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CNN NEWSROOM

Trump Administration Wants to Use Migrants to Retaliate Against Opponents; Julian Assange's Hiding Time Ends; U.S. Wants to Have North Korea Peace Talks 3.0; Trump Pushed To Release Migrants Into Sanctuary Cities; Trump Claims Illegal Campaign Spying Took Place; WikiLeaks Founder Julian Assange Arrested; U.S.-Korea Diplomacy; Denuclearization Talks At Stalemate Since Failed Summit; Bomb Blast Kills 16 In Pakistan; Spacecraft Crashes On Moon; Michael Avenatti Indicted On 36 Counts; Sudan Upheaval; President Trump Has Something In His Eye; Minnesota Trooper Fights Bomb Cyclone Winds. Aired 3-4a ET

Aired April 12, 2019 - 03:00   ET

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


[03:00:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)

NATALIE ALLEN, CNN ANCHOR: Next on CNN, an immigration retaliation plan. Sources tell CNN the Trump administration once floated a plan to release immigrants detained at the southern border into so-called sanctuary cities to punish his political rivals. We'll delve into that this hour.

Also, a dramatic moment seven years in the making, Julian Assange arrested at the Ecuadorian embassy. He now faces extradition to the U.S. We'll have a live report from London.

And later, they shot for the moon but didn't quite make it, details about the Israeli spacecraft that got oh, so close to a landing.

We're live from CNN headquarters in Atlanta. Welcome to our viewers joining us here and around the world. I'm Natalie Allen. And this is CNN Newsroom.

Thanks again for joining us. We are following a developing story in the U.S.

A source tells CNN U.S. President Donald Trump personally pushed a plan to flood so-called American sanctuary cities with the release of detained migrants.

The White House proposed the idea to the Department of Homeland Security to retaliate against Democrats who oppose his border wall, but homeland security lawyers apparently killed the plan saying it would likely be illegal.

Let's get more details on this with senior U.S. justice correspondent Evan Perez joining us now. Evan, what are you hearing about this plan?

EVAN PEREZ, CNN JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT: Well, this is a plan that was considered inside the Homeland Security Department. It came from the White House, and at one point even President Trump raised it and was pushing for the Secretary of Homeland Security, Kirstjen Nielsen, to carry it out.

The idea was to alleviate some of the pressure on failed -- very full capacity -- very full facilities that had a lot of people in them by essentially bussing immigrants to what are known as sanctuary cities.

These are cities in the United States that do not cooperate in turning over illegal immigrants to the Homeland Security Department, to immigration authorities. And so, the idea was to punish some of these cities, which are largely Democratic leaning. They're not supporters of Donald Trump, and the idea was to politically punish those places, including members of Congress who don't support President Trump's border wall, by essentially flooding them with these immigrants releasing them in those cities.

Obviously, that's something that was not - not only politically unpalatable to the Homeland Security Department but also the lawyers there felt that it would be likely illegal for them to do that, to carry it out.

Obviously, this is something that has angered members of Congress, especially Democrats, who feel that essentially immigrants and children were going to be used as pawns as part of a political retribution against the president's opponents and the president's critics on his immigration policy.

ALLEN: Right. To that we had a spokesman for House Speaker Nancy Pelosi whose district is in a sanctuary city saying "Using human beings, including little children, as little pawns in their warped game -- referring to the White House there -- to perpetuate fear and demonize immigrants is despicable."

So, we know this isn't going to happen. But is this related somewhat to the White House pushing out the head of homeland security?

PEREZ: Well, it's definitely one of the things that was adding to their dissatisfaction by the president as well as his senior advisor, Stephen Miller, who's behind a lot of these very hard line policies. The president looks at these policies as key to his re-election.

Obviously, the idea of a crackdown on immigration is something that is popular with a very -- with a small segment of the American electorate and so he believes that this is the way for him to be reelected and so that's what's grinding a lot of these policies and these ideas.

Kirstjen Nielsen, she was in a very tough position because even though she went along with some of the policies, including the separation of families, there were things that be the Homeland Security Department felt were just too far for them to go along with.

[03:04:58] And so that's -- that led to a lot of the president's dissatisfaction with her and why there's been a purge of some of the officials at the Homeland Security Department.

Bear in mind that some of the lawyers, including the general counsel of the Homeland Security Department, who refused to go along with this plan of bussing immigrants to the sanctuary cities is among the people who Stephen Miller and the White House officials are still trying to get fired from the Homeland Security Department.

ALLEN: All right. So, we know that the White House is rebuilding homeland security so it will be interesting to see what policies they look to try and push through with a new team.

Evan Perez talking with us about this developing story, thanks very much, Evan.

PEREZ: Thank you.

ALLEN: Another story following out of Washington, the U.S. attorney general set off a firestorm when he said Donald Trump's 2016 campaign was spied on.

William Barr hasn't offered any evidence, but that isn't stopping the president from echoing those claims as we learn from CNN's Abby Phillip.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I think what he said was absolutely true.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ABBY PHILLIP, WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: President Trump latching on to comments by his attorney general that the FBI and other intelligence agencies under President Obama may have spied on his campaign.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP: There was absolutely spying into my campaign.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

PHILLIP: Trump's comments coming after William Barr told lawmakers he will investigate the origins into the probe into Russian meddling.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

WILLIAM BARR, UNITED STATES ATTORNEY GENERAL: I think there is spying did occur. Yes, I think spying did occur.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

PHILLIP: Something Trump says is way past due.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP: I'll go a step further, in my opinion it was illegal spying, unprecedented spying, and something that should never be allowed to happen in our country again. (END VIDEO CLIP)

PHILLIP: Breathing new life into Trump's assertion that the probe was a witch hunt.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP: Hard to believe it could have happened, but it did.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

PHILLIP: And while Barr declined to provide any concrete evidence.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BARR: I believe there is a basis for my concern but I'm not going to discuss the basis.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

PHILLIP: He added to the confusion by later backing off the word spying.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEN. BRIAN SCHATZ (D-HI): I want to give you a chance to rephrase something you said because I think when the attorney general of the United States uses the word spying, it's rather provocative and in my view unnecessarily inflammatory.

BARR: I'm not sure of all the connotations of that word that you're referring to but, you know, unauthorized surveillance. I want to make sure there was no unauthorized surveillance.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

PHILLIP: On Capitol Hill Democrats are furious.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

NANCY PELOSI, UNITED STATES SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE: Let me just say how very, very dismaying and disappointing that the chief law enforcement officer of our country is going off the rails.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

PHILLIP: And accusing Barr of doing Trump's bidding.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

REP. ADAM SCHIFF (D-CA): The president wanted his own Roy Cohn and apparently, he's got one but it is deeply concerning.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

PHILLIP: Attorney General Barr also testified that he would not redact the Mueller report for information that was potentially damaging to President Trump.

I asked President Trump about that comment from Barr and the president said he was not concerned about that at all. He went on to call the investigation as a whole treasonous.

Abby Philip, CNN, the White House.

ALLEN: Let's talk about these developments with Jessica Levinson. She's a professor of law at Loyola Law School. Jessica, thanks for being with us.

JESSICA LEVINSON, PROFESSOR, LOYOLA LAW SCHOOL: Thanks for having me.

ALLEN: Sure. Let's begin with the story we're hearing on sanctuary cities and a plan pushed repeatedly by the White House, we're told, to release immigrant detainees on the streets of sanctuary cities, which would have been a political play against White House adversaries. How do you frame that idea by the White House?

LEVINSON: Well, I think it's the White House saying basically if you want to be a sanctuary city or state, then here you go. And you are going to get an influx of people, and they're not going to be the people that you want, and they're going to live with you. And see -- essentially see how you like it.

So, I think it's a very aggressive political move. I think that it is really trying to say essentially to these jurisdictions, put your money where your mouth is. If you're fine with this, then live with it and see if that's OK for you.

LEVINSON: Right. But I pushed back on that plan and said it wasn't able to put these people on buses and do that. The optics wouldn't be very favorable depending on whether you like or don't like Mr. trump's policies, his aggressive policies regarding that, correct?

LEVINSON: I think that's exactly right. I mean, I would say maybe understatement of the decade is the optics wouldn't be great. I mean, I think that ICE was exactly right, that this was a problematic move.

I think that we've seen from the Trump -- beginning with the Trump campaign and then with the Trump administration some very, very hard line posturing when it comes to every aspect of immigration reform. And clearly, there is enormous animosity towards sanctuary states and sanctuary cities.

[03:10:05] So one of the things that the Trump administration did was they sued sanctuary jurisdictions. Now another thing -- another path, if you can't use a courthouse, then you literally can take it to the streets. And I think that's what they tried to do here.

ALLEN: And we know that the White House is revamping Homeland Security Department after seeing the secretary out the door in the past few days, so what is keeping Mr. Trump from trying more aggressive policies here? Because we all know that this is topic a, this situation that he cannot stand going on that he says in this country. LEVINSON: Well, I think that that's going to be what everybody is

looking at, to see with the change in personnel what is going to happen in terms of President Trump's posture towards immigration.

It appears that he might be elevating Stephen Miller who's been one of his advisors who's been, I think the most hardline when it comes to immigration, who's been pushing, for instance, the policy of separating parents at the border.

And so, I think that for the Trump administration it often is a battle between President Trump's instincts, which is to essentially go as hard as possible when it comes to any type of immigration, either policy or law, and that some of his advisors, particularly legal advisors who are trying to pull back.

And I think it will be really interesting to see going into 2020 where I think President Trump's eyes will be on not what's going to look good for the swing voters but what does his base want. And I think for his base this is very popular to be very aggressive on immigration.

ALLEN: All right. Let's pivot to another story making headlines. White House attorney general suggesting, Mr. Barr during testimony about the Mueller report and its release saying he believes President Trump's campaign was spied on by U.S. intelligence agencies.

He didn't offer any reasons he believes that, but then on Thursday the president commented saying it is absolutely true. How serious is his allegation?

LEVINSON: Well, allegation is serious, and I think frankly what's more serious is the President of the United States and the attorney general making these allegations without any proof.

So, it's very serious to claim this, but I think it's deadly serious to be the leader -- the nation's leader and to come forward with these claims without any backing.

So, if there was some sort of spying, then the question is, of course, you know, from who and why. We already know from leaks from the FBI that there was a counter intelligence investigation that was opened up against President Trump.

We already know that there were questions by the intelligence agencies about whether or not he, for instance, could have been compromised. So, the allegations are serious but making them without any basis I think is even more serious.

ALLEN: Something we'll continue to follow. And finally, I want to ask you about the president. He made that comment, by the way, while he was meeting with the president of South Korea in the Oval Office, and during that meeting he also mentioned that he would be open, speaking of North Korea, to perhaps a third summit with North Korea.

What would the White House need to have in place looking at what happened in Vietnam, not successful with North Korea, but this time to assure that something constructive perhaps could come with a third summit?

LEVINSON: I think what the White House would need to do is what they have not done in international summits before, which is an enormous amount of groundwork with essentially lower level administration officials.

So, what typically happens when it comes to these summits is basically the big picture is already hammered out. So, it's for the leaders to come in and finalize much of the details. I think that for President Trump it would be a huge win to be able to have some agreement with North Korea. I think that he really would love to run on that in 2020.

He could say, I made the world a safer place, but it's going to take the type of background work, the type of leg work and the type of consistency and planning that we have not seen from this administration before.

ALLEN: We appreciate your insights. As always, thank you for joining us, Jessica Levinson. Thanks, Jessica.

LEVINSON: Thank you.

ALLEN: President Trump once proclaimed that he loved WikiLeaks. Now its founder is behind bars and charged by the U.S. government.

We'll go live to London for the latest on the arrest of Julian Assange. That's next.

Also, the U.S. and South Korea, as we just mentioned, talking about new talks together. But Mr. Trump says it all depends on the North's unpredictable leader. More about it from Seoul, South Korea, in a live report coming next.

[03:15:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)

ALLEN: It was seven years Julian Assange spent his days and nights for that long in a plush section of London across the street from Tiffany's and the world-famous Harrods department store. No more. And certainly, he didn't go shopping in that time.

The founder of WikiLeaks arrested Thursday, hauled out of his self- imposed exile at the Ecuadorian embassy. In court the judge called Assange a, quote, "narcissist who cannot get beyond his own selfish interests."

He was found guilty of breaking his bail conditions and faces up to a year in jail, but Assange also faces extradition to the U.S. on one count of conspiring to steal military secrets and possibly other charges down the road.

Our Isa Soares is in London for us. hello to you, Isa, and good morning. Tell us more about how this all went down. After seven years police moved in and took out Julian Assange.

[03:19:51] ISA SOARES, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Very good morning to you, Natalie. That's right. After more than 2,487 days inside the Ecuadorian embassy behind me, Julian Assange being dragged out of the embassy yesterday by police officers looking tired, looking older, significantly much older and then appearing in court later that day on Thursday, seeming confident but also yet again very down at the same time.

What happened yesterday, the turn of events that took place happened and all unfolded here at around 9.15. Police officers came into the consulate. They met with the ambassador here and that's when they revoked his asylum.

They then -- we know that the ambassador then met with Julian Assange and he tried to introduce them to the police officers but he barged past them and went to his private room. Then they were -- he was told exactly what the charges were against him, the two that you mentioned just before you came to me.

One is that charge of skipping bail, that he was accused of -- found guilty of and he could get 12 months in prison and the other was U.S. extradition that you also mentioned.

Now he resisted arrest and he was -- then had to put -- they had to contain him and had to drag him from the embassy down the steps of those -- of the embassy and into the van -- police van. It was then that he was told in more detail that he was arrested awaiting to be heard.

He appeared then in court, the magistrate's court around 2.15 p.m. yesterday, and he was found guilty of that charge, of the skipping bail charge.

And now in three weeks' time, Natalie, we will find out more in terms of his fate on what relates to the U.S. extradition charge.

Worth bearing in mind though that I've been speaking to extradition lawyers who specialize U.S./U.K. extradition and they said that the court will have to look a number of factors in this.

One of them they'll consider, I'm sure, will be the health but look at also of whether this was politically motivated. Now the lawyers for Julian Assange spoke to CNN yesterday, Natalie, and told CNN they will fight this in every form they're able to. Take a listen.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

KRISTINN HRAFNSSON, EDITOR IN CHIEF, WIKILEAKS: Legally, the extradition will be fought in the courts here. That's with every means possible. It will be exposed that this is a politically motivated prosecution and, therefore, a persecution.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SOARES: The editor there saying not only is it politically motivated but it also it is persecution. He will find out his fate on May the 2nd, Natalie.

ALLEN: Isa Soares for us there in London. Let's talk more about it from a different perspective now because Julian Assange is an Australian citizen.

Joining us Ntina Tzouvala. She is postdoctoral fellow with the Laureate Program in International Law at Melbourne Law School. She joins us from Melbourne, Australia. We really appreciate your time. Thank you so much, professor.

I want to ask you first. We just heard from one of Julian Assange's supporters there saying this is politically motivated. It is prosecution and persecution of Julian Assange. Do you agree with that?

NTINA TZOUVALA, POSTDOCTORAL FELLOW, MELBOURNE LAW SCHOOL: So, I mean, of course that's open to debate, but I think what's really important is that apart from a political statement, I think there was also legal statement because the 2003 U.K./U.S. Extradition Treaty actually prohibit extradition on political grounds. So, I think that gives us a good idea what will be the argument of Julian Assange and his lawyers in the court.

So, on the one hand, of course, there are very grave concerns about freedom of press. There are very grave concerns about whistleblowers and the right of whistleblowers and the right of the public to know what our governments are up to, right?

On the other hand, what the U.S. government has done really cleverly is that they have not charged Assange -- Mr. Assange, for example, with espionage which means it will be quite difficult to actually prove that this is a politically motivated prosecution or even persecution. So --

(CROSSTALK)

ALLEN: Right. They seem to side step that with this charge, the charges referring to illegally obtaining a password to hack into a computer.

Do you think that limiting the charge there is a way to side step the very critical questions that you just raised that are really central to this about free speech and what WikiLeaks is really trying to do?

[03:25:08] Is it something that is vicious or something that is in support of free speech and people's rights to know?

TZOUVALA: Absolutely. So of course, I cannot know the rationale of the persecution in the U.S. But I'm saying they really tried to avoid making the crime look like it's related at the prosecution -- a prosecution of the freedom of the press and freedom of speech which, of course, doesn't necessarily change things much.

Because once we know Mr. Assange's charge is for helping Ms. Chelsea Manning have her up her trade as she was downloading the documents that went on WikiLeaks. So of course, there is a difference, but at the same time one would say that of course this is bad of the same process.

I imagine that's what his lawyers will say or something like that. At the same time, what is really important is that there are restrictions to what the U.S. can't try Mr. Assange once he's prosecuted. So, their legal, international legal restrictions and that prohibit that a person who has been extradited for one of them subsequently gets charged and tried for another charge as well.

So that would be also an important manner. If and that's a big if, Mr. Assange gets extradited particularly to the U.S. and also at this stage to charge, for example, the publication of the documents, that would be a very controversial issue. There have been many issues in U.S. courts. Even the U.S. Supreme Courts has said already from 1886 that generally that's something that cannot be done.

So that should restrict the room of maneuver that the U.S. authorities have should Mr. Assange be prosecuted.

ALLEN: Well, can't even imagine the twists and turns that this case, his story, his saga will be taking in the court system as this plays out. We really appreciate your insights. We hope to talk with you again as it goes on. Ntina Tzouvala, thank you so much.

TZOUVALA: Thanks for having me. Bye.

ALLEN: Yes. Bye.

Well, back to the drawing board, the U.S. and South Korean leaders trying to figure out how yet again to open up nuclear peace talks with North Korea. We'll go live to South Korea for that.

Also, Sudan's long-time dictator forced from power by the people. But protesters remain on the streets. We'll tell you why, coming up.

[03:30:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)

CNN ANCHOR: NATALIE ALLEN, CNN ANCHOR: And welcome to our viewers here in the U.S. and all around the world, you're watching "CNN Newsroom" live from Atlanta. I'm Natalie Allen with our top stories this hour. CNN learning that the White House and U.S. President Trump pushed the Department of Homeland Security on a new idea to release detained immigrants and flood sanctuary cities across the country with them. It was intended, in part, to retaliate against Democrats who opposed Mr. Trump's border wall. Homeland Security lawyers said the plan would likely be illegal and they nixed it.

Mr. Trump is echoing assertions made by his Attorney General that the president's 2016 campaign was spied on. Mr. Trump went even further and said it was illegal spying, but neither of them gave had offered any evidence.

WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange taken in to custody in London, Thursday. He was carried out of the Ecuadorian embassy where he has spent the past seven years in self impose exile. Assange now facing possible extradition to the U.S. on one count of conspiring to steal military secrets.

The U.S. president has suggested he is open to a third summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un, but the ball is in Mr. Kim's court. That comes as South Korea's leader is pushing for new talks between the two Koreas. President Moon Jae-in seen their meeting with Mr. Trump at the White House, Thursday, to discuss that possibility. One important issue, U.S. sanctions. This week, North Korea warned it would quote, deal a telling blow to hostile forces who thinks sanctions can cripple the country. Mr. Trump said he is happy to keep them in place because they're at a fair level.

Let's talk about these developments with Paula Hancocks. She is in Seoul, South Korea for us. And Paula, hello to you. OK. So, let's begin with the sanctions, President Trump saying they are going to stay in place, not going to increase him, but how might this be perceived by North Korea?

PAULA HANCOCKS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Natalie, this isn't what North Korea wants to hear. They want to hear that sanctions are going to be lifted. This is what they are really pushing for. So, even though the U.S. president might say that he believes sanctions are at a fair level and he is not intending to increase the sanctions, North Korea is really only interested in hearing that sanctions will be decrease.

Now, some interesting things that came out from that meetings between the two leaders, both President Moon and President Trump said that they don't believe that North Korea is going to go back to the nuclear path. Despite the fact that the Hanoi summit ended without any kind of agreement.

But they believe he is going to continue along the path that he has set for himself that he wants to improve the economy. You did mentioned that President Moon was going to push for another North- South Korean summit. Now according to the people around him, as soon as he gets back to Seoul, he will be trying to push for some talks, some kind of meeting with Kim Jong-un.

And the reason for this is because President Moon, who's been asked to be the mediator by the U.S. president, feels that there needs to be some kind of momentum, these talks have really stalled at this point. And bear in mind that President Moon stakes a huge amount of his credibility on this working, on the U.S.-North Korean relationship improving on them continuing to talk, amongst steps being taken towards denuclearization.

[03:35:03] But one thing that we did notice as well which was really the glaring difference between Seoul and Washington and the way that they want to do this, President Trump said once again, he wants the big deal. He wants complete denuclearization. Then he'll look at trying to cut back on sanctions. South Korea is happy to have a step- by-step process, the most important thing for them is that the momentum keeps going. Natalie?

ALLEN: Right. President Trump wants that moment where he goes and meets with Kim Jong-un and comes back victorious, but the last summit was anything, but in Vietnam. So much would be on the line with a third summit, would it not?

HANCOCKS: Well, that is right. I mean, critics questioned why, if nothing was achieved in the first two, or very little was achieved in the first two, why go for a third summit. But the two leaders of the U.S. and South Korea said that they agreed that it should be a top down process. That it shouldn't be the working level talks build up to the summit, but the two leaders sit down and I try to hammer out details.

And this is really what we've perceived as well from Kim Jong-un and from North Korea that they are happy to talk to President Trump, but the working level talks really don't seem to get anywhere. But from the South Korean president's point of view, the concern now is that the fact that the Hanoi summit didn't achieve anything. There was no agreement or whatsoever is hampering the North-South Korean relationship as well.

Since Hanoi there has been very little going on between the two Koreas. And they had been improving relations when it comes to liaison officers, when it comes to infrastructures, railways, they had really been trying to push forward on into Korean infrastructure. But that has effectively come to a standstill now.

So, President Moon has a lot riding on this. He needs to try and talk to the North Korean leader, he believes, and then to try to push forward for Kim Jong-un to meet once again with President Trump. Natalie.

ALLEN: All right. He goes back to South Korea to try to begin that process and we'll wait and hear what happens. As always, Paula Hancocks for us. Paula, thank you so much.

Well, we are getting our first pictures from an attack in Pakistan. Police tells CNN, a bomb blast at a fruit market in Qatar has killed 16 people, wounded more than two dozen others. So far no claim of responsibility. One government official said we will not bow before terrorists.

Next, Israel came so close to landing a spacecraft on the moon, but not close enough. We'll get reaction from Jerusalem about that. Also ahead, prosecutors pile on dozens of charges against this man, celebrity lawyer Michael Avenatti including embezzlement, tax evasion, bank fraud. The latest on his story coming next here.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

CHURCH: Israel's attempt to land a spacecraft on the moon was going well. You can see them in the control room watching it happen, but then something went very wrong just moments before touchdown. It just didn't happen. CNN's Michael Holmes is going to pick it up for us from there. He is live for us from Jerusalem. Michael, crash landing there. This has to be a huge disappointment for the Israeli team.

MICHAEL HOLMES, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, Natalie. High hopes, high drama and in the end some high disappointment, indeed, for the people behind what was really an ambitious privately funded $100 million project. From the beginning really this was a case of a little guy, let's say, shooting for the moon or more precisely a soft landing on the moon. They nearly made it with their spacecraft, Beresheet. As the crowd that included the Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, watched on.

The team did lose contact with the spacecraft in the last moments before the planned touch down. Apparently engine problems. The dissent became uncontrollable. In a moment of perhaps classic understatement of one of the project managers said, quote, I'm sorry to say that our spacecraft did not make it in one piece to the moon. If they had, Israel would have been just the fourth country to soft land on the moon after the Soviet Union, the U.S. and China, Natalie.

ALLEN: Well, how important is the space program there for Israel and you know, will they try again?

HOLMES: You know, his was a private endeavor, still a major achievement for really for an upstart group that began eight years ago as part of a competition that google had set up. They didn't make the deadline for that competition, but decided to keep going private funding and a lot of -- as I would say here chutzpah (ph) and came so close to success.

They did become the seventh country to get to the moon if not land successfully on it. And interestingly Google though tweeted out recently that the group is going to get a million dollars for their efforts, moon shot award, they call it. There is a lot of privy in Israel and this project, plenty of people were waiting live. There were school kids at the president's home. Those behind the project, not letting this less than soft landing put them off. For its path, Space IL is quote, stop -- don't stop believing, we will continue to work hard.

But interestingly, then you have the Prime Minister Netanyahu saying will try again next time it will be better and a sign perhaps that maybe some government involve in going forward. He said this quote, I am seriously considering investing now in the space program. We will see how that pans out, Natalie.

ALLEN: Right. If they got so close, why not try again. All right. Michael Holmes for us, appreciate it much, Michael. Thanks.

Well, Sudan is facing an uncertain future after its long-term dictator Omar al-Bashir was ousted in a coup and a military counsel took over. Thousands of protesters had been demanding he step down.

But activists say they will not rest until the military now hands power over to a civilian government. They plan, a lot of young people are at these protests, to keep the demonstrations going until that happens. A doctor's group says, at least 13 protestors have been killed by security and militia forces, that happened Thursday. It isn't clear if they were killed before or after it was announced al- Bashir was removed from power.

Well, for 30 years the Sudanese people lived under the rule of a president accused of war crimes and crimes against humanity. CNN Farai Sevenzo, has more for us from Nairobi.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE) FARAI SEVENZO, CNN CORRESPONDENT: April 11th, 2019, was the day that

Sudanese will remember for a long time. It is the day that Omar al- Bashir, their ruler, their dictator, their president for three decades finally was forced to give up power.

[03:45:03] All morning, the people in Sudan had been celebrating this news until the military council made an official announcement on the state television and media outlets. They announced that there will be a two-year period of a military transitional government.

They also announced three months of an extended state emergency and a month of a curfew from 10:00 at night to 4:00 in the morning. This, of course, completely changed the mood in Khartoum. It was the people were saying, no we got rid of one thief, now they have given us another, you will go the same way. All through the night and all through this evening our Khartoum people are all very disappointed with the outcome. Because they have given up one soldier president and puts in place more military people. Even the Sudanese Professional Association, the whole (inaudible) body of doctors and lawyers, nurses and teachers and even journalist are calling on people of Sudan to stay at the military headquarters until their demands are met.

And what is this demand? They desperately want a change from military to a civilian rule. Now, whether they will get that or not is another question. But certainly Omar al-Bashir's departure has left more questions than it's answered. Farai Sevenzo, CNN, Nairobi.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

ALLEN: Back here in the United States, celebrity lawyer, Michael Avenatti is finding himself on the other side of the law. He faces 36 charges. He is accused of stealing tens of millions of dollars from his clients. CNN's Sara Sidner breaks down the case.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

SARA SIDNER, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Federal prosecutors here in California announced today a 61 page indictment with 36 counts against Attorney Michael Avenatti. Now you'll recognize that name, of course, because he became a household name, because he represented the porn star who went up against the president, sued the president of the United States.

What we see in this indictment is frankly stunning. There are 36 counts that are being brought against Michael Avenatti including wire fraud, bank fraud, embezzlement, bankruptcy fraud and according to prosecutor's he defrauded his own clients out of millions of dollars, including a paraplegic client. The indictment says, that in fact he received the $4 million settlement for that client, back in 2015. That he took that money and drained it using it for his own personal use. And then failed to tell the client that he had received the moneys.

NICK HANNA, U.S. ATTORNEY: As it turns out, within months after receiving the settlement proceeds in early 2015, Mr. Avenatti had drained the entire $4 million payment from his trust account using significant portions of this funds to finance his coffee business, his auto racing enterprise and his own personal lifestyle.

SIDNER: Michael Avenatti vigorously defending himself saying all of these charges against him are bogus and that he is innocent of all of them and he hones in on one particular charge, the charge that he stole millions from his paraplegic client. He says, any claimed that any money's due client were mishandle is bogus and non-sense and then tweets a photo of a signature by the client saying that Avenatti did a great job for him.

But as it turns out, that man's new attorney said that his client was tricked as late as March of this year that Avenatti showed up at his home, telling him that he had finally gotten this $4 million settlement that he was going to get paid. The client, unbeknownst to him signed the documents saying he was so happy with the way that he was represented. He didn't know that Avenatti had already received those funds in 2015 according to prosecutors. This will all be fight up in court, but we're sure to hear more from Michael Avenatti in the coming days. Sara Sidner, CNN, Los Angeles.

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ALLEN: Huge crowds turned out in Los Angeles, Thursday, to honor the slain musician Nipsey Hussle. Mourners jammed the streets to say farewell to a man being remembered not just for his music, but his activism. Snoop Dogg and Stevie Wonder paid their respect, as to former U.S. President Barack Obama, who sent a condolence letter. A long-time friend of the rapper read part of that letter.

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KAREN CIVIL, FRIEND OF NIPSEY HUSSLE: I've never met Nipsey, but I've heard his music through my daughters. And after his passing, I had a chance to learn more about his transformation and his community work. While most folks look at the Crenshaw neighborhood where he grew up and only gangs, bullets and despair, Nipsey saw potential. He saw hope. He saw a community that even through its flaws taught him to always keep going.

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ALLEN: In keeping with his (inaudible) and heritage, Nipsey Hussle's hearse was draped with his country's flag. The Grammy nominated artist was murdered, almost two weeks ago, near a clothing store he owned, he was 33.

[03:50:13] In the blink of an eye a photo of President Trump puts the media in focus. We'll have that story next.

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ALLEN: A unique photo of the U.S. President has gone viral. And as CNN's Jeanne Moos reports, don't blink or you might miss it.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE) JEANNE MOOS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: You know how President Trump is

always saying --

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Fake news media right back there.

MOOS: Well now they've gotten into his head.

TRUMP: It's fake.

MOOS: Literally, the press reflected in his eye tormenting him on the south lawn of the White House.

Are you in there somewhere?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Probably.

MOOS: Associated Press photographer, Pablo Martinez Monsivais was in the middle of a press pack as the president left the White House. He thought he had taken a regular head shot, but later he reviewed his photos more closely.

PABLO MARTINEZ MONSIVAIS, ASSOCIATED PRESS PHOTOGRAPHER: And I look and I was completely surprised. And I was like, wow.

[03:55:00] MOOS: As beautiful as it is terrifying marveled BuzzFeed news. Some compared it to the first ever photo of the black hole. Some even put the reflected image of the press in the black hole. Of course, reactions to the president's eye are in the eye of the beholder. Such a fierce, determined look. That is the eye of a leader.

Ignore the overgrown eyebrows, the bloodshot spec. That is not a hair in his eye that is the rope line for the press to stay behind. The president's eye reminded some of blade runner, a futuristic Los Angeles mirrored in the eye.

I've been sort of imagining Trump saying, there's like something in my eye. Ah, it's the enemy of the people.

TRUMP: The fake news, enemy of the people.

MOOS: No amount of Visine is going to relieve the president of this constant irritation. Judging from this photograph, the press is the enemy of the pupil. Jeanne Moos, CNN, New York.

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ALLEN: How about that one? That is pretty amazing photo.

All right, it might be springtime in the U.S., but don't tell it to this very hard working man. This is Minnesota where there are snow and blizzard conditions. Look right there, that is a trooper getting blown down by wind. He was directing traffic around a truck on the highway when he got knocked down. Here he goes again. We're so mean for showing this twice, but here's the good news. The Minnesota state patrol said he wasn't injured. So he is our hero of the day. That is his springtime job and we hope for warmer days ahead.

Thanks for watching. "Early Start" is next for viewers here in the U.S. For everyone else, stay with us. More news with Max Foster out of London. Thanks for watching CNN.

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