Return to Transcripts main page


Trump Tangles with Chief Justice of the U.S.; U.S. and Iran Trade Blows as Relations Worsen; Britain Outraged over UAE Life Sentence for Student; Nissan Board to Decide on Sacking Chairman; Activist Offers Virtual Classes for Rohingya Children. Aired 2-3a ET

Aired November 22, 2018 - 02:00   ET




JOHN VAUSE, CNN ANCHOR (voice-over): (INAUDIBLE) leads to a lifetime sentence in prison for a British academic accused of espionage in the UAE.

And (INAUDIBLE) company poised to set a titan of the auto industry accused of financial misconduct.


VAUSE: We begin with the case of Donald Trump versus the U.S. judiciary. Trump has a history of attacking judges who don't take his side but this time the president is taking a fight all the way to the chief justice of the highest court in the United States. CNN's Jeff Zeleny reports.


JEFF ZELENY, CNN SENIOR WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): President Trump in an extraordinary public feud tonight with Chief Justice John Roberts.

On the eve of Thanksgiving, an unprecedented and unseemly exchange that started earlier in the day, when the chief justice issued a rare rebuke of the president for criticizing a member of the federal appeals court as an Obama judge.

"We do not have Obama judges or Trump judges, Bush judges or Clinton judges," Roberts said. "What we have is an extraordinary group of dedicated judges doing their level best to do equal right to those appearing before them. That independent judiciary is something we should all be thankful for."

The president firing back on Twitter. "Sorry, Chief Justice John Roberts, but you do indeed have Obama judges and they have a much different point of view than the people who are charged with the safety of our country. It would be great if the 9th Circuit was indeed an independent judiciary."

In a second tweet, the president went on to ask why there are so many opposing views on border and safety cases filed there and why there are a vast number of cases overturned.

Then, he admonished Roberts to study the numbers and added, "They are shocking and making our country unsafe."

It started as the president left the White House yesterday, blasting the judge's decision for temporarily blocking one his executive orders to change U.S. asylum policy.

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: You go to the Ninth Circuit and it is a disgrace. This was an Obama judge. And I will tell you what. It is not going to happen like this anymore.

ZELENY: The Supreme Court chief justice, appointed by President George W. Bush, has been striving to bring civility to the bench.

JOHN ROBERTS, CHIEF JUSTICE OF THE U.S. SUPREME COURT: We speak for the Constitution. That job obviously requires independence from the political branches.

ZELENY: It was his statement defending the judiciary that provoked the response from Trump.

All of this tonight as the president finally submitted his written questions in the Russia investigation, but Rudy Giuliani telling CNN special counsel Robert Mueller may be far from finished with the president.

Giuliani, one of the president's lawyers, is bracing for new questions from Mueller about potential obstruction of justice, a move he said the Trump team would fight.

"We will consider them and answer them if necessary, relevant and legal," Giuliani telling CNN, "if it was something that would be helpful, relevant, not a law school exam."

As Trump opens his six-day holiday visit to his Florida resort, Giuliani's comments tonight signal the Russia probe and the president's role in it is very much alive, despite repeated attempts to diminish it, like yesterday while leaving the White House.

TRUMP: The written answers to the witch hunt that's been going on forever, no collusion, no nothing, they have been finished.

ZELENY: Giuliani said any questions about Trump's transition and actions during his time in office, including whether he obstructed justice firing FBI Director James Comey, would violate the president's executive privilege.

CNN has learned the president did answer Mueller's questions about potential Russian collusion, including what he knew at the time about his son Donald Trump Jr.'s meeting with Russians at Trump Tower and whether he knew anything about Russian hacks when saying this about Hillary Clinton's e-mails on July 27, 2016:

TRUMP: Russia, if you are listening, I hope you are able to find the 30,000 e-mails that are missing. ZELENY: So even as the Russia investigation still hangs over this president with the potential of new questions to come from the special counsel's office, it is that extraordinary and unprecedented, perhaps even unseemly fight with the chief justice that certainly is unusual, particularly coming on the eve of Thanksgiving.

And, of course, the president may need the Supreme Court and their ruling in the months and years to come -- Jeff Zeleny, CNN, West Palm Beach, Florida.



VAUSE: The growing tension between Tehran and Washington. A commander with Iran's Revolutionary Guard has warned that U.S. bases in Afghanistan, the UAE and Qatar and U.S. aircraft carriers in the Gulf are in range of Iranian missiles. They're in the Guard's airspace division was quoted as saying they are within our reach and we can hit them, if they, as in the Americans, make a move.

Just a day earlier, the U.S. president accused Iran of being a major threat to Middle East stability, as well as American citizens, with a track record far worse than any crime which may have been committed by Saudi Arabia.

Part of the rambling justification by Trump to ignore a CIA report that concluded the Saudi crown prince had ordered the brutal murder of dissident journalist Jamal Khashoggi. Iran's foreign minister seemed to troll the U.S. president --


VAUSE: -- on Twitter, posting this.

"Mr. Trump bizarrely devotes the first paragraph of his shameful statement on Saudi atrocities to accuse Iran of every sort of malfeasance he can think of. Perhaps we're also responsible for the California fires because we didn't help rake the forests -- just like the Finns do?"

Friction between Tehran and the U.S. went from bad to horrendous in May of this year, when President Trump withdrew from the Iran nuclear deal and tough economic sanctions were reimposed on the Islamic Republic.

For more now on this, CNN global affairs analyst and executive editor of "The New Yorker" website, David Rohde, is with us from New York.

David, thank you for taking the time.


VAUSE: Back in July, the U.S. president tweeted this.

"To Iranian President Rouhani, never, ever threaten the United States again or you will suffer consequences, the likes of which few throughout history have ever suffered before. We're no longer a country that will stand for your demented words of violence and death. Be cautious."

OK, so does this threat from Iran about U.S. bases and aircraft carriers being within range of their missiles, does that rise to this level of consequences they've ever seen before?

How serious is this claim coming from the Revolutionary Guard?

ROHDE: To be frank, I'm it is -- it is not clear to me. -- it is not new; the Iranians have made this kind of threat before. What is not clear to me is what is the definition of what President Trump considers a serious threat.

He has talked this way about striking North Korea. He has looked at military options for invading Venezuela but he hasn't taken military action. So I don't -- I don't know frankly what that line is.

And there's a danger. If you make these threats, as the President of the United States, but you don't ever follow up on them, that can lead your enemies to not hear the threats.

VAUSE: Which seems maybe one of the reasons why you get this statement from the Iranian foreign minister, mocking the president and he sort of trolled him on Twitter. It seems Iran's also been involved because of the support they're receiving from Europe over the nuclear deal.

Here's part of a report from Reuters, "Iran on Wednesday praised European efforts to maintain business with Tehran, despite U.S. sanctions, citing 'constructive meetings' with British and French officials in Tehran this week on setting up a way to conduct non- dollar trade."

This is about the negotiations for the special purpose vehicle, basically a trading mechanism for the European countries to avoid the U.S. sanctions if they do business with Iran. It is a sign of just how isolated the U.S. is now when it comes to dealing with Tehran.

ROHDE: Yes, there were new sanctions announced. But there were waivers the U.S. issued immediately for some of the largest purchasers of Iranian oil, primarily China.

So right now the sort of very tough sanctions that the White House has talked about has not had a major impact in terms of decreasing Iran's oil exports. I do think the sanctions could hurt over time. But right now the Iranians and the Europeans together are essentially flouting the Trump administration and saying they won't be intimidated by President Trump's rhetoric.

VAUSE: Which will leave the U.S. with the Saudis and Trump on Wednesday had some very kind words once again for the Saudis.

"Oil prices getting lower. Great! Like a big Tax Cut for America and the World. Enjoy! $54, was just $82. Thank you to Saudi Arabia but let's go lower."

The only problem with that statement from the president is it's completely wrong. The Saudis actually cut production this month to try and drive up the price of oil. You mentioned this; the only reason for the big decline in the price is because those buyers, exemptions from the U.S. from sanctions.

So is Donald Trump ignorant of that or is he deliberately trying to mislead here?

ROHDE: I would say he's still trying to mislead. I can't get into the president's head. But I think he's trying to defend an awkward political position in the United States where he gives Saudi Arabia and crown prince Mohammed bin Salman approval for a sanctioned murder of Jamal Khashoggi, of a journalist. That is not popular in the United States and it's not popular with the Republicans in Congress.

It is very unprecedented to have an American president say, murder does not matter.

VAUSE: The Europeans and Iranians on the one side and the Americans and the Saudis on the other.

Just how effective of an ally is Saudi Arabia when it comes to containing Iran?

ROHDE: The Trump administration and the president have built their Middle East policy around Saudi Arabia being an effective ally. They expect Saudi Arabia to deliver and back, you know, a Middle East peace deal, potentially between the Israelis and Palestinians.

They expect the Saudis to intimidate Iran and somehow check them in the region. And they expect the Saudis to be an effective ally to counter ISIS.

If you look at the war in Yemen, the most --


ROHDE: -- significant military effort that the Saudis have led, that's been a complete disaster. So this reliance on the Saudis, this belief in the Trump White House that the magic solution to so many challenges in the Middle East is Saudi Arabia, I find that very hard to believe.

But that's the strategy and the reason, you know, that they're giving MBS a pass is, first of all, oil. The U.S. needs that oil. The world economy needs that oil.

Second, this is a choice of the Trump administration, to be so utterly reliant on Saudi Arabia in the Middle East. I'm not sure that reliance on Saudi Arabia is going to work.

VAUSE: OK, David, we'll leave it there. Thank you so much. It does seem to be one of those strategies which see to maybe misplaced at best. Thank you. ROHDE: Thank you very much.


VAUSE: The British prime minister Theresa May heads back to Brussels Saturday to try and finalize her draft Brexit deal. She met with the head of the European Commission on Wednesday but failed to reach an agreement.


THERESA MAY, BRITISH PRIME MINISTER: There's some remaining issues which we have discussed this evening with President Juncker this evening. We've been able to give direction to our negotiations on resolving those issues.

So further progress has been made. And, as I say, I'll return on Saturday for further meetings, including again with President Juncker to discuss how we can ensure that we can conclude this process in the ways and in the interests of all our people.


VAUSE: E.U. leaders plan to meet on Sunday to endorse the withdrawal accord. But diplomats say German chancellor Angela Merkel will not take part in that summit unless the draft deal is approved first. Spain is threatening to vote against the deal, unless trade and security issues involving the British territory of Gibraltar are handled separately.

The U.K. is warning of serious diplomatic consequences after a court in the United Arab Emirates sentenced a British student to life in prison on allegations of spying. According to the family of 31-year- old Matthew Hedges, he had no legal representation in court and was forced to sign a confession written in Arabic, which he can't speak or read.

More details now from CNN's Sam Kiley.


SAM KILEY, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Matthew Hedges, a British academic from Durham University, was this morning in Abu Dhabi sentenced to life in prison for espionage, spying for the British government.

Now his family and indeed his university say he was very far from being a spy. He's a legitimate academic, who was investigating the successful ability of the United Arab Emirates to have resisted the wave of democratic movements that spread across the Middle East in 2011 and 2012, often called the Arab Spring.

That notwithstanding, he spent five months in prison, much of that time in solitary confinement. During that time, his family say, he was interrogated under duress and signed a piece of paper, that he could neither read nor understand because he does not speak Arabic. The UAE though said that he pleaded guilty during a five-minute

hearing here in Abu Dhabi and faced the maximum penalty of life imprisonment for what they say was his confession to spying.

Now the British government has been outraged by this, as indeed has his very shocked family. I've spoken to a family spokesperson who said that his wife was in tears and then was advised immediately after the hearing to leave the country in something of a hurry.

His whereabouts is unknown. British consular officials are working hard to try to track him down because he does suffer, we're told, from some mental health problems, some of them associated with being held in solitary confinement.

Now in a broader context, this comes at a time when relations between the United Arab Emirates and Abu Dhabi in particular within the Emirates is at an all-time low with the United Kingdom, not least or above all because the U.K. persistently refuses to designate the Muslim Brotherhood, the Islamist movement, as a terrorist organization, which is how it is described and designated here in the UAE.

On top of that, the U.K. has offered asylum to people who have fled the country to the United Kingdom, who have been associated with the Brotherhood. Nonetheless, the UAE say there is an opportunity perhaps for an appeal. His family have 30 days for an appeal but they also insist -- this is the family -- that they know that he made no comment at all, did not plead guilty during the very short hearing that he faced.

The British foreign secretary has said that he's outraged and shocked by the consequences of this jailing for the family and for Mr. Hedges but on top of that he also said there could be dire consequences for the bilateral relationship --


KILEY: -- between the United Arab Emirates and the United Kingdom, two countries that are very deeply intertwined both culturally, economically, militarily and, above all, in teams of shared intelligence -- Sam Kiley, CNN, Abu Dhabi.


VAUSE: One of the most powerful men in the automotive industry will soon know if he no longer has a job. Nissan's Carlos Ghosn is being held in a detention center in Tokyo. He's been falsifying income reports for millions of dollars and misuse of company assets. Nissan's board of directors is expected to vote on removing him as company chairman. CNN senior international correspondent Ivan Watson joins us now live with the very latest.

I guess we're about to find out -- there's not a huge amount of mystery -- whether he will slight this from a career point of view.

IVAN WATSON, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: That's right. Carolos Ghosn is chairman of three automotive companies, this alliance, that basically manufactures one, sells one out of nine cars worldwide. Renault and Nissan and Mitsubishi.

But Nissan are the company that have broken a lot of the news about the charges against Ghosn since he was detained on Monday in Tokyo, accusing him of misappropriation of company funds and underreporting his own earnings for a five-year period, going up to 2015 for -- to the tune of the equivalent of about 44 million dollars.

Him as well as an American, who is also on the board of directors there, by the name of Greg Kelly, who is also being detained right now, so he is currently in legal jeopardy to say the least. Visited by the French ambassador on Tuesday at his cell, who hasn't provided any further details on his status right now. And in professional jeopardy as well.

We know that Mitsubishi, perhaps the smallest of the three companies, automotive companies involved here, that there are moves to strip Carlos Ghosn from his chairmanship position there.

It seems that influential players at Nissan also are lobbying to have him removed as chairman there. Meanwhile Renault has appointed an acting CEO that we do know that the French government, which has a 15 percent stake in Renault, that a top minister there has suggested that Mr. Ghosn likely won't continue at that company as well.

We may learn a little more from a press conference we're expecting from a deputy prosecutor in Japan in the coming hours about the nature and perhaps more details about the charges against Mr. Ghosn.

We also may learn more when the French finance minister is expected to meet with his Japanese counterpart, a Japanese minister of industry and economy in France later today -- John.

VAUSE: Ivan, thank you, Ivan Watson live for us there in Hong Kong.

Still to come here, the U.N. has warned of a possible lost generation. When we come back, we'll have more on the high-tech efforts to educate Rohingya children living in the refugee camps in Bangladesh.

And later this hour, how heavy rain will help firefighters in California but complicate rescue efforts.






VAUSE: A plan to send hundreds of thousands of Rohingya refugees back to Myanmar has been put on hold. Not one person was willing to voluntarily leave the safety of Cox's Bazaar in Bangladesh. That's where they fled last year during a crackdown by the Myanmar military which the U.N. described as a textbook case of genocide. The refugee camps are not without problems. Authorities in Bangladesh restrict access to basic services, including education, raising fears of a generation of Rohingya children which could be lost.

But maybe not now. In recent months, activist Rajiv Uttamchandani traveled to Cox's Bazaar twice with a plan to build virtual classrooms which are now up and running.


RAJIV UTTAMCHANDANI, H.E.R. ACADEMY: I see everyone and I look at everyone as virtually new scientists. But all of you guys have the potential to be scientists or engineers or great personalities.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (Speaking foreign language).


VAUSE: The founder of H.E.R., the Humanity Education and Rights Academy, Rajiv Uttamchandani, is with us right now.

Good to have you back.

UTTAMCHANDANI: Good to see you.


VAUSE: We last spoke in July?

UTTAMCHANDANI: I think it was July 9th.

VAUSE: Back then, you were about to head off to the refugee camps. The plan was to set up these virtual classrooms, put up a satellite, use the Internet; if the teachers couldn't go to the classroom you'd beam them in via satellite.


VAUSE: Didn't go according to plan as things often do in Bangladesh. So you came up with Plan B which seems to be even better.

So what happened and what is Plan B?

UTTAMCHANDANI: We were trying to get the permission to install a satellite dish in the camp itself to host these live virtual classes. We couldn't get the permission for various reasons, so we decided to go to Plan B, which is that we would deliver these classes asynchronously.

We'd prerecord all the lessons and upload on a shared Google Drive and a colleague of mine who lives in Cox's Bazaar then downloads the classes on a weekly basis, brings them to the camps and they have the lessons for the whole week.

VAUSE: This is actually better.

UTTAMCHANDANI: This worked out to be better. Because when you teach these classes, they're fairly complex -- English, science, engineering, which is what we're offering now. So the translator has full control over the pace of the classes, to play and pause the videos when he wants to. It works out so much better that way. We don't have to worry about time difference and continuity. We just go.

VAUSE: Kids can work at their own speed.


VAUSE: Let's take a look at one of your recruits. We have a teacher, I think an English teacher, and he's in Siberia. He's actually teaching these kids their English lessons from Siberia.


VAUSE: That's incredible. Obviously you need more teachers.


VAUSE: From anywhere?

UTTAMCHANDANI: Exactly, anywhere in the world, all kinds of academic disciplines. The goal is to provide quality and full secondary school education to these children.

VAUSE: A couple of kids, I want to listen to them, they've actually taken the English class there in the camp. Here we go, listen to this.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator). We have learned English today. We have learned five things to become a scientist. We have learned very well.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (through translator): We need the more good picture and video lesson. If we get an English class we will be able to understand talking.


VAUSE: This has been going on for a couple of weeks.


VAUSE: How are the kids progressing and receiving this?

UTTAMCHANDANI: They love it. I built a relationship with them over the past couple of months since I visited. For them to see me over there and not just myself but other colleagues from all over the world, that look different than they do and for them to see that people care about them. We went in and promised to hold their hands, provide them with quality education. And come what may, we deliver that. And the kids are really progressing very well. I'm very proud of them.

VAUSE: There were sort of classrooms before and they were kind of informal and not really structured. And the Bangladeshi government doesn't want these kids going to the education system --


VAUSE: because they don't want these refugees to become permanent residents so that's why they don't have access to services.

UTTAMCHANDANI: Most of the learning over there is primary school education. So you have kids that are 13, 14, 15 years old who have nothing that satisfies their hunger for learning. That's the void that we want to fill.

VAUSE: You found these kids really wanted to learn.

UTTAMCHANDANI: They do, very much so. They're hungry for that. They're thirsty for that.

VAUSE: OK. So what you have done, it took a while but it all came together in the last couple of weeks. You started two learning centers, basically catering to 300 kids. They have electric fans, laptops, LED televisions, microphones and speakers. Now it is fully powered --


VAUSE: -- by these solar panels which you guys have installed. These are kids that didn't get much education when they were in Myanmar before, because of the policies of the Myanmar government.

And now they look at these classrooms, which must be completely and totally new to them.

What is the reaction just to the equipment and everything that is being decked out?

UTTAMCHANDANI: They were surprised. I've got to mention my partners, the women in my foundation. They helped set up the groundwork for this and we helped reinforce the structure of the classroom and bring on technology over there. So kudos to them for the excellent job.

The kids, once they've seen the TV screens, we show them all kinds of pictures and videos, I teach astronomy to them so I show them pictures of the cosmos, they haven't seen anything like this before.

So I think for them to be traumatized as much as they have and lost everything but realized that, in a way, in terms of education, that they're receiving better education in these learning centers than they were back home. That's a significant accomplishment and they realize that.

VAUSE: At the moment, where do you want these classes to grow to?

What are you looking at? UTTAMCHANDANI: We offer science, engineering, critical thinking, leadership and English, of course, English speaking skills. So we want to offer more courses. We want to eventually, once we finish this pilot program in the next 3-4 months, offer that not only in other parts of the refugee camp in Kutupalong but other refugee camps around the world as well.

VAUSE: It's a great idea. There's a lot of concern about the repatriation plan. It is now on hold because no one wants to go back to Myanmar.

How confident are you that it is really on hold or at least nobody will be forced to go back to Myanmar that doesn't want to go?

UTTAMCHANDANI: I spoke to my colleagues both in government and the military in Bangladesh, they have assured me that at least despite the fact they will likely continue this process of trying to repatriate the Rohingya back to Myanmar, that they won't ever do so unless someone wants to go, which is a powerful statement.

They probably can't make that statement officially, but I trust them in that respect.

VAUSE: Which is very different from what we're seeing, just here in the United States --


UTTAMCHANDANI: Yes, it's very different because -- and that's the respect that I have for the Bangladeshi government because it is overwhelming to handle 1.3 million additional people, as opposed to here where we're freaking out about 6,000 or 7,000 and sending people back without even any concern about where they come from.

VAUSE: (INAUDIBLE) one of the poorest countries in the world.

UTTAMCHANDANI: Exactly. Put that into perspective, right.


UTTAMCHANDANI: Thank you, sir.


VAUSE: Heavy rain in California is expected to help fire crews tame the worst wildfires in the state's history. Meteorologist Derek Van Dam joins us next with all the details.


[02:30:48] JOHN VAUSE, CNN INTERNATIONAL ANCHOR: Welcome back. You're watching CNN NEWSROOM. I'm John Vause with the headlines this hour. Donald Trump is taking on the chief justice of the United States. On Tuesday, the president blasted a ruling of what he called an Obama judge. Chief Justice John Roberts responded praising the country's independent judiciary. President Trump then fired back on Twitter telling Roberts study the number.

He said the U.S. needs protection and security and (INAUDIBLE) from Obama judges. Britain's prime minster will return to Brussels Saturday for more negotiations over the finalize draft Brexit deal. Spain is threatening to veto that draft unless issues over Gibraltar are handled separately. Meantime (INAUDIBLE) parliament approved the deal and it was a symbolic vote. The U.K. warned the United Arab Emirates of serious diplomatic consequences after a British student was sentence to life in prison accuse of spying.

The family of Matthew Hedges says he had no lawyer at the hearing and was forced to sign a confession in Arabic language he does not speak or read and can just still appeal for a retrial. Nearly a million people are under a flashflood watch in Northern California. Heavy rain is expected through Friday and authorities fear it could cause mudslide in areas chard by the so-called Camp Fire. The death toll from that wildfire has now reached 83 since it broke out two weeks ago.

Meanwhile, here's Derek Van Dam going to report now on the conditions in California as well as the forecast on the next couple of days. (INAUDIBLE) I mean the rain will help with the fire, but you got the mudslides and the -- well, the rest of the landslides that come with it.

DEREK VAN DAM, CNN INTERNATIONAL METEOROLOGIST: Yes. That's right, John. It is a double-edge sword. We want the rain to help quell the fires but obviously that comes with a whole slew of problems including the potential of mudslides and landslides and not to mention all the evacuees that are taking shelter in makeshift camps at the moment outside of Paradise, California. When you get a cold, wet persistent rainfall, that leads to other problems as well.

But we also read one of the articles written on that talks about there are recent rainfall in Paradise is actually complicated, some of the forensic efforts as well. You mentioned we do have flashflood watches in effect. Here they are across the northern sections of the count -- of the -- of the state, flash flooding, mudslides, debris flows. Let me show you why this is such a concern. So many people call home at the base of these really valleys or steep mountains.

You can see the terrain across this area. So location is downhill of burn scars are most susceptible because the water runs off from this -- the hillside here that has recently been burned that picks up the ash, the debris, the rocks, and the trees. And, well, eventually causes that landslide a mudslide to rush down rather quickly. It only takes about 13 millimeters of rainfall and less than an hour to cause this flash flooding then that higher risk is really seen the first two years after a burn events.

So it doesn't just have to be a 24 or 36 hour after the event taking place but it could happen for the next several years. So this is an ongoing problem. Here's the cold front moving in. This is our first of many storm systems to impact the region this winter. It is bringing an end to the fire season for California. That's the good news, but a little bit too much too quickly perhaps in Paradise. You can see some of that rainfall that's move in. How much rain has actually fallen?

Well, some of the most impressive rainfall totals that we have seen have actually come out of Butte County so far. Paradise saw over 30 millimeters of rainfall. The (INAUDIBLE) county region also over 30 millimeters. San Francisco, Sacramento readying all seeing very impressive total so far but it's not done yet. Look at the next five days. We have a significant amount of precipitation coming in off the Pacific Ocean, maybe another 50 to 100 millimeters of rain and snowfall for the Sierra Nevada as well.

So, John, that is going to need more threat for landslides and mudslides over the weeks to come.

VAUSE: Yes. I guess, you know, the rain is needed for the year ahead. But, obviously, if it's coming a little slower, a little more gentle that would be much preferred option.

DAM: Without a doubt.

VAUSE: Derek, thank you. Well, the outrage we've seen never seems to rest as actress Sarah Michelle Gellar found out some people online are just looking for an excuse to be angry. We'll explain in a moment.


[02:37:31] VAUSE: OK. So you're a teenage just got your driver's license. So what's the first thing you do? If you answer drive like a crazy lunatic driving 95 kilometers an hour in a 50 zone that gives you right because that's exactly what an 18-year-old German did this week. That freedom which comes with a driver's license lasted over 49 minutes (INAUDIBLE) by police and the license was taken. The police later posted on Facebook, a pretty good zinger, something last forever, some not even an hour.

So now here's proof that on social media, you can offend at least some of the people all of the time as actress Sarah Michelle Gellar of Buffy the Vampire Slayer famed found out and here's the crime. Posting these photos from a 2007 modeling shoot with the caption, I'm just going to pin this up all over my house as a reminder not to overeat on Thursday, #Thanksgivingprep (INAUDIBLE) outrage, it wasn't long before the deeply offended was sounding off with remarks like this.

Your caption is problematic. I suggest you use some research on eating disorders and mental health issues that go along with it and now diet culture is harmful to women. Girls look up to you and you should be mindful of the message you're sending or like this just FYI the holidays are one of the hardest times for those struggling with eating disorders and body image issues and you're definitely not helping.

Even most of the comments on her Instagram account were positive.

Gellar issued a grumbling apology anyway. It came to my attention that some people think I was fat shaming with this post. That could not be further from my intentions. I love Thanksgiving and unfortunately, my eyes are often bigger than my stomach and I tend to eat so much and make myself sick. This was a joking reminder to myself not to do that. I'm terribly sorry that people were offended by my sense of humor.

Anyone that knows me knows I would never intentionally shame anyone on any basis. I'm a champion of all people. This is just the latest example of online outrage forcing a high profile apology for what seems to be a harmless innocent statement. Last month, astronaut Scott Kelly brother-in-law to Congressman Gabby Giffords was forced to apologize for this highly offensive tweet. One of the greatest leaders of modern times Sir Winston Churchill's said in victory, magnanimity, I guess those days are over.

The trolls on Twitter went nuts. It went after Kelly for quoting a wartime leader that they consider being a racist and says partly to blame for famine in India which killed millions and Kelly was quick to apologize. I did not mean to offend by quoting Churchill. My apologies. I'm going to educate myself further on his atrocities racist views which I do not support.

[02:40:07] My point was we need to come together as one nation. We're all Americans that should transcend partisan politics. But then fans of Churchill were went outrage, Scott Kelly, please read a good biography of Churchill before making pronouncements on his atrocities and racist views. He committed no atrocities and is used on race 100 years ago and not be judge by today's standards which just proves the point. Someone, somewhere we'll always find a reason to be outrage without something just like they were in an episode of South Park.



VAUSE: Joining us now from New York is Mister Manners Thomas Farley, an expert in etiquette and communication. Thomas, thank you for being with us.


VAUSE: Yes. I think Sarah Michelle Gellar caved. She shouldn't have apologized. You think she did the right thing. Why are you right and I'm wrong?

FARLEY: Well, I -- let's start off by saying I do not think in my heart of hearts that what she posted was in anyway attempt -- an attempt of fat shaming. I don't think that was she was going for at all and I think clearly her fan base agrees. They -- if you look at the comments, I think there are about 7500 in all at this point of her two million follower base on Instagram are largely supportive. But I think it's really is a great case study as you mentioned in the setup piece that you really can't please all the people all the time.

VAUSE: Where did this rustic criticize come from? Are people just out there looking for a reason to be outrage? FARLEY: I think social media has given everyone a platform and along

with that platform people want listeners. They want followers. They want people to retweet and like their comments, and I think every little bit of snark, every little bit of insight, every little bit of, you know, pond that you might do and Buffy the Vampire Slayer on or I know what you ate last summer or I know what you ate last Thanksgiving, somebody suddenly becomes an automatic comedian.

So I think people who have way too much time on their hands are looking to fill it with all this venom that we do see in social media.

VAUSE: I mean we just say it's not even real? I mean it's only genuine because it's just so easy to fire off a tweet and be done with it and you setup this chain reaction and there are some sort of gravitational satisfaction from doing that?

FARLEY: Yes. I know -- I know -- in this particular case, I don't want to take away from the genuine feelings of sadness and upsetment by women and men who feel that this was fat shaming and their feeling certainly are legitimate if those are feelings that they themselves have. But for those who are simply looking to troll and to turn this an opportunity -- and to an opportunity to gain more followers or to gain a laugh, that I think is where the unfortunately area is.

Clearly, this is not what she was aiming for. But I'm willing to believe that there are many who are genuinely offended by that and it's not for me to tell they shouldn't be offended.

VAUSE: OK. Fair point. It just also it seems mostly happen on Twitter. Thomas, good to see you. Happy Thanksgiving by the way. Don't over eat.

FARLEY: Thank you, John. Thank you. I won't. I promised.

VAUSE: And feel free to tweet me. Thank you for watching CNN NEWSROOM. I'm John Vause. "WORLD SPORT" starts after the break. If you celebrate it and a great Thanksgiving.


[02:45:00] (WORLD SPORT)