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58 Palestinians Killed In Clashes With Israeli Forces in Gaza; U.S. Opens New Israeli Embassy In Jerusalem; White House Blames Hamas For Gaza Deaths; Controversial Pastors Speak at Embassy Opening; White House: No Apology For Remark About John McCain; Kellyanne Conway Comments on White House Leaks; President Trump Eases Sanctions on Chinese Phone Maker; Markle Family Drama ahead of Saturday's Ceremony; Visiting Meghan Markle's Old Neighborhood; Farewell Lois Lane; The Superman Curse; Fissures Have Opened Near Kilauea Volcano. Aired 1-2a ET
Aired May 15, 2018 - 01:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[01:00:12] JOHN VAUSE, CNN ANCHOR: You're watching CNN Newsroom live from Los Angeles.
Ahead this hour, the deadliest day in Gaza since the 2014 war. Dozens have been killed protesting the opening of the U.S. Embassy in Jerusalem.
Plus, this week's royal wedding may be missing the father of the bride. Meghan Markle's dad reportedly skipping the ceremony after faking paparazzi photos.
And, the actress who played Lois Lane in the Superman movies has died. We'll remember Margot Kidder both on and off the screen, and take a closer look at the Superman curse.
Hello (inaudible), thank you for being with us. I'm John Vause, we're now into the second hour of Newsroom L.A.
Palestinian leaders are calling for a general strike and more protests after the deadliest violence along the Israeli Gaza border since 2014.
Israeli forces killed 58 Palestinians, according to the Gaza health ministry. Many were there protesting the U.S. Embassy's move from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. Israel says it was defending the border from a terrorist operation.
A high-level U.S. delegation was on hand for the embassy opening, including first daughter, Ivanka Trump, and her husband, senior advisor, Jared Kushner.
Palestinians say the move disqualifies the U.S. from the Mid-East peace process, but Israel's government and the Trump administration say recognizing Jerusalem as Israel's capital has been a long time coming.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BENJAMIN NETANYAHU, ISRAELI PRIME MINISTER: My friends, this is a great day for Israel, it's a great day for America, it's a great day for fantastic partnership, but I believe it's also a great day for peace.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VAUSE: CNN's International Diplomatic Editor, Nic Robertson, is with us live in Jerusalem. Also, joining us now from Amman in Jordan, Daoud Kuttab is a Palestinian journalist and former journalism professor at Princeton University.
Nic, we'll start with you. There was barely a mention of the violence and the death toll at the Gaza border on Monday at that ceremony.
We had this one statement from the presidential son-in-law and White House advisor, Jared Kushner, listen to this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JARED KUSHNER, SENIOR ADVISOR TO U.S. PRESIDENT TRUMP: As we have seen from the protests of the last month, and even today, those provoking violence are part of the problem and not part of the solution.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VAUSE: But, there has been widespread condemnation of Israel for this high death toll, including Turkey and South Africa, recording their ambassadors. So, is there anything to suggest that this pressure might actually moderate the Israelis in their response in the coming days?
NIC ROBERTSON, CNN INTERNATIONAL DIPLOMATIC EDITOR: You know, John, I think if we sort of compare this to the first day of these protesters, the protests in Gaza have been going on now since the 30th of March - - for over six weeks.
The first day of those protests a Friday, more than a dozen people were killed in those protests. Again, Palestinian officials moved to have this condemned, the United Nations moved to have an investigation into these deaths to hold those accountable and they say responsible for those deaths.
Implication being the Israel and Israeli defense forces, saying that there should be an investigation, but the United Nations back in March, now, over six weeks ago - - the United States blocked that move and that's what's happened again. As these days, the 30th of March being the most bloody day until yesterday in this series of on-going protests that the United States considers a provocation by Hamas, the Palestinians consider a right to have protests. That over - - because the protests and the large number of casualties occur - - an essentially isolated incidents.
It does seem that the United States and Israel can, if you will, shrug off this international condemnation and continue to move forward without extreme consequence.
So, you know I think the expectation at this stage would have to be a similar process again, that Israel will take the condemnation. It says it was doing this to protect its sovereignty, it had warned in advance that it would do this, that it would handle the protests in this way.
No surprise from their perspective that this was what was going to happen. They saw what Hamas was doing as a provocation. So, they will essentially weather this bitter storm of criticism and move on.
VAUSE: And, Daoud, to you. I want to read part of an op-ed from Abu Artema, who helped organize the protest march in Gaza, as Nic mentioned that started a few weeks ago.
[01:05] This is what he wrote, "We discouraged the burning of Israeli flags and the attachment of Molotov cocktails to kites. We want peaceful, equal coexistence to be our message. We've also tried to discourage protesters from attempting to cross into Israel. However, we can't stop them."
As we mentioned both Israel and the United States are blaming Hamas for all of this. This is what the deputy press secretary said on Monday.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
RAJ SHAH, DEPUTY WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: We believe Hamas bears the responsibility. Look, this is a propaganda attempt. I mean, this is a gruesome and unfortunate propaganda attempt, I think the Israeli government has spent weeks trying to handle this without violence.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VAUSE: So, how much of this is Hamas in control? And, how much of this is I guess you know, civilian led protests?
DAOUD KUTTAB, PALESTINIAN JOURNALIST, FORMER FERRIS PROFESSOR OF JOURNALISM, PRINCETON UNIVERSITY: Well, this is not a Hamas event and there's no Hamas side, there's no Hamas activity. In fact, if I were Israel I would be happy Hamas was doing unarmed protests rather than shooting rockets.
(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE) It's totally surprising that the world, and the U.S., is not even
condemning the shooting of unarmed protesters. These people are totally unarmed. You have journalists, you have people who are medics who are being shot, children who are being shot.
These Israelis are committing a massacre and the reason the people are protesting is very simple. They've lost hope. The move of the embassy was the last nail in the coffin of any kind of a potential Palestinian-Israeli agreement, and when people see that the U.S. and Israel are not even paying attention to their situation - - the blockade lasted 11 years.
People have lost hope and their desperate, and they're doing what most people do, which is exploding - - and people knew this and the Israelis knew that people are exploding, yet they didn't lift the siege, they did not do anything to relieve the pressure on Palestinians in Gaza.
VAUSE: Daoud, there's been so little condemnation of Israel - - or so little support, rather if you like, for the Palestinians I should say. Does it feel like the Palestinians have been abandoned?
KUTTAB: There is a feeling the Palestinians are abandoned. And, I think Palestinians, especially in Gaza, feel totally isolated and abandoned, and that's why they're taking things in their own hands.
But, I have to repeat more over and over it, these are unarmed Palestinian protesters, protesting in their own country in their own land. And, they're asking for the fees (ph) to be lifted and they want to have the right of return, which was the condition that Israel was recognized seven years ago.
It was recognized as a U.N. member state on condition that they recognize the partition plan which made Jerusalem an international city and allowed for their right to return.
So, the U.S. position is totally colluding with Israel. They're actually giving a green light to the Israel - - to continue to shoot and kill unarmed civilians, and this is totally unacceptable, it's a crime. It's a war crime that must be punished for.
VAUSE: And, Nic, to pick up on that last point, if we look at the steadfast support that Israel has we see from the U.S. Along with the scrapping of the Iran nuclear deal last week, it seems you know Washington is veering very much towards the Israeli position on these issues, much more in-line with Benjamin Netanyahu.
ROBERTSON: I mean, certainly there's a feeling here that this is a president - - President Trump that really supports and understands the Israeli people. There was talk at the opening ceremony, yesterday at the embassy, that this was a moment of truth, a historic moment, a memorable moment, but a moment of truth, a recognition of truth.
And, on that basis of truth peace could be built, but peace requires two partners and it requires the - - the - - the country, the organization or whomever it is, that's going to be arbiter between the two sides to be recognized as independent.
And, because President Trump, and his administration, is so clearly seen as aligned with Israel and the government of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, that does put them in what most independent experts would consider a very difficult position to present themselves as an independent arbiter.
So, certainly the feeling on the ground here is that President Trump is one that supports Israel. It buoys the mood, people feel, finally, that this is a recognition of what they've been waiting, of what they've been aspiring for, I think, gives a degree of confidence.
You have the Giro D'Italia, a major European cycle race, beginning its first opening days here just barely over a week ago. It feels different. If you live in Jerusalem, this atmosphere feels different and certainly that's something that translates into political support for Prime Minister Netanyahu.
That comes about, as well, through the United States. That doesn't generate an atmosphere around the prime minister here that would appear, at least on the surface, to pressure him towards compromise. And, compromise in any peace agreement is - - is - - is the only way that you bring about two sides together.
[01:10] Neither side can be seen to lose, both sides have to be seen to compromise.
And at the moment, where one side feels so evidently jubilant and happy with the way things are going and the other side feels the opposite. The ability for anyone to find compromise in that is going to be very hampered, John.
VAUSE: Yes, Nic, thank you.
We also have this statement - - stay with us, because I just want to read the statement we're receiving from the Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas, in reaction to the relocation of the U.S. Embassy to Jerusalem.
"Before we had settlement outposts with American help, but today we have an American settlement outpost in East Jerusalem". Abbas also says that the U.S. is no longer an intermediary and a broker in the Middle East.
(END VIDEOTAPE) So, Daoud, effectively is the two state solution now dead? I remember
senior Palestinian leaders always tell me that that was the nuclear option. They'd dissolve the Palestinian authority and then (inaudible) Israel and say it's all yours, we want equal rights in one state.
KUTTAB: Yes. I mean, the two state solution was based on the five permanent status issues that Israel and the Palestinians under international (inaudible) in Oslo Accords were supposed to settle. One of the permanent status issues was Jerusalem, another was the right to return and the refugee issues.
But, if you put these - - as Trump said, take them off the table, they're no longer negotiable.
You're actually taking 40 percent of the issues that are supposed to be negotiated off the table. That means there's no deal, the two state solution is gone and now many Palestinians, including my own children, are saying to me, why are you still supporting the two state solution? Let's go for equal rights in one state and let's see you know how long it's going to be.
There's 6 million Jews, there's 6 million Palestinian Arabs, why should be always give the Israelis the control? Let's have a shared solution where everybody has equal rights, just like you have in the United States. Secular, democratic states.
States where every citizen has a right to vote and whoever wins can run the government.
VAUSE: Yes, it's something which Ariel Sharon, the former Prime Minister was very much aware of, which is why he withdrew from Gaza and tried to withdraw the settlements from the West Bank, but clearly, times have changed.
Daoud, thank you so much for being with us.
Also, Nic, there in Jerusalem, appreciate it, thank you.
Michael Genovese, is President of the Global Policy Institute at Loyola Marymount University and he joins us now for more.
What is interesting, though, here in the U.S. there is bipartisan support for this move of the embassy and recognition of Jerusalem as the capital. The Senate Minority Leader, Democrat Chuck Schumer, released this statement.
"In a long overdue move, we have moved our embassy to Jerusalem. Every nation should have the right to choose its capital. I sponsored legislation to do this two decades ago and I applaud President Trump for doing it."
Well, there was bipartisan support for this move. What did the U.S. actually get out of it? Apart from you know, what appears to be a whole lot of violence at the border and more anti-American sentiment among Palestinians and possibly beyond.
MICHAEL GENOVESE, PRESIDENT, GLOBAL POLICY INSTITUTE AT LOYOLA MARYMOUNT UNIVERSITY: Well, you know there's a reason why the United States said that we would move our embassy to Jerusalem years ago.
There's also a reason why we didn't do it, and that paradox is kind of a fine line we've been trying to walk. On the one hand, there is as you said, widespread support for Israel. Democrats, Republicans, it's pretty significant.
On the other hand, we pride ourselves on playing the honest broker role that we can bring people together - - Jimmy Carter with Camp David, with Israel and Egypt. I think what's different here is this president thinks that the Palestinians are disposable, they are not significant in the process.
He's moving towards Saudi Arabia and trying to get them to focus not on Israel, but on Iran and so he wants a new power configuration.
VAUSE: Richard Haas, the international guru, basically said you know yesterday, the U.S. has a right to do this, which doesn't necessarily mean it is the right thing to do. Which I guess is a fairly important point.
The Trump administration opted to send two high profile televangelists to this event. Robert Jeffress, well known for anti-Islam and anti- Semitic comments.
And, John Hagee, who according to the New York Times, "In a sermon in the late 1990's, Mr. Hagee said the Bible made clear that Hitler and Holocaust - when about 6 million Jews were killed - were part of God's plan to return Jews to Israel."
"How did it happen? Because God allowed it to happen", he said, referring to the Holocaust. "Why did it happen? Because God said my top priority for the Jewish people is to get them all to come back to the land of Israel."
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VAUSE: You know, this is part of a specific group of evangelical Christians who do believe that once all the Jews have returned to Israel, that would be the end time. The Messiah will return and depending on who you listen to, he will then kill all the Jews.
And, this is a group which is very thoroughly behind Israel and I guess, Donald Trump, as well. GENOVESE: They are behind Donald Trump, and you have to think that Trump is an entertainer and he's used to producing an entertaining television program.
[01:15:10] And, the entertainment here was Jared comes out after being isolated and alone, he's been so invisible I thought he was part of the witness protection program.
His job was to continually praise the president. The job of the two televangelists was to play to the Trump base. They have given Trump a free pass in a way that is shocking to most people, that evangelical Christians could be so supportive of this president.
And so, this is a payback time, the president is paying back people and he owes them a great deal.
VAUSE: Let's move on, because there is this unwavering stance that the White House has taken when it comes to this White House aide who joked about Senator John McCain and his battle with brain cancer. You know, to quote Elton John, 'sorry seems to be the hardest word' here for these guys.
Why can't they just say we were wrong?
GENOVESE: The president seems incapable of doing so. In part, it's a function of his deep dislike for John McCain. McCain said he doesn't want him at his funeral, but it's also something that Trump has had a history of.
He keeps saying, "Well, I've never asked God for forgiveness, why would I ask a human being?" And, Trump seems incapable because he has such a fragile ego of saying I made a mistake, I was wrong.
Any man who makes a mistakes would try to correct it, would try to right it. Not this president.
VAUSE: Just plows on through.
GENOVESE: And - - and - - and what is so sad is that it's doing great damage and harm to a family that's going through a great deal of suffering right now.
VAUSE: You know, the White House has wanted to focus on the fact that this was leaked, not the substance of the leak.
Which means you end up with great headlines like this one, "White House Leakers Leak About Leaking".
We also had senior Trump aide, Kellyanne Conway, warning the president would most likely be making some staff changes after this. This is what she said.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
KELLYANNE CONWAY, COUNSELOR TO PRESIDENT TRUMP: I won't tell you the process, so much as to tell you that there are all kinds of leaks. Some leaks exist to hurt I guess colleagues, some leaks exist because they disagree with the policies that are being put forth, but none of them are helpful.
And, I will tell you something else that's gone on in this White House, but not as badly as it was at the beginning where - - it's not so much leaking as using the media to shiv each other.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VAUSE: No White House or no administration has leaked this much in living memory, and a leaking White House is not a happy White House.
GENOVESE: That's a very good point, but you need to remind everyone that leaking is ubiquitous, Democrats and Republicans. And, what happens is when you have a grievance - - and a lot of it can be bureaucratic in-fighting, some of it as Kellyanne said, policy disagreements.
But, there are two kinds of leaks, controlled leaks - - the White House does that all the time, send out a trial balloon, or go out and try to get the reporter to write something you want to get someone. As the Bush administration did with Valerie Plame, when they . . .
VAUSE: They were trying to reveal her identity, yes.
The other kind of leak is an uncontrolled leak and that's what the White House doesn't like. That's when in-fighting and dirty stories about your opponent.
Or, if you're a loser and a policy debate, maybe you want to try to bring in another group or gum up the works. Watergate was about uncontrolled leaks and it led to the destruction of a presidency.
VAUSE: Yes. I'm sorry we're out of time, but the president did respond on Twitter.
"The so-called leaks coming out of the White House are a massive over exaggeration put out by the fake news media in order to make us look as bad as possible. With that being said, leakers are traders and cowards, and we will find out who they are."
Not all leakers are traders and cowards. Some of the whistleblowers did a very honorable job.
GENOVESE: And - - and - - and, you know you can tell the health of an administration by the amount of leaking. VAUSE: Yes.
GENOVESE: A cohesive together administration does leak, but not much. A chaotic administration leaks like . . .
VAUSE: Like the Titanic.
Michael, thank you.
GENOVESE: Thank you.
VAUSE: Well, next on Newsroom L.A., what ever happened to America First?
Donald Trump now moving to bail out a Chinese telephone company sanctioned by the U.S.
Also ahead, more volcanic threats in Hawaii. Lava, ash and now magma bombs. We'll have the very latest from the big island.
[01:22:25] VAUSE: Well, with a second round of trade talks starting Tuesday between the U.S. and China, President Trump is suddenly softening his stance towards one of China's major telecom companies.
On Twitter he posted, "ZTE, the large Chinese phone company, buys a big percentage of individual parts from U.S. companies". He says easing sanctions on ZTE is part of a larger trade deal with the U.S., which is renegotiating with China.
Well, last month the U.S. blocked American companies from doing business with ZTE, because the Chinese firm evaded U.S. sanctions on Iran and North Korea. But now, Donald Trump says too many Chinese jobs are at risk.
Confused? Yes, so is everybody else.
CNN's Matt Rivers, standing by live for us in Beijing.
Also, with us here, in Los Angeles, global business executive Ryan Patel.
Matt, first to you. This all started over the weekend with this real head scratching Tweet from the president.
(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE) "President Xi of China, and I, are working together to give massive Chinese phone company ZTE a way to get back into business, fast. Too many jobs in China lost. Commerce Department has been instructed to get it done!"
Okay, what's the back story here? Why this sudden turnaround from you know Donald Trump, who accused China of almost raping the U.S. economy?
MATT RIVERS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes. I mean, I think we have to take this in a broader picture, John. In terms of there is a big round of negotiations set to happen this week. Round two of negotiations between U.S. and China negotiators over this looming trade war.
Tens of billions of dollars in tariffs have been threatened by either side. It was within the last two weeks that you saw a U.S. delegation come here to China, not a lot of progress was made. So, now it's China's turn to go to the U.S. They could be there all the way until Friday, U.S. time.
So, it will be very interesting to see how ZTE plays into all this.
It's important to remember that China has made this ZTE issue a top priority when it comes to these ongoing negotiations. And so, if the U.S. sees that, they say well maybe if we throw a bone to ZTE, make a concession there, the Chinese could come back and make a concession on their end.
We're not exactly sure how that deal could look, but you could see the potential outlines of some sort of framework. We give China a concession on ZTE, maybe they agree to buy some more U.S. exports and lower that deficit, the administration wants to see so badly.
We're not sure the exact details, John, but you can see ZTE definitely playing a role in some broader agreement here.
VAUSE: Okay. And with that, Ryan, to you.
So, I guess you know, there's no more raping of the economy, let's make China great again. And, just when you think a trade war is about to break out, this all happens.
Putting aside the unpredictable nature of the announcement, should we actually welcome this decision by the president? If nothing else, it might help avoid a trade war with China before it even starts.
RYAN PATEL, GLOBAL BUSINESS EXECUTIVE: Yes. I mean, I think if this was done in the beginning, before we get into this back and forth, you know, kind of having this trade war, we'd be welcoming it. If he would have done this, what, a month and a half ago?
[01:25] After they would have sat down and said, you know what? Here's the issues. You could have played chess without it kind of getting out in public.
Yes, this is going to be something that - - you know that Beijing asked the administration to get this - - you know, to talk about this before their economic advisor from Beijing gets here.
So, we should welcome it, but the problem with that is also how we got here and what the rhetoric was before and that's where I think I have a little bit of issue with - - is that you know, how does that make us look in this negotiation across other aspects of it.
VAUSE: Yes, the process and the consistency, I guess is one issue.
Back in February, the heads of the U.S. intelligence agencies were testifying before the U.S. Senate. Here's the FBI Director, Christopher Wray, on the security risk posed by ZTE.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CHRISTOPHER WRAY, FBI DIRECTOR: It provided the capacity to maliciously modify or steal information, and it provides the capacity to conduct undetected espionage.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VAUSE: So, Matt, to you is there any indication Beijing has done anything to ease those concerns?
RIVERS: No, publically, absolutely not and that's not really surprising given that the Chinese public position on this is that this is all paranoid talk from the U.S. government. There's no truth to what you heard the FBI director just say there.
They call it a "Cold War mentality", it's one of their favorite phrases in the press briefings that we attend here, in Beijing. So, it's really no surprise there.
That said, even if there is some sort of deal struck with ZTE, you've got a lot of skeptics in the U.S. government, including in the president's own party, about this company and their risk to national security.
Marco Rubio Tweeted about it not long ago. Saying basically any telecom firm in China can be forced to act as a tool of Chinese espionage. Going on to say we are crazy to allow them to operate in the U.S. without tighter restrictions.
So, even if there is a deal struck on this, there's going to be a lot of skeptics that will point to intelligence agency reports from the U.S. and say, hold on, ZTE should have tighter restrictions, because telecom firms have a unique relationship with the Chinese government.
It's not just ZTE, plenty of other firms there, as well. But, China, for its part saying it's all paranoid talk that isn't true.
VAUSE: And, Ryan, this does seem to be yet another example of how decisions are made in this White House, without consideration of the wider implications.
PATEL: Yes. I mean, the wider implication here to me is you are talking boat intellectual property, the entire time of the protection of this. For months and months, and months, and all of the sudden that changed. Trust me, you got Koreans, Indians, Europeans, looking how this deal is going this has been playing in effect.
You know, you don't think that these governments are going to try to do something very similar? Well, I would if I was a part of their governments, because you know, you know that this was all rhetoric to the point to where they needed to get something.
And, I think, again, in the overall picture of this, you've got both Republicans and Democrats not very happy of how this is going down. And as of tomorrow, where the hearings are going to go on - - you've got G.E., you've got National Retail Federation lobbyists coming on to talk about the high tariffs.
In Washington, D.C., that's a huge deal, people are not just doing this because of - - you know, they're spending money to let the government know that these tariffs - - 25 percent, could be even more has a long lasting effect.
These last few months, companies and executives have been spending time and money to figure out what they would do if we got into a trade war.
VAUSE: Yes, and we all know that business likes it policy and its politics to be stable, bland and consistent. And, this is an example of not that.
Ryan and Matt, thanks to you both.
Well, it would not be a wedding without some bump in the road.
A change in plans after certain photos of Meghan Markle's father appear. We'll have all the details on the royal wedding after this.
[01:31:28] JOHN VAUSE, CNN ANCHOR: Welcome back everybody. You're watching CNN NEWSROOM live from Los Angeles.
I'm John Vause with the headlines this hour.
Israeli's internal (ph) cities are bracing for more protests in the coming hours following the deadliest unrest in Gaza in years. The Palestinian Health Ministry says at least 58 Palestinians were killed; more than 2,700 were wounded in clashes with Israeli forces at Gaza's border with Israel on Monday.
The Palestinians were protesting Monday's opening of the U.S. embassy in Jerusalem and also calling for a right of return to the land they say was seized from them by Israel decades ago. >
Donald Trump now wants to rescue Chinese phone maker ZTE, a company the U.S. recently penalized for violating sanctions on Iran and North Korea. The U.S. President says helping ZTE would be part of a larger trade deal with China. The two countries sit down for trade talks in Washington starting Tuesday.
And Melania Trump will be spending the next few days in hospital. Doctors performed a successful procedure on the U.S. first lady on Tuesday. Her office says it was a very benign kidney condition and she's expected to make a full recovery.
Family drama -- it's not uncommon leading up to a big day like a wedding but the attention it receives is far different when it involves Britain's royal family. After it was revealed that Meghan Markle's father had staged photos of himself preparing for the ceremony he reportedly changed his plans to attend.
CNN's royal correspondent Max Foster has the details.
MAX FOSTER, CNN ROYAL CORRESPONDENT: It all started with a series of pictures that went viral around the world. They appear to show Thomas Markle preparing for his daughter's big day -- doing some exercise, getting measures for a suit and reading a book about the U.K.
We now know from Meghan Markle's half-sister that those images were staged. And Samantha Markle says it was all her idea.
SAMANTHA MARKLE, MEGHAN MARKLE'S HALF-SISTER: I have to say I am entirely the culprit. And I said you know the world has no idea that you're getting in shape, you're doing healthy things. They don't photograph you buying vegetables and Ph water. They photograph you in as unflattering ways as they can.
So I said really, you know, you need to show the world that you're getting shape and doing great healthy things. So I suggested it and it was -- there's a lot of scrutiny that it was money-motivated. It was not.
FOSTER: TMZ then reported that they had spoken to Thomas Markle and that he decided to pull out of the wedding. He admitted that he now thought the pictures were stupid and hammy and he didn't want to embarrass the royal family or his daughter so wasn't now coming to Windsor.
Kensington Palace then came up with this statement. "This is a deeply personal moment for Miss Markle in the days before her wedding. She and Prince Harry ask again for understanding and respect to be extended to Mr. Markle in this difficult situation." CNN has also learned that though Meghan Markle is upset by what's transpired her feelings about her father walking her down the aisle on Saturday weren't changed when those photos came out. She's very close to her father and we're just days away now from her big day.
Max Foster, CNN -- Windsor, England.
VAUSE: Well, for more, Josh Boswell joins us now. He's a British journalist who most recently covered Prince Harry's engagement to Meghan Markle.
Ok. So if TMZ is right and when are they ever wrong because these guys seem to, you know, rather than money -- almost 90 percent or 99 percent of the time. And Thomas Markle is actually heading home in shame because it's pretty hard to imagine he would actually turn up at this point.
[01:35:03] Then who will walk Meghan down the aisle? I think you pointed out that it maybe Prince Charles is one possibility; Prince William as well. I mean who else -- anybody?
JOSH BOSWELL, BRITISH JOURNALIST: There's not really a protocol for this. So yes, you've got Prince Charles as an option and he is the father of the groom. And you've got Prince William the best man, the brother of Prince Harry. There's not really anybody else who could do it. My money would be on Prince Charles.
VAUSE: Do they think -- at the end of the day, you know, they will all look back at this in a few years time from now and just have a good old chuckle or is this a permanent stain for the Markle family.
BOSWELL: I see it as a permanent stain, to be honest. The royal family does not get over stuff like this particularly easily.
VAUSE: Yes. "We are not amused."
Apparently Thomas Markle told TMZ he decided not to attend the wedding because he didn't want to quote "embarrass the royal family or his daughter" -- a bit late for that.
BOSWELL: it is a bit late for that and poor Meghan Markle has had to deal with embarrassments from her half-sister, her half-brother. Her half-sister blowing hot and cold with criticism and then saying that she's close to her sister; and then the half-brother writing that crazy letter to Prince Harry saying that he needs to watch out.
This is what happens when you marry the commoners, I guess.
TMZ is also reporting the reason Thomas Markle staged the photographs is this. "Markle tells us over the last year he's been ambushed by paparazzi who have photographed him in the most unflattering circumstances -- buying beer, looking disheveled and reclusive. He's especially upset that they made him look like a lush."
That's an interesting point. He also goes on to say that it had nothing to do with the money which seems a very hard excuse to swallow.
BOSWELL: He did get paid, according to him, for this photo shoot but he also says that he turned down $50,000 to $100,000 for interviews after the engagement was announced. So it sounds like he's not completely money-motivated.
VAUSE: Just a little bit?
BOSWELL: Just a little bit.
VAUSE: Ok. It's the first royal scandal that we've had for some time. I mean if you think back, you know, Fergie in the 1990s with the toe-sucking on the beach and then in 2010 Fergie again selling access to Prince Andrew (INAUDIBLE).
And you know, you can never forget that phone call -- that cell phone call that was intercepted between Prince Charles and Camilla. I think he was still married or was in the process of divorcing Diana at the time. All sort of things were said. So you know, they have had a pretty good run up until this.
BOSWELL: I think it's been pretty small fry in terms of the scandals that you've seen so far related to Meghan Markle. It's just been about how her family is a bit fractured and they have difficult relationships.
I do think though the palace is petrified that we're heading towards a situation like that; something which would really damage the credibility or sort of bring shame on the family.
VAUSE: I mean they were worried about Kate and sister Pippa, you know, misbehaving or not carrying themselves well. Well now they have real problems with the Markles. I mean the Middletons are a walk in the park I guess.
There's been this sort of hands off approach, if you like, to Harry and William especially after the way their mother Diana, you know, was killed being chased by the paparazzi. But I should say if there is this a concern that they are moving into a period of ongoing scandals caused by the in-laws does that agreement, that unofficial agreement, does that go away?
BOSWELL: Well, a lot of that unofficial agreement is because the royal family is very hard to access but it seems that Meghan Markle's family have been a lot easier to access. They have been setting up photo shoots. They've been having interviews. They've been wearing their hearts on their sleeve much more than the royal family do and maybe the paparazzi will see that as an inroad.
VAUSE: Yes. Is that because they just -- surely this has been explained to them by the palace about how these things operate and how they're vulnerable and what is right and what is. Isn't there a protocol there for that?
BOSWELL: There is a protocol and I'm sure they've been briefed but imagine yourself in that position, thrown into a situation where you're in the spotlight. The world is looking at you and every single journalist in the country in the world is trying to get a story out of you.
VAUSE: Yes. It's a lot of pressure I guess, you know. Ok. Josh -- good to see you, thank you. >
Well among the millions who will be watching the wedding will be Meghan Markle's friend and former co-workers in Toronto.
Paula Newton talks to the people who knew her when.
PAULA NEWTON, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Toronto may be dubbed the Queen City but for nearly seven years Meghan Markle ruled here. From her remodeled rented home in Toronto's trendy annex neighborhood Meghan had the kind of low-key life she may soon miss; from the dog park to yoga, hanging with friends to shopping local designers and brands.
MEGHAN MARKLE, PRINCE HARRY'S FIANCEE: I love it so much -- like pedestrian Sundays. It's a lot of fun.
NEWTON: Meghan Markle was picking up groceries at Toronto's Kensington Market way before she ever dreamed she'd be living in Kensington Palace.
[01:40:02] CRAIG MCNAMEE, MEGHAN MARKLE'S PERSONAL TRAINER: Hi. This is actually one of Meghan's favorite exercises. And it's very effective. It allows stability in the glutes.
NEWTON: Craig McNamee was her personal trainer for a time.
MCNAMEE: And really we're focused on having like effective but efficient workouts.
Good -- 10 more seconds.
It was fantastic, honestly. Meghan is a very kind, caring, positive person.
NEWTON: It was her day job that brought Markle to Toronto. For years the TV drama "Suits" was shot right here in a downtown studio --
M. MARKLE: Thank you.
NEWTON: -- with the kind of work-life balance that could be paparazzi-free whenever she wanted it to be. And so for many here it's still hard to believe that Meghan Markle went from the sidewalks in an unassuming Toronto neighborhood to Kensington Palace and the world stage.
How do you think she'll look back on these years? JEANNE BEKER, FASHION JOURNALIST: Probably a time of innocence. I
think that is still something that we can love and appreciate about Canada.
NEWTON: Canadian fashion icon Jeanne Beker met Markle at a photo shoot a few years ago as the young actor was launching a clothing line.
BEKER: I can't say that I -- you know, she was destined for that kind of greatness. And I think that's what makes the story so wonderful. It is a fairy tale story because it is yes, granted she may have been a TV star but I mean on other wonderful levels she was just a -- just -- she could have been the girl next door.
NEWTON: For Bill Capitano she was the girl next door. For years, the widower kept an eye on her house, cleaned the gutters when she was away, and says Prince Harry seemed to be right at home here too.
BILL CAPITANO, NEIGHBOR: She's very nice, actually. She met my family and my grandkids here you know. She was nice.
NEWTON: Markle clearly has a soft spot for this city and the feeling seems to be mutual -- from charming neighbors to championing local designers who knew Markle was actually getting a head start on her royal duties.
Canada is a commonwealth country. Next time she's here it will be on official business on behalf of the queen.
Paula Newton, CNN -- Toronto.
VAUSE: And if you find yourself at a loose end on Saturday, why not go to the wedding? CNN cordially invites you to be part of our special coverage of Harry and Meghan's big day from their "I dos", to the press, to the special carriage ride and the waving (ph). We'll have it all covered.
That's Saturday right here on CNN.
Ok. We'll take a short break.
Next on NEWSROOM L.A., a fond farewell to the actress Margot Kidder who has died. She was Lois Lane to Christopher Reeve's Superman. And she will be missed.
[01:42:40] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
VAUSE: Hollywood has been paying tribute to Margot Kidder; the actress died at her Montana home at age 69. She had a long career but was best known as Lois Lane in four Superman films opposite Christopher Reeve as the Man of Steel.
Here's CNN's Jeanne Moos.
JEANNE MOOS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Margot Kidder, a.k.a. Lois Lane, the kind of girl who wonders if she should put on something warmer.
MARGOT KIDDER, ACTOR: I need a sweater.
MOOS: The girl flying. First time with Superman. She wasn't just "a Lois Lane" --
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And Margot Kidder as Lois Lane.
MOOS: -- she was "the Lois Lane" appearing in four Superman movies. He was always breaking her fall; for instance at the Eiffel Tower.
CHRISTOPHER REEVE, ACTOR: I believe this is your floor.
MOOS: she was having a romance with the Man of Steel -- wondering about Clark Kent.
KIDDER: Who are you?
REEVE: A friend.
MOOS: -- which they were in life. Kidder once told CBS when you're strapped to someone hanging from the ceiling for months and months you get pretty darned close.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Actress Margot kidder talks about her battle with depression.
MOOS: She had bipolar disorder, struggled through a public meltdown, and was found wandering around Los Angeles thinking the CIA was after her.
KIDDER: I slept with a couple of nights with a homeless man in his cardboard box. It's so shameful that you hide it from yourself.
KIDDER: But she picked herself up and became a mental health advocate. At the age of 69, her manager says she died peacefully in her sleep at her home in Montana. Now she and Christopher Reeve, and the World Trade Center they flew by together are all gone.
When she could no longer hold on he was there to catch her and she delivered her catchiest line.
REEVE: Easy, Miss. I've got you.
KIDDER: You've -- you've got me. Who's got you?
MOOS: Jeanne Moos, CNN -- New York.
VAUSE: Great movies.
Ok. "Superman" and the films and the TV shows -- they've generated a number of shocking headlines over the years. So is there a Superman curse?
Joining us now TV host and pop culture expert Scott Nevins for more on the curse.
Ok. I'll get to that in a moment but first of all -- in just watching Lois Lane there, Margot Kidder, she was such an unusual choice for this role when the movie came out especially by today's standards.
But have a look at this clip. This is from "Superman 2" and then we'll talk about it on the other side.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
KIDDER: Wait. Who are you?
REEVE: A friend. Bye.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VAUSE: From the original "Superman" but regardless somehow the whole thing worked. There was this incredible chemistry with Christopher Reeve.
SCOTT NEVINS, TV HOST AND POP CULTURE EXPERT: She talked about that a lot actually. She said how they would actually go at it. They would fight sometimes because their energy was so powerful together. It was sort of like a brother and sister thing she said but it translated into like a really fun love story.
VAUSE: These are such great movies, such a great series.
VAUSE: Well the first two were good and then after that, you know.
Ok. The tragedy of Christopher Reeve is well known -- thrown from a horse, paralyzed and then passing away in 2004. But before that in 1996 Margot Kidder was found dazed and confused, wandering the streets of L.A. She was diagnosed with bipolar.
Before that though there was George Reeves who appeared in the original "Superman" TV series. Here's a reminder of what it was like.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Look, up in the sky. It's a bird.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It's a plane.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's Superman.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes. It's Superman, a strange visitor came to another planet, who came to earth with powers and abilities far beyond those of mortal men.
(END VIDEO CLIP) VAUSE: I've seen George as a kid -- that's how old I am. Apparently he couldn't find work, was depressed, and you know, he committed suicide with a gunshot to the head a couple of days before he was married.
And then you know, we had Richard Pryor who was, you know, in "Superman 3". He was diagnosed with MS and, you know, again died of cardiac arrest. So this list goes on and on and on which has a lot of people saying there is a Superman curse.
NEVINS: Yes. There's a lot of people who swear by this theory. And there's all these different factors like the Lee Quigley who played the little baby -- when they were 14 years old they passed away. It was like all these people passed away.
VAUSE: This is the baby in the spaceship going to earth as little Superman.
NEVINS: Little baby Superman -- passed away. And so people really buy into this. Even the brothers who produced the original cartoon for Paramount, they were fired from the studio when they sold it. One of them died poor and destitute. So people really buy into this.
But she did not buy into it -- Margot Kidder.
[01:49:53] VAUSE: Yes, that's interesting.
Well yes, because she actually said in an interview -- a newspaper interview a few years ago about the curse. "It's all newspaper- created rubbish. The idea cracks me up. What about the luck of Superman? When my car crashed this August if I hit a telegraph poll after rolling three times, I would have dropped down a 50 to 60 foot ravine. Why do people focus on that?"
That doesn't sound that lucky to me.
NEVINS: No. That's --
VAUSE: It's like a curse. It seems like she did have a kind of very unfortunate life in many respects.
NEVINS: Yes but she became an advocate though --
NEVINS: -- for people with mental illnesses and she was anti-war. She spoke out about a lot of causes. After she couldn't get work when that incident happened for her she kind of had a resurgence and she ended up winning an Emmy Award --
VAUSE: Oh, really?
NEVINS: And she appeared on "Smallville" --
VAUSE: Yes. NEVINS: -- and so it was sort of this great comeback for her and so I think people found a real love for her because when they found out about her illness and what happened to her Hollywood came out of the woodwork and gave money and tried to help her.
VAUSE: Yes. I swear that this curse has like hit Henry Caville who, you know, plays the latest "Superman" because, you know, this guy is just sort of an emotionless bloke who has no ability to act but maybe that was the case before he was cast as "Superman".
NEVINS: How do you really feel?
VAUSE: I think the new "Superman" movies are terrible. I think there's no warmth, there's no character. There's nothing that they had in the originals.
NEVINS: The originals are amazing. You can't touch them.
VAUSE: Ok. We'll finish with a big scandal in "Smallville". This is Allison Mack who played Clark's best friend, you know, in the TV series. She's facing some serious legal trouble. According to our own reporter, Mack's charges related to her alleged involvement with an organization called NXIVM, an Albany, New York-based group that claimed to be a self-help program but was, in reality, a pyramid scheme in which some recruits were exploited sexually and for their labor -- prosecutors allege in court filings.
Can she plead it's the curse?
NEVINS: No. This is a self brought on curse. This thing is bonkers. Like there are so many levels to this and she was part of creating these secret groups inside of it. One with the source (ph), where she would actually go out and target only actresses to bring them into this group.
And then beyond that was another secret group called DOS and this group was all about coercing women into doing sexual things with the male leader. And it's very much like scientology.
VAUSE: I was going to say that.
NEVINS: Can we say that? Can we say that in Hollywood?
VAUSE: They're listening.
NEVINS: They would try to blackmail these women. They say we have dirt on you. We will publicly shame you. And that's how a lot of these cult groups, whatever you want to call them, really kind of keep people within their power structure.
VAUSE: And it sounds like she was fairly high up in this organization allegedly.
NEVINS: Allegedly. She was one of the co-creators of these groups within NXIVM.
VAUSE: Wow. How do you get involved with something like that after "Smallville"?
NEVINS: I don't want to know.
VAUSE: Scott -- thank you.
VAUSE: Appreciate it.
Next here on NEWSROOM L.A., nature's fury on full display in Hawaii -- we're following the path of destruction caused by Kilauea's volcano and river of lava, I should say -- not river of love. Quite the opposite.
VAUSE: Well, now 2,000 residents have evacuated their homes as the Kilauea volcano continues its assault on Hawaii's Big Island. Fissures have opened near the volcano spewing black lava, smoke and balls of magma called spatter bombs high into the air. Slow-moving rivers of lava have consumed homes and are threatening to devour more structures including a geothermal thermal power plant.
We're going (ph) to see that now from Scott McLean reporting from Hawaii.
SCOTT MCLEAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: John -- there have now been nearly 20 fissures opened up on the bottom side of the Kilauea Volcano. They are spewing lava and destroying everything in their path. You can see this used to be a home. Now, it is completely unrecognizable.
[01:55:04] You can also see that gas spewing out of there -- that is sulfur dioxide. At best it is an irritant; at worst it can be dangerous.
The problem here -- air quality is a big problem here. A lot of people are lining up for gas masks. Officials say though the best thing to do is just stay inside your home. Some 2,000 people have been evacuated already and for very good reason.
Thirty-seven structures have been destroyed already. Most of them have been homes. The most recent fissures that have opened up were quite active overnight and continue to spew lava sometimes high into the air.
The other big problem is that a lot of people are not wanting to leave their homes. They're wanting to stick it out but police are saying that if their escape routes get blocked off they could be trapped.
The other threat is the top of Kilauea and the potential for an explosion because right now there are these giant boulders that are falling into that main crater. They're worried that if enough pressure is created it could lead to an explosion.
The U.S. Geological Survey though says there has not been a lot of pressure measured so that is good news, at least for now -- John.
VAUSE: Ok. Scott -- thank you for those details.
Finally here, when your prom theme is Welcome to the Jungle it would not be complete without a caged tiger, of course. Somehow organizers of the dance at a high school in Miami, Florida thought it would be a good idea, why not? But now wildlife officials are investigating to see if, you know, maybe some laws were broken perhaps. The video posted by the school went viral and then it was deleted. The principal has apologized saying he knows maybe some people are offended. A lemur, two macaws and an African fox were also at the prom.
Ok. You're watching CNN NEWSROOM live from Los Angeles. I'm John Vause.
Be sure to join us on Twitter @CNNNEWSROOMLA for highlights and clips from the show. Stay with us though, I'll be back with more news right after this.
[02:00:09] VAUSE: This is CNN NEWSROOM live from Los Angeles. Ahead this hour --
Dozens of protesters are killed in Gaza --