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CNN NEWSROOM

Kim Jong-un Sends a Message to U.S.; Tensions Running High Over the Mueller Report; Experts Check Notre Dame's Stability; Protesters Go Wild in London; Dozens In India Perish In Powerful Storms; Barr News Conference Before Congress Receives Report; Investigators Speak To Workers About Notre Dame Fire; North Korea Demands Replacement Of Pompeo For U.S. Talks; Counting Underway In Biggest Single Day Election; Peru's Former President Dies Of Self-Inflicted Gunshot; Medical Breakthrough For bubble Boy Disease; Flummoxed By Fox News; Uncanny Canines. Aired 3-4a ET

Aired April 18, 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)

WILL RIPLEY, CNN ANCHOR: North Korean leader Kim Jong-un orders a new weapons tax to sending a signal to South Korea and the U.S.

Tension and anxiety running high at the White House ahead of the highly anticipated Mueller report going public in just hours.

Inside Notre Dame, French police prepared to look at the iconic cathedral's extensive damage.

Hello and welcome to our viewers joining us from all around the world. I'm Will Ripley, live from in Hong Kong, and this is CNN Newsroom.

We begin this hour with North Korea, which says it has test fired a new type of tactical guided weapons, that according to state media, which reports North Korean leader Kim Jong-un climbed an exhibition post to oversee the test and give instructions.

Now this is the first time that Pyongyang has tested a weapon since the second U.S.-North Korea summit ended in failure in Vietnam earlier this year. And it also happened as the United States tries to reengage with North Korea.

U.S. official don't seem too concerned about this launch, as Pentagon correspondent Barbara Starr tells us.

BARBARA STARR, CNN PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT: U.S. by satellite did not detect an infrared signature of a launch. No missile off a launch pad and that would include a satellite launch.

So, again, a test firing of some kind of guided weapon that the North Koreans are talking up. We don't know what it is. They talked about it being tactical and guided, suggesting short-range effort, suggesting some kind of precision firing when they talk about e guided, if you can believe everything that they are saying. All of this is going to have to be information gathered by

intelligence services analyze trying to figure out exactly what they did.

RIPLEY: OK. So, obviously, this is not a major test, but there are implications when North Korea does something like this.

And here to break it down with me is Kenneth Choi, the international editor of the Chosun Ilbo in Seoul. Ken, it's great to be with you. What do you make of this? And are you hearing any more about what North Korea may have tested.

KENNETH CHOI, INTERNATIONAL EDITOR, CHOSUN ILBO: I think it's still -- probably not a bigger deal as the State Department were, you know, as official said. I think Kim Jong-un is just trying to buy some time and try to figure out what next move he can make.

And I think, you know, he is probably frustrated over what happened in Hanoi. So, he's trying to ante up the game basically and try to, you know, bring the U.S. or South Korea into the table and try to negotiate the way he sees fit.

But you know, the thing is, it's not going to happen, you know, Kim Jong-un is, I think miscalculating it. You know, it's not only the U.S. but the whole world is firmly behind on U.N. sanctions unless North Korea makes a full commitment in denuclearization.

So, you know, Kim -- I think it is very naive for Kim Jong-un to think that he could trade Yongbyon with lifting U.N. sanctions. It's not going to happen; he has to come to grip with it and he is probably giving some time to think about it until the end of the year.

But if he stays the way he is, you know, maybe under a couple million people will die of starvation and this is going to be a detrimental effect on his regime. So, I think he better think twice before he's taunting on anything on this, you know, missile firing system.

RIPLEY: Well, we know, Ken, that Kim Jong-un is in a tough spot economically. There is a food shortage, severe food shortages that is affecting a lot of people in North Korea bound to get worse.

However, Donald Trump walking out of the summit in Hanoi put him in a really tough spot because he lost a lot of face. Is this test more for his domestic audience to project strength? Or do you see it as a message to the United States, and also to South Korea?

CHOI: I think it's both. It's a message to the U.S. and to South Korea that, you know, he -- and then actually last week he said that he will overcome -- I mean, North Korea will overcome any difficulties they may face.

But the thing is, it's not, there is no way North Korea can survive this U.N. sanctions because, you know, the pressure is really on, and I think Kim Jong-un understands that this is a serious situation.

So, I hope, I hope that now whatever he's doing here and there to try to see if there's any weak spot between U.S. and South Korea it's not going to happen. I hope he makes the right decision.

[03:04:58] RIPLEY: The last time North Korea tested a tactical weapon was November of 2018. At another point when talks with the United States were essentially at a standstill. And then we saw the Hanoi summit happened shortly thereafter.

So, could this strategy actually get the attention of Presidents Trump and Moon and get some movement on getting a third summit with perhaps a different outcome more favorable for the North Koreans?

CHOI: I don't think so, because, you know, I think the U.S. and President Trump even last week when President Moon was there, you know, he made a firm commitment that North Korea must show full commitment to denuclearization process.

You know, the South Korean government is trying everything. Try to, you know, get North Korea and U.S. back to the table. And President Moon is working pretty hard on it. But it's not going to happen because South Korea cannot meet what North Korea demands because of the U.N. sanctions, and so on.

So, Kim Jong-un understands this, and there is no way that South Korea can help North Korea economically or supply anything it needs. And you know, hopefully, President Trump and President Moon is giving Kim Jong-un the right message that no matter what he tries he has to, you know, make a firm commitment in denuclearization process. Then, you know, the negotiation will start again.

RIPLEY: Given your experience covering the peninsula for so many years and living there in Seoul, as you watch all of this unfold, where do you see this going?

CHOI: Well, you now, a lot of the Korean media and the general -- the people in general, are saying that here we go again. You know, North Korea is going back to -- we have seen this before many, many times. North Korea makes a commitment and then, you know, reverse its commitment going back where it was.

So, you know, actually we had high hopes that North Korea indeed commit to a full denuclearization process.

Last year when the summit meetings were taking place, a lot of people gave some hopes. They had a doubt, but they still had high hopes.

This time around, I think, you know, our hopes are diminishing, and you know, if Kim Jong-un continues this way, then two million North Koreans will die of starvation and then South Korean public will be really in dilemma, you know.

We don't want North Koreans to die of starvation. We can provide the food so that people can live. But because of one man making a wrong decision, you know, we cannot help them. And this is a sad, sad story. So, I hope Kim Jong-un makes the right call.

RIPLEY: And in the end it is really Kim and Trump who hold the keys here to decide where this thing goes. Ken, we really appreciate your expertise there in Seoul. Kenneth Choi with Chosun Ilbo, thank you.

The results of a nearly two-year investigation of Russian election meddling will be released in just a few hours.

And there is this new reporting now from the New York Times saying that the White House is already had several conversations with the Justice Department about the Mueller report's conclusions before any of the rest of us have even seen the full report.

Remember, the U.S. Attorney General William Barr, he is planning to hold a news conference at 9.30 a.m. Eastern Time. Then Congress will get the redacted version of the report around 90 minutes later. And this is a long report, almost 400 pages.

So, the timing here, the delay, I mean, it's already sparking accusations that Barr is somehow deliberately controlling the narrative, trying to protect the president.

CNN's chief White House correspondent Jim Acosta reports. Donald Trump, meanwhile, continues his own attacks on the probe.

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 official scoff 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.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

REP. RO KHANNA (D-CA): I don't 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.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

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 caution 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 trashing 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." [03:10:00] The president sounded off in an interview with the

Washington, D.C. talk radio station.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: This should never happen 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 so 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 hard to believe that he didn't know what was going on. But we're going to leave that for another day.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

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. "It looks like President Trump is scared of our campaign. He should be."

In an interview on SiriusXM, the president relished the idea of running against a self-described socialist.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP: Our country is doing so well. And if we ever went socialist, if we ever became a socialist country, you could write off this country, this country would go down so fast.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ACOSTA: The Trump administration is also finding new ways to crack down on the border with a 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.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEN. RON JOHNSON (R-WI): So, we do need to address the problem here now. I hear people say let's spend billions down and repair the economy of Central America. That's not going to happen or repair those economies anytime soon. We have to addresses this problem.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

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 that he might hold his own news conference.

Jim Acosta, CNN, the White House.

RIPLEY: All right. Let's break this down. I want to bring in Scott Lucas who is a professor of international politics at the University of Birmingham.

Scott, up until now we've only seen a four-page summary of this nearly 400-page Mueller report. And that summary was written by Attorney General Bill Barr who has been accused of pretty much doing everything possible to protect President Trump.

So, I guess the first question for you, what could be in there that has the A.G.'s office and the White House essentially doing damage control before the report even comes out.

SCOTT LUCAS, POLITICS PROFESSOR, UNIVERSITY OF BIRMINGHAM: Even Barr's letter opened up two areas of what is in there. The first is that he said that Mueller had decided not to proceed with criminal charges on obstruction of justice by Trump. But, at the same time, the letter indicated that there was evidence of obstruction of justice by Trump.

And we have a report from the Washington Post that indeed their sources are saying that a lot of the Mueller report will talk about evidence of obstruction of justice by Trump. But will say that they did not recommend criminal proceedings because they could not establish his intention.

Now, that in itself will be damaging to the president if that is true. Because it simply says, was he simply not bright enough or simply modeled enough that he tried to bury the Trump Russia investigation without committing a criminal act.

But the second are is even more interesting. Because Barr tried to put away the report in March by saying there was no conspiracy between the Trump campaign and Russian official. But of course, conspiracy is a criminal charge.

What Barr did not say was there was no collusion between the Trump campaign and the Russians. And that would include, for example, that the Trump campaign knew of the Russian interference in the 2016 election, including the hacking of e-mails around Hillary Clinton and even that the Trump campaign may have encouraged that Russian interference.

That's what we have to see in the report. But of course, 90 minutes before Congress gets it Attorney General Barr will again try to protect Trump by spinning and saying well, you know, there's not much to see here. RIPLEY: Yes, the odds are certainly stacked against Democrats and

journalists who are going to have to scramble to go through all of these details.

But in terms of damage, even U.S. Democrats acknowledge that voters are pretty much over the Mueller report. More worried about, you know, things like health care and getting their bills paid.

So, if the findings, whatever they maybe are unlikely to move the needle politically, how can this report damage President Trump?

LUCAS: Well, Will, let me say something before we get to that. And I understand the question. But remember, the fundamental here is that a foreign power interfered in U.S. presidential elections in 2016 on behalf of a candidate whether he knew it or not.

Now that is an unprecedented attempt to subvert American democracy. And the politics shouldn't overtake it. The Mueller report should be read first and foremost as trying to explain what has happened to make sure it doesn't happen again.

Politically of course, what the Trump team will do is to say not only there is nothing to see here. They'll try to undermine that effort. Now they may succeed politically. They may convince people that indeed, you know what, even if we did something it was more than two years ago.

[03:15:03] But if they do that, the disservice is not only to possibly the political campaigns and the political process. It undermines the Americans system.

This is a legitimate report about serious issues and calling it a hoax or witch hunt which could occur over the next 24 hours and just focusing on does that benefit Trump in thin his reelection campaign does a disservice to all of us.

RIPLEY: You make a very good point. I do want to ask you about this New York Times reporting that the Justice Department has been consulting with the White House for days about this report. What does that lead you to believe?

LUCAS: They're helping the Trump campaign with its P.R. or the Trump administration's P.R. You put that together with the fact that Attorney General Barr is speaking before the report is released, before any Congress -- congressional representatives see it, before the media sees it.

And that the White House lawyers will be talking to Trump's personal lawyers. And in that 90 minutes between the attorney general statement and the release of the report, they will be hitting the social media with everything they've got with their spin to say that Trump is, if not exonerated, at least in the clear over political and criminal consequence.

RIPLEY: And if course, anybody who is in P.R. will tell you it's no coincidence that this was released on the eve of a holiday weekend when a lot of people are out on vacation traveling and not watching cable news.

But anyway, Scott Lucas, I appreciate your expertise and analysis. Thank you.

LUCAS: Thank you, Will.

RIPLEY: This is CNN Newsroom. We are live in Hong Kong. And up next, I'll take you to Paris. Investigators they are learning more about that fire at Notre Dame. We'll tell you they plan to speak with next.

Plus, there is a sticky situation in London, literally sticky, protestors gluing themselves to a train. Why are they doing that?

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

RIPLEY: Investigators in Paris will speak with more construction workers and security staff in the coming hours as they continue to try to figure out what caused that fire at Notre Dame.

The two contractors who worked in -- with work in progress on the site say that at the time the fire broke out they didn't have any workers on site. They said there was nobody there doing their job when the flames broke out on Monday. So, the question is what sparked the fire?

There are new aerial photos and they show just the vast devastating damage to the cathedral's roof. And you can see what it looked like both before and after the fire. Prosecutors are saying they still think this was an accident.

[03:20:02] CNN's Michael Holmes is live this hour in Paris for us. All right. So, Michael, investigators working on this theory that the fire was most likely accidental. Are they ruling out other scenarios?

MICHAEL HOLMES, CNN CORRESPONDENT: No, they don't actually. They're not ruling out anything, Will, but they are saying the most likely cause was an accident, but they are investigating obviously. Police, forensic teams and other investigators have already been inside Notre Dame. They're looking at areas of interest and trying to narrow down what may have cause this.

One thing that French media are reporting that they are looking into is whether it could've been an electrical fault of sorts. There was no permanent electrics up in that area of Notre Dame simply because of the ancient 800-year-old wooden beams and the fire risk that would be associated with having wiring up there.

But, with the renovations that were about to begin underway, of course there was a welding material up there, also temporary elevators had been installed to get materials and people up to that area where they were going to be working around the spire.

So, one area of investigation is whether perhaps an electrical fault or welding machine or something like that had been left on and sparked the blaze, that investigation continuing. They'll be back in there this morning and getting under way here again in the morning. Yesterday, we saw five, and escorting engineers and architects and

others around the building looking at areas that perhaps are still vulnerable in terms of stability. They're generally pretty happy with the stability of what is left. The stone building itself and they are looking at what areas may need to be reinforced before they move ahead and get the cleanup underway and begin the process of restoration. They still got to work out how they are going to restore it and what fashion, Will.

RIPLEY: Michael, what it's like to just be there on the streets of Paris? So, you're -- a few days before Easter, and there's just been this extraordinary really moving outpouring of support.

HOLMES: Yes, it has. You know, we left here yesterday and just went back past Notre Dame and the crowds of people, thousands of people just standing there along the banks of the Seine and just looking at Notre Dame.

You know, from the outside, when you're walking around it the facade and the main part of the building it looks completely normal. It's just missing that spire on top that damage down of course from the roof which you can't see from ground level.

People just looking at it and, you know, obviously, there's a lot of emotion involved, the cultural importance there of the structure to the people of Paris. Not just to the people of Paris but all around the world.

I was struck going through my Instagram feed, everybody posting photos of themselves out in the front of Notre Dame on their various vacations and the like. And it just shows the rich of this place, the importance of this place globally.

Also, of course, to the Catholic church in this Easter week. The services that would have been held at Notre Dame traditionally on Easter weekend they are going to be held nearby at a place called Saint Sulpice, which is also a large church about half a mile away.

So, the services will be held and honoring, if you like, of Notre Dame. And in the U.K., interestingly, today, bells will toll at churches around the country as a sign of solidarity.

The French President Emmanuel Macron has set up a high powered committee, really, you could call it a mini ministry, if you like, that is going to solely dedicated to arranging the reconstruction.

They still want this done within the five years that many people think is optimistic that Mr. Macron said. But of course, they've got the Olympics in 2024 and he'd like to have it open to the public within five years. That could be a tall order. We shall see, Will.

RIPLEY: We certainly have the financial backing. I mean, the fact that, you know, nearly a billion dollars or maybe more now has been pledged already it's just extraordinary. But it's true.

I mean, when you think of Paris, you think of the Eiffel Tower and you think of Notre Dame. Good to see, Michael. Thanks for that report. We'll check back in with you.

Well, over in London, a little bit of chaos, or maybe a lot actually. Police have already arrested at least 340 people after three days of these pretty intense climate change protests.

They're certainly getting a lot of people's attention. Demonstrators are targeting public transport. Some have glued themselves to trains, others are blocking traffic in key locations across the city. And now, to try to get a grip on this, police, they have imposed bans on protesting at parliament square, Oxford Circus, and Waterloo Bridge.

I want to go to CNN's Anna Stewart who's right in the thick of it. She joins me now live from London. Anna, I mean, look, it's tough sometimes to get people to pay attention when you talk about issues like climate change. And agree with them or not, these protesters are certainly getting people's attention.

[03:25:01] ANNA STEWART, CNN REPORTER: They really are. And they say they tried all normal means of demonstration and protests. They tried petitions; they've tried legal protest. This one is now illegal. They've been told to meet to (Inaudible).

This is marble (Ph) -- sorry -- this is Waterloo Bridge. Normally, during rush hour an absolute archery of traffic into London as you can see here quite different now. Now some people have been here since Monday, they've been keeping busy with yoga classes, they got a buck exchange here.

There's been plenty of dance classes, live music, and you can see that people have been sleeping literally here on the street. It's been a pretty chilly night, I have to say, hopefully, it warms up for them now.

I'm going to bring around to the front, Will. Because as you said, 340 people have been arrested so far since Monday. And one of them is actually here, Blythe. Blythe, thanks for joining us. Now Blythe was arrested yesterday, but she's already back today. Tell me about the experience?

BLYTHE PEPINO, DEMONSTRATOR: It was fine. You know, I was arrested three times actually last year for extinct rebellion, so I've done it a few times before. The police treated me really well, they took me in the van and went to the station and I stayed there for about six, seven hours.

STEWART: And then you came straight back again? So, are you likely to be arrested again today? And will you come back again?

PEPINO: Yes. I mean, everyone here is holding the fault. So, it's about coming back and trying to keep this road because the more disruption that we create, even though we don't really want to be creating disruption. Unfortunately, that's what we have to do in order to get the government to talk to us about this really critical situation which is for your benefit and for mine. So --

STEWART: Now, Will, some commuters I spoken to have been frustrated by all the disruption, some people are saying that, you know, this is been a bit too much for them. Now maybe they should be targeting politicians as opposed to your average person in the street. What do you have to say about that?

PEPINO: Well, I'd say that's practically that's really hard, you know. We're doing this because there's really no other option. And we've tried everything legal. We've done all the petitioning and all the marching and we've sent people and there's been the -- you know, the Paris accord and all the rest of it, and just none of it is working.

So, unfortunately, we've got to this crucial moment, you know, there's only a few years left so where we can really make a big difference.

STEWART: How long will you stay here for?

PEPINO: Well, I'm here for another, probably another six days. And then I have to go away and I'll come back after that.

STEWART: Well, it doesn't show any signs of ending here. Plenty more are expected today here at Waterloo Bridge and also in Westminster Parliament Square where you can expect lots and also Oxford Circus as well. We'll keep you posted as to how much disruption continues.

RIPLEY: You know, Anna, one of the more interesting quotes I read was a protester saying "if you think this is disruptive just wait and see and see what happens if the environment goes to pot."

So, you know, we get their point. The question is, will it have the impact that's desired? And thanks for following the situation out there for us. Anna Stewart in London.

We're turning now to Sudan and the ousted president who is in a maximum-security prison at this hour. Omar al-Bashir wanted by the international criminal court for war crimes and crimes against humanity in connection with the military's action in Darfur.

Meanwhile, protesters they are still out in the streets, they are calling for even more radical change. They say it's not enough that Bashir is locked up, as CNN's senior international correspondent, Nima Elbagir, tells us.

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 are told by eyewitnesses that we -- he will have been led past the very same hang man's noose that he sent so many of his political rivals to.

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 seize it, then they seized 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 are not going to leave that territory that they hold. They are not going to leave the demonstration sites until they get that.

Nima Elbagir, CNN, Khartoum, Sudan.

[03:29:57] RIPLEY: You're watching CNN Newsroom live from Hong Kong.

Some new information has just come in about our top story. North Korea making a new demand of the United States. One of the key negotiators on the U.S. side they want out.

Also ahead, dozens were killed as severe storms whip across three Indian States.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

RIPLEY: I'm Will Ripley live in Hong Kong. These are your top stories on CNN Newsroom at this hour. We are just hours away from the release of the Mueller report on Russian election meddling in the 2016 U.S. Elections. Attorney General William Barr is set to hold a news conference at 9:30 am Eastern Time. That is about six hours from now. And then it's going to be another 90 minutes before Congress actually gets the redacted documents and it's nearly 400 pages long. Democrats are already complaining about how Barr is handing this reports release.

Paris prosecutors, they are planning more interviews to find the construction worker and security staff and anybody who was around Notre Dame at the time of the fire just before. Forensic teams have been able to access some areas of the burnout cathedral and begin their inspections. Authorities say they still think the fire was accidental, but they are not ruling anything out.

Just into CNN, North Korea has issued scatting critic of the U.S. Secretary of State demanding that Mike Pompeo be removed from any future talks. This is big folks, state media quoted a foreign ministry official is calling for someone quote more careful and mature. Now we know that there has been tension with Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and National Security Advisers John Bolton, the North Koreans have alluded to that. They feel that Pompeo and Bolton and others in the Trump administration have been responsible for the failure of diplomacy. They continue to lavish, praise publicly on the President Trump.

And this news comes amid reports that North Korea has test fired a new type of tactical guided weapon. With those nuclear talks still stalled, is this a message from the North Korean leader? Is he trying to tell the United States what could lie ahead, if sanctions are not lifted? Could this be a sign of North Korea returning to a more military posture? He is also making some other high-profile moves as well. All to prove his point, as CNN's Brian Todd explains.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

BRIAN TODD, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Kim Jong-un, back on camera and in command. In newly released photos, the 35 year-old dictator is seen beaming as he watches his fighter pilots prepare for war.

Tonight, reports from the region indicate Kim's regime may have just test fired a tactical weapon, but it's not clear if that was a missile, a piece of artillery or something else.

[03:35:03] North Korea's so-called supreme commander loves to flex his military muscle on camera. Something he often does when back into a corner. According to his new agency, in this case, he ordered his pilots to perform quote, complicated air combat actions. In case they're needed against the U.S.

Tonight, there's also word that the dictator could be preparing for other weapons against America, in case his talks with President Trump which are already strained fully breakdown. New satellite images analyzed by the group Beyond Parallel, show the presence of what the group calls specialized train rail cars, near and enrichment facility at North Korea's Yongbyon nuclear complex.

DAVID ALBRIGHT, FORMER U.N. WEAPONS INSPECTOR: This is likely the plan to separate tritium, it's used in thermal nuclear weapons. They were produced in a reactor n Yongbyon, and they would have shifted possibly by a rail car to this facility.

TODD: Beyond Parallel says it can't rule out the possibility that these cars are being used to move radioactive material. Although it cannot confirm that is being done. CNN reached out to the White House, the state department and the CIA. None of whom are commenting on these new pictures. Analysts believe that while he is doing this diplomatic dance with President Trump, Kim is still producing nuclear bombs and missiles in secret.

ALBRIGHT: The biggest fear is that he is refining his ability to put a thermal nuclear weapon on an ICBM and building many of those. Many in that sense is, you know, five to 10. And it would be able to really target United States.

TODD: As for these new pictures, analysts say it's possible that North Koreans want U.S. official to see what they're doing. And want to send a signal. COL. DAVID MAXWELL (RET), FOUNDATION FOR DEFENSE OF DEMOCRACIES: To

raise tensions or conduct provocations to get political or economic concessions. They want political concessions, they want the United States to agree to a summit, but most importantly, they want United States to lift sanctions.

TODD: And tonight, Kim seems to be preparing to use another kind of leverage against President Trump. A senior Russian official tells CNN, preparations are being made for a possible meeting between Kim and Russian President Vladimir Putin. Reports say they could meet as early as next week in Russia's Far East. Putin analysts say would love to drive a wedge between Kim and Trump. And Kim could use Putin to his own advantage.

MAXWELL: Kim wants to see Putin to be able to use him to support his blackmail diplomacy. An alliance or close relationship with Putin will put pressure on the United States.

TODD: And analysts warn there are other ways that Vladimir Putin could help out Kim Jong-un. They say the Russians could give them some important weapons to the North Korean leader. Aircraft, maybe even submarines. And they say, Russia could help North Korea perfect its capabilities in cyber warfare. Capabilities that have already been very dangerous for the United States. Brian Todd, CNN, Washington.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

RIPLEY: Once again, just updating that breaking news, North Korea demanding that the U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo be taken out of the equation when it comes to denuclearization talks with United States. This is a significant development because Secretary Mike Pompeo has visited North Korea several times. He has met repeatedly with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un.

But the North Koreans say they are angry about this that you're watching right here, Pompeo's testimony in Washington where he spoke with lawmakers and acknowledge that little progress of any has been made on the key issue of getting North Korea to denuclearize. He told lawmakers that there are no international inspectors in North Korea. And from the North Korean perspectives, the remarks that Pompeo gave was disrespectful to Kim Jong-un himself. And so they want him to no longer be their negotiating partner.

This puts President Trump in a very different position. Because Pompeo has been his lead negotiator. If he (inaudible) yes to the North Korean demands and put somebody else front and center. That could be perceived as weakness on the part of the North Koreans, on the other hand, if he insist that Pompeo remains the negotiators, there is no guarantee that the North Koreans will agree to sit down and talk with him.

Where does that leave this process? Where do things go from here? Well, as we've seen, North Korea with these, you know, militaristic actions as of late this tactical weapons test and of course that air force combat readiness drill. A lot of analysts watching this, looking pretty nervous about where all of this may be headed. We will keep you posted here on CNN's.

Switching now though to Indonesia where the votes are still being counted. And in that Monmouth election, this is the biggest single day election in the world, really, I mean, early results are showing that President Joko Widodo, he is on course to win a second term in office, but it's incredible how they do this. I mean, the final results are not expected for another month, but in order to pull off this thing, the world's biggest, 193 million or so, eligible voters they have to take the ballots by boat, by horseback, by plane, they are running through the streets with the ballots to reach as many voters as they could across Indonesia's 17,000 islands. Just incredible.

[03:40:01] We are tracking a developing story out of Taiwan. The U.S. geological survey is reporting a 6.0 magnitude earthquake. They said it hit the country's eastern coastline. And we just got this new video from capitol, Taipei. Have a look here, this is -- we are actually seeing this for the first time. It shows the shaking in an office building.

Wow. Obviously very alarming for the people there with the lights fixtures swinging from the ceilings. However Taiwan's weather bureau says there are no immediate reports of major damage or any injuries, but certainly unsettling as someone who has lived in Japan and gone through many earthquakes, when the ground starts shaking. It gets your attention. It makes you very nervous. We'll keep following that one for you as well.

Turning to India now though, at least 29 people have been killed, 29 people in a seasonable rain and thunderstorms that are just battering part of the country right now. There had been reports that everything from strong wind, knocking down buildings, stalls, or toppling trees. And we are hearing that there is no relief. The severe thunderstorms are expected for the next few days. India's Prime Minister says the government will provide financial assistance to the families of the people who were killed. Meteorologist Pedram Javaheri, joins me now from the International Weather Center. So, what's fueling all of this?

PEDRAM JAVAHERI, CNN METEOROLOGIST: We've got moisture coming in from the West, Will and this is rather unseasonal for this time of year. This is as quiet as the time of year it gets across this region, typically almost (inaudible) to see a significant amount of rainfall and in particular to see over a multi-day period. So, expect additional rainfall in the next couple of days, but the system have been coming over this region in the last couple days and with it, of course, significant winds, 70 to 80 kilometers per hour. Some areas closing on 90 kph and then, you look at the damage, not just confined towards India, but even in Pakistan, we have conditions go downhill with heavy rainfall and flooding.

We had significant winds again in Karachi in Pakistan, were trees have come down and some of these had come down on top of properties which has led to the fatalities that we've seen across this region. But the initial band of activity, pushing over portions of Tibet and Plato, so conditions for the time being quieting down, but still going to see moisture surge in, in the next 24 so hours.

And of course, we know, when we talk about India, you've got to talk about direct relation to the agricultural industry, because rainfall has almost everything to do with it. In fact, we know some 50 percent of the population works and the agriculture industry, over 250 million people consider themselves farmers. Which is roughly comparable to the population of United States that kind a give you a sense of scale to that number. And then 15 percent of India's GDP go directly hand in hand with the agricultural industry.

So this show significant amount of rainfall that comes down across this region, but the month of April, is as quiet again as it gets. You can kind of compare that to the latter portion of the year, the dry season, a very persistent dry season, almost desert like in some of these areas, because of a lack of rainfall. So, to see this energy move in for this time of year, is pretty impressive.

And then you take a look 90 percent of the country's rainfall in arts of India come down just in the four months of September -- and June through September. So, certainly an unusual trend and then you take a look at the temperatures have cooled off, with the heavy rainfall, but we expect the heat to return over the next several days. And that is another element that were gonna watch carefully here as we wait for the monsoons which by the way will. The forecast in the last 24 hours is released and expecting a near normal monsoon season which again is very important for this part of the world.

RIPLEY: All right, Pedram, watching it all at the CNN Weather Center. Thank you.

We are going to switched to Peru now. Shock and anger there surrounding the suicide of the former President Allen Garcia. Just as police were preparing to arrest him.

[03:45:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)

RIPLEY: There are questions at this hour about the death by suicide of Peru's former president Allen Garcia. The country's Interior Minister says, officers were at Garcia's home, they were getting ready to arrest him, when he shot himself in the head. CNN's Rafael Romo reports, Garcia had been under investigation for money laundering and taking bribes.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

RAFAEL ROMO, CNN SENIOR LATIN AMERICAN AFFAIRS EDITOR: Allen 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 nonconsecutive 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 corruption scandals involving (inaudible), a Brazilian construction company accused of handing out kickbacks in exchange for lucrative contracts. Garcia was one of four Peruvian former presidents who have 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 received bribes, a judge issued an arrest warrant.

The Peruvian interior minister said Garcia told police officers, who showed up at home to arrest him Wednesday shortly after 6 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 at the hospital burst into tears. Others pay their respects by saying Garcia, in their minds, will never die. Rafael Romo, CNN, Atlanta.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

RIPLEY: We are live in Hong Kong. You're watching CNN Newsroom and we turn to a medical breakthrough after the break. How they prepared this rare genetic disorder to be living in a plastic bubble and now it appears doctors may have found a cure.

Also ahead, self-declared socialist Bernie Sanders appearing in an unlikely television network, Fox News. This one triggered a tirade on Twitter from President Donald Trump.

[03:50:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)

RIPLEY: You may have heard of bubble boy disease. It's a rare genetic disorder that prevents infants from developing an immune system. And now doctors say they found a new treatment for the conditions. And some are even going so far as to call it a cure. CNN's chief medical correspondent Sanjay Gupta report.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

SANJAY GUPTA, CHIEF MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT, CNN: Two year old Ja Ceon Golden is a pretty typical toddler. Likes to play ball, plays peekaboo with the door. But when he was born, he's aunt, who takes care of him, Dannie Hawkins fought moments like this might never be possible.

DANNIE HAWKINS, JA CEON'S AUNT: What kind of life would that be, him not being able, you know, nobody touch him, he can't have friends. He can't go to the birthday parties, he can't swim, you know, how am I going to tell him as he gets older that he can't go outside?

GUPTA: You see, when Ja Ceon was born he screen positive for a genetic condition known as exlink severe combined immuno deficiency disorder. It basically means he has no functioning immune system. You probably know it as bubble boy syndrome. The condition became a part of pop culture after John Travolta play a boy with the same diagnosis in the 1976 movie, the boy in a plastic bubble. Now, while kids didn't actually live in her medically sealed rooms, it was critical to keep patients as best protected from germs and pathogens as possible.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: This babies are prone to severe infections, opportunist to infections. If they are not treated properly on time or early on.

GUPTA: Current treatment requires children with the diagnoses to undergo a bone marrow transplant and a lifetime of immune boosting maintenance with antibiotics and other drugs. But just this week, there's new hope for children like Ja Ceon, because of a new experimental gene therapy treatment development at St. Jude's children research hospital in Memphis.

Here's how it works, researchers harvest the stem cells of kids like Ja Ceon and insert those cells with healthy genes. Those cells are then infused back into the children. Where they repopulates and boost the immune system. Dr. Mort Cowan and oversaw Ja Ceon treatment at the University of California San Francisco's.

DR. MORT COWAN, UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA SAN FRANCISCO: Three to four months post the infusion not only was he able to go home and you know, start to live a relatively normal life, but we were able to take him off all complete isolation and all proactive medications.

GUPTA: Ja Ceon is one of eight children who were treated with this experimental therapy. It's been about a year and half up to two years now since they were treated and all are doing well. They are groundbreaking results were published and the New England Journal of Medicine this week.

COWAN: I don't use the cure word very often for these patients, but I have to tell you that I truly believe that we have cured Ja Ceon of his severe combine immuno deficiency disease.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Say hi.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Hi.

GUPTA: For Ja Ceon, it's the chance to truly live the life he was meant to live. Dr. Sanjay Gupta, CNN, reporting.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

RIPLEY: Do you consider yourself a dog person? That thing, I don't have time to walk the dog or take the dog to the vet. Well, there may be a solution for you. Sounds a little farfetched, but there is a robotics company in United States creating a small army of these robotic canines that they call spot mini's. So they're electric dogs and they are slightly terrifying looking actually, but they are strong enough to pull that truck you see there. OK. They can also walk up hills, climb stairs they can even open doors. OK. I'm sorry that is creepy. I mean, do you want to have that in your house? I don't know.

The company is using this video to spread the word that soon these dogs will be everywhere and you can buy one of your very own. No word yet on the cost.

[03:55:00] I don't know how that is going to attract people to want to have one of those things as a pet. It looks more like it's going to go after me. But anyway, there you go. Spot Mini.

Donald Trump seems to have a love hate relationship with the conservative Fox News channel, we all know this, and lately, his favorite news outlet, well, and it's in the doghouse with the president. Because he thinks they have made some questionable decisions. Here's Jeanne Moos.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

JEANNE MOOS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Trump and Fox News go together like love and marriage and on stage hugs for Sean Hannity, Judge Jeanine Pirro gives the president a little bow.

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: They've done an incredible job for us. Laura, I love your show, I watch it all the time.

MOOS: But lately the marriage has shown a few tini tiny cracks. What with Fox news, tweeted President Trump. Triggered by the enthusiastic reception Bernie Sanders got at that recent Fox News town hall.

SEN. BERNIE SANDERS, (I-VT), U.S. PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Should we give huge tax breaks to billionaires?

MOOS: So weird to watch crazy Bernie on Fox News, President Trump tweeted. Adding, and now we, we he said have Donna Brazile.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: And our brand new Fox News contributor Donna Brazile.

MOOS: Sort of makes it die hard Fox fan long for the days when then that work took aim at President Obama.

SEAN HANNITY, FOX HOST: What is wrong with this president? How dumb is he?

MOOS: But what if Fox News covered Trump the way they covered Obama.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: He's kind of a celebrity president. He is kind of like Ryan Seacrest.

MOOS: Bashing Obama for the things Trump does.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: When he's not doing executive actions, he's out on the golf course.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's like golf, Mr. President, you play a lot of that.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The president seems almost obsessed with cable TV or am I wrong?

MOOS: It's a super cut described as darkly hilarious compound over a couple of months by Producer Michael Lester for the left leaning video news outlet, now this.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I had so many instances of hypocrisy that I had to put them into one video.

MOOS: Network personality berating Obama from 2009 to 2015.

JEANINE PIRRO, FOX HOST: Mister President everyone is laughing at us. You are like a school yard bully. No one is afraid of you. Putin ensures all isn't.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Maybe it's time you stop people to looking at the TV tune to Fox and look to (inaudible) I don't know.

MOOS: The height of hypocrisy? Or maybe Fox News was just ahead of its time.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We have a president who can never admit he's wrong.

MOOS: Who wears it better? Jeanne Moos, CNN.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You're so insecure and then the same time.

MOOS: New York.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

RIPLEY: It will all be so funny if it wasn't true. Anyway, thanks for joining us. We are live in Hong Kong. I'm Wil Ripley, stay with CNN, the news continues with Max Foster in London.

END