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Call For Church Reform Amid Sex Abuse Scandals; Sources: Trump Worried About McGahn Interview; Trump To Reuters: I Could Run Mueller Probe If I want. Aired 1-2a

Aired August 21, 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 INTERNATIONAL ANCHOR: You're watching CNN NEWSROOM live from Los Angeles. Ahead this hour, "Dear, people of God." Pope Francis does what no purpose ever done before writing a letter to the faithful condemning the atrocities of clerical sex abuse of children dying no more cover-ups that offers no specific measures on how to make it happen.

Plus, truth isn't truth. What could be the defining statement of the Trump presidency? The truth he says could make him a liar.

And he made a career, playing this mommy slimy bad guy. But now, the stick may be too close to home before I and Kevin Spacey, his latest movie spectacularly floss at the box.

OK, everybody. Thank you for joining us for another hour. I'm John Vause and this is NEWSROOM L.A.

Pope Francis has taken the unprecedented move of writing to every member of the Catholic Church expressing shame for failing to act against priests accused of child sexual abuse. The letter comes as an investigation in Pennsylvania details decades of alleged abuse by predator priests. And to that, the Pope takes responsibility, writing this.

"With shame and repentance, we acknowledge as an ecclesial community that we're not where we should have been, that we did not act in a timely manner, realizing the magnitude and the gravity of the damaged one to so many lives. We showed no care for the little ones, we abandoned them."

The pain of precinct child abuse was made real again in the wake of that investigation in Pennsylvania. And while these words of condemnation may be the strongest ever from the Vatican, and this action by Pope Francis unprecedented in Pennsylvania.

Like so many other places left scarred by this disease within the church, the time for words no matter how powerful as long since passed. Replace with calls, the real change, and reform, calls which grow louder by the day. Here's Polo Sandoval, reporting in from Pittsburgh.

POLO SANDOVAL, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: We are in the city of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, because about a third of the clergy members that are mentioned in that disturbing report were from this diocese. So, we've been speaking to congregations throughout the city here, hearing from them.

And now, according to them, we understand that many of them their faith is twofold. They have their faith in the gospel that remains relatively intact for the average churchgoer.

And then, they also have some level of faith in the institution of the church that is what's being tested. Not just for average churchgoers but also the victims themselves. Those who consider themselves the survivors of this kind of abuse.

We caught up recently with somebody who has become a public face in trying to keep something like this kind of abuse from happening again. A man by the name of Jim VanSickle. He tells us that he was 16 years old when he was emotionally and physically abused by his priests.

Again, he's now become a public face. We talked to him about Pope Francis's letter to the faithful. VanSickle telling us that what he heard from the Holy Father is not enough for him.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

JIM VANSICKLE, SURVIVOR OF CLERGY ABUSE: So, just tell me you're transparent. So, just tell me you're standing by my side. To wait this long to come forward when this knowledge has been in the church for many, many years. Falls way short of any kind of vindication or comfort for me. I can't reconciliate with the Catholic Church.

And so, the bishops, the Cardinals, and the Pope make it stand and wipes out this problem within the church.

SANDOVAL: A new question that for many Catholics particularly here in Pennsylvania which happens to be the spotlight right now, their faith is certainly being tested. One of the spokespersons for the Catholic Diocese here in Pittsburgh, says that they recognize, you still have a lot of work to do to regain the trust. And not just that simple. But it will just like --

REV. RONALD LENGWIN, SPOKESMAN, CATHOLIC DIOCESE OF PITTSBURGH: The message is give us a chance. Many people failed, and Jesus forgave them. Says we need to be forgiving, it isn't to say that justice shouldn't prevail, even with forgiveness. And to say give us a chance, and it's not just the institutional churches.

The people in the pews with you, who were suffered with you, and support you. And we want to be a part of that total effort.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

SANDOVAL: We should also mention that Bishop David Zubik has also submitted an apology letter of his own to the faithful here in the city of Pittsburgh in as he lays out the various changes that have already happened in the last several years. And also the last several days since this report was published.

He says, they will be publishing a list of some of the clergy members that have had some of these credible allegations filed against them. And they will also bring in some outside help. People who would specifically monitor some of these clergy members that have already been removed from their duties. Polo Sandoval, CNN, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

[01:05:07] VAUSE: And the scandal will follow Pope Francis this weekend on a visit to Ireland. The first papal visit there in 40 years. There are growing demands there for the church to implement policies to hold senior clergy responsible for protecting sex offenders within the clergy.

On Sunday, half a million people are expected to gather in Dublin to hear the Holy Father delivered Mass.

Joining us now, our CNN's religion commentator Father Edward Beck. Good to have you back. OK, Father, there's been no time set aside during this trip to Ireland for the Pope to publicly address -- you know, the clergy sex scandal, or even meet with those who are survivors of abuse.

Maeve Lewis who is executive director of the group, One in Four told the local newspaper, "The Pope's visit is very distressing to many survivors, retriggering old emotions of shame, humiliation, despair, and anger. The least they deserve during this papal visit is a clear commitment that the Catholic Church finally intends to deal with clerical child sexual abuse."

And when they say -- you know, a clear commitment, what they're talking about is not just the words and apologies, but details what the policies will be and how this will actually work moving forward.

EDWARD BECK, CNN RELIGION COMMENTATOR: I suspect John that he will meet with victims in Ireland. I suspect he will talk about it. They don't put out everything that he's going to do in advance or a lot of surprises when a pope visits. I think this may be one of them. So, I wouldn't be surprised if we do see that.

VAUSE: Well, last week he did say that there was no coming from the Vatican and boy did it come with his letter.

BECK: And I think more needs to come after this letter. I was a little disappointed in this letter.

VAUSE: OK.

BECK: I think it's kind of the first salvo. Yes, he talks about prayer, fasting, penance, for everybody. But that's not practical solutions as to what the church is going to do. I thought he over- spiritualize the bit in this. Now, this was an apology.

VAUSE: Right.

BECK: This was setting forth his first statement publicly on what had been revealed. So, I think we're going to have now more specifics come. He addressed clericalism as a major sin and a major cause of this scandal.

Well, what are you going to do about clericalism? Are you going to stop calling the Cardinals princess of the church?

VAUSE: Right.

BECK: Are you going to ask them to stop dressing in their finery? I mean, you did it?

VAUSE: Yes.

BECK: You renounced the palace.

VAUSE: Yes.

BECK: We lived in simple abode, but what about everybody else? This clericalism is from the top down, how are you going to reshape that?

VAUSE: I want to guess that in a moment a couple of reforms, but you mentioned the whole issue about prayer. And -- you know, some people point is this, the prayer and fasting. Part of the pope's letter is, just -- you know, it was well received I guess in many ways.

Here's what he wrote in part, "May fasting and prayer open our ears to the hushed pain felt by children, young people and the disabled. A fasting that can make us hunger thirst for justice and impel us to walk in the truth, supporting all the judicial measures that may be necessary." It does go on.

Gerard Mannion who is a professor of Catholic Studies at Georgetown University takes issue with this. He praises the letter overall as being a good step but he goes on to add, "But with the greatest respect calling for prayer and fasting in response to this grave crisis, as the pope also did is not sufficient.

Words are not enough and never have been enough. The church is bound by its own social and moral teachings to do so much more. The time has come for radical action."

And you know, that seems to be the criticism here that there's no details of the plan. You said there's more to come. But if there is action, it has to be big, it has to be radical action. As we setting the church has never really seen before.

If there is a pope in -- you know, modern history who can do that, is it this pope?

BECK: I think it is this Pope, and it's going to start with accountability from the bishop. I mean, these are his people.

VAUSE: Yes.

BECK: The bishops he has appointed. So, how is it going to call them to be accountable for bad choices, for instilling this zero tolerance around the world where they have not always done it? How if you have a problem with a bishop? A bishop who's been an abuser, who has not responded adequately with someone who has been an abuser.

How are you going to turn them in? Only the Pope can censor or discipline a bishop.

VAUSE: Right.

BECK: So, you're going to write to the Pope, is there going to be a lay board like the American bishops have asked for? Is it going to have any real clout? Will lady be a part of it? See, if you're going to deconstruct the clericalism of the church, the Pope can do that.

VAUSE: Yes.

BECK: But it's a major overhaul in the structure. This is the hierarchy, this is not a Democracy.

VAUSE: OK, so, with that in mind, I want you to listen to a reaction to the Pope's letter from one survivor of -- you know, clergy abuse. And he's essentially demanding a lot more action. Listen to this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SHAUN DOUGHERTY, SURVIVOR OF CLERGY ABUSE: You're making huge mistakes. I mean, this is -- you know, you have insulted the victims again, for sure. However, you are breaking your parishioner's hearts. Your parishioners are struggling right now. They are trying to comprehend how this has happened in each of their parishes, in each of their churches.

And they are -- they are hanging by a thread now, just like the victims are. And are with all of their might hoping that their religious leader and the Pope will quit these games, and just finally, finally, finally do, do the right thing here.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

[01:10:22] VAUSE: OK. There was an editorial in The Guardian which kind of looks at some of the reasons why Pope Francis may be constrained here. It rights, "Conservative Catholics blame the prevalence of gay men in the priesthood. Francis and the Liberals blame the clerical culture which leaves bishops and archbishops responsible for no one outside the church, and not even to the lay people within it.

Changing that, which his letter demands would threaten the power structure of the whole church and would be very fiercely resistant. But it just might offer a chance of restoring some of its moral authority."

Is it that simple is it that the Pope has to take on these sort of conservative forces within the church and that could be the constraint here?

BECK: I think it's little more complex than that. I don't think the church has ever dealt well, in my opinion, with human sexuality. I mean, think of the guys here, the priests who -- the predators who are being accused when they entered the seminary. You used to enter the seminary after eighth grade. So now, you're in high school seminary. All-male environment, you can't have particular friendships, you can't talk about sexuality, you can't date, is it any surprise you have arrested sexual behavior among some of these men in a church that says you can't even show affective feelings?

So, until you deal with that culture, and that really I think, dysfunctional way of approaching sexuality, I think it's gotten better in later years.

VAUSE: Right.

BECK: But I think -- I think, there's a lot of issues that are underneath the seminary formation being one of them.

VAUSE: Yes. But, one of the issues to ease is the violence that near for celibacy of priests.

BECK: Yes.

VAUSE: So, that's pointing to it -- too a lot. You know -- you know, it sounds the bible and scripture was write 1,000 years after the church was founded, that they adopted -- you know, this practice that the -- you know, that clergy had to be in a group on its own above every way that's why there was a celibacy.

But there was a book out from years ago, six priest of power, and it writes this about -- you know, how it came about. "The question at the time was who is the final power, the king or the church? If the church could control a person's sex life, it could control their money, their employment, their benefits."

So, you know, it seems as if this is one area which the Pope could very easily address, isn't it?

BECK: And he said that he wants to talk about celibacy. That it is a question we can discuss. But as you know, most sexual abuse occurs in families. Married men sexually abused young people. The majority of pedophiles are heterosexual. Just to say this is a gay problem, or it's a celibate problem, it cuts across all of those boundaries.

Now, in the Catholic priesthood, it has addressed this up with a lot of gay clerics. And I think, it's an issue certainly to be looked at. But I think, if you -- if you paint everybody with that brush like as well it's just gay priests or if they were able to marry that we take care of everything --

(CROSSTALK)

VAUSE: We may help -- in may help (INAUDIBLE). I mean, is this one part of the biggest solution?

BECK: It's part of a bigger solution of what is sexuality? What is Celibacy? What's the virtue of it? Why are we one of the only institutions in religion that still has it? Is it worth that virtue any longer? I think that's a discussion that Pope wants to have and I think he should have.

VAUSE: Yes. And well, like we said, is there's a pope who can do this? Pope Francis.

BECK: I agree.

VAUSE: OK, Beck. Thank you.

BECK: Thank you.

VAUSE: In an interview with Reuters, the U.S. president has made the extraordinary claim that he could take control of the Russia investigation. And investigation into him, his campaign, his family, and close associates.

If he was running that investigation, then he might know what White House Counsel Don McGahn said during 30 hours of testimony to special counsel Robert Mueller. And that sources tell CNN it's causing some anxiety for the president. CNN's Kaitlan Collins reports.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

KAITLAN COLLINS, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: President Trump rattled after learning that White House Counsel Don McGahn spoke with investigators from the special counsel's office for more than 30 hours, but never provided a full readout of what he told them.

Trump attempting to downplay the revelation on Twitter, noting he approved the sit-down as he lashed out at Robert Mueller for questioning McGahn for so long. Writing, "Anybody needing that much time when they know there is no Russian collusion is just someone looking for trouble."

Sources tell CNN, Trump wasn't aware of just how long McGahn's interviews lasted until The New York Times published a report this weekend detailing his extensive cooperation.

While publicly blaming Mueller, Trump privately complaining to allies that the report made him look weak. McGahn is at the center of several incidents, Mueller is examining. Including Trump's attempt to fire the special counsel last summer.

Trump has often blurred the line on what McGahn's role is. Believing at times that he's representing him when really he's representing the presidency. As today, if the meetings were a mistake, McGahn staying silent.

[01:15:09] UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Mr. McGahn, was it a mistake to have you speak without limits to special counsel Mueller?

COLLINS: The president agitation growing as his legal team is scrambling to figure out what McGahn said since he was never asked for a full debrief. Rudy Guiliani admitting he is relying on what Trump's former attorney John Dowd told him.

RUDY GIULIANI, ATTORNEY TO PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP: I'll use his words rather than mine that McGahn was a strong witness for the president. So, I don't need to know much more about that.

COLLINS: But Dowd resigned from the legal team five months ago. Chris Christie, blasting the decision to allow McGahn to sit down with the special counsel voluntarily.

CHRIS CHRISTIE, FORMER GOVERNOR OF NEW JERSEY: This shows what a sea- level legal team the president had. At the beginning in Ty Cobb and John Dowd. Once you wave their privilege, you turn over all those documents, Don McGahn has no choice then, but to go in and answer everything.

Every question they can get ask him and this is not in the president's interest.

COLLINS: With all the latest news about McGahn, the White House is attempting to portray the relationship between President Trump and Don McGahn as ironclad. The President Trump himself dictating a statement that Sarah Sanders issued that the two of them have a great working relationship.

In reality, it's been much more torture than that going back between the president complaining about Don McGahn, and the two of them going months without speaking to each other one-on-one, and weeks ago, speaking to each other at all. So, the president complimenting McGahn, and liking the work that he has done with the court.

But the bottom line here is this is the White House struggling to get on top of a message that even President Trump himself doesn't know all the details of. Kaitlan Collins, CNN, the White House.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

VAUSE: Joining me now, Wendy Greuel, former Los Angeles City Councilwoman. And Luis Alvarado, a Republican strategist and media consulted and we're grateful you're both with us. Thank you.

OK, that Reuters interview was quite interesting that the President did a few hours ago. He's a little bit more from it. Here he is talking about his administration. The president said, "It was a smooth running machine." OK, "if we had to except in that world," which is the Russia investigation which he described as a disgrace.

I went on to say, "And I've decided to stay out. Now, I don't have to stay out. I can go in, and I could do whatever. I could run it if I want but I decided to stay out."

Wendy, a part of it think that possibly the complete opposite of that is true. Technically, Trump could actually -- I think, get involved. He could try and fire the Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein who oversees this investigation. It could then try and replace someone favorable, put a formal table, and to fire Robert Mueller.

All of this is an open legal question right now because, in the past, Congress would never allow the President to get away with this kind of stuff. But what we don't know right now is that what this portrait of encourage with the Republicans in Congress, how far they'll let this president go?

WENDY GREUEL, FORMER CONTROLLER OF LOS ANGELES CITY: Well, I think that they have said very much though that -- you know, Mueller cannot be fired or don't believe that they would stand up for that, and let that president Trump would do it.

Now, again, they have a lot of (INAUDIBLE).

(CROSSTALK)

VAUSE: It's interesting there's another question of that. We just said it was the Republicans are willing to do it.

GREUEL: Because they've been so quiet on a number of other issues which have been so outrageous that the president has said or done. Whether it be in Moscow or whatever it has been with Putin, they have been silent.

And I think, the fear you're correct is there that will they just stand by and let him do something that is Nixon-like, and the kinds of ways he's going after this.

VAUSE: Because every time -- you know, will offer when Republicans are asked about -- you know, will the president fire Mueller? We don't think that's going to happen. And then, they don't address it.

So, I just think we just don't know what could happen if Trump goes in that wrap.

GREUEL: And went legislation that they were talking about that would stop it in it and is not done anywhere.

(CROSSTALK)

VAUSE: Yes, it's gone nowhere.

LUIS ALVARADO, POLITICAL AND MEDIA STRATEGIST, REPUBLICAN: Well, I think it -- we're certainly in strange times from a legal perspective, I am sure that there is going to be some challenges and that are going to overwhelm our nation.

When he was asking about partying himself as president, and the powers allow him to do that, that certainly put a big red flag as to how much parameter he was going to be seeking with regards to protecting his administration. And I think this is the beginning of the beginning.

VAUSE: Oh my God. Like just the beginning.

ALVARADO: How much more is going to come from judicial challenges from this administration, to Congress and to the Supreme Court?

VAUSE: OK. President also talked about the risk of perjury if he is interviewed by the special counsel. He said, "So, if I say something and he, Comey," isn't James Comey the fine FBI director, "say something, and it's my word against his, and his best friends with Mueller, so Mueller might say." As in Robert Mueller. "Well, I believe Comey, and even if I'm telling the truth, that makes me a liar. That's no good."

Let's start with the lie the president said in that statement about being caught in a lie while telling the truth. You know, Comey and Mueller are not best friends that's been absolutely proven, and it's all part of -- you know, a line coming out of that -- you know, by Trump and those around him that Mueller is conflicting its conflicts of interest which Trump's Department of Justice did an investigation and said that there is no conflicts of interest for Robert Mueller.

So, Wendy, you know, the only reason is sees why the president is worried about possible perjury is because he's not telling the truth.

[01:20:07] GREUEL: Right. I'm kind of remembering that a few good men with Jack Nicholson that you can't handle the truth that we're going through that, with him and Giuliani as to -- you know, when you speak the truth, it's kind of when you have a conversation with your kids.

You know, you're telling them you can't lie, you can't go around it is. And here we have a President of United States who seems to think that it's OK to lie, or it's okay to say, well, there might be a difference in our -- you know, as we're looking at what the size of our inauguration was. Whatever it may be, I think we're in dangerous times.

VAUSE: Yes.

GREUEL: Not only interesting times but dangerous times.

VAUSE: Yes. And Luis, Rudy Giuliani -- you know, truth isn't truth. Giuliani, he tried a little damage repair on Monday. A little more on that tweet. "My statement was not meant as a pontification on moral theology, but one referring to the situation where two people make precisely contradictory statements. See classic, he said she said puzzle. Sometimes, further inquiry can reveal the truth, other times it doesn't."

OK. If we to decide that -- you know, that's not actually what he said during the interview. On the one side of this, he said -- he said argument you have the head of the FBI or former head of the FBI testifying under oath before Congress keeping contemporaneous notes telling a small leadership group of the FBI exactly what happened at the time of those conversations when they happen.

On the other side of the he said -- he said equation is the President of the United States who according to the Washington Post, "Has made well, over 4,200 false or misleading claims in his presidency so far. An average of about 7.6 per day." Which is up from the last count, which was an average of 5.2 per day. You know, it was a line-ball call.

ALVARADO: It kind of reminds me -- and it's very unfortunate for a nation that we actually find ourselves here that he has become the impersonation of Baghdad Bob. VAUSE: Yes.

ALVARADO: With regards to how much credence can be given to the words that he utters or the tweets that he puts out in public. And Giuliani is somebody who is aspiring to keep up with his boss with regards to how much disinformation is being put out. It is dangerous times for the nation.

I think Republicans are in the corner with regards to how they going to treat the investigation once they're presented with evidence. We all know the midterms are around the corner, and the question is who's going to keep the House with regards to the power that's giving?

And I read somewhere that, that was a strategy by Donald Trump that he would be OK with losing the House because he will give credence to win in 2020 and to corral.

Let's remember that America sent him to the White House, there are plenty of Americans who do not see this style of communications by the President or his administration has something negative. And there are those who are OK with it because they did send that bull into the China store.

And this is just the broken China that we're going to pay to move the country in a direction that he promised he would move on in.

VAUSE: That's (INAUDIBLE) China.

GREUEL: Do you think (INAUDIBLE) the whole Seattle store is broken.

VAUSE: OK, let's finish with a salute to the brave men and women who probably serves the country on the front lines securing the borders, keeping America safe. Your president salutes you all 60,000 serving members of the good old CBC.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: CBC, CBC, CBC, CBC, CBC, CBC.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

VAUSE: Do you get the prize, Luis? It's actually the CBP, Customs and Border Patrol Protection, rather. It was written that way in the teleprompter. But wait, there is more during his (INAUDIBLE), Donald Trump pause, calling the -- to the microphone, one of the agents who is there being honored.

And he paused to honor this very surprised Adrienne and Gsella duo for what would be a moment of blatant racism.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP: Adrienne, come here. I want to ask you a question. So, how did you -- come in -- come in. You're not nervous, right? Speaks perfect English? Come here, I want to ask you about that. (END VIDEO CLIP)

VAUSE: You speak perfect English. Wendy, you know, you think that well, Donald Trump was -- you know honoring one of the agents. He is so carried out this is a slightly racist remark. You know, honoring an agent who enforces a policy on the border which many have criticized as being cruel or blatantly racist. He would at least, remember the name of the agency.

GREUEL: All right. He couldn't remember the name of the agency, he couldn't pronounce the gentleman's last name. So, he decided to make a comment which he has this uncanny ability to demonstrate a behavior which is racially insensitive whatever you want to call it, he continues to do that.

And I think that in this instance, this is a Border Patrol agent who was -- you know, saving people's lives.

(CROSSTALK)

VAUSE: The 79 (INAUDIBLE) immigrant, yes.

GREUEL: 79, and he demeaned him in that way by the way in which he addressed him and suggesting that. And he has called people up to the podium many times. And you know, when someone's standing next to once you come up here. They have never, he has never used that with anyone as he did today.

VAUSE: OK, we'll finish up with a couple of recent headlines when it comes to speech and language. Trump speaks at fourth-grade level, lowest of all last 15 U.S. presidents new analysis finds. And there's a bar graph to prove it he's right there on the left-hand side of the screen.

Jimmy Carter was apparently at the top of the line. From the Irish Times, "You total loser Donald Trump, and the power of a small vocabulary.

(INAUDIBLE), "Expert, Trump speaking cell, raises questions about his brain health. Yes, so I guess you know, Luis, glass houses but I must say you speak perfect English. Your English is very good.

[01:25:24] ALVARADO: Well, thank you -- Mrs. Brooks, if you're watching from my English class at L.A. High, thank you for being so hard on me.

VAUSE: But just -- is that offensive to you when the president --

ALVARADO: It's incredibly offensive because not only that there over 50 percent of the agents that worked for the Border Patrol are Latino.

VAUSE: Yes. Right.

ALVARADO: He offended all of them any other Latino person or immigrant who probably comes from another country or from another heritage that serves in the federal government were offended. And he doesn't have to look far. Even his wife probably doesn't speak --

VAUSE: Yes. Does he speaks five languages apparently, but --

GRUEL: Yes.

ALVARADO: But in his mind, it is the accent, it's the zinger that he had to throw in there.

VAUSE: Yes.

ALVARADO: And I think it's still part of the dog whistle --

VAUSE: Meaning -- yes.

ALVARADO: -- mentality that he has, that he has to diminish.

VAUSE: We saw the dog whistle safe doesn't even show on the book -- you know, the bullhorn kind of thing given at this point. Luis, thank you. And Wendy, as well, thank you very much.

GREUEL: Thank you.

VAUSE: Just ahead here on NEWSROOM L.A., we'll head to Trump country in Europe. The parts of the continent where this U.S. president represents a lot more than making America great again.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

VAUSE: In Europe, toy fungus is often more popular than an American president, any American president regardless of who he is or what party he represents. To be sure many parts of Donald Trump is lows but not everywhere. Here's CNN's Melissa Bell.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

MELISSA BELL, CNN PARIS CORRESPONDENT: It's the story of a bromance that then, soured. Emmanuel Macron had tried with Donald Trump a different approach to other European leaders. But the imposition of trade tariffs seems to have put an end to any hope for finding much common ground.

MICHEL DUCLOS, FORMER FRENCH AMBASSADOR TO SYRIA: Maybe at the beginning, there was this feeling that he was simply a strange man. But now, it's different and to some extent, there is a new return that now, there is a more radical chunk. And people in Europe are really realizing that this is very serious.

BELL: The G7 seemed to embody that shift. A realization that the transatlantic alliance based the product of a shared history and a symbol of shared values was really being tested.

ANGELA MERKEL, CHANCELLOR OF GERMANY (through translator): I think we have to deal with it because the United States of America is an important partner for us. They do not always have policies that we can agree on, the history of the transatlantic relations show us a great deal of conflict but it is very much worth it to solve these conflicts.

[01:30:00]

BELL: One thing Europe seemed unprepared for was Helsinki. Its press poured over the American presidents for approach monitor Russia and deference to Vladimir Putin. Partly, because of its implications for Europe increasingly divided between those often on the far right who also want to get closer to Moscow and to the older more traditional European Guard that seems now to have digested the shift in what had seen such a steadfast transatlantic alliance.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It will recover but it will never be the same thing. And there is a last (ph) of innocence (inaudible) on both sides. Because one should be under no illusion. Trump (ph) is not completely isolated, he (ph) reflects a very deep current.

BELL: It is a current now in power in the Eurozone's third largest economy. Last month the Italian prime minister was in Washington for the first time since an election that Steve Bannon, President Trump's former advisor, went to Italy to observe before moving on to France, where he spoke at the far right's annual conference.

Steve Bannon's visit to Europe in the spring really seemed to fire up the populace here, with Donald Trump no longer seen merely as a pragmatist who's going to put America first, but rather as a representative of a populist and nativist ideology, the spread of which is being watched with growing alarm here on the old continent. Melissa Bell, CNN, Paris.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

VAUSE: Still to come, the pope's letter to the faithful about the clerical sex abuse scandal. It's uncharted territory for this pope, but still there is criticism it's not enough.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

VAUSE: Welcome back, everybody. You're watching CNN NEWSROOM live from Los Angeles. I'm John Vause with the headlines this hour. Donald Trump has told the Reuters news agency he's worried an interview with Special Counsel Robert Mueller could be a perjury trap. The U.S. president says he's stayed out of the Russia investigation so far even though he could be running it if he wanted to.

Venezuelan president Nicolas Maduro is rolling out a new devalued (ph) currency in what he calls a revolutionary economic overhaul with a touch of magic. Economists warn the new plan will make the crisis there worse and increase inflation. The currency has five zeros and is paid for the (ph) state-sponsored oil cryptocurrency. The Australian prime minister Malcolm Turnbull will stay prime minister, at least for now. He narrowly defeated a leadership challenge by 13 votes.

Recent polls suggest his liberal party coalition may be losing popular support ahead of elections, which are due to be held before next May. Minister (ph) Turnbull also made a major concession to keep his job by dropping legislation which would have limited greenhouse gases. We take you now to the pope's unprecedented response to the sexual abuse crisis within the Catholic church.

[01:35:00]He's written to Catholics around the world, admitting with shame and repentance the church's failure to act against clerics abusing minors, which happened for decades. He wrote, we were not where we should have been, that we did not act in a timely manner, realizing the magnitude and the gravity of the damage done to so many lives. We showed no care for little ones. We abandoned them.

The letter comes a week after an investigation in Pennsylvania which revealed decades of sexual abuse and cover-ups. Barbie Nadeau reports now from Rome.

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BARBIE NADEAU, CONTRIBUTOR, CNN: On Monday morning, Pope Francis released a letter to the people of god in which he addressed those horrific allegations of sexual abuse against children in Pennsylvania. 1,000 victims of sex abuse, 300 catholic priests in crimes that spanned over seven decades. He used language like, we showed no care for the little ones, we abandoned them. He asked the global Catholic community to stand together and support those victims.

And he also asked the church as a whole to create an environment that made it difficult for these crimes to continue and even more difficult for the rampant cover-up of these crimes to be possible. But what he didn't call for was concrete action. Pope Francis didn't call for resignations and he failed to -- to really lay out a plan that the church had in addressing these crimes going forward and in addressing those historical crimes that so many people want to see the secret archives and all the Vatican records opened for.

This Barbie Latza Nadeau, CNN, Rome.

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VAUSE: And here's the response to the pope from Pennsylvania's attorney general. He writes he hopes church leaders will cease their denials and deflections and now fully support the grand jury's recommendations so that survivors have the opportunity to obtain justice and ensure this type of widespread abuse and cover-up never happens again. Some survivors and their families have welcomed the pope's letter with its powerful condemnation and promise of no more cover-ups, but to others it's just more noise.

Meaningless talk. Instead, they want the church to act.

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UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: There is no way that any child in this situation should be left behind and not be given their day in court. Their voices need to be heard and if he is that appalled over this behavior, do something about it, make sure that statute of limitations is passed and immediately. You have the power and you have the money. Do it. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: To just tell me you're transparent, to just tell

me you're standing by my side, to wait this long to come forward when this knowledge has been in the church for many, many years falls way short of any kind of vindication or comfort for me. I can't reconciliate (ph) with the Catholic church until the bishops, the cardinals, and the pope makes a (ph) stand and wipes out this problem that's in the church.

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VAUSE: Well, from Pennsylvania to Chile, where sex abuse survivors are also speaking out. They want predator priests to stand trial and the guilty to do jail time. CNN's Patrick Oppmann now on how the Vatican is dealing with yet another child abuse scandal.

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PATRICK OPPMAN, HAVANA-BASED CORRESPONDENT, CNN: Once a high- ranking official in the Catholic church in Chile, former priest Oscar Munoz Toledo now faces charges for the alleged sexual abuse of seven minors. He is the first priest arrested in a scandal that is believed to involve more than 200 alleged victims and threatens to further blacken the church's name in Chile. Munoz's lawyer disputes the charges against his client.

[01:40:00] Chilean prosecutors have been conducting raids on church buildings following an internal Vatican report that said for decades, church officials in Chile had known about cases of sexual abuse and led a massive cover-up, even destroying records.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): We found evidence of the destruction of documents. And that, aside from being circumstantial evidence of a cover-up itself, that's also a crime. That could be a crime of concealment or of destruction of information.

OPPMANN: In January, while visiting Chile, Pope Francis defended a Chilean bishop accused of concealing the abuse, saying he had been, quote, slandered. But after Vatican investigators said church officials in Chile had helped to cover up tens of cases of sexual abuse, by the clergy, the pope apologized and met with some of their victims. All 34 of Chile's bishops were summoned to Rome where they offered the pope their resignations.

The first mass resignation in the history of the church. The pope ultimately accepted the resignations of five bishops, including that of the bishop he defended. But prosecutors say the church is still failing to cooperate with their investigations. Accuser Juan Carlos Cruz met with the pope but said the church's actions are falling short.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): Here this Chilean bishops convince us what was happening were sins or failings. No. They are crimes and felonies and they should pay with jail time.

OPPMANN: Chilean prosecutors say there are 158 bishops, priests and laypeople under investigation. It's still not clear how many, if any, will pay for their alleged crimes. Patrick Oppmann, CNN.

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VAUSE: Still to come here, the meeting of a lifetime here, (inaudible) family reunions on hold for a decade, now underway on the Korean Peninsula, but only for a lucky few. Also ahead, a woman falls off a cruise ship and fights to stay alive for 10 hours in the waters of the Adriatic Sea.

We'll explain how she was able survive. That's next.

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To the Korean Peninsula now, where at this hour, emotional reunions are taking place for families separated by war. Many who crossed into North Korea on Monday have not seen their relatives in almost 70 years.

57,000 applied to this, only 89 families were chosen. The meetings were arranged earlier this year at the summit between the North and South Korean leaders, U.N. Secretary General says he would like to see these reunions become a regular event.

Paula Hancocks out (ph) live from Seoul. You know, Paula, the reunions, they've been on again and off again for years. The reality is they're often used as a political tool by the North.

PAULA HANCOCKS, INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT, CNN: Absolutely, John. I don't think there's many that - that would dispute that. The fact is there haven't been a family reunion for three years.

The last was 2015. And that was the last time that relations between North and South Korea were good. Over the years, the past couple of years, North Korea has had that intense nuclear and missile testing period in which there was very little relations between the two Koreas.

So it has to be the case that North and South Korea are getting on, that they have inter-Korean relations and this is when these reunions happen. We've seen in the past as well, bitterly disappointing for those who have been chosen, but North Korea has cancelled reunion at the very last moment or postponed them.

So I don't think there's any doubt in most people's minds that Pyongyang uses these as political tools. South Korea would have these every week if they could. The South Korean President Moon Jae-in is part of a separated family himself.

He was part of these family reunions recently, (inaudible) goes along with his mom to meet his auntie. He has said that this has to be a top priority, he wants more, the U.N. secretary general wants more of these reunions, 57,000 South Koreans wanting to be reunited with their families in North Korea want there to be more.

And the head of the Red Cross I spoke to said that he's talking to his North Korean counterpart to try and increase the number that can be involved. The sticking (ph) point in Pyongyang, it really is the ball in their court. John.

[01:45:00]

VAUSE: Yes, only a handful of families actually selected to take part. So who decides and how is it decided that who gets to go and who doesn't?

HANCOCKS: There is a certain element of - of a lottery to - to try and whittle down the numbers. But the Unification Ministry says that what they do is they're looking at 57,000 at the moment, but bear in mind there used to be about 132,000 that had applied to be part of these, more than 75,000 have since passed away without connecting with their loved ones.

So what they try and do is they prioritize, they - they look for more elderly people, they look for people who are trying to reconnect with - with close family members, with siblings, with sons, with daughters for example.

And they are prioritized. But of course, then what they have to do is they have to submit names to North Korea to find out if their family members in North Korea are still alive and if they are still well enough to make that trip.

And it's - it's a real tragic example of - of just how this is a race against time to - to reconnect as many families as possible. There were four more families from South Korea that were supposed to be part of this random reunion that we're seeing right here, but just three days before they left, they had to pull out, just a few days before, because of health reasons.

So it just shows how desperate the situation is and how important it is to have more of these reunions and (inaudible) South Korean president saying just yesterday for him, this is going to be one of the top priorities now.

VAUSE: OK, Paula, yes. It's really sad isn't it? I mean, good to watch, but it's kind of sad to think what other families are going through. So, thank you. Paula Hancocks live for us there in Seoul.

Well Kay Longstaff, (inaudible) woman from Britain spent 10 hours treading water in the Adriatic Sea. So how did she get there? Well she fell from a cruise ship just before midnight on Saturday.

Eventually she was rescued by the Croatian Coast Guard. We get more details on her story now from CNN's Bianco Nobilo.

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BIANCA NOBILO, CORRESPONDENT, CNN: The cruise ship passenger who was rescued after spending 10 hours at sea has been causing a sensation in the British and European press.

Kay Longstaff is the name of the 46-year-old British woman who lives in Spain who was found after 10 hours at sea by the Croatian Coast Guard. Kay is an air hostess and her high level of fitness and passion for yoga have been lauded as part of the reason that she was able to survive those 10 hours fairly unscathed.

We know that Kay fell of the back of the deck of the Norwegian Star cruise ship at 11:45 p.m. local time. It then took two hours before the captain of that cruise ship was alerted to the fact that a passenger had fallen overboard.

At that point, the search and rescue mission began and the cruise ship was involved in that mission throughout, as well as plenty of other vessels. It took 10 hours from the point at which Kay fell overboard to when she was found, floating 60 miles off the coast of Croatia.

Luckily for Kay, the water was warm that evening, around 82 to 84 degrees Fahrenheit and the waters were very calm, so she wasn't buffeted by the waves. Regardless, spending 10 hours at sea would take its toll, but here is what the doctor who attended to Kay had to say about the state that she found her in.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: As of medical condition, she's a very healthy woman, and probably that's the only reason why she survived too after 10 hours to be in the Croatian Sea.

And maybe the - the sea is too warm so she doesn't have any - any frozen parts of her body.

NOBILO: Kay expressed her gratitude to those who rescued her, and the rescue team called it a miracle. Now the Croatian Ministry for Maritime Affairs has launched an investigation to discern exactly what the circumstances were that caused Kay to fall overboard.

Bianca Nobilo, CNN, London.

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VAUSE: Still to come here, turns out when the (ph) biggest name in a movie is facing more than a dozen allegations of sexual abuse, it's not a big draw at the box office. (Inaudible) to Kevin Spacey.

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[01:50:00]

VAUSE: Crazy (inaudible), a crazy success at the U.S. box office. Some are calling a watershed moment for the greater diversity of Hollywood. Systematic (ph) comedy offers a very glamorous look a the lives of Singapore's elite. It's the first major study film in 25 years, with a mostly Asian cast. It's made 34 million dollars over five days, meeting expectations by a mile.

And from a Hollywood smash to a box office flop. The MeToo movement's latest ripple effect has made for a very disappointing box office release that disgraced actor Kevin Spacey. His new film the "Billionaire Boys Club" earned over $126. Dollars, that's it. Not a million, not a billion, not a 100 thousand. Just a $126 bucks, that was on there big day.

The film is distributed by Vertical Entertainment. Back in June they started to go ahead with release despite all the accusations of sexual harassment and assault against.

TV host to pop culture journalist Scott Nevins is with us now. Thank you for coming in.

SCOTT NEVINS, POP CULTURE JOURNALIST: Thanks for having me.

VAUSE: OK. Here's a small statement back in June from Vertical Entertainment where announced the movie would go ahead. "We hope these distressing allegations pertaining to one person's behavior, they were not publicly known when the film was made almost two and a half years ago. And from someone who has a small supporting role in Billionaire Boys Club, does not tarnish the release of the film".

Well guess what? That was back in June and now we have the answer. Yes it does.

NEVINS: It sure does.

VAUSE: It tarnishes the film but also, but also the film sucked. It wasn't great.

NEVINS: Yes, no this film did not rate well by critics. I think on Rotten Tomatoes it had like a 13 percent. And for average people went to see it, regular customers they gave it a 42 percent, which was shockingly high for a film that really rated horrible.

VAUSE: But what about just having Spacey there. Was he just like an ewe (ph) factor?

NEVINS: Oh, yes, no I mean there is no doubt that he has turned a lot of people off for ever seeing anything he's involved in.

VAUSE: OK. Well after all the accusations it seems likes he's always played this sort of slimly bad guy routine.

NEVINS: Art imitating life?

VAUSE: That's it. And this is kind of the first time I think I've ever quoted the "New York Post" on air. But here's part of an opinion piece. Now I know Spacey's real identity. He's an accused sexual predator. The onscreen slimy villain stick isn't cute anymore.

And why anyone would choose to release "Billionaire Boys Club" with at least 15 accusers on record against Spacey is beyond me. The film wasn't even so much released as oozed into the public domain by this editorial (ph) form of entertainment, coming out on video demand weeks before its theatrical debut.

I guess they kind of wanted to kill it. I guess but they couldn't. Because what, it just wasn't really an option to replace Spacey like they've done in Ridley Scott movie last year.

NEVINS: Yes, they couldn't replace him. It would be too expensive. You know Christopher Plummer wasn't available for that one too. So, you know it was a decision to say we need to, we paid for this film, we need to go ahead, we paid for all these actors, this production. So they released it on like iTunes, and Netflix, and sort of like oozed it out.

And it just sort of went laid there, like an egg. And then I think it was 11 theaters it was in this weekend.

VAUSE: Like a bad egg, sort of bad smell.

NEVINS: A bad egg. And it made for a total for the weekend by the way -

VAUSE: Oh, OK.

NEVINS: Was a whopping $618 dollars.

VAUSE: Wow, OK. Well, that's almost four times the opening day I guess.

NEVINS: Yes.

VAUSE: OK, here's another part of the statement from Vertical Entertainment from earlier this year defending the decision to release the film. "We believe in giving the cast as well as 100's of crew members who worked hard on the film the chance to see their final product reach audiences. In the end we let audiences make up their own minds as to the responsible allegations of one persons past. But not apprehensible I guess I should say. But not at the expense of the entire cast and crew's present on this film."

So you know it does seem as sad as it is, that you know all of the people that worked on this film, they're the ones who are paying the price for Spacey's alleged misdeeds.

NEVINS: But you have almost four A list names on this movie. So it's not just his name. Yes, he kept a lot of people away from it, but maybe the films just really bad.

VAUSE: What about those guys who worked? And you know B line (inaudible) because Spacey's there. I mean they had no hand it what he's done. And here's this guy, his reputation, he's being dumped by Netflix. Everyone's trying to run away from this guy as fast as they can. But they didn't know any of this at the time that they're making this film. They just think he's just you know regular together.

[01:55:00]

NEVINS: Yes, this was two years, right two years before any of the allegations from actor Anthony Rapp. And you know it still leaves this sort of question of do you just shelve it? There have been films that were done that were just shelved. No one ever saw the light of day. And I think this could have been one of them.

VAUSE: Well do you think making what $126 and $600 bucks it maybe? (ph)

NEVINS: Here's the shocking figure though, $1.5 million internationally.

VAUSE: Is that good?

NEVINS: Yes. No, that's not good but I'm saying it's like -

VAUSE: That's good it's over $600 bucks.

NEVINS: I think they made a couple of bucks back. But not enough.

VAUSE: OK. OK, what we're going to do. Let's go on to the "New York Times" report. About one of the first women who accused Hollywood heavy weight Harvey Weinstein of sexual harassment and rape, Asia Argento - I probably got that wrong.

According to time of the month which follows her speaking out, she actually was involved in a payoff for a young actor called Jimmy Bennett who alleged he was sexually assaulted by her. In 2004 he actually played her son in a movie, then 10 years later he was 17 and they catch up in a hotel in California. The same day she posted on Instagram, happiest day of my life, reunion with Jimmy Bennett, xox. She also said Jimmy is going to be in my movie. And that is a fact, dig that Jack, God that sounds like Harvey Weinstein.

NEVINS: Yes, it does. And you know what I can see why so many people think is such a blow to MeToo movement. Right, she was a big figure head for it. Here - the thing we need to stress to is that Jimmy was 17 when this happened. And 18 is the age of consent in California.

So there's a real legal problem there. And she accepted this payoff. She was paying him.

VAUSE: He wanted $3 million or something.

NEVINS: $3.5.

VAUSE: She ended up paying $380 thousand. OK, very quickly we have 30 seconds left. I'm going to get killed for this. But there are people who are going to say, yes, she's ignorant and (inaudible) she shouldn't have done. Others are going to say, he was 17. A 17 year old man, young guy would kill for this chance. Oh, what's the harm?

NEVINS: No, you never blame a victim. Right, a victim is a victim.

VAUSE: But isn't there that attitude that because it's a boy, it's an (inaudible) young man somehow its different?

NEVINS: Sure, but that's why a lot of young men don't come out and tell their story.

VAUSE: OK. You were quick. Scott, thank you.

NEVINS: Thanks so much.

VAUSE: And thank you for watching CNN "Newsroom", live from Los Angeles. I'm John Vause. Stay with us. The news continues with Rosemary Church. She is in Atlanta, the global news headquarters. She'll be with you after a short break. Thank you for watching CNN.

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