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Russian Spy Mystery; Korea Talks; Syria's Dire Reality; The President and Stormy Daniels; New Developments; CARE Teams With Lancome On Literacy Program; Investors Betting On Uber Despite Zero Profits; Uber Investing Heavily In Driver-Less Vehicles. Aired 2-3a ET

Aired March 8, 2018 - 02:00   ET


[02:00:00] JOHN VAUSE, CNN NEWSROOM ANCHOR: This is "CNN Newsroom" live from Los Angeles. Ahead this hour.

ISHA SESAY, CNN ANCHOR: A double and a nerve agent who deliberately poisoned a former Russian spy in the U.K.

VAUSE: South Korean envoys heading to Washington with a secret message from North Korean Leader Kim Jong-un.

SESAY: And on international women's day, global campaign to fight illiteracy and help level the professional playing field.

VAUSE: Glad you are with us. This is now the third hour of "Newsroom L.A." I'm John Vause.

SESAY: The best is yet to come.


SESAY: I'm Isha Sesay. "Newsroom L.A." starts right now.

VAUSE: Well, British police believe a nerve agent was used to try and kill Sergei Skripal, a former Russian double agent and his daughter. They were found unconscious on a park bench in South England over the weekend.

SESAY: Police say one of the first officers on the scene also became ill and is now in serious condition. Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson has a warning for whoever is responsible.


BORIS JOHNSON, BRITISH FOREIGN SECRETARY: If this does turn out to be in any way the result of hostile activity by another government or directed led by another government, then the people of this country can be absolutely sure that the U.K. will respond robustly.


VAUSE: Fred Pleitgen is live this hour in Moscow. Erin McLaughlin also live in Salisbury, England, and that is where we will begin our live coverage. Erin, what is the very latest on the investigation?

ERIN MCLAUGHLIN, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Hi, John. Well, authorities now say they believe that the 66-year-old Sergei Skripal and his 33-year-old daughter Yulia were deliberately targeted in this case by a nerve agent. And the fact that a nerve agent was used is significant.

Now, authorities say they do know the exact type of nerve agent used, but they're not giving those details out just yet. The exact type of nerve agent, a potential clue into the origin. But nerve agents are incredibly difficult to make. They are incredibly difficult to use. Experts say rarely seen off -- outside of the battlefield.

So, the fact that a nerve agent was used, experts say, would significantly narrow down the field of suspects in this case, something which British authorities are working furiously to do. Hundreds of counter-terrorism police officers combing through hours of surveillance footage, retracing, creating a time line of Skripal and his daughter, where they were that Sunday.

At the pizza parlor, the local hub, the park bench, where they were found unconscious, asking for any and all witnesses to come forward with more information as they try to figure out just how a former intelligence operative, a former Russian double agent and his daughter became unconscious on a park bench at 4:00 p.m. on a sleepy Salisbury Sunday afternoon, very much the subject of this intense and ongoing investigation, John.

VAUSE: OK, Erin. Let's go to Moscow now with Fred Pleitgen. So Fred, you know, when it comes to killing former Russian agents, you know, with use of some kind of chemical or complicated poison, Vladimir Putin and the Kremlin have form on the board, but yet they continue to deny any involvement in this.

FREDERIK PLEITGEN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, they continue to deny any involvement in any of it. This particular case obviously also the case in 2006 where Alexander Litvinenko was poisoned by polonium.

To this day, the Russians have not acknowledged that they had anything to do with it despite the fact that obviously the British government, British authorities say that they are implicated and also that all of that went to the highest level of the Russian government.

Now, if you look at the past couple days, the reactions from here, from Moscow, there has been very little of reaction from the highest levels, from the Kremlin. There has been more from Russia Foreign Ministry, Maria Zakharova. The spokeswoman for the Foreign Ministry coming out and saying Russia had nothing to do with this. Also saying that they've not even been contacted yet

[02:05:00] by the British authorities to try and ask for something like help in the investigation. So therefore the Russians say they have no information on any of this. One of the interesting little twists in all of this is that whenever Russian official get asked whether Sergei Skripal is in fact still a Russian citizen, they say they simply don't know at this point.

We know that of course he was part of a prisoner swap that brought him to the United Kingdom in 2010. It is unclear whether he still has even Russian citizenship. They say that he was not registered with the Russian Embassy in London.

Nevertheless, of course, John, the media here and some lower-level politicians are speculating as to what exactly might be going on. A lot of them are saying they believe that all this is western anti- Russian propaganda that is going on. There are some who are saying, look, why on earth would Russia want to poison this man?

He is someone who has been out of the intelligence community for a very long time, been living in Britain since 2010, and so was someone who at this point in time probably does not have any very much in the way of being able to harm the Russian federation and it's interests.

Nevertheless, one of the things if you look at this case in the past of this case, there was a lot of bad blood in the Russian intelligence services toward Sergei Skripal. In fact, we had a video there just a second ago of him being arrested in 2004, 2006. They made a film about that, about the betrayal of the Russian federation and how bad all that was.

So there certainly was a lot of bad blood. So there are some who speculate that even if this might not have been in the highest level of the Russian government, there were certainly more people within Russian state apparatus who had a lot of anger towards Sergei Skripal. Whether they still had that today, unclear at this point, John.

VAUSE: OK, Fred, thank you. Fred Pleitgen there in Moscow and also Erin McLaughlin in Salisbury, England. Both of you with the very latest, most appreciate it.

SESAY: The secret message from North Korea's supreme leader is now on its way to the United States. South Korea's special envoy fresh off from their visit to Pyongyang will deliver that message in person though it is not clear who the message is for.

This comes a day after South Korea announced the North is willing to discuss denuclearization with the U.S. Earlier, the Pentagon chief weighed in on whether that possible concession will affect military planning.


JAMES MATTIS, UNITED STATES SECRETARY OF DEFENSE: We're cautiously optimistic that there is some forward progress here. But we've been optimistic before. So we're going to have to watch actions and see if they match words.


SESAY: Well, joint South Korea-U.S. military drills were due March 31st, drill that infuriate Pyongyang because they always do. That's what we've been accustomed to. Let's bring in Andrew Stevens who is there in Seoul.

So, Andrew, South Korean envoy is on the way to Washington, D.C. with the secret message. One thing we know for sure, U.S. officials will be eager to learn every little detail, every big detail from their meeting with King Jong-un.

ANDREW STEVENS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Absolutely every scrap of data they can possibly get from the big -- big to the small, starting from the big. They want to confirm what Kim actually said. Because remember Isha, everything we are reporting on so far has come from the South Korean delegation which returned to Seoul. We have heard nothing official from North Korea on that.

The leader of that delegation is now on his way to Washington as you say. We don't know what he is going to be telling the Washington team, but we don't know who he is going to meet, but we can assume that certainly it will be the secretary of state, Rex Tillerson, the secretary of defense, Mattis, and H.R McMaster, the national security adviser.

And they're going to be looking for, as I said, what exactly did Kim say? They're going to be looking for more details on Kim's offer of denuclearization based on the fact that there has to be a safety guarantee for North Korea. What does that mean? Does that mean, as North Korea has always said, moving U.S. troops out of South Korea?

What does Kim mean by this freeze on testing and -- of testing ballistic missiles and also of the nuclear program? Does that mean that it is a complete moratorium on all developments? So there is lot to look at there. And then of course there is the less tangible, like his mannerism, the way he speaks, the way he acts.

What you can glean about the personality of the man from that, Isha. Because remember, Kim Jong-in is a mystery to virtually everybody. Perhaps Dennis Rodman is an exception here. And Kim Jong-un has met a Chinese official, a Cuban officials. But no one else as far as we know. So, this is really a first encounter. And the Americans are going to be very, very keen as the South Koreans would be about exactly what they learned from the man himself about the man himself.

SESAY: And Andrew, not just the trip to Washington, D.C. when they are finished stateside. They will also be going to as I understand it,

[02:10:00] China, Russia and Japan. Again, all these parties that are part of a six-party negotiations eager to know more about the meeting with Kim Jong-un.

STEVENS: Absolutely. We are hearing that he will be traveling to Japan The envoy is going to Washington. He and the national intelligence chief are likely to go to Japan sometime in the next week. The Chinese are pushing hard for an early meeting between the U.S. and North Korea. The foreign minister, Wang Yi, came out today to say that it is now the time really to -- to -- for both sides to show that they are serious about pushing forward on this.

Mr. Yi said that there is light at the end of the tunnel but it is going to be a very, very difficult road so far. Remember, the Chinese have always pushed for dialogue between North Korea and the U.S. as have the Russians as well, Isha.

SESAY: All right. Interesting couple of days ahead. Andrew Stevens there in Seoul, South Korea. Thank you.

VAUSE: A U.N. convoy is set to deliver food and medical supplied to Eastern Ghouta. The enclave is just outside the Syrian capital of Damascus. Hundreds of thousands of civilians are trapped there living amid the rubble. Artillery fire on Monday forced another aid convoy to leave before unloading all of the supplies.

CNN Jomana Karadsheh joins us now live from Amman in Jordan. It appears that there have been some advances by Syrian forces loyal to Bashar al-Assad. What are the details there? How could that impact this next delivery of humanitarian supplies?

JOMANA KARADSHEH, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, it does seem like we have been seeing over the past few days, John, that the regime is making advances on the outskirts of Eastern Ghouta with reports of capturing several villages that has been driving people more towards other parts of Eastern Ghouta.

And the situation in there is really dire as we have heard, the humanitarian situation there. People are desperate for the aid. You saw that aid convoy on Monday as you mentioned. It was cut short because of the security situation. We have to wait and see what happens in the coming hours when this second convoy is supposed to go in.

But it' dependent on a lot of things including the security situation, guarantees from all sides that they can actually make it in. And then there is the bureaucratic procedure of permissions in what they can take in and what they can't take in. So we will have to wait and see what happens with that, but the situation inside Eastern Ghouta is getting worse by the day.


KARADSHEH (voice-over): There seems to be no place on earth where it is harder to dodge the bombs right now than Eastern Ghouta. No security council resolution and no Russian promises have stopped the bombs or stopped the death toll rising eve single day.

There is little to smile about in Eastern Ghouta where everyone has lost something or someone. Yet they still smile. Most of baby (INAUDIBLE) 28-day life has been spent underground. That's the only place families have left, hoping maybe, just maybe, it will be enough to protect them from the bombs raining down on them.

(INAUDIBLE) says his family's livelihood, a little welding shop, was destroyed. His children are out of school. They use what they can find to play and forget. Civilians are skeptical of offers to evacuate through the so-called humanitarian corridors.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): We are waiting for God to help us. They talk about corridors they have opened. What corridors? They haven't spared us the tanks, the artillery and Russian planes, and they want to us hand ourselves over.

KARADSHEH (voice-over): In another basement, another family and another story. Five-year-old (INAUDIBLE) with a big smile speaks of things most her age would not even understand.

Her house was bombed by the planes, she says. Her toys burned. Like others, they've given up on the international community saving them.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): Meetings, condemnation, concern. We have seen nothing from them over the past seven or eight years. No resolution they have passed has stopped the shelling. Give me one resolution the regime or Russia have abided by.

KARADSHEH (voice-over): It seems like it's a matter of time before the regime recaptured Eastern Ghouta, time that feels like an eternity for those trapped in this hell on earth.


KARADSHEH: And John, according to activists and medical workers on the ground, they describe Wednesday night as a night from hell. Intense bombardment, shelling, airstrikes, pounding different parts of Eastern Ghouta and more reports of civilian casualties.

VAUSE: So depressingly familiar. Jomana, thank you. Jomana Karadsheh, live in Amman.

OK. Still to come here, it has not been an

[02:15:00] easy few days for the White House press secretary trying to answer questions about the president's alleged affair with a porn star. On Wednesday, one answer in particular from Sarah Sanders might just have made everything worse for Donald Trump.


VAUSE: It was a difficult and delicate dance at the White House around questions about Donald Trump's alleged affair with adult film star Stormy Daniels. Press Secretary Sarah Sanders say she is not aware if the president knew about his personal lawyer paying Daniel hush money as part of a non-disclosure deal.

Daniels is suing the president who tried to void that agreement. According to her lawyer, she has been threatened by Trump's attorney to stay quiet.


MICHAEL AVENATTI, ATTORNEY FOR STORMY DANIELS: Well, he has actually, Anderson, attempted to do that by means of a number of steps including filing this bogus arbitration against her, communicating through her prior counsel, making threats to her, relating to what may happen to her from a legal perspective in the event she does not deny allegations of the affair. (END VIDEO CLIP)

VAUSE: Well, joining me now for more on this, Democratic strategist Caroline Heldman and Republican strategist Chris Faulkner. Caroline, it seems the efforts to cover up this alleged affair between the president before he was president and the adult film star, it seems to be falling apart before our very eyes.

CAROLINE HELDMAN, DEMOCRATIC STRATEGIST: It is because he continues to deny that it happened. And honestly, I'm less concerned about the consensual sex he may have had with Stormy Daniels and more concerned about the nonconsensual allegations against him from 22 women including two women at the same bungalow at the Beverly Hills Hotel where Stormy alleges they had an affair. Summer Zervos, around the same time.

I'm more concerned about the allegations of sexual violence than this. But unfortunately, it appears that his supporters aren't concerned about the infidelity or the alleged sexual violence.

VAUSE: It also seems almost like the country isn't concerned about this either. This story has been bubbling away for weeks. I mean, porn star sues president is a pretty big headline --


VAUSE: -- and it's not a lead.

HELDMAN: Well, because we are numb, right? There are so many things coming all at once. I look at my preparation for various shows every week and typically, you know, stories carry over from week to week especially scandals. That's not what happens here. It's a completely different set of scandals virtually every week with this White House.

VAUSE: And maybe White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders made this a lot worse for the president during Wednesday's briefing. Listen to this.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Did the president approve of the payment that was made in October of 2016 by his long-time lawyer and adviser Michael Cohen?

SARAH HUCKABEE SANDERS, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: Well, the president has addressed this directly and made very well clear that none of these allegations are true. This case has already

[02:20:00] been won in arbitration and anything beyond that, I would refer you to the president's outside counsel.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You said that there is arbitration that is already been won by whom and when?

SANDERS: By the president's personal attorneys and for details on that, I would refer you to them. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: But you're aware of them, so what more can you share with us?

SANDERS: I can share that the arbitration was won in the president's favor. And I would refer you to the president's outside counsel on any details beyond that.


VAUSE: Arbitration, way to keep it in the national spotlight. Chris, apparently Daniels and her lawyers were never informed about this arbitration. So it seems odd that you have private arbitration and a secret restraining order which was the end result of that arbitration. But the end result though, this seems like an awful lot of trouble to keep someone silent about something the president denies ever happened.

CHRIS FAULKNER, REPUBLICAN STRATEGIST: Well, clearly whatever the -- whatever actually happened, we don't know, it's all alleged. And even if you want to say that it did or somehow didn't, at the end of the day, Stormy Daniels is getting exactly what she wants.

I'm sure she has-booked herself in many gentleman's club across the country if you want call them that, because she is on the news. Look, we are talking about her right now. She has been on a lot of different channels. She is being interviewed. And this is in a very sick and sad way probably a great boost for her career, if you want to call it that.

VAUSE: But what about the damage to the presidency?

FAULKNER: The damage to the presidency, every time someone accuses somebody in the White House of something like this, it can damage the office, you know. And of course the damage to the presidency is only in consideration to how we perceive it whether or not we think it's true. If it's -- the number of allegations have been made about this president certainly have surpassed presidents in the past.

And the president's character in such a way where the president is very -- lives out loud about what he says and what he does. And so it gives people sometimes that reality show glimpse that somehow maybe some of these is actually true.

VAUSE: Well, according to Daniels lawyer, there has been this ongoing effort to try and stop this story from getting out there. This is what he said.


AVENATTI: It happened within a matter of hours. All in an effort -- and I want to be really clear about this. All in an effort to keep this matter under wraps, keep it out of public view, hide the facts, and silence my client. There is a pattern in practice that is governed the way that my client has been dealt with by Mr. Cohen and President Trump for months.


VAUSE: Caroline, it may be one thing to use these kind tactics of subpoenas and restraining orders and private arbitration when your client is a real estate salesmen from Queens, but it seems that those tactics don't work when you're the president of the United States.

HELDMAN: Absolutely. Not only does it not work because we are talking about it, but it does damage to the presidency. The fact that this is not that big of a deal -- and I'm not talking about the consensual sex. I'm talking about the cover-up, right? The $130,000.

We now know that McDougal, a Playboy bunny, is arguing the same thing was happening at the same time. But none of this seems to matter because Donald Trump has so damaged the presidency in so many ways with these scandals, that this is at the end of day kind of a blip.

And what does that tell us about the state of the presidency and about the state of U.S. politics and about the state of the American public that were so exhausted that this doesn't even really register.

VAUSE: It may be a problem though when you talk about the money because here is more from the Daniels lawsuit. Mr. Trump with the assistance of his attorney, Mr. Cohen, aggressively sought to silence Miss Clifford which is her real -- Stormy Daniel's real name, as part of an effort to avoid her telling the truth, thus helping to ensure he won the presidential election.

From Daniels, goes into a lot of details from her account with Donald Trump in this lawsuit as well. But, Chris, if this is true, if this money was paid essentially to help Trump win the election, that does seem to be a violation of FEC law when it comes to contributions in election campaign in terms of transparency and limit.

FAULKNER: Then you're equating it to the same thing as any kind of contribution to the campaign which is clearly not. If it was a personal matter, if, again, this is all alleged, if something like this actually happened and somebody settled something in a private civil suit outside of a political campaign, there is no correlation. There is no violation of ethics there.

VAUSE: OK. I guess we have to wait and see because this is a legal issue now. Very quickly, the other big story from "The New York Times" in the past couple of hours, the special counsel apparently is aware of at least two key witnesses who the president spoke to after they had been interviewed by the Mueller team.

Here is "The New York Times" reporting. Mr. Trump asked his former chief of staff, Reince Priebus, how his interview had gone with the special council investigators and whether they had been nice, according to two people familiar with the discussion.

Caroline, that sounds innocuous on the surface, but it could be seen as awareness by the president of some kind of wrongdoing. I guess maybe it's not quite witness tampering, but it doesn't look good. HELDMAN: You know, the fact that it happened afterward doesn't actually bother me. There is nothing illegal here, at least not on its face.

VAUSE: Not even coordination of testimony?

HELDMAN: Well, if he is coordinating, he is going to talk to them beforehand.

[02:25:00] It's the timing of it that makes it seem like it's a molehill out of the mountain -- sorry, mountain out of molehill. But it also speaks to the fact that the president is pretty paranoid or is concerned about this, right? That he has tried to contain it after the fact.

It is not obstruction of justice. It's not tampering. But it certainly speaks to the fact that he is concerned about the Mueller investigation as he should be given everything that Mueller has already uncovered, the tip of the iceberg that we know about.

VAUSE: Chris, nothing burger?

FAULKNER: It's all alleged.


FAULKNER: It's an investigation that's going to continue to go on. I understand why people are interested. If there was some sort of smoking gun, if there was some sort of compelling evidence, yes, I think we probably would have known about it by now.

VAUSE: There is a lot of stuff coming out.

FAULKNER: Anyone who says that there is lots of stuff coming out, I just go back to white water. You are going to keep digging until you find something.

VAUSE: OK. We will finish with steel tariffs, co-star to Stormy Daniels.


VAUSE: There are a number of reports that on Thursday, we get the big tariff announcement from the president. Canada, Mexico, even China will actually be exempt. It could be on a rolling 30-day basis at least. Caroline, is this the beginning of the big backflip? The big walk back of this decision?

HELDMAN: You know, this is the flip-flopper in chief, perhaps he is actually listening to people who say that his tariff plan will set off a trade war or could set off a trade war and will be disastrous, not only for people in the United States who have to pay more for their consumer goods but also for other countries that might retaliate and it could have global economic affects.

And a lot of people in his White House including Cohen who left over this were highly concerned about that. So, my guess is that, you know, he makes this rash statements and then people moderates talk to him and he starts to flip-flop. We have seen it on immigration. I would argue he went in the wrong direction but flip- flopped on guns. So, yes, the flip-flopper in chief strikes again.

VAUSE: Very quickly, Chris, we are almost out of time. Is this an issue that Donald Trump is actually able to climb down from (INAUDIBLE)?

FAULKNER: I think that if we think that somehow the president is inconsistent in this, all you have to do is watch this. He is negotiating. You can't say he is negotiating with a hammer or baseball bat, but he is negotiating. And he is going to get his way with this.

VAUSE: OK. It's not subtle, I guess. That's one way of putting it.

HELDMAN: Or successful.

VAUSE: Well, not yet. We got to wait and see.

FAULKNER: Based on the state of our economy, I think we can argue whether or not it's successful.

VAUSE: OK, good. Good point to finish. Chris and Caroline, thanks so much. Good to see you both.

SESAY: Quick break here. More than 100 school girls vanished. Next on "CNN Newsroom," the latest clues.

VAUSE: Also ahead, the state of California and Trump administration in a legal brawl over immigration policy. Lawsuit is filed and the insults are flying.


[02:30:00] SESAY: You're watching "CNN Newsroom" live from Los Angeles. I'm Isha Sesay.

VAUSE: And I'm John Vause and these are the headlines.

U.K. police say a former Russian double agent and his daughter were deliberately poisoned with a nerve agent. They're treating the attack (INAUDIBLE) as attempted murder. Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson says Britain will respond robustly if a foreign power is responsible.

VAUSE: Two South Korean envoys are heading to the United States right now with a secret message from North Korean leader. The envoys meet with Kim Jong-un earlier this week in Pyongyang. Reports also say it's not known who the message is addressed to, what it says, or whether they'll meet with President Trump.

VAUSE: The attorney for adult gold start Stormy Daniels says President Trump's personal lawyer continues to threaten his client. Daniels is suing the president of void a nondisclosure agreement making her free to discuss their alleged affair. The White House says an arbitrator has already ruled in Mr. Trump's favor. SESAY: Well, it's been more than two weeks since 110 girls were

kidnapped from their school in Northeastern Nigeria. Boko Haram militants are thought to be behind that attack. The Nigerian law said late last week that a faction of militant group had contacted her and assured her the girls would not be harmed. Nigeria's president said he would visit areas affected by tourism but as of yet it's not clear if he'll visit the school where the girls were taken.

Well, Saudatu Mahdi is co-founder of Bring Back our Girls and Secretary General of the Women's Rights Advancement and Protection Alternative. She joins us from the Nigerian capital, Abuja. Saudatu, thank you so much for being with us. This is like a terrible nightmare. It's like a terrible nightmare, more girls being taken by Boko Haramm. How is this latest mass kidnapping impacting the lives of girls there in Northeastern Nigeria?

SAUDATU MAHDI, SECRETARY GENERAL, THE WOMEN'S RIGHTS ADVANCEMENT AND PROTECTION ALTERNATIVE: Thank you, Isha. The impact of the second large abduction of girls from school has all the negative consequences of (INAUDIBLE) girls and their parents who go to school. It has setback our progress in terms of the advocacy for girls' education and career choices. And most importantly, it has setback the human capital contribution that women can make when they are educated.

SESAY: Yes. For those who are missing, their pares who have been left behind who are struggling with this passing hour with the fear of what has happened to their loved ones, do they believe that the government is doing everything possible to find their children?

MAHDI: Well, you've got to understand their traumatized state. And the only assurance that probably will be guaranteed is the return of their daughters. So, yes, they could have doubts about how much is being done to give -- to rescue their daughters. But I believe a lot of them would have some hope that it will happen. But given the context of the Chibok girls and the length of time it has taken to get back and to still have an outstanding number in hundreds is not necessarily an encouraging narrative for them. So I want to believe that they would have hope and they would also continue working with groups like ours to place appropriate pressure on government to really up the game of the rescue of these girls from the insurgents.

SESAY: So what -- when you say that working with groups like your own to up the pressure on the government, what would that pressure look like? What form would it take?

MAHDI: It would take the form of the citizen movement that has been going on with the movements like the Bring Back Our Girls campaign which is really the central campaign for the return of the abducted Chibok girls. It will also take the form of, you know, direct media's conventional and new media pressure on government. It will take engagement with agencies of the security architecture government, and institutions that are operating. So all towards -- in particular we want to see a situation where government and the security agencies open up an increase citizen contribution in terms of intelligence and support for them to be able to really expedite the rescue of these 114 girls and the rest of the Chibok girls. SESAY: Saudatu, we're almost out of time and we're having slight problem with your Skype. But I'm going to press on to just to ask you this. How the groups like your own make sure that people in these communities are already fearful don't just lock up their daughters and prevent them from having an education?

[02:35:08] MAHDI: Isha, it's going to be very difficult. Like I said in the beginning, it sets the clock backwards for us. But I think once we're able to get this rescue mission done and we go back to the drawing board concerning the confidence building, trust building, and also implore the government to put in infrastructure and security arrangements that assure parents that their daughters will be safe and secured while pursuing education away from home.

SESAY: All right. You know, I wish you luck. It's important. It needs to happen. Saudatu Mahdi joining us there from Abuja. Thank you. Thank you for the work you're doing keeping the pressure up to make sure these girls come home. Thank you.

MAHDI: Thank you. We'll put you in touch.

VAUSE: Well, a dispute over immigration policy between the Trump Administration and the State of California. It's heading to court on what looks to be uncharted territory. Jeff Sessions enact a law say which challenges so called sanctuary cities where local law enforcement are directed not to assist federal officials enforcing immigration laws. Sessions was especially outrage by the nerve Oakland who recently warned undocumented migrants about a plan crackdown.


JEFF SESSIONS, UNITED STATES ATTORNEY GENERAL: Here's my message to Mayor Schaaf, how dare you? How dare you needlessly endanger the lives of our law enforcement officers to promote a radical open borders agenda?


VAUSE: Joining us now the attorney general for the great State of California Xavier Becerra who was named in the federal lawsuit alongside Governor Jerry Brown. Attorney general, good to see you. This legal action by the Trump Administration, is it about more than just immigration policy? How much of this is politics? How much is personal?

XAVIER BECERRA (D), ATTORNEY GENERAL, CALIFORNIA: John, I suspect there's a lot that swirls inside of this lawsuit the way we've seen so much swirl around the Russian investigation. Who knows how much is implicated in this but I'm not sure why at this point the U.S. Department of Justice feels that it has to try to come after the State of California when the State of California has the right under the 10th Amendment to decide how it's going to do it's policing.

VAUSE: Well, you know, the Attorney General Sessions, he delivered his remarks to the media and the leadership of the California Peace Officers Association. I want to play the end of this speech. Here it is.


SESSIONS: And you can make sure about this. We have your back. You have our back. Thank you all and God Bless you.


VAUSE: You know, the reaction from the room it seems polite but it was muted. A handful I see stood up to clap but there wasn't a lot of enthusiasm towards Sessions was saying and that seems to reflect the broad attitude among law enforcement officials. They don't want to be acting as immigration officers.

BECERRA: Well, I think most folks in law enforcement want to get down to the business so they're enforcing the laws and worrying about public safety. They're not interested in being immersed in the politics of what's going on in Washington, D.C. I think here in California they've had a lot of changes that they've had to undertake to try to deal with our new laws and I think what they'd like to do is be able to do what they got hired to do and that's enforce the law, protect the public.

VAUSE: And there have been studies which show that when they do that, you know, the law actually works a whole lot better than when the scene is acting as, you know, sort of unofficial enforces of immigration law?

BECERRA: No doubt. The more that there they're able to focus on going after those who would commit crimes, the more that the community is working in tandem with them because witnesses and victims are willing to come forward. The greater the success that we'll all have in going after those who are committing crimes. But if our crime fighters are busy trying to do things that are unrelated to their principle job of going after those who are committing crimes against us and if they're having to worry about whether they got the cooperation of the communities that are right now terrorize, you feel terrorize, and afraid to come forward whether it's the law enforcement locally or ICE, immigration enforcement federally, it makes their job a lot tougher.

VAUSE: And the legal issue here is the constitution supremacy law which has federal law takes precedents over state law, you touched on this earlier, and tell me, how do you plan to argue against that?

BECERRA: Well, there's no question that federal preempts, state laws in the areas where the constitution gives the federal government the right to enact laws. But when it comes to public safety, the constitution reserves the right to determine how to protect the public to each and every state. And therefore, the issue is not so much preemption. Here, the issue is states' rights under the 10th Amendment, and because California has the right to determine how it's going to have its local law enforcement officers engage in public safety, the federal government can't go in and coerce us to try to do federal immigration enforcement for them. [02:40:08] VAUSE: Ultimately, like could Jeff Sessions have done everyone a favor if this lawsuit actually clarifies who is responsible for what when it comes to enforcing immigration law?

BECERRA: Well, maybe that's what it will ultimately do. But it will come at a cost. It takes money to go to court. It puts a lot of our local law enforcement agencies on edge anxious about what they should and should not be doing. It puts the State of California in a posture where it has to constantly explain not just to our local law enforcement agencies but to our communities how the laws will be enforced. And certainly, it puts our immigrant communities in a state of anxiety and fear because they believe that anyone who is wearing a uniform may come after them and that's not what we want here.

We want to make it clear that we want those who are victims of crime to come forward if they're immigrants. We want those who are witnesses to crimes if they're immigrants to come forward. And our local law enforcement agencies have done years of work to build that trust and respect in immigrant communities so that those immigrant communities will come forward regardless of their status. And to some degree everything that the Trump Administration is doing and certainly what the Department of Justice at the federal level is now doing with this lawsuit puts a lot of that in peril.

VAUSE: Yes. And it seems like this could be a legal case which takes on for a very long time. Xavier Becerra, thank you so much for being with us.

BECERRA: Thank you, John.

SESAY: A quick break here. And for millions of women it's an invisible obstacle to better jobs and justice. Ahead, the new campaign to fight illiteracy.


SESAY: Hello everyone. As we continue to feel the reverberations of the Me Too movement. The theme for this year's international Women's Day is press for progress, a push for gender parity worldwide. The millions of woman and girls have no chance of ever attaining such a goal because of illiteracy. According to the humanitarian organization CARE, 76 million young women around the world lack basic reading and writing skills. So now, CARE is teaming up with cosmetics giant Lancome to tackle the issue. Together, they're launching the campaign, Write Her Future.

Dar Vanderbeck is CARE Chief Innovation Officer. She joins me now from Washington, D.C. Dar, welcome.


VAUSE: You are so welcome. Let's start with this statistic that two thirds of the 758 million illiterate adults in the world are women with almost no progress since 2000 in reducing their share. Dar, that's tens of millions of women being held back. But just as troubling, is that fact that the number has remained stubbornly unchanged for almost two decades? Why is that?

[02:45:10] VANDERBECK: Yes. I -- it's partially a lack of investment, focused investment. But it's also requiring new types of partnerships with schools, with large NGOs, with corporations and brands like Lancome. In this partnership, we definitely believe that we have examples around the world and cares 76 year old history where we have changed the game for women and literacy. And now, we need to scale that. We need to move the needle on it, and that's what the partnership is about.

SESAY: Yes, absolutely. I mean, if people are wondering why this is critical, I mean, when you break down the numbers further, when you look at the numbers evolved here, almost a quarter of young women age 15 to 24. Today, that's 116 million in developing countries have never completed primary schools. So, they lack skills for work.

Young women make up 58 percent of those not completing primary school. I mean, Dar, when you look at those numbers when people ask why there should be a sense of urgency to this, the reason is extreme poverty. I mean, we keep talking about the issue of extreme poverty and we know that more women than men are living in that condition. Poverty and education go hand in hand.

VANDERBECK: Exactly, exactly. And we know that injustice and unjust systems, one of the most silent but dangerous manifestations of that is illiteracy. And it perpetuates itself because when you cannot read or write, it will difficult to express your own predicament to tell your story. And that's why we're tackling this problem.

SESAY: So, tell me about the function on literacy programs that you guys have launched with the help of Lancome. I mean, first of all, how widespread are they?

VANDERBECK: Absolutely. So, CARE and Lancome launched a partnership last week. We -- it is a global partnership. It's actually Lancome's first global felon tropic initiative. We'll be working this year in Guatemala, Thailand, and Morocco, and we have plans to expand globally. For contacts, CARE works in 93 different countries around the world. Last year, we impacted the lives of 63 million people. So our partnership is able to scale the solutions that we create to reach millions and millions of people.

SESAY: Yes. I mean, I think what would be interesting, and help me with this Guatemala, Thailand, Morocco. We're looking at this varying cultures, different cultural context. How -- I mean, what's the plan? Or is there a plan to adjust for the different regions across the world? And of course, also adjusting for older versus younger people.

VANDERBECK: Absolutely, absolutely. So, the reason that we chose these three countries are twofold. First, that it would give us a geography or a diversity of geography. So that when we go to scale, we have different models and different contact that we can (INAUDIBLE) from, and look at this program as a whole.

The second is that all of -- you know, the conditions of the most marginalized women, often indigenous women in these three countries are strikingly similar. A lack of access to school to support. This all manifests in not being able to have the support system and access to reading and writing.

SESAY: And with these programs as we know, with all of these programs to deal with issues regarding women and girls, the issue of community engagement is always key.

VANDERBECK: Absolutely.

SESAY: It's always key to be able to get the parents involved when it's girls, community leaders, religious leaders it's absolutely critical because some of that cultural context played a part in the fact that those women and girls weren't -- you know, sufficiently educated to begin with. How is CARE going to work with that? How, you going to achieve that?

VANDERBECK: Yes. So, I think that's actually what distinguishes CARE's work. You know, as I said, 93 countries, 76 years working on these issues, and we found at the most successful approach is one that's community owned and led, and rights-based. So, we approach this from that reading and literacy is not a nice to have but an essential human right.

So, how do we work with communities? In places where we have been for a long time to find solutions that they feel ownership in that they can lead and take that to the next level?

SESAY: Yes, and it's also that thing, you know, the ultimately we always want to stress when we talk about women and girls programming, which is that if you educate, if you empower your women and girls, you give them the opportunities that's not just good for them, it's good for the families, it's good for the community, to other country as a whole.

VANDERBECK: Absolutely. And you know, at CARE our mission is to end the injustice of poverty. And we know we can't do that without gender equality. So, when we educate women, we're also educating the men and boys in their life that support them. This is a whole community approach. So, absolutely, to what you just said.

SESAY: Yes. Dar Vanderbeck, that is a good place to leave it on this International Women's Day that people recognize that -- you know, it's not just doing something nice it's doing something that's right and it benefits everyone. Thank you, Dar.

[02:50:04] VANDERBECK: Absolutely, thank you.

VAUSE: Can you remember the life before Uber?


VAUSE: No, nine years we've had Uber. And in that time --

SESAY: Only nine.

VAUSE: Only nine. But, in nine years, it's burn through a ton of cash. More than $10 billion, almost $11 billion dollars. So, that is now leading to the question, will Uber ever actually turn a profit? Back in a moment.


VAUSE: Well, few start-ups could burn through more than $10 billion dollars in nine years shows zero in profits and still attract investors. But Uber is no ordinary company, it's investing in technology for self-driving cars. There is already a plea to self- driving trucks on Arizona's highways. And then, there is the side businesses like Uber eats which are healthy, and they're also growing.

For more, Ed Kim is vice president of industry analysis with AutoPacific. Ed, it's been a while but good to see you.


VAUSE: OK, here's part of the report from Bloomberg --

KIM: All right.

VAUSE: Few for our companies in history have grown so fast and lost so much money in such a short period of time. Uber has developed what may be considered a Peter Pan syndrome. After reaching a stage in maturity, most companies never realize, it has yet to turn a profit and remains deeply in the red.

Again, so, how does this company with those how they numbers at this point -- you know, in its lifespan? How does it actually make money?

KIM: Well, it's amazing that a $54 billion dollar company hasn't made money. And you know, for the last nine years having they've blown through about $10.7 billion dollars of investor financing.

So, how do they make money? It's quite frankly, I don't know that there's a short-term path to the making money. I mean, this is the company who is -- that has been appealing to the investor community because of the growth that it's been exhibits. I mean, in -- from 2016 to 2017, there was 90 percent growth in bookings that's over impressive stuff.

So, in on top of that, there is also the long-term vision of Uber which is the -- you know, which is really revolutionizing transportation, partially through autonomous vehicles that will serve in their ride-hailing fleet, very exciting stuff. But, all that stuff is still years away. The autonomous cars are years away. It's -- and those autonomous cars -- I believe are really key to Uber actually turning a profit.

VAUSE: Yes. (INAUDIBLE) because why are people willing to be patient with Uber? Because this all -- this is a long-term bet when they're not patient with other text jobs.

KIM: That's -- well, I think -- I think, the key here is that Uber- like one other tech company that I'll get to in just a second, does have a very, very compelling long-term vision. I mean, this could truly revolutionize transportation in the future. I mean, if -- I -- if Uber continues successfully for the long-term and these autonomous cars -- autonomous ride-hailing cars really do take over the Uber fleet, then, this will really radically change things.

Because there'll be less of a need for privately owned cars. There'll be less cars on the road, less pollution, less congestion. So, these are very, very big things. Up to this point in time, that's been sufficient. That being one of the things that's been sufficient enough to keep the investor community interested. And this is a trick that Tesla has also been able to pull off its will. I mean, Tesla is also a company -- a tech and automotive company that hasn't made any money.


KIM: For -- and but has been able to keep the investor community exited.

[02:54:57] VAUSE: It's the imagination. Yes, I guess it's the imagination part of it. Until we get to the point of self-driving cars, they still need drivers. And that's one area with where Uber is unlikely to squeeze any money from. There was a study that's came out the U.S., it was revised, it was controversial. Initially, it said that drivers earn about four or less than four bucks an hour. That's being revised up which to between $8.50 and $10.00 an hour, it's still not a lot of money.

KIM: Right.

VAUSE: And then, there is the study in Australia which found accounting for unpaid time, spent waiting for the next fare and collecting the passenger from their pick-up point. This translates into a net hourly wage of $14.62 that's all see which about $11.00 to U.S. Again if this is not a lot of money for a company --

KIM: Right.

VAUSE: At the moment, the business model is based on for the most park attracting drivers.

KIM: Yes, yes. And it's already as it is. Most of the revenue that Uber makes goes to the drivers. I mean, their gross revenue last year was I think about $37 billion. But about $30 billion -- about $30 billion of that went to pay the drivers. And that's paying the drivers at basically poverty wages. I mean, there's -- they're not really going to be able to squeeze the drivers any more than they have been already. So, somehow they better walk this very fine line of somehow keeping these pretty underpaid drivers --

VAUSE: Yes, keep them happy, come out --

KIM: -- keep them -- keep them happy but still keep the --

VAUSE: OK. 30 seconds left, sorry to interrupt.

KIM: Yes.

They get -- Uber goes public next year?

KIM: Yes.

VAUSE: Do they ultimately have to change this business model?

KIM: Well, I think -- I think, ultimately, the business model will change when the autonomous cars get here.

VAUSE: OK. So, it's a technology will drives the model.

KIM: The technology will drive the model, it will absolutely.

VAUSE: Ed, fantastic.

KIM: Thank you so much.

VAUSE: It's good to see you.

SESAY: I'm going to a Luddite, I'm not sure about these driverless cars.

VAUSE: Every car's a driverless car.

SESAY: OK. I know, you said that joke last hour.

VAUSE: I know. I'm running out of material. Time to go.

SESAY: It's time too. You've been watching CNN NEWSROOM live from Los Angeles. I'm Isha Sesay.

VAUSE: And I guess, I'm John Vause. And the news continues with Rosemary Church. She is in Atlanta.

SESAY: She knows where she is and who she is.

VAUSE: Yes, but you have to wait a very short break until you see her.

SESAY: You're watching CNN.



ROSEMARY CHURCH, CNN INTERNATIONAL ANCHOR: An attempted double murder. U.K. police confirm a former Russian spy, and his daughter were poisoned with a nerve agent. South Korean envoys came to Washington with a secret message from North Korean leader Kim Jong-un. The porn star versus the president, the legal battle over whether she can speak out about their alleged affair.