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Deadline Set for Kavanaugh's Accuser; Trump Publicly Ridicules U.S. Attorney General; Kim and Moon Vow to Bring Peace to Korean Peninsula; Florence Aftermath; North and South Korea Just Signed a Major Agreement. It May Be Bad News for Trump; 7-Year-Old Girl In Critical Condition After Assault With Pipe; Diplomacy And Commas On Secretary Of State Agenda; Cathay Pacific Misspells Name On Its Own Plane. Aired 2-3a ET

Aired September 20, 2018 - 02:00   ET




ROSEMARY CHURCH, CNN ANCHOR (voice-over): Republicans are putting Brett Kavanaugh's accuser on the clock, giving her until Friday to decide if she will testify against Donald Trump's Supreme Court nominee.

Plus should Trump order the FBI to investigate the sexual assault accusation against Kavanaugh?

A former high ranking member of the FBI will join us.

Plus a crackdown at the State Department on the comma. How secretary Mike Pompeo is taking a page from his third grade teacher.

Hello and welcome to the viewers here this the United States and all around the world. I'm Rosemary Church and this is CNN NEWSROOM.


CHURCH: The woman accusing the U.S. Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh of sexual assault has until Friday morning to decide whether to tell her story to senators. The attorney for Christine Blasey Ford says the Judiciary Committee chairman is unnecessarily rushing toward a Monday hearing.

In the meantime, the president is standing by his nominee, as Kaitlan Collins reports.


KAITLAN COLLINS, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): President Trump voicing confidence today that his Supreme Court nominee will weather the sexual assault allegation made against him, so confident he's already referring to Brett Kavanaugh as Justice.

TRUMP: Justice Kavanaugh. K. COLLINS (voice-over): Kavanaugh's nomination seems to be moving forward as Republicans grow frustrated with his accuser, Christine Blasey Ford, who announced to her attorney Tuesday night on CNN that she wanted an FBI investigation before testifying.

Trump, who has the power to make that call, arguing for the opposite today.

TRUMP: I would let the senators take their course. Let the senators do it.

K. COLLINS (voice-over): Ford alleges Kavanaugh sexually assaulted her when they were teenagers. Trump urging her to tell her story.

TRUMP: I want to see her and see what she has to say.

K. COLLINS (voice-over): But casting doubt on her allegations.

TRUMP: He's such an outstanding man. Hard for me to imagine that anything happened.

K. COLLINS (voice-over): Trump adding this curious statement.

TRUMP: If she shows up and makes a credible showing, that will be very interesting and we'll have to make a decision.

K. COLLINS (voice-over): Ford's attorney tells CNN that, since she came forward, she's had her email hacked and been impersonated online.

LISA BANKS, CHRISTINE BLASEY FORD'S ATTORNEY: She's been dealing with hate mail, harassment and death threats. So she's spent her time trying to figure out how to put her life back together and protect herself and her family.

K. COLLINS (voice-over): White House officials say there's no plan to withdraw Kavanaugh's nomination. Though the Monday hearing is still in question, he's back at the White House today for prep sessions, spending hours this week telling aides about his dating life and teenage years.

TRUMP: You're hurting somebody's life very badly. It is very unfair.

K. COLLINS (voice-over): The president defended his nominee, he says Democrats are to blame.

TRUMP: Why didn't Feinstein bring this up at her meeting with Kavanaugh?

K. COLLINS (voice-over): Senator Chuck Grassley, the chairman of the Judiciary Committee, told reporters today he's continuing to reach out to Ford.

SEN. CHUCK GRASSLEY (R), IOWA: Where I'm focused right now is doing everything that we can to make Dr. Ford comfortable with coming before a committee. K. COLLINS (voice-over): But Senator Susan Collins, who could be a crucial vote for Kavanaugh, pushing back on Ford's request for an FBI investigation. Adding.

SEN. SUSAN COLLINS (R), MAINE: I think it is not fair to Judge Kavanaugh for her not to come forward and testify.

K. COLLINS: Now the White House is pleased with this latest request from Ford. Their biggest fear leading up to this was that she would come forward and testify and make this convincing argument and potentially sway the votes of people like Senator Susan Collins.

Now that fear seems to be disappearing in this take it or leave it attitude that we're seeing from Republicans means Kavanaugh could be on his way to being confirmed Kaitlan Collins, CNN, the White House.


CHURCH: Scott Lucas joins us now from England for more on this. He's a professor of international politics at the University of Birmingham.

Thanks for being with us.


CHURCH: The Senate Judiciary Committee has set a deadline for Christine Blasey Ford to indicate by Friday if she plans to testify on Monday. It is a take it or leave it offer, with no plan to investigate the sexual abuse allegations Ford made against Brett Kavanaugh.

The Democrats want an investigation, the Republicans want a vote as soon as possible.

What is going on here politically on both sides?


LUCAS: Let's put it bluntly. Politics trumps the law, both in the sense of Brett Kavanaugh's legal credentials and in the specific case of whether or not this event occurred 35 years ago.

The leading Republicans on the Judiciary Committee, in my opinion, don't want an investigation. They don't care what happened 35 years ago. They want to rush the confirmation through before the November elections. That's the bottom line.

The Democrats on the other hand don't want the confirmation to go through, especially when they say that, in 2016, the Republicans dragged their feet for months to prevent the confirmation of a Supreme Court justice.

So of course they're going to use this case to try to delay matters. But here's the bottom line for me.

Do you actually think this case is serious enough in the event that this man is going to become a justice for life?

Do you think we actually should make clear and know what has happened in his past?

Or do you believe that this can just be swept away?

LUCAS: Individuals will have to make their own judgment on it but it is quite clear that the Trump administration is going to press ahead and hope for the confirmation and hope people will not punish them because they believe that politics has indeed trumped law and justice.

CHURCH: Right. We saw it in 1991 with the Clarence Thomas confirmation hearings and we're seeing it now. The Senate Judiciary Committee is not impartial. It is a political body, not equipped to deal with sex abuse allegations of this nature.

So wouldn't an FBI investigation benefit both Ford and Kavanaugh by revealing what really happened at that party in 1982?

LUCAS: First of all, there's a big difference between 1991 and the Anita Hill- Clarence Thomas case and this one and that is that there were witnesses who were heard by the committee.

There's still questions about how those hearings were conducted. I won't go into that.

But they did at least take the time to review what has occurred. Here those who want to push Kavanaugh through, don't want to take any time to examine this.

I think speaking personally that, through her lawyers, Professor Ford has said that she does not believe she should come forward without an investigation because then it will be a political moment. It'll be standing her up versus Brett Kavanaugh. I respect that position.

Brett Kavanaugh's position, I would not want to be inside his head but I suspect that he does not want an investigation, whether or not there's anything to be found. He would prefer this all goes away and that he could be a justice as soon as possible.

CHURCH: But it is going to hang over him for the rest of his career, isn't it, before this goes forward or not?

Surely he would want this resolved with an investigation?

LUCAS: You know, one could say that Anita Hill had been over Clarence Thomas' head for more than 25 years but he doesn't seem too bothered about it because when you're a justice, you're a justice for life.

And until somebody reviews the case and decides whether or not there was behavior which justifies dismissal -- and that won't happen once Kavanaugh's on the bench -- this case will probably go away, then I don't think he'll be too troubled about this if he's actually one of the nine justices.

CHURCH: Just finally, what impact could this issue potentially have on the midterm elections in November, do you think?

LUCAS: Well, that's where I go back to each and every person who is reviewing this.

Do they actually think it matters?

Because if it does, it could affect votes in November, one way or the other. But I think that what you're seeing is that, from the standpoint of the Trump administration and at least key Republicans in Congress, they think that they won't pay a penalty, that they could push this through.

They would rather take the risk of pushing this through and upsetting some voters before November than waiting until after November, when they might lose a majority and at least one House and possibly two in Congress and then face further problems with having the confirmation of Mr. Kavanaugh.

CHURCH: Scott Lucas, thank you for sharing your analysis. We appreciate it.

LUCAS: Thank you.

CHURCH: Well, by now, it is well known that Trump really doesn't like U.S. attorney general Jeff Sessions and he's becoming more and more vocal about it, acting as though Sessions has vacated the position. We get the latest now from CNN's Jessica Schneider.


JESSICA SCHNEIDER, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): A new twist to President Trump's attacks on the attorney general.

TRUMP: I'm disappointed in the attorney general for numerous reasons.

SCHNEIDER (voice-over): Those comments on the South Lawn come after a scathing interview with "The Hill," where the president berated Sessions repeatedly, saying, "I don't have an attorney general. It's very sad."

Then criticized the way Sessions handled his nomination hearings back in early 2017, telling "The Hill," "He did very poorly. I mean, he was mixed up and confused. He was giving very confusing answers, answers that should have been easily answered."

But the real grudge still seems to be Sessions' recusal from the Russia investigation.

"He gets in, probably because of the experience that he had going through the --


SCHNEIDER (voice-over): -- nominating when somebody asked him the first question about Hillary Clinton or something, he said, I recuse myself. I recuse myself. The president has repeatedly pressed the Justice Department to investigate Hillary Clinton and her use of a private email server.

JEFF SESSIONS (R), U.S. ATTORNEY GENERAL: Thank you very much.

SCHNEIDER (voice-over): Sessions stayed silent today about Trump's latest attack at an event in Illinois but just last month let this statement speak for itself, saying, "The actions of the Department of Justice will not be improperly influenced by political considerations."

The assault on Sessions comes at the same time that the White House has demanded more redactions from the FISA warrant on former Trump campaign aide Carter Page and the release of text messages from former officials once involved in the Russia investigation.

TRUMP: What I want is I want total transparency. This is a witch hunt.

SCHNEIDER (voice-over): The broad declassification order is unprecedented. Some of the documents had already been declassified and while the president can't order further releases, former CIA chief Michael Hayden reacted with alarm.

GEN. MICHAEL HAYDEN, FORMER DIR., CIA: It is breathtaking, it is chilling to see such raw politics inserted.

SCHNEIDER (voice-over): And Hayden said, if it comes to the point sources and methods could be compromised, officials like FBI director Chris Wray and Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats should resign.

HAYDEN: It is just wrong, though, that he exercises the authority in this way. That the right thing for them to do, to send the alarm, to send up the flare, is to simply say, if you want this done, Mr. President, it is going to have to be done by someone else. We may be getting close to that point.

SCHNEIDER (voice-over): Jessica Schneider, CNN, Washington.


CHURCH: And another interesting detail from Mr. Trump's interview with "The Hill," all of those documents he wants released, he admits he hasn't read them. He said he's calling for their release because some people in Congress and commentators on television have said they want him to.

Let's turn to the Korean Peninsula and America's top diplomat says the United States is ready to restart nuclear negotiations with North Korea, with the goal of ending those talks by 2021.

Mike Pompeo's comments come on the heels of the inter-Korean summit, where Kim Jong-un owed to destroy parts of his nuclear program if the U.S. takes corresponding measures. It is that big "if" that has many people skeptical. Let's turn now to Paula Hancocks. She joins us live from Seoul in

South Korea.

Good to see you again. After all of the excitement following day two of the inter-Korean summit, the skeptics are now casting doubt on whether any real progress was made.

But the U.S. is ready to restart the denuclearization talks with the North.

What is being said about all of this?

PAULA HANCOCKS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Rosemary, we've just been told that the president, Moon Jae-in, is heading back to Seoul now. So the summit is officially over, that three-day summit and lot is being said about this agreement. It wasn't a very wide ranging agreement.

But as you say there's some confusion about the denuclearization part. What we have heard from both the U.S. president and the U.S. secretary of state is that they believe North Korea has agreed to nuclear monitors going into the country.

U.S. and IAEA inspectors, is what Secretary Pompeo said. Now in the declaration that we read yesterday, what we heard from the leaders of North and South Korea yesterday, that was not mentioned at all.

So there's a difference between what North Korea appears to have agreed to and what the U.S. is accepting. We have had this in the past, some big differences between their positions.

But the fact is that the U.S. has been welcoming of what they believe has been achieved at this summit and the fact that negotiations are now back on track is progress. President Moon went to North Korea, he was told by the U.S. president, he says, to be the chief negotiator. Those talks have stalled between Washington and Pyongyang. They're now going to be back on track once again.

So even though there's some details that appear to be conflicting, that are differences in what Washington wants and Pyongyang wants, there have been some kind of movement in the fact that the U.S. is now ready to sit down for negotiations again.

CHURCH: Paula, obviously, the big day was the second day.

What is the final day like?

Is that more about sightseeing and it is all over, Moon Jae-in has gone home or is on his way home?

Overall what has been the feeling about -- what came out of the final days well and overall?

HANCOCKS: The final day really has been symbolic. The two leaders and their wives, the entire entourage went to the top of Mount Paektu. This is a sacred mountain in Korea. It's the spiritual homeland of the Korean people.

So for both North and South Korea, this is very symbolic, the fact that the two of them went to the top together. It shows again as well that these two men have clearly built up a strong rapport not only --


HANCOCKS: -- over the past three days but over the past three summits that they have -- they have carried out. We hear that from what they've been saying about each other in all the speeches, saying they're close. Kim Jong-un talking of -- Moon Jae-in talking of brotherhood. The fact that the South Korean president went to a mass games in front of 150,000 North Koreans, was able to make a speech in which he talked about denuclearization.

That crowd cheered when he said he wanted a Korean Peninsula without nuclear weapons. That in itself is something that you would not have -- have even managed even a matter of months ago. Certainly symbolically and from a PR point of view, a lot has been achieved from the third day and, of course, the evening of the second night.

CHURCH: All right. Many thanks to our Paula Hancocks, joining us live from Seoul in South Korea. It's 3:15 in the afternoon. Of course, the South Korean president heading home now. Many thanks.

Well, Donald Trump once declared he would be the greatest jobs president that God ever created. But his trade war with China could now cost the U.S. an opportunity for new jobs.

Jack Ma, the founder and chairman of Chinese online retailer Alibaba, said the pledge he made last year to create 1 million jobs in the United States will no longer happen because of the trade conflict.

Ma says, "This promise was on the basis of friendly China-U.S. cooperation and reasonable bilateral trade relations. But the current situation has already destroyed that basis. This promise can't be completed.

Still to come, President Trump in the flood zone, offering up hugs, kind words and a pledge to give hurricane victims 100 percent support from the government. Plus Florence may be long gone but the flood waters and dangers are still there. We will have the latest. We're back in a moment.





CHURCH: The death toll from Hurricane Florence and its aftermath as a tropical storm now stands at 36. Two of the victims were female prisoners being transported to another location in South Carolina. The transport van they were riding in was engulfed by flooding at this bridge. The deputies inside managed to escape.

President Trump on Wednesday visited some of the hardest hit areas, where he promised federal aid and handed out meals, pausing for a word or a selfie, even a hug. He reassured storm victims that they won't be forgotten.


TRUMP: To the families that lost loved ones, America grieves with you. And our hearts break for you. God bless you. We will never forget your loss. We will never leave your side. We're with you all the way. And to all of those impacted by this terrible storm, our entire American family is with you and ready to help and you will recover.


CHURCH: We get more now from CNN's Nick Watt in Wilmington.


NICK WATT, CNN CORRESPONDENT: President Trump visited the Carolinas Wednesday and really had two main messages. The first was we, the federal government and President Trump, we are 100 percent with you. This is going to cost a lot of money but we are with you. We will provide whatever is need.

And the second message for the people of South Carolina was that for you the worst may still be to come from Florence because so much water fell a lot of it over North Carolina. Both states by the way, broke the record for the most precipitation from a tropical storm.

So all that of water is in rivers and a lot of that is heading towards South Carolina. Conway was the president's final stop. And there officials told him that they think they may see the worst of this Friday. And that may be when their town floods.

Over in North Myrtle Beach I heard one official there who said that they are slowly becoming an island. You know, some rivers may not crest until next week.

Now up here in North Carolina, the governor said that this is a state that is hurting and it may continue to hurt for some time. Evacuations orders have been lifted in many places.

But residents are being told it is still dangerous to come back. Hundreds of roads are still closed. So, thousands of people are still in shelters and of course there is the economic impact to industry up here.

The Carolinas rely heavily on tourism and agriculture. Three million chickens drowned, 5,000 pigs have died. The cost of this storm is going to hit this area for some time to come -- Nick Watt, CNN, Wilmington, North Carolina.



CHURCH: It has been one year since Hurricane Maria made landfall in Puerto Rico and there is still controversy surrounding the disaster. Last month Puerto Rico's government raised the official death toll to nearly 3,000 people after maintaining for months that only 64 had died.

President Trump has rejected the revised toll, calling his administration's response "an incredible unsung success." Maria was the first category 4 hurricane to directly impact Puerto Rico in 85 years. Almost the entire island, more than 3 million people, were left without power, many for weeks.

The recovery has been slow going ever since. To mark the anniversary, protesters plan to gather in New York for an interfaith prayer service, then march to Trump Tower to denounce the administration's response to the disaster. A vigil is also planned at the White House.

Well, a couple of U.S. senators are dismissing calls for an FBI investigation in the Supreme Court nomination process now. But that's not how they felt about a nomination back in 1991. The difference in the two cases when we come back.

And just what is the FBI's role in the nomination process?

We'll talk with a former FBI official. Back in a moment.


[02:30:05] CHURCH: Welcome back, everyone. This is CNN NEWSROOM and I'm rosemary church. I want to update you now on the main stories we've been following this hour. South Korea's president has left Pyongyang after his three-day summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un where they agreed to work toward denuclearization and peace. The U.S. is hailing it as a success. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo says the United States is ready to restart nuclear talks with the North with a goal of ending those talks by 2021.

President Trump on Wednesday visited some of the areas hardest hit by Hurricane Florence and its aftermath. He handed out meals pausing for a word or a selfie, even a hug. He sought to reassure storm victims that they won't be forgotten and promised federal aid to help the region to rebuild. Christine Blasey Ford has until Friday morning to decide whether or not to speak to a U.S. Senate Committee on her accusations against Brett Kavanaugh.

Ford accused the Supreme Court nominee of sexually assaulting her when they were in high school. Kavanaugh denies the accusation. Ford has called for an FBI investigation before she testifies. The Democrats want the process to slow down and have called for an FBI investigation. But Republicans say the FBI should stay out of it and isn't budging on its plan for a Monday hearing. Senator Orrin Hatch tweeted this, the FBI does not do investigations like this. The responsibility falls to us. Senate Judiciary Chairman Chuck

Grassley isn't interested in an investigation either.


SEN. CHUCK GRASSLEY (R-IA), CHAIR OF THE SENATE JUDICIARY COMMITTEE: I'm not worried about anything other than just focusing for the next few days on encouraging her to come.


CHURCH: Yet when then Chairman Joe Biden called for an FBI investigation into Anita Hill's sexual harassment accusations against Clarence Thomas in 1991, the two senators had a different view.


SEN. ORRIN HATCH (R-UT), PRESIDENT PRO TEMPORE OF THE UNITED STATES SENATE: Chairman Biden and the ranking member (INAUDIBLE) when they heard about this the first time they immediately ordered this FBI investigation which was a very right thing to do. It's the appropriate thing to do.

GRASSLEY: Now, hence, the chairman of the judiciary committee and when the ranking member of the judiciary committee learned of these allegations, the FBI was immediately ordered to conduct an investigation. That investigation was completed before the Senate Judiciary Committee voted.


CHURCH: Well, former FBI Assistant Director and CNN Senior Law Enforcement Analyst, Tom Fuentes joins me now from New York to help us make sense of all of this. Always great to have you with us.


CHURCH: So let's look at the Senate Judiciary Committee. It's not an impartial body. It's deep in politics. Not a place where sexual abuse allegations can be investigated in any fair way. Should the FBI investigate these allegations?

FUENTES: Well, in my opinion, I think they should at this point. I think it has gone to the point where the credibility, you know, on all sides is going to be affected by whether this is investigated or not. And I think given the way the allegation is made, I think it could take a very short time to do this investigation. With regard to what the senator said back in 1991, that's inaccurate. They didn't order. The Senate didn't order the FBI investigation.

The President of the United States did as an extension of the background. So in the U.S. system, nominees for positions whether it's judges at all levels, U.S. attorneys, secretaries of cabinet offices, those nominations are made by the president and then confirmed or denied by the U.S. Senate. The White House when they have an idea of who they're going to nominate, they make the request of the FBI to conduct the background investigations and the FBI does not render a decision whether that nomination should go forward.

They merely supply the results of what they found back to the White House. And then the White House can decide whether they're going to continue the nomination of an individual or withdraw it with regard to in this case an allegation of a sexual assault that occurred three or more decades ago, that's not a federal crime. So the idea is the FBI would not normally investigate it as a criminal offense. That would be a local police jurisdiction issue in the United States.

So that wouldn't happen, but the FBI would investigate as a matter of the background looking into the character of the nominee in this case Kavanaugh. And then again, that could be extended or extended by the White House and then the results that they find are just turned over back to the White House. And it's up to the president to decide if he still backs the nomination or wants to have the nominee withdrawn.

[02:35:17] CHURCH: Right. So if that were to go ahead and at the moment it's not. But if an investigation by the FBI did go ahead, what questions would they ask and isn't it in Brett Kavanaugh's interest to have an FBI investigation to clear his name, otherwise, he will have this cloud over his head for his whole term as Supreme Court justice?

FUENTES: Well, that's actually true. And then the modern internet era, he's going to have this cloud over his head no matter what happens, no matter if he becomes a, you know, a U.S. Supreme Court justice. If you Google his name for the rest of his life, this is going to come up. So that part of it is already -- that damage is already done for him, his wife, and his daughters. But with regard to the background extension of having the FBI do this case, it's going to be a matter of these accusations have been made by Professor Ford, are they true?

When did it happen? Where did it happen? Who can corroborate that it did happen? Was there any evidence obtained that she reported to the police, friends, family, anybody else at that time? And so far from the reporting we've seen, it looks like there was nothing reported to anyone for maybe 20 years at the minimum. So that's going to be a challenge for anybody to try and to investigate and verify whether or not it actually occurred. But, you know, there's a saying of, you know, beware of what you ask for.

And in this case, you know, if -- her attorneys and her as the accuser are asking for an FBI investigation, they need to be careful because part of that is going to have to look at her credibility. What was she like back in the day back at the time of this alleged occurrence? Did she drink a lot? Was she promiscuous? Was she a party girl? Does she have credibility? What do her friends and classmates say she was like at that time?

And, you know, we don't know and there's been no, you know, real reporting one way or the other about that. But, you know, she's going to also, you know, right now, we're looking at Kavanaugh needing to be pure as the driven snow. She's going to be have to be also as a credible witness.

CHURCH: Right. And as Anita Hill has said, the Senate Judiciary Committee has no protocols in place to deal with allegations of this nature. She witnessed that firsthand at the Clarence Thomas confirmation hearings 27 years ago and nothing has changed since then. Yet, we see Christine Blasey Ford being pressured to testify Monday in a political process that's geared to favor the Supreme Court nominee. It's a take it or leave it offer from the committee.

Should she testify Monday without an FBI investigation? Otherwise, what is the reason for coming to this point?

FUENTES: She needs to testify with or without the investigation because I think that if she testifies and if she comes off as extremely believable, and credible, and sincere, I think that's going to put the pressure. The pressure is going to switch from her back to the White House to order the FBI to extend the background investigation. And I think that's how it would come about if she's believable. But if she can't remember any of the specifics of this event or people that she cites as witnesses or other people that can verify her story, don't verify her story, that's going to be very difficult for her.

CHURCH: Now, the judiciary committee is offering to send its staff members to talk with Blasey Ford, but their goal of course is to get Kavanaugh confirmed. So those questions that they ask her will not be the same that the FBI would ask. It's a political process as we said. Could you see any scenario where enough pressure is brought to bear to force an FBI investigation to find out who is telling the truth?

FUENTES: Well, yes. And I think the idea of sending staffers, you know, another state to talk to her is absurd. They're not trained investigators. They're not as you mentioned, they're not going to be objective. So I don't -- I don't see that as being any addition to credibility of the process whatsoever. So they go out there and they come back, and then if it's a staffer that works for a Democrat, they're going to have one opinion. If it's a staffer for the Republican, another.

And it's going to go back to that issue. So I think that there would be no credibility I don't think in that process. So the only -- the only pressure here that I think would have to be brought is just pressure on the president, and on the White House, and his attorneys to tell the president, hey, we think it's a good idea for you to order the FBI to continue the background or reopen the background investigation even though he's had six backgrounds before.

This particular allegation or aspect was never looked at in the past. It has come up now. Take a look at it.

[02:40:10] CHURCH: Tom Fuentes, we appreciate your expertise on this matter. Thank you so much for joining us.

FUENTES: You're welcome.

CHURCH: And still to come, from reality T.V. to real life crime. Police say this surgeon and his girlfriend lured unsuspected women then assaulted them. Why the number of victims could be in the hundreds at least? And despite protests and new penalties, the rape crisis in India is getting worse. The latest from New Delhi when we come back.


CHURCH: A surgeon in California and his girlfriend are suspected of drugging and sexually assaulting at least six women. The police worry the number of victims is much higher. Charges have been brought in two cases. The victims say they met Grant Robicheaux and his girlfriend while out on the town. He was once on a reality T.V. dating show. The victims alleged they were drugged and taken to the doctor's apartment in Newport Beach and assaulted. The district attorney says the pair would charm unsuspecting women.


TONY RACKAUCKAS, ORANGE COUNTY DISTRICT ATTORNEY: We've all heard of a wolf dressed up in sheep's clothing. While a wolf can wear scrubs or doctor's clothing.


CHURCH: But here is an additional can concern. The district attorney says the couple videotaped what was going on and because of those tapes, they fear there could be a thousand victims. The couple's attorney denies the allegations. Well, a disturbing and horrific story out of India. A seven-year-old girl brutally raped with a water pipe. It is the latest in a long string of sexual assaults there. Protesters have taken to the streets and new laws have been put in place, but it's done little to stem the violent attacks.

Our Anna Coren is standing by, live in New Delhi. She joins us now. And Anna, the details are simply horrifying and sickening. And the tragedy is this keeps on happening. What are you learning about the condition of this little girl and what are authorities saying about the man now in custody in connection with this heinous crime?

[02:45:34] ANNA COREN, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, this man, he is a 21-year-old known to the victim -- believed to be a victim of this, little girl. Now, the 7-year-old, she is here at the Guru Teg Bahadur Hospital. She's in the emergency ward here in New Delhi and she is recovering. That is the good news, Rosemary. She's still in a critical condition, however, police tell us that she is now stable.

Now, as you say she suffered extensive injuries after this water pipe was inserted inside her little body. And it is just harrowing to know that this is still continuing in India in 2018. Of course, that huge case in 2012 which took Indians to the streets. They were absolutely outraged when that 23-year-old University student was gang-raped on a bus here in New Delhi and she suffered such extensive injuries because they used a steel rod that she had to be airlifted to Singapore to undergo medical attention, special surgery which she died weeks later. That was almost like a national reckoning of India. But, Rosemary, as we know the rapes have continued, the gang rapes have continued, the rapes of young children have continued. Now, the government has strived to toughen laws against rapists, they've introduced the death penalty for men convicted of raping girls under the age of 12.

They've brought in these fast-track courthouses which is supposed to see these cases through. But, Rosemary, there is some 6 million rape cases pending. And that just gives you an idea that the bureaucracy this a dysfunction here in India.

So, people are wondering, why is this happening? Why are these cases still occurring in this day and age? Is it a socio-economic problem? Is it a cultural problem? You know, this is a patriarchal society but we cannot just put it down to the rural poor. This is not about the uneducated, Rosemary. There are lawmakers, powerful people who have been charged with these heinous crimes. One case -- one high-profile case is currently before the courts.

So, there is a regressive view of women in this country. Women and girls. And Rosemary, it needs to be addressed and it needs to be addressed now.

CHURCH: It is hard to fathom and policing of the laws that are already in place seems to be one of the big problems. Anna Coren, joining us there from New Delhi with an update on that heinous crime. Appreciate that. Well, the news continues after the short break. You are watching CNN NEWSROOM.


[02:52:07] CHURCH: Well, global conflict isn't enough for President Trump's top diplomat. Apparently, America's Secretary of State has declared war on Commerce. We are learning that Mike Pompeo takes grammar very seriously. Here's CNN's Michelle Kosinski.

MICHELLE KOSINSKI, CNN SENIOR DIPLOMATIC CORRESPONDENT: That is correct, there is a persistent problem deep within the State Department. Throughout this vast space and it is the improper use of commas. So, everybody has their grammar pet peeves and apparently, this is Secretary Pompeo.

And now, we know within the last few months, two e-mails have gone out on the subject sent wide throughout the State Department trying to get people back on track. The last one just went out a couple of days ago. And it said, "The secretary has underscored the need for appropriate use of commas in his paper. Both their inclusion and omission."

And it goes on to list 10 different extremely detailed examples with explanations. We'll give you a few.

"We activated the alarm, but the intruder was already inside." That is correct as I'm sure you already knew that's because those are independent clauses with separate subjects joined by a conjunction. How about this, "The wartime rations included cabbage, turnips, and bread." Well, that last comma is known as the Oxford comma. It is hotly debated among grammar types but it does get a thumbs up here at stake.

And how about this one. He stood up and opened his mouth, but failed to remember his question. And that is wrong because as I know you were about to shout out, that is a single subject, it's just the predicate that is compound. So, you can test your knowledge there.

And depending on the level of grammar geekery among people here, some felt this was a good thing that it's a relief this problem is finally being dealt with head-on, others just laughed rolled their eyes and then forwarded us this e-mail. But it's only Secretary Pompeo would use his grammar prowess to share this knowledge with maybe some others, maybe within his administration. Wouldn't that be #swagger? Michelle Kosinski, CNN, the State Department.

CHURCH: Perhaps, attention to detail comes with the territory though former Secretary of State Colin Powell is zeroed in on fonts and font size. While his successor, Condoleezza Rice was ticked off by unnecessarily long memos.

And spelling, well, that matters too, especially when it's really big and on the side of a plane. Here's Jeanne Moos.


JEANNE MOOS, CNN NATIONAL NEWS CORRESPONDENT: This is one way for an airline to increase its name recognition misspelled your own name.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: At Cathay Pacific, the world is at our fingertips.

MOOS: But pagers apparently didn't have an F at their fingertips resulting in Cathay Paciic instead of Pacific. Cathay Pacific itself tweeted the mistake saying, "Oops this special livery won't last long. She's going back to the shop.

[02:55:12] ANNOUNCER: Celebrating the new colors Cathay Pacific.

MOOS: The internet celebrated the mistake. "Welcome to the new Cathay, where we give no F." Someone else inserted the F with the notation fixed it. Well, yet another commenter concluded if an airline is going to make a mistake, let it always be on the paint job.

The Hong Kong-based airline likes to explain, "Who we are, you're the ones who's painters need to go back to school as it's been misspelled in various school zones. Sure they're bungled traffic signs and even tattoos. Else with too many E's. And remember the time the Mitt Romney campaign spelled --


MOOS: Wrong, try pronouncing this.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Wow! Who is the genius?

MOOS: Probably not. The same genius who turned.

ANNOUNCER: Cathay Pacific.

MOOS: Into Cathay Paciic. And someone tweeted, "I guess no one gives a flying F these days. Jeanne Moos, CNN, New York.


CHURCH: To be autocorrect, right? Thanks for your company this hour. I'm Rosemary Church. Remember to connect with me anytime on Twitter and I'll be back with another hour of news in just a moment. You're watching CNN. Stick around.