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Terror Threats Ignored Ahead of Easter Sunday Bombings; President Trump Worries Not the Mueller Report; Myanmar Supreme Court Rejects Journalists Appeal; Earthquake Struck Philippines; World Health Organization, 264 Killed In Surge Of Fighting In Libya; Terror in Sri Lanka; U.S. Democrats Split On Pursuing Trump Impeachment; U.S. Resident Sought For North Korean Embassy Raid; Russia-North Korea Relations; Heavy Flooding In Quebec. Aired 3-4a ET

Aired April 23, 2019 - 03:00   ET



ROSEMARY CHURCH, CNN ANCHOR: Communities across Sri Lanka mourn the loss of hundreds of lives while authorities work to find who was behind the Easter Sunday blast. We will hear from some of the survivors.

U.S. Democrats revive impeachment talks as President Trump and his allies ramp up their attacks on the Mueller report.

And former White House counsel Don McGahn is ordered to testify to Congress and provide details of his testimony in the Mueller investigation.

Hello and welcome to our viewers joining us from the United States and all around the world. I'm Rosemary Church. And this is CNN Newsroom.

It is an official day of mourning in Sri Lanka. At least 310 people are now confirmed dead in the Easter terror attack. A memorial has been held at one of the churches targeted by the bombers, this in a state of national emergency.

There are fears another plot could be in the works. U.S. officials say they have identified a key attack operative with ties to global terrorism including ISIS. The U.S. warned Sri Lanka ahead of Sunday attack but the government admits it did not do enough. One minister tells CNN it was a colossal failure.


HARSHA DE SILVA, SRI LANKAN ECONOMIC REFORMS MINISTER: The prime minister was unaware. He was kept in the dark. The acting or rather the state minister for defense was not aware. And the president was on a private visit overseas. And I would have expected that prime minister to have been well briefed. But that hasn't happened either.


CHURCH: CNN's Will Ripley joins us now live from Colombo. Will, what is the latest information you have on these deadly terror attacks. And of course, the effort to find all those linked to the bombings.

WILL RIPLEY, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, there's a lot of different strands that we're following right now, Rosemary. One of course, the outrage over the fact that someone or a number of people in the Sri Lankan government dropped the ball when the United States and India were warning them repeatedly in the days leading up to the attack that there was a plot, imminent.

And even one message even pointing specifically to a local Islamic insurgency group, and yet, those calls ignored. And as a result, you had people who were gathered in the street where I'm standing right now for Easter services here at St. Anthony Shrine, children, families, people who were not warned to be vigilant were not warned to be on alert.

And while we have no way of knowing whether it would have made a difference, if the man with a backpack would have stood out, or if somebody would have perhaps done something or not, certainly, they didn't even have that opportunity before the bomb was detonated inside.

We saw a large, you know, police presence here a short time ago. You can still see the officers out here right now. The inside of the church we're told is still not safe to enter. They are still searching through debris. They've recovered around 30 bodies so far and they may find more, they say. Before church officials were even allowed to go inside and start to assess what they are going to need to rebuild.

Six suicide bombers have been identified by the Sri Lankan government. There have been dozens of people arrested. I believe the numbers are around 40 right now. But the concern on the ground here is that the government still doesn't have a full handle on exactly who this terror group is. A terror group that U.S. intelligence says they believe was up inspired by ISIS.

Tonight, a state of emergency in Sri Lanka. And a race to track down a terror network before it strikes again. In Colombo, the bomb squad performing this controlled detonation of a suspicious van near St. Anthony's Church. One of the sanctuaries targeted in a wave of deadly bombings on Easter Sunday.

This new video shows a man state TV calls a suspect in the St. Sebastian Church bombing. Church officials say a bomb in his backpack. One of six suspects wearing backpacks seen walking into churches and luxury hotels just before a series of eight explosions rocked this South Asian island nation.

U.S. and Indian intelligence agencies have warned Sri Lanka authorities for days a local Islamist group was plotting an attack, the government apologizing for the massive intelligence failure, promising to compensate victims' families.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is an attack on everyone, definitely. This aggression just doesn't have any explanation. (END VIDEO CLIP)

[03:04:57] RIPLEY: Interpol and the FBI are now assisting as investigators uncover evidence of what could be a much larger terror plot. Police found 87 detonators at a Colombo bus station. They diffused a six-foot pipe bomb on the main road near the airport. A U.S. official tells CNN the attacks are ISIS inspired.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Suddenly came a big sound, with a big noise. And broken glasses, and dust. All the people are shouting, weeping and we can't realize what happened.


RIPLEY: Bomb after bomb, city after city, it was a terrifying Easter Sunday across Sri Lanka. The primary targets four hotels full of foreigners. And three churches full of Christians. One blast rocked St. Sebastian's Church at the end of Easter mass. A thousand worshippers ran from the horror, lifeless bodies, bloodstained pews. Debris and human remains propelled through the sanctuary into the street.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There were children, there were women, and all by and all were blown off, almost. So, we have more than 100 people who were killed on the spot.


RIPLEY: The violence reminisces of Sri Lanka's bloody 26-year year civil war. The fighting ended 10 years ago next month. Tonight, a new threat putting this entire nation on lock down. Normally busy streets empty, a nationwide curfew in effect. And growing fears in international terror group maybe silently plotting its next move.

There were close to a thousand people here at St. Anthony at the time of the bombing. So, it appears that they were going after places where they knew there would be high concentrations of people.

Now, these churches, along with hotels, the area hotels that were targeted and hotels that were not targeted they all have a familiar sight outside which is heavy security.

I just want to show you this road which is closed off. But you can see beyond the police tape here. And Rob, we can walk over just a bit. People are out on the city. And in fact, we've been driving around and we've seen various vigils that are being held with large groups of people gathering and praying for those who were killed and those who are still, were still in the hospital.

Death toll well over 300 right now, hundreds more being treated. I asked people if they're afraid to be outside to gather publicly despite government warnings that, you know, that could put them at risk. And people say yes, they are afraid but they still feel the need, Rosemary, to come out and pray and show solidarity for the victims of these Easter bombings.

CHURCH: It is so horrific. There are simply no words to describe this whole situation. From the point this failure as was described by one of the ministers there in Sri Lanka to what has happened to the people across the country. It is just too horrendous of word in fact. Will Ripley joining us live from Colombo. Many thanks.

And for more I'm joined from London by Alan Keenan. He is the Sri Lanka project director for the International Crisis Group. Thank you so much for being with us.


CHURCH: And you have lived and worked in Sri Lanka. So, you're very aware of the politics there and the situation there. And of course, the past civil war and the peace that's been in existence for some 10 years.

So far, we know that U.S. officials have identified a key operative linked to a little-known extremist group that's behind these deadly terror attacks with possible ties to global terrorism and ISIS.

Do you think this group was inspired or do you think they had actual outside help from ISIS or another terror group perhaps?

KEENAN: Well, I don't have the resources that intelligence agencies do to know these answers.


CHURCH: Yes. No, I'm just talking in terms of your knowledge of the country. And you would --


KEENAN: Yes, I think --

CHURCH: -- perhaps know of this little-known group and whether it's experience of course. We know with this small group that it had really hadn't really done a lot of things that were related to this level of terrorism. So, from that I'm just wondering whether you want to comment on that.

KEENAN: Yes. Certainly. I think it's fair to assume that this group is in fact if the local group National Thowheed Jamath is in fact involved as they seem to be. They almost certainly had some kind of help from outside. Certainly, this small group has been there for a while.

I think people weren't paying attention to it except some within the Muslim community. It was known for violent rhetoric and it's the pressure it put the intimidation in some cases, violence against other more moderate Muslims. Muslims who are not in the Salafi School. More Sunni oriented in some cases.

So, and there were complaints about this group. But unfortunately, the Muslim leadership and political leadership didn't act to constrain them.

[03:10:04] And they certainly didn't act to follow them closely even after the discovery of these arms in these arms cash in January of this year. That seems to be the same group. So, as --

CHURCH: Right.


CHURCH: Right. And of course, we know that some 24 suspects have been arrested so far. But there are fears that additional suspects might be planning another attack. And what's distressing about that of course as we've seen with our shots, our live shots from streets of Colombo is that people are starting to get back on the streets. They're starting to gather.

And unfortunately, by doing that, you create targets for these terror groups. So how do authorities go about removing or trying to diminish a threat like that?

KEENAN: Well, I think the answer, you know, the ideal is good intelligence. They seem to have not been so good in that department recently. I don't know. I mean, it's definitely one of the scary things for Sri Lankans. I mean, they've very used to bombs and terror incidents from the past. There's been these 10 years without them.

I think even in the worst days of the LTTE there wasn't this sense of uncertainty really, sort of this cycle. You know, so many bombs in one day and then bombs coming, you know, being discovered later. And then fact of the intelligence failure by the government is failure to process their intelligence that they did have from --


KEENAN: -- outside sources and from themselves has really undermines --


CHURCH: Absolutely. I mean, let's talk about that. That is a very distressing part to the story, isn't it? The officials were given credible reports from intelligence officials in Sri Lanka in the United States, in India. And yet, no action appears to have been taken.

And the prime minister and other ministers weren't even told about this intelligence. How much of this is about political infighting. And you lived there in the country that you would have background in that. And how does this government ever explain such a colossal intelligence failing to the families of all the victims.

KEENAN: Well, they can't explain it. They just have to, you know, it's a terrible failure and really a crime almost. I think, you know, it seems from what we know now, that the burden of the fault resides more on the president for refusing to include his own prime minister in this kind of sort of discussions in the processing of this information.

And the president has been at war with his prime minister since the end of last year when there was the constitutional coup in which he tried to replace his prime minister illegally. That was stopped by the Supreme Court. But since then he has continued to try to undermine the prime minister repeatedly through multiple efforts.

So, unfortunately, this seems to be, this intelligence failure seems to be the effect of this other dynamic which is just, you know, a disaster politically for both wings of the government and a disaster of course most obviously for the people who were injured and killed in this explosion and the whole country.

CHURCH: It is. It is horrifying to think that political infighting could result in a situation like this. That they were able to share this intelligence and it didn't happen. Now we don't know whether that would have stopped the result of these bombings. But we do know that at least they would have had people and more security out on the streets but very distressing all around.

Alan Keenan, thank you so much for joining us. We do appreciate it.

KEENAN: You're welcome.

CHURCH: And we are learning more about the victims of this horrific attack. Most of them were Sri Lankans going about their daily lives. And a number of them were foreign nationals. A retired British firefighter, Billy Harrop died alongside his wife Sally. Billy was a commander with the Greater Manchester fire and rescue.

The Manchester evening news reports he was celebrated for his heroism responding to a bombing in 1996.

Another British family was caught up in the attack. Anita Nicholson died along with her two children, Alex and Annabel. Her husband Ben survived. He says his wife and children could light up any room bringing joy to the lives of all.

And this Australian woman and her child are also among the dead. Manik Suriaaratchi and her 10-year-old daughter Alexandria were at a church service in Negombo. His husband is devastated.


SUDESH KOLONNE, HUSBAND AND FATHER OF ATTACK VICTIMS: I am also inside the church at that time. And it's the end of the ceremony and I just walk outside. And the (Inaudible) there is bomb blast.

[03:14:58] I heard a huge noise and I jumped into the church and I saw that my daughter and my wife is on the floor. I don't know what to do. And I was -- I just saw my daughter on the floor and I lift -- I tried to lift her up -- she was already dead -- exactly the same -- next my wife is there. And that's the end of their story my daughter and wife.



CHURCH: Just unimaginable what he is going through at this time. And all of the other loved ones of the victims in those bombings.

And coming up, we will hear from another witness and survivor. He was inside the Shangri-La Hotel when a bomb detonated. How he managed to get out alive. That story still to come.

Plus, Donald Trump celebrates Easter at the White House while Democrats debate impeachment. Why they can't seem to agree on a single strategy.



[03:19:56] CHURCH: There's a legal battle brewing in Washington in the wake of the Special Counsel Robert Mueller's report. The House judiciary committee has issued a subpoena to former White House counsel Don McGahn. He told investigators he refused to follow President Trump's directive to fire Mueller.

Meanwhile, the administration has instructed a former official in charge of security clearances to not comply with the House subpoena. (Inaudible) attorney says his client will listen to the White House.

Well, House Democrats seem to be split on whether to start impeachment proceedings against the president. And although he wasn't showing it in public Monday, sources say he's not happy with the Mueller report.

CNN's Kaitlan Collins reports.

KAITLAN COLLINS, CNN WHITE HOUSE REPORTER: President Trump was all smiles in front of the camera during the Easter egg roll.



COLLINS: But behind the scenes sources say he's fuming over the release of the special counsel's report. And the portrait it paints of a dishonest president whose staff refused to carry out his most extreme demands.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Are you worried that your staff is ignoring your orders as the Mueller report portrays?

TRUMP: Nobody disobeys my orders.


COLLINS: But the Mueller report showed they did, including the White House counsel who refused to fire the special counsel, the attorney general who wouldn't unrecuse himself, the former campaign manager who ignored his command to tell the attorney general to limit the investigation, and the staff secretary who wouldn't gauge the loyalty of DOJ officials.

Sources now say the president is seeking assurances from his current staff that they're following his orders, that as the president and his business are suing the House oversight chairman Elijah Cummings in an attempt to block House Democrats from getting his financial records.

The lawsuit argues Cummings has no legitimate legislative reason to subpoena an accounting company tied to Trump. And the president's outside attorney Jay Sekulow told CNN we will not allow congressional presidential harassment to go unanswered. Democrats say they aren't buying it.


REP. MARY GAY SCANLON (D-PA): He's a lot of bluster. And in the end did those suits go anywhere, no. He ends up withdrawing. He ends up settling because there's nothing to them.


COLLINS: But they're wrestling with another dicey problem, whether the president's behavior justifies impeachment. While some including House Speaker Nancy Pelosi have tried to throw a cold water on the idea. Others aren't ready to walk away yet.


SEN. ELIJAH CUMMINGS (D-MD): Even if we did not win possibly, if there were not impeachment, I think history would smile upon us for standing up for the Constitution.


COLLINS: Trump tweeting that "Only high crimes and misdemeanors can lead to impeachment." But later telling reporters he's not worried about it.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Are you worried about impeachment, Mr. President?

TRUMP: Not even a little bit.


COLLINS: And as Democrats are wrestling with that idea of whether or not they should move forward with impeachment. It's important to keep in mind they would need at least 20 Senate Republicans in order to be successful in their efforts. That's a number that right now Democrats aren't even close to.

Kaitlan Collins, CNN, the White House.

CHURCH: So, let's get some legal perspective on this. Jessica Levinson is a professor of law at Loyola Law School and joins me now from Los Angeles. Great to have you with us.


CHURCH: So, although Democrats appear to have backed away from impeachment proceedings for now at least, they are doubling down on investigating the president. From a legal perspective what are the risks involved for the Democrats if they don't impeach given what was revealed in the Mueller report, and what are the risks if they do?

LEVINSON: Well, I actually think that that is largely a political question because impeachment really is -- it's something that's obviously legally allowed under the Constitution. It's a mechanism by which we can try and remove the president of the United States. It's one of the most important mechanisms in our Constitution. It overturns an election.

But legally speaking, it really is -- I don't think the repercussions are as great as they are politically. I mean, politically if they decide not to do anything, then I think what they can say is what we investigated, we looked at the Mueller report and we've decided that we weren't going to overturn the will of the people.

I think if they decide to go through with impeachment, they really risk their voter's patience because I don't think there's a will in the Senate to convict. And of course, what you need to remove a sitting president is a two-thirds vote in the Senate. Not just a majority vote in the House.

CHURCH: Right. And of course, the Trump organization is suing to block Democrats from obtaining the president's financial records, calling it unprecedented overreach of congressional authority.

[03:24:57] The lawsuit argues that House oversight chairman Elijah Cummings has no legitimate legislative reason to subpoena an accounting company tied to Trump. House successful will that lawsuit likely be do you think?

LEVINSON: I don't think it's likely to be successful. I was looking back; I was reading prior cases. I'm not aware of another situation where a sitting president sued a member of Congress in this situation.

And if you notice the language of the lawsuit it really is incredibly broad. It's not saying that Congress lacks the power to subpoena. And it's not going to any specific statute. It sounds like the language of political argument where they're saying it's harassment. There's no real purpose here.

And so, it is unquestionable and we talk about this with respect to, you know, can you ask the president for tax returns. They do have the power to subpoena this information. I think that they absolutely have the basis and the foundation to do it based on the testimony that Michael Cohen, Mr. Trump's personal attorney gave to Congress. And so, I think they stand on very strong legal footing here.

CHURCH: Right. Interesting. It will take time presumably. And that's what's behind all of this. So, President Trump says he's not worried about being impeached and he tweeted that he can't be impeached anyway because he hasn't committed any crimes. So, he will be relieved to hear that the Democrats won't be impeaching him for now. But how concerned should he be about the continued investigations into his legal and financial affairs?

LEVINSON: Well, I would say one, you do not need a conviction in a court of law in order to be impeached. So that is just factually and legally incorrect. I mean, we know that you can draw up, for instance, articles of impeachment based on allegations of obstruction of justice which frankly, I think are stronger here based on the Mueller report than they are in other circumstances, for instance, President Clinton who lied under oath or President Nixon who ultimately resigned before he was impeached.

But in terms of the legal trouble, a lot of commentators have noted, and I think this is potentially right. That what Mr. Trump is most worried about is actually digging into not whether or not there was conspiracy between the Trump campaign and the Russian government but this issue of his finances of looking into his organization's finances, potentially the charity. And maybe even the Trump inauguration.

So, I think if you look at the how defensive he's been and how much he has not wanted to give over this information, I think he's actually quite worried. All indications are that there may be a there there when it comes to his financial issues.

CHURCH: Interesting. All right. Jessica Levinson, thank you so much for joining us. I appreciate it.

LEVINSON: Thank you.

CHURCH: And it's time for a short break. Still to come, though, the U.S. Democratic presidential hopefuls give their take on impeachment. And we'll explain why the House wants to hear from former White House counsel Don McGahn.

Plus, a country on edge. As Sri Lanka struggle with the aftermath of the Easter terror attacks even this controlled explosion by police was enough to send many into a panic.

We're back in just a moment.


ROSEMARY CHURCH, CNN ANCHOR: Welcome back, everyone in the United States and of course all around the world, joining us for the show. I'm Rosemary Church. I want to update you now on the main stories we're following this hour. Myanmar's Supreme Court has decided to uphold the conviction of two Reuters reporters, the journalist have been jailed since December of 2017. For breaking a colonial era official secret's rule. Wa Lone and Kyaw Soe Oo were investigating the killing of 10 Rohingya Muslim men during a military crackdown. A district judge found them guilty last year and sentenced them to seven years in prison.

In the Philippines, a 6.1 magnitude earthquake killed at least nine people on the island of Luzon and caused this supermarket to collapse on Monday. Chinese media report, a search and rescue operation is under way to free 31 people believed trapped inside the market. And even stronger earthquake hit on the island of Samar a short time ago. The extent of damage tied to that quake is not yet known.

The World Health Organization says at least 264 people have been killed in fighting in Libya. The Libyan national army ally to a government in the east has launched an offense on Tripoli, the United Nations recognized capitol in the west. The country has been in chaos since Muammar Gaddafi was ousted in 2011.

The Easter Sunday attacks in Sri Lanka were likely inspired by ISIS. That is according to at least one U.S. official. The U.S. thinks it identified a key operative in the blast. Who may have ties to global terrorism? At least 310 people were killed when bombers targeted churches and hotels. Sri Lankan police say they have arrested at least 40 people in connection to the bombings.

And Sri Lanka is understandably on edge following Sunday's massacre. So much so that even a controlled detonation by police sent many into a panic. Ivan Watson was there and shows us what happened?


IVAN WATSON, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: After Easter Sunday's deadly wave of suicide bomb attacks, Sri Lanka police aren't taking any chances. Nerves are still very much on edge here in the Sri Lankan capitol. Security forces are investigating a suspicious vehicle down there. Treating it as if it could be booby trapped.

Moments later, the bomb squad carries out a controlled detonation. The powerful blast surprises nearly everyone. Triggering panic in the neighborhood. Later, police say the suspect vehicle had indeed been rigged with explosives. It was parked a stone's throw away from one of Colombo's catholic churches.

This is St. Anthony shrine, it is one of the several catholic churches to have been attacked on Easter Sunday. The mood here the day after is somber. Sri Lanka has extensive experience with deadly acts of political violence. And yet a top official tells me the scale of these terror attacks is something entirely new for this country.

[03:35:05] SAJITH PREMADASA, MINISTER OF HOUSING, CONSTRUCTION, CULTURAL AFFAIRS: It's a shock to the whole country, but we will also play shock therapy to ensure that terrorism will be eradicated.

WATSON: but while talking tough the government issued a public apology on Monday. A government minister published excerpts of this memo earlier between security chiefs. Citing an unnamed foreign intelligence service, it warns that a home grown Islamist extremist group was plotting suicide attacks against catholic churches. Senior government officials asking why the warning was apparently ignored.

PREMADASA: There has been a breach of security. There has been some negligence and incompetence.

WATSON: The vicious attacks frightening members of the Sri Lanka's small Christian community. Sister Ramoshini Fernando says her father was wounded in the blast.

SISTER RAMOSHINI FERNANDO, SRI LANKAN NUN: If they kill me it's OK. I don't have family. I offered my life for the love of god. But killing this innocent people and those who have families is really painful to see.

WATSON: The church clock at St. Anthony's shrine now appears to be frozen. To the hour when the suicide bombers struck. Ivan Watson, CNN, Colombo.


CHURCH: And we are now hearing from some of the survivors. One family over slept and that may very well have saved their lives. CNN spoke to Akshat Saraf, who is now back home in Bengaluru, India. He was vacationing in Colombo with his wife and infant daughter and they were staying at the Shangri-La hotel.


AKSHAT SARAF, WITNESS: At the time of the explosion, 3:05, we were in the room. Which is on Shanri-La on the 25th floor. We were just getting ready to go downstairs for breakfast. When I heard the first loud, it was (inaudible), and at that point I wasn't sure what the nature of the sound was. I (inaudible) like the loudest thunderstorm, probably the loudest thunderstorm I have ever heard of, because the entire room started shaking. A few seconds later was when we heard the second explosion. That is when I thought I should investigate as to where the sound is coming from.

So, I looked outside my room. And I was trying to see if there is any structural damage in the Shangri-La building, but from the 25th floor I could not see any small part of debris falling from the building. So, I was still confused at that point. This was probably just two or three seconds after the second explosion.

But I did noticed that there were a group of individuals who started gathering towards the (inaudible) site and looking toward the Shangri- La building and pointing at something. That is when I realize that probably the sound, the explosive noise did come from our building and I ask my wife to just pick up the passports and we immediately left the room.


CHURCH: To U.S. politics now. Democrats in the House of Representatives appear to be backing away from impeachment proceedings against Donald Trump, at least for now. House Speaker, Nancy Pelosi is urging caution and continued investigations of President Trump before starting any impeachment proceedings. She laid a conference call Monday to discuss strategy and impeachment was a popular question for Democratic presidential candidates during a marathon town hall event on CNN.


SEN. AMY KLOBUCHAR (D-MN), U.S. DEMOCRATIC PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: So, I believe very strongly that President Trump should be held accountable. When you look through that report it is appalling. Some of the things that were going on. The impeachment proceedings are up to the house. They are going to have to make that decision. I'm in the Senate and I believe that we are the jury.

SEN. ELIZABETH WARREN (D-MA), 2020 PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: If any other human being in this country had, I don't know what's documented in the Mueller report, it would be arrested and put in jail. Obstruction of justice is a serious crime. If there's going to be any accountability that accountability has to come from the Congress. And the tools that we are given for that accountability is the impeachment process.

SEN. BERNIE SANDERS, (I-VT), U.S. PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: It goes without saying that the Congress has got to take a hard look at that hard and do a hard investigation. And ask subpoena the people who were mentioned in the report and bring them forward. So to get to the truth. Did Trump actually obstruct justice? But here is my concern. At the end of the day what is most important to me is the seed that Donald Trump is not reelected president.


CHURCH: Well, House Democrats are also anxious to hear from former White House counsel Don McGahn. They have issued a subpoena for him to testify about President Trump's efforts to possibly obstruct justice.

[03:40:08] The Mueller report laid out 10 specific instances from firing the FBI Director to trying to remove Robert Mueller, to telling McGahn to lie about attempts to remove Mueller. Some say experts say McGahn actually saved the president by not following orders, but the president is railing against him. Here's our Tom Foreman.


TOM FOREMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Total BS. As the president rages against the Mueller report. He appears to be singling out one particular person who spoke to investigators. Former White House counsel Don McGahn. Watch out for people to take so called notes, Trump tweeted. When the notes never existed until needed.

DON MCGAHN, THEN- WHITE HOUSE COUNSEL: It's been a privilege to be part of a presidential campaign that was successful.

FOREMAN: It is a big turnaround considering McGahn's role during the Russia probe. It was McGahn who refused to fire the special counsel when Trump said Mueller has to go. McGahn, who refused to lie about it later. The Mueller report indicates both actions protected Trump from obstruction charges. But Jack O'Donnell, a former executive in the Trump organization says Trumps anger is typical.

JACK O'DONNELL, AUTHOR, TRUMPED: In this case where Don McGahn really saved him, it's not relevant because the bigger picture makes Donald look bad.

I don't have a list of the enumerated powers, I can look to and advice the president on what he can and he can't do. It's a more general.

FOREMAN: The Mueller report suggests Trump was always suspicious of McGahn's potential power. Why do you take notes? Trump reportedly said in a meeting. Lawyers don't take notes. When McGahn said he was a real lawyer. Trump shot back. I have had a lot of great lawyers like Roy Cohn. He did not take notes. Cohn served Senator Joe McCarthy during his infamous campaign to root out communists and he worked for Trump in the 1970s when Trump's company was accused of discriminating against African Americans. Cohn had to settle in that legal battle and eventually lost his license for unethical conduct. Still, the before McGahn left the White House last fall, Trump said, he would not be erect.

TRUMP: He has done an excellent job.


TRUMP: No. Not at all.

FOREMAN: Perhaps the president had reason to think that. After all when he was trying to get his casinos up and running years ago battling politicians and regulators and more. Who helped managed every detail no matter how small. Don McGahn's uncle, Pat.

O'DONNELL: Because literally Donald could ask Pat McGahn to do anything. And he would do it for him. Obviously Don McGahn had his limits with Donald Trump.

FOREMAN: So Trump fans are facing something of a puzzle right now. What should they think of Don McGahn? Sure, the president is putting him down, but he is also the very man who appears to have saved the Trump presidency. Tom Foreman, CNN, Washington.


CHURCH: And still to come on CNN. Spanish authorities say this U.S. resident led a raid on North Korea's embassy in Madrid and he is nowhere to be found.


CHURCH: We are getting breaking news out of the Northern Ireland. Where police in London dairy have arrested a 57 year-old woman in connection with to the murder of journalist Lyra McKee. So, we are just getting this information now. This 57-year-old woman was arrested under the terrorism act in connection with the murder of -- you see her there of journalist Lyra McKee. She was there in London Dairy, during a protest and was shot and killed. And this woman has been taken into custody in connection to that. We will continue to follow this story. As we get more details.

We'll continue on now, North Korea says its leader will travel to Russia for a summit with President Vladimir Putin. State media didn't say when or where the visit will happen. Pyongyang only says it will be soon. And Mr. Putin invited Kim Jong-un. Now this will be the first summit between North Korean and Russian leaders since the current president's father Kim Jong-il met with then President Dimitri Medvedev back in 2011.

Well, meanwhile we are following surprising new developments surrounding a mysterious break in at the North Korea embassy in Spain. CNN's Brian Todd has our report.


BRIAN TODD, CNN CORRESPONDENT: It was a bizarre and brazen heist aimed at North Korea and its dictator Kim Jong-un. Carried out in broad daylight against the brutal regimes embassy in Spain back in February. Ten men gained entry into the compound allegedly by posing as businessmen. Tying up the staff and beating them. Spanish officials say, before making off in embassy vehicles with a stash of thumb drives hard drives, computers and phones. A gold mine former say for western intelligence.

CNN has now learned U.S. marshals are searching for this man. Adrian Hong, a Mexican national and U.S. resident who Spanish authorities say led the embassy assault. Authorities raided Hong's apartment Thursday, but didn't find him there. A source close to Hong, shared this video exclusively with CNN. His lawyer now tells CNN, Adrian Hong has gone to ground.

LEE WOLOSKY, ATTORNEY FOR ADRIAN HONG: Well, he certainly fears for his safety, we do have reason to believe that North Korean hit squads have been dispatched to target Mr. Hong.

TODD: Adrian Hong is a leader of the group once known as Cheollima Civil Defense. His lawyer now says they want to be called the provisional government of free (inaudible), they are sworn enemy of Kim Jong-un regime.

TARA O, PACIFIC FORUM: The goal is to overthrow the regime and bring in human rights and other freedom to North Korea.

TODD: A former U.S. marine name Christopher Hong, another alleged member of the group was taken into custody by U.S. marshals in Los Angeles on Thursday. Though it's not clear what Hong has been charged with. His case is under seal. And his lawyer hasn't commented. This is a picture of Hong taken with the son of Kim Jong-un half-brother. According to Adrian's lawyer, Christopher Aung helped extract that young man and his family from Macau to a safe location two years ago. Shortly after Kim allegedly had his half-brother murdered at an airport in Malaysia. It's not clear if Aung was involve in the wave on the embassy in Spain

on February 22nd. But Hong's lawyer admits his client was. He says the group was invited inside and wasn't violent. Spanish officials say Adrian Hong caught a plane to the U.S. shortly after the embassy raid. And Hong's group says it shared the material taken from the raid with the FBI at the FBI's request. What could the bureau learn about operations at that North Korean embassy?

[03:50:10] ROBERT BAER, FORMER CIA OPERATIVE: The North Koreans we suspect are involved in narcotics, in murder. All sorts of things and get confirmation to this hard intelligence is very difficult to do and it's never given opportunity like this.

TODD: Adrian Hong's attorney Lee Wolosky told us that he's concerned that his client was taken into custody, that he might eventually be extradited to North Korea. The Justice Department were not commenting on any other aspect of this case has told CNN essentially it would not try to facilitate that extradition. The FBI when we asked about any information that might have been shared with the bureau from the raid at North Korea's embassy in Madrid would not comment. Brian Todd, CNN, Washington.


CHURCH: Well, thousands of homes have been evacuated in Quebec, Canada. Due to heavy flooding rain and warmer spring weather could make things even worse. The latest forecast still to come.


CHURCH: Welcome back, everyone. Well, warm temperatures and melting snow are causing heavy flooding in Canada's Quebec province.

[03:55:01] And authorities expect conditions to get even worse. We turn now to our meteorologist, Pedram Javaheri. He has been keeping a very close eye on this. So, what is the latest, Pedram?

PEDRAM JAVAHERI, CNN METEOROLOGIST: Rosemary, this could be very well a long drawn out event in the next couple weeks here. And we do have one more system to tell you about that is going to bring us some rainfall here inside the next 12 to 18 hours showers possible across these regions. So, really, the last thing you want to see as far as getting mild temperatures.

Those snowfall in recent days and of course, now seen rapid melting, Rosemary, noted there. Notice the system gets to the late afternoon and evening hours potentially into the overnight from Montreal towards Quebec City, getting some heavy rainfall. And generally across this region, 25 in some areas, maybe 50 millimeters of rainfall. It may not seem like a tremendous amount, bit for what is occurring across this region, it's plenty rainfall to cause additional damage. And we know the temperatures have been rather mild. From 17 on Sunday to 13 on Monday. And it cools off just a bit.

But the critical component is, that it is above freezing. So, any snow on the ground and I'm here to tell you this, there's plenty of snow on the ground there as much as 25 to 50 centimeters of snow depth across this region Will all begin melting very quickly and on average three days of temperatures above 10 degrees melts about five to 10 centimeters of snow.

So, with this pace and the current temperature trend, we expect several more weeks of melting to take place there. You kind of brought out the perspective and notice still much, much more snow to go across the northern tier of this province. So all of the rivers, all of the tributaries, Rosemary, we are going to see waters rise here before thing improve in the next couple of weeks.

CHURCH: Thank you so much for keeping a very close eye on all of that, Pedram. I appreciate it.

JAVAHERI: Thank you.

CHURCH: And thank you for your company. I'm Rosemary Church. Remember to connect with me anytime on Twitter. Early start is next. For our viewers here on the United States and for everyone else, stay tuned for more news with Max Foster in London, have yourselves a great day.