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Trump Pitches Own Resort To Host Next Summit; Trump Skips Summit Meeting On Climate Change; Thousands Of Fires Ravaging Amazon Rainforest; U.S. Judge Rules Against Johnson & Johnson; Putin Fires Nuclear-Capable Missiles Near NATO's Borders; Fears Of New Arms Race As Russia Tests Missiles; Refugees Fearful of Returning to Myanmar; Australia Raises Alarm about Arrest of Yang Hengjun; Mainland Chinese Student Joins Fight for Democracy; "Breaking Bad" Movie. Aired 1-2a ET
Aired August 27, 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, everybody. Thank you for joining us. I'm John Vause. You're watching CNN NEWSROOM. Ahead this hour, amid the backflips, falsehoods, and distortions, Donald Trump leaves behind a trail of chaos and confusion after the G7 summit in France.
Plus, over at the White House is a telling (INAUDIBLE) lies about why Donald Trump was not on a briefing on climate change. The six other world leaders there managed to scrape together $20 million for the Amazon's fire emergency. Critics say that's chump change and are demanding bolder action.
"BREAKING BAD" is back. The movie sequel to the critically acclaimed T.V. show set for October debut, but will Walter White return from the dead and will he be played by Bryan Cranston?
Donald Trump infamously walked out of last year's G7 summit, but not this time. He says to the very end, sowing chaos and confusion on a variety of issues, including Russia as well a climate change. There's also a growing concern over Donald Trump's trade war with China. Abby Phillip begins our coverage.
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: This is a truly successful G7. There was tremendous unity.
ABBY PHILLIP, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: President Trump ending this year's G7 summit with his rendition of Kumbaya during a joint press conference with the French president.
TRUMP: We would have saved for another hour. Nobody wanted to leave. We were accomplishing a lot. But I think, more importantly, we were getting along very well, seven countries.
PHILLIP: But minutes later in a solo press conference, the divide between Trump and other world leaders on the climate crisis, Iran, and Russia were on full display. Hours after skipping a meeting attended by other G7 leaders on the impact of climate change, Trump once again dismissing the crisis he once called a hoax.
TRUMP: I'm not going to lose that wealth. I'm not going to lose it on dreams, on windmills, which frankly, aren't working too well.
PHILLIP: Trashing the Iran nuclear deal he pulled the United States out of.
TRUMP: I have to say the JCPOA was a bad deal. It should not have been entered into.
PHILLIP: This, as France's President Emmanuel Macron defended the deal by meeting with Iran's Foreign Minister on the sidelines of the summit. As for the prospect that he might meet with Iranian leaders, Trump initially wouldn't commit to a meeting, but later warmed up to the idea.
TRUMP: I think that there's a really good chance that we would meet.
PHILLIP: Trump continuing to push for Russia to rejoin the G7 despite other world leaders not agreeing. Meantime, with global markets influx as the trade war with China escalates, the issues seem to dominate the summit.
TRUMP: China wants to make a deal, and if we can, we will make a deal. We'll see.
PHILLIP: The president offering no apologies for his chaotic strategy to resolve the trade dispute.
TRUMP: The way I negotiate, it's done very well for me over the years and it's doing even better for the country.
PHILLIP: Even as tariffs escalate on both sides, Trump claiming without evidence that China is now ready to come to the table.
TRUMP: I believe they want to do a deal. The tariffs have hit them very hard in a fairly short period of time.
PHILLIP: When President Trump also raised the idea that next year's G7 summit which is supposed to be held in the United States might actually be held at his golf resort at Doral in Miami. Now, that has renewed questions about whether the President is potentially benefiting from his own presidency. But the President said that it's not about profit, it's about location. Abby, Phillip, CNN, the White House.
VAUSE: And with us now from Vermont is CNN Political Analyst David Sanger. David is also a Pulitzer Prize-winning reporter and National Security Correspondent for The New York Times. David, thank you for being with us.
DAVID SANGER, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: Great to be back with you.
VAUSE: OK, we've seen Donald Trump and all his Godzilla-like glory stomping over the world stage before, but this G7 ended with a twist, a sales pitch, you know, it would be like a Timeshare salesman, you know, selling to a retired couple. The 45th President of the United States was pitching his own resort in Miami as a host venue for the next G7. Here he is.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: Doral happens to be within Miami. The airport's right next door. We have incredible conference rooms, incredible restaurants, and we have many hundreds of acres so that in terms of parking, in terms of all of the things that you need. The ballrooms are among the biggest in Florida. Each country can have their own villa or their own bungalow.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VAUSE: It was extraordinary in -- for all the wrong reasons. But it also seems to add to this accumulation of evidence that this is a president who clearly has no time for these international gatherings. He doesn't take them seriously, he fails to see their value or their worth, and it makes this calculation that he may still do some business, make a little money while he's there, otherwise, it's a complete waste of time.
SANGER: One of the oddities of this is his phrase "we have" because he said when he came into office he was completely separating himself from the business. He was no longer going to be part of the Trump organization. True, he wouldn't divest himself from it, which is traditionally what presidents would do with their business ties, but instead he was making it sound very much like it was Phillip Trump property.
Sometimes he's got the good sense of humor to sort of recognize his own foibles here. When he was in the midst of the Greenland dispute last week -- but it seems so long ago -- he actually tweeted out a picture of a Trump Tower superimposed over a rural part of Greenland, most of it is rural, and said don't worry, I won't do this, right.
But here he was actually doing it at the summit basically making the argument there's only one place in America he could imagine where you could hold this summit, and it wasn't you know, with some other hotel resort or the Rocky Mountains.
[01:05:55] VAUSE: Yes. And he said summit we certainly held the bottom line at that Doral Trump resort. According to Miami Herald, Trump reported that he made $76 million from the Doral resort and Golf Club in 2018, down from $116 million in 2016.
The president though insisting that had nothing to do with his sales pitch. His advisors and aides he said, were the ones who decided it would be the best location for the next G7. Here he is.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) TRUMP: They went to places all over the country and they came back and they said this is where we'd like to be. Now, we had military people doing it. We had Secret Service people doing it. We had people that really understand what it's about. It's not about me.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VAUSE: The Washington Post reports aides say Trump has thought for months to hold the summit at Doral but many of his advisers have warned against the idea, concerned about the ethics of the President potentially profiting from an official government event.
You know, maybe someone in the West Wing read the Emoluments Clause, who knows. But even in the unlikely event that all this is above board, you mentioned this, the President seems to brought the stench of corruption onto himself by refusing to put all of these companies, his businesses into a blind trust by divesting his business holdings and walking away.
SANGER: That's absolutely right. And you know essentially he said you know, we surveyed the country and everybody came back and said this was the best result. Well, they knew exactly what answer that the president wanted. It had been leaked out before. He had talked about it before as a possibility.
So it was pretty clear they weren't going to come back and say well, you know, we found this you know, really fabulous western hotel out in San Francisco, sir. So it was pretty clear where this was going to happen.
So far in the Emoluments Clause, the courts have pretty been pretty consistent in ruling that the fact that foreign entities, foreign countries, visitors stay at the Trump hotel that's in Washington just a few blocks and the White House is not considered to be a violation. At least that's what they ruled so far, but I think he's sort of taking the ball and running with it.
VAUSE: This is all part of a credibility problem for this White House which does itself no favors by issuing statements like this to explain why the President skipped a briefing on climate change at the G7.
"The President had scheduled meetings and bilaterals with Germany and India so a senior member of the administration attended in his stead." Not a bad excuse it was true but it's not. Here is German Chancellor Angela Merkel and India's Prime Minister Narendra Modi at that climate change briefing.
When the lies and the statements are this easy to disprove, it seems to be a sign that the White House isn't even trying anymore. I also wonder, a big reason for this would be an end to the daily briefings because you know, at least then reporters could actually challenge the administration or call out this type of thing.
SANGER: Well, in this case, it's interesting that the session that he wanted to put on was the one where he could talk about American economic performance which certainly has looked better than that of the other members of the G7 but he wanted an opportunity to highlight that. '
And I'm sure he was looking for a reason to come up with other urgent business at a time they were taking up topics that he's made clear he not only doesn't want to hear about but doesn't particularly believe it. And this was the moment to discuss climate change, biodiversity, areas where his administration has basically sought to walk away from the agreements of the previous administration.
But it does tell you something that this is a president who is not eager to sit down and listen to contrary views. And so you know, one way of looking at this is there would be no more important session for him to go to than the one that was important to the other members of the G7 to show that he at least respects their opinion and wants to hear them even if he doesn't agree with them.
But that's not quite the way he operates. And you know, I don't think it's an accident that they chose to schedule some of his other meetings coincident with this -- with this particular session.
VAUSE: You know, there was a long list of Trump distortions and lies and falsehoods at the G7. We'll put up the most significant ones now. We can read them as we go along. Everything why he's skipped that -- skipped that climate briefing to you know, the resort in Florida and why he wants the G7 there.
But David, in particular, when it comes to China, the president made the claim over where trade talks are heading and the likelihood of a possible deal sometime soon with Beijing. Here he is.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
[01:10:21] TRUMP: China called last night to our trading people and said let's get to the table, so we'll be getting back to the table. The problem is the foreign ministry Beijing wouldn't confirm that actually happened. Here's the spokesman at the press briefing on Monday.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GENG SHUANG, SPOKESMAN, CHINESE FOREIGN MINISTRY (through translator): We hope that the United States can return to rationality as soon as possible abandon their mistake and actions and create conditions for talks on the basis of mutual trust, equality and mutual benefit.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VAUSE: Has there ever been a time when the word coming from a communist dictatorship is considered as credible, possibly more credible than the word of the U.S. president. This seems to be uncharted territory.
SANGER: Well, it is new territory as so much is with this administration. But actually what I found to be the most interesting thing in this discussion about China was the moment where he said -- he said several times that Xi Jinping was a great leader, a powerful leader, somebody he could work things out with. Now, you'll remember it was only Friday, only on Friday that he
described President Xi as an enemy of the United States and said that he would order American companies to begin to prepare to leave China. And then today he said well, you know, they can stay in China if we reach this trade deal and they'll do a terrific job. So that's separated by 72 hours.
And when he was challenged on this, he said, well, this is just -- sorry that's just how I negotiate which gives you a sense of what allies and adversaries are dealing with here which is somebody who openly admits that almost everything he says is sort of a negotiating position. Which then raises the question, if it's just a negotiating position, why is it that somebody would go listen to him and take his word to the bank?
VAUSE: David, as always, thank you so much.
SANGER: Always wonderful to be with you.
VAUSE: Also at the G7, the seven being the world's seven richest and most advanced economies, a pledge of $20 million in emergency aid to help relieve the impact from thousands of fires sweeping across the Amazon rainforest.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
EMMANUEL MACRON, PRESIDENT, FRANCE (through translator): Now we see what is happening in the Amazon and we would like to be able to respond to these ravages and we did this from the very outset for good reason. The Amazon is the lung of the planet and the consequences are extremely dire for the planet.
Many countries indeed have been affected and the surface area is about of two times the surface area of France. So we know how dramatic this is for the countries but for humanity as a whole.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VAUSE: So far this year, the Amazon has seen more than 70,000 compared to 40,000 for all of last year. Many I believe have been deliberately lit by ranchers and farmers who are trying to clear the land. But back in April, you may remember, within 24 hours of the fire which devastated the Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris, almost $1 billion have been pledged most from French billionaires for restoration.
We turn California now and Andrew Miller, Advocacy Director for Amazon Watch. Andrew, thanks for being with us. We just heard from the French prison again describing the Amazon there as the lungs of the planet. I want you to listen to the environmentalists and actor Leonardo DiCaprio. Here he is.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
LEONARDO DICAPRIO, ENVIRONMENTALISTS AND ACTOR: Well, they've got to do a lot more. I think the president has got to do a lot more. We must protect this vital landscape. Not only is it home just so much amazing biodiversity but it's really the lungs of the planet like I said and governments around the world including Brazil need to work together to make sure this doesn't continue. It's a tragedy.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VAUSE: You know, there it is again, lungs of the planet. But a number of very smart people are coming forward saying hang on. You know, among them professor of atmospheric sciences Scott Denning at Colorado State University. In a long detailed article, he explains the world's oxygen is actually produced in the oceans. Here's part of it.
"Even if all organic matter on Earth were burned at once, less than one percent of the world's oxygen would be consumed. In sum, Brazil's reversal on protecting the Amazon does not meaningfully threaten atmospheric oxygen. Even a huge increase in forest fires would produce changes in oxygen that are difficult to measure. There's enough oxygen in the air to last for millions of years and that amount has set by geology rather than land use."
OK, it's a long set up and I apologize for that. But I want to get to the point that fires burning in the Amazon are bad for a whole lot of reasons and we have to be precise why, and the claim or the insinuation that 20 percent of the world's oxygen is threatened is not true.
ANDREW MILLER, ADVOCACY DIRECTOR, AMAZON WATCH: Well, when we're talking about the Amazon as the lungs of the planet, in addition to the creation of oxygen, which is you've indicated is not 20 percent, but there are a whole series of other really important functions that the Amazon plays.
[01:15:11] As humans, we inhale oxygen and exhale carbon dioxide. The Amazon essentially absorbs carbon dioxide and helps create oxygen. And the absorption of the carbon dioxide in the trees, in the roots, et cetera is crucial for climate stability.
So, there are many ways in which the Amazon -- far beyond the creation of oxygen, where the Amazon is very crucial for environmental and climate reasons. The Amazon drives weather systems around the western hemisphere. The Amazon houses a tremendous amount of biodiversity, and the fires that are going on are representative of carbon emission, which are adding to other carbon emissions that are happening from cars, from fossil fuels, from other sources that are contributing to global climate change.
So, I think focusing just on the creation of oxygen is a bit problematic because there are so many other functions that the Amazon plays.
VAUSE: And all that, I totally agree with. This is a huge, massive disaster playing out, but not for the narrative which is playing out. And the problem with that is that, you know, this narrative is that the Amazon fires are sort of setting up an us versus them, you know, the world against Brazil's government. And that opens the way for Brazil's president to say stupid stuff about that, you know, $22 million in help from the G7. Here he is.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JAIR BOLSONARO, PRESIDENT OF BRAZIL (through translator): Do you think someone helped someone else to not be poor without something in return? Why do they have their eye on the Amazon? What do they want there?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VAUSE: And that appeals to his supporters but it's a narrative which is divisive and polarizing and doesn't do a lot to win over the very people whose cooperation is needed the most to say the Amazon, and that's the farmers and the ranchers, the guys who are setting the fires.
MILLER: Well, I mean, there's obviously a number of different actors that are very important. The ranchers and farmers are included in that. And alternatives need to be found to the current model essentially, because, yes, the destruction of the Amazon is so problematic in climactic terms, but there are other actors that are important to consider.
We focus a lot and work with indigenous peoples, who occupy large amounts of the Amazon, too, and who are under tremendous threat from those same loggers, from the ranchers, from illegal minors from others.
So, from our perspective, here's an entire group of folks who are crucial climate actors who essentially are not part of this conversation at all. And so, we believe that inclusion of indigenous peoples and their perspectives, and the importance of respecting their rights is absolutely crucial. And that's another indicator of the problems with Bolsonaro's policies and rhetoric. And, you know, the forest fires are simply the latest manifestation of an entire vision that Bolsonaro is trying to carry out within the Amazon.
We're also seeing spiking deforestation in recent months, and again, as I indicated, we work with many indigenous peoples who are receiving death threats and attempted land invasions of their territories. So, there are other -- there are other situations that need to be considered.
VAUSE: Let's listen to that indigenous voice because here is Chief Raoni, he's the elderly leader of one of Brazil's indigenous people. Listen to this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
RAONI METUKTIRE, BRAZIL INDIGENOUS CHIEF AND ACTIVIST (through translator): We believe that the position of Brazilian President Bolsonaro is inciting the producers to start fires. This type of arson in the Amazon, it happens every year in the Amazon. We haven't seen this type of fire before Bolsonaro. And we think that many mining companies and timber companies feel that Bolsonaro is supporting them in doing this. (END VIDEO CLIP)
VAUSE: So, you know, it seems pretty obvious that there is a direct line which can be, you know, drawn between Bolsonaro taking offers in January 1st, and this huge uptake in fires and destruction and deforestation that we're seeing in the Amazon.
MILLER: Well, these are trends that predate Bolsonaro, but we've definitely seen an exacerbation this year. And again, that's essentially by design. I mean, there are whole series of policies that are being carried out. The environmental laws in Brazil which are quite strong are simply not being enforced. The civilian agencies IBAMA, which is the environmental police, they're the ones who are supposed to go out and enforce the laws and have done an phenomenal job in the past. Their budget is being eviscerated, and Bolsonaro is making a lot of effort to try to change the laws to weaken the laws.
So, this last week when the fire -- the story about the fires and the images of the fires were going global, there were fights in the Brazilian congress around laws that had been proposed by Bolsonaro and his allies to weaken indigenous territories.
So, there's a very direct effort that's being made. And it's extraordinary when Bolsonaro talks about, you know, how the international community wants to come in and have control. Bolsonaro is actually very interested in investments in the Amazon. He's very interested in free trade agreements and exporting -- you know, the products, cattle and other agricultural products to other markets abroad. So, frankly, Bolsonaro is very interested in a certain kind of intervention --
[01:20:09] VAUSE: Right.
MILLER: -- in the Amazon, but simply the economic intervention that supports his vision.
VAUSE: Yes, the World Wildlife Fund is among many environmental groups grateful for this $20 million in emergency funding, but at the same time, points that clearly, it's way short of what's needed.
A part of the statement reads, "It's good to see the fate of this vital forest on the global agenda, as well as new commitments of funding. But protecting this incredible forest and the future of the planet will take bolder action."
Yes, up until a couple of years ago, there have been this real progress, real success in slowing the rate of deforestation in the Amazon. So, how do we get that back on track?
MILLER: Well, again, that was a function of the political will. And I think more important than the financial resources, because previously Norway and Germany had been supporting the Amazon fund to the tune of a $1 billion, but they recently withdrew that because Bolsonaro administration was essentially trying to control the decision-making process. So, the financial resources are there in many cases, but it's really a
question of the political will - are they going to enforce the existing laws and the existing protections for the environment, for indigenous territories? And the Bolsonaro regime is essentially trying to dismember all of those -- disassemble all of those existing laws, and that's a huge problem.
VAUSE: Yes, to say the least. Andrew, thanks so much for being with us, we appreciate it. Thank you for clarifying, you know, this lungs of the planet thing. It's been out there, it's important to get, you know, the facts down on record, so I appreciate that. Thank you.
MILLER: Thank you, John.
VAUSE: Short break. When we come back, a U.S. judge has announced his ruling in a landmark case against the pharmaceutical giant, Johnson & Johnson. What he says the drugmaker owes for its role in the deadly opioid epidemic.
Also ahead, growing fears of a new arms race between Russia and the U.S., even as Donald Trump digs in on his call for Russia to rejoin the G7.
VAUSE: A judge in Oklahoma has ordered Johnson & Johnson to pay out more than half a billion dollars for its role in the opioid epidemic in the United States. The company is planning an appeal. The details from Alexandra Field.
ALEXANDRA FIELD, CNN CORRESPONDENT: A landmark decision indeed right here in Oklahoma. This is the first state to take to trial a pharmaceutical company, accusing Johnson & Johnson of fueling the opioid crisis in this state through misleading marketing of two of its drugs. They say the company created a public nuisance that cost the state billions of dollars and devastated thousands of lives.
In court, after eight weeks of trial, after more than 100 witnesses were heard, a judge ruled in favor of the state, ordering Johnson & Johnson to pay some $572 million. Money that will go toward treatment and prevention programs. Johnson & Johnson says their drugs are necessary for legal pain management. They say that they have abided by all state and federal laws. They say there are a number of grounds on which they can appeal, and they believe that the company is being used as a scapegoat for a larger social problem.
This ruling will be looked at across the country. There are dozens of states that would like to follow in Oklahoma's footsteps. There's also a federal trial that would kick off this fall. It involves a couple of thousand claims from cities, communities, municipalities across the country that would all like to see big pharmaceutical companies held responsible for fueling an epidemic. In Norman, Oklahoma, Alexandra Field, CNN.
[01:25:09] VAUSE: Well, the last couple of days, the U.S. President Donald Trump has been pushing for Russia's return to the G7. At the same time, Russia's President, Vladimir Putin, has been launching nuclear-capable missiles, adding to fears of a new arms race. Here's CNN's international correspondent, Fred Pleitgen reporting in from Moscow.
FRED PLEITGEN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Vladimir Putin is making good on his promise to strike back at the U.S., test firing nuclear-capable missiles from a submarine near NATO's borders.
Vladimir Putin's spokesman confirming Moscow intends to further beef up its forces after America pulled out of the INF Treaty with Russia and test fired its own new missile.
DMITRY PESKOV, KREMLIN SPOKESMAN (through translator): You have surely heard the president's instructions. They have been given. In general, there has been quite intensive activity lately, both for military development and for our troops' maintenance in the proper state.
PLEITGEN: In a span of about 48 hours, Russia has conducted a flurry of military drills. Fighter jets launching air-to-air missiles, flying out of occupied Crimea.
The army practicing the so-called stealth deployment of medium-range nuclear-capable Iskander Missiles in Kaliningrad. And practicing anti-ballistic missile defense in the Far East. All these, as President Trump at the G7 Summit in France, voiced his desire to invite Russia to the next meeting of the group of leading industrial nations in the U.S. next year.
French President Emmanuel Macron, however, acknowledging no consensus was reached with other leaders on the issue. President Trump showing concern for Putin's feelings.
TRUMP: You know, he's a proud person. Would I invite him? I would certainly invite him. Whether or not he would come, psychologically, I think that's a tough thing for him to do. You have G8, now it's a G7, and you invite the person that was thrown out really by President Obama, and really because he got outsmarted.
PLEITGEN: But the Kremlin is not even acknowledging it wants back into the G7. Vladimir Putin's top diplomat almost mocking President Trump's advances.
SERGEY LAVROV, RUSSIAN FOREIGN MINISTER (through translator): We have nothing to do with it. We haven't asked anybody for anything. We found out about this from public statements of certain western colleagues. We haven't requested anything on this issue and are not going to. Life goes on.
PLEITGEN: Meantime, as President Trump's efforts at diplomacy sputter, the military escalation continues. Russia also announced it will soon rearm old Soviet Arab bases on the Black Sea with new missiles. Fred Pleitgen, CNN, Moscow.
VAUSE: It's been two years since the U.N. failed the Rohingya people and Myanmar's campaign of genocide began, but history could be repeating itself. Military facing new accusations of war crimes and brutality, and the U.N. repertoire to Myanmar is calling out the security council for a massive failure. Details next.
[01:30:23] JOHN VAUSE, CNN ANCHOR: Welcome back, everybody. You're watching CNN NEWSROOM.
I'm John Vause with the headlines this hour.
The G-7 summit may have cleared a path toward diplomacy between the U.S. and Iran. France's Emmanuel Macron says the Iranian president has told him he is open to meeting with Donald Trump. Donald Trump has told reporters there's a good chance he will meet with Hassan Rouhani. Both will attend the upcoming U.N. General Assembly.
G-7 leaders have agreed on a $20 million emergency fund to help Amazon countries impacted by fires there. The French president pledging military support and said these fires are damaging the environment.
Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro meantime is accusing G-7 leaders of treating his country like a (INAUDIBLE).
Johnson and Johnson says it will appeal after a judge ordered it to pay more than half a billion dollars for its role in our climbing (ph) opioid crisis. Dozens of U.S. states are suing opioid drug makers. This is the first case to reach trial. The federal trial is slated to take place later this year.
Hundreds of thousands of Rohingya refugees are marking what they call Genocide Day. It's their own genocide. It's been two years since Myanmar's military began ethnic cleansing and which forced more than 700,000 Rohingya to flee to neighboring Bangladesh.
Myanmar's military insisting it was targeting insurgents and denies allegations of mass killings and gang rapes, as well as a whole list of other atrocities.
Yanghee Lee is the U.N. special rapporteur on Myanmar. She's been banned from the country. She joins us now from Seoul. Yanghee Lee -- thank you for being with us.
I want to get especially this point because two years on, even though an internal report within the U.N. released earlier this year found that the United Nations essentially failed at the range of, that failure appears to be happening again in Myanmar with the military there employing almost identical tactics. This time though against the Buddhist ethnic minority but also in Rakhine State. How can this stop. How can the U.N. actually prevent this from playing out a second time?
YANGHEE LEE, U.N. SPECIAL RAPPORTEUR ON MYANMAR: Well it's unfortunate that the U.N. -- notably the Security Council -- has been very, very ineffective in trying to find accountability and put justice at the forefront of what they are doing in the Security Council.
What the Tatmadaw is doing now is not new. They've done this to be the ethnic Kachins, the Chins, and Kayans in the past. And they have done it to the Rohingya two years ago.
Now they are doing the same thing to the Rakhine community. So they are going on and on with the same modus operandi because they have not been held accountable for any of their misbehaviors.
VAUSE: So you know, and this is the problem here. You know, a genocide which goes basically unnoticed or essentially, you know, without sanction. It's a very dangerous message and it leads to more to genocide.
LEE: of course, it just emboldens the perpetrators of the genocide. So it's called an ongoing genocide, not only for the Rohingyas but now it's a new genocide occurring for the Rakhine community.
And so I have stressed over and over again that the Security Council must refer the Tatmadaw to the ICC. If they failed to do so, I have also recommended that a tribunal, an international tribunal be set up. And, at the same time, what member states can do is apply universal jurisdiction.
Furthermore, other states, who are party to the genocide convention can refer Myanmar to the ICJ and I think Gambia took the initiative for the OIC. And I really call for other states to come forward to calling -- or referring Myanmar to the OIC in the interim.
VAUSE: And just for our viewers, who may not be up to speed with everything. Tatmadaw is essentially Myanmar's military. Some of these terms that people may not be entirely familiar with.
But going back to the U.N. role in all this. The Human Rights Watch, among other groups, have highlighted the problem with that report which came out early this year that basically in many it was highly critical of the U.N. but no one was named. No one is held accountable.
And the Human Rights Watch group says that was an exercise designed to show commitment to accountability when in reality it accomplishes exactly the opposite.
You know, I really this one won't help a million Rohingya refugees terrified to return home. But for years those who sound the alarm leading up to the events of August 2017 were silenced or they're ignored. The U.N. resident coordinator of Myanmar sent (INAUDIBLE) played down what was happening. [01:34:55] So if no one is named, if no one is held accountable, if no one is fired, demoted, systems are not changed, then that report is a waste of time, isn't it?
LEE: Of course. And it's really shameful that the U.N. has embarked on this exercise again. Many years ago, after the Sri Lanka situation, Charles Patrick came up with a damning report and which resulted in Ban Ki Moon as Secretary General to initiate the Human Rights Affront Initiative.
This initiative has not been applied in Myanmar in regards to the Rakhine situation. And now we are hearing this over again like a broken record. Never again. But we will hear this it again. We are hearing it again now as we speak.
VAUSE: I would add that right now, there is not one Rohingya refugee staying in the camp in Bangladesh who was willing to return to Myanmar, and this is why. Listen to this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SABBIR AHMAED, ROHINGYA REFUGEE (through translator): With nothing but our lives we came to Bangladesh. Here in Bangladesh, we have shelter now. We have a little peace. Now they want to send us back.
Please it's better to kill us here, but don't send us to that country of brutal people. Better to get us poisoned. I will die drinking that poison. I will take poison but I will not go back.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VAUSE: If the leaders who are responsible for this are not held accountable and that includes the de facto civilian leader Aung San Suu Kyi, then nothing is going to change, is it.
LEE: Absolutely. The Rohingyas would not want to go back because right now, the Tatmadaw who forced them out, who committed the brutalities are still there, with total impunity.
The oppressing laws are still there, oppressing policies, the administrative and policies in practice are still there that Rohingya had citizenship, many Rohingyas had citizenship prior to 1982. That was all revoked.
They want their citizenship to be reinstated again and be granted freedom of movement, freedom of rights to services, (INAUDIBLE), education, and health services. In other words, just like any other Myanmar citizens enjoy. This is what the Rohingyas want. Then they will go back.
VAUSE: Why did the U.N. call out Aung San Suu Kyi though --
LEE: -- the ones that had been totally raised in. VAUSE: So I just want to get back to Aung San Suu Kyi because back in
June, she told Hungary -- this story went under the radar. She met with the far right anti-immigrant Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban and foreign policy noted these two tarnished icons now spurned by disappointed humanitarians and former Western friends bonded over their far-right tropes, such as the supposedly continuously growing Muslim populations in Myanmar and Europe, the fake news media and their beastly little critics.
You know, the lady as she once was known is not quite the lady or the leader the West thought she was. Isn't it time she is held accountable alongside the military.
LEE: Well, the comments she has made recently and before has really baffled me, as well as others. Totally disappointed us. Aung San Suu Kyi -- I have total -- I had total respect for her in the past. I thought she was a human rights icon.
But we have to remember that she is the icon that the international community portrayed her to be. She is a politician, through and through. And politicians' main objective is to get elected and to get reelected, therefore stay in power.
I think that is her priority. So if you understand the priority and the general public, the majority support her she's not going to change her mind.
VAUSE: So you're giving her a clean slate, that she's essentially not responsible for this. She does not have a role to play? She's not accountable for any of this?
LEE: Of course not. No, I have said this in another interview that she is not, not accountable. She cannot be not accountable. And the future decisions I think the U.N. may find out that her complicity may have played a greater role, and therefore complicity is part of accountability, too.
VAUSE: Ok. Yanghee Lee -- thank you so much for being with us.
It is an appalling situation. It's not getting any better but thank you. We appreciate your time.
Well, still to come here, Australia raising the alarm about one of its citizens being held in China. What we're learning about the detention of Yang Hengjun -- right after the break.
[01:39:32] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
VAUSE: Australian diplomats in Beijing have serious concerns about the detention of an Australian writer. Yang Hengjun was formally arrested last Friday on suspicion of espionage. Australian Ministry of Foreign Affairs says he's being held in harsh conditions and has been held since January.
CNN's Steven Jiang joins us now live from Beijing with details. What more to we know -- Steven? STEVEN JIANG, CNN SENIOR PRODUCER: Well, John -- as you know typically as the case here in China, we don't know a lot about Mr. Yang's case because the authorities here have not officially confirmed his arrest or the spying charges against him.
They -- we have been trying to reach two different ministries and governor agencies here. None of them have commented. But previously, of course, Chinese officials have said he was being investigated here by national security authorities in strict accordance with law and that his legal rights were being protected and that he was in good health.
Of course, now the news of the arrest and the spying charges came from Canberra, from the Australian government. But we are not sure at this stage who he is accused of being spying for. Now, he is an Australian citizen as I mentioned. He had spent most of this recent years actually in the U.S. Most recently in New York as a visiting scholar at Columbia University.
He is -- he was a very prolific writer and a satirical kind of writer using that kind of language to criticize the government, to call for greater democracy.
But as of now we don't know much about his case from the Chinese side. His Beijing-based lawyer hired by his family has not been granted access to him. So the case against him, of course, raised lot of alarm around the world because this seems to be another case of the Chinese government taking a so-called foreign hostage when they are trying to have the government of these citizens' home countries pay when Beijing has clashes with these governments. So this, according to many critics, has a chilling effect on foreigners' perception and travel plans to China -- John.
VAUSE: That is for sure -- Steven. Thank you. We appreciate the update. Steven Jiang, live for us in Beijing.
Of the seven million residents of Hong Kong, more than one million are from the mainland. And increasingly they find themselves caught in the middle of a fierce debate over where their loyalties lie.
CNN's Kristie Lu Stout sits down with a Chinese student from the mainland who's helping fight for Hong Kong's democracy.
KRISTIE LU STOUT, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Gloria Lee is a mainland Chinese student who moved to Hong Kong to study journalism and here, she joined the protests against the government.
In her cramped student room, she shows me photos of herself at a recent march and asks us to hide her identity. Gloria does not want her parents, let alone the Chinese government to know what she is doing.
GLORIA LEE, MAINLAND CHINA STUDENT: It's risky. It's dangerous. I need to face a much higher risks than my fellow local students when they are doing the same thing as me. But I think it is worth it.
STOUT: Gloria says her activism puts her at odds with other mainland students at the Chinese University of Hong Kong who call her a separatist.
G. LEE: We are human beings. We should live in integrity. We have the right to form a power, to demand what we want.
STOUT: The protests have fractured the bonds of many in Hong Kong as friends, family, and colleagues voice their strong opinions.
But among mainland Chinese residents in Hong Kong, politics tends to favor Beijing. Researchers say that they are more politically conservative and supportive of pro establishment parties.
I met some of them at a pro police rally in Hong Kong, including 47- year-old executive Bennie.
BENNIE, HONG KONG RESIDENT: We support the police, and want a safer Hong Kong.
[01:45:02] STOUT: Since the handover from Britain in 1997, more than 1 million people from the mainland have moved to the city, increasing the population to around 7.5 million. It has also increased attention, as locals decry the impact of so many mainland Chinese coming to the city, fearing their city is losing its identity.
Those tensions have now flared, with mainland Chinese singled out by aggressive protesters. Like the assault of this all of this mainland Chinese resident at the Hong Kong International Airport. Scenes like this make some mainlanders feel isolated in the city they call home.
But Hong Kong is changing. Last year, the population increased by some 69,000 but the majority made up by new arrivals from mainland China. And as more and more people from mainland China moved here to Hong Kong, the political climate will inevitably change.
JOSEPH CHENG, CITY UNIVERSITY OF HONG KONG: The Chinese authorities have been building up their brute strength through various types of alumni associations, clan associations, homeland associations. And they can easily be mobilized as reflected in protest rallies and gatherings in support of Beijing.
STOUT: China did not respond to requests for comment, but Chinese officials have said Hong Kong's local government and police are capable of handling the protests with the backing of Beijing's support, but that the violence should not be tolerated.
Meanwhile, pro Beijing rallies like this one are already transforming the political fabric of Hong Kong, boosting support for Beijing. But this young mainlander hopes to turn the tide.
G. LEE: I'm very optimistic. I still can see hope in front of us. I'm still very willing to devote myself into the movement.
STOUT: In Hong Kong, Gloria enjoys freedom she would never have in the mainland, freedoms that she's willing to fight for.
Kristie Lu Stout, CNN -- Hong Kong.
VAUSE: Well, with Jakarta sinking into the sea, Indonesia's president has revealed the location of the country's new capital. The forested area on the east of Borneo will replace Jakarta, a $34 billion project which officials say will take about ten years.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JOKO WIDODO, INDONESIAN PRIME MINISTER (through translator): The place has minimum risk of natural disasters such as floods, earthquakes, tsunamis, forest fire, volcanoes and landslides.
Secondly, the location is strategic, as it is located in the center of Indonesia.
And thirdly, it's opposed to other (INAUDIBLE) cities --
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VAUSE: Environmentalists though fear this will lead to increased deforestation, greater levels of pollution which is already on the rise from the coal mining and palm oil industry.
We'll take a break. When we come back, get ready to throw your pizzas on the roof. "Breaking Bad" is coming back. Who is and maybe who is not in the movie sequel. That's ahead.
[01:49:59] VAUSE: And it looks just like all the other once. But this one could be a little darker. (INAUDIBLE) Ray, maybe she's just having a vision or a dream because "Star Wars" does that stuff.
The "Rise of Skywalker" is the final chapter -- thank God -- in the current "Star Wars" trilogy released in time for the holidays this coming December.
As it turns out one should never doubt the word of Walter White.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BRYAN CRANSTON, ACTOR: We're done when I say we are done.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VAUSE: The critically acclaimed TV series about a high school chemistry teacher turned drug kingpin wasn't done after the season finale back in 2013. El Camino, a "Breaking Bad" movie is set for release by Netflix this coming October. The movie , it picks up where the TV series left off. No word if Bryan Cranston will return as Walter White but co-star Aaron Paul will once again play the role of his meth cooking sidekick Jesse Pinkman who we last saw escaping from a gang of Neo-Nazis.
Here's the official trailer featuring another returning character, Skinny Pete.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I don't know what -- 500 times already. I have no idea where he is. I don't know where he's headed either -- North, South, West, East, Mexico, the moon. I don't have a clue. But you know even if I did, I wouldn't tell you.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VAUSE: For more "Breaking Bad", super fan Sandro Monetti, who's joining us from Los Angeles . Sandro is the editor in chief of Hollywood International Filmmaker magazine.
Ok. Firstly to me it's incredible it's been what six years since the last season of "Breaking Bad". You know, the pressure is on. Aaron Paul, ok -- Jesse tweeted this out. "Vince -- as in Vince Gilligan, writer and creator -- absolutely crushed this thing on the page and on film. Thrilled for the world to finally see this piece of cinema history."
If this movie does anything short of knock it out of the ballpark amazingly awesome, there will be disappointment. And by that I mean I will be disappointed.
SANDRO MONETTI, HOLLYWOOD INTERNATIONAL FILMMAKER: How can it not be. Vince Gilligan is at the controls. He has shown with the prequel series, better called "Saul", that he is by no means finished with this world. Now he has got the sequel movie. I think this is just the start. This could be the first in a series of movies.
Because in the six years since the show went off the air, the entertainment landscape has changed because of the advent of streaming. So many more people are discovering and rediscovering those classic 62 episodes. People want more and now Vince Gilligan and the team are delivering it.
VAUSE: Never a big fan of (INAUDIBLE) "Saul". I thought it was kind of disappointing, to be honest.
MONETTI: Well, you know, you don't like "Star Wars" either, so we can't listen to you -- John.
VAUSE: Fair enough. What is impressive though?
MONETTI: You're not exactly Mr. Mainstream, are you there?
VAUSE: All right. What is impressive was how this entire project was kept under wraps? From the "New York Times", by the time the news media became aware of the project, the movie had already happened and was in the can. It was done. It's amazing.
MONETTI: It is amazing and also the movie was shot in Albuquerque, under the title "Green Breyer" (ph), so nobody just made the connection of what it was, that it was Breaking Bad.
So, you know, there's been a lot of talk of who will be in it. now. Now Bryan Cranston is not listed in the cast list but surely, you know, there's going to be a flashback cameo with Walter White. And, you know, they've kept everything else under wraps so, why not that as well? I'll be kind of disappointed if Cranston is not in it.
VAUSE: Absolutely. And again, we don't know all the details about the script but this scene was re-tweeted out by Aaron Paul. And in his words, he said he did this to prepare us for what's to come.
Have a look at the scene.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Ever since I met you, everything I've ever cared about is gone, ruined, turned (EXPLETIVE DELETED), dead. Ever since I hooked up with the great (INAUDIBLE).
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VAUSE: So what do you take from that? What should we expect?
MONETTI: Well, more great acting from Aaron Paul, for one thing.
VAUSE: In terms of the script, I guess.
MONETTI: In terms of the script, it's the psychological damage that's been left of him. I mean he was all alone at the end of "Breaking Bad", he literally had nowhere to go in his life so where do you go in that situation? He's got to deal with his pain, his resentment, his emotion. It's all great stuff for drama. It really can't miss.
VAUSE: The amazing thing about Aaron Paul playing Jesse Pinkman, he was originally going to die in the first season, but they liked him so much and his character so much they rewrote everything and kept him in.
MONETTI: They really did. I mean this happens a lot in television. You know, some of the greatest projects have been open to unexpected developments. And when you get an actor as good as that and the chemistry virtually that he had with Bryan Cranston was so fantastic.
[01:54:57] And this has been the making of him. And he's continued to work since. He's going to be in the new "Westworld" series. He's had loads of other projects and, you know, acting is very much about having the opportunity to get the ball past you and then putting it in the goal.
And every time it's been passed to him, you know, he's delivered. He's just a great talent. And it's wonderful to see him back in the role which gave him his career but doesn't necessarily define him.
VAUSE: That's a good point, you know. Because he's along with the same actor who was cast in the role of Skinny Pete, also Walter White's wife Skyler. The same actress, the same actress who's done (INAUDIBLE). The same actress, Skyler's Marie -- same actress again.
Her husband was killed by Walter, in case anyone's forgotten.
But, we mention, there's no word on Bryan Cranston as Walter White. And I'm with you. I think it's impossible to go ahead and make this without Bryan Cranston. Even if he did appear, we were not certain about this, but appeared to die in that last episode.
MONETTI: I don't necessarily agree because one of the strengths of "Breaking Bad" was all the supporting characters were so good. And I mentioned that entertainment has changed over the last few years. What's happening now is universe building.
You mentioned "Star Wars" before. Disney is spinning off -- you said it's the last Star Wars movie but, there's so many "Star Wars" TV series coming to Disney Plus. And Disney Plus seems a Netflix killer. So Netflix screening "Breaking Bad" on October 11th reminds everybody hey we are still here and we're not going away. We've got these big projects and it will be in their interests for this to be a hit and to maybe build a "Breaking Bad" universe. I mean there's so many characters in there that can get their own spinoff, their own set of --
VAUSE: -- without hitting a "Star Wars" move and --
MONETTI: It doesn't dilute the brand if the quality stays high. I mean, you know -- you know, look at the success of "Marvel movies. More and more, they keep getting more and more successful at the box office. Give the public what they want and I think this could be a message to other shows.
If you look at "The Sopranos" had a great ensemble cast. Maybe they can spin off characters from that. Everything old is new again in television.
And you know, let's have more of the best because it's great stuff. As long as the original creators are involved.
MONETTI: Like Vince Gilligan, that's important.
VAUSE: All about the quality, mate. Certainly good quality, you know.
MONETTI: That's why they keep you around -- John. It's all about the quality.
VAUSE: All that quality. Sandro -- thanks.
Be well. Cheers, mate.
VAUSE: Thank you for watching CNN NEWSROOM. I'm John Vause. The news continues with Rosemary Church after a short break. [01:57:25] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
ROSEMARY CHURCH, CNN ANCHOR: A G-7 shake up. President Trump skips a major meeting on climate.