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Cohen Pleads Guilty to Making False Statements To Congress; Ignorance Of Holocaust Matches Rise In Anti-Semitism; Ignorance Of Holocaust Matches Rise In Anti-Semitism; Ukraine Urges NATO To Send Ships As Tensions Escalate; Ukraine Fears Russia Wants To Control Sea Of Azov; U.S. President Cancels Meeting with Russian President; Convicted Murderer Confesses to 90 More Killings; Young Syrian Refugees Attacked at U.K. School; Michelle Obama Sets Off to London on Book Tour. Aired 1-2a ET
Aired November 30, 2018 - 01:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[01:00:00] JOHN VAUSE, CNN INTERNATIONAL ANCHOR: And the U.S. President abruptly canceled the summit with Vladimir Putin officially over Russia's maritime confrontation with Ukraine. Unofficially though, refer back to the first headline. And one last struggle for the survivors of the Holocaust, ensuring the world never forget the worst of its past.
Donald Trump's already bad week just got a lot worse with his former lawyer in bagman again pleading guilty. This time Michael Cohen has admitted to lying in Congress over Trump's involvement in a proposed Moscow real estate deal. We have details now from Jessica Schneider.
JESSICA SCHNEIDER, CNN JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT: The President's former fixer Michael Cohen once again flipping on the president in federal court revealing Trump while campaigning to become president of the United States knew more about a deal to build a Trump Tower in Moscow than Cohen has previously acknowledged.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Mr. Cohen has cooperated, Mr. Cohen will continue to cooperate.
SCHNEIDER: Cohen pleaded guilty in federal courts today admitted to misleading Congressional investigators saying he lied to be consistent with the President's political messaging and out of loyalty to the President.
Cohen has already met with investigators seven times since August. The most recent meeting, just last week. One saying the details about the Trump Tower Moscow was just one of the many topics involving the President that Cohen divulged in more than 70 hours of questioning.
MICHAEL COHEN, FORMER LAWYER OF DONALD TRUMP: There's no relationship.
SCHNEIDER: Cohen told the House and Senate intelligence committees last year that all talks around the deal were done by January 2016. But he now admits discussions about the Moscow project continued as late as June 2016 after Donald Trump became the presumptive Republican nominee and just one month before the convention.
Cohen saying he told Congress the dubbed the Moscow Project ended before the Iowa caucus and the very first primary in hopes of limiting the ongoing Russia investigations. Cohen's revelation in courts show he discussed the status of the Moscow Project with Trump on more than three occasions and briefed his family members. Plus, despite previously denying any contact with Moscow related to the project, Cohen now admits he talked directly with someone in Vladimir Putin's press secretary's office for 20 minutes in January 2016.
FELIX SATER, REAL ESTATE DEVELOPER: I don't know Putin, I've never met him, but if this deal was going forward, I certainly would have started working the phones.
SCHNEIDER: Cohen also worked with Felix Sater, a Russian-American businessman and outlined an itinerary to travel to Russia to discuss the deal. Cohen even contemplated that then-candidate Trump would also visit Russia writing my trip before Cleveland. Donald Trump once he become the nominee after the convention. Sater was in close contact with Cohen during the campaign and boasted about his ties to Vladimir Putin. Our boy can become president of the USA and we can engineer it, Sater wrote. I will get all of Putin's team to buy in on this. I will manage this process.
The Trump Tower Moscow deal never came to fruition but the changing story from Michael Cohen has congressional leaders calling for more investigations and more coordination with Mueller.
REP. ADAM SCHIFF (D), CALIFORNIA: This I think only underscores the importance of bringing Mr. Cohen back before the committee but also looking into this issue of whether the Russians possess financial leverage over the President of the United States. We believe other witnesses were untruthful before our committee. We want to share those transcripts with Mr. Mueller.
SCHNEIDER: So while additional congressional probes of Cohen could pop up, it looks like his sentencing actually could come fairly soon. His attorneys asked to merge this case with the other eight counts he pleaded guilty to and keep that sentencing date of December 12th.
Now, Michael Cohen himself has not made any additional statements outside of court, but the President's lawyer Rudy Giuliani, he sent one out almost immediately Calling Cohen a proven liar. Jessica Schneider, CNN Washington.
VAUSE: Jessica Levinson is a Professor at Loyola University Law School and she is with us from Los Angeles. Good to see you.
Good to see you. Good to be with you again.
VAUSE: Great. OK, Jessica, there was a time not long ago, that Donald Trump, he couldn't find Russia on the map, never heard of the place. Take a listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I know nothing about Russia. I know -- I know about Russia but I know nothing about the inner workings of Russia. I don't deal there, I have no business, I have no loans from Russia.
I have no dealings with Russia, I have no deals in Russia, I have no deals that could happen in Russia because we've stayed away, and I have no loans with Russia.
We had a position to possibly do a deal, to build a building of some kind in Moscow. I decided not to do it.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VAUSE: Look at the evolution at the end there. But you know, not exactly a you know, a big deal to catch this president in a lie. But there appears to be evidence that Donald Trump was dealing with the Russian government while the Kremlin was waging a direct assault on the United States and democracy, and maybe we also have a moment as to why Donald Trump is so deferential to Vladimir Putin.
JESSICA LEVINSON, PROFESSOR, LOYOLA UNIVERSITY LAW SCHOOL: It comes down to two big questions which Robert Mueller has been looking at which is one, did the Trump campaign have a conspiracy or an agreement with the Russian government to try to interfere with the 2016 election? And then also, did the President obstruct justice by trying to essentially slam the brakes on the investigation into his ties with Russia, the previous investigation?
And so now, what it looks like is that there's two sentences that may be connected. And the first sentence is the President's personal attorney Michael Cohen has lied under oath about business dealings between Trump and the Russian government, the Moscow project. And the second sentence is did candidate Trump also lie about interactions and connections that had with the Russian government with respect to the 2016 election. And that's that is the million dollar question. But you said, we certainly now have at least a potential for a motive.
VAUSE: OK, you mentioned the reason for Cohen lying. That was actually part of a plea arrangement to protect the President. Cohen lied, he said in this plea agreement to protect Trump's interests. I made these statements to be consistent with Individual One's political messaging and to be loyal to Individual One. Individual One is Donald Trump. So you've got that admission. It also comes after the President submitted his answers to written questions from the Mueller inquiry on the Trump Tower in Moscow. That was reportedly among the questions. So let's say take this a step further, these answers don't match what Cohen is now saying. How much trouble is Trump in?
LEVINSON: Well, I think that's key. It's exactly key that what's happen with respect to Michael Cohen and Paul Manafort, all of this is coming out after President Trump submitted his written answers to Robert Mueller. So I think what we're going to be looking for very clearly is anything that Michael Cohen said and then separately did anything that Paul Manafort said contradict what is in President Trump's written statement.
At that point we have basically a battle of liars because we have Michael Cohen who's been convicted of false statements, Paul Manafort the same thing, and President Trump who has a very loose relationship with the truth. So that point what Robert Mueller really would be looking at is, is there corroborating evidence. But I absolutely think that it is not a coincidence that Robert Mueller waited, that we had those written statements from President Trump and now we're going to have statements both from Michael Cohen and from Paul Manafort to compare to those statements that were made by Trump under oath.
VAUSE: The response to this from Donald Trump is settling into a familiar pattern in such with outright denial until it gets caught, they then try to shift the blame on someone else, and finally there's an argument that well, maybe I did do it but it's not illegal anyway. And here it is. Here's that last argument.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: Even if he was right, it doesn't matter because I was allowed to do whatever I wanted during the campaign.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VAUSE: Well, no, because there are campaign finance laws for a start. But this attitude that I can do whatever I want, seems to be the heart of a lot of problems which he's created for himself over the last two years.
LEVINSON: Yes, so I guess I would say two things. One, you mention federal campaign finance law which you and I have talked about a lot. And so absolutely, there's the case that candidates cannot just do whatever they want. But it is also true that individuals cannot just do whatever they want when it comes to foreign officials. So there's something called a Federal Corrupt Practices Act, and I'm not sure that we're there yet but there's the potential to for offering a federal official for instance in Russia under corrupt circumstances, money for, for instance a project. And so I think that's going to be something else that Robert Mueller is looking into.
But as to your question of this narrative that we see over and over again from President Trump where it's basically I have no idea who this person is, actually I know this person very well but they're totally insignificant, and actually when it always boils down to which is I can do whatever I want, I mean, I think we saw this most starkly when news broke that President Trump wanted the Department of Justice to prosecute Hillary Clinton because he thinks that the law is something that really should be used for his political gain, but not for his political downfall. And I think that's really going to be the question here.
VAUSE: This was a big week for -- in a number of ways on the Donald Trump front. You know, the story seems to have put Donald Trump now as a central figure in the Russia investigation on a number of fronts. There's obviously this question of the Trump Tower, the Washington Post sums it up like this. Trump identified as Individual One in Cohen's guilty plea was said to have received direct updates from Cohen as he pursued a Moscow Trump Tower project with the Kremlin up until June 14, 2016.
The President also appears in the draft charging document for Trump ally Jerome Corsi, who allegedly told Roger Stone about WikiLeaks plans to release damaging Democratic e-mails in October of that year because he knew Stone was in regular contact with Trump.
So the argument here is that this is a president who played a central role as those around him reached out to Russia as well as WikiLeaks.
[01:10:21] LEVINSON: Yes, I think that that's going to be one of the most interesting bridges is the issue of Roger Stone of and Corsi, two peddlers in conspiracy theories and other untruths and to see whether or not they served as bridge between the Trump campaign and Russian hackers and the Russian government. If Mueller can draw the line, that's when we have some sort of not collusion as you and I have talked about but some sort of conspiracy to interfere with the 2016 election.
Now, look, that's still a big if, but what's really interesting I think is that we're all kind of waiting for baited breath for the Mueller report. Actually, I think the Mueller report is being written chapter by chapter in all these indictments and particularly when it comes to the sentencing memo for Paul Manafort who's now been accused of lying to Mueller and has said that he's not complied with his plea deal. I think that's going to be not one but a number of chapters which hopefully will be made public that really gives us a sense of where Mueller is in situating as you said the President at the center of the story.
VAUSE: OK, Jessica, we'll leave it there. we're out of time but good to see you. I appreciate your insights. Thank.
LEVINSON: Thank you.
VAUSE: More than 70 years after one of the darkest chapters in human history, a growing number of people seem to have no idea about the Holocaust. Alarming number of them are in Europe where CNN poll found 34 percent know just a little or have never heard of the Holocaust. Perhaps even more disturbing, 31 percent of Europeans believe commemorating the Holocaust distracts from other atrocities and injustices.
This growing ignorance about the Holocaust comes as anti-Semitism rises across Europe. Those who survived the Nazi death camps is unthinkable that collective memories would fade so quickly. The pain and horror erased from the past just as they grow old and pass away. Here's CNN's Clarissa Ward.
EDITH EGER, HOLOCAUST SURVIVOR: It was hell. It was hell and yet I'm here. I'm here hopefully to tell young people that I count on them.
CLARISSA WARD, CNN CHIEF INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Edith Eger was 16 years old when she arrived at Auschwitz from her native Hungary with her family in May 1944. Nazi physician Josef Mengele was standing at the end of the train platform known as the Angel of Death. He performed cruel and often deadly medical experiments on his prisoners.
EGER: We pointed my mom to go to the left and I followed. He came after me, grabbed me. I never forget those eyes. He said your mother is just going to take a shower. You'll see her soon.
WARD: Edith never saw her again. Both her parents were killed in the gas chambers of Auschwitz along with one million Jews. Hundreds of thousands of others were worked or starved to death. Edith did see Dr. Mengele again.
EGER: He came to the barracks and he wanted to be entertained so they volunteered me and I ended up dancing and closing my eyes and pretending that the music was Tchaikovsky and I was dancing the Romeo and Juliet in the Budapest Opera House.
WARD: It was that powerful spirit and imagination that helped Edith to survive the unsurvivable. It would be with eight months before Soviet troops would liberate the death camp, discovering horrors that remain etched on humanity's conscience 73 years later.
In many ways, it's the experience and testimonies of those that survive that kept the horrors of the Holocaust alive. And the fear now is that as fewer and fewer of them remain, the memory will start to fade.
[01:14:51] According to a CNN poll, it already is. More than a third of Europeans have either never heard of or know just a little about the Holocaust. The statistics for the younger generation are even more alarming. 20 percent of young French adults have never even heard of the Holocaust. Michael Schudrich is the Chief Rabbi of Poland.
When you hear that younger people say they know very little or next to nothing about the Holocaust in Europe, which is where the Holocaust was perpetrated, how does that make you feel as a Jew?
MICHAEL SCHUDRICH, CHIEF RABBI, POLAND: How does it make me feel? It makes me feel that I need to -- that we need to be proactive. It makes me feel that we need to work far more intensively with ministries and education.
WARD: The stakes are high. As Europe grapples with the resurgence of anti-Semitism, but there are signs of hope. More than 40 percent of the respondents believe anti-Semitism is a problem in Europe. Half agree that commemorating the Holocaust helps to combat anti-Semitism.
And nearly two-thirds say it could help ensure such atrocities never happen again.
Today, the ghost of Auschwitz still linger. Serving as a vital reminder to the more than 2 million tourists who visit every year. SCHUDRICH: Visiting Auschwitz fundamentally transcends the intellectual. It confronts you face to face. You're not looking at a book, you're not looking at a film. You're looking at a place that was built to kill human beings. You're looking at a place that's a factory of death. Four huge gas chambers with crematorium, built for the only purpose to eliminate Jews from Europe.
When you stand there, don't try to understand it. Just have your eyes open, your heart open. Absorb the moment. Somehow if you go there, and you stand there, and you experience it, maybe that will help every human being that visits to be one step, 20 steps away from ever doing something like that again.
VAUSE: And with us now from Los Angeles is Brian Levin, director of the Center for the Study of Hate and Extremism. Brian, thanks for being with us.
BRIAN LEVIN, DIRECTOR, CENTER FOR THE STUDY OF HATE AND EXTREMISM: John, as always. Thank you so much for having me.
VAUSE: You know, if you look back, the Nazi, is ahead a bit of help, carrying out the Holocaust. Especially in Eastern Europe, local officials and paramilitary group, they would round up and then murder Jews. Sometimes they are ordered to do so by the German forces. Sometimes they just want to have to did it anyway.
So, with the past like that, is it just easier to try to ignore rather than confront it and learn from it?
LEVIN: It never left, and ignoring it is not the way to deal with it. In some countries like Germany have made actually an insidious effort to try and move past what is happened with the Holocaust, but what we've been seeing across Europe as Clarissa's excellent piece.
And also Sara Sidner's excellent piece as well, which I'll be tweeting on @proflevin, you guys can see if you follow me. We have seen an increase here in the United States and we've also seen increases in Europe.
One of the things that we have done here at the Center for Study of Hate and Extremism, with our colleague James Nolan, at West Virginia University. Is this aggregate hate crimes against Jews for about a quarter century?
What we found is, the months with the worst hate crimes against Jews all corresponded except for one with conflicts in the Middle East, and Israel, and the Palestinian territories. The only month where it didn't is when (INAUDIBLE) list win the Academy Award.
But there is a (INAUDIBLE) that is running through -- many of this societies that is touched off by this nationalist (INAUDIBLE), as well as an anti-religious sentiment generally, which also sweeps Muslims under its ambits. So, in Europe what we're seeing or offenders be divided among let's say thrill attackers, as well as, neo-Nazi types and Middle Easterners and North Africans, many of whom are recent immigrants.
VAUSE: We're also seeing in some places, in Europe with this -- you know, hard right ultra-nationalist parties gaining popularity. Is that it would be like history? They glorifying the Nazi collaborators. You know, and essentially, you're going to try to change the role of they played during World War II. You know, and trying to wipe it clean.
The color reaction to state-sponsored murder, 6 million men, and women, and children is usually how could this happen? It seems that can easily become this couldn't have happened. And so, why we're looking at this rise at this particular point in time? Because I know that it ebbs and it flows. But right now, it just seems to be flowing.
[01:20:13] LEVIN: Great question and I think there a few reasons. One over all the rise of nationalism. As well as somehow putting Jews, as somehow responsible for some of the negativity that is been occurring in society.
Also, we're seeing from among some folks in the extreme part of immigrant communities in Europe targeting Jews around disputes in the Middle East. So, it's kind of a double-edged sword that is hitting the Jews in Europe.
Interestingly enough, Jews in the United States much more highly regarded. Nine in 10 Americans have warm feelings about Jews. But last year, an ABC Washington Post poll showed that nine percent of Americans saying Nazi views are acceptable.
So, the dynamics are a bit different in Europe than here in the United States.
VAUSE: Exactly, because -- you know, the U.S. doesn't have the anti- Semitic baggage as Europe. And you mentioned that was Saudis that show that -- you know, a good number of teenagers, they can't even name a concentration camp.
You know, people think 2 million Jews were killed, almost 6 million. You know, there's been a sort of downgrading of the atrocity over a period of time.
So, where do you see all of this heading? What are the consequences of denying the worst of our actions?
LEVIN: I think the consequences of denying the Holocaust and similar types of atrocities is that we are now seeing. And this is so interesting, and I've -- and I've been to Europe lecturing on this. We are seeing the same kind of racial animus and religious animus that ties Jews together as subject of attacks on two fronts also affecting Muslims. And that's happening here in the United States.
And what we seen is arise in anti-religious hate crimes both here in the United States and in Europe. England had a significant increase last year. The United States, we saw a 17 percent increase overall. But hate crimes against Jews were almost hitting 40 percent increase.
In other words, what we see in here is an increase from just over 600 -- just three years ago to over 900 in 2017. And it appears in big cities like New York that anti-Semitic is rising again be for 2018 as well.
VAUSE: It's unbelievable, it really is. I guess -- you know from some people exist -- they can't admit the stuff that happen in the past was just so horrific, say you want to ignore it. Brian, thank you. Good to see you.
LEVIN: John, as always, thank you.
VAUSE: Our coverage of anti-Semitism in Europe culminates with a special half-hour report by Clarissa Ward on Friday. 7:30 in the evening in London, 2:30 in the afternoon in New York.
And we'll take a short break. When we come back, Ukraine's navy sitting at the docks as it waits to see what Russia will do next in its international help of asking for it.
Plus, this man could be the worst serial killer in U.S. history. And police found him in prison. Now, he's confessing to, at least, 90 murders. Details ahead.
[01:25:59] VAUSE: Ukraine's navy is docked and waiting as tensions threatened to boil over with Russia.
The Ukrainian president here is asking NATO to send ship to the Sea of Azov after Sunday's confrontation with Russia in the Kerch Strait. CNN's Nick Paton Walsh, reports now from Southern Ukraine.
NICK PATON WALSH, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: The days are short, but feel long now for Ukraine's navy. Since Russian boats rammed them, and the rest of 24 sailors near the Kerch Strait. Ukraine's long and ugly war with its neighbor is in the spotlight again. These naval ships in Mariupol will be confined to port.
MAXIM NOSENIKO, SPOKESMAN, UKRAINIAN NAVY: Our superiors stop movement and patrolling because of the situation. And right now, we are -- you know, a little afraid in this.
WALSH: The fear here is that this is just the start that Russia wants to control entry and movement in all the Sea of Azov, so it can take more of Ukraine's coast right down to Crimea.
NOSENIKO: Russian coast guard ships take under control the civilian ship going to our ports and take some time to check all documents. More than 20 ships are waiting from that site to proceed to our port. WALSH: Ukraine has talked tough. And here, parading the readiness of their attack helicopters, jets, and anti-aircraft guns. Despite knowing what they need most is international solidarity.
The commander of Ukraine's forces tells us, there's one thing he like to hear from President Trump.
SERGEI NAEV, COMMANDER, JOINT FORCES OPERATION, UKRAINE (through translator): (INAUDIBLE).
WALSH: "To stop his aggression, stop now."
The port of Mariupol is itself pretty dead. Fewer and fewer ships came here before the Kerch clash because of the war.
Early quiet, isn't it? And that's really because Mariupol's economy has been in the doldrums for years now. This city almost constantly living with the threat of a Russia invasion.
A tough industrial town made tougher when war saps away the industry. These park gardeners have a short lunch break, and of brace for a tiny cafe. Some familiar with Russia, some fed up with the president.
"If we had a normal president," she says, "with women worked like this in this kind of job." "I have relatives in Russia," that's another. "We are Russian, I don't understand this conflict." The third adds, "I have many Russian friends who worry for us like we worry for them.
"Trump? I don't know why he supports Poroshenko," she says. "I need another," she adds. "Good president."
Putin, a name that brought the (INAUDIBLE) smile among them. Strange, given how Moscow is pressure, has killed thousands here, and torn this once prosperous town down.
Yet, it's a sign the war's agony is in some places that came the fabric of Ukraine rather than renewing it to immunity. Nick Paton Walsh, CNN, Mariupol, Southern Ukraine.
VAUSE: Next here on CNN NEWSROOM, little more than an hour after saying it was a good time to meet with Vladimir Putin, the U.S. president said, it wasn't. So, why the flip-flop?
[01:31:54] JOHN VAUSE, CNN ANCHOR: Thanks for staying with us. You're watching CNN NEWSROOM.
I'm John Vause with the headlines this hour.
Donald Trump's former personal attorney has pleaded guilty on Thursday for lying to Congress. Michael Cohen has admitted that talks of a Trump Tower in Moscow lasted well into the 2016 president campaign. Cohen said he lied to protect Trump's political interests. The Frankfurt offices of Germany's biggest bank were raided on
Thursday in a money laundering investigation. Officials believe Deutsche Bank helped clients set up offshore companies in tax havens. This investigation is tied to the 2016 Panama Papers leaks which exposed money laundering networks and shell companies set up by a Panama-based law firm. The bank says it is cooperating with authorities.
And President Trump abruptly canceled his get-together with Russian President at G-20 summit. Trump says he did it because Russia refuses to release Ukrainian navy ships and sailors seized during a maritime confrontation on Sunday.
And the Kremlin response is this. "Now we have extra time for other useful meetings during the summit."
Let's go to Robert English now in Los Angeles, the deputy director of the University of Southern California School of International Relations. Robert -- thanks for coming in.
ROBERT ENGLISH, UNIVERSITY OF SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA SCHOOL OF INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS: My pleasure.
VAUSE: Ok. Let's go through the timeline here. You know, not that big. At 10:30 on a Thursday morning before heading off to Argentina for the G-20, the President was asked would he be meeting with Vladimir Putin in the wake of Russia's seizure of those three Ukrainian naval ships. Here's what he said.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I probably will be meeting with President Putin. We haven't terminated that meeting. I was thinking about it but we haven't. They'd like to have it. I think it's a very good time to have the meeting. I'm getting a full report on the plane as to what happened with respect to that and that will determine what I'm going to be doing.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VAUSE: Ok. The full report that he is referring to was about the Russia-Ukraine clash on the seas. And then an hour later, less than an hour -- well just an over an hour later came this tweet. "Based on the facts that the ships and sailors have not been returned to Ukraine from Russia, I have decided it would be best for all parties concerned to cancel my previously scheduled meeting in Argentina with President Vladimir Putin. I look forward to a meaningful summit again as soon as this situation is resolved."
Ok. Which under normal circumstances, if this was an administration which looked anything and acted anything like previous administrations that would be a legitimate reason to cancel the summit with Putin.
So did he cancel over Ukraine or did he cancel because at the same time Michael Cohen was, you know, pleading guilty and revealing the fact that Donald Trump had this business associate with Donald Trump and the optics -- with Vladimir Putin I should say -- and the optics of meeting with Putin was just something they didn't want to go through.
ENGLISH: It's the second, of course. All signs make that clear. He would have met with Putin and tried to have another meeting and who knows what they would have discussed but it became politically unsustainable.
VAUSE: There is an argument that the President should have gone ahead with the Putin meeting anyway. Democrat Senator Bob Menendez sort of explained it this way.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
[01:34:55] SENATOR BOB MENENDEZ (D), NEW JERSEY: I would have liked him to meet Putin and challenged Putin to find his spine as it relates to Putin's violation of the international order as well as the cyber- attacks on our own democracy.
What I wouldn't want to see is another Helsinki performance. This was his opportunity to redeem himself.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VAUSE: So who loses the most by this meeting not going ahead. And is Donald Trump capable of standing up to Vladimir Putin?
ENGLISH: Oh my goodness. How much is packed in there. I guess Putin loses something. It's clearly embarrassing, right. He was looking forward to this meeting and that's kind of a stamp of legitimacy when he continues to meet with world leaders and the U.S. president.
Trump looks weak. He loses as well because everyone understands what you said at the outset. He's canceled the meeting not because he wanted to, not because of the crisis with Ukraine, this naval confrontation, but because he has big domestic trouble and looks like the noose is tightening over the collusion with Russia.
So he doesn't look strong. He loses as well. So this is just damage limitation for the American political scene.
VAUSE: You know, the last time that Trump and Putin had a get- together it didn't go so well with the U.S. president. In case you don't recall, here's a reminder.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: I have great confidence in my intelligence people. But I will tell you that President Putin was extremely strong and powerful in his denial today.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VAUSE: Ok. So with that in mind, is it better there's no summit rather than a Helsinki 2.0? ENGLISH: Listen, for those of us who've been following this close, I'm
going to just shift the comment for a moment. This was sort of inevitable, I mean the confrontation with Ukraine.
We've taken our eyes off what's happening there with Crimea but following the annexation, Russia now commands both sides of that strait. So sort of geopolitically it was inevitable. It's no longer a jointly-monitored strait.
And with some incidents -- over the spring for example, the Ukrainians actually seized a Russian shipping boat. The Russians returned the favor a month later.
The Ukrainian side has been building up some military infrastructure on their shore of the Azov Sea. And Russia then completed this bridge which gave them, you know, direct access to the Crimean Peninsula and control of that narrow straight.
And things were escalating. And frankly the Ukrainian side is a people participant in this. They made a point of sending this small flotilla to, you know, to challenge and to establish their right -- almost like what we call a freedom of navigation operation that we conduct in the South China Sea.
And Russia, like the Chinese said no, this is our water now. It's not international. And if you're going to pass through you will first answer our call and identify yourself -- yourself and you'll get permission.
And frankly I think the comparison with what China does in the South China Sea and how it's establishing sovereignty, practical sovereignty and a greater and greater military dominance in defiance of the U.N. convention and most international law is really a comparable situation to what Russia is doing.
VAUSE: Right -- which is why -- is that how you would explain sort of the response from the Europe to all this has been fairly muted. And so with that in mind, if you take Trump's snubbing of Putin over, you know, the clash between Russia and Ukraine, essentially snubbing Putin holding that meeting, that is a very forceful statement in and of itself just on the surface at least which again is another division between Europe and the United States in how it deals with Russia which is exactly what President Putin likes.
ENGLISH: Yes. I think for the European leaders, they are so fed up with all of this. Of course they're fed up with Russia and its actions that have -- that lie at the heart of this crisis over Crimea. They're also fed up with President Poroshenko, the Ukraine leader who also acts provocatively and tries to manipulate the situation to help himself with domestic politics. And above all they're fed up with Trump who only makes the situation worse and introduces this wild card.
And they have so many important issues to discuss. Trade issues with the U.S. Of course they have Brexit. They have crises at home with countries like Hungary and Poland. And so along comes Putin and then Trump throwing hand grenades and they're just a plague on all your houses. Can't we conduct some serious business, please?
VAUSE: Is there a grown up in the room perhaps? Robert -- thank you.
It seems he may have been killing women for decades. Samuel Little is already serving three consecutive life sentences for three murder but he's now confessing to at least 90 other victims in a killing spree across the U.S. That story is up next.
[01:39:45] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
VAUSE: For months now, a slow motion confession has been playing out in a Texas jail with convicted triple murderer Samuel Little providing details of at least another 90 victims. So far the FBI says it has confirmed 34 of those cases with more pending.
Little, a former boxer says his killing spree began in 1970 and lasted until 2005. And he's confessed to homicides in 37 cities, stretching across 16 states.
As it turns out the man who might be one of the worst serial killers in U.S. history has been in and out of police custody for decades. He was finally convicted on three counts of murder in 201 which raises the question how did he get away with it for so long.
Casey Jordan is a criminologist and attorney. She joins us now from Connecticut. Casey -- thank you for being with us.
CASEY JORDAN, CRIMINOLOGIST AND ATTORNEY: Pleasure to be here.
VAUSE: Ok. I want to read part of a statement which the FBI put out about the victims. Here is what it reads. "Little chose to kill marginalized and vulnerable women who are often involved in prostitution and addicted to drugs. The bodies sometimes went unidentified and their deaths uninvestigated."
So if the question is how could he get away with this for so long, is the answer pretty simple? No one cared about the victims?
JORDAN: It's where we start. I mean we have to understand that it was a different time and place back then. And this isn't something we're proud of but certainly the attacks on marginalized populations, which is a fancy word for basically people who lived on the fringe of society. Minorities, the poor, women, certainly drug addicts and women who worked in the sex trade were not taken seriously by the police. And their deaths were very often discounted, if you will.
We know that many, many of these victims that Sam Little is now confessing to had their homicides written off as accidents or natural causes or simply drug overdoses. So nobody was connecting the dots very much in part because of who these victims were.
The greater question is, is this exactly why he chose these victims because he knew he could get away it? Or was it simply coincidence that he was attacking these women, mostly minority women simply because that was his victim of choice sexually.
We know that he had sex with most of them, that he was sexually motivated. But I think it was just kind of a bad coincidence that the women he was attracted to and he was killing, where also the same women that the police were not going to do a deep investigation when they died.
VAUSE: You touched on this, his method of killing as well. Little is a former boxer, he often knocked out his victims with a single punch. And then they were strangled so there were no bullet wounds, no stab marks and often these, you know, these dead women looked like it was an overdose or natural causes.
[01:45:06] But then also back then, there was no DNA testing. And when Little was actually convicted ultimately, it was belatedly because of DNA testing, wasn't it?
JORDAN: It was. And DNA -- it's not a magic bullet but my goodness, it is a very, very powerful tool in the toolbox for investigators.
And whereas in the 80s and 90s, if you remember "Silence of the Lambs", everybody was thinking that profiling was how we were going to catch them because we really didn't have the DNA technology in the 70s and 80s. So investigator profiling or trying to get inside the mind and the modus operandi of the killer was our best tool.
Today, it's certainly a combination of both. But it is that DNA, those forensic pieces of evidence that are going to actually capture and convict the person.
V3; Little had refused to speak to investigators for a very long time. But he opened up because he wanted to transfer from his California prison to one in Texas.
And again, according to the FBI, Little remembers his victims and killings in great detail. He remembers where he was, what car he was driving. He draws pictures of many of the women he killed. He is less reliable however, according to the FBI, when it comes to remembering dates.
Why would Little remember some details incredibly vividly but others now so much?
JORDAN: A lot of this has to do with his transient nature. In other word, he moved around constantly. He's accused of killing or confessed to killing women in more than 12 states. So he moved around constantly and we find that when people are constantly peripatetic and moving around they don't focus on dates.
We also find this is a typical trait of males. Men don't ten do remember dates. But they're very visual. They get a picture or a movie reel going through their brain. They can remember things as if it were a video playing in their heads but they can't remember exactly when it happened.
So we're trusting his memory to a certain extent. I think we have 38 of these homicides that he's confessed to actually corroborated but that does leave another 50 or so that we need to investigate and make sure that what he's saying is true and accurate.
And we have no reason to believe that he's inventing it or making it up at this point. And then hopefully find out for sure who the victims may have been and if there were even reports and bring some peace to the families.
VAUSE: Ok. Sure. That's one part of this puzzle. You know one part of the, you know, the law enforcement work here is to find out the victims, their names and let the families, you know, have closure.
But is this a win for law enforcement now that he's just simply, you know, giving what -- he's giving up all of this information? Or is it just some kind of bizarre grim accounting procedure to listen to the carnage which he's created over the years?
JORDAN: You know, it is a little of both. It is an effort by police to clear these cold cases. But at the same time it is a huge embarrassment for the police. And they have something to be embarrassed about. They have to admit that investigations were not very thorough 30, 40 years when it was young black women.
And he killed women from 16 up to their 50s and mostly black women and mostly sex workers and drug addicts. So we have to face that as the first fact, that law enforcement may have not been behaving as well as they do today.
But also I need to give them credit because it was a Texas Ranger, a man named Holland (ph) who got him to confess to all of this. And I really think we have to give kudos to that because there was nothing in it for Ranger Holland. He simply wanted to get answers.
And he developed a rapport with Little and basically convinced him that since he was going to play out the rest of his life in prison anyway he had no reason to hide the truth any longer and he may as well confess to the crimes he had committed. And that rapport which took a long time to develop is a feather in the cap for law enforcement.
But in the end, it really is just a numbers game where they get to clear a whole bunch of murders and get credit for it. But it was actually the work of one man that got these confessions.
VAUSE: A very big number at that. I mean we're looking at what -- at least 90 people killed by this one man over a period of decades.
Casey -- thank you for helping us understand all of this a little better.
JORDAN: Great to be here.
VAUSE: Well, after fleeing Syria's civil war, two young refugees thought they've left the violence behind when they reached the U.K. Turns out they hadn't.
CNN's Samuel Burke now on the school attack which has sparked widespread condemnation.
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SAMUEL BURKE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: "I'll drown you". Those are the words a young man shouts in the face of a 15-year-old Syrian boy at a school in northern England as he smothers his face in water, holding his hands around the boy's throat after headbutting him and pinning him to the ground. Now more than a month after the attack occurred, a video of the incident has gone viral.
[01:49:58] The victim's family is originally from Homs, Syria according to their lawyer, and fled the beleaguered city to Lebanon after members of their family had been abducted and tortured by the regime of Syrian President Bashar al Assad. One family member was killed.
In 2016, a U.N. program settled the family in the town of Huddersfield near Leeds and within two months the family's lawyers says the children started to be bullied.
MOHAMMED AKUNJEE, FAMILY'S LAWYER: It's shocking because of the background as well. A father who's managed, using every resource that is potential that he has to take his family away from danger through two countries to keep them safe. And then and finding that in the first world country that has offered them sanctuary. That sanctuary has been nonexistent.
BURKE: After the video of the incident went viral on social this week, the boy's sister was assaulted at the same school, according to local authorities. Also captured on video and shared online, you see the girl shoved and chased. The family lawyer said her headscarf was also torn off.
Police say they're working with the family and asking witnesses to come can forward. The principal of the school where the incident took place said the situation is being taken extremely seriously and, quote, "We must allow the legal process to take its course but I want to be absolutely clear that we do not tolerate unacceptable behavior of any sort in our school."
A crowd funding page has been set up online to raise money for the family. The campaign has raised more than $175,000. GoFundMe says it's the fastest growing fund-raiser on the site in the U.K. for all of 2018 with donations pouring in from 50 countries around the world.
The family said given the circumstances, any money would be used to move away from this town.
Samuel Burke -- CNN -- Huddersfield, England.
VAUSE: Now we'll take a short break. You're watching CNN. We'll be back in a moment.
(COMMERCIAL BREAK) VAUSE: Michelle Obama is heading to London, the next stop on her book tour and if there was any doubt the former first lady's star power stretches across the Atlantic, well here's the answer. Tickets to a reading with Michelle Obama sold out in minutes. Many were then resold for hundreds of pounds more.
CNN's Anna Stewart has more.
ANNA STEWART, CNN CORRESPONDENT: A surprise guest -- former President Barack Obama showing love for his wife, Michelle at her book launch for "Becoming". And more love across the ponds. Her tour now going international with a visit to London.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The former American first lady.
MICHELLE OBAMA, FORMER FIRST LADY OF THE UNITED STATES: Black students made up less than 9 percent of my freshman class. Poppy seeds and a bowl of rice.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Michelle Obama reads from her new memoir.
STEWART: A contest with love letters to Michelle.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: But one mother to another, you have made every little girl believe that they can do the impossible.
STEWART: An inspiration for young girls like Penny Rose Charlie, the winner.
The runaway success of "Becoming", now the number one bestseller in the U.S. with the ten U.S. city book tour.
Michelle Obama drawing crowds with the star power of Beyonce but without the stadium. Tickets for her only appearance here selling out in minutes. Her fans are not amused.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Where should you go?
OBAMA: We're here. We're in another house.
[01:55:00] STEWART: But even after leaving that other house, the White House, she's still one of the most admired women in the world and saying things she couldn't say before with revelations, seeking marriage counselling and using IVFs to conceive making her even more popular.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Just when I thought I couldn't love you any more, you found another way to connect with my heart.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It resonates with me and I'm a white middle class older woman.--
STEWART: Michelle Obama was already becoming when she came here twice as first lady empowering girls wherever she went. OBAMA: I am beyond thrilled that you are working so hard to complete your education.
STEWART: Being herself and students like (INAUDIBLE) Hassan now studying to become a lawyer devoted to women's rights.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It's a 24/7 job. It's something you can't give up.
STEWART: And seeing herself in these students, inviting them to the White House, telling them to aim high and to look beyond being different.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: And even when she did come here she told us that people should be encouraged to look beyond the headscarf.
STEWART: Michelle Obama, in a class of her own by ignoring class. Inviting a prince to a high school in Chicago, rubbing shoulders with the Queen, literally a royal taboo but much ado about nothing in the end.
OBAMA: I dare say that the Queen was ok with it too because when I touched her, she only pulled closer resting a gloved hand lightly on the small of my back.
STEWART: Her natural warmth making all feel special.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Apart from my mum, Michelle Obama was the first black woman to make me realize that I can do anything.
STEWART: Do you think she's changed what you'll be when you're older.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes.
STEWART: In what way?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: She makes me want to go far.
STEWART: Little girls of all types believing they can go far and now becoming.
Anna Stewart, CNN -- London.
VAUSE: Thank you for watching CNN NEWSROOM. I'm John Vause.
Please stay with us. There's a lot more news after a very short break.
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