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Information hack involving Facebook; Cambridge Analytica's Involvement on Election Meddling; Trump White House; Russia Investigation; Robert Mueller Status; Koreas Tensions; A Dangerous Precedent; Korean Peace Talks; Cambridge Analytica Suspends CEO Over FaceboOK Scandal; Is Serena Being Punished For Pregnancy?; Federer Kyrgios Launch 2nd Laver Cup In Chicago; Cavaliers Coach Steps Away For Health Reason. Aired 2-3aET

Aired March 21, 2018 - 02:00   ET

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


[02:00:01] JOHN VAUSE, CNN, HOST: -- U.S. President went ahead and congratulated the Russian President on his alleged win. And five explosions in 19 days, residents in Austin, Texas are terrified and it looks like the serial bomber is changing tactics. Thank you for being with us, now into the third hour of Newsroom L.A.

Well, the scandal involving Facebook and the data firm accused of misusing millions of users' personal information continues to grow with the CEO of Cambridge Analytica suspended pending an investigation. And there are more questions about the firm's ties to the Trump Presidential campaign and Russia. Tom Foreman begins our coverage.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TOM FOREMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Even as Team Trump suggests Cambridge Analytica had little to do with the big election win, stunning new video out of British TV's Channel 4 shows Cambridge CEO Alexander Nix telling a different story.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Have you met Mr. Trump.

ALEXANDER NIX, CAMBRIDGE ANALYTICA CEO: Many times.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You have.

NIX: We did all the research, all the data, all the analytics. the television campaign. We ran all the digital campaign, the television campaign. And our data informed him on the strategy.

FOREMAN: Cambridge Analytica had powerful connections to candidate Trump, including one time top adviser Steve Bannon and billionaire donor Robert Mercer, until Presidential Son-in-Law Jared Kushner and consultant Brad Parscale brought in the company now which is now accused of utilizing data from 15 million Facebook users without permission.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Facebook was how Donald Trump was going to win.

FOREMAN: Cambridge says the data has now been deleted and they're working with Facebook on the issue. But questions are also swirling about a possible link to Russian meddling. In July 2016, that Cambridge CEO reached out to Julian Assange of Wikileaks, seeking access to emails from Hillary Clinton's private server. There is no evidence Wikileaks had such information.

But Wikileaks was releasing emails from the computers of other Democrats, which authorities say were hacked by Russians. The emails bedeviled the Clinton campaign, and another Trump adviser Roger Stone weighed in.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I actually have communicated with Assange.

FOREMAN: He also directly messaged a Russian hacker. He says he did nothing wrong, and despite another claim that Cambridge had ties to a Russian oil company, the campaign insists there were never any links to Russia.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Are you comfortable that the Trump campaign through the Cambridge Analytica had a connection to Wikileaks?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: They did have a connection to Wikileaks.

FOREMAN: Cambridge Analytica says the comments by the CEO do not represent the values or operations of the firm, and his suspension reflects the seriousness with which we view this violation. And the company told that British channel it has never claimed it won the election for President Trump. They have also launched an internal investigation into the matter, Tom Foreman, CNN Washington.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

VAUSE: Hemu Nigam is an internet security analyst. He joins us now. Hemu, thanks for being with us. You know we have just heard about the Cambridge Analytica part in all of this. But it seems the most consequential questions here are for Facebook. And there was an editorial in the Financial Times breaking it down to these four questions.

Why did Facebook take so little action when the data leak was discovered? Who is accountable for the leak? Why does Facebook accept political advertisements at all? Should not everyone who cares about civil society simply quit Facebook? And then throughout all of this, CEO Mark Zuckerberg has gone MIA, not a peep.

HEMU NIGAM, CENTER FOR JUSTICE ONLINE, CO-FOUNDER: I think what's really going on here, and I do think we need to put it in perspective and somewhat put it on the rest of us out here in the community who are up in arms about what happened, because at the end of the day, for years and I would say for more than 10 years social media companies have been collecting data and that's why they're free.

They collect the data and then they sell it to people who then use that for different purposes. In their policies, they define certain roles and certain things that you are allowed to do and not allowed to do. So the fact that everyone is so shocked in itself ought to be a little bit shocking. But that doesn't mean the company's reaction isn't what others are going to question on how they acted when they did find out that something was wrong.

VAUSE: Look, for social media companies, the uses are the product. And the advertisers are the customers. But look, there has been no word from Mark Zuckerberg. He is the high-profile CEO of Facebook under fire. There has been a parade of lesser known Facebook executives trying to defend the company and it has been totally ineffective.

NIGAM: Well, I think what's partly going on right now is whenever Congress says you're coming to me and you're going to sit before this committee and talk to United States, which is actually happening right now, all hands on deck in getting Mr. Zuckerberg prepared for that meeting.

[02:05:00] So I am sure he is doing that. The general counsel I think held some kind of emergency meeting with employees today. And I am sure that would have been to talk about what are the legal ramifications, the legal issues, have they done something wrong legally? What's going on in that legal environment? So I think there's a lot of weighing going on here between different constituents, one is Wall Street.

Your stock is tumbling. What are you doing? This isn't right. Then there are consumers. What have you done with my data? This isn't right. Then there is Congress. Did you follow the things that you were supposed to do and not do? That isn't right. And now the FTC and the European Commission and U.K. Parliament, everyone is piling.

And so I think the best thing that they are doing for themselves, not for our perception of what's going on but for themselves is hunker down, get your facts straight. Figure it out and then come out and talk about it. And I think in the meantime, all of this is going to boil up and boil up and boil up, waiting for some kind of explosion.

VAUSE: Yeah. Well, there has been a long, long list of scandals for Facebook over the last couple of months and the last year or so. Last month, it was noted in the indictment of 13 Russians as part of a Mueller investigation that Facebook had been infiltrated by fake Russian accounts. Then January, changes to the company's algorithm, we're seeing this potentially leading to users getting less time on the site.

That would mean there could potentially be at least be a forward advertising revenue. They're two very different stories. But no scandal so far has affected Facebook stock like the one with Cambridge Analytica. So why is that?

NIGAM: I think part of that is that people have finally realized how social media companies work. Not from the negative perspective, just from the factual perspective. Data is collected on you when do you certain things, and spread to others. I think what's shocking to people here is that a company like -- let's assume Cambridge did this but we don't know for sure.

But let's assume they did what they are being alleged to have done. They are shocked that this is actually happening. And that's why it's affecting individuals. Why it's affecting Wall Street is if there is regulation that will limit what a company can do, like a social media company in terms of selling data, that is going to have a direct consequential impact on revenue.

That means all the social media companies are going to get affected. This is not just a Facebook issue. This is actually going to boil into a social media industry impact and a direct one because it's all tied to can you sell data? How much can you sell it? How do you control it once you sold it? What happens to the people who buy it? And frankly, are they going to be regulating the people who buy it, and enforce the rules much harsher.

And I think that's what the FTC is about to look at right now.

VAUSE: For social media users it's a case of I can't believe there is gambling going on here. Hemu, good to see you, thank you so much.

NIGAM: You too, John.

VAUSE: So Trump is under fire after he congratulated the Russian President Vladimir Putin on his re-election. The U.S. President talked about the phone call during an Oval Office meeting with a Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia. Critics and election monitors say the Russian vote was neither free nor fair. The White House dodged questions about the call, saying the U.S. does not get to dictate how other countries operate. President Trump had an additional surprise.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DONALD TRUMP, UNITED STATES PRESIDENT: I had a call with President Putin and congratulated him on the victory, his electoral victory. The call had to do also with the fact that we will probably get together in the not-so distant future so that we can discuss arms. We could discuss the arms race.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

VAUSE: Well, joining me here in Los Angeles, Democratic Strategist Caroline Heldman, Republican Strategist Charles Moran, and CNN's Senior Political Analyst Ron Brownstein, and in Manchester, New Hampshire, Attorney and Professor Seth Abramson. We're going to ask you to sit tight, Seth, for a minute while we look into this Russia phone call and Donald Trump and Vladimir Putin.

What seems to be making this phone call even more extraordinary? So reporting we have from the Washington Post, President Trump did not follow specific warnings from his national security advisers when he congratulated the Russian President Vladimir Putin Tuesday on his re- election, including a section in his briefing materials in all capital letters stating do not congratulate, according to official who may have made the call.

Ron, the Post does point out that the National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster did not mention the issue when he spoke with the President before that conversation with Putin. But still, it was written down. It was there. Did he need to be reminded about that in the first place?

RON BROWNSTEIN, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: Open question. What's more remarkable, the President ignored the all caps instructions or the all cap instructions ended up in the Washington Post two or three hours after the call? I mean it's -- both things, both facts are statements about how this White House is operating or not operating. Clearly, the fact it was released to the press so fast just underscores the intense divisions within the White House. Leaks occurs when one side in the internal debate feels they're not being heard or being trampled on.

[02:10:00] And second, it underscores, that hey, what we're seeing increasingly over the last couple of weeks where the President feels un-tethered and feels more free to ignore advice from the experts and the senior officials around him. And both of those, either of those would be a volatile, both of them together are downright combustible.

VAUSE: OK. Well, Senator John McCain, a Republican, he may be battling brain cancer but he's still actually has a spine. He tweeted this out. An American President does not lead the free world by congratulating dictators on winning sham elections. And by doing so with Vladimir Putin, President Trump insulted every Russian citizen who was denied the right to vote in a free and fair election, Charles, fair point?

CHARLES MORAN, REPUBLICAN STRATEGIST: I mean I think at the end of the day President Trump was making an acknowledgement of the fact that the international community is going to recognize Vladimir Putin. For plenty of Democrats across this country that were congratulating Hillary Clinton winning a sham primary against Bernie Sanders...

(CROSSTALK)

MORAN: But again, the international community is going to recognize Vladimir Putin. And again, the President does - unlike...

(CROSSTALK)

BROWNSTEIN: Did you just compare the Democratic primary to the Russian...

(CROSSTALK)

MORAN: Actually quite seriously, if you look at...

(CROSSTALK)

BROWNSTEIN: So you think it was a comparable level of Democratic openness and Russia as there was.

MORAN: A Democratic openness in the Democratic primary in America, absolutely not, the leader of the party absolutely working to undermine a peer.

(CROSSTALK)

CAROLINE HELDMAN, DEMOCRATIC STRATEGIST: In fact the Republicans should have done more of that during the primary.

(CROSSTALK)

MORAN: John McCain is not the leader of the United States of America. President Trump is. He has the ability and the right to call and acknowledge what the international community is going to do, which is recognize Vladimir Putin. And again, he said -- right now.

(CROSSTALK)

MORAN: Last week, we were talking about weapons and Syria. Today, President Trump is using this opportunity to try to address one of the biggest problems that Russia has, which is weapon sales in Syria.

VAUSE: Well, I tell you what they are also not addressing, according to the Washington Post. Trump also chose not to heed talking points that were made, instructing him to condemn Putin about the recent poisoning of a former Russian spy in the United Kingdom with a powerful nerve agent, a case that both the British and U.S. governments have blamed on Moscow.

And Caroline, the President also did not raise the issue of Russian interference in the U.S. election in 2016. All in all, it was a pretty good call for Vladimir Putin.

HELDMAN: Right. So he does not acknowledge that five days earlier the international community, including the United States condemned Russia, the Russian regime for the murder of those two spies, for violation of international law in addition to killing people. He did not acknowledge that he meddled in the election.

He didn't acknowledge what's happening with the power grid. I mean what happened in a nutshell is Donald Trump called up the person who meddled in our elections to congratulate him on his sham election. A ludicrous day in the White House regardless of whether we want to try to compare apple and oranges in the Democratic primary, there is no comparing it to Russia, where they do not have free and fair elections in order to even have the pretense of such.

VAUSE: OK. Well, there are growing fears that the President might fire the Special Counsel Robert Mueller and try and close down the investigation into Russian interference in the leaks to the Trump campaign. The White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders went out of her way to reassure everybody that won't happen.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SARAH SANDERS, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: The White House yet again confirms that the President is not considering or discussing the firing of Special Counsel Robert Mueller.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

VAUSE: The enthusiasm was palpable. Ron, is there any point in giving any credence, any value to what Sarah Sanders said. BROWNSTEIN: Well, no in the sense that no one knows what Donald Trump

is going to do between now and November, including probably President Trump in terms of Robert Mueller. The one thing that you can say is that congressional Republicans have chosen to, in essence drop the -- drop the shield that they were holding. They've raised some rhetorical concerns about this possibility, and Lindsey Graham in particular has been strong.

But in terms of actual practical action, Senate Majority Leader McConnell and House Speaker Ryan repeatedly saying they see no need for legislation to protect Robert Mueller. I think it's the big signal that they are sending to President Trump. And I think he is someone who does read people. And I think he is reaching the conclusion that if he did this, they would not object at a nuclear level.

They would find a way to accept it. It is an enormous risk for Republicans in the midterm elections. In the last CNN poll, 61 percent of Americans said it was a serious threat that had to be investigated. Only a third said it was an attempt to undermine this President. And that other 61 percent -- 80 percent are now saying that they plan to vote Democrat for Congress.

And what congressional Republicans are doing, I think, is basically sending a signal to any voters who are ambivalent or who aren't uneasy about Trump that they are not going to constrain him in any meaningful way.

VAUSE: One big set back because, Seth, long time Trump critic, Republican Senator Jeff Flake, he tweeted this out. We are begging the President not to fire the Special Counsel. Don't create a constitutional crisis. Congress cannot preempt such a firing. Our only constitutional remedy is after the fact through impeachment. No one wants that outcome. Mr. President, please don't go there.

[02:15:00] Would this actually be a constitutional crisis or would it only be a constitutional crisis if Mueller was fired and then the Republicans did nothing about it?

SETH ABRAMSON, ATTORNEY AND PROFESSOR: I think that it would be a constitutional crisis. I do think we do need to hear much more from Republicans suggesting that there would be consequences if Donald Trump fired Bob Mueller. And there is reason to think that he might do so. First of all, let's remember, that he ordered White House Lawyer Don McGahn to fire Bob Mueller. And the only reason that Bob Mueller did not get fired at that point is that Don McGahn refused.

So let's also remember that two sources told the New York Times that it was Donald Trump, who just two days old told his attorney John Dowd to publicly call for the end of the Mueller probe, which would mean the firing of Bob Mueller. And then finally, let's remember that the newest addition to Donald Trump's legal team, Joe diGenova has previously called for the firing of Jim Comey, and in fact, far more than the firing, possibly even a prosecution of Jim Comey.

So all signs point towards Donald Trump looking to fire Bob Mueller, and I do think that if he attempts to do so, it will be the same or worse even as the Saturday Night Massacre. And if Republicans don't act, Americans will be asking whether the rule of law survives in America.

VAUSE: Carol, is there a problem here for the President in the sense that he goes to his club in Florida, he deals -- you know he mixes with you know the very wealthy, his supporters. He goes to the rallies and he gets the chants and the love and the adoration of that 30 to 40 percent of the population who supports him.

And he is not listening to his advisers on this, and he is being told by this bubble that it's witch hunt. And he genuinely believes there is nothing to this.

HELDMAN: I'm sure he does, although he probably is also very afraid. I think he is in a tough place where if he fires Bob Mueller he will be impeached. I don't think he will be removed in the Senate. But I do think he will be impeached. If he doesn't fire Bob Mueller, I think he will also be impeached when the findings of the investigation come forth.

So either way, I think it's a safer bet to not impeach or to not fire Bob Mueller. But at the end of the day, again, I don't think the Republicans -- they have said that they're going to stop him at various points. He has done things that I think many -- time and time again reached the point of high crimes and misdemeanors, which is actually a very loose standard.

But they haven't acted. So my guess is that -- they won't actually remove him but it would be better if he did not remove Bob Mueller for his own sake.

(CROSSTALK)

VAUSE: How will Republicans react?

MORAN: I don't think we're going to get to a point where that's going to be an issue. The President already said he's not going to remove or stop the Mueller investigation. The press secretary today said that the investigation will continue and that the -- that Mr. Mueller will still continue to act in this role.

This constant obsession that the news media and the Democratic Party has, continuing to drop the I word, pulling consistently shows that continued repetition of the word impeachment when there is no basis and no evidence to show that we are even going to get there. Again, this obsession is not related. It ain't part of reality whatsoever.

(CROSSTALK)

MORAN: There is no reality.

BROWNSTEIN: Except the President tweeted over the weekend that this is a witch hunt and attacking the Special Counsel.

(CROSSTALK) MORAN: You can attack the Special Counsel. You can attack the reasons for the investigation. But the investigation is still going to happen, nonetheless.

(CROSSTALK)

HELDMAN: How many people has Sarah Sanders said won't be fired and then fired within a week or two.

MORAN: Sarah Sanders has not in any circumstance has said within a week or two that any of these people are going to be fired.

(CROSSTALK)

HELDMAN: She is constantly saying that their positions are protected, which is now become a sure sign.

(CROSSTALK)

MORAN: -- Into the administration so on month three saying that somebody is not relieved of their duties a year later, totally impossible.

VAUSE: OK. Going to move on to the other pressing legal issues that the President is facing, a trifecta of sex, scandal, lawsuits, there is the Stormy Daniels, there is Carol McDougal, Summer Zervos. I want to hear from Seth on this. Because it seems the most serious of these three could in fact be the one with Summer Zervos.

She claims she was sexually assaulted by Donald Trump when he was host of Apprentice. A New York court on Tuesday ruled that her defamation case can in fact go ahead, citing that President Clinton versus Paula Jones issue. So explain the basis there.

ABRAMSON: Well, this is situation -- let us remember in which at least 19 women have made allegations against Donald Trump, made them prior to the election, in some cases, maters of sexual harassment. In other cases, sexual assault, and Summer Zervos is one of those. There are many others. We know now that this suit will proceed.

There was some question about whether that would be allowed. But based upon the Clinton precedent, it will be allowed to go forward. And we also now have Karen McDougal who is seeking to follow in Stormy Daniels' path and also bring forward their private liaison that she had signed apparently and then liaised to not talk about.

And so it looks like in the coming months, Donald Trump may be constantly faced with public disclosures about private liaisons. And I personally think that the more serious one is the Stormy Daniels case because you have a situation here wherein it appears that the President was successfully blackmailed for money over a sexual liaison, which of course, is one of the central allegations of the Steele dossier -- that the Kremlin has been doing that over matters that have occurred in Moscow in November 2015.

[02:20:05] VAUSE: Very quickly, Seth because lawyers for Summer Zervos had subpoenaed Trump campaign documents dealing with allegations from any woman who claimed that she had been inappropriately touched or dealt with by Donald Trump. What are the chances they will get those documents and what are the implications if they do.

ABRAMSON: I think that there is a chance that this will open the door to substantial discovery and disclosures regarding other women. I can't say that I know all the details of all these other he allegations. I do know that Steve Bannon said was quoted in Fire and Fury, and has been burned since then that he said that attorney Marc Kasowitz and other attorneys of Donald Trump have over the years, signed NDA's or somehow hushed up dozens or perhaps even scores or more of women who had relationships with Donald Trump.

We don't know if that's true or not. But if it is, this lawsuit by Summer Zervos could open the door to so many more disclosures than we even know about at this point. And this is already a distracted President and a distracted presidency. This would exacerbate that.

VAUSE: To your point, sorry, Ron.

BROWNSTEIN: And the strange side board category, in one of the articles today about the decision who praised the New York decision, George Conway, the husband of Kelly Anne Conway. So it was correctly decided based on Paula Jones. And look, I mean there are obviously all sorts of legal vulnerabilities here. There is an overriding political question as well.

You know I've felt at times the gender gap is overrated as a factor in American politics and other things matter more, marital status and education. But in this election, we are looking at potentially a significant gender gap. New numbers out just this week, NBC, Wall Street Journal, the best Democrats have done in the last 25 years in a congressional election among college-educated white women is 52 percent.

They have Democrats in the poll at 62 percent, among them in the generic ballot, the African-American women obviously very engaged. And these -- and that's before all of this. That's mostly on President Trump's style. You have weeks and weeks of these of kinds of revelations and numbers probably get bigger.

VAUSE: Because this Sunday, we have the interview with Stormy Daniels with Anderson Cooper on 60 minutes. Her lawyer released a photograph of Daniels taking this polygraph test a couple years ago, answering all the questions, the controversial questions in passing. We know it's not admissible. But I want to give you the last word, Charles.

Because all of this does seem that the pressure is building. It's closing in. How can you be the Commander-In-Chief, the President whilst dealing with all these other issues at the same time?

MORAN: Like you said, the words, it's not admissible. We have got lawsuits that are being filed. We've got legal challenges being addressed. When Donald Trump was a private citizen, he was not President of the United States, as opposed to President Clinton and some of the things he was going through while he was actually President of the United States.

Under any circumstances, a woman who has been sexually assaulted in any way shape or form has the right and responsibility to have her day in court. If that's the responsibility, but in this case so far, you know President Trump as an individual citizen and before he was President of the United States, even running for President has the right and responsibility to conduct himself. People voted for him knowing that he had three wives and has children with every one of them.

VAUSE: Aware of that.

MORAN: It is what it is.

VAUSE: OK. Well, they say where there are 2 there is 20. There are already 20 this case. So we'll see what happens. Seth and Ron, Charles and Caroline, thank you all so much.

Well, next here on Newsroom L.A., it wasn't the crushing international sanctions but rather the peace loving proposals of the North Koreans responsible for improving relations was Seoul and Washington. So says -- excuse me, North Korea, details when we come back.

[02:25:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)

VAUSE: Well, according to a North Korean state-run media, improving relations with the United States and South Korea is all because of their peace loving proposal and proactive measures put out by Pyongyang. This was in an op-ed which had a rare positive mention of the U.S. Let's go to Paula Hancocks now -- excuse me, Paula. Take it away. Talk about the op-ed.

PAULA HANCOCKS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Absolutely, John, yes. This was in KCNA, which is the state run media in North Korea. And it's really the first positive response we have had to the United States. And it appears to be the first time that North Korea is telling some people that there are signs of change in the relationship with the United States.

Now we hadn't up until this point heard anything publicly since the U.S. President Donald Trump had accepted that invitation to talk from the North Korean leader, Kim Jong-Un. Most people assumed because it was Kim Jong-Un was probably taken by surprise as much as the rest of the world was that there was such a speedy yes from the U.S. President.

But we are hearing in this op-ed not just a positive outlook on what could happen, mentioning of negotiations, but also slamming the U.S., the South Koreans, and the Japanese for saying that they're trying to spoil the atmosphere by suggesting that sanctions is what brought them to potential negotiations. But the North Koreans insisting that they are now self-confident. They are reassured in the position they are at this point, which is why they are potentially looking at this situation in a little -- a slightly more different fashion.

We're also hearing as well from the South Korean President Moon Jae- in. He had a meeting this morning, talking about the upcoming summit between him and the North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un. He was also suggesting that there could be a trilateral summit, so it could President Moon. It could be President Trump and the North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un at a summit in the future. So that is certainly raising some eyebrows.

But of course, up until a few months ago, no one would ever have imagined that today we would be talking about potential summits between the North Korean leader and Donald Trump. So certainly, things are progressing quite swiftly. There is a lot of diplomatic activity behind the scenes as well, lots of meetings, John.

VAUSE: It could be summit-palooza in the coming weeks. I am better now. My cough is gone. Thank you for picking up. See you tomorrow, bye.

HANCOCKS: No problem.

VAUSE: Next on Newsroom L.A. a serious story. Terror in Texas, we have new details on the serial bomber and his changing tactics.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[02:30:49] JOHN VAUSE, CNN INTERNATIONAL ANCHOR: Welcome back everybody. You're watching CNN NEWSROOM live from Los Angeles. I'm John Vause with the headlines. Cambridge Analytica has suspended its CEO after he was caught on an undercover recording discussing potential bribery and entrapment. Alexander Nix can be heard saying that he meet with candidate Donald Trump many times and that the data firm research steered the Trump campaign strategy. Cambridge Analytica calls the reports gross misrepresentations.

At least 35 people have been killed, dozens more wounded after a rocket attack in the busy market in the Syrian capital. State-run media say the rocket landed in a government controlled neighborhood in Damascus. The attack in the capital comes as government forces continue to pound rebel held Eastern Ghouta on the outskirts of Damascus.

Myanmar President Htin Kyaw has resigned citing health reasons. He has been a close ally of the defective leader Aung San Suu Kyi who put him in a ceremonial rob because the constitution prevents her from becoming president. Authorities are now connecting two more bombs to a recent string of explosions in Austin, Texas. One exploding package injured a FedEx worker early Tuesday at a sorting center near San Antonio. Authorities don't believe the facility was targeted. And a second suspicious package was found about an hour away in a FedEx center near the Austin's International Airport. So six devices are now tied to the serial bomber or bombers adding to the fear already felt by so many residents.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It gives you chills the fact that this happened in this neighborhood.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I was in the military, never in combat. But it sounded like a mortar blast that thump.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I've heard the fourth bombing was a trip wire, so I don't want to just -- I want to be aware of what's around me.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: From now on we're going to make sure we're a little more aware of our surrounding.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

Joining me now is former FBI Special Agent Maureen O'Connell. Nice to meet you. It's been a while. Good to see you.

MAUREEN O'CONNELL, FORMER FBI SPECIAL AGENT: Nice to see you too. Thank you.

VAUSE: OK. So we got six devices now linked to the same bomber and this is just over a period of two weeks, right? And should the frequency, the sophistication, so whoever is behind this is clearly out there trying to make some kind of point.

O'CONNELL: He's got a -- he's got a lot to day and I wish that he would contact someone and try to say something. I don't know what the reason is behind this. We have no idea with what the motive is. But what we do have right now is a couple of things in our corner. First and foremost, I would like to -- I feel horrible for the people of Austin. Everything they've been through in Texas is crazy. But now that we have a device that has note not been detonated, we're going to find a lot of information and particularly the package that we found at the FedEx facility, and the reason I say that is because it's got a tracking device on it that they were able to I'm sure almost instantaneously tie it back to CCTV. They could potentially find that -- follow that person out to a vehicle with a tag on it. I think they're getting close and the fact that they have hundreds of FBI agents on it they're going to drill it to the ground.

VAUSE: Because on the issue of the device which was found unexploded, sources told CNN that it essentially if that's the blueprint, the DNA of these explosives devices. But what we're seeing with these bombs, if a bomb is a bomb maker's signature, the signature keeps changing, you know, we had a trip wire used the other day. That what different to the earlier explosive devices. This time it was actually delivered to the FedEx and it was with the -- was the first time that method was bomb delivery was used. So, you know, it keep changing or she keeps changing how these attacks have carried out.

O'CONNELL: Well, it could be more of an evolution. These bombs could have been created and he tried the first ones out. I'm just going to go up and set it on the lawn and see what happens. And then the next one he's going to try to ship them to see if he can increase his reign of terror over the country. So there is a very solid evolutionary path that he's taken throughout this thing.

VAUSE: And what's interesting is that there's at least what we're being told, no official communication between law enforcement and the person or people behind of this attack. Could the serial bomber be communicating by this evolution of his bombs? Is he trying to tell law enforcements on making it?

O'CONNELL: Well, if he's trying to tell them something I don't know what it is at this point. But I do know that the uptick, you know, the first one was on the second. The second one was on the 12th.

[02:35:06] VAUSE: Yes, 10 days later.

O'CONNELL: Yes. I mean it's very interesting. And then it just keeps shortening and shortening, and shortening, and it's almost like a spiral or something at this point. So I don't really feel that this is sustainable. I really believe that we're going to come to a -- we're going to figure out who this person is within the next 48 hours I'm hoping.

VAUSE: Also with regards to the unexploded bomb which was delivered to the FedEx center which they say it was not a target. You have the evidence from that. But there's also the statement which had -- which came from FedEx. They say we have provided law enforcement responsible for this investigation extensive evidence related to these packages and the individual that shipped them collected from our advance technology security systems. You know, two things stand out the individual, so indicating that it is the same person, the one person responsible for all of this.

O'CONNELL: Which is why I think they have the CCTV.

VAUSE: That was the next point, yes. Sophisticated, you know, when they say security systems, it indicates that there's some kind of video out there.

O'CONNELL: Right. And the sophisticated security system isn't low grade cameras that have fuzzy images.

(CROSSTALK)

O'CONNELL: Exactly. They have tracking capabilities. A lot of these new cameras that the FBI uses for example on all of our facilities they can -- you can track and zoom and it's just unbelievable to see. So hopefully, they were able to find -- who knows it could be a lapel pin. It could be something on the back of his baseball cap. There are all the these things come into play.

BARTIROMO: Yes. It's bizarre. I think -- I also saying the only motive here is basically to cause mayhem and death which is horrifying.

O'CONNELL: Yes, and terror amongst all those citizens.

VAUSE: Yes.

O'CONNELL: But I have faith and this is what the bureau does better than anyone, and this and kidnappings. We will run every single solitary lead to ground. There are -- those agents are happy to do it. They're working as hard as they can, smart as a whip, and they've got all the resources free to bear.

VAUSE: It does seem -- it does seem to be moving on a clip. Maureen, we are out of time. Thank you so much.

O'CONNELL: Thank you.

VAUSE: Well, next here on NEWSROOM L.A., the Kremlin has faced accusations for years about poisoning its opponents. Just ahead look at some people who have been killed and a few who survived.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

VAUSE: Well, 23 Russian diplomats are back in Moscow less than a week after the U.K. ordered their expulsion over a nerve agent attack in England. This is the scene Tuesday as their plane took off from London Stansted Airport. The U.K. blames Russia for poisoning former Russian double agent Sergei Skripal and his daughter. Moscow though denies any involvement. The dispute has set relations between the two countries to a low not seen since the Cold War. Russia also dismissing British allegations that it has a secret chemical weapons program designed to assassinate its opponents. But there is Kremlin adversaries from politicians to rebels and former spies have been attacked with exotic toxins. Here's Matthew Chance.

[02:40:04] MATTHEW CHANCE, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: He was one of the Kremlin's most ruthless enemies, an Arab jihadist called (INAUDIBLE) notorious for executing Russian troops during the brutal Chechen Wars. When Russia Security Services finally announced his assassination in a special operation in March of 2002, they released this video to prove it showing (INAUDIBLE) laid out dead with no visible wounds. Russian state media and the rebels both said he died after opening a poisoned letter. It was amazing quite victory a message from the Kremlin. There have been other alleged messages from Moscow too. In 2004, the pro-western Ukrainian presidential hopeful Viktor Yushchenko who went on to lead the country was badly disfigured after severe dioxin poisoning. He told me back then his push for Ukraine to join the European Union and later had made him enemies at home and in Moscow.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We started dinner at about 10:00 and finished around 3:30 in the morning. While driving back home the first thing I felt was a terrible headache. I had never felt anything like it before. When I got home, my wife kissed my lips. She said she could taste something metallic. I asked her for some medication. But the pain was aggravated only then I said to myself, Viktor, you're in trouble.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CHANCE: For others that trouble proved deadly. The radioactive killing of former KGB agents Alexander Litvinenko in London in 2006 foreshadowed the recent Skripal nerve agent attack. Both were former members of the Russian Secret Services were poisoned with chemicals said by Britain to be Russian, and seen as traitors by the Kremlin. There has been in other words a growing list of people. This Kremlin sees as opponents and long before the poisoning of the Skripals in Britain who have meet painful and untimely deaths. Not all of course were poisoned one of Russia's main opposition figures Boris Nemtsov so far was shot dead in 2015 right here on this bridge. Of course, the Kremlin denies any involvement and rejects the allegation. It could have ordered the Skripal nerve agent attack as unthinkable. And as this poisoned father and daughter Sergei and Sergei Skripal fight for lives in intensive care. The Kremlin insists Britain should apologize for the serious allegations it has made or present proof of Russia's hand. Matthew Chance, CNN Moscow.

VAUSE: Thank you for watching CNN NEWSROOM live from Los Angeles. I'm John Vause. Stay with us. World Sport is up next. You're watching CNN.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

KATE RILEY, CNN INTERNATIONAL ANCHOR: Hello everyone. Welcome to World Sport. I'm Kate Riley at CNN Center. We're going to start with a new debate which has surfaced this week ahead of the Miami Open Tournament. James Blake who is the tournament director said that female tennis players are being punished after pregnancy.

[02:44:58] Later this week, we'll see the former world No. 1 Serena Williams, she was unseeded in Florida. The new mom will face the Indian world's winner, the up and coming Naomi Osaka, in opening round. Well, at Naomi plays, she hold a protected ranking for any reason both men's and women sides of the game can't be seeded even if they're protected ranking merit.

And Blake says a former world No. 4 says the things that, anyone on maternity leave should be protected as for Serena situation in Miami. Well, she is ranked 491st, and so is unseeded herself. The American doesn't have a buy-in Miami and can face almost anyone in the first round apart from seeds that did receive buys, hence, this situation.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

JAMES BLAKE, DIRECTOR, MIAMI OPEN TOURNAMENT: I really think this situation probably could have been remedied many years ago with the comebacks of Kim Kleister, Vika Azarenka, and really plenty of others before. It's obviously, came to the forefront so much more because it's Serena, because she gets more publicity. And then, this happening where she playing but the hottest player on tour that just want end in well.

It just kind can of gives more light to the issue that she was pregnant, left at number one in the world and comes back and -- you know, at the mercy of the draw when she comes back because she went and gave birth. And had -- you know, had to did something that so beautifully natural that you don't think there should be any sort of punishment for it.

GEORGE HOWELL, CNN ANCHOR: Would you agree that with players playing for longer these days. That this is going to become more of an issue if they don't address it on the women's tour.

BLAKE: Yes, I think it will because -- you know, people are playing smarter and they're doing a better job with their schedule later than doing a better job and taking care of their bodies. They're doing a better job of rest so they can play into later years. And so, I think it becomes more of an issue. It become -- you know, every bit of this has become more of an issue on tour. There is more players with families on tour.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

RILEY: Many thanks to George Howell, asking the questions of James Blake. Serena and Naomi are set to go head to head on Wednesday. Meanwhile, one of the most exciting things in men's tennis last season was the inaugural Laver Cup. It's called the Ryder Cup of tennis, it's a tournament between Europe and the rest of the world.

Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal won a nil biter for the Europeans in Prague, and the next one is going to be in Chicago in September. And that was a good excuse for some of the biggest names in the game to tuck into a few slices of pizza. Yet we don't blame them, do we? And take in the sights on a promotional visit, lucky then.

Australia's Nick Kyrgios, says he can't wait to play it again.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

NICK KYRGIOS, PROFESSIONAL TENNIS PLAYER, ASSOCIATION OF TENNIS PROFESSIONALS: It was amazing for me, it's obviously, a part of that was something special for me. Was that probably, the funniest week (INAUDIBLE), you know, better than the grand slam. I thought, it was -- you know, to be around my friends, obviously, very good friends with all the guys on the team world has a bit of age difference.

You know, we had -- you know, John is not -- to (INAUDIBLE) which is one of youngest guys coming through. So, you know, I mean, to look on the other side and then that what I was playing Roger and seeing -- you know, Rafa (INAUDIBLE) tactics. I didn't really think it was fair though.

I mean, I'm trying to work it out with Johnny Mack and we saying to Rafa, whispering into Roger Federer. Yes, it was -- it was amazing, it was unbelievably competitive. Not Roger set the tone earlier, he not coming out and we all knew it was business, we all want to win. I'm definitely looking forward to it again.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

RILEY: To golf now, and if you've been a following the PGA Tour, then you will know we are living in exciting times right now. In the last two -- in fact, in two weeks' time, we've got the first major tournament of the year, The Masters. Tiger Woods will be back at The Masters but he won't be in action this week at WGC match play in Austin, Texas. The format has changed a little this time around rather than a series of one-on-one knockout matches this one starts with 16 groups with four players, one of whom can progress from the next round.

The first round, the draw was seeded, but some big names will be going out early. For example, who would you pick from Jordan Spieth, Patrick Reed, Li Haotong, and Charl Schwartzel? And this group is pretty exciting too. Yes, a huge names there while the drama begins on Wednesday at the Austin Country Club.

Sports League across the world these days are looking to expand to new markets all the time. In recent years, we've seen successful examples of this with the NBA and NFL, as for the MLB. Well, there are reports today, the biggest brand names in the sport could be headed to London. And according to an unnamed baseball official, the New York Yankees and Boston Red Sox may will be playing at the London stadium in 2019. And for context, that stadium actually hosted the 2012 Olympics, and it's currently home to the English Premier League side West Ham.

Coming up on the show, they used to say Jamie Harty having a party and it would also seem that a global icon and top scorer too was also following this mantra.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[02:52:25] RILEY: To the NBA now, where it's no surprise this team to lose a players injury throughout the season. But to lose a coach is a different matter altogether. You'll remember, of course, the NBA Champion Golden State Warriors were without their coach, Steve Kerr, due to back troubles. And the team, they could meet in the Finals are going through the exact same thing this season, it would seem.

Well, the Cleveland Cavaliers' coach, Tyronn Lue, is taking a leave of absence to address the chest pains which are keeping him awake at night. That said, the Cavs did okay without him on Monday. They beat the Milwaukee Bucks 124 to 117.

And seeing as we are now entering the business and of the football season in Europe, the title race in Italy is being tied up nicely. We have just nine games to go and it's Napoli who are giving Juventus a run for the money. For a time, had look like Juve were headed for a seventh straight title. However, they dropped point for the weekend and Napoli beat Genoa. And the gap has now closed to two at the top bag you can see. And our partners on COPA90 have been looking how the Napoli boss has done it.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You can stick a fork in most of the tough races across Europe, biggest leagues because they done, Delphini, Terminado, and being there. But not in Italy and that's thanks to one man and one team. Maurizio Sarri has got Napoli dreaming of a first cadeto since the days of Diego Marathon.

After spending over 20 years making his way up, the Italian football pyramid and guarding Empoli of a motion from Serie B and Syria survival. He was finally off with his first elite job, Napoli.

A fan of the club since boyhood, you could have been forgive them for thinking he called the overboard when he was announced as manager. But no, nothing of the sword. He simply described it as an opportunity for him. The city of Naples wasn't impressed, and even Diego Maradona, himself, came out against the appointment. But it suddenly it was understated in his press conferences, the football his team played will be anything back.

His commitment to attacking easy on the eye football is never compromised. And is this approach that led to Napoli becoming one of the outstanding teams on the continent and right up there with the best to watch. Looking at the way, Napoli line up in an orthodox 433 formation. There's li or to suggest to how radical they actually are on pitch.

He study until his complete confidence in every member of the squad as a bull player, which leads to some pretty special passages of plays in golfs. The midfield free, featuring Hamsik, will brought Diego Maradona's all-time Napoli goalscorer record this season.

The energetic Allen, it helps out in defense and attack. As well as the brilliantly creative, Georginia, who quite simply has the law. And then, you've got Sarri's masterstroke. After Gonzalo Higuain was sold to Juventus, and Arkadia's melee out injured, he began training Dries Mertens on front in late 2016. Something he'd never done before in his career. Despite being widely labeled as a false nine. Mertens himself came out against an interpretation of his role and having popped along at almost a goal a game for the past two seasons, we're not going to argue with them.

Pressing their opponents and forcing them into mistakes without a bowl. Pace, fluid movement, and intensity with it are the real hallmarks of this Natalie side. When they happen in Unasin, it's quite a sight to behold. Sarri prefers working with what he's got, rather than splashing out in too many new players. Something that makes him a bit of a rarity in the modern game. And it's just one of many attributes that has made him an attractive prospect for clubs further afield. He's been linked with both the Arsenal and Chelsea jobs.

And despite in insisting that he's committed to Natalie, long term. There's a sense that this season could be now or never for the pot to no pay. And if Sarri could do the previously almost unthinkable, and end the Juventus' period of complete and after dominance. He'd surely be spoken of in the same mythical vein as Maradona himself. But even if he can, he still made Napoli dream again.

[02:56:30] RILEY: Thanks to COPA90 there. Often, when you break a bone the doctor advises a plenty of rest. Let's hope that wasn't a case for the world's most expensive footballer. You'll remember that Neymar recently broke his foot, and is now out for the rest of the season. But, here he is out partying. And you can see that he is seen entering a nightclub in Sao Paulo on crutches to celebrate his sister's birthday.

His injury has done little to dampen his spirits by the looks of it. The Brazilian done no problem showing off his own dance moves in his protective boot. No less in a video recorded at his house, despite looks like the recovery is coming along nicely yes. All right, that's it from us. Thank you so much for watching, stay with CNN. The news is next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK) ROSEMARY CHURCH, CNN INTERNATIONAL ANCHOR: Cambridge analytico suspended its CEO after --