Return to Transcripts main page


Too Late For Regrets; Kim Jong-un Meets His New Bromance; Woman Burned Alive for Refusing to Drop Charges; Protesters Wants Power to be Handed to Civilian Rule; Kim Jong-un Travels To Vladivostok To Meet Vladimir Putin; U.N., 272 Killed In Libya Fighting This Month; World's First Malaria Vaccine Going To African Children; Authorities Give New Details On Sri Lanka Bombings; Another Roadblock From Donald Trump; Jared Kushner Slams Mueller Investigations; Girl Born With No Hands Wins Handwriting Competition; Prince Memoir To Be Published In October. Aired 3-4a ET

Aired April 24, 2019 - 03:00   ET



ROSEMARY CHURCH, CNN ANCHOR: Sri Lankan officials reveal what they know about the terrorist responsible for the horrifying Easter massacre as the country mourns the victims and the families say goodbye to loved ones.

Plus, Moscow welcomes Kim Jong-un. And the North Korean leader says this is just the first step as he shares how happy he is to be on Russian soil.

And a gruesome murder is sparking widespread outrage in Bangladesh after a young woman is burned alive for reporting sexual harassment.

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

Sri Lankan authorities have just released new details about Sunday's bomb attacks. The country's state defense minister spoke at a news conference earlier at least 359 people are now confirmed dead.

And authorities say that there are at least nine attackers. ISIS has claimed responsibility and release video of the suspected bombers. The man with his face uncovered is said to be their leader Zahran Hashim.

The minister blamed an Islamic who is link to a group for these attacks. He would not name the group's leader but says he committed suicide at the Shangri-La Hotel. There have been fears of more attacks with some suspects re still on the run. But authorities have vowed to find those responsible.


RUWAN WIJEWARDENE, SRI LANKAN STATE MINISTER OF DEFENSE: Investigations have come, have gathered quite a lot of intel of this and we will be making further arrests in the length within the next couple of days. And we've formally said that within the next couple of days that security agencies will have the situation of this country under control.


MACCALLUM: Well, for more, CNN's Nikhil Kumar is live in Colombo, he joins us now. So, Nikhil, let's look at that news conference where the defense minister and we talked about this last hour. He really struggled, didn't he, to answer many of these questions and his tone wasn't quite right throughout that whole news conference it has to be said as well. But talk to us about what all we learned.

NIKHIL KUMAR, CNN NEW DELHI BUREAU CHIEF: That's right, Rosemary. He did seem to struggle a little bit as he tried to update everyone on this investigation and how it's unfolding and what they're trying to do now to capture the people who the government says are out there who might yet pose a threat.

We learned, for example, about the bombers who undertook the attacks on Easter Sunday hitting targets such as the church behind me, St. Anthony's in Colombo.

One of them, for example, he told us, he came from a relatively comfortable background, studied in the U.K. that post graduate studies in Australia before returning to Sri Lanka and settling here.

He also acknowledged the big controversy around this whole tragedy right now which is the controversy to do with the intelligence lapses. He refers to them in the press conference.


WIJEWARDENE: Well, that was definitely a lapse of intelligence. And the government has, you know, we have to take responsibility because unfortunately, this -- the sharing of the -- the intelligence information had been given to the right people I think at least this could have been, I believe could be avoided or even minimized, the situation could have been minimized.

We cannot check off. The government cannot say that we are not responsible that they have a certain degree of reasonability here.


KUMAR: So, Rosemary, the government has previously apologized for the lapses that took place ahead of the Easter Sunday attack. The prime minister has said that he was kept in the dark about the specific information that Sri Lanka had received ahead of time that could potentially have been acted upon to stop this from happening.

The president has said last night in a televised that he was unaware. And this has become a real issue for people here, that even as they mourn, even as they try and move on from this tragedy and try and take in what happened. We had a wake just few hundred meters from here where a 19-year-ols was mourning his father who died in this very church.

Even as people try to come to terms with what happened they are getting increasingly angry as these questions surface about how much was known, why wasn't enough done. And why are on guards were now all over this country, why won't they out down on Sunday before worshippers went into churches like this one. Rosemary?

[03:05:02] CHURCH: Yes. That anger is so understandable and it's just unacceptable what has happened here. And of course, that's resulted more than 300 deaths.

But what more did the defense minister reveal about the local Islamist group behind these deadly attacks and their possible links to ISIS?

KUMAR: So, they're still investigating those links to see if it's more than ideology and this is, as they trying to investigate any foreign connections and trying to understand what the connections were, you know whether there were financial or otherwise. They're still looking into that.

And this is all, of course, unfolding as they still try and make sure that no further attacks take place. The prime minister in his press conference yesterday, he made clear that there was a threat still out there, a real threat.

So this is both a live situation where they are trying to catch up where the perpetrators are still out there and at the same time investigate what unfolded and investigate the links to any foreign groups or individuals. Rosemary?

CHURCH: All right. Nikhil Kumar, thank you so much for keeping us up to date on all the latest developments coming out of Sri Lanka. We appreciate it, live from Colombo.

Well, four hotels and three churches were hit in Sunday's terror attacks. The vast majority of the victims were Sri Lankan but many international visitors were also killed.

CNN's Nick Paton Walsh spoke with an American father who survived the attacks but lost two of his children. He recounts the horrors of the blast in this CNN exclusive.

NICK PATON WALSH, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Over 300 lives lost one father we spoke to, an American investment banker, Matt Linsey lost both of his teenage children. He had taken with him on holiday that began in Vietnam ended up in the Sri Lankan up market hotel of the Shangri-La and that was torn apart along with their lives by the two blasts that hit the breakfast buffet, extraordinary loss for Matt and he found sometime to speak to us earlier.


MATT LINSEY, SRI LANKA ATTACK SURVIVOR: When the bomb went off, you know, there's a -- it's hard to describe. it's like a wave coming through --

WALSH: The pressure.

LINSEY: -- the pressure. It's hard. So, my children were so -- they had actually went down to the buffet before me and got the food for me and filled up my plate and then I wanted a little bit more to drink. I was going to get it. My daughter said don't get it. And then the bomb went off and they both were running toward me.

And I'm not sure whether that's what, you know, killed them or not but we started -- and I knew there'd another bomb because they always into these things. Another bomb went off and that's --


WALSH: So, your instinct was to get out.

LINSEY: Yes, as soon as possible.

WALSH: To move them with you?

LINSEY: Maybe I should have just stayed and covered them with my body.

WALSH: And it was the second blast near the other day.

LINSEY: They both were unconscious. My daughter seems to be moving, my sons wasn't. A woman offers to take my daughter downstairs to the ambulance. I needed help moving my son. Someone helps me move him down the stairs. And they both ended up in the same hospital.

WALSH: And you traveled with them to the hospital or?

LINSEY: I traveled with my son because my daughter went down before and I traveled with my son to the hospital.

WALSH: Do you recall in the hospital finding your daughter?

LINSEY: I mean, this is the worst part because I yelled for help that's why I lost my voice for my son and tried to massage his heart. And the people were very helpful the rudimentary facilities there, they did their best.

I mean, the doctor there has been kindly took me to the U.S. embassy. I was there eight hours. And they got me out of the other country. And they were very, very efficient and very kind. And I want that to be noted, that's really important.

You know, if anyone important -- the State Department is watching, whatever, police, the job done by U.S. embassy in Sri Lanka was fantastic.

WALSH: It's incredibly hard to explain to anybody what it must be like to fill through a situation like that. Has it left you full of rage?

LINSEY: My daughter and I, one of our favorite songs was a song called "Love is the Answer." And when my dad passed away my daughter and I have become sort of our song and she was only six. And yes, you want the government to do what they have to do to stop these people. I agree with that completely. But also, the people on the other side, you know, love is the answer,

ultimately, and helping people, and you know, what will be good is giving Sri Lanka and helping the medical facilities there, money to go to the country to help because a lot of local people died, and probably unnecessary.

And my children maybe they could have survived if there is right medical facilities. But I took that risk going to that country and I have to blame myself for that.


WALSH: Devastating loss. One family they're really, I think bringing home exactly what this sort of murderous, senseless violence does to a basic family unit.

[03:10:02] Nick Paton Walsh, CNN, London.

CHURCH: Just heartbreaking to think of the grief of all of these families and what they're going through at this time.

For more on the victims of the Sri Lanka attacks you can go to our web site at

Well, North Korean leader Kim Jong-un and Russian President Vladimir Putin are about to hold their first summit. Mr. Kim travel there by private train. A Kremlin aide says they do not plan to sign an agreement or make a joint statement following their meeting in Vladivostok.

This summit comes as talks between Pyongyang and Washington on nuclear disarmament have stall.

So, let's turn to Paula Hancocks who's following developments. She joins us now live from Seoul. And of course, we talked about this last hour, Paula. When you're looking at these two leaders getting together and they had been planning this for a very long time. The timing is interesting.

But at the same time, we learned there won't be any agreement, there won't be any joint statements. So, what is in it for the two leaders?

PAULA HANCOCKS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Rosemary, it is interesting that they've said ahead of time there's not going to be any kind of statement or agreement, potentially learning lessons from the Hanoi summit when the U.S. President Donald Trump and his team ahead of time there will be some kind of sign statement, and then of course they have to pull that back and backpedal somewhat.

So, it is interesting as well, the timing of it. I've spoken to many long time North Korean observers over the past few days and everybody says there's no accident in this timing.

And the fact that there was no agreement between the U.S. and North Korea after the Hanoi summit inevitably plays into this. This is what one expert had to say. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JAMES STEINBERG, FORMER U.S. DEPUTY SECRETARY OF STATE: The North Koreans were unsuccessful in getting the kinds of concessions that they hope to get our President Trump, and so they need to find an alternative way to get some pressure on the United States and also to escape the pressure that comes from the continued imposition of sanctions.


HANCOKS: Now it been sometimes since the U.S. -- since the Russian President Vladimir Putin had extended that investigation to Kim Jong- un. So certainly, the fact to come just a couple of months after the Hanoi summit ended without agreement is significant, many are saying. But also, the question is what can Russia give to Kim Jong-un, what can they pledge to make this trip worthwhile?

Kim Jong-un has made no secret of the fact that he would like sanctions to be eased. This is what we understand that he was asking for. We heard from the U.S. side and the North Korean side at Hanoi. That the North Koreans say they want some sanctions lifted. President Trump saying they wanted all of the sanctions lifted.

But certainly, there is an estimation amongst most that these sanctions are really starting to affect North Korea now. So, from Russia's point of view, as they voted for those sanctions, they're part of the United nations Security Council. They are a member of the Security Council and they supported those sanctions. They cannot do anything unilaterally.

They have in the past few months been vocal in saying that they thought the time had come that the sanctions should start to be eased as have the Chinese.

But certainly, from a unilateral point of view it's very difficult to see what financially they could do for North Korea. But North Korea and Russia have a very longstanding relationship for many decades. They have been close allies. Russia has not played a huge part in Northeast Asia over recent years. But potentially, this is once again North Korea making contact with Russia going back to its traditional allies. Rosemary?

CHURCH: Right. The United States and the rest of the world are watching very closely to see what comes out of this summit.

Paula Hancocks joining us live from Seoul in South Korea. Many thanks.

We'll take a short break here. Still to come on CNN, we're following protesters in Bangladesh demanding justice for a teenager burned alive for allegedly refusing to drop a sexual harassment complaint.

Plus, Sudan could be on the verge of a major confrontation between the military council and protestors. The head of the council tells CNN how he will deal with their movement and whether he'll step aside.

We're back with all of that in just a moment.


CHURCH: In Sudan, demands for a transfer of power to civilian rule are growing louder. A train packed with hundreds of protesters from the cradle of the uprising is now in the capital where it was met by crowds of supporters.

They're calling for more big rallies and sit-ins saying talks with the military transitional council have broken down after former President Omar al-Bashir was toppled. The council wants to reopen blocked roads but the Sudanese Professionals Association is warning them against using force.

The head of the council spoke with our Nima Elbagir about what comes next.


NIMA ELBAGIR, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: You are somebody who has had a lengthy career in the Sudanese army. You are the inspector general. And now you find yourselves at the head of a coup. Why? What drove you to be part of this?

ABDEL FATTAH ABDELRAHMAN AL-BURHAN, HEAD, SUDAN'S TRANSITIONAL COUNCIL (through translator): I am not heading the coup. The armed forces took a decision to side with the people. This is the wish of the people. What the armed forces are doing now is not a coup but they're taking the side of the civilians.

ELBAGIR: And when the public wants you to go. Will you go?

AL-BURHAN (through translator): Straight away.

ELBAGIR: What about the protesters themselves? Will you allow them to continue to occupy the space that they are occupying in front of the military headquarters?

AL-BURHAN (through translator): Yes. We are waiting for them to initiate the end of protest. They are civilians and force will not be used to disperse them.

ELBAGIR: Let's talk a little bit about what your relationship with the United States. A U.S. delegation just came to see you and to speak with you. What is your biggest priority when it comes to your relationship with the United States?

AL-BURHAN (through translator): We promised the United States that we would work on transferring power to the people as soon as possible. Our cooperation will continue in all matters. There is room for negotiation and cooperation and security matters.

ELBAGIR: We know that a process has begun to prosecute former President Omar al-Bashir for financial malpractice. But of course, there are bigger allegations and bigger concerns. For example, the crimes that were committed in Darfur, the death of the protesters. What are you going to do to make sure that he faces justice for that?

AL-BURHAN (through translator): In Sudan, we have an effective, authoritative judicial system. They will take care of prosecuting him for the for the allegations against him.

ELBAGIR: Do you expect that he will be facing charges of crimes against humanity for what happened in Darfur here in Sudan?

AL-BURHAN (through translator): He would face trial for all the allegations against him.

ELBAGIR: What would be your message to the world? What would you ask the world to do for Sudan?

AL-BURHAN (through translator): We want everyone to trust that the Sudanese armed forces are working with civilians. We want to transfer power and move from the injustice and oppression of the past to a new democratic and free era.


[03:20:05] CHURCH: Well human rights lawyer Amal Clooney, wife of Hollywood superstar George Clooney appeared before the U.N. Security Council on Tuesday to support a resolution aimed at protecting victims of sexual violence in warzone conflicts.

She was joined by Nadia Murad, an Iraqi Yazidi woman once held as a sex slave by ISIS militants.


AMAL CLOONEY, HUMAN RIGHTS LAWYER: This is your Nuremberg moment. Your chance to stand on the right side of history. You owe it to Nadia and to the thousands of women and girls who must watch ISIS members shave off their beards and go back to their normal lives where they, the victims, never can.


CHURCH: But the Security Council approved a watered-down version of the resolution after the U.S. lobbied for the removal of any reference to the use of abortion services.

Well, Lyra McKee's funeral begins in just a few hours from now. Earlier, people joined a vigil for the journalist who was shot and killed in violent clashed in Northern Ireland last week.

McKee's parents say they are trying to overcome this tragedy as she would with understanding and kindness. The new IRA has apologized for McKee's death.

In a reported statement to the Irish Times the group also accused the young journalist of standing too close to enemy forces.

Well, Saudi Arabia's new agency reports 37 citizens have been executed for terror-related crimes and the body of one of them was put on display as a deterrent to others.

On its Twitter page, the news agency says the death penalty was carried out on those with extremist ideology or performing terrorist to selves. The crown prince has overseen a crackdown on dissent rounding up activists, high profile clerics, businessmen, and princes.

The kingdom has one of the highest death penalty rates in the world behind China and Iran.

In Libya, fighting this month between government troops and a rival militia has killed nearly 300 people and forced tens of thousands from their homes. The country has been in chaos since Muammar Gaddafi was killed in 2011.

Just weeks ago, the militia known as the Libyan National Army launched an offensive on the capital. Government troops have managed to push the LNA back but not before the group gained considerable ground.

Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi is cementing his group on power. The national election authorities say voters have overwhelmingly back constitutional amendments that could keep him in office until the year 2030.

The amendment expands the president's power over the legislative branch and judicial appointments. Opposition activist accused the government of putting pressure on voters but the country's electoral commission denies any wrongdoing.

Well, a shocking murder in Bangladesh. A 19-year-old woman was set on fire allegedly, because she would not drop sexual harassment charges against her school's principal. The murder has caused countrywide protest since the attacked two and a half weeks ago.

Local media reports say Nusrat Jahan Rafi was lured to her school rooftop by supporters of the headmaster. They pressured her to withdraw her complaint and when she refused, they burned her.

Nusrat died just a few days later in the hospital. And last weekend, there were new protest to demand punishment for her killers. Police so far have made several arrests but demonstrators want the government to do more to stop attacks like this. Nusrat's family also hopes her death will help save the lives of others.


MUSA MANIK, NUSRAT'S FATHER (through translator): You all please support me, my daughter Nusrat, pray for her so that Allah grants her peace. I want justice for this killing from the government.


CHURCH: Well, Farah Kabir joins me now from Dhaka, Bangladesh via Skype. She's with ActionAid, an organization working to achieve social justice, gender equality, and poverty eradication in Bangladesh and other places around the world. Thank you so much for talking with us.


CHURCH: Now the details of this attack they're simply horrifying. We -- we know police have arrested several people in connection to the murder of Nusrat Jahan Rafi.

[03:25:03] But what is likely to happen to them if history is our guide here?

KABIR: Well, this is now taking a very high-profile case with all of us going on the streets and it's quite evident that the administration and law enforcing agencies did not take action when they should have.

When she -- Nusrat Jahan mother registered a complaint of sexual harassment the police and the local authority including the school governing body did not take it seriously. And as a result, six days later, a week later, she was set on fire and unfortunately, she died.

So, this is why we repeatedly see such gender base violence and the killing, the rape, and sexual harassment and even killing of girls and women who have been raped. So, at this time --


CHURCH: Right. So how is the Bangladeshi government responding to calls from protesters to do more to stop attacks like this? And you say this happens often. What sort of numbers are you talking about?

KABIR: Well, there was a media review and in April, already there's been 37 rape and such incidents. And it was as some as young as three or four. So, there is definite sickness and I would say that a lot of men and young boys are in a state of mind where they are going out and committing such violence. So, we need both the law --


CHURCH: And why is there a reluctance though, to punish these men who are doing this to women?

KABIR: Well, it is partly because of, you know, how women are seen or the value of a woman. And it's also partly because of impunity. When such incidence occurs, these individuals trying to hide behind influential people use money or even take, you know, go and take the support of political parties.

CHURCH: And what about the school's principal? What will happen to him in the harassment charges against him? And any possible link he may have to this young woman's murder.

KABIR: Well, since those who have been arrested are have given statements that they were directed by him. So, it could lead to a case of murder and then life imprisonment. But (Inaudible) you know, comes up with seven years of rigorous imprisonment.

But often these cases don't see justice because the lack of evidence. In this case, they have immediately arrested a number of the people involved in setting Nusrat on fire and they've given their testimonies.

CHURCH: Right. And these types of murders are designed to scare and intimidate young women, to ensure they don't press sexual harassment charges against men. But this 19- year-old, Nusrat Jahan Rafi was clearly a very brave young woman. She refused to back down and died as a result of that.

But talk to us about how difficult it would have been for her to stand to her school principal and press these charges against him in Bangladesh society.

KABIR: Well, as you said, it is difficult and especially society wants to hush it out, you know. They always, it's an issue of honor or what's going to happen to the girl. And how she'll go back and face people and families, she will not get married. Those issues are still there.

But we repeatedly see a lot of young people are protesting and coming out and this is much more being discussed.

CHURCH: Right.

KABIR: It's not going to be easy to suppress -- suppress and you know, the conversation around sexual harassment is now being discussed and then the Me Too movement also t caught up in Bangladesh. That is the high court directive which request institutions, workplaces to have sexual -- anti-sexual harassment committees.

Of course, people have not been following and complying. But measures legislations are there. Now we need enforcement. We need the law enforcing agencies to deliver and the government to really show its commitment.

CHURCH: Yes. And those protesters are showing that they're not backing down. They are pushing hard on this and they want to see some changes.

Farah Kabir, thank you so much for talking with us. We appreciate it.

KABIR: Thank you.

CHURCH: Well, funerals are being held for victims in the Sri Lanka bombings.

[03:30:00] Coming up, we will look back at why the country fail to act on so many intelligence warnings.


CHURCH: Welcome back everyone this is CNN Newsroom, I'm Rosemary Church. We want to check the headlines for you now. North Korean leader Kim Jong-un is in Russia for his first summit with President Vladimir Putin. The Kremlin aides says the two will discuss the stalemate with the U.S. over Pyongyang's nuclear program. They are not expected to sign an agreement or deliver a joint statement. The U.N. says nearly 300 people have been killed this month in the

fighting in Libya. A militia group called the Libyan National Army has mounted an offensive against government troops in the capital Tripoli. More than 30,000 people have been forced from their homes.

Malawi has become the first nation to begin immunizing children against malaria. It's part of a pilot project by the World Health Organization with the goal of vaccinating about 365,000 African children per year. Kenya and Ghana will also start using the vaccine in the coming weeks.

Authorities in Sri Lanka now say there were at least nine bombers in Sunday's terror attacks. The news conference earlier, the State Defense Minister said the blast carried by an extremist splinted group and the group's leader committed suicide. At least 359 people were killed in the attack and ISIS has claimed responsibility.

For more I'm joined now from New Delhi by Padma Rao who is on the phone, she is the author of Sri Lanka "The new country." She is also the former South Asia Bureau Chief for Del Speigel, thank you so much for being with us.


CHURCH: As we mentioned you've written extensively about Sri Lanka and you understands the country's history and politics. So, how did the government fail so miserably and tragically to act on very specific intelligence about these attacks targeting churches and hotels? They were given a heads up on that? It killed 300 people, they had no security in place and apparently from that very model news conference, we learned that the problem was, the reason they dropped the ball was due to defense security arrangements rather. So how did this happen?

RAO: Yes. Absolutely right, Rosemary. Well, there are two things essentially that happened. One is, you know, one has seen ironically a Sri Lanka has been ease as of the past 10 years since the end of the civil war against the liberation of (inaudible).

[03:35:00] Now during these 10 years, the certain, you know, level of complacency set in. A kind of, you know, people just taking security matters rather too easily. The other thing that happen is that there has been a political crisis, a long political crisis in the ruling coalition in Colombo. The president and the Prime Minister have not been able to get on, they belong to rival parties, they are in a very desperate coalition.

And, you know, the Prime Minister was sat at the end of last year, and reinstated again, so there has been a demand of underlying tension there and this is one of the reason why the Prime Minister, Mr. (inaudible) saying initially said that, you know, this information is there, the information incidentally will come to that in a minute was given to them by the Indian authority and the Intelligence Agency which you're watching an ally group for their own reasons, you know, to prevent terrorism within India. And it attacks on India from the outside.

And they passed on this information three times, Rosemary. The first time on the 4th of April, the second on the 11th of April and then three times just before the attacks happened on Sunday. And they were just not taken, you know, they were not taken seriously and what is worst is that they are not even passed on to the Prime Minister and other ministers. So, there are two things, one is a desperate coalition that has been, you know, the squabbling and the other is a sense of complacency and you know, perhaps -- and ironically it's because this has been taking for granted over the last 10 years.

CHURCH: But still, I still can't grasp how this sort of level of specific intelligence would not penetrate beyond the security officials and go to any of these ministers and we've got the president denying he knew about this? We have the Prime Minister denying it, we heard in that news conference, the defense minister denying it. You buy that, do you, that this is all this whole failing is due to security arrangements.

RAO: Absolutely, I buy that and I think in the meantime the Sri Lankan minister and the Sri Lankan government itself is, you know has had to buy that. The box should be stop and, you know, the fact that the information would not passed on in time and it wasn't taken seriously and if it was passed on to the security details of -- even just to the security details of individual ministers and individuals embassy.

You know, ultimately, it has to be, the Sri Lankan government to act. It is the Prime Minister who is the executive head of government to would have to order, you know, the security, the eighteen security in these judges.

And mid you as I said, Rosemary, that the information that that was passed on and I seek on courting the Indian Media which has spoken to an Indian intelligence agency and they say that the information being passed on was very, very specific including even the mobile numbers of some of the perpetrators.

CHURCH: This is the horrifying thing and more than 300 people have died because of this failure, it's just astounding and now we did to hear. Let's look up this group, because the group behind this attacks, because the defense minister said, it was the LTJ group, but it had splintered, it was a very muddled news conference we have to say. It was very difficult, you could hear journalist there struggling, because they weren't really getting answers also he change his answers in many situations.

But apparently this is more extreme side now of this LTJ group. And they are the ones White House perpetrated this attack and they're trying to a stall established links to ISIS. So, talks to us about that what you know about this particular local extreme group.

RAO: Right. Rosemary, the LTJ is -- as you said, its an unknown group. We have never ever heard of it. There's a group by a similar name in southern Nadu, in Southern India, but that group has denied, you know, any kind of connection to the Sri Lankan perpetrators of this attack.

So, what we know is that it is a small group, there is one of the suicide bombers was a chief and he is in and out of India and he has been trying to radicalize Indians and Sri Lankans to launch attacks. The reference at the press conference that you look on to, was to an allied group known as JMB, the Jamaat-ul-Mujahideen Bangladesh. Now if you remember in 2016, there was an attack on a bakery, a cafe in Dhaka, in the capital of Bangladesh in which 24 person were killed. That is a suicide attack as well.

That is the group that Sri Lankan perpetrators are supposed to be allied, but at least that's the information that our sources are saying, was passed on by the Indian intelligence agencies which were watching the Bangladesh group, their own reasons and you know, that's how they stumbled upon the national (inaudible), the NPJ, and passed on that information in increasing and growing detail to the Sri Lankan authorities.

[03:40:12] So, you know, -- what is the role of ISIS in all of this? Well, as you know, I mean, ISIS has been on the run, to an extent from Syria and it has spread out, you know, across the world. It announced the opening of a so called South Asia chapter some years ago, base in Pakistan and Afghanistan. And it has been -- it has a lot of resource at its disposal indeed as also, you know, towards the bombers involved in Sunday's attack. That they came from wealthy do families, they were, you know, they were financially independent. And all of this was narrated by one of the Sri Lankan ministers in parliament.

So, it wasn't a lack of money and the training and they certainly had support system in place in the form of ISIS, perhaps even the Al Qaeda, we don't really know. You know the larger picture emerging, but it's very clear that there is a small group in place in Sri Lanka that is NPG, it had some support from a group based in Bangladesh which is also trying to spread its wings to India, and all this, you know, little groups have the overall support and encouragement of the big groups like ISIS and Al Qaeda. So, that's the larger picture emerging and yes.

CHURCH: Yes. And indeed too, we understand that this suicide bombers were very educated men, but we will as you say, the picture is emerging of who these people were and who this group is. Padma Rao, thank you so much for joining us and sharing your perspective on this, I appreciate it.

RAO: Thank you, Rosemary.

CHURCH: And time for a short break now. When we comeback, Donald Trump throws up another roadblock for House Democrats who want to take a closer look at his administration, will have that in just a moment.


CHURCH: Welcome back everyone. Well, Donald Trump says special counsel Robert Mueller's Russia investigation went far enough. And he doesn't want his current and former aides testifying before Congress. Sources tells CNN the president doesn't want former White House counsel Don McGahn to testify before House Committee.

[03:45:05] McGahn told Mueller's investigators how he disobeyed Mr. Trump's order to fire Robert Mueller. Meanwhile, the president's senior adviser and son in law, Jared Kushner, is bashing the Mueller investigation. He says the probe was more harmful to the country than Russia's election interference and what he called a couple of Facebook ads.

Let's take a closer look at all of this with CNN's political analyst, Michael Shear in Washington. He is the White House correspondent for The New York Times, great to have you with us.


CHURCH: So the White House clearly stone walling on a range of issues missing the deadline to hand over Donald Trump's tax returns and now the treasury secretary stalling for time and giving until May 6th for final decision on this. What would be their legal arguments for not complying with the law and it begs the questions, what are they trying to hide?

SHEAR: Right. And so in the latter question, I think nobody really knows, though people suspect that his taxes may be filled with all sorts of if not illegal things then, you know, things that rich people do to be essentially, cut down on their taxes, which can be embarrassing when you are trying as Donald Trump does to present himself as the sort of champion of the regular guy.

I mean, I think on the legal arguments, this is really a clash between two interpretations of a very simple law. The law says, you know, congressional -- this certain congressional committee chairman can have anybody tax returns, period. Democrats say that is very clear. Republican say yes, but if you're motive is political, than the law never intended for that to be the case.

So, they are saying, it's not so much what the law says, it's what the interpretation of what the motive is. And they say that the motive was intended to be a, you know, a committee chairman who needs a particular tax returns to be able to sort of inform policy making, regarding taxes. If that is not the intent, if the intent is political embarrassment of an enemy, their arguments to the court is that's invalid and that shouldn't be upheld.

CHURCH: Right. We'll see what the courts eventually decide, which is exactly where this is going clearly. So, according to a senior White House official, they will likely fight the subpoena served on the former White House counsel Don McGahn to prevent him from testifying. How do they go about doing that, preventing McGahn from complying with the House subpoena? And what are they afraid of?

SHEAR: Yes. So on that one, there is a really long -- a much longer history of, you know, sort of legal trail, or a legal record on this question. You know, there have been over many years' attempts by the Congress to compel testimony from a president's aide on any number of subjects, and a White House, a president is given the opportunity to assert executive privilege. To essentially say, look, if you compel testimony from one of my aides that is going to cause me to not be able to rely on close aides in making important decisions that are important to the country.

And the courts have, you know, have essentially split. I mean, many of them have come down and said, look, the president does have a right to assert executive privilege, and in other, cases courts have said, yes, but that's limited and there are exceptions to that. And this is going to be another, you know, clash that will probably go to the Supreme Court, because, you know, ultimately, neither side is going to give in. The Democrats are going to insist on McGahn and other top aides coming and testifying, the White House, it looks like it's going to say absolutely not, we don't want them to do that. We are exerting executive privilege. And ultimately, it will have to be the Supreme Court that decides it.

CHURCH: And of, course all of this is clearly buying time, isn't it? Because we've also got the White House telling the former security Director Carl Kline not to comply with the subpoena over security clearances. What's going on here? And what happens to Kline personally if he does not comply, because he would not be protected necessarily, would he?

SHEAR: I mean, that is a good question. As of now, the White House isn't actually asserting executive privilege over Kline, they are basically saying, we -- yes he can testify, but we want to put some conditions on it. We want to have another official in the testimony with him, Democrats have rejected that saying look, that's not ever been a condition that we've accepted in the past, Democrat or Republican. I think you have to look at all three of these things that we've talked about in the same context, which is, you know, the president is angry, the White House is angry that the Democrats are in the wake of the Mueller report continuing to lob investigation after investigation their way, and I think the president has essentially, it looks like the president essentially all, but ordered the White House to say we are just not cooperating on any of this.

[03:50:04] And you know, he will take the fight especially in an election year as we head towards an election year, he figures that, you know, the Democrats will look bad, they will like they're on a fishing expedition, and that the public will be behind him.

CHURCH: Right. And meantime while this is going, President Trump's son in law Jared Kushner says the Mueller investigation was more damaging to U.S. democracy than Russia's attack on the 2016 election, which he said amounted to just a couple of Facebook ads. Is this ignorance or spin?

SHEAR: Oh, it's a total spin. It's not ignorance at all. Jared Kushner is a smart man, he understands and has been steeped in everything that is been going on for the last and two and half years, if not before that during the campaign. He knows what the truth is. The truth is it wasn't just a couple of Facebook ads, this is entirely the spin that they have been trying to put on this for, you know, for as long as the investigation has been underway. That it's invalid, and it really is doing more damage than even the underlying circumstances that it purports to investigate.

But look, I think that, you know, the real truth here is that it undermines what is really -- put aside the politics, the substantive issue of is this administration, is this country going to push back against Russia in its efforts to undermine the integrity of our elections? And I mean, I think, what Jared Kushner's comments suggests is that they are not taking it seriously.

They're not taking it seriously in terms of what happened in the past, and they are not really taking it seriously in terms of the future efforts that Russia is making to undermine the integrity of our elections, and frankly elections around the world. And you know, there is some deep resentments, deep frustrations among the bureaucrats here in the United States, who want to push back, who want to develop, you know, responses to Russia and just can't, because this president and his White House are just not interested.

CHURCH: It is all extraordinary stuff that we are all analyzing as you, Michael Shear, many thanks for your perspective on all of this.

SHEAR: Good to be here.

CHURCH: Well, the pomp and the pageantry and quality time with the Queen, that's what President Trump will be treated to on his first state visit to Britain in June. Mr. Trump was on British shores last year, but that trips was built as a working visit. Still it caused quite a stir prompting mass protest and you might remember the appearance of a giant blimp in the president's image.

Well, next here on CNN Newsroom, this young girl says writing in cursive is easy after she won a handwriting competition. And we will tell you why that feat is so remarkable. We are back in a moment.


CHURCH: In the U.S. state of Maryland, a young girl is proving that with hard work and determination she could do the unthinkable. Ron Matz with CNN affiliate WJZ explains.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Make sure you've got something blue.

RON MATZ, CNN AFFILIATE WJZ: Sara Hinesley is your typical 10 year old.


MATZ: She excels in the classroom at St. John regional catholic school in Frederick. She recently won the national handwriting contest recognize for her excellence in cursive.

HINSELEY: I think it's kind of easy and sometimes kind of hard. Because you don't really remember all of the letters to right.

[03:55:05] MATZ: All the more remarkable, because Sara was born without hands.

HINSELEY: Things I can do I try to figure out, what way I could do it and try my best to fit. Try my best to make it work.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Well, the artificial hand I made of molding a clay --

MATZ: Her sister Veronica wanted to help. So on science class, she built an artificial hand for Sara. So they could play together.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: So, she could like touch a ping pong ball, because she usually can't touch a ping pong ball.

MATZ: Sara is an artist too, nothing stand in her way of her academic goal.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It's pretty amazing given the physical disability that she has.

MATZ: The last day of class here is June 13th, that's when Sara will receive her trophy.

HINSELEY: I just try my hardest and put my mind into it and this is what happens.

MATZ: Helping hands like when these sisters go rock climbing.

HINSELEY: Every time I fail, I just keep doing what's (inaudible) on me, I could always get to the top.

MATZ: In Frederick, Ron Matz, reporting for WJZ.


CHURCH: One incredible young girl. And finally, three years after purple tears rain down all over the world, a gift for the fans of Prince.

The rock star state announce that it will be releasing his memoir this fall, tweeting on October 29th, the beautiful ones will be publish and they say it's available for preorder now. Just weeks before his death, Prince struck a deal to write this book about his life. And we are told he delivered about 50 handwritten pages before dying of fentanyl overdose.

According to the publisher, the project will include never before seen photos and lyric sheets. The book is also to contain Prince's original handwritten treatment for the 1984 film Purple Rain. A blockbuster that established him as a global superstar.

And thank you so much for your company. I'm Rosemary Church. Remember to connect with me anytime on Twitter @rosemaryCNN. And the news continues next what Max Foster in London. You are watching CNN. Please stay with us.