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Ousted Nissan Chairman Carlos Ghosn Granted Bail; Opposition Leader Juan Guaido Returns To Venezuela; China's Annual Parliament Meeting Underway; Congressional Inquiries Of Trump Launch With Broad Scope; Trump Lashes Out At Opponents As Investigations Launch; Fight Against ISIS; World War II Pope; Deadly Tornadoes Hit Southern U.S.; Remembering Luke Perry; Investigations Piling Up Against President Trump; Nissan Chief Bails Out; Rock Star Welcome Given to Juan Guaido; Two Leaders, One Playbook. Aired 3-4a ET

Aired March 5, 2019 - 03:00   ET



[03:00:00] NICK WATT, CNN ANCHOR: After posting a $9 million bail, it looks like former Nissan chief Carlos Ghosn will be finally released from jail. We'll have a live report from Tokyo.

Plus, this.

Singing with his supporters, Venezuela's self-declared interim president gets a warm welcome home and reignites the country's opposition.

And new investigations into U.S. President Donald Trump. Democrats says they'll had another, looking into a report that he tried to block a merger between AT&T and Time Warner.

Hello, and welcome to our viewers joining us from all around. I'm Nick Watt, and this is CNN Newsroom.

Prosecutors in japan are appealing a court's decision to grant bail to Carlos Ghosn, the former head of Nissan and a titan of the auto industry. A court in Tokyo set his bail at almost nine million U.S. dollars. Ghosn's been in custody since late November, charged with financial misconduct for allegedly under reporting his salary (AUDIO GAP) for nearly a decade.

Journalist Kaori Enjoji is following this story from Tokyo. What's the latest?

KAORI ENJOJI, JOURNALIST: Well, Nick, I'm here at the Tokyo detention center where Carlos Ghosn has been held for more than three months and expectations are running high right now that possibly as early as later on tonight, Carlos Ghosn, the titan of the auto industry, may walk through that front door of the Tokyo detention center.

This is because the Tokyo court granted a bail request, the third bail are made by his lawyer last week on Thursday, but there are some other hurdles to get through. Immediately after the court agreed to the bail, the prosecution appealed that decision. And we have yet to hear whether or not the court will continue to uphold their initial decision to grant him bail.

You mentioned the one-billion-yen figure that he is going to post, that will be a formality that he has to go through as well. And there are lots of conditions in this bail possibility, including that he will have to stay in Japan, and as his lawyer suggested yesterday that would be some form of house arrest where his movements will be heavily curtailed. Nick?

WATT: And Kaori, his lawyers also getting the U.N. involved, some allegation of human rights abuse?

ENJOJI: Well, in cases, in complicated cases like this, I think everyone knows that people will be trying to control the narrative. Until now, the prosecutors seemed to have an upper hand in controlling that narrative, and that is that they arrested him on aggravated breach of trust, and for misuse of corporate funds.

But Carlos Ghosn dismissed his first legal team and this new legal team that he's put in place less than a month ago has changed the tune a little bit. They are saying now that he is - they have appealed to the United Nations for possibility of looking into human rights abuses. But let's take a look at what he had to say at this press conference.


JUNICHIRO HIRONAKA, CARLOS GHOSN'S LAWYER (through translator): The detention system in Japan is also known as hostage justice, which means one remains in a detention center as punishment until one confesses as the prosecutor requests. The system has been criticized all over the world. We would like to appeal against the situation and have the bail approved as soon as possible.


ENJOJI: So, this arrest of Carlos Ghosn and the weeks that we have been watching this have not only been a spotlight on Nissan, on Carlos Ghosn, but also on the Japanese judicial system and I think that is going to be, in that sense, this is going to be a dramatic turnover event if we do in fact see Carlos Ghosn walk through these doors behind me tonight.

WATT: Kaori Enjoji in Tokyo, thank you very much for your time.

Now the list of allegations leveled at President Trump by U.S. House Democrats is serious, and could represent the first step toward impeachment proceedings. Congressional investigations of Mr. Trump are underway, and they'll focus on allegations of obstruction of justice, and abuse of power.


REP. JERROLD NADLER, (D) NEW YORK: For two years the Trump administration has been attacking the core functions of our democracy, and the Congress has refused to do any oversight. They've refused to, they've shielded hem, acting more as shields than as what the Congress is supposed to do is to be a check and a balance.

[03:04:58] We are going to be the check and the balance. We are going to find out. We are going to layout the facts to the American people and see what we can do about them to protect the rule of law.


WATT: The president has suggested that he'll cooperate, but as Jim Acosta reports White House lawyers are sending different signals.


JIM ACOSTA, CNN SENIOR WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Surrounded by college football players at the White House the president sounded ready for the blitz as House Democrats launched an expansive investigation into allegations of corruption in every corner of Trump world.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Mr. President, are you going to cooperate with Mr. Nadler?

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I cooperate all the time with everybody. You know the beautiful thing, no collusion, it's all a hoax. You'll learn about that as you grow older. It's a political hoax. There's no collusion. Folks, go and eat up.


ACOSTA: The House judiciary committee issued demands for documents from more than 80 relatives, aides, and associates of the president, from his own family members to top White House officials, other close advisers past and present.

Also targeted in the probe, organizations tied to the president as well as companies and other groups that may have aided Mr. Trump's campaign. The House judiciary chairman said it's too early to talk impeachment.


NADLER: Impeachment is a long way down the road. We don't have the facts yet, but we're going to initiate proper investigations.


ACOSTA: The White House signaled it won't be complying with a document demand saying in the statement, "The fact Chairman Nadler would try to force public disclosure of private conversations that he knows are protected by law proves he only wants to play politics."

Hugging the stars and stripes over the weekend, the president made it clear what he thinks of the special counsel's investigation into possible Russian collusion with the Trump campaign.


TRUMP: You put the wrong people in a couple of positions and they leave people for a long time that shouldn't be there, and all of a sudden, they're trying to take you out with (muted), OK?


ACOSTA: Using a southern accent, the president also expressed his feelings for forger Attorney General Jeff Sessions who recused himself from the probe.


TRUMP: As you know the attorney general says I'm going to recuse myself. And I said why the hell didn't he tell me that before I put him in?


ACOSTA: The president even tried to rewrite history about his call on Russia to intervene in the election insisting he was just joking in front of an audience.


TRUMP: If you tell a joke, if you're sarcastic, if you're having fun with the audience, if you say something like Russia, please, if you can, get us Hillary Clinton's e-mails. Please, Russia, please. Please get us the e-mails. Please.



ACOSTA: But that's not true. Mr. Trump made the remark at a news conference in response to a question from CNN. He didn't sound like he was joking.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Why not get tough on Putin and say, "stay out"?

TRUMP: Russia, if you're listening, I hope you're able to find the 30,000 e-mails that are missing.


ACOSTA: But there may be new cause for other investigations into Mr. Trump's actions while in office. The New Yorker reports the president ordered former economic adviser Gary Cohn to block the merger between AT&T and Time Warner, then the parent company of CNN.

The president is quoted as saying "I've been telling Cohn to get this lawsuit filed and nothing has happened. I've mentioned it 50 times and nothing has happened. I want to make sure it's filed. I want that deal blocked."

Some of the targets of the House judiciary committee's investigation into Trump world are just beginning to receive notification from that panel in terms of what documents they're looking for.

One of the targets of that probe told me one lesson he's taking from the 2016 election is that it would be wise to hire a lawyer before joining a presidential campaign or administration and that is certainly the case with the Trump administration.

Jim Acosta, CNN, the White House.

WATT: Let's get more on all this with Daniel Dale, he is the Washington bureau chief of the Toronto Star. Daniel, I've heard Republicans today saying that this is all just a deep-sea fishing expedition and that the Democrats have, you know, a suspect and they're now just looking for a crime. What do you say to that?

DANIEL DALE, WASHINGTON BUREAU CHIEF, TORONTO STAR: Well, that's what they've consistently said about every investigation into Donald Trump's activities. That's what they say about the Robert Mueller investigation, which was triggered by a deputy attorney general who was appointed by Donald Trump himself.

So that's their go-to line. But there is, you know, perhaps more of an argument this time because of how broad this investigation is. Democrats have sent an unusually wide-ranging set of requests to literally dozens of people in Donald Trump's orbit so perhaps the argument will gain more traction this time than it did with the more focused Robert Mueller investigation.

WATT: And those 81 names, which of those names jump out to you?

[03:09:57] DALE: Well, there's the ones that everyone knows, like Donald Trump, Jr., like Jared Kushner, like Hope Hicks, the former communications aide to the president. Now I'm very interested in some of the lesser known names as well. There are several figures affiliated with the Trump organization, the president's company, like a gentlemen named Allen Weisselberg who is the chief financial officer, Rhona Graff who is the president's assistant and scheduler, another employee named Ronald Lieberman.

These are all people who likely know interesting information, at least interesting about the activities of Donald Trump when it comes to financial dealings. And as we know this former lawyer Michael Cohen testified to Congress this week that some of those financial dealings were at least under handed and possibly criminal. So, I think there's a lot to learn from those individuals as well.

WATT: And, I mean, is there any chance that this backfires politically on the Democrats? I mean, listen, the way that President Trump spins it as he says the Democrats are after me, they're trying to silence me, but he also says to his supporters they're trying to silence you. And you know, I mean, his approval ratings right now aren't bad. DALE: No, they're better than they have been as recently as a few

months ago so they have bounce back a little bit. I think there's always a chance when you launch a wide-ranging investigation that it will backfire, especially when you have a president whose this aggressive in trying to prompt that backfire in firing back at his critics and the people who are investigating him.

But I think the Democrats would counter that, you know, look, we were investigated by a significant majority of the vote in the midterm elections by people who wanted us to provide a check on the president, who wanted us to use our oversight powers. And so, they'll say that look, the president can say what he wants, but we're doing what the voters wanted us to do.

WATT: But listen, at the end of the day, I mean, we all remember on the campaign trail when Donald Trump said listen, I could stand on Fifth Avenue and shoot somebody and I would still get the votes. I mean, at the end of the day, this is also a political issue, not a legal one.

And you know, to impeach him, the Democrats could get half of the House, but they're not going to get what they need in the Senate to actually get rid of Donald Trump. This is political.

DALE: Yes. It's important to remember that. You know, when a we think of impeachment. The impeachment it's only the House process. To actually remove someone who's been impeached you need the Senate as well. So, Democrats will not have that.

I think what they're trying to do at the very least though is keep damaging stories alive. You know, there's kind of an avalanche problem with Donald Trump in that, you know, one scandal gets buried by the next scandal because there's so much happening.

But what Democrats can do here with these subpoenas with these investigations is at least keep these controversies alive in the public mind longer than they otherwise would, and create sort of drum beat of negative stores that wouldn't exist if they weren't doing this.

WATT: And Daniel, finally I just want to get your thoughts on that Trump two-plus hours CPAC speech at the weekend we've been covering it here quite a lot. I'm interested to hear what your impressions were of that performance, I suppose.

DALE: Well, we know it was the longest speech that Trump has ever given as a candidate or as president. I thought it was the strangest speech I had ever seen Donald Trump give. You know, he bounded from topic to topic, he ranted about his crowd sizes, I believe for at least five minutes, maybe 10.

You know, he revived grievances, some of which were 14 months old, some of which were two years old, and he showed almost no interest in the policy content that his advisers had written for him.

So, I just thought in how haphazard it was and how unfocused he was and in his jumping from tone to tone, mocking the southern accent of his former attorney general, Jeff Session, I just thought it was comprehensively bizarre.

WATT: Daniel Dale, thank you very much for joining us.

DALE: Thank you. Thank you.

WATT: And now to Venezuela, and a rock star welcome for opposition leader Juan Guaido. Thousands of supporters filled the city square in Caracas when he returned from a 10-day trip throughout the region.


WATT: A sea of people greeted Guaido in the capitol chanting the Obama-esque mantra yes, we can. He stood on top of an SUV waving the Venezuelan flag.

Now despite Nicolas Maduro's threat to arrest him, Guaido arrived in Caracas landing at the city's airport on a commercial flight. Plain sight perhaps is best protector. Guaido is calling for nationwide protests this Saturday.


JUAN GUAIDO, VENEZUELAN OPPOSITION LEADER (through translator): Is there a little bit of fear? No. We were all threatened, all of us who are here. You all saw it of killing us and I say something, it hasn't been through persecution, it's not going to be through threats that we are going to be stopped. We are here more united, more strong than ever, more stronger than ever.


[03:14:59] WATT: Let's take a closer look at all this with Eric Farnsworth, he is the vice president of the Council of the Americas. Eric, we just heard in Patrick's report how Nicolas maduro got the military on side. The military obviously key here.

What does Guaido have to do to win their support? Can he win their support?

ERIC FARNSWORTH, VICE PRESIDENT, COUNCIL OF THE AMERICAS AND AMERICAS SOCIETY: Well, Nick, thanks for having me on. You know, this is the open question the military and the security forces remain the arbiter in Venezuela of whether Guaido can ultimately ascend to the Miraflores Palace and if Mr. Maduro will be eased off into the sunset.

And at this point, there's a full court press underway to try to get elements of the military to transfer their loyalty to Mr. Guaido. Any number have already done that, several hundred, up to 600 I think were last estimates.

But in the scheme of things that's not a quorum, that's not enough. And so the efforts have to continue. The truth to the matter is most of the military and security forces if one can believe the reports out of Venezuela are not remaining loyal to Maduro because they like him or have a great deal of affection for him or believe in his governance program but rather out of fear.

They're afraid that if they turn, they'll be subject to sanction, certainly they'll lose their jobs, they lose their pensions, they lose access to food and they may indeed lose their lives and their families will also be subject to persecution.

So, there's a big fear factor there, and Mr. Guaido have to show that if they throw their support behind him that indeed he, and more importantly the international community will have their backs.

WATT: I mean, Guaido almost has to prove to them that he can take power, he will take power, and then they might join him.

FARNSWORTH: That is the critical point in my view. You're absolutely right. If there's a sense that at the end of this Guaido will remain out of power then why would the military make that move? You know, and this is a bunch of individual decisions, too.

Everybody is going to have to game this out based on their own circumstances, but they want to throw in their lot with the person who they think is most likely to remain in power. So there has to be the sense that at the end of o the day, Guaido will in fact be the leader of the country.

WATT: And I do want to play just a little bit of sound from Guaido from today after he returned to Venezuela. Let's take a listen to this.


GUAIDO (through translator): Even if he puts on a flag costume because it's carnival season he is not the president. The interim president of the Republic of Venezuela is right here.


WATT: So how is Maduro going to react to this. I mean, Guaido is almost said, listen, it would be a big mistake if you arrest me? What is Maduro going to do?

FARNSWORTH: Well, I think they are trying to figure that out right now. You know, there was a lot of speculation that Juan Guaido arrived at Maiquetia which is the airport outside of Caracas that he'd either by arrested or somehow not let into the country, something like that. In fact, he arrived and there were crowds that greeted him, and he was allowed into the country.

There seems to be some confusion or some difference of opinion in Maduro's regime in terms of what to do with Guaido. I think that will play out over the next couple of days. There's no question about that. That's something we're going to have to watch very carefully.

WATT: And Eric, Guaido has called for mass protests on Saturday. Will that be a key indicator of how this is going to go when we see just how many people turn out on the streets? FARNSWORTH: Yes. Each step toward the ultimate goal I think is

important. I think many in the international community thought perhaps that February 23 the last protest, the aid caravan, if you will, would be the final straw for Maduro to get him out of this country. I never thought that that would necessarily be the case.

I mean, this is a step by step process. You'll never know which will be the final straw that breaks the camel's back. Each one is important. But the key is going to be and continuous to be that the Guaido and the interim government maintain momentum, maintain pressure on Maduro because if that pressure is reduced somehow, Maduro is able to stay in office for a long time.

And so, we'll know a lot about that in terms of can they maintain the momentum based on as you rightly suggest the number of people that come out in the country to protest, and not just the numbers but also the geographic distribution. Where are they? Are they in just Caracas, are they outside, are they in opposition-dominated areas, are they, is it broad-based? We'll know more a lot based on that.

WATT: And I'm going to put you on the spot finally, Eric. This is a one-word answer. A year from now who is going to be in power, Guaido, Maduro, or somebody else?

FARNSWORTH: Well, I think Guaido will still be the interim president whether or not he's in power I think is an open question.

WATT: Eric Farnsworth, thank you so much for your time.

FARNSWORTH: Thank you.

WATT: And next on CNN Newsroom, a major gathering of China's communist elite kicks off in Beijing with the country facing a slowing economy and embroiled in a trade war with the U.S.

[03:20:01] Plus, Israel's prime minister takes a page out of Donald Trump's playbook in his fight against corruption charges.


WATT: And with that, China's annual National People's Congress got underway. About 3,000 communist elite gather to vote on the party's policies and decisions, though, few, if anyone, uncorrupts to any of the proposals.

China's premiere told party members to prepare for a tough struggle ahead especially when it comes to the slowing economy and the outlook for 2019.

Let's go live to Beijing and CNN's Will Ripley. Will, economics, that's the big deal here?

WILL RIPLEY, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes. Obviously, that is probably the biggest deal in terms of China's priorities because they want to try to figure out a way to navigate some rough waters economically and still keep China's economy plugging along, still growing albeit at a slower and slower pace every single year.

Here in China it's kind of amazing. When the government sets its growth target it's always reached. The numbers always seem to match what the government predicted. Geez, you got to wonder how that happened. While some economists might estimate that there's a bit of cooking of the books happening, but nonetheless, last year's growth was officially reported at 6.6 percent. The lowest in three decades.

This year, even lower, between 6 and 6 and a half percent. Still an enviable growth number for pretty much any of the developed economy, but here in China which remembers the days of double-digit growth that went on for years and years, obviously it's a dose of reality. The new reality for China.

And then of course the trade war with the United States. Well, at this stage it hasn't had much of a noticeable effect on the Chinese economy. If they can't strike a deal, which it does seem ever closer, you know, a deal in this trade war, but if they couldn't it could have really catastrophic consequences for this country's economy.

They are going to be voting on a bill to try to ease some of the concerns about trade brought up by the United States, it's called the foreign investment bill. It's going to try to, you know, crack down on things like intellectual property theft, force technology transfer and try to make the playing field more level for foreign companies when they are operating here in China.

But of course, enforcement is going to be the key. you know, they talked about -- you know, getting rid of Chinese tariffs on U.S. goods. If the U.S. in turn gets rid of its own tariffs those are the things that will be discussed at the NPC.

[03:25:05] But in addition to the economy and Xi Jinping, the president's kind of strategic plan on that, they're also, you know, positioning themselves as a regional military power, they're boosting their military spending yet again this year.

Last year was a little over eight percent. This year they're up it by 7.5 percent investing in things like their aircraft carrier. Their carrier killer missiles that could pose a strategic threat to U.S. military assets in this region.

Given some of the escalating tensions as of late over the issue of Taiwan, which China considers to be a renegade province that they can take back at any time.

China's continued bolstering of their defense budget and their military asset is a clear signal to the United States that they intend to defend what they view as their sovereignty in this region and really solidify themselves as kind of a regional military power. Nick?

WATT: CNN's Will Ripley reporting live from Beijing. Thank you very much.

Now to Israel, where Benjamin Netanyahu is facing possible indictment on corruption charges and the prime minister is taking a page out of Donald Trump's playbook as he mounts his defense.

CNN's Oren Liebermann reports.



TRUMP: Fake news.



LIEBERMANN As the Mueller investigation comes to a close, criminal investigations are encircling Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, his probe built like Trump's on the testimony of former associate. The two have hew to the same attack the media, the opposition, and the justice system.


TRUMP: So, the attorney general is weak and ineffective and he doesn't do what he should have done.

NETANYAHU (through translator): They, the left are carrying against us an unprecedented political witch hunt. Its only goal to overthrow the right-wing government under my leadership.


LIEBERMANN: They favor social media to traditional news outlets with one American exception.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They have not been able to beat Bibi Netanyahu at the ballot box and so they're trying to beat him through these Trumped up, he calls it a witch hunt. He call -- what our president calls it Trump-up charges.


LIEBERMANN: The two leaders share more than a message. Trump and Netanyahu are well-connected millionaires, the ultimate insiders who portray themselves as fighting a system rigged against them and standing up for the little guy. There is one big difference here. Trump keeps crashing in to the American political system. Netanyahu is a master of finessing Israel's system.


ABRAHAM DISKIN, POLITICAL SCIENCE PROFESSOR, HEBREW UNIVERSITY: I think that Trump in his reaction definitely was very emotional. Very impulsive and I don't think that Netanyahu is either emotional. The thing is he is very calculated and he's definitely not an impulsive person. (END VIDEO CLIP)

LIEBERMANN: Trump has made his admiration of Netanyahu clear.


TRUMP: I can say this, that he's done a great job as prime minister, he's tough, he's smart, he's strong.


LIEBERMANN: Netanyahu has done the same.


NETANYAHU: Israel has no better ally than the United States.


LIEBERMANN: The mutual adoration has helped each leader's popularity. Ring wing Israelis celebrate Trump. Republicans here (Inaudible) Netanyahu.

In a time of surging right-wing politics these two have risen hand in hand, they have supported one another as each leader faces the investigation that threatens to topple him.

In the first election polls since the attorney general announced his intention to indict Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, the Israeli leader suffered a major blow, both polls showed that he would not be able to form a coalition government. he would not be able to essentially win the election. In response in a speech on Monday night he went on the attack.

Oren Liebermann, CNN, Jerusalem.

WATT: Next, it was a merger that President Trump opposed as a candidate and now there are questions about what he might have done about it after he took office.

Plus, one of the darkest periods in world history, and we're still in the dark about what the Vatican knew. How the church could soon reveal Holocaust era secrets, that's coming up.


NICK WATT, CNN ANCHOR: Welcome back to CNN Newsroom. I'm Nick Watt and here are the headlines this hour. Former Nissan chairman Carlos Ghosn has been granted bail in Tokyo, set at almost nine million U.S. Dollars. He could be release in the coming hours. Ghosn has been held since late November accused of under reporting his salary at the automaker for nearly a decade. Prosecutors are appealing the bail decision.

And opposition leader Juan Guaido is now back home in Venezuela despite the threats of arrest from Nicolas Maduro's government. Guaido has been out of the country meeting with regional leaders shoring up support for his self-proclaimed presidency. Now, he's calling for another day of nationwide protests on Saturday.

Prepare for a tough struggle. That is the message Chinese Prime Minister Lee delivered to the 3,000 delegates gathered at the National People's Congress after decades of phenomenal growth the once robust Chinese economy is slowing down. Leaders expect 6 percent growth this year.

And U.S. House Democrats are launching broad investigations into the Trump administration. Three committee chairman are requesting information on contact between President Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin. Another committee inquiry is looking into allegations of obstruction of justice and abuse of power.

And we are following a new report about President Trump's alleged efforts to block a corporate merger. Abby Phillip has more.


DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: AT&T is buying Time Warner and thus CNN, a deal we will not approve in my administration.

ABBY PHILLIP, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: President Trump attempted to personally seek that campaign promise was kept. According to a New Yorker investigation, raising new questions about whether he attempted to settle political scores from the Oval Office. Where he has made a practice of attacking as fake news stories that are accurate, but not flattering.

TRUMP: When you report fake news, which CNN does a lot, you are the enemy of the people.

PHILLIP: According to the magazine, in 2017 Trump summoned Gary Cohen then the Director of the National Economic Council and his Chief of Staff, John Kelly into the Oval Office and ordered them to pressure the Justice Department to stop the merger of AT&T and Time Warner, then the parent company of CNN.

Trump reportedly told Kelly, I've been telling Cohen to get this lawsuit filed and nothing's happened, adding, I want to make sure it's filed. I want that deal block. All this adding fuel to the impeachment fire.

REP. DAN KILDEE (D-MI), CHIEF DEPUTY WHIP: It does paint the picture of a president who is out of control. I think it does make the case that this president is unfit for office.

PHILLIP: House Intelligence Committee Chairman, Adam Schiff, tweeting, I've long feared Trump would use the instruments of state power to carry out his vendetta against the press he has attacked as the enemy of the people.

Meantime, Trump spent the weekend lashing out at other enemies on all sides, blaming his former personal attorney, Michael Cohen's blistering testimony before Congress for his failure to strike a deal with North Korea. Trump tweeting that the open hearing during his summit with Dictator Kim Jong-un is perhaps a new low in American politics and may have contributed to the walk.

TRUMP: All of a sudden, they're trying to take you out with (BEEP) bleep], OK? (BEEP)

PHILLIP: Trump also delivering the longest speech of his presidency at the Conservative Political Action Conference, reeling for more than two hours at the special counsel investigation, and Democratic lawmakers who promised to investigate obstruction of justice, his personal finances, and business dealings.

[03:35:15] TRUMP: There's no collusion. So, now they go and morph into let's inspect every dealing he has ever done. We're going to go into his finances, we're going to check his deals, we're going to check -- these people are sick. They're sick.

PHILLIP: The Justice Department did eventually lose their bid to stop this merger. But in the course of the litigation, the anti-trust chief wrote this in an affidavit, at no time did I receive orders, instructions, or directions related to this transaction. So the Justice Department denying there that there was any undue influence from the president. Abby Phillips, CNN, the White House.


WATT: Hundreds of people including ISIS fighters and their families have been pouring out of the terror group's last enclave in Eastern Syria. They're being searched and hauled away from the front lines in trucks. The jihadists who remain are surrounded and pinned down by largely Kurdish, U.S.-backed forces. There are reports the Kurds are getting ready to celebrate victory, but it's still unclear exactly when the ISIS caliphate will officially be declared defeated.

Some of the terrorists are giving up, others look like they're ready to fight to the death. Many of the women and children who flee ISIS territory are headed to camps. That is also where a U.S.-born woman who joined ISIS will be for the foreseeable future. A judge has denied a motion to fast track the case of Hoda Muthana, her family wants her back in Alabama, but the White House says she is not even a U.S. citizen. CNN's Michelle Kosinski has details.


MICHELLE KOSINSKI, SENIOR DIPLOMATIC CORRESPONDENT: A lawyer for Hoda Muthana's family asked a federal judge to, expedite her case saying that she faces irreparable harm, but a judge declined to do that. Hoda Muthana is 24 years-old, she has a baby son, she is in a refugee camp in Syria. After she ran away from her family to join ISIS in 2014.

Now her attorney says, she ought to be considered a U.S. citizen because she was born in the states and even though her father had been a Yemeni diplomat to the U.S., they say, her dad's diplomatic post expired before she was born. So, as a result they say she is entitled to birth right citizenship. The U.S. government though says not so fast, that they were never

notified that her father's posting had ended. The government says that he still had diplomatic immunity at the time she was born, so she was never an American citizen and never should have been issued a U.S. passport.

Each side you see is using a kind of technicality to say either she is, or is not a U.S. citizen. On the one hand, though, you have an adult woman who willingly joined ISIS, who three times married ISIS fighters there, who called on social media for Americans to be murdered.

On the other hand though, you have a young woman who is regretful of what she is done, she was born in the states, has never known anything, but America before going to Syria. She has no other citizenship, and if she is not brought back to the U.S., she may never be prosecuted for her crimes in joining ISIS.

Also, the U.S. has been trying to shame and urge other countries to take back their ISIS fighters and ISIS brides. This case though, it seems like the U.S. is perfectly happy to say, she is not one of ours, let her be someone else's problem. Michelle Kosinski, CNN, the State Department.


WATT: The United Nations has begun an internal review of its handling of the Rohingya crisis in Myanmar. Human rights group had slam the U.N. for not stopping Myanmar's military from targeting minority Rohingya Muslims that crack down forced 700,000 people to flee. While the U.S. would later describe as ethnic cleansing carried out by the military. A U.N. spokesman says that the goal is not lay blame on anyone person or department.


STEPHANE DUJARRIC, SPOKESMAN, UNITED NATION: It's important to underscore that the review is not directed at any one particular individual or agency but rather how the U.N. as an institution works on the ground and possible lessons learned for the future.


WATT: So, what went wrong with the U.N. mission in Myanmar? Senior U.N. correspondent, Richard Roth takes a look.


RICHARD ROTH, CNN SENIOR U.N. CORRESPONDENT: By all accounts the U.N. did not respond well before or after what happened in Myanmar with hundreds of thousands dead or on the run. The United Nations had a, quote, resident coordinator there.

[03:40:02] She has been accused of ignoring or down playing reports of what could happen or what did happen in all in the name of trying to put Myanmar together for the world stage economically or politically after many years in the shadows. The U.N. has denied ignoring anything, and many point to the fact that when you mention the U.N., there's a security council, five veto carrying countries, and China is a major road block for western nations which might want to have more about what happened in Myanmar become public.

The U.N. secretary general according to a spokesman last week announced that an internal review of what happened before and lessons learned for the future based upon events in Myanmar. However Kurt Rosenthal, a veteran U.N. diplomat has been named to lead this probe, not an investigation, says the spokesman, but he won't even travel to Myanmar and he is going to be looking through documents and then he may speak to people on the phone. It doesn't sound like this will be an aggressive campaign.


WATT: What the Vatican did or didn't know about the holocaust could soon be revealed. Pope Francis says secret archives from the time of Pope Pius the 12 will be opened next year. Pious lead the church during the Second World War and critics say he could have done, should have done more to fight fascism. CNN's Delia Gallagher has more from Rome.


DELIA GALLAGHER, CNN VATICAN CORRESPONDENT: The opening of the Vatican's secret archives containing documents from World War II is something that researchers and Jewish leaders have been calling forth for decades. And t's important because of the controversial figure of Pope Pius the 12th who was pope during that time and who some say didn't do enough to publicly denounce Hitler and the Nazis while others say he worked behind the scenes to help save the Jews during the holocaust.

The Pope Francis made the surprise announcement on Monday when a he was giving a speech to employees of the Vatican's secret archives and he said in part this, I take this decision having heard the advised of my closest collaborators with a serene and trusting heart. The church is not afraid of history on the contrary, it loves it.

Now the archives weren't opened earlier because the Vatican generally waits for a period of about 70 years from the death of a pope before allowing access to classified correspondents of that pontificate. In this case, Pius the 12, died about 60 years ago, and there are hundreds of thousands of documents relating to the 19 years that he was pope from 1939 to 1958.

And United States holocaust museum amongst other Jewish groups have welcome the news saying, that we owe it the survivor generation which is rapidly diminishing. Also the chief rabbi of Rome, Ricardo Dsenyi (ph) said it was better late than never and he hoped that all of the documents would indeed be made available. The archives relating to this period will officially be open for researchers in March of 2020. Delia Gallagher, CNN, Rome.

(END VIDEOTAPE) WATT: CNN is partnering with young people around the world for a

student-lead day of action against modern day slavery on March 14. In advance of My Freedom Day, we spoke with film director, Nadine Labaki and asked her what makes you feel free.


NADINE LABAKI, FILM DIRECTOR: I think what makes me feel free is really the fact that, you know, it's maybe a cliche, but be able to talk about whatever I want to talk about whenever I want to talk about and be able to -- I think what frees me the most is when I am able to really become also the vehicle for other people to express themselves freely and be also -- be their platform for them to express themselves freely. I think this is where I feel the most free.


WATT: Tell the world what makes you feel free, share your story using the #Myfreedomday. Just ahead here on CNN, deadly tornadoes tear to the southern U.S. One woman tells us how her family barely survived.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: He said, he had just enough time to dive to the couch which the couch is about further away from the screen door and he just held on to the couch for dear life.



WATT: Take a look at this incredible dash cam video. Firefighters shared this footage on social media to remind residence never to drive through an active fire. There's just about 26-kilometers outside of Melbourne is one of a series of devastating brush fires that have swept through Australia's south eastern state, the Victoria destroying properties and forcing thousands of people to flee their homes.

And in parts of the western U.S., there's a different weather danger, avalanches. This one caught on camera in Colorado on a stretch of interstate known for its popular ski resorts. This was actually the second avalanche to strike the same general area that day, and amazing no one was hurt.

And in the southern U.S., entire communities destroyed, at least 23 people killed, three of them children all killed by tornadoes in the states of Alabama and Georgia. CNN's Drew Griffin is in Opelika, Alabama following the devastation.


DREW GRIFFIN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: We now know that the tornado that hit this southeastern part of Alabama was traveling at more than 270- kilometers per hour when it struck yesterday afternoon and took everything in its path, including a mobile home behind me. The bricks you see behind me were holding a mobile home. That mobile home is now just scattered in the forest beyond it, all of the things that were inside are just gone. Four people were living here at the time, miraculously, three of them had just left to run an errand right before this tornado struck.


GRIFFIN: You would have been here, but - - .

JESSICA CHANDLER, TORNADO SURVIVOR: I had just left and went to the grocery store with my kids to get my baby formula.

GRIFFIN: So, but for that mother necessity, you would have been inside that trailer.


GRIFFIN: Tell me how bad your boyfriend's hurt.

CHANDLER: He has a fractured leg, his ribs are broken, he has puncture wounds, cuts, bruises, he is really sore. I mean, he got out of the hospital last night, we're thankful he is alive. He seen the porch fly up - - um, the front porch is like a patio, he seen that fly up and he said he had just enough time to dive to the couch which the couch is about a foot away from the screen door. And he just held on to the couch for dear life.


GRIFFIN: They looked for that couch today out in that field, they could not find the couch. The person who was riding on it is now out of hospital, and doing OK, but this family, like so many others in southeast Alabama, are wondering how to start rebuilding their lives. Drew Griffin, CNN, southeastern Alabama, back to you.


WATT: And tornado season is actually just getting under way across the southern United States. Our meteorologist Pedram Javaheri, joins us now with more. Pedram?

PEDRAM JAVAHERI, CNN METEOROLOGIST: Yes, when you hear those wind speeds, 270-kilometers per hour. You got to think about this, because a super typhoon Hyena (ph), a few years ago, across the Philippines that took with it thousands of lives, of course, a much wider system impacting a much greater area, that system had 230-kilometer per hour winds. This comes in with five minutes notice, impacts this region with greater winds in a more concentrated region with it, of course taking dozens of lives with it.

[03:50:14] Let me take a look at this, in total we had reports of 39 tornadoes across the southern U.S. Almost every single one of them either in the state of Georgia or Florida, this accounting now for about 30 of them. Take a look, on average, about five per each state occurs in the month of March. So, incredible perspective for this time of year for the number of tornadoes that we saw which essentially count for half of what you see in the entire month for the entire United States across just two states in a matter of just a few hours.

But climatologically we know peak season is around the corner over the next couple of months. So, that is really what the concentration is going to be on over the next few weeks as we head on into the warm season. But as the front pushes through here, temps dropping 15 to 30-degrees across portions of the United States. Some 50 plus record cold high temperatures were set.

Of course a couple of weeks before spring officially arrives and we're talking about these temps into the morning hours, 10, 15 below zero across the upper mid-west, New York City minus 8, Atlanta down to minus 4. A few snowflakes in Atlanta at around say, 10:00 p.m. Local Time across the region.

So, very cold perspective, but just like that, days are getting longer, of course, spring as I said, around the corner. So, the rapid warming trend is also going to be back, restored here in the next few days. Temps in New York climbing back up into the double digits before we get in towards late this weekend.

I want to show you what's happening down across portions of Victoria in Australia. Because the thermal signature here and the smoke is seen from satellite imagery, wild fires and bush fires across this particular region impacting 11,000 hectares of land, some 2,000 firefighters on the scenes here.

The fires ignited because of lightning strikes and the fact, you see the radar, you see where the thunderstorms were, and notice the concentration of these lightning strikes right down across the southeastern corner of the continent, and that is the area of concern. That is where some 19 buildings have already been damaged. 19 active fires I should say with nine buildings already destroyed across this region.

Twenty three schools also closed, because of the threat of the fires, the smoke in the air across the area as well. The trends shifting, we know the meteorological start there to autumn arrived just a couple of days ago down under. So, this high pressure bills, we begin to see some cooler air coming in from the south and with it the firefighters have had a little help here across this region, fighting the fires in the past 24 or so hours.

The trend in places such as Sydney going from 34 down to 22-degrees and kind of moderating back out into the upper 20s and around 30- degrees. So at least, Nick, a better forecast here when it comes to slightly cooler temperatures the next few days.

WATT: Thanks a lot, Pedram. And just ahead on CNN, he was a 90s icon playing the side burned bad boy character in the hit TV series. We'll look back at the life of actor Luke Perry. That is next.


WATT: Keith Flint, the energetic front man of the Prodigy which rose to fame in the 90's was found dead in his home in Essex England on Monday morning. Flint was one of the most recognizable figures on the British electronic scene. His death was announced on the band's Instagram page with band mate Liam confirming that Flint took his own life.

[03:55:03] Actor Cathy Burke perhaps summed up the self-proclaimed twisted fire starter best on Twitter writing, he did what all music stars are meant to do, he frightened your moms and dads. Rest in peace, Keith Flint.

And more sad news Monday that actor Luke Perry just 52 years old has died. He was the bad boy of the 1990s hit show 90210 playing the brooding emotionally scarred Dylan McKay. His latest project, Riverdale, has temporarily halted production to honor the actor. CNN's Jeanne Moos looks back at the iconic moments of his career.


JEANNE MOOS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Hard to believe a massive stroke at only 52 could take away the heartthrob of the 90s, the actor Letterman introduced as - - .

DAVID LETTERMAN, THE DAVID LETTERMAN SHOW HOST: The hunkiest rebel in Beverly Hills, Luke Perry. Luke.

MOOS: A guy who helped make almost all of us able to recite a certain zip code.

LETTERMAN: Beverly Hills 90202.

MOOS: On the show Luke played a teenage stud with a drinking problem.


Hop on. My bike, that is.

MOOS: In real life, he told entertainment tonight --

LUKE PERRY, ACTOR: I've only ever had one addiction, and there she. No, there she is. That's my addiction I had.

MOOS: His fans once got so rabid he had to escape a mall appearance.

PERRY: They said give me that laundry bin we'll cover you up, and I jumped in, they covered me and we rolled right out through the crowd.

MOOS: And remembering actress Leslie Grossman tweeted, when I was lucky enough to work with Luke Perry, I told him about the pillow of his face I used to sleep with and he yelled you are such a weirdo, but there were plenty of weirdos with that same pillow.

His side burns are burned into our memories, how many of you grew long side burns, because Luke Perry made it look cool? He went on to everything from buffy the vampire slayer, to roles not like his other roles, for instance in the gritty prison drama Oz.

PERRY: That is show biz on a stick. MOOS: He got his start in a teen drama, and his final role was as a

father in a teen drama, Riverdale. It's not easy following your own act when you've been dubbed the epitome of cool. Vanity Fair once asked, is Luke a fluke?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Say, you look familiar.

PERRY: Yes, I'm that guy you wish you were.

MOOS: That guy you wish didn't have to go so soon. Jeanne Moos, CNN, New York.


WATT: Thanks for joining us. I'm Nick Watt. The news continues with Max Foster in London, next.