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Tempers Rise On Another Aircraft; Voting Underway In Historic Presidential Contest; National Day Of Mourning In Afghanistan; Trump To Hold "Big Rally" On 100th In Office; Funding Deadline Looks To Keep U.S. Government Running; Trump Called 100-Day Standard "Ridiculous'; Trump Admin. Gives Deadline To "Sanctuary Cites"; U.S. Family Torn Apart For Over A Decade After Deportation; Remembering Prince A Year After His Death. Aired 4-5a ET
Aired April 23, 2017 - 04:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[04:00:00] GEORGE HOWELL, CNN ANCHOR: It is decision day in France. Voting now under way in a French presidential election that may well prove crucial to Europe's future. CNN is live across Paris.
NATALIE ALLEN, CNN ANCHOR: And also a stunned nation in grief. Afghanistan's president declares a national day of mourning as the death toll from Friday's Taliban attack on an army base continues to climb.
HOWELL: And caught on camera another heated confrontation on a U.S. Airliner. Ugh.
ALLEN: Welcome to our viewers here in United States and around the world. All these stories ahead here. I'm Natalie Allen
HOWELL: And I'm George Howell from CNN world headquarters in Atlanta. NEWSROOM starts right now. A vote for change is the question France decides 4:00 am on the US East Coast. France now voting in that country's presidential election. Let's take a live look where it is presently 10:01 in the morning in Paris. The polls just opened about two hours ago. This is the first round of voting ahead of next month's provable runoff.
ALLEN: The final outcome of this historic vote has the potential to transform the political landscape in Europe and beyond. More than 45 million voters are expected to cast ballots by the time polls close. CNN Paris Correspondent Melissa Bell joins us from a polling station in the French capital. It has finally come down to this, Melissa. What is at stake today for the people of France?
MELISSA BELL, CNN PARIS CORRESPONDENT: There is so much at stake, Natalie and we've been talking about it for so many months. Finally this is decision day and so much of what happens today will determine as you mentioned a moment ago that crucial second round which we'll see France these two -- the two final candidates of faceoff. There's so many things at stake. You have at the moment 11 candidates standing with very different visions of what they believe France should be. So we're here in the 18th district of Paris, we've seen already enough -- huge number of people come out to vote. You really sense that people didn't want to waste any time in casting their vote in what they know is likely to be crucial. One of those who have come down here to vote is Louis who will be voting for the first time in the presidential election. You're going to cast your vote in a little bit. How important was it to come out and vote today?
LOUIS, FRENCH VOTER: Good morning. It's important for French to come and vote just to make hear their voice today, really important. For me to the first time I will vote, so it's really special. Of course I feel kind of disappointed about this campaign for lots of different reasons. There have been the personal affairs around Mr. Fillon and other candidates, also the terrorist with threat, security issues which sometimes can veil the rest of the debate on important issues such as educational policies or environment.
BELL: And there is so much at stake, isn't there. This is an election that is probably far more important not just to France, but to Europe and all the previous elections for the last few decades.
LOUIS: Of course it's really important for different reasons. There has been the Brexit last year, also the election of Donald Trump that has changed a lot into politic in the world. This can be a historical election for one important reason, the two traditional parties can be kicked off -- kicked out about after the first round which would potentially make Mr. Macron against Marine Le Pen which would mean a lot in the new cleavages of the world which we have like this globalization success against the one that feel to have globalization has been a failure and the one to change the system.
BELL: It is -- it is -- that is the sort of stark choice that the French are going to the polls -- that they have in mind as they go to the polls. The very different visions of what this might bring. And surprisingly, Natalie even at this late stage, lots of people who have yet to make up their minds. We into spoke to one gentleman today who had said he'd waited to get inside, he's taken all the candidates name in to think about it one last time before he's cast his vote. So even despite what Louis has been telling us is something we've heard over and over again, these stark choices, vast differences that are on the table, there are people who until the very last minute are waiting to make up their mind almost is a sort of gut reaction once they got into the polling station.
ALLEN: Can you imagine doing that and having that frame of mind, not knowing which button you're going to push when you get in there. Why has that come to that? Why is there so much wariness about which way to go and so much uncertainty, Melissa?
BELL: Well, I think because already France's political landscape has changed so much, Natalie over the course of the last week. Since Louis was reminding us we're facing the possibility and it will be the first time in the history of the Fifth Republic that the two main parties who have shared powers since 1958 could be entirely excluded from the runoff. Of course we won't know until 8:00 pm tonight whether that has happened, but that's something that's been spoken about over the course of the last two weeks as a possibility at least. And the French tend to vote fairly tactically. They tend to go into these elections knowing who they'd like to see come to power and voting against the per -- and sometimes voting rather in a tactical and a strategic way to make ensure that the person they least likely to see make it and they least does not.
This time given all the uncertainty, given the worries over the -- these uncertainty in the polls for instance, the opinion polls, many people are simply confused about what the best most strategic way is to cast their votes. So you have the undecided voters, you have those who are slightly baffled by all the changes that they're witnessing, the sense that this vote matters even more than most. I think that's -- there's a lot of people waiting till the very last minute to work out what it is they intend to do.
ALLEN: Well, we can see right there in the split screen there are -- they are in line and they are voting. So it's come down to this, very exciting. Thank you, Melissa, we'll talk with you again. Now to George.
HOWELL: Well, let's keep the live images up again, we're looking at what's happening in Paris, but let's bring in at the same time Dominic Thomas who is live in Paris, the Chair of the Department of French & Francophone Studies at UCLA in California. Again, these live images taking place where it is 10:06 in the morning. Dominic, the polls opened there, the mix of candidates runs the gamut. You have the euro skeptics, you have those supportive of the EU. Help our viewers who understand exactly what is at stake with this election.
DOMINIC THOMAS, CHAIR OF THE DEPARTMENT OF FRENCH & FRANCOPHONE STUDIES, UCLA, CALIFORNIA: Right. There's an awful lot at stake and I think as people go to the polls, they are not so much selecting candidates based on particular individual issues, whether those be dealing with unemployment, dealing with terror, dealing with sort of broader infrastructure questions, but the four main candidates that are left in this race offer radically different views of where they see France as being. On the far right, we've got Marine Le Pen who is a protectionist, an economic nationalist who in her last -- in the last moment she appeared on television in the official debates promised to return the keys to France to the French population, talking about border control, returning the French franc and of course leading the European Union.
Then on the absolute opposite end of the -- of the spectrum on the far left we have Jean-Luc Melenchon proposing what is essentially big, big governance and all kinds of, sort of, you know, borrowing high taxation and so on in order to address some of the, sort of, social divisions in French society. And at the center, the new candidate Emmanuel Macron, a former minister who decided to run as an independent and who is considered to be a sort of center candidate, fairly tough on questions of law and order, but also a very sort of open progressive and definitely a pro-European Union candidate and the only candidate left really with any chance of making it through to the second round who represents a mainstream party is (INAUDIBLE) who has been embroiled in all kinds of financial scandals over the past few week and so on.
And so no matter what happens tonight, at the most there will be one candidate from a traditional party left in the race and most likely no mainstream political party will be there in the runoff stage. As Melissa pointed out would be a first in the 59-year of the Fifth Republic.
HOWELL: And that was a good synopsis of those candidates just a moment ago. But let's talk about this, because I was listening to Melissa Bell's interview just a few moments ago, I'm not sure if you heard it as well, but you mentioned that phrase, "Return the keys to France." Here in the United States we've heard the phrase, "Take the country back," or "Make America great again," which resulted in the election of the President Donald J. Trump. Talk to us about that populist sentiment there in France. Marine Le Pen hoping to gain traction from voters, frustrated with the status quo, frustrated with the people at the top of office at this point. What are the roots though of that frustration?
THOMAS: Right. Well -- yes. Well, this party goes back a long way. Remember that in 2002, the electorate were shocked in what were very low turnouts when her father made it through to the second round and at that time 80 percent of the population came together in the runoff stages and returned Jacques Chirac to power. In this particular case Marine Le Pen's party has gone through what could be called a, kind of, sort of, cleaning up of its image.
They've tried to, you know, she removed her father from the party in 2015. However, this particular party has benefited in many ways from so many of the kinds of fault lines and fractures that we see in European societies today that helped explain the Brexit vote, that helped explain so much of the support for Donald Trump, that the mainstream political parties over the last 20 years have been unable to come up with solutions to sort of social problems, to deal with the questions of immigration, to deal with the questions of security, and Marine Le Pen has played on these fears and on these divisions in French society and a lot of the vote that Marine Le Pen is a vote of, sort of, deep frustration with the system that keeps moving back and forth between mainstream political parties and we see this not only in the Le Pen support, but also in the support for some of these other candidates that are looking at the situation slightly differently and where party loyalty has disappeared.
HOWELL: One big question will certainly be how voters feel given the recent killing of a police officer on the Champs-Elysees. Dominic, thank you so much for being with us again. Dominic Thomas bringing us some context live from Paris. We'll stay in touch with you.
ALLEN: This is just in to CNN, we are getting reports North Korea has detained another American citizen. Sources tell the South Korean news agency, Yonhap the man was arrested on Friday at the Pyongyang International Airport just as he was trying to leave the country. It's unclear why he was arrested and CNN has not been able to independently verify this information. He reportedly had been in North Korea for about one month working on aid and relief programs.
HOWELL: The Korean-American is only identified by his last name, Kim. He's believed to be in his late 50s, he's believed to be a former professor. He is the third American currently detained in North Korea. A college student and a pastor have been sentenced to hard labor for what Pyongyang claims are acts against the country.
ALLEN: It is a national day of mourning in Afghanistan to honor the soldiers killed in Friday's horrific Taliban attack.
HOWELL: This write source is saying that as many as 140 people died. But official figure -- the official figures I should say have not yet been released. The victims weren't armed, they were praying.
ALLEN: Journalist (INAUDIBLE) joins us now from the Afghan capital, Kabul via Skype. Thank you (INAUDIBLE) for joining us. As George just said, they weren't armed, they were praying. And this happened in one of the safer areas of the country. What can you tell us about it? The skype has just frozen. We'll try to re-establish contact in just a moment and talk with him.
HOWELL: Absolutely and we'll move on to the other story we're following. The opposition in Venezuela marched in silence on Saturday in memory of those killed in antigovernment protests. At least 22 people have been killed there this month. The government says nine of them were electrocuted when they tried to loot a bakery.
ALLEN: The opposition calls President Nicolas Maduro a dictator and blames him for the brutal economic crisis in the country.
TRANSLATOR: I am Karen (ph), I'm 24 years old and I refuse to leave the country. My entire family is here, my job is here, my future is here, and I want it to be so. That is why I am here and I will continue to be here until we see a change or at least until one of the points we are demanding is fulfilled. And we have been in the streets for more than 20 days making demands of the authority.
ALLEN: The opposition says President Maduro is blocking efforts to hold regional elections. We've now re-established a Skype with (INAUDIBLE) who is in from the Afghan capital, Kabul. And I was asking you (INAUDIBLE) about this attack, it was a revenge attack we understand. It happened in one of the safer areas of the country. And the country is certainly mourning the loss of so many of its soldiers.
JOURNALIST: Yes (INAUDIBLE) is where it was -- the attack happened is one of the safer areas of the country. And that's why it has rattled Afghans lot like you say, up to 140 people might have been killed even though the Afghan government have not -- have not released official (INAUDIBLE) yet. And that's actually something that's angering a lot of Afghans. The president has called for a national day of mourning, but at the same time they feel that the government by not releasing exact numbers of how many people were killed, they are not really respecting the sacrifice of the soldiers who were -- who were -- who were murdered. Like you said also, a lot of these soldiers were unarmed as they normally are on bases here. They were -- they were sitting down for lunch in the dining facility and they were exiting a mosque, thousands of people were exiting a mosque at the base after prayers. So it's definitely an attack that's both in size and scope but also the nature of it has startled a lot of Afghans here ALLEN: And shows how hard it is to stay ahead of the Taliban. Our
thoughts are with the people of Afghanistan. Thank you (INAUDIBLE) and go walk with them for us. And coming up, the U.S. faces a possible partial government shutdown as congress returns from recess. What this could mean for President Trump's border wall. We'll look into that ahead.
HOWELL: Plus what the president has planned for his 100th day in office. That and more and U.S. politics as CNN NEWSROOM continues.
DON RIDDELL, ANCHOR AND CORRESPONDENT CNN WORLD SPORT: Hey, I'm Don Riddell with your CNN World Sport headlines. Chelsea are going to be a (INAUDIBLE) final after a 4-2 win over Tottenham in the mid-London Wembley Stadium. A decisive goal against (INAUDIBLE) came from an unlikely source, defensive (INAUDIBLE) it was an incredible strike and just look at the reaction of his teammates on the bench. Kurt Zouma could not believe what he'd seen. It wasn't just inch perfect, it was hit to within millimeters of the top corner.
The goalie never saw it. That is now a historic seven consecutive semifinal to beat (INAUDIBLE) and Chelsea are in the final. A quite unusual weekend in the Fed Cup tie between Romania and Great Britain has resulted in the removal of Romania's captain Ilie Nastase. During Saturday's matches he was verbally abusive to the umpire, a British player, and their captain. The language he reportedly used was explicit and play was suspended while he was removed from the court and ultimately the stadium.
The ITS says his accreditation has been removed and he play no further pass in the time. The cycling community is mourning the death of the popular Italian rider Michele Scarponi, a former Giro d'Italia winner known for his broad smile and infectious personality. Scarponi had just finished fourth in the Tour of the Alps and he was out training on Saturday when he was struck and killed by a van. He was just 37 years old. That is a quick look at your sports headlines. I'm Don Riddell.
ALLEN: A U.S. soldier has received the Purple Heart from U.S. President Donald Trump. Sgt. 1st Class Alvaro Barrientos lost part of his leg after being wounded in Afghanistan. He attended the ceremony in a wheelchair accompanied by his wife. The Purple Heart is awarded to service members wounded or killed in combat. This was the president's first trip to the Walter Reed Military Medical Center near Washington.
HOWELL: President Trump, he is about to reach a very important benchmark. It is 100 days in office. That benchmark happens next Saturday.
ALLEN: Mr. Trump tweeted that he will hold a big rally that day in Pennsylvania. He previously tweeted that 100 days is a ridiculous standard by which to measure his presidency. The rally will be on the same day as the White House Correspondent's' dinner which can Mr. Trump has declined to attend. There are other key events happening in Washington this coming week.
HOWELL: Congress returns from recess and it will have to scramble to avoid a partial government shutdown. For more on that story, let's bring in CNN's Athena Jones.
ATHENA JONES, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Hi there. A big week ahead hear in Washington. House republican leadership held a brief conference call with the entire caucus today to talk about this coming week and made it clear that passing a bill to keep the government running is the top priority and will be the primary focus of this coming week. We know a couple things the white house wants to see included in that funding measure, one is money for the hiring of more immigration agents, another is money for the border wall the president promised on the campaign trail. Senate democrats though say that the border wall money is a nonstarter. They do not want to see that in this bill. They are also opposed to including the money for immigration agents in this spending bill, so the big question is will the president sign a bill to keep the government running that doesn't include money for the border wall? My colleague Dana Bash spoke with Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly about this. Watch.
DANA BASH, JOURNALIST AND ANCHORWOMAN, CHIEF POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT, CNN: Let's start with the border wall with Mexico and how it relates to keeping the government open. If congress doesn't send President Trump a government funding bill by midnight on Friday, the government will run out of money and a shutdown would begin. So will the president go to the mat and insist on funding his border wall as part of the stopgap government funding measure?
JOHN KELLY, SECRETARY OF HOMELAND SESCURITY: With that I think it goes without saying that the president has been pretty straightforward about his desire in the need for a border wall. So I would suspect, you know, he'll do the right thing for sure, but I will -- I will suspect he will be insistent on the funding.
JONES: So there you heard Secretary Kelly sounding pretty certain that the president would insist on border wall funding, but the president himself sounded a bit less definitive about that in an interview he gave to the associated press. He told the AP, "I want the border wall, my base definitely wants the border wall," but asked whether he would sign a bill that doesn't include that funding, he said, "I just don't know." So to use one of the president's favorite term of phrase, "We'll see what happens on the border wall funding issue next week." I should mention that one GOP source was on that conference call said republicans were still in negotiations on the final points of the spending bill and hoped to get it on the floor Friday. Friday by the way is the deadline. Back to you.
HOWELL: Athena Jones, thank you.
ALLEN: Spending bill, possible government shutdown, border wall, a lot --
HOWELL: It's a lot to talk about
ALLEN: A lot to talk about and Scott Lucas is here to talk with us.
HOWELL: Scott is professor of International Politics at the University of Birmingham in England and the founder of -- an editor of EA WorldView. Scott, a pleasure to have you with us. ALLEN: First up Scott, Donald Trump campaigned on winning, getting
deals done, he said he was going to get moving on day one and make that happen. But he has fallen -- fall short in the first 100 days. Now he's saying it's a ridiculous 100 day benchmark.
HOWELL: Benchmark, yes.
ALLEN: Yes, exactly. What do you think?
SCOTT LUCAS, PROFESSOR OF INTERNATIONAL POLITICS, UNIVERSITY OF BIRMINGHAM, ENGLAND, EDITOR OF EA WORLDVIEW: Well, that's like me going into my final exams and then when I flunked and said, you know, they didn't really matter anyway. You know, talk is cheap. Governing is tough. And I think President Trump may not realize it, but his administration does. And, you know, there were very bold promises here.
We were going to talk about sweeping acts regarding trade, we were going to talk about acts regarding removing environmental protections, we were going to talk about acts to get rid of Obamacare, we were going to talk about tax reform, all of this in the first 100 days. I mean, it was in his proposed contract for America. But what he has been able to do is push through executive orders do some of that, so ironically given we had Earth Day yesterday, he stripped away a lot of the environmental and scientific regulations that President Obama brought in, but he hasn't yet got a major piece of legislation through congress and despite all the show he'll make this week about introducing a tax reform bill, he won't get that anytime soon either.
HOWELL: Lucas, so when there is any talk of a possible government shutdown, partial or full we heard Athena Jones reporting on this just a moment ago, but look, if the shutdown were to come to pass, which political group would take the heat for it?
LUCAS: Well, everybody tends to take heat in a shutdown. We saw that during the Obama years when the republicans kept pushing us to the wall. But I think by and large it's the executive that's going to take the first shot. There are two things happening here. I mean, one is, let's be blunt, the democrats are trying to contain Trump, they are trying to get a guarantee for subsidies under Obamacare, they are trying to make sure the wall never gets built.
But you the onus is on the president that he insists on that symbolic wall which has no practical use. He has not worked with democrats. His advisers have actually also alienated many republicans in congress. So, yes, they are the ones that carry most of the water if the government shuts down this weekend.
ALLEN: Right. It's the republicans that dominate in Washington. It's his party. But what can he do to try to get them behind him? They haven't done that as of yet.
LUCAS: Well, you stop insulting them on Twitter that is one thing, which he did during the attempt to get the health care bill through. Alienating not the moderate republicans, but the conservative republicans, the freedom caucus. Now, that's the challenge that he has to pull together both the moderate and conservative wings of the party. It has been the challenge for the republicans for 30 years inside or outside office. And Trump doesn't have the governing style. The question is whether his advisers can do that, but as long as you have Steve Bannon his chief strategists who is driven by ideology rather than pragmatism, it's going to be a tough task to get the republicans together in the House of Representative, let alone in the senate where they only have a narrow majority.
HOWELL: Scott Lucas in Birmingham, England with context and perspective. Thank you for being with us and we'll be in touch with you again for sure.
ALLEN: Thanks, Scott.
HOWELL: Still ahead here, we will take you back to Paris where voting is now under way to choose France's next president.
ALLEN: Also people from around the world come together on Earth Day in the name of science. We'll take you to some of the demonstrations coming up here.
HOWELL: CNN is live on our networks in the U.S. and around the world this hour. You're watching CNN NEWSROOM.
ALLEN: And welcome back to our viewers here in the United States and all around the world. You're watching CNN NEWSROOM. I'm Natalie Allen.
HOWELL: And I'm George Howell with the headlines we're following for you this hour. The first round of France's presidential election, it is now under way.
[04:30:00] Millions of French voters are casting ballots for 11 different candidates. No one is expected though to get 50 percent or more to win the presidency outright. A runoff between the top two top vote getters is set for next month.
ALLEN: Afghanistan is in mourning after the Taliban raid on an army base during Friday prayers. The death toll could reach 140. The Afghan military says Taliban fighters disguised themselves wearing soldier's uniforms and caught the base off guard. A Taliban spokesman tell CNN it was revenge for the death of two of its officials.
HOWELL: Now, the Saudi Arabia King Solomon there shaking up the government writer's reports is replace the information and civil service ministers, he has also reinstated bonuses and allowances for civil service. The government says the Saudi economy is quickly recovering from the economic slowdown caused by falling oil prices.
ALLEN: Throngs of people around the world sent a message on Earth Day Saturday, scientists and supporters on every continent protested to counter what they see as a growing disregard for evidence-based knowledge or science. This year's March for Science movement was sparked by U.S. President Donald Trump's plan to scale back Obama era environmental regulations. And now back to France, the outcome. Presidential voting now under way could redefine European politics for years to come.
HOWELL: CNN is live in Paris following the story. Melissa bell on the streets in the (INAUDIBLE) with one of the polling stations there. Melissa, fair to say a lot is at stake there and many nerves are frayed given the recent killing of a police officer in Paris. What is the mood though of people as you see them there heading to the polls?
MELISSA BELL, CNN PARIS CORRESPONDENT: You know, a great deal of enthusiasm actually, George. That's what we found this morning. Just behind me, the door to one of those polling stations here in France has now been open for a few hours. We've seen a lot of people come through here and many of them tell us, I wanted to make sure I got here early because the later in the day you leave it further more likely it is that you'll be discouraged or unmotivated or find other things to do. A really enthusiasm, a determination to go and register this vote, their vote in this election that as you say is so crucial not only for the French, but of course well beyond the borders of France.
And one of the big tests, one of the big questions that we're waiting to get the result to, the answer to today, and we won't have it till about 8:00 pm local time, so a few more hours to wait is whether that populist wave that has swept the United Kingdom, the United States, doesn't stop in France today or on the country does it continue. I think that's one of the things that from the outside, the whole world is really watching this poll as a test of.
HOWELL: Melissa, for our viewers who may just be joining us, give a sense if you could just of the diverse positions with these candidates that we're talking about. You have eurosceptics, but also those who support the EU.
BELL: That's right, George. The European Union has come to take a central position in this campaign. But again, because what we're talking about are candidates that are defining themselves not so much according to the old divide of left and right, but again along that new divide of those who want more openness for the rest of the world, they are the pro-Europeans, those who want continuity with what's gone before in France, and those on the other hand.
And I'm thinking here of the populist space on far right and on the far left in this -- in this political -- in this -- in this presidential race who want closure, who want to close France's borders, who want to retreat within them, who want to rethink the, kind of, economic policies in a much more protectionist way, who want to rethink France's belonging to the European Union and of course that, George would put into doubt if there were Frexit at some point, if there were referendum that led to a Frexit, it the put in doubt the entire European project. So we are talking about very important changes, very big changes which is why I think so many French people are expressing that enthusiasm to us this morning about the need to come out and vote.