Return to Transcripts main page

CNN NEWSROOM

Revised Trump Travel Ban Expected This Week; Cease-fire Violations in Eastern Ukraine; McMaster Emphatic on the Need to Defeat Terrorism; Milo Yiannopoulos Resigns from Breitbart. Aired 2-3a ET

Aired February 22, 2017 - 02:00   ET

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


[02:00:00]

(MUSIC PLAYING)

JOHN VAUSE, CNN ANCHOR (voice-over): U.S. president finally condemns anti-Semitism after a wave of threats and attacks on the Jewish community in the United States.

ISA SOARES, CNN ANCHOR (voice-over): The Trump administration issues new plans to aggressively enforce immigration laws as the White House works on a new version of its travel ban.

VAUSE (voice-over): Also (INAUDIBLE) becomes the next president of France. Visits to the British Prime Minister, one of his oppositions, causes a stir on a trip to the Middle East.

But why are they campaigning outside of France?

Hello, great to have you with us. I'm John Vause here in Los Angeles.

SOARES (voice-over): And I'm Isa Soares in London. You are watching CNN NEWSROOM.

(MUSIC PLAYING)

SOARES: A very warm welcome. We're starting in the United States this hour because millions of undocumented immigrants in the U.S. are now at greater risk of being deported. This is a major in U.S. immigration policy.

Now in the past, officials focused on only on those who committed serious crimes. Now the Trump administration is putting virtually all undocumented immigrants on notice.

VAUSE: The president, though, is keeping one policy from the Obama administration. The children of undocumented immigrants, known as DREAMers will be spared from the crackdown at least for now.

Under the new policy, thousands of border patrol agents will be hired and immigration officers will have more authority to decide on the spot whom to arrest.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) SEAN SPICER, WHITE HOUSE SPOKESPERSON: The memo regarding the

executive order, border security and immigration enforcement improvements outlines the steps that DHS will take to secure the nation's southern border, prevent further illegal immigration and to repatriate illegal immigrants swiftly, consistently, and humanely.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

VAUSE: Democratic (INAUDIBLE) Matthew Littman (ph) joins us here in Los Angeles and from San Diego (INAUDIBLE) and psychologist Gina Loudon (ph).

Thanks both to you for being with us.

So, Jean, starting with you, Donald Trump has repeatedly the crime rate is skyrocketing. He has also said illegal immigration is out of control. Both those statements are not correct. Critics say he's linking these two things together and essentially, these tough new measures on illegal immigration are based on a lie.

GINA LOUDON, TRUMP SUPPORTER: Well I don't know where exactly you're getting your numbers because the numbers that I've seen say that, yes, crime is definitely on the rise. But more importantly, experientially, I live right on the border. I can -- I'm literally on the border of Mexico, see it every single day and I know from my legal immigrant neighbors, who are most of my neighbors, ironically, I live in a largely legally integrated neighborhood with a lot of illegal immigrants also and they tell me that you know, they are scared and that they want something done to secure our borders for their children.

Most of them have had some sort of crime. You know, most of the crime that is perpetrated by an illegal immigrant is on a legal immigrant. And that's no secret to the people in my neighborhood.

VAUSE: Matt?

MATTHEW LITTMAN (PH), DEMOCRATIC STRATEGIST: Well, just in terms of the facts, we have the lowest number of people coming over without documentation. A quarter of the amount of people that we had in the year 2000, those numbers keep going down every year.

So when the Trump administration talks about a surge of immigration, illegal immigration coming from Mexico, that is absolutely not the case. The numbers are going down and down every year.

This is an excuse they're going to spend about $25 billion to build a wall, billions more to bring in new agents on this. There are a lot better ways to spend this money. And what were doing is we are deterring people who want to come to this country, the United States economy is actually built on immigrants, people coming in with new ideas. People coming in who really love this country so want to keep them out of the country seems like a big mistake to me.

And from his promising 4 percent economic growth this year, you're not going to have 4 percent economic growth if you're not letting people in country.

VAUSE: OK, to the White House briefing --

(CROSSTALK)

LOUDON (PH): I don't think that -- I don't think that President Trump said anything about keeping people out of the country. I think that he him of course is married to an immigrant. I think we have to remember that.

He's very welcoming and I've never heard him say a single thing about legal immigrants coming into this country. And in fact, I think --

LITTMAN (PH): OK, well what about people from -- what about the Muslim ban?

What about the Muslim ban?

Seven different countries where he said we're not going to let people in from those countries. There are people --

LOUDON (PH): Those were Obama's --

LITTMAN (PH): -- refugees --

(CROSSTALK)

LITTMAN (PH): -- no, they're not, actually. No, they're not.

LOUDON (PH): And that was a temporary travel ban. That was Obama's --

LITTMAN (PH): You -- so it's not -- no, it isn't.

(CROSSTALK)

LITTMAN (PH): So Rudy Giuliani, the gift to cable television because he cannot stop yapping, said that Donald Trump called him and asked how I could do a Muslim ban legally.

So are you telling me that Rudy Giuliani was lying about this?

LOUDON (PH): I have no idea --

[02:05:00]

LOUDON (PH): -- what Rudy Giuliani thinks or doesn't think but all I can tell you is that in practice and by every standard of every expert, it's a temporary travel ban based of on Obama's hot list of the most dangerous terror countries.

I don't want my kids killed in a terror incident and I doubt you do, either, Matthew.

(CROSSTALK) LITTMAN (PH): -- Sean Spicer said, by the way, that there were

no imminent threats from any of those countries.

VAUSE: OK, but let's move on. We need to get to the president's comments anti-Semitism. He's finally spoken about after a wave of attacks on the Jewish community. Essentially, this is what he said. Let's listen to what the president had to say.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: The anti- Semitic threats targeting our Jewish community and community centers are horrible and are painful and a very sad reminder of the work that still must be done to root out hate and prejudice and evil.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

VAUSE: Matt, someone said that's too little too late.

LITTMAN (PH): That seems very sincere and emotional. He was reading that off of a card in front of him. He basically had to be dragged kicking and screaming to make -- he tweets a lot about "Saturday Night Live." He tweets about a lot of different things. He can't manage to talk about anti-Semitism. Let us remember during the campaign he put out that picture of a Jewish star over a pile of money.

Let us remember when he met with some Jewish groups. He said, I am a great negotiator like you. Let us remember that Steve Bannon is his closest advisor. So when we talk about him not being able to condemn anti-Semitism, it's insincere and it is too late.

VAUSE: Gina?

LOUDON (PH): Again, Matthew, you may have an interesting illustration of things that you believe happened first of all, let's consider that one of the closest people to him is Jewish, of course, not to mention his own daughter is Jewish.

So these arguments are going to make sense. But even more than that, just last week, wasn't it, that he met with Prime Minister Netanyahu. So I don't know what you want the guy to do inside of 40 days. But I'd say this is a pretty demonstrable record of someone who is very committed to --

VAUSE: Gina, if I could interrupt, why did it take so long for the president to speak out on anti-Semitism -- Gina?

Why did it take so long?

LOUDON (PH): I don't think it did. I think meeting with Benjamin Netanyahu was a definite statement that he is not in any way going to condone any sort of anti-Semitism in this country.

LITTMAN (PH): There's no -- there's no -- Gina, you're a psychologist. There's no connection. Meeting with Benjamin Netanyahu, the lone democracy, Israel in the Middle East, does not have anything to do with anti-Semitism.

Anti-Semitism is a different issue. There been bomb threats at Jewish centers around the country going on for a month. Those numbers have increased and the increase in anti-Semitism around the country, groups talk about this all the time.

Donald Trump, when he was asked about it twice at press conferences, talked about his electoral college victory or shut down the person who was asking him the question.

Jewish groups have been frantically begging Donald Trump to make a statement. That's the statement that he chose to make.

LOUDON (PH): And he did.

LITTMAN (PH): It's too little too late.

LOUDON (PH): And he did. I don't know -- what do you want him to do, exactly, Matthew, because he did. He made the statement --

LITTMAN (PH): How about appearing to be somewhat sincere?

LOUDON (PH): -- he did do that you were asking him to do?

LITTMAN (PH): Yes, that's right, yes, because he should have done it a lot sooner.

LOUDON (PH): -- Donald Trump win with you, Matthew, how could he -- how could he have done this better inside of his first month --

LITTMAN (PH): You want me to ask?

LOUDON (PH): -- in the presidency --

LITTMAN (PH): Well, I'll tell you, I understand --

LOUDON (PH): -- meeting with Benjamin Netanyahu --

(CROSSTALK)

LITTMAN (PH): -- nothing to do with this.

(CROSSTALK)

LOUDON (PH): -- anti-Semitism.

LITTMAN (PH): What does Benjamin Netanyahu have to do with anti- Semitism?

What are -- what's the connection?

The Israel thing is not a connection. That has nothing to do with anti-Semitism in the United States. These are two completely different things.

(CROSSTALK) LITTMAN (PH): Gina, let me finish. They're a threat to Jewish

community centers every day, right. I know, we want to send my kids to a temple and we're worried about my kids going to that temple. The increases in anti-Semitism that have been going on for the last couple months, everybody knows about it. Everybody's talking about it.

Donald Trump won't talk about kit. One out of every five days, he is playing golf. He tweets about "Saturday Night Live." All the other things he cares about, he has shown that he does not care about this.

And if you watch that statement just now, does that seem like somebody who was really upset about anti-Semitism in this country?

VAUSE: OK, and on that note, OK.

LOUDON (PH): -- very sad and very concerned.

VAUSE: OK, and on that note, we'll say we'll leave it there.

Gina Loudon (ph) in San Diego; Matt Littman (ph) here in Los Angeles, thanks to you both.

SOARES: You'll always have a heated discussion around here on this show so don't miss out.

Now how do you know when a cease-fire has failed?

Well, that is the question right now in Eastern Ukraine after what sounds like an awful lot of violence.

The European group in charge of monitoring the confluence is that since 6:00 pm local time, that's on Monday, there have been nearly 800 violations of the new cease-fire. We're told many of them were explosions. Pro-Russian separatists and government forces have been --

[02:10:00]

SOARES: -- fighting on and off since 2014 (INAUDIBLE) new U.S. ambassador to the U.N. had a message for Russia. Take a listen.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

NIKKI HALEY, U.S. AMBASSADOR TO THE U.N.: The United States thinks it is possible to have a better relationship with Russia. After all, we confront many of the same threats. But greater cooperation with Russia cannot come at the expense of the security of our European friends and allies.

That is why the United States calls on Russia to respect Ukraine's sovereignty and territorial integrity. That is why we continue to urge Russia to show a commitment to peace by fully implementing the commitments under the Minsk agreement and ending this occupation of Crimea.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SOARES: Strong words there from Nikki Haley. Joining us now at CNN Clare Sebastian. She's live for us in Moscow.

And, Clare, this really does seem to be shaping up to be a cease- fire only in name. I know you've just got off the phone with the head of the OSCE mission in Ukraine.

What did they tell you regarding the cease-fire violations?

CLARE SEBASTIAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, Isa, it is still a very fragile situation on the ground, I've just spoken to Alexander Hugg. He's the head of the OSCE special monitor mission in Eastern Ukraine.

He said overnight that he reports of another 200 or so cease-fire violations. That is from Tuesday evening Ukraine time over to monts (ph) is Wednesday morning. He said around 200, around 100 of those were explosions which suggest that heavy weaponry is still in the area, tanks, mortars, that kind of thing.

Too early to say that whether this represents a positive trend, a reduction in numbers since this is all just from the overnight hours. But he did say that the heavy weaponry is still in place and that really is the problem here, is that these two sides are too close together and that under the agreement made in Minsk and reinforced in this latest cease-fire, they should be withdrawing the heavy weaponry.

I did ask him though what is the situation for the people in that area. He said that unlike in the last few weeks that we've seen critical infrastructure has been cut off, water, electricity, that there is no immediate crisis as of now.

But he said any of these hundred explosions that they saw overnight, any shell could knock out a power line and make things a lot worse and the people there. So there is a lot at stake still in making this cease-fire work -- Isa.

SOARES: What has bee the reaction, Clare, to others, comments we just heard by Nikki Haley?

How is that playing out there?

SEBASTIAN: Well, Ukraine is definitely quite pleased that it seems to be getting a bit more support from its allies in Europe and the U.S. We heard Petro Poroshenko, the president of Ukraine, urging the E.U. yesterday to tighten sanctions on Russia over its actions in recognizing the documents of those breakaway regions, Donetsk and Lugansk, the passports there.

He did accuse Russia of violating international law in doing that and said it was further evidence of Russian occupation in that area.

Russia is sticking to its line. It said that move in recognizing those documents was a humanitarian move. There was not any violations. So the Russians are saying that they still are leaving the door open to closer ties with Russia. But for them the issue of Eastern Ukraine is still, on paper, a

domestic Ukrainian issue and the issue of Crimea is a closed one. They say this is now part of our territory. We will not be discussing it -- Isa.

SOARES: Yes, but it seems, Clare, that really this tension between Ukraine and Moscow is simmering for all to see, especially anyone at the U.N. Security Council yesterday, talk to us about what happened when tributes to the late Russian ambassador, Vitaly Churkin, were being offered.

SEBASTIAN: Right, well, the issue at the U.N., Isa, it was really about what kind of statement was agreed on on the passing of Vitaly Churkin. It was suggested that there would be a presidential statement to the Ukrainians, who are currently holding the rotating presidency of the Security Council.

They had blocked that and said they would just want to press statement, that according to some diplomats that CNN is a traditional way to do this, but that was met with anger from the Russian side, the Russian Foreign Minister, Sergey Lavrov, saying this goes against Christian values, is beyond good and evil.

The Kremlin spokesman, Dmitry Peskov, saying let God be their judge, so a very strong reaction from here in Moscow.

SOARES: Clare Sebastian, thanks very much, Clare, very good to see you.

John.

VAUSE: Well, Russia could be a key area of disagreement between President Trump and his new national security advisor. The deployment all Lt. Gen. H.R. McMaster is being widely praised. He's a decorated commander with a reputation of speaking truth to power.

For more, here's Pentagon correspondent, Barbara Starr.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

BARBARA STARR, CNN PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Lt. General H.R. McMaster has a long history of speaking up about Russia and Vladimir Putin.

LT. GEN. H.R. MCMASTER, NATIONAL SECURITY ADVISOR: War is an excess of politics. Russia understands this. Vladimir Putin understands this. And so he is waging really a limited war for limited objectives. He is using a broad range --

[02:15:00]

MCMASTER: -- of means to do that in a very sophisticated campaign of propaganda, disinformation, political subversion and so forth.

STARR (voice-over): Quite different from his now-fired predecessor, Michael Flynn, who sat at dinner with Putin in Moscow and is under FBI investigation for potential inappropriate contact with the Russian ambassador.

In recent months, McMaster has worked on a review looking at how Russia is impacting global security.

MCMASTER: This is a sophisticated strategy, what Russia is employing, and we're doing a study of this now with a number of partners. It combines really conventional forces viewed as cover for unconventional action but a very -- much more sophisticated campaign involving the use of criminality, organized crime and really operating effectively on this battleground of perception and information.

President, thank you very much.

STARR (voice-over): But on other issues, McMaster appears to be more in synch with President Trump.

MCMASTER: We announced publicly, often years in advance, how we intend to limit our level of effort and we ignore the effect that public announcements concerning limitations on the nature, scale or time of our effort have on maintaining our own will to fight.

STARR (voice-over): On the fight against ISIS, McMaster stops far short of equating Islam with terrorism but is adamant about the need to defeat terrorists.

MCMASTER: We are engaged in a sort of righteous causes right now. OK. And I think it is OK for us to want to win against these misogynistic murderers, bastards that we're fighting in the greater Middle East.

And so I think that we ought to be unabashed about it.

STARR (voice-over): And he suggests defeating ISIS quickly may require escalating U.S. military involvement.

MCMASTER: And the approach that we took proved to be insufficient in terms of being able to resolve this in a timely matter because we narrowly circumscribed our effort and, instead, relied mainly on standoff capabilities and the use of proxies.

STARR (voice-over): Barbara Starr, CNN, the Pentagon.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

SOARES: A day after declaring a famine, South Sudan's president promising safe passage for aid agencies to deliver food to starving civilians. Aid groups say almost 5 million people are in urgent need. They estimate more than 1 million children are severely malnourished, many of them on the brink of starvation.

Years of civil war, a failing economy and a refugee crisis are to blame.

VAUSE: Still to come here, on the campaign and sparking an international incident next on NEWSROOM LA, why France's Marine Le Pen refused to meet with a Lebanese religious leader

SOARES: Plus the face of far right news is suddenly out of a job. But what forced him out at Breitbart? We have that -- next.

(MUSIC PLAYING)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[02:20:00]

(SPORTS)

VAUSE: For years, he's been a rising star of the alt-right, many ultra-conservatives embrace Milo Yiannopoulos as the ultimate truth teller. A champion of free speech. As the senior editor for the alt- right website Breitbart, Yiannopoulos offended at will -- women, Muslims, gays and blacks.

But now it seems he's finally gone too far with flippant comments seeming to endorse pedophilia.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MILO YIANNOPOULOS, BREITBART: In the homosexual world, particularly some of those relationships between younger boys and older men, the sort of coming of age relationships, the relationships in which those older men helped those young boys to discover who they are --

(CROSSTALK)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It sounds like Catholic priest molestation to me.

YIANNOPOULOS: And do you know what?

I'm grateful for Father (INAUDIBLE).

(END VIDEO CLIP)

VAUSE: That interview happened over a year ago but was recirculated over the weekend on social media, sparking outrage, even among some of his loyal supporters. And on Tuesday, Yiannopoulos resigned from Breitbart and offered an apology of sorts.

YIANNOPOULOS: I haven't ever apologized before and I don't anticipate ever doing it again. Name-calling does not bother me and news reporting does not bother me. But to be a victim of child abuse and at the same time be accused of being an apologist for child abuse is absurd. I regret the things that I said. I do not think I've been as sorry about anything my whole life.

And this isn't how I wanted my parents to find out about this, either. But let's be clear about what's happening here. This is cynical media which comes from people who do not care about children. They care about destroying me and my career -- by extension, my allies.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

VAUSE: Well, for more, we're joined now by Brian Stelter, CNN senior media correspondent and host of "RELIABLE SOURCES."

So, Brian, not much of an apology from Yiannopoulos, was it?

BRIAN STELTER, CNNMONEY SENIOR MEDIA CORRESPONDENT: No, not at all. He quickly turned from somewhat apologetic to defiant and self- aggrandizing, vowing to build up his own brand bigger than ever in the future. And how he has left Breitbart, lost his book deal and been uninvited from CPAC. What a difference a week makes.

He was on the Bill Maher show last weekend, talking about his controversial views, throwing bombs as he tends do every single day. But then after that tape that came out, the tape you just played, over the weekend, that caused CPAC to back out. It caused Simon & Schuster to cancel the book contract.

This press conference today was an attempt to regain control of the narrative but I think this really goes to show, John, we're talking about a professional provocateur, someone who goes out of his way to shock and offend.

And I wonder if we're at this kind of moment, all of a sudden, where people are rethinking the business relationships with him.

VAUSE: Well, let's listen to some of Yiannopoulos' previous repugnant comments.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

YIANNOPOULOS: (INAUDIBLE) in the United States of America.

What is wrong with you?

(INAUDIBLE) so Muslim migrants are going to come in here to arrive with their signature delicacies, lamb chops, yogurt and gang rape.

(INAUDIBLE) racially supremacist movement. It's Black Lives Matter.

I don't entirely believe in lesbians. There are, of course, a small, a tiny proportion of, you know, the dungaree-wearing types, you know, with the short haircuts, your gender studies professors, who probably will never see a (INAUDIBLE) --

[02:25:00]

YIANNOPOULOS: -- more out of lack of options than preference.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

VAUSE: So let's just recap this. His supporters are on the rise, especially on the anti-Semitism is OK, racism has been OK, misogyny has been OK. But these comments about pedophilia, that's crossing the line now?

STELTER: Right, it is illogical. Some of his supporters fall back on the idea that a lot of what he's saying is just humorous, that he's making jokes and tending to shock people, but really he is just kidding. He is not actually anti-Semitic. He is not actually racist or sexist, et cetera.

So he says these things and then tries to put them in a cloak of humor and we've seen that in the alt-right as well. Milo says he's not part of the alt-right but it's a similar strategy on these alt- right websites, to saying things that are Islamophobic, that are homophobic, et cetera, but then to say it's all just an act. It is all just humorous.

Sometimes (INAUDIBLE) Milo is described as a conservative journalist. But that really does a disservice to conservatives and to journalists. What he is trying to do is be a professional provocateur. And we'll see if he can do that now without Breitbart, without this book deal.

He said he's going to go release his book some other way and he's going to launch his own media company. But I'm going to be really curious to see if, a year from now, his visibility is significant as it is today.

VAUSE: Great. OK, Brian, good to talk to you, thanks so much.

STELTER: Thanks.

SOARES: Now an activist group sent its message, supporting immigrants in a big way, hanging a 6-meter banner across the base of the Statue of Liberty. National Park rangers quickly removed the sign that said, "Refugees welcome," but not before images spread across, as you can see, social media.

Time for a quick break. "State of America" with Paula Newton is coming up next for our viewers in Asia.

VAUSE: For everyone else, next here on NEWSROOM LA, two French presidential candidates calling for this abroad. We'll say how they're being received away from home.

SOARES: Plus a chilling look at deadly attacks carried out by North Korean spies. We'll bring you that story after a very short break.

230

[02:30:00]

(MUSIC PLAYING)

JOHN VAUSE, CNN ANCHOR (voice-over): Hi and welcome back, everybody. You're watching CNN NEWSROOM. I'm John Vause in Los Angeles.

ISA SOARES, CNN ANCHOR (voice-over): And I'm Isa Soares in London. Let me bring you up to day with the main news headlines.

(HEADLINES)

SOARES: Now two of France's presidential candidates are courting voters who live abroad. The first-round election is April 23rd. Now it's (INAUDIBLE) candidates received 50 percent. The top two will meet in a runoff on May the 7th.

Our Melissa Bell has more from Paris.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

MELISSA BELL, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): With just nine weeks to go until polling day, the two front-runners in France's presidential election were abroad today, trying to establish their credentials as world leaders.

In Beirut, a visit by the woman leading France's presidential polls, Marine Le Pen, the far right leader, set off a small process and a large controversy.

Prior to meeting with the Lebanese religious leader, the grand mufti, his spokesman says Le Pen was told that she would have to wear a headscarf. She refused to do so. The spokesman called it "inappropriate behavior," as he stormed out of Lebanon city authority, the Dara al fatwa (ph), she said she'd not been asked to cover herself on an earlier trip to Cairo, when she met the al-Azhar mosque's imam.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MARINE LE PEN, PRESIDENT, NATIONAL FRONT (through translator): The grand mufti aides could have just told me, Madame, the condition sine qua non is the veil.

I had indicated earlier that I would not wear it.

The aides of the grand mufti were free at that point to tell me that this meeting would not happen.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BELL (voice-over): A diplomatic incident that has been described by her critics back in France as blatant electioneering in a country where the headscarf has been a central issue for more than a decade.

Marine Le Pen is opposed to public religious symbols. Less controversial was Emmanuel Macron's visit to Downing Street after his meeting with the British prime minister the centrist candidate, who's now only second to Marine Le Pen, answered those critics who point out that he has yet to say precisely what he actually stands for.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Would you agree that (INAUDIBLE) currently (INAUDIBLE)?

EMMANUEL MACRON, FRENCH PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Sure but (INAUDIBLE) I will (INAUDIBLE) my program next week in France and I will explain how my program is a program to make France (INAUDIBLE) with innovation, with training program, with helping (INAUDIBLE).

BELL (voice-over): After leaving Downing Street, Emmanuel Macron spoke to London's substantial French electorate, voters from both Left and Right that he hopes will be seduced by his centrism.

But his critics point out that until his program is announced, he is in danger of giving up ground to a woman who is very clear about what she stands for -- Melissa Bell, CNN, Paris.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

SOARES: Let's get more on this. Joining me now is Emma Hogan (ph). She's a Commerce Europe (ph) correspondent.

Emma (ph), plenty for us to get our teeth into. Let's talk about Macron's visit to the U.K.

Was this about funding, was this about getting voter support, what exactly what his message here?

EMMA HOGAN, "THE ECONOMIST": Well, London is France's sixth biggest city by population. There is 300,000 people here, estimated. So for Emmanuel Macron, it's very important to win over voters outside of France, and these are exactly the kind of people that that will like him.

They're young, entrepreneurial people who have moved out of France and who want to hear something fresh and new.

SOARES: What do you think about that report that Melissa Bell was just saying, that the problem for -- the criticism over Emmanuel Macron is really that he's not very clear on what he stands for, when put him next to Marine Le Pen, who is very clear on what her ideas are.

Does that hurt him?

When you look at the polling, polls that you as an economist (ph) have conducted, how do the numbers look?

HOGAN (PH): Well, it's going to be a very tight race and, I mean, commentators are wary of talking about polls in the wake of Brexit and Donald Trump. But my colleagues at "The Economist" have put together a poll of polls, which looks at 95 polling data. And it shows that Marine Le Pen is going to do very well in the first round. But the second round --

[02:35:00]

HOGAN (PH): -- is far less certain. SOARES: Why is that?

HOGAN: It partly depends on turnout. So she will do well if there's low turnout. But past presidential races have -- past races have shown that it's not -- (INAUDIBLE) vote turnout.

So it really is going to be unclear. People at the last minute may turn towards a more estimated candidate. We should not forget 2002, where Marine Le Pen's father actually snuck into the final round and then but lost 60 points.

So there will be a lot to play for and it will be very exciting in the run-up.

SOARES: And, of course, when Macron was saying that he will be setting out his vision, his policies, soon, is he leaving it -- excuse me -- is he leaving it very late, given the fact that we're trying to figure out what he stands for?

Is that a bit risky?

HOGAN: It seems so. I mean, I think a lot of momentum at the moment has been the fact that he is an independent candidate. He has not run for election before. And people sort of like that.

There's also been other candidates have been affected by personal problems (INAUDIBLE) --

(CROSSTALK)

SOARES: Controversies.

HOGAN: -- controversies he's been accused of employing his wife, (INAUDIBLE) do any work, according to his critic. So I think Macron has been boosted by that and so far he has not had to have very substantial policy platform. That will change over the next few weeks.

SOARES: Marine Le Pen, let's talk about her, because in the piece you heard there, she visited Lebanon. She refused to wear a headscarf.

Was this just key off (ph) for her?

HOGAN: I think it'll play well to her base. She has consistently railed against religious symbols, as she has been at the anti-Islam. I think with the refugee crisis in Europe, it will play to those who do fear Islam refugees and so on.

And so I think that it work very well for her.

SOARES: What but you know, the surgery (ph) we're seeing -- I mean, if I can call it surgery (ph) for Marine Le Pen in terms of support, has investors (ph) particularly worried because she wants out of the euro. Concern that French debt could rise.

What are you hearing in terms of what it would mean for her into the economy, the impact it could have?

HOGAN: I think it wouldn't just be the French economy. I think it would be the economy of Europe. I mean, I think if Marine Le Pen won, it would be a far bigger blow to the E.U. than Brexit.

I mean, as you say, she wants to leave the euro. So this is a question about European -- the what future that the European project has. If France, one of the biggest members wants to leave, one of the most substantial parts of the E.U., then there's a big question about not France but also Germany and the rest of European integration.

SOARES: And very briefly, Emma, the rite of populist parties in Europe concern at the beginning that with Trump becoming president, that would actually lift a lot of these parties.

Are we seeing a bit of a change now, people trying to separate themselves from President Trump?

HOGAN: Well, I think it's easy to see a sort of domino effect. I think the individual reasons why populists are popular and that differs from place to place. But I think that there could be a momentum from Donald Trump to Marine Le Pen.

SOARES: Thanks very much, Emma Hogan, always great to get your insights. Thank you -- John.

VAUSE: (INAUDIBLE) short break. When we come back, we're learning more about who is to blame for the murder of Kim Jong-un's half- brother.

Also a look at the dark and chilling side of North Korea's spies.

(MUSIC PLAYING)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[02:40:00]

(MUSIC PLAYING)

SOARES: Now Malaysian officials want to speak with a North Korean embassy worker and an airline employee as part of Kim Jong-nam's murder investigation.

They're also looking for five North Korean suspects, four of whom they strongly believe are back in Pyongyang. Kim was the half-brother of North Korea's leader. He died last week after a suspected poisoning in Kuala Lumpur.

VAUSE: (INAUDIBLE) South Korea believe Pyongyang is behind Kim's death. (INAUDIBLE) denies any involvement. But as Paula Hancocks reports, North Korea has a long history of attacks carried out on foreign soil.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE) PAULA HANCOCKS, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): 1983, an assassination attempt on a South Korean president. The president survives but 21 others are killed.

1987, a Korean Air flight explodes midair, killing everyone on board, a bomb planted in the overhead locker. Both attacks carried out by North Korean spies who confessed.

2011, an assassination attempt on a well-known defector is foiled. A North Korean spy is arrested on the streets of Seoul. South Korea's intelligence agency at that time showed us weapons they say he was carrying, a poison needle disguised as a Parker ballpoint pen.

HANCOCKS: If you're shot by this pen, what happens to you?

HANCOCKS (voice-over): He tells me it would cause muscle paralysis very quickly, leading to suffocation and death.

And a loaded flashlight, three holes in the front to hold three bullets.

There is as yet no physical proof North Korea was behind this killing. But the former number two in the North Korean embassy in London who recently defected told CNN affiliate YTN there is no doubt in his mind his former boss is behind it and he says he may be the next victim.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): In this case, even if North Korea denies it, the North Korean elites will believe 100 percent that the North is behind it, given how many executions took place under North Korean regime and how even Kim Jong-un's uncle, Jang Song Thaek. has gone.

HANCOCKS (voice-over): Two years ago, this man told me North Korean agents are operating right now in the United States and South Korea and many other countries. He should know. He says he was one of them.

He doesn't want to talk about the recent murder of Kim Jong-nam, Kim Jong-un's half-brother. But he told me in 2015 all North Korean spies are trained to kill; they're cut off from society and family.

"You learn to be happy to give up your life for the regime," he told me, "to show your loyalty, you should commit suicide if called."

Kim was shot when captured on a mission in South Korea in 1995 so was unable to fulfill his destiny.

HANCOCKS: South Korea has clearly pointed the finger of blame for Kim Jong-nam's death towards the North. But North Korea has rejected it. Its ambassador to Malaysia has told reporters that it believes these allegations amount to defamation and they believe that this incident is being politicized by both Malaysia and South Korea -- Paula Hancocks, CNN, Seoul.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

SOARES: And still ahead, a rock legend is helping bring music back to schools one guitar, it seems, at a time. Meet Eddie Van Halen joins us in the studio next. You do not want to miss that interview.

(MUSIC PLAYING)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[02:45:00]

(EMERGENCY ALERT SYSTEM TEST)

(WEATHER REPORT)

(EMERGENCY ALERT SYSTEM TEST)

[02:50:00]

VAUSE: -- Henry Mancini, and Rock 'n' Roll Hall of Fame inductee Edward Lodewijk Van Halen also known as Eddie Van Halen, a major donor and supporter of music education for kids.

Felice, great to see you --

(CROSSTALK)

EDDIE VAN HALEN, MUSICIAN: Thanks for having us.

VAUSE: This is such an honor to have you both here.

Felice, first to you. When you look at what the foundation has been doing for the last 20 years now, have you had a chance over that period of time to see the very real impact that music has on a kid's life?

FELICE MANCINI, CEO, MR. HOLLAND'S OPUS FOUNDATION: FELICE MANCINI, CEO, MR. HOLLAND'S OPUS FOUNDATION: Absolutely.

VAUSE: What is that?

MANCINI: As you said initially, there are tons of studies -- it's clear that enlightened schools know that music helps kids in all areas. What I've seen over 20 years is a real disparity in educational outcomes for kids who do not have music, for kids who do have music.

So what we are really trying to do is get access to these kids. We work with really low income schools. They don't have many resources so our job is to make sure that they have that opportunity and access to really good tools, good instruments that will make them sound good and give them confidence.

VAUSE: Eddie, the Lodewijk in your name, that's the Dutch equivalent of Ludwig, as in Ludwig --

(CROSSTALK)

VAUSE: I checked with my Dutch friends, they gave me a bum steer on that one. Your father was a musician. You started playing very, very young in life.

Can you imagine what your life would be like without that opportunity?

VAN HALEN: For the way I grew up, I mean, even on the nine-day boat trip from home to New York, my father was in the band on the boat. And my brother and I also played piano during intermission.

So we -- my whole life has been music. I could not imagine anything else. But what really hit like a brick wall when I graduated high school and I signed everybody's yearbook, and everybody asks you, so what college are you going to?

(LAUGHTER)

Hey, I don't know, I think we'd better stick to what we --

(CROSSTALK)

VAN HALEN: -- that we know and we just kept in music because that is what helped us survive and pay the rent when we came to America, came to America from home.

VAUSE: Because you formed a band. Your first band, what was in grade 4, I think.

VAN HALEN: The Broken Combs.

VAUSE: Broken Combs.

(LAUGHTER)

VAUSE: Were they good?

(INAUDIBLE)?

VAN HALEN: We wrote our own songs, believe it or not. I played piano, my brother played saxophone and it was a lot of fun but we didn't really get serious about it until we graduated high school.

VAUSE: So when you look at the situation now in many American schools as they continue to cut budgets and they continue to take music away from students, could you imagine what it would be like if we're missing out on maybe the next Eddie Van Halen?

Because there's just not the opportunity there in these schools to learn music.

VAN HALEN: You know, music is such a necessity. It expands -- it touches people's soul. Music in general -- imagine this show without the music to set it up. Imagine movies without music. Music is the universal language, to me. It transcends everything.

(MUSIC PLAYING)

MANCINI: Our goal isn't to create more Eddie Van Halens or more Henry Mancinis.

VAUSE: That's a benefit, right?

MANCINI: It -- our goal is to give kids every tool they can possibly have to succeed. And music is the common denominator. It -- you put a kid in a -- in a music class, it builds community, communication. You know, they find a place. It's a safe haven.

And playing an instrument is not easy. And when these kids accomplish something like that, they feel it and it really helps them in all academic areas.

VAUSE: Eddie, you've donated, what, I think 75 guitars?

VAN HALEN: Yes. It was very difficult at first to find a charity that would take them.

(LAUGHTER)

VAN HALEN: They all just wanted money.

[02:55:00]

VAN HALEN: And then we found Felice and they welcomed us with open arms.

VAUSE: So right now, there's 75 kids out there, learning to play guitar on Eddie Van Halen's old guitar.

MANCINI: More than that.

(CROSSTALK)

MANCINI: he kids share the guitars. They learn; they graduate. The instruments stay in the school. So it's like the gift that keeps on giving.

VAUSE: So that's the best thing. (INAUDIBLE) instrument that's working in good condition, give it to the -- (INAUDIBLE).

MANCINI: We'll take it. We fix it up, we refurbish it. We make sure it looks pretty. We want to give the students nice things.

VAUSE: Excellent.

MANCINI: They deserve nice things.

VAUSE: Absolutely.

Well, thank you so much and good luck and keep up the good work.

MANCINI: Thank you.

VAUSE: Good to see you.

(END VIDEOTAPE) SOARES: Well, you have been watching CNN NEWSROOM from John Vause in Los Angeles and myself, Isa Soares, in London. Do stay right here with CNN because the news continues with our Rosemary Church.

You are watching CNN. We are, of course, the world's news leader.