Return to Transcripts main page

CNN NEWSROOM

WikiLeaks Claims CIA Can Hack Your T.V., Conservatives Slam Health Plan As "Obamacare Lite"; President Trump Hails New Health Care Plan; Millions Could Lose Coverage Under Republican Plan; Bill Replaces Mandate With Refundable Tax Credits; Insurgent Attack Military Hospital in Kabul; China Voices Disapproval Over THAAD Deployment. Aired 1-2a ET

Aired March 8, 2017 - 01:00   ET

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


[01:00:00] ISHA SESAY, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT AND ANCHOR: You're watching CNN NEWSROOM live from Los Angeles.

JOHN VAUSE, CNN NEWSROOM ANCHOR: Ahead this hour, WikiLeaks claims the CIA might be able to spy on you through your television, hack your phone, and potentially even hack your car.

SESAY: Plus, the White House refuses to offer any evidence to support President Trump's claim that former President Obama wiretapped his phone.

VAUSE: And later, millions protested around the world the day after the Presidential inauguration and now, organizers are urging women to strike for a day.

SESAY: Hello, and thank you for joining us. I'm Isha Sesay.

VAUSE: Good to have you with us. I'm John Vause. This is the second hour of NEWSROOM L.A. All these stories in a moment. But we start with new developments in Afghanistan's capital. Reports of an explosion and gun battle happening right now at a military hospital in Kabul's diplomatic district.

SESAY: A defense official tells press the insurgents have entered the hospital. We have no word yet on casualties. We're going to update you as information becomes available to us.

VAUSE: OK. So, if you're watching CNN right now on a smart T.V., phone or computer, that device might actually be watching you back. New documents released by WikiLeaks claims the U.S. government can essentially spy on you anywhere in the world.

SESAY: And that technology could now be in the hands of criminals, hackers, and spies around the world. CNN's Brian Todd reports.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

BRIAN TODD, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Some of the CIA's most sophisticated and effective spying tools apparently pried open with the help of WikiLeaks. The anti-Secrecy Group says, it's obtained thousands of files, hundreds of millions of lines of code from the CIA's massive hacking operation. WikiLeaks says the documents show the CIA's team of hackers have developed malware to be able to hack into almost any device people use, and can remotely control iPhone, iPads, android device, taking video from their cameras, listening with their microphones.

ROSS SCHULMAN, OPEN TECHNOLOGY INSTITUTE CO-DIRECTOR: We should be worried if they're being used against non-intelligence targets.

TODD: The CIA is not allowed to spy on Americans inside the U.S. But privacy advocates worry, other agencies may be using the same tools. WikiLeaks says, there's one CIA hacking operation called "weeping angel," that can even tap into an enemy's Samsung smart T.V. They can turn my T.V. into a spying device? What happens when I turn it off?

SCHULMAN: When you turn it off? It's not really off. If you remember that little red light?

TODD: Right.

SCHULMAN: That means there's still a computer in there, and it's listening for the remote to call back again to turn on, otherwise it wouldn't be able to so. So, what the CIA can do is, they can latch in to that, and even when the T.V. is off, they can still listen to the microphone that's in the television. They call this "fake off."

TODD: WikiLeaks says, CIA hackers can bypass encrypted messaging apps, like Signal, or Telegram, just by cracking the phones themselves. According to WikiLeaks, the CIA explored the possibility of hacking into the software of modern cars.

SCHULMAN: It be accessed from outside and perhaps, taken control of. This can let you do a whole loft things from playing the music to taking control of the car entirely and crashing it if you want to assassinate somebody.

TODD: WikiLeaks says, the CIA uses the U.S. consulate in Frankfurt, Germany as a secret base where CIA hackers spy on people in Europe, the Middle East, and Africa. The White House, and the State Department wouldn't comment. The documents released by WikiLeaks have not been authenticated by independent experts, and the CIA says it won't confirm their existence. WikiLeaks says, some of these hacking techniques would allow the CIA to mask their hacking to make it look like someone else did it. One former CIA analyst says, if this claim is true, WikiLeaks has dealt a significant blow to U.S. National Security.

AKI PERITZ, CENTRAL INTELLIGENCE AGENCY FORMER ANALYST: Every time a place like WikiLeaks blows our ops, it means that the bad guys evolve and they use counter measures to defeat the abilities of the United States to spy on them, and to track them to target them, and so forth.

TODD: WikiLeaks says there's a broader security problem here. That if the CIA can get its hands on these hacking tools, then the bad guys can too. That cyber criminals, other hackers, hostile countries' hacking teams will be able to hack into our phones, computers, and T.V.s. Contacted by CNN, the CIA said it does not comment on the authenticity or content of purported intelligence documents. Brian Todd, CNN, Washington.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

SESAY: All right. Well, let's bring in the former Director of the National Cybersecurity Center, Rod Beckstrom. He joins us from now Santa Cruz, California. Rod, good to have you with us again. When we spoke last hour, you know, you made the point that folks really shouldn't be that surprised to hear the CIA can hack our devices. That being said, was there anything in this massive dump of documents that surprised you?

[01:05:01] ROD BECKSTROM, NATIONAL CYBERSECURITY CENTER DIRECTOR: Good question, Isha. Yes. I think that the alleged raw extent of the exploits - and look, I haven't looked through all the documents yet. And in fact, I probably won't. It's a level of detail I'm not going to get into. But it certainly is a much broader set of tools that I think most experts would have thought that the CIA possessed, you know. Typically, the NSA, of course, has been the lead in signals intelligence for the United States. So, you know, the CIA has been, you know, probably as known as increasing their investment of activity in the space. But I think that the suggestion they have such a broad and powerful set of tools is probably surprising to even people like me who've been around for a while.

VAUSE: I don't know why you haven't read it all. Apparently, there are 7,819 web page, 914 attachments. This is just the first batch. They say there're several hundred million lines of computer code in the CIA archive. How big is this leak that we're looking at here? And in terms of the previous leaks that we've seen here with Edward Snowden and Chelsea Banning, where does this sit?

BECKSTROM: You know, I built a financial software and took it public in over 15 years, at time we wrote 15 million lines of code, and that was with massive. Massive, in that software developed by, you know, one sort of rebelling company. Hundreds of millions of lines of code is, you know, an astonishing claim. And set of tools, if in fact that's verified true. Of course, the CIA will neither confirm nor deny, you know, that these were their tools. But, you know, we will learn, we'll hear from the marketplace of players, and practitioners, and hackers, and security experts. It will shake down. We'll have an idea of, you know, is this - did this in fact likely come from the CIA.

SESAY: And, Rod, in these times, whenever these kinds of leaks happen, and whenever we hear of these kinds of actions of the likes of the CIA, the NSA, the question always comes up who's watching Big Brother?

BECKSTROM: Well, you know, that's a good question. And for one, WikiLeaks is. And, you know, clearly, I have concerns about the fact that they're focused on transparency - seems to be so worried at United States, which is a great country overall, and tremendous supporter of free speech and of human rights, and with a strong record overall. And yet they've been much less focused on the countries that don't respect human rights, so much - which is a bit of an irony. If you think and you want to bring transparency to the global system, you really want to help improve the whole global system and not target - probably go for all the best countries. But the reality is, the other spies are watching, you know, United States activity. So, everyone's got intelligence operations going on in each other and counter intelligence operations.

So, the new world we're moving into, is one of hyper transparency, and this is going to be the experience that all governments have. You know, I've been and I'm sad to see so much potential capability leaked from the United States government relative to others. But the reality is, all governments face this. And we also have to remember, different countries have different strategies here. The Chinese, if they found this information, they're not going to share it with WikiLeaks. They're going to exploit it and use it themselves. The Russians are likely, to use these tools as well for themselves. And there is also the greatest game in intelligence in cyber, and that is how do you get ahold of the other guy's weapons? And that's what we're talking about here. We're talking about the allegedly - the CIA's arsenal of cyber and hacking weapons to do the intelligence gathering mission that is theirs.

VAUSE: OK. Rod Beckstrom, we'll leave it there. Thanks so much. We appreciate the insight.

SESAY: Yes. Great to talk to you. Thank you.

BECKSTROM: Thank you.

VAUSE: Well, the U.S. House Intelligence Committee will begin the first public hearing into the Trump campaign's alleged links to Russia on March 20th.

SESAY: The panel's Republican Chairman says, they will look into the President's evidence reclaim that President Obama wiretapped his phones. CNN's Jim Acosta reports.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

JIM ACOSTA, CNN SENIOR WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: It's now a question that won't go away. Where is President Trump's proof that his predecessor Barack Obama broke the law, and tapped his phones? The White House, still, doesn't have an answer. Where is the evidence? Where is the proof, that President Obama bugged President Trump?

SEAN SPICER, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: Nothing has changed. No. It's not a question of - it's not a question of new proof, or less proof, or whatever. The answer is the same. And I think that - which is that - I think that that there is a concern about what happened in the 2016 election. The House and Senate Intelligence Committees have the staff and the capabilities, and the processes in place to look at this in a way that is objective. And that's where it should be done. And frankly, if you have seen the response, especially on the House' side, but as well as the Senate, they welcome this.

ACOSTA: And White House Press Secretary, Sean Spicer, made it clear the President is not about to take any of it back. Will the President withdraw the accusation? Does he have any - SPICER: Why would he withdraw it, until it's - I mean, until it's

adjudicated? That's what we're asking.

ACOSTA: There's no regrets from him about raising this accusation?

SPICER: No. Absolutely not.

ACOSTA: Spicer insisted the President's unsubstantiated action should be taken at face value.

SPICER: There's nothing, as I mentioned to Jim, it's not that he's walking anything back or regretting. He's just saying that they have the appropriate venue and capabilities to review this.

[01:10:13] ACOSTA: Spicer refused to say whether he personally believes the President's stunning charge. Do you believe that President Obama -

SPICER: You know, I get that that's a cute question to ask. My job is to represent the President, and to talk about what he's doing and what he wants. And he has made very clear, what his - what his goal is, what he would like to have happen. And so, I just - I'll leave it at that. I think we've tried to play this game before. I'm not here to speak for myself, I'm here to speak for the President of the United States and our government.

ACOSTA: Democrats are furious and perplexed over the so baseless allegation.

DICK DURBAN, UNITED STATES SENATOR FROM ILLINOIS: Donald Trump is destroying the credibility of the office of President, 140 characters at a time.

ACOSTA: As top Republicans on Capitol Hill, withhold judgment.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Do you think it's appropriate for the President of the United States to accuse a predecessor of wiretapping?

MITCH MCCONNELL, UNITED STATES SENATOR FROM KENTUCKY: Well, I think we have an existing committee - Intelligence Committee looking at all aspects of what may have been done last year related to the Russians or the campaigns. And we'll leave it there.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Have you seen any evidence of that?

MCCONNELL: No I haven't.

ACOSTA: The White House was being very careful today about questions of confidence in the FBI Director, who and privately raised concerns about those claims about unfounded claims about bugging, at Trump Tower. As to the President still support James Comey? Press Secretary, Sean Spicer said, he has no reasons to believe that the President doesn't. Jim Acosta, CNN, the White House.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

VAUSE: For more, we're joined now by Political Analyst, Earl Ofari Hutchinson; and Pollster, Justin Wallin.

SESAY: Yes. And Senior Political Writer, for her opinion, Pilar Marrero.

VAUSE: OK. Sean Spicer must be the unhappiest man in Washington right now with the worst job. OK. So, if we're looking at the wiretaps, you know, these allegations which are being made by President Trump against President Barack Obama, it seems even some of President Trump's biggest supporters in Congress are trying to put some distance between Donald Trump, and this investigation, and the allegations. Listen to Devin Nunes here.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DEVIN NUNES, UNITED STATES CONGRESSMAN FROM CALIFORNIA: The President is a neophyte to politics. He's been doing this a little over a year. And I think a lot of the things that he says, you guys, sometimes take literally. Sometimes he doesn't have 27 lawyers and staff looking at what he does, which is I think at times refreshing, and at times can also lead us to have to be sitting at a press conference like this, answering questions that you guys are asking.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

VAUSE: Earl, to you first. The President does have 27 lawyers and staff to look at everything he says.

EARL OFARI HUTCHINSON, AMERICAN AUTHOR AND POLITICAL ANALYST: He's got more than that.

VAUSE: He's actually. There is a reason why there is a huge staff at the White House to make sure that every word, and every utterance that comes out of the President's mouth is, you know, looked at, and is approved, and scrutinized to make sure that you don't get into this situation.

HUTCHINSON: I tell you what, every one of those 27 lawyers, 37, 47, I'd fire them. I'd give them their walking papers. Because this is the kind of job you did, advising your client. I got to tell you, I don't want you on my legal staff. You can't be my attorney. Nothing - we can't say this enough times. The Republicans have said it. Mitch McConnell, is squirming, the Chairman of the House Intelligence Committee is squirming, trying to defend - Sean Spicer is squirming - trying to defend something that's indefensible. You haven't offered one scintilla of substantiation. Yet you want us to go to bat. You want us to investigate. You want us to accept it as at face value, but you haven't given anything. The real dilemma now is for the Republican - the Republican House Leadership and Senate Leadership. You saw Mitch McConnell there, he was very uncomfortable, and rightly so. And Sean Spicer was uncomfortable, and rightly so.

SESAY: Pilar, to you, the ranking Democrat on the House Intelligence panel, Adam Schiff, you know, he has warnings for, you know, making baseless claims and what it could mean for the presidency. Take a listen.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ADAM SCHIFF, UNITED STATES CONGRESSMAN FROM CALIFORNIA: The President has said that this is a scandal that worse Watergate. The alternative is a different kind of a scandal, and that is a scandal of a sitting U.S. President alleging that his predecessor engaged in the most unscrupulous and unlawful conduct. That is also a scandal, if those allegations prove to be false.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SESAY: Pilar, how do you see it? I mean, the fallout here - the ramifications?

[01:14:35] PILAR MARRERO, SENIOR POLITICAL WRITER: Well, the President - it seems didn't think this one through. Because, as several people have pointed out, if these - if his allegations are true, and he has some kind of evidence, then obviously, that would be a major scandal. But he hasn't - he is the President, he should have this evidence in front of him. He doesn't need to tell Congress to investigate. If he affirmed on a tweet, or several tweets that these actually happened, I'm sure he has the evidence in hand. But if he doesn't have the evidence in hand, what does it mean? Does it mean that there was some kind of secret deeply covert operation to investigate him? Either he is accusing President Obama of doing something illegal, or the other investigation happened legally. And in that case, Donald Trump is in trouble because it means that they're investigating him.

VAUSE: Yes.

MARRERO: So, we're eager to hear, you know, what happens when the Congress investigates this.

[01:15:34] VAUSE: Well, the former CIA Director, former Defense Secretary Leon Panetta, he said Donald Trump's tweets are actually harming the credibility of the White House.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

LEON PANETTA, UNITED STATES FORMER DEFENSE SECRETARY: This is the President of the United States. And he has a responsibility to speak the truth to the American people. And when he engages in these kind of tweets and throws out these kind of allegations, I think he weakens the office of the presidency. So I'm very concerned. I sense that the White House is in a bunker mentality in which, you know, they think everybody is against them, and the President, feeling that way, is now tweeting out anything he wants to say in an effort to try to divert attention from, I think, their concern about what's happening with the investigation on the Russian situation.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

VAUSE: Justin, you know, do you think the President understands the seriousness and the gravity of every word he speaks?

WALLIN: Well, I think he does. I think there are two things. One is, there is no legion of attorneys that are filtering his words. We know that. There's nothing that would ever come out.

VAUSE: There is if he asked for them to be.

WALLIN: If he wanted to, that's great.

VAUSE: It is available to him.

WALLIN: That's absolutely right. It's available to him and he is not availing himself of that. So then you have to kind of look at what is he intending to say. I'm not trying to get into the, you know, separating fact from non-fact and all this. But I think his intent to say, parsing through it, is that he was survielled during Obama's Presidency. And ultimately, the President is responsible for all branches of the government.

He said it in a unique. That's causing a lot of trouble right now. But there is no reason to suggest that he may not be right. I mean, we know that parts of his campaign were surveilled. We know that they were wiretapped. That's the reason why that there is an investigation going on into what is perceived to be potential contacts between his campaign and the Russians, which by the way, to date, are just conversations. They're -- other than that, they're baseless. So we'll see what happens with that conversation -- with that investigation.

So, we know that he was surrounded by people who were actively being wiretapped by U.S. intelligence agencies. He may have felt that it's not that big of a leap to him to suggest that he was being surveilled as well. Again, the unfortunate thing is, we are faced with not having anything meaty that we can talk about. We don't know the facts.

VAUSE: We could if the President decided to give the evidence that he has, anyway. We'll take a short break. Sir Earl, Pilar, Justin please stay with us because when we come back, we'll talk a little bit about more about Obamacare, the plan to repeal and replace the ACA and while some Republicans are refusing to support it calling it Obamacare lite.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[01:20:49] SESAY: Hello, everyone. President Trump is warning fellow Republicans that the party will suffer a, quote, "bloodbath" in the 2018 midterm elections if they fail to repeal and replace Obamacare. The new health care bill was revealed Tuesday but critics are already slamming the legislation. Conservative Republicans dismiss it as Obamacare lite, saying it doesn't go far enough in gutting the current plan.

VAUSE: And we still don't know some of the crucial details about the bill, including how many people would lose coverage, how much it would cost. President Trump says he is behind it.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP: I'm proud to support the replacement plan released by the House of Representatives and encouraged by members of both parties. I think really that we're going to have something that is going to be much more understood and much more popular than people can even imagine.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SESAY: Well once again, we're joined by Political Analyst Earl Ofari Hutchinson and Pollster, Justin Wallin.

VAUSE: And Senior Political writer for La Opinion, Pilar Marrero. OK, so what we heard from Donald Trump there, you know, talking about the new plan for Obamacare, very different from the Donald Trump that we heard during the campaign especially during a CBS interview back September in 2015. Listen to this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SCOTT PELLEY, CBS EVENING NEWS ANCHOR AND MANAGING EDITOR: Universal health care.

TRUMP: I am going to take care of everybody. I don't care if it costs me votes or not. Everybody is going to be taken care much better than they're taken care of now.

PELLEY: The uninsured person?

TRUMP: Right.

PELLEY: Is going to be taken care of?

TRUMP: They're going to be taken care of. How? I would make a deal with existing hospitals to take care of people and you know what, this is probably --

PELLEY: Make a deal? Who pays for it?

TRUMP: The government's going to pay for it but we're going to save so much money on the other side. But for the most part, it's going to be a private plan and people are going to be able to go out and negotiate great plans with lots of different competition, with lots of competitors, with great companies and they can have their doctors, they can have their plans, they can have everything.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

VAUSE: Sir Earl, how do we go from universal health care, the government's going to pay for it, everyone is going to love it to this current plan which is before congress?

HUTCHINSON: We know he's singing a different tune now because not only is he singing a different tune from candidate Trump to President Trump, the reality has set in. The fact of the matter is you got 22 million people now that are under the Affordable Care Act. It's being paid for. They have access to affordable care that they never -- insurance that they never had before in coverage. So, now they talk about the bloodbath of this repeal. I think it will

be a bloodbath, you know, if there is a repeal because many of those are his constituents. He asked the question, how are you going to pay for it? And Trump keeps saying then, he is saying now, it's private, private, private. But if you look very closely at the GOP plan that has put on the table that they're calling Obama light, many of the same features are still in the plan. It hasn't been taken out.

That's why you have some conservative groups saying, no it's not good enough. We have to get rid of it. This is not what we want. So you really have a dilemma. The House leadership and the Senate leadership GOP knows we have to answer to our constituents in 2018. And the fact of the matter is many of them want this plan to stay in place. Some tweaks, but we like what we have and that's a dilemma.

SESAY: Justin, you heard what Earl had to say there by the conservative groups. That criticism is only going to intensify in the days ahead. Can President Trump be counted on to stay the course?

WALLIN: Yes, so that's the big question for the Republican Party. I mean, in terms of what people think and appreciate, we know that largely, at best, people are divided about Obamacare, whether they like it or not like it. We know that it is failing, as insurance carriers pull out, run away as health care gets worse and worse and worse as premiums get more and more expensive. We know it has to be fixed. That's the point. And I think that's where the President got it right, is people largely want this to be fixed.

So replace means a lot of different things. But I think to most voters, it means let's take something. Let's take the good parts about it. Let's do what we can to preserve them. That's going take a lot of process to figure out how to pay for it to be sure. And let's fix the things that don't work. And I think that's what he is trying to do. And he has laid out a plan that he has ostensibly said look, it's figurative. It's going to take a few different phases. We're not seeing the big things that I think the party hoped to have seen, the interstate competition right out of the gate, but we are seeing a more pragmatic President. I think that pragmatic President has much more of a chance to accomplish this end.

And I also think he is right that if they don't do it now, there will be catastrophic failure. And that's a warning sign for conservatives. If they stick to the pure party principle, they're going to have real problems in public opinion.

VAUSE: Pilar, to you, the Republicans have been very, very good at repealing the ACA act, the Affordable Care Act. They've done it more than 60 times. They've had almost eight years to have this new replacement plan ready to go. Right now, you know, they're united on the repeal, they're divided on the replace. It does beg the question why weren't they ready for this moment? This seems to be, you know, a seminal moment for the Republicans and yet, there is no agreement, there is only division.

[01:25:53] MARRERO: That's a good question for the Republicans. And you saw today that they're, you now they are not united on the replacement at all. That there are people on the right that are saying, you know, Rand Paul side saying no, this doesn't take away the subsidies and the things we don't like. We don't want the government involved in health care. And there is the other side there is at least four Senators, Republican Senators who will not take this replacement because it cuts Medicaid and it will leave people in their States. They took the Medicare - the Medicaid expansion and covered a bunch of people and this replacement will take millions of people in their States off Medicaid.

The President said we're going to take care of everyone. We're going to cover everyone. They're going to have everything they want. Well, the reality is, they're not. They're not going to have everything they want. They're not going to cover everyone. And we're going to see the real life situation of an actual repeal and an actual replacement playing out on the streets, on the hospitals, you know, on people getting sick and not having coverage, et cetera, et cetera. And I think that's going to be the moment of truth for Republicans and for President Trump.

VAUSE: Well, at least we've moved beyond from talking about death panels. So that's something. OK. Pilar, Earl, and Justin, thank you so much.

MARRRERO: Thank you so much.

VAUSE: Appreciate it. Next here on NEWSROOM L.A, China taking a swipe at South Korea over their response to North Korea's recent missile launch. What it's doing to get the point across, in just a moment.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[01:30:57] ISHA SESAY, CNN ANCHOR: Well continue NEWSROOM live from Los Angeles. I'm Isha Sesay.

JOHN VAUSE, CNN ANCHOR: And I'm John Vause. Here are the headlines this hour. WikiLeaks says criminals and foreign spies have stolen the CIA's most advanced tools for cyberspying. They include the ability to infiltrate people's cell phones, computer, and even smart TVs. The CIA refuses to comment on whether the documents published by WikiLeaks are authentic.

SESAY: Insurgents are attacking the military hospital in Afghanistan's capital. The government says terrorists wearing medical workers uniforms set off an explosion and then entered the hospital in Kabul's diplomatic district there's no word yet of any casualties.

VAUSE: Iraq's Prime Minister has a message to ISIS in Western Mosul, surrender or be killed. Haider al-Abadi met with the troops who recaptured key government building and bridge there on Monday. It's the first time those buildings have been under Iraqi control since 2014.

SESAY: Now China is angry that the U.S. and South Korea are deploying the THAAD missile defense system and wants them to cease and desist. VAUSE: The first pieces arrived in South Korea shortly after North Korea test fired four ballistic missiles. China says the system undermines its security.

SESAY: Meanwhile, the U.N. Security Council is announcing Pyongyang for violating resolutions with its launch. The meeting Wednesday, I should say to talk about it.

VAUSE: The U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson will have his hands full next week as he travels to Tokyo, Seoul and Beijing. It's his first visit to the region as secretary.

Let's go at Matt Rivers in Beijing, Paula Hancocks also in Seoul. First to you Matt, Beijing especially not only outrage over this bad deployment but also inflicting some economic pain on South Korea.

MATT RIVERS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, absolutely, John. China, you know, the world's second largest economy really seen as bullying its smaller neighbor South Korea by flexing its economic muscle. So you have heard China be vehemently opposed officially to the deployment of this system.

But what they've been doing behind the scenes according to the South Koreans is really a number of things that have hurt the South Korean economy and specifically South Korean businesses operating here in China and taking advantage of that short distance between the two countries.

So with South Korea says China has done in specific response to THAAD is do things like banning the import of certain South Korean cosmetics here into China. They're very popular here in China. They've done thing like banning Chinese national tour operators from taking tour groups from China to South Korea, tourism a huge part of Seoul's economy.

And so it's those kind of things that South Korea is accusing China of doing. China denies all of those things, instead his not carrying out any economic retaliation specifically because of THAAD. But I think if you look at all the tea leaves here and you see when these things begin happening, all these things started happening as soon as THAAD was announced last year.

So I think it's safe to say these things are in fact happening because of the THAAD deployment. John.

VAUSE: And Paula Hancocks, is Seoul expected to respond to these measures taken by China? What options do they have right now?

PAULSE HANCOCKS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, John, South Korea is actually in a fairly tricky position when you consider that China is actually its main trading ally. A quarter of all exports from South Korea are to China.

So obviously South Korea relies very heavily economically on its far larger neighbor. Now certainly that the South Korean line is THAAD is necessary. All we have heard from the U.S. and the South Korea military and politicians is that, it is absolutely necessary to counter the threat of the ballistic missiles from North Korea.

So the first elements arrived Monday night and that was just hours after North Korea fired four ballistic missiles, which landed in the waters just off Japan. And so we heard from the commander of U.S. Pacific command saying it shows that it was a prudent decision to bring THAAD here. So South Korea is really trying to focus on the fact that they need to it counter North Korean threat. But there's very little they can do to counter any kind of boycotts that China is putting through.

VAUSE: And so Matt, the South Koreans say they need this anti-missile defense system, specifically, what is China's issue with the THAAD defense system?

[01:35:07] RIVERS: Well, technically speaking, what we've heard from Chinese military sources here is the big issues they have is not so much the missile defense system, it's the radar technology that comes with this missile defense system. It allows the United States to get a better read on what's going on inside China's airspace.

But broadly speaking, more strategically speaking, what you've heard on the record from Chinese officials, is that they see there's a thinly veiled attempt by the United States to upset the strategic balance in this area, to really cement U.S. military strategic influence in this area, and furthermore, a way to contain China.

They say this is just part of a broader policy by the United States in this part of the world to contain the Chinese, to stop a rising China. So it's all of those things the Chinese really point at and say why we're not OK with this deployment.

VAUSE: OK, we'll leave it there Matt Rivers in Beijing, also Paula Hancocks there live in Seoul. Thanks to you both.

Well, Malaysia's Prime Minister says the country still has diplomatic ties with North Korea despite rising tensions after Kim Jong-nam's murder.

SESAY: Well, CNN Saima Mohsin has the latest on the dispute.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

SAIMA MOHSIN, CNN CORRERESPONDENT: Malaysia shows no signs of yielding to any kind of pressure tactics from North Korea, meeting them like for like with every move they make. This is tit for tat diplomacy with high stakes. Their citizens of each country in one another's country now involved.

Now, it all started, of course, Tuesday when North Korea through their state news agency announced that it was temporarily banning Malaysian citizens from leaving the DPRK, it said until it was fully guaranteed through the fair settlement of the case for their diplomats and citizens in Malaysia.

Now you'll remember, of course, that there are a number of wanted suspects that police want to speak to. Four North Koreans believed to have already left the country on the day of the attack. They are believed who already be in Pyongyang.

There were three others that are holed up, believed to be inside the embassy. And the inspector general of police of Malaysia says they will wait as long as it takes, even if it takes five years for them to come out. They want to question them.

One of them is a second secretary of North Korea's embassy to Kuala Lumpur. The other an air courier member of airline staff and the other, we don't know his occupation, but he has been named as a wanted suspect.

And then, of course, Malaysia responded, saying it will not allow North Korean citizens to leave the country. It called this an abhorrent act contrary to international law.

Saima Mohsin, CNN, Bangkok, Thailand.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

SESAY: Now an endangered white rhino has become easy prey for poachers in a wildlife preserve near Paris.

VAUSE: Vince the white rhino was found dead with one of his horn removed, the other has been partially cut off. This is on Monday.

SESAY: You know, rhinos are endangered because some people think their horns have medicinal properties.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JEFF CORWIN, WILDLIFE EXPERT: The value of this horn is about $40,000 to $60,000 per kilo. But of course, it is a market of negligence and ignorance there is no biological or medicinal value to these horns. But this zoo in Paris, it's in an area where there is a lot of immigration moving back and forth from the African continent, from many countries in Africa. It has a strong Asian presence.

So it makes sense that something like this could happen. The question I have, guys, is this going to be the new normal? That's what I'm really terrified about.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

VAUSE: The poachers broke through several layers of security to get to the rhino enclosure. The rhino are (INAUDIBLE).

SESAY: All right. Quick break now. All this week CNN's Freedom Project is showcasing young people who are involved in the global fight for freedom.

[01:39:06] Up next, how popular high school club is helping to end modern day slavery.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

VAUSE: Welcome back everybody. Some high school students in Atlanta, Georgia know a lot more about human trafficking than the average teenager.

SESAY: That's because their school has an anti-trafficking club. It helps young people get involved in the global fight against slavery.

CNN's Lynda Kinkade has the story.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

LYNDA KINKADE, CNN INTERNTIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Atlanta, the center of America's civil rights movement in the 20th century. Today home to many victims of modern day slavery. It's a global issue these teenagers are determined to fight locally.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Everyone is going to be volunteering, helping.

KINKADE (voice-over): Founded in 2011, this club at the Atlanta International School was the idea of a couple of students who had a passion for social justice. Now they've started a movement among young people.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Everyone in this entire room is going to be working with us.

KINKADE (voice-over): From bake sales to selling fair trade chocolate, these students raise funds and awareness.

(on camera): What do students learn about modern day slavery by selling this type of chocolate?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Well, we just wanted to put the message out, fair trade, getting chocolate that's been produced ethically without human trafficking is so much easier than a lot of people think.

KINKADE (voice-over): Child labor and modern day slavery just some of the issues being discussed.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: OK, questions?

KINKADE (voice-over): The group meets on their lunch break every Wednesday. It's led by three students including Kit McCarthy and Emilia Castillo.

EMILIA CASTILLO, STUDENT, ATLANTA INTERNATIONAL SCHOOL: I was really surprised at the scale of the issue.

KINKADE (on camera): As you start to learn about this, what surprised you most?

CASTILLO: I think that it surprised me most that it was such a problem that hit so close to home.

KINKADE (on camera): When you speak to people your age, how do you explain this issue? It's a pretty tough issue to talk about.

KIT MCHARTHY, STUDENT, ATLANTA INTERNATIONAL SCHOOL: Yes, I would say the first step is to make it approachable. Labor trafficking of children is just the most devastating part of it to me, because it's everywhere. It's in everything we do. In our phones, in the food we eat, in the clothes we buy.

And it just impacts us daily any time we purchase something. Every time we consume something. And I just didn't know.

KINKADE (voice-over): This group now one of the most popular social clubs in school.

MASATO WEBB, STUDENT, ATLANTA INTERNATIONAL SCHOOL: It's an issue that in my school I feel it gets very little male representation. And I think it's important for both genders to be involved and take action.

NICHOLAS GOUDIE, STUDENT, ATLANTA INTERNATIONAL SCHOOL: I'll see thing like I see t-shirt for example and maybe that wasn't. Maybe someone was taken from their family and had to be forced to make that shirt rather than it being made fair trade.

KINKADE (on camera): It's not just about raising awareness and raising funds, you also lobby the government. Explain how that works.

CASTILLO: We take a group of students down to the capitol. Everyone splits up and goes to their representatives and either writes them, they can write them notes and letters and things about why they think, you know, why this issue is so important.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Thank you.

KEVIN GLASS, HEADMASTER, ATLANTA INTERNATIONAL SCHOOL: Our task as educators is to get every single child, every single teenager on earth engauged in social activism to make this world a better place.

KINKADE (voice-over): Kevin Glass, Headmaster of the Atlanta International School hopes these students will take the lessons learned here and share that knowledge, passion and activism as they move through college and into the workforce.

KINKADE (on camera): What do students bring to the table to tackle this issue that adults don't?

GLASS: They bring this absolute unvarnished honesty, without any veneer of political correctness.

CASTILLO: Good morning.

[01:45:01] GLASS: You know and they challenge us, the adults to wake up, that this is a real issue and we have to do something about it. Their power is phenomenal.

KINKADE (voice-over): Lynda Kinkade, CNN, Atlanta.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

SESAY: Well, CNN is teaming up with young people right around the globe for a unique student-led day of action against modern day slavery with the launch of "My Freedom Day" on March 14th. Driving my freedom, My Freedom Day, in fact, a simple question. What does freedom mean to you? Here is what some students in the U.S. had to say.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: My freedom to me means being able to own my body and my actions.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: To me, freedom is a fundamental human right for every single person. It means being able to live a life free of exploitation and having the opportunities and the resources to reach your full potential.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Freedom to me means being able to live my life without fear.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SESEY: We want to hear what freedom means to you. Post a photo or video using the #MyFreedomDay.

We're going to take a quick break now. Next on "NEWSROOM L.A..," the same organizers who brought you the huge women's march in Washington after President Trump was elected now organizing a day without a woman. Details coming up.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

KAREN MAGINNIS, CNN METEOROLOGIST: Hello, everyone. I'm CNN Meteorologist Karen Maginnis. This is your Weather Watch. Topsy- turvy weather all across United States, where fires have turned deadly all the way from Lone Star State of Texas and to Oklahoma as well as into Kansas. Also a very large fire burning across Southwestern Florida.

And in sharp contrast to that, it looks like a shot at winter returns across the northwestern tier states. But gusty winds will also accompany the weather system that pulls in across the northern tier states into the great lakes. Could see some wind gusts on the order of 60 miles per hour, or 100 kilometers per hour.

Dry weather continuing, and still keeping that elevated fire risk, meaning it is tinder dry, and the winds whipping things around. Going to be very difficult for firefighters to get a handle on her to those fires and blazes. Huge acres or hectares being burned there.

Denver, 18. Sunshine for a high. Winnipeg, minus 11. Chicago, 10. Don't get used to those temperatures. It's going to be dramatically cooler over the next several days. Belize City, some afternoon thunderstorms expected and 28 degrees.

[01:50:01] And we will see Lima Peru with 29, and for Belem 29 degrees and thunderstorms.

SESAY: March 8th is International Women's day. And some activists are calling for protests. The same organizers who brought you the women's march in Washington, those stunning crowds seen here just 24 hours after the inauguration of Donald Trump are now organizing a day without a woman.

This protest is a little bit different. First it's asking women to go on strike. Organizers are offering letters to send to employers explaining the strike. They're also calling on women and supporters to wear red in solidarity. Do not engage in paid or unpaid work. And to avoid spending money accept at small women-owned businesses. All while trying to promote an inclusive message saying gender justice is racial justice is economic justice.

Well, joining me now to discuss a day without woman is national organizer Paola Mendoza in New York. She was also the artistic director of the women's march on Washington. Paula, welcome, good to have you with us.

PAOLA MENDOZA, ORGANIZER, "A DAY WITHOUT A WOMAN": Thank you so much for having me. I'm thrilled to be here.

SESAY: Let's talk about the actions that the organizers are calling for women to take on March 8th such as to wear red and shop at small women owned businesses. Talks to us about the thinking behind those calls, those specific and directives.

MENDOZA: So we wanted to make sure that those the women that were able to participate had various entry points into the participation of the strike. With the strike, we're seeing that we want people to imagine and to have the feeling of what this world would be like if women were not involved. So the entry points range from as you mention wearing red. If you can't take your day off of work, or if you are working in an environment in which you're wearing a uniform.

So we ask you to wear red in solidarity to all of the women that are striking for you so we can show we are connected. Millions of women across the board. Not spending money is important, because in our dollars, we have power. And we want to show that. And we want to show the American people and the administration that our dollars are powerful.

And lastly, if we're able to strike, if you're able to strike, we're asking that you not go to work again so people understand and see the importance of women, because for so long, we have been taken for granted. And we are demanding that we are respected and that they realize. That everyone realizes how central women are to the political process as well as to society.

SESAY: Paola, you made the point if you're able to strike, you know, touching on the point that it's not a forgone conclusion that everyone can actually take part in this day of action. I mean we saw that some immigrants were fired from their jobs after striking for a day without an immigrant.

So some women who want to strike on March 8th may will have to balance that with concerns that it could cost them their job. What do you say to those critics who say effectively you set the stage up for a protest that only privileged women can afford to take part in. What do you say there?

MENDOZA: I think it's really important to understand the history of strikes. The history of strikes are actually from marginalized communities, from the working poor. If we look in California and we look at the united farm workers strike, that was a strike of the most marginalized communities. They barely had enough food to feed their families. And they went on strike to demand better wages, better working conditions and they sacrificed in order to get that that is the history of strikes across this country and across the world.

So while initially it might seem that it's something of privilege, it's actually standing on the shoulders of our working class brothers and sisters and our working class ancestors. And so, that is the spirit with which we're working in. That is the spirit with which the strike was created.

The strike was not created with the idea of only serving those in privilege. The strike was created very much so the way that we created the women's march on Washington, to uplift the most marginalized community. Because we when uplift those that are most marginalized, all of us are uplifted with them.

SESAY: The same with the issue of inclusivity. You know there are some conservative women who feel that these current protests, this mass action that we're seeing since the election of Donald Trump, it doesn't include the concerns and the belief systems of conservative women. Is there truth to that? I mean, how inclusive is the movement today?

MENDOZA: The movement is very inclusive. But the movement is also in resistance to the policies that are being put forth by this administration. So it is not about whether you're conservative or whether you're a liberal. If you are attacking groups of people, if you are attacking immigrants, if you are attacking the Muslim community, if you are attacking the transgender community, then we are standing in resistance to that.

[01:55:02] And that is what is very important. And we are standing for love. We are standing for justice. We are standing for Muslims, and we're standing for immigrants. And that is what this movement has always been about. And that is why 5 million people came out on January 21st, because the majority of Americans believed in the things in the world that we want to have.

And so, we are hoping that tomorrow, Wednesday, "The Day Without A Woman", the general strike will be a reminder that we are the majority, and that we are organized, and that we are going to continue to fight for what we believe in.

SESAY: Well, Paola Mendoza, it's great to have you with us. Wishing you the very best for March 8th and a call for women to take to the street. Thanks so much.

MENDOZA: Thank you.

VAUSE: OK. With that, we'll leave it now. You're watching "CNN NEWSROOM" live in Los Angeles. I'm John Vause.

SESAY: See how you dodge that one there. I'm Isha Sesay. We'll be back with more news right after this.

VAUSE: know when to keep it quiet.

SESAY: You're a wise man.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

VAUSE: This is "CNN NEWSROOM" live from Los Angeles. Ahead this hour.

SESAY: Developing news out of Afghanistan. When insurgent attack is underway on a hospital ion Kabul and we just got word there are casualties.

[02:00:02] VAUSE: Agreement that lasted Washington many Democrats and Republicans opposed to the plan backed by President Trump to replace Obamacare.

SESAY: China of course with cease and desist order for deployment of a missile defense system in Korean Peninsula and the U.S. --