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CNN NEWSROOM

Aung San Suu Kyi Addresses Rohingya Crisis; Forecast for Hurricane Maria; Investigators Wiretapped Trump's Campaign Chairman; Singer-Songwriter Jack Johnson Gets Political; Trump's Catchphrases. Aired 12-1a ET

Aired September 19, 2017 - 00:00   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


[00:00:01] AUNG SAN SUU KYI, NATIONAL LEAGUE FOR DEMOCRACY, MYANMAR: And I would also like to say the generosity and courage that would enable other people to see our point of view as well.

It is by cooperating only that our world can go forward. By attacking each other, either in words or with weapons or even with emotions will not help us.

Hate and fear are the main scourges of our world; all conflict arise either out of hate or out of fear. It is only by removing the sources of hate and fear that we shall be able to remove conflict and from our country and from our world.

As you know, there are many allegations and counter allegations. I have not gone into any of them because it is not my purpose to promote and encourage conflict whether of ideas or of arms, but to try to promote harmony and understanding. I hope you will understand this and join us in our endeavor.

As I said earlier, this is a diplomatic briefing. This was intended to keep the members of our diplomatic community, the representatives of our friends from all over the world in touch with what we are trying to do.

But in some ways, it is more than just a diplomatic briefing. It is a friendly appeal to all those who wish Myanmar well, a friendly appeal to help us to achieve the ends that I think you would agree are desirable not just for this particular country but for countries all over the world.

Thank you.

JOHN VAUSE, CNN ANCHOR: We have been listening to Aung San Suu Kyi, the de facto leader of Myanmar, a woman who holds the official title of state counselor, essentially addressing in her own words the diplomatic community about the plight of the Rohingya Muslims in Rakhine State; as many as 400,000 have fled their homes and villages over the last two weeks after an outbreak of violence.

And in that address which went for just over 30 minutes, Aung San Suu Kyi actually repeated a number of times we would like to know why they've left. We want to know what's behind the exodus?

Well, an Amnesty report which came out today may actually shed some light on why they left Aung San Suu Kyi. This is what Amnesty found.

"The latest evidence published by Amnesty International points to a mass-scale scorched earth campaign across northern Rakhine state where Myanmar security forces and vigilante mobs are burning down entire Rohingya villages and shooting people at random as they try to flee. In legal terms these are crimes against humanity -- systematic attacks and forcible deportation of civilians." That's what's happening.

CNN's Alexander Field is in Cox Bazar, Bangladesh. That's near a refugee camp for Rohingyas who have fled Myanmar.

It was an incredible speech. She seemed to have no idea why this was happening, if you are to take her at her word, asking the international community for help and essentially saying incredibly keep in mind that the vast majority of the Rohingya are still in Myanmar when 400,000 and fled and less than a million are the population of Myanmar.

ALEXANDRA FIELD, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Exactly -- John. She points to the fact that 50 percent of Rohingya villages by her assessment are intact and that's something that the world should be looking to understand why those villages are intact.

She said it. She said it several times as you pointed out that it needs to be understood why this mass exodus is happening. She did also say that she wasn't ready to apportion blame. She said that she condemned any human rights violations but she also said that evidence needs to be gathered. That there are allegations and that there are counter allegations and that only once evidence is gathered can there be any punishment for those who violate human rights.

She also said that there have been no military clearance operations since September 5th. And she said that the military will adhere to a code of conduct to avoid collateral damage.

These are the kinds of words that the Rohingyas who are here in Bangladesh, nearly half a million of them now, will be listening closely too. Words like collateral damage -- we know that at least a thousand people have been killed since this outbreak of violence that started on August 25th.

If Aung San Suu Kyi is wondering why 410,000 have crossed over the border in a sometimes deadly journal in the space of three weeks, well, the people who are living in the camps here who I have been speaking to for days, they can tell her.

They have stories of their villages being burned. You've seen the satellite images. You've seen the human aid groups that confirm that those villages are being burned.

[00:05:06] We have spoken to families who say that their homes are being fire bombed. They say they're being shot at by the military as they try to run for safety. They're left stranded in the hillside for days at a time without food, water, medicine. Having already suffered injury, trying the make it to the safety of what they believe they'll find when they get here to Bangladesh. We've got women telling us they are so deeply malnourished that when they arrived on the banks here in Bangladesh, they give birth to babies who cannot survive. We've heard from mothers who say that their own children had been thrown on the fire in front of them, shot down next to them and that their bodies have been chopped up.

Aung San Suu Kyi is telling the world though that these are allegations and that there had been counter allegations. She has pointed repeatedly in this speech to the violence that she says was sparked by Rohingya militants.

Of course, Rohingya is not the term she uses. She uses the term Muslim and we do know that there were two attacks from militants on border security posts within the space of the last year -- once in October, again in August. Those prompted these military crackdowns.

The military has been clear that they say that they're doing clearance operations to root out terrorism in Rakhine State. What is very clear to humanitarian aid groups, what is very clear to the 410,000 people who have run with only their lives from tht6 state is that civilians are being targeted and caught in the crossfire.

They wanted to hear a full-throated defense of their rights as humans. They wanted to hear a full-throated defense of their right to be in Myanmar living in peace in a country where they have existed for generations despite the fact, John, that they're not recognized there as citizens.

You did have Aung San Suu Kyi speaking for about half an hour. She has been globally-noted human rights icon. She made the point several times a saying that her government has never been soft on human rights. She made the point several times to condemn any violations of human rights but she also talked about the long fight for peace, stability and democracy in Myanmar.

She pointed a few times to the fact that her government has been in power for just 18 months now and said repeatedly that the word can't expect her government to solve historical problems in that kind of space of time -- John.

VAUSE: Quickly, Alexandra -- because there were a couple of other points in this. She talked about placing great importance on the United Nations and the U.N. human rights director described the treatment of the Rohingya as textbook of ethnic cleansing.

But what was interesting she went on and she said made this point, sort of one way or another repeatedly -- take special care to examine how we have managed to keep the peace in Myanmar. It's almost as if she was sending this signal out there that she couldn't go against the generals. That if she ordered this military crackdown there in the east of the country, in Rakhine State against the Rohingya to stop then there will be, you know, there will be some kind of military blow back or some other outbreak of violence, that the country may in fact be torn apart. Democratic gains could easily be turned back.

FIELD: Yes. And certainly, that is why so many believe that there has been a somewhat slow or even a tepid, by some standards, response from the international community. They have believed that Aung San Suu Kyi's leadership is better for the future of this country that was so long-imperiled and embattled. And they do not want to see an ouster of Aung San Suu Kyi.

There is certainly wide recognition of the fact that she doesn't have constitutional control over the military. So, you know, many are quick to say that she is powerless to stop the actions of the military but we go back to the question --

(CROSSTALK)

FIELD: -- that you asked at the beginning of this broadcast, John, where one --

VAUSE: Sorry -- Alex, I had to interrupt because Ivan Watson is actually there in the capital right now. He joins us.

Ivan -- this was just an incredible speech that I guess so many around the world would never have expected to come from the woman once described as the Nelson Mandela of Asia.

IVAN WATSON, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: That's right. A leader who will not use the term that this persecuted and very frightened community use to identify themselves -- Rohingya because much of society here in Myanmar refuses to z recognize them by that term -- this religious and ethnic minority, instead referring to them as the Muslims of Rakhine State or simply as Bengalis.

There were some glaring simply factual errors in Aung San Suu Kyi's speech where she insisted that all people in this very troubled and very impoverished part of the country have free access to health care and education. That's simply not true.

I've been to Rakhine State where you have according to the Rakhine commission led by Kofi Annan, whose results were published just at the end of last month, you have at least 120,000 Rohingya who are confined, as they describe it to, displaced persons camps. I would describe them more as very large concentration camps because they're simply not allowed to leave these confined areas because of their ethnicity, because of their religion.

[00:10:03] And these impoverished communities who have been kind of sequestered in these areas under police and military guard do not have freedom to travel around the country or even around Rakhine State, to go to a larger hospital or to other schools or to universities.

They're denied the rights of a citizen that other people in this country have and that goes to kind of the crux of the problem. That's talking about 120,000 people confined to these sprawling almost rural ghettos. And we're talking about a state which has nearly two times the number of people living under the poverty level than the average in the rest of Myanmar. So there's some glaring problems here.

This is also while it's the worst case of violence that we have seen in past weeks with this huge exodus of more than 400,000 people across the border to Bangladesh, this is not the first round of violence in Rakhine State where you have had Rohingyas fleeing and suffering life threatening conditions in doing so, either jumping on to boats to do it or fleeing across the border to Bangladesh -- John.

VAUSE: Yes. She said it's sad when you meet with the diplomatic community -- it is sad to focus on just a few problems. You know what else is sad -- 400,000 people flee their home because of a humanitarian crisis.

Ivan -- thank you. Ivan Watson there live in Myanmar's capital and Alexandra Field -- thanks to you, before that in Bangladesh.

We will move on.

And Isha Sesay joins us now for the rest of NEWSROOM L.A.

ISHA SESAY, CNN ANCHOR: Remarkable speech.

VAUSE: Boy.

SESAY: Remarkable.

VAUSE: We didn't expect that one.

SESAY: No. We shall continue to analyze that in the hours to come for sure.

VAUSE: It is incredible.

SESAY: Yes.

VAUSE: Ok. We'll turn our attention now to another dangerous storm barreling through the Caribbean at this hour. It's almost on the same path as Hurricane Irma which happened two weeks ago.

Hurricane Maria has made landfall in Dominica -- the strong storm on record for the island and we're already getting reports of damage to buildings. Top sustained winds around 257 kilometers per hour.

SESAY: Well, Maria intensified very quickly, growing from a tropical storm to a Cat 5 hurricane in just 30 hours. There is a lot of concern in Puerto Rico, as well, which took in many evacuees from Irma. The governor had ordered evacuations ahead of Wednesday's expected landfall. Maria will likely be the strongest storm to make landfall in Puerto Rico in 85 years.

Let's bring in meteorologist Pedram Javaheri, who joins us now live from our international weather center. Pedram -- where is Maria now? Where is the storm headed? Tell us how thing are looking.

PEDRAM JAVAHERI, AMS METEOROLOGIST: Yes. You know, it's not looking very good especially across places such as Dominica where 75,000 people live. The storms just made a Category 5 landfall across these isles. And you think about that we had in Barbuda about 2,000 people lived across this region, Category 5 landfall was made with Irma. This increases that population by some 35 times so really talk about the damage, the potential that's going to be left in place across this region.

And you know, we talk about Puerto Rico. We know much of the evacuees from neighboring islands from Irma actually are settled across Puerto Rico right now because that was one area that was spared a direct hit Irma. At this point it is not looking good for them either.

And I want to show you this because we're talking a healthy Category 5 -- 160-mile-per-hour winds our 250-plus kilometers per hour. It is pushing over the islands that have about an elevation up to roughly a mile high so these -- the mountains here could at least weaken the storm briefly.

But you know once it goes right back over the Caribbean across this region, pushes over the U.S. Virgin Islands on early Wednesday morning and then eventually eastern Puerto Rico Wednesday afternoon as either a Category 4 or a Category 5.

Last time we had a Category 5 in Puerto Rico in the 1920s; last time anything stronger than a Category 4, the 1930s. So we're talking eight decades as Isha just alluded to there with a storm of this magnitude. But at this point looks to be on a collision course with the islands.

And something different with this storm than we saw with Irma is the tremendous rainfall forecast with the storm. So not just a wind maker like Irma was but add in the water element of this, as much as say 500 millimeters could come down across some of these islands.

Of course, we know a lot of damage left in place, a lot of people living in tents and not having a roof over their head. This is going to be one of the larger stories associated with this, with hurricane warnings now stretching across the St. Kitts and (inaudible) into both U.S. and British Virgin Islands, and then eventually on into Puerto Rico.

But notice this. This could be directly over the U.S. Virgin Islands in the early morning hours of Wednesday. Notice there is the British Virgin Islands where we had direct impacts there with Irma. The storm will kind of approach it on a southern periphery, move over eastern Puerto Rico there on Wednesday afternoon and then eventually towards the Turks and Caicos which saw a major hurricane landfall about a week ago, as well.

Look at this intensity increase. From 8:00 p.m. on Sunday going from about a Category 1, 80-mile-per-hour winds to doubling that wind speed right now to a healthy Category 5. And then there are some variances on where the storm system may end up beyond Thursday and Friday.

Scenario one is a massive area of high pressure east of Bermuda. If it stays put, it can actually pick the storm up and begin to slingshot it away from the eastern United States.

[00:15:04] Some of the models say it will do that. Some say it will want to nudge back towards the west eventually giving the storm system the path of least resistance which would be push up closer towards the eastern United States. Show you the overlay here with the European model in blue, the American in red. Agreement extremely high on the Puerto Rico landfall by Wednesday afternoon and notice what happens if we go to Thursday into Friday we begin to see a little bit of a spread here with the European that has been extremely reliable pushed off shore. The American hangs tight a little bit and we think it will gradually start shifting that way, as well.

So at this point, hoping for a better outcome after it clears the Caribbean. But at this point it does not look good for the Caribbean with this Category 5 storm.

SESAY: Pedram -- we appreciate it.

JAVAHERI: Yes.

SESAY: These areas have been through so much and cannot deal with anything else. We'll be watching. Pedram -- appreciate it.

JAVAHERI: Thank you.

VAUSE: We will take a short break.

When we come back, America first meets the rest of the world when Donald Trump makes his first address to the General Assembly.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

VAUSE: Well, the U.S. President has made it known he favors an unpredictable foreign policy and that has certainly played out for the past eight months. Nonetheless world leaders will still be listening closely when Donald Trump delivers his first address to the U.N. General Assembly later on Tuesday.

A senior administration official said he'll issue harsh warnings to North Korea and Iran. He'll also call for action against rogue nations.

SESAY: On his first visit to U.N. headquarters Monday Mr. Trump called for reforms of the international body.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: In recent years the United Nations has not reached its full, potential because of bureaucracy and mismanagement. While the United Nations on a regular budget has increased by 140 percent and its staff has more than doubled since 2000 we are not seeing the results in line with this investment.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

VAUSE: Well, a CNN exclusive now -- the investigation of Russian meddling in the U.S. presidential election, federal investigators wiretapped Donald Trump's former campaign chairman, Paul Manafort.

SESAY: CNN justice correspondent Pamela Brown has the details.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

PAMELA BROWN, CNN JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT: Sources tell CNN that the FBI received permission from a secret surveillance court to monitor Paul Manafort, the former Trump campaign chairman, before and after the election. This is an extraordinary step for the FBI to do surveillance of a high-ranking campaign official. And of course Manafort is now at the center of the Russia meddling probe.

We're told that there are intercepted communication that raised concerns among investigators about whether Manafort was encouraging Russians to help with the campaign. Some sources though caution that this intelligence was not conclusive.

Special counsel Robert Mueller has been provided all these communications so they are in his hands, his team's hands. We did not get a comment from Paul Manafort's spokesman but Manafort has previously denied he ever knowingly communicated with Russian intelligence operatives during the election. And he's also denied helping Russia undermine U.S. interests.

[00:20:03] Now, the secret order began back in 2014 after Manafort became the subject of an investigation that centered on work done by a group of Washington consulting firms for Ukraine's former ruling party. Our sources say at some point that surveillance was discontinued. And then there was a new FISA warrant that the FBI received related to the investigation into Russia meddling.

What's interesting here is that during the same time frame of the second FISA warrant that went through at least early this year there were conversations between Paul Manafort and President Trump. But it's unclear if President Trump was picked up as part of the surveillance.

Pamela Brown, CNN -- Washington.

VAUSE: Joining us now is CNN political commentators Democratic strategist Dave Jacobson and Republican consultant John Thomas.

SESAY: Gentlemen -- welcome.

VAUSE: Ok. So along with the wiretapping news, there's also this "New York Times" report that, you know, Robert Mueller's team told Paul Manafort that they plan to indict him.

Here's part of the reporting from the "Times". "Dispensing with the plotting pace typical of many white collar investigations, Mr. Mueller's team has used what some describe as shock and awe tactics to intimidate witnesses and potential targets of the inquiry."

So John -- does this mean that when they, you know, told Manafort that we plan to indict you, that's like we've got the goods. You're toast. We plan to indict you. Or we're going to get the goods and we plan to indict you. And then you're going to be toast? I mean where's the emphasis here? JOHN THOMAS, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: It's hard for me to tell at

this point. I mean I don't have all the facts. What I do know and this has been my concern from the beginning and why I tend to agree with Steve Bannon's approach that firing Comey was a terrible decision because now that Mueller has this investigation he needs to find something to justify his job and being -- perhaps overly aggressive in this process.

So I feel like they don't have anything on President Trump at this point. Nothing seems to implicate him and they're grasping at straws. But look time will tell.

And what I do think is interesting, though just to give President Trump credit where his credit is due, he was arguably wiretapped or at least tapped in the process.

VAUSE: I was waiting for that. Ok. No, no, no. No, no. Ok.

So just last week, this is what the Justice Department said about that, about the wiretapping claims that the President tweeted out.

Both FBI and NSD, National Security Division, confirm that they have no records related to wiretaps as described by the March 4, 2017 tweet --

THOMAS: True.

VAUSE: -- which was about Trump Tower, "I was tapped by the President -- blah, blah, blah, blah.

Tapping Paul Manafort is not the same thing as tapping Donald Trump.

THOMAS: But wasn't Paul Manafort residing in Trump Tower?

SESAY: I mean he does have an apartment --

(CROSSTALK)

SESAY: -- that is not what the President said.

VAUSE: But the tweets were specifically about Obama ordered a tap on me -- President Trump.

THOMAS: No that literally is --

VAUSE: It's splitting hairs. It may be disingenuous.

THOMAS: And you're right but didn't the report also say that the Manafort was also tapped in important conversations arguably probably with President Trump?

VAUSE: Yes.

DAVE JACOBSON, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: I think that's down the line. Like at some point we will see whether or not, like, the President is vindicated on this issue or not. But bottom line, Bob Mueller is a pit bull and he's a legal juggernaut and he's not going to leave unturned.

SESAY: So how worrisome is this for the President?

JACOBSON: I think it's going to be extraordinarily worrisome, particularly if the President was having conversations with Manafort.

I think the bottom line here is Paul Manafort oversaw the campaign for Trump during the RNC convention when they modified the platform as it related to Russia when Carter Page went over to Russia. He was a senior policy adviser for the campaign. He was sanctioned by the campaign to go to Russia.

You know, Donald Trump went out on the podium back in July and called on Russia to hack Hillary Clinton's e-mails. All of these things happened when Paul Manafort was overseeing and directing the campaign.

VAUSE: So there's a very real possibility that Donald Trump, the President, was caught up in these wiretaps that were on Paul Manafort. John -- does that now take the impeach-o-meter from kind of lukewarm up to maybe a little bit warmer, getting a little hotter?

THOMAS: I q have yet to see anything substantial. I think the real casualty in this process is the legal bills that some of these Trump associates are racking up are in the millions. Some of these Trump affiliates that are at lower levels are having to cash in their kids' college tuition just so they can deal with the bullying of a guy like Mueller.

SESAY: I think it's legal tactic. I mean I don't know if you call it. But he's being aggressive. He wants to go after the facts and time will tell if he gets anything. But he's not doing anything as far as we have been able to tell improper.

THOMAS: No. It's just a casualty. If you're a lower level campaign staffer that, you know, was an aide and now all of a sudden --

VAUSE: Welcome to Washington.

THOMAS: -- your financial help.

JACOBSON: But if these folks have nothing to hide, then they should put whatever documents they have out there in the daylight. They should testify public before Congress so that Mueller can move on and take them out of the investigation.

(CROSSTALK)

VAUSE: Ok. Speaking of putting everything out there, on Sunday night we have seen it a thousand times -- let's see it 1,001. Sean Spicer, former White House spokesman appeared at the Emmys and made quite a stir.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

[00:24:59] STEPHEN COLBERT, TV HOST: I mean is there anyone who could say how big the audience is? Sean -- do you know?

SEAN SPICER, FORMER WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: This will be the largest audience to witness an Emmys -- period, both in person and around the world.

COLBERT: Wow. That really soothes my fragile ego.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

VAUSE: Today Spicer was asked in an interview about you know, -- any regrets about making those comments about crowd sized? Of course, I do, absolutely was his reply.

John -- does this -- Dave rather -- does this now mean that we should assume that everything that comes out of the White House is a lie until proven true?

JACOBSON: Yes, it is a show. I mean --

VAUSE: Yes.

JACOBSON: -- Sean Spicer had no moral compass in that position. He was just trying to do Donald Trump's bidding to hold on to his job as long as possible so that he can get a book deal or give speeches and make money after that.

THOMAS: I do think it's ironic though, he was obviously trying to rehab his image in that play. He's talking about --

VAUSE: Well, that worked well.

THOMAS: Yes. He's talking about large crowd sizes but the ratings for the Emmys were in historic lows.

SESAY: Yes. I mean you can divert and talk about that but you know, they still talk about the fact that it is an admission that while he was there on the podium he just lied and not that anyone doubted that because they have --

(CROSSTALK)

SESAY: -- eyes to see.

JACOBSON: Right. Right.

VAUSE: But shouldn't he (inaudible) about everything, the big stuff he lied about.

SESAY: Exactly. Exactly.

THOMAS: Well, I think look -- he is trying to poke fun at himself. I think that's a laudable trait. And yes, you're right. He lied. I think I sat on this stage with you guys and gone why's he talking about the crowd size. Just move on here?

VAUSE: Ok. Let's (inaudible) finish up because it now seems that President Trump wants a July 4th parade with lots of tanks and military stuff.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP: I was your guest at Bastille Day and one of the greatest parades I have ever seen. It was two hours on the button and it was military might. And I think a tremendous thing for France and for the spirit of France. To a large extent because of what I witnessed we may do something like that on July 4th in Washington down Pennsylvania.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

VAUSE: So, Dave -- what is next? Giant portraits of the dear leader in Times Square?

JACOBSON: Right. I think he's overdoing it. But this is a guy who, like you know, of course, talks about how big and grand and glorious everything is. Remember the comments on the hands -- how big his hands --

(AUDIO GAP)

THOMAS: Not so much for the base but project American strength but he doesn't need to do it with a parade.

VAUSE: Good. We agree.

SESAY: You know? Exactly.

THOMAS: We have consensus.

VAUSE: Way to end the segment.

SESAY: Yes. Let's not ruin it. Thank you.

VAUSE: Thank you.

THOMAS: Thanks.

SESAY: All right. Quick break here.

The super mellow singer/songwriter Jack Johnson joins us next. He'll talk about his new album "Pollution and Politics" with a couple of digs at President Trump.

Stay with us.

[00:27:51] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(MUSIC PLAYING)

SESAY (voice-over): Hello, everyone, you are watching CNN NEWSROOM, live from Los Angeles. I'm Isha Sesay. The headlines this hour.

(HEADLINES) VAUSE: On January 20th this year on the west front of the U.S. Capitol, Donald Trump raised his right hand, placed his left on two Bibles, his personal copy and the Lincoln Bible, and the chief justice administered the oath of office. And then after that, it really began.

The protests: a few thousand gathered in Washington for the inauguration but a day later came one of the biggest protests in U.S. history. Millions took part in the Women's March. Protests were also held in cities around the world.

Then came the airport protests over an executive order banning entry into the U.S. for Muslims from certain countries.

There's been Resist Trump Tuesdays, Not My President rallies, A Day without Women, March for the Truth, Impeachment March. Many turning out to protest have never been politically active before.

And add to that list of first-timers, possibly the most mellow pop star in the world, Jack Johnson, the Hawaiian singer-songwriter, who's been topping the charts for more than a decade with his easy-going, laid back surfer sounds. But the lead single from his latest album heads into new territory for Johnson with political and social commentary.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

(MUSIC PLAYING)

(END VIDEO CLIP)

VAUSE: And the song is called "My Mind Is for Sale." And Jack joins us here now in Los Angeles.

Thank you for coming in.

JACK JOHNSON, SINGER-SONGWRITER: Yes, my pleasure. Thanks for having me.

VAUSE: You know, I was listening to the entire album and I heard "My Mind Is for Sale" and I've got to tell you, it's still pretty mellow.

JOHNSON: Yes, yes.

VAUSE: Really sound much of a protest song but clearly it's a different track for you.

So why the change?

Why do this now?

JOHNSON: Well, I mean ,you know, I think what's interesting, this one ended up being one of the catchier songs on the record so more people are hearing it. Every album I have made, I have had songs that have either made commentary politically, socially. We have had a song called "Sleep through the Static," as we started

the Iraq War. It was all of my thoughts that went into that. And there was a similar song where actually I woke up one morning and I just wrote everything down. It was almost more like an exercise where a lot of times I'll do a page or two of writing and then I'll grab a line or two.

But "Sleep through the Static" was similar in that everything I wrote, I used. It just was a stream of conscious -- just came down and "My Mind Is for Sale" is similar. It was one morning, just kind of putting all my thoughts, part of those thoughts were how do I explain this to my children, like what was starting to happen.

The same person that I kind of explained was like, no, this is sort of for entertainment. Don't worry about it. And then as that became the front-runner and then became the President of the United States, just sort of thoughts as a father.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

(MUSIC PLAYING)

(END VIDEO CLIP)

VAUSE: There was one review which read, "'My Mind Is for Sale' said when Johnson gets angry, he often delivers his best work."

Is that you angry?

Because it didn't sound very angry to me.

JOHNSON: I don't think I was so angry. No. I try not to get angry. I try to have joyful participation. It's Joseph Campbell, one of my favorite writers. He always talks about, if you're going to participate, do it joyfully. That's just the only way you should do it.

And so even when there's something that might anger you, I mean, the music, I'm not trying to write an anti-Trump song. I've heard people call it that. It's maybe anti- a few of his ideas, you know, and it's -- if anything, it's like a pro-love song.

I try to look at something, instead of only tearing the thing down, it is like you want to replace it with something positive. So, to me, it's an idea of walls that divide us, that's not a good thing. So it is more about being proactive on how do you include people.

VAUSE: There's another track from the album. It's called --

[00:35:00]

VAUSE: -- "You Can't Control It." Here's a clip from the music video.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

(MUSIC PLAYING)

(END VIDEO CLIP)

VAUSE: OK, that's a time lapse from a scene you shot on the beach, basically collecting all the plastic that had washed up on that beach and you made a great big collage out of it.

JOHNSON: Yes.

VAUSE: As a surfer, as a former professional surfer, you know the state of the oceans right now. You know what the beaches are like and they're pretty bad.

JOHNSON: Yes.

VAUSE: And clearly that's the motivation.

JOHNSON: Yes.

VAUSE: For the (INAUDIBLE) clip.

JOHNSON: And that song is about different things, really. But it does have a lyric in the chorus there. It refers to when you drink from this vast ocean, the idea of kind of an oceanic experience, of everything is connected.

But I like that it spoke the ocean. That was a shot that we had just from doing the cover image, where we gathered all this plastic pollution that was just on that beach. Any east shore on any of the islands in Hawaii kind of act as a filter out there in the middle of the Pacific Ocean.

And all this trash that people think, including myself, that we are throwing away, it doesn't really go away. It just ends up all over the place. And one of the places, unfortunately, is the ocean and it fragments down to these little pieces that become what a good friend of mine calls the smog of the sea.

VAUSE: When you go on tour, when you've been on tour, it's plastic free. Right?

There's no plastic.

JOHNSON: We do our best. You know?

It is all -- it is little steps along the way. We have gotten venues more and more to participate. We've had on this last run, we've had a few venues that have done completely plastic-free shows, which, like you said, as a surfer, it makes me really happy to look over after a show's over and not see any plastic on the floor.

VAUSE: Another environmental issue, too, of course, is climate change, which we're seeing play out with some of these really destructive hurricanes.

And is it disturbing to you that despite all of the destruction that we have seen, you know, recently, that there are still people out there, including the President of the United States, who doubt the science behind climate change?

JOHNSON: We were talking about coral bleaching all around the world and there's something, growing up in Hawaii, I have seen devastation to the reefs of just things that were colorful and alive, I've seen them go to just dead and white and then you get this brownish gray- green that grows on it.

And it's just heartbreaking for anybody to see. And, so, yes, to have a leader of our country to be pulling out of the Paris climate agreement, to be gutting the EPA, you know, those kinds of choices, to me, it's just -- I mean, and I think to everybody that -- it's heartbreaking.

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JOHNSON: For me, I've always tried to be true in what I'm writing in that place that I'm at. So right out of college, there was a lot of songs about how do you live with six people in one house. You know, it's relationship songs, basic things.

As I've gone along, I had kids; now I'm a 42-year-old guy who's got kids. I try to figure out ways to explain to them what's going on in the world. Sometimes major issues like climate change, other times it's just, you know, a love song that's about making breakfast in the morning.

Whatever it might be, it's just a lot of my perspective is a lot of times as a father now. And so I guess, as a father, these are the kind of things on my mind.

VAUSE: Well, good luck.

JOHNSON: Yes.

VAUSE: Good to meet you.

JOHNSON: Cheers.

SESAY: He's very chilled out, isn't he?

Now Donald Trump is taking center stage at the United Nations this week. Just ahead, we'll check on what usually happens when the U.S. president tackles the tough questions. Stay with us.

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SESAY: Hello, everyone.

From "You're fired," to "Drain the swamp," Donald Trump is famous for his catchphrases and there's another one people are starting to notice more. CNN's Jeanne Moos reports.

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JEANNE MOOS, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): When in doubt --

TRUMP: We'll see what happens. And we'll see what happens. So, we'll see what happens --

MOOS: It is the president's favorite answer. And on Monday, he deployed it at the U.N.

TRUMP: As far as North Korea's concern, I think most of you know how I feel. We'll see what happens.

MOOS: From Korea to Russia --

TRUMP: But we're going to see what happens.

MOOS: -- from hurricanes --

TRUMP: We'll see what happens.

MOOS: -- to healthcare --

TRUMP: We'll see what happens. No particular rush.

MOOS: -- it's perfect to fill time when the president's in no particular rush to answer or maybe he wants to build suspense.

TRUMP: Yes. Something could happen with respect to the Paris accord. We'll see what happens.

MOOS: As one critic tweeted, it's like he thinks every question is a chance for a teaser heading into every commercial break.

The phrase is so beloved by the president that he's used it three times in a mere five-second answer. Again, on the subject of North Korea.

TRUMP: We'll see what happens, we'll see what happens. Certainly that's not our first choice but we will see what happens.

MOOS (on camera): Now, in a few cases, we've actually seen what happened.

TRUMP: We'll see what happens with Mr. Bannon.

MOOS (voice-over): Three days later, Mr. Bannon went bye-bye.

As for then-FBI Director James Comey...

TRUMP: I have confidence in him. We'll see what happens.

MOOS: Comey was fired less than a month later. So, when the president mention seeing what happens --

TRUMP: Very disappointed with the attorney general, but we will see what happens.

MOOS: -- beware, your job could be eclipsed -- Jeanne Moos, CNN, New York.

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VAUSE: We'll see what happens after that. Looking at the eclipse.

SESAY: Yes. We'll leave that one alone.

Thank you for watching CNN NEWSROOM, live from Los Angeles. I'm Isha Sesay. We'll see what happens.

VAUSE: We'll see what happens. I'm John Vause. Please follow us on Twitter @ CNNNewsroomLA. See what happens if you do that. Stay tuned now for "WORLD SPORT."

SESAY: John (INAUDIBLE). And then we'll be back with another hour of news from all around the world. You're watching CNN.

VAUSE: See what happens.