Return to Transcripts main page


U.S. Senate Committee To Vote On Kavanaugh Friday; U.S. Warns Iran: There Will Indeed Be Hell To Pay; Trump Praises Kim For Courage To Disarm. Aired 12m-1a

Aired September 26, 2018 - 00:00   ET



[00:00:00] JOHN VAUSE, CNN ANCHOR: This is CNN Newsroom live from Los Angeles. Ahead this hour, he was once called "America's dad" but now a court has officially labeled Bill Cosby a sexually violent predator. The disgraced comedian taken away in handcuffs, now serving jail time.

Who's laughing now? The U.N. General Assembly, world leaders overly laughed at the man, meant to be leader of the big world.

And Syrian dodging death from above with the help of an app which ones are impending airstrikes. Crucial minutes could make a difference between who lives and who dies.

Hello, welcome to our viewers all around the world. I'm John Vause, Newsroom L.A. starts right now.

For the fast few years, more than 60 women have come forward to accuse Bill Cosby a sexual assault. And now after all of those accusations, (INAUDIBLE) account, a court has finally sent him to prison. The 81- year-old will now be classified a sexually violent predator and the court sentenced him to serve between three and 10 years in jail.

Bill was attacking a woman who once considered him to be a mentor. Cosby's sentence represents a symbolic victory for all the other accusers who never had they day in court. Here's CNN's Jean Casarez reporting from Cosby's file


JEAN CASAREZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): In a dramatic scene, Bill Cosby leaves a Pennsylvania courtroom in handcuffs.

Once America's dad, now prisoner. Judge Steven O'Neill sentencing the disgraced comedian three to 10 years in state prison.

KEVIN STEELE, MONTGOMERY COUNTY DISTRICT COURT: For decades the defendant has been able to hide his true self and hide his crimes using his fame and fortune. His hidden behind a character created, Dr. Cliff Huxtable. It was a seminal character on TV and so was the family, but it was fiction.

CASAREZ: Cosby has been under house arrest since April, after being convicted of drugging and sexually assaulting Andrea Constand back in 2004.

Today, Constand and her family, watching from the first row of a packed courtroom. In her victim impact statement, she saying, "Bill Cosby took my beautiful, healthy young spirit and crushed it. He robbed me of my health and vitality, my open nature and my trust in myself and others."

Judge Steven O'Neill telling her, "The jury heard your words. I heard your words." Then speaking directly at Cosby, "Mr. Cosby, this has all circled back to you. The day has come, the time has come." He also said, no one is above the law.

Other women who say Cosby also attacked them, watching from the gallery. Embracing Constand after the sentence was read. Tamara Green was one the first women to come forward after Constand.

TAMARA GREEN, COSBY ACCUSER: But today's the day that we've been waiting for. Today's the day when we got to -- I got to witness the fact that Bill Cosby was rendered helpless by being taken out of the courtroom by policemen.

CASAREZ: Cosby declining to address the court, but after court, his publicist defending him and likening him to Jesus.

ANDREW WYATT, COSBY PUBLICIST: Cosby's doing great, and Mr. Cosby know that God is watching over him. He knows that he's alive. They persecuted Jesus and look what happened. Not the end of the Cosby as Jesus, but we know what this country has done to black men for centuries. This has been the most racist and sexist trial in the history of the United States.

CASAREZ: Cosby's lawyers saying they will appeal, but tonight he is spending his first night in prison. Jean Casarez, CNN, Norristown, Pennsylvania.


VAUSE: And with this down from Pennsylvania is Caroline Heldman. Caroline is a regular guest on CNN but usually as a Democratic strategist. But she's also an advocate for survivors of sexual abuse who was at the courtroom when Cosby was sentenced.

So, Caroline, good to have you with us.


VAUSE: In the courtroom more than a dozen Cosby accusers were there as the sentence was headed down. They never got their day in court but obviously they were relieved, they were pleased with the judge's decision. Is it a little bit (INAUDIBLE) to say justice for one is justice for all?

HELDMAN: Well, I think that a lot of survivors actually do see this is being a significant case because it's the first legal case of a MeToo Movement, and the jury ruled in a way that, you know, benefited survivors believed to survivors. And then the sentence today it ranges from three to 10 years, and 10 years was the maximum.

[00:05:09] So, it was a victory today, I think, for a lot of survivors, even if he weren't in that courtroom, because of it symbolic significance is the first case in the MeToo Movement.

VAUSE: OK. Here's a little more from Andrea Constand's victim statement, which the judge right from in court. This thought you about her deals with her emotional state just a few days after the attack. "The shame was overwhelming. Self-doubt and confusion kept me from turning to my family or friends as I normally did. I felt completely alone, unable to trust anyone, including myself."

And as she writes about the years it went on she said, "I've never married and I have no partner. I live alone. My dogs are my constant companions, and the members of my immediate family are my closest friends." How typical is that experience that she writes about there and is that an acceptance now or just the life-long impact of sexual assault?

HELDMAN: John, I'm glad that you brought up the life-long impact because what Andrea described in that statement was echoed after the trial or after the sentencing by a number of other Cosby survivors who met a few blocks away from the courthouse. Sunni Welles for example talked about how, you know, she was perhaps the first victim of Bill Cosby 50 years ago and that she has had trouble in her relationships and feels very isolated and alone. Many of the other survivors described the same scenario.

It is very typical for survivors to have issues in terms of PTSD. About half of the sexual assault survivors end up having some sort of anxiety or post-traumatic stress disorder, which interferes with all sorts of things in your life whether it be sleeping, being able to stay in school or relationships.

So, unfortunately what Andrea's describing is quite common. And a verdict or a sentence, like what was handed down today, I think brought closure to a lot of Cosby survivors but at the end of the day they still have to live with the trauma that really is life-long.

VAUSE: Yes, in that court where Cosby was labeled a "sexually violent predator". Yes he was very visibly stripped-off, you know, he's trappings of power and he likes it his wallet (ph) was taken away. He was handcuffed. How important is it for a victim or victims to see all that?

HELDMAN: Well, unfortunately, the Cosby survivors who were in the courtroom weren't allowed to watch the handcuffs being put on. They were actually escorted out at the courtroom. It was cleared because they were worrying about safety concerns.

And a lot of survivors in the courtroom that I spoke with one of that closure put evidencing the images of him walking out. That did mean a lot to them because for a lot of them, you know, he has imprisoned them in their own lives in their own trauma and so seeing him in handcuffs really brought, you know, a bit of healing, a new stage of healing that they haven't had before. And I think it's important to know that even as Cosby was about to handcuff he was jovial, he was joking, he was laughing, he rolled up his sleeves with his PR person, Andre Wyatt, and they were just having a good old time. And the judge said that his -- Cosby's lack of, you know, remorse for taking responsibility weighed heavily and giving that 10-year sentence.

VAUSE: Yes, the same year that Cosby sexually attacked Andrea Constand, he delivered was now known as his infamous "Pound Cake Speech". Here's part of it.


BILL COSBY, COMEDIAN: I'm talking about these people who cry when their son is standing there in an orange suit. Where were you when he was two? Where were you when he was 12? Where were you when he was 18 and how come you don't know he had a pistol? These are not political criminals. These are people going around stealing Coca- Cola. People getting shot in the back of the head over a piece of pound cake.


VAUSE: Well, you know, that's his one of (INAUDIBLE) speeches with his moralizing tone of how highly critical of African-American which cause me deliverer he is. He had never admitted to doing anything wrong in the Consand case. And even outside the court his publicize said that Cosby was being deliberately persecuted, here he comparing to Jesus. This seems just sternly delusional. Was it typical for sexual predators?

HELDMAN: Right, unfortunately it is. You're right a lot of sexual predators suffer from narcissism or sociopath or psychopath personality disorder, and so they are unable to take responsibility. It is remarkable though that Bill Cosby, who was been criticized for years from moralizing and blaming impoverish African-Americans for systemic racism and other is saying that produced poverty and criminality in our culture. I mean it is strange that he dedicated so many books and speeches and talks to criticizing, you know, young African-American man in particular. And here he is in an orange jumpsuit.

[00:10:13] I think that there is a big disconnected of that we saw in the courtroom today that he really doesn't think he did anything wrong. Even though, today there are 62 women who have gone public either named or unnamed who described the disturbing pattern of behavior that he was engaging in at the very same time that he was giving this moralizing speeches.

VAUSE: Yes. It's bizarre and ironic and a whole bunch of things which we could get into, but let's leave to that. Caroline, thank you so much for being with us, really appreciate it.

HELDMAN: Thank you, John.

VAUSE: Pope Francis has acknowledged what many overviewed, the faithful of being driven from the church by repeated cases of child sex abuse by clergy. The comments had made on board the Papal plane returning from the Baltic tour. Francis also said, past cover up of sexual abuse must be seen in context of the accepted norms of that time as supposed to what acceptable today. And he says once the church took action the number of accusations of clergy sexual abuse began to fall.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We see that the first 70 years there were many priests who fell into this corruption. Then more recently the numbers diminished, because the church realized that had to fight in another way.


VAUSE: The Pope's comments came to (INAUDIBLE) before the release of a new report detailing abused by Catholic priest in Germany. And the numbers here are staggering over 70 years, 3,700 children were abused by almost 1,700 members of the clergy. More than half of the victims are under 14. A ranking church officials admit that the church had actually looked the other way.


REINHARD MARX, CHAIRMAN OF THE GERMAN BISHOPS' CONFERENCE: I'm ashamed when I see the strength of the accusations presented soberly, for everything that is happened in the church, in the name of those who are supposed to build trust and who should not misuse trust. And I feel shamed in the faith of those who looked away, who didn't want to believe something has happened.


VAUSE: Researchers and victims proves also at least of the actual number of abused children, maybe much greater than the nearly 4,000 mentioned in that report.

Donald Trump reminding world leaders it's America's first and they're not the priority. He was speaking Tuesday to the United Nation's General Assembly there were harsh criticisms for Iran. He also defended his trade war of China. No mention of Russia but there was praised for the courage of North Korean Leader Kim Jong-un, the rocket-man thing just a year ago. In contrast to past U.S. Presidents, Mr. Trump's speech was not stopped or interrupted once by around to applause. But there was laughter.


DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: In less than two years, my administration has accomplished more than almost any administration in the history of our country. America's -- so true. Didn't expect that reaction but that's OK.

(END VIDEO CLIP) VAUSE: Joining me now here Los Angles, talk radio host Mo'Kelly and Republican commentator DeAnna Lorraine. OK, DeAnna, why are they laughing? Why is that funny?

DEANNA LORRAINE, REPULICAN COMMENTATOR: I don't really think it's funny. I think they're laughing because they haven't had someone like President Trump talks so openly about our accomplishments and about his accomplishment as a president. And I think that he's pretty shameless about touting what his achievements are and how far we've come. He's proud of them. And I think they're laughing because, they're just not use to it. They're use of people -- and president's apologizing for America, like Obama did for many years.

VAUSE: Mo, you want to take a shot of this?

MORRIS O'KELLY, "The MO'KELLY SHOW" HOST: Well, I'll put this is way. He wasn't speaking on behalf of America. He was speaking on behalf of himself. That was a campaign speech. He was talking about my administration. He's speaking to the world. The world doesn't care about his administration. They care about America. What is America doing on the world stage. Now, unfortunately, we have a president who doesn't understand it's not always about him.

VAUSE: OK. Well, it was -- it took less than a minute for the U.S. president to unite world leaders in laughter which you know, after you know months and years it's been a fairly divisive time.

LORRAINE: Absolutely.

VAUSE: That should be noted. And he actually said that, you know he didn't expect the laughter, that was sort of in the moment of the speech when the laughter breakout. After that, with little time to think perhaps, different story from the president.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: How do you think your speech went today?

TRUMP: I think really well. It's gotten very quickly review circling in. I think it went very well.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Did you get anything from the laughter? What did you feel about that?

TRUMP: It's great. Well, that must (INAUDIBLE) get some -- but it was great.


VAUSE: Mo, we seen is president who does tend to live in a bubble, some say it is a diluted bubble of red hat make America great again. It was a good for him to get away from that and those political rallies to hear what the rest of the world actually thinks.

[00:15:03] O'KELLY: I don't think he believes what the rest of the world make think about him or make think about us. Actually I think he did handle it well in the moment as far as being honest feet and just be able to roll with it. Actually I like that about him.


O'KELLY: But at the same time, I wonder if he's just going to be some sort of backlash where he then reverts to lash out of those detractors who did laughed at him.

VAUSE: But (INAUDIBLE) foreign aid, we'll get to that in a moment. Here's proof once again that there is a tweet for everything back in 2014 when Donald Trump was not present but rather the birther-in- chief, he posted this. "We need a president who isn't a laughing stock to the entire world. We need a truly great leader, genius in strategy and winning. Respect." And DeAnna, wise words perhaps?

LORRAINE: Those are wise words. And look, he does have a way of making jokes. He does have a way of uniting people with humor and building rapport.

A lot of times we see this to people who know him, see him at the rallies and see him in conferences, and know that that's his sense of humor. But the news cut it so much to make it seem like he's some mad person or he's an idiot. And really maybe he is a stable genius, he knows how to unite people through laughter and like you said he can think on his toes and say, well, maybe that didn't go as much as I wanted but I'm going to make everyone laugh and maybe bond people through laughter.

And it is true that he is getting the respect of a lot of countries. Look at Kim Jong-Un, right? Look at all these things that are --

VAUSE: We'll get that.

LORRAINE: Look at all these leaders that are willing to sit at the table with him and no other president has gotten that far at all, right?


O'KELLY: The leaders of dictators.

LORRAINE: But there's a lot of respect.

VAUSE: But the thing that, look, any president that could've met with the leader of North Korea, they just didn't want to do it because they got legitimacy to the regime. Now begging and throwing themselves at every U.S. president, you know, since Clinton I guess, so even before. And almost Korea basically last year this rocket man and the North Korean are nuclear annihilation and maybe this is their improvement, you know, on a year ago. But, you know, this is a world body devoted to international corporation and the U.S. president sort of have rejected the idea of globalism in favor of favoritism.


TRUMP: We will never surrender America sovereignty to an unelected unaccountable global bureaucracy. America is governed by Americas. We reject the ideology of globalism and we embrace the doctrine of patriotism.


VAUSE: So I know your patriotism is one thing. That's good and fine but it seems Donald Trump has embraced nationalism.

O'KELLY: Yes. He can think the definitions. And if you're going to speak before the U.N. General Assembly, you should know the audience in which you're speaking in front of. And if you're trying to say that we don't want you, we don't need you, we don't like you when we go on our own, that doesn't necessarily unite the world. It doesn't bring together.

And if you're talking about bring world leaders together, let's not forget where a member of NATO. There are certain the legion (ph) says and relationships which are more important than having Kim Jong-Un sit down at the table.

VAUSE: DeAnna, is the president know the difference patriotism and nationalism?

LORRAINE: I think a lot of people here don't know the difference between patriotism and nationalism. I think a lot of people like to slander distort the definition of patriotism into nationalism or supremacy. And what he is trying to do, if he's trying to make America strong again and put America in sort of like a recovery period, we do need to get stronger.

And when we are strong the world is much stronger and that's the truth. So what he's expressing is that, you know, we -- every country is allowed to have patriotism, every country is allowed to put their country first. And when they put their country first every with the world get stronger as a result, we don't get stronger with the weak Sweden or weak Germany.

VAUSE: It doesn't become like a racist survival as every --


LORRAINE: I don't think so.


LORRAINE: He truly wants every country to put themselves first for a while.

O'KELLY: Isn't it strong in Puerto Rico, stronger United States.

LORRAINE: Absolutely. And that's what we're trying to do, right?

VAUSE: OK. There was also a warning about how the U.S. would allocate foreign aid in the future.


TRUMP: Moving forward, we are only going to give foreign aid to those who respect us and frankly are our friends.


VAUSE: And, again, most foreign aid is not a political weapon. Foreign aid I think benefits the U.S. pretty much as much as it benefits those who receive it.

O'KELLY: Yes. I don't know what he meant by the word respect because I seem to interpret his idea of respect on a very personal level, how people feel about him and he manage his relationships with many leaders as far as I like him or she likes me as oppose to looking at in terms of the world dynamics. This is something that he has always made very important as far as money, as far as money going out. Making sure people pay their fair share. But he's doing so now at the expense of certain long-term relationships.

VAUSE: OK. We got to move on because it seems the president has also growing impatient with the nomination process for Brett Kavanaugh because been nominated the Supreme Court. Now, a second woman has come forward and to accuse him with sexually inappropriate behavior. This was (INAUDIBLE) at the UNGA.


[00:20:06] TRUMP: He's never had any charges like this. I mean the charges come up from 36 years ago that had totally unsubstantiated and now a new charge comes up, and she said, "Well, it might not be him." And there were gaps, and she said she was totally inebriated and she was all messed up. And she doesn't know it was him, but it might have been him. "Oh, gee, let's not make him a Supreme Court judge because of that."

This is a con game being played by the Democrats.


VAUSE: DeAnna, are you comfortable with this (INAUDIBLE) coming out of the White House not going after the women making this accusations. You know, and this is sort of like 1970s, 1780s. Isn't it the women are the once who, you know, who will be attacking the men and the ones who'd being defendant.

LORRAINE: I don't think that that's because defending the man of --

VAUSE: But he told Kavanaugh our quality guy, he would yell, you know.

LORRAINE: But he is, right? I mean if --

VAUSE: Well he is the quality guy (INAUDIBLE) sexual harassment and assaults.

LORRAINE: Well, sure, but here's the thing is I think what he's sick of is the charade. I think he's sick of this stall tactics. They've given into the Republicans have given into so many different demands that Christine Ford has. And if they were really concern about the truth, then why not just share the truth and testify on Monday like originally expected? Why keep pushing it back and why keep -- making all this different demands who is going to be prosecuting her. You know, who's going to be in the room? It's just strange to me and it's strange to a lot of people.

The other thing that has become and instead of just discussing what the truth is this is really become a blamed game of men. And its such a really, I think morally repugnant president where we're actually teaching this message that women are just to be blindly believe --

VAUSE: Right.

LORRAINE: -- no matter what even when there's many holds in their story or no facts support them and men are not. Somehow women are more credible and believable than me or somehow more honest. As if women aren't capable of lying and I think that such a really dangerous president.


LORRAINE: The women are going to be, really it's going to be unfortunate for the woman in the end. Many men might not want to hire women or might -- may feel actually suffering in the end.

VAUSE: You know, the point basically in potential (INAUDIBLE) all the other way.

O'KELLY: Yes, possibly. OK. But we don't --

LORRAINE: It's a blame game of men.

O'KELLY: We don't have to believe but we can always have the president call for an FBI investigation and see what can be deducted from that investigation in the same way they did with Anita Hill. There are remedies available.

LORRAINE: Or Keith Ellison.

O'KELLY: I'm fine with that as well.

VAUSE: Exactly the -- OK. So --

LORRAINE: It seems like a double standard too with Keith Ellison. They have -- you know, where's the outrage? Where's the walkout?

VAUSE: But Keith Ellison is a Democrat, he's also --

O'KELLY: Keith is under on investigation.

VAUSE: OK. So a reporting that the president wasn't very happy with Kavanaugh appearance on Fox News Monday night. There was the interview when he claim, you know, he didn't loose his virginity until many years after leaving high school.

But a former Yale schoolmates Steve Kantrowitz tweeted this, "Perhaps Brett Kavanaugh was a virgin from many years after high school. But he claim likewise -- otherwise rather in a conversation with me during our freshmen year in Lawrance Hall at Yale in the living room of my suite." So Mo, this is the state of the U.S. in 2018, a nominee to the U.S. Supreme Court, a potential justice at highest court in the land. There is now an open national debate about when he lost his virginity.

O'KELLY: Yes. America have, you know, shame. That would be the first question I would ask but also we have earned this position. We have slowly gotten here as -- I'm not going to say it was just President Trump but we are based politics. We will do anything in which to get our guy, our woman into office. And, yes, it is a lot about politics that much is true but we can't talk about this the Supreme Court hearing and act like Merrick Garland never happen.

VAUSE: Right.

KELLY: I mean, so there's a long story not just yesterday.


LORRAINE: Well, it just seems like, yes, this is a terrible thing that you were talking about is virginity in public. We shouldn't be here and this is what Trump is talking about with the charade with this --


LORRAINE: -- political grandstanding. Let's just get him confirmed or seek the truth regardless in an effort this grand standing and --

KELLY: Next __.

LORRAINE: -- almost a circus.

VAUSE: Next, I'll say anything about that. Our Republicans willing to take the risk that normal women come forward, normal evidence is produce in any of this cases. Here's an --


VAUSE: Please stay with us. OK and Mo, DeAnna, thank you.

We will take some break. When we comeback in Syria just second standing the difference life and death. But now there's an app which allows civilians know when an air strike is on its way.


[00:26:37] VAUSE: For seven years now air strikes have been a deadly but yet routine part of life of Syrians. Now, live saving app is warning civilians ahead of time and giving them precious minutes to take cover. CNN's Arwa Damon explains.


ARWA DAMON, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Abrazach (ph) spent his time staring at the sky. He was a teacher but that was in another lifetime. He's a spotter now part of the trained team on the ground across Syria, who report their observations on the types of aircraft they see and the direction they're headed. Anti (ph) says it's about saving lives, to feel that joy of knowing he helped others defy death.

He's and other spotters' observations along with information on things like weather patterns and historical attack data feed into an algorithm that is part of an early warning system called Sentry by Hala Systems. It reaches its users by a telegram and social media.

Hala is a brainchild of an American John Jaeger and his team.

JOHN JAEGER, HALA SYSTEMS FOUNDER: This is not a new concept. So back in World War I and World War II and after that, governments like the U.K. and the U.S. employed (ph) the use of trained civilians to act as airplane spotters. We just apply a seven decades worth of technological advancement and essentially recreated that exact same system.

DAMON (on camera): So, how fast is it from the point where a spotter and puts information to a warning actually being generated?

JAEGER: Sure. So within a few seconds of us receiving an observation that is high enough degree of confidence that it would trigger a warning. A few seconds from input to an activation of area of siren and potentially affected community.

DAMON (voice-over): And Syria cell phone reception can be spotty but Abrazach (ph) recommend Hala to his customers.

The warning tell you where a plane is headed, what area is flying over. So if there are close shelters we can run to them, he explains.

Even for those who have a shelter, it's often makeshift. Muhammad (ph), a young father of a two-month baby, dugout his own for this family and relatives. It's not much but it's all they have.

(on camera): How effective do you think you'd been able to be?

JAEGER: In the case where we're able to measure casualties in a location that's under heavy bombardment before and after our system is put in the place and activated, we've seen up to 27% reduction in fatality (ph).

DAMON (voice-over): John, a former State Department employee has Hala came about as a realization that bar somehow stopping the bombs and violence. There are few options to mitigate the impact of indiscriminate killing. And it's not just about saving lives in Syria.

JAEGER: Yes, I think that the world spend a tremendous amount of time focusing energy and resources on a lot of downstream issues that start with violence against civilians. Migration displacement, socioeconomic issues. It all starts with innocent people being killed indiscriminately. If we can help mitigate the effects of that violence, we think you could have cascading effect not just for Syria but for every other county in the world.

DAMON: Arwa Damon, CNN, Istanbul.


VAUSE: U.S. warns Iran there will be held to pay if they harm the United States and their allies. Iran has fired back as a war of words at the U.N. and those details are next.


[00:30:00] JOHN VAUSE, CNN INTERNATIONAL ANCHOR: Welcome back. You're watching CNN NEWSROOM, live from Los Angeles. I'm John Vause with the headlines this hour.

Disgraced comedian, Bill Cosby, will serve 3 to 10 years in prison for drugging and sexually assaulting a woman 14 years ago. The sentence represents a symbolic victory for the dozens of women who've accused Cosby of sexual misconduct. Cosby's lawyers, though, are planning to appeal the conviction.

The U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee has scheduled a Friday vote on Supreme Court nominee, Brett Kavanaugh. That's a day after they'll hear from a woman who accuses the judge of sexually assaulting her, three decades ago. The committee is also hiring a female attorney to question the accuser, Christine Blasey Ford.

President Donald Trump will share the U.N. Security Council on Wednesday and is expected to continue his harsh criticism of Iran. Administration officials are warning to Iran over its support for terror groups, and they say they are planning for every contingency, even war. CNN's Barbara Starr reports now from the Pentagon.


BARBARA STARR, CNN PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT: President Trump getting tough on Iran at the U.N.

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Iran's leaders, sow chaos, death, and destruction.

STARR: While his National Security Adviser got even tougher, issuing a down right threat to Tehran.

JOHN BOLTON, NATIONAL SECURITY ADVISER OF THE UNITED STATES: If you cross us, our allies or our partners, if you harm our citizens, if you continue to lie, cheat and deceive, yes, there will indeed be hell to pay.

STARR: For now, the U.S. focus, cripple Iran with sanctions to pressure it to give up its nuclear program and stop supporting Syria.

BOLTON: The murderous regime and its supporters face significant consequences if they do not change their behavior. Let my message today, be very clear. We are watching and we will come after you. STARR: But U.S. military options for a nonnuclear strike against Iran are limited, borrowing weeks of building up ships, fighters, bombers, and missiles for an all-out attack, defense officials tell CNN. These new F-35 stealth fighter jets in the North Arabian Sea could be called into action.

But there's been no aircraft carrier in the Persian Gulf since this winter. Right now, there are only two nearby warships that could shoot Tomahawk cruise missiles and anti-mine navy ships are still in the Gulf, ready, if Iran threatened world oil markets by shutting down commercial shipping in the Gulf.

REAR ADM. JOHN KIRBY (RET.), CNN MILITARY AND DIPLOMATIC ANALYST: The conventional thinking is that they could temporarily shut it down by ether mines or by sinking ships across the Strait of Hormuz.

[00:35:03] STARR: Iran's advantage, its inventory of thousands of ballistic and cruise missiles that could attack not just Israel but U.S. Gulf allies, and potentially, even Europe. And Tehran's use of militias and proxies throughout the Middle East could also lead to a military response. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo hinted in a CNN interview.

MIKE POMPEO, SECRETARY OF STATE: They're going to be held accountable. If they're responsible for the arming and training of these militias, we could go to the source.

STARR: Iranian President Hassan Rouhani, suggesting the dialogue with the United States could resume, but that the threats must stand. Barbara Starr, CNN, The Pentagon.


VAUSE: What a difference a year makes. At his first appearance at the U.N. General Assembly, President Trump threatened to totally destroy North Korea over its nuclear program. But on Tuesday, a very noticeable change in tone from Donald Trump, even though Pyongyang has yet to make any verifiable move towards denuclearization, President Trump, he actually sees real progress.


TRUMP: With support from many countries here today, we have engaged with North Korea to replace the spectre of conflict with a bold and new push for peace. I would like to thank Chairman Kim for his courage and for the steps he has taken, though, much work remains to be done.


VAUSE: Paula Hancocks joins us now live from Seoul with more. So Paula, the U.S. president, he seems to see a very different North Korea compared to everyone else, including the general nominated in command U.S. forces (INAUDIBLE) tell senators on Tuesday.

While tensions on the Korean Peninsula have been reduced since the Singapore Summit, the situation remains precarious and dangerous, despite President Trump's assertions to the contrary. There remains a significant military threat to the United States and its allies.

And, you know, much of that threat comes from the North Korea and so continues to build-up their nuclear stock pile. That intelligence has not been disputed by the White House.

PAULA HANCOCKS, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, that's right, John. I mean, this is something that U.S. intelligence agencies have been saying as well. The fact that there are no signs that North Korea is shutting down any kind of a nuclear facility.

Now, one thing that North Korea has pointed to, and of course, the South Korean president is Punggye-ri, this nuclear test site that they did have explosions at. They did destroy, they said. They have some journalists in attendance to film that, but they didn't have any international experts.

So, that's something that as far as the U.S. is concerned, was not verified. While you have this, you also have the U.S. President Donald Trump planning for the second summit, going ahead and saying that this is important.

Now, one U.S. official with knowledge of the planning said that he would like it to be in the United States. This is what Donald Trump wants. There are concerns though, whether or not Kim Jong-un would be willing or able to travel to the United States.

We heard from Donald Trump after the Singapore Summit. He said, why not? Absolutely. Let's have it at the White House. There are concerns within the Trump administration according to this official that that could send the wrong message to have an Oval Office meeting with the North Koreans when there isn't any clear sign at this point that they are slowing down anything from their nuclear program.

And of course, we're hearing from this U.S. official that they were toyed with the idea of Mar-a-Lago, as well, Trump's property in Florida, whether that was -- whether that was actually going to be an option, we don't know at this point. But it just shows the U.S. President's thinking, at the same time, his intelligence agencies and General Abrams, are saying that there's no sign that they are denuclearizing. John?

VAUSE: Yes, in one of the concessions that the U.S. President gave away at the North -- to the North Koreans at that summit, in Singapore, was to at least, you know, permanently put on hold joint South Korea-U.S. military exercises. Again, from General Abrams on Tuesday, I think that there was certainly degradation to the readiness of the force -- for the combined forces.

That's a key exercise to maintain continuity and to continue our practice of our interoperability. OK. So, essentially, what you're saying is that they're not as ready as they were. So, yes, this decision was not without cost. And is that a view which is shared by the South Koreans? HANCOCKS: Well, it's interesting. We're not hearing, publicly, from the South Korean defense ministry, for example, about what they believe this has done to the readiness of the U.S.-South Korean alliance. We're hearing, publicly, from the President saying that this was necessary.

We're hearing that he is -- he's talking about what he believes North Korea has done to show that it is willing to denuclearize, talking about Punggye-ri, talking about the fact that they are making concession of returning remains of soldiers from the Korean War, talking about the fact that they're going to shut down a key missile test site.

But when it comes to the readiness of the troops, the next big set of drills that we would expect would be in the spring, and we know that planning is going ahead. We just don't know if the drills will go ahead. John?

[00:40:00] VAUSE: OK, Paula, thank you. Paula Hancocks there with the very latest and some analysis for us there, in Seoul, thank you.

We'll take a short break. When we come back, who or what was U.S. Senator Ted Cruz, gazing at on his cell phone? Ah, the social media world wants to know. The internet has exploded, and we will have the answer in a moment.


VAUSE: It says a photograph of the U.S. Senator Ted Cruz gazing longingly into his cell phone, but it's who, he's actually looking at, which has the social media world abuzz. Here's CNN's Jeanne Moos.


JEANNE MOOS, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Senator Ted Cruz likes to schmooze about being tech savvy.

SEN. TED CRUZ (R), TEXAS: So I pulled out my phone, I sent a tweet.

MOOS: But when he pulled out his phone aboard a flight to D.C., he got nabbed, gazing at his Senate race rival, Beto O'Rourke. Politico posted the photos, inspiring mockery like this diary entry.

I wonder if he thinks about me.

Someone else called it humanizing.

Who among us has not stared at a picture of Beto O'Rourke and gently caressed the picture with our thumb, added another, just like Senator Cruz seemed to do.

Come on, get a grip. Cruz is probably just reading a news article about the race, featuring his opponent's face. It's not Tinder.

But there were plenty of Tinder jokes.

Swipe left, swipe right.

Beto O'Rourke supporters look upon him as having the charisma of a Bobby Kennedy, playing air drums to the who as he drives through-a- Whataburger.


MOOS: While Ted Cruz suffers the slings and arrows of late night comedians.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I noticed that he looked like a blob fish.

MOOS: The same day the inflight photos were snapped. Protesters at a D.C. restaurant hounded Cruz and his wife.

CROWD: We believe survivors!

MOOS: Chanting about the Supreme Court controversy, but adding insult to injury with this reference to his opponent's hotness.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Beto is way hotter than you, dude.

MOOS: Not everyone found the phone photos, funny.

I have a problem with looking over someone's shoulder and reporting what documents and articles they are reading.

But Texas Democrats used the pictures to recruit volunteers. Even Ted Cruz is signing up the volunteer for @BetoORourke. No, Cruz was not really cruising his rival. It just looks like O'Rourke is the wind beneath his wings.

Jeanne Moos, CNN, New York.


VAUSE: Thank you for watching CNN NEWSROOM, live from Los Angeles. I'm John Vause. Please stay with us. "WORLD SPORT" is up next. You're watching CNN.


[00:45:00] (WORLD SPORT)