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Israeli Defense Minister Quits Over Gaza Ceasefire; Ruling Expected Thursday in CNN Lawsuit Against Trump; Numerous Media Organizations Support CNN's Lawsuit Against White House for Revoking Jim Acosta's Press Pass. Aired 12m-1a ET

Aired November 15, 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): It's alive, it's alive! The British prime minister's draft Brexit deal survives for another day after squeaking through a divided cabinet. Next hurdle will be a vote in Parliament, where there's overwhelming opposition. Some lawmakers say the plan to divorce the E.U. goes too far; others, not far enough.

The desperate search in California for more than 100 people now missing as the state's most destructive and most deadly fire continues to burn.

Return to the killing fields. The first Rohingya refugees are set to be forced to return to the place where, just over a year ago, they were the victims of a military-backed campaign of genocide.

Hello and welcome to our viewers all around the world. I'm John Vause. This is CNN NEWSROOM.

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VAUSE: Brexit lives, at least for now. After months of false storms, false hope and false starts, after a five-hour long debate which the British prime minister Theresa May described as impassioned, the cabinet narrowly approved her draft deal for leaving the E.U.

Getting that plan through Parliament remains a long shot. Before her draft agreement was made public It was criticized by lawmakers. Theresa May spoke outside Number 10 at the sound of anti-Brexit protesters ringing out in the background.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

THERESA MAY, BRITISH PRIME MINISTER: I know that there will be difficult days ahead. This is a decision which will come under intense scrutiny and that is entirely as it should be and entirely understandable.

But the choice was, this deal, which enables us to take back control and to build a brighter future for our country or going back to square one with more division, more uncertainty and a failure to deliver on the referendum.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

VAUSE: Both U.K. and the European Union want to avoid a hard border between Ireland and Northern Ireland. That's a key part of the 1998 Good Friday peace agreement. The Brexit draft calls for a backstop provision that would keep the Irish border open to trade even if no trade deal is reached by end of 2020.

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VAUSE: I'm joined now by Tim Gruenewald, he's program director of American Studies at Hong Kong University.

Tim, thank you for coming with -- thank you for coming in to see us.

After a five-hour long meeting with her cabinet, Prime Minister Theresa May, she stepped outside Number 10 basking in the warmth of a rare win, the first Brexit hurdle was cleared and there she was a woman alone. There are 23 other members of the British cabinet, not one seem willing to stand by their prime minister.

It's not exactly a vote of confidence is it?

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TIM GRUENEWALD, PROGRAM DIRECTOR, AMERICAN STUDIES, HONG KONG UNIVERSITY: Indeed, indeed. It was a much more contentious cabinet meeting that she could ever have hoped for lasting almost five hours reports that indicate that some opponents were even reduced to tears.

So it's -- that doesn't bode very positively for the coming days and the upcoming decision in the Parliament.

VAUSE: Even in that moment when the prime minister was outside Number 10, she continued to try and sell this draft agreement it seems to anyone who would listen. This is part of what she said. Listen to this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

THERESA MAY, BRITISH PRIME MINISTER: The choice before us is clear. This deal, which delivers on the vote of the referendum, which brings about control of our money, laws and borders, ends free movement, protects jobs, security and our union, or leave with no deal or leave with no Brexit at all.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

VAUSE: The only problem is that what she said there is not true. Nowhere in this draft agreement is there a mention of the fact that the U.K. is actually getting back control of anything. It's staying in a customs union, it can't leave without E.U. permission, borders remain open to E.U. citizens, billions of dollars we pay to Brussels every year. It seems almost irony now that the Brexiteers campaigned on a slogan of take back control. GRUENEWALD: Indeed, indeed. Especially for the agreed transition period of 21 months, nothing will change at all. The borders between Northern Ireland and Ireland will remain open. They had to make tremendous concessions from the point of view of the Brexit hardliners that they will be loath to swallow and that will lead most likely to at least one or two cabinet resignations and which will further cloud the debates in the parliament.

VAUSE: It just gets to the point of asking, at the end of the day, this is what the Brexit looks like. What's the point?

GRUENEWALD: Indeed, indeed. Not much will change from an economic standpoint for the foreseeable future. The Brexit hardliners will be very displeased with the long transition period, the possibility of extending that even further. The good news is of course, is coming out of Europe that you know, there is now hope, a sliver of hope for avoiding a hard exit. And good news for the three million E.U. citizens living in Britain as well as the one million British citizens living in the E.U. for both of whom nothing will change, but you're completely right.

VAUSE: This sliver of hope to stay alive, the next hurdle will be trying to win over a majority of MPs in the British Parliament. Here is a sample of question time from the British Parliament on Wednesday.

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JEREMY CORBYN, LEADER, LABOUR PARTY: So does the prime minister still intend to put a false choice to Parliament between her botched deal or no deal?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Prime Minister.

MAY: Can I say to the gentleman that he's wrong in the description that he set out. But can I also say to him, time and time again, he stood up in this house and complained that the government isn't making progress, the government isn't anywhere close to a deal.

Now when we're making progress and close to a deal, he's complaining about that.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

VAUSE: It's no surprise that Theresa May did not say when that vote would happen. She gave no date because right now it seems she doesn't have the numbers.

There was likely -- what's the likelihood that she ever will?

GRUENEWALD: From looking at it from now, it's a slim likelihood. A lot will depend on the statements today that announced for today on Thursday in the Parliament for further explaining.

And indeed as you put it selling the deal, a lot of selling still remains to be done in order to close this deal for Theresa May. If of course, this fails, this would be a doomsday scenario for her and much, much more the future of British E.U. relations with the likelihood of a hard, hard Brexit.

VAUSE: Tim, it seems as if Theresa May got through maybe one hurdle here and there is so much more for her to do that it still seems like an incredibly uphill climb for the British prime minister. Thanks for coming in. We appreciate it.

GRUENEWALD: Thank you very much. Thanks for having me.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

VAUSE: Improving weather conditions are helping firefighters in California battling the worst fire outbreak in the state's history. As the number of dead continues to rise -- it's now at 58 -- CNN's Nick Valencia reports in the north more than 100 people are missing and many of them are elderly.

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NICK VALENCIA, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The search for the missing intensifies in Northern California. The Camp Fire, which ignited a week ago, already the deadliest in California history. The death toll will almost certainly rise, rescuers scouring burnt-out homes, searching for signs of life but fearing the worst.

SHERIFF KORY HONEA, BUTTE COUNTY, CALIFORNIA: Even after we searched an area, once people get back in there, it is possible that human remains could be found.

VALENCIA (voice-over): The death toll climbing from the Northern California Camp Fire. Officials say they have a partial list of names of 103 missing people. Authorities have requested National Guard troops, cadaver dogs and mobile morgues to help with the recovery.

Inspection teams are mapping out the destruction in Paradise, one of the hardest hit towns. The population there, 27,000 people; 8,000 structures destroyed. These images show how a nurse used his truck to help rescue people stuck in the fire. The lights on his truck melted. The sides burned and blackened.

ALLYN PIERCE, NURSE AND RESCUER: I think the word is terrified. I stayed calm but was terrified.

VALENCIA (voice-over): In Southern California, firefighters still battling the Woolsey Fire which has burned nearly 100,000 acres and left at least two people dead in Malibu. A third body was found in a burnt home.

A new fire east of Los Angeles, whipped by those same Santa Ana winds, was knocked down; 13 million people remain under red flag warnings, hundreds of thousands forced to leave their homes.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Oh, my God, please help me.

VALENCIA (voice-over): One woman descriptions how she narrowly escaped death by driving straight through the fire. UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I just thought maybe I was going to die, I just -- I was like I just have to keep going. I can't turn around. I can't stop. I just have to keep going.

VALENCIA: There's still no official cause for the fire. But 22 residents who lost their homes are already suing the power company, PG&E, which had an incident with one of their high-voltage lines in the origin of --

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VALENCIA: -- the fire 15 minutes before it started. PG&E released a statement saying they're aware of the lawsuit but right now their focus is on the community, not the litigation -- Nick Valencia, CNN, Paradise, California.

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VAUSE: To the White House now, where sources tell us -- but we didn't really need them to -- apparently the U.S. president is in a really foul mood. One official tells CN, quote, "he's pissed at damn near everyone."

In an interview with the conservative website, The Daily Caller, the president confirms he's considering a number of staffing changes. At the top of the list, chief of staff John Kelly, followed by Homeland Security secretary Kirstjen Nielsen.

The president also made a wild and unsubstantiated claim about voter fraud. He said people who have absolutely no right to vote go to their car, put on a different hat or different shirt and then go back and vote again.

Now the midterms are over, so, too, it seems is the threat of caravans and criminals invading the United States. He tweeted the word "caravan" 45 times in three weeks before Election Day and hasn't mentioned it since.

In the meantime, hundreds of migrants have reached the U.S. border of Tijuana in Mexico. Thousands of U.S. troops sent to keep this invasion at bay are still waiting. CNN's Barbara Starr has this report.

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BARBARA STARR, CNN PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Defense Secretary James Mattis checking up on the troops at the bare bones military camp on the Texas border with Mexico. Fifty-nine hundred troops deployed to stop caravans of migrants, still hundreds of miles from the border.

TRUMP: Because you look up what's marching up, that's an invasion. That's not -- that's an invasion.

STARR: But on the ground, the reality is different. Mattis reiterating, the military will not be confronting the migrants as he defended the mission.

GEN. JAMES MATTIS, U.S. SECRETARY OF DEFENSE: Obviously, a moral and ethical mission to support our Border Patrol men.

STARR: Thirteen hundred of those troops in Texas, largely tasked with putting up concertina wire without weapons in hand, part of their orders to barricade the Texas border where migrants coming north may try to cross.

MATTIS: The troops doing that obviously are not armed. They don't need their weapons. The engineers to lay the barbed wire, the soldiers and Marines doing that are overwatched by MPs who are armed.

STARR: Mattis, well aware of the political firestorm surrounding the deployment, now telling American forces to ignore the news media.

MATTIS: There's all sorts of stuff in the news and that sort of thing. You just concentrate on what your company commander and your battalion commander tells you. If you read all that stuff, you'll go nuts.

STARR: But the question of President Trump's political motivation for sending troops is --

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STARR (voice-over): -- not going away. From October 16th to November 6th, midterm election day, 45 tweets mentioning the border. But since then, zero.

ADM. JOHN KIRBY (RET.), CNN MILITARY AND DIPLOMATIC ANALYST: I think that strengthens the argument by those who believe that this was a politically motivated mission in the first place.

STARR: And in a bizarre moment, Mattis insisting, there is precedent for forces on the border, actually citing Pancho Villa, the famed Mexican revolutionary leader.

MATTIS: I think many of you are aware that President Wilson 100 years ago -- a little over 100 years ago, deployed the U.S. Army to the southwest border. That's over a century ago. The threat then was Pancho Villa's troops, a revolutionary, raiding across the border into the United States, New Mexico in 1916.

STARR: The difference being Pancho Villa led a group of revolutionaries with guns while the current group of migrants includes men, women and children who are mostly escaping violence in their own countries.

So while the political questions still rage, many troops don't know if they will be home for the holidays. The secretary of defense talking about Pancho Villa -- Barbara Starr, CNN, the Pentagon.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

VAUSE: Myanmar says it is ready for the return of the first Rohingya Muslims that fled to Bangladesh last year. But the U.N. and human rights groups and especially the Rohingya themselves are against returning to a place where they were the target of a military campaign of genocide. Details next.

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VAUSE: The first of more than 2,000 Rohingya refugees living in temporary camps in Bangladesh are expected to be repatriated to Myanmar on Thursday. If all goes according to plan, 150 refugees will return each day for the next two weeks, despite the fact that the United Nations warned last month it would be tantamount to condemning to life as subhumans and further mass killing.

Most of all the Rohingya themselves don't want to return to the place where they were the victims of a brutal military crackdown which led to thousands dead.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

KALIMULLAH, ROHINGYA REFUGEE (through translator): I don't want to go back because we don't have any citizenship rights. They will not return our lands. They will put us into camps.

SHAKINA, ROHINGYA REFUGEE (through translator): Should we go?

It is better to die here by taking poison as there we will have to stay in camps. We are already in camps here so it is better to die here. I feel that I will die here, so don't try.

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NURUL AMIN, ROHINGYA REFUGEE (through translator): We will not go back to Burma. If gave us compensations for our losses and gave us all our rights then we would go. But we learned that they will keep us in camps. We will not go to stay in camps.

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VAUSE: CNN's Alexandra Field is live from Hong Kong with more on this.

Alexandra, there's more than 100,000 Rohingya living in the camps. This is the first group.

But when Myanmar agreed to this back in January, they said the repatriation process would be safe, voluntary and dignified.

With that in mind, how is this process expected to work and how do they intend to keep that commitment made at the beginning of the year?

ALEXANDRA FIELD, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Voluntary is the key word. This is a plan that was struck by officials in Myanmar and Bangladesh but at this point it seems all is not going to plan.

They would like to repatriate 150 people each day. But we're hearing from Bangladesh's repatriation commissioner, who says this morning they haven't found any volunteers to make the return trip. They say they'll continue to look for the next two hours but that they simply can't force anyone to go back.

This really shouldn't come as a surprise to officials in either Bangladesh or Myanmar. You got 700,000 people who left their homes in Myanmar under a violent campaign from the military. They ran for their lives. They've been waiting to return to Myanmar without fear of persecution and violence.

Those are not assurances they've been given yet. That's why you have other parties involved here raising concerns about the repatriation plans. You have the U.S. State Department emphasizing this has to be voluntary.

We had officials from the U.N. expressing their grave concern because of the history of atrocities against the Rohingya in Myanmar and because of ongoing reports of violations against Rohingya in that country. We will wait and see if any do decide to make the journey in the days ahead.

VAUSE: Alex, thank you. Alexandra Field live for us in Hong Kong.

Earlier I spoke to Chris Melzer, a senior spokesperson for the U.N. Human Rights Agency. He's on the ground, monitoring the situation at the refugee camp in Bangladesh.

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CHRIS MELZER, SENIOR SPOKESMAN, UNHCR: We talked to a lot of refugees. I just did that recently yesterday. And you get from all of the refugees normally the same answer. They say yes, they would like to go -- we would like to go to our home country. But not under these conditions yet.

VAUSE: What conditions need to be in place for the Rohingya refugees to return to Myanmar?

And is there any evidence so far that the government there in Myanmar is making an effort for that to be a reality?

MELZER: Well, the conditions are actually very clear. We have a memorandum of understanding with both governments -- Bangladesh and Myanmar. The main demands are that the returns have to be voluntary, in dignity and in safety. And also based on a well-informed decision. And the last point is probably the main problem, the refugees and also UNHCR have the problem -- it doesn't have probability to get informed.

We ask for unlimited access to these -- northern Rakhine state in Myanmar that the refugees and UNHCR can really see if the conditions are conducive.

VAUSE: How would you describe the conditions currently in Myanmar for the possible repatriation of Rohingya refugees?

MELZER: Unfortunately, I can't really answer this question because we don't know how the conditions are in detail. We asked the government of Myanmar several times to grant us access, unlimited access to these Northern Rakhine state as it is also stated in the memorandum of understanding with UNHCR and with the government of Myanmar.

But until now we do not have the possibility at least to go there and to check the situation for the refugees and how the situation really is.

VAUSE: Last month, a U.N. fact finding mission reported sufficient information to warrant the investigation and prosecution of senior officials in the Myanmar armed forces on charges of genocide. It is seems safe to assume that those military officials have not been removed and that they are still there, you know, within the military?

MELZER: We tried to help the refugees as good as we can. And for that we need also to work with the authorities -- the countries of Bangladesh and also Myanmar. And we also must be willing to work with the authorities even with the armed forces. But of course, always on the condition that it is for the good of the refugees and that everything is based on human rights.

VAUSE: So basically under what conditions would you say --

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VAUSE: -- should this repatriation begin?

One of the conditions that was laid out was that it has to be voluntary. So if they don't want to go then no one should be forcing them to leave, right?

MELZER: That's the point. It has to be voluntary and in safety and in dignity and all of these things are, of course, combined or together. The refugees, for example, asking also for citizenship of Myanmar. You probably know that most of the Rohingya are stateless people.

But our preconditions are after well-informed decisions when the refugees would like to go. Also on individual basis, it has to be in safety and voluntarily. That's our main point actually.

VAUSE: So one last question, if they are forced to go, possibly at gunpoint by Bangladeshi security forces or whoever makes them leave, then this repatriation in your opinion, where would that leave it?

MELZER: Well, then we will raise our voice. And then it will be a problem we have but we are not that far. The government of Bangladesh has promised several times that they will not force anybody to leave, that everything has to be voluntary.

And actually we can't thank enough the government and also the people of Bangladesh because they've been over the last one and a half years, very, very hospitable, really supporting all the refugees. And do not forget, we have Rohingya refugees here in Bangladesh for 40 years and always the country of Bangladesh was very hospitable to these people. And we can't stress that enough.

VAUSE: And so, look, no one else took them in, Bangladesh did -- a poor country that could barely feed its own population and that was the only one. So, you know, absolutely.

So there is now this issue of forced repatriation which I guess a lot of people are concerned about right now.

Chris, we'll try and check in with you to find out the very latest as the story continues. Thank you.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

VAUSE: The next 24 hours could be crucial for free speech. A court ruling is expected, which could have far reaching implications for journalists in the United States. It is so crucial even FOX News is standing with CNN in its lawsuit against the president. Details when we come back.

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VAUSE: Thanks for staying with us, everybody. I'm John Vause. An update now on our top stories.

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The court ruling is expected Thursday, in the dispute between CNN and the U.S. President, over the legality of the administration's decision to revoke the credentials of this network's Chief White House Correspondent, Jim Acosta. A week ago, President Trump lashed out at Acosta and other reporters, during an unusually testy news conference, even by these White House standards.

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JIM ACOSTA, CNN CHIEF WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: They're hundreds of miles away, though. They're hundreds and hundreds of miles away.

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: You know what?

ACOSTA: That's not an invasion.

TRUMP: Honestly, I think you should let me run the country, you run CNN.

ACOSTA: All right.

TRUMP: And if you did it well, your ratings will be much better. ACOSTA: Let me ask you. If I may ask another question -- Mr. President --

TRUMP: Peter, go ahead.

ACOSTA: If I may ask another question, are you worried?

TRUMP: That's enough. That's enough.

ACOSTA: Mr. President -- the other folks --

TRUMP: That's enough.

ACOSTA: Pardon me, ma'am. Mr. President --

TRUMP: Excuse me, that's enough.

ACOSTA: Mr. President, I have one other question -- If I may ask.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

VAUSE: Initially, the administration said Acosta lost his credentials because he inappropriately touched the intern, trying to take the microphone. Press Secretary Sarah Sanders even posted a video on twitter to try and make her case, but that video had been edited in a way to exaggerate what was a brief moment of contact between Acosta and the intern.

Lawyers for the President say the allegation is now no longer part of their legal argument. And while this case is fairly narrow, focusing just on Acosta's press credentials, it appears to be escalating into a much bigger legal showdown over the rights of journalists.

And it could set a precedent for a president's right to pick and choose White House reporters, which is why more than a dozen major news outlets across the United States have filed friend-of-the-court briefs, in support of CNN and Jim Acosta. Notably, on that list, the usually Trump-friendly FOX News Channel.

Brian Stelter is CNN's Chief Media Correspondent and Host of Reliable Sources. He is with us from New York, Brian, good to see you.

BRIAN STELTER, CNN CHIEF MEDIA CORRESPONDENT: You too. Thanks.

VAUSE: OK. Here's the statement from the FOX News President, Jay Wallace, on why his network is supporting this legal action. Secret Service passes for working White House journalist should never be weaponized. While we don't condone the growing antagonistic tone by both the President and the press at recent media avails, we do support a free press, access and open exchanges for the American people.

Yes, I guess there were some surprised when FOX News executives went public in support of CNN, because take a look at their air, listen to the anchors here. It's been a totally different story.

STELTER: Yes. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRISH REAGAN, ANCHOR, FOX BUSINESS NETWORK: What's your reaction to that video that we saw there where Jim Acosta is, sort of, wrestling this young White House intern to keep the microphone and as such tonight, we have just learned moments ago, he is no longer going to be able to have his hard pass, his reporting pass, to be there at the White House.

What do you say about that? And then we'll move on to Sessions.

MISTY MARRIS, ATTORNEY: Trish, I was hoping we'd have the opportunity to talk about it because I was floored by Acosta's conduct. And revoking his pass was a necessity.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

VAUSE: Wrestling the intern? What video is she looking at? You know, I guess this was in the immediate aftermath of the incident. But this is a news channel which continually bends over backwards to justify whatever this President does regardless of how grievous it might be.

STELTER: Yes, the President's friends like Sean Hannity and Jeanine Pirro, supported him at every turn and Hannity, even this time, yesterday, was trashing CNN, trashing Acosta, as some FOX commentators have gone so far as to say, that the pass should be revoked and not returned.

But, I do think what we've seen here is, the news side at FOX, the head of the network, realizing that right now, it's Acosta, but next year or next decade, it could be somebody else. You know, one day, it might be a Democratic president who decides to target FOX News. And in that case, FOX doesn't want to be siding with real news and real journalism.

So, it was a positive sign from FOX News, in fact, that was one of the strongest statements today, John. ABC and CBS eventually came out and supported CNN as well. But the FOX News wanted to be on record, on the side of a free press.

VAUSE: OK. Well, here's part of the arguments, surprise, surprise. Here's part of the argument from the Justice Department, on behalf of the President, and this seems to be of a fairly big concern. Justice Department Lawyer, James Burnham said that it would be perfectly legal for the White House to revoke a journalist's credentials if it didn't agree with their reporting.

He made the assertion under questioning from Judge Timothy J. Kelly, who asked him to state the administration's position in this hypothetical situation. The judge asked if the White House could essentially tell any individual journalist, we don't like your reporting, so we're pulling your hard pass.

Burnham replied, as a matter of law, yes. That is a serious break with the past, when it comes to some very big consequences. [00:35:08] STELTER: It really is a radical change from decades of tradition and precedent, from both Republican and Democratic administrations. The idea whether it's the Reagan administration or the Bush or the George W. Bush or the Clinton or the Obama administration, is that pretty much any reporter who requests a press pass was granted one. They erred on the side of permissiveness.

But now, here you have Trump's DOJ, saying Trump can take away anybody's pass at any time, for any reason. Now, they said that was a hypothetical, they said that in Acosta's case, they're accusing Acosta of being rude and inappropriate, and that's why they suspended his pass.

But I think it is very troubling what the DOJ said in court, of course, they had to defend Trump, I guess. That's their job. They're defending Trump against the lawsuit. But the way they defended him, by saying, anybody might be a subject of this, at any time, that's definitely causing heartburn, not just at CNN, right, because this is not just about CNN, but in news rooms all across the country.

VAUSE: And we also heard from President Trump on Wednesday, he spoke to the Conservative website, the Daily Caller, and when asked about the case, he said, is it freedom of the press when somebody comes in and starts screaming questions and won't sit down?

Jim Acosta is just somebody who gets up and grandstands. He doesn't even know what he's asking you half of the time. I really think that when you have a guy like Jim Acosta, I think they're bad for the country. He's just an average guy who's a grandstander who's got the guts to stand up and shout. Well, he certainly has a lot of courage, Jim.

You know, this is nothing what happened at the news conference compared to other news conferences. And it actually has always amazed me on how differential the White House Press Corps is, towards the president, any president, compared to other countries around the world.

STELTER: That's a very good point. I think our viewers have seen some of those other situations, where reporters in other countries are far more aggressive at press conferences. Acosta's style does bother some people, though, here in the U.S. I get that. I want different White House reporters to have different styles. I think that's a good thing. That's part of freedom of the press.

But it is disturbing and so many of Trump supporters are trying to target Acosta and say he's wrong and he's not really a journalist. Just because they don't like how tough he is and how aggressive he is in his questions. By the way, let's remember, Trump called on Acosta, right? Trump actually reached out and called on Acosta.

So, it wasn't as if Acosta stood up there and started ranting and raving at the President. The President called on him at that press conference, a week ago.

VAUSE: Yes. I can tell you, in Australia, Prime Ministers don't call on reporters, they just get yelled at and they answer the questions as best as they can. Legal experts, they believe CNN has a very good case here. But could this ultimately just be simply a P.R. win for Donald Trump, it plays for his supporters, it plays to his claims that, you know, CNN is somehow out to get him, which we're not.

And what about the next two years, this administration could make life very difficult for us and I guess for all those other organizations supporting this legal action?

STELTER: That is true. And I think that's why they're such a united front from these news organizations. Now, that's the normally do not get along, normally do not agree on anything, are united on this, because they know that this week, it's Acosta, but next week, it'd be the New York Times or MBC.

And that's why Thursday's ruling is going to be so important. Thursday, 3 p.m. Eastern time, this judge will issue a ruling. CNN has been asking for a temporary restraining order that would get Acosta's press pass back in his hand right away.

If the judge rules against CNN, this could have a troubling effect not just for CNN but for other news outlets as well, because it's going to embolden Trump to try to throw other reporters out as well.

So we are in a very unusual situation here. We will see what the judge decides to do. But in the meantime, the Trump campaign is fundraising off this. Sending fundraising letter to its supporters today, saying Trump is being sued, help Trump win. He is trying to capitalize off of this.

But I think most Americans are watching this and saying, hey, I want more questions of the President, not fewer. I want more coverage, not less. And ultimately, this is about press coverage of the President.

VAUSE: And I don't know if it has any relevance here, but Judge Kelly, the presiding judge, a Trump appointee. I guess, we'll have to watch this case, Brian, thank you.

STELTER: Thanks.

VAUSE: And when we come back, it was pretty simple once, blue for boys, pink for girls, not anymore. These days, when you're a superstar like Celine Dion, you come out with a clothing line for kids, it's all gender neutral.

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[00:40:00] VAUSE: When legendary performer, Celine Dion, teamed up with a children's boutique for her own line of gender-neutral apparel for kids, the first question is, why? That's quickly followed by why does it all look kind of goth? Chloe Melas sat down with Dion and asked about her inspiration.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

CELINE DION, SINGER: The first time I brought them to Disney, I thought they were going to go for, you know, the big superheroes. They were looking at princesses. And they all wanted to be, you know, Minnie Mouse. And then I said, but what about Mickey? And then I'm saying to myself, you know what? It's OK. You know why it's OK? Because they're talking, they're finding themselves.

We may thrust them forward into the future, but the course will always be theirs to choose.

CHLOE MELAS, CNN ENTERTAINMENT REPORTER: Celine wants all kids to find themselves, not just her own. And she hopes her partnership with NUNUNU will help. The clothes in her new line are gender-neutral.

Some parents might be a little worried or concerned seeing their child put on their heels or put on their nails.

DION: I'm not here as Celine Dion, singer who's got three kids, who's going to tell the world right now, you should do it this way, you should not do that, this is wrong. Listen, I'm not -- I'm not doing that. Let them tell you what they feel like.

MELAS: NUNUNU has been around for years. Its founders created the fashion line out of necessity, when they couldn't find clothing for their own kids.TALI MILCHBERG, CO-FOUNDER, NUNUNU: Fashion has the power to shape people's minds (INAUDIBLE) the NUNUNU trying to shape the future of all human beings by saying, find your own individuality.

IRIS ADLER, CO-FOUNDER OF NUNUNU: We bring a new order as a concept --

MILCHBERG: into the world.

ADLER: into the world.

DION: You know what? You don't know what they're going to become later. And you don't want for them to have psychological problem of growth and say, I'm supposed to be like that, I'm supposed to say that, I'm supposed to dress like this because I'm a guy, I'm a boy. I'm supposed to do -- no, no. You don't know. Let people be who they are as quick and as soon as possible.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

VAUSE: Good advice. Thank you for watching CNN NEWSROOM. I'm John Vause. Stay with us. "WORLD SPORT" is next. You're watching CNN.

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