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Report: North Korea Rebuilding Missile Test Site; Former Nissan Chair Carlos Ghosn Pays Bail In Japan; U.S. House Launches Broad Scope Investigations; Trump calls Investigations "Presidential Harassment"; Hundreds Of Terrorist Fighters Surrender In Eastern Syria; CNN Speaks To Widow Of Jihadist Linked To Paris Attacks. Aired 1-2a ET
Aired March 6, 2019 - 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: Hello everyone, thanks for joining us. I'm John Vause, you're watching CNN NEWSROOM. Ahead this hour, just days after the failed Hanoi summit, new satellite images show North Korea may be back in the nuclear business and could have resumed testing of missile engines at a once site which had laid dormant.
Also, Donald Trump calls it a big fat fishing expedition but Democrats call it congressional oversight and are moving forward with a slew of investigations. And only one person is believed to ever be cured of HIV and now new research shows his recovery was not an anomaly and might just have been repeated in another patient.
We begin though with new developments in Tokyo where former Nissan Chairman Carlos Ghosn has made bail set at a billion yen almost $9 million. The once all-powerful order executive is set to walk free from a Tokyo Detention Center where he has been held for the past three months on charges of financial misconduct.
Ghosn is still awaiting trial under terms of his bail. He has agreed not to travel outside Japan. Kaori Enjoji is live in Tokyo. So what do we know about Ghosn's immediate plan? Do we know where he'll go, what he'll do you know, in the hours or the days off the steps out from that detention center?
KAORI ENJOJI, JOURNALIST: I wish I could tell you more. But at this stage we're still waiting to see what time he will be released from this Tokyo Detention Center. We are expecting that to happen imminently particularly, John, because his wife Carole and one of his four children his eldest daughter Caroline visiting him here this morning at Tokyo Detention Center and they were seen leaving in a diplomatic car.
Remember that he, Carlos Ghosn hold citizenship in many countries, not only France but also in Brazil and also in Lebanon. The legal people -- experts I speak to say it is highly unlikely that he would take refuge in one of these embassies particularly because that would make him -- that would give him diplomatic immunity and it is unlikely that the prosecutors would have agreed to such terms. We know a little bit about the conditions that he will be met with
once he is released from this detention center and it will be far from a free one. He will be under surveillance with cameras. His lawyers say that he will be monitored. He will have limited outside contact either through the computer with the outside world.
Remember that he is no longer the heads of Nissan Renault and Mitsubishi Motors but he still remains on the board of all of these companies. And technically he can attend board meetings but there is likely to have been a clause to prevent him from doing so.
But one of the biggest conditions of his release later today will be that he remains in Japan. So he will be in Japan possibly four months ahead as this trial is likely to take place possibly towards the latter half of this year.
But make no mistake, this is a new chapter in Carlos Ghosn's arrest because not only would he be walking out of the gates behind me, of Tokyo Detention Center, he has a new legal team. And that new legal team, John, has made it clear that they are going to go on the offensive.
His lawyer, his chief illegal counsel had a press conference earlier today and he said the Carlos Ghosn is going to fight and also that he is innocent. And bear in mind that they have written to the United Nations too, saying that his human rights have been violated while he has been held here, John, for more than three months.
VAUSE: Kaori, thank you. Kaori Enjoji there live in Tokyo waiting for Carlos Ghosn to walk out of that Detention Center on bail but still awaiting trial. Thank you, Kaori. OK, it has not even been a week since Donald Trump and Kim Jong-un failed to reach an agreement at a second nuclear summit in Hanoi and there are some signs that the North Koreans might just be returning to their old ways.
Satellite images appear to show construction activity at Tongchang-ri, a launch facility which has been dormant since last August just after the first U.S.-North Korea summit. At one point, Kim Jong-un had offered to destroy the site as a sign of good faith. CNN's Paula Hancocks live this hour in Seoul, South Korea.
Let's just clear out exactly what this facility does and does not do. Because there's some reporting is that it is a missile launch facility, others are saying it is an engine testing facility and a satellite launch facility. The satellite and the missile part seemed to be interchangeable. So what's the official word?
PAULA HANCOCKS, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, John, this is where we've seen satellite launches in the past from North Korea. Now, they called them satellite launches saying they're putting a satellite up into space but of course the technology they are using would have been invaluable for them when trying to develop their long- range missile technology.
So this is why everybody was so angry when they were carrying out satellite launches. They have also tested engines there, the missile engines. But they haven't actually launched a missile from this particular site. But what we're seeing from this imagery and we're hearing from CSIS, we're hearing from 38 North, we're also hearing from the NIS, the National Intelligence Service here in South Korea is that they are reassembling certain parts of it.
Some of it some of it had been taken down last year. There'd been no activity there according to the NIS since August of 2018, the same from the think tanks. But now what we're seeing is some reassembling and a roof has been put on part of the structure, a couple of the walls have been erected.
Now the date is unknown at this point, the exact date. Anything between February 16th and March 2nd. But of course, it's quite crucial because you're not sure whether this was done before, during, or after the Hanoi summit. John?
[01:05:46] VAUSE: A satellite missile, is it -- you know, it sounds like it might be a distinction without a difference possibly. But I guess this end puts the focus back onto the Trump administration because you know, one thing which Donald Trump did leave Hanoi with was this you know, this promise of a continued moratorium on missile testing as well as nuclear testing from the North Koreans where you say there is still some you know, clarity which needs to be in the details here. But obviously, we now wait to see what the Trump administration will do on news that this construction has started.
HANCOCK: Absolutely. I mean, clearly, it's not good news that you see North Korea is starting to reassemble part of this site. We did hear from John Bolton, the National Security Adviser. He was talking to Fox Business Network and he said something that will not go down well with the North Koreans specifying that they could actually increase economic sanctions on North Korea if things don't go well.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JOHN BOLTON, NATIONAL SECURITY ADVISER, UNITED STATES: We're going to see a lot of potential decisions coming out of North Korea whether they're serious about the talks, whether they want to get back into them and fundamentally whether they're committed to giving up their nuclear weapons program and everything associated with it. That's what we think they need to do. If they're not willing to do it, then I think President Trump has been very clear they're not going to get relief from the crushing economic sanctions that have been imposed on them and we'll look at ramping those sanctions up in fact.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HANCOCK: And John Bolton also did say though that the president is ready to make a deal if the North Koreans are ready and is ready to sit down and talk to them again. John?
VAUSE: OK, Paula, thank you for the clarity. that is why you were there. You've been there for a long time. You know a lot about this story. We appreciate your insight. Thank you. Well, U.K. authorities and Irish police are now investigating several explosive devices found in the London area and they may be linked. We get details from CNN's Nina dos Santos.
NINA DOS SANTOS, CNN EUROPE EDITOR: U.K. counterterrorism police opens an investigation after three improvised explosive devices were intercepted in three key transportation hubs servicing the U.K. Capitol. Two airports and one was a rail station like here in Waterloo station.
Well, the first device was found at a building close to Heathrow Airport at around about 9:50 a.m. in the morning London time. It was contained like the other two devices subsequently discovered in an A4 size envelope which actually ignited when staff tried to open it.
Police said that none of these devices actually contained large amounts of explosives but they did contain enough to cause a small fire. Close to midday London time, Waterloo station here a key hub for commuters traveling by rail in and out of the capital from the south and southwest of England said that it had found a device and also later on in the day City Airport, a small airport in the east of London was found to have discovered one as well.
Well, U.K. media have reported that these three packages seemingly in similar A4 sized envelopes were actually mailed from an address in the Republic of Ireland but that has yet to be confirmed by official sources.
For the moment, the rail station is back up and running as are the two airports and the investigation will be looking into who mailed these parcels and also why. Nina dos Santos CNN outside Waterloo station in London.
VAUSE: Venezuelan opposition leader Juan Guaido is courting a new ally in his campaign against the Maduro regime. The self-declared interim president is hoping labor unions will stage nationwide strikes and he says the opposition will actually now pass, will try and pass a new amnesty law for those who support him as interim president as outlined in the Constitution.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JUAN GUAIDO, LEADER OF THE OPPOSITION, VENEZUELA (through translator): So we're going -- listen up. To have a staggered permanent strike of the public administration as proposed by the construction of capacities unions. We know that it's not from one day to the next. We know the threats will start. We know that the persecution will start. And as you know, we know what they'll do.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VAUSE: President Maduro though firing back urging what he calls anti- imperialist demonstrations across the country this weekend to compete with rallies supporting Guaido.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
[01:10:00] NICOLAS MADURO, PRESIDENT OF VENEZUELA (through translator): While a crazed minority continues with their hatred, with their bitterness, it's their problem. We will not pay attention to them, compatriots. We are going to stop them in their tracks, their work, their national union. We will not pay attention to them. Let the crazed minority continue with its bitterness. We will defeat them.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VAUSE: Meanwhile the U.S. special envoy for Venezuela is downplaying potential military intervention. Elliott Abrams says no one is talking about it except the Maduro regime and Russia. He didn't say this but possibly John Bolton, the National Security Adviser to Donald Trump as well.
Another day brings fresh investigations into Trump world. Last week the President's former attorney and fixer Michael Cohen said the Trump Organization inflated assets to an insurance company. Now, this is the investigation which could be of consequence.
New York's Department Financial Services is looking into that and they sent a subpoena to the organization's insurance broker. House Democrats are already investigating from for alleged obstruction of justice and abuse of power. The president though continues to play the victim.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I guess we got 81 letters. There was no collusion. That was a hoax. There was no anything. And they want to do that instead of getting legislation passed. 81 people or organizations got letters. It's a disgrace. It's a disgrace to our country. I'm not surprised that it's happening. The people understand it. When they look at it they just say presidential harassment.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VAUSE: CNN Senior Political Analyst Ron Brownstein joins us now from Los Angeles. So Ron, you know, the President has dismissed that document request which came from the House Judiciary Committee. This is the investigation into obstruction of justice and abuse of power. Some on that list though have already said they will cooperate, some on the list like the President's son Eric, not so much. This is what he said.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Are you going to get a lawyer? Are you going to produce documents that they requested in two weeks?
ERIC TRUMP, SON OF DONALD TRUMP: Yes, we leave plenty of lawyers. Don't worry about -- don't worry about lawyers. And that's -- you know, that's all this is. They're the only people -- the only people who win you know, unfortunately in this whole game are you know, are the lawyers and you know the people who lose are you know, the American people who actually expect their you know, the public servants to be working on their behalf and not playing you know, nonsense games all day.
I mean, if you look at how incompetent Congress is overall, it's just -- it's incredible. But yes, we're going to fight the hell out of it.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VAUSE: OK, I guess the point of it, Ron, is that you know, these investigations are now so broad, so wide, the dragnet is just so big, it's beyond any president's ability to control who says what and to whom.
RON BROWNSTEIN, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: Yes, well, and as you noted I think, there are multiple -- I mean, the multiplicity of investigations is remarkable. Now, you know, not only of Congress, the special prosecutor, the special counsel, you have the Southern District of New York. You have the New York Insurance Commissioner. There are many investigations and his ability to turn them all off is obviously not there.
On the other hand, I think you are going to see a clear dichotomy emerge where the administration is going to as aggressively as possible use the claim of executive privilege to try to stymie a request for documents, really anything that touches directly on the White House or Trump. And they may or may not win all of those court cases but they can certainly let -- burn up a lot of time doing so.
People on the private sector I think are going to have a hard time like Eric Trump to avoid and defeat these information requests from the House Democrats.
VAUSE: They're also refusing to provide documentation on the security clearance for Trump's son in law Jared Kushner and also for Trump's daughter Ivanka. You know, I guess the question here though be what is actually in their background that has officials so worried that they would recommend that these two should not actually be given top- level security clearance.
BROWNSTEIN: You know, and it's interesting. That is the question I think not only -- you know, obviously the first order issue is the President and Ivanka Trump lying -- apparently lying about the process. But it very quickly you do go to that underlying question. Why did career officials and intelligence officials not want to provide that security clearance especially given that the usual inclination is of course to give the necessary clearance for the president to have the people that he wants to have the information that he wants.
And we may or may not learn. I mean, this is certainly something that the White House is going to fight for a very long time. If you go back, John, I mean the classic decision in the U.S. on this question of how far executive privilege extends was the Supreme Court ruling in 1974. A unanimous ruling saying that executive privilege did not shield president -- then President Nixon from having to give up his Watergate tapes.
So we know that executive privilege is not absolute. It is not unlimited. But I suspect we're going to have an awful lot of litigation deciding -- defining exactly where those lines are drawn.
[01:14:58] VAUSE: Good time to be a lawyer in Washington. I guess in case anyone has actually missed the Trump branding for the push back against the Democratic investigations, here it is. The President said there are just two words, presidential harassment. We're going to hear that a lot.
Donald Trump's confidence Senator Lindsey Graham told CNN's Manu Raju. He -- as in Trump, just believes they -- as in the Democrats, are out to take a wrecking ball to his life. They'll go nuts." But, you know, one man's presidential harassment is another man's congressional oversight. Here's Adam Schiff of the House Intelligence Committee.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. ADAM SCHIFF (D-CA), CHAIR, HOUSE INTELLIGENCE COMMITTEE: The president has had two years of a Republican Congress that did no oversight, whatsoever. So, he doesn't know what oversight looks like. There are all too many serious allegations of impropriety to administration. And you know, they have multiplied every day.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VAUSE: If you get the impression that -- you know, they knew divided government was on its way at the White House, the president knew that -- you know, there's every chance the Democrats would take the House, and this is would be the end result. But never really reconcile to what the reality would be.
BROWNSTEIN: Yes, I think that's right. I mean look, I mean -- it is -- it's a little bit like what the famous Mike Tyson quote. You know, "Everybody has a plan until they get punched in the face."
So, until you -- until you actually are on the receiving end of these sorts of information requests which will -- you know, very quickly turn into subpoenas. I think it is hard to entirely plan for it. But the fact is that one of the reasons Republicans lost the Congress, I think, very clearly in 2018 is if voters perceived that they were unwilling to perform even the most rudimentary oversight to have a policy like the child -- let's leave aside for a question, all for a moment -- all the questions about President Trump's behavior before he became president.
They have a policy in office like the child separation at the border that was so chaotic, such a departure from what American -- America has done before. And -- you know, raised such terrifically polarizing questions. And have no oversight of that at all. No hearings of any -- of any -- of any significance. Really, I think underscores.
And it's worth noting that amid all of these document requests, that's the kind of thing that the House is got to be doing tomorrow. I mean, they're going to have the DHS secretary up, and they're going to be looking at that, and they are going to be looking at things that the EPA did. And they are going to be looking at the way they have executed power in the executive branch, which the Republicans simply refuse to do with the interest of maintaining common cause around their shared agenda.
VAUSE: That's why I'm sorry because this is the White House that doesn't do the easy stuff particularly well, like laying a wreath at -- you know, the tomb of fallen U.S. soldiers in France because it's raining. This is the low-hanging fruit which they tend to screw up.
This is the big stuff -- you know, if one thing which I think is going to be interesting to watch is how they actually deal with -- you know, these never-ending investigations. And this is high-stakes.
BROWNSTEIN: Yes. Well, look, I think that -- you know, the president will succeed in convincing a portion of the electorate. His hardcore base that this is presidential harassment. And this is Democrats just -- you know being sore losers because Hillary Clinton lost this 2016 election.
But as we talked about before, there's something around 20 percent of his voters in 2016 who voted for him with deep uncertainty and ambivalence. Who said that either that he didn't have the temperament or the experience to succeed as president. And many of those voters were hoping that they would get a different Donald Trump in office than they saw on the campaign trail.
So, I'm going to was kind of more presidential. They have not seen that. And you know, you saw that speech Saturday at CPAC, where he became the first president in my memory to deliberately use profanity as part of the -- of the speech. And this kind of rambling two-hour diatribe.
And the risk to him in these hearings is not only the questions about his kind of pedigree and what he has done in the private sector. But just the actual administration of government. And whether he is up to the job of running the government, which I think is still a relevant issue for the -- for the voters who really put him over the top that kind of added to that hardcore base that like this insular nationalist message.
There was another portion that were willing to take a chance just because they want to change. Now, as we saw in 2018, some of them are reassessing whether the change is more volatile than they're willing to accept.
VAUSE: Very quickly, I was talking a very quickly into the weeds. With the House Intelligence Committee and a new prosecutor to lead the investigation into alleged ties between the Trump campaign and Russia.
VAUSE: Daniel Goldman, a former assistant U.S. attorney for the Southern District of New York, has a history of prosecuting securities fraud, racketeering -- this is the interesting part, international organized crime. BROWNSTEIN: Yes.
VAUSE: That news especially -- you know, with your testimony we heard from the president's personal lawyer and fixer Michael Cohen, he suggested -- you know, the Trump Organization was run like a mob.
You know, that's set off a lot of reporting about -- you know, Donald Trump being investigated and the Trump Organization being investigated as a possible criminal organization.
And -- you know, in many ways, it does sound like the mob, the way the president talks.
BROWNSTEIN: He certainly talks in language -- you know, describing people who cooperate with the government as rats. Is -- you know, escort says he could have written that out of good fellas or a casino.
And it is -- it is that kind of -- it is that kind of language. Look, there has been I think a belief among Democrats for quite a while. Many Democrats that the key to the Trump-Russia relationship is as call Bernstein and Bob Woodward said a generation ago, follow the money that the financial ties might be the most important connections.
We don't know an awful lot about that makes up at the Trump Tower negotiations went on a lot longer than the president told us in 2016. And I suspect that as something that's me right at the top of the to- do list for Adam Schiff and the new Democratic majority in the House.
Untangle as much of that as they can, especially, after they learned what Mueller did or did not learn.
[01:20:31] VAUSE: And they have listened to use. Ron, thank you, good to see you.
BROWNSTEIN: Thanks, John.
VAUSE: Well, still to come here for the most part. The brides of ISIS just want to go home, but not this woman who married a French jihadi, and says she never wants to return to France.
Also, the growing divide within the U.S. Democratic Party over anti- Semitism. The old guard versus the new progressives, and a rift which seems more about politics than prejudiced. Details, just ahead.
VAUSE: It's a slow and steady surrender. ISIS fighters and their families walking away from the terror groups last enclave in eastern Syria, which is on the brink of collapse.
A few years ago, ISIS controlled huge parts of Iraq and Syria. Millions lived under their hardline Islamic rule. All that's left now though is one town on the border of Syria and Iraq.
U.S.-backed forces say 500 fighters surrendered Tuesday. More than 6,000 people, militants, and civilians have fled in the past few days alone. ISIS troop recruits from around the world. And CNN's Ben Wedeman on the frontlines of this battle spoke to the widow of a jihadist tied to the Paris terror attacks.
BEN WEDEMAN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: The victor leads the vanquished. Boys and men of the so-called Islamic State now in the hands of their enemies.
Tuesday, thousands of men, women, and children were trucked out of ISIS's doom to domain. The numbers fleeing the sinking state well over 6,000 in the past two days have taken the U.S.-backed Syrian Democratic Forces by surprise.
Among them, Dorothee Maquere, the wife of Jean-Michel Clain, linked to the November 2015 terror attacks in Paris that killed 130 people.
Her husband just composed religious songs, she claims. She told us an airstrike killed him Sunday. While two weeks ago, a drone killed Jean-Michel's brother, Fabien who claimed the responsibility for the 2015 Paris attacks in an audiotape. She says three of her children have been killed in the fighting.
"No, I don't want to return to France," she tells me. "Because the French state used its arms to kill my children and my husband. And I know if I return, I'll be put in prison."
Tens of thousands of foreign nationals, including many from Western Europe, flocked to Syria and Iraq when ISIS was at its height. Now, many of their countries don't want them back.
Sana, a Finnish convert to Islam came to Syria four years ago with her husband, a Moroccan plumber, she said. "Life was good in the beginning," she recalls. "War, not ISIS ruined that life," Sana tells me. With the war almost over and this land in ruins, now she wants to go home.
You want to go back home.
[01:26:09] SANA, WIFE OF ISIS SOLDIER: Yes, I want to go back to Finland now. Yes, definitely, definitely, definitely.
WEDEMAN: By all accounts, the final battle has left many civilians dead.
"I'm lost," says this Belgian woman who declined to give her name. "For now, I can't think of anything else. I'm traumatized, back there in the camp it was a massacre. They're dead everywhere."
No one is more traumatized by this catastrophe than the children, who grew up in the madhouse of the state that called itself Islamic. Brainwashed and caught in a war, not of their choosing.
The lucky ones may return to their countries, far, far away. The rest, doomed to do a grim life in overcrowded internment camps. The end of the so-called Islamic State may be near, but not the anger, resentment, and hatred upon which it was based. And now, tens of thousands of its former subjects are heading out into the world. I'm Ben Wedeman, CNN, in eastern Syria.
VAUSE: Well, next up on CNN NEWSROOM. Just two months in Congress and for the second time. A U.S. lawmaker is under fire for her comments about Israel. This time it's creating a rift within the Democratic Party.
VAUSE: Welcome back, everybody. You're watching CNN NEWSROOM. I'm John Vause with the headlines this hour.
[01:30:07] Former Nissan chair Carlos Ghosn has made bail, set to be released from a Japanese jail any moment now. He was arrested in November, accused of underreporting his income. He is still waiting for trial. Ghosn has to remain in Japan. He's agreed to surveillance, and he says he's the victim of plot by Nissan executives who opposed his plans for the auto maker.
These satellite images appear to show North Korea is rebuilding parts of a missile engine test site. The Center for Strategic Studies and 38 North reporting activity at the Tongchang-ri. It comes less than a week after a U.S.-North Korea summit in Vietnam which ended without an agreement.
U.K. counterterrorism police have launched an investigation after bombs were found near three major transit hubs in the London area. One of the packages burst into flames when it was opened. No one was hurt. Irish police are also assisting with this investigation.
Well, the U.S. House of Representatives is set to vote on an anti- Semitism resolution which will now include language condemning bias against Muslims. The resolution was seen as a way of dealing with controversial comments about Israel from Democrat Ilhan Omar widely seen as anti-Semitic.
Suzanne Malveaux has details.
REP. ILHAN OMAR (D), MINNESOTA: I know how it feels to be hated because of my religious beliefs. I am proof that, as Americans, we can embrace our differences.
SUZANNE MALVEAUX, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Freshman Congresswoman Ilhan Omar, sworn into office just two months ago, now facing an extraordinary public admonishment from her own party for several controversial comments about Israel's supporters and American politics.
SEN. CHUCK SCHUMER (D-NY), MINORITY LEADER: Her remarks were reprehensible.
MALVEAUX: House Speaker Nancy Pelosi to take the floor with some other top Democrats with the resolution, which does not mention Omar by name. The most recent issue for many of her fellow Democrats, Omar's remark criticizing Israel at this town hall last week.
OMAR: I want to talk about the political influence in this country that says it is OK for people to push for allegiance to a foreign country.
MALVEAUX: The ADL and some Jewish lawmakers strongly denouncing her comments as anti-Semitic. President Trump seizing on her past comments.
DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: And Congressman Omar is terrible, what she said. And I think she should he either resign from Congress or she should certainly resign from the House Foreign Affairs Committee.
MALVEAUX: Omar fighting back, tweeting, "I am told every day that I am anti-American if I'm not pro-Israel. I find that to be problematic. And I am not alone. I just happen to be willing to speak up on it and open myself to attacks."
It's not the first time Omar's comments have generated controversy. Last month, Pelosi called Omar's tweets deeply offensive after Omar described the impact of pro-Israel lobbyists in the U.S. as "all about the Benjamins, baby."
Omar later apologized, saying, "Antisemitism is real, and I am grateful for Jewish allies and colleagues who are educating me on the painful history of anti-Semitic tropes. This is why I unequivocally apologize."
VAUSE: That report from Suzanne Malveaux.
Joining me 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, thanks again for having me.
VAUSE: OK. Looks like, you know, this is now a political fight within the Democrat Party. The end result will be a resolution condemning not just anti-Semitism but also bias against Muslims.
Do you think this type of move by the House ultimately is a positive, or if there was any good here was it -- now has it all been lost, I guess, in the politics?
LEVIN: You know, it looks like we're -- we're a combination of the lowest common denominator buttressed by pragmatism. The bottom line is, as -- as disturbing as Congresswoman Omar's
remarks were, and indeed, they're worthy of -- of criticism. The problem is, it's diverting a whole bunch of issues, such as what about the rampant bigotry that's been throughout politics in social media?
We've seen similar kinds of statements being made on the other side of the aisle not involving folks who are black and Muslim. I'm not saying that gives you a license to do it. But if it is a one-off, I think it sullies the moral consistency.
When we had the president retweeting false statements about black crime from a fellow named "White Genocide," that's a problem. Charlottesville is a problem. So context is important, as well.
But yes, you know, if you're going to ask me do I think that this is an anti-Semitic statement, yes.
But I just came back from New York last week with the Muslim-Jewish Advisory council. We have so much to gain here with the Muslim and Jewish communities. If we're going to have peace, it's going to start here, I believe.
[01:35:11] The problem is Congresswoman Omar's remarks neither elevated the discussion nor focused it on the plight of the Palestinians.
LEVIN: What it does -- did was become about her and also what line is going to occur with respect to what's acceptable --
LEVIN: -- relating to anti-Semitism.
VAUSE: I want to get to -- we'll get to those topics in a moment, but very quickly, to your point about, you know, this is a one-off. What everything else.
This is sort of the old guard of the Democrats challenging -- being challenged by the new young progressives, like Alexandria Ocasio- Cortez, who tweeted on Tuesday, "It's not my position to tell people how to feel, or that their hurt is invalid. But incidents like these do beg the question: where are the resolutions against homophobic statements? For anti-blackness? For xenophobia? For a member saying he'll 'send Obama home to Kenya'?"
I guess that's the point which you're making. But others can say, you know, that is a classic example of whataboutism; and it's used as a distraction from the real issue here, which is the anti-Semitic comments made by Representative Omar.
LEVIN: That is -- John, that's why, if you're going to go on your show, you'd better have answers. The bottom line is, the issue of dual loyalty has been a religious trope with regard to LDS folks, with regard to Catholics, with regard to Jews and with regard to Muslims. There's an excellent article in "The Atlantic."
Also, our -- our advisory board member, Hussein Ibish, wrote a good article how this is diverting. So yes, if you're asking me point- blank, is it something that is hurtful and carries on an anti-Semitic angle? Yes.
But also, it's not elevating the discussion with respect to the Palestinian people and interfaith relations.
One quick thing that I want to add that nobody else has. Along with Jim Nolin of West Virginia University, we just aggregated FBI anti- Semitic hate crime data for the last 25 years, excluding, like, 2018 and '17. Bottom line is four of -- four out of the five worst months for anti-Semitism were months when Israeli-Palestinian violent conflicts were taking place in the Middle East.
When we look at with respect to our Muslim and Arab neighbors, it's oftentimes around not only terrorism but what our leaders say.
And when we have a congresswoman who said regrettable things -- yes, I believe it's anti-Semitic -- but she's also under death threats, I think we have to tamp this stuff down. And what we have to do is not do it -- and by the way, thank you so much for having me. But we have to do it more than just on television or on Twitter.
LEVIN: We have to meet within our communities --
VAUSE: Let me ask you this, though.
LEVIN: -- here in California and elsewhere. This has to be a sustained discussion --
LEVIN: -- where we say what can Abraham's children agree upon?
VAUSE: Let me ask you this, though.
LEVIN: So much with respect to religious liberty.
VAUSE: let me just jump in, because basically, Representative Omar, it was a story about AIPAC, the American-Israeli Public Affairs Committee. And was talking about political influence in the U.S. And she used the word, which I considered a dog whistle for anti-Semites. "It's OK for people to push allegiance to a foreign country."
Would she have been on much safer ground if she simply asked the question, does AIPAC have too much influence? Is that a legitimate question to ask?
LEVIN: Thank you so much, John. Yes. Looking at the influence of lobbying groups like AIPAC is thoroughly appropriate.
But you know, I come from a law background. And one of the things that we have to say is does the principle apply if we don't know whose viewpoint we're talking about? To be talking about the NRA, if you're talking about Kuwait, if you're talking about Israel, it's thoroughly appropriate. It's also thoroughly appropriate to criticize Israeli policy and also thoroughly appropriate to talk about what the United States's policy should be vis-a-vis Israel.
However, when we talk about "It's all about Benjamins," for instance, or we -- or we talk about dual loyalty, what that is doing is it's unfortunately focusing on -- on tropes that are present on all segments.
This is the kind of stuff that I hear from David Duke.
LEVIN: So the bottom line is, though, we also have to acknowledge that there's deep-seated Islamophobia in this country. And I am worried that, yes, with her regrettable comments, which I wish she apologized for, we also have someone who is under death threat.
And I think that folks like me who can see that when -- when emotions get tamped up, do we a responsibility to say that, "You know what? Let's tamp it down. Let's acknowledge that this is anti-Semitic. But let's -- let's also say let's have this as a springboard for discussions" --
LEVIN: -- where we're going to condemn things like that horrible poster that was in the West Virginia --
VAUSE: Right. The 9/11 one. Yes, that was horrendous.
What -- basically, at the end of the day, words matter. And that's what's important here.
But we also have a similar problem. We're almost out of time. But I want to talk about U.K. Labour Party struggling with rising anti- Semitism, as well. Everyone, it seems, is placing the blame on the Labour Party leader, Jeremy Corbyn.
[01:40:03] And let's face it, you know, the party didn't have an anti- Semitic problem before he took over in September of 2015. He describes Hamas and Hezbollah, these Islamic terror groups, as friends. He laid a wreath at the graves of the killers who massacred the Israeli athletes in Munich in '72.
You know, it seems that he is the one who is alone redefining what the Labour Party stands for.
LEVIN: But here's the thing. It is so unnecessary. And this kind of rhetoric is coming at a time when, 2018 we haven't even released our report yet. It's showing that Jews are among the most targeted and having the highest rate of increase, 9 percent. That's going to be like, I think, the fifth consecutive year in major cities and also the fifth consecutive year for anti-Semitism.
You talked about Europe. We're seeing increases in Britain, in France, in Germany and the U.K. And as I said, one of the things that we've seen is when certain kinds of emotional inflection points, whether it's terror attacks, elections, or this growing nationalism, unfortunately, the half-life of hate stops at anti-Semitism.
And we have a bit of a perfect storm. We have influences on the right, a bit on the left. But we also have a distrust in the institutions and the rise of conspiracy theories, along as -- along with an isolation of Israel.
LEVIN: What this is going to create is greater stress with regard to intergroup relations, and it's at a time when anti-Semitism is increasing. We just saw that incident in Newport with swastikas. We saw it in Long Island, as well. We have to tread lightly, both with respect to our friends and neighbors who are Arab and Muslim and also with respect to Abraham's other children who are Jewish.
Because this is the place where we can discuss our differences. And there are wonderful things going on like the Muslim-Jewish Advisory Council in many cities. And I encourage citizens to get involved with that.
LEVIN: There are some tough things but let's lead with personal relationships first; and we'll get -- we'll get into the morass later.
VAUSE: Let's end on that point. That's a good point to end on. Because let's think of -- let's think of the best for each other, rather than, you know, look for the worst.
Brian, thank you.
LEVIN: Thank you so much, John.
VAUSE: Cheers, mate.
Well, a short break. When we come back, the recent military crisis between India and Pakistan has eased, at least for now, but the threat of war still hanging over both countries. More on the tensions and the impact on the region.
VAUSE: Tensions between India and Pakistan are always fairly high, but last week, the nuclear-powered neighbors came close to the brink of all-out conflict. Both countries have fired air strikes at each other since the middle of last month, claiming they were provoked by the other. [01:45:08] The situation has calmed now, but the threat of war still
remains. CNN's Nic Robertson sat down with Pakistan's military spokesperson for his perspective.
NIC ROBERTSON, CNN INTERNATIONAL DIPLOMATIC EDITOR: How close did the two countries come to war over these incidents last week?
MAJ. GEN. ASIF GHAFOOR, PAKISTAN MILITARY SPOKESMAN: We were -- I would say close to the mark. Because when they were -- entered (ph) the air space, undertook an aggression, we went for a response.
ROBERTSON: Did handing back the Indian air force fighter pilot, did that help ease tensions?
GHAFOOR: No, it is up to India that -- whether they take the peace just yet. And move forward, towards de-escalation of -- counter (ph) the agenda that they have.
ROBERTSON: How would you judge India's posture at the moment on the other side of the line of control?
GHAFOOR: Along the line of control, we are rivals, rivals. There is presence of troops for decades. But post the Indian aggression and our response, the safeguards have been taken by both sides.
ROBERTSON: Increase in troop numbers?
GHAFOOR: Increase. Because it is natural as part of military planning that, when these situations be resolved, there are safeguards. Those safeguards are in place on both sides.
ROBERTSON: In this eyeball to eyeball, high-alert situation, how possible is it for things to escalate again?
GHAFOOR: We feel that now the ball is in the Indian court. Should they decide to escalate more, this situation will go back.
ROBERTSON: India claims that on Tuesday last week it crossed into your airspace and bombed what it calls, essentially, a terrorist training camp.
GHAFOOR: Not even a single brick has been found there if there was an interest sector (ph). And not ever a single dead body found there. Their claims are false, and I believe lately, there's an announcement from their side also that they cannot claim any casualty.
ROBERTSON: Is it correct that Pakistan is now going to take action against Jaise Mohammed, the group that claimed responsibility for that attack in India two and a half weeks ago that precipitated the current tension?
GHAFOOR: First of all, that claim has not been made from within Pakistan, because Jaise Mohammed does not exist in Pakistan. It has been proscribed by the United Nations also and Pakistan also. Secondly, we are not doing anything under anybody's pressure.
ROBERTSON: So does this mean in light of what's happened, without international pressure but in light of what's happened over the past few weeks, that an increased effort will take place to root out any groups that might destabilize the situation in Kashmir?
GHAFOOR: For sure. Anybody who operates from Pakistan is -- we feel that it is not in the interest of Pakistan. Instead of blaming Pakistan, it is time that the world should assist Pakistan, facilitate Pakistan in getting rid of -- (UNINTELLIGIBLE) militias (ph).
ROBERTSON: In your opinion, why did that attack in the middle of February against Indian forces happen that triggered all this tension?
GHAFOOR: The answer to this question lies in the United Nations Human Rights Commission report, issued lately. If you suppress the local population to the extent that they're being killed, they're being raped, they're being given pellet guns. So this is a natural direction.
ROBERTSON: This is what you're saying that Indian forces are doing?
GHAFOOR: Yes, the Indian occupation forces. And this is not -- that I'm saying. It is in the United Nations Human Rights Commission report.
So tkashe world has to say that what is forcing the Kashmiri youth to go towards violence. So instead of looking towards a framed allegation for this incident, India also has to look into, well, why it is these incidents are happening. We have to move towards resolution of Kashmir, because this issue, Kashmir, is a flash point for the peace in the region.
VAUSE: CNN's Nic Robertson there with an interview with Pakistan's military spokesperson.
Well, we'll take a short break. When we come back, there may now be a second person cured of HIV. That's a big maybe. What this unusual treatment could mean for nearly 37 million people worldwide. Ahead. CNN NEWSROOM.
[01:50:56] VAUSE: Until now, only one person is believed to have been cured of HIV. He's known as the Berlin patient. But now comes news of what could be a second case. The London patient.
In a study published in the journal "Nature," the London patient has experienced a lengthy sustained remission. Eighteen months, the longest ever. This comes nearly 12 years after the Berlin patient was cured.
In both cases, HIV-resistant stem cells were used as part of the treatment. The study's lead author says, if nothing else, this discovery shows the first patient's outcome was not an anomaly.
Dr. Timothy Henrich joins us now from San Francisco. He's associate professor of medicine at the University of California in San Francisco and part of the peer review group which actually looked at this study.
So it is good to have you with us, Doctor. Thank you very much.
DR. TIMOTHY HENRICH, ASSOCIATE PROFESSOR OF MEDICINE, UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA IN SAN FRANCISCO: Thank you for having me.
VAUSE: OK. There seems to be two separate discussions under way here right now. The first being, is this actually a cure? The other being, if this is a cure, is it viable? Is it a safe treatment? So on that first question, I want you to listen to Ravindra Gupta, lead author of the study. This is what he says.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
RAVINDRA GUPTA, LEAD AUTHOR, HIV PATIENT STUDY: It's a little bit early to use the term cure for this individual, because he's only been off antiretroviral therapy for about 18 months. And that is a great feat in itself, because it far exceeds any previous periods of remission from other cases.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VAUSE: So as someone who was part of the peer review, where do you see all of this heading? What's your opinion of it? Whether it's a cure or it's just a long remission?
HENRICH: Well, absolutely. I certainly hope this will turn out to be like the Berlin patient, who was cured or in permanent HIV remission.
I think the evidence that Dr. Gupta had presented is very convincing that this person may actually be very similar to the Berlin patient and be able to live lifelong without taking antiretroviral therapy and essentially being free of HIV in any clinically meaningful sense.
I think we're optimistic, but I also agree that there is a small chance over the next year or two that HIV could rebound. It could recrudesce and be detectable in the blood.
But I think that we're all in agreement that this is unlikely, and that we are not only hopeful but also optimistic that what we'll see is a second case very much like the Berlin patient.
VAUSE: Yes, because in both cases, stem cells were used; and these donor stem cells had this rare mutation. They're essentially HIV- resistant. They could block the HIV infection. I'd like you to listen to our medical correspondent, Elizabeth Cohen, talking about, you know, how this worked and, you know, the viability of it.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ELIZABETH COHEN, CNN MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: Stem cell transplants are very, very risky. They can actually kill you. So you wouldn't want to give a stem-cell transplant to an HIV patient who doesn't have cancer. I mean, if you have cancer, you need a stem cell transplant, in many cases. It's going to save your life.
But if you don't have cancer, you don't want a stem cell transplant. It can kill you, and you can just control your HIV with anti-HIV drugs. They're safe, and they're effective.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VAUSE: OK. So if we look at both patients, London and Berlin patients, both had another, you know, life-threatening illness, which is why they required the stem cell transplant in the first place. Obviously, it's not a viable treatment, you know, on a mass approach, I guess.
Does it at least, at the very least, offer new ways of approaching a search for a cure? New ways of using this HIV-resistant mutation?
HENRICH: Absolutely. And I want to agree that stem-cell transplantation is really not something that is safe for people that don't need a stem cell transplantation. For example, for diseases like lymphoma or leukemia, that the Berlin patient and now this London patient experienced.
So it is fraught with danger, but we certainly have learned several interesting facts about how to potentially go ahead and cure HIV. So for example, we've learned about gene modification therapies. We have been able to pursue new strategies, in order to replicate these types of outcomes but without having to do a full stem-cell transplantation.
Now, we are not there yet. It is going to be a long -- a long road ahead to do this. It's going to be difficult. And it's going to take time and much effort. But I think that these cases really highlight that, first of all, it is possible to achieve this permanent or long- term HIV remission but also provides insights on how we can go about and approach curing HIV but with less toxicity and something that's more scalable for the general population.
[01:55:28] VAUSE: Regarding the current HIV treatment, yes, they're very effective. They control the virus, but they don't eliminate it, which means there's always the prospect, I guess, because there are these reservoirs of HIV virus still within, you know, the patient, that eventually, a drug-resistant strain could evolve at some point. Which is why, you know, there is still this need, this sort of almost -- not necessarily urgent need but still, you know, this need for a cure that will see an end to this virus, once and for all.
HENRICH: Well, that's right. And when someone who is on stable antiretroviral therapy -- and sometimes it can be one pill a day with few side effects. So the treatments have become easier for those who have access to the care.
However, as soon as someone stops antiretroviral therapy, within two to four weeks, a virus will rebound and rebound fairly rapidly after they stop antiretroviral therapy. So the hope is that we can attain a state where individuals can stop
taking antiretroviral therapy and not worry about having to experience viral rebound, and also not worry about being infectious to others, for example, or experiencing the viral illness again once they stop therapy. And that's the ultimate goal.
VAUSE: Very quickly. We're almost out of time. I want you to listen to Timothy Ray Brown, the only person ever cured of HIV, known as the Berlin patient. Listen to this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TIMOTHY RAY BROWN, TREATED WITH STEM CELLS FOR HIV: I don't like being the only -- I didn't like being the only person in the world cured of HIV, because it's a lonely club.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VAUSE: You mentioned before that this now shows that there is a very real possibility of a cure, that it is possible. How long? I mean, is there a time frame on this?
HENRICH: I think we're going to have to wait about a year or two before we're more certain that this is going to be very much like Timothy Ray Brown.
But again, I think where we are optimistic that at least the data that we've seen and the research that's been done has -- it points in that direction. So I think that -- I'm hoping that Timothy Ray Brown will not be alone very much longer.
VAUSE: Yes. And hopefully, obviously, a cure on a wide scale. Dr. Timothy Henrich, thank you so much. And wish you the best of luck. Thank you.
HENRICH: Thank you very much.
VAUSE: Thank you for watching CNN NEWSROOM. I'm John Vause. Stay with us. A lot more news after a very short break.