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CNN NEWSROOM

Trump Challenges North Korea; Running Out of Time: Executions in Arkansas; American Detained in North Korea on Questionable Grounds; A Possibility of a Government Shutdown; French Presidential Candidates Maximizing Remaining Time; A Sigh of Relief; Hiding for her Life; A Look Inside Raqqa; Breaking the Ice Between Two Countries. Aired 3-4a ET

Aired April 25, 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] ROSEMARY CHURCH, CNN ANCHOR: Putting pressure on North Korea. U.S. President Donald Trump take a swipe at the country's dictator and calls for new sanctions while an American guided missile submarine docks in South Korea.

Plus, with its lethal injection drugs about to expire, the U.S. State of Arkansas executes two more inmates and hurries to execute another five.

And later, an exclusive look at what's happening in the ISIS capital of Raqqa as seen from space.

Hello and welcome to our viewers here in the United States, and of course, all around the world. I'm Rosemary Church, and this is CNN NEWSROOM.

U.S. President Donald Trump now seems to be taunting the North Korean leader as nuclear tensions keeps rising. Mr. Trump told conservative journalist, quote, "I'm not so sure leader Kim Jong-un is so strong like he says he is. I'm not so sure at all."

North Korea is celebrating the founding of its armed forces on Tuesday, it often uses these holidays to show off its military and many are wondering if Pyongyang will conduct a sixth nuclear test.

Meanwhile, the U.S. is making its presence felt on the Korean Peninsula. A U.S. guided missile submarine docked in South Korea just a few hours ago. In fact, Mr. Trump wants the U.N. Security Council to impose new sanctions on Pyongyang and says the status quo is unacceptable.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: This is a real threat to the world whether we want to talk about it or not. North Korea is a big world problem and it's a problem we have to finally solve, and out people put blindfolds on for decades, and now it's time to solve the problem.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CHURCH: Also rising tensions, an American professor detained by the North Koreans. We get the very latest now from CNN's Will Ripley, the only western journalist in North Korea right now.

WILL RIPLEY, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: He was just steps away from boarding a flight out of North Korea but something happened at the Pyongyang airport. And now an American citizen is in custody.

This airport is one of the only ways in and out of North Korea, just a handful of flights passed through on any given week and it was here that North Korean authorities detained a man over the weekend as he was trying to board a flight out of the country.

Kim Sang-Duk who goes by Tony Kim had just finished several weeks of teaching at the Pyongyang University of Science and Technology, a private institution where foreign professors, including Americans, teach North Korean students.

In a statement to CNN the university says, "We understand this detention is related to an investigation into matters not connected in any way with the work of the university." Details of that investigation or any Charges against Kim remain a mystery.

So far, North Korea has stayed silent. Complicating matters, Washington does not have diplomatic relations with Pyongyang. All communications go through the Swedish embassy which confirms to CNN Kim's detention but refuse to further comment.

The U.S. State Department also says it's working on the case.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

OTTO WARMBIER, AMERICAN IMPRISONED IN NORTH KOREA: Please, I've done the worst mistake of my life.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

RIPLEY: Kim joins at least two other U.S. citizens also in North Korean custody. University of Virginia student, Otto Warmbier was on a site seeing tour last year when he was accused of removing a political sign from a hotel wall. His sentence, 15 years of hard labor.

Kim Dong Chul is a naturalized U.S. citizen serving 10 years of hard labor on spying charges.

The status of both men - unknown.

This apparent third detention of an American citizen comes on the heels of a new warning from the Pentagon after North Korea threaten to take out a U.S. aircraft carrier.

North Korea's supreme leader Kim Jong-un unveiled never before seen missiles at the day of the Sun military parade, including two new ICBM's that could someday be capable of carrying a nuclear warhead to the mainland U.S. Despite rising tensions, travel to North Korea continues as normal.

More than 100 people boarded Monday's only flight from Beijing to Pyongyang including dozens of tourists. Tour companies organizing these trips say everyone will leave safely as long as they follow North Korean law.

The detainment of yet another American, a sobering reminder going home is not always guaranteed.

Will Ripley, CNN, Pyongyang, North Korea.

[03:05:00] CHURCH: And our Paula Hancocks joins us now from Seoul, South Korea. So Paula, what has been the reaction so far on the Korean Peninsula to the U.S. guided missiles submarine docking in South Korea in this apparent show of force?

PAULA HANCOCKS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Rosemary, we're hearing differing reports as to why it's actually here this, the submarine. What we're hearing from the U.S. naval forces Korea that actually this is a routine stop, this is a routine dock in Pusan Port on the southeastern tip of South Korea and was pre-planned.

But then we are also hearing from the U.S. defense official that it's a show of force. Now certainly from the South Korean point of view, the military and the officials would welcome yet more U.S. military hardware arriving in Korea, in South Korea.

We know the USS Carl Vinson, that 97,000-ton aircraft carrier will be coming to waters just off to the Korean Peninsula by the end of the month.

We also know that there are navy drills going on right now today between the U.S. and South Korea.

So, all of these extra elements, and of course, the annual military drills that happened routinely every single year is still going on till the end of the month. This reassure South Korean officials that the United States is supporting them fully, but of course, it's not something that China wants to see.

They don't want more U.S. military hardware in the region. It's certainly not something that North Korea wants to see. Rosemary?

CHURCH: Yes. And Paula, as we reported, U.S. President Donald Trump told conservative journalist that he's not sure Kim Jong-un is the strongest he says he is. How's the North Korean leader likely to respond to that apparent challenge if history is any guide, and is it why is to taunt him in this fashion?

HANCOCKS: It's not really any president for this kind of taunting; certainly we haven't seen previous U.S. presidents personally attacking Kim Jong-un or the previous leaders of North Korea. It's an accepted fact that the late leaders of North Korea Kim Il-sung then Kim Jong-il and Kim Jong-un have all been defied.

There's this culture of personality that builds up around them that the people of North Korea talk from a very young age almost from birth that they must idolized the leaders.

So it's actually say something like that against the leader is an interesting tactic.

CHURCH: Yes, certainly. Paula Hancocks with that live report from Seoul in South Korea, where it's just after 4 in the afternoon. Many thanks.

A compromise may be in the works to avoid a U.S. government shut down at the end of this week. A White House source says President Trump might delay asking for funding for his Mexican border wall until this fall.

In the meantime, he would settle for more monitoring and border patrol agents.

CNN's Jim Acosta reports.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP: And I have to say welcome to White House.

JIM ACOSTA, CNN SENIOR WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: It just might be the biggest barriers standing in the way of a deal to prevent a looming government shut down. President Trump's quest for funding to pay for a wall on the U.S.-Mexico border.

The president is ramping up the pressure, tweeting, "The wall is a very important tool in stopping drugs from pouring into our country and poisoning our youth and many others. If the wall is not built, which it will be, the drug situation will never be fixed the way it should be."

White House officials are also pushing Congress to make sure wall money is included in any bill to keep the government running.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JEFF SESSIONS, UNITED STATES ATTORNEY GENERAL: We need that wall. It will help us complete the promise that the president has made to the American people. That's what they want, the American people have a right to expect it and I believe Congress will eventually deliver.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ACOSTA: But that lies in the face of what's perhaps the president's biggest campaign promise that Mexico would pay for the wall.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP: We're going to build that wall, don't even think about it. And who's going to pay for the wall?

Who?

SEAN SPICER, UNITED STATES WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: We feel very confident the government is not going to shut down.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ACOSTA: White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer insists the president isn't going back on his word.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SPICER: Jim.

ACOSTA: And why, sir, there's been a discussion about sharing how the government overpaying for the wall, isn't Mexico supposed to pay for the wall?

SPICER: Well, I think, Jim, the president has made very clear that initially we needed to get the funding going and there's several mechanisms to make sure that that happens. That funding piece will happen in due time.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ACOSTA: In his campaigns contract with American voters the president vowed to introduce a bill on his first 100 days in office that would force Mexico to ultimately pay for the wall. One of several promises he hasn't kept.

Now the White House is releasing its own 100 days highlights. Posting the military strike on Syria, the administration still closing travel ban, his Supreme Court pick, and efforts to help women and minorities, nearly all stemming from executive actions.

The White House is also looking to make a big splash on Wednesday when the president is expected outline is tax reform plan, including a massive cut in the corporate tax rate from 35 to 15 percent, but the administration is not insisting that any of it be paid for.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

[03:10:07] STEVE MNUCHIN, UNITED STATES TREASURY SECRETARY: The tax plan will pay for itself with economic growth.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ACOSTA: And as for the president's proposal to lower the corporate tax rate that trial balloon is going like a lead balloon up on Capitol Hill where top republican congressional source tell CNN that they're going to insist that that proposal be revenue neutral, something the White House is not promising at this point.

Jim Acosta, CNN, the White House.

CHURCH: Joining me now from New York is political analyst, author and columnist for the Metro papers Ellis Henican. So great to have you on the show again.

ELLIS HENICAN, POLITICAL ANALYST: Hey, Rosemary. CHURCH: So, President Trump is trying to make some stride s before he marks his 100 days in office on Saturday, but the government is poised to run out money midnight Friday with Mr. Trump pushing to get the spending bill to include funds for his border wall with Mexico. The democrats say no, the republicans don't know what to do. What's going to happen do you think?

HENICAN: No, its 98, 99, kaboom. No. I don't think that's going to happen. I think that it was -- the Congress and the Senate were going along pretty well negotiating the spending bill. Then Trump and some of the people in the administration decided to insert some last minute demands. The biggest ones as you point out was for this border wall.

But just in the past few hours, Rosemary, the administration seems to be backing down a bit from that. Donald Trump last evening speaking to conservative journalists to well, you know, it might be OK if the first billion dollars from that border wall didn't come until fall. That seem to be the most severe speaking points, so if Trump is blinking on the wall for now, I would say that makes it far less likely the government is going to shut down on Saturday.

Did you follow all of that? It's a little complicated.

CHURCH: Yes. I mean, it's all quite incredible when Mexico is supposed to pay for the wall.

HENICAN: Yes.

CHURCH: But that is for another day, right?

HENICAN: That's -- yes.

CHURCH: So, President Trump is set to unveil his tax plan Wednesday we hear, and there is word he'll cut the corporate tax rate from 35 to 15 percent. How sustainable is that and how will some republican leaders likely respond to what will likely be an increase in the country's debt?

HENICAN: Well, hold on a second. It depends on whether people actually pay it. Because one of the things about the high rate that we have now is that very few companies really pay it by using various off shore and tricks and depreciating purchases and the whole bunch of other stuff is far too complicated for us to go into.

But very few people pay it. So, if you had a 15 percent rate the people actually paid you might not have a big drop in it. It's been a big goal not just for republicans but for democrats as well. But boy, any time you start messing around in the tax code other complicated things happen and you could have a mess on your hands.

CHURCH: You feel like it's a sense to rush because of the 100-day mark?

HENICAN: Well, you know, it's funny, isn't it? Because in the campaign Donald Trump promised to do all kind of stuff in the first 100 days. Lately he's been saying all of that to ridiculous standard, it doesn't really matter. But the surest a lot of swirl suggesting that yes, they realize that's part of how they're being judged.

CHURCH: Right. And of course, as we approach that 100-day mark, we want to take a look at how the public view Trump's presidency. Let's bring up that file up. Only 42 percent of those polled approved of the job he's doing.

And compare that to the polling of other presidents and they approach the 100-day benchmark. He's far behind Reagan, Carter, Obama, both Bush's, even Nixon and Clinton.

HENICAN: Yes.

CHURCH: So, a record low approval rating, but Mr. Trump's base is standing by him. What do you make of those numbers, what might they signal do you think?

HENICAN: Well, you know, you pointed out the two important ones that by historic standard its super low, but boy, his people are loyal. We have numbers saying that 96 percent of the people who voted for Donald Trump, you know, think he's doing a pretty good job.

Here's what I -- I think it was enough to barely get him elected but it's not enough to get his agenda through Congress, but his people in Congress is just aren't that scared of it. And so, unless those numbers go up, you know, he's going to have trouble accomplishing very much.

CHURCH: Yes, we'll be watching that of course. Another point I wanted to raise with you. An early State Department blog seem to promote President Trump's Mar-A-Lago estate. That blog has since been taken down, but could this mean in terms of conflict of interest, ethical questions, all of things that have got read their ugly head for the Trump administration?

HENICAN: You know, Rosemary, they've got to stop this, right? The president he should not be an infomercial. And it isn't just the president himself, his daughter Ivanka, he's been fogging his clothing line, the two sons are now talking about a big expansion of their domestic hotel business and other parts of the Trump Empire.

[03:15:00] It's embarrassing. It's just a little unseemingly, presidents are really big job. Maybe you -- maybe you should stick to these things one at a time.

CHURCH: OK. Last question I want to put you -- put you out on alumni.

HENICAN: All right.

CHURCH: How would you grade President Trump for progress made in his first 100 days in office?

HENICAN: Well, listen, I think you have to give him an incomplete. I mean, clearly he has not lived up in many respects to the standards that he said for himself in the campaign, saying, hey, all the stuff is going to be easy. Well, now that he's in office so a lot of it isn't proving so easy. But he's right to this step. A 100 days is not a long time in a four-

year term. Many of the great accomplishments by great presidents did not occur in the first months of the term, so I'm not ready to rule out the entire administration and say that this thing is a big flap. But it sure would be nice if we had some concrete successes, maybe pass a couple of laws, live up to some of these promises.

So, I'm going to be very charitable right now and give it to, give him an incomplete. How about that?

CHURCH: All right. So room for improvement perhaps.

HENICAN: There is certain, there is considerable room for improvement. The one last thing that I remember when I was a kid, some time they would say, does he work and play well with others. I think that's an area we can improve on this one.

CHURCH: Yes, it's always good to have Ellis Henican.

(CROSSTALK)

HENICAN: You never had that problem, I know.

CHURCH: Never. Ellis Henican, always a pleasure. Thank you so much.

HENICAN: Good to see you.

CHURCH: Well, meantime, former U.S. President Barack Obama is back on the political stage for the first time since leaving office. He spoke with college students at the University of Chicago Monday. Mr. Obama didn't mention President Trump by name but he said the most important thing think he can do is help the next generation as they prepare to change the world.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BARACK OBAMA, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: When I said in 2004 that there were no red states or blue states, there are United States of America. That was an aspirational comment.

But I think it's -- and it's one by the way that I still believe in the sense that when you talk to individuals one on one, people there is a lot more the people have in common than divides them. But obviously, it's not true when it comes to our politics and our civic life. And maybe more pernicious is the fact that people just aren't involve. They get cynical and they give up.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CHURCH: And as worth mentioning the former president decline to answer questions on health care and foreign policy.

When we come back, the remaining two French presidential candidates are back out campaigning looking to expand their support. We will take a look at the runoff election.

We're back in a moment.

[03:20:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(WORLD SPORT)

CHURCH: the top two French presidential candidates wasted no time getting back to campaigning after clearing the first round of voting Sunday. The final numbers shows centrist Emmanuel Macron edging past the far right Marine Le Pen in Sunday's vote.

They face off again in the May 7th run off. In Paris, Macron lead a wreath marking the 102nd anniversary of the mass killing of Armenians by Ottoman forces.

Le Pen visited a small town in northern France where she accused Macron of being weak on terrorism. Later, she said, victory is within reach.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MARINE LE PEN, FRENCH PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE (through translator): We can win and I'll go even further. We're going to win. We're starting this campaign according to the polls 40 to 60. Ten little points, believe me, it's totally doable, particularly because it has to be said that Mr. Macron has benefited from a sort of skills maintained haze in the first round. And now that haze is going to fade because now we're face to face.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CHURCH: Well, Dominic Thomas is the chair of UCLA's Department of French and Francophone Studies. He joins us now from Paris where the wind has died down, thankfully. Good to talk with you.

So, Marine Le Pen says victory is within her reach but the numbers don't appear to show that. What challenges lie ahead for her and do you see any part to victory for Le Pen?

DOMINIC THOMAS, PROFESSOR, DEPARTMENT OF FRENCH AND FRANCOPHONE STUDIES UCLA: Yes, it's going to be a difficult part, of course, as you know, we move towards the second round day of voting. I'm sure the polls were narrow. I mean, in the last 40 years except the 2002, remember that when her father was there and though she have walked away with 80 percent in the second round.

These second round votes come down to 2 to 4 percent in one case, 8, and this is over a 40 period. So her goal over the next 10 days or so is to try and narrow that gap. The first thing she's done which is a real strategic move is to tell the people that she's no longer the representative just of the Front National.

She is now running for the presidency and she's running to present her project, a project which is now, not just for her base but it's for the French people. And I think that's an important point of departure for her. As she does that now she's got to point out and try and really demarcate her from its candidate Macron. And the number one strategy she can is to paint him as an establishment figure, an ineffective establishment that's in the Sarkozy administration and the Hollande administration has that nothing to address unemployment and the problems of those that she is going to represent the French people who suffered because of globalization.

CHURCH: So, what about Emmanuel Macron then, even though his past victory looks almost certain. The U.S. election told us all to be very cautious about making such assumption. So, what are the many challenges that face Macron on his path to the presidency?

THOMAS: Right. The U.S. election told us to be careful that Brexit election did certainly, the Brexit referendum though, did as well.

[03:25:00] And I think there's going to be, you know, a deeper run offs of that, not only did Marine Le Pen do well, but it's not the gap that 20 percent of the people abstained. That means that, you know, the outcome is also unpredictable of that level.

And the Jean-Luc Melenchon, the extreme left did very well and has not endorsed Emmanuel Macron, although most supporters of Melenchon obviously are not going to turn towards Le Pen.

So the challenge that Macron has is to try and separate himself from his label of being the establishment figure. Yes, he wants to build a centrist coalition. Right now he doesn't even have a party, he just have a movement.

So he needs to sort of try and galvanize those folks on the right and the modern left and try and bring them under the ages of his project and convince them that this is the path forward.

Le Pen simply saying that you know, party that sort of the deep roots and fascism and so on is not going to win in this particular case. Because questions of immigration and terror and national identity are at the forefront of this kind of conversations in western elections in these days.

CHURCH: Yes. And of course, as you mentioned he doesn't have a party behind him so if he does win how is he going to govern, who will he reach out to? So many more questions to ask but, Dominic Thomas, we'll have to leave it there for now. Many thanks, joining us live from Paris.

THOMAS: Thanks, Rosemary.

CHURCH: We'll take a short break here, but still to come, a top Russian journalist exposed a wave of deadly attack against gay men in Chechnya. Now she's in fear for her life. The details next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

CHURCH: A warm welcome back to our viewers here in the United States, and of course, all around the world.

[03:30:01] I'm Rosemary Church.

I want to update you now on the main stories we've been following this hour. As the nuclear prices with North Korea escalate, the U.S. is showing off more of its muscle.

An American guided missile submarine has just docked in South Korea. U.S. President Donald Trump seems to be taunting the North Korean as he promptly told conservative journalists, quote, "I'm not so sure leader Kim Jong-un is so strong like he says he is."

Two more people were reported killed in separate cities during the protest in Venezuela on Monday. The governor of Merida says the victims there was a government worker who was shot in the neck. Seven people were injured. At least 22 others have been killed in Venezuelan protest this month.

Elton John has cancelled his April and May shows at Caesar's Palace in Las Vegas. The result says the singer has contracted an unusual bacterial infection while on tour in South America. He was in intensive care for two days and was released on Saturday.

Well, Arkansas just carried out its first double execution on almost two decades bringing the total number of executions in the past few days to three. Jack Jones and Marcel Williams were convicted of murder and rape. Their last minute appeals failed and they were killed by lethal injection.

The family of Jack Jones' victims, Mary Philips express relief.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ROBBY JONES, FAMILY MEMBER OF MARY PHILIPS: Well, this has been an ongoing process. It lasted 20 years as this came close a few times. We're glad that it's finally over with. It's been emotional roller coaster, you know, no one in our family wants death on anybody but some people deserve what their -- what they deserve.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CHURCH: Jones and Williams are among the eight death row in May scheduled for execution before the states supply of sedatives used in lethal injection expires at the end of the month.

So let's talk more about this with CNN legal analyst Page Pate who joins me now in the studio. Great to have you on again.

PAGE PATE, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: Thank you.

CHURCH: unfortunate circumstances of course. Because we want to look at the ramifications of these executions in Arkansas. And once again, it puts the death penalty front and center raising questions, legal, ethical, and moral questions here.

PATE: Right.

CHURCH: We understand that that first execution was perhaps mishandled.

PATE: Right.

CHURCH: How concerned are you, do you know what happened in this instance and what happens now going forward?

PATE: Well, the lawyers for Mr. Mitchell are claiming that in the first execution the state had an incredible problem finding a way to carry out the lethal injection process. And that is always a difficult situation when you are performing not just an execution of using this type method of three different drugs, but you're doing it so close in time to these other executions.

People have argued and I think correctly that you need more time to make sure that the execution is going to be carried out in the safest and most ethical manner possible. Because in the United States if it's cruel and unusual, then it's unconstitutional.

CHURCH: And you mentioned those drugs, because it's a cocktail of three drugs.

PATE: Right.

CHURCH: Even the drug company that manufactures them doesn't want anything to do with this. Talk to us about what these drugs do and just how tricky this is.

PATE: Well, the first drug is meant to simply sedate the inmate before the execution process. The second drug basically paralyzes the inmate so that he can't move at all. And then the third drug stops the heart. So you administer them three drugs one at a time to carry out the entire execution protocol.

Now not every state does it that way. In fact, most states still have the death penalty are moving toward a one drug process because they had so much difficulty getting those drugs from the drug companies. They object that their product is being used to carry out executions.

CHURCH: Now of course, we are being watched by viewers here in the United States, but also across the globe. And particularly in Europe people find the whole concept of the death penalty particularly barbaric.

PATE: Right.

CHURCH: In actual fact. Could this perhaps be the turning point for the death penalty not only in Arkansas but in other states across the U.S.?

PATE: It's possible, Rosemary. But we've seen these double executions before in the United States. The last one was back in 2000. In 2014, Oklahoma tried to carry out two executions back to back and they botched the first ones so badly, they had to call off the second one.

So, I don't know if this is going to be enough, but it certainly does call attention to this assembly line execution system that they're trying to carry out in Arkansas and the problems we've already seen with it with this execution tonight.

They have another one scheduled for Thursday, and then about four are still on hold pending a decision from the United States Supreme Court, but those could go forward later this month.

[03:35:01] CHURCH: And personally and legally for you, what are your biggest concerns about the whole concept of the death penalty.

PATE: That it's now become cruel and unusual. I mean, there are two things that are going on here. One, the actual execution process itself. When you're using a drug that you don't know how it's going to interact with the person, you don't know how they're going to respond. Are they going to suffer during the process, that makes it cruel.

But it's also unusual. Think about this particular inmates, their crime was committed over 20 years ago, and there been numerous appeals, the victims are not satisfied with the process. And all of a sudden drugging them in to push them all back to back, to kill them in a row so quickly, that's unusual.

So, I think in the United States and we're seeing less and less death penalties imposed in new cases that carrying out these executions for these 20-year-old cases I think it's become cruel and unusual.

CHURCH: Yes. Certainly it is a talking point that people are discussing this which is very important. Page Pate, thank you so much for joining us. I appreciate it.

PATE: Thank you.

CHURCH: A prominent Russian journalist is now in hiding in fear for her life. She has fled her home in Moscow and may have to flee her homeland. She tells CNN she has received death threats after exposing a wave of attacks against gay men in Chechnya.

Matthew Chance brought details of the anti-gay crackdown and has more now on this latest disturbing development.

MATTHEW CHANCE, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: This is what's happening on the streets of Chechnya, a lawless Russian republic for gay men are allegedly are being abducted and tortured.

CNN obtained this cell phone video from one victim who told us of horrifying abuse.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They tied wires to my hands and put metal clip to my ears to electrocute me. When they shock you, you jump higher above the ground.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CHANCE: Chechen authorities denied gay men like those we met even exist there. And now the Russian reporter who first exposed the gay crackdown is also living in fear, forced into hiding amid terrifying death threats.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ELENA MILASHINA, RUSSIAN JOURNALIST: This is the first time when they got that threat, that kind of threat when 15,000 people got together in the mosque and announced actually they had on all the staff in Novaya Gazeta, and it's last forever, it count the last (Inaudible).

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CHANCE: The threats made by Muslim clerics in Chechnya were rebroadcast on local television but it's just leaders are shown addressing thousands of faithful condemning the reports of a gay crackdown and demanding retribution against those spreading what they call gossip and lies.

It's a threat journalist in Russia particularly at Novaya Gazeta take seriously. In 2006, their star Chechnya reporter Anna Politkovskaya was shot dead in Moscow but her desk is still kept as a shrine.

But since 2000, at least five other journalists at the same newspaper have also been killed in mafia style hits. A sign of how dangerous reporting in Russia can be and how brave are reporters like Milashina to continue despite the risk.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MILASHINA: The only way that can stop their people who might possibly think of murdering my colleagues is to show them that there will be that one.

CHANCE: Like you're prepared to pick a line for that deal.

MILASHINA: Yes, absolutely. If that makes me much stronger than my enemies in Chechnya.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CHANCE: Strength to defend the persecuted there in the face of the gravest threats.

Matthew Chance, CNN, Moscow.

CHURCH: And Diana Magnay joins us now from Moscow. So Diana, what will happen to this Russian journalist now, will she ever be able to return in her home and live a normal life going forward?

DIANA MAGNAY, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, she said that the last three weeks have been very difficult, she's been having to move from house to house in Moscow. And that she does plan to leave the country.

Now the Kremlin has been very slow on the uptake of this story but it has now said that the investigative committee here will launch an investigation into not just these reports of the abuse of gay men in Chechnya but also of other detentions there. Milashina said that she will now cooperate with that investigation and she'll leave the country after that, but that she will continue her work on Chechnya. And you really do see a sense of what drives her.

Anna Politkovskaya was essentially a mentor to her and was killed as Matthew Chance says in that report in 2006 for her reporting on Chechnya and on the Kremlin's association with the leaders in Chechnya and the beginning of the Chechen War.

[03:40:11] And it is clearly a crusading spirit that she decides to continue Anna Politkovskaya's work and continue those investigations in Chechnya.

The Kremlin has been receiving quite a lot of criticism for its slow uptake on her reporting, especially this last report on the gay men this month that they have not said they will launch an investigation. And they've also said that journalist should be protected and should be allowed to continue to do the work that they do.

But I think that is small solace for someone like her especially given the precedent that Novaya Gazeta has amongst its journalists and targeted killings of its journalist. Rosemary?

CHURCH: And certainly puts under the spotlight the dangers involved as a journalist in Russia and in Chechnya. Diana Magnay, thank you so much joining us live from Moscow. It is 10.40 in the morning. Many thanks.

And coming up, a CNN exclusive stunning rare images from a city under siege. We will take you to Raqqa where people can be shot on site for just trying to link.

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CHURCH: A CNN exclusive for you now. The city of Raqqa in Syria, the self-declared capital of the ISIS caliphate and essentially cut off from the rest of the world.

But CNN has obtained exclusive satellite images that give us a rare look inside Raqqa, the next big target in the fight against the terror group.

Here is CNN's Nick Paton Walsh.

NICK PATON WALSH, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: The final target in the war on ISIS, their capital Raqqa. So wretchedly isolated held hostage in terror the closer as we get to bring us in space in this exclusive satellite pictures taken for CNN.

[03:45:06] Here, two checkpoints in the street and nearby, an ISIS flag. Precision strikes cutting its people further off from the world.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (through translator): Life is not life. Life is death. We are besieged. We can't leave or walk around. Anyone who brace is slaughtered.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

WALSH: She escape today earlier and described some safety for the north the claustrophobic paranoid world of living with ISIS, and streets covered by massive tarpaulins put up across the central market to hide ISIS fighters from coalition drone cameras overhead.

Another escapee describes how ISIS fighters differ.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (through translator): The foreigner street residents very well, but the Syrian ISIS members they are very aggressive with people.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

WALSH: ISIS used their own drone to film a damage from coalition strikes are to the slow next sleeping over the city. Images of life inside Raqqa a rare, by one location we're filming the panic with residents try to flee.

Only seconds of horror filmed here as ISIS have just told them the dam at Tabqa to the west might break open flooding Raqqa. It never happened like some march of their propaganda the dam was fine.

But to the west fierce fighting backed by U.S. Special Forces had drawn the news yet tighter. This coalition backed fighters to the west, north and east are about to move in from the south. Then the news will be complete. And the countdown begins to when these distant streets are open for the world to see again.

Nick Paton Walsh, CNN, Irbil, northern Iraq.

CHURCH: We'll take a short break here. Still to come, Ivanka Trump received a personal invitation to Berlin from the German chancellor. Could the first daughter be the key to close the ties between the U.S. and Germany? We'll take a look.

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PEDRAM JAVAHERI, CNN METEOROLOGIST: What a pattern across the United States here. The southeastern United States about to go through a dramatic especially as you work way farther towards the north.

Some heavy rainfall in store as we go in towards Tuesday here with snow showers very persistent out across the intermountain west and wait till we see some of the forecast later this week on what is slated for that region of the U.S.

But the flood concern out towards the coastal portion of the Carolinas. This is the same storm system that meandered over the weekend across parts of Alabama and Georgia, and it is just not wanting to give up here as it slow its scoots up toward the northeast. [03:50:06] But, as this passes through as say, Thursday and Friday, we get a dramatic trend in the temps there across the eastern half of the country. In fact, some of these readings will easily approach 30 degrees by Thursday and Friday after being 14 today in the U.S. capital there.

Look at New York City, in 12 up to 24, the forecast even takes it up into the 30's come Saturday and Sunday for New York City. Out west, winter certainly at least feels like in store parts of the western periphery of the intermountain west.

Casper, Jackson getting in heavy snowfall in the forecast. And it looks to stay put for a couple of days. Denver, showers in the forecast, 13 degrees. Vancouver, around 13 degrees, as well.

I want share something with you. If you do have photos we would love to share them with everyone. Just get on with your favorite social media platform, put the hash tag CNN weather and we will get the chance to look at it.

CHURCH: Welcome back, everyone. Well, Bill O'Reilly is addressing the sexual harassment allegation that ended his 21-year career at Fox News. He talked about the controversy Monday o his podcast.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BILL O'REILLY, FORMER FOX NEWS HOST: I am sad that I'm not on television anymore. I was very surprised how it all turned out. I can't say a lot because there's much stuff going on right now.

But I can tell you that I'm very confident the truth will come out, and when it does I don't know if you're going to be surprised, but I think you're going to be shaken, as I am.

There's a lot of stuff involved here. Now, I can't say anymore because I just don't want to influence the flow of the information. I don't want the media to take what I say and misconstrue it. And you, as a loyal O'Reilly listener have a right to know, I think, down the lane what exactly happened. And we are working on that direction, OK?

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CHURCH: Earlier this month, the New York Times reported that O'Reilly and Fox paid settlements to five women who accused him of harassment. O'Reilly has denied those accusations.

White House adviser and first daughter Ivanka Trump is in Berlin at the personal invitation of the German chancellor. It's a move that could help ease the tensed relationship between the U.S. and Germany.

Atika Shubert reports.

ATIKA SHUBERT, CNN CHIEF INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: When President Donald Trump and German Chancellor Angela Merkel finally met face to face at the White House last month, the awkward body language between them spoke volumes. And the frosty press conference afterwards, well, there was still a long list of issues that two leaders did not see eye to eye on.

From the U.S. trade deficit with Germany to Trump's conflate that Germany, quote, "owed vast sums for NATO."

Social media took the internet memes to mock the awkwardness including Ivanka Trump before she was made an official White House seated prominently next to Angela Merkel, arguably the most powerful woman in the world.

But the video from the meeting shows the chancellor and the first daughter swapping notes and sharing a lot. In fact, it was Chancellor Merkel's office that reached out to the White House asking if Ivanka Trump could personally arrange for a meeting on business skills training with the president.

Just one way analysts say that Merkel is methodically trying to break the ice with President Trump.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

THOMAS KLEINE-BROCKHOFF, FORMER GERMAN PRESIDENTIAL ADVISER: I think there is a sort of an attempt at understanding trump here. And understanding him is understanding the people around him and that includes the family.

Her sense seems to be that an avenue into the White House is through Ivanka Trump.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHUBERT: Since that White House visit, President Trump has called Chancellor Merkel nearly every week on issues big and small for European elections to how to handle Russia and Syria. For Merkel it is at least a start to building a relationship with President Trump.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

KLEINE-BROCKHOFF: She test the water, she is analyzing the man. She is trying to find out what she can do with him, how he takes, how he understands issues. She's deliberate and slow. She even in small circles makes no value judgment about Donald Trump. She just says this is how he takes. You see a political plumber at work.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHUBERT: Testing the pipes seems to be working. Now, Ivanka Trump has been personally invited by Angela Merkel to attend the W20,a woman's leadership summit in Berlin. Varnishing the first daughter's role as presidential adviser, and perhaps, one more step in improving Berlin's relationship with the White House.

[03:55:04] CHURCH: And Atika Shubert joins me now live from Berlin. So Atika, this effort to bridge the gap between Germany and the United States was very much initiated by Angela Merkel as you explain there. What is the likely next step in this renewed relationship with the Trump family and also but they post the U.S. president. SHUBERT: Of course having those almost weekly conversations of

President Trump are important for building that relationship. But this invitation to Ivanka Trump really is part of that next step.

It's an opportunity for her to show at which issue she cares about, women's entrepreneurship, that's what she'll be talking about at the panel discussion today.

And she'll have an opportunity to meet with some of the highest powered women in the world. Frankly, Christine Lagarde at the IMF this year, Queen Maxima from the Netherlands, and of course, she'll be meeting Angela Merkel, Germany's Chancellor later tonight at a gala dinner as well.

It's not the only thing she'll be doing here today. This is part of the G20, you know, summit. It's kind of a women centered side some -- side to conference to the G20. In addition to attending the W20, she will be visiting the U.S. embassy in Berlin, she's also expected to go to see the Siemens manufacture and the Holocaust Memorial as well.

A relatively short visit, but an opportunity for Ivanka Trump.

CHURCH: AL right. Many thanks to our Atika Shubert, bringing us up to date there from Berlin, where it is nearly 10 o'clock in the morning.

And thank you so much for your company this hour. I'm Rosemary Church. Remember to connect with me any time on Twitter. I love to hear from you.

Early Start is next for our viewers here in the United States. For everyone else, stay tuned for more news with Max Foster in London. And have yourselves a great day.

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