them have been allowed into so they can be process, what does that -- what does that look like? What are they facing in the system?
MARTIN: Well, you know, what's interesting, Isha, is that these are primarily women and children. These are families. These are not, you know, the rapists, the criminals that Trump likes to paint immigrants to be, you know, the deplorables of society. And we have, you know, these individuals who have a right to have a hearing, to have a adjudication about their ability to enter the country. And we have the president saying, we are not going to allow them into this country even if it means violating these federal and international laws.
SESAY: So they come in though -- there will be some processing the 25 who have come through. They could likely be separated mothers and children, and how -- I mean how time consuming? How slowly will this move?
MARTIN: Well, unfortunately, these asylum hearings sometimes can take years and that's what the Trump -- a part of his argument has been is that they come into the country and that they assimilate into the culture, into the society, and that they never return for these hearings and that essentially they become illegal aliens, illegal immigrants in this country. And so by denying them access in, you know, if you take it from his position, he's preventing them from ever assimilating into the United States and but, unfortunately, that means denying them their rights to have an adjudication.
SESAY: But was still putting it into context that the odds aren't in their favor? People coming from Central America, I mean according to data put up by Syracuse University between 2011 and 2016 effectively three quarters of asylum seekers from El Salvador, Honduras, and Guatemala basically were denied.
MARTIN: Yes. No. The odds are not in their favor and particularly with, you know, Trump being able to use this (INAUDIBLE) will appeal to his base to continue dispute this rhetoric that, you know, somehow they are a threat to America security --
SESAY: Women and children. [02:40:02] MARTIN: Women, and children, and families are a threat to
America's, you know, security and they're pawns. In this whole political game that he's playing around immigration and it doesn't look promising. Some as you indicated have been allowed in. I suspect others will be. But for, you know, the hundreds of people that seek -- the thousands that seek asylum in this legitimately seek asylum in this country every year, this is not a good sign for them.
SESAY: Yes. And again, it will take a very long time. They will be put in detention centers (INAUDIBLE)
MARTIN: IT's not good needless to say.
SESAY: Needless to say. But thank you.
SESAY: Thank you. Thank you.
VAUSE: Well, still to come here, outrage versus faux outrage. A closer look at what racism really is after a teenager in the U.S. wore a traditional Chinese dress to her prom.
VAUSE: Where do we draw the line between what appears to be obvious and unquestionable acts of racism? In a ginned up controversy fueled by the echoed chamber of social media. In Utah, a non-Asian high school student was the focus of much Twitter hate because she wore a traditional Chinese dress to her prom.
So how does that compare to the Chinese restaurant in Toronto which demanded that only black customers pay in advance? And so here's the question which follows up on that. What's the end result here when everything becomes a controversy de jure? And joining me now for more on this, Jarrett Hill, Politics & Pop Culture. Jarrett, it's been a while. Nice to see you.
JARRETT HILL, POLITICS AND POP CULTURE JOURNALIST: It has been a while.
VAUSE: OK. So like so many controversies, let's (INAUDIBLE) thing one, it started with a tweet, 18-year-old, Keziah Daum, from Utah tweeted out this photo you can see right here. She was wearing a traditional Chinese dress to her prom. That was a trigger -- that triggered for the outrage. It all start with this guy Jeremy Lam. He said, my culture is not your prom dress then came these accusations of cultural appropriation. This isn't OK. I wouldn't wear traditional Korean, Japanese or other traditional dress and I'm Asian.
I wouldn't wear traditional Irish, or Swedish, or Greek dress either. There's a lot of history. Someone else said, people have been telling you why it's racist, why it's cultural appropriation, you just refuse to educate yourself. You don't get to decide what does and does not upset people in case on and on and on. Is this really so outrageous? You know, don't people have better things to do than to tweet about this, you know, maybe they should be, you know, throwing their (INAUDIBLE) at the TV screen or --
HILL: So by definition, yes, this is appropriation, right? You're taking something from another culture and using it as your own or taking it and making it your own. But is it offensive is the question, right? I've been on both sides of the fence about this one like at first I thought like I'm not willing to go to the coliseum to fight about this one, like this one I'm not concerned about.
However, I was thinking, what if she had showed up in a Dishique and Tencel cloth and like a head wrap. I would have felt away about that. I would have been upset, right? So, then I felt, OK, maybe I'm not being fair to something because it's not my culture, it's not something that I have a direct link too.
And then, if you look at all the tweets, there are Chinese women who say like, "I think you did a beautiful job. I think this was great. Then, the people are really upset about it. So --
VAUSE: From what are you tell that are went through a lot of this, and the people who are really upset, seem to be a whole lot of white people expressing outrage on beyond to someone else?
VAUSE: Which I found that really that happens a lot, you know. And so, you know, this whole debate is interesting because if you look at the headline from a Tuesday's South China Morning Post. "Chinese dress at U.S. prom wins support in China after into that backlash."
Here's follow the reporting, "Very elegant and beautiful! Really don't understand the people who are against her, they are wrong!" One person commented on an article by the Wenxue City News. "I suggest the Chinese government, state television or Fashion Company invite her to China to display her cheongsam!" "It's not a cultural theft," another wrote. "It's cultural appreciation and cultural respect."
Maybe that's a reaction from the victims to this heinous crime. Then, maybe the evil liberals can calm down and worry about things that really matter like microaggressions and alike to safe spaces.
HILL: Yes. No, I agree with you there. And I mean, I was going back and forth, like I said, all day about this one. And I -- in a car on the way here, I was speaking to a woman who was Persian. And I asked her, it was like, How would you feel if someone shirt up in traditional Persian garment?" She said like, "Oh, I would love it. I would think it was amazing and beautiful. And so, it's one of those things where it's like, we are very sensitive right now or about every single (INAUDIBLE).
VAUSE: Yes, so sensitive.
HILL: We're very sensitive and I think this is kind of representative for that.
VAUSE: OK, because if you want to know what is really racist, I would show you what is really racist. Because here's now a report from Canada's CVC, the story is about Emile Wickham. He's black, he was out dining with friends. Listen to this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It was supposed to be a celebration, Emile Wickham and three black friends went into Hong Shing to celebrate his 28th birthday four years ago. But when they order, they were ask to prepay. They were told it was a restaurant policy. But when they asked other customers, they found out no one else had to that. So, the group left.
EMILE WICKHAM, CUSTOMER, HONG SHING RESTAURANT, TORONTO: When we got outside, that when the anger turn into like sadness, and like rejection. This was just a time for us to unwind, and before that, we couldn't do that in a city that really please of its multiculturalism, I'm really said something. And I decided to beyond in that night, this was -- I was going to stand up for this.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VAUSE: One (INAUDIBLE) sense how is it, this is racism between down rights. Black guy, and the restaurant owners, Chinese and staff seem to be aging.
HILL: White supremacy is not at a social white people, right? Like, gay people are homophobic, there are women who are anti-feminist. White -- you don't have to be white, as the group side he's a White supremacy, and see black and brown people as dangerous, or fearful -- or be fearful on them.
But it's really important to remember to remember that, and I think those are the great example of that. Especially when we look a police thing and might a non-black -- a non-white put up so shot out a black or some like you don't have to be white.
VAUSE: OK, a building which is bizarre as they took it to Human Rights Tribunal three years to work out that this was an active racism, and his part of the ruling. Emile, who comes mere presence as a black man in a restaurant was presumed to be sufficient evidence of his presumed propensity to engage in criminal behavior. At its core, racial profiling is a form of shorthand that enables the perpetrator of the behavior to assume certain facts, and ignore others." That could also describe what happened at a Starbucks in Philadelphia.
HILL: At a Starbucks in Philadelphia, on a street corner with a young man that was standing there having a good time in front of a convenience store with the man selling C.D.'s (INAUDIBLE). So, it's a situation where -- you know, people are in fear for their life, or their in fear -- police are in fear for their life. Or a waiter is in fear that they're not going to pay the bill. Or you're afraid that this person is just loitering and they're not going to buy at Starbucks.
VAUSE: I just want to frequently figure this all together.
VAUSE: So, when you have ridiculous outrage just like the one over the prom dress, --
VAUSE: What effect does that have on the serious issues like we're seeing at this restaurant Canada?
HILL: I mean, I think, they all kind of start getting a lump together, and sometimes some things are really, really offensive. Like for look at Canada, Canada was a really, really offensive situation that went to court and -- you know, ended up in front of a judge. Whereas, the situation on Twitter was a situation -- what was like, some people are going to be offended, but people are going to be offended (INAUDIBLE).
VAUSE: It just seems to that whatever it becomes a controversy and outrage, then nothing is controversial or outrage.
VAUSE: And this will dilute you what they really want.
VAUSE: Good to see you, Jarrett.
HILL: My pleasure.
VAUSE: Thanks, man.
SESAY: Very important point, perspective.
VAUSE: Yes, but Jarrett, made this some very good points.
SESAY: Break here, Facebook is ready to play Cupids, and says it's launching a new dating service for users. How it will work, and when it will take off, will it take off? We'll figure it out, next.
[02:56:34] VAUSE: At the Buy Back, cash up palooza for Apple investors that take giant spending a record $22.8 billion dollars buying back its own stock in the first quarter. If you going to spend it and Apple plays just been 100 billion dollars more on buybacks.
SESAY: Well, Apple's announced a 60 percent increase in its quarterly dividend. Investment experts, now they are raising concerns that the company is basically, took over some buybacks, and then, always come to these on investing in long-term growth.
VAUSE: Well, for all the desperate and dateless out there, listen now, Facebook wants to help. And why not trust the most intimate desires and passions with Mark Zuckerberg. What could possibly go wrong?
SESAY: The Company is launching a dating (INAUDIBLE) among Zuckerberg, says the users will be able to connect with people outside of their friend's list and are ensure security and privacy for seconds.
VAUSE: Heard that before.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MARK ZUCKERBERG, CHIEF EXECUTIVE OFFICER, FACEBOOK: Yes, this is going to be -- this going to be for building real long-term relationships. All right, not just hookups. It's going to be in the Facebook app, but it's totally optional. It's opt-in. If you want, you can make a dating profile. And I know, a lot of you are going to have questions about this, so I want to be clear that we have designed this with privacy and safety in mind from the beginning.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SESAY: Let's begin, Alex Kantrowitz, he is a senior technology reporter for BuzzFeed News, and joins us from San Francisco. Good to see you again. So let me be clear, Facebook which has just been at the center of storm for lying the personal data of millions of people to be harvested is now saying, let me into your most personal space, love and sex, and you can trust this. It feels a little soon to me. What do you think, Alex?
ALEX KANTROWITZ, SENIOR TECHNOLOGY REPORTER, BUZZFEED NEWS: That's the same thing I'm wondering. I'm wondering why now? You know that Facebook has just dealt with the series of crisis, series about this handling of people's personal information and whether it can protect its service from foreign manipulation. And I understand that's a big company with over 20,000 people dedicated to many different activities.
But I really wonder, is this something that the company needs to be focusing on this point? Or should it be focusing on the more critical issues at the end?
SESAY: Yes, speaking of critical issues, Zuckerberg, again promising Facebook users that they've learned a lesson from the 2016 election. Listen to what he had to say.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ZUCKERBERG: In 2016, we were slow to identify Russian interference. We expected more traditional cyber-attacks like phishing, and malware, and hacking. We identified those and notify the right people. But we didn't expect this coordinated information operations, and large networks and fake accounts that we're now aware of. So, I sat there on their teams after this and we said, we will never be unprepared for this again.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SESAY: All right, but he also says, Alex, as know that it's going to take something like three years to fix Facebook. I mean, that's buying his company a lot of time, isn't it?
KANTROWITZ: He's definitely buying the company time. But he's also talking about a promise that are really difficult to fix. And I don't think that he actually believes in that it's going to be done in three years either. I think there's a roadmap to fix the problems they know about. In three years, for that's he mention in that clip that you just showed, ahead of the question, there are things that show up that Facebook seriously just doesn't anticipate.
So, there's going to be -- and the like your produce as an armories, and I think that's actually the right way to look at it. There's going to be bad actors or they're going to try to manipulate this platforms. And Facebook's response, and then, bad actors try to manipulate it again and Facebook's response. And we're going to be caught up in the cycle forever, not just for three years.
[02:55:11] SESAY: The Facebook CEO, as you know as we discuss it, that you know, he got through those two days on Capitol Hill, pretty much unscathed, this are price went up, everybody's happy. Facebook is that feeling a lot of them love stateside but not in the U.K. I want to read this to you. And this is a letter sent by U.K. lawmaker to the head of Policy for Facebook U.K. And says this.
"While Mr. Zuckerberg does not normally come under the jurisdiction of the U.K. parliament, he will do so the next time he enters the country. We hope that he will respond positively to our request, but if not, the committee will resolve to issue a formal summons for him to appear when he is next in the United Kingdom."
Alex, my question to you is -- I'm talking about a dozen appear to be overly concern with answering U.K. lawmakers questions. Why is that?
KANTROWITZ: Three years ago, every time Zuckerberg, speaks about Facebook, he has of coming off sounding pretty good. And as because I believe that his intentions are true, he is someone that's interested in the best for its users. And so, he should go to the U.K. and speak in front of parliament. And he should spend the next year answering as many of this request as possible because if he is sits behind his Chief Technology Officer, were he sent to U.K parliament as supposed to he himself going in front of them. It's going to look like he has something to hide.
And as we saw in the U.S. Congress, when Zuckerberg showed up, he sat through 10 hours of pretty difficult questioning. He was able to come out looking like a confident leader who has the best interest of the people using his service. And like put it in the U.S., more tap up more him more tap up for the public. He should do in the U.K. as well.
SESAY: Yes, along the specter, you will know as that lawmakers he was facing had no clue in how Facebook works. One would expect -- you know, look, a U.K. lawmaker will be a little bit more savvy, but which we'll see. Alex Kantrowitz, joining us there from San Francisco. Thank you.
KANTROWITZ: Thank you.
SESAY: And thank you.
VAUSE: Yes. Thanks.
SESAY: You're watching CNN NEWSROOM live from Los Angeles, I am Isha Sesay.
VAUSE: I'm John -- I'm John Vause.
SESAY: Yes, you are still John Vause.
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