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Kavanaugh Accuser Wants FBI Probe Before Testifying; Comedy Writer Got Into Twitter War with Trump in 2013; Japanese Billionaire to Make History in Space; Inter-Koean Summit; War's Toll on Civilians in Yemen. Aired 12m-1a ET

Aired September 19, 2018 - 00:00   ET

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


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JOHN VAUSE, CNN ANCHOR (voice-over): You're watching CNN NEWSROOM live from Los Angeles. Ahead this hour, it's being called a great leap forward towards peace on the Korean Peninsula. On the second day of a landmark summit in Pyongyang, the leaders of North and South say they have agreed to a plan to denuclearization.

Also, a CNN special report: how the children of Yemen are being killed by munitions sold to the Saudi military coalition by American arms manufacturers.

And the woman accusing a U.S. Supreme Court nominee says she will not testify until a full investigation is carried out by the FBI. Republicans from the president on down say that is not going to happen.

Hello, everybody, thank you for being with us. I'm John Vause. This is NEWSROOM L.A.

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VAUSE: There was a rush of announcements in the last few hours and it might be easier to list what North and South Korea have not agreed to during a leadership summit in Pyongyang. Both Moon Jae-in and Kim Jong-un say they have a plan for denuclearization which will all happen in the near future.

International inspectors will be allowed into the North, which has agreed to scrap its missile engine testing site and the Yongbyon nuclear facility. There is also a deal on a joint military pact to plan to link railways, to allow family reunions, even health care is included.

Kim Jong-un says he will soon visit Seoul and if that goes ahead, he'll be the first North Korean leader to do so since the peninsula was divided into North and South at the end of World War II.

And for good measure, both countries say they will bid jointly to host the 2032 Olympics. CNN's Paula Hancocks joins us live from Seoul with more.

This is an incredible to-do list. How much of all of it is dependent on what the U.S. does, especially when it comes to scrapping the nuclear facility?

PAULA HANCOCKS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, that's the key thing that the U.S. is going to be looking for here, John. And even though we heard most notably from the South Korean president, not from the North Korean leader himself, that North Korea is going to fully dismantle this missile engine testing site, this is something that the U.S. president said that he had been guaranteed by Kim Jong-un back in June, when they had the Singapore summit.

The new element is the fact that they have agreed that they will have international experts and relative experts to go in and watch that. So that's the key point.

But the other point that's -- that Moon said was it was conditional on U.S. countermeasures, matching measures, corresponding measures. And then they would consider shutting down the Yongbyon nuclear facility.

This is really what North Korea wants at this point. They want this quid pro quo. They want this step-by-step process. And they have been consistently saying that they want to see some matching measures by the United States.

Yes, they have agreed to the international experts, which they hadn't agreed to before but the Yongbyon nuclear facility is contingent on what the U.S. does.

VAUSE: OK. So there is now a lot of talk or there was, leading up to this, that the U.S. president, he wanted to see tangible progress here. This would seem to be that and a whole lot more.

So does this mean that the U.S. clearly is now likely to be much more on board with this whole denuclearization process?

Or will the North and South, will they go their own way?

HANCOCKS: Well, there is certainly a lot here that the U.S. president Donald Trump could look at and see as a success. The fact that they have added those experts, the fact that they are now putting Yongbyon nuclear facility on the table.

But, of course, there are also many other issues that do make the inter-Korean relation far better, the fact that they have this military agreement. There is going to be a no-fly zone in certain areas of the DMZ. They're going to be dismantling 11 guard posts along the DMZ each by the end of this year, the fact that they're also going to agree to limit military exercises close to the border. They're going to stop all that.

So from an inter-Korean point of view, there is certainly a lot there. The fact that Kim Jong-un could be the first North Korean leader to visit Seoul, saying that he wants to do that as soon as possible. There is, of course, elements that Mr. Trump can point to as a success

if he wants to. It really doesn't depend on which way he wants to go. But the fact that President Moon came to this summit, saying he was the chief negotiator, that Mr. Trump had put that trust in him, that he was effectively negotiating on his behalf as well, would suggest that he may have potentially preapproved some of this.

He may have said what his red line was. We simply don't know. There were a lot of phone calls --

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HANCOCKS: -- between the foreign minister of South Korea and the foreign secretary of the U.S. just before this summit; in fact, even at the 5:45 am, before the South Korean foreign minister got on the plane. So there is that potential that they had preagreed how far the could go beforehand.

VAUSE: This goes forward as planned, it will indeed be an historic day. We'll have to see how it all plays out. There's much that could derail this but let's see where it goes. Paula, thank you. Paula Hancocks live for us in Seoul.

Now to a CNN exclusive. The Saudi-led coalition fighting in Yemen says there will be an investigation into an airstrike which killed two children last week. CNN has found evidence of bomb fragments from other sites, which appear to show the weapons have been made by American companies.

It's unclear where the munitions were made in Thursday's attack. Nima Elbagir has this exclusive report.

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NIMA ELBAGIR, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): A direct strike in broad daylight. Rescuers rush in but it's too late.

It's too graphic to show in full, but the bodies being pulled out belong to 3-month-old little girl and her 3-year-old brother.

This cell phone footage was sent to CNN by the rebel Houthi-backed media group Ansar Allah Media. A rare glimpse of life of the bombardment in Yemen.

Bashar (ph) is taking us down to his house, down, down, to the family's hiding place. This is where the children have been taught to come when they hear the familiar drone of planes overhead.

Baraa and her family aren't so lucky. They had to improvise.

For the last three years, Yemen has been the site of a devastating proxy war. Pitting Iranian backed Houthi militias against a U.S.- backed Saudi-led coalition seeking to restore the government of overthrown President Abdrabbuh Mansur Hadi.

In that time, local activist groups have collated data showing an estimated 17,000 aerial strikes. As Yemenis attempt some semblance of normal life. These are some of the stories of life under bombardment.

On August 9th, the world was aghast when images emerged of school boys covered in blood after they bus was hit by a coalition plane. A CNN investigation subsequently identified the 500-pound bomb dropped directly on the bus was supplied by the U.S. to the coalition.

We now know that wasn't the first or last incident of civilian deaths using U.S.-made armaments, just the first to hit the headlines in years.

Using images collected by award-winning Yemeni activist group Muthana and independently verified by CNN as having been American made.

CNN has been able to identify at least 11 separate incidents of coalition strikes on civilian areas using U.S.-made armaments. Lockheed Martin during the bus attack. But also, Raytheon and the U.S. Air Force Materiel Command.

It is a litany of death made in the USA. And yet the U.S. State Department has certified to Congress that the Saudi-led coalition is undertaking demonstrable actions to reduce the risk of harm and that arms sales to the coalition could continue.

When CNN reached out on our findings to the Pentagon, the spokeswoman Commander Rebecca Rebarich said it "called upon all parties to take all feasible precautions to avoid harm to civilians. The final decisions on the conduct of operations in the campaign are made by the members of the Saudi-led coalition, not the U.S."

Many of these weapons were precision guided. We wanted to see the aftermath for ourselves. CNN was able to send a team to Hachi province. There, our cameraman met 12-year-old Hayal Jerad (ph).

In April, a coalition bomb struck a village wedding.

You can see here the moments before the planes arrived killing 21 people, 11 of them children. This is part of the missile tail used in the attack. A weapons expert helped CNN trace it back to the U.S. made GBU-12 bomb manufactured by Raytheon.

Hayal was one of the lucky ones. Bhiamad (ph) will spend his life on crutches and Hayal's brother was killed.

As the team conducts the interviews in the distance, a plane is heard.

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ELBAGIR (voice-over): And the children scatter.

In a rare moment of respite, Baraa's little brother is allowed out to play with his friends in the courtyard. Our cameraman asks why he isn't playing in the street. He knows the sound by heart, his cue to run to what safety there is -- Nima Elbagir, CNN, London.

(END VIDEOTAPE) VAUSE: And the spokesman for the Saudi-led coalition says it takes

any allegations like this seriously while adding, "Targeting operations are carried out in conformity to the rules of engagement, which resemble the highest international standards."

CNN made repeated requests for comment to the U.S. arms manufacturers Raytheon and Lockheed Martin. So far no response from either company.

Back to that story on North Korea. We have this tweet coming in from president Donald Trump. This is what he wrote.

"Kim Jong-un has agreed to allow nuclear inspections subject to final negotiations and to permanently dismantle a test site and launch pad in the presence of international experts. In the meantime, there will be no rocket or nuclear testing."

He wrote, "Remains to continue to negotiate" -- I guess we're waiting for the rest of the tweet, "but we're still waiting to find out what happens to the rest of those soldiers who are yet to come home, the bodies of the soldiers after the Korean War."

OK. We'll move on now. The Russians are blaming Israel after one of their military planes was shot down over Syria. According to Russian media, Syrian missiles shot down the plane during an attack by Israeli jets in the Latakia region; 15 crewmembers were on board.

Russia says Israeli jets used the Russian plane as cover and Moscow plans extra security measures now to try to prevent a similar incident. But with Israel's response, here is Ian Lee reporting from Jerusalem.

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IAN LEE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: It's unusual for Israel to comment on operations conducted inside of Syria and it's especially unusual to get this much detail but seems like their hand was forced after Russia accused them of being responsible for the downing of the Russian plane.

While Israel expresses sorrow for the deaths of the Russian airmen, they say they're not sorry for the incident. They say that Syria is responsible for this as well as Iran and Hezbollah. And they say that's because Israel warplanes were targeting a facility that was controlled by the Syrian army that creates accurate and lethal weapons on the behalf of Iran for Hezbollah and Lebanon.

They say they were going in to destroy that facility. Israel also says that they worked a deconfliction line with the Russians to alert them ahead of time of this operation.

They also pointed out to four different points. They said, first off, that Syria used extensive and inaccurate fire and that's what the cause of the shooting down of the plane.

They also said that when the missile that was fired that shot down that Russian plane, Israeli warplanes had already made it back to Israeli airspace.

They also said that, during the strike in Latakia, that the Russian airplane wasn't in the area of operation.

And also they said that Syria used indiscriminate fire and didn't take into account the Russian plane that was in the area at the time.

Now while Israel says they do express their sorrow, they're willing to share this information, relevant information, with the Russians going forward -- Ian Lee, CNN, Jerusalem.

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VAUSE: Well, Donald Trump's nominee for the Supreme Court has taken a U-turn. The woman accusing Brett Kavanaugh of sexual assault wants an FBI investigation.

Also ahead, a Japanese billionaire is set to go where no Japanese billionaire has gone before. Or any tourist, for that matter.

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VAUSE: There is potentially new trouble for U.S. Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh. The woman accusing him of sexual assault more than 30 years ago says she wants an FBI investigation before testifying publicly. Details now from CNN's Kaitlan Collins.

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DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: He's an incredible individual. Great intellect. Great judge.

COLLINS (voice-over): President Trump standing by his Supreme Court nominee today projecting confidence.

TRUMP: Impeccable history. In every way. In every way.

COLLINS: Even though for most of Washington, Brett Kavanaugh's confirmation is now an open question ahead of a scheduled public hearing with the woman who says he sexually assaulted her when they were teenagers.

TRUMP: I feel so badly for him that he's going through this, to be honest with you. I feel so badly for him. This is not a man that deserves this.

COLLINS: Kavanaugh has denied the allegation and the president is blaming Democrats, claiming they waited too long to release the woman's claim.

TRUMP: And because they obstruct and because they resist. That's the name of their campaign against me.

So I don't want to play into their hands.

COLLINS: Senator Dianne Feinstein was made aware of the allegations earlier this summer, but she says she kept them confidential at the request of the accuser. Trump disagreeing with Senate Democrats who say the FBI should get involved.

TRUMP: The FBI, John, said that they really don't do that. That's not what they do.

COLLINS: The president making no mention of Christine Blasey Ford's name today but urging her to publicly tell her story.

TRUMP: Hopefully, the woman will come forward. State her case.

COLLINS: Trump sounding sure of Kavanaugh's innocence.

TRUMP: He will state his case before representatives of the United States Senate. And then they will vote.

COLLINS: The president says he still hasn't spoken with Kavanaugh, who spent a second day in a row at the White House today with sources describing him as flabbergasted and shaken as the administration mounts a defense.

TRUMP: Judge Kavanaugh is anxious to do it. I don't know about the other party. But Judge Kavanaugh is very anxious to do it.

COLLINS: As Trump vigorously defends his nominee, ordinary moments from Kavanaugh's confirmation hearing are now back in the spotlight.

SEN. MAZIE HIRONO (D-HAWAII), JUDICIARY COMMITTEE: Since you became a legal adult have you ever made unwanted requests for sexual favors or committed any verbal or physical harassment or assault of a sexual nature?

BRETT KAVANAUGH, SUPREME COURT NOMINEE: No.

HIRONO: Have you ever faced discipline or entered into a settlement related to this kind of conduct?

KAVANAUGH: No.

COLLINS: Now President Trump has been measured in his responses so far to these allegations. But today we saw the first glimpse that President Trump himself has doubts about their veracity, pointing to the fact that the alleged incident happened more than three decades ago.

Now when President Trump was asked if he believes this is all just politics, he said he wasn't ready to answer that question yet but he might in the coming days -- Kaitlan Collins, CNN, the White House.

(END VIDEOTAPE) VAUSE: Michael Genovese is president of the Global Policy Institute at Loyola Marymount University. David Katz is a criminal defense attorney and former assistant U.S. attorney. Both are here with me in Los Angeles.

Let's just follow up --

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VAUSE: -- on the point we're hearing from the president and other Republicans about the role of the FBI. This comment came from the Republican Chuck Grassley, who's chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee.

"Dr. Ford's testimony would reflect her personal knowledge and memory of events. Nothing the FBI or any other investigator does would have any bearing on what Dr. Ford tells the committee. So there is no reason for any further delay."

David, do you agree with that?

DAVID KATZ, CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEY: No. I think that they should resume and reopen the FBI investigation. This is kind of putting the cart before the horse. This is having a trial with testimony at the very beginning of a case instead of having the investigation precede the testimony.

Now it's true that there have been FBI investigations of Judge Kavanaugh before but never as to these allegations. Having said that, I do think that she ought to testify on Monday. I think if push comes to shove, she ought the testify on Monday.

VAUSE: When the president says the FBI says that they don't do that, I mean, it's the Federal Bureau of Investigations. They do investigate and they would investigate if the president directed them to.

Would that be unusual if he gave that directive?

KATZ: It would be normal that he gave that directive. In fact, during the Anita Hill allegations against Clarence Thomas, when he was being nominated to the Supreme Court, a direction was given by President Bush then to go investigate these allegations, given to the FBI by the president.

So the only precedent that we have that's right on point is a president giving approval for just this sort of investigation that Trump is not allowing in this situation.

VAUSE: OK. Well, we heard from Kaitlan Collins at the end of that report. The president was asked if this is political. He refused to sort of get into it. Well, he has now; there was a tweet just a short time ago.

"The Supreme Court is one of the main reasons I got elected president. I hope Republican voters and others are watching and studying the Democrat playbook."

He also talked about the Democrats and obstruction during a news conference on Tuesday.

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TRUMP: They obstruct. And because they resist. Highways the name of their campaign against me. They just resist and they just obstruct. And frankly, I think they're lousy on policy and in many ways they're lousy politicians. But they're very good on obstruction.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

VAUSE: Michael, the tweet in particular seems as if Donald Trump wants to make this an issue for the midterm elections.

And does the name Merrick Garland mean anything to you at this particular point in time?

MICHAEL GENOVESE, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: The president is absolutely right. One of the main reasons he got elected and one of the main reasons why a lot of Republicans who were not sympathetic to candidate Trump ended up voting for him was the Supreme Court.

He's given them one justice they like. Kavanaugh is another they like.

So I think, while the president is dropping in popularity, I think this is his strong point. This is where he is a left hook to the Democrats and his Republican allies like that very much.

VAUSE: And what about the issue of Merrick Garland, that the Republicans held up for 400-something days?

GENOVESE: Ancient history to the Republicans. The Republicans are playing hardball, they're not playing fair ball. And that's just the way politics goes. I think the Democrats might do something similar if the tables were turned. You want to get him confirmed. You want to do it quickly.

Now I don't know why there is such a big rush. He is going to get confirmed unless something really explosive is uncovered and revealed. He's got it in the bag.

Why is Monday such a magical day?

VAUSE: Listen to Christine Ford's attorney speaking on CNN a few hours ago.

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LISA BANKS, CHRISTINE BLASEY FORD'S ATTORNEY: Since coming forward, her life has been turned upside down. And rushing forward into a hearing, when she's under this much pressure, isn't the way to do it.

There's no reason to do it. It's not that there's a stalling tactic at play. She's more than willing to go forward and talk to the committee in whatever forum that is and to assist with law enforcement in their investigation.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

VAUSE: David, in a case like this when a woman is accusing someone of sexual assault, which is a traumatic experience of itself, is that enough of a reason to slow everything down?

I mean, from your experience?

KATZ: Well, it's very normal in these kind of traumatic situations for there not to be a contemporaneous complaint. That was always one of the defense's. I'm a criminal defense attorney and I remember very well when that was a typical defense.

But it doesn't wash anymore. Having said that, she does have an opportunity to tell her story publicly to the nation and that sort of thing will make it very hard for Senator Collins to say I disbelieve the woman.

And I think it would be hard for that senator from North Dakota, who is facing reelection who is a Democrat, to say I disbelieve her. But she has to testify. Otherwise the Republicans in charge of the Senate Judiciary Committee will say there's no evidence.

There is a poison pen letter but there is no evidence and she should not give them that out because I think they'll take it.

VAUSE: There is a little bit of time left. I want to move on to yet --

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VAUSE: -- another tell-all book about to be released.

"Full Disclosure" by the adult film star Stormy Daniels goes into fairly graphic details about the affair she alleged she had with Donald Trump back in 2006.

At one point she writes this, "It may have been the least impressive sex I've ever had but clearly he didn't share that opinion."

There are a lot of other graphic details of a personal nature about the president, who is reportedly fuming about this unflattering portrayal of him in this book. But he seems to be in a bit of a bind here. He can't really anything about it because it's almost like admitting the affair took place. By denying this affair, he's painted himself into a corner.

GENOVESE: Well, you know, 20 years ago, we went through this mud and the gutter with President Clinton and Mr. Kavanaugh was one of the people who was pushing Ken Starr to go further and deeper into that gutter.

Now we're back in the gutter again with Stormy Daniels and Donald Trump and it's a place we shouldn't want to go. We don't need to hear these things. This has no place in the public arena. It has nothing to do with politics. It's dirty. It's salacious. And I'm interested in the potential crime, I'm not interested these things.

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VAUSE: The thing is, the book will be released October 2nd, just over a month before the midterms.

Whether it was planned or not, how much of an impact do you think this will have?

Stormy Daniels will be back in the headlines.

GENOVESE: There are going to be headlines from the book. We've got the headlines already and salacious little stories. People like the gossipy style. I don't know if it's going to have much of an impact. I think people are going to look past this. I think this is kind of separate and distinct and people kind of say, OK, that's that. Let's look here. Let's look at the economy. Let's look at Kavanaugh. I don't know that it will have that much of an impact.

VAUSE: Their opinion is already baked into the cake before the midterms, at least on this issue of Stormy Daniels.

Michael and David, thank you so much. See you next hour.

GENOVESE: Thank you.

VAUSE: OK, we'll take a short break.

But when we come back, remember those more happier times when it seemed maybe that Donald Trump would actually change his ways?

He might become presidential. Well, the evidence is in and it's clear the pivot's never going to happen and the evidence was there before our eyes, long before he started running for president.

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VAUSE: Welcome back, everybody. You're watching CNN NEWSROOM live from Los Angeles. I'm John Vause with the headlines this hour.

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[00:30:00] VAUSE: U.S. President Donald Trump tweeted about these developments just moments ago, calling it all very exciting.

Russian President Vladimir Putin is calling the downing of a Russian warplane over Syria, a tragedy. The defense ministry there, explaining Israel, saying Syria mistakenly shot down the plane during an Israeli airstrike. Israel has expressed sorrow for the downing, but they blame the Syrians.

And a woman accusing U.S. Supreme Court nominee, Brett Kavanaugh, of sexual assault more than 30 years ago, says she wants an FBI investigation before testifying publicly. The Senate Judiciary Committee has asked Christine Blasey Ford to appear on Monday.

Remember the pivot of 2016?

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UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I think that what you've seen today, hopefully, is the beginning of a pivot.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yesterday was a natural -- call it, the pivot, into the general election.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He knows the pivot is important. He has been better, and I think he's going to be great moving forward.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

VAUSE: And with something like this, at some point, during the U.S. presidential election, Canada, Donald Trump would stop all of the bigoted and racist insults, the misogyny. A schoolyard name-calling and bullying would come to an end.

He no longer mocks the disabled nor would he insult more veterans. Instead, there would be respect for the families of fallen soldiers. The narcissism would give way to altruism. Somehow, the man whose seemed to have no decency or shame, who boasted and bragged, who's often petty would just pivot and become presidential.

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DONALD TRUMP, THEN U.S. REPUBLICAN PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I could be presidential. But if I was presidential, we'd only have about 20 percent of you would be here because it would be boring as hell, I will say.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

VAUSE: Well, the elusive pivot, it's just around the corner. No, it's not. The reality is, by now, everyone has realized it's never going to happen. If there is one thing about Donald Trump, it's this. He is who he has always shown himself to be.

It was always there in plain sight long before he ascended that golden escalator and called Mexicans, rapists and drug smugglers, and launched his run for the White House.

And it's all here in this new book. "He Started It: My Twitter War with Trump" is written by Danny Zuker, five-time Emmy Award Winner, comedy writer and currently the executive producer of hit T.V. show, Modern Family. And boy, are we glad to have you here.

DANNY ZUKER, EXECUTIVE PRODUCER OF MODERN FAMILY, ABC: I'm glad to be here. He's going to pivot, right?

VAUSE: Sure, any day now, this is going to happen.

ZUKER: No, no. I was reading off the monitor and I'm not kidding. I thought it said pervert. And it was like, I don't know if that was just Freudian.

VAUSE: It's Freudian.

ZUKER: And that's not a joke.

VAUSE: It was part of the Russia investigation. The point of this (INAUDIBLE) this happened between you and Trump in 2013.

ZUKER: Exactly.

VAUSE: This was long before, you know, the presidential run and that kind of stuff. And it all started out because he was tweeting about the ratings on his reality T.V. show Celebrity Apprentice. He said he was number one. You called him out. Here's the tweet from all those years ago.

Cool story. Here is how you really did. And you actually included the ratings there and showed that --

ZUKER: Easily checkable fact.

VAUSE: Well, yes.

ZUKER: Yes.

VAUSE: Which, you know, don't really often sit well with this president.

ZUKER: Yes.

VAUSE: Because when he was just a reality T.V. show star, he tweeted back less than three hours later, failed show, Danny Zucker, I have never heard of you. And was told you are a loser. After reading your credits, I have no questions about it. We call that classic Trumpian.

ZUKER: Yes, that's great, that's great. He's not wrong. I have some terrible credits, but --

VAUSE: We all do, I think.

ZUKER: But I also have -- I think I have more Emmys than he does.

VAUSE: But who (INAUDIBLE) is that --

ZUKER: He has zero. Go on.

VAUSE: What was it about that tweet? Because you actually had a go at him a couple of times before.

ZUKER: Yes. VAUSE: Why did he respond to that one?

ZUKER: Well, yes. I'll answer that question with another question. Why was his first act as president, to make Sean Spicer go on T.V. and lie about crowd size? This is what he -- it's all about numbers. There is no -- everything with Donald Trump is black and white.

It's white, mostly. Let's face it. But really, white. I mean, super white. But, yes, that's all. It all goes to service his ego. So, it's all about that.

VAUSE: OK. Here is another back and forth from June 2013. And you replied to Donald Trump tweeting about how great it was to see Sarah Palin back there on Fox News. A wonderful woman, a great commentator, you said.

You tweeted this, I'll never write anything funnier than this. Trump, he was back at you about an hour later.

Loser Danny is obsessed with Trump.

And this was really, sort of, an early sign of how Donald Trump would actually deal with, you know, all of these candidates and all of these challenges on social media.

ZUKER: It was. I mean, he's -- you know, I have a tweet in here at one point, that I -- you know, sometimes -- you know, it was a long twitter war. They're not all goal. But the book, it's for charity, so you can buy it anyway.

VAUSE: It's a pretty thin book.

ZUKER: That's why it's all for charity. I had to cut tweets because it would become repetitive.

VAUSE: Right.

ZUKER: But yes, it's all going -- I just want to point this out, it's all going to World Wildlife Fund.

VAUSE: Planned Parenthood.

ZUKER: Yes, and Races for legal aid at the border. But, you know, l had said to him, I said the one thing you never inherited from your father was clearly a thesaurus, because -- I mean, he really does have the smallest vocabulary.

[00:35:15] VAUSE: It's very limited. He uses the same words over and over again. And again, here is a moment from Donald Trump sort of foreshadowing part of his presidential campaign, tweeting about the need to get tough on China.

You know, he's been going on and on about that. He says for years. You hit back with, you know, photographs of his clothing brand, tags that read "Made in China." And you wrote, you've always been tough on China, sir, particularly the children who make you're not so nice clothes.

ZUKER: Yes.

VAUSE: You know, what I found interesting about this, is that there is this narrative which has been created around Donald Trump. He is the master of social media. You know, he is the mean tweeter. He can knock you out with a single tweet.

But you seem to get the better of him, many, many times. Why is it that Hillary Clinton, all the other Republicans who are challenging him, couldn't do it? 3 ZUKER: This was the question that drove -- that kept me up at night.

VAUSE: Right.

ZUKER: I would always hear people talk about him as a master -- you know, a master tweeter, communicator, all of this.

VAUSE: Yes. He, sort of, mastered this communication.

ZUKER: And it would be the -- it was -- it's like I got a lot of accolades for taking Trump on in 2013, and beating him down. But I honestly do not know a child in my son's middle school, who wouldn't have been able to do this. That's not hyperbole. They all would have been able to do this.

And, so I don't understand. I think, in the case of the Republican Party, it's fear. It's like, the dark secret came out. For Republicans to get a lot of -- to get their votes, you need races. I'm not saying Republicans are racist. I'm just saying to win, you need the -- you need --

VAUSE: There's an element of Trump's followers who --

ZUKER: Yes.

VAUSE: -- tend to go towards that path.

ZUKER: And no one wants to -- you know, no one wants to come out. I mean, look how craven they're being right now.

VAUSE: Yes. And again, I love the tweets. This is another one back and forth. Trump tweeted, I can't resist hitting lightweight Danny Zuker verbally, when he starts up because he is just so pathetic and easy (Stupid!)

ZUKER: Yes.

VAUSE: The reply from you, it's adorable that you think you're winning this. Bless that area on your body where a heart should be. That's pretty good.

ZUKER: Thank you.

VAUSE: But what's interesting though, is that, this is the stuff coming from the man who would be the 45th president of the United States of America.

ZUKER: Yes. And how is it any different what he's tweeted to me than what he's tweeted to Kim Jong-un?

VAUSE: It's no different.

ZUKER: And it's no different. And it's -- somebody -- I gave this book to somebody at a prominent newspaper here in the states, and I -- and what she told me, well, she said this, it made me a little bit sad. And I was -- I'm glad, because I've been sad for two years.

I was, you know, I was down in Mexico where this twitter war -- became something of a Mexican folk hero for the twitter war, when this had happened. And I was at a party with journalists in Mexico City, and they had a cake with a wall down the middle of it, and we were going to slice it open and eat it on election night.

VAUSE: Right.

ZUKER: And honestly, one of the saddest nights, most unbelievable nights.

VAUSE: No cake that night.

ZUKER: There was not a lot of cake. There was a lot of tequila, but sad tequila.

VAUSE: OK. Well, here is the book. "He Started It" very grade school, sort of, title.

ZUKER: Yes. I wrote it with -- can I just say, I wrote it Paul Slansky. I could not have done it without him.

VAUSE: I'm glad you got that in. I meant to say that, but I forgot.

ZUKER: That's OK.

VAUSE: Good luck. Appreciate the book. Thank you. The tweets are funny.

ZUKER: Thank you.

VAUSE: OK. Next up here on NEWSROOM L.A., years ago, he wanted to be a spaceman. Now, a Japanese billionaire is set to make history on a flight to the moon.

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[00:40:00] VAUSE: Well, it's good to be a billionaire. It's pretty cool to fly to the moon, but what's even cooler is buying every seat on a commercial flight bound for the moon, and that is what a mega wealthy Japanese entrepreneur is doing just because he can. Here is CNN's Kristie Lu Stout.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

YUSAKU MAEZAWA, JAPANESE BILLIONAIRE: I choose to go to the moon!

KRISTIE LU STOUT, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yusaku Maezawa, announcing his plans to make history as the first tourist to ride around the moon on a SpaceX commercial flight. The Japanese billionaire purchased all of the seats on board the SpaceX Big Falcon Rocket. He wants to fly to the moon with a group of artists.

MAEZAWA: At the moment, I have not decided which artists I'd like to invite, but if possible, I'd like to reach out to top artists that represent our planet from various spheres.

STOUT: SpaceX CEO Elon Musk, says that they are working on a redesign to the Big Falcon Rocket to get Maezawa and team to the moon, more than 384,000 kilometers away, about a five-day trip. It is a big challenge for 3333SpaceX and for the new crop of space tourists.

ELON MUSK, CEO OF SPACEX: It's dangerous, to be clear. This is dangerous. This is no, you know, walk in the park here, you know. This will require a lot of training. But whenever it's the first flight of something on a new technology and we're talking about deep space, you know, you have to be a very brave person to do that. This is not -- no small matter.

STOUT: Maezawa has taken big leaps before, but all of those have been with his feet on the ground. The musician-turned-entrepreneur is known for his relaxed management style in usually conservative Japan, and he has made a name for himself as a big-spending art collector.

In a promotional video of his planned space trip, Maezawa says he believes art has the power to promote world peace. SpaceX says it is enabling access to space for everyday people. Amazon founder, Jeff Bezos and Virgin boss, Richard Branson have also entered the space tourism race.

When they are ready to fly, a ticket on one of their rockets would set you back some 200,000 to $250,000. That is a little out of reach for most people, unless you're one of the lucky artists with an invite from Maezawa.

MAEZAWA: By the way, if you should hear from me, please say yes and accept my invitation. Please don't say no. OK.

STOUT: Blast off for Maezawa and his guests may not happen until around 2023, a trip of a lifetime to make history and inspire art that will be out of this world. Kristie Lu Stout, CNN.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

VAUSE: Good for him. Thanks for watching CNN NEWSROOM live from Los Angeles. I'm John Vause. Stay with us. "WORLD SPORT" is up after the break.

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[00:45:00] (WORLD SPORT)

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