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The U.K. And Russia Are Locked In A Diplomatic Clash; Syrian Civil War Enters Its Eighth Year; Donald Trump Lies To Justin Trudeau; Larry Kudlow Is The Next Senior Economic Advisor; Mike Pompeo replaces Rex Tillerson as Secretary of State; Stormy Daniels, Continues To Be Troubling News For Donald Trump; Thousands Protest Against Gun Violence Across The U.S.; Messi Leads Barcelona Into Last Eight; Besiktas-1, Bayern Munich-3; Tiger Woods Looking To Carry Momentum Forward. Aired at 2-3a ET

Aired March 15, 2018 - 02:00   ET

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


[02:00:00] JOHN VAUSE, ANCHOR, CNN: This is CNN Newsroom live from Los Angeles. Ahead this hour, a diplomatic crisis not seen since the Cold War. Theresa May says Britain will expel 23 Russian diplomats over the poisoning of an ex-spy in U.K. soil. Russia warns retaliation, will not be long in coming.

The Syrian war, seven years and hundreds of thousands dead, millions displaced, and this conflict deadlier and more complicated than ever.

And let the blood bath begin. President Trump hinting a purge is coming at the White House.

Hello and welcome to our viewers all around the world. I'm John Vause. Good to have you with us. This is the third hour of Newsroom L.A.

The U.K. and Russia are locked in a diplomatic clash, not seen since the Cold War. British Prime Minister Theresa May has expelled 23 Russian diplomats in response to the poisoning of a former Russian double agent and his daughter. The Kremlin continues to deny any involvement in the attack and says it will retaliate. The U.N. Security Council has called an emergency session. Notably the U.S. ambassador issued the strongest statement so far from the Trump administration slamming Russia for the poison attack.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

NIKKI HALEY, U.S. AMBASSADOR TO U.N.: Let me make one thing clear from the very beginning. The United States stands in absolute solidarity with Great Britain. This is a defining moment. Time and time again, member states say they opposed the use of chemical weapons under any circumstance. Now, one member stands accused of weapons on the sovereign soil of another member. The credibility of this council will not survive, if we fail to hold Russia accountable.

VASILY NEBENZYA, RUSSIAN AMBASSADOR TO U.N. (through translator): We demand that material proof be provided over the allegedly found Russian trace in this high-resonance event. A hysterical atmosphere is being created by London and also completely non-transparent in this.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

VAUSE: CNN Melissa Bell is in Salisbury, England, also Sam Kiley standing by for us in Moscow. So, Sam, first to you, how long before there is some kind of Russian response to all of this and what are they expected to do?

SAM KILEY, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, the Russians accused of being covert spies in the United Kingdom, the 23 of them that have been targeted for expulsion have a week from yesterday to leave the country. I think in all probability the Russians will announce a tit- for-tat level of expulsion probably in exact the same number of people also British diplomats who will they accuse of spying and throw out. They may wait -- the Kremlin may wait to order these expulsions if they come until those from Russia are already on the way.

On top of that, there is a possibility or probability that the British will start targeting individuals that are associated with the Putin government, close friends and others that are supporters of Vladimir Putin, who are based in the United Kingdom. They have a lot of assets there. And then, the Russians can be expected to retaliate.

And that's where it gets a little bit harder for the Russians to retaliate. They may start going over the number -- the few businesses that are left, British businesses still operational in Russia. But bear in mind that the Russia is already under pretty tight economic sanctions as a consequence of its illegal annexation of the Crimean Peninsula.

I think ultimately really where the Russians are hoping to achieve some kind of retaliation will be in trying to exacerbate divisions among Britain's Western allies, notably European allies, who may be a little bit equivocal about whether or not Russia really is behind this attempted murder using a nerve agent that was manufactured or at least invented inside the Soviet Union. There may be some thinks (ph) of daylight, some disagreement among some of Britain's allies.

There has been a very mixed messages coming out of France, for example, over the last 12 to 18 hours with some government spokesmen indicating that they feel that the British may have been premature in pointing the finger at the Kremlin. And then, Macron -- the president's spokesman rowing back on that.

So, there are those sorts of opportunities, nothing ultimately. That's where traditionally in recent history where Russia likes to exploit these areas of difference between allies and becomes a stone in a shoe for the United Kingdom in terms of its relations with Europe, at a time of course when those relations already strained by British negotiations over its exit from that community.

[02:05:03] VAUSE: Yeah, absolutely. So with that that mind, Melissa Bell, over to you. Theresa May, she is trying to build a sort of coalition of support among the European leaders as she takes on Moscow. That would seem to be a hard sell, at least for some diplomats in Europe, in a time of Brexit. MELISSA BELL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: A hard sell, absolutely. And of

course, what's emerged over the course of the last 10 days over what happened here in Salisbury on March 4th is the extraordinary test that this represents for the United Nations. We heard Nikki Haley there expressing the United States' strongest condemnation yet about what went on here on March 4th. The Security Council will be tested. NATO will be tested with of course Turkey having increasingly turned towards Moscow these last few months, looking like an unlikely ally of the United Kingdom.

And of course, the European Union, she said this crucial time when the U.K. is negotiating in difficult circumstances and open (ph) negotiations and exit that looks far from well-organized for the time being, with the big question of how trade is to be organized between the block and the United Kingdom.

And it is holding up all sorts of discussions including the ones, John, over how security will be dealt, with how it would be coordinated between London and other European capitals. And as Sam was just saying, this is a time when Russia is one of those extremely divisive issues, not just on the European continent, but in a number of different countries.

The question of how best it should be dealt, how best Vladimir Putin should be dealt with, how relations should be maintained or changed over the coming years. One of the big questions in the last few months within the E.U. have been whether the sanctions that were introduced in the wake of the Crimean annexation should in fact be removed or at least lessened. It looks as though the U.K.'s best hope really at this stage is that those sanctions might be left in place as a result of what happened.

But the idea that further sanctions might be introduced (inaudible) in the United Kingdom looks a fairly distant possibility at this stage. John.

VAUSE: It is complicated. And this is not over yet. Melissa, thank you. Melissa Bell there in Salisbury and also Sam Kiley in Moscow. Thanks to you both.

Well, now to the Syrian civil war, and today, one of the most horrific blood lettings in modern history enters its eighth year. The President Bashar al-Assad has unleashed hell on his own people including the use of forbidden chemical weapons. And so far, the world has been powerless to stop him.

An estimated 400,000 Syrians have died since 2011. More than half of the population forced from their homes, 5.5 million people now refugees in other countries, and more than 6 million people have been displaced inside Syria.

Gayle Tzemach Lemmon is a CNN U.S. security analyst. She joins us now live from San Diego. Gayle, good to see you. Thank you for being with us. I think it's important to highlight this is in fact in Syria children who are born after March 15th, 2011, they have known nothing but war for their entire lives. And what's truly sad about this is not just how modern and how progressive Syria was before all this began, but there are no indications that there will be anything other than war for many years to come.

GAYLE TZEMACH LEMMON, CNN U.S. SECURITY ANALYST: It's striking. I was there both this summer and then again last month. And the thing that I remember most is that I talked to young people, who are 18, 19, 20 years old, and all they talk about is the next generation. I met one young woman, who is 16 years old, two kids. Her parent married to keep her stay, right at the complicate time (ph). And she said every girl in her class was either kidnapped, somehow lost, or married off. And she said I'm lucky because I actually like my husband. And she said all I care about now is my children's future. She is 16.

VAUSE: Wow. And what we're seeing is this recent surge of violence in Eastern Ghouta, just outside the capitol. It seems to be unprecedented in terms of ferocity and just sheer deadliness. The regime is using chemical weapons almost at will it seems along with illegal barrel bombs simply because they can.

LEMMON: This is the product of impunity. Who is going to stop them when there is no international community really in essence that has teeth or might? Who is to stop them from dropping chemicals (inaudible)? And obviously, the answer is no one.

VAUSE: And what's happened over the past seven years, Russia has used its veto power in the Security Council 11 times to protect the Assad regime. Even when there is a resolution which manages to get passed, the U.N. is totally and utterly powerless to enforce it.

Resolution 2401 was passed last month, which called for a ceasefire. At this point, would it be better if the Security Council to do nothing rather than pass those meaningless resolutions?

LEMMON: When you are a parent on the ground in a shelter trying to keep your child alive, what does it matter, right? There is no difference between the U.N. binding resolution which takes no effect and U.N. doing nothing. And truly, you and I talked about this for years now, John, right. This is the war that has extinguished the power of adjective to describe the (inaudible).

[02:10:05] In the U.N. -- the head of the U.N. can't even think of a new word to describe what parents are facing nor can anyone else. And it is really showing the limits of what happens when the international community is for all intents and purposes neutered.

VAUSE: Yeah. There was a story, The Independent -- the British newspaper quoting a European diplomat of saying this. The international community is now hopeful Russia wishing to limit reputational damage can be pressured to bring Mr. Assad to the negotiating table. It just seems beyond ludicrous right now. That is the best hope, that, you know, Vladimir Putin may somehow be worried about what the world thinks of him, so he might actually reign (ph) in Assad.

LEMMON: I mean, it's really -- Russia changed facts on the ground in this conflict. I remember being in Turkey talking to Syrian refugees. There are more than 3 million out there in Turkey. And one gentleman showed me a hole in the ground where his house had been and showed me the video of him running to find that his home was no longer.

I mean, these are real people with real lives who have seen them absolutely destroyed. And there is no question that Russia has been able to change the facts on the ground in favor of the Assad regime. And all along, Russia and Iran have been completely in on the side of the regime. And those who are opposing the regime have a very tepid response on their side. And so, it was not a mystery as to who would have the stronger fire power and who would win in the end.

VAUSE: And when you look at those who have opposed the Assad regime over the past seven years, they had paid such a staggering price in blood and treasure. It seems they have paid so much, having lost so much. They have no other option now, but to see this through, you know, whatever comes out of it. There is no sort of going back, there's no giving in.

LEMMON: There is no choice, right. I mean, two stories. You know, one mother said to me, if we could just -- in Syria, that if we could push a button and go back to 2010, we all would.

VAUSE: Yes.

LEMMON: Because it has taken so much from us, this conflict. And another young woman who was a leader of the opposition and who is now living outside the country for her safety, she said, you know, we just never thought our country would become like Afghanistan, ever. We never saw this going on for this time of year and to this end.

VAUSE: It does appear that it's on the way to where those countries were entrenched warfare is just the norm, where warlords sort of call the rules of the day and have their way with the local population.

LEMMON: Well, this is the thing, right. I mean, when you have one side that is willing to do anything, and has you know pretty boundless means in terms of the air power and the military might, to back it up, it is a waiting game, right. And they have successfully waited it out. You know, the U.S. policy in 2011 was the time has come for Assad to step aside. But for years, the effective policy has been you know Assad can kind of stay for now because then ISIS came and the ISIS fight really froze the conflict in Syria. Everybody focused on ISIS rather than the regime.

And the minute that fight wound down it was almost as if you have the childhood game red light, green line. It was like the green light was back on and everybody went back to war with one another.

VAUSE: Yeah. As you say, we are looking at years and years of this violence just continuing, because nobody really wants to do much about it or has the solution that isn't costly and bloody for the rest of the world. Gayle, thank you. Appreciate you being with us.

Well, still to come here, the U.S. President ready to purge the dead weight from the White House. So who is on the hit list? And what is the cost of all this constant chaos? [02:15:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)

VAUSE: Well, for any other U.S. president, it might actually be an embarrassing, stunning admission. But this is Donald Trump. According to an audio obtained by the Washington Post, Mr. Trump admitted at a fund raiser on Wednesday, he just made up facts in a recent meeting with the Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.

On the audio tape, he was mimicking Justin Trudeau, as he was saying this. Nice guy, good looking guy, comes in. Donald, we have no trade deficit. I said wrong, Justin, you do. I don't even know it. I had no idea. I just said you're wrong. You know why? Because we're stupid. He said no, we have no trade deficit. I said well, in that case, I feel differently. I said, but I don't believe it.

I said that guy is out -- my guy, they went out, I said check because I can't believe it. Well, Sir, you are actually right. We have no deficit. But that doesn't include energy and timber. And when you do, we lose $17 billion a year. It's incredible. That's incredible. That's my best Donald Trump impersonation.

Jessica Levinson is a professor at Loyola Law School. Michael Genovese is president of the Global Policy Institute Loyola Marymount University. Thank you, guys, for coming in.

You know, this is one of the more bizarre moments of a very bizarre presidency so far. He gets up and he mimics the Canadian Prime Minister, admits that he makes this stuff up, not knowing what the facts are when the reality is the United States has a surplus (ph), Michael, of $18 billion with Canada. So what does this all say to you?

MICHAEL GENOVESE, GLOBAL POLICY INSTITUTE: Well, you know, the general public has a perception that politicians lie regularly. The fact of the matter is they don't. They're generally as honest, if not more honest than most other professions, in part, because they're out in the public all time and you can easily catch them. But in this case, this is not only embarrassing, it's damaging to the United States, to our credibility.

The United States has to have its word as its own (ph). And if people doubt us, if the question us, then we live in an Alice-in-Wonderland world and -- and if your word is not your bond, you can't deal straight with other people. And they won't deal straight with you.

VAUSE: And, Jessica, it is one thing to be caught saying this sort of stuff, you know, boasting about it at a fund raiser.

JESSICA LEVINSON, LOYOLA LAW SCHOOL: Well, I mean, that's the fascinating aspect of this. And that's why -- I mean, that's what hucksters do. I didn't even have the facts and I sold that car.

VAUSE: Right.

LEVINSON: I didn't even know it was going to rain today, and I sold you a new roof. I mean, this is -- a used car salesman you hope would not take this type of tactic. And I think Michael is exactly right. He's using it as bragging rights and he is saying like look how an amazing businessman I am and I'm going to get in there and pisses one of our allies. And I'm explaining to him things that I don't even know if it's true, but I'm so charming.

And this is so damaging because if he's admitting and boasting about lying, then it really means what frankly we've all known, which is that he has no relationship with the truth.

VAUSE: I wonder what the Canadian Prime Minister is thinking tonight.

OK, let's move on to Larry Kudlow, who apparently is next in line to be the senior economic advisor at the White House. He's not just a TV commentator, he worked in the Reagan administration. Here is the president talking about the man that he wants for the job to replace Gary Cohn.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I'm looking at Larry Kudlow very strongly. I've known him a long time. We don't agree on everything, but in this case, I think that's good. I want to have a divergent opinion. We agree on most.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

VAUSE: So, Michael, let's just say Gary Cohn, he has strongly opposed to tariffs. It's a reason why Cohn walked over the aluminum and steel tariffs. (Inaudible) he likes Larry Kudlow, they get on. Is the president just simply picking people he likes? There is no ideology here?

GENOVESE: Well, the president doesn't want people who disagree with him He says I want to hear the arguments. But if you argue with him, or you're likely to be out, or you're going to be on the outs, even if you stay in the administration.

And so, you know, I think that at the best, what happens is Donald Trump governs on chaos, but administrations can't run on chaos. It's a terrible strategy for management. And if you're on the staff and you're supposed to bring the president information who's going to bring him bad news, who is going to speak truth to power when you're afraid every day that you could be losing a job?

[02:20:04] Now, Kudlow and the present have a long-term relationship. Maybe he can be honest with him, but I'm wondering just how honest most of the people around Trump think they can be with him and still keep their jobs.

VAUSE: Here is a headline for the Daily Beast because there is this shake-up coming at the White House. Trump wants to staff White House team with Fox News stars, loyalists, killers. You know, Jessica, it is an unusual strategy to choose senior government officials based in part on how they perform on cable news.

LEVINSON: Well, this is interesting. And it is kind of vintage Donald Trump in one way. We know that he garners an enormous amount of his information from cable news, and that he thinks that this can be used for instance in lieu of security briefings to just turn on Fox and see what people are saying or to turn on another channel.

But think it's important to recognize that some of Donald Trump's appointees have really been far outside the bounds of what's normal. But Kudlow is being largely applauded by the Republican establishment. And so, in some ways, he is a pick that is somewhat within the mainstream that another Republican the president can pick.

So, I think it is important for us to keep these two things separate because certainly President Trump has packed a lot of people who a mainstream Republican would not pick. But in this case, it is two things. One is it shows that Donald Trump actually is running away from his populist message, so Kudlow has been extremely consistent in being wrong on almost every major economic indicator. And he's been extremely consistent in being in favor of Republicans and against Democrats.

VAUSE: Listen to what senior Republicans lawmakers have been saying about this White House and the chaos.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

REP. CHARLIE DENT (R), PENNSYLVANIA: There is a lot of chaos and anarchy. And this is just more of it, this type of instability and uncertainty is really not helpful for America or for the administration.

GOV. JOHN KASICH (R), OHIO: I mean, you have to have some stability to get things done. So I look at it and I'm just like, wow, where is this going?

SEN. JEFF FLAKE (R), ARIZONA: To find out you've been fired by tweet is not exactly, you know, reassuring in terms of the conduct of the government.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

VAUSE: And, Michael, this chaos comes with a cost especially when it is cabinet secretary, because there needs to be an approval for replacement. They need to get the staff. You have these departments, which are left essentially idle for long stretches at a time.

GENOVESE: And it takes a while to get someone through the confirmation process. And if you keep having shuffling chairs in the White House and cabinet, you're just going to go through hearings and hearings and hearings in the Senate. But Donald Trump -- Donald Trump thrives on chaos. Most people who work for him don't.

And so, what you get is a completely dysfunctional White House. And it's evident in the kinds of the problems that we see. The president says there is no problem, everything is fine. But we can see the problems. It's just so obvious. And he just has trouble governing.

VAUSE: This is why people say nothing gets done in Washington. Case in point with this in is the high-level delegation from South Korea, apparently heading to Washington for these talks about the proposed meeting between President Trump and Kim Jong-un.

Let's go to Paula Hancocks now. She is live in Seoul. So, Paula, the Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, he is gone. It's not really known when Pompeo will take over, his replacement. So, exactly, who will the South Koreans be talking to and is there any point?

PAULA HANCOCKS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, it's a good question, John. I mean, this is the foreign minister of South Korea, who is on a plane right now heading to Washington, Kang Kyung-wha. She was supposed to leave today. But yesterday, there was this flurry of meetings trying to figure out whether or not she should still go because of course, it was the Secretary of State that has just been fired Rex Tillerson, she was supposed to meet.

So, she will meeting with the Deputy Secretary of State, John Sullivan, because clearly, Mike Pompeo hasn't been confirmed yet as Secretary of State. But the foreign minister was stopped at the airport here. She was asked these questions why go, is there any point in going. She pointed out that they can't lose the momentum they've built up ahead of this North-South Korean meeting between Moon Jae-in and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un.

And to be fair, they don't have the luxury of waiting until Mike Pompeo is or isn't confirmed as Secretary of State because it's just a matter of weeks away before the North Korean and the South Korean leader meet. It's incredibly historic and important. And it is ahead potentially of the Kim Jong-un and Donald Trump meeting. So they really don't have the luxury of waiting until all the people are in position.

She was also asked as well, the foreign minister about what it's difficult as there is no Secretary of State. And she said it's not an individual that moves an individual's leadership is important, it's an organization that moves. So the foreign minister here is really trying to put a good spin on it clearly, as she is heading to Washington. But quite frankly, they can't wait. They have to have these meetings ahead of these summits. John.

VAUSE: Yes. But maybe that organization is understaffed. No one manning the position is also a problem. Paula, thank you. Paula Hancocks there live from Seoul.

[02:25:05] I just want to get back to our panel here, because looking closely at the cabinet -- because, you know, this is cabinet, which has been plagued with a lot of scandal and controversy. If you remember the HUD Secretary Ben Carson and the $30,000 dining room setting. Last month, a spokesperson for the housing department insisted in an email Mrs. Carson and the Secretary had no awareness that the table was being purchased. OK.

Now, according to an internal staff email, which surfaced and dated August of last year, which has now surfaced, this is what it reads. I believe Allison (ph) has print out of the furniture the Secretary and Mrs. Carson picked out. I think this is a very reasonable price and the funds are available.

So we went back to that same spokesperson from the housing department. We got this email reply. When presented with options by professional staff, Mrs. Carson participated in the selection of specific styles. Secretary Carson also said last month he was surprised by the cost of this dining room setting, and that's why he cancelled the order. He had no idea that it had been bought, and that kind of stuff.

In the scheme of things, it's small beer, right. But, you know, it's a lie. And it's the stuff that voters care about.

LEVINSON: It is so pathetic because there is so many important things that HUD has to do.

VAUSE: Yes.

LEVINSON: And there are so many important things that every cabinet member has to do. Instead, what we are talking about is their terrible judgment in spending extravagantly when it comes to furniture. And worse, they would lie about it.

I mean, if we have ever learned anything from American politics, it should be that it's always the lie. It is always the cover-up that will get you. And in this case it's Ben Carson, as like Donald Trump isn't bragging about the lie, but it's -- I mean, it's just -- it's silly season to the extent that there are so many unbelievably pressing issues. And now, we are talking about lying about furniture.

VAUSE: When did he know -- when did he know that the dining set cost 31 grand?

LEVINSON: Yeah.

VAUSE: It's ridiculous.

I want to go to Stormy Daniels and what could be troubling news for the president. And it came from the lawyer for Stormy Daniels. Listen to this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Have more women come to you?

MICHAEL AVENATTI, STORMY DANIELS' LAWYER: Yes.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: How many?

AVENATTI: I'm not going to answer that.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Dozens?

AVENATTI: Not a dozen.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Not a dozen, more than five?

AVENATTI: I'm not going to answer that. (LAUGHTER)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Somewhere between five and a dozen or more women. We look forward to making you regular here.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

VAUSE: OK. Michael, so somewhere five and a dozen women have contacted the lawyer of Stormy Daniels about President Trump. That would not be a surprise given the track record of Donald Trump. But it would be a big problem.

GENOVESE: Well, you know, there are so many women coming forward and it has gotten no traction. For some reason, the Stormy Daniels' story has legs and it is not going away. And it seems like every day, a new little wrinkle. Today, we now know that the Trump organization itself was much more heavily involved than they said. And I think, Jessica, you're right it's - the lie hurts, the cover-up kills.

And so, they're just making more news for themselves by lying. The strategy is very clear. Get it all out, get it out quickly, and make it your narrative. Otherwise, you're the victim. And so, the Trump administration keeps on stepping on its own feet. And they seem not to be aware of just how much damage they are doing to themselves.

VAUSE: Jessica, the White House is constantly reactive rather than -- as Michael (inaudible), but why is the Stormy Daniels' allegation resonated? Because it didn't for a while, but then suddenly, it's the -- it has become a story that people are out here interested in and are concerned about.

LEVINSON: Well, I think it's partly this. The president's lawyer paid a porn star to be quiet. If you were to utter that sentence with respect to any other president, we wouldn't have a discussion about why the story has legs.

The other thing is though there are serious legal consequences to some aspects of the story. And there is -- to me, the most interesting part is actually the issue of her -- of Trump's lawyer paying Stormy Daniels and how he got the money, how closely affiliated he was with President Trump at the time, whether President Trump knew, whether there was a campaign finance violation, and how far the suit will go.

Because as we all know, the suit isn't really about the cause of action itself. It's about can we depose the president and get additional information from him? So you know, again, any other scenario, president's lawyer pays off porn star, we don't have to talk about why that's a story.

VAUSE: Yeah. This administration, apparently we do. Yes, it would be interesting, if in fact the deposition about an extra-marital affair which brings about, you know, legal trouble for a president.

LEVINSON: Paula Jones.

VAUSE: Yeah, it has happened before. Jessica and Michael, thank you so much. Good to see you both.

Well, in California, resistance to the Trump administration has gone beyond legal challenges and protests. When we come back, an exclusive report on the underground network being built to help undocumented immigrants targeted for deportation by federal officials.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[02:32:27] VAUSE: Welcome back everybody. You're watching CNN NEWSROOM live from Los Angeles. I'm John Vause with the headlines this hour. The U.K. has ordered the expulsion of 23 Russian diplomats over the poisoning of a former Russian double agent and his daughter. The U.S. is standing by Britain publicly blaming Moscow for the attack. Russia denies any involvement and calls the U.K.'s measures unacceptable.

And desperate exodus from the Kurdish held City of Afrin in Northern Syria, residents are trying to get out as Turkish forces move in. The Turkish military says it has the city completely surrounded. Earlier, Turkish president said he expected Afrin to fall soon but his office clarified that statements saying he meant the city would be encircled not captured.

Donald Trump has pick cable TV host Larry Kudlow to be his next top economic adviser to replace Gary Cohn who resigned over the president's tariff of steel and aluminum tariffs. Kudlow has also spoken out against those tariffs.

And a Florida judge entered a not guilty plea for the 19-year-old charged in the massacre at Parkland High School. Nikolas Cruz remained silent during the hearing. He has confessed to the shooting a month ago which killed 17 people. Prosecutors are seeking the death penalty.

Well now, to the underground operation helping undocumented immigrants target the by the Trump Administration. Across Southern California, religiously are building a network of safe houses to shelter hundreds or maybe thousands of people who otherwise would be rounded up and deported by immigration officials. Kyung Lah has this exclusive report.

KYUNG LAH, CNN SENIOR NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: We can't show you where we are or who lives behind this door because the family in this apartment in California is on the run from Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Since my mom stayed here and isn't safe then we had to just pack everything up, everything else just left behind.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

LAH: Off the grid since last year say these two girls both citizens born in the U.S both in high school. ICE deported their father for illegally crossing the border. Their mother overstayed a tourist visa and is also undocumented. The girl's fear, their mother will be next.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

LAH: What happened since then when you had to pack up and leave?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We became homeless for five months. We moved schools. We went somewhere else because we had to leave the city. We were sleeping from house to house anywhere we could find.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

LAH: Then they heard about an interfaith network of religious groups pledging to resist Trump's immigration policy by hiding them in safe houses.

[02:35:06] Even in spare rooms of congregates homes. The network estimates dozens are being hidden at any one time. It connected the family to this Jewish woman.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I grew up in the time when the holocaust was not so far behind me.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

LAH: She signed for the apartment, a cover for the family she is protecting.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

LAH: Do you hear the echoes of history here?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: A hundred percent. I think there's a lot strong feeling in the Jewish community we cannot let this happen. It's our responsibility -- if what was done to us cannot happen to other people.

LAH: This is technically aiding and abetting somebody who is here undocumented.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I don't see it that way. I see it as taking a step to help someone who is in need to help a family and need of support.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It's just a big sigh of relief says the girl's mother. What happens to me doesn't matter. Everything I'm doing here is for my girls.

LAH: How would you describe the fear that you carry?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I put a smile in my face every day. But deep down, I'm hurt and still hurting.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I want to say a couple of things.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

LAH: Reverend Zach Hoover leads the interfaith network, 2,000 congregations of various faiths have been trained across the country, the great majority her in California where Reverend Hoover says the network of sanctuary and safe houses remains most active.

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LAH: The federal government might listen to all of this and say, you're violating the law.

ZACH HOOVER, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, LA VOICE: Yes. I'm not going to lie. That makes me very nervous and there's a part of me that, you know, sitting her talking to you I think - gosh, should I be having this conversation? But the truth is our folks are facing much greater fear every day. You know, as we sit here in this church, I am just reminded a God that I worship and that guides my life is one who does not always bless every human law. I am convicted that we are doing exactly what we should be doing.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

LAH: The girls have both been accepted to separate colleges in the fall a family united for as long as they can be.

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HOOVER: We're going to do everything in our power to try to convince members of Congress not to support a deportation machine that's ripping families apart, you know, and there's a part of me that thinks a different way is possible. But most of the time I'm preparing for this to get worse.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

LAH: In a statement to CNN, ICE says, "Knowingly harboring an alien is a federal crime." The statement continues, "Current ICE policy directs agency personnel to avoid conducting enforcement activities at sensitive locations including places of worship." A DOJ guidelines do say that harboring is punishable up to five years in prison. But John, we're talking about a very nuanced situation here. We're talking about a movement led by clergy, and congregants, and also homes that ICE needs a warrant in order to enter. John?

VAUSE: Kyung Lah with that exclusive report. Well, across the U.S. and by the thousands students walked out of their classrooms and delivered a powerful demand for gun control. Also, ahead it hasn't exactly been the friendly skies lately for dogs flying United. One didn't survive the flight. Another ended up in in the wrong country and the airline is dealing with the backlash.

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[02:40:29] VAUSE: A month to the day after the most recent U.S. school mass shooting and thousands of students across the country walked out of their classrooms. They honor the 17 victims of the Parkland, Florida massacre and warned lawmakers to ignore their demands with gun control at their peril. Scott McLean reports.

SCOTT MCLEAN, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: What started in Florida on display today in schools across the country. Students in New York showing solidarity with students in Parkland, Florida. In Washington, students most not old enough to vote sending a clear message to the White House. And demanding action from lawmakers.

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UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: But Parkland showed us is that this could happen in anyone of our schools. And we as students can't take this anymore.

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MCLEAN: Some messages could only be seen from the air. A heart in Green Mills, Pennsylvania. In Portland, Oregon, a peace sign. And in Los Angeles County, California, the word enough. The walkouts lasted 17 minutes for the 17 victims in Parkland. In St. Louis, 17 empty chairs another sing of those lost. Students at Columbine High School who weren't even born when 13 were killed inside of their school still feel the impact 19 years later.

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ABIGAIL ORTON, STUDENT, COLUMBINE HIGH SCHOOL: Every time I walk into a new classroom, first thing I do at any year is to find the best place to hide in the door. In the case of an accident, it's just a self-conscious reaction in any doorway I walk through that. It's the first thing going through my mind just in case what if.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MCLEAN: These elementary students had a message in song. Scott McLean, CNN Jefferson County, Colorado.

VAUSE: Not one but two P.R. nightmare for are United Airlines this week both involving dogs. United has apologized for the death of a French bulldog after a flight attendant told the family to place the pet in the overhead bin. But the dog did not survive the three hour flight from Texas to New York. On landing, he was found dead. United is taking full responsibility calling it a tragic accident because pets should never actually be placed in overhead bins. United also taking heat for flying two dogs to the wrong cities, in fact the wrong country.

A German Shepherd bound for Kansas wound up in Japan. A Great Dane who wanted to go to Japan wound up in Kansas. The owner of the German Shepherd whose name is Irgo hope says there was no food or water during this 16-hour flight from Denver. United again apologizing for the mixed up and has made arrangements for Irgo to head back to Kansas first class with a human friend all the way. Thank you for watching CNN NEWSROOM live from Los Angeles. I'm John Vause. Stay tune with us. World Sport is up next. You're watching CNN.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK) [02:45:26] PATRICK SNELL, CNN SPORTS ANCHOR: Hi there, thanks for joining us and welcome to CNN WORLD SPORT, today. As we start off with the race to replace in the European Champion's League quarter- final stage. Here's a Spanish powerhouse, Barcelona faced Premier League Chelsea on what as it turned out to the -- to be a really historical night for Barcelona's Argentine superstar Lionel Messi.

Not for the first time, Messi was the difference, his first goal of the night timed at just 2:08 in the quickest goal of his career. As well, though Thibaut Courtois, has done the beginning better there. The South American had a hand in everything, setting up Ousmane Dembele, he belted home for his team's second goal of the night. Then, that would come the moment that Messi was waiting for. His 100th Champion League goad coming in his 123rd match. Barca throws to the quarterfinals for a record 11th straight season for the club, a resounding 4-1 aggregate victory.

Messi, the difference, not for the first time. Are you banking on Bayern to go all the way? They might -- you know, until the (INAUDIBLE) head coach, Jupp Heynckes. Whoever saw the 2013 triumph in what was been? Supposedly, his last season of the club, his back at the helm low as to the Bayern squatted aside Turkey's Besiktas, in this round the 16.

Second is Thiago is going his teams 100th goal of the season in all competitions, and it was more to come because before the end, Sandro Wagner, make it 3-1 on the night, a resounding 8-1 over the two legs.

Right, well, now, we know the quarter-finalists, remember the draw for the last eight actually takes place this coming Friday. Manchester City, (INAUDIBLE), looking to win this tournament for the very first time. All we got Liverpool, Barcelona, and Bayern Munich, as well. Those club's all going for a sixth title. Real Madrid looking to win it for third straight season, (INAUDIBLE) he done, and a 13th time overall.

In fact, Juventus are hitting form are just the right time in the league, as well. Their head coach Massimiliano Allegri, at them, speaking right now, as they ease past Atlanta and City on Wednesday, to extend their league to top examine the first. Before Blaise Matuidi put the icing on the cake. This is now a 12th straight league victory for the club looking to win the title for a -- you believe this, a 7th straight season.

By the way, Higuain has now scored eight goals in 10 serial games against Atalanta, talk about one feared opponent. As we check the Italian standing there, look, they make really nice reading if you're a fan of Juventus. The bianconeri, now four points clear of second place, Napoli. The Napoli's since have led for March of this current campaign.

Well, let's switch to focus now onto the Europa League where another Italian team, Milan went on action on Thursday. But they have it all to do against Arsenal who are seemingly growing in confidence right now and to Arsene Wenger. The Frenchman has been feeling heat in recent weeks, but the Gunners won the first leg at the San Siro 2-0 last week. It follow that up with a league win at the weekend, and they're now favorites to reach the quarterfinals. And don't forget just how significant winning this tournament actually is. It gets you direct entry into the following season's Champion's League.

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ARSENE WENGER, MANAGER, ARSENAL FOOTBALL CLUB: You never compare, you know, your right or want to be in the Champion's League. And the Europa League, if you look at the team, so -- there have you seen it's very strong. We played Milan to have a chance to qualify for the quarter-final, you know, Milan as well. You look who is in there, Milan Dortmund, Atletico Madrid, you have (INAUDIBLE) all the French teams, some good French teams. You have many good teams in there, and this competition is maybe we seeing that of a higher level than ever.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SNELL: Plenty of Europa League action on Thursday. Some of the standout fixes including Atletico Madrid, they'll take a 3-0 advantage over Lokomotiv Moscow into the second game. The 1997 Champions League winner, Borussia Dortmund, the down two goals to one as they travel to F.C. Salzburg, where R.B. Leipzig have a 2-1 lead over Zenit, Saint Petersburg.

Well, it really has been quite the journey for R.B. Leipzig, very mine as a club. They're not even nine years old yet. Would you believe in their debut season in the Bundesliga, last season, they impressively finish as runners-up to buy a Unicom paper that it seems to be the ultimate Cinderella story. So, why in fact, is that not actually the case for some at least our partners at COPA90 with more.

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SNELL: 2009, Austrian energy drink manufactures Red Bull, bought the license of SSV Markranstadt.

[02:49:59] RAPHAEL HONIGSTEIN, GERMAN FOOTBALL EXPERT: Red Bull, were looking for a football club in Germany that it could get involved. But it's not easy to buy a clubs. In fact, the Bundesliga regulations don't allow. So, what they did to is effectively take over fifth division team, (INAUDIBLE) more site, who really knows who's going to miss. Call themselves (INAUDIBLE), not Red Bull because that's not allowed either.

R.B. saw that there was a gap there, and saw that people were starved in the east for first division football. They understood that thing that if they were going built a club, people would actually like the fact that Leipzig as City is that on the map.

SNELL: They rapidly rose through the German Leagues. By doing so, Red Bull create the most (INAUDIBLE) and became many football fan's number one enemy.

HONIGSTEIN: I think, part of reason that people dislike them is that because there -- she's smart. And actually, she's very, very strategic, and they do things with a long-term vision. SNELL: A lot of criticism centers around how they managed to get around the German ownership model, the 50 plus one rule.

HONIGSTEIN: Well, the 50 plus one rule, stipulates that half the shares in terms of shares with voting rights plus one, either majority of the club needs to be controlled by the members. Leipzig place they have a high handful of members that control the club. In order to be a member, you have to pay a lot of money, not everyone can join. Even if to you do join, you might have to evolve.

SNELL: However, if you don't past all the hatred and negativity there actually quite a few positives.

HONIGSTEIN: The root of many (INAUDIBLE) have five biggest established star, but they have a poll of buying young key players, ideally to go 24. I have long story about keep them accept, and really upset, and really sad when young players have to leave the club.

SNELL: With the newly form club, still can be an opportunity for the fans to create their own fan culture.

HONIGSTEIN: I went to the first game, in the -- in the (INAUDIBLE). I think the main point to many people is that it became the chance or the opportunity to get in a new fan scene, and so, you have the opportunity to get some new things together.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And especially with the Red Aces, we work quietly mighty at the beginning because there was no other group.

HONIGSTEIN: I think, on the (INAUDIBLE) 14 ever it's hard to say that this team is not adding a lot, but many people cannot see past that sort of original scene of how they were set up. You have to get used to them because (INAUDIBLE) are here to stay. So, if they can keep up the same momentum, I'm not sure because success brings us own problems. But, and, of course, something else which the pretty powerful story with all the pros and all the cons.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

SNELL: Fascinating story, too. All right, will the first men's golf major of the year just around the corners? Sergio Garcia bids for back to back titles. We'll tell you why though that's likely to be the last thing on his (INAUDIBLE) mind right now.

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SNELL: Welcome back now. Last week, on CNN WORLD SPORT, we brought you out compelling one on one chat with soon to be retired serving legend, Mick Fanning. The popular as he took us to a whole range of emotions as a long and glittering career near she's in.

Fanning, a three-time world champ has just two events to go before he calls it quick seal. But the ultimate event, the quick sealed approach this weekend -- his own backyard on the Ozzy Gold Coast. Ozzy Gold Coast has ended earlier than he hopes though, after he crash out in the third round. Although, he did advance further than he done in the previous two years. Just one more event for him to go before and the last year's career comes to an end.

Well, hard to imagine even saying this just a few short weeks ago, but Tiger Woods goes into this week's Arnold Palmer Invitational, (INAUDIBLE) say it as one of the tournament favorite. (INAUDIBLE) is tie for second place heroics last week and just his fourth star to the end. You know, to even get to this pointers, a little shorter miraculous, afterward, he's been through in recent years, on and off to golf course. Four knee surgeries, four back procedures yet, despite, all of that, you'll know how this event in Orlando, really does historically at least, bring out the best in him. He's got eight previous victories at Bay Hill. As the 14-time major winner continues to fine-tune his game and of next month's Masters.

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[02:56:11] TIGER WOODS, PROFESSIONAL GOLFER, FORMER PGA PLAYER OF THE YEAR: Just keep getting better. Just keep making incremental improvements and I think I've done that. Each and every week I've learned from what I've done, and more importantly, I'm learning my body. I'm learning how I can swing it and not swing it.

My recovery -- you know, these are all things that are new. And so. I'm still learning, I'm getting a lot better at it, which is nice. And I think that you're starting to see the fruits of that now of the little tweaks I've made, and I'm excited about it.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SNELL: Tiger, looking to win The Masters for a fifth time. Our defending champ, Sergio Garcia, he is looking to make it back to back wins at Augusta National. Actually, the Spaniards got other things on his mind right now. They were like celebrating the birth of his daughter, and you'll never guess what he and wife, Angela, have called her. Sergio, taking to social media to reveal her name, Azalea Adele Garcia.

Kind of has been if a Masters ring told all, doesn't it be famed calls itself as the eye-catching flowers, many of the halls. Azalea is also the name of the 13th pope, by the way. This is why Garcia made a key spots on ripped to his first major title last April. Congratulations to the whole Garcia family. Thanks for the joining us for the entire team here in Atlanta. We'll see you again next time, stay with CNN.

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