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Terror Threat Rising Ahead Elections; General Mattis Meets Mideast Counterparts; China in Full Alert; Charges Awaits Assange; Unrest in Venezuela Continues. Aired 3-4a ET

Aired April 21, 2017 - 03:00   ET

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


(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[03:00:00] CYRIL VANIER, CNN HOST: A shooting in Paris. The investigation into a brazen attack on police just days before the presidential election.

NATALIE ALLEN, CNN HOST: Tensions over North Korea. Chinese warplanes are said to be on high alert as Pyongyang makes more threats.

VANIER: Plus, CNN takes you inside Mosul's old city where civilians are caught up in the middle of the fight against ISIS.

ALLEN: Also ahead here, the U.S. government ready to arrest and prosecute WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, but it won't be easy. We'll get into that as well.

Hello and welcome to our viewers around the world. I'm Natalie Allen.

VANIER: And I'm Cyril Vanier. You're watching CNN Newsroom.

Just days before the presidential election, a terror attack rocks Paris. One policeman is dead, two other officers and a passerby are wounded after a man opened fire with an automatic weapon along the Champs Elysees. Police returned fire and killed the gunman.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): He parked just behind the van and he got out with a Kalashnikov, and I heard six gunshots. I thought they were firecrackers because we all looked around the road, and there was no one. In fact, he was hidden behind the van and shooting at the police.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ALLEN: Investigators are searching the gunman's car and his home. A source says he was a French national known to authorities, convicted in 2001 of shooting three police officers. ISIS says he was one of its fighters.

VANIER: And we have brand-new information about a second suspect. Let's head to Paris and CNN's Melissa Bell. Melissa, the French prime minister was speaking moments ago. What do we know? What's the latest information we're getting? MELISSA BELL, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, even now, the

president is inside the Elysee Palace holding this defense meeting and looking into precisely what happened yesterday and the security arrangements they need to follow.

What we've been hearing within the last few minutes is from the interior ministry spokesman, who has revealed some new information. First of all, the Belgian authorities transmitted to French authorities yesterday an arrest -- a search warrant for an individual.

Now, he would not be drawn on whether there was any link with what happened yesterday, but there has been this whole question, Cyril, with on one hand what we've been hearing from sources that the man believed to have carried out this attack yesterday on the Champs Elysees about 12 hours ago was a French national and that he was known to police in particular for having attempted to shoot policemen.

And the disconnect between that and what was in the ISIS statement which followed very quickly after the attack where the man was identified by ISIS as an ISIS fighter with some kind of connection to Belgium.

So what we, the spokesman would not be drawn on is the link between the arrest warrant -- the search warrant, I'm sorry, passed on by Belgian authorities in what happened last night. But clearly this might help clear up those question marks about whether or not someone else might have been involved in this.

Now that spokesman also mentioned the fact it was likely, even probable that there were other people involved. So we're beginning to get a sense perhaps that authorities are looking for more accomplices who might have helped this attacker carry out the dreadful attack of last night.

VANIER: Melissa, what more do we know about the assailant himself? I mean, I understand he had a violent past. Can you give us an outline?

BELL: Well, according to sources, the man who carried out the attack, yesterday the man that French believe -- the French authorities believe was responsible for this was a French national. He was arrested back in 2001 for shooting at police officers.

During the arrest, he shot one of the arresting officers three times. This was a man with an extremely violent past. He was also known to police for a violent series of robberies. So this was a man known to them.

We also know, of course, Cyril, and this is likely to prove crucial not just in the investigation but of course in the broader question of the election campaign and the final hours as we head into the first round of voting on Sunday.

The question -- the fact that this man was apparently what the French called (Inaudible) that means under active surveillance and believed to be possibly planning some kind of terrorist attack. So, all of these questions are ones that we will get more clarity on

first of all when the president comes out of that defense meeting in the Elysee Palace, not only with the chief of staff but with the defense minister and the interior minister, the prime minister as well.

[03:05:01] But also and perhaps most importantly, from the Paris prosecutor, who is right here on the Champs Elysees last night saying that France knew who the attacker was, that they had verified his identity, but that he was not revealing it for the time being because the investigation was going -- ongoing.

Francois Hollande is due to speak at some point today and it is no doubt from him that we will learn more about precisely who was involved, what the nature of his motivations were, and whether or not he was helped by anyone.

VANIER: Melissa, there's less than a day left of campaigning before the first round of voting in the presidential election. How is this going to impact the vote? I want your take on that. Let's first listen, though, to the initial reactions from the major candidates.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

EMMANUEL MACRON, FRENCH PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE (through translator): The first priority is to fight everywhere against Islamic totalitarianism and go even further than that. And I want to make sure we are protected and I'm prepared to do that.

We must not give into fear. We must not give into the sense that we are divided. If we yield to their dictates, this is exactly what they're wanting. This is a trap we can fall in.

FRANCOIS FILLON, FRENCH PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE (through translator): Combating Islamist totalitarianism and those who are at the origin of this growth of intolerance, of this fundamentalism, combating them must really be the top priority for this next president of the republic.

MARINE LE PEN, FRENCH PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE (through translator): I feel incredible sorrow for the police who have once again paid a heavy price. Not everything has been done to protect our citizens. What we need is the resources to make sure we can combat the Islamist terrorism. I don't want our youth to get used to living with this danger. Naivete is over.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

VANIER: Melissa, how do you think this impacts the vote on Sunday?

BELL: The real question is how emotionally this will impact the campaign. This has been an incredibly tense campaign with so much to play for. So many of the proposals, so much of the -- so many of the candidates are really offering a profound change with all that's been before with radically different visions of what France should be between the 11 candidates and a huge proportion of the French electorate that even at this late stage -- let's just say this is the final day of campaigning at midnight tonight, it is over, Cyril.

A huge proportion of French people have yet to make up their minds. How many of them will be affected almost on an emotional level by what happened here last night? That's the big question, and we won't really know the answer to that until about 8 p.m. local time on Sunday night when the first estimations come out about precisely how this first round of voting as gone.

But one more thing perhaps, Cyril, is that this man parked his car outside a police van and fired at a policeman. Imagine for a moment if he'd used his automatic weapon to fire at the vast crowds of people who were on the streets on the Champs Elysees at 9 p.m. last night.

How much worse, how much more deadly, how many more people might have lost their lives, and how greater the impact of this on the presidential election.

Clearly, we have to wait and see whether the fact that the police were attacked in this way -- and you heard Marine Le Pen there. We're going to have hear from her again within the next hour. So here in Paris she's making a statement.

This really plays into her narrative, that not enough has been done to keep an eye, to deal particular will with those people who are under active surveillance. How neatly will it play into his -- her narrative and how will it help boost her vote in the crucial hours to come as we head into that first round of voting, Cyril.

VANIER: You're right to point out, Melissa, there could have been much greater loss of life on the Champs Elysees last night. Thank you, Melissa Bell, in Paris.

ALLEN: So very true. Well, another story we're following closely, North Korea went to the United Nations on Thursday to warn any hostilities on the Korean Peninsula will be the fault of the U.S.

In Pyongyang's words, the U.S. is engaging in a decapitation operation to overthrow the regime of Kim Jong-un.

VANIER: After decades of relative calm, Beijing is now worried that another armed conflict is about to break out on its doorstep. The Chinese military is now on high alert.

ALLEN: Our David McKenzie joins us live from Beijing. How unusual is this step that Beijing is taking, David? They used to be very close, or they have been North Korea's closest ally.

DAVID MCKENZIE, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, we shouldn't necessarily make the jump yet that this is definitively a move by the Chinese to somehow counteract North Korea. That is certainly one of the theories that U.S. officials are saying to CNN.

They say that these bombers, which are capable of using cruise missiles, have been put on high alert in China. As of yet, though, no comment whatsoever from the ministry of defense here in China. We'll wait and see if the foreign ministry has anything to say about it. Certainly, politically, it would be extremely unusual to say the least if China were to try and have any kind of military action towards North Korea. It wouldn't really make sense because they are allies still on some level despite the fact that over the past few years, Kim Jong-un has ignored the calls to stop his nuclear program.

[03:10:01] Right now, the focus at least from the Trump administration is diplomacy and pressure, that he is saying China needs to bear on Pyongyang to really use its hold over the trade relationship, the diplomatic relationship with Pyongyang, to try and really squeeze him into slowing down or stopping that nuclear program. Time will tell whether that has any effect whatsoever. Natalie.

ALLEN: Are there any signs right now of any accelerated diplomatic moves?

MCKENZIE: Well, certainly China in recent weeks and months has tightened its really enforcement of the U.N. sanctions. It also stopped coal shipments into China from North Korea, a significant move which hurts North Korea's access to foreign currency.

So there is a sense that the Chinese are playing hardball with North Korea, but are they willing to go as far as U.S. administration wants them to go.

One noted Chinese expert, foreign policy expert, told me, well, he sees it as inevitable that China won't go as far as the U.S. wants it to go. And the minute there's any big movement from North Korea like a nuclear test, that Trump will blame China.

So for now, it seems the U.S. and China are cooperating in this matter. Again, it all depends on what Kim Jong-un does and ultimately China at least says the only solution is some kind of talks. Natalie.

ALLEN: We hope that would be it. Thank you so much, David McKenzie for us there in Beijing. Thanks.

VANIER: The Trump administration is preparing to prosecute WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange for publishing classified U.S. materials. That is if the U.S. can get him.

Assange has spent years inside the relative safety of the Ecuadorian embassy in London, and he's not likely to leave anytime soon. Still, the U.S. says arresting Assange has become a priority. And if and when that day arrives, and U.S. officials tell CNN they have criminal charges ready to go.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MIKE POMPEO, UNITED STATES CIA DIRECTOR: WikiLeaks walks like a hostile intelligence service and talks like a hostile intelligence service. It has encouraged its followers to find jobs at the CIA in order to obtain intelligence.

It directed Chelsea Manning in her theft of specific secret information. It overwhelmingly focuses on the United States while seeking support from any democratic countries and organizations.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ALLEN: Well, if Assange is ever arrested by the U.S., his case will be far from normal. We spoke earlier about that with CNN's senior legal analyst Jeffrey Toobin.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JEFFREY TOOBIN, CNN SENIOR LEGAL ANALYST: Traditionally the way the U.S. government has handled leak investigations is to prosecute the leaker, the person with legal access to classified information who gives it to someone else, usually or often a newspaper or a media organization.

What is different about this prosecution, if it happens, is that the recipient of classified information, which is a kind of news organization, WikiLeaks would be prosecuted. And the concern has always been what is WikiLeaks? Is it like the New York Times? Is it like CNN, a news organization, or is it an active participant in getting the classified information to which it's not entitled?

The Trump administration seems to be taking the view that this is not a news organization. It is, as the CIA director said, a hostile news -- a hostile intelligence operation.

If they manage to get him on trial, it certainly would seem like a pretty easy case since Assange has been bragging about his role in prosecuting -- in publishing this material. There would be significant legal impediments. There are first amendment issues here.

But if this case ever winds up before a jury with Julian Assange sitting in an American courtroom, by far a done deal, I think he'd be in desperate trouble and I think he would wind up in prison for many, many years.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ALLEN: Well, the U.S. had hoped that the new government in Ecuador would stop sheltering Assange, but that country says its policy toward Assange has not changed.

VANIER: And we continue to follow breaking news out of Germany. Authorities have arrested a suspect in the Dortmund football bus attack last week, which wounded one of the players. They say it may have been part of an elaborate scheme to make money. The suspect has been identified as a 28-year-old Russian-German citizen.

ALLEN: Prosecutors say the suspect was staying at the Dortmund club's hotel the day of the attack. He allegedly bought 15,000 shares of the team's stock hoping to make a profit if their value fell. He's charged with attempted murder and other counts.

A CNN team visited the last ISIS stronghold in Israel to see what the fighting had done to a once bustling city.

[03:15:02] Our story is pretty amazing. We will take you inside Mosul just ahead here.

VANIER: Plus the U.S. defense secretary travels to Israel after some harsh words for Iran. We'll have a live report from Jerusalem. Stay with us.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

KATE RILEY, CNN WORLD SPORT ANCHOR: I'm Kate Riley with your CNN world sport headlines.

Manchester United's hope of winning their first ever Europa League title are still alive. And while thanks to the heroics of the youngster Marcus Rashford.

Jose Mourinho's men found themselves ahead early on in the match for under leg would response to level it before half time. Chances were aplenty but the breakthrough wouldn't happen until some brilliance from Rashford allowed the Red Devils to take the lead. In the 107th minute, they go on to win 2-1.

Tiger Woods has announced on his web site that he has successfully undergone back surgery to rid him of the pain in his back and leg. The former world number one recently skipped the Masters due to his back problems and hasn't played a competitive round since early February.

However, what Tiger says he's most looking forward to is getting back to a normal life, playing with his kids and playing some competitive golf.

Liverpool's Jurgen Klopp says he has full faith in his two current keepers and has no plans to make a move for exiled Man City keeper Joe Hart in the upcoming summer transfer window.

The England number one is currently on loan with Torino after being deemed (Inaudible) requirements by City boos Pep Guardiola. Hart could return to the English Premier League next season, but it's unlikely he will play for City again.

And that's a look at all your sports headlines. I'm Kate Riley.

ALLEN: Again, we are following breaking news out of Paris where investigators are now hunting for a second suspect in the deadly attack on police there.

The interior ministry says Belgian security services alerted them to the possible accomplice. One Paris policeman was killed in the shooting. Two other officers and a passerby were wounded. The gunman is dead.

VANIER: And French President Francois Hollande says he is convinced this was a terrorist attack. ISIS has claimed the gunman as one of their fighters, and a source says he shot and wounded three other police officers back in 2001.

ALLEN: Well, the battle for Mosul is often called the final stand for ISIS in Iraq. As the fighting, as you know, has been fierce as coalition forces push further into the western part of the city.

[03:20:00] VANIER: But the horror of what's going on there would shock anyone.

Our Nick Paton Walsh went to see the chaos firsthand.

NICK PATON WALSH, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Ground down to its bones, Mosul is so quiet, spectral where once it bustled.

You ask yourself where are its people? Where have ISIS taken them? The answer is here. Trapped in the warren of the old city, a densely populated final holdout of ISIS here. It is a stalemate of shoot and wait now weeks old where a few alleyways down, a standoff begins.

Tens of thousands civilians held as human shields. You can see from these drone pictures filmed during a massive ISIS counterattack exactly how tight the streets are packed. In every one, hell could await.

The al-Nuri mosque from where ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi gave his only real public speech, its central prize.

Each street window of bloody slope but now abhorrent truth is clear that ISIS leaves nothing intact behind it.

There in the distance is the reason why ISIS are fighting so hard in these dense, winding streets to hold the Israeli police and military back. That is the al-Nuri mosque, very much the ideological heart in Iraq of their self-declared caliphate.

They want more American precision fire power. "Up until now, the help is weak," he says. "They have advanced, precise weapons and with intelligence, they can help us better."

So far, astonishingly, Zabra (Ph), aged 4, has both stayed in her home and survived. She does not flinch once. "There is no life under ISIS," her father says. "No food, no water, no electricity. We had to dig a well to pull water. The first thing she's really known is the police. She loves them like kids in her school."

And there as the shells still rain down, are those who will never leave and those who do as fast as they can. Far enough out, they are ferried to camps. It remain still ring of ISIS using them shields, of herding civilians into kill zones to make them die with them.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): They would besiege us and use us as human shields, take people and families as they withdraw.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (through translator): My brother and the rest of his family are besieged. ISIS hit them with sticks, dragging him away. He's crippled. He can't go anywhere.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

WALSH: These voices, a fraction of the cacophony of suffering inside in a fight that may take months more yet.

Nick Paton Walsh, CNN, the old city of Mosul.

ALLEN: That child not flinching there as someone fired close by is quite telling, Isn't it?

The U.S. Defense Secretary James Mattis is in Israel this hour, and later he'll be meeting with Prime Minister Benjamin Natanyu -- Netanyahu -- excuse me, as part of a regional tour that so far included Egypt and Saudi Arabia.

He's been meeting senior Israeli officials.

For more on the trip, CNN's Oren Liebermann joins us from Tel Aviv. Of course the reason is how did they all collectively fight terrorism, and that story we just saw from Mosul sure illustrates just the dire situation. And it's just been repeated and repeated for years. Oren?

OREN LIEBERMANN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Absolutely, and it touches on two different issues which are at the heart of Secretary of Defense Mattis' meetings here. His first meeting at least in Israel is with the Minister of Defense here, Avigdor Lieberman at the defense ministry here behind me.

Though the focus may have been ISIS in his meetings with some of the other countries, with Saudi Arabia and Egypt, the focus here with Israel will certainly be Iran. Not only Iran's nuclear program but Iran's presence in Syria and funding of Hezbollah in Lebanon.

That is Israel's primary concern and that is Israel -- is where Israel and the Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu are trying to work hand in hand with the White House and with president Donald Trump to see how they can combat the presence of Iran in the Middle East.

They're scheduled to have a press conference, that is, Mattis and Defense Minister Lieberman are scheduled to have a press conference in just a few minutes here about 10 minutes or so. So we'll see what comes out of that and what they say about Iran. And we'll see if they discuss any other topics.

[03:24:58] One of the other topics that may come up here would be missile defense, especially with North Korea's recent missile tests. That's because the U.S. has helped fund Israel's missile defense system, especially the arrow missile, the intercontinental ballistic defense system, the long range missile defense system of Israel.

So if that comes up, we will certainly watch for that. And there's one more note that's worth pointing out about this meeting with the Israeli defense minister. The Defense Minister Lieberman, he heads for Moscow next week to meet with the foreign minister and the defense minister of Russia.

Israel has had to walk a very fine line here between the U.S., the strategic partner, and Russia, the strategic presence in the Middle East. And we've seen that before. We've seen meetings in Washington closely followed by meetings in Moscow. So that is the context under which this meeting between Secretary of

Defense Mattis and Minister of Defense Lieberman takes place.

ALLEN: All right. We thank you, Oren Liebermann for covering it for us. We'll wait and see what comes out of that meeting. Thank you.

VANIER: And coming up still after the break on CNN Newsroom, lots of questions in Paris. People are wondering how a man convicted in a police shooting was able to carry out another one.

ALLEN: Plus, Venezuelans are packing the streets of the capital again, many united against the president, and they have been in the streets for quite some time now, for weeks.

We'll tell you why they are calling Nicolas Maduro a dictator.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

ALLEN: And welcome back to you. You're watching CNN Newsroom live from Atlanta. I'm Natalie Allen.

VANIER: And I'm Cyril Vanier. Let's update you on our top stories this hour.

The French interior ministry says investigators are searching for a second suspect now in the Paris police shooting.

[03:30:00] Belgian security services alerted them to the possible suspect. One policeman was killed. Two other police officers and a passerby were wounded Thursday evening in Paris, and the gunman was killed.

ALLEN: China's military is at a state of readiness that U.S. officials have not seen in some time. The U.S. defense official says Chinese bombers are on high alert as the rhetoric heats up from North Korea, and two Japanese destroyers have now left port to join the U.S. carrier group heading for the Korean Peninsula.

Pyongyang has warned it could destroy South Korea and the U.S. with a preemptive strike.

VANIER: German authorities have arrested a suspect in the April 11th attack on the Dortmund football club's bus. A Dortmund player was wounded in the explosions.

Investigators saying now that the 28-year-old German-Russian citizen may have carried out the bombing as part of a scheme to make money if the team's stock price fell. The suspect is being charged with attempted murder and causing an explosion.

ALLEN: U.S. authorities are reportedly preparing charges to arrest WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange. The Justice Department investigation dates back to at least 2010. Assange is hold up in the Ecuadorian embassy in London as he looks to avoid an arrest warrant on rape charges in Sweden. VANIER: ISIS claims one of its fighters is responsible for the fatal

shooting of a Paris police officer. It happened just blocks from the city's famous Arc de Triomphe. Two other officers and a passerby were wounded and the gunman is dead.

ALLEN: Police are searching the man's car and his house in a Paris suburb. A source says he was convicted in 2001 of shooting and wounding three police officers. He had been under surveillance for ties to terrorist groups.

VANIER: Saijan Gohel is the international security director for the Asia-Pacific foundation, he joins us now live from London. Lots of threads to really pull out of this story here. I'd like your take on first of all the ISIS side of things.

Two things I'm looking at here. The timing of the claim. They claimed responsibility for this very quickly, faster than they normally do. Secondly, they used a specific word to describe the assailant. They called him a soldier, and I know security analysts ascribe specific meaning to the words that ISIS uses in these statements. So what does all of this tell you?

SAIJAN GOHEL, ASIA-PACIFIC FOUNDATION INTERNATIONAL SECURITY DIRECTOR: Well, unfortunately this incident in which a French police officer was killed follows a deadly series of attacks against members of the police and armed forces across the west.

And this is now the latest example, the fact that ISIS claimed responsibility so quickly as you mentioned through Amaq which is their own self-styled news agency also means that this was something that was in the planning.

It wasn't a spontaneous or rapid attack. It was something in which there was possibly reconnaissance done because this individual very deliberately targeted a French police bus.

The other aspect of course, is this a one-off incident? Is this something designed to hit France over a period of time in the buildup to the elections? It can be no coincidence of the timing with the upcoming elections in France.

We know that in the past terrorists have tried to impact on elections. The 2004 elections in Spain, for example, where terrorists carried out a major attack, 190 people killed. It altered the actual outcome of the result.

VANIER: What about the Belgian connection here? Because of course France has seen this happened before where terrorists have been trained in Belgium. I'm not saying this was the case. French authorities are saying actually the assailant was French.

But the French authorities have a -- the Belgian authorities have alerted French authorities to another suspect. What do you make of that?

GOHEL: If there is a connection to Belgium, then that is not surprising because very often we have seen a thread that links France and Belgium together. The Paris attacks in November 2015, the marauding attacks were connected to Belgium. You had individuals traveling from that country into France.

There was also other plots as well in which France and Belgium have been tied together by ISIS.

Now, unfortunately the two countries have suffered the most hits in Europe, and the network and the infrastructure still remains intact. People may be arrested. Cells may be dismantled. But unfortunately we're seeing ISIS' ability to regenerate and recruit new people.

VANIER: All right. Saijan Gohel, live from London, thank you very much. We appreciate your time.

ALLEN: Again, Venezuela, hundreds of protesters demanding action against the president there, Nicolas Maduro. The opposition is accusing Mr. Maduro of trying to establish a dictatorship. That's as the demonstrations are growing more violent.

VANIER: But one scene in particular is showing the determination of these protesters.

[03:35:01] This unidentified woman forced armored trucks from advancing -- stopped them from advancing on Thursday.

Here's our Shasta Darlington with more on the growing outrage.

SHASTA DARLINGTON, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Groups of protesters headed back out onto the streets of Caracas on Thursday to demonstrate against Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro, a day after three people were killed in massive marches in the capital and around the country.

The crowds on Thursday were smaller, but they also ended in clashes and security forces firing tear gas on the protesters.

Critics of Maduro accuse him of trying to turn the country into a dictatorship. They've demanded a clear timetable for regional elections which have been repeatedly delayed.

The United Nations weighed in on Thursday, calling for a quick solution to the standoff and urging the government and the opposition to reactivate dialogue on key issues such as the election timetable.

Separately, General Motors announced its halting all operations in Venezuela after authorities seized the plant there and removed some vehicles from the facility. G.M. called the activity an illegal judicial seizure of assets. They said they're going to take action both inside and outside of Venezuela.

G.M. employees, nearly 2,700 people at its plants in Venezuela and more at the 79 dealerships around the country.

Shasta Darlington, CNN, Rio de Janeiro. ALLEN: We're also learning that Venezuela's state-run oil giant

donated hundreds of thousands of dollars to U.S. President Donald Trump. That's despite the country facing major food, water, medicine and electricity shortages.

VANIER: About $500,000 was paid to Mr. Trump's inauguration committee by the state-run company. That is a larger contribution than those from Pepsi, Verizon, and Wal-Mart combined. Critics slammed the choice, bringing up how many hungry people could have been helped instead.

ALLEN: Well, with the U.S. vice president heading down under, Australia has been mimicking some of President Trump's rhetoric on immigration this week to eerie effect. We'll have that coming up.

VANIER: Plus, the U.S. attorney general takes a swipe at a federal judge, quote, "sitting on an island in the Pacific." Now the Justice Department explains what Jeff Sessions really meant to say. Stay with us.

[03:40:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)

ALLEN: A familiar face in Iranian politics won't be returning to the presidency anytime soon. Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has been barred from running in next month's election. State media reports six other candidates were approved, including the current President Hassan Rouhani.

VANIER: Ahmadinejad served as president from 2005 to 2013. And Iran supreme leader ayatollah Ali Khamenei reportedly told him not to run again. So when he tried to become a candidate anyway, it was seen as a snub to the supreme leader.

Now some of the comments that Donald Trump made on the campaign trail may be coming back to haunt him. Mr. Trump once insulted a federal judge for his Mexican heritage.

ALLEN: Now that very same judge will hear an important case tied to the new president's immigration policies.

Here's our Jessica Schneider with that.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I have a judge who is a hater of Donald Trump. A hater.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

JESSICA SCHNEIDER, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Gonzalo Curiel, the federal judge who heard the class action lawsuit accusing Trump University of fraud called out regularly by Donald Trump on the campaign trail.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP: He's a hater. His name is Gonzalo Curiel. (END VIDEO CLIP)

SCHNEIDER: Then-candidate Trump attacked the California-based district court judge for his Mexican roots.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP: We have a very hostile judge. Now, he is Hispanic, I believe, and he is a very hostile judge to me.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCHNEIDER: Even though Judge Curiel was born in Indiana, Trump telling CNN's Jake Tapper.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP: I've been treated very unfairly by this judge. Now this judge is of Mexican heritage. I'm building a wall, OK? I'm building a wall.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCHNEIDER: Trump tweeted on May 30th, "I have a judge in the Trump University civil case, Gonzalo Curiel, San Diego, who is very unfair, an Obama pick, totally biased, hates Trump."

Trump later issued a statement on June 7th saying in part, "It is unfortunate that my comments have been misconstrued as a categorical attack against people of Mexican heritage. I am friends with and employ thousands of people of Mexican and Hispanic descent."

In January, Curiel approved a $25 million settlement in the Trump University suit. Now a new complaint has been filed against the Trump administration's Customs and Border Protection and the judge randomly assigned to the case is Gonzalo Curiel.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's called the wheel. It literally goes into a barrel and then pull it out and he gets assigned randomly to a judge.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCHNEIDER: Judge Curiel is set to preside over the case brought by 23-year-old Juan Manuel Montes Bojorquez. Montes' lawyers allege he was deported to Mexico earlier this year even though he had active protection under the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program or DACA.

But the Department of Homeland Security says Montes initially left the U.S. voluntarily, something that requires pre-clearance under DACA, so he lost his DACA protection. And when he tried to sneak back into the country on February 19th, he was caught by border patrol.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) JOHN KELLY, UNITED STATES SECRETARY OF HOMELAND SECURITY: He once was covered by DACA, but because of his behavior, his illegal behavior, he lost that status, and now he has been removed to his country of origin.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ALLEN: Well, another story we're following, the U.S. Justice Department is trying to explain a remark Attorney General Jeff Sessions made earlier this week. He was telling a radio audience how his agency is appealing a federal judge's decision that blocked the Trump administration's controversial travel ban.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JEFF SESSIONS, UNITED STATES ATTORNEY GENERAL: We are confident that the president will prevail on appeal and particularly in the Supreme Court if not the ninth circuit. So this is a huge matter.

I really am amazed that a judge sitting on an island in the Pacific can issue an order that stops the President of the United States from what appears to be clearly his statutory and constitutional power.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

VANIER: Yes, so that didn't go down very well with everybody. One U.S. senator from Hawaii called Sessions' comment, quote, "ignorant and dangerous."

So the Justice Department issued a clarification. This is what it says. "Hawaii is, in fact, an island in the Pacific, a beautiful one where the attorney general's granddaughter was born. The point, however, is that there is a problem when a flawed opinion by a single judge can block the president's lawful exercise of authority to keep the entire country safe." So, there.

[03:45:02] ALLEN: Yes. And we know it's actually a series of islands of course. All right then.

VANIER: Yes. U.S. Vice President Mike Pence is on his way to Australia. He left Indonesia a few hours ago. With he reaches Sydney, he'll meet with Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull.

ALLEN: You may recall President Trump berating Mr. Turnbull over the phone shortly after taking office. The U.S. president was furious about a refugee exchange deal made under the Obama administration.

Pence comes at a time when Mr. Turnbull is emulating some of President Trump's immigration rhetoric and policies. He's pushing a test for immigrants aimed at determining whether they have Australian values. Here's his explanation.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MALCOLM TURNBULL, PRIME MINISTER OF AUSTRALIA: We all know that the key to successful integration into the Australian community, to economic success, and every success, social success in becoming part of the community is being able to speak English.

So that's a very important change. And also we need to ensure that our citizenship test enables applicants to demonstrate how they've integrated into and engaged with our Australian community so that they're part of the community.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

VANIER: Yes. Beyond proficiency in English, applicants must prove that they share Australian values and that has many people wondering how exactly do you define that Australian values?

According to the prime minister, questions could include the following. Whether you send your kids to school, whether you've been working, whether you've abuse women or children and whether you plan to join a gang.

Let's get more on this. Sky News political reporter Jennifer Bechwati joins us now from Canberra. Jennifer, this seems to be a defining question in a number of western countries, not just Australia. Who is part of the national community, and who isn't? So what is driving -- what is fueling this in Australia?

JENNIFER BECHWATI, POLITICAL REPORTER, SKY NEWS: Well, Cyril, it's great to be on your show. The main driving force for these changes according to the Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull is that it is a privilege to hold an Australian citizenship, that it should be cherished and honored.

And these changes, according to the prime minister, will ensure that whoever holds an Australian citizenship will in fact cherish it. These number of changes, as you mentioned, will also mean that a resident or an immigrant must integrate within the Australian community.

As you also mentioned, must respect Australian values before sitting the citizenship test. These are major reforms to the Australian citizenship process. A member cannot be an Australian citizen unless they've been a permanent resident for four years.

This is up from just one. They must have competent English, again up from a standard or basic understanding of the English language, show integration within Australia as you mentioned within the community, whether it be a sporting event. They must provide evidence of employment. They must send their children to school. There must be no record of family violence.

This is a big issue here as well. So, a very strict process here. There's 20 questions all together in this citizenship test that were previously meant to test someone's knowledge of Australia, like how many stars are on the flags.

But now questions will be directed at a person's belief. For example, do you think it's OK to hit your wife? Now, this has been widely criticized by a number of politicians, some claiming that this new process is in fact intended to keep immigrants out of Australia. Some reports suggesting that more than 20 percent of Australia's

population are foreign born with a number of these immigrants from India, China, and some parts of the Middle East.

But as you heard there in that grab just that you played prior to coming to me, the prime minister rejects this. He assures that the changes are not targeted at a particular race or culture, but rather is the result of years of reports on immigration.

As I mentioned, he said Australian citizenship should be honored and cherished. The deputy prime minister went even further saying that a person who thinks it's OK to beat their wife or marry off their child, daughter, should not be an Australian citizen, and that's the question here. But there is still some debate to come. These rules still have to pass through the parliament.

VANIER: Jennifer, thank you so much for coming on the show and laying this out for us from Canberra in Australia. Thanks a lot.

ALLEN: He left Fox News after a scandal. Coming up here, Bill O'Reilly is still getting a huge paycheck. We'll explain.

[03:50:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)

DEREK VAN DAM, CNN METEOROLOGIST: Unfortunately, there was yet another deadly landslide across Colombia. Here's an aerial view of the destruction. There was more rain across this area in an already saturated environment, so that means that the threat of landslides and mudslides continues through the better part of the weekend.

Switching gears, across the United States, we have a much calmer weather scenario taking place. A few scattered showers and storms throughout the Ohio River valley in the Midwest. Mild temperatures for the Deep South, and the Pacific Northwest expecting a few rain showers from Portland into Seattle.

Here's a look at the rain from Oklahoma City through Cincinnati as well as the Mid-Atlantic states including the New York region. You can see daytime highs for the big apple, 14 degrees with overcast skies and chances of rain today.

Twelve degrees for Chicago. Nine for Denver. Certainly warmer across the coast of California. Lower and middle 20s anticipated for your Friday.

Look at the cold air starting to move in across the central and eastern United States. We'll finally break the thermometers into the early parts of next week.

Check this four day forecast of for Atlanta, 29 on Saturday, 19 on Sunday. More of the same for Charlotte, as well as the nation's capital and into New York City.

What an amazing photo taken off the Coast of Newfoundland. If you've got a cool photo to share with us, tag that on any of your social media accounts, hash tag CNN weather. ALLEN: We are learning that Fox News will pay Bill O'Reilly $25

million after he was dismissed from the network earlier this week. A source tells CNN the payout is part of his contract.

VANIER: O'Reilly was facing allegations of sexual harassment just like the network's founding chairman Roger Ailes. Fox News has paid out more than $85 million in exit packages. A majority of that to men caught in sexual harassment scandals.

ALLEN: Well, Bill O'Reilly's departure was on the minds, as you might imagine, of all the late night comedians.

VANIER: And they're getting their last few laughs at the commentator's expense.

Here's our Jeanne Moos.

JEANNE MOOS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Bill O'Reilly has traded the no spin zone for the no job zone. One cartoonist had a gone groping sign on O'Reilly's door.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

STEPHEN COLBERT, THE LATE SHOW HOST: Bill O'Reilly was fired today.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MOOS: Crook show audiences.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Fox News fired Bill O'Reilly.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MOOS: Seemed delighted.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

WHOOPI GOLDBERG, ACTRESS: Bill O'Reilly.

(APPLAUSE)

Is out at Fox. God bless you.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Thanks.

GODBERG: And everybody in the room. God bless us all.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MOOS: The host of The View then reminisced about the time they walked off the set. After arguing with O'Reilly he sure had a way with words.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BILL O'REILLY, FORMER FOX NEWS HOST: Say you're a cocaine dealer and you kind of look like one a little bit.

(CROSSTALK)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: As do you. You look like a cocaine user.

O'REILLY: In my mind, I think of you as a goon.

I didn't hear a word she said. I was looking at the James Brown wig.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

[03:55:04] MOOS: "Hey, bill, how do you like my wig now," read one tweet. "Like magic, poof, Bill O'Reilly disappeared." Posters outside Fox saying nobody moves this man were moved.

His name vanished from a show mockingly compared to Stalin air brushing out comrades who fell from grace.

Stephen Colbert resurrected his old conservative pundit character based on O'Reilly.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

COLBERT: You failed Bill O'Reilly. All he ever did was have your back. If you're a woman, you know, have a go at the front too.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MOOS: Comedians reprised O'Reilly's most macho moments.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

O'REILLY: Cut his mike. Cut his mike. Cut her mike off.

Because you're lying!

Come on, you coward.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MOOS: And then rubbed it in.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Unlike Bill O'Reilly, we'll be right back.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MOOS: Funny or die did a mash-up of Vin Diesel and O'Reilly's infamous outtake.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

VIN DIESEL, ACTOR: Whatever it is, it's not right on the teleprompter. I don't know what that is. I've never seen that.

O'REILLY: We'll do it live. We'll do it live. (muted) it.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MOOS: In honor of a loud host, a moment of silence. Jeanne Moos.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

COLBERT: Stay strong, papa bear.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MOOS: CNN, New York.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

COLBERT: Oh, God, is this really happening?

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ALLEN: They always nail it, don't they?

VANIER: And that does it for this hour of CNN Newsroom. Thank you so much for joining us.

ALLEN: After a short break, more news with Max Foster from London. Thanks for watching.

[04:00:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)