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CNN NEWSROOM

First Day of Hearings for Facebook CEO; Syrian Civil War; FBI Raids Cohen Domains, Trump Cancels Trip to South America; North Korean Talks; Royal Wedding. Aired 12-1a ET

Aired April 11, 2018 - 00:00   ET

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


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ISHA SESAY, CNN ANCHOR (voice-over): This is CNN NEWSROOM live from Los Angeles. Ahead this hour: Facebook faceoff. Mark Zuckerberg tells lawmakers the data scandal was a big mistake and he promises to make changes.

As the international community awaits military options in Syria, chemical weapons inspectors are headed to Douma to investigate the latest mass killing.

And President Trump red hot and fuming about the Russia probe. The question now, will he fire Robert Mueller?

Hello and welcome to our viewers from all around the world around the world. I'm Isha Sesay. NEWSROOM L.A. starts right now.

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SESAY: In his first appearance before Congress, lawmakers grilled Facebook's CEO about user privacy, Russian influence and whether social media should be regulated. Mark Zuckerberg's first day of testimony comes after reports that a firm with ties to President Trump's 2016 campaign got access to millions of Facebook users' data without their knowledge.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MARK ZUCKERBERG, COFOUNDER AND CEO, FACEBOOK: Take a broad enough view of our responsibility and that was a big mistake. And it was my mistake and I'm sorry.

There are people in Russia whose job it is to try to exploit our systems and other Internet systems and other systems as well. So this is an arms race. But they're going to keep on getting better this and we need to invest and keep on getting better at this, too.

SEN. BILL NELSON (D- FLA.), RANKING MEMBER, COMMERCE COMMITTEE: Do you think that you have an ethical obligation to notify 87 million Facebook users?

ZUCKERBERG: Senator, when we heard back from Cambridge Analytica that they had told us that they weren't using the data and had deleted it, we consider it a closed case. In retrospect, that was clearly a mistake. We shouldn't have taken their word for it and we've updated our policies and how we're going to operate the company to make sure that we don't make that mistake again.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SESAY: (INAUDIBLE) Dick Durbin's questions for Zuckerberg on the spot about importance of anyone -- everyone's privacy.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEN. DICK DURBIN (D), ILLINIOS, DEMOCRATIC WHIP: Would you be comfortable sharing with us the name of the hotel you stayed in last night?

ZUCKERBERG: No.

(LAUGHTER)

DURBIN: If you messaged anybody this week, would you share with us the names of the people you've messaged?

ZUCKERBERG: Senator, no, I would probably not choose to do that publicly here.

DURBIN: I think that may be what this is all about: your right to privacy, the limits of your right to privacy and how much you give away in modern America in the name of, quote, "connecting people around the world."

(END VIDEO CLIP)

Zuckerberg is to appear again Wednesday before a House committee.

Joining us now from Jerusalem with more on all of this is CNNMoney's technology and business correspondent Samuel Burke.

Samuel, always good to see you. Zuckerberg did a whole lot of prep ahead of his appearance on Tuesday and it showed in his performance.

SAMUEL BURKE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Absolutely. That he did with PR groups, with different people from different sides of the political aisle certainly paid off. But what was really incredible for me, Isha, were the number of subjects that were covered.

Cambridge Analytica was the impetus for this hearing but they covered everything from data protection to the Mueller investigation and, for me, that was the most important moment in this entire testimony when Zuckerberg was asked about his subpoena and his answer wasn't very clear at the beginning. Take a listen.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEN. PATRICK LEAHY (D), VERMONT: I assume Facebook's been served subpoenas from the special counsel Mueller's office. Is that correct?

ZUCKERBERG: Yes.

LEAHY: Have you or anyone at Facebook been interviewed by the Special Counsel's Office?

ZUCKERBERG: Yes.

LEAHY: Have you been interviewed --

ZUCKERBERG: I have not. I have not.

LEAHY: Others have?

ZUCKERBERG: I believe so. And I want to be careful here, because that -- our work with the special counsel is confidential and I want to make sure that, in an open session, I'm not revealing something that's confidential.

LEAHY: I understand. I just want to make clear that you have been contacted and you have had subpoenas.

ZUCKERBERG: Actually, let me clarify that. I actually am not aware of a subpoena. I believe that there may be, but I know we're working with them.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BURKE: So, Isha, what I should have said is that his answer was clear at the beginning and then all of a sudden he lost his back. How he could not have been more prepared for that type of question, that is the question of our time, really, this connection possibly between Facebook, Russia, Trump and really Facebook right this engineering (ph).

He really wasn't prepared for that moment. But at the end of the day the best --

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BURKE: -- gauge of this sometimes is the stock price. And Facebook stock went up 4.5 percent. That represents $20 billion added back to the market value of this company. Investors liked what they saw probably because there were 44 senators asking questions. At the end of the day that didn't give a lot of time for depth.

Each time the senator was maybe starting to get to something deep, it was time to move on to the next senator. So Zuckerberg was able to deflect a lot. That's what investors liked. We'll see today if in the House of Representatives people are more forceful with Zuckerberg after seeing the lack of force really with the senators yesterday.

SESAY: As you made the point, there were 44 of them right at the beginning. It was laid out that they had five minutes, five minutes per senator and they had to keep it moving, there were just that many people.

But to your point of Zuckerberg being able to weed tap dance around the situation, and some of the tough questions there's also the fundamental issue here that a number of the senators just didn't understand how Facebook works.

In other words, to use the time to the right questions.

BURKE: Exactly and it was clear from some of the questions that we heard from the senators that they don't use Facebook. They had questions that just probably any of us or certainly people's kids could answer.

Take a look at this questioning that went on between Senator Orrin Hatch and Mark Zuckerberg.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEN. ORRIN HATCH (R), UTAH: How do you sustain a business model in which users don't pay for your service?

ZUCKERBERG: Senator, we run ads.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BURKE: So the reason this is so important, Isha, because I don't think this bodes very well for data reform. And that's really what is at the heart of the Cambridge Analytica scandal.

Will the government or governments around the world -- because let me tell you, people around the world were watching this testimony, tech CEOs here in Israel wondering how this could affect their companies long term.

And they're looking at this and if people don't even know how Facebook makes money, how are they going to be able to create the laws that are very much needed by Facebook's own admission to protect our data?

That is why we're hoping that some more serious questions might be asked today in the House. Maybe they could ask questions like does Facebook track people after they've already turned off the platform?

Does Facebook keep on looking what you're doing while you're on other sites?

They started to ask those type of questions during the testimony in the House -- in the Senate rather but Mark Zuckerberg was able to evade those questions with some super clever answers. He was just able to say let me get back to you on that one, let my team get back to you on that one.

SESAY: There was a lot of "let my team get back to you" over and over and over again. Samuel Burke, always appreciate it, my friend, thank you.

Jacob Ward joins us now from San Francisco. He's a fellow with the Center for Advanced Study in the basic sciences at Stanford University and former editor-in-chief of "Popular Science."

Jacob, great to have you with us because I am really interested in your takeaway from the Zuckerberg testimony. He was contrite, he said he was sorry. He went on and on and on again about how he built this thing in his dorm room.

But for you, what was your biggest takeaway?

JACOB WARD, STANFORD UNIVERSITY: Yes, you know I thought it was -- it's very entertaining theater. I think there is a tremendous sort of culture clash as you guys pointed out, watching these sort of grandfatherly and grandmotherly figures being taught how to operate Facebook as they're trying to figure out how they might regulate the guy who invented it, sitting in front of them.

All that was entertaining TV. But boy, it doesn't bode well for data reform. That is really the big problem here. Privacy is as close as anyone got to understanding what some of the problems around Facebook might be.

But for me it didn't get to the other fundamental difficulties, challenges, threats of Facebook, which is the unconscious instincts that we have that Facebook plays on to grab our attention at all times.

And the fact that there is no framework right now in a regulatory sense for understanding just how unwitting we are as users of Facebook and how powerful their grasp of our data has really become, we've just barely scratched the surface of how the thing works, much less how it works on us, which is really the thing I was hoping they would get at today.

SESAY: Yes, (INAUDIBLE) tried to go there and basically talk about the fundamental tension that exists in the Facebook model and Facebook is all about at least the image doing good, connecting people. But really they want to keep you on the platform for as long as possible. And basically scrape all your data.

WARD: That's right. There's no other purpose to that business than to keep you to glued to Facebook at all times. And with a user base of 2.2 billion --

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WARD: -- people and $40 billion in ad sales in 2017, you know, this is not a company that wants to give any of your attention away. And so I just worry that there were some moments there where we missed the ball, you know. If for instance they started to talk about privacy and data, you know, Zuckerberg could get away with saying, well, we don't give your duty to any outside people anymore.

Well, that's no reassurance. They hang onto all of our data because that allows them to place ads as beautifully as they do and as manipulative as they. And so it just felt like -- it felt like a lot of people had come unprepared. You know, I read a wonderful tweet from the former editor-in-chief of the "New York Observer," who pointed out that each one of those sitting senators has a political consultant they have undoubtedly given money to at some point who has placed ads for them on Facebook.

They could have gone to any one of those political consultants and gotten a great lesson in what the dangers of this platform really are.

SESAY: (INAUDIBLE) you're well aware of, co-founder of (INAUDIBLE), said something really interesting. And she wrote it in a political piece. She said ahead of the hearing, "Take off the kid gloves when dealing with the Silicon Valley executive. He is one of the richest people on Earth. He founded this company. Stop juvenilizing men here in Silicon Valley."

And I think she makes a good point and I think Zuckerberg himself was playing that a little bit with the whole "I built the thing in my dorm room," a humble beginning. Just like the smoke and mirrors, I'm sorry, I'm sorry.

But to Kara's (ph) point, he is one of the richest men in the world, one of the most powerful individuals in the world.

WARD: That's right. I've been a tech reporter in the past for -- I did almost 20 years of that. And one of the watchwords that you always hear founders like this say is, this is a number of these buzzwords they use.

"We just were just a bunch of friends getting together, trying to make something happen," you know.

"We didn't realize it was going to come this far."

That's one of those tropes that you just hear over and over again.

The other one is, "Users asked us to make this." And Zuckerberg is always talking about this community that he just sort of reached out and empowered using Facebook, as if it preexisted and he is just offering up some tools to facilitate it.

All of that, to me, is a total fallacy. It is the idea instead that this is a very brilliant person and a huge company that he has built, which is used to manipulate our attention. That's what they do for a living. So anything else, all this, "aw, shucks," kind of stuff is a great dodge but it doesn't really get at the heart of the problem here, which is that we have to change the regulations on these companies. That's becoming clear.

They are so powerful, they have so much data about us that to let them just plow ahead in this way is just going to be dangerous to certainly democracy. We've shown that much.

But I also worry just about the ability of human beings to know what's true, to communicate with each other honestly and to spend time in the way that they really should. All of that is under threat on Facebook's model as it currently exists. SESAY: Jacob Ward, it's always great to speak to you. Thank you. Thank you for the great conversation.

An international team of chemical weapons investigators will head to Syria as U.S. and its allies are weighing how to respond to the suspected use of chemical weapons in the country. At the U.N. Security Council Tuesday Russia vetoes a U.S. draft resolution calling for an inquiry into last weekend's suspected chemical attack in Douma.

A rival Russian resolution also failed. U.S. ambassador to the U.N. Nikki Haley said Russia's version gave Moscow the power to approve the investigators and accused Moscow of trashing the council's credibility.

Meantime, the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons is sending a team to Douma to investigate what happened then. Lina Sergie Attar is co-founder of The Karam Foundation, which provides humanitarian aid to Syrians. She joins us now from Lake Forest, Illinois.

Lena, thank you so much for being with us. Let me ask you what you're hearing about the situation in Douma right now.

LINA SERGIE ATTAR, THE KARAM FOUNDATION: The situation right now is very difficult. We've had thousands of people who have left Douma in the buses that possibly displace so that Syrian families from the besieged areas as we've seen time and time again in the past seven years by the Syrian regime.

And we've had about 3,500 people who have left Douma and headed north towards Idlib province on the Syria-Turkish border.

SESAY: As they head off to these different locations, what awaits them there?

ATTAR: Really a lot of uncertainty and we're talking about a situation here where there's been over hundred thousand people who have been displaced from Eastern Ghouta in the past week or so. Some of went to Damascus. Most of them went to Northern Syria. There's still tens of thousands --

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ATTAR: -- still besieged inside Eastern Ghouta and in Douma. And what awaits them really is uncertainty, where to live, where to begin putting together your lives, where to send your kids to school. This is what we've been working with day in and day out with our team on the ground. And it's devastating because we're seeing inside Syria displaced people helping more displaced people and just waves of displacement and on the way of becoming refugees is a very difficult thing to have.

And it's no way to be able to build a life and build a future.

SESAY: The President of the United States is threatening a response to what happened in Douma at the weekend. What's the view of Syrians on the ground, what's the view of any

action taken by the U.S. at this stage more than seven years later since this thing began?

ATTAR: I can tell you tonight is a very tense night for every Syrian. We have been waiting, waiting for something, for any kind of response to counter this kind of brutality and this inhumanity that Syrians have been facing for over seven years from the Syrian regime and their allies.

And we are waiting for any kind of accountability of using chemical weapons against civilians, against children. And what people really need to understand is when you see these images of Syrian children suffocated to death on chemical weapons or Syrian children who are being hit with barrel bonds, as you have also seen today in Idlib, and we've seen over the past years, you have to imagine that these kids grew up under siege, grew up under bombs, are growing up in this war.

Some of them have never seen a fruit. Some of them have never had a real meal. We've had a case with our team on the ground to get one of the families off of the buses and the child told our team member, do you have a bakery here?

And he said yes we have a bakery.

And the child started to cry, a little boy, because he said he couldn't believe that he was going to actually have bread. This is the situation.

SESAY: Lina, as you lay out just what's at stake here and what children are facing, people are waiting for some kind of strike. You talk about wanting accountability for what has happened in Syria but the U.S. has made it quite clear, they're not, at least from everything we've seen to date -- they are looking to get embroiled in Syria.

Any kind of attack would be an attack that would send a message but they're not looking to oust Bashar al-Assad.

ATTAR: This is very unfortunate. I think that the world and not just the United States, the world are silent witnesses and bystanders to a genocide and a holocaust. And so what we wanted is accountability but what we want more than that is that no child and no family, no Syrian civilian should be killed by airstrikes or by barrel bombs or by chemical weapons. It needs to stop. This strike that may or may not happen may not end the war. But what Syrians want is an end to this war. They want to live in peace and dignity and freedom and justice. And this is what every human being on the planet deserves.

And we want any piece of that, anything that could save one child's life, anything that could stop us from having these images and stop us from having even these discussions and statements and resolutions and all this talk with no action while Syrians are dying every single day for the past seven years because they asked for freedom and dignity. And this brutal dictatorship needs to end. And we will keep on speaking about it and talking about it to anybody who will hear us. And we'll keep on helping the Syrian people and help them survive and help these families in any way we can.

But if the airstrikes and these kinds of attacks continue, we are looking at more and more and more displaced people, more refugees, more instability.

SESAY: Lina Sergie Attar, we thank you for joining us and giving us a reality check. Thank you.

We're going to take a very quick break here. New reports about who is in Donald Trump's line of fire. We'll see what sources are saying about the future of special counsel Robert Mueller next on NEWSROOM L.A.

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SESAY: Donald Trump's personal attorney, Michael Cohen, says the FBI raids on his home office and hotel room were upsetting, to say the least. He spoke to CNN Tuesday, calling the FBI agents "extremely professional, courteous and respectful."

But he admits he's worried, especially about the impact on his family. Cohen said everything he did in regard to paying adult film star Stormy Daniels for the nondisclosure agreement was legal.

The raid has rattled the president as well. Sources say he's considering firing deputy attorney general Rod Rosenstein, who oversees the special counsel investigation. Another source says the president and his aides have discussed firing Robert Mueller for months. CNN's Pamela Brown reports.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

PAMELA BROWN, CNN JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): In the days since the raid on Michael Cohen's office and hotel room, we've learned the FBI wasn't just looking for records about payments to porn star Stormy Daniels but also documents on a deal between former Playboy Playmate Karen McDougal and the owners of the "National Enquirer" to buy and bury her story about her alleged affair with Trump, an affair the White House denies.

SARAH HUCKABEE SANDERS, DEPUTY WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: The president's been clear. He's addressed this several times. I don't have anything else to add.

BROWN (voice-over): We've also learned the raid included a request for documents related to Cohen's ownership of New York City taxi medallions. Deputy attorney general Rod Rosenstein, who was nominated by Trump, had to sign off on the raid.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Are you think about firing deputy attorney general Rod Rosenstein?

BROWN (voice-over): Trump wouldn't answer questions today, instead taking to Twitter to declare attorney-client privilege is dead and to call the investigation led by his own Justice Department a witch hunt.

TRUMP: It's a disgrace. It's frankly a real disgrace. It's an attack on our country in a true sense. It's an attack on what we all stand for.

BROWN (voice-over): Trump also again publicly turning his attorney general Jeff Sessions, who has the power to fire special counsel Robert Mueller but recused himself from the Russia investigation.

TRUMP: The attorney general made a terrible mistake when he did this and when he recused himself or he should have certainly let us know if he was going to recuse himself and we would have used a -- put a different attorney general in.

BROWN (voice-over): And firing a warning shot to Mueller himself.

TRUMP: Why don't I just fire Mueller?

Well, I think it's a disgrace what's going on. We'll see what happened. But i think it's really a sad situation when you look at what happened and many people have said you should fire him.

BROWN (voice-over): The threat of firing Mueller has leaders in the president's own party sending warnings of their own.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I think that would be a mistake.

SEN. MITCH MCCONNELL (R), MAJORITY LEADER: He should be allowed to finish the job he was appointed to do.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I think it would be suicide for the president, the firing.

BROWN (voice-over): But when asked today if the president believes he has the power to fire Mueller, the White House said this.

SANDERS: Certainly believes he has the power to do so.

BROWN (voice-over): With Trump's anger at a boiling point news, news of the president's hastily canceled trip to South America and the departure of Homeland Security adviser Tom Bossert, a source telling CNN there is a deep sense of anxiety and uncertainty in the West Wing as aides wonder what's next.

CNN has learned Bossert was pushed out by newly installed national security advisor John Bolton. Just days after an appearance on television on behalf of the administration.

THOMAS BOSSERT, FORMER WHITE HOUSE HOMELAND SECURITY ADVISER: I think the president's got a point that's been --

[00:25:00] BOSSERT: -- very clear and I'm going to reiterate that point.

BROWN (voice-over): With his departure, nearly half of top level staff inside Trump's White House has turned over, according to a Brookings Institution study.

BROWN: The president's trip to South America has been cut short and the White House said that is because he wants to stay back to focus on the U.S. response to the apparent chemical weapons attack in Syria. But sources tell us that the president had been grumbling to aides in recent days about going on the trip in the first place. It wasn't something he particularly wanted to do.

And we're also told that he is not going in part because he is so angered by the raid on his personal attorney's office and home and the fact that he needs to figure out the next steps at his own Justice Department.

So it appears that there are a number of factors as to why the president is not going on this trip -- Pamela Brown, CNN, the White House.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

SESAY: Ethan Bearman is a California talk radio host and Lanhee Chen is a research fellow and lecturer at Stanford University.

Gentlemen, welcome. The president is not packing his bags. He is not going to South America. He shall be staying put in Washington, D.C., while he seethes and fumes and foams.

What comes next?

That's the question within the White House.

Lanhee, what comes next?

LANHEE CHEN, FORMER ROMNEY PUBLIC POLICY DIRECTOR: Well, this has been hallmark of the Trump presidency, which is that no one can predict what's going to happen and whether it's personnel changes, whether it's the president himself expressing a point of view on Robert Mueller, nobody seems to know.

And that's what makes it tough to govern. At the end of the day, that's what makes it tough for decisions to come out of this White House that actually can be executed on because no one knows where the president's head is at.

No one knows that's coming next. So I expect that pattern to continue.

SESAY: Ethan, is your expectation that someone may lose their job in the next couple of days?

ETHAN BEARMAN, TALK SHOW RADIO HOST: I think that's pretty easy to come to that conclusion. But the problem really comes down to we have chaos happening in Washington right now. We have person after person in this administration -- remember, he was going to hire the best and the brightest from the business world. They were going to be phenomenal, the greatest cabinet we've ever seen and we've never seen such turnover.

So where are these great people who are taking over in the White House?

And why doesn't he listen to in the advisers that he hires?

But more importantly we have real issues happening in South and Central America that the United States needs to be addressing. He wants to attack Honduras and Guatemala and Mexico and ignore what's happening in South America with Ecuador, among many other countries. There are real issues that the United States should be leading on. It's our hemisphere of influence and he is acting like it doesn't matter and that we should just be mad at them and build a bigger wall.

SESAY: Lanhee, that is keeping with the Trump presidency which seems to be just after all about retreat and turning inward and only engaging in fights if you are going to win this rhetorically or as Ethan said, putting up a wall.

But coming back to the issue of the special counsel, those on Capitol Hill are saying now more than ever they need the legislation to protect special counsel Mueller. Mitch McConnell seems to be saying that he doesn't need it. He thinks he'll be safe.

Will he be safe?

What's you sense?

Should they be enacting this legislation?

Should they be rushing it through?

CHEN: First of all, I don't think the president is going to take the step of firing Mueller at this point. Now that doesn't mean that he won't entertain it down the road. The talk about him replacing Rod Rosenstein, I think, is troubling, obviously, because Rod Rosenstein is the bulwark. He is sort of the floodgate if you will.

And if you allow him to be breached, if you allow the president to put in that place somebody who potentially could interfere with the special counsel investigation, I think that's a big problem.

So part of the thing is that Republicans in Congress don't want to act until they absolutely have to act. I think that's part of the challenge that we're running into. And so at this point the issue is going to be how much more does the president need to actually do before Congress acts?

(CROSSTALK)

BEARMAN: -- abdication on part of the Republicans in Congress at this point. Their responsibility to the American people to provide some stability in all of this and to put a bulwark in place now, when we have a president who acts emotion as opposed to on logic and with good information from advisors, it just came out again today that just the other day again he was talking about firing Mueller.

So I don't have the confidence that Lanhee does that President Trump isn't going to wake up tomorrow morning when he's busy tweeting from the toilet, says, uh, and Robert Mueller is fired according to me today and we have a constitutional crisis in the United States.

SESAY: What about the plan, about the abdication that the GOP on Capitol Hill owe it to the American people to put in place a ringfence that will ensure that this investigation carries on unimpeded?

CHEN: Again, I think what they are focused on is they're trying to figure out when do we need to act, if we need to act. I think they believe that if the president takes a step of actually firing Mueller --

(CROSSTALK)

SESAY: But would it not send the message to the president if they did it?

CHEN: -- well, first of all, I don't think there's any messages to be sent to the president. I think if the president's going to fire Robert Mueller, he's going to fire -- it doesn't matter what the Republicans in Congress do.

[00:30:00]

CHEN: The fact the matter is this if the president were to fire Robert Mueller today or tomorrow or anytime soon it would precipitate a serious backlash. And I do think Republicans in Congress then would be forced to do something. Now again, that would be after the fact but the point is that, at this point in time, at least for Republicans in Congress, there's just not enough of an incentive there. There just isn't.

Politically, first of all, they risk running afoul of Donald Trump. Second of all, they risk -- they run the risk of running afoul of their own voters in an election year. I think that's the challenge we're running into because this is an election year at the end of the day. That drives a lot of this dynamic.

BEARMAN: Principles don't matter anymore so let's worry about the midterm election. Let's worry about offending the mercurial president that we have in the White House. Let's not do what's right for the American people. That's the world we're living with this Congress.

SESAY: (INAUDIBLE) as you wrapped it up so neatly and tidily and put a bow on it, we're going to end right there. Ethan Bearman, Lanhee Chen, thank you, thank you.

All right, quick break here. The U.S. and North Korea are secretly preparing for historic talks. But there may be some major obstacle. We'll explore what North Korea could demand to get rid of its nuclear weapons.

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SESAY: You're watching CNN live from Los Angeles. I'm Isha Sesay. The headlines this hour:

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SESAY: After years of isolation North Korea is suddenly on a big diplomatic push trying to shore up international support before any potential talks with the U.S. This week the North Korean charm offensive is in Russia, one of the few countries that have any kind of relations with Kim Jong-un's regime.

He sent his top diplomat to Moscow where he met with Russia's foreign minister on Tuesday and saying Lavrov accepted an invitation to visit Pyongyang. Here's the North Korean foreign minister speaking from Moscow.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): We believe --

[00:35:00]

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): -- that the current situation on the Korean Peninsula, the situation around Russia and general international political situation demands the two countries to even more strengthen friendly relations between our countries, to build up strategic communication and coordinate actions between the two countries.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SESAY: We're learning about the secret preparations for a summit between U.S. President Donald Trump and Kim Jong-un. Those plans could be further along than many thought but there's still some sticking points including what North Korea could demand to get rid of its nuclear weapons.

Our Brian Todd reports.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

BRIAN TODD, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: We now have the first clear indications that a historic summit between President Trump and Kim Jong-un may really happen. During a meeting of the North Korean Worker's Party, Kim, for the first time acknowledge the possibility of a meeting with Trump. According to his news agency, the dictator presented a, "In depth analysis of possible talks between his regime and the United States. This comes as CNN is told by several Trump Administration officials that the U.S. and North Korea have been holding secret direct talks to prepare for a Trump-Kim Summit. CIA Director Mike Pompeo has been leading the secret negotiations according to CNN sources. With U.S. and North Korean intelligence officials even meeting in a third-country to nail down some details.

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We've been in touch with North Korea. We'll be meeting with them sometime in May or early June and I think there will be great respect paid by both parties and hopefully we'll be able to make a deal on the denuking of North Korea.

TODD: Several U.S. officials tell CNN, Kim's regime has reaffirmed its willingness to discuss the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula. But now, analyst warn about what that really means. For the U.S., it means North Korea would talk about giving up its nuclear weapons. But for Kim they say, denuclearization means something completely different.

LISA COLLINS, KOREA CHAIR, CENTER FOR STRATEGIC AND INTERNATIONAL STUDIES: Well, that means in practical terms is usually the removal of U.S. troops from the Korean Peninsula, a dissolution of the U.S.- South Korea Alliance and eventually a peace treaty between the United States and North Korea.

TODD: And experts say there are other sticking points that might prevent a deal between Trump and Kim and might still prevent a summit from occurring in the first place.

DEAN CHANG, THE HERITAGE FOUNDATION: North Korea has this very, very bad habit of making incredible demands. It's quite possible they're demanding cash. They're probably demanding credit recognition and end to U.S.-South Korean Military exercise. The list is almost endless as preconditions for talks.

TODD: North Korea wants got $500 million from South Korea just for agreeing to hold a summit with the South Korean President in 2000. Tonight, while Kim Jong-un talks about a summit, he strangely silent on another major development. He hasn't said a word about joint U.S.- South Korean military drills going on for the past week. Exercises which Kim always views as a threat.

COLLINS: The North Korean leaders is actually preparing for talks and so doesn't probably want to raise a lot of conflict or attention -- additional attention with the United States and South Korean and run out to both the Inter-Korean talks on April 27th and then the future U.S.-North Korea talks slated for either May or early June.

TODD: Another possible complication for a Trump-Kim Summit could come in a couple of weeks when Trump meets with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe at Mar-a-Lago. Analyst say Abe is expected to raise several concerns that Japan has about a possible summit. He may ask Trump to press the North Koreans to stop flying missiles over Japan in tests and to send back several Japanese citizens who the North Koreans have kidnapped over the decades -- Brian Todd, CNN, Washington.

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SESAY: Break here. It's the wedding of the year. Prince Harry and Meghan Markle are about to tie the knot. Up next, find out who's getting an invitation, who's been left off the royal guest list.

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SESAY: We're now finding out who made the guest list for next month's royal wedding and who didn't. U.S. President Donald Trump and British Prime Minister Theresa May are among those who won't be attending Prince Harry and Meghan Markle's wedding. Max Foster has more from London.

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MAX FOSTER, CNN CORRESPONDENT: It's not the sort of problem most of us have when we're putting together our wedding list but Prince Harry and Meghan Markle have quite a tough choice when it comes to choosing the 600 people they are inviting to the wedding next month.

We now know that they're not going to be inviting any political leaders just because of the positions they're in. It's not a state occasion. They can invite who they like and they've managed to create a blanket on all politicians who they don't have a personal relationship with.

So prime minister Theresa May, she's not invited nor is President Trump. There was some question around President Obama and Michelle Obama who Prince Harry has worked with a lot on common causes.

All we know is that they won't be attending the wedding. We don't know whether or not they were invited and the Obamas decided to take that invitation to avoid embarrassment with reference to President Trump not being invited.

But we'll never probably find out the answers to that. We do know that many members of the public will be invited to the area outside the chapel and some will be invited in. They will represent many of the causes that Meghan and Harry are interested in a probably will be into the future as well.

So it will be quite a public wedding and it certainly will be broadcast around the world but you won't have a whole set of senior VVIPs, as they're known, sitting on the front rows. Just the queen, it seems, and a few personal friends -- Max Foster, CNN, London.

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SESAY: I'm sure it will be a lovely day.

Thanks for watching CNN NEWSROOM live from Los Angeles. I'm Isha Sesay. Stay tuned now for "WORLD SPORT." You're watching CNN.