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North Korea Threat; Russia Probe; Nightmare in Raqqa; Rohingya Nightmare; Trump's Tax Cut Plan. Aired 12-1a ET

Aired November 3, 2017 - 00:00   ET

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


(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[00:00:12] ISHA SESAY, CNN ANCHOR: This is CNN NEWSROOM live from Los Angeles. Ahead this hour --

A global threat -- the White House says time is running out to deal with North Korea and the President will deliver that message in the region. Meantime, Mr. Trump admits he's frustrated by the Russia investigation as more members of his inner circle get tangled in its messy web. And a humanitarian nightmare -- hundreds of thousands of Rohingya are suffering as sick and traumatized children fill the refugee camps. Hello. Welcome to our viewers from all around the world. I'm Isha Sesay.

NEWSROOM L.A. starts right now.

Well, in just a few hours, U.S. President Donald Trump flies across the Pacific Ocean on his first official visit to Asia. The stakes could not be higher. And overshadowing everything is North Korea.

A U.S. official tells CNN North Korea is working on an advanced missile capable of reaching the U.S. and South Korean intelligence says Pyongyang appears to be preparing to conduct more missile and nuclear tests. On Thursday, U.S. war planes again flew training exercises over the Korean peninsula accompanied by South Korean and Japanese fighter jets. The White House laid out what Mr. Trump hopes to accomplish next week.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

H.R. MCMASTER, NATIONAL SECURITY ADVISOR: President Trump will reiterate the plain fact that North Korea threatens not just our allies, South Korea and Japan and the United States. North Korea is a threat to the entire world so all nations of the world must do more to counter that threat.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SESAY: Well, CNN's Paula Hancocks joins us now live from Seoul, South Korea. Paula -- good to see you.

Also on Thursday, we heard from President Trump's national security advisor, who you just heard there, H.R. McMaster, who said North Korea could be returned to the list of countries the U.S. believes sponsors terrorism. That designation, as you know, was lifted by President George W. Bush in 2008.

Paula, if North Korea goes back on that list, how would that affect the nation and how might the regime respond?

PAULA HANCOCKS, CNN NEWS CORRESPONDENT: Well, Isha -- from North Korea's point of view it's certainly not a move in the right direction. It was something that they lobbied fairly hard for back when the former president actually took them off the list. It was something they saw as a success.

It would not improve relations -- that's the least that we could say. But certainly relations are not good at this point anyway. I think the immediate thing that we're looking at is what kind of response can we see from North Korea over the next few days, over the next week while the U.S. President is in Asia?

Now, we know that they were very unhappy, according to state run media KCNA this Friday morning, slamming what they call the U.S. warmongerers, saying that they had carried out a nuclear strike drill on the Korean Peninsula which the U.S. later clarified as being a flyover by B-1b bombers in conjunction with Japanese and South Korean aircraft.

But that just shows how they are looking at exactly what is happening at this point, how sensitive they are to these B-1b bombers. How sensitive the situation is as within the coming hours the U.S. President will be here.

So I think that added to what they are seeing at this point would potentially see some kind of reaction from North Korea. But that's what everyone is looking at, at is point. Will they fire a missile test?

The intelligence agency here says that they see preparations for one. They see, at least increased activity at the missile facility in Pyongyang so it's certainly something that people are expecting.

SESAY: Yes. That certainly is the expectation.

More broadly speaking the President -- President Trump's trip to Asia will take him to five countries. It will span 12 days, and North Korea and trade will top the agenda.

But this is a U.S. President beset by swirling issues at home, that special counsel investigation and sagging poll numbers. Paula -- when you contrast that with the standing of leaders there in the region -- Japan, China and South Korea what might that mean to how much President Trump can achieve on this trip?

HANCOCKS: Well, certainly what we're hearing officially from the governments in really all three countries is that they're looking forward to productive talks. There is no dissent in the ranks, if you like.

But certainly there are some concerns about what could be said during this trip. Certainly as the U.S. President is in the region, it makes everything a little more sensitive and certainly that is of concern.

[00:04:59] But we've heard from the U.S. President himself saying that he's concerned it lessens the power that he has to be able negotiate with the Asian leaders. We know that trade will be a big issue in Japan and in South Korea and in China.

Certainly here in South Korea, the government has agreed to renegotiate the trade deal between the two countries. It didn't want to but President Trump convinced them to. But will that lessen the fighting power that President Trump has? I mean certainly Seoul would like to have very few changes to that trade deal -- Isha.

SESAY: We'll be watching very closely. Paula Hancocks there, joining us there from Seoul, South Korea. Always appreciate it -- thank you.

Well, back in Washington new developments in that special counsel's probe into Russian meddling in the 2016 election. President Trump's son-in-law and senior adviser, Jared Kushner has turned documents over to Robert Mueller's office. Investigators are after new witnesses about Kushner's role in the firing of former FBI Director James Comey.

Kushner came under scrutiny some months ago, you may remember after failing to disclose his contacts with Russians. That includes a June 2016 meeting at Trump Tower which some in the Trump campaign attended on the premise of getting dirt on Hillary Clinton from Russians tied to the Kremlin.

New questions are also emerging about Attorney General Jeff Sessions and his confirmation hearing when he denied knowledge of any contact between Russians and the Trump campaign.

Court documents unsealed this week reveal that campaign adviser George Papadopoulos proposed a meeting between Putin and then-candidate Trump while he and Sessions were both in the room. Sessions said he rejected the idea but another campaign advisor who was present at the time said Mr. Trump listened to Papadopoulos and quote, "heard him out".

On top of all of that, CNN has exclusively learned that another former Trump advisor, Carter Page, testified he told Sessions about his trip to Russia during the campaign. Page says that trip was unrelated to his campaign role although it does make for another troubling admission on the part of Sessions.

And as for President Trump, well, he has some grievances with his role in the American legal system on a radio show on Thursday. Take a listen.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: The saddest thing is that because I'm the President of the United States I'm not supposed to be involved with the Justice Department. I'm not supposed to be involved with the FBI. I'm not supposed to be doing the kind of things that I would love to be doing. And I'm very frustrated by it.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SESAY: Well, turning now to our panel, Democratic strategist Caroline Heldman; CNN political commentator John Phillips and he's a Trump supporter, we must add that as well; and Seth Abramson, a professor at the University of New Hampshire. All of them join me now. Welcome to all of you.

Caroline -- to you first, you heard what the President just said on that radio show on "Larry O'Connor" saying basically he's frustrated by not being able to, I guess, get his hands on the FBI and the Justice Department. One might think he has that special counsel investigation on his mind.

CAROLINE HELDMAN, DEMOCRATIC STRATEGIST: Indeed. And he's essentially bemoaning the fact that he doesn't control the other branches of government and that he doesn't have complete and totalitarian control over even the executive branch.

You know, I would love to have him enroll in my Politics 101 class to teach him the basics that perhaps he should have learned in high school. But it's not good to have a president on the job learning about what his proper role is and what the role of the executive branch is especially when you see him going after what many have called the fourth branch of government, meaning that he's trying to undercut the ability of the media to be a watchdog.

I find all of this -- this kind of dictatorial love of authoritarian leadership to be quite troubling.

SESAY: Seth -- I want to go to you. The President said I'm -- you know, I'm not supposed to be doing the kinds of things I would love to be doing is what he said in that clip we just played. I mean what do you make of all of this the President taking issue with the separate branches of government? What's he getting at here?

SETH ABRAMSON, UNIVERSITY OF NEW HAMPSHIRE: Well, I think it's incredibly unnerving. For him to say that it's the saddest -- as I understood those words to be, that he does not control the DOJ. He does not control the FBI when we know what he would like to do if he had that control, he already indicated that he wouldn't have brought Jeff Sessions on as attorney general if he knew Sessions would allow Bob Mueller to be a special counsel in the Russia case.

What I would say is that the situation in Puerto Rico is a sad situation. The situation in Las Vegas, the recent shooting -- that's a sad situation. To have the President of the United States say that the saddest thing is that he doesn't control the FBI or the DOJ so he can obstruct an investigation into him and his aides is I think chilling to hear from the President.

SESAY: John Phillips, is there any other way to read it other than he wishes he could get his own way?

JOHN PHILLIPS, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Well, I mean it's a conglomeration of things. It's dealing with Congress. It's dealing with the courts. They're trying to block all of the agenda items that he came into the White House with. And look, a separation of powers is a frustrating thing. I mean Congress is like the HR Department in "House of Cards". It's where all concerns go to die.

And we have essentially all of the --

SESAY: But he didn't mention Congress in that. He said the DOJ and the FBI.

PHILLIPS: It's all baked into the cake. I mean we're dealing with the healthcare vote. We're dealing with the tax vote. This is all on his plate all at once.

[00:10:01] And right now with American government we're dealing with a very strange situation because you have the Democratic Party that's essentially broken into two where you have the Bernie Sanders wing and the Hillary Clinton wing.

You have the Republican Party that's essentially broken into two where you have the Trump people and you the Bushies -- the traditional Republican people. So you have all of the elements of a parliamentary system without any of the mechanisms of making it work.

So he's trying to go in and he's trying to implement his agenda and he feels like the Russia thing is just one big conspiracy theory that's just stalling him from being able to push through his tax bill and healthcare bill and all of that stuff.

And so what you see when he does these interviews or when he starts going on Twitter is you see some of that frustration bubble up to the surface. We see it all the time when outsiders get elected to be mayor or governor. It's the first time we've had one as president in a while.

SESAY: Seth -- do we see it all the time?

ABRAMSON: Well, we have to remember that when President Trump was a candidate, he complained vehemently about Barack Obama's executive orders. So the idea that the second he gets into office and now he's in power and he's the one writing the orders somehow the fact that separation of powers exists is a problem, as John puts it, I think that's incredibly hypocritical.

And I would also say separation of powers is not a frustration. I think that's the way John put it. It's the constitution. And I think that the President when he swears an oath to uphold the constitution should talk about the constitution in a way consistent with his oath and Mr. Trump isn't doing that.

SESAY: Caroline -- to you, perhaps underpinning the President's frustration is the fact that the special counsel investigation is gathering steam as we saw with the two indictments this week. Paul Manafort and Gates and also the fact that we heard about George Papadopoulos taking the plea deal.

Now all of that has Jeff Sessions squared in the spotlight. We've already run through what has emerged on Thursday. He said he had no knowledge on his confirmation hearing of any contacts with Russia. Now we know he was in the room when Papadopoulos floated the idea about contacts with Russia. Now, we know Carter Page told him he was going to Russia.

Why does this attorney general have such trouble recalling anything to do with Russia, it would seem?

HELDMAN: Well, it depends upon when you ask him, right. So he didn't remember during his confirmation and in fact went beyond saying he didn't remember. He actually I think, lied about it.

And then in three subsequent hearings he said that he didn't know anything about the connections between the Trump campaign and Russia. He failed to disclose it. He has been dishonest from start to finish.

I think this is what, the seventh time that we found some inconsistency in Jefferson Beauregard Sessions III talking about the Trump connections to Russia.

And he actually did it unprompted during his confirmation. Remember, he actually brought up the subject. Nobody asked him about it. And it was a very telling moment. He kind of chuckled and stumbled through his words.

Who knows where this will end? Who knows whether or not he will be caught up in Mueller's net as well? But it's really clear that he has an issue with honesty.

SESAY: John -- before you answer, I want you take a listen to what Senator Al Franken had to say because obviously, he's paying close attention and he said this on Thursday. Take a listen.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SENATOR AL FRANKEN (D), MINESSOTA: We heard from other sources that the attorney general -- now Attorney-General, then Senator Sessions said I don't think we should do this and nobody should talk about this to anybody. And that seems to be something you'd remember.

He said something to that effect. I don't have it exactly quoted. But this is why I have a lot of questions and I've written a letter with a lot of those questions a I would like to have him come testify before the judiciary committee again.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SESAY: Another time for the Attorney General on Capitol Hill; another invite because he just can't get that story right -- John.

PHILLIPS: Well, Senator Franken doesn't remember the exact quote. But I do I have the exact quote.

SESAY: Oh please, John.

PHILLIPS: The man who's The man in charge of the House Intelligence Committee, Mike Conway. Here's what he had to say about it. "I don't make anything sinister out of it. He said Sessions did not react or comment one way or the other. If I were Sessions I wouldn't have recalled it either. It was just in passing. He was walking out of the room, a guy he had never met before grabs him, hey, I'm on the team, I changed my travel plans to Russia."

Let's go back and let's remember what happened when Claire McCaskill, the Democrat from Missouri was reacting to Sessions the first time this whole situation bubbled to the surface. What did she say? If I met with the Russians I would remember it.

How many times did she meet with the Russians prior to putting the tweet out? Multiple times. It just happened to be --

SESAY: She wasn't the one testifying under oath.

PHILLIPS: No. But the point is that if something happens and it's minor like that you're not going to -- you may not remember. I don't remember what I had for lunch yesterday.

HELDMAN: John -- can you say -- so that's half of it that came out this week. What about the other half where he said that he advised that, you know, Donald Trump shouldn't meet with the Kremlin? Do you think maybe that's something --

(CROSSTALK)

PHILLIPS: Why did Claire McCaskill lie?

HELDMAN: Who said she lied? I'm sorry --

PHILLIPS: No, I don't think she remembered. I think that it was --

HELDMAN: -- she wasn't under -- let me --

PHILLIPS: -- it was exactly the same as Sessions.

SESAY: You're saying it was --

(CROSSTALK)

SESAY: -- you're saying that it wasn't --

[00:15:04] PHILLIPS: Insignificant things don't stand out in your memory.

HELDMAN: You think it's insignificant that he advised candidate Trump not to meet with the Kremlin? I'm sorry that would definitely tip the --

PHILLIPS: Totally insignificant.

SESAY: Let us ask Seth. Seth -- you're an attorney. You follow this closely. You've been tweeting about this all day. How do you read this? Just a casual slipping of a memory or something more?

ABRAMSON: Well, in my experience in years working as a defense attorney, prosecutors tend not to believe in coincidences. When Sessions was going to testify under oath, and again, he testified multiple times under oath -- he prepared for hours. That's what you do when you're going to testify on national television under oath in front of Congress.

And he was asked whether he had contact with Russians and he didn't reveal the contact at the Mayflower Hotel. He didn't reveal the contact at the RNC in July of 2016. He didn't reveal this contact in his Senate office on September 8 of 2016. He didn't reveal that George Papadopoulos brought up a meeting with the Kremlin at a meeting the Trump International Hotel that he was at. And he didn't recall Carter Page bringing up Moscow.

That's five incidents that he repeatedly did not recall under clear questioning, under oath that he prepared for. And there is no prosecutor that is going to will accept that as a slip of memory. It's just not going to happen.

SESAY: John Phillips.

PHILLIPS: They meet with people all day long. These Senators have schedules that start very early in the morning until very late in the evening. I know that there's a lot of people that have a hard time accepting the fact that Donald Trump won this election. And I get that.

But let me tell you this -- to give you a window into how this campaign operated around the same time during the convention and post- convention. I'd be going on TV after one of the debates. I'd be going on TV after one of the days of the convention and I was doing the early morning show. I was doing "EARLY START" and I was doing "NEW DAY".

And I would e-mail the campaign. And I would say hey, I'm going on in the morning. I'm going to try to sleep the night before. If anything changes let me know. They couldn't get their act together enough to send information in the morning. They couldn't collude with me. How in the hell would they collude with Russia?

SESAY: You are not a United States senator. You're not a U.S. senator. You're not a U.S. senator who has an entire team keeping their calendar. Nor are you a U.S. Senator that was preparing to testify under oath on Capitol Hill. It is hardly equivalent. I mean --

PHILLIPS: Claire McCaskill is a U.S. Senator. Claire McCaskill couldn't recall multiple meetings with the Russians. I don't think there's anything sinister. I don't think the woman's a pathological liar. I do think that she didn't remember insignificant things.

SESAY: But people are pointing to a pattern -- back to what Seth said. It is a pattern -- Seth gave five examples.

PHILLIPS: A pattern of insignificant meetings.

(CROSSTALK) HELDMAN: The problem is that there are so many members of the Trump campaign that had various meetings with the Russians and then lied about it. They lied about it in forms. They lied about it in public settings. They lied about it in Senate confirmation hearings.

So it's not analogous to Claire McCaskill. She wasn't running for the presidency. She didn't have a team of people who were talking about meeting with the Russians. And she didn't prepare many, many hours, as Seth pointed out, for a Senate confirmation hearing.

And it's apples and oranges. And if that's your defense, then you're basically saying, yes you know, there's something here.

PHILLIPS: One of the quote-unquote meetings was a speech that Jeff Sessions was giving in Cleveland during the Republican conventions where a Russian official happened to be in the audience.

SESAY: Ok. Let me just keep this moving because there is so much and I know we'll come back to this line of defense.

Let's talk about Kushner. Jared Kushner, as we've already shared with our viewers, the President's son-in-law and senior advisor handed over documents to Mueller on Thursday. We hear now that there more being questioned about Mueller's role in the firing of James Comey.

And Seth -- to you, this investigation is creeping ever closer to the President's inner circle. What does this development mean to you?

ABRAMSON: Well, here's what's really telling to me. Gabriel Sherman of "Vanity Fair" published an article just recently in which he spoke to six current White House staffers and they all said that impeachment was now a topic of discussion -- the possibility of impeachment in the White House.

And in that same story we found out that the President is actually turning on his own son-in-law and blaming him for the advice that he received regarding his firing of Jim Comey.

I think when you have a President, who the moment there are any indictments in the investigation into his campaign's contacts with Russia turns on his own family members within 48 hours, that says a lot to me as a long time defense attorney about whether Mr. Trump number one, has consciousness of guilt and then number two, how desperate he feels regarding the course of this investigation.

SESAY: John -- should -- bearing in mind what we know the documents being handed over and the questions, is the President about to throw folks under the bus? Should he be panicking?

PHILLIPS: I don't think that's the reason why Jared is out. Look, I mean I have been vocally on this program against the hire of Jared Kushner since the very beginning. Nepotism never works. If he weren't married to Ivanka he would be working some job that required his name to be embroidered on his shirt.

[00:20:03] This guy has given advice from the moment he walked into the White House. He's the one that told him to fire Comey. He's the one that told him to do other bad things that have resulted in bad PR, I think were huge mistakes. What has me sleeping very well at night is knowing that when Kushner is out soon, Roger Stone is back in the saddle.

SESAY: Caroline. Caroline -- you take that one.

HELDMAN: Well, ok.

SESAY: Out with Kushner, in with Stone.

PHILLIPS: I talked to Roger today. Roger's back in.

SESAY: Roger's back in. So if that's the case, Roger's back in because we hear, according to reporting that Roger Stone and Steve Bannon are telling the President that he should take a more combative tone against Mueller and the special investigation.

There's talk about him pushing for them to cut funding and all the rest of sit at their advice. What does this mean? Kushner out, according to -- possibly, according to John and Stone in?

HELDMAN: I admit we will be losing -- I would agree -- an incompetent staff member. Incompetence is not a defense though against obstruction of justice. That doesn't get him out of hot water and it does appear that if Mueller is going out for an obstruction of justice charge that Kushner will get caught up in that.

And you're replacing incompetence with someone who actively believes in conspiracy theories and is patently unfit to be anywhere near the White House.

PHILLIPS: Roger Stone is one of the smartest, shrewdest political advisers in the country and I think this is a huge step in the right direction.

SESAY: Well, I'll tell you where Roger Stone isn't. He isn't on Twitter anymore. They kicked him off Twitter.

And speaking of Twitter, the President's Twitter feed went down ever so briefly -- I think it was about 11 minutes on Thursday night. That's what came up. "Sorry that page doesn't exit."

People were frantic. They want to know what had happened in the White House. And we found out that indeed a departing employee from Twitter had decided they'd had enough of the President's 140 characters -- John.

PHILLIPS: It reminds me of that flight attendant, Steven Slater who just had -- it was the last day on the job and he just opened the emergency exit on the plane and took a couple of beers with him and said, all right, take this job and shove it.

SESAY: That was my favorite thing. He got the beers before he hit the slide button.

Thank you. Thank you to you all. We're going to hit pause here. There's a lot more to discuss in the coming hours.

But John, Caroline, Seth -- we appreciate it. Thank you.

ABRAMSON: Thank you.

SESAY: All right.

Still to come, after years of living under ISIS rule, one family tells CNN their harrowing story of survival in Raqqa, Syria.

[00:22:35]

SESAY: Well, ISIS has been defeated in Raqqa, Syria but the city has a long road to recovery. Raqqa is in ruins and lacks basic necessities like food, water and power.

When you look at what has been left behind, it is really difficult to believe any civilians survived the fighting. And yet some actually did.

[00:25:02] Our Arwa Damon introduces us to one of the last families able to flee and shares their incredible story of survival.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

ARWA DAMON, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: She rips open her black abaya (ph) and is almost hysterical in her relive. She and her children threw themselves at their saviors' feet.

It's a miracle they're alive. An air strike hit their five-story building they were entering the last days of the battle for Raqqa. When we meet Neja (INAUDIBLE) some 10 days after they got out the family is still in the same clothes.

They are now at the main refugee camp but kept in an isolated segment under armed guard along with others who were the last to escape. Many of them are suspected of being the families of hard core ISIS fighters.

Neja says she and her family had nothing do with ISIS, that they tried to flee so many times. Five-year-old Mais (ph) mimics what the ISIS fighter would say.

They say they were held as human shields as Raqqa crumbled around them, terrified, under siege, with barely anything to eat. ISIS kept any available food for themselves.

Hannan (ph) is just nine years old.

[GRAPHIC]

DAMON: One day she somehow managed to beg a tiny piece of meat off of ISIS. Just the sight of it made the children shriek with joy. It's such a heartbreaking depiction of just how deprived they were of even the most basic of things. Hannan would also scrounge through abandoned often bombed-out homes looking for food. Hannan had to go not just due to her bravery but because Neja says her older children couldn't. ISIS was conscripting youth and 15-year-old Shaima (ph) had to stay hidden. An ISIS fighter had already tried to take her as his bride.

[GRAPHIC]

DAMON: The fighter even offered $10,000.

She said she would never sell her daughter no matter what --

In the last weeks, the children's father says ISIS asked for his 11- year-old. The family stayed hidden with no electricity in pitch darkness once night fell, yet somehow still able to giggle despite the horrors.

A handful of photos show how they tried to pass the time, even playing dress-up. Neja who says she never prayed in the past, spent her time reading the Koran.

She's an avid smoker, something banned under ISIS and now she relishes every draft. But where and how do they even begin to find that comfort and stability of home? Their lives, their reality have been upended they don't even know how to begin to come to grips with all they have endured.

Arwa Damon, CNN -- Ain Issa, Syria.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

SESAY: When we come back, the youngest victims of the Rohingya humanitarian crisis, refugee children are traumatized, malnourished and are living with toxic stress.

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SESAY (voice-over): You're watching CNN NEWSROOM live from Los Angeles. I'm Isha Sesay. The headlines this hour.

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SESAY: The U.S. secretary of state plans to meet with top officials in Myanmar later this month. The State Department says Rex Tillerson will work on taking action over the humanitarian crisis in the country's northern Rakhine State.

More than 600, 000 Rohingya have fled to Bangladesh since violence erupted in August. U.S. lawmakers are now considering new sanctions and travel restrictions on Myanmar's military over their treatment of the Muslim ethnic minority. In the refugee camps of Bangladesh, the victims of this horrific

violence are just trying to survive but they're suffering, especially the children.

Rik Goverde (ph) is with Save the Children and he joins us now from Bangladesh.

Rik, thank you for being with us. I know Save the Children and a number of NGOs recently did an assessment of the children in these refugee camps and the conditions are even worse than you thought. Tell us about it.

RIK GOVERDE (PH), SAVE THE CHILDREN: Yes, Of course, I've been in the camps over the past two weeks on several occasions, almost on a daily basis. What you see around you are unhygienic circumstances but also malnutrition and it's everywhere we look.

We did an assessment together with other organizations and it was presented. The preliminary numbers were presented yesterday. We found that one in four of the children are actually malnourished. That is a staggering high number.

Usually in an emergency -- we speak of an emergency when it's 15 percent and here it's 25 percent. You can imagine the hardship they're going through right now. It's really a potential disaster for outbreaks of diseases as well and children who are malnourished and not treated, they may very well die.

SESAY: I understand it is rare to see this level of malnutrition in children, even in a time of crisis.

What makes this situation so appallingly bad for children?

GOVERDE (ph): Many have traveled a long time, for days and even weeks to get where they are right now, running from violence and maybe hunger that was already in Myanmar. So they came to the camps exhausted. Now they're in the camps and there was a shortage of food. NGOs and other organizations are trying to get enough food to the people. But the influx is just so high --

[00:35:00]

GOVERDE (ph): -- 600,000 in two months -- it's a city that has been erected in a hilly area, where there used to be only trees and brushes; now it's a village of (INAUDIBLE) and tarpaulin with unhygienic circumstances, with a lack of food. And everybody is working hard to face that challenge. But the influx is just so high that the international community really needs to step up, especially on the part of malnourishment or otherwise we will see children die very shortly.

SESAY: Rik, it's not just their bodies that are being wracked by their situation; it's also their minds. Talk to me about their mental state.

GOVERDE (ph): Again, we have specialists on the mental health of children. They went into the field last week and they saw signs of toxic stress. Toxic stress is very dangerous for children; it can attack the brain in a lasting way and, you know, having a long time -- term effect, which makes it hard for children to develop themselves, to control emotions, to touch imaginations.

We have child-friendly spaces, where children can come and sing and play and draw. You should see it as kind of a scale. They have seen very bad things on the scale. What we tried to do in our child- friendly space is get that scale back together by giving them normality on the other side. That is very important.

We have to challenge their cognitive skills and learning skills and imagination. If we don't do that, this generation might be lost for a long time to come.

SESAY: Rik, what is the greatest need right now for these children in these camps?

GOVERDE (ph): It would be very hard to prioritize because the needs are so high on all levels -- hygiene, health, the treatment of malnutrition, but also their mental health. As you probably know, there was a pledging conference for the Rohingya crisis in Geneva just two weeks ago, assessing what we need about for the first six months of the response about $435 million, $440 million to that extent.

And there were pledges for $335 million, which is $100 million short and that's just for the first six months.

So, yes. The international community really needs to step up their game and their funding so we can help children with their mental health, with malnutrition. If we don't act on the malnutrition issues, which is very large, the assessment we did -- it was in a camp where newly arrived lived and people who are already living there for a longer time.

We will do a second assessment and a third only in the area where newly arrived have just started their new lives. We fear that the numbers there, as they have just arrived from hunger, might even be very much higher. We need address that problem; otherwise the children will die.

SESAY: I think that's the message the world needs to understand, that there are children who will die if people do not step in and provide the support, the funding and the resources. Rik Goverde (ph), thank you for joining us there from Bangladesh. Thank you for the work you're doing with Save the Children and we will continue to check in with you. Thank you so much.

GOVERDE (ph): Thank you very much.

SESAY: We're going to take a quick break here. President Trump likes to get right to the point. When he came up with a really concise title for the new U.S. tax proposal, some of his critics put it on the chopping block. We'll explain, just ahead.

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SESAY: President Trump is known for keeping his messages brutally short -- think of his tweets -- and his dismissals of Crooked Hillary and Lying Ted. So when it came to a title for the new U.S. tax proposals, he boiled it down to one repeated word that didn't survive the cut. Jeanne Moos explains.

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JEANNE MOOS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: President Trump, the master brander, dreamed up a name for the tax bill that cut to the chase.

JIMMY FALLON, NBC HOST: The Cut Cut Cut Act.

STEPHEN COLBERT, COMEDIAN: The Cut Cut Cut act.

MOOS (voice-over): Cut it out with the laughter. This was a serious name proposed by the president to convey...

TRUMP: A giant tax cut, a tremendous tax cut, a massive tax cut.

MOOS (voice-over): -- but somehow cut, cut, cut didn't sound serious.

COLBERT: That name truly suck, suck, sucks.

FALLON: I guess that beats the name for his immigration bill, the bye, bye, bye act.

MOOS: Instead of the knives coming out, the scissors did.

Gifts ranging from "The Big Lebowski" to "Edward Scissorhands" were posted, not to mention a scissor-wielding crustacean. The Cut Cut Cut Act activated memories. And you thought 9-9-9 was bad.

HERMAN CAIN (R), U.S. PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I have put my 9-9-9 plan on the table.

CHRIS WALLACE, FOX NEWS HOST: Your 9-9-9 plan?

CAIN: My 9-9-9 plan is a bold solution.

MOOS (voice-over): A little too bold. Pizza chain CEO Herman Cain and his tax plan never made it through the Republican primaries.

CAIN: 9-9-9 will pass and is not the price of a pizza.

MOOS: In the end, President Trump didn't get the name he originally wanted. It was cut, cut, cut down the sides. Only one cut survived.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The Tax Cut and Jobs Act.

REP. PAUL RYAN (R), HOUSE SPEAKER: The Tax Cut and Jobs Act.

MOOS (voice-over): Republicans wanted to emphasize that their plan did more than just cut, cut, cut. Simplifying the code means many taxpayers could file on a form the size of a large postcard, which the president kissed. But he also had to kiss goodbye his preferred name and leave it for kids.

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UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Cut the carrots, cut, cut, cut, cut, cut.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Ouch!

MOOS (voice-over): Jeanne Moos, CNN --

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That hurt.

MOOS (voice-over): -- New York.

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SESAY: Catchy.

Thanks for watching CNN NEWSROOM live from Los Angeles, I'm Isha Sesay. Follow us at Twitter @CNNNEWSROOMLA for highlights and clips from our show. Stay tuned for "WORLD SPORT" and I'll be back with another hour of news from around the world. You're watching CNN.