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House Overwhelmingly Passes Anti-Hate Resolution In Wake Of Rep Omar's Controversial Comments On Israel; Soon: R. Kelly To Be Released From Jail After Posting Bond; Cyber Security Firm: N.K. Hackers Target "Critical" U.S. Infrastructure. Aired 12-1p ET

Aired March 9, 2019 - 12:00   ET


[12:00:00] TOM FOREMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): -- continues to revel in the role of Trump-troll-in-chief.

GEORGE CONWAY, HUSBAND OF KELLYANNE CONWAY: Plus, I kind of like the fact that you can tweet at rich public officials without fear of retribution in the courts.

FOREMAN (on camera): Remember, this is no liberal but a staunch conservative who says he has to speak up because he feels the rule of law is being so damaged by the Trump administration. And speak up he surely did. Tom Foreman, CNN, Washington.


FREDRICKA WHITFIELD, CNN ANCHOR: And hello again, everyone. Thank you so much for being with me this Saturday. I'm Fredricka Whitfield.

We begin with breaking news in Venezuela where embattled President Nicolas Maduro is firing off a warning to the U.S., saying any, quote, imperial aggression will be met with what he called a strong response.

This comes as pro and anti-Maduro demonstrations are getting underway. Self-declared Acting President Juan Guaido promising in a tweet a short time ago that his supporters won't be scared off by government threats.

This all comes as Venezuela slowly recovers from a massive power outage affecting most of the country. We'll take you live to Venezuela in just a moment.

Now, turning to North Korea where less than a week after the collapse of President Trump's summit with Kim Jong-un, there are signs North Korea may be preparing to launch a missile or satellite.

That assessment is based on new satellite images showing vehicles moving and trains ready to be loaded at a North Korean facility. It's the same facility that had been partially dismantled, according to North Korean officials.

Analysts are saying a launch could be imminent, or it may be an attempt to draw attention from the U.S. Either way, it could deal a serious blow to a relationship that is already showing considerable strain. Sarah Westwood is following President Trump who is spending the

weekend at his Mar-a-Lago resort in Florida. Sarah, the President obviously, you know, has a lot at stake here. How is he reacting? We know he commented on it yesterday. Any new reaction today?

SARAH WESTWOOD, CNN REPORTER: Well, Fred, the White House is still largely staying silent on this missile-related activity in North Korea. President Trump, here in Florida today, is golfing as commercial satellites register these images of movement at North Korean launch facilities.

But Trump did tell reporters yesterday that he would be very disappointed to see North Korea resume its provocative behavior, its missile tests, its nuclear tests. And U.S. officials have not yet characterized this activity that's being observed in North Korea, so we don't have a good read on whether the administration is reacting to this as a provocation from North Korea.

But despite those fruitless talks in Vietnam a little more than a week ago, President Trump, yesterday, touted the strong relationship he still says he enjoys with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un. Take a listen.


DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Well, time will tell, but I have a feeling that our relationship with North Korea, Kim Jong- un and myself -- Chairman Kim -- I think it's a very good one. I think it remains good. I would be surprised in a negative way if he did anything that was not per our understanding, but we'll see what happens.

Look, when I came in, under the Obama administration, North Korea was a disaster. You were going to war, folks, whether you know it or not. You were going to war. There was no talking. There was testing.


WESTWOOD: Now, notably, National Security adviser John Bolton said on Thursday that President Trump is open to further talks with North Korea.

But if Pyongyang is resuming its nuclear activity, that could undermine the President's strategy toward North Korea, which has been based on the idea that Trump's intervention is justified because missile launches, because nuclear tests stopped when President Trump engaged with the North Koreans.

So it's unclear how strongly the White House will respond if this is, in fact, a provocation from North Korea. But, Fred, the State Department, the National Security Council, the White House, all for right now remaining silent about these images that we're seeing out of North Korea.

WHITFIELD: All right, Sarah Westwood, thank you so much. Keep us posted. With me now, Congressman Ted Yoho, Republican from Florida and a

member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee. Congressman, good to see you.

So if the North Koreans are preparing to do --


WHITFIELD: I'm great, I'm great. And I wonder, your point of view, if indeed the North Koreans are prepared to do some kind of launch or if they are actively working on their nuclear weapon program, what does this say to you about the progress or lack thereof of the recent summits involving the President?

[12:04:58] YOHO: I think it says that they weren't acting in good faith, and we've seen this before in the last three administrations. This is something that -- you know, Kim Jong-un has the cards in his hand as far as what we're going to do next.

If he starts rebuilding those, there's going to be some form of increased sanctions initially. You'll probably see the military exercises between the United States and South Korea maybe resume in a larger way.

But we hope that Kim Jong-un is not doing this. If it's, you know, satellites that go up in the -- for their communications, that's probably OK. But if it's military grade, that's not going to be OK.

WHITFIELD: Did you ever believe that North Korea had suspended its activity? Did you ever believe that they were taking steps toward denuclearization?

YOHO: Yes, we've had the benefit of meeting with several people from South Korea. In fact, there was one negotiator that was in all three previous administrations' negotiation.

Plus, with Moon Jae-in, in the negotiations in North Korea when they went up to Pyongyang, and he says that Kim Jong-un -- he feels wholeheartedly -- he really wants to denuclearize. And we know they went through some of the initial steps. There's a long way to go, and let's just hope that he comes back to the table.

They weren't expecting President Trump to get up and walk away. That kind of --

WHITFIELD: And do you believe that if there is some activity --

YOHO: We just had a briefing on this the other day.

WHITFIELD: If you believe there -- you know, if you believe that there is some activity now, it's in retaliation for that walkout, sort of a one-upping the President, sending a strong signal to the rest of the world?

YOHO: You know, he may be doing that, but, you know, we're talking about nuclear weapons and war. It's not a time to play games. And so what we're -- our goal is to make sure that we have a maximum sanction campaign, and then the countries that aren't compliant with that -- Russia, China mainly -- that they become compliant and put enough pressure on the Kim regime that he has to negotiate.

WHITFIELD: Well, isn't, on display, the missile testing in part a bit of game playing on the world stage, flexing muscles, North Korea showing everybody that it needs to be taken seriously, that it is indeed a threat? Isn't that what this has been all about anyway?

YOHO: Yes, it is. I mean, he's trying to gain legitimacy on the world stage. But they haven't done testings. You know, keep in mind, they haven't launched a missile or a nuclear test in over 15 months.

That country is about 23 -- yes, not quite 23 million people. Over 50 percent of that country is malnourished. There's a famine getting ready to start there. Mr. Kim Jong-un might want to focus on his people because there is some unrest going on in North Korea.

WHITFIELD: OK, back here at home, let me shift gears a bit. You know, a resolution condemning all forms of hate and bigotry overwhelmingly passed in the House.

YOHO: Right.

WHITFIELD: The bill, you know, began over comments about Israel made by freshman Congresswoman Ilhan Omar, but -- and many have called her words anti-Semitic. You, however, were one of 23 Republicans who voted against the resolution. Why? And are you at all concerned about the message that it sends that anyone would not want to condemn all forms of bigotry by signing a resolution of this magnitude?

YOHO: Sure, I mean, that's a fair question. No, I'm not concerned at all, to answer your question. The reason I voted against it, we have voted on these things in past Congresses over and over.

And then I have to remind people we're adults. We know what's right. We know what's wrong. And this whole resolution that came up was created by the Democratic Party to go after Representative Omar who said some very toxic things, you know, very anti-Semitic.

And so the resolution that was out to condemn her did anything but do that. It condemned hate speech for everybody else, but it left out -- you know, if they start throwing in certain groups, they left out -- you know, they left out Mormons, they left out Quakers. And we can add to that list.

WHITFIELD: But wouldn't you want to just build on it then?

YOHO: And this was just something so that Nancy Pelosi and --

WHITFIELD: Wouldn't you want to start somewhere and then potentially built on it?

YOHO: No, because it was just something to show -- no, because it was a showboat to show that they were taking action against one of their own members. If they were really serious, if Nancy Pelosi and the Democratic Party were really serious, they would have done the same thing they did to Steve King to Representative Omar. They would have done the same thing. If not, it's hypocrisy at its worst.

WHITFIELD: Congressman Ted Yoho, we'll leave it there for now. Thank you so much.

All right. Now, back to our breaking news out of Venezuela, protests underway as the country slowly recovers from a massive power outage affecting most of the country. CNN's Patrick Oppmann is in Caracas, and he's joining us now over the phone.

Patrick, what is happening?

[12:09:53] PATRICK OPPMANN, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (via telephone): Well, both sides have turned out demonstrations today but, of course, the anti-government forces, the opposition forces, have been stopped by the police, forcing people to get them down (ph) a stage where the self-declared interim president, the leader of the opposition here, Juan Guaido, is supposed to speak.

And then they've been meeting the protestors who tried to dance on avenues throughout the city with tear gas and barricades and essentially trying to keep this protest of thousands of thousands of people that's protesting against the government from taking place.

And people are particularly upset right now because, since Thursday afternoon here, the power has been out. It has come back in certain neighborhoods. But where we are, we had about 12 hours of power, and it just went out a few hours ago. So that's why I'm talking to you by phone because, essentially, all communications continued to drop out.

And when you have no power, as you know, Fred, that means you do not have gas stations that are working. You have food that spoils. People cannot get water. So it really is making a desperate situation -- already desperate situation more chaotic, more desperate, and leading to rising anger.

All the same though, the government here is saying it's not their fault, it's the fault of the United States. They are claiming there was a cyber attack that took out the main power plant for this country. I mean, the main that solely provides about 70 percent of the power to Venezuela but there is no proof of that.

The opposition has been saying now for some time that it's simply a question of the government not maintaining so much of the vital infrastructure here. And again, a very desperate scene. And hospitals are without power, and people are unable to get the treatment they require. And it's a hot day in Caracas, and it's just leading to increased anger and increased tensions.

WHITFIELD: So, Patrick, do people overwhelmingly believe that, or is there a feeling that it is the government -- it is the Maduro government who is responsible for the power outage so as to get people's attention about who really is still in control or not? OPPMANN (via telephone): You know, at this point, Fred, you've pretty

much made up your mind who you're with. You're either with the opposition or the government.

So when the government comes out and says we're going to blame it on the U.S., that is the line that is parroted by their supporters. But, you know, when you talk to people one-on-one, you know, they laugh at that because they know this is not the first power outage this country has experienced.

There are power failures here every day throughout this country. They just have not had one in many, many years, if ever, of this magnitude. And, again, just the surrealness of it that we are in a country that produces -- has more oil than any other country on Earth, large reserves of oil.

They have, up until recently, been exporters of energy, including electricity. And the fact now that you have to wait three hours to pump gas, that you're going to have to throw out food because it's spoiled, that you might -- as we are -- spend most of the day without internet, without a working telephone line in the sweltering heat, that's just adding insult to injury.

So when the government comes out with these excuses, I think the majority of the people, at least that I've talked to, don't buy it. They know this is a long-standing problem.

WHITFIELD: Patrick Ottoman in Caracas, thank you so much.

Still ahead, will today be the day Beto O'Rourke announces that he might jump into the 2020 presidential race? He's among several candidates appearing at the South by Southwest Festival. We'll take you there live.


WHITFIELD: Right now, several Democratic presidential hopefuls are hitting the campaign trail in several states. And then there is one Democrat who has yet to announce his 2020 ambitions. But that could change this hour.

Former Congressman Beto O'Rourke is about to take the stage at the South by Southwest in his home state of Texas to introduce his documentary. And the big question remained, will he run for president in 2020?

CNN correspondent Leyla Santiago is there. So, Leyla, he has said that he has made a decision. What decision is it?

LEYLA SANTIAGO, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, so that's the big question right now, Fredricka. I'll tell you, the doors have just opened, so folks are starting to come in for this documentary. There was a big crowd outside waiting for him, a lot of people wearing those Beto for Senate T-shirts now coming in.

And while a lot of those folks are excited about this documentary, excited about the former congressman, beyond this theatre, the big question that they're focused on, what you said, will he run for a seat in that Oval Office to become the next U.S. president?

Remember, I asked him last week when you said he had made a decision what that decision was. He would only say soon. Soon, he would be telling everyone at the same time.

That said, he's been pretty quiet on social media in the last few weeks. His team continues to send out e-mails talking about his thoughts on immigration, talking about how he sees the justice system, laying out, point-by-point, what his proposals would be.

Today, they sent out another e-mail asking folks to sign up to be on a list to be the first to find out what his decision is, be the first to get that announcement. But what that announcement is, we're still waiting to find out.

He is expected to watch the documentary and then take questions after the fact. I suspect that question is going to come up, what his future plans will be. What he will say when he -- yes, this gentleman just said, is he running for president? I don't know. I really don't know yet. We're still waiting to find out.

But our sources are telling us that it is a matter of any day now he will be announcing that. What he will say to this crowd when they ask that question? Well, we'll be here to find out, and we'll let you know.

WHITFIELD: So wait a minute, does that mean that people have the feeling that, after watching the documentary, I mean, he would use this forum in which to make an announcement, or he is just kind of getting a gauge from people in this forum?

[12:20:05] SANTIAGO: He's been getting a gauge from people for quite a while. He actually put out a survey through an e-mail asking, what matters to you? How should I handle this?

So he's been gauging people for quite some time, traveling to Kansas, to Colorado, to Michigan -- or, excuse me, to Wisconsin and Illinois. So he's been gauging for quite some time.

I suspect, here, he will be reflecting on what he heard, reflecting on the run for the Senate that is at the center of this documentary. And he's already said he's made a decision, but what is the decision? That's what we're waiting to find out.


WHITFIELD: And that's what you call a real cliffhanger. All right, Leyla Santiago, thank you so much. Appreciate it.

And don't miss tomorrow night's back-to-back CNN presidential town halls live from South by Southwest. Former Congressman John Delaney is at 7:00 p.m.; Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard is at 8:00 p.m.; and Mayor Pete Buttigieg is at 9:00 p.m. Jake Tapper and Dana Bash moderate. Tomorrow night starting at 7:00 p.m. Eastern. Only on CNN. (COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[12:25:31] WHITFIELD: Well, it's been quite the challenging week for Democrats on Capitol Hill. The party is looking to get back on message following the uproar over freshman Congresswoman Ilhan Omar's controversial comments about Israel in which she questioned if it's OK for groups to push for, quote, allegiance to a foreign country.

Just days after those comments, the House overwhelmingly passed an anti-hate resolution that condemns anti-Semitism, Islamophobia, and other forms of bigotry. Twenty-three Republicans voted no, accusing the Democrats of watering the resolution down. Speaker Nancy Pelosi disagreed.


REP. NANCY PELOSI (D-CA), SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES: I don't think it watered down the anti-Semitic language at all. I think it strengthened it. And it isn't about anybody who hates anybody. It's about people who act upon their hatred, and that is what we have no place for against anyone in our country. And it is part of our values that we convey to the rest of the world.


WHITFIELD: All right, let's talk about all of this. Joining me right now, CNN's political commentators Maria Cardona and Doug Heye and CNN presidential historian Tim Naftali. Good to see all of you.


WHITFIELD: I'm good. So, Tim, you first. You know, were Democrats effective in trying to put all of this behind them?

TIM NAFTALI, CNN PRESIDENTIAL HISTORIAN: Well, we'll see. We'll see in the extent to which Republicans make use of it. This is an effective or potentially effective issue for Republicans. I think the --

WHITFIELD: In what way? What do you mean?

NAFTALI: In that the state of Israel, many Americans from various faiths for various reasons supported the state of Israel, and the Democratic Party does not want to appear to be opposed to the state of Israel.

What I suspect Speaker Pelosi will try to do is to encourage Representative Omar to differentiate between comments that criticize the Netanyahu government -- and there are many Democrats that would criticize the Netanyahu government for not participating in the peace process -- and comments that appear to be anti-Semitic.

So the real test of the extent to which Speaker Pelosi can rein in the caucus is what happens going forward in terms of the comments we hear from Representative Omar. So that's what I'm looking to see.

WHITFIELD: And so, Doug, you know, listen to how the President, you know, characterized Democrats overall yesterday.


TRUMP: I thought that vote was a disgrace. And so does everybody else, if you get an honest answer. If you get an honest answer from politicians, they thought it was a disgrace. The Democrats have become an anti-Israel party. They've become an anti-Jewish party.


WHITFIELD: So, Doug, how do you square the President's comments with the unanimous vote to pass a resolution against bigotry overall by the Democrats?

DOUG HEYE, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Well, you know, unfortunately, as we've seen so many times, Trump is going to Trump, and he's going to say something outrageous that really takes our eye off where the ball should be.

We saw repeated anti-Semitic comments, not comments against Israel policy -- Israeli policy but against Jews and questions of dual loyalty that should be very easy to condemn and very easy to condemn as they are instead of basically a watered-down statement that says, by the House, we like things that are good and we don't like things that are bad.

Unfortunately, when 23 Republicans vote against it, it takes that issue away from Republicans that, politically, could be very advantageous and also emphasizes not just the question of the comments themselves.

But one thing that Republicans always talk about with Nancy Pelosi is her effectiveness within the caucus, the Democratic caucus. It's very clear that she got rolled on this. It's something that we haven't seen from Nancy -- happen to Nancy Pelosi before. If there are cracks in the Democratic Party, Republicans should want to exploit it instead of giving them cover.

WHITFIELD: And so, Doug, explain what does that mean, it's watered down, if it becomes all-encompassing?

HEYE: Well, I think it was very clear what the Congresswoman's statements were about. That would be very easy to condemn. The problem was she, by her own caucus, was rolled -- Nancy Pelosi, that is -- was rolled into, well, we can't just criticize this Congresswoman. We have to say this is bad, that is bad, everything is bad.

Again, that should be very easy for everyone to vote for. We like things that are good, and we don't like things that are bad.

WHITFIELD: But then 23 Republicans did not.


HEYE: Yes, and I'm critical of that. WHITFIELD: And so how bad does that look?

HEYE: I think that was a bad vote for Republicans to take, Congressman Yoho included.

[12:29:54] WHITFIELD: So, Maria, you know, freshman Representative Omar, you know, she has that to answer to. She handled it in the way that she saw fit, and then there is more. This time, you know, her comments President Obama calling his hope and change message, you know, a mirage in Politico.

You know, what is the best, what is ultimately going to be the best way for Democrats to handle, you know, her comments and how she's handling it and by the way even after the Politico article, you know, she says -- you know, has said, according to CNN's reporting that her words had been taken out of context. Even her spokesperson says, you know, that she was not speaking against President Obama, that she is an Obama fan.

MARIA CARDONA, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Right. Look, here's the bottom line, Fred, and I actually think that Nancy was not rolled and that she handled it quite well. Here's the bottom line. The Democrats in November elected the most diverse Congress in history. That is a good thing for the party. That is a good thing for America.

We are representing all of the multifaceted communities in this country that up until now many of them have been marginalized and have not had a voice at the table. They now have a voice at the table and they have power in the halls of Congress. That means, by definition, that our party is going to be more raucous, rambunctious and sometimes messy, but in my book that is a great thing.

And what we did with passing this resolution that is all encompassing, it was not watered down, it was beefed up. It was beefed up to include all the kinds of hatred and bigotry that we have seen, that all of these communities that are now represented in Congress have been having to deal with because why? Because President Trump himself has legitimized that kind of hate speech and I don't think Republicans will have a leg to stand on, even on anti-Semitism when the president himself has been the Tweeter-in-chief of anti-Semitic tropes, and when he stood up in Charlottesville and said there are good people on both sides, when one of those sides was chanting Jews will not replace us. Where is the resolution condemning that?

WHITFIELD: And, Tim, on the issue of, you know, speaking candidly, Former Chief of Staff John Kelly has done just that when he was at Duke University. He talked about what it was to work for the president, working out of the White House, saying, you know, essentially it wasn't his most favorite, you know, job but he is certainly, you know, married to what it is to be a civil servant.

And he also said, you know, a marquee campaign issue, the wall, is a waste of money. What do you make of this kind of candor now that he has left the White House?

TIM NAFTALI, CNN PRESIDENTIAL HISTORIAN: Well, you know, I just can't wait to see the materials from the administration to learn what bad ideas General Kelly stopped. We don't know the extent to which --


NAFTALI: We don't know the extent to which he was the --

WHITFIELD: So meaning you're saying it's one thing to speak after you've left but then, you know, how did you wield your power once you were there in the White House.

NAFTALI: Exactly. And we don't know yet. We can't make that judgment. But look, if he acted that way when he was in power, great, but we just don't know.

WHITFIELD: Got you, all right. Tim Naftali, Doug Heye, and Maria Cardona, always wish I had more time, thank you so much for the time that we had, appreciate it.

All right, up next, singer R. Kelly posts bond and is set to be released from jail at any moment now. Details straight head.


[12:37:30] WHITFIELD: All right, right now, this is the place where perhaps at any moment R&B singer R. Kelly could be exiting jail. He was arrested Wednesday after failing to pay his ex-wife $161,000 in child support. He has since paid all of that money back in order to post bond, which he did today.

He was out on bail in another case when he was arrested. Last month a grand jury indicted Kelly on ten counts of aggravated criminal sexual abuse, accusing him of sexual acts with children between the ages of 13 and 17. Kelly maintained his innocence in an interview which aired on CBS.


GAYLE KING, HOST, "CBS THIS MORNING": Have you done anything wrong?

R. KELLY, R&B SINGER: I've done lots of things wrong when it comes to women that I apologize, but I apologized in those relationships at the time I was in those relationships.

KING: Have you broken any laws when it comes to women?

KELLY: Absolutely not.

KING: Have you ever had sex with anyone under the age of 17?

KELLY: No, no.

KING: Never?


(END VIDEO CLIP) WHITFIELD: If convicted, Kelly could face between three to seven years in prison on each of the ten counts. CNN's Sara Sidner has more.


SARA SIDNER, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): R&B singer R. Kelly went to jail for the second time in two weeks, this time a judge saying he failed to pay more than $160,000 in child support. His first stint in jail this year occurred after being charged with ten counts of aggravated sexual abuse against four women, three of whom prosecutors say were minors at the time of the alleged abuse. He responded to those charges, telling CBS's Gayle King everyone making the accusations is lying.

KING: So they're lying on you, that's your explanation? They're lying on you?

KELLY: Absolutely.

KING: You feel that people have maligned your character?

KELLY: I have been assassinated. I have been buried alive. But I'm alive.

SIDNER: Kelly also responded to numerous abuse accusations from his ex-wife, former girlfriends and people who worked for him in the six- part docu-series "Surviving R. Kelly" that aired in January.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I'd just like, you to know, know that you really hurt me. I was a little girl in like a bad man's world.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Quit hurting people. Quit hurting these girls.

KELLY: I didn't do this stuff. This is not me. I'm fighting for my [bleep] life. You all killing me with this [bleep]. I did not do any of this. I [bleep] hasn't (ph).

KING: Robert.

KELLY: Thirty years of my career. You all trying to kill me.

[12:40:05] SIDNER: Kelly also talked about his relationship with women now, saying he has two live-in girlfriends, Joycelyn Savage and Azriel Clary. Their parents have accused Kelly of brain washing, abusing and separating their daughters from their families, but the girls attack their parents' claims.

JOYCELYN, R. KELLY'S LIVE-IN GIRLFRIEND: Both our parents are basically out here to try to get money and scam.

SIDNER: Clary accused her parents of trying to blackmail Kelly by getting her to take naked photos with him. The next day, Azriel Clary's father denied his daughter's allegations alongside his attorney, Michael Avenatti.

ANGELO CLARY, AZRIEL CLARY'S FATHER: I'm angry. I'm hurt. That's not my daughter. The woman she had become now is like robotic.

SIDNER: Angelo Clary says he and his wife are scared for their daughter's well-being and just want her home safe.

SIDNER (on camera): Mr. Clary, what is your greatest concern for your daughter right now?

CLARY: I really don't even want to speak it in existence but I think everybody knows from we'll to speak hypothetically on her current situation when she tried to commit, you know, suicide.

TIM SAVAGE, JOYCELYN SAVAGE's FATHER: It's just speechless to hear that saying that we would sell our kids. That's unheard of.

SIDNER: All of the pain, confusion, worry, and accusations playing out in the public eye. Sara Sidner, CNN, Los Angeles.


WHITFIELD: Let's talk about this. CNN Legal Analyst Areva Martin is here from Los Angeles and Psychotherapist Robi Ludwig joining us from New York. Good to see both of you.

So Areva, you first because he's still facing those ten counts. How did this benefit R. Kelly to do this sit down interview?

AREVA MARTIN, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: I can't see, Fred, how it benefits at all in terms of his criminal case. Now perhaps he thought that he would win somehow in the court of public opinion. He said this was the first time he really got to defend himself, but when you look at this bombastic and threatening, you know, this interview where he's making these gestures and this conduct, it doesn't benefit him.

We know in a trial he doesn't have to testify on his own behalf because of the fifth amendment, but essentially he has testified. This entire interview can be introduced by the prosecution, and jurors will have an opportunity to look at him.

Now, although he denies the charges and he calls the women that are accusing him liars, what we saw was a very angry, a very violent man and it plays into this narrative that he is controlling and dominating, and quite frankly, once we've reached the conclusion that he's very capable of the kind of sexual abuse that he's been charged with.

So, from a legal standpoint, there is nothing promising or beneficial to him as it relates to this, you know, really searing 80-minute interview.

WHITFIELD: So Robi, he tried to convey that he is a victim. He says he's being buried alive. People are trying to take him down.

ROBI LUDWIG, PSYCHOTHERAPIST: Well, I do believe that R. Kelly does experience himself as a victim and that people are out to get him, and that is what is so frightening. We clearly see a man who does not understand the impact of his behavior. He normalizes it basically. He sees himself only as the person who's being attacked, and this could have to do with his own childhood sexual abuse that never got processed properly.

This is somebody who's not psychologically sophisticated, so he's re- enacting this abuse and somehow his fame enabled him to do so and contributed to his own denial.

WHITFIELD: This is another portion of that extraordinary interview with Gayle King.

All right, well, we're looking at it, we're watching the body language, you know, Areva, you talked about, you know, looking unhinged, out of control, emotional, et cetera, but at the same time does this in any way assist in R. Kelly's frustration that he's expressing about even his past and how all of this is kind of bubbling up?

MARTIN: Well, we don't know, Fred, what the defense is going to be. We heard his lawyer come out immediately after the charges were filed and basically call all of the women liars. And we heard R. Kelly parrot the same comments during this interview, but that's got to be a very difficult defense to put forth.

It's not one woman that's accused him. There are four victims that are going to come forward based on what we know from the prosecutors and make allegations against R. Kelly.

And to me, it's not just this interview. We got to look at that series, that lifetime series "Surviving R. Kelly". Fifty women approximately came forward and told their story. They put a face to the allegations that have been swirling about R. Kelly for two decades now, and those images are seared in the memories of millions of people that watch that documentary. And that's going to be a pretty big hurdle for him to overcome in a jury trial.

[12:45:02] WHITFIELD: And at least one of the women in that documentary said, you know, this is an act. That was a performance. And he is trying to sway public opinion, Areva, especially in light of the legal case ahead of him.

MARTIN: Yes. And if that was his goal, I don't think he accomplished it, Fred. I think if anything, he showed the American people that he is violent, potentially violent, that he's threatening, that he's unhinged emotionally as you said. I don't think -- I cannot think of any benefit that this video or this interview did for him other than perhaps give him an opportunity to tell his story. I just don't think the American people are buying his denial.

WHITFIELD: So Robi, we also heard from two of R. Kelly's girlfriends, you know, defending the singer, claiming their parents are going after the singer, you know, to get money. And of course the parents adamantly are denying this.

How helpful to R. Kelly was the account of these young women who say they live with him and, you know, they're not afraid of him?

LUDWIG: Yes, well, these girls just seem very young, naive, misguided, influenced. We could certainly imagine a scenario where down the road, once they are away from R. Kelly, they see their situation from a very, very different perspective. But I don't think this did anything positive for R. Kelly.

First of all, why would any woman want to share a guy with another woman anyway in a long-term capacity? That's not intimacy. There's something off there anyway. So we have three people who are misguided and off in some way living together and colluding together.

And I agree that, you know, R. Kelly came off as a very violent, scary guy. Now Gayle King handled it beautifully. She was like the good mother and said, Robert, get a hold of yourself. But, we clearly see this is a man who's out of control and out of touch with the impact that he is making on others.

WHITFIELD: Yes, all right, Robi Ludwig, Areva Martin, thanks to both of you. Appreciate it.

LUDWIG: Thank you.

WHITFIELD: All right, coming up, the nuclear threat is not the only problem security analysts are monitoring in North Korea. Is the Kim regime working to hack critical systems in the U.S.? We'll discuss next.


[12:51:50] WHITFIELD: North Korea may be preparing to launch a missile or satellite just days after President Trump's failed second summit with Kim Jong-Un. New satellite images show vehicles moving at a North Korean facility that had previously been partially dismantled.

Meantime, there are also growing concerns that North Korean hackers are targeting critical infrastructure in the United States. That's according to a new report from the Cyber Security Firm McAfee.

Joining me right now Jonathan Wackrow, a former secret service agent under President Obama. Good to see you, Jonathan.


WHITFIELD: All right, so what exactly are these critical infrastructure targets and how concerned should we be?

WACKROW: Well, smartly, the Department of Homeland Security identified vital systems and assets that, if they were manipulated, attacked, infiltrated, would have a measured effect on our national security, our financial infrastructure, and actually, you know, pose a great risk to, you know, human life.

So these critical infrastructure assets, you know, include our electrical grid system. They are telecommunications, our transportation systems. Everything that affects our daily life are included in the critical infrastructure of the United States.

WHITFIELD: And then what are the other types of cyber attack locations that people are most used to that's very different from this critical infrastructure?

WACKROW: Well, you know, we hear about, you know, cyber attacks every single day on the news. And unfortunately, people are becoming complacent to it. But those attacks are against network systems. And typically the intent is to infiltrate data for financial gain.

When we're talking about attacking a critical infrastructure, what we're talking about is someone that's intentionally trying to cause harm to individuals. They're drastically different and they have a greater impact.

So think about this, Fred, for one moment, attacking the electrical grid of New York City, an entire city in darkness, attacking a water system, the clean water supply to Los Angeles. Those things have a greater measured impact and affect our national security much more so than our typical cyber attack.

WHITFIELD: So what if anything, can be done right now to prevent, you know, a real potential disaster?

WACKROW: Well, listen, you know, house electors (ph) are looking at critical infrastructure as a path to least resistance to cause the greatest harm to our communities here. You know, again, looking at the reporting coming out of North Korea, they're trying to attack our systems.

We need to take a new approach, a new risk management approach, the exact same way that we had a systematic approach to deal with traditional cyber security. We need to do the exact same when we're talking about critical infrastructure.

This is identification of threats. This is understanding the vulnerabilities that are surrounding our critical infrastructure, and then having a measured approach for mitigation and monitoring to, again, prevent these types of attacks from really impacting our community.

WHITFIELD: Jonathan Wackrow, always good to see you, thank you so much.

WACKROW: Thanks a lot, Fred.

WHITFIELD: All right, still ahead, there are plenty of fresh new faces vying for the presidency in 2020 including two looking to become the youngest presidents ever. How are millennials making their presence felt in this crowded race? That's next.


[12:59:17] WHITFIELD: Hello again everyone. Thank you so much for joining me this Saturday. I'm Fredricka Whitfield. All right now, across the country, multiple Democratic presidential hopefuls are out in force making their arguments on why they're best suited to take on President Trump in 2020.

Senator Kamala Harris is in the key primary state of South Carolina making stops to meet with voters there. Meanwhile, Senator Bernie Sanders is making his push for political revolution in the state of Iowa, addressing young voters at a rally.

And several candidates are descending on Texas this weekend for the south by southwest festival, including Former Representative John Delaney, Representative Tulsi Gabbard, Senator Amy Klobuchar, and Mayor Pete Buttigieg, all there as well as the Democrat who has yet to announce his 2020 ambitions, former Congressman Beto O'Rourke.