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U.S. and Mexico Reach a Preliminary Trade Deal That Could Replace NAFTA; Colleagues Pay Tribute To Late U.S. Senator; Anti- McCain Candidate Runs In Arizona; The Funny Side Of John McCain; Rohingya Nightmare; Remembering John McCain; North Korea Warns Denuclearization May Fall Apart; Catholic Church Sexual Abuse Scandal; German Far Right Protests. Aired 2-3a ET
Aired August 28, 2018 - 02:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
ROSEMARY CHURCH, CNN ANCHOR (voice-over): Calling out Myanmar's leadership, a damning U.N. report accuses them of committing war crimes and genocide in the crackdown against Rohingya Muslims.
North Korea's warning: we're learning new details about a letter sent to U.S. secretary of state Pompeo about the future of denuclearization efforts.
And Donald Trump's reluctant acknowledgement of John McCain after spending the day doing this...
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: Thank you very much.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Mr. President, do you have any thoughts on John McCain?
Do you have any thoughts at all about John McCain?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Do you believe John McCain was a hero?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Let's go. Keep moving.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Nothing at all about John McCain, sir?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CHURCH: Hello and welcome to our viewers joining us from all around the world. I'm Rosemary Church and this is CNN NEWSROOM.
CHURCH: The U.S. and the U.K. are demanding answers from Myanmar after a scathing report on its treatment of the Muslim Rohingya minority. A United Nations team is calling for the country's military to face
genocide and war crimes charges. It says evidence of murder, torture and sexual violence is overwhelming. CNN's Alexandra Field has our report.
ALEXANDRA FIELD, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Myanmar's top military leaders now accused of genocide by United Nations investigators. The findings released in a report on the brutal military campaign waged against the Rohingya people, the stateless Muslim minority that has lived for generations in the majority Buddhist country.
Violence erupted a year ago. Military officials maintain they were only targeting terrorists who had staged an attack on border posts in August 2017. But the violence was widespread. Villages torched, women raped, thousands killed.
The carnage causing a mass exodus from Myanmar with hundreds of thousands running for their lives to take shelter in makeshift refugee camps in neighboring Bangladesh. Citing the gravest crimes under international law, U.N. investigators are now naming names and calling for the prosecution of Myanmar's military commander in chief and five generals.
RADHIKA COOMARASWAMY, MEMBER, INDEPENDENT INTERNATIONAL FACT-FINDING MISSION ON MYANMAR: The scale, brutality and systematic nature of rape and violence indicate that they are part of a deliberate strategy to intimidate, terrorize or punish the civilian population. They're used as a tactic of war that we found include rape, gang rape, sexual slavery, forced nudity and mutilations.
FIELD: Myanmar's civilian government had little scope to control military actions, according to the report, but there are scathing words for Myanmar's de facto leader, human rights icon and Nobel Prize winner, Aung San Suu Kyi, for failing to do more to stop the violence.
COOMARASWAMY: We are deeply disappointed that the state counselor, Aung San Suu Kyi, has not used her position or her moral authority to stem, prevent or condemn the unfolding events in Rakhine State.
FIELD: The report calls for immediate action, referral of the case to the International Criminal Court. Facebook has responded, moving to ban 20 individuals and organizations, including a senior military commander named in the report.
A statement from the company says, "We want to prevent them from using our service to further inflame ethnic and religious tensions." The company also saying it was "too slow" to prevent the spread of hate and misinformation -- Alexandra Field, CNN, Hong Kong.
CHURCH: We'll have more on that story a little later this hour. Turning to another story we're watching very closely, U.S. president Donald Trump seems to be pressuring Canada to agree with a revised North American free trade agreement.
With the outgoing Mexican president on speaker phone, Mr. Trump announced on Monday the U.S. and Mexico have agreed to make crucial changes to NAFTA. Investors apparently love the idea of this preliminary trade deal. The Dow closed 259 points higher; the S&P 500 and the Nasdaq closed at record highs.
President Trump suggested again that he is willing to sign separate bilateral agreements with Canada and Mexico if Canada doesn't come on board quickly. Mexican leaders are urging Canada should be included.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We are very enthusiastic that Canada will be joining tomorrow. We believe that an agreement is better in a trilateral basis. That has been even part of the conversation with President Pena Nieto with President Trump.
But you to -- we have to be very clear. We have an understanding that it is extremely positive for Mexican productive sectors. And at --
MEXICO'S ECONOMY SECRETARY: -- the point where we have to make a decision, we will make a decision. But we want Canada to join.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CHURCH: CNN's Paula Newton explains what this means for Canada.
PAULA NEWTON, CNN CORRESPONDENT: This leaves Canada in a very bad position because Donald Trump right now does not seem as enthused about reaching a deal. And Mexico's economy minister just told me, look, if we don't get a deal with Canada included, then we're sticking with our deal with the U.S., it will be a bilateral deal.
Having said that, former U.S. commerce secretary just told me the tough position that this puts Canada in.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CARLOS GUTIERREZ, FORMER U.S. COMMERCE SECRETARY: Canada needs to make a decision.
Do they get the deal they want from now until Friday?
And if they don't, are they willing to walk away?
Is Prime Minister Trudeau willing to walk away and say no?
(END VIDEO CLIP) NEWTON: You know, standing up to Trump would score a lot of political points, some would argue, in Canada. The foreign minister, Chrystia Freeland, is on her way to Washington right now from Europe and will be at the table for those talks.
But it doesn't just involve the Canadian economy or Canadian politics; it involves those very key swing states that are the border states, places like Wisconsin and Ohio, with those almighty midterms coming up.
It will be interesting to see the political calculation that the Trump administration makes as well in terms of perhaps keeping Canada frozen out of this deal.
CHURCH: Paula Newton with that report.
Well, Donald Trump spoke briefly Monday night on the passing of U.S. Senator John McCain, with whom he often sparred. The president's only comment up until then was a single tweet. But after being asked numerous times for further remarks, he made this statement.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: Also our hearts and prayers are going to the family of Senator John McCain, there'll be a lot of activity over the next number of days and we very much appreciate everything that Senator McCain has done for our country.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CHURCH: Meanwhile, the White House faced backlash for not keeping the flags lowered in McCain's honor. Jim Acosta has more on that and the animosity between the president and the late senator.
JIM ACOSTA, CNN SR. WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Mr. President, any comment on John McCain, sir?
Mr. President, why won't you call John McCain a hero, sir?
ACOSTA (voice-over): They are the two words capable of hitting the mute button on President Trump, John McCain.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Mr. President, any thoughts on John McCain?
ACOSTA: At five different photo-ops, the president was asked to comment on the late senator. And each time, Mr. Trump greeted the question with stone-faced silence.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Why won't you say anything about John McCain?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Make your way out. ACOSTA: The president's harsh feelings for McCain have been hard to miss, even in the days since the senator passed away. Instead of a full statement from the White House, Mr. Trump posted just this short tweet: "My deepest sympathies and respect go out to the family of Senator John McCain. Our hearts and prayers are with you."
A longer statement was drafted by staffers but not used. The flags at the White House, which were brought to half-staff on Sunday, returned to full staff on Monday morning, only to be lowered again in the afternoon.
Then finally, the president issued a statement, brief, though in keeping with tradition, ordering the flags flown at half-staff and saying, "Despite our differences on policy and politics, I respect Senator John McCain's service to our country."
This came after the head of the American Legion released a statement to the president, saying, "On behalf of the group's 2 million wartime veterans, I strongly urge you to make an appropriate presidential proclamation, noting Senator McCain's death and legacy of service to our nation. For Mr. Trump, it's a continuation of his verbal assaults on the former prisoner of war.
PRESIDENT TRUMP: He's not a war hero.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He's a war hero.
PRESIDENT TRUMP: He's a war hero -- he's a war hero because he was captured. I like people that weren't captured. OK? I hate to tell you.
ACOSTA: McCain rarely fired back, but did so to C-SPAN, referring to the bone spurs that kept the president out of Vietnam.
SEN. JOHN MCCAIN (R), FORMER ARIZONA SENATOR: One aspect of the conflict, by the way, that I will never, ever, countenance is that we drafted the lowest income level of America and the highest income level found a doctor that would say that they had a bone spur. That is wrong.
ACOSTA: The president nursed a grudge against McCain for voting against the GOP effort to repeal ObamaCare with a memorable thumbs down.
PRESIDENT TRUMP: We had a gentleman late into the morning hours, go thumbs down. That was not a good thing he did. That was not a good thing for our people, for our country, whether you're a Democrat or Republican.
ACOSTA: In a stark contrast with her father, Ivanka Trump praised McCain in a speech, calling him a hero.
IVANKA TRUMP, DAUGHTER OF DONALD PRESIDENT TRUMP: The nation is united in grief and the world mourns the loss of a true hero and a great statesman.
ACOSTA (voice-over): Even as Trump loyalists --
ACOSTA (voice-over): -- defended the president's refusal to pay tribute to McCain.
MARC SHORT, FORMER WHITE HOUSE LEGISLATIVE AFFAIRS DIRECTOR: If the president put out a flowery statement about John McCain's life, the media would criticize it and say it is not consistent with the other things he said in the past.
ACOSTA: The Trump-McCain split had always been a sign of the times for the GOP. As Mr. Trump falsely claimed that Barack Obama was not born in the U.S., it was the senator who took the high road and told the truth.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: He's an Arab. He is not -- no?
MCCAIN: No, ma'am. No, ma'am.
ACOSTA: Instead of taking time to praise McCain, the president phoned the leaders from Mexico.
PRESIDENT TRUMP: And I believe the president is on the phone. Enrique?
ACOSTA: As the White House tried to change the subject, pointing to a new trade deal with Mexico that's aimed at replacing NAFTA.
PRESIDENT TRUMP: I think NAFTA has a lot of bad connotations for the United States because it was a rip off. It was a deal that was a horrible deal for our country.
ACOSTA: Asked earlier in the day why the White House had not done more to honor Senator John McCain, a senior White House official said, well, the president did issue a tweet.
As it turns out, the White House realized that tweet was not enough. Make no mistake, the president and his team had every opportunity to get this right. It took nearly 48 hours for the White House to do what could have been done on Saturday, that is issue a full respectful statement honoring McCain along with a proclamation that orders the flags be flown at half staff here at the White House -- Jim Acosta, CNN, the White House.
CHURCH: So let's get more now from CNN political analyst David Drucker.
Thank you so much for joining us.
DAVID DRUCKER, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: Good to be here.
CHURCH: Why is President Trump unable to rise above petty politics and so begrudgingly recognize a nation's hero and his legacy? What does it tell us about the leader of this country, that he had to
be shamed into saying anything of significance about Senator McCain?
DRUCKER: Well, the president has made an art out of petty politics. It probably propelled him to the Republican nomination and helped him win the presidency. But I think that instead of trying to get inside the president's head, it's just important to understand how this president operates.
He is shameless, utterly shameless. He never apologizes. He never backs down. I think he misses an opportunity to expand his base of support. He never mind bringing the country together at a critical moment.
He misses an opportunity selfishly, from his point of view, to expand his base of support and I think put himself in a better position for 2020.
I don't think most Americans are going to pay much attention to his feud with the late Senator McCain or the fact that he was unable to rise above his usual behavior and simply honor a man who was a war hero and dedicated his life to serving his country.
I do think this sort of behavior is what makes it more difficult for Republicans in the upcoming midterm elections and could make it more difficult for President Trump to win re-election if he ends up running against the Democrat, as I like to say, who is likable, trustworthy and not under FBI investigation like his last opponent was.
CHURCH: Right. I do want to talk about the midterms in just a moment. But first, John McCain's longtime aide, Rick Davis, read a letter Monday written by the late Senator McCain and this is what he said in part in his final message to the American people.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
RICK DAVIS, FORMER CAMPAIGN MANAGER OF JOHN MCCAIN: We weaken our greatness when we confuse our patriotism with tribal rivalries that have sown resentment and hatred and violence in all the corners of the globe.
We weaken it when we hide behind walls, rather than tear them down, when we doubt the power of our ideals, rather than trust them to be the great force for change they have always been.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CHURCH: So, final message from Senator McCain to Donald Trump about tribal rivalries, sowing resentment around the world and tearing down rather than building walls. How significant is this message from the grave from the late Senator McCain to the president and is he even listening?
DRUCKER: Well, I doubt he's listening. But I think what's significant about this message is that to the end, Senator McCain was talking about what he cared about the most and urging Americans to avoid what I think he saw in the waning days of his life and his time in public service as the biggest challenge to the United States.
That is this desire to pull back from the world.
And having been so removed from World War II, so removed from the Cold War, many Americans don't quite understand why it was so necessary, why it has been so profitable in a sense -- the peace dividend has been so profitable for the United States to have been so outward looking, so internationalists and so involved in leading alliances both in Europe and the Pacific.
And expending so much blood and treasure at different times, sometimes just a lot of treasure and controlling the sea lanes and guaranteeing democracy around the world. There's been a question about that coming out of the great recession from the 2008 --
DRUCKER: -- financial crash. Why is the United States expending so much time and energy when we have so many problems here at home?
And what Senator McCain tried to do -- and it pushed back so forcefully against what President Trump believes -- is explain to Americans why it is so important for the U.S. to continue in this role as the world's global guarantor of peace and prosperity.
And I think to the end, that's where he chose to focus his words because it was so important to him and also because it was what he was so worried about in terms of what comes next for the U.S.
CHURCH: And just finally, what impact might the passing of Senator McCain have on the upcoming midterm elections?
From Mr. Trump's initial refusal to even recognize McCain in death to the shaming of the president by veteran groups to eventually make a statement about the senator and to lower the White House flag to half- staff to honor McCain.
DRUCKER: Yes. So I think, look, by the time we get into next week and the week after, we're going to be on to new controversies and the president, as usual, will probably be in control of the news cycle for better or ill from his point of view.
And I don't think that this week -- I don't think the senator's death as significant an event as it is in the United States as a matter of American politics and even around the world for many people, I don't think it's really going to have that much of an impact on the midterm elections.
I do think, though, it's another example of behavior from the president that is one of the reasons why there are so many House districts in American suburbs that usually vote Republican but might not this year. It is just another reason why so many of these voters that are traditionally Republicans are thinking about voting for Democrats or might not vote at all.
And so it sort of reinforces the narrative about Trump that while very helpful for him in some of these Republican states where there are battleground Senate races, it's so damaging to him and his party in these battleground House districts. I think that's what this is about.
CHURCH: David Drucker, thank you so much for your analysis. We appreciate it.
DRUCKER: Thank you.
CHURCH: We'll take a short break here. But still to come, some are calling it the coup against Pope Francis. The pope's own former ambassador to Washington is demanding the pontiff resign, accusing him of covering up misconduct. The struggle for power inside the Vatican, that is next.
Plus, a new warning from North Korea to the U.S. secretary of state, saying the denuclearization process may soon fall apart. We're back in just a moment.
CHURCH: Well, we are following breaking news this hour. North Korea warning the United States it will resume nuclear and missile activities without a firm commitment to peace.
Sources tell CNN a letter sent from North Korea to the U.S. secretary of state warns the entire denuclearization process is again at stake and may fall apart. For more on this development, Will Ripley joins us now from Hong Kong.
Good to see you, Will. So we don't know the exact wording of this North Korea letter. But we do know that Pyongyang is warning that denuclearization efforts may fall apart.
What else are you learning about the content of that letter and its possible ramifications?
WILL RIPLEY, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, apparently, Rosemary, the letter was strongly worded enough that President Trump decided that Pompeo's scheduled trip to North Korea this week may do more harm than good because the North Koreans indicated that he would perhaps walk away once again empty-handed, as he did in early July, when he was widely perceived to have been snubbed by the North Korean leader, Kim Jong-un, who did not meet with him.
The United States went in and made a lot of demands, the North Koreans repeatedly rejected them and this gridlock began, followed by a very public back-and-forth, the U.S. accusing the North Koreans and the North Koreans accusing the United States of not living up to the agreement signed in Singapore with President Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un.
This letter continues to reaffirm what we've been reporting for quite some time now, Rosemary, that the main sticking point here is a peace treaty, a formal end to the Korean War, which has been in a technical state of cease-fire since 1953.
The North Koreans think that the peace treaty should come at the beginning of the process before any steps towards denuclearization are taken. But many in the Trump administration feel that the peace treaty should come at the end, that it's the kind of concession that should only be given after North Korea takes significant steps to rid itself of its nuclear arsenal.
That main point could really be what derails all of this, Rosemary, unless the two sides can come to some sort of compromise which, at this point, seems very unlikely, especially given the fact -- and President Trump alluded to it -- that China is no longer believed to be strongly enforcing the sanctions that put that maximum pressure on North Korea in the first place.
CHURCH: And, Will, this is exactly what many North Korea experts told the Trump administration would happen. But President Trump insisted on doing it his way.
So what needs to happen next to get things back on track?
You mentioned that North Korea strategy here is to get this peace deal.
Why is that such a big deal for the United States?
Why not do that first and then move forward, if that's -- if that's what's going to achieve denuclearization?
RIPLEY: Well, it depends on how you look at the peace deal. According to "The Washington Post," there are some in the State Department who do believe that, you know, perhaps a symbolic statement, that they're going to work to end the Korean War, is not necessarily a significant concession.
But there are others who feel that the peace deal itself would then undermine the strength of the U.S.-South Korea military alliance and then call into question why America even has some 28,000 troops located on the Korean Peninsula.
But the key sticking point and the real problem here seems to be that the agreement that was signed in Singapore is so vague that it was really open to interpretation. And it could well be the case that President Trump walked away, thinking he had signed something completely different from what North Korean leader Kim Jong-un thought he walked away with.
When you have something that is so open for interpretation, without specifics, which, all along, people have been saying, experts have been saying, there need to be specifics and there haven't been those.
Without those, you don't really have -- both sides can argue -- and that's exactly what they're doing -- that the other side isn't living up to the deal.
But when the deal is so vague and open for interpretation, then how do you know which side is telling the truth?
But what we have at stake here is potentially a regression to the significant tension that we saw before, with the added factor that, now South Korea's president, Moon Jae-in, he's planning to travel to Pyongyang next month.
"The Post" is reporting increasing concern in the Trump administration that the South Koreans may feel that they're ready to go it alone, not necessarily in lockstep with the United States, which weakens the position of the Trump administration when it comes to trying to put pressure on the North.
CHURCH: All right. Many thanks to our Will Ripley, bringing us those details live from Hong Kong. Thanks so much.
The head of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops is requesting an urgent audience with the pope to get to the truth of bombshell allegations. An archbishop is claiming Pope Francis covered up alleged sexual misconduct by a cardinal for half a decade and is demanding Francis step down.
CNN's Delia Gallagher reports, the stunning accusations are exposing deep rifts within the Vatican.
DELIA GALLAGHER, CNN VATICAN CORRESPONDENT: Pope Francis was asked by journalists on board the papal plane returning from Ireland on Sunday evening about accusations made by his former papal envoy to the United States that the pope himself knew about sexual abuse allegations, one of his top cardinals, former cardinal Theodore McCarrick of Washington, D.C., and that he failed to do anything about it for years.
The pope told journalists onboard that he had read the accusations and that he had this to say about it. Read the statement carefully, the pope said and make your own judgment. I will not say a single word on this. The letter speaks for itself. So Pope Francis essentially not confirming or denying the accusations, but instead refusing to engage the question.
Now, supporters of Pope Francis say the pope is right to do this because they say the former envoy is a conservative who has an ax to grind against Pope Francis and wants to embarrass him. Others however say there are details in the accusation that could be easily denied or verified by the pope and the Vatican should they wish to do so.
What is clear is that, for the moment anyway, Pope Francis has no intention of doing that -- Delia Gallagher, CNN, Rome.
CHURCH: More than 2,000 far right demonstrators came out in the eastern German city of Chemnitz on Monday night to protest Germany's refugee and immigration policy. It is the second day of protests in that city, sparked by the fatal stabbing of a German man that authorities have blamed on a Syrian and an Iraqi. The government says it won't tolerate vigilante justice. CNN's Atika Shubert has more.
ATIKA SHUBERT, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Chancellor Merkel's spokesperson condemned the men that took to the streets on Sunday in the strongest possible terms.
He said, quote, "The attempt to spread hatred on the streets has no place in our cities." He described the crowds as hunting or hounding anyone who looked different or possibly foreign.
Now tensions in this area of East Germany have been simmering for some time between the refugee and immigrant community and local residents, but it clearly boiled over on Sunday at 3:00 am in a knife fight. A 35-year-old German was killed.
Police have since arrested a Syrian suspect and an Iraqi suspect for the murder, but what was already a very bad situation was made much worse when the AFD, the far-right Party, an anti-immigration Party known as the alternative for Germany, called for a spontaneous demonstration later on Sunday.
They sent out a Facebook post that actually had a photo of the bloodstained crime scene, but protest organizers clearly lost control at some point, because hundreds more people then showed up, really an angry mob that completely overwhelmed police. And that was the moment that was captured in a number of social media videos.
You can probably see them roaming the streets of Chemnitz, shouting "Foreigners out," and "This is our city."
Now, the AFD Party has denied any responsibility for the mobs although it has acknowledged organizing the initial protest.
On Monday evening, more than 2,000 also took to the streets, again to protest Germany's refugee and immigration policy. This time, however, police were able to control the crowds, and the protesters were peacefully dispersed -- Atika Shubert, CNN, Berlin.
CHURCH: A new U.N. report slams Myanmar's military for crimes against humanity. Just ahead, the humanitarian crisis created by their crackdown on Rohingya Muslims.
There is no shortage of opinions on Donald Trump in the United States.
But how is he playing in the Middle East?
We will take you to Lebanon to find out. We're back in just a moment.
[02:31:26] CHURCH: Welcome back to CNN NEWSROOM. I'm Rosemary Church. I want to update you now on the main stories we're following this hour. The U.S. and Mexico have agreed to make crucial changes to the North American Free Trade Agreement. President Trump is again threatening to terminate NAFTA and instead sign a bilateral agreement with Mexico. The Canadian foreign minister will head to Washington on Tuesday to restart negotiations.
And Donald Trump spoke briefly Monday night on the passing of U.S. Senator John McCain with whom he often sparred. The president's only comment up until then was a single tweet, but after being asked numerous times for further comment, Mr. Trump said, we very much appreciate everything Senator McCain has done for our country. Myanmar's government is sidestepping questions about a new report accusing top military leaders of genocide.
A spokesman says the government has formed its own commission to investigate alleged human rights abuses against Rohingya Muslims over the past year. The U.N. report says military leaders should be investigated and prosecuted for crimes against humanity. It details allegations of murder, torture, and sexual violence. And it says Myanmar's government could not be expected to hold the military to account. The report lists six military leaders by name.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CHRISTOPHER SIDOTI, INDEPENDENT INTERNATIONAL FACT-FINDING MISSION ON MYANMAR: In Myanmar, there is a very clear chain of command and there is no doubt in our minds whatsoever that what we saw happen in Rakhine as a whole would not have happened without it firstly being within the knowledge of the senior military leadership. And secondly, under their effective control and it's because of the clarity of the chain of command in Myanmar that we have recommended that the investigation and the prosecution of these six.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CHURCH: Well, the U.N. report is also critical of de facto leader Aung San Suu Kyi and her government for failing to stop the violence.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
RADHIKA COOMARASWAMY, INDEPENDENT INTERNATIONAL FACT-FINDING MISSION ON MYANMAR: There's no evidence that they were there involved in the planning, etcetera. However, there were things during -- from about September onwards where they were blocking investigations, where they were basically taking -- doing acts and omissions that may have contributed to some of the atrocities especially after August, so that is what we're saying.
And we just feel that the Nobel Prize winner has such moral authority perhaps she should act.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CHURCH: Well, Phil Robertson is the deputy Director for the Asia Division at Human Rights Watch and he joins me now from Colombo in Sri Lanka. Thank you so much for being with us.
PHIL ROBERTSON, DEPUTY DIRECTOR, ASIA DIVISION, HUMAN RIGHTS WATCH: Sure.
CHURCH: Well, this U.N. report recommends that six senior military figures in Myanmar be investigated and prosecuted for genocide and crimes against humanity. But how likely is it that we'll see that happen?
ROBERTSON: Well, it's going to be a little bit difficult because Myanmar has not ratified the Rome Statute which established the International Criminal Court. So the only way to get them to the International Criminal Court is for the U.N. Security Council to actually and that's what we're calling for. We -- there's a briefing today by the U.N. Secretary General special representative envoy to Myanmar to discuss the situation.
The U.S. Security Council should be acting, should make a referral of these top generals, and other persons who are responsible for these crimes to the International Criminal Court, so we can finally get the wheels of justice moving here.
CHURCH: And how likely is it that that will happen?
[02:35:02] ROBERTSON: Well, it's going to be difficult because China has got a veto at the U.N. Security Council, so the other things we're doing is we're trying to press the U.N. Human Rights Council to establish another mechanism to establish the files and the other evidence that has been brought together by the fact-finding mission and build on that and then work, perhaps, if the U.N. Security Council won't act, we will work with the U.N. General Assembly and others to create something like a Rwanda commission right, former Yugoslavia commission, again, to ensure that these generals are brought before the international court for their crimes.
CHURCH: Now, this represents the strongest condemnation yet from the U.N. of brutality against Myanmar's Rohingya Muslims including indiscriminate killings, gang rape, assault of children, and the burning of entire villages. But of course as you've mentioned, Myanmar has rejected this report. So what happens next?
ROBERTSON: Well, I mean this is going to be a period of time when the international community really has to step up, you know, we're going to see whether they're prepared to really walk the walk. So far there had been a lot of statements. There's been a lot of handwringing about concern about how horrible the situation is and, you know, how to help the Rohingya, but very little action. And we want to see not only the action at the U.N.
But we also want to see the United States, the European Union, and others take additional sanctions against these top military commanders to once again show that this kind of action, you know, crimes against humanity and possibly genocide is totally unacceptable in the 21st century. I mean everybody always talks about never again, you know, when are they actually going to mean it?
CHURCH: Yes. We hear never again a lot, don't we? So the U.N. report also criticizes Myanmar's de facto leader Aung San Suu Kyi for failing to stop the violence against the Rohingya people. So how likely is it that Suu Kyi perhaps would face genocide charges herself?
ROBERTSON: Well, at this point, it's not that likely. But she is clearly part of the problem. She's been involved in what I would characterize as a cover-up of the atrocities by the generals. You know, she now has to decide which side she's going to be on. You know, is she going to go down with the sinking ship? This situation now is one where the international community has significantly ratcheted up the pressure on Myanmar and Suu Kyi as we've said all along, you know, has the moral authority to step in.
You know, if she says something the people of Myanmar will follow her. She's still very popular there. And if she steps up and says, look, the military has done something wrong here and we have to hold them accountable. I think she would be followed and supported in that.
CHURCH: Yes. We will watch to see what her move is next. Phil Robertson, thank you so much for joining us. We appreciate it.
ROBERTSON: Thank you.
CHURCH: Well, Iran is asking the United Nations' International Court of Justice to order the U.S. to lift its sanctions against Tehran. Tehran claims the sanctions violate a 1955 friendship treaty between the U.S. and Iran because they're damaging the Iranian economy. The hearing on the case is expected to continue through the week. The U.S. calls the lawsuit meritless and is set to deliver its oral arguments in the coming hours.
Well, French President Emmanuel Macron is warning Europe can no longer rely on the U.S. for its military defense. Macron laid out his diplomatic vision for the year ahead and he called for greater European military cooperation. Now, this comes after Macron tried but failed to convince President Donald Trump not to withdraw from crucial multilateral agreements.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
EMMANUEL MACRON, PRESIDENT OF FRANCE (via translator): Multilateralism is experiencing a major crisis that affects all of our diplomatic activity above all because of American policies, doubts about NATO, the unilateral and aggressive commercial policies that almost result to a trade war against China, Europe and some others to withdraw from the Paris Accord, the exit from the Iran nuclear deal. We see a lot of impact. The partner with which Europe had built the post for multilateral order seems to turn its back on this common history.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CHURCH: Well, after a year and a half in office, Donald Trump still leaves many in the Middle East baffled. Is he friend or foe and does he really have a plan to help the region which has suffered from so much conflict? CNN's Ben Wedeman reports from Lebanon.
BEN WEDEMAN, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: President Donald Trump's first overseas trip was to Saudi Arabia, a signal that his stump speeches aside he might actually be reaching out to this troubled corner of the world. His every word is followed closely here in Lebanon where regional and global rivalries run right through the minutia of local politics. A harsh critic of U.S.-Middle East policy commentator Marwa Osman was hoping Trump might live up to his promise of putting America first and pull out.
[02:40:11] MARWA OSMAN, POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: When he visited the region and he changed his mind about leaving because he said he wants to leave. He wants to leave the Middle East and this is what we all want to hear. We want to be left alone.
WEDEMAN: That was not to be. Since becoming president, he reversed decades of U.S. policy and recognized Jerusalem as Israel's capital, nixed the Iran nuclear deal, and reapplied draconian sanctions. He's backed Saudi Arabia to the hilt in its Yemen War. In this Palestinian refugee camp of Shatila, site of the 1982 massacre, Masjid, an official with the Fatah movement scoffed at Arab rulers who leaped on the Trump train. Trump, he says, considers you cows to milk.
But mostly the U.S. president leaves these third and fourth generation refugees baffled. I think he's crazy, says this (INAUDIBLE) shop owner. Not everyone disses the Donald. Analyst Toufic Hindi gives him high marks for ditching the Iran deal.
TOUFIC HINDI, POLITICAL ANALYST: It is a beginning to say to the republican -- Islamic Republic of Iran stop and not only for the nuclear deal. It stop going all around the region. Stop expanding your empire from Iraq, to Syria, to Lebanon, to Palestine, to Yemen.
WEDEMAN: On Beirut's Hamra Street, I asked (INAUDIBLE) what they think of President Trump. He's the world's worst, says (INAUDIBLE) he's a mistake. Back it (INAUDIBLE) better known as (INAUDIBLE) doubts the President of the United States of America cares what anyone here has to say. If I (INAUDIBLE) say Trump, Trump, Trump, do you think he'll listen to me? Good question. Ben Wedeman, CNN Beirut.
CHURCH: Well, meanwhile, South Africa is striking back at U.S. President Donald Trump for his comments on land seizures in that country. Mr. Trump claimed white farmers in South Africa were being killed so their land could be given to blacks. CNN's David McKenzie spoke to South Africa's International Relations Minister who said the president is just trying to appeal to his base.
LINDIWE SISULU, SOUTH AFRICAN MINISTER OF DEFENCE AND MILITARY VETERANS: Because I think the resonating with people who stands to benefit because they probably have the same kind of ideology. I have no idea.
DAVID MCKENZIE, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Is this a racist ideology?
SISULU: I think it is a right-wing ideology and it is very unfortunate. We've used every opportunity coming through our communications to explain to the world what it is that we're doing. It is the most reasonable way to deal with a legacy such as we have, and we are almost amazed at how, you know, it could be misinterpreted and acceptable in certain quarters.
MCKENZIE: But it seems like the President of the United States has almost made it acceptable to talk about this.
SISULU: That is why I was indicating that I think it was unfortunate. I would have thought that in a position of a president, the first thing that he would have done is to call his Secretary of State. Our job is to make sure that we can redistribute land for those people whose land was taken away from them forcefully and illegally by previous governments. It should be returned to them because we would like as much productivity as we can on the land.
CHURCH: CNN's David McKenzie speaking with South Africa's International Relations Minister. A successor will soon be named to fill John McCain's Senate seat. But right now, candidates are running to replace this man, Jeff Flake, Arizona's other senator. We'll have more on that just ahead.
[02:47:03] CHURCH: Welcome back, everyone. Well, John McCain's fellow U.S. Senators marked his passing on Monday. As is tradition, McCain's desk in the Senate chamber was draped in black with white roses placed on top. And colleagues in both parties took to the Senate floor to honor him.
SEN. CHUCK SCHUMER (D-NY), SENATE MINORITY LEADER: I propose we rename the Russell Senate Office Building, one of only three Senate office buildings, after John McCain. It would be a fitting tribute to a man who considers his service here in the Senate, headquartered in the Russell building where his beloved Armed Services Committee also resides, the most significant of his distinguished career.
SEN. JOHNNY ISAKSON, (R-GA), CHAIRMAN, VETERAN'S AFFAIR COMMITTEE: Anybody who in any way tarnishes the reputation of John McCain, deserves a whipping. I would say to the president or the -- anybody in the world, it's time to pause and say, this was a great man. He gave everything for us.
SEN. JEFF FLAKE (R), ARIZONA: We are fortune to have known him best in Arizona, but he was bigger than any one state. He always belonged to America and to the world. And now, he belongs to the ages. Farewell, Senator. Farewell, John. I yield the floor.
CHURCH: Judging by those tributes made by his fellow Senators, McCain's death is not only a loss for the U.S. Senate, but also for McCain's home state of Arizona. Attention turns now to who will fill his seat and how soon that could happen. Under Arizona law, it is up to the state's governor to appoint a successor until a special election is held in 2020.
The Republican governor said he won't do that until after McCain is buried next week. State Republicans contacted by CNN floated some potential candidates' names, which include McCain's widow, Cindy.
Well, Arizona has another U.S. Senate seat to fill this year, that of retiring Senator Jeff Flake. And if one particular candidate wins, there will be a Republican in the Senate who will be a lot less like McCain and more like the man he frequently clashed with, President Donald Trump. CNN's Kyung Lah has more from the campaign trail in Arizona.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Super excited.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Here we go.
KYUNG LAH, CNN SENIOR NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: In their final pitch to Arizona Republicans, U.S. Senate candidate Kelli Ward, pledging she is the anti-John McCain.
KELLI WARD, CANDIDATE TO SENATE, ARIZONA: Are we going to elect another Senator cut from the same cloth as Jeff Flake and John McCain?
AMERICAN CROWD: No!
LAH: This was hours before the Senator died.
Was it a thought to maybe not say something today?
WARD: There is Senator McCain the person, and I feel very, very bad for him and for his family. But there is also Senator McCain, the politician that has let down Arizona again, and again, and again.
[02:50:09] MIKE CERNOVICH, HOST, THE ALEX JONES SHOW, INFOWARS: Trump calls everybody (INAUDIBLE).
LAH: Riding with Ward, conservative provocateurs Tomi Lahren and Mike Cernovich. LAH: Do you welcome their viewpoints?
WARD: I mean, I welcome viewpoints from everyone.
LAH: Even if they're completely false and dangerous?
WARD: Well, and how does that pertain to me?
LAH: You had him on your bus.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: As promised, we have Kelli Ward in the house.
LAH: This is the battle for Arizona's Republican base. Ward --
WARD: I voted proudly for Donald J. Trump.
LAH: In lockstep with Trump, calling her opponent --
REP. MARTHA MCSALLY (R), ARIZONA: We support all services.
LAH: Establishment back, Arizona Congresswoman Martha McSally.
MCSALLY: Say, watch your mouth.
LAH: -- a GOP phony.
WARD: Pretending to be a supporter of Donald Trump, she's running as though she's Kelli Ward, and we don't need a cheap imitation. We've got the real thing.
MCSALLY: As we say at the beginning of a fighter engagement in the air, fight's on.
LAH: She should know. McSally is a retired air force combat pilot. A congresswoman who won in a moderate district. She's now shifting to the right.
MCSALLY: Mr. President --
LAH: Sitting at the table with Trump in Washington.
MCSALLY: Lower taxes, less regulations.
LAH: Echoing him on the trail.
MCSALLY: I think the Mueller investigation needs to wrap up. I think, there's been no collusion. So, let's get over it. Let's move on.
MCSALLY: I have a 97 percent voting record with the president's agenda. More than anyone else in the Arizona delegation. So, those are just the facts.
LAH: But before Trump as president, McSally felt differently, calling his access Hollywood tape disgusting and unacceptable. Tweeting, she was "Appalled to this day not revealing if she voted for Trump. UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: She's still can't say they'll be walk. Give me a break.
LAH: Opening herself up to attacks, not just from ward --
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You get what you see.
LAH: -- but also Republican Senate candidate Joe Arpaio, longtime Maricopa County Sheriff, convicted of criminal contempt for racially profiling Latinos.
JOE ARPAIO, FORMER SHERIFF, MARICOPA COUNTY: And here he is.
LAH: Then, pardoned by President Trump.
ARPAIO: I'm the guy that's going to win this.
LAH: Do you think you're the front-runner?
ARPAIO: Not according to the polls. Who cares about the Mickey Mouse polls? They're all stacked anyway.
LAH: He's not expected to win.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Go Kelli Ward --
LAH: Ward thinks she has a fighting chance. McSally --
MCSALLY: We're going to win by lot.
LAH: -- already pivoting to the general.
MCSALLY: We look forward to having unity after we're the nominee on Tuesday night. We're in a strong, confident position. This is a high-stakes election.
CHURCH: Kyung Lah, reporting there. And since CNN spoke to Ward, she has been forced to backtrack on some controversial comments on John McCain. Kelli Ward apologized for suggesting an announcement prior to his death by McCain's family that he would end his cancer treatment was designed to take media attention off her campaign. Ward, said her remarks where misconstrued.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
WARD: I do understand how many could have misconstrued my comments as insensitive, and for this, I apologize. But, again, the intention of my comments were in no way directed at Senator McCain or his family.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CHURCH: And we'll be back in just a moment.
(COMMERCIAL BREAK) CHURCH: John McCain was a serious statesman, but he also enjoyed making people laugh. The late Senator was hardly shy about showing his humor side and did so famously on many occasions. Our Jeanne Moos has collected some of his funniest moments.
[02:55:14] JEANNE MOOS, CNN NATIONAL NEWS CORRESPONDENT: He called his campaign bus, the straight talk express.
MCCAIN: Why are we handing this out?
MOOS: But a lot of what he expressed was humor, whether it was poking fun at his opponent, then-presidential candidate Obama.
MCCAIN: Maverick I can do, but messiah is above my pay grade.
MOOS: Or getting nabbed on camera playing poker on his phone during a Senate debate.
MCCAIN: Occasionally, I get a little bored.
MOOS: Just a year and a half ago, Senator McCain was horsing around like a teenager, making devil ears --
MANU RAJU, CNN SENIOR CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Laying out a series of demand.
MOOS: -- behind CNN reporter Manu Raju. McCain, then, tweeted out the moment, "After all these years, revenge." More devil horns behind his fellow Senator from Colorado.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Senator John McCain.
MOOS: And then there were all those "SNL" appearances never funnier than when --
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: McCain sings Streisand.
MCCAIN: People and ring.
MOOS: He said Streisand had tried to do his job talking politics, so he decided to try hers.
MCCAIN: Papa can you see me. Pretty annoying?
MOOS: Barbara wasn't annoyed. After his death, she referenced the "SNL" act in a tweet and called him a good man, a good Senator.
He even let "SNL" joke about his then-running mate going rogue.
SARAH PALIN, FORMER GOVERNOR OF ALASKA: Available now, we got a bunch of these --
MOOS: Senator McCain's attempts at humor sometimes blew up on him. Remember this? Senator McCain did when someone asked him about punishing Iran.
MCCAIN: That old Beach Boy's song, Bomb Iran? You know, bomb, bomb, bomb.
MOOS: He made movie and T.V. cameos playing himself.
MCCAIN: Excuse me out. I just need to get my coat here.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Could you give me a minute here, please?
MOOS: He made fun of himself.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I wish that guy would shut up.
MOOS: No wonder he laughed so easily. He considered himself to be one of --
MCCAIN: The luckiest people in the world..
MOOS: Jeanne Moos, CNN, New York.
CHURCH: Honoring a great man. Thank you so much for your company. I'm Rosemary Church, and I'll be back with another hour of news in just a moment. You're watching CNN.