Return to Transcripts main page


President Again Attacks Late War Hero John McCain; New Revelations about Lion Air Disaster; New Questions over Renegade Officer's Death; Shock in Shooting Aftermath Gives Way to Shows of Unity; New Zealand To Ban Military-Style Assault Rifle; P.M. May Heads To Brussels To Discuss Brexit Delay; P.M.: I Am Determined To Get On With Brexit; P.M. May: Northern Ireland's Pressure On The DUP's Brexit Vote; Rescuers Face To Save Victims In Mozambique. Aired 1-2a ET

Aired March 21, 2019 - 01:00   ET



[01:00:00] JOHN VAUSE, CNN INTERNATIONAL ANCHOR: Hello everybody! Thanks for being with us. I'm John Vause, you're watching CNN NEWSROOM. Ahead this hour, effective immediately New Zealand announces a sweeping ban on military-style semi-automatic weapons less than a week after a terrorist attack left dozens of worshippers dead at two mosques.

Delay and blame. Britain's Prime Minister Theresa May asked the E.U. to push back the Brexit deadline saying it's all Parliament's fault. And fighting John McCain's ghost. U.S. President keeps his long- running feud with a dead man alive.

Well, in the wake of the deadliest massacre in New Zealand's history, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern announced an immediate ban on assault rifles, high-capacity magazines, and military-style semi-automatic rifles. A week has not passed since 50 people were shot dead at two mosques in Christchurch.

This is just the first stage of an extensive reform of the country's gun laws. It's expected to be approved by Parliament early next month.


JACINDA ARDERN, PRIME MINISTER, NEW ZEALAND: I absolutely believe there will be a common view amongst New Zealanders, those who use guns for legitimate purposes and those who have never touched one that the time for the mess and easy availability of these weapons must end and today they will.

CNN Senior International Correspondent Ivan Watson joins us now live from Christchurch. So Ivan, what is really striking here is the speed of the changes. Using a special law and order council, the ban on military-style weapons is effective immediately. So what are the details though of this overall package of gun reforms?

IVAN WATSON, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, if you look at the statements of the New Zealand Police Commissioner of Mike Bush, he says that as of 3:00 p.m. today, people who were in legal possession of military-style semi-automatic and assault rifles, those weapons are now illegal. So this is a pretty radical, pretty dramatic change.

What the authorities are also saying, however, is that there will be an amnesty and a transition period and that by this weekend there will be an online forum that the police will have active where people can start to submit that they are in possession of these firearms and that there will eventually be a buyback program.

So they've already been urging people to come forward and voluntarily surrender in the past couple of days. Eventually, this buyback program will come into effect. The estimated cost of that to the New Zealand government and taxpayers here will be between $70 and $140 million, U.S. And that is part of how they're going to try to remove the 1.2 to 1.5 million firearms that are believed to exist in New Zealand today. That's roughly one for every four citizens in this country.

There will be exemptions the authorities say for duck hunting for example, for some sports, for pest control. This is a largely rural and agricultural society. But there are also going to be restrictions on ammunition and the ammunition capacity in some of these weapons. They clearly don't want weapons to be able to shoot more than five rounds at a time.

So again, this is a dramatic change for New Zealand. The Prime Minister said that there will be changes in the gun control laws shortly after the deadliest terror attack in New Zealand's modern history and she's putting her money where her mouth is.

VAUSE: Because of the speed here and because I guess what we're used to in the United States about you know, essentially any time -- any time they try to tighten up the gun laws in the U.S. it just gets stalled. So there's been a lot of praise for the way the New Zealand Prime Minister has acted so quickly.

Here's the freshman Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. She tweeted, Sandy Hook happens 60 years ago and we can't even get the Senate to hold a vote on universal background checks. Christchurch happened and within days New Zealand acted to get weapons out -- weapons of war out of the consumer market. This is what leadership looks like.

Also the presidential candidate Bernie Sanders, he said this. This is what real action to stop gun violence looks like. We must follow the New Zealand's lead, take on the NRA, and ban the sale and distribution of assault weapons.

You know, the difference though is that in the United States, gun ownership is a right. It's in the Constitution. In New Zealand, it's a privilege which makes it a lot easier to get these laws through. And also in New Zealand, there's just one government, there's no state governments, and there's no say that to deal with it as well.

So you know, there are comparisons to be made, but you know, New Zealand is a very different situation than the United States.

WATSON: It certainly is and it is fascinating to see how closely some people in the U.S. where this is such a contentious issue, how closely people are following how New Zealand is approaching the reaction and the policies that come after the atrocities that were carried out here in Christchurch on Friday.

[01:05:17] There does seem to be a sea change. The Deputy Prime Minister here Winston Peters has already put out a statement. He in the past has been against these types of gun control measures and he has fully endorsed them as part of the government here in New Zealand.

And the authorities here and Jacinda Ardern, she has repeatedly mentioned the Australian model as something that they have looked at closely, Australia in 1996. And this is something that's invoked by gun control advocates in the U.S. as well that in 1996, Australia had a terrible gun massacre and within short order, Australia crackdown. It organized its own buyback program and gun surrender program, and therefore fewer firearms per capita in Australia than in New Zealand, for example, and the gun deaths have gone down dramatically since that was implemented.

That is something that Australian guns -- U.S. gun safety advocates often bring forward when they're making their case and probably will hear them repeating that in the days and weeks ahead in the U.S. as that debate continues to rile the U.S. John?

VAUSE: Even in Australia, in 1996 out of the Port Arthur massacre, 35 people were shot dead by Martin Bryant which were about those tough new gun laws, it was not an easy sell for the Conservative government at the time. John Howard, he appeared -- you know, had rallies in the bush to try and sell this.

There's been some speculation he was wearing a bulletproof vest. He had a coalition partner that was a National Party which basically was representative of you know, many, many districts in the bush there the outback, and they did not want these tough gun laws to go through. They said it affected their way of life, how they could work their farms, that kind of stuff.

So there was opposition in Australia. In New Zealand, we see the same kind of stuff as well. You're hearing from farmers who say they need these semi-automatics as part of pest control for example.

WATSON: That's right. And the government has already made it clear that there will be exemptions for pest control. There will be exemptions for international sporting competitions, and for things like duck hunting. But what they've made clear is that the shotguns that could be used for duck hunting that you could get an exemption for, that they will be limited the number of rounds that that weapon can then use.

We've already reached out to one company here called gun city which acknowledged and told journalists that they had in fact sold several of the firearms to the suspect who has been arrested and accused of Friday's terrorist attacks. They so far say no comment at this time. And there are questions now about what will happen to legal vendors here who have some of the weapons that are now banned in stock. And that will definitely have an impact on those businesses and on their bottom line.

And we can assume that the government is taking into consideration that they'll have to compensate in some way these business owners for the impact that this can have on their businesses. It's not an easy answer. And again New Zealand has per capita, a large number of firearms. 1.2 to 1.5 million of them for a population of just under five million people. Not all of these firearms are now banned. The kinds of firearms that were used to kill at least 50 people last Friday, those firearms have now been banned. John?

VAUSE: Well, and we'll see how it works but it has been quick at it in sweeping. Ivan, thank you. Ivan Watson live for us there in Christchurch. Well an example of trumpian politics at its finest. Prime Minister Theresa May has thrown U.K. lawmakers under the bus blaming their indecisiveness for the utter catastrophe Brexit has become. But here's the trouble she's now in. She needs those very same lawmakers to back some kind of deal to get the E.U. to agree to the extension she's now desperately seeking.

The Prime Minister (INAUDIBLE) fly miles as she heads back to Brussels to ask for a three-month delay until June 30. And with just eight days until the Brexit deadline, she's appealing to the public -- to the public to urge lawmakers into action.


THERESA MAY, PRIME MINISTER, UNITED KINGDOM: This delay is a matter of great personal regret for me. And of this, I am absolutely sure you the public have had enough. You're tired of the infighting. You're tired of the political games and the arcane procedural rouse, tired of MPs talking about nothing else but Brexit when you have real concerns about our children's schools, our national health service, knife crime. You want this stage of the Brexit process to be over and done with. I agree. I am on your side.


[01:10:15] VAUSE: E.U. leaders are open to some sort of Brexit extension but it comes with a very big condition. CNN's Erin McLaughlin has more now reporting from Brussels.


ERIN MCLAUGHLIN, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: European Council President Donald Tusk made it very clear that in his view, a short Brexit extension for the United Kingdom is totally possible if, if, and that is a big if, Theresa May is able to get her deal across the line in Westminster next week.

If she's unable to do that, it's totally unclear what could happen next. Donald Tusk raising the possibility of yet another E.U. summit next week saying that at this point the E.U. will try everything within its power to stop a disorderly Brexit. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DONALD TUSK, PRESIDENT, EUROPEAN COUNCIL: Even of the hope for a final success may seem frail, even illusory, and although the Brexit fatigue is increasingly visible and justified. We cannot give up seeking until the very last moment a positive solution.


MCLAUGHLIN: Well, Thursday, E.U. leaders will gather here in Brussels to figure out next steps. They'll also hear from British Prime Minister Theresa May give her take on the situation. But given the political crisis unfolding there in the U.K., there really doesn't seem to be a magic bullet solution and that is a big worry because it's a thousand days on from that historic referendum and the cliff edge is right around the corner. Erin McLaughlin CNN Brussels.


VAUSE: CNN's European Affairs Commentator Dominic Thomas joins us now once again live from Los Angeles. OK, remember back in the day Margaret Thatcher, you know, the Prime Minister famous being resolute, determined, and she had that one line in particular. There is no alternative.

Well, Theresa May, she's tried that approach with Brexit, that there would be no extension to the March deadline. It was Deal or No Deal insisting there's no alternative. I mean, now, well, we've learned there's the alternative unless the whole thing actually doesn't work and then what cobble something together and you know, we'll put all the blame on Parliament for playing silly buggers and wasting the last three years.

DOMINIC THOMAS, CNN EUROPEAN AFFAIRS COMMENTATOR: Yes, so that wasn't very smart politically because of course, if she is allowed to bring this vote for a third time to the Houses of Parliament, she's, of course, going to have to rely on those parliamentarians to support her.

At this particular juncture, the ERG, the European research group also known as the Brexiteers seem unlikely to support it because it is essentially her deal or the possibility of a No Deal. And a No Deal would be far more attractive for them at this particular juncture. And it's hard to see this unrevised deal would in any way appeal to the -- to the DUP.

The other aspect of this too which was so extraordinary about those words and outside 10 Downing Street is that Theresa May bears tremendous responsibility for this particular situation that she's in and should be answerable to the British public for this. It was her party, it was her and David Cameron whom she served for six years as the Home Secretary who added to the Conservative Party manifesto in 2015 the promise of the referendum.

And they did this to appeal to U.K. voters, to far-right voters in the party. They started this whole thing. And then when she became prime minister in 2016 in the aftermath of this extraordinarily divisive Brexit campaign, she then went about in a snap election which was designed to further consolidate her power.

It backfired and part of the situation that we found herself in now -- herself in Parliament is that because for the last two years now she has had to find deals with different constituents and it is proved absolutely impossible to move ahead. She's the one that was at the head of this and she's the one ultimately must be held responsible for this.

VAUSE: You know, she was -- she was handed you know, not a great situation to be fair from Cameron, but maybe she's just not very good at this?

THOMAS: Well, all the evidence I think in the E.U. has lost -- has lost trust in her. She's not a good listener. And when you lose something by historic vote, the hint is there that this is not something that you're going to have to be able to do. And yet she has repeatedly come back arguing that this is the best deal and the only deal. And to that extent, she's absolutely right. It is the only deal that is on the table.

And the E.U. has been very strategic here in saying that there's a possibility of granting an extension but it has to be in exchange of something concrete. And of course, if she is unable to make this deal, to pass this deal through Parliament next week or in the next weeks to come, she will not survive in this particular position. And that will give the European Union and the British Parliament an opportunity to really consider where it is that they go from this moment in.

[01:15:07] VAUSE: Well, for now, Theresa May says, if in fact, the E.U. does agree to an extension, then that really is it there is no alternative after June 30. Here she is.


MAY: But I am not prepared to delay Brexit any further than the 30th of June. Some argue that I'm making the wrong choice. And I should ask for a longer extension to the end of the year or beyond to give more time for politicians to argue over the way forward.

Some have suggested holding a second referendum. I don't believe that's what you want and it is not what I want. We asked you the question already and you gave us your answer. Now, you want us to get on with it. And that is what I am determined to do. (END VIDEO CLIP)

VAUSE: You know what strikes me, Theresa May not -- may not want a second referendum, but there's enough polling out there which indicates that the majority is in favor of a second vote on Brexit. And again, when -- you know, the answer, you know, according to this polling, at least, would be very different from three years ago.

THOMAS: Yes, that's highly likely although, if it was so clear, you can certainly argue that the -- you know, the campaigners would be pushing for it a little bit further.

We have to just completely -- you know, reiterate the tremendous hypocrisy here of a prime minister arguing that a second referendum -- you know, would not be democratic and so on.

And yet, here she is pushing for her agreement for a third time to be voted on here. And let's not forget that we've been going through a whole set of non-binding amendments and all that's been going on in Parliament.

A referendum is simply a mechanism designed to weigh in on where people stand at a particular moment in history. And yet, the parliament voted against it last week. She is not in favor of it. It's hard to see what the mechanism is to get there. At this particular juncture, it's getting this bill back before Parliament, allowing them to vote on this for one final time and seeing where we stand. And I would be very surprised that if it makes its way through, that she does not immediately face a vote of no-confidence. And then, on this particular occasion, she will not survive it.

There needs to be some kind of break in this process in order to move to the next step. And the European Union is not going to provide them with a long -- with the further extension beyond this withdrawal agreement vote unless they can come up with something absolutely concrete. And a significant change in this process.

VAUSE: Where out of time, Dominic. But what is truly bizarre all of this, is that Theresa May is talking about, "I should have asked for a year or maybe more." The E.U. is talking about days or weeks if they do get a deal through Parliament, which just seemed unlikely.

You know, it seems like -- you know, alternative universes are where these people are living at the moment where -- you know, no one talks to the other one and it's so, all their own reality as they like to see it. So, I guess we'll see what happens in what, eight days from now?

THOMAS: No. Tomorrow even.

VAUSE: Yes, exactly. Dominic, thank you.

THOMAS: Thanks.

VAUSE: Well, the Democratic Unionist Party in Northern Ireland insists on an unbreakable bond with mainland U.K. But as CNN's Nic Robertson reports, some in the country are worried that DUP might not stick up for them when it matters most.


NIC ROBERTSON, CNN INTERNATIONAL DIPLOMATIC EDITOR: This is DUP heartland territory, the Democratic Unionist Party. And what voters here think could impact Theresa May's final days of negotiations with the European Union.

It is Lisbon, Northern Ireland's third largest city. Relatively prosperous, proudly loyal to mainland U.K., but increasingly worried about their place in it.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We are part of the U.K., and I see myself as part of the U.K. But, I don't know because I don't want us. No, because the U.K. want us? No, maybe not. So, it is quite worrying.

ROBERTSON: Do you think Theresa May is going to look after the interests of the people of Northern Ireland?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I don't think so.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I think she should. Because I don't think she should have saying that in the first place.

ROBERTSON: Many here are counting on the DUP to stick up for them. In short, Northern Ireland's bonds to the U.K. remain unchanged.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The DUP's role and I is critical. They've got responsibility and I don't know whether that responsibility for them is going to be absolutely cleared off.

ROBERTSON: Do you feel that Theresa May is not listening to the DUP at the minute?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I think she is listening, but she's backed yourself into a corner.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: If there was a deal that suit of Theresa May, she could dump (INAUDIBLE).

ROBERTSON: I don't know what political costs would that be for the DUP here, do you think?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Well, that -- I think it could be a very significant cost.

ROBERTSON: Some already sensing the DUP might abandon its redlines and shift blame to May's hardliners.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: DUP said that there are only 10 politicians and yet there is quite a few more hundred. Saying the same thing is them -- says doom either could blame DUP if things could do go wrong.

[01:20:04] ROBERTSON: And others contemplating what their parent's generation would never have done. Turning their back on the Unionists roots.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I think we've tried governing ourselves, we've tried being governed by Westminster. So, maybe the option is to be governed by Dublin.

ROBERTSON: United Ireland? Do you think the DUP is afraid of that?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes, of course. Of course, they are. Of course, I got a kick out. ROBERTSON: She was right about the anger. Without any prompting, a passerby jumps in.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No matter what do you think or what you say.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Makes no what I think -- that's not what I think.

ROBERTSON: No, no, no. No matter what you think, they'll never be United Ireland in our lifetime.

ROBERTSON: I was going to ask you that question in your lifetime, do you think it will happen?


ROBERTSON: Yes. And you -- and why -- and you're laughing?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Britain needs Northern Ireland.

ROBERTSON: Where unionists were once united, a Pandora's Box has been opened. The DUP, Theresa May, the E.U. will struggle to put a lid on it. Nic Robertson, CNN, Lisbon, Northern Ireland.


VAUSE: Next up on CNN NEWSROOM. Epic destruction and desperate efforts to save survivors. Cyclone victims clinging to rooftops and trees waiting to be rescued.

Also ahead, Boeing announced what's might be a fix part trouble 737 MAX fleet as new information is revealed about last year's doomed Lion Air flight.


VAUSE: Rescue workers in Mozambique are scrambling to save survivors of Cyclone Idai as some victims have climbed to rooftops or to the tops of trees to escape the rising flood water, and there, they wait for help.

All the official death toll stands at more than 200 in Mozambique. It is expected to rise significantly. The port city of Beira is cut off from the outside world, much has been left under water.

Bridges are out, roads are inaccessible from civil problems too for Zimbabwe and Malawi. And that's complicating efforts by aid agencies to help those hit hard by this disaster. Let's get more now from a Rik Goverde, he's a spokesman for the Save the Children for -- and he is in we part of it at Mozambique. So, Rik, thank you for being with us.

The scale of this disaster just seems incredible. So, I would like you to listen to the High Commissioner from Mozambique to the U.K. And this is what he said just a few hours ago.


[01:25:04] FILIPE CHIDUMO, HIGH COMMISSIONER OF MOZAMBIQUE TO THE UNITED KINGDOM: This is a big tragedy of Emmaus proportions of biblical proportion we had never seen before something like this.


VAUSE: So, when you're dealing with something -- you know, on this scale, and on this scope. What is the biggest concern you have, what's the first action, I guess, that you guys are trying to get into place here?

RIK GOVERDE, SPOKESMAN, SAVE THE CHILDREN: Yes. Well, the big problem, as you mentioned before, is access to the hardest hit areas. But in a -- in a case like this, what we really need to get out there is the basics. That's food, shelter, tents, tarpaulin, jerrycans for clean water, you know. Means, to purify water to prevent the outbreak of diseases.

Try and get a system going as soon as possible for children if they are separated from the parents to get them together again because children are extremely vulnerable in situations like this, especially if the separator from the parents.

VAUSE: What we're looking at is -- you know, an incredible area -- I think, you know spread, of course, not just one country, but countries. All in desperate need of some kind of assistance. So, how do you decide who gets what, where it goes?

You know, essentially, are you making life-and-death decisions about where this humanitarian assistance will end up?

GOVERDE: That's a -- that's a tough question to be honest. It's -- what we do is we have teams on the ground who assess in different places where the needs are the biggest. And then, make a plan -- short-term plan to get people or to get the aid there as soon as possible.

Again, you know, we're talking about shelter kids. People who have his by this -- who have been hit by this devastating storm and cyclone. They have lost everything. It's a -- it's a country, it's an area where it's already poor. And, you know that they didn't have a lot of means, to begin with. And now everything they had, think pots, pans, you know, the houses they had has been swept away. So that literally leaves them with nothing.

So, our goal is to get that and shelter to them as soon as possible. And food if possible, as I said, water purifying means to prevent the outbreak of diseases.

VAUSE: I want you to listen to a spokesman for the Red Cross. They had this -- they went out, they did an assessment of, you know, essentially, the survivors who have arrived in the soccer stadiums. The stadiums that now just filled with people in desperate need.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) JAMIE LESUEUR, OPERATIONS MANAGER, INTERNATIONAL FEDERATION OF RED CROSS AND RED CRESCENT (via telephone): The aerial assessment showed that football stadiums were full of people. And that on top of houses there were clusters of people requesting the assistance from the top of their lungs.

We can't give you a number, what we can say is that there's an immediate need and the search and rescue is working tirelessly around the clock to make sure they can go out and save those people.


VAUSE: Just very quickly, Rik. I guess, you know, this is obviously seems, it will get a lot worse in the coming days before it gets better.

GOVERDE: Yes, that is undeniably so. I think, you know, we can talk about numbers, but the real scale of the disaster will become clear in the coming days or weeks as water will start, and yet to -- you know, to retreat. And then, the exact -- the impact of this -- of this enormous disaster. Especially on families and children will become clear.

VAUSE: Yes. It's always the kids who suffer the most in the situations like this. Rik, we wish you well and the best of luck with all of that. And you got some work ahead of you. So, we appreciate you being with us.

GOVERDE: Thank you.

VAUSE: Meteorologist Pedram Javaheri has more now about the cyclone and the storms. So, Pedram, we've got you there?



VAUSE: What do we get with first, the forecast, and what can we expect? Sorry, go ahead.

JAVAHERI: There no worries that -- it's actually improving. We're finally seeing a change here as far as the seasonal rains that have been in place impacting this region.

Certainly storms in the area but not as much a bear now beginning to see conditions quiet down, and the thunderstorms across northern Mozambique. So, certainly, the southern tier of it seen improving conditions. And you take a look at the damage that has been done.

Really remarkable satellite imagery seen from above. Some 400 square kilometers of land that are completely submerged by water in some areas as much as six meters deep. And if you're curious, that is equivalent to seven times the size of Manhattan.

Essentially, takes seven Manhattan's spread them across this region of Mozambique. That's how much land we're talking covered by water, again, in areas almost 20 feet deep.

And the concern becomes, of course, when you have anything enter these waterways that become a widespread issue especially with warm weather. Infections, contaminants, sewage waste, whether it be chemicals that get in the water, you've got cut on your knee, you get to the water, that's also dangerous.

Of course, insects, wildlife also become aggressive when you have this sort of a currents take place where you have everything dispersed and moved about in recent weeks in recent days.

But, do you notice Beira points to the north there, that's where the heaviest rainfall is going to be confined to you. So, make it a little bit of a break here in recent days.


To the south we go, this is an area we're watching very carefully. We've got tropical cyclones Trevor and Veronica -- both of which are poised to strengthen dramatically the next couple of days.

Trevor could get up to a rapid, intensifying storm of 140 kilometers per hour, landfall somewhere across the northern territory. And that's an area of course, that does not see tremendous rainfall but this around Allan Springs (ph) we could see significant flooding over the next several days as this storm moves ashore.

It is very much the wet season, but even with that said, the wet season only means 40 millimeters of rainfall. We can get a month's worth of rainfall in a couple of days' times.

And John -- look at this across portions of the western territory of Australia -- an incredible storm system that has rapidly intensified to a Cat 4. It could be a Category 5 equivalent before weakening as it approaches Port Hedland later this week -- John.

JOHN VAUSE, CNN ANCHOR: Pedram -- thank you. Appreciate.


VAUSE: Next up here on CNN NEWSROOM, Donald Trump continues his long running feud with an American hero who has been dead for seven months. And many are asking, what's wrong with him?

After the break, a clinical psychologist will answer that question.


VAUSE: Welcome back, everybody. You're watching CNN NEWSROOM.

I'm John Vause with the headlines this hour.

New Zealand has moved quickly to change its gun laws less than a week after the mosque attacks that killed 50 people. Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has announced a ban on military style semi-automatics as well as assault rifles. Some part of that ban are effective immediately. The government is also planning a buyback scheme as well as amnesty programs for current gun owners.

British Prime Minister Theresa May is urging lawmakers to again back her Brexit deal. And part she's heading back to Brussels to ask the E.U. for a delay until June 30th. The E.U. has warned against extending the deadline beyond May 23 to avoid the U.K. having to participate in Europe's parliamentary elections.

And in Mozambique rescuers are scrambling to save survivors of cyclone Idai. Some victims have climbed to rooftops or trees, trying to escape the rising flood waters and there they've been waiting for help. Malawi and Zimbabwe also dealing with the aftermath of this disaster.

Over the weekend, The U.S. president restarted his feud with a dead man, Senator John McCain -- he died last year from brain cancer. And he continued to fight the ghost of McCain on Tuesday during a joint news conference with the visiting leader from Brazil.

And then on Wednesday, the president who's been dubbed Private Bone Spurs because of his multiple deferments to avoid the Vietnam draft lashed out again at McCain -- a man who spent a lifetime serving his country including five years as a prisoner of war.


DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: So I have to be honest, I've never liked him much -- hasn't been for me. I've really probably never will.

[01:35:04] But there are certain reasons -- John McCain received the fake and phony dossier.

He said two hours before he was voting to repeal and replace. Then he went thumbs down.

McCain didn't get the job done for our great vets and the V.A.

We're in a that's. And the VA -- we're in the Middle East that McCain pushed so hard.


VAUSE: Joining us now Judy Ho, a clinical and forensic psychologist. And it has been such a long time -- Judy. I'm so glad you're with us.


VAUSE: There was no one else I wanted to talk to about this other than you.

HO: Nice to see you -- John.

VAUSE: Good to see you. Ok, I want you to this next soundbite. This is a five-minute long diatribe from Trump on Wednesday. But this next soundbite I think might just reveal a lot about how the President thinks. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP: I endorsed him at his request, and I gave him the kind of funeral that he wanted which as president I had to approve.

I don't care about this. I didn't get a thank you, that's ok. We sent him on the way but I wasn't a fan of John McCain.


VAUSE: Trump begrudgingly authorized the use of Air Force 2 to fly McCain's body from Arizona to Washington. He did not authorize the funeral. Congress did that.

But how telling is it that this man who had sort of contempt for tradition, no regard for custom is upset over a lack of etiquette. He didn't get a thank you note?

HO: Right, well again not such new behavior from Trump. But he really focuses on himself, and all regards. So this is clearly a huge loss for America. Whether he personally liked McCain or not, he was a hero to many people. And of course, very crucial to his family members.

Trump is not going to be the first person on their mind when they're going to honor their father. So it's really interesting that he makes everything about himself. And I think that a lot of this really centers around the fact that he has shown this predisposition to always try to focus back on himself no matter what the consequence.

He feels like other people should be paying more attention to his feelings than he is paying attention to theirs. So you kind of expect that out of him, but he doesn't give the same way.

VAUSE: You know what's interesting is Trump has had an issue with McCain for a long time -- long before the 2016 presidential election. Here he is during the "60 Minutes" back in 1999.


TRUMP: I mean he was captured --

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And he flew combat missions.

TRUMP: Here's the question -- does being captured make you a hero? I don't know. I'm not sure.


VAUSE: 20 years is a long time to keep this up. Is there an inverse correlation here between McCain's, you know, outstanding record of service, you know, and Trump's history of draft dodging and other moral failings which is keeping this going?

HO: Absolutely. Well Trump really does feed on competition. And he doesn't like to lose. And he sees that people even, you know, after the fact, are still honoring McCain, still talking about how wonderfully he is.

And I think he's a little jealous. He gets envious. And I think that these are some of the traits that we've seen in the past where if he feels like somebody look like they're doing better than him then he feels the need to have to put them down.

Obviously in this case, this person is no longer here to defend himself. And I think that's why most people, even some Republicans right now are thinking this is just too low.

VAUSE: Yes. Well, speaking of going too low, there is the President's public feud with George Conway whose husband to White House adviser Kellyanne Conway. On Wednesday, Trump took to Twitter and said Conway was jealous of his wife's success -- that's Kellyanne's success -- calling him a stone cold loser a husband from hell. And then later in the day, that wasn't enough because later on in the day he went even further.


TRUMP: He's a whack job, there is no question about it. But I really don't him. I think he's doing a tremendous disservice to a wonderful wife. Kellyanne is a wonderful woman, and I call him Mr. Kellyanne.

The fact is that he's doing uttered tremendous disservice to a wife and family. She's a wonderful woman.


VAUSE: And so with that in mind Kellyanne Conway went on to defend her boss saying you know, Trump had shown restraint up until now, out of respect for her, and punching back.

But you know, this seems to go way beyond that sort of Trump, you know, -- he's just a counter puncher argument. You know, this is mean. It's nasty. Even, you know, on schoolyard level?

HO: Yes. Well, it's kind of awkward you can see, for Kellyanne Conway right now having to be sort of between these two men and having to choose a side.

It kind of seems like she's chosen some side, right. But to be fair, George Conway did accuse him of narcissistic personality disorder when of course, he is not a medical professional. He shouldn't be diagnosing him with such things.

And I think Trump is reacting from internal senses of what's right and what's wrong. And it doesn't matter what people advise him. They tell him, listen, you know, just stay out of it. Be above water. He just can't help it. And if he thinks of something in his mind and it angers him again, he's going to speak out again.

[01:39:54] And that's why you see him repeatedly putting out tweets, giving interviews that basically attack this person which, of course, he's attacking him for the same thing that George is doing to him which is accusing him of doing something or being something when he doesn't really truly know him as a person.

And Trump, of course, in his clip already admitted he doesn't know George Conway. But basically he thinks he's a whack job, using all of these terms that really put him in a really bad light.

VAUSE: Yes. There's none of that rising above, you know, the fray. And to your point, Conway at point on Wednesday, he tweeted that -- you know, he tweeted "@Trump you are nuts". You know, which is not especially helpful in all of this.

But Jack O'Donnell, I want you to listen to this because Jack O'Donnell worked for Donald Trump at one of his hotels. And he was on the receiving end of many personal attacks by Trump. Here's what he said.


JACK O'DONNELL, FORMER CEO, TRUMP PLAZA HOTEL AND CASINO: There is a mean streak that runs through Donald Trump's heart, that I don't think people can underestimate. And he does get a great deal of satisfaction out of that.

So while I'm not a diagnostician either for mental health orders. There is a piece of this that is almost sociopathic. That he likes to hurt people and, you don't have to be a professional to see these traits come out in him.


VAUSE: I mean not wanting you to make a diagnosis because I know we have the (INAUDIBLE) rolling and stuff but you know, do you sort of agree with that in a general sense, that there's a desire here by this president to hurt people.

HO: Well, I can say that in general when we see this, it's because the person deeply feels insecure inside. So they have the need to defend against other people who might hurt them and they want to hurt other people because they don't want to be found to be a fraud, or to be weaker, or whatever negative aspect they do sometimes associate with themselves and don't want the public to know.

And so I think this mean streak, to sort of take the other side of things could potentially be coming from a place where he's completely in self defense all the time. He's constantly in fight or flight. He's always trying to survive, push himself against anybody who might actually comment on some weakness that he may on some level be aware of and not want everybody else to know.

And when he does win, whether with his words or with his power, or with some actually some kind of tangible measure of success he wants to call the victory. He wants to make sure everybody knows about it and that he is superior to this other person.

And I think the people who have known him have sort of seen these patterns, yes and they shouldn't be throwing diagnosis around because that just contributes to stigma but I think they're just commenting on the fact that this is a behavioral pattern. And that it's not necessarily a good or healthy pattern or productive for his presidency.

VAUSE: And some have suggested that this sort of pattern of behavior specially certain cases can be so extreme, and what we've seen sort of come out nowhere is actually a contributing factor to making Donald Trump unfit to serve as President. Where do you stand on that?

HO: Well, I've always thought that it would be a good idea for all of our presidential candidates to actually submit to a psychological evaluation. We do need to make sure that you are physically and mentally fit to run the country. Obviously we didn't do that and so none of us will know unless he decides to voluntarily submit himself now.

But I would advise the President to sort of think a little bit about his own legacy. Sometimes the best way to appeal to people is to try to think about their self interest. What motivates them, and this is what he wants to be remembered for. Or does he want to try to reconfigure the way he presents to the public so that he can be remembered in a very positive way. Much like the way that McCain is being remembered now.

And sometimes that works, just appealing to that sense of self interest and telling, even if you don't internally believe it, just do it. So that it looks better to everyone.

VAUSE: We're out of time -- Judy. But he's got this love hate relationship like you know, he wants acceptance but then he doesn't like them and so he attacks them -- you know, it's just --


VAUSE: I don't know.

Ok, well, maybe you know, maybe by the end of his, you know, first term, we'll get it all sorted out.

Judy -- it's been too long. But it's good to see you. Thank you.

HO: So good to see you.

VAUSE: Well, a new report has detailed the final desperate moment for the flight crew of last year's doomed Lion Air flight in Indonesia, as investigators search for possible links between that crash and last week's Ethiopian Airlines tragedy.

CNN's Melissa Bell reports now from Paris.


MELISSA BELL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: This was all that was left of Lion Air flight 610 which crashed into the Java Sea last October. Debris picked through by the families of some of the 189 people who died on board. At fault, according to a preliminary report, an automated safety system on the Boeing 737 Max 8 triggered by a faulty reading from a single sensor. Reuters reporting that a chilling recording of the cockpit in the last few minutes before the crash shows pilots desperately looking through a handbook to try and figure out how to disable the system that was reportedly forcing the nose of the plane downwards.

That same plane, according to fresh reporting from Bloomberg, also encountering the very same problem the day before on a flight from Bali to Jakarta, but saved by an extra pilot who happened to be hitching a lift in the cockpit.

[01:45:06] News made all the more important by the crash on March 10th of Ethiopian Airline flight 302, that killed 156 people, a flight of the same type of Boeing, and according to preliminary data from the black boxes, one that followed a similar trajectory to the doomed Lion Air flight.

Those black boxes now are being looked into here at the BEA on the outskirts of Paris. Its former head spoke to CNN about the questions now facing Boeing.

JEAN-PAUL TROADEC, FORMER PRESIDENT, FRENCH AVIATION SAFETY AGENCE: The measures taken by Boeing after the first accident were not enough to avoid a second accident.

BELL: BUT The questions are not only for Boeing. We've seen the Transportation Departments now probing why the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration authorized, certified a system that was based on the readings of a single sensor. With many questions now being asked about how much of that certification process was handed directly to Boeing.

Melissa Bell, CNN -- Paris.


VAUSE: Next up on CNN NEWSROOM -- a rogue cop and a mysterious death. What exactly happened to the Venezuelan police officer who staged a high-profile uprising against the Maduro regime.


VAUSE: In Milan, Italy 51 students barely escaped with their lives when the driver of their set it on fire. They were on the return leg of a school excursion when the driver announced he was hijacking the bus. He then poured out gasoline, lit it, crashed into a car.

Police arrived moments later, evacuating students and teachers just before the bus went up in flames. The driver reportedly said he was protesting Italy's immigration policy.

New questions are being raised over the death of a renegade police officer in Venezuela. The official account says he died in a police raid on his hideout. But the country's former attorney general now says photos of the man's body seemed to show he was executed.

CNN's Patrick Oppmann has more from the Venezuelan capital.


PATRICK OPPMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Even for these tumultuous times in Venezuela, it was an audacious spot. In 2017, this police instructor Oscar Perez stole this helicopter and threw grenades over government buildings in downtown Caracas. No one was hurt. The attack was not meant to kill, Perez said but spark a popular uprising against the government of Nicolas Maduro. On the run, Perez he went into hiding, declared a fugitive by Maduro.

[01:50:04] "Venezuela we shall fight for liberty", Perez said, in one of several videos he released, criticizing Maduro for oppressing the Venezuelan people. Even before going rogue, Perez sought the limelight, skydiving with a police dogs strapped to his chest, demonstrating his marksmanship, and appearing in a movie called "Muerte Suspendida".

Perez attracted attention but few followers to his uprising. Last year Maduro's forces tracked Perez and a small group of supporters to a hideout in the hills outside Caracas.

A gun battle ensued. "We are not shooting, but they keep attacking," a bloodied Perez said in the last video he ever posted.

"We are negotiating to turn ourselves over, because there are innocent people here. There are civilians, but they don't want us killed."

The interior ministry said, a heavily armed terror cell opened fire on police. Perez and six supporters died, as did two government solders.

Today, the house is rubble. Bullet holes tell the story of the fierce firefight here but not how Perez met his end.

In his final social media posts, Oscar Perez says he and his men were surrounded at this house where I am by Venezuelan government forces who bombarding them with machine gun fire, grenades, and RPG.

Despite his elite training, Perez was outnumbered and outgunned. The government says he was killed in a shootout, but members of the Venezuelan opposition say Perez was executed here.

The fear that Perez was executed gained new credence after former Venezuelan attorney general turned government critic, Luisa Ortega released these police autopsy photos that she says proof Perez was executed.

She spoke to CNN from Colombia where she lives in exile.

"They weren't armed," Ortega says. This is proven by the bullet wounds, defensive wounds, in the palm of their hands and their sides, in the number of impacts each one of their bodies have.

Ortega says she received 300 more photos from police sources of the shootout, and is calling on the International Criminal Court The Hague to investigate the Maduro government for what she says were extrajudicial killings.

The Venezuelan government has not responded to CNN's inquiries about Ortega's accusations.

Nicolas Maduro said Perez he was a terrorist who died fighting. However he died, Perez's supporters say he's now a martyr in the bloody struggle for Venezuela.

Patrick Oppmann, CNN -- Caracas.


VAUSE: We'll take a short break, when we come -- the mood is understandably somber but amid the grief in unity right now, and there's also comfort in unity.


VAUSE: The two mosques at the center of last week's terrorist attack in New Zealand plan to reopen this Friday for weekly prayers. At the same time, armed police will be deployed to guard all mosques across the country.

More funerals were held on Thursday with a mass burial expected on Friday. This is just the start of the pain and the grieving and as Martin Savidge reports, shock is giving way to a sense of unity.


MARTIN SAVIDGE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: It has happened before, but it has not happened here before. And many New Zealanders never thought it would.

DENNY STANWAY-YOUNG, CHRISTCHURCH RESIDENT: We had felt some sort of what is now false sense of security because of our isolation because of our geography. Feeling a sense of safety. Well, there is no longer that.

CARINA VLASIN, CHRISTCHURCH RESIDENT: This doesn't happen at all, so it's just so hard to come to terms with it. I think, everyone's just feeling that right now.

SAVIDGE: In a nation that cherishes tolerance and multiculturalism, the mosque attacks have been devastating for everyone.

PAUL BENNETT, AMBULANCE OFFICERS: We ended up having to let the bodies on top of other bodies on stretchers. And those people were bleeding, and there was a lot of blood.

SAVIDGE: Near the sites of Friday's attacks memorials grow. A park in the center of Christchurch has become an overflowing garden of grief.

Florist Ginny Fagan wanted to make arrangements for all the funerals to come.

GINNY FAGAN, FLORIST: But I need help. I cannot do this alone.

SAVIDGE: Her online appeal summoned an army of volunteers, some bringing flowers from their own gardens. They made 50 bouquets.

FAGAN: Yes. That was pretty emotional when I saw that. Because I just sort of thought that was -- you know, each one that we made was for some -- a member of someone's family. Sorry. So, yes.

SAVIDGE: New Zealand didn't stop there.

JACINDA ARDERN, NEW ZEALAND PRIME MINISTER: Within ten days as this horrific act of terrorism, we will have announced reforms which will, I believe, make our community safer.

SAVIDGE: Within hours of the attack, the prime minister pledged to change New Zealand's gun laws. Within three days, the government agreed in principle to stricter controls, and gun owners began turning in their assault style rifles.

The country is not just restricting guns, but also the identity of the suspect accused of carrying out the hate-filled attack. The prime minister won't say his name, and many in the media won't even identify him.

ARDERN: He is a terrorist. He is a criminal. He is an extremist. But he will, when I speak, be nameless.

SAVIDGE: Rather than be cowed by fear, this small country is showing defiance. Drawing on its multicultural groups, across the island, students have been performing an ancient Maori chant called The Haka to show their love and respect for Muslim New Zealanders.

The message is fierce, strong, and simple, "We are one, they are us."

Martin Savidge, CNN -- Christchurch, New Zealand.


VAUSE: It's an incredible place.

Thank you for watching CNN NEWSROOM.

I'm John Vause.

Stay with us. A lot more news after a very short break.