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Brussels Commemorates Airport Atatck, Remembers Loved Ones; North Korea's Failed Test; Flight Alert; U.S. Bans Eelectronic devices From Some Flights; Three Years After Sewol Ferry Tragedy; Trump Deflecting from Investigations; Judge Gorsuch Grilled in Hearing; Connecting the Dots. Aired 3-4a ET

Aired March 22, 2017 - 03:00   ET

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


[03:00:00] ROSEMARY CHURCH, CNN HOST: -- people saying about this very sad anniversary.

ERIN MCLAUGHLIN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Rosemary, here in the departure lounge at of Brussels International Airport, as you can see behind me, travelers still stand silent, marking that moment.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The simple gesture from one human being to another which until today means the world to me.

MCLAUGHLIN: It was an incredibly emotional...

(CROSSTALK)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Those are the things that happened on that day. Beautiful things can happen. I have experienced support and love from my family, my friends, my colleagues, but also from total strangers. Today, that I can only come from one conclusion. On Tuesday, March 22nd, 2016, we've seen the worst, but also the best of life.

CHURCH: We're listening there to the impact of these explosions that ripped not only through the airport, but tore through families and tore them apart.

Erin, let's go back to you as we saw there, that moment of silence carried on a little longer there at the airport, at the terminal where this took place, of course. What are people saying to you? What is the mood there in the terminal?

MCLAUGHLIN: Rosemary, can I just tell you how powerful that was to be standing in this departure hall just steps away from where those two bombs detonated, killing 16 people.

To be standing here with the airport staff and tourists, travelers passing through this airport, and marking that moment, remembering the lives lost, paying tribute to the victims, many of the victims whose lives will forever be changed.

Really an incredibly powerful moment here. You can see behind me an echo of applause as the people here gathered continue to pay their respects. An incredibly emotional and somber day. I was speaking to victims and they told me that being here today gives

them hope for the future, really helps their healing process. At the same time, there is a sense of wariness.

I was speaking to one airline worker who works at the checkout counter and she told me that every day she comes to work, she comes to work in fear. She's afraid that something like that attack that happened a year ago will happen again, she's comforted little by the increased security that she sees here throughout the airport.

Airport executives tell me that they have taken a number of steps to increase security here, including increased security presence, but also things that you can't see. They've installed new technology, including facial recognition technology.

Also, special technology that would be able to detect the license plates on vehicles arriving at the airport. In addition to that, they've introduced new training as well for police to be able to detect aberrant behavior, to try and prevent something like this from ever happening again.

CHURCH: Yes, totally understood. An extraordinary day, a very sad anniversary there in Brussels and across Belgium. Talking to our Erin McLaughlin, and of course we will continue to cover this story throughout this hour. Many thanks to you, Erin.

I want to go to another big story we are following, an apparent threat from North Korea. The country tried to test a missile Wednesday morning but this time it seems to have failed.

Now we don't know what type of missile it was, but U.S. officials say it exploded seconds after launch.

Now Will Ripley joins us now from Beijing. So Will, of course you may not have learned any more about what type of missile this was. And despite it failing, we do know that progress is still made even with failure.

WILL RIPLEY, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: That's right, Rosemary. Analysts who observe North Korea have noted that their missile program has advanced so rapidly despite a string of failures, the North Korean leader Kim Jong-un seemingly undeterred by this.

[03:04:57] And it's also important that in addition to scientific progress, these launches also serve a propaganda purpose for the North Korean regime as well.

About 15 minutes ago, I just got word from the Pacific Air Forces that yesterday, a U.S. Air Force B -- 1B Lancer, a bomber, flew in South Korean air space along with fire jets from South Korea and Japan. So the three countries conducted an aerial training exercise in air space very close to North Korea.

This would be infuriating to Pyongyang. They would view that as even more provocative than some of the other joint military exercises that are ongoing. So that was confirmed to have happened yesterday. On the heels of this new North Korean propaganda video that was put

out over the weekend showing a computer illustration of a U.S. bomber going up in a ball of fire and also a U.S. aircraft carrier exploding as well.

So obviously the propaganda on the video released by the North Korean government and then this attempted missile launch trying really to send a very clear message to the United States and its allies, Rosemary.

CHURCH: Yes, very clear indeed. Will Ripley joining us there from Beijing, but monitoring the situation on the Korean Peninsula. Many thanks to you.

Well, intelligence about a terror group has prompted the U.S. to ban some electronic devices from the cabins of certain flights. Officials tell CNN that Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula may soon be able to hide explosives in batteries or battery compartments.

The new security measures will require passengers to check large devices like laptops and tablets in with their luggage, smartphones are exempt from the measure. Now several airlines have just days to implement the restrictions on flights to the U.S. from Turkey, the Middle East, and Africa.

The U.K. has also announced a slightly different ban affecting different airlines and countries. Ten international airports are covered in the U.S. ban. They include major hubs like Dubai, Abu Dhabi, and Istanbul.

And we will get to our correspondents in Istanbul and Dubai in just a moment for more on how some governments and airlines are responding to the U.S. and British electronics ban.

But first let go to CNN Money's Samuel Burke. He joins us from London's Heathrow airport. So Samuel, how are travelers responding to news of this new ban? But also talk to us about how different the U.K. ban is to that in the U.S.

SAMUEL BURKE, CNN BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT: Rosemary, there's already a lot of confusion. People not understanding whether they can take these items from a place like the U.K. to the countries that are listed, when in reality it's only the other way around.

It's when you're coming back to the U.K. or going to the U.S. that you can't have these devices. And that's what a lot of airlines and airports are worried about. Confusion.

I think it's also interesting to note here that a government source from the U.K. tells us that Prime Minister Theresa May has been privy to the same information and intelligence that the U.S. has, but they've come to a different conclusion.

Some of the countries that are on the U.S. list, like the United Arab Emirates, for example, are not on the list for the U.K. and they've added some different countries in the U.K. Tunisia and Lebanon, for instance.

So that's adding some confusion to people and making them scratch their heads as to why they've come to the conclusion that they've come to in these two different countries.

Also you have tech experts really concerned about the fact that this could be a Band-Aid over a much bigger problem, and maybe even more dangerous. I've been speaking to a lot of companies that make the lithium ion batteries that are in so many of these devices.

And what they tell us is for years the FAA, the Federal Aviation Administration in the United States, has been trying to get less and less batteries in the belly of an airplane and get them into the cabin.

Now you have the exact reverse happening and what they fear is that if there is some type of explosion with a lithium battery in the belly of an airplane and there are lots of other batteries there, it really creates a domino effect that could be much more difficult to deal with as opposed to it being in the cabin where maybe the crew could get to it, Rosemary.

CHURCH: yes, it seems to have raised more concerns, doesn't it, than make people feel safer in the air. And we will continue to follow this story. Of course, Samuel Burke, joining us there from Heathrow airport. Many thanks to you.

And joining me now is CNN's Jomana Karadsheh in Istanbul, and Muhammad Lila from Dubai. Jomana, let's go to you first, what has been the reaction in Turkey to this new electronics ban?

JOMANA KARADSHEH, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Rosemary, we've heard from Turkish airlines that is impacted by this electronics ban and they say that they will comply by that deadline that was issued by the United States of March the 25th. That is on Saturday.

Now officials here as you would expect are not happy about this. You know, there are a couple of reasons for that, Rosemary.

[03:10:01] If you look at Istanbul's Ataturk International Airport, one of the airports that is impacted by this ban, it is one of the busiest airports in the world. It is a main travel hub. People use it as a connection to get to other destinations, for example, the U.S. where there are several flights a day out of Ataturk airport.

And there are about 18 million flights a year that go through this airport. So Turkish officials are really concerned about the impact this is going to have on business, on travelers choosing to go through Istanbul.

And then the other issues, they feel that they do have sufficient security measures in place at Ataturk International Airport, and they say that now they are going to be talking to U.S. officials to reconsider the ban. Take a listen to what the transport minister of Turkey what had to say.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

AHMET ARSLAN, TURKISH MINISTER OF TRANSPORT (through translator): However, our problem is not how this would be put into practice, but we are pointing out that this might reduce the number of passengers and reduce the comfort of our passengers. So we are talking to them about how they could back down or how this should be eased up.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KARADSHEH: And Rosemary, it's not just officials. A lot of people are confused about this, as Samuel was pointing out there earlier. People don't understand how checking in these devices that might be a threat would be -- that people would be any safer if they're checked in rather than carrying them in the cabin.

CHURCH: Yes, a lot of concern that they be just as dangerous in the belly of the plane. Thanks so much, Jomana. Let's go to Muhammad now. And what's been the response in Dubai to this? What are travelers and carriers saying about it?

MUHAMMAD LILA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, the carriers are basically saying that they're going to fall in line. And effectively they have no choice but to follow this regulation. But of course, there is a 96- hour phasing-in period so I think you can expect by the end of this week, and certainly this weekend, you're going to start seeing this regulation implemented at Abu Dhabi's airport as well as Dubai's airport which is behind me.

But of course, the big question is how many flight delays is this going to cause? You're going to have thousands of travelers showing up at the airport, whether their point of origin is here or the United Arab Emirates, or whether they're connecting from South Asia or East Asia, for example, who aren't aware of this regulation, and they're going to go on board thinking that they can carry their laptops with them.

They're in for a very rude awakening and there's going to be an education process that takes place. And during that process, during that implementation process there are going to be delays. And of course any time we're dealing with delays in aviation, there's always a cascade effect.

One flight gets delayed, it means other people can't make their connections, so the airlines certainly stand to lose millions of dollars as a result of implementing this regulation.

The question is how extensive will these delays be and whether people will actually decide to stop taking these Middle Eastern carriers and transiting, for example, through Europe if they want to travel to the United States.

CHURCH: All right, Muhammad Lila in Dubai, Jomana Karadsheh in Istanbul, many thanks to both of you for detailing reaction there.

And we'll take a very short break here. But for some grieving South Korean families, a salvage team's efforts could provide some measure of peace. The effort to raise the Sewol Ferry.

And as the battle against ISIS looms, an inside look at the early days of the militants' brutal rule in Raqqah, Syria.

[03:15:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)

CHRISTINA MACFARLANE, CNN WORLD SPORTS ANCHOR: I'm Christina MacFarlane with your CNN World Sport headlines.

Lukas Podolski is set to make his final appearance for the German national team as they take on England on Wednesday in an international friendly. Throughout his illustrious career Podolski scored 48 goals for the senior international team and was part of the 2014 World Cup- winning side. He'll make his 130th appearance for the German side and will be wearing the captain's armband for the match.

Wayne Rooney has once again been linked with a Manchester United exit at the end of the season, reports this time speculating he will move to boycott club Everton.

The 31-year-old played in the toffee's youth system and last featured for the club in 2004 before moving to join Sir Alex Ferguson and Manchester United. Rooney had previously been linked to the move to the Chinese Super League and Premier League club West Ham.

Bastian Schweinsteiger departure from the Premier League to the MLS is now official. As he's pinned a year-long contract with the Chicago Fire. The former Germany captain has found himself on the fringes of Jose Mourinho's squad, featured only 18 times since joining in 2015.

Schweinsteiger is set to meet up with Chicago Fire next week for pending international clearance.

Well, that's a look at your World Sport headlines. Good to have you with us. I'm Christina MacFarlane in Atlanta.

CHURCH: A salvage team off the coast of South Korea is trying to raise the doomed Sewol Ferry. More than 300 people died when the boat capsized three years ago. Most of the victims were students on a school trip. Nine bodies are believed to be trapped inside that wreckage.

And our Paula Hancocks joins us from Jindo in South Korea with the very latest. So Paula, as we said, it has been three years since the ferry capsized and sank. Why has it taken so long to raise it? And how sure are authorities that the nine missing bodies are inside that wreckage?

PAULA HANCOCKS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Rosemary, it's about a year and a half ago that officials decided that they would try and salvage the ferry. At one point it was unsure as to whether or not they would do that. But as you said, the fact that nine bodies are still believed to be trapped inside that ferry, they came under pressure from the families obviously wanting to be able to bury their loved ones to salvage it. Now it's a massive operation, it's a huge ferry. It hasn't got

precedent, this kind of salvage operation, trying to lift this massive ferry from 40 meters under the water intact to try and preserve the remains.

Many of the families are already on the water, they've been there all day close to the operation to try and glimpse anything that they can. Ministry officials giving them boats so that they can be transparent, they can see what's happening. But of course it is a very sad day for everyone in this country.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

HANCOCKS: It was a disaster that devastated a nation. April 2014, a passenger ferry sank off the Coast of South Korea, taking more than 300 souls with it. Most were high school students on a field trip to a holiday island, told by crew to stay where they were, to wait for rescuers.

As the ship sank beneath the frigid waters of the Yellow Sea the captain and much of the crew saved themselves, knowing hundreds were still on board. Torturous hours turned into days, weeks and months as family members waited for the bodies of their loved ones to be found.

For (Inaudible) that agonizing wait has lasted almost three years. Her 16-year-old daughter Diane has still not been found, one of nine bodies believed to be inside the ship.

"When the children were being found one by one," she told me two years ago, "I suddenly thought, somebody has to be the last to be found what if it's Diane? I'm still living in April 2014."

As body after body was brought ashore it became clear this was a manmade disaster. Investigators found cargo was grossly overloaded and unsecured. Modifications made to the ship to increase passenger capacity made it unstable.

[03:20:01] And the captain and crew were poorly trained. Several company executives were charged. The CEO convicted, now serving 10 years. The captain apologized but was convicted of murder, given a life sentence, spared the death penalty, much to the anger of bereaved parents.

Choi Kyung Dock (Ph) lost his 16-year-old son, who was posting on Twitter as the ship went down.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Last message is 10.20. I love you, please save me. Please save me.

HANCOCKS: Former President Park Geun-hye was criticized for her perceived inaction during the crisis, saying nothing for seven hours as horrified citizens watching live footage of the ship slipping beneath the waves. An accident that should never have happened. A product of corruption and incompetence, a tragedy that broke the hearts of an entire country.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

HANCOCKS: Now we're hoping to hear in coming hours from the ministry whether or not that testing to lift the Sewol has ended and the official lifting has begun. Rosemary?

CHURCH: Yes. And Paula, it is just too heartbreaking to see what those families have been through. What sort of support have the nine families that lost those children that still haven't been reunited with their remains, what sort of support have they been given, and indeed the other parents?

HANCOCKS: Well, we saw some of them a little earlier today. Just before they got on the boat to go and see close to the operation. They had a small press conference for the media gathered here saying thank you for the support of the media, of the people, of the whole country.

They believe that that has helped them get through this. But they want to make sure that people don't forget about them. It's been almost three years and those nine bodies are yet to be found. The families of those saying that all they want is to have a body or have remains that they can -- that they can bury, that they can have some kind of closure.

One of the victims' parents saying that they no longer want to be the parent of a missing person from Sewol, but a parent of a victim from Sewol. Rosemary?

CHURCH: All right. And we will continue to follow this as this very complicated exercise to raise the ferry from 40 meters or so you were saying, is that right?

HANCOCKS: That's right, yes.

CHURCH: Yes. All right. Paula Hancocks, joining us there from Jindo in South Korea. Many thanks to you.

Well, members of the global anti-ISIS coalition will meet in Washington in the coming hours. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson is hosting the gathering of foreign ministers to discuss the next steps toward defeating the militants.

ISIS has been losing ground in Iraq and in Syria. It's the first meeting of the coalition since President Trump was elected.

Well, the next front in the battle against ISIS is Raqqah in Syria. U.S.-backed forces are closing in on the militant stronghold there.

Arwa Damon has an inside look of the brutal early months of the ISIS takeover. And we must warn you that some of the images are graphic.

ARWA DAMON, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Raqqah is the first major city that ISIS captured, and today it's the capital of the so-called Islamic state. It's the city that foreign fighters flocked to. It's the city from where ISIS governs. And it's also ISIS' operational command headquarters. It's the nerve center for the terrorist plots within the region and

beyond. ISIS gained full control of Raqqah by early 2014. There were videos filmed back then, one of them was by a female activist with a hidden camera. It was just a brief snapshot of the unimaginable horrors that the population had endured.

The public executions, the crucifixion that initially shocked the population and the rest of the world, they very quickly became the norm.

The city strategically sits on the banks of the Euphrates River and Raqqah is now largely surrounded. Its main supply routes are cut off. But the forces are advancing on the city along with their various different foreign backers, they have competing interests that may or may not align when it comes to the battle for Raqqah itself.

Just like in Mosul and neighboring Iraq, the civilian population of Raqqah estimated at around 200,000 people. It's effectively being held hostage.

[03:25:00] Losing its grip on Raqqah would, yes, be a major territorial blow to ISIS and it may see the network fracture. But what's most crucial is what happens next to prevent ISIS from returning or something worse from emerging.

Arwa Damon, CNN, Erbil, Iraq.

CHURCH: And now to a plea from a Syrian defector known for his shocking photographs of detainees. A warning that we are going to show you some of those graphic images, including pictures of dead bodies. You may prefer to look away.

The man known as Caesar documented those allegedly tortured and killed in Syrian regime prisons. Caesar testified on Capitol Hill on Tuesday. His identity was obscured to protect him. Caesar worked as a forensic photographer for the Syrian military police and smuggled these images out of the country.

Today, Caesar spoke to CNN exclusively. Here is his message for the U.S. President.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We are asking to all the officials, to all the policymakers, to President Trump's White House which we are hoping will do the right thing, we beg you to stop the machinery of death in Syria. You are America. And the United States Congress, and the American people. You always stand next to justice. And you stand with democracy.

And America is the light of democracy and justice. We ask you to stand with the Syrian people, those that are oppressed, to stop the machinery of death.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CHURCH: And you can find out more about what Caesar witnessed. The full interview is at cnn.com/amanpour.

Airlines in the Middle East and Africa have just a few days to comply with the U.S. electronics ban on flights. Hear what they think about the restrictions, that still to come.

Pus, Donald Trump is in full-on campaign mode as Congress counts down to a vote on health care reform. The president's warning to those who vote against him. That's next.

[03:30:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)

CHURCH: A warm welcome back to our viewers all across the world. I'm Rosemary Church. I want to update on our main stories this hour.

North Korea's latest missile test appears to have failed. U.S. officials say the missile exploded seconds after launch Wednesday morning. No word on what type of missile it was. This comes days after Pyongyang claimed it had successfully tested a powerful rocket engine.

Engineers are trying to raise a South Korean ferry that sank three years ago. They hope to lift the Sewol onto a floating dock and then tow it to a nearby port. More than 300 people died when the ferry sank, most of them students on a class trip. Nine bodies still have not been recovered.

The U.K. is joining the U.S. in banning electronic devices larger than smartphones from the cabins of flights from some Middle Eastern and North African countries. There are fears the devices could be used to hide explosives. Instead, the devices will have to be put in the plane's luggage hold.

U.S. officials are calling the ban a security measure. It covers 10 international airports and major hubs including Cairo, Dubai, and Abu Dhabi and Istanbul.

But as CNN's Richard Quest explains, the new rules are hitting airlines in these regions hard.

RICHARD QUEST, CNN HOST: The new regulations have taken the airlines affected completely by surprise. One top airline executive said it was extremely unfair and that airports in the Gulf followed the most stringent security requirements.

It will be the Gulf carriers, Qatar Airways based in Doha, Etihad in Abu Dhabi, and of course Emirates in Dubai that will feel the full force. Emirates flies to 11 cities in the United States. Including up to five daily flights to New York alone. And many of those flights involve the a-380, the super jumbo.

Now Emirates, like the other carriers, will have to tell their passengers to check in their larger electronics. And for most passengers, transferring over the Gulf, that will mean checking those in a long way, from the point of transfer at the original point of departure.

It will mean passengers being without laptops, kindles, and e-readers for many hours as they make their way to the United States. And the airline executives say they've absolutely no reason to know why this new regulation has suddenly been introduced.

They're waiting for more information from the United States. Until then, they have no choice other than to follow the rules.

Richard Quest, CNN, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.

CHURCH: A U.S. official says this ban is based on intelligence that Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula was looking to hide explosives in batteries and battery compartments on electronic devices.

The group has tried to smuggle bombs on flights before. Christmas Day 2009, authorities arrested a man dubbed the underwear bomber who tried to take down a U.S. plane headed for Detroit.

In 2010, authorities uncovered a plot by the terror group to hide explosives in printer cartridges on cargo jets. Officials stopped another underwear bomb plot in 2012.

Now the safety of all passengers is of course the main goal for airlines. But travelers tell us this ban is a major inconvenience.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We're flying back home to Boston on Monday through Dubai on Emirates. And we're really bummed to hear about the new technology ban. We normally don't condone our kids using iPods, but on a 24-hour flight, it's pretty necessary. So we need to come up with a backup plan of what we're going to do. We think it's pretty ridiculous.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: This morning we found out about the electronics ban as we've been gone. And to say the least it was really hard to hear. We are currently traveling with about $7,000 worth of camera gear, computers, and iPods.

[03:35:03] So not only are we really worried about our gear being taken from us or being damaged as we have to check it in now, but also the memories we've made for the past month, that can just be swiped within a second, without no thought at all.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CHURCH: Now if you're looking for some tips on how to keep valuable electronics safe in cargo, just visit cnn.com and you'll also find other important information about affected flights.

U.S. President Donald Trump is trying to shift the focus from the FBI's Russia investigation to health care. The House of Representatives is scheduled to vote on the republican plan on Thursday. Mr. Trump says it's time to end the Obamacare nightmare.

CNN's Jeff Zeleny reports.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We had a great meeting and I think we're going to get a winner vote. We're going to be -- we're going to have a real winner.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

JEFF ZELENY, CNN SENIOR WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: President Trump on Capitol Hill today. Desperately seeking a win on health care.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP: It was a great meeting. They're terrific people. They want a tremendous health care plan. That's what we have. And there are going to be adjustments for it. I think we'll get the votes.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ZELENY: But tonight the White House still isn't sure it has enough votes to pass its replacement of Obamacare. So the president took his case directly to House republicans, delivering a blunt message behind closed doors.

One person in the room told CNN Trump said this to republicans. "I honestly think many of you will lose your seats in 2018 if you don't get this done." It's the first big test of whether the president can make good on a signature campaign trail promise while navigating oneself-made distraction after another.

The White House is trying to move beyond fallout from the ongoing FBI criminal investigation into whether the Trump campaign work with the Kremlin to influence the 2016 election. FBI Director James Comey made it clear in a House hearing Monday that the investigation is open- ended.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JAMES COMEY, UNITED STATES FBI DIRECTOR: I can promise you we will follow the facts wherever they lead.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ZELENY: The president showing rare restraint at a rally Monday night in Kentucky. Not mentioning his discredited wiretapping accusation against President Obama or the Russia probe. Instead, he focused on health care.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP: As we move toward the crucial House vote on Thursday, the seventh anniversary of Obamacare's very painful passage. This is our long-awaited chance to finally get rid of Obamacare.

(CROWD CHEERING)

We're going to do it. What's the alternative?

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ZELENY: The House Freedom Caucus, the most conservative cluster in Congress, believes there is a better alternative. Congressman Mark Meadows of North Carolina called out personally by the president for his opposition to the bill, said he was more worried about rising insurance premiums than his own re-election.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MARK MEADOWS, (R) UNITED STATES REPRESENTATIVE: In the end of it, of the day, it is really about bringing premiums down, it's not about me or any member of Congress.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ZELENY: The conservative group, Club for Growth, is running TV ads urging republicans to vote no on the health care measure.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Now Congress is pushing Ryan care, a bad idea doubling down on disaster.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ZELENY: The White House says the president hasn't ruled out campaigning against fellow republicans who try and block his bill, which could have a ripple effect on the rest of his agenda.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEAN SPICER, UNITED STATES WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: Yes, I think there's going to be a price to be paid but it's going to be with their own voters.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ZELENY: But that price to be paid certainly remains an open question. So many key conservative groups.

Club for Growth, Heritage Action, and others are still opposed to this bill. They say it simply does not bring premiums down enough, it simply doesn't go far enough. Of course, over the next two days as the White House continues to push this, the question will be how much muscle does this president have?

Jeff Zeleny, CNN, the White House.

CHURCH: And President Trump's pick for the Supreme Court will be back on the hot seat in the coming day. Judge Neil Gorsuch told senators Tuesday he's a fair judge and not a politician. Senators grilled him about his views on abortion, religious rights, and whether he made any promises to Mr. Trump.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

LINDSEY GRAHAM, (R) UNITED STATES SENATOR: In that interview, did he ever ask you to overrule Roe V. Wade?

NEIL GORSUCH, UNITED STATES SUPREME COURT NOMINEE: No, senator.

GRAHAM: What would you have done if he'd asked?

GORSUCH: Senator, I would have walked out the door. It's not what judges do.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CHURCH: And one democrat on the Senate panel asked Gorsuch about Mr. Trump's tweets, criticizing a federal judge.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

GORSUCH: I know these people and I know how decent they are. And when anyone criticizes the honesty or integrity, the motives, of a federal judge, I find that disheartening. I find that demoralizing. Because I know the truth.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

[03:40:07] Gorsuch would of course replace Justice Antonin Scalia, who died unexpectedly last year.

French Interior Minister Bruno Le Roux has resigned over government jobs he gave his two teenage daughters. French prosecutors are investigating but Le Roux says the jobs were legitimate.

His daughters earned a total of nearly $60,000 for these summer jobs between 2009 and 2016.

Presidential candidate Francois Fillon is accused of paying family members for work they did not do. And rival Marine Le Pen allegedly paid staffers for nonexistent jobs at the European parliament.

We'll take a short break here. But still to come, a Ukrainian lawmaker shows CNN a document he says might prove one of President Trump's former campaign aides got secret payments in Ukraine. That report from Kiev coming up next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

CHURCH: Welcome back, everyone. Well, Paul Manafort stepped down as Donald Trump's campaign chair back in August but he's never been far from the headlines since then.

Manafort is now facing fresh allegations over his links to Ukraine's former president. The pro-Russian Viktor Yanukovych. Officials in Ukraine are looking into whether Manafort received illegal payments from Yanukovich's party. A spokesman for Manafort says the allegations are baseless.

CNN's Atika Shubert spoke to the Ukrainian lawmaker who says he may have new evidence. [03:44:58] ATIKA SHUBERT, CNN CHIEF INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT:

Serhiy Leshchenko is a Ukrainian journalist turned lawmaker who staked his career on fighting corruption. He takes us for a quick drive to Kiev to show us where this man used to work, Paul Manafort, former campaign manager now under scrutiny.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SERHIY LESHCHENKO, UKRAINIAN JOURNALIST: This used to be office of Paul Manafort.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHUBERT: This, he says, is where a potentially crucial bit of evidence was found, a suspicious invoice that appears to be personally signed by Paul Manafort.

Paul Manafort worked in Ukraine for years, mostly advising former President Viktor Yanukovych, a leader backed by Russian President Vladimir Putin and so deeply unpopular for his rampant corruption that he was chased out of his multi-billion dollar palace and into exile in Russia.

Angry protesters set fire to his party headquarters in 2014 but not before a group of citizens saved some documents inside, including a handwritten list of cash payments that's known in Ukraine as the black ledger.

Manafort's name is scrawled 22 times for a total of $12.7 million. When the ledger surfaced in the midst of the Trump campaign last year, Manafort told CNN allegations of corruption were, quote, "unfounded, silly, and nonsensical."

He said, quote, "I have never received a single off the books cash payment." But Serhiy Leshchenko now has this, an invoice that appears to be personally signed by Manafort, stamped with the Ukrainian company registration number. The date 14th of October 2009, and the amount, $750,000, are an exact match to a Manafort entry on the black ledger.

CNN has not been able to verify the authenticity of the document. We asked Paul Manafort to verify the document and his signature. His spokesman told us the allegations were, quote, "baseless" and sent this response.

"Paul Manafort does not recognize those documents and that is not his signature." We compared Leshchenko's scanned signature pages to Department of Justice documents filed and signed by Manafort, now available online.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

LESHCHENKO: This is the first time that we see Manafort signature in this Ukrainian side of his story.

(END VIDEO CLIP) SHUBERT: The invoice shows 501 units of assorted computer equipment

sold by Davis Manafort to a Neal Com Systems, a Belize registered Shell Company with a bank account listed in Kyrgyzstan. Leshchenko said the document was found last year in a locked safe by a cleaning crew inside the former offices of Davis Manafort.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

LESHCHENKO: It looks like Manafort wasn't a political consultant or trader of processors. But I'm sure that it's fake invoice. Fake contract. Just to establish -- artificially establish legal basis for transaction of this huge amount of money.

SHUBERT: Do you think this is money laundering?

LESHCHENKO: I believe it has to be investigated, and this issue has to be checked during the investigation. In my experience, it looks like money laundering via fraud.

SHUBERT: Has the FBI contacted you about this information?

LESHCHENKO: I cannot tell you. Let's say this, no comment.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHUBERT: We asked Leshchenko if the FBI now has a copy of this document. He would not comment, but for Leshchenko, the paper trail provides evidence that must be investigated.

Atika Shubert, CNN, Kiev.

CHURCH: We'll take a short break here. But when we come back, the power of social media, how a hash tag is helping famine relief efforts in Somalia.

[03:50:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)

PEDRAM JAVAHERI, CNN METEOROLOGIST: Spring certainly has arrived. The southern U.S. here is getting some strong thunderstorms in the past several hours, the Tuesday night hours there across parts of metro Atlanta, certainly parts of Chattanooga, Tennessee, and to even Charleston, South Carolina over the next several hours where we know some 300 plus lightning strikes in a matter of several hours associated with these storms.

At least one fatality around Jackson County in Northern Georgia from a tree coming down on top of a property. But you notice 55 wind-related reports, severe wind gusts, hail-related reports exceeding 70 now.

So, certainly a serious -- a serious storm system as it push through, but it is going to begin to taper off as we go in towards Wednesday and the scattered storms really confined towards closer to the Gulf Coast communities.

But cool air begins filtering in mainly around the northern portion of the United States and it is going to be short-lived for that region. We think it will moderate back out quickly.

There is a big storm system around the Western United States and flooding concern even as far south as Los Angeles. And the wet weather continues to come down across this region.

But notice the heaviest north of say Murray County into the San Francisco area where we think will some flooding concern will be in place. But some rain expected in San Francisco. Same story out of Los Angeles. In Denver, spring has sprung, 24 degrees. Atlanta, a stunning afternoon, up to about 22 degrees or so. And work your way out toward Cartagena around 32, Managua around 36 degrees.

CHURCH: A single tweet has kicked off a viral campaign to help people facing starvation in Somalia. A French social media star started the hash tag love army for Somalia to raise awareness and famine relief donations.

Celebrities and other social media stars joined in. Their initial goal was to raise $1 million, fill a plane with 60 tons of food, and fly it to Somalia. Actor Ben Stiller is one of the famous faces pitching in.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BEN STILLER, ACTOR: Guess what, we did it. We raised over $1 million in 24 hours to put the food on the plane to go to Somalia that Turkish Airlines donated.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CHURCH: Great cause there. And the group has now raised more than $2 million on its Go Fund Me page. Great stuff there.

Well, about half of Peru remains under a state of emergency after weeks of unusual and unrelenting rain.

Our meteorologist Pedram Javaheri joins us now in the studio to talk more about this. So how are they coping on the ground and what's the outlook here?

JAVAHERI: Yes. You know, the outlook is not very good. We're seeing additional rain come back in the forecast, Rosemary, and this story is one of the most remarkable I've seen in a very long time.

Because if you're to ask me name a couple of dry places on our planet, I would say the desert community of Death Valley in California, aptly named, one of the driest places on our planet. Then I'll direct you down towards areas of the Atacama Desert in Chile, on into Peru, Coastal Peru.

These areas are the driest places on our planet. I want to show you something here. Because when you take a look at what has occurred. Again, there you go. We lay out what I was talking, Rosemary, about with the areas that are getting 40, 50 millimeters, some spots near Chile about a millimeter or less per year.

So it kind of speaks to the frequency of rainfall across this region of the world. And then you look at what's happened across northern portions of Chile. Almost half a meter of rainfall has come down just in the past 32 or so days alone.

In fact, that's equivalent to six years' worth of rainfall right there in Peru, in northern Peru than what they've seen typically again for this time of year.

So here's what's going on. We're looking carefully across the sea surface area and the temperatures in the waters are sitting about five degrees Celsius above what is considered normal. When you look at that perspective across this region, of course this is a scenario where we have incredible anomaly of some 5 degrees, the highest anomaly of anywhere in the world.

[03:54:59] And then typically it is very cool on the Coast of Peru. So that inhibits the clouds forming, inhibits the thunderstorms taking place as well across this region. But the perspective, of course, is that we've got the warm waters in place now off the Coast of Peru.

We're getting easterly flow there. And the storms have been blossoming. That's not going to change any time soon. That is the horrible news when you consider about half the country, as Rosie said, is sitting underneath a state of emergency. So, additional thunderstorms in the forecast every single day.

In fact, some of the observations here in the forecast, Rosemary, say that we could see at least a month's worth of rainfall almost every single day perhaps for the next couple of weeks.

So again, we're getting an anomalous warm water setup and some of the officials there saying this is equivalent to almost a micro-scale El Nino pattern across this region of Peru and that's what really ushering in rainfall every single day where they typically don't see.

CHURCH: Unbelievable.

JAVAHERI: Yes.

CHURCH: All right. Thanks so much, Pedram for keeping a fair close eye on that, I appreciate it.

Well, Oscar winning actor and activist George Clooney has melted many hearts throughout his career. Now add one more to that list, 87-year- old Pat Adams told her retirement home she wanted to meet Clooney for her birthday.

The star sent a letter to Clooney, who lives nearby in England, and surprise, he showed up with a bouquet of flowers and a birthday card.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

PAT ADAMS, GEORGE CLOONEY'S FAN: I just wanted to meet the man. I'd heard so much about him. But I wanted to meet him. And he was charming. I've got those flowers and the card which I shall treasure. And all in all, it was just wonderful.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CHURCH: He has made her very happy. And thank you so much for joining us. I'm Rosemary Church. Remember to connect with me any time on Twitter. The news continues with our Max Foster in London. You're watching CNN. Have yourselves a fabulous day.

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