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CNN NEWSROOM

Text Messages Clue to Khashoggi's Death; Earthquake Paralyzes Some Transportation in Alaska; Temporary Truce Agreed Between U.S. and China; Farewell to President George H.W. Bush; World Headlines; Major Developments About the Trump Tower Moscow Project; France Considers "All Options" to Quell Violent Protests; Rappler CEO Surrenders to Court, Posts Bail; Alaskan Earthquake Aftermath; Backlash Deepens Over Gene-Edited Twins; Stars Perform at Nelson Mandela Tribute Concert; New York Police Find Couple Who Lost Engagement Ring; Memorial Events for President George H.W. Bush Begin Monday. Aired 3-4a ET

Aired December 3, 2018 - 03:00   ET

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


(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[03:00:00] GEORGE HOWELL, CNN HOST: A CNN exclusive, critical text messages that may have led to the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi.

Plus, this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: This is the most travelled artery in Alaska. And take a look at what has happened here because of the earthquake.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

HOWELL: Alaska struggling to recover from severe damage after a 7.0 earthquake rips through Anchorage.

Also, ahead this hour, protesters and violence in the city of Paris, it provokes a promise from the government to stop its spread.

We are live from world headquarters in Atlanta. And we want to welcome our viewers here in the United States and all around the world. I'm George Howell. The CNN Newsroom starts right now.

It's 3 a.m. on the U.S. East Coast. Thank you for being with us this day.

We begin with a CNN exclusive. New insight into the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi and one of the unanswered key questions. Why was he killed?

CNN's Nina Dos Santos has exclusively obtained 10 months' worth of WhatsApp messages that Khashoggi sent to a fellow Saudi dissident and they offer new clues into why Khashoggi may have been killed.

NINA DOS SANTOS, CNN CORRESPPONDENT: These are words you won't have read in Jamal Khashoggi's columns. Instead, they've WhatsApp messages never been seen before sent by Khashoggi in the year before his death. They lay bare his disdain for Saudi Arabia's crown prince saying, quote, "he is like a beast, like pac man, the more victims he eats, the more he wants." In another, "may God rid us and this nation of this predicament." The words were exchanged with Omar Abdulaziz, a fellow critic in exile in Canada.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

OMAR ABDULAZIZ, EXILED SAUDI ACTIVIST: He believed that MBS is the issue, is the problem and someone has to tell him that, you know, you have to be stopped.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

DOS SANTOS: Talk like this is dangerous from a country with one of the world's worst records for human rights. And it wasn't just political views of the pair is trading but plans to hold the Saudi state to account, creating an army of so-called cyber bees on social media, leveraging Khashoggi's name and the 340,000 strong Twitter following of his confidante.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ABDULAZIZ: In the beginning it was a bit difficult for us to have this kind of relationship. For me, I was a dissident and he was a gy who worked for the government for almost 35 years.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

DOS SANTOS: Khashoggi pledged funds and Abdulaziz bought the hardware, hundreds of foreign SIM cards to sends back home enabling dissident to avoid detection.

In one message Abdulaziz writes, "I sent you a brief idea about the work of the electronic army." "Brilliant report," Khashoggi replies. "I will try to sort out the money."

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DOS SANTOS: How much money did he originally say he would commit to the project?

ABDULAZIZ: He said 30,000.

DOS SANTOS: Thirty thousand U.S. dollars?

ABDULAZIZ: Yes.

DOS SANTOS: How dangerous is a project like that in Saudi Arabia?

ABDULAZIZ: You might be killed because of that. You might be jailed. They might send someone to assassinate you.

(END VIDEO CLIP) DOS SANTOS: Just like Khashoggi Abdulaziz believes that he was also

targeted after two Saudi emissaries were dispatched to Canada he says last May to coax him into the embassy there. He made the secret recordings of their meetings and shared them with CNN.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): We have come to you with a message from Mohammed bin Salman. I want you to be reassured. We don't have to approach someone from an official department or the state security. The Saudi Arabian embassy awaits you.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

DOS SANTOS: When Abdulaziz refused, they got to him another way. Hacking his phone. According to a lawsuit Abdulaziz filed in week against the Israeli firm behind the spyware. When the pair's plan was discovered, Khashoggi punished. "God help us," he wrote.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DOS SANTOS: How much of a target did that make both of you?

ABDULAZIZ: The hacking of the phone played a major role on what happened to Jamal. I'm really sorry to say that. We were trying to teach people about human rights, about freedom of speech. That's it. This is the only crime that we have committed.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

DOS SANTOS: Nina Dos Santos, CNN, London.

HOWELL: Nina, thank you.

Saudi officials have not responded to CNN's request for comment regarding the allegations of Omar Abdulaziz, the Israeli company that invented the software allegedly used to hack Abdulaziz's phone. It says the technology is licensed for the sole use of governments and law enforcement agencies to fight terrorism and crime. The company adds it does not tolerate misuse of its products.

[03:04:58] Fallout from Jamal Khashoggi's murder made for some very tense moments with the Saudi crown prince at the G20 summit in Argentina. Reports say some world leaders ignored Mohammed bin Salman while posing for the G20 class photo that you see here.

When French President Emmanuel Macron met with the crown prince he told him that Europeans would like international experts to be part of the Khashoggi investigation. A private conversation between the two men was captured on video. It is not clear what they discussed, but what is clear Mr. Macron was firm with the crown prince.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

EMMANUEL MACRON, PRESIDENT OF FRANCE: I am worried. You never listen to me. MOHAMMAD BIN SALMAN, CROWN PRINCE OF SAUDI ARABIA: No, I listen of course.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

HOWELL: Bin Salman got a much warmer reception from the Russian President Vladimir Putin. As you see here the two men even sharing what amounted to a high-five at the summit.

The U.S. President, Donald Trump is tweeting about the G20 and new results of his meeting with the Chinese President Xi Jinping. The leaders of the world's two biggest economies agreed to a temporary truce in their trade war for at least the next 90 days.

A short time ago, Mr. Trump tweeted that, quote, "China has agreed to reduce and remove tariffs on cars coming into China from the U.S." Adding that currently the tariff is only 40 percent.

China hasn't confirmed this move yet, but the president's tweet comes as negotiators from both sides are trying to iron out key trade differences.

Let's go live to Beijing. CNN's Steven Jiang following the story for us. And Steven, the president here tweeting as negotiations continue, is this kind of part of the negotiations and has there been any reaction there in China?

STEVEN JIANG, CNN PRODUCER: Well, George, no official reaction so far and the Chinese officials may choose not to respond at all. It's probably a wise move considering how quickly the U.S. president may change his mind, but this tweet is very typical of Mr. Trump, boasting an achievement without offering much clarity or details. But it requires a bit of context here, George because China actually slashed tariffs on foreign cars back in July right before the trade war started with the U.S.

So, now if you buy foreign cars from countries other than the U.S., you pay 15 percent tariff. The 40 percent tariff figure on U.S. cars is because China has added a 25 percent punitive tariff on U.S. cars after the trade war begin.

So, a lot of people are still trying to figure out what the president meant by reducing or removing the 40 percent tariffs. Does he mean it's going back to 15 percent or zero percent? That would be a major coup. But still, tis example really illustrates, George, the kind of added confusion and uncertainty trade negotiators from both sides I think have to deal with as they resume their very tough trade talks in the coming weeks and months. George?

HOWELL: Steven, so let's talk about what we do know because, certainly, there are questions from what the president tweeted, but we know that the United States has agreed to essentially put tariffs on ice for a moment and the China plans to buy more goods and services from the United States. So, the question to you, how much pressure does this take off of these two economies, even at least temporarily? JIANG: I think if you look at the markets here, they have responded

very positively. The numbers are significantly up in both Shanghai and Shenzhen. I think in Shanghai the closing number sis more, is up more than 2.5 percent, so that's a very, very good piece of information on use for investors.

And it also gave breathing room for consumers around the world, American farmers as well as Chinese manufacturers, but here is the key going forward. That is these 90-day negotiations period. That is because these talks are going to focus on the core demands from Mr. Trump, that is China not only has to buy more from the U.S. It also has to change its economic structure and stop using unfair trade practices.

And these are the points long assisted by President Xi and his government. So, now, it's still a little difficult to envision they reach a mutually agreeable permanent solution on this thorny issue, but at least the two sides are sitting down again to talk. Maybe they're buying more time but I think in the short run I think a lot of people are breathing a sigh of relief, George.

HOWELL: All right. A temporary truce. Steven Jiang, thank you again for the reporting.

Qatar has just announced that it will withdraw from OPEC, the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries on January 1 of next year.

Our Anna Stewart is following this story live for us in our London bureau. Anna, Qatar not exactly a major player in OPEC, but it does come at a time when that organization is under pressure to increase its production.

ANNA STEWART, CNN REPORTER: Have a look at oil prices today, George, because you will see that they are much, much higher, Brent crude and WTI up 4,5 percent there. Now, a lot of this actually isn't due to this news. Because although Qatar pulling out OPEC and it's been a member since 1961 is big news politically, it's actually not as you said a big player in oil.

[03:10:09] And actually this news very interestingly, comes out of the G20 over the weekend, which is where we saw Saudi Arabia and Russia look set to continue to collaborate to reduce oil on the market. So that's why we're seeing a big oil move today.

This news however, is very interesting politically and this news came out as something of a surprise I'd say today, and the top line from the Qatari press conference we had from the tweets we got out today was that Qatar wants to focus more on natural gas which of course is a much bigger market.

HOWELL: So, you point out not exactly economically as important within that block but politically and symbolically, what does this mean, especially with regards to the tensions, Anna, between Saudi and Qatar? STEWART: Yes. I think these tensions have a lot to play in terms of

the subtext and within OPEC which is, you know, de facto led by Saudi Arabia, I think Qatar has been feeling increasingly isolated. Now it continues to have a travel and trade embargo placed on it by Saudi Arabia, by the UAE, by Bahrain, by Egypt, and that's their allegations that it supports terrorism over its close links with Iran, so that continues to filter through.

And in addition, you have a non-OPEC player like Russia playing into the mix, having a much, much bigger say and control within OPEC as well. So, you can see in that move, plus, George, you got to look domestically, they had a cabinet reshuffle recently. Their new energy minister at the top is seen by many as a more aggressive player, so, perhaps it doesn't come as much a surprise given that happened just earlier this month.

But I can tell you we got an OEC meeting coming up later this week and our Emerging Markets editor John Defterios will be there, so we are hoping to get lots of sound from all the key players and see what the fallout is politically over this.

HOWELL: But for now, our Anna Stewart all over the details on this story. Anna, thank you for the reporting. We'll keep in touch with you.

Still ahead here on CNN Newsroom, we look back at the life of the former U.S. President, George H.W. Bush, his style in stark contrast to the politics of the day. We look at the comparison ahead.

Plus, assessing the damage from the 7.0 earthquake that rattled the U.S. state of Alaska.

[03:15:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)

HOWELL: Monday marks the beginning of memorial services and a week of national mourning for the former President of the United States, George H.W. Bush. Mr. Bush died Friday. He was 94 years old.

During his time in office he helped to end the Cold War. He saw the reunification of East and West Germany and oversaw the successful operation Desert Storm launched after Iraq invaded Kuwait.

Again, later Monday, President Bush's casket will be flown to the U.S. Capitol. There the public will be able to pay their respects to a man who spent his life serving his country.

CNN's Suzanne Malveaux has details.

SUZANNE MALVEAUX, CNN CORRESPONDENT: It is being called special air mission 41. The mission to deliver the body the casket of President George H.W. Bush to his final resting place. The presidential aircraft is now in Ellington field. This is the presidential aircraft that carried President Trump to the G20 summit in Argentina. It is the same aircraft that will carry the body of President Bush from here to Joint Base Andrews. The formal ceremonies beginning around 4.45. The arrival ceremony at

the U.S. Capitol rotunda where President Bush will lie in state. It will be 7.30 Monday evening through 8.45 Wednesday morning that the public will be able to pay their respects. Eleven o'clock a memorial service at the National Cathedral where friends, family, and dignitaries will gather as well.

And then Wednesday evening the president's body to return here to Texas where he will lie and repose until Thursday morning. And then a second memorial service at Saint Martin's Episcopal Church. This is the same church that Barbara Bush was memorialized.

A brief trip by train and then on to College Station, Texas where the president will be buried at the Presidential Library alongside Barbara Bush and their young child Robin who died at age 3.

We've been talking to so many people here in Houston, we've been seeing the tributes, the beautiful statues, the flowers, the teddy bears, even those colorful socks that the president loved. All of them honoring the late president. Take a listen.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I think they're very well respected. I think he was a great statesman. I loved his socks. So, I loved seeing him on the news. I think seeing the Bush family, so I think he is going to be very missed here.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Maybe Texas is obviously is kind of red state, but Houston the city is very vibrant with progressive ideas. But I think there is that sense of unity still that we realize that we're part of a larger picture here. It's not just about Houston, it's about Texas, and I think we did do rally behind the Bushes and kind of what they stood for in terms of civility.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MALVEAUX: The president was a huge sports fan here, a big city booster and of course, the representative for the 7th district of Texas which has now turned Democratic. People in Houston embracing this man with love and respect, as well as his whole family as the rest of the world prepares to say goodbye.

Suzanne Malveaux, CNN, Houston, Texas.

HOWELL: Let's now bring in Tim Naftali. Tim is a CNN presidential historian and former director of the Nixon Presidential Library joining via Skype this hour. Thank you for your time today, Tim.

TIM NAFTALI, CNN PRESIDENTIAL HISTORIAN: My pleasure, George.

HOWELL: Looking ahead at the events to take place this week, what are your expectations?

NAFTALI: Well, it will be a somber moment of actually somber series of moments. I believe it will also be an opportunity to celebrate his life and it will also be for many people an opportunity to celebrate an American role in the world, a role that America does not play at the moment, but may once again play in the future.

[03:20:09] George Herbert Walker Bush deeply believed in the importance of allies, he believed in the concept of collective security. In some way, you could see him as a continuation of Franklin Roosevelt. George Bush fought in World War II, believed that some of the ideals that Roosevelt saw when he helped build the United Nations, where ideals that had a place in the Cold War -- post-Cold War world. He really felt that nations should work together for peace.

HOWELL: And just following on what you're describing here, really the paradigm shift, right, I mean, you're talking of the politics then. In contrast, do the politics of today, this feeling when you think about George H.W. Bush, the themes that come to the fore of allies, of globalism, certainly in contrast to the politics that we're seeing play out now on the political stage.

NAFTALI: Well, two things. One, I think, individuals matter. There is a debate among historians and scholars to the extent to which bring events to the product of structure and great ways have changed. And other look to the world individuals. And of course, most of us think it's a bit of both.

Does Donald Trump represent most Americans? Does his view of America first, does his isolationism, because that's basically what he is pushing, is that the mindset of America? Now, I'm not convinced that it is. I'm not convinced that most Americans embrace Donald Trump's view, transactional view of international president, but he is president and as president has enormous power and influence, but it's not clear that that's where America will be once he leaves office.

So, I'm not sure we're in a paradigm shift in terms of where America is going. We're certainly in a presidential paradigm shift.

HOWELL: Speaking of Mr. Trump, he will be attending, Tim, he will be attending one of the ceremonies. This is important because it will be the first time we've seen the U.S. President, Mr. Trump side-by-side with the other presidents, former presidents who he has openly disparaged. I hate to bring that into view, but that is the case as it stands.

How significant will it be or what is the impact, do you think, of seeing this president side-by-side, how important is it for the nation for that to happen?

NAFTALI: Well, it's extremely important for Donald Trump to act like a president and he has time and again rejected presidential norms, rejected the kinds of things we expect from presidents, whether they're Democrats or Republicans.

Attending a state funeral is a requirement for a president. He had the opportunity to find an excuse not to go to First Lady Barbara Bush's funeral earlier this year. He did not have to go to Senator John McCain's funeral. He has to go to a state funeral. He doesn't have a choice. The death of a president leads to a state funeral. So, he had no choice but to go.

So, it's really up to Donald Trump. Will he behave the way all American, all modern American presidents behave? That's the -- but, you know, that's the test for him. It's not a test for the American people and it's not a test for the presidents that are going to be sitting next to him. It's a test for Donald Trump. Is he going to act presidential during this week of mourning?

HOWELL: Tim Naftali, we appreciate your time. Thank you so much.

NAFTALI: My pleasure, George. Thank you.

HOWELL: The president's close friend and former Secretary of State James Baker, he was there throughout the president's term in office and there until the day he died. Baker described the president's last day to my colleague Jake Tapper.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JAMES BAKER, FORMER U.S. SECRETARY OF STATE: When I showed up at 7 o'clock in the morning, one of the aides who assisted him physically said, Mr. President, Secretary Baker is here. And he opened both eyes, he looked at me and said, "hey, Baker, where are we going today?" And I said, well, I said, well, happy (Ph), I said we're going to heaven, and he said, "good, that's where I want to go." Little did I know or did he know of course that by 10 o'clock that night he'd be in heaven.

JAKE TAPPER, CNN HOST: Wow. And you were there for his last words, which were to his oldest son, President George W. Bush. Tell us about that.

BAKER: Yes. Well, a little later on as it became obvious that he was probably going to pass that evening, they got all the kids on the phone. You know when somebody is passing away, the last sense that goes is the hearing, and they can hear things.

[03:24:58] So they got the kids on the phone and each one of them spoke to him and he spoke back or mumbled back anyway, and then they got 43 on the phone and 43 said "I love you, dad," and I just want to -- and I'll see you in heaven," and 41 said "I love you too," and those were the last words that he ever spoke.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

HOWELL: Again, this Monday starts a week of national mourning, the loss of the U.S. President George H.W. Bush.

The business dealings of the current president, Donald Trump, they are under scrutiny once again. Ahead, the latest on the failed project to build a Trump tower in the Russian capital.

Also, Alaskans dealing with the aftermath of that 7.0 earthquake. There had been hundreds of aftershocks after that. We'll take a look at that as Newsroom continues.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK) HOWELL: Welcome back to our viewers here in the United States and all

around the world. You're watching CNN Newsroom live from Atlanta. I'm George Howell with the headlines we're following for you this hour.

A CNN exclusive text messages sent by Jamal Khashoggi may shed light on why the journalist was murdered two months ago. CNN has received exclusive access to the messages between Khashoggi and another Saudi exile. In that, Khashoggi a lot criticize the Saudi crown prince. He also wrote about funding an electronic army of young Saudi dissidents on social media.

In the United Kingdom time running out for the British prime minister to convince parliament to back her Brexit deal. They vote on the bill in just eight days, and if it doesn't pass, the main opposition Labour Party will likely seek a no confidence vote for Theresa may.

[03:30:06] The G20 summit, it's come and gone. But now a U.S. official says the difficulty work starts to resolve the U.S.-China trade dispute. The two nations call a temporary truce and trade war for at least 90 days after presidents, Trump and Xi, met at the G20 in Argentina over the weekend. Negotiators now trying to work out these outstanding issues.

Qatar has announced that it is leaving OPEC, the country's minister of state for energy affairs said that the withdrawal from the oil producers' organization is said to happen on January 1st. He says the country wants to focus its effort on increasing its own natural gas production.

There were major developments this past week about the Trump Tower Moscow project, a project that Donald Trump pursued while he ran for office. On Thursday, the president's former attorney said that Mr. Trump knew about the proposed tower's progress well into hes presidential campaign. Discussions reportedly included an idea to offer a penthouse to the president of Russia, Vladimir Putin.

Let's go live to Russia. CNN's Matthew Chance is following the story in Moscow this hour. Matthew, what more can you tell us about where that site would have been?

MATTHEW CHANCE, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: First of all, that attempt to offer Vladamir Putin a penthouse was supposed to be a marketing strategy. We now have confirmation from the Russian-based co-developers of that site that a Trump tower was indeed going to be built. They were planning to built it on the outskirts of Moscow.

It is the efforts that the Trump Organization went to and Trump's lawyer went to to make that happen and how long that effort went on for during the U.S. presidential election -- campaign rather in 2016 that has really once again placed President Trump's business interests in Russia under the spotlight.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

CHANCE (voice over): For Trump, it has always been about business. His business. His brand. His property.

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA: People ask me, what does Trump stand for more than anything else and if I use one word, it's always quality, big windows, great fixtures, beautiful kitchens. Everything is going to be the best and that's what it's all about.

CHANCE (voice over): It was Trump that property developer who campaigned to be a Republican presidential candidate, juggling his business and political ambitions, which inevitably overlapped.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Mr. Cohen --

CHANCE (voice over): But by how much is only now coming to light. His former lawyer revealing negotiations to build a Trump tower in Moscow went on much longer than previously admitted until at least June 2016 after he essentially secured the nomination. Nothing wrong with that, Trump insisted, before leaving for the G20.

TRUMP: It was a well-known project. It was during the early part of '16 and I guess even before that. I didn't do the project. I decided not to do the project. So I didn't do it. So we're not talking about doing a project.

CHANCE (voice over): It was in this location on the outskirts of Moscow near the sprawling Crocus City business entertainment complex that the Trump World Tower Moscow, as it was called, was meant to be built, part of a 14-tower project, according to the developers which would have sort of across this whole area. You can see here through this wired fence that some of the towers have already started to be constructed but of course the Trump Tower isn't amongst them.

One of the ideas for that Trump building, according to one of his business associates, was to give the top floor, the penthouse apartment, a 250-apartment block, to Vladimir Putin, the Russian president, as a way of attracting buyers.

IVANKA TRUMP, DAUGHER OF PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP: The Trump Organization likes to be ahead of the curve. We're always ahead of the curve and this would be another example.

CHANCE (voice over): Ivanka Trump and her spa and fitness brand was also an integral part of the Moscow proposal. In a letter of intent obtained by CNN, Trump's daughter would be given sole and absolute discretion to approve the spa designs. This was a Trump family affair.

But how much was the Kremlin also involved? Until this week, it insisted attempts by Trump associates to make contact over the Moscow tower had been ignored. The Kremlin spokesman now admits his office called and asked why they wanted to have meetings with the presidential administration and explained that we have nothing to do with construction issues in the city of Moscow. It may be an important change.

[03:34:57] The Russian-based owners of Crocus City where Trump Tower Moscow was meant to be built have been embroiled with the Trump family in other areas too. Did the Russian authorities give your family information to pass on?

Take Emin, the pop star son of Crocus owner Araz Agalarov, who helped set up a meeting between Donald Trump Jr. and Russians promising dirt on Hillary Clinton at Trump Tower in New York. Araz and Trump also co- organized the 2013 Miss Universe contest in Moscow, but the U.S. president, it appears business and politics in Russia have often mixed.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

CHANCE: George, for critics of President Trump, that mix of business and politics is far too close. The president himself of course insists that he has done absolutely nothing wrong. But what has happened is that the version of events that we were told is now starting to change and that could throw up even more revelations in the weeks and the months ahead. George, back to you.

HOWELL: I'm curious, Matthew, to ask you, so we're hearing about the story here, but has there been any reaction and what is the feeling among Russians as they hear this news?

CHANCE: Well, look, I mean, the Russian attention has been very much focused on the fact that presidents Trump and Putin have been unable to get together for any meeting since Helsinki earlier this year.

There was meant to be a face-to-face two-hour summit on the sidelines of the G20 in Buenos Aires this weekend, but that was called off by President Trump by Twitter, which the Kremlin found out when they were on their plane on their way to Argentina because he said that Russia had not handed back the ships and the naval personnel that they seized from Ukraine during a naval confrontation in the Kerch Strait the week before.

But the real reason, according to many in the Russian media and many Russian officials here, is that it's this domestic political issue, this new focus on Trump's Russia business interests that has caused him to step away from important talks, as they would see it, with the Russian leader.

HOWELL: CNN's senior international correspondent Matthew Chance live for us in Moscow. Matthew, thank you for the reporting. Moving on now to France, the government there is considering all options to diffuse violent protests in Paris for the past three straight weeks. A spokesperson says the options include introducing a state of emergency there.

The French president, Emmanuel Macron, took a look at the damage on Sunday and led a crisis meeting to discuss how to respond. Our Paris correspondent Melissa Bell was at the scene during the unrest.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

MELISSA BELL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: The tear gas and the scuffles began early. All around the edge of the perimeter, the police had set up to prevent a repeat of last week's violence on (INAUDIBLE). the yellow vests had warned that this would be part three of a protest against the hike in the fuel tax which helped pushed the price of diesel up 16 percent this year.

But the hike on which the French president has refused to back down was just the spark of a protest now aimed more broadly at the cost of living in general and the liberal policies of the French president in particular.

Ahead of today's protest, authorities had warned that more radical Anarchist elements might once again infiltrate demonstrations that were supposed to be peaceful. The so-called (INAUDIBLE) intent on violent action.

Tear gas, stun-guns and water cannon were used by police. Cars were burned and shops damaged and looted by protesters. Emmanuel Macron condemned the violence from the G20 Summit in Argentina.

EMMANUEL MACRON, PRESIDENT OF FRANCE (through translator): No cause justifies that security forces are attacked, shops pillaged, public or private buildings set on fire, pedestrians or journalists threatened or that the Arc de Triomphe is sullied. Those guilty of this violence do not want change nor improvement. They want chaos. They betray the cause they claim to serve.

BELL: By the afternoon, some of Paris's most expensive neighborhoods were the scenes of confrontations between riot police and protesters with a round about at the Arc de Triomphe changing hands between the two several times.

France's interior minister tweeted to condemn the violence, calling it an insult to the republic. Violence that spread more widely and lasted longer than it had last Saturday, even though the numbers out on the streets of France were down.

This was a scene around so many of the roads that lead on to the roundabout that is around the Arc de Triomphe, the focus of so much of the action today, so much of the violence that we have seen and late into the evening, still police services struggling to contain the anger, the violence, with tear gas canisters still being fired late into the night. Already the yellow vests have said that they will be back again next week.

[03:40:01] Melissa Bell, CNN, Paris.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

HOWELL: Melissa, thank you for the report. Still ahead here on CNN Newsroom, a 7.0-magnitude earthquake caused substantial damage in one of Alaska's major cities. We are there with the very latest on damage recovery and how residents are dealing with all the aftershocks. Stay with us.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

HOWELL: This is a story about a former CNN journalist and the head of a popular news website called Rappler. Back in the Philippines, she surrendered in court, to a court in Manila. Maria Ressa and Rappler were formally indicted last week on tax fraud charges.

An arrest warrant was issued for Ressa. Her news site has been highly critical of the Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte's brutal drug war. Ressa said on Sunday that she won't back down.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MARIA RESSA, CEO, RAPPLER: I'm going to hold my government accountable for publicly calling me a criminal. I am not a criminal. I have been a journalist my entire life. I will continue to hold the government accountable. The second is, obviously, it makes you feel vulnerable. But I think that's the point, right?

The point is for the government to actually make you feel its power and that it can do what it wants to do, including bending the law to the point that it's broken.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

HOWELL: Ressa's attorney tells CNN that his client has now appeared before a judge, posted bail, and was free to leave the court.

In Alaska, after a 7.0-magnitude earthquake, no serious injuries were reported on Friday, but residents there are coping with aftershocks and severely damaged buildings and roads. Our Stephanie Elam is on the scene there. Stephanie filed this report for you.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

STEPHANIE ELAM, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Road after road --

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Very major damage right at that area.

ELAM: Torn apart. Alaska battered by a 7.0 earthquake.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Oh, my god.

[03:44:59] ELAM: The shaking, the worst here since 1964. Nick Coleman (ph) is checking his vacationing neighbor's place for the first time since the quake hit. What he finds is a home wrecked by mother nature. Upstairs, cabinets knocked to the floor. Heavy dressers piled in the bedroom. A bathroom full of glass. The shower door pulled from the wall.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's pretty devastating, especially it seems like the higher up you go in the building.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's an earthquake!

ELAM: From Anchorage to Asila (ph) and the home of Sarah Palin. Residents reeling from lost but thankful that does not include lives. Shocking, they say, because of scenes like this.

Road crews right now working 40 sites similar to this.

ELAM: This is the most travelled artery in Alaska and take a look at what has happened to the roadway because of the earthquake. It looks like some massive machine has clawed the road away. So because of that, crews are working around the clock to get this road way open, they are saying, within days.

But there is a threat. Take a look at this. See this crack right here? We have to stay on this side of it and that is because everything on the other side of it is liable to give way with all of the aftershocks that continue to hit the Anchorage area.

According to the Alaska Earthquake Center, more than 650 aftershocks so far, around 20 of those at magnitude four or higher.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I didn't want to go to sleep last night, afraid it was going to happen again.

ELAM: Dianne and Bill Coleman (ph), like so many here, still on edge after riding out the quake in their Eagle River home of 47 years.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It was just a tremendous loud sound.

ELAM: Even with their possessions crashing down around them, they never heard a sound over the roar of the quake. Now, like so many, they repair what they can and search for memories that survived.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We had to put some lights up to make it a little brighter and cheerier in here. It makes it easier to work. Otherwise, you cry.

ELAM: Still, they know that nothing lost here outweighs what really matters.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Wow, you know, that was quite something we survived.

ELAM: Stephanie Elam, CNN, Eagle River, Alaska.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

HOWELL: Wow! Stephanie, thank you. A Chinese researcher claims that he has pushed the boundaries of science, but many scientists are condemning his work in gene editing. The latest on this controversy.

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HOWELL: There is backlash and it's getting worse after a Chinese researcher claimed last week that he helped to engineer the world's first genetically edited humans. He said he consulted with an American bio ethicist. CNN's Alexandra Field tells us that Stanford professor says he didn't know that things would get this far.

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ALEXANDRA FIELD, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: This is the doctor who changed the future of the human race and let the world know on YouTube. He Jiankui stunned the scientific community with the claim he pushed the boundary no one else had.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The line has been crossed that should not have been crossed.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It's very disturbing. It's inappropriate.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Oh, this is huge.

FIELD: He says he genetically edited human embryos not for just research but for implantation, leading to the world's first births of genetically altered humans, baby girls born in China from embryos designed to be resistant to HIV.

HE JIANKUI, CHINESE BIOPHYSICS RESEARCHER: For this specific case, I feel it is a - I feel proud, actually.

FIELD: The tool used by He called CRISPR is found in labs around the world.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It gave us the precise way of cutting the gene or putting a little piece of gene in.

FIELD: It is often used by researchers trying to treat incurable diseases.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The method is always very easy. You can use it. Everyone can use it now.

FIELD: Leaders in the field of gene editing have collectively agreed it is too early to implant edited embryos in humans because of the risks, the unknowns and the ethical questions about altering humankind.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We're the hinge (ph) of human history.

FIELD: William Hurlbut is a leading American bioethicist who teaches at Stanford University. In the months before the news broke, Dr. He consulted with him.

WILLIAM HURLBUT, AMERICAN BIOETHICIST, STANFORD MEDICAL SCHOOL: Every time we met together, we would talk about the seriousness of the issues and in a sort of step-wise way what you had to do to make sure that it was done right. But when I heard that there were live born children from it, I thought oh, my gosh, he just jumped ahead.

FIELD: Hurlbut knew nothing of the plans to implant edited human embryos. Dr. He studied at Stanford as a post doctoral fellow where he worked with leading researchers. Hurlbut describes him as smart but perhaps too trusting of his own wisdom.

HURLBUT: He is young, he is inexperienced, and he's from a small rural community in China.

FIELD: He's research has been shut down by Chinese authorities. It has also raised questions about whether there will be a rash of new regulations to stymie scientific development or if scientists can regulate themselves.

VICTOR DZAU, PRESIDENT, U.S. NATIONAL ACADEMY OF MEDICINE: We all want to be first, right? This is where you really feel that you are making a huge difference and you get recognition. But I think in this particular case, the outcry from the community is so huge that I think it will slow things down.

FIELD: He's work has already stoked fears about the future, what it could look like, how soon it could come, whether it includes designer babies and if a tool found in labs around the world could one day make them.

Alexandra Field, CNN, Hong Kong.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

HOWELL: Alexandra, thank you. Now to Johannesburg, South Africa. The late Nelson Mandela's 100th birthday. Star power was out in full force for a charity concert. It brought thousands of people together Sunday for the Global Citizen Festival. The goal of that festival, to raise awareness about poverty while also honoring South Africa's anti- apartheid icon. Among the performers there, Beyonce, Jay-Z, Ed Sheeran and Oprah Winfrey giving a key note address on Mandela's legacy.

[03:55:02] Police have closed a short-lived case in New York City's most wanted couple. For two days now, police were searching for this newly-engaged couple whose marriage proposal literally slipped through their fingers. By the time police retrieved the ring, the pair had already gone home without leaving their contact information.

But with the help of Twitter, police were able to find that happy couple right there, and they are making arrangements to get their ring back which is very important.

Again, here in the United States, it is week of memorials and mourning. It starts with the former president of the United States, George H.W. Bush. Later this day, the late president's casket will be flown to Washington on Air Force One.

Mr. Bush's children, grandchildren, family and friends will be on the flight, including his faithful companion, Sully, his service dog. The former president's spokesperson posted this photo of Sully next to Mr. Bush' casket saying "mission complete."

The 41st president of the U.S. will remain at the U.S. capital from Monday evening to Wednesday morning. That to be followed by a funeral service. Then a return to the state of Texas, a second service there where he is set to be buried on Thursday. Of course, stay with CNN for our special coverage.

And we thank you for joining us this hour. I'm George Howell at the CNN Center in Atlanta. Early Start is next for our viewers in the United States. And for our viewers around the world, the news continues with my colleague Max Foster live in London. You are watching CNN, and we thank you for it, the world's news leader.

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