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HALA GORANI TONIGHT

North Korean Leader Makes Secretive Trip To China; Trump Expected To Meet With Kim Jong-Un; Russia Declares Day Of Mourning After Deadly Mall Fire; France Honors Hero Officer Who Swapped Places With Hostage; Parisians March To Protest Murder of 85-Year-Old Holocaust Survivor. Aired 3-4p ET

Aired March 28, 2018 - 15:00   ET

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


(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[15:00:38]

HALA GORANI, CNN INTERNATIONAL ANCHOR: Hello, everyone. Live from CNN London, I'm Hala Gorani.

Tonight, just weeks before the high-stakes summit between President Trump and Kim Jong-un, North Korea's leader makes a secret trip to China. The

latest on who said what and why.

Also, ahead this hour, Facebook admits its done a poor job as the social network tries to make good and revamp its privacy settings. We'll tell you

how that impacts you.

And France this day holding a state funeral to honor the policeman who saved the life of a hostage in last week's terror attack on (inaudible).

Well, it's a busy hour, as you can tell, an international mystery is now solved. We were all asking ourselves the question yesterday, did Kim Jong-

un secretly visit China. Well, he did. Even as the curtain is lifted off a secretive summit, many diplomatic challenges and questions still lie

ahead.

We now know that North Korean leader, Kim Jong-un was behind the tinted windows on the train that discreetly rolled into Beijing Monday. He made

the surprise trip at China's request and got the red-carpet treatment during meetings with President Xi Jinping.

This was Kim's first foreign trip since he took office. We'd have to say the we know of and China says he discussed the possibility of

denuclearization. Kim is expected to meet with South Korea's president next month and with the American president, Donald Trump, at an undisclosed

time and location.

North Korea has long sought to be on equal footing with major players on the world's stage, and some analysts say Kim's trip to Beijing could put

him in a stronger position heading into his next round of talks.

Ivan Watson is in Seoul for us tonight with more.

IVAN WATSON, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Hala, North Korea's leader, Kim Jong-un has made his first ever foreign visit, a surprise

summit in China with the Chinese leader. And this has dramatically changed his status. It was just a short while ago that he was arguably the most

internationally isolated leader in the world.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

WATSON (voice-over): China and North Korea dropped the diplomatic bombshell on Wednesday simultaneously confirming that North Korea's leader

made a secret four-day visit to China. They waited until after the meeting was over and after this special train carrying Kim Jong-un crossed the

border back into North Korea to reveal that the visit took place.

This is Kim's first foreign trip since he assumed the throne in Pyongyang more than six years ago. China is North Korea's oldest ally, but the

relationship has been frosty for years especially after multiple North Korean nuclear weapons tests and missile launches which are all banned by

the United Nations.

In Beijing, China's leader gave Kim and his wife the red-carpet treatment. Xi Jinping called their alliance a strategic choice that could change

because of individual incidents. As for Kim, he suggested denuclearization on the Korean Peninsula could be possible if the U.S. and South Korea

cooperates.

This is the surprise beginning what expected to be a busy period of high level diplomacy for North Korea's young leader. He's scheduled to hold a

summit with the South Korean president in April and sometime after he may make history with a face-to-face meeting with President Trump.

The White House, quick to claim credit for Kim's trip to Beijing, arguing it's the result the so-called maximum pressure campaign to impose economic

sanctions on Pyongyang. If all goes according to plan, Kim will rapidly go from extreme international isolation to sitting down at the negotiating

table with the leaders of the two most powerful nations on the planet.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

WATSON: Hala, the big question here is how will this recent meeting in Beijing, the reinforcing of the Chinese North Korean alliance, how will

that affect upcoming diplomacy with South Korea and then with President Trump himself.

And arguably by reducing the international isolation that Kim Jong-un felt by strengthening the frayed alliance with Beijing, it will strengthen Kim

Jong-un's hand when he sits down for talks in just a few weeks' time with South Korean President Moon Jae-in.

[15:05:11] And then when he sits down for that very first meeting between the North Korean leader and a U.S. president when he sits down for talks

with President Trump himself -- Hala.

GORANI: Ivan Watson, thanks very much reporting from Seoul.

My next guest believes the meeting between Donald Trump and Kim Jong-un could present some good opportunities, but some big risks. Christopher

Hill is the former chief U.S. negotiator to the six-party talks on North Korea's nuclear program. He's also a former U.S. ambassador to Seoul.

Thanks for being with us, Ambassador.

So, first of all, your reaction when you learned, along with all of us, that this suspected secret trip by Kim Jong-un to Beijing had taken place

with China broadcasting these images, well, it looked a lot like an official state visit, the two leaders with their spouses. What did you

make of it?

CHRISTOPHER HILL, FORMER AMBASSADOR TO SOUTH KOREA: Frankly, speaking, I didn't know that it was coming, but I'm not at all surprised. China has

made very clear they wanted to meet Kim Jong-un as soon as the circumstances were right. And what the Chinese meant, of course, was that

the North Koreans had to re-sign-up to the proposition of denuclearization.

Apparently, he's done that, and so I'm not surprised that they received him well, and moreover, I don't think China ever wanted to be sitting on the

sidelines through this, and a lot of national interests involved on the Korean Peninsula.

GORANI: So, you think China would only have organized this and given Kim Jong-un the red-carpet treatment if they'd gotten assurances that he was

ready to denuclearize?

HILL: Yes. The Chinese have chaired the six-party process. They were countless meetings, scores of meetings in Beijing. This was kind of their

baby and when the North Koreans walked away from it, they kind of walked away from China as well.

So, the Chinese have been deeply offended by it as your piece earlier suggested, the North Koreans have done a number of things to sort of add to

the offense. So, the Chinese were in no hurry. But now with an apparent meeting coming up between Donald Trump and Kim Jong-un, I think they felt

it was very necessary to get back into the game especially as they had an opening to do so.

GORANI: But what changed for North Korea here because this has been the plan, and you were the chief U.S. negotiator in the mid-2000s, you know,

that was always the aim to get North Korea to commit to denuclearization.

But the talk has always been there looking at the Iran deal and the deal was signed there, and now you have an administration wanting to basically

demolish that agreement. What's in it for them now to make this promise and in fact, implement a plan to denuclearize.

HILL: So, I think what changed is -- I think the answer to these kinds of questions is always all of the above. I think what changed was, first of

all, I think President Trump is correct. They are under a lot of pressure. They never had, for example, refined petroleum products caught up in the

sanctions regime.

Secondly, I think they are kind of worried about what their future might be because no one knows what Donald Trump is going to do next. Thirdly, I

think they thought maybe now was a good time to get something out of this, and to get China to work with them, I think is important for them.

So, I think for a lot of reasons, they thought now was the time for this diplomacy and also, they have a leader who they just kind of change his

mind on a whim. So, all of the above could be what's at stake here. The question is, will the U.S. delegation be prepared for this or the president

just try to wing it?

Will he send John Bolton ahead to talk to the Chinese and the North Koreans? That would be worth the price of a ticket. So, lot of

ponderables as we go forward.

GORANI: John Bolton even Mike Pompeo, the new secretary of state, certainly two men who have said in the past they were no fans neither of

the Iran deal nor the regime in North Korea. But Donald Trump is taking credit for this development, he tweeted about the fact that it's never

happened before.

That this is a major -- I'm going to put up his tweet there -- "received message last night from Xi Jinping of China that his meeting with Kim Jong-

un went very well and that Kim looks forward to his meeting with me. In the meantime, and unfortunately, maximum sanctions and pressure must be

maintained at all costs." So, he's taking credit for this, is he right to?

HILL: Again, I think he has a right to take some credit, I mean, after all the sanctions regime has put together in New York has included some items

never before included such as refined petroleum. Moreover, it's been very clear for at least a few years, but certainly during the time of Trump's

office that the Chinese (inaudible).

So, I think he has some right to say, look, you know, we've created the conditions for this to happen. Still I think the idea of Kim Jong-un with

his New Year's Day address and then participating in the Winter Olympics suggests that maybe some credit ought to share with South Koreans and I'm

not sure the president does a particularly good job of sharing credit.

GORANI: Last one, North Korea and Kim Jong-un are getting the red-carpet treatment in China. They're getting their meeting with the president of

the United States, which they've wanted for a very long time. They are getting all of this for having done essentially nothing. It's just

promises at this point. It seems like Kim Jong-un is playing his cards well, would you agree?

HILL: I would agree certainly doing that and I think it was a good idea to accept the invitation or to generate the invitation whatever actually

happened with the Chinese. I think that helps him go to the talks and the stronger position.

So, you know, I don't think he's played his cards well. But the real question will be as we discover back 10 years ago, North Korea agreed to

give up all their nuclear weapons, abandon all their nuclear programs, but ultimately, we couldn't make it a deal because they had no concept of how

to allow people to verify.

They were supposed to play trust me and you know, no one can really trust the North Koreans. So, the devil is still very much in the details. A lot

of work to be done and I sure hope the administration in Washington is up to the kind of diplomatic state work this is going to take.

GORANI: It's a long road ahead and that's the best-case scenario. Chris Hill, thanks so much as always for joining us. We really appreciate it.

Now on this day, Russia in many headlines for other reasons, but inside of Russia, there is mourning going on. The first funerals were held for more

than 60 victims after a fire ripped through a cinema and children's play area in a shopping mall.

This was the sky earlier as people released white balloons, but as Russia vows its head, voices are rising up. On Tuesday in a rare sight for

Russia, thousands took to the streets of Kemerovo demanding that officials resign. CNN's Phil Black has been following the story from Moscow -- Phil.

PHIL BLACK, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Hala, on this day of national mourning, there were more than a dozen funerals scheduled and

there will be many more, 64 people were killed in this fire, 41 of them were children. Those terrible statistics, this awful tragedy has touched

people across this vast country is firing powerful anger and deep sorrow.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

BLACK (voice-over): The unbearable grief of burying your children. Sergei Arkov (ph) and his wife, Natalia, kissed, hold, and cry over the coffins of

his son and daughter, 10-year-old Mariah and 8-year-old Constantine.

Sergei's mother, (inaudible), the children's grandmother is buried with them. All three died together as fire consumed a shopping center in the

Siberian city of Kemerovo. That haunting cry is only one example of the pain tearing at this city, sending waves of sadness and anger across

Russia.

The top left corner of the security video shows the fire as it begins to take hold in the children's play hall, flames and smoke spread through the

center. Three movie cinemas filled with children and their families collapse.

Some people jumped for their lives. Shock quickly became anger. In front of the local administration building, people screamed for justice. This

man repeated his last phone call with his daughter as she was trapped inside.

She said, "Dad, I love you. I'm suffocating. I'm losing consciousness. Most local officials stayed inside protected by lines of riot police. The

vice governor, (inaudible), thought it was a good idea to speak to the crowd and accuse one (inaudible) man of using the tragedy to promote

himself.

The man's response -- my whole family is dead, my sister, wife, and three kids, 7, 5, and 2 years old. Russian President Vladimir Putin isn't used

to being spoken to like this. It was the tense moment when a small group of angry people in Kemerovo were allowed to meet.

They demanded answers, assurances, and transparency. He promised a thorough investigation and accountability. Investigators trying to work

out how and why have already begun arresting people like this woman, the shopping mall's director pleading her innocence from a cage in a court

room.

[15:15:12] But for many in this country, responsibility rest much higher. Thousands of people in Moscow joins a quite vigil for the fire's victims,

but they became angrier chanting Putin must resign and corruption kills.

Many people here blame what they consider a broken system and the man who has presided over it for 18 years.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

BLACK: So, Hala, investigators say that an electrical (inaudible) is the possible cause. The fire alarm didn't work. The fire doors were blocked.

People here are angry because they believed that this dangerous shopping center was allowed to keep operating because of the sort of official

corruption that touches their lives every day.

And so, they know this isn't an isolated example. This deeply human tragedy is proving to be yet another significant test for Vladimir Putin

just days after securing another presidential term -- Hala.

GORANI: And some of these stories of the family members of those who lost their lives actually reminded me of Grenfell Tower and people saying they

were on the phone or messaging with loved ones inside the tower as it went up in flames. This question, I don't understand why the emergency exits

were blocked? I mean, that's what they are for, right? Why were they locked?

BLACK: Well, yes, indeed. So, it appears that at some point, they were neglected. They weren't maintained properly. There are building codes and

fire regulations and lots of inspectors that go around and have the job of making sure that these sorts of places do operate correctly.

But the implication, what everyone here believes, everyone you ask will be that corruption at some point got in the way and prevented all of these

safety procedures from being maintained as they should have done, and they believe that the cost in human terms is that death toll, 64 people and so

many children -- Hala.

GORANI: Phil Black live in Moscow, thanks very much.

Still to come tonight, France honors a hero today. The country is mourning the slained police officer who swapped places to save a hostage. That

story next.

Plus, outrage over the police shooting of an unarmed black man, the brother of a man who was shot in his own backyard by police. We'll have more on

this dramatic protest coming up.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

GORANI: To accept to die so the innocent can live, that is what is in the heart of the soldier's commitment, those are the words of President

Emmanuel Macron today as France honored a hero police officer.

[15:20:00] Arnaud Beltrame died after swapping places with a hostage during a terrorist attack in the country's south last Friday. Now it's a story

that has transfix the nation and for once it's not the terrorist name everybody is uttering, it's the name of the hero. Melissa Bell has the

details.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

MELISSA BELL, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Through the rain-drenched streets of Paris (inaudible) to the occasional applause of

onlookers, his coffin was driven. Arnaud Beltrame, the hero of last week's terrorist attack made his final journey on Wednesday morning towards the

(inaudible), France's most important military monument, the final resting place of its heroes.

There his family as well as current politicians and past presidents, Francois Hollande and Nicholas Sarkozy, had gathered in its impressive

courtyard for a national tribute to the police officer hailed a hero since his death over the weekend.

On Friday, Arnaud Beltrame helped bring (inaudible) killing spree to an end taking the place of a hostage being held inside a supermarket. Hours after

the end of the siege, he was died from his wounds.

After inspecting the troops somber, Emmanuel Macron praised the heroism that had cost Arnaud Beltrame his life.

EMMANUEL MACRON, FRENCH PRESIDENT (through translator): He made a decision that are not just out of sacrifice, (inaudible) staying true to himself to

his values, to all that he was and wanted to be, through that (inaudible) him.

BELL: After his unity, the French president awarded Arnaud Beltrame France's highest military honor, (inaudible). Bringing to an end a

ceremony that comes less than a week after the worst jihadist attack of Emmanuel Macron's presidency. Melissa Bell, CNN.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

GORANI: Also, in Paris, mourners turned out for a second March in the city. This one over the murder of an 85-year-old Holocaust survivor. Our

Jim Bittermann tells us the killing had the Jewish community on edge.

JIM BITTERMANN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Hala, thousands of people turned out this afternoon to protest the murder of Mireille Knoll,

the 85-year-old woman who was killed verbally in her apartment, which was then set on fire. Basically, this was all hastily organized when the real

causes of her death came out when the prosecutor said that it was definitely an anti-Semitic crime.

So, thousands of Jewish organizers, as well as politicians came out this afternoon just to show their solidarity with the Jewish community and with

Madam Knoll and her family. A community that has a lot of people feel is under threat. In fact, we talked to a couple people in the crowd who said

they feel that the tension between French anti-Semites and the Jewish carrier is growing.

One of the people you recognize, Hala, (inaudible) thinks that things had gotten much worse than last year. Here's what he had to say.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's less and less (inaudible) more and more (inaudible) in America too.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BITTERMANN: Hala, the march was not without incident. In fact, leaders of the extreme left and extreme right wing parties here try to join with this

demonstration this afternoon and they were roundly booed and later abandoned any efforts to go along with the march because I think the

feeling was that this was basically the Jewish community coming together to show solidarity and not something that should be politicized -- Hala.

GORANI: Jim Bittermann there in the middle of that march. By the way, Marine Le Pen, the leader of the National Front showed up to that march and

she was roundly booed.

Now to another protest, this one in the U.S. state of California. Take a look.

(VIDEO CLIP)

GORANI: Angry demonstrators disrupted a council meeting to protest the killing of an unarmed black man by police. Dan Simon is telling us the

unrest did not stop there -- Dan.

DAN SIMON, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Hala, first of all, with that city council meeting, that was the most lively and chaotic city council meetings

you will ever see. I've never really seen anything like it. Just to describe the scene for you, you had a couple hundred people inside the city

council chambers.

They all wanted to take to the microphones and then outside yet another couple hundred more, and the only thing that was keeping them from going in

was yet police in full riot gear.

[15:25:01] but I think one of the most compelling moments of the evening is when you had a community activist, his name is Barry Aqueous, and he held

up his cell phone to the city council members and he asked others to do the same. Take a look.

(VIDEO CLIP)

SIMON: That city council meeting was supposed to go to 11:00 at night, but because some of the protesters got a bit unruly, some of them were pounding

on the windows outside of city council Chambers, the mayor felt like he had end things a bit early, and then from there, you saw a lot of them go to

the Golden One Arena.

That's where the Sacramento Kings play their basketball games. They block the entrances, fans could not get in. The stands were pretty much empty

and Hala, I think it is safe to say we will be seeing more protests in the coming days -- Hala.

GORANI: Dan Simon, thanks very much.

Also, in the U.S., the designers of the world's tallest water slide have been charged with murder in the death of a 10-year-old boy. The

construction company that built the slide was also charged along with the park executive. The boy was killed two years ago when his raft went

airborne. The park calls it a terrible and tragic accident and says the men are innocent.

A lot more to come this evening, the world's biggest social media sites says it is making some changes, but for some of its high-profile users is

coming way too late. It looks like Playboy is walking. We'll be right back.

Porn star, Stormy Daniels, filing a legal action against the American president.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

GORANI: Well, there could be changes at Facebook as the company tries to redeem itself in the eyes of the world. It says it's time to make privacy

setting here for all of us to find and change, acknowledging that it has done a poor job of that up until now.

But while the social media giant is talking about changes that hasn't actually made them yet, it comes as the Facebook boss, Mark Zuckerberg,

gears up to testify before Congress in the next few weeks over Facebook's failure to protect user data, namely in the Cambridge Analytica scandal.

Let's go over to CNN's Dylan Byers live in L.A. for us. First of all, I would like to talk about these privacy settings because they are making

promise. They realized with their share price, by the way, collapsing.

Day after day, it's slightly up today, but it lost a lot of ground over the last several days that they need to restore trust. What changes are they

making?

DYLAN BYERS, CNN SENIOR REPORTER FOR MEDIA AND POLITICS: That is absolutely right. They do feel the need to restore trust and part of what

you are seeing here with these statements as an effort to sort of stem, you know, the gale force winds that are blowing into the company right now.

Look, what these new moves do is they make it easier or at least Facebook says they will make it easier for users to protect their data. It can

block third party sites from accessing their data. It makes it clearer to users exactly what data they are giving up and gives them an opportunity to

agree or re-agree to give up that data. I think part of the skepticism that we're seeing is, "A," in the wake of all of this scandal, it's not

exactly clearer that people feel like they can trust Facebook.

And then on top of that, Facebook sort of has a history of rolling out new privacy policies that they don't always follow through on. And it's sort

of hard to know once they announce it when do those policies actually go into place and are they the same as what was announced?

So anyway, the problem here is that there's a trust crisis for Facebook. So when Facebook says, look, we're fixing the problem, here's how, people

don't always believe them.

HALA GORANI, CNN INTERNATIONAL HOST: So, what will change?

BYERS: Part of the biggest issue that Facebook has faced is when you sign up by virtue of signing up for Facebook account. You have agreed often

unbeknownst to you that you're giving up data to number of third parties. What this does is it comes and says, here is exactly where your data is

going. Do you want these third parties to have access to your data? You have an option to click yes or no. And then basically, you can sort of go

through and specify which kinds of data you want to share with third parties and that will affect sort of your Facebook experiences and your

advertising experience. If that sounds complicated, that's the easiest explanation I can come up with. If that that sounds complicated, you'd

begin to understand how just murky the world of data collection and data harvesting is and why this is such a big problem for Facebook.

GORANI: And we were showing on our screens to our viewers the before and after of the expected after, because it's not going to affect yet and maybe

we can put that up. I guess it appears as though that -- we're having issues putting that graphic up. It is up. There you go. But basically,

here just to kind of perfunctory a look and it looks like certainly bigger, boulder areas that you can control your privacy settings with et cetera, et

cetera, yes.

BYERS: So in a way to what you're seeing there in terms of the display is the streamlining of the experience. One argument that we're hearing

especially from European regulators is that there needs to be a very clear and easy way for users to know what data they're giving up, not just at

Facebook but companies like Google and Twitter. You and I both know what it's like to see a user agreement that goes on for pages and pages and

pages. You just scroll the bottom and you say OK.

What regulators want to do and what Facebook is inching toward is a clearer way for users to understand what data they're giving up, that is common

sense and that's really one of the arguments we're going to be seeing when mark Zuckerberg and perhaps other tech CEOs go to Capitol Hill. Make this

easy for users this does not need to be nearly as complicated as it is.

GORANI: All Right. Dylan Byers in L.A., thanks very much.

By the way, I just requested the download of all of my Facebook data, since 2009, which includes IP addresses, chat logs, friends list, who I've

hidden, who I've unfriended, those unfriended me, maybe, I don't know. But anyway, I'm going to have a good time. It took a while, I think with a lot

of material. Thanks very much, Dylan Byers.

Now for some to social media face challenges are too little too late in the midst of a delete Facebook movement personal and professional account say

they're dropping off the platform.

Playboy is one of the latest big names saying that it's out. Its chief creative officer, Cooper Hefner, Hugh Hefner's son, tweeted Tuesday saying

the site is sexually repressive and siting concerns over how Facebook handles the data of 25 million Playboy fans. I checked on Facebook and you

still have country specific Playboy pages, apparently. Just like the playboy.de, it's still there.

Now to a major development in the Russia investigation. The New York Times is reporting, a lawyer for Donald Trump floated the idea of pardons for

former national security adviser, Michael Flynn and former Trump campaign chairman, Paul Manafort. Those conversations reportedly took place as

Special Counsel Robert Mueller was building his cases against those men. Flynn is now cooperating with Mueller, Manafort is not. There's also big

news about Manafort's former business partner, Rick Gates, who also worked on the Trump campaign. According to court documents investigators believe

Gates, knowingly communicated with someone linked to Russian intelligence during the campaign.

Much more through all this with our White House reporter, Stephen Collinson. This is The New York Times reporting that essentially a -- this

idea of pardons were floated to Michael Flynn and Paul Manafort, but this was before Robert Mueller moved in on them within the context of the

investigation.

[15:35:09] STEPHEN COLLINSON, CNN WHITE HOUSE REPORTER: That's right, Hala. This is interesting for a couple of reasons. First of all, because

it gets to the question of whether there was any attempt by the president to obstruct justice. If it is true that his lawyer, John Dowd approached

lawyers for these two men about the possibility of a presidential pardon. That raises the question of whether he was working alone or whether he was

working of the behest of the president.

Now, using the president's pardon power to try and convince witnesses, not to cooperate with Mueller could in some -- manifestations, be seen as an

attempt to obstruct justice and abuse of power by the president which could add to that case that Mueller is looking into, into whether the president

try to forestall this investigation before it started, so that's really why this -- if it's true, could end up being an important piece in the

investigation as it goes on.

GORANI: I'm looking down here because we received a statement by TY Cobb who gave CNN this statement. "I've only been asked about pardons by the

press and I've routinely responded on the record that no pardons are under discussion or under consideration at the White House." And this is the

White House where Ty Cobb denying that any of this ever took place.

COLLINSON: Well, that's interesting. It doesn't really address what the New York Times hasn't been asked about pardons and this question wasn't

even about him. It was about the story, it was about John Dowd. But he says he hasn't been asked about pardons and there are no pardons currently

under consideration. Well, that's kind of a very blanket statement that doesn't really tell you a great deal about either what the president might

have tried to do before and we know he's asked his lawyers about the extent of his pardon power or what he might try to do down the road. There's a

lot of people in Washington who believe that whatever more to find is that the president will try and use his pardon power to shield especially people

close to him like family members like Jared Kushner, his son-in-law and his son Donald Trump., Jr. if they get caught up in this. So I think it's a

reminder of the many ways that we often talk about will trump try and fire Mueller, but this is another way in which he could eventually frustrate his

investigation coming to fruition.

GORANI: All right. Meantime, Donald Trump has been very quiet, both on Stormy Daniels thing and other developments like this tweeting on other

topics today. Thanks very much, Stephen Collinson.

April 30th, mark your calendars. That's when the hearing is scheduled that could have huge consequences for porn stars legal case against President

Trump. Stormy Daniels' attorney is seeking permission to question the president under oath. Now, if he succeeds, it would be the first

deposition of the sitting American president in decades. Will it happen? Abby Phillip has more.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

ABBY PHILLIP, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Stormy Daniel's lawyer, Michael Avenatti wants to know what president Trump knew about the $130,000 payment to his

client days before the 2016 election. Avenatti asking a federal judge in California for permission to question the president under oath for up two

hours.

MICHAEL AVENATTI, STORMY DANIELS' LAWYER: We're going to prove that Mr. Cohen's statements to the American people are false, that at all times Mr.

Trump knew about this, knew about the $130,000, was fully aware of it, and with the assistance of Mr. Cohen sought to intimidate and put my client

under his thumb.

PHILLIP: The president's lawyer, Michael Cohen, has said that he paid Daniels out of his own pocket and that the president knew nothing about the

agreement.

RAJ SHAH, WHITE HOUSE DEPUTY PRESS SECRETARY: The president strongly, clearly, and has consistently denied these underlying claims. And the only

person who's been inconsistent is the one making the claims.

PHILLIP: The court filing comes as President Trump remains silent about the alleged affair. The White House sparring with reporters over that

characterization.

SARAH SANDERS, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: I don't think it's silent when the president has addressed this. We've addressed it extensively. There's

just nothing else to add. Sometimes he chooses to specifically engage and punch back and sometimes he doesn't.

PHILLIP: A source close to the White House tells CNN the current plan is for Mr. Trump to continue avoiding the topic because the controversy hasn't

heard his poll numbers. Avenatti telling CNN's Wolf Blitzer on Tuesday that eight women have now come to him with stories similar to Daniels.

AVENATTI: We're still exploring their stories. We're going to be very careful and deliberate.

WOLF BLITZER, CNN HOST: Do you know if any of these eight women who have come to you, come forward to you, also signed confidentiality or hush

agreements?

AVENATTI: We understand that two of them have.

PHILLIP: The president's legal troubles mounting as he struggles to build up his legal team ahead of a potential interview with Special Counsel

Robert Mueller. Two more lawyers declining offers to join Trump's legal team Tuesday due to business conflicts just days after the president

insisted that many top law firms want to represent him.

SANDERS: The president has a highly qualified team with several individual that have been part of this process.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

[15:40:10] GORANI: All right. Abby Phillip with that report.

Now, I want to bring you some breaking news just in to CNN.

British police say the Russian double agent, Sergei Skripal and his daughter probably came into contact with the nerve agent that sickened them

at their front door. So they are focusing much of their efforts in and around the Skripal's address in Salisbury.

Now, you remember Skripal and his daughter went to a pub, after that, they went to an Italian chain restaurant called Zizzi so they would have started

their journey and ventured out, obviously, from their home, at their front door. Big question is, did they not see or feel that someone was trying to

poison? Did they not see someone coming towards them? All these are open questions. But we do know now that police are focusing their efforts on

that front door of the residence of Sergei Skripal in the U.K.

Still to come tonight, an unprecedented trip for North Korea's leader. A warm welcome by the Chinese president, a red carpet welcome, you could say.

So, what is it mean for the U.S.? We discuss that, next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

GORANI: Let's get back to our top story. It was speculated for days. Today, it was finally confirmed and here's the proof. North Korean leader,

Kim Jong-un did pay a secret visit to Chinese president, Xi Jinping in Being. The Chinese leader made it clear that any future talks on the

nuclear deal will include China. Mr. Kim is set to meet with his South Korean counterpart and then remarkably with the American President Donald

Trump has been tweeting about all of this. So what message does this meeting send to President Trump? Let's get the opinion of former New

Mexico governor, Bill Richardson, he's also a former U.S. ambassador to the U.N. So, what did you make then of the secret meeting? And it looks very

much like a big state visit.

BILL RICHARDSON, FORMER GOVERNOR OF NEW MEXICO: Well, first of all, it's positive that it's happening. What China is doing is reasserting itself

into the equation. It can't just be an agreement between the U.S. and North Korea. China is a major player. Secondly, I believe what Kim Jong-

un is saying to China, OK. A meeting with President Trump. Lay off on some of the sanctions, they are hurting us. And that's the second. The

third reason may be, maybe Kim Jong-un is dangling the possibility that Trump/Kim Jong-un summit maybe in China.

GORANI: But do you think that Xi Jinping, in order to accept this summit, the secret summit, would have had to -- would have gotten the assurances

from Kim Jong-un that denuclearization will happen, that it's in the cards?

[15:45:46] RICHARDSON: Well, no, no. I think that the assurance was that it would be on the table. That it would be discussed between the president

and Kim Jong-un happen. I don't think it's going to happen but maybe you start a process to denuclearize and maybe you start a process to limit

curve missile activity and exports of nuclear and missile materials.

So I think the assurance was basically, look, North Korea, we're going to play in this game. You've been ducking us, avoiding us. Kim Jong-un has

never met a foreign leader. This is the first one. The Chinese who 80 percent of the commerce going into North Korea goes through China. So they

have maximum leverage and I think the sanctions have bitten Kim Kong-un. So, he's trying to give me a break. I mean, cut him down a little bit. I

am moving forward on diplomacy. It does show that Kim Jong-un is being, I think irrational actor.

GORANI: And because he was portrayed for years as an irrational actor, somebody who would just make provocative moves in order to remind the world

that he has the ability to be a disrupter. Why is this change, do you think?

RICHARDSON: Well, I think first of all, sanctions have hurt him. Secondly, he wants a security guarantee that nobody will knock him off. He

wants to stay in office. And third, I think he's reached the point where he feels that he has maximum military leverage with the technology of his

missiles and nuclear weapons. So he says, this is the time to negotiate and I have to get China on my side. But China is also saying, hey, you

come over here and tell us what you're going to do because we're major players. We can cut you off. We cut off some of the coal, oil, North

Koran workers working in China, food stuffs. So China's reasserting itself, and it's not such a bad thing. I think this summit is a

development that started with North Korea and South Korea may be getting together, the Olympics, the summit with President Trump and now China being

a major actor. I don't think it's that bad. I think it's positive.

GORANI: But do you think Donald Trump is right to take credit? He's basically saying this has never happened before under any other U.S.

president and with me, look.

RICHARDSON: I think the president deserves credit for the sanctions issue. I think he deserves credit for agreeing to the summit with the North Korean

leader. What I disapprove of is the tweets, the insults, that doesn't work in Asia. And I worry that we're not prepared. We don't have a secretary

of state yet. We don't have a national security adviser. They're coming. But we got to be really prepared. Kim Jong-un seems to have an agenda, a

plan, and we don't want to go there unprepared. That's my worry.

GORANI: And speaking of a national security adviser and secretary of state, we have two men, John Bolton especially, big fan of regime change,

not fans of sanctions. They don't like this soft diplomatic approach. I wonder if they could take Donald Trump off course here.

RICHARDSON: I don't think so. I think the stakes are too high. The president has gambled on a very high stakes meeting with Kim Jong-un. If

you're a staff member, secretary of state, national security adviser, you want to make the president look good, at least for this first meeting.

Then beyond that, I don't know what'll happen. But I think if a process of negotiation, the president wants to see that happen. And I commend him for

that, that your advisers have to get in line despite their past views. But we shall see. I think the most important thing is the president to have an

agenda for the meeting, to be prepared, to know what he wants to get out of it, to not get out foxed and then in the same vein, set up a process that's

going to take a while. We're not going to get North Korea denuclearized, but maybe we put some limits on their missile and nuclear activity, on

their exports. Get the remains of our soldiers back from the Korean War. Get the three Americans that are prisoners there. So this is good. This

is OK. This summit between the Chinese and the North Koreans. And so as Kim Jong-un is talking to people for the first time. The only person he

ever talked to was a basketball player, Dennis Rodman. So this is OK.

GORANI: Right. He's expanding his universe for sure with his trip to Beijing. Thanks very much, Bill Richardson. Appreciate your analysis this

evening. Always a pleasure.

More to come after the break. Five trillion pieces of plastic are already polluting the oceans. Now, Britain wants to make sure it's not adding to

that. We'll tell you how after this.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[15:50:16] GORANI: Returning now to our breaking into CNN. British police say there Russian double agent Sergei Skripal and his daughter probably

came into contact with the nerve agent that poisoned them at their front door. This was before visiting a pub and before visiting a restaurant,

you'll remember, in Salisbury. So therefore they're focusing much of their efforts in and around the Skripal's residence. We're also being told that

traces of the nerve agent have been found at some of the other scenes detectives have been working over the past few weeks, but at lower

concentrations to that found at the home address which would make sense that it started at the home address and then that they carried and trailed

and nerve agent with them where they went.

Let's get to Phil Black. He's on the phone in Moscow. It seems as though with every development, Phil, more and more pressures piling on Moscow, I'm

wondering what's likely to be the reaction this time.

PHIL BLACK, CNN CORRESPONDENT (via telephone): Well, you have to say, Hala, that even Russia's response has consistently being but denial. There

is no reason to believe that will change now. Just because has gone some way towards answering what really has been the key question over the course

of this investigation and that is where and how they believe Sergei and Yulia Skripal were actually exposed to the nerve agent itself.

Now, remember, we've seen investigation on the ground taking place at the restaurant where they dined not long before they succumbed to the nerve

agent, the pub they were at before that again. At the cemetery where Sergei Skripal's wife and son are buried. We've seen police in hazmat mat

gear do forensic testing, testing to contamination of that location as well. What this latest information does is it gives us a broader sense of

the timeline from exposing to when they actually collapse on that park bench towards the end of the day. Remember, it was late in the afternoon.

After the pub, after the restaurant.

So you're talking about many, many hours now between exposure and when they eventually display those most powerful symptoms associated with the

exposure. That's when police started getting calls that two people were seriously unwell in public. So you're talking at a very slow-acting nerve

agent in that sense. The police say they have found that in lower dose, there's another location. Remember we heard about trace those

contamination at the restaurants, at the pub as well. We don't know if they are now talking about perhaps other location such as the cemetery, for

example. The police emphasizes this is a complex investigation and as they say what this does point out, what this does give us an indication on that

believe is the timeframe between exposure and when they come to it and where they were --

GORANI: Can I ask -- you reported extensively, Phil, on this in Salisbury. How do you administer this poison? Because what puzzles me is if they were

approached at their front door around their house. How did they not know that they've been exposed until they became sick and realized something was

wrong? How do you administer? How did experts tell you this is admitted?

BLACK: So we heard from experts that it can be -- it can be administered through the skin, through like touch. It can be swallowed. It can be any

way that's a liquid or substance that is kind of the human body. It can happen. But the method of administration, as well as the dose, we are

being told by lots of experts over recent weeks, these are the factors that determine how long it takes to kick in and really take effect.

And so what we're looking at here, one way or another is exposure at the very front of it or perhaps something left on the doorknob itself, for

example. But they've been touched with their hands. It entered through their skin into their bodies and then over a process at several hours, it's

eventually going to work. But the full effects of the nerve agent I have to say, we're not seeing to be taking effect for many hours after they were

known to (INAUDIBLE)

[15:55:21] GORANI: All right. Because I'm remembering the attack in the Malaysian airport with the nerve agent there of the brother of Kim Jong-un

where these two women approached him and they kind of put a some sort of rag over his mouth and very quickly within 20, 30 minutes, he had passed

away.

In this case, it appears as though perhaps, the concentration was much lower and so it was possible for that to have started at the residence and

then ended a few hours later on that parked bench.

BLACK: That it is to be the scenario, if you like, that the fact has to be concerned by the police who's doing the case. But in keep in mind that

there are lots of variable case, such as the dose, such as precisely how it entered their bodies. And of course, we are dealing with what the British

government has defined repeatedly as a very rare nerve agent. One that very little is known about both officially and publicly. But these are the

factors that ultimately determine and will determine through the course of the police investigation how it entered their bodies and how long it took

effect. But we can now draw more accurate timeline based upon these facts that the police have provided with us. We know it's about 4:00 in the

afternoon when they eventually collapsed. The police have said that they left home much earlier in the day. They've seen driving around town, went

to the pub, went to lunch, and then eventually to come to the full effects.

So you can see we're talking about a broad period of time over the course of the day between exposure and where may eventually succumb. And also

they're talking about it comes down to these issues like the dose, like how it was administered, and of course the very specific properties of this

weapon which the British authorities that had very little to say about so far.

GORANI: All right. Phil Black, many thanks, joining us from Moscow. That's going to do it for us. A quick recap of what we're learning from

British police, that the highest concentration of that nerve agent that has sickened Sergei Skripal and his daughter was found at their home, at the

front door. How did they come into contact with this nerve agent, Phil Black was saying potentially was it on the doorknob, was it around that

area? Did they then trail it with them in the pub, in the restaurant and eventually the park? Those are all open questions.

Thanks for watching. I'm Hala Gorani. "QUEST MEANS BUSINESS" is next.

END