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Little Discussion of Rohingya Refugees at ASEAN Summit; Horse Named after Trump's Mistweet; Democrats To Release More Transcripts This Week; Trump Officials Defy Congressional Subpoena; Poll: Trump Still Competitive In Battleground States; U.K. Parliament Elects New Speaker Amid Brexit Chaos; German City Declares Controversial "Nazi Emergency." Aired 1-2a ET

Aired November 5, 2019 - 01:00   ET




JOHN VAUSE, CNN INTERNATIONAL ANCHOR: Hello. I'm John Vause. You're watching CNN NEWSROOM live from Studio Seven at CNN's World Headquarters in Atlanta. Ahead this hour, there was no quid pro quo. There was no quid pro quo. But hey, if there was it would have been fine. The ever-changing impeachment defense from Donald Trump which also includes character assassination and stonewalling Congress.

India's government tinkers around the edges as toxic smog continued to choke the capital. And leaders in Southeast Asia inches closer to the world's largest trade deal, but as little to say about one of the world's largest refugee crises on their doorstep.

The first transcripts from the closed-door testimony and the U.S. Impeachment Inquiry have been released. Well, there's 500 pages which talk of bullying tactics as a version of foreign policy to help the President's reelection campaign and attempts to raise the alarm which will all been ignored. And there's plenty more to come.

House Democrats plan to release more transcripts every day for the rest of the week. And with its ever-growing mountain of evidence, the President keeps changing his defense, often contradicting his earlier statements. Our coverage begins in Washington with CNN's Alex Marquardt.


ALEX MARQUARDT, CNN SENIOR NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Tonight, the impeachment inquiry moving into public view as transcripts of closed- door testimony are released for the first time. Explosive comments made under oath by former ambassador to Ukraine Maria Yovanovitch and Michael McKinley, a former top aide to the Secretary of State who resigned in protest.

Yovanovitch telling lawmakers that the rogue Ukraine policy Led by President Trump's personal attorney Rudy Giuliani was not good policy, kind of a partisan game that cut the ground from underneath the U.S. Embassy. "Ukrainians were wondering whether I was going to be leaving, Yovanovitch said. Whether we really represented the president."

Yovanovitch said that late last year she learned from Ukrainian officials about a concerted campaign that Giuliani and a former prosecutor had plans and that they were going to, you know, do things including to me. A senior Ukrainian official warning her to watch her back.

REP. ADAM SCHIFF (D-CA): That smear campaign orchestrated by this irregular channel was successful in removing a U.S. ambassador and tarring her reputation.

MARQUARDT: After repeated attacks from Trump allies like his son Don Jr. and Giuliani, Yovanovitch who was a 33 year veteran of the Foreign Service went to Ambassador Gordon Sondland, appointment for the President's on Ukraine for advice. His response, you need to go big or go home. Tweet out there that you support the President and that all these are lies and everything else.

McKinley for his part said he was disturbed by the implication that foreign governments were being approached to procure negative information on political opponents and what appears to be the utilization of our ambassadors overseas to advance domestic political objectives.

McKinley says he went to his boss Secretary Mike Pompeo three times for a show of support for Yovanovitch but Pompeo he didn't respond which is directly at odds with what Pompeo told ABC News.

MIKE POMPEO, SECRETARY OF STATE, UNITED STATES: I never heard him say a single thing about his concerns with respect to the decisions made.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: So you were never asked to put out --

POMPEO: Not once. Not once, George, did Ambassador McKinley say something to me during that entire time period.

MARQUARDT: Officials at the State Department were reluctant to show support. Yovanovitch said she was told in case the rug would be pulled out from under them by Trump. Finally, Trump pulled Yovanovitch out of Ukraine in May. She said she was called at 1:00 in the morning. She was told to get on the next flight to Washington out of concern for her security, but she was given no details.

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I heard very, very bad things about it for a long period of time. Not good.

MARQUARDT: There is much more to come from these depositions. So far there have been 13 hearings behind closed doors. The three committees that are leading the inquiry are releasing these transcripts bit by bit.

On Tuesday, we're expecting to see two more transcripts from two of the President's appointment on Ukraine. The first is former special envoy to Ukraine Kurt Volker, and then the U.S. ambassador to the European Union Gordon Sondland. Alex Marquardt, CNN, Washington.


VAUSE: Harry Litman is a former U.S. attorney and host of the Talking Feds podcast. He is with us live from San Diego. Harry, it's been a while. So thank you for coming in and being with us.

HARRY LITMAN, FORMER U.S. ATTORNEY: Sure. Thanks for having me, John.

VAUSE: OK, well, the final say and who wins this battle between White House executive privilege and congressional subpoena is with a federal judge who will decide if the former Deputy National Security Advisor Charles Kupperman can be forced to testify.

That case has been fast-tracking -- this is fast track. Final argument has been heard December 10th. So given this is a presidency which sort of plays out dog is, next month may as well be next year. So are the Democrats running at a time given the political calendar?


LITMAN: You know, they are. And that in fact, possibly undermined your premise. It's not clear where the federal courts to actually decide this. I think people would have confidence in it. And I think it's quite likely they would reject the President's claim, some of which are preposterous.

But they're playing for time here. They're restarting the clock with stonewalling again with new witnesses. And even a fast track judicial ruling is glacial relative to the you know, news cycle and the impeachment inquiry which they hope that really have finished by Christmas. So it's quite possible that these tissues, important as they are well mooted out.

VAUSE: You know, one of the no shows on Monday was the deputy White House Counsel John Eisenberg. He's the one who was after being alerted to the details of this phone call between Trump and Ukraine's president, he had the first reaction to bury it. Here's the Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff. Here's what he said on Monday.


SCHIFF: But one of the reasons we wanted Mr. Eisenberg to come in is to find out what his role was, what the role of others was, and why a transcript that plainly did not belong in a classified system, that is meant for some of the most secret of intelligence activities that is covert action activities, why would a call record that the President would have the country believe was perfect, why would it be hidden in this classified system? So clearly, the White House does not want him to testify.


VAUSE: You know, it's a good question. I mean, you know, where's the transparency here? But the bigger question by refusing to allow these White House aides to testify, is the White House automated making legal problems for the president worse in terms of obstruction of justice or the are they so far deep in a hole now they've got nothing left to lose?

LITMAN: Well, you know, I'm not sure they have nothing left to lose. And I'm frankly worried that this will, in fact, be partial victory for them. You're right John, there will be an obstruction count, and it seems a strong count, much stronger say than happened in Watergate.

Trump is just forbidding people from cooperating with really no legal justification at all. But the alternative might be say Eisenberg comes forward and really inculcates himself, I mean, why indeed as you asked would he put it in the wrong place to obviously hide it. And why is that? Because of consciousness to guilt.

So yes, they will add another count saying you're obstructing our inquiry. Whether that will really have legs in the Republican Senate is unclear.

VAUSE: You know, what we heard on Monday apart from showing you know, the White House ran foreign policy in Ukraine like something out of the Godfather, those transcripts, the two transcripts from the Ambassador Marie Yovanovitch and Michael McKinley, the former aide to the Secretary of State, they seem to put in the final nail in the coffin of what has been Donald Trump's favorite defense, which is this.


TRUMP: You know, when this came out, it was quid pro quo. Well, that was none.

The call was perfect. In fact, Lindsey Graham said I didn't know you could be so nice. There was no quid pro quo.

It was a perfect call. There was no quid pro quo unlike Biden. There was no nothing. It was a perfect call, a very nice call.

You take a look at that call. It was perfect. I didn't do it. There was no quid pro quo.


VAUSE: You know, the fallback position now, which appeared where else but on a Trump tweet seems to be, "If I done the precise thing I've denied doing all along, it wouldn't be a problem anyway." You know, to me, the absurdity of this defense is that whether that was quid pro quo or not, that doesn't matter, because it's such remains the allegation of wrongdoing.

LITMAN: You're 100 percent right. He doesn't even know what quid pro quo means. But when you have a transcript that says he insists that you do this, if you're going to get aid, it is a quid pro quo, even though -- even though it needn't be. But he is the only person now in the country who is really taking the position that on -- the facts are quite clear here now. They really are un-rebuttable.

And so he's the one person whose saying, well, it was perfect. That's putting actually the Republicans in a tight spot. It'd be one thing if he would try to say, maybe it was imperfect. I did a few things wrong, I'm sorry. But by insisting on this position and being so vehement with his -- you know, the majority party and Congress, what are they supposed to stay when the time come?

If they have no -- their credibility is lost that they've tried to take Trump on that, of course, nothing is wrong here.


VAUSE: You know, it's funny you say that everyone knows the facts and the facts out there, and they're established in the number of sources. And that brings us to another defense from the President. It came in yet again, on a tweet over the weekend that was a two-parter.

The first part, he started accusing Chairman of the House Intelligence Committee of changing sworn testimony. He then went on to say not so many words. You know, he was calling for Republicans to release you know, their own doctored transcripts. Transcripts which he wanted to vindicate him.

You know, and they'd have to be doctored because those transcripts don't exist. So basically, you know, he's looking at changing the facts. You know, as a former prosecutor, you know, when a defendant gets to the point they want to tamper with evidence, what does that say to you about where they are in terms of you know, their defense in this strategy, and you know, the overall case?

LITMAN: You know, look, as a former prosecutor, you rejoice when you know they have nothing, and they're talking process, but will that apply here? And really, I mean, I'm embarrassed every time I speak with CNN International because it's such -- it's gotten so abysmal. And you have brazen lies and legally preposterous claims and that's, in fact, the dossier of the President of the United States.

There's -- he does seem to have the view that if he says falsehood brazenly, enough of his base will stay with him and in tone, you know, his own mantra stayed no quid pro quo. But they're just you know, ridiculous on their face. And the courts will say so if, in fact, the clock doesn't run out.

VAUSE: OK. We're going to (INAUDIBLE) too much longer. This is the last question. There is -- there is another strategy from the administration, it's to smear reputations and question credibility. There's a Trump rally a couple of hours ago. They're wearing T-shirts which read, read the transcript, which is bizarre. And the President went after the whistleblower again a couple of hours ago at this campaign rally. Here he is.


TRUMP: You haven't heard about the whistleblower after that, have you? Because the whistleblower said lots of things that for so good, folks. You're going to find out. But these are very dishonest people, shifty Schiff.


VAUSE: You know, Trump wants the identity of the whistleblower to be released, to be revealed. How does that conflict with federal laws intended to protect whistleblowers from exactly what Donald Trump is trying to do?

LITMAN: Completely in 100 percent. I mean, it really is vile and despicable. Supposedly now a picture of the whistleblower's home has been tweeted. I mean, there's a real possibility of physical harm, not simply reprisal. And of course, what makes it so venal is the only possible argument for having the whistleblower come forward is suggest that their claims are false.

But they've been substantiated top to bottom by every witness. So the notion that it would somehow undermine the truthfulness of his allegations which have been proven correct all the way down the line, you know, that's ridiculous. It's really just to pound, harass, give a -- give a nasty talking point of, you know, investigating investigators. It's legally irrelevant and politically despicable, I think.

VAUSE: Yes, it's another going -- you know, another subject going after -- you know, just witness tampering if you like, I guess. We're out of time.

LITMAN: I mean, I'm also -- I'm a whistleblower lawyer. And they -- without protecting them, they couldn't come forward. This is -- this is specifically toppling the entire idea. It really --

VAUSE: Yes. It undermines the whole -- the whole practice which you know, the United States was the first country in the world with a Whistleblower Protection Law.


VAUSE: That obviously is out the window. Harry, again, thank you so much. It's great to have you with us.

LITMAN: Thanks for having me, John.

VAUSE: Cheers. Right now, the impeachment inquiry is looming large over the 2020 election campaign. But despite this constant flow of negative news, opinion polls show President Trump remains competitive in the battleground states like Wisconsin.

According to a New York Times/Siena College poll, Democrat Joe Biden is at 47 percent, ahead of President Trump at 43 percent. Senator Bernie Sanders, two points up against Trump 47 percent to 45. The President is level with Senator Elizabeth Warren both polling at 46 percent. All those numbers are within the poll's margin of error. CNN's Kyung Lah ask some voters in Wisconsin who they're backing in 2020 and why.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE) UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Let's do this Wisconsin. Let's turn it on.

We've got a year from now to do that.

KYUNG LAH, CNN SENIOR U.S. CORRESPONDENT: The 2020 battle for Wisconsin starts now.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Hi, good morning. We'll get you a clipboard and (INAUDIBLE)

LAH: Democratic foot soldiers fanning out across the Badger State. Are people talking about impeachment here?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It's not what you're hearing at the coffee shops. It's not what I'm hearing when I'm at the hardware store.


LAH: A year from Election Day, this is a door-to-door mission to find out what matters most to voters here.

TREVOR JUNG, WISCONSIN DEMOCRAT: My name is Trevor. So, what's important to you in this election?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Jobs and the environment is firstly.

LAH: Do you feel that it is a house-to-house battle?

JUNG: It is completely. You know, here you have a community that is in a county that voted for President Obama and also Donald Trump.

LAH: Racine, a swing county in a critical swing state. President Trump won Wisconsin by fewer than 23,000 votes. We need Democrat Bruce Dunn.

How long did you work for Chrysler?

BRUCE DUNN, WISCONSIN DEMOCRAT: 36 years and two weeks. It's not too many jobs I get now.

LAH: He's lived Racine's ups and downs. During Trump's term, he's seen some jobs come back. Dunn cares most about the economy and health care.

What about impeachment? You didn't -- you didn't mention impeachment.

DUNN: Well, I kind of -- I kind of don't like the impeachment. You know, the people that's on their side, I don't think they're going to jump ship because of it.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Absolutely ridiculous.

LAH: Unlike the Democrats, Wisconsin Republicans are talking about impeachment. This Racine Packers and Politics Party is one of the 150 GOP events in Wisconsin just this week.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: These Republican people are very enthused. UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Is impeachment then helping you or helping the Democrats?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I think it's definitely helping the Republican Party right now. As I say, go for it, go bring it on.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We're just digging in our heels deeper to fight what they're going to do, and we will do it by voting.

ALICIA HALVENSLEBEN, WISCONSIN DEMOCRAT: Hi, my name is Alicia, I'm with the Waukesha County Democratic Party.

LAH: But driving Democrats the bitter sting of 2016 and the determination to not have it happen again.

HALVENSLEBEN: If I can convince at least one, maybe two every time I talk, and I take a packet out, that's going to sway an election.

LAH: We're talking and it's snowing out.

HALVENSLEBEN: I'm going to keep doing it through the snow. I've done it through worse. We're a swing state. We've been a swing state, but we can swing back.

LAH: Democrats say they knocked on more than 50,000 doors just this weekend. Now, that is double the number of votes that President Trump won the state of Wisconsin by in 2016. Democrats say that margin is so slim, it basically breaks down to less than two votes per ward. They feel they can flip the state, but it's not by talking about impeachment. Kyung Lah, CNN, Racine, Wisconsin.


VAUSE: More than 20 million residents of India's capital are facing a week of toxic air, with record levels of smog hanging over that Delhi officials have declared a public health emergency. India's highest court has banned all farm fires, a major contributor to the polluted air, which now reads in at more than three times hazardous levels. Meteorologist Pedram Javaheri joins us now with more. OK, so the worst will be there for a week, but you know, this is a problem which has going on and on and on for years.

PEDRAM JAVAHERI, CNN INTERNATIONAL METEOROLOGIST: It is. You know, when you look at this season, the cool season moving forward from November into December in January, John, historically, they go a period of three to four months in a row without a single day that is considered fit to breathe. When you take a look at what is happening here by the World Health Organization, kind of the standards that they put in place. And of course, the images look as such, even live perspective right now coming out of Delhi showing you what is happening at this hour with the particulates so incredibly high.

And you kind of compare this to what's happening in an area. Of course, with the wildfires across the state -- the state of California in the United States. The air quality in Delhi right now is as much as eight times lower than what is happening in the wildfire-stricken areas of California. So, really not just the farmers setting the fires. It's a combination of industry, of course, the vehicles across the region, the farmers setting fire to some of the land there, and of course, all of this has significant impacts on life across this region.

And now when you take a look at what is inside smog, you kind of break down what's happening. The photochemical smog, which is the visible aspect of it, that's the fires, the automobiles that caused the pollutants and of course, the industry. What you get with that is you get nitrogen oxide, carbon monoxide, and sulfur dioxide. A lot of these, of course, invisible and when you have this, of course enter your bloodstream, the particulates are so extremely small, of course, they can not only hinder your breathing but also damage lung tissue. And we know studies have suggested lives here shortened by as much as seven years because of what is happening here.

And you kind of take one of those combustion particles 25 times smaller than a diameter of a human hair, some 40 times smaller than diameter of a grain of sand. So, again, it speaks to how small these are in a broad scale when you put this -- when you get that kind of hazy atmosphere. But the perspective across the Delhi Metro right now, 400 to 500 air quality index, which puts it in the hazardous category, the past 24 hours, we exceeded this to beyond index.

And of course, we know Diwali taking place in the last several days. And every one of those firecrackers also plays a significant role in our pollution, John, because every one of -- a firecracker themselves, you know, produces about a 10 cubic meter area of pollutants. So, you take millions of people, you put that in place, you put the Himalayan Mountains behind you, and then you put a lot of industry into the same region, as well, and it's -- this is what we see as an end result.


VAUSE: As for everyone who's breathing, that's great. Pedram, thank you. Appreciate it.

JAVAHERI: Thanks, John.

VAUSE: Well, still to come, it's one of the most influential positions in British politics, especially in this era of Brexit. Meet the new Speaker of the House of Common. Also, after years of far- right extremism, a German city declares a Nazi emergency.


JAVAHERI: And good to you. Meteorologist Pedram Javaheri with you on a quiet day across North America yet again, but we do have a couple of friends skirting and across portions of the Great Lakes region, the Ohio Valley, and eventually the most densely populated corner into the Northeastern United States. So, these areas certainly will bring with them wet weather and enough cold air, and the initial phase of the forecast here to bring in some snow showers. And notice, as we go in towards later in the week, additional shots of cooler air arrive across the region. So, the forecast as such, Chicago kind of goes back and forth between,

say, four to about nine degrees and then drops off sharply to enough -- to absolutely chilly set up there for an afternoon high of zero degrees there. Come Friday afternoon and you'll notice it even wants to get colder in the long term there, minus four, what we're looking at for an afternoon high this time next week across the Midwestern areas of the United States.

Into Winnipeg, Canada we go, four below also the afternoon high there. 22 in San Francisco with mostly sunny skies. And then, work your way towards Mexico City, few afternoon storms also sitting at 22 degrees. In Managua, highs there about 33 degrees, but remaining dry. Quiet conditions, the hurricane season, of course, not over yet, a few more weeks left of it but not much in the works across areas that we typically look for development. And then farther to the south, we go, around Manaus. Highs there should be into the lower 30s. Salvador remaining dry, expect highs to be right around 30 degrees.


VAUSE: Britain's often raucous House of Commons has a new referee or a new speaker, who's being praised by both sides of politics for his signature kindness. But in a more immediate terms, what does this all mean for Brexit? Here's CNN Simon Cullen reporting in from London.


SIMON CULLEN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: U.K. House of Commons has a new speaker, Labour M.P. Sir Lindsay Hoyle.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I invite Sir Lindsay Hoyle to take the chair of the House.

CULLEN: In his acceptance speech, Sir Lindsay paid tribute to his family, including his daughter, Natalie, who died last year at the age of 28. Sir Lindsay was dragged to the speaker's chair by fellow lawmakers. It's a tradition that dates back to the Dark Ages of British politics. And the speaker acted as a messenger between Parliament and the monarch.


At the time, the Speaker often paid the price for delivering a message the monarch didn't like which led to some reluctance by lawmakers to take up the post. Sir Lindsay has been one of the deputy speakers since 2010, and is promising to be a fair umpire of parliamentary debates in his new position.

LINDSAY HOYLE, SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE OF COMMONS: I want to hopefully show that the experience I've shown previously will continue. As I promised, I will be neutral, I will be transparent. I think this House, we can do more to ensure that that transparency continues.

CULLEN: Sir Lindsay takes over from John Bercow, whose tenure in the Speaker's chair proved controversial at times, because of his decision to allow lengthy debates on amendments to the government's Brexit plan. Now, it's Sir Lindsay's turn to navigate the highly-charged environment of Westminster politics, as lawmakers debate the next steps of Brexit. Simon Cullen, CNN, London.


VAUSE: The German City of Dresden has been left divided after local politicians declared a Nazi emergency. Migration policies Chancellor Angela Merkel have partly fueled a resurgence of far-right extremists. But even some moderates believe calling a Nazi emergency is just a bridge too far. CNN's Scott McLean has more now reporting from Dresden.


SCOTT MCLEAN, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: The city of Dresden, Germany is declaring the Nazi emergency, proving a controversial declaration. But the unorthodox symbolic resolution has a question mark in the title. And the party behind it is actually a satirical one, that began as a parody on a well-known T.V. show, but is now a real-life player in German politics. They have seats in the European Parliament and on the Dresden city council, too.

Richard Kaniewski is not a comedian, he's a mainstream member of the Social Democratic Party and voted for the Nazi declaration.

RICHARD KANIEWSKI, MEMBER, GERMAN SOCIAL DEMOCRATIC PARTY: It's not a joke. It's a very, very important issue. And also, a satiric party can bring very, very important issues on the table. And this party did it and I'm proud that I had the chance to vote for this resolution.

MCLEAN: Kaniewski says the city has been home to right-wing extremist activity for decades. And lately, it's growing. The far-right party alternative for Germany earned 27 percent of the vote in the state election. The Anti-Islam PEGIDA Movement got its start in Dresden six years ago, bringing regular mass protests over refugee resettlement to the city center. We got a frosty reception at the latest rally. This man told us there is no Nazi emergency.

What's the emergency?

Islam is the real emergency, he says.

The rise of the far-right is not just a problem for Dresden. Chancellor Angela Merkel vowed to fight right-wing extremism after politicians with a range of views received death threats. At least one of which reportedly ended with the phrase, "Heil Hitler." Just last month, the heavily-armed man launched an unsuccessful attack on a synagogue in Halle on Yom Kippur for killing two people nearby. In total, 39 of 68 city councilors voted for the declaration. At least one member of the center-right Christian Democratic Union allied with Angela Merkel, called it, an unintended provocation and voted against it, so did Dresden's Mayor Dirk Hilbert. The mayor says the growing intolerance in right-wing extremism is a big problem in Dresden. But calling it a Nazi emergency is a bridge too far?

Is there a Nazi emergency in Dresden?


MCLEAN: No, he says. We had just recently had a proposal in the city council that had the title Nazi emergency. It shows a completely wrong picture of Dresden. Kaniewski disagrees.

KANIEWSKI: Maybe it's a dramatic term, maybe it's a dramatic title. But sometimes, you have to be very hard in your communication so that people discuss the first time about this topic.

MCLEAN: Scott McLean, CNN, Dresden, Germany.


VAUSE: Still to come here on CNN NEWSROOM, Southeast Asian countries are on the way to creating the world's largest trading bloc, but they seem to have very few solutions for the situation in Myanmar's Rakhine State and the Rohingya crisis.



JOHN VAUSE, CNN ANCHOR: Welcome back everybody. You're watching CNN NEWSROOM. I'm John Vause with the headlines this hour.

U.S. House Democrats are expected to release more testimony and transcripts in the coming hours. The first two transcripts were made public on Monday and they said the U.S. ambassador to Ukraine was concerned about the role President Trump's personal attorney Rudy Giuliani was playing in official U.S.-Ukraine policy.

The U.K. parliament has a new Speaker of the House of Commons. Labour MP Lindsay Hoyle, who was deputy speaker for almost a decade now assumes one of the most senior roles in British politics. Keeping British tradition, he was dragged to the Speaker chair by his colleagues where he promised to be useful (ph) and to see the House change for the better.

Residents of India's capital are set to suffer through record levels of smog for at least a week. The country's highest court has banned all farm fires and officials in New Delhi had declared a public health emergency. Schools in Delhi remained shut because of the air quality. It reads in at more than three times hazardous levels.

ASEAN, the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, has just wrapped its summit in Thailand reporting in with progress of a huge deal that would create the world's largest training bloc. The 10 ASEAN nations along with Australia, China, Japan, South Korea and New Zealand might sign this agreement by 2020.

And even if Myanmar is a member of ASEAN there is little talk about the plight of Rohingya refugees who fled to Bangladesh after a crackdown by Myanmar's military back in 2017.

Joining me now from Bangkok is John Quinley, a human rights specialist at the advocacy group Fortify Rights.

You know John -- ASEAN being given credit. This is this world's most powerful trading bloc, it's taken years of negotiations, it will have a very real positive economic benefit possibly for hundreds of millions of people. But when it comes to the here and now, the crisis of Rohingya people, right on their door step. The best they could come up was a tepid, vapid statement which mentions the need to find a comprehensive and durable solution to address the root causes of the conflict and to create a conducive environment so the affected communities can rebuild their lives.

Now, I know ASEAN has an official policy of non interference in other countries' affairs, but there comes a point where doing nothing becomes tacit approval and complicity. And it seems that we're at that point right now if not long pass it.


JOHN QUINLEY, HUMAN RIGHTS SPECIALIST: Thank you John for having me. I believe the Southeast Asian nations are making a political and moral mistake by not prioritizing the Rohingya issue at the summit.

There's been a regional refugee crisis and trafficking crisis as a result of Myanmar's genocide and further impunity which is taking place in Rakhine state right now will cause a bigger regional issue affecting those countries including Thailand, Malaysia and Indonesia.

VAUSE: You know, although we get the U.N. Secretary-General, he's there, he spoke at the ASEAN summit. Here is part of what he said addressing the plight of the Rohingya.


ANTONIO GUTERRES, U.N. SECRETARY GENERAL: I remain deeply concerned about the situation in Myanmar including the Rakhine state and plight of the massive number of refugees in Cox's Bazar still living increasingly in difficult conditions.

It remains of course, Myanmar's responsibility to address the root causes and to ensure a conducive environment for the safe, voluntary, dignified and sustainable repatriation of refugees in accordance with international norms and standards.


VAUSE: -- the emotional headlines picked up on the concerns, the expression of refugees in Bangladesh. It kind of skipped over the part about what is happening inside Myanmar or its foreign policy magazine reported las month. It isn't just the Rohingya -- you touched on this -- Myanmar is now attacking Buddhists in Rakhine state too.

You know, that sorry details, the escalating violence there including the military uses the same tactics which were used if you have a genocide of the Rohingya. This is not a new revelation. Despite that, you know, be it ASEAN or the U.N. or whoever, there's absolutely no attempt to (INAUDIBLE) (INAUDIBLE). Why is that?

QUINLEY: Yes, I mean what's happened against the Rohingya and mass atrocities is also taking place against ethnic Rakhine people. We've documented cases of forced labor.

And I think Rakhine -- there's an ongoing war in Rakhine state that are expecting these Rakhine's sort of billion you know, in places in the north -- (INAUDIBLE) and Myanmar. There's also an ongoing war that affect civilians there.

And so, you know, Aung Sun Suu Kyi's national league for the democracy of government, should be, you know, working with international accountability and mechanism to hold perpetrators accountable for the atrocities taking place, not just against the Rohingya but against the Rakhine (INAUDIBLE).

VAUSE: Well, in response to what the U.N. Secretary General said Myanmar's civilian leader Aung Sang Suu Kyi, she reportedly told the summit, this is reported in the Myanmar press.

"The government will not shirk its responsibility to take care of the security and right of all of those who it must protect. To reaffirm Myanmar's intention to continue its work with the help of friends who approached the problem in Rakhine in a practical and balanced way."

Keep in mind these words are coming from a Nobel Peace Prize winner you know, who was once called the Nelson Mandela of Asia who would turn in his grave right now if he heard that.

What she said was almost meaningless in terms of a commitment : to do anything to help the Rohingya people.

QUINLEY: Yes. Aung Sang Suu Kyi has been who definitely quiet on the Rohingya situation and on the atrocities against the Rohingya.

Her government has also denied the Rohingya the right to citizenship and nationality. Her government also as keeping thousands upon thousands of Rohingya in Rakhine state in internally displaced people's camp. These are ghettos that are mimics apartheid like situations. And her government should dismantle these IDP (ph) camps and restore citizenship rights to the Rohingya people.


You know, the silence and the inaction speaks volumes of what's coming out of the civilian government there. And it is one of the huge disappointments I think over the last couple of years to watch that happen.

John -- we are out of time but thanks for being with us.

QUINLEY: Thank you so much.

VAUSE: And we'll take a short break. You're watching CNN.

Back after this. [01:38:55]


VAUSE: Remember the good old days of Covfefe when Donald's typo set the Twitter machine on fire? Those were much more innocent times. Now more than two years on and Covfefe is back.

And Jeanne Moos explains why.


JEANNE MOOS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: She's a three-year-old filly who thundered down the backstretch taking us all back in time.

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I hear Covfefe. MOOS: The racehorse's name Covfefe, after President Trump's most

famous mistweet and though there was no confetti for Covfefe, her win at the Breeders' Cup had her owners over the moon.

There is the glory and the $1 million prize. Co-owner Jamie Roth told "USA Today" they named her Covfefe "because we thought she was special and we thought the name was kind of funny".

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Covfefe -- I love her so much.

MOOS: Even if Jamie's co-owner Mom pronounces it differently.


MOOS: President Trump himself tweeted that the horse's victory was great. But how do you know it was a mistweet? Maybe something with deep meaning."

And they're off, not the horses -- the tweets. Pro and anti Trump. "It was a horse with the name Covfefe that won the Breeders' Cup when it was a horse's ass that tweeted it."

Trump supporters on the other hand were reminded of his pledge.

TRUMP: You're going to get so sick and tired of winning --

MOOS: Even his typos turn into winners.

TRUMP: We're going to win, win, win.

MOOS: Covfefe has won six of her eight races.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Covfefe sails by the eight people.

MOOS: You'd think it was an actual word rather than a bunch of letters randomly typed in an after-midnight presidential tweet, the way it rolls off the tongue.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And Covfefe has trumped the competition. She ran huge. MOOS: Covfefe's owners say she didn't vote for President Trump

telling "USA Today", "He just doesn't stand for the things that I believe in but I believe in Covfefe. What we all want to see is Covfefe horse invited to the White House. Kudos to Covfefe -- maybe she is the one who's a stable genius.

TRUMP: I'm a very stable genius.

MOOS: Jeanne Moos, CNN -- New York.


VAUSE: And a quick note here before we go. Vow and Declare has won this year's Melbourne cup. For trainer Danny O'Brien and Jackie Craig Williams, its their first win in the big race of an institution which brings a nation to a standstill, an excuse to take the day off work and get really drunk.

Thank you for watching CNN NEWSROOM. I'm John Vause. Stay with us.

A lot more sport in "WORLD SPORT" right after the break. You're watching CNN.