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CNN NEWSROOM

Still No Assurance of U.S.-North Korea June Summit; Yulia Skripal Speaks Out After Release; NFL Owners, Players Must Stand For U.S. National Anthem; Police Apologize For Treatment Of NBA Player; President Trump Shining A Spotlight On MS-13; Manhattan Grand Jury Hearing Testimony In Weinstein Case. Aired 3-4a ET

Aired May 24, 2018 - 03:00   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


[03:00:00]

ROSEMARY CHURCH, HOST, CNN: Well, the U.S. summit with North Korea hangs in the balance, the rhetoric heats up. Now one high ranking official calls the U.S. vice president a political dummy.

For the first time we are seeing the daughter of a former Russian spy who survived a nerve agent attack.

New rules for the NFL players are forced to stand for the national anthem on the field or pay the price.

And live images of the erupting Kilauea volcano with no indication it will stop anytime soon.

Hello and welcome to our viewers joining us here in the United States and of course, all around the world. I'm Rosemary Church, and this is CNN Newsroom.

There are new signs of trouble for the planned summit between Donald Trump and Kim Jong-un. First, Trump administration officials say they want more high level talks with Pyongyang before the meeting in Singapore next month. That comes as a group of international journalists travel for the first time to North Korea's main test site to see it dismantled.

Meantime, a top North Korean official has blasted U.S. Vice President Mike Pence as a political dummy for comparing North Korea to Libya. She also says if talks with the U.S. don't work out North Korea is prepared for a nuclear showdown.

Well, CNN's Alexandra Field is following this for us from Hong Kong. She joins us now live. So Alex, the June 12 summit was already on shaky ground and now North Korea was warning of a nuclear showdown and calling Vice President Pence a political dummy. What's Pyongyang hoping to achieve with these comments and this threat, and what's the strategy behind this new aggressive approach?

ALEXANDRA FIELD, CORRESPONDENT, CNN: Well, the brazen language is certainly resounding. And it has had a lot of people asking exactly what the strategy is here, is this brinkmanship is display of testing. The ability to negotiate with President Trump before this potential sit down on Singapore on June 12 is this perhaps an indication of just some appeasement of hard liners within North Korea who think that Kim Jong-un is moving too quickly.

And all that said because we can only conjecture what's happening inside North Korea. We know that this does represent or ratcheting up of rhetoric that we have seen over the last week or so, and certainly marks a shift in tone from what we've seen from North Korea in the last few weeks and months in the run up to this historic summit.

But since the U.S. and South Korea went forward with this joint military exercises which always rankle North Korea, you have seen sharper rhetoric. It has become increasingly fiery as the U.S. cast some doubts on whether or not the summit will actually happen.

That said, Rosemary, this high level official in North Korea does say that North Korea won't beg for this sit down. But North Korea and the U.S. do both appear to be sending teams to Singapore this weekend to work to hammer out the logistics of that summit which could be just a few weeks away.

CHURCH: Yes. And of course the Trump administration is now saying it wants more high level talks with North Korea before going ahead with the summit and it wants assurances from Kim Jong-un that he's committed to giving up his nuclear program.

What does all of this signal?

FIELD: Right. It seems that that would be the starting block for all of this. It seems so implausible that these two leaders have agreed to this sit down. It all happened very rapidly. More sides marching forward. But certainly you are hearing from Washington and officials in Washington right now that there is a possibility that this will not happen at all or that it will not happen right now.

Those were the direct words from the president. He has said that we really don't know if this is going to happen until perhaps some time next week, and that's because there does need to be more discussion with North Korea.

The Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo has elaborated further saying that it's really critical that need conditions and the content of these discussions need to be agreed to by both sides.

Don't forget, Rosemary, the secretary of state traveled to North Korea twice to speak to Kim Jong-un, the leader who said that he was open to these talks about denuclearization. But when Secretary Pompeo traveled back to the United States it wasn't with any specific commitment or components of denuclearization or how this would all work.

The details here are of course important. We know that it could come to the 11th hour for all of this to get worked out and for both sides to agree whether or not they would come to the table.

But certainly officials in Washington making it very clear that it isn't a done deal, that this might not off if things are not in place by that time like the president likes to say we have to wait and see at this point.

CHURCH: Yes. That's what we do a lot of. Alexandra Field watching from her vantage point there in Hong Kong where it's just after 3 in the afternoon. Many thanks.

Well, with the U.S.-North Korean summit hanging in the balance, Kim Jong-un is gaining valuable bargaining chips. Some even say he is playing the United States.

CNN's Brian Todd reports.

[03:04:59] BRIAN TODD, CORRESPONDENT, CNN: The diplomatic dance has reached an almost unthinkable point where an American president is offering to protect a brutal North Korean dictator.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I will guarantee his safety, yes. We will guarantee his safety. And we've talked about that from the beginning. He will be safe. He will be happy. His country will be rich.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

GORDON CHANG, AUTHOR, "THE COMING COLLAPSE OF CHINA": That's not something American presidents do, so this is totally extraordinary, something we've never seen before and I hope we never see again.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

TODD: Lately, President Trump has been describing Kim Jong-un in almost statesman like terms.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP: He really has been very open, and I think very honorable.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

TODD: Not all that long ago Mr. Trump was referring to Kim as slightly less than honorable.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP: Little rocket man, he is a sick puppy.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

TODD: And in a tweet, the president implied strongly that Kim was short and fat. How drastically has the dynamic changed? Secretary of State Mike Pompeo after returning recently from a meeting with Kim talked about how impressed he was with Kim's command of the issues.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MIKE POMPEO, UNITED STATES SECRETARY OF STATE: He is very knowledgeable in the sense that he know the files. He's very capable of engaging in complex set of discussions. When I ask him a question about something that's a little off he answers it. There's no cards.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

TODD: Analyst say Kim has been engage in a grand charm offensive since New Year's Day when he opened the door for diplomacy with South Korea. His sister Kim Yo-jong has played a critical role in the offensive successfully cultivating South Korean President Moon Jae-in at the Winter Olympics. And Kim's appearance in April at a summit at a summit with Moon in the DMZ expert say was a master stroke in diplomacy and image making.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Is he playing the U.S. and its ally?

PATRICK CRONIN, SENIOR ADVISOR AND SENIOR DIRECTOR, ASIA-PACIFIC SECURITY PROGRAM AT THE CENTER FOR A NEW AMERICAN SECURITY: Kim is playing everybody right now. Kim has agency here. He has a strategy. He knows what he wants and what he wants to retain nuclear weapons while breaking the sanctions regime and inviting real investment and economic prosperity into his country.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

TODD: Veteran intelligence officials and diplomats praised Trump for bringing at least a temporary peace. But now human rights monitors warn of Kim's deceptions.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What is the reality there during this charm offense?

GREG SCARLATOIU, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, COMMITTEE FOR HUMAN RIGHTS IN NORTH KOREA: The reality of North Korea has not changed. This regime is keen on developing its nuclear weapons, its ballistic missiles. While it is doing that 30 percent of North Korea's children are malnourished, 120,000 men, women and children are held as political prisoners.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

TODD: What happens if Kim Jong-un charm offensive doesn't work and diplomacy falls apart, analyst say look for the mistrust between the U.S. and North Korea to deepen for Kim to probably go back to his aggressive posture and for the chance of a miscalculation and a possible military confrontation to go way up.

Brian Todd, CNN, Washington.

CHURCH: President Trump is escalating his attacks on the FBI as he tries to discredit the Russia investigation. He is pushing the unsubstantiated claim that the FBI spied on his campaign. And now we've learned there will be two classified briefings for

lawmakers Thursday on the topic, one with just Republicans and another with Democrats included.

Once more the president's son-in-law and adviser Jared Kushner has had a second interview with special counsel Robert Mueller.

Here is Pamela Brown with more.

PAMELA BROWN, SENIOR WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT, CNN: President Trump going farther than ever in attacking America's law-enforcement institutions, accusing former President Obama's Justice Department of spying on his presidential campaign.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP: I hope it's not so because if it is there's never been anything like it in the history of our country. I hope, I mean, if you like at Clapper he sort of admitted that they had spies in the campaign yesterday inadvertently. But I hope it's not true but it looks like it is.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BROWN: Trump referring to comments from former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper. But what Clapper actually said wasn't the Trump campaign was spied on but that the FBI was in fact watching Russia.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JOY BEHAR, HOST, ABC: Was the FBI spying on Trump's campaign?

JAMES CLAPPER, FORMER UNITED STATES DIRECTOR OF NATIONAL INTELLIGENCE: No, they were not. They were spying on a term I don't particularly like but what the Russians are doing. Trying to understand were the Russians infiltrating, trying to gain access trying to gain leverage and influence.

BEHAR: So why doesn't he like--

(CROSSTALK)

CLAPPER: That's what they do.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BROWN: The present seizing on the mischaracterization nonetheless. Tweeting with certainty, "Look how things have turnaround on the criminal deep state. They go after phony collusion with Russia, a made-up scam and end up getting up getting caught in a major spy scandal the likes of which this country may never have seen before."

That, after ordering the DOJ to open classified files to congressional review.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP: They are going to be on the room tomorrow, we're going to see what happens. What I want is I want total transparency.

[03:09:57] MARK WARNER, (D) UNITED STATES SENATOR: My hope and prayer is that the FBI or the Department of Justice would not be many of them be force to reveal confidential information. That would go against 75 years of practice.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BROWN: Former FBI director James Comey blasting the president for the order tweeting, "The FBI's use of confidential human sources the actual term is tightly regulated and essential to protecting the country," adding, "attacks on the FBI and lying about its work will do lasting damage to our country."

Trump's response.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP: We're not undercutting. We're cleaning everything up. This was a terrible situation what we're doing is we're cleaning everything up. It's so important. What I'm doing is a service to this country and I did a great service to this country by firing James Comey.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BROWN: The whole episode has further soured in already complicated relationship between Trump and Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein but both greeted each other warmly today at an immigration roundtable in New York where Trump double down on calling MS-13 gang members animals.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP: I call them animals the other day and I was met with rebuke. They said they are people. They're not people. These are animals.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BROWN: This is Trump's attorneys tried to narrow the scope of the potential interview between the president and special counsel Robert Mueller.

Multiple sources familiar with the matter tell CNN Trump's legal team wants any interview with Mueller to only focus on matters occurring before Trump became president which would effectively eliminate questions related to obstruction of justice.

CHURCH: Pamela Brown with that report. And for more on all of this let's go to Leslie Vinjamuri in London. She is the head of the U.S. and Americas program at Chatham House. Good to have you with us.

LESLIE VINJAMURI, SENIOR LECTURER, UNIVERSITY OF LONDON: Thank you, Rosemary. CHURCH: So we are watching President Trump aggressively push his deep state conspiracy theory of a spy being embedded in his campaign by the FBI despite a lack of any evidence to support that. Let's just listen to what Republican Senator Jeff Flake had to say about this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

WOLF BLITZER, HOST, CNN: What do you think when the president uses the phrase criminal deep state?

JEFF FLAKE, (R) UNITED STATES SENATOR: Yes. Well, I think that is ocmpletely unfair and it's not good to solely our institutions like that without proff. I've seen no evidence that there is spying on the Trump campaign. It's just simply the FBI following leads on was Russia involved or not.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CHURCH: Leslie, how likely is that people are buying into Mr. Trump's conspiracy theory and is his strategy to discredit the Russia probe working here?

VINJAMURI: Well, I think part of what we're seeing is that the strategy, well, first of all, strategy is not new. Remember that this term and this attack on law enforcement agency and his claim that there is a deep state that is against Trump against the campaign and now against Trump as president is something that we've been seeing for the entire presidency.

But in terms of what effects is that having on the people, now, you know, one recent poll that's come out has suggested that 59 percent of Americans don't think that the Mueller investigation has produced any evidence of wrongdoing.

Now we know factually that that's inaccurate, but nonetheless there is this perception amongst the broader public that the investigation isn't throwing anything up that gives cause or concern. And part of that certainly comes down to this counterattack that the president has very effectively launched where he's claiming that the investigators themselves that the Justice Department, the FBI, Mueller's investigation are standing -- holding to the kind of standards that one would expect. So it's a very destructive counterattack that we're seeing right now.

CHURCH: So his strategy is working and we are expecting two confidential Department of Justice briefings in just a few hours from now. What do you expect will come out of those meetings?

VINJAMURI: Well, I think, you know, there's going to be a lot of prospect here because of course the Democrats have not been invited to participate in that. Nancy Pelosi is calling for them to deferred until there is a participation from a possible--

(CROSSTALK)

CHURCH: Leslie, if I could just jump in there because in actual fact she has been included in the second one, so there is one meeting just for the Republicans and the second one the Democrats will be included in that meeting. That came a little later.

VINJAMURI: OK. Good. So, I mean, it's very difficult. I think what we're going to see is that this is going to be push forward that the Justice Department and the FBI will continue to stick to their line which is that this is a, you know, this is an investigation that needs to be protected that there hasn't been any wrongdoing.

[03:15:05] But I think regardless of what comes out of that meeting and I think this is base from what we've seen for the last -- for the last year or more is that there will be a sustained attack on the integrity of that investigation.

And again, a lot of this comes down to how does it play in the public domain. Now it's -- it is good that there's been a rethinking that Pelosi has been invited into that second meeting shows that there's some attention to the need for having a bipartisan oversight involvement that this stuff is going to taking.

Nonetheless, I think how this is playing in the public is something that we need to be very concerned about.

CHURCH: All right. Leslie Vinjamuri, thank you so much. We appreciate your analysis.

VINJAMURI: Thank you.

CHURCH: And we'll take a very short break here but still to come, the daughter of a Russian double agent steps forward. Yulia Skripal appears on camera for the first time since she and her father were poisoned by a nerve agent.

Plus, you will hear from a woman in Hawaii whose home is threatened by the Kilauea volcano with no end in sight to the disastrous eruptions. We're back with that in just a moment.

[03:20:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)

CHURCH: Welcome back, everyone. Well, the world is finally getting to see Yulia Skripal, the daughter of a former Russian spy for the first time since they were poisoned in England by a nerve agent. Speaking from an undisclosed location in the United Kingdom she says she's still trying to come to terms with what happened.

Phil Black has more.

PHIL BLACK, CORRESPONDENT, CNN: Yulia Skripal looks well, surprisingly well. The videotape shows her walking even smiling slightly and speaking strongly. There is no obvious sign that she's recently experienced a life threatening trauma part from what appears to be a (Inaudible) scar on her throat it's likely that incision is what allowed her to keep breathing during the 20 days she says she was in coma.

She says she only learned that she was poisoned after she woke up. That she was shocked to learn that it was because of a nerve agent which she believed but she and her father Sergei Skripal are very lucky to survive what she describes as an attempted assassination.

She's very grateful for the medical treatments and the help that has kept her alive but she says that treatment was invasive, painful, and depressing.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

YULIA SKRIPAL, SERGEI SKRIPAL'S DAUGHTER (through translator): As I tried to come to terms with the devastating changes trust upon me, both physically and emotionally, I take one day at a time and want to help care for my father until his full recovery.

In the longer term I hope to return home to my country. I wish to address a couple of issues directly and have chosen to interrupt my rehabilitation to make a short statement.

I ask that everyone respects the privacy of me and my father. We need time to recover and come to terms with everything that has happened.

I'm grateful for the offers of assistance from the Russian embassy but at the moment I do not wish to avail myself of their services.

Also I want to reiterate what I said in my earlier statement that no one speaks for me or my father but ourselves. I would like to thank again everyone involved in my continued care in this difficult period of my life. My priority remains on my recovery and my father's health. Thank you for your attention.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BLACK: Yulia Skripal was speaking from an undisclosed location somewhere in the United Kingdom. She was released from hospital in early April. Her father, Sergei, left hospital only last week. His location is also a secret.

Yulia didn't comment to speculate on why she thought someone may have wanted them both dead.

The British government position is that it is still highly likely he believes that this was a Russian state operation using a weapons grade nerve agent. The Russian position rejects that. President Putin has said that if this was a weapons grade nerve agent there's simply no way these two would still be alive.

Shortly after the video statement was released the Russian embassy in the U.K. tweeted that it's glad to see Yulia Skripal alive and well but the video only strengthens its concerns that she's being held and made to speak against her will.

Phil Black, CNN, London.

CHURCH: And we turn now to Hawaii where there is no telling how long the Kilauea volcano eruption will last. Hundreds of people remain under evacuation orders due to lava flows and dangerous gases.

Our Stephanie Elam is on the Big Island and spoke to one resident worried about what the future might hold.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

STEPHANIE ELAM, CORRESPONDENT, CNN: Three weeks into this natural disaster and residents of Leilani Estates are still in a state of limbo. They don't know from day-to-day whether or not their homes are still standing.

We join one resident Stacy Welch as she went in to check on her property.

So even now when you look at this and you see this black lava now what does it make you think?

STACY WELCH, VOLCANO EVACUEE: Uncertain. That's now uncertain we're safe. We're not safe, we're not out of danger. This is not over. It's continuing. We just don't know when it's going to stop.

ELAM: And while each day Stacy goes in to check on her house she is also looking for the cracks in the road that continue to get larger on her street. Some so big you could probably fit a small car in there.

And if that's not enough there's also the threat of methane gas that is now coming up from the earth, as well as those toxic volcanic gases which some days don't blow away into winds as much and so it makes it much more difficult to be in there.

Nevertheless, Stacy said she has to go in every day to check on her home. Back to you.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

CHURCH: Stephanie Elam, thanks so much for that.

Well, it began as a way to call out racial injustice then it turned into this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP: Wouldn't you love to see one of these NFL owners when somebody disrespects our flag to say get that son (muted) off the field right now. Out. He's fired. He's fired!

(END VIDEO CLIP)

[03:24:58] CHURCH: When we come back, NFL owners have their say on protest during the national anthem.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

CHURCH: And a very warm welcome back. I'm Rosemary Church. I want to update you now on the main stories we've been following this hour. Donald Trump says we will know next week if his summit with Kim Jong-

un will go ahead as planned. The North Korean foreign ministry warns its prepared for a nuclear showdown if dialogue fails. But says that entirely depends upon the decisions and behavior of the United States.

French President Emmanuel Macron is heading to Russia hoping to find common ground with Vladimir Putin on a number of key issues. He hopes to gain support to address Iran's ballistic missiles and regional influence with an eye toward bringing the United States back into the Iran nuclear deal.

The U.S. is investigating a possible sonic attack on a government employee in southern China. The employee reported abnormal sensation of sound and pressure leading to a mild brain injury. Officials say it's very similar to sonic attacks on Americans at the U.S. embassy in Cuba.

Well, from now on professional football players in the United States must stand when the national anthem is played at the start of their games or their teams could face fines. That's what NFL owners decided on Wednesday. It's their solution to a controversy that began nearly two years ago with players across the league protesting social and racial injustice by kneeling during the anthem.

[03:29:59] As the player's protest grew, so did the backlash from fans with perhaps the most important fan being the U.S. president who publicly attacked the NFL and demanded players stand. Under the new rules the NFL commissioner points out the players that want to protest have an option.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ROGER GOODELL, NFL COMMISIONER: We think that we've come up with a balanced process here and a procedure and policy that will allow those players who feel that they can't stand for the anthem to stay in the locker room and there's no penalty for that, but we are going to encourage all of them to be on the field. We would like all of them to be on the field and stand attention.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CHURCH: So let's talk more about this with CNN contributor, Donte Stallworth. He also played in the NFL as a wide receiver. Donte, good to have you with us.

DONTE STALLWORTH, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: Thanks for having me, Rosemary.

CHURCH: Well, the NFL will fine any team, whose players kneel on the field, but they will allow players now who want to protest to stay in the locker room during the national anthem. That wasn't allowed before. It was a decision made without the involvement of the players union. How are most players reacting to these new rules and what impact will likely have with them?

STALLWORTH: I don't think they're reacting too well. It seems like this is for them, for the players has in a form of compulsory patriotism. And it doesn't mean that, you know that these guys don't love their country. You can love your country and still want your country to be a better place. That is what the founders of this country decided to make the first amendment was the freedom of expression, the freedom of free speech and the right to assembly and peacefully protest.

So, you know, when those things are attacked you're literally attacking -- on whatever level it is, it doesn't matter if it NFL players, doesn't matter if, you know, it's union workers that are on strike. This is the founding principles of our country. And if we don't adhere to these principles and try to strengthen them, we may not like when people, you know, if we're opposed to them, we may not like what they have to say or the way they protest, but if it's in peaceful manner, that's what this country was built on.

CHURCH: And Donte, this all started when Colin Kaepernick decided to kneel instead of sitting on the bench to protest racism and police brutality. Let us just bring out some of those images. Kaepernick was convinced in actual fact by a U.S. Veteran that kneeling was more respectful. So that is what he decided to do. Why do you think so many people view kneeling as disrespectful to the flag when it was actually a U.S. Veteran who suggested it?

STALLWORTH: That is a great point, because that tends to get lost in this whole conversation. And obviously as you noted Colin Kaepernick was the one who kicked off the NFL protest by sitting on a bench at first and after consulting with a former Green Beret Nate Boyer, who also played college football at the University of Texas, I went to school at the University of Tennessee, we called it the other U.T. but Nate still a good guy.

And he had a convention with Colin Kaepernick and told him, said hey, you know, I love what you're doing, I respect what you're doing but I don't agree with it. So they ended up meeting a few days later before the next game, and they met and he told Colin Kaepernick. He said you that know what, I think you should probably take a knee, because that is what we do in the military. We take a knee for our fallen comrades, and he is like that is a sign of respect towards, you know, military members. And so that is what Colin decide to do and ironically enough he drew the ire of from people who were he was disrespecting the military.

CHURCH: And I do want to show you a tweet from Vice President Mike Pence, saying this is a win for the President and showing a photo of him standing at an NFL game that he walk out of after some players kneeled. Mr. Trump has made it all part of his cultural wars, hasn't he? I want to play for you part of the campaign rally where he brought it up. Let us just take a listen.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Wouldn't you love to see one of these NFL owners, when somebody disrespects our flag to say get that son of a (BEEP) off the field right now, out. He's fired. He is fired.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CHURCH: So how big a role do you think the president played enforcing the NFL to put this ban in place and how much pressure do you think was applied to the NFL?

STALLWORTH: I think, he was (inaudible). I think, the President has had a personal grievance with the NFL, because they did not allow him to purchase an NFL team on more than one occasion.

[03:35:02] And he has -- as we know the president is extremely vindictive. And he is been lashing out and attacking the NFL and it's you know -- everything about the NFL, obviously the players as well. Personal friends of his who are NFL owners, he's, you know, attacking their businesses. And ultimately the NFL today as we saw they kowtowed to the president's earlier rants, consistent rants.

And again I have to make sure that I always state that, you know, we're talking about NFL, and, yes, it's a game. But at the end of the day, to me the big danger is that you see the President of the United States using the power of the Oval Office, using his seat as the head executive of this nation, the most powerful nation in the country to squash dissent, to have players not be able to exercise their first amendment rights.

And I don't think that is what the founding father had in mind, when, you know, when they were trying to figure out what type of country we wanted to be.

CHURCH: Right. And we mentioned Colin Kaepernick, who sort of started all of this, he received a top honor from amnesty intentional for his public protest. And I want to remind people how he himself described his protest. Let us listen.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

COLIN KAEPERNICK, NFL 49ER'S PLAYER: Ultimately it's to bring awareness and make people, you know, realize what's really going on in this country. There are a lot of things that are going on that are just. People aren't being held accountable for and that is something that needs to change. That is something that, you know, this country stands for freedom, liberty, justice for all. And it is not happening for all, right now.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CHURCH: And Donte, the American flag of course stands for freedom. And yet players are not free to peacefully protest in front of it. How does that make most players feel, and why do you think this has become such a big deal?

STALLWORTH: I think when you do that with the players it's almost a sign and obvious show of hypocrisy. Because I personally have a number of friends, who have serve -- who are currently serving. My father served in the U.S. Army along with his father and down the line, and so I've spoken with a number of people and everyone, pretty much 99 percent of the veterans are ask personally I have spoken to, friend or even just people whom I had met at random, they all said at the end of the day, you know what, whether I agree with it or not is not the point. The point is that we don't necessarily fight for the flag.

Yes, the flag is a symbol of the country, but the country and the foundations and the principles -- the founding principles of this nation are also embroiled in that flag as well. And so the fact that the players have been peacefully protesting, you know, during the national anthem, and most of them had told me that, you know, at the end of the day, it's their right it's what we fight for.

And so that is the response that I've got on a number of guys. And obviously there are some veterans who don't see it that way. Which is fine again. This is. You know what the country is supposed to be about, open debate, you know, first amendment rights, being able to protest peacefully and peacefully assemble. When you start undercutting those values then what type of country are we becoming?

CHURCH: Yes, and Donte, I also want to ask you about an incident that shows the type of thing that Colin Kaepernick was protesting. Sterling Brown plays professional basketball in the United States, and in January he was tased and arrested after police said he became confrontational over an alleged parking violation. Milwaukee police released video of that incident on Wednesday. Let us play just a part of that.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Taser. Taser. Taser.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CHURCH: Now, the police chief apologized saying officers acted inappropriately and have been disciplined. Brown issued a statement saying this in part. Situations like mine and worse happen every day in the black community. Being a voice and a face for people who won't be heard and don't have the same platform as I have is a responsibility I take seriously. I am speaking for Donte Camp (ph) Hamilton of Milwaukee, Lekuan McDonald (ph) of Chicago, Stephon (ph) of Sacramento, Eric Garner (ph) of New York, and the list goes on. These people aren't able to speak anymore, because of unjust actions by those who were supposed to serve and protect the people.

[03:40:00] So, Donte, if I can just bring you back into the conversation here, as we can see from Sterling Brown's experience, there's a reason why he and others see and meet to protest racism and police brutality. So what do those players who want an opportunity to do this, what will they decide to do in the wake of this new rules? And how do you explain this to the football and the basketball fans, who wants players to basically leave the protest alone and just get on with the game.

STALLWORTH: I believe that instances like this --you know, when they do occur whether it's with a professional athlete or whether if it's with the citizen of this country that is in a certain city, players have understood African-American players in particular have understood from the beginning who have grown up in these neighborhoods, they've seen these things with their -- they've witnessed these things firsthand. They've had first-hand knowledge and first-hand experience of not so good confrontations with police officers. Racism is deeply rooted and so when you see instances like that you understand unfortunately that the black skin in this country is automatically criminalized. And so -- when you have situations like that there's never a benefit of the doubt. It's always, you know, this person is a criminal, I'm afraid what this person might do to me. And that is when you have these instances where people are unarmed, people are shot and killed in the streets of America. And it just doesn't seem to come to an end. So automatically the players who have grown up with these experiences, they're going to speak out on it, because they feel like they have to represent not only their communities, but their family members as well.

CHURCH: We will watch to see how players react to this in the days and weeks going forward. Donte Stallworth, thank you so much for joining us.

STALLWORTH: Thanks for having me. Thank you.

CHURCH: All right, let's take a very short break here. But still to come, Donald Trump is once again calling out the dangerous MS-13 gang. Is all of his tough talks actually helping the gang's recruitment? We will have that for you, next.

[04:45:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)

CHURCH: For months now Donald Trump has been calling out the notorious MS-13 gang and often shine spotlight on their crimes to bolster, his case for curbing illegal immigration. But some say the U.S. President is simply emboldening the group, the more he talks about them. Here is Michael Holmes.

(BEGIN VIDEO)

MICHAEL HOLMES, CNN ANCHOR AND CORRESPONDENT: U.S. President Donald Trump once again stepping up the harsh rhetoric on the notorious Latin America street gang MS-13.

TRUMP: These are animals. They come in into our country, we're getting them out. I refer to them as animals, and guess what, I always will.

HOLMES: MS-13 has long been a rallying point for Trump when speaking to the dangers of illegal immigration.

TRUMP: Sanctuary cities are the best friends of gangs and cartels like MS-13. MS-13 horrible killer gang members. Violent criminals like MS-13. MS-13 gang members. These are not good people, folks. We have to stop MS-13. MS-13 killers. Savage MS-13 gang.

HOLMES: But many of Trump's talking points about the street gang and their numbers are off base. MS-13 has been functioning in the U.S. since the mid-80s and is compose primarily of immigrants or descendants of immigrants from El Salvador. There are 10,000 MS-13 members or affiliate believe to be residing in the U.S. according to the Department of Justice. With the MS-13 being only one of 33,000 violent street gangs, motorcycle gangs and prison gangs all of which have 1.4 million members total and are all criminally active in the U.S. Puerto Rico today. Trump is right that the MS-13 is present in almost every state and membership is growing. FBI investigations reveal MS-13 is targeting more young recruits now than ever before.

But is the President's continued mentioned of the gang helpful or harmful as a source of advertising? It has seen in report from last year, MS-13 members were interview on condition of anonymity and said themselves that Mr. Trump's crack down is the reason for higher MS-13 recruitment.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Trump himself has made everybody fear. All the immigrants they feel like if they go to the police or something they getting deported. So whatever happens to them they'd rather stay quiet and let it happen.

HOLMES: Allies see his constant mention of the street gang as evidence of his support.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What has changed over the last 18 months since this president started making MS-13 part of our vernacular?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's the enforcement has been up. We are getting the support that we've always needed, when it goes after going after the gang members.

HOLMES: Michael Holmes, CNN, Atlanta.

(END VIDEO)

CHURCH: After this short break, new developments in the Harvey Weinstein scandal including a federal sex crimes investigation against the former Hollywood producer. Back in a moment.

[03:50:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)

CHURCH: Federal prosecutors in New York have opened a sex crimes investigation into former Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein. That is according to "The Wall Street Journal." The report says investigators are looking into whether he lured women across state lines to commit sex crimes. CNN has also learned a grand jury in Manhattan is hearing testimony and other evidence in the criminal sex assault case against Weinstein. In all more than 80 women have accused the Oscar winning producer of sexual harassment or assault including actresses Ashley Jude, Gwyneth Paltrow and Angelina Jolie.

Joining me now to talk more about this is former prosecutor troy Slaten. Thank you so much for being with us.

TROY SLATEN, DEFENSE ATTORNEY: Thanks for having me Rosemary.

CHURCH: So we understand that a Manhattan grand jury is hearing testimony and other evidence in the criminal sexual assault case against Harvey Weinstein. He insists he is innocent, but there have been so many accusers against him, so much detail yet local prosecutors have been reluctant to charge him with a crime. So how big a development is this?

SLATEN: Well, obviously he maintains that any sexual contact that he had was consensual. But there are several dueling investigations and prosecutions that are looming against him. The Manhattan district attorney, so a state prosecution in New York is proceeding now with a grand jury. And the federal prosecutors as well are investigating, and prosecutors here in Los Angeles, based on reports in Beverly Hills and Los Angeles are being looked at as well.

CHURCH: Now, it has taken a little while to get to this point, hasn't it? And how rare is this for the Feds to get involved? And what specifically are they looking at?

SLATEN: Well, for federal prosecutors to be involve in an individual, involved in sexual harassment or sexual misconduct, it is very rare. Normally we see that with regard to interstate sex trafficking, people being moved across state lines for prostitution human trafficking, that sort of thing. So, with regards to Harvey Weinstein, the federal government would only be interested if he used the means of interstate commerce. He lured people across state lines for fraudulent purposes or using fraud to induce them to engage in a crime, namely rape or other types of sexual misconduct.

CHURCH: And how difficult will this be to prosecute, do you think? What are the Feds need to prove here?

SLATEN: Well, the Federal Government would have to show that he used the interstate commerce, the internet, the telephone. That is pretty easy. But then that he lured people across state lines for the purpose of committing a rape or a crime against them.

[03:55:13] There is a very old statute from the 19th century called the man act. It's very seldom used, and it's a crime essentially to bring a woman across state lines for immoral purposes. They're going to have to show that he had some pretty a nefarious plans, which if we believe some 80 people that had made allegations against him, they may be able to do that. And they may be using the Bill Cosby model where in Federal court you're allowed to bring even uncharged, other people, uncharged crimes in order to prove the crime that you are prosecuting.

CHURCH: And given what we know so far. The details we have heard from various women accusing him, how likely is it that Harvey Weinstein could be arrested, do you think?

SLATEN: It's very likely that he is going to be arrested. I would say an arrest is somewhat imminent. The New York district attorney has said that they're in the end stages of their investigation. They've convened a grand jury, and there is an old saying that any prosecutor worth his salt can indict a ham sandwich.

Now, New York police have been very upset because they say, we could have me an arrest a long time ago, but why haven't the prosecutors prosecuted? Well, it only takes reasonable suspicion and probable cause to make an arrest. But prosecutor have to be sure that they dot all their I's, they crossed all their T's and that they are ready to prove each and every element of the crime beyond a reasonable doubt before they make the arrest.

CHURCH: Troy Slaten, thank you so much. We appreciate your analysis on this.

SLATEN: Thanks, Rosemary.

CHURCH: Thank you.

And thank you for your company this hour. I'm Rosemary Church. The news continues in just a moment.