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Hours Away From Public Release Of Redacted Version; State News: N. Korea Test-Fires Tactical Guided Weapon; Chaplain Hailed As Hero For Saving Relics; Sudan Protests Continue With Demand For Civilian Rule; Peru's Former President Dies Of Self-Inflicted Gunshot; 340 Demonstrators Arrested in London since Monday; Counting underway in Biggest Single Day Election; Police: Woman Infatuated with Columbine Found Dead; Dozens of Doctors Charged with Illegally Prescribing Opioids for Cash, Sex. Aired 1-2a ET
Aired April 18, 2019 - 01:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[01:00:00] ROSEMARY CHURCH, CNN INTERNATIONAL ANCHOR: Hello and thanks for joining us, I'm Rosemary Church, you are watching CNN NEWSROOM. The day is finally here. We're only a few hours away from the release of the Mueller report and the Trump administration's rollout is already being slammed.
Plus, North Korea test-fired a new weapon. It's Pyongyang's first tactical weapons test since it failed summit with the United States. And more interviews but still few answers about what sparked the fire that gutted the Notre-Dame Cathedral in Paris.
Well, the results of a nearly two-year investigation of Russian election meddling will be released in just a few hours from now. The New York Times reports the White House has already had several conversations with the Justice Department about the Mueller reports conclusions. U.S. Attorney General William Barr will hold a news conference at 9:30 a.m. Eastern Time.
Congress will get the redacted version more than an hour and a half later sparking complaints that Barr is controlling the narrative to protect the president. Meanwhile, Donald Trump continued his attacks on the probe. Jim Acosta has our report.
JIM ACOSTA, CNN CHIEF WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: As the president tried to stay on script at the White House, current and former Trump aides were nervously anticipating the findings from Attorney General William Barr's redacted version of the Mueller report. One former administration officials scoffed at the notion that the president could be upset with what comes out in the report as some Trump aides were told they had to cooperate, and that in some cases their e-mail addresses were handed over to the special counsel's team. Democrats are wondering why there is so much anxiety and are ready to review the findings. REP. RO KHANNA (D-CA): I want to understand what the Mueller report
found on the issue of obstruction of justice. We know that the Mueller report doesn't exonerate the president, the Mueller report refused to make a conclusion. We should see what evidence the Mueller team collected.
ACOSTA: A former Justice Department official who's familiar with the investigation says there could be embarrassing details about the President in the report. But this former official cautioned the President is impossible to embarrass.
Despite the fact that he's already welcomed Mueller's findings of no collusion with the Russians during the campaign, the President is still thrashing the probe tweeting the witch hunt has been a total fraud on your president and the American people. It was brought to you by dirty cops, Crooked Hillary and the DNC. The President sounded off in an interview with a Washington D.C. talk radio station.
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: This had never happened to a president or to this country again what took place. And you'll see a lot of very strong things come out tomorrow. Attorney General Barr is going to be giving a press conference. Maybe I'll do one after that. We'll see but he's been a fantastic Attorney General. He's grabbed it by the horn.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Is there any doubt in your mind that President Obama at least had knowledge of everything that was going on?
TRUMP: We're talking about pervasive horrible things that were happening. And it would certainly be hard to believe that he didn't know what was going on but we're going to leave that for another day.
ACOSTA: As he awaits the findings, the President is weighing in on the Democratic field for 2020 tweeting, I believe it will be crazy Bernie Sanders versus sleepy Joe Biden as the two finalists to run against maybe the best economy in the history of our country and many other great things. I look forward to facing whoever it may be. May God rest their soul.
Sanders fired back. Looks like President Trump is scared of our campaign. He should be. In an interview on Sirius XM, the President relished the idea of running against a self-described socialist.
TRUMP: Our country is doing so well and if we ever went socialistic, and we became a socialist country, you could write off this country. This country would go down so fast.
ACOSTA: The Trump administration is also finding new ways to crack down on the border with the proposal to detain migrants seeking asylum instead of releasing them as their cases are heard. Top Republicans say they're willing to accept the tough policy.
SEN. RON JOHNSON (R-WI): So we do need to address the problem in here now. I hear -- I hear people, let's send billions down and repair the economies of Central America. That's not going to happen or repair those economies anytime soon. We have to address this problem. ACOSTA: President Trump told a local Washington D.C. radio station
that Attorney General William Barr will be holding a news conference to go over what's being released from the Mueller report. The President also said he might hold his own news conference. Jim Acosta, CNN the White House.
CHURCH: And joining us now from San Diego, California is Harry Litman, he is a former U.S. attorney and a former Deputy Assistant Attorney General. Good to see you.
HARRY LITMAN, FORMER DEPUTY ASSISTANT ATTORNEY GENERAL: Thank you, Rosemary. Thanks for having me.
CHURCH: So Attorney General Bill Barr will release the Mueller report 90 minutes after holding his 9:30 a.m. news conference. And here's what House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerrold Nadler had to say about that.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
[01:05:09] REP. JERROLD NADLER (D-NY): It now appears the Attorney General intends to once again put his own spin on the investigative work completed by the special counsel and his team. The Attorney General bar is not allowing the facts of the Mueller report to speak for themselves, but is trying to bake in the narrative about the report to the benefit of the White House. This is wrong, it is not the proper role of the Attorney General.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CHURCH: So is this an attempt by the Attorney General, spin the model report? What's your assessment?
LITMAN: Well, of course, we're only talking about 90 minutes, but it is quite anomalous. Anytime you have a significant news conference, there's some kind of paper or report you pass that out first so the reporters can see it and answer questions about it. So it has to be purposeful that he's doing it in this way and it does stand to reason he's trying to sort of pre-describe what will be in the report.
There's another thing he may be doing as well though because he'll be with the Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein and the two of them were the ones who decided that Trump had not committed obstruction. So presumably he'll be deluge with questions about that and this may be the day when we not only hear about Mueller's reasoning but hear about Barr as well. And it's possible he wants to get that out front and just bite the bullet on the whole thing now.
CHURCH: Right because interestingly we are learning that the obstruction of justice section of the Mueller report will have minimal reductions. As a lawyer, what will you be looking for when you read through that section?
LITMAN: First thing I look for is his summaries which give everything. But then I will look for his reasoning. I've expected so far to read something like there may be a strong case but I'll leave it to Congress. But the reporting tonight suggests that it's simply Mueller saying I couldn't come to a conclusion. That's a very odd thing for a prosecutor especially one as professional as Mueller to say.
If you can't come to a conclusion, you declined to indict so some -- I'll be looking very carefully to see precisely why he determined that he just couldn't make a determination.
CHURCH: Yes. And the New York Times reports that the Justice Department has been consulting with the White House for days now about the Mueller report. What does that tell you about how this Attorney General views his role at the department and where his loyalties lie?
LITMAN: Yes. I mean, people are putting a sinister turn on that. It's not so unusual things that would have big political implications you could tell the White House about if he's actually kind of conspiring with the Trump team to get their story out that that would be a different matter. But there have been other ways in which the AG has held the White House at arm's length.
I think of the many things we now have to worry about that is relatively small. There we're going to find out about it soon anyway as we all will.
CHURCH: Now, you touched on this. I do want to just go this -- through this for the benefit of our viewers because usually when reports like this are released, they're embargoed which allows journalists to wade through all the documentation and then news outlets are able to release their stories at the same time that the reports officially released. Why do you think Bill Barr is rejecting this traditional way of releasing reports? Do you get a sense they're trying to conceal something of significance or at least distract from it?
LITMAN: Yes. I mean, imagine the position that the reporters are in. There's a news conference and they don't actually know what the -- what the conclusions are. I understand what Nadler is saying. It could be -- of course, it will be a very short juncture until the report comes out. But the idea of -- so there's a couple things perhaps going on. One is a bit of a spin in advance to put the best face on things but Barr has to be careful and I think you will be careful.
If he does anything that's really discord in with what comes out it really damages his reputation. But the second thing could be for Barr and Rosenstein to get their story out simultaneous with the Mueller story, their story about why they decided that Trump was not guilty of obstruction to have that out now rather than in a couple weeks when Barr testifies to Congress.
CHURCH: So what are all the questions you would want to ask if you were at that news conference in just a few hours from now and what should the journalist be asking him? LITMAN: I'd ask five different ways, Mr. Attorney General, why precisely did you decide that goes through your reasoning step by step after all that had happened in these 22 months to conclude that in fact there was no showing of obstruction? How did you determine it?
And so I would ask that, again and again. I would also probe, what's going on with Mueller at this point now. He's out of the building. He's not in the picture. Is there some kind of you know, subterraneous tension between the two?
Obviously, that's something Barr will not ask about candidly. And then the third thing I'd do is I would turn to Rod Rosenstein, the deputy who will be standing there and say, I would like to ask you directly Mr. Rosenstein, did you -- do you agree with chapter and verse, everything the A.G. said, just the bottom line? Where do you defer? How do you come at this? Because obviously, it helped Barr's case immeasurably that Rod Rosenstein is standing shoulder to shoulder with him.
[01:10:53] CHURCH: Maybe some of the journalist are taking your notes right now. Harry Litman, thank you so much for joining us. I appreciate it.
LITMAN: Thanks for having me. Bye, bye, Rosemary.
CHURCH: Well, North Korea says it has test-fired a new type of tactical, guided weapon. That's according to state media which reports that Kim Jong-un climbed an observation post to oversee the tests and give directions. It's the first time Pyongyang has tested a weapon since the second U.S.-North Korea Summit ended abruptly in February after Kim insisted all U.S. sanctions on his country be lifted.
Now Will Ripley is live in Hong Kong he joins us now. Good to see you again, Will. So what more are you learning about this apparent weapons test?
WILL RIPLEY, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, we don't know much about it, Rosemary, aside from what North Korean media is reporting. They haven't released any photos. We don't know if it is artillery, or some sort of multiple rocket launcher which is what South Korea thinks North Korea tested last time they had a test of this nature, a tactical weapons test.
Previously, it was November of 2018 at another time when U.S. and North Korea diplomacy was at a standstill, just like it is right now. And we've seen you know, these kind of hints, these signals from North Korea just over the last few days that they are unafraid to at least look like they're moving toward a more militarist posture, if diplomacy with the United States does not work out, if they don't get the sanctions relieved that they want.
Just yesterday, Kim Jong-un was reportedly you know, overseeing an airforce pilot combat readiness drill. And then of course there are also these satellite images that show movement potentially of railway cars carrying radioactive material at the Yongbyon Nuclear test site. All of that adds up to a not so subtle message from Kim Jong-un to
President Trump and President Moon of South Korea that if things don't get back on track diplomatically, he may feel he has no choice but to resort to the provocative measures that arguably got him to the negotiating table in the first place.
CHURCH: So will that message have any impact on the United States, or on President Trump?
RIPLEY: U.S. officials seem to brushing the foreign off, much like they did after the last tactical weapons test, because it is not a missile launch or a satellite launch or a nuclear test, at least not yet. The United States doesn't view this as a provocation that would derail diplomacy.
And that is deliberate on the part of the North Koreans because even though they want to shake the cage a little bit, they want to get the attention of the U.S., they want sanctions lifted. And they know that their life isn't necessarily going to get easier if they take a more provocative step in terms of you know, launching something bigger or more substantial.
But by doing something like this, it's enough to raise tensions, perhaps raise the pressure just enough on President Trump, get his attention, get him back to the table for perhaps the third summit, with the North Koreans certainly hope will have a very different outcome than Hanoi, when President Trump walked out and left the North Koreans blindsided, and without a deal and still with all those sanctions in places that are really hurting their economy right now.
CHURCH: All right, just careful not to overplay their hand. Will Ripley bringing us the very latest from Hong Kong, many thanks. We turn now to Paris, and the investigation of the devastating fire at the Notre-Dame Cathedral. New aerial photographs show the vast damage to the building's roof. Firefighters say they fear the entire structure maybe lost, and putting out the flames was one of their most complicated operations ever.
Investigators will resume interviews with construction workers and security staff in the coming hours, as they try to figure out what caused the fire. Forensic teams and police inspectors have been able to access only some areas inside the cathedral. The French First Lady Brigitte Macron attended mass at a nearby church Wednesday with the archbishop of Paris. She described the range of emotions she felt watching Notre-Dame burn.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
[01:14:52] BRIGITTE MACRON, FIRST LADY OF FRANCE (through translator): Everything bled, everything bled. There were four stages. First, the stage of shock when we learned that it was happening. Then, when we arrived on location, it was fear and anxiety that everything had crumbled.
Around 11:00 p.m., hope, because at 11:00 p.m. the towers were there. And then, enormous gratitude towards all the firemen and all the man that battle the fire, for their courage and perseverance.
CHURCH: Joining me now to talk more about the Notre Dame investigation is James Oliver he is the section chief of fire investigations for the Atlanta Fire Rescue Department. Thank you so much for coming into the studio and talking to us.
JAMES OLIVER, CHIEF OF FIRE INVESTIGATIONS, ATLANTA FIRE RESCUE DEPARTMENT: Sure. Sure, thanks for having me.
CHURCH: So, at this point, given your extensive firefighting background, I did want to talk to you about the process involved in trying to determine the cause of a fire like this. Certainly, when you already know pretty much the location. We know it's in the Attic. We know the area that the fire started in. We know at this point from witness reports that no one was actually in that location.
So, talk to us about that once they've already narrowed it down to that point, the process that's taken from there to determine the cause of the fire.
OLIVER: Sure, ones, once you've -- obviously, what we're trying to do is find the area of origin of a fire to determine the cause. Once we've located that area of origin, we will going to examine it in great detail. And -- you know, digging through all the debris, examining any artifacts. Meaning, burned artifacts that may indicate of ignition source.
And you know, any electrical components, electrical motors, anything of that nature, we're going to examine -- you know, closely. And we'll also in those top situations, usually, collect them and send them off to the lab to be examined in more detail.
CHURCH: This is going to take some time. It could take weeks, right?
OLIVER: Yes, I would think so. Yes, because even though they've got a real -- it appears they've got a real good idea of the area of the origin of the fire, is still takes a lot of time to go through these scenes. And you know, we're talking about a lot of debris, and we might be looking for something -- you know, very small in the debris. And then, once we collect these items, and they've still got to be analyzed.
OLIVER: You know, it just -- there's a whole game of analyzation, and just depending on what type of materials that -- you know, being examined.
CHURCH: Right. And, of course, while that process is underway, they're also interviewing people. So far, they've interviewed 40 witnesses and that's construction workers, security agents, and other workers at the cathedral. What sort of questions would they be asking these people?
OLIVER: Sure. Why interviews were always key in our investigations and the types of things we want -- we're going to want to know is -- you know, who all was here? What were they doing at the time of the fire, what had they been doing prior to the time of the fire? You know, when did -- when did everyone leave, or when did these individuals leave? What did they notice -- you know, at the time that they were in, in the area.
You know, smells, what did they see? What do they see? Did they see smoke, did they see fire? So, where was it at? Just these types of things would be -- you know some of the basic initial questions we would ask that could lead to other more in-depth questions.
CHURCH: Right. James Oliver, thank you so much for coming in and chatting with us.
OLIVER: Great, thank you.
CHURCH: And the French prime minister has announced an international competition to replace Notre Dame's fallen spire. Other priceless artifacts from the cathedral were spared major damage. CNN's Melissa Bell has our report.
MELISSA BELL, CNN PARIS CORRESPONDENT: As flames engulf Notre Dame Cathedral, the world looked on in horror. But for Catholics, of most concern was what was inside.
The Crown of Thorns, believed by Christians to have been worn by Jesus Christ during his crucifixion. A relic thought to have been brought to Paris from Constantinople in the 13th century and kept in Norte Dame. Brought out every year on Good Friday for worshipers to kiss. As crowds gathered on Monday night, many prayed for the safety of the priceless treasure.
As they watched, the firefighters battled the flames on the outside. Inside, firefighters were doing what they could to save the relics. One man who played a key role is the fire brigade chaplain, Father Jean-Marc Fournier, a man no stranger to tragedy. During the Vatican terror attack in 2015, he was on the scene helping
to rescue the wounded in the Paris concert hall. This time, he's again being praised for his heroism.
FATHER JEAN-MARC FOURNIER, CHAPLAIN, PARIS FIRE BRIGADE (through translator): We had to get the codes in order to extracts the Crown of Thorns from the safe. But we couldn't get hold of the people who had the codes. By the time I got the keys to the crypt and rushed back into the cathedral, we realized the other team had got there before us. They had managed to get into the safe.
BELL: Thanks to Father Fournier, the crown and tunic worn by Louis IX when he brought it from Constantinople are now safely being stored at Paris's Town Hall along with some of the extraordinary artworks housed by Notre Dame.
Also retrieved, the rooster that once sat upon the cathedral spire. A symbol of France containing relics that are meant to protect Paris.
[01:20:17] DIDIER DURAND, CHAIRMAN, PIERRENOEL (through translator): We're going to operate on the rooster to check that the relics is still inside, and we will restore it, because it is an emblem. The French rooster is an emblem of France. The deeper the water he's in, the more he sings.
Now, we are going to rise from our ashes and I think that France is behind the idea of this rooster which we will lift back into position.
BELL: Without the heroism of so many on Monday night, the damage caused by the fire could have been catastrophically worse, which would have made the sorrow of Paris and the world that much greater. Melissa Bell, CNN, Paris.
CHURCH: And let's take a very short break here. Still to come, Sudan's ousted president is now behind bars. But the protests continue. What the people want from the military?
Plus, shock and anger in Peru. Details surrounding the suicide of former President Alan Garcia, just as police prepared to arrest him. We'll back in just a moment.
CHURCH: Well on the Portuguese island of Madeira, at least 28 people were killed when a tour bus went over a cliff. A local government official says the driver lost control on a steep road. There are reports, it was carrying German tourists. 28 people were also injured in that crash.
Well, Sudan's ousted president is now in a maximum security prison. Omar al-Bashir is wanted by the International Criminal Court for war crimes and crimes against humanity in connection with the military's action in Darfur.
Meanwhile, protesters are still out in the streets calling for radical change. CNN's senior international correspondent Nima Elbagir has the latest.
NIMA ELBAGIR, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: It has been a historic day for Sudan. It is difficult to underplay how symbolic al- Bashir's transfer from house arrest to the notorious Kobar prison where so many of the opposition figures and the dissidents were relegated under his rule.
In fact, we're told by eyewitnesses that we -- he will have been led past the very same hangman's noose that he sent so many of his political rivals too. But what's been really extraordinary is that, that is still not yet enough. Not that. Not the list of anti- corruption measures that the new military council has put in place. Not the call for justice for so many of the key regime figures, and their gradual picking up at airports and in their homes, and in their far-flung farms, all of that is not yet enough.
More and more protesters are being called out onto the streets, onto the demonstration sites. Because as so many of them tell us, they understand that their strength lies in their presence on the ground. That their strength lies in their occupation of that spot of land in front of Khartoum's military headquarters. And if they cede it, then they see it control.
And what is it they want? Well, they say it's the same thing that they have always wanted, civilian transitional rule. They want the authority to be back in the hands of civilians for the first time in three decades.
And they tell us they're not going to leave that territory that they hold. They are not going to leave the demonstration site until they get that. Nima Elbagir, CNN, Khartoum, Sudan.
[01:26:11] CHURCH: Peru's former president, Alan Garcia has committed suicide. Peru's interior minister, says officers were at Garcia's home preparing to arrest him when he shot himself in the head. Garcia had been under investigation for money laundering and taking bribes. CNN's Rafael Romo has more.
RAFAEL ROMO, CNN SENIOR LATIN AMERICAN AFFAIRS EDITOR: Alan Garcia was a deeply polarizing figure in Peru. This is a scene that erupted when he showed up for a court appearance in Lima last November.
Garcia, a social Democrat was president for two non-consecutive five- year terms. He rose to power in 1985 when he was only 36 years old. The economy crashed under his watch. But the second time around from 2006 to 2011, his government benefited from trade agreements, exports, and renewed consumer demand.
In early 2017, he became yet another political figure in Latin America to be tarnished by the corruption scandal involving Odebrecht, a Brazilian construction company accused of handing out kickbacks in exchange for lucrative contracts.
Garcia was one of four Peruvian former presidents who had been linked to the scandal. Garcia said in early 2017 that he was willing to cooperate with authorities in the investigation to clear what he called horrible acts of corruption that should be punished with the harshest possible sentence.
In his most recent tweet posted on Tuesday, Garcia said there was no shred of evidence against him, accused Peruvian prosecutors of speculation, and said he had never sold out and that is proven. After recently finding evidence that Garcia used third parties to receive bribes, a judge issued an arrest warrant.
The Peruvian interior minister said Garcia, told police officers who showed up at his home to arrest him Wednesday shortly after 6:00 in the morning that he was going to call his attorney and locked himself in his bedroom. They then heard a gunshot. Officers had to force their way into the bedroom and found him with a gunshot wound to the head.
The Peruvian health minister said medical personnel tried resuscitating the former president three times. When the news of his death was confirmed, dozens of supporters gathered up hospital burst into tear.
Others paid their respects by saying Garcia in their minds will never die. Rafael Romo, CNN, Atlanta.
CHURCH: And coming up next on CNN NEWSROOM. Police haul away hundreds of climate change activists in London. Why do they say they don't mind getting arrested? Back in just a moment.
[01:31:28] ROSEMARY CHURCH, CNN ANCHOR: Welcome back, everyone. You're watching CNN NEWSROOM. I'm Rosemary Church.
Let's check the headlines for you.
North Korea says it has test-fired a new type of tactical guided weapon. State media reports that Leader Kim Jong-un oversaw the tests, and praised the weapon's capabilities. It's the first time Kim has tested a weapon since the nuclear talks with President Trump in February when they failed to reach a deal.
We are just hours away from the eagerly awaited release of the Mueller report on Russian election meddling. U.S. Attorney General William Barr is set to hold a news conference at 9:30 a.m. Eastern time more than an hour and a half before Congress received the redacted version. That has raised more complaints from Democrats about Barr's handling of the report.
Paris prosecutors will interview more construction workers and security staff in the day ahead about the Notre Dame fire. Forensic teams have been able to access some areas of the burned out cathedral and begin their inspections. Authorities say they still think the fire was accidental.
Climate change protestors have been causing citywide disruptions in London. Police say they have arrested at least 340 protesters since Monday, and now a 24-hour ban on protesting in Parliament Square is in effect.
CNN's Anna Stewart has more from London.
ANNA STEWART, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice over): A little bit of jamming, a little bit of sleeping. It feels like somewhere between a festival and a street party.
But this is part of a major protest by Extinction Rebellion on Waterloo Bridge. The method: disruption. The message: climate change is an emergency, and the government needs to act.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We want to get the attention of the government. We want them to listen to our demands and to acquiesce. And then of course, want them to agree to meet with Extinction Rebellion. STEWART: The mood shifted (ph) here mid-afternoon as the police moved in. Coordinator Yanai Postelnik warned the crowds and told those willing to be arrested to come forward.
(on camera): So no one is going to resist arrest here.
YANAI POSTELNIK, COORDINATOR, EXTINCTION REBELLION: No one will resist arrest but they won't assist the arrest. They will have to work to remove these people.
STEWART (voice over): As it turned out, Yanai was arrested first.
(on camera): Protests have been peaceful here all day, but as you can see, yes, people are being arrested. Now, while they're being peaceful, it's not legal for them to protest here. Protesters have been told to move from our block (ph), and if they don't, they are liable to be arrested and taken away.
(voice over): Protestors were also apprehended at Canary Wharf for standing on top of tubes, and gluing their hands to the doors -- a short-lived demonstration.
In total, over 300 people have been arrested since Monday. Days of disruption for London commuters, but many support the cost.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's obviously diverting traffic and bus routes, allegedly 66 bus routes have been supposedly scuffled (ph) as a result, but it is for a very valid reason.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Need to do something, because we have basically 12 years to save the earth so we need to do something. Definitely, yes.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's quote, quite crazy, it shows that people here are really interested in making a change in the community and environment.
[01:35:00] STEWART: Support that will be welcomed here, given more protests and arrests are expected in the days to come.
Anna Stewart, CNN -- London.
CHURCH: And geologist Jess Phoenix joins us now from Los Angeles. Good to see you.
JESS PHOENIX, GEOLOGIST: Thanks for having me -- Rosemary.
CHURCH: So police say that since Monday they've arrested more than 300 of these climate change protestors who have caused disruptions in London. And this is what London's mayor had to say about it.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SADIQ KHAN, MAYOR, LONDON: We do face a climate emergency. It's really important the government takes action to address some of the challenges posed by climate change. It's important though that the organizers of the protest work with the police and the authorities to make sure disruption is minimized and in order to make sure the protest is peaceful and safety isn't compromised.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CHURCH: Does the Mayor have a point? Is there perhaps a better way for protestors to get their message out without disrupting everyone including those who support their cause?
PHOENIX: Well, I believe there's a fine balance here that that we are trying to strike, I would say, between the respectable, very business as usual way that things have been done versus the urgency and immediacy of the cause that the Extinction Rebellion folks are getting behind.
It's very difficulty in situations where emotions are highly charged, where this truly is a global crisis, and people feel like they don't have a voice.
PHOENIX: I can totally see where they're coming from.
CHURCH: Yes, indeed. But this is what the chief executive of New West Company, Jace Tyrrell, had to say about the protests.
"At a time when our high streets are struggling, this additional pressure is deeply damaging to London's economy and a reputation and has so far cost West End businesses over 12 million pounds with some stores seeing a 25 percent decrease in sales and foot fall."
So we all accept Jess, the demonstrations are about getting people's attention, but at what cost?
PHOENIX: I believe that we are at a time where we're going to see a trade-off here. A short term trade-off, obstruction of business as was referenced in that quote. But there is going to be a much larger consequences for the global community to pay.
This isn't about today. This isn't about next week. This is about the next five, 10, 20 or 50 years, 100 years on, when, you know, the people who are supposed to be -- the point of people's work right now. You've got children. You've got families. That's why people go to work and why they do their business.
If those kids today do not have a future to look ahead to, then what is the point? And I think that's what the protestors are trying to drive home.
CHURCH: Yes, it's trying to get that balance though, isn't it? To where you -- you still want to keep people on side to understand what your message is. And of course, some protestors -- what, they glue themselves to trains, glued themselves together outside Jeremy Corbyn's house, the opposition leader. How does that help their cause?
CHURCH: -- trying to come up with smarter ways to get that attention, and to put climate change on the agenda, to have people discuss it at rather than, you know, we're looking at this particular issue now from a disruption point of view.
So they've missed the point, haven't they? They're not getting their message across, all we're talking about is the disruption they caused.
PHOENIX; Well, fortunately I think you are going to see people looking into the issue a little bit because of this. It's not something that people can see, it sort of like your house is on fire but you're unaware that it is burning. And you've got somebody in there shaking you saying wake up, when -- and that's I think what people are trying to accomplish here.
It doesn't mean that doesn't cause harm to local businesses and things, and some of the methods may seem extreme, but when you put that in comparison, in a historical context to efforts led by Gandhi, to people setting themselves on fire as a form of protest -- these protests are actually relatively mild in the broader historical scope of things.
And we have a very limited time to get the public's attention. And I ran for the United States Congress as a scientist and during that time I had a platform and, it was still hard to get people to pay attention and talk about climate change as the pressing matter that it is. So I think that we're going to see more and more actions like this to come.
CHURCH: Yes. But again -- sorry to push this point, the problem is that we're not talking about climate change, we're talking about the disruption they are causing, and the impact they are having on businesses in London. And maybe it is time to find new strategy for these sorts of things so that we're talking about climate change next time -- next time you and I are on.
Do you understand where I'm going with this? Rather than actually make enemies of people that may be were sympathetic to their cause and were possibly there and open to it, but now of course, they're just angry.
[01:40:06] PHOENIX: Yes, I think so. But I do think that you're hearing a lot of positive feedback from people on the street, recognizing that this is a temporary inconvenience to prevent a greater issue here. And I would love it if we had more scientists on prime news stations talking about climate change.
We know, we've gotten the message that our messaging in the past has not been the most effective at engaging the public. And we're ready to talk real climate details, and real world impacts.
And I hope that we can move from actions like this Extinction Rebellion to educated, informed, engaging discussions with the public and on major media platforms, because that's what we need. We need the government listening, and we need the media and the general public all involved in this.
CHURCH: Jess Phoenix -- thank you for talking with us. We appreciate it.
PHOENIX: Thank you.
CHURCH: Well, from the mountains to the jungle, millions across Indonesia has just six hours to vote for one president and thousands of lawmakers. Ahead, we will explore the logistics behind the world's biggest single day election.
Back in just a moment.
CHURCH: Welcome back, everyone.
In India, at least 29 people were killed when unseasonal rain and thunderstorms swept across three states. Strong winds knocked down buildings and trees, severe thunderstorms are expected for the next days. India's prime minister says the government will provide financial assistance to the families of those who died.
So let's turn now to our meteorologist Pedram Javaheri. He joins us with more on this.
And more thunderstorms are in the forecast, aren't they? What is beyond that?
PEDRAM JAVAHERI, CNN METEOROLOGIST: Yes. You know, beyond this, we're going to see patterns change back to being quiet, but unfortunately, Rosemary -- at the moment portions of Afghanistan in to Pakistan eventually on into India, of course, we've seen significant damage with this line of active weather and of course, fatalities have been reported across this region as well.
But when you take a look at the broad perspective, this is as quiet as a time of year it gets across this region of the world.
You typically see rainfall beginning in the months of say June, July and August but months of April and May, the tail end of what is dry season across this region. And the perspective out of Afghanistan, out of areas around Pakistan where we have significant wind gusts, trees coming down. Of course, some of these communities with homes that are not built to withstand the 70, 80 or 90 kilometer-per-hour gusts. That will lead to significant damage.
[01:45:01] But the system itself, the initial one actually exiting on into the Tibetan Plateau. But the pattern is in place here to produce additional thunderstorms the next couple of days.
And of course, when you talk about India and wet weather, you have to talk about the impact here as far as the agricultural industry because we know 50 percent of the population actually works in the agricultural industry. About 250 million people consider themselves farmers and 15 percent of the country's GDP is also based around the ag industry.
And again, when you take a look at the climatological pattern, it's extremely unusual to see tremendous rainfall and a powerful storm as such this time of year because as you transition into the wetter season, (INAUDIBLE) literally just turns on. Of course, the pattern changes because of the wind shift in directions there coming off of the Bay of Bengal and the Arabian Sea, and then you have moisture surge in towards this region and that is not a pattern you typically see this time of year.
But about 90 percent of the country's rains in portions of India come down in those four months of June through September. With it we've had some cooler temperatures in recent days, Rosemary. That has been really the only good thing that has come of this particular system, and the forecast recently came out of how much rain they expect in the monsoon season. And it's expected to be near normal to slightly below normal. So we're going to follow that into the summer months -- Rosie (ph).
CHURCH: All right. Thank you so much for keeping a very close eye on that -- Pedram. Appreciate it.
And still in India, a massive general election is resuming. More than 155 million people living across southern India will head to the polls to vote in 95 open seats across 11 states and a territory.
Now, this is the second phase of a staggered election that started last week, and it ends next month. Final results are expected on May 23rd.
And votes are still being counted in Indonesia's mammoth election, early results show President Joko Widodo on course to win a second term in office. But final results are not expected until next month.
CNN's Will Ripley explains how Indonesia prepared for the world's biggest single-day election.
WILL RIPLEY, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice over): In Indonesia, the world's third largest democracy, the election is a horse race to the finish. Ballots travel by horseback, by boat, and through the notorious traffic jams of Jakarta.
It's one of the most extraordinary exercises of democracy in action, and in fast forward. Indonesia's combined presidential and legislative votes are the biggest single day elections in the world, and polls are open for just six hours for a nation of nearly 193 million eligible voters.
In a repeat of 2014, voters once again see presidential candidates Joko Widodo also known as Jokowi (ph) facing off against former military general Prabowo Subianto.
Initial results show the incumbent Jokowi in the lead, but votes are still being counted. For Indonesia's mammoth elections -- BEN BLAND, SOUTHEAST ASIA PROJECT, LOWY INSTITUTE: The logistics of
this election are fiendishly complicated.
RIPLEY: -- the numbers are staggering. 245,000 candidates, 20,000 seats, 800,000 polling stations and a six million election workers. And they have to move all those ballots across a vast nation of islands, stretching more than 3.000 miles from east to west.
BLAND: Indonesians are spread over hundreds if not thousands of islands, many of these places are very remote in mountain villages. You have to access (INAUDIBLE) places by small boats, on foot, in some cases I remember that many different areas have different ballots because they're voting for different local candidates.
RIPLEY: Here, it really does take a village, or at least a village polling stationing. That's where votes are counted, sorted, and sent out. From subdistrict to district, to province and then finally to the big city, where results are certified, and the winners are expected to be announced in late May.
(on camera): There have been some reports of voting irregularities. Prabowo and his team claim that some voter lists, including names of the dead and people not even eligible to vote. And he's vowing to take action if his concerns are ignored.
Will Ripley, CNN -- Hong Kong.
CHURCH: And still to come, how sex, drugs, and greed are fueling the opioid crisis in the United States. And how the feds are battling this ongoing problem.
We are back in just a moment.
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CHURCH: A bizarre story from the U.S. state of Colorado. The FBI says it has found the body of an 18-year-old woman apparently killed from a self-inflicted gunshot. They say she was infatuated with the 1999 massacre at Columbine High School, and travel to the area ahead of the 20th anniversary.
CNN's Martin Savidge has the report.
MARTIN SAVIDGE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: The FBI says the Sol Pais took her own life and her body was discovered Wednesday morning out in the Mount Evans area. That's about 70 miles away from Columbine. And they say that she used the weapon that she purchased shortly after she arrived in Denver.
It is not the end of the investigation though. Authorities want to make absolutely certain that there wasn't something else as part of this plan, and they definitely want to make sure that there is no one else that is involved in it. Especially, when you're talking about the lead up to the 20th anniversary of the Columbine massacre.
This began, of course, with her disappearance from Florida on Sunday, and it's that investigation that led investigators to looking at her profile online. They found that she was in a very dark and difficult place, and that she was making references to the Columbine tragedy. Then they discovered she had booked airfare to fly here, and then they found out she had purchased a weapon here. That's when the alerts went out to all schools, and that's when the schools decided to close down.
The reason they were out in the Mouth Evans area, far away far away from Columbine, it was the last place she was seen, where she was dropped off, reportedly by a ride share on Monday.
And as they focused on that area, that's when they discovered her body. This is still an area very much on edge, it will be every April, but especially this April, 20 years after the killing at Columbine.
Martin Savidge, CNN -- Denver, Colorado.
CHURCH: Americans actress Lori Loughlin apparently felt she had no choice but to plead not guilty in the U.S. college admissions scandal. A source close to the TV star tells CNN she and her husband believe it's the only way to avoid jail time because a plea deal had been taken off the table.
But a law enforcement source says the couple hasn't held in-depth plea discussions with prosecutors. Loughlin and her husband are accused of paying half a million dollars to a fake charity to get their daughters into the University of Southern California.
The charges: conspiracy to commit mail fraud and conspiracy to commit money laundering carry hefty prison sentences.
Well, now to a shocking glimpse at the opioid crisis in the United States. The Justice Department says it is charging 60 people including doctors, pharmacists and other medical professionals for illegally describing millions of pain pills across eight states. Two doctors are even accused of prescribing the pills in exchange for sexual favors.
Our Tom Foreman reports.
TOM FOREMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice over): A river appeals pouring into the Appalachian region and beyond. That is effectively what the Justice Department has described in this bust of 60 health professionals. Now charged with illegally pushing opioid into communities where addiction is already an epidemic.
BRIAN BENCZKOWSKI, U.S. ASSISTANT ATTORNEY GENERAL: These cases involve approximately 350,000 opioid prescriptions and more than 32 million pills. The equivalent of a dose of opioids for every man, woman and child across the states of Ohio, Kentucky, Tennessee, Alabama, and West Virginia combined.
FOREMAN: The details are staggering, according to the feds. In Tennessee, in one case, a doctor who branded himself the Rock Doc, allegedly prescribed powerful and dangerous combinations of opioids and benzodiazepines sometimes in exchange for sexual favors.
This is the Rock Doc's YouTube TV show.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'll give you your shot today.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes.
FOREMAN: In Kentucky, a dentist is accused of removing teeth unnecessarily to push pain killers. And another doctor is accused of leaving pre-signed blank prescriptions for his staff to hand out.
[01:55:03] In Alabama, a doctor is charged with providing pills while having knowledge that patients failed drug screens and were addicts, preferring cash payments and charging a concierge fee.
Pill mills, pills for Facebook friends, as many as 15 pills per day for some patients. The accusations go on and on against those charged as --
BENCZKOWSKI: Simply white coated drug dealers.
FOREMAN: The administration has long agreed this is a health care crisis even as other big busts have made news in the past.
JEFF SESSIONS, FORMER U.S. ATTORNEY GENERAL: It is the resolute policy of this administration and this Department of Justice to reduce these overdose deaths.
FOREMAN: Others have put a finer point on it.
JOE BIDEN, FORMER VICE President of the United States: We got here, I believe in part, because of the greed of the drug companies.
FOREMAN: But some of the sharpest legal action against drug companies has come at the state and local levels. Earlier this year, Perdue Pharma agreed to pay Oklahoma $270 million dollars over its aggressive marketing of OxyContin. Many analysts believe this may be the first big win in a wave of similar lawsuits.
(voice over): So things like these lawsuits and the charges that we've seen in the headlines are all encouraging to those who are trying to do something about this epidemic. But make no mistake, they still face an immense uphill battle as the Centers for Disease Control is still saying 130 Americans die every day from opioids.
Tom Foreman, CNN -- Washington.
CHURCH: And finally, sex sells -- well that seems to be one of Australia's largest real estate companies was thinking with this advertisement.
CHURCH: The incredible video was produced by a group of real estate agents called L.J. Hooker. One Twitter user said the company had gone completely off the rails. While another called the video breathtakingly horrific.
The company offered this semi-apology, saying, "This time we missed the mark. We understand that our recent video circulated on social media promoting one of their listings may have been taken out of context by some and for this we apologize."
According to the company's Facebook page, a viewing of that house featured in the ad has been canceled, due to unforeseen circumstances. They thought it was funny, in fact.
You are watching CNN NEWSROOM. I'm Rosemary Church.
The news continues on CNN right after this short break.
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