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Vladimir Putin And Kim Jong-un Pledge Stronger Ties In Vladivostok; Inside Russia's Plan To Crush Sudan Protests; Climate Activists Climb On Top Of London Trains; U.S. Measles Outbreak At Its Highest Since 2000. Aired 2-3a ET
Aired April 25, 2019 - 02:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
ROSEMARY CHURCH, CNN ANCHOR (voice-over): Hello and welcome to our viewers all around the world. I'm Rosemary Church with your next two hours of CNN NEWSROOM. Let's get started.
Face to face in Vladivostok: the first ever meeting between Kim Jong- un and Vladimir Putin and the signal it's sending to the United States.
New details about the suicide bombers behind the attacks in Sri Lanka and the backlash that is facing the government. We are live with the latest.
And a CNN exclusive on Russian efforts to crush the protest in Sudan and prop up an authoritarian leader.
CHURCH: With nuclear talks between the United States and North Korea at an impasse Russia's president is stepping in. Vladimir Putin and Kim Jong-un met for the first time a few hours ago in Vladivostok.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
VLADIMIR PUTIN, PRESIDENT OF RUSSIA (through translator): I'm sure your visit to Russia will also help develop our timeline of normal (ph) relations and will help us to understand the ways we can settle the situation on the North Korean Peninsula, what can be done together, what Russian can do to support the positive processes that are taking place now. We welcome your efforts on developing future Korean dialogue and your efforts on normalizing the U.S.-North Korea relations.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CHURCH: The Kremlin said there will be no signed agreement or joint statement after the meeting.
Let's turn to Paula Hancocks, who joins us live from Seoul this hour.
Good to see you, Paula. Kim Jong-un and Vladimir Putin held their first meeting in Vladivostok just a few hours ago.
And what did they say?
We heard a bit of it there but what did they say to each other?
What did their body language tell us?
And what is the purpose of all this, given we're told not to expect any joint statements or signed agreements to emerge from this summit.
PAULA HANCOCKS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Rosemary, I think on the latter point is that they are trying to lower expectations for any kind of grand declaration at the end of this meeting. This is the first meeting between these two leaders and a the chance for them to get to know each other.
What they're saying was how they were going to discuss what was happening on the peninsula and President Putin of Russia saying he wanted to find out how Russia could be of assistance, work together, also pointing out he fully supports the improving inter-Korean relations between North and South Korea and he supports the normalization of the U.S. and North Korean relations.
A similar thing from Kim Jong-un, saying that they want to discuss how they could work together to try and change things. Both also pointed back to times past, the decades the two countries have been allies, highlighting the fact that they appreciate their countries have been allies for a while now.
And though this is the first time that they are meeting themselves.
CHURCH: Russian officials revealed that the main issue to be discussed will be denuclearization.
What does that mean?
And what sort of sanction relief might Kim Jong-un be hoping to get from the Russian president.
And what can the Russian president give him?
HANCOCKS: Well, it's no secret that Kim Jong-un wants sanction relief. This was made extremely clear in the Hanoi summit if we didn't know it before. But there's very little that Russia can do unilaterally. Russia sits on the Security Council in the U.N. And they have signed onto these stronger resolutions and sanctions against North Korea.
Russia can't lift sanctions unilaterally. It has to be a joint decision. They have publicly said that they believe that the time has come that they can start easing the sanctions. They favor more of a step by step process, as does China and North Korea and South Korea as well.
But realistically, there's very little concrete measures that Russia can do. We know from numerous reports that they've turned a blind eye when there's been ship to ship transfers of fuel and coal, that there's 30,000 odd migrant workers, North Koreans in Russia, that are supposed to be our by the end of this year. Potentially something could be done there.
Russia has to be very careful. They don't want to be seen as working against the sanctions.
CHURCH: As you've been speaking to us, we've been taking these live pictures from Vladivostok and we can see Vladimir Putin --
CHURCH: -- on one side with all his advisers and Kim Jong-un on the other, it looks incredibly formal.
Talk about what is going on at this point as they talk?
And how much of this will we see publicly?
And how much of this might be behind closed doors?
HANCOCKS: Well, this is interesting, Rosemary. We didn't know exactly how much to expect from this summit, how much we would be allowed to see. We saw, as you said, the chat as they were sitting together at the beginning of this meeting.
This was a more formal setting with their aides on both sides. They have said, the Kremlin, before this even started, don't be expecting a joint statement or any kind of agreement.
This is more of a formal scenario than we've seen. It's been interesting to see the two talking with each other with a spray of cameras filming the beginning of it or if we'll have any particular statements from these leaders.
CHURCH: Even though they have, as you have mentioned, lowered our expectations; don't expect any joint statements or signed agreements. It's still possible that they may come out with something. Right?
HANCOCKS: That's right. I think they probably learned a lesson from Hanoi by saying in advance that there is not going to be any specific statement or agreement by the end of the summit. Not only did they lower expectations for this particular meeting, saying that there isn't going to be a grand declaration, they also learned the lesson in Hanoi, when the U.S. team said ahead of time there's going to be a signing ceremony, a joint statement.
They then had to backpedal when that summit did not go to plan. The two leaders didn't even agree to sit down for lunch with each other, let alone have an agreement that they could sit side by side and announce to the world.
I think they probably learned something from that. But there are certain things that Russia can do and that Kim Jong-un can give political and public support to Kim Jong-un and President Putin can show verbally that he will support the North Korean leader. He was talking beforehand about humanitarian options. But when it comes to sanctions, there's very little he can do. When it comes to economic measures, there's little he can do. He can promise in the future there will be more economic maneuvers between the two, more economic deals. But when it comes to the facts and figures, he does have his hands tied to a certain extent.
CHURCH: We are watching the symbolism going on here and a big signal being sent from Kim Jong-un and Vladimir Putin to Donald Trump.
Paula Hancocks from Seoul, South Korea, many thanks. And we will continue to watch and see what comes out.
There is a growing sense of anger over the failure of Sri Lankan authorities to act on early warnings received before Sunday's terrorist bombings. The government admits it received three warnings from Indian intelligence about a potential suicide bomb plot against churches and hotels weeks and days leading up to the acts.
Sri Lanka's president says he was not aware of the warnings. He is demanding the defense minister and police chief resign. Sources tell CNN two of the suicide bombers were brothers. Their father a wealthy spice exporter based in Colombo.
Newly released video shows another attacker wearing a backpack at the Cinnamon Grand hotel, moments before the deadly bombings there.
CNN's Nikhil Kumar is live in Colombo and he joins us now.
Nikhil, as the anger grows over the colossal failure of the Sri Lankan government to respond appropriately to these early warnings of a bomb plot, we're learning more about these suicide bombers behind the attack and it's shocking to hear that they leaked entitled lives.
What more do you know about who they were, the group they were in and their motivation?
NIKHIL KUMAR, CNN NEW DELHI BUREAU CHIEF: That's right, Rosemary. You mentioned the two brothers. And we heard at a press conference yesterday from the junior defense minister that one of the bombers was educated in the U.K. He had his post-grad studies in Australia before coming back to Sri Lanka.
I'm outside the house where police mounted a raid a few days ago where the ninth bomber, a woman, blew herself up and killed three police men. We know she was the wife of one of the men who went into the Shangri-La hotel, one of the popular tourist hotels, struck on Sunday.
We know that man's name was Insan Seelavan. One of the president's advisers has told CNN that he was the mastermind of this attack.
KUMAR: You can still see the damage from the blast after this raid. We are getting more of a picture of what happened on Sunday and what's behind it and is the group, the National Thowheeth Jama'ath, which has been involved. They are investigating links to ISIS. The U.S. said this is ISIS inspired. Authorities here looking to what links there were, how close they were beyond Sri Lanka.
But they're also scrambling to make sure there aren't further attacks. The prime minister yesterday warned that there are still people out there, possibly with explosives, plotting to strike again.
We know from an intelligence source, the NTJ was planning a second wave of attacks this was in intelligence found after Sunday's Easter bombing. This is a fluid situation that, even as we get more information about Sunday, the race is on to make sure that nothing further devastating happens again in this island nation.
CHURCH: It is so very important. Nikhil Kumar, thank you for that live report.
Nissan's former CEO Carlos Ghosn has been granted bail in Japan less than a month after he was re-arrested on new charges of financial misconduct. The once-powerful auto executive is accused of funneling millions of dollars of Nissan's money to a car dealership that he controlled.
Separately, Carlos Ghosn is also charged with underreporting his salary and transferring personal investment losses to Nissan, all of which he denies. Sherisse Pham is following this story for us from Hong Kong. She joins us now live.
Where do things stand right now for Carlos Ghosn?
SHERISSE PHAM, CNN BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT: Rosemary, just in the last hour, things have changed and become a little bit more fluid. The prosecutor's office filed an appeal against the bail decision that was issued by the Tokyo court this morning. I just want to get this correct here, the bail has been halted as the court reviews that appeal.
Carlos Ghosn's team has already paid bail, which was set at $4.5 million and we were expecting him to be released this afternoon but things are now in a bit of a holding pattern.
This is just the latest development in a legal saga that has seen Carlos Ghosn arrested at least four times and jailed twice. And it's really putting a spotlight on the way criminal suspects are treated in Japan. This so-called hostage justice.
Now that being, said Carlos Ghosn has publicly said over and over again that he denies the charges brought against him. But he has not offered any evidence that controverts those charges. And the last one, the latest charges are really important because if he is found guilty of essentially stealing $5 million from Nissan, legal experts have told CNN this really could be devastating for him -- Rosemary.
CHURCH: Most definitely, keeping a close eye on all of those developments, Sherisse Pham joining us from Hong Kong, thanks to you.
Coming up next, Iran's foreign minister warns of consequences if the U.S. tries to prevent the country from selling its oil.
Plus, President Trump's strategy on investigations: just say no. We will have more on that when we return.
CHURCH: Iran's foreign minister is lashing out at the Trump administration's decision to start sanctioning countries that import oil from Tehran after May 2nd. Javad Zarif says the move by the U.S. to end sanctions waivers will not stop Iran from selling its oil. And if the U.S. tries to prevent Tehran from doing so, he says there will be consequences.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JAVAD ZARIF, IRANIAN FOREIGN MINISTER: There exists a Security Council resolution which openly says that the purpose of the resolution is to normalize Iran's business relations. And it calls on all states to implement that resolution.
Now the United States is not only not complying itself but it is saying that the rest of the world should not comply. And it's going a step further, saying that we will punish you if you comply.
This is the first time, to my knowledge and I have dealt with the U.N. for the last 40 years, this is the first time that this is happening at the U.N. This -- it is coercion, pure and simple.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CHURCH: U.S. secretary of state Mike Pompeo says the goal of ending the sanctions waivers is to deprive Iran of the money it uses to destabilize the Middle East and further its nuclear program.
President Trump claims his administration is the most transparent in history. But when it comes to investigations, he has put up a big stone wall around the White House. He won't let staffers testify, calls the subpoena for the former White House counsel "ridiculous" and has a blunt message for Congress.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: We are fighting all the subpoenas. Look, these aren't like impartial people. The Democrats are trying to win 2020. The only way they can luck out is by constantly going after me on nonsense.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CHURCH: But congressional Democrats have a message as well, saying this is just one more act of obstruction by the Trump White House. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. RO KHANNA (D-CA), OVERSIGHT COMMITTEE: Congress has a role, a duty, to find information, to hold the executive branch accountable. It goes back to Federalist 51. So this is unprecedented, what the White House is saying, that they don't want to give a single document to our committee, that they don't want to have anyone testify in front of our committee.
We will go to court, the courts will rule for us. But the Trump administration is just engaging in a delay tactic to kick the can down the road.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CHURCH: But Deutsche Bank apparently didn't get the president's memo. It's turning over to the New York state attorney general's office records related to hundreds of millions of dollars of loans it made to Mr. Trump and his businesses.
Remember, the president's former lawyer, Michael Cohen, testified that Mr. Trump inflated his assets to get loans.
Then there is the issue of Russian election interference, not during the 2016 election but in the election coming up in 2020. The word around the White House, don't mention that to President Trump. Our Alex Marquardt has that report.
ALEX MARQUARDT, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): For then embattled Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen, securing America's elections against Russia and other threats was a top priority. But her boss, President Trump, didn't want to hear about it.
"It was like pulling teeth," a U.S. official told CNN, "to get the White House to focus the attention needed on this."
CNN has learned that DHS had, for months, tried to sound the alarm and set up cabinet level meetings on election security.
MICK MULVANEY, ACTING WHITE HOUSE CHIEF OF STAFF: Thanks very much.
MARQUARDT (voice-over): Acting chief of staff Mick Mulvaney told Nielsen, "It wasn't a great subject and should be kept below Trump's level," according to "The New York Times," which first reported the story.
MARQUARDT (voice-over): The requests were rejected. Nielsen is now gone. And tonight, new concerns that the administration isn't prepared for a sequel to the 2016 election attack.
SIMON ROSENBERG, FORMER DCCC ADVISER: We just aren't ready to deal with what's in front of us. The systems weren't put into place. The politicians don't really understand what's in front of them.
MARQUARDT (voice-over): The president has long seen talk of Russian election interference as delegitimizing his victory.
TRUMP: It's a Democrat hoax that was brought up as an excuse for losing an election.
MARQUARDT (voice-over): And less than a week after special counsel Robert Mueller reported that Russia interfered in a sweeping and systematic fashion, the attack was radically downplayed by White House senior adviser Jared Kushner.
KUSHNER: I think the investigations and all of the speculation has happened for the last two years has had a much harsher impact on our democracy than a couple of Facebook ads.
MARQUARDT (voice-over): This as intelligence officials repeatedly warned that Russia's attacks, far greater than buying Facebook ads, have continued.
CHRISTOPHER WRAY, FBI DIRECTOR: What we have seen, what has continued virtually unabated and just intensifies during the election cycles, is this malign foreign influence campaign, especially using social media.
MARQUARDT (voice-over): The White House claims it is leading a, quote, "whole of government approach to election security."
A crucial component to that is the Department of Homeland Security's new cyber security arm, led by Chris Krebs.
CHRISTOPHER KREBS, DHS CYBER SECURITY AND INFRASTRUCTURE SECURITY AGENCY: I think they have got probably some sheets in that playbook that we haven't seen yet.
MARQUARDT (voice-over): Krebs led DHS' efforts to shore up America's voting systems ahead of the midterms. He's now gearing up for 2020, what he's called the Super Bowl.
KREBS: We've got to be thinking through how they're going to innovate, what are the things they might do they haven't tried in the past.
MARQUARDT (voice-over): Krebs says the focus is on three areas: states' voting systems, hacking of campaigns and political parties, then disinformation on social media, all areas detailed in the Mueller report.
KREBS: Also their goal here is just to defy (ph) the American public. It's really create this tension, sow discord and have us fight each other.
MARQUARDT (voice-over): Overall, the presidential campaigns are arguably the most vulnerable. But in the face of attacks, they have to figure out cyber security on their own.
ROSENBERG: There's a hole in the system that has to be plugged. The security blanket that exists on top of politicians, when they're in Congress or in the Senate, hasn't been extended to their private lives or their political lives or their campaigns. That's the urgency.
MARQUARDT: The White House is pushing back tonight with a National Security Council spokesman saying quote, "Any suggestion that this administration is giving less than a full-throated effort to secure America's elections is patently false," end quote.
But for something so urgent, critics do say that the government needs to name one person to coordinate election security across the government. But there simply is no clear leader on this -- Alex Marquardt, CNN, Washington.
CHURCH: So joining me now is Daniel Dale, Washington bureau chief for the "Toronto Star."
Good to have you with us.
DANIEL DALE, "TORONTO STAR": Thank you for having me.
CHURCH: Well, we've learned that securing America's election against Russia and other threats was a top priority for the former Homeland Security Secretary, Kirstjen Nielsen, but not for the president apparently, all for his acting chief of staff. Why do you think they're not concerned about such matters especially given the Mueller report described Russia's interference in the 2016 election as sweeping and systematic?
DALE: Well, I think it's important to distinguish between what the government is doing -- what the federal government is doing, even trump's own administration is doing and what the president himself said about those things? So, you know, we don't know that the Trump administration does not care about securing America's election. What we know is that Trump himself doesn't want to hear about it. And we don't know for sure why that is.
I think you can plausibly present a couple of theories, you know, one, the cynical suspicious theory that, you know, he feels indebted in some way to President Putin and Russia for assisting in his election. Whether he wanted that help or not. You know, we have no evidence of conspiracy.
And the other possible theory is that he simply very sensitive about this. You know, we know, he is very sensitive about questions about his legitimacy. He doesn't hear that Russia help get him elected and so even when he hears someone talk about securing the next election, you know, it triggers him, it makes him angry, because he associate -- say people questioning the last election. So, I don't know which it is, but they're both troubling in their own ways.
CHURCH: Yes, indeed. Of course, meantime President Trump says he will fight all subpoenas issued by the Democrats to investigate his taxes and finance and this is why. Let's take a listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: They want to know every deal I've ever done. Now Mueller I assume the 35 million dollars he checked my taxes and check my financials which were great by the way. You know they're great. All you have to do is go look at the records, they are all over the place.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CHURCH: So, let's fact check that statement --
CHURCH: -- CHURCH: -- by the president. What stands out to you?
DALE: Well, the records are not all over the place. The reason that there is an intense quest among Democrats to get access to these tax returns is that they are not publicly available. They have been hidden by the president, he did not comply with the presidential campaign norm of releasing them. And we don't know whether Mueller looked at them, even if he did, his mandate was quite narrow. It was to look at issues related to Russia interference.
And so it's possible that he did get some sort of access to some portion of Trump's tax returns, but we don't know that. And what Democrats want to look into is far broader than what Mueller, himself, was charged with.
CHURCH: Right. And while the president and the treasury secretary refused to comply with the law and provide Mr. Trump's tax returns, Deutsche bank is handing over some of the president's financial records. Now, he can invoke executive privilege in this instance, can he? So, what might we learn from these financial records, do you think?
DALE: I'm reluctant to speculate. We know that there have been long- standing questions about the way that the president conducts his business. And we know for a fact that the president did not expect this level of scrutiny of his financial dealings. But, I don't want to venture a guess about what we may or may not find in there.
CHURCH: Right. And we know, of course, the president is trying to run out the clock, here. That is clearly the strategy, but how likely is it that he will succeed in preventing testimony being heard from former White House counsel, Don McGahn and former personnel Security Director Carl Klein. And what are the ramifications of his efforts to block this?
DALE: I think it's quite possible that he will, if not run out the clock, then at least delay things significantly. Even if he has no right to block this testimony. If he simply tries and says, you know, try to make me, he might well make them and that would require a lengthy court battle. It might take months, even a matter of years.
The ramifications, you know, Democrats will say this is an abuse of power. It's an abuse of the constitutionally responsibility of the president to treat Congress as a coequal branch of government. And it's an abuse of Trump's responsibilities to provide transparency about his own activities. He simply says, I don't care. You are not a fair umpire and I'm going to do what I want.
CHURCH: And just very quickly, the question of impeachment, because the Democrats are struggling with that and as do those divisions are growing and more and more Democrats are saying, you know, this is something that we need to do, but clearly Nancy Pelosi has decided that the damage would be far too great at this point at least.
DALE: She has. You know, she is cautious by nature and she has to be more cautious than many of the members of her caucus, because she is responsible for the party's long term success and getting votes approved rather than having them fail. And she is concerned about a possible backlash from independent voters and increased energy among Trump base. If they do mount an impeachment effort, especially because they know at this point there's, no chance of actually ousting Trump.
Even if they do, you know, successfully impeach him in the House, removal requires two-thirds of the Senate. The Senate as we know is controlled by Republicans who are loyal to Trump. And so this would be an exercise in symbolism and taking a symbolic stand, you know, for the constitution. But it would result in Trump going anywhere? So she is concerned about the possible backlash, while also not getting rid of this man.
CHURCH: Yes, indeed. Daniel Dale, thank you so much for joining us. I appreciate it.
DALE: Thank you.
CHURCH: We will take a short break. Still to come, no formal statements expected but a message is still being sent. What's behind the summit between Kim Jong-un and Vladimir Putin.
Plus, a CNN exclusive on Russian efforts to crush the anti-government protests in Sudan and prop up an authoritarian leader. We're back in just a moment.
[02:30:15] ROSEMARY CHURCH, CNN INTERNATIONAL ANCHOR: Welcome back to CNN NEWSROOM. I'm Rosemary Church. Let's check the headlines for you this hour. All Catholic services in Colombo, Sri Lanka have been suspended until Monday because of security concerns after the Easter Sunday bombings. The government admits it repeated warnings from Indian intelligence about a potential plot against charges and hotels before the bombings but failed to act.
Sri Lanka's president has asked the state defense minister and police inspector general to resign. Prosecutors are now appealing a Tokyo court's decision to grant bail to former Nissan CEO Carlos Ghosn. The ones powerful auto executive faces new financial misconduct charges accused of funneling money from Nissan to a car dealership he controlled. Separately Ghson is also charged with under reporting his salary and transferring personal investment losses to Nissan all of which he denies.
Pyongyang's talks with Washington stole two months ago and now Russians President Vladimir Putin is stepping in. The leaders of North Korea and Russia met for the first time just a few hours ago, and both say that the visit will help their country understand how to settle situation in the Korean peninsula.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
KIM JONG-UN, LEADER, NORTH KOREA (through translator): Currently, the world is focusing on the issue of the Korean peninsula. I think the conversation will be one where the issue of Korean peninsula policy will be evaluated together and views can be shared. Jointly considered the adjustment and discuss the current issues as we go forward. I hope to share a truly beneficial conversation with Mr. President today.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CHURCH: And for more on this, Chad O'Carroll joins us now from Seoul. He is the CEO of Korea Risk Group and the founder of N.K. News. Welcome.
CHAD O'CARROLL, CEO & FOUNDER, KOREA RISK GROUP: Good afternoon -- good morning.
CHURCH: Right. So, what do you make of this meeting between Kim Jong-un and Vladimir Putin? No joint statement is expected. No signed agreements. So what's it all about and what signal is Kim sending to Donald Trump?
O'CARROLL: Well, this meeting is something a Russian diplomatic source even to me said just a couple of days ago, they weren't expecting much. When you consider regime is in place at the moment is literally not much that can be -- can be done in terms of sanctions relief. So, it's very difficult for Russia to make any meaningful agreement with North Korea at this joint summit today.
CHURCH: So what's its purpose?
O'CARROLL: So I think the purpose is really just about Russia showing that it has currency in this increasingly difficult diplomatic situation for North Korea. Last year, Russia sent its foreign minister Medvedev to Pyongyang to try and set this summer up and the North Koreans we're not, at the time very receptive. I think that the North Koreans at this stage have decided to play this card in terms of setting up a meeting with the Russians because of the recent failure of the Hanoi Summit.
CHURCH: Right. And what does Kim Jong-un want to walk away from? I mean, he must understand that Russia won't be able to have sanctions unilaterally. So what is going to walk away with here? And what is Vladimir Putin up to here? I mean, given the timing of this is just when things have gone a little awry between North Korea and the United States.
O'CARROLL: Well, I think Kim Jong-un wants from this is basically to get Donald Trump's attention. He knows that Donald Trump has kind of walked away from the DPRK situation to a degree. And so I think his goal is to really try and get Russia's influence on this situation back and try and pick up talks from Donald Trump herein.
CHURCH: Right. And of course, Kremlin aides have let it be known that the main topic of discussion would be denuclearization. But what elements of that will they discuss? And as we've discussed, they don't really have an ability to make any changes here or any power to do anything. What's Russia thinking that it could do on this particular topic?
O'CARROLL: Well, Russia will be trying to reengage North Korea to reach out to the U.S. Donald Trump has made clear, the U.S. has made clear that it wants North Korea to come back to the U.S. to pick up talks.
[02:35:05] And so Russia may be quietly encouraging North Korea to do that. It really needs to -- we really need to see some movement from Kim Jong-un towards the U.S. because the U.S. is making it quite clear that it's not going to be the one to reach out. And so, from the Russian perspective, that may be the goal. It knows that it's going to have to return Russian workers who are based across the north -- Russian far northeast to North Korea in the event that sanctions are not relieved.
So that something will be a priority for the Russians to reverse. And from the North Korean's perspective, they will be hoping that as I say, this summit meeting can somehow get traction from Donald Trump to try and reengage with North Korea as well. To try to meet -- get the two countries to meet halfway.
CHURCH: Right. And of course, well, we are watching images of the two leaders. Kim Jong-un and Vladimir Putin talk very formally in natural fact with those images we've been showing our viewers. The United States and President Trump will be watching very closely and -- so talk to us about whether this will encourage Mr. Trump to be more receptive to Kim jong-un's needs or will it have the opposite effect do you think?
O'CARROLL: Well, I think at the moment it's very hard to see a diplomatic going forward because from the U.S. perspective they've made it clear that they won a level of denuclearization that North Korea is just not willing to commit to at the moment, and from North Korea's perspective, their one thing level of sanctions really based just way beyond what the U.S. is willing to consider.
While Russia is on the security council, it is really not much that it can do in terms of being able to help bridge that cap. And may be able to quietly encourage North Korea as I say to sort of reach a halfway position but it's hard to see how that can be achieved through this summit. So, yes, it's very difficult to see a way forward before December when Kim Jong-un has made clear that if there's no change from the U.S., he may consider a different option.
CHURCH: Right. Well, thank you so much for your analysis. Chad O'Carroll joining us there from Seoul. We appreciate it. Well, climate change protestors are trying to disrupt London's financial industry, seven activists dressed in black suits and red ties blocked the entrance of the Stock Exchange building. The group Extinction Rebellion say it is demanding the finance industry, tell the truth about the devastating impacts of the climate industry has on the planet.
More than 1000 protestors were arrested last week when mass demonstrations purport the city straight. And we're actually bringing you these live pictures from London. You can see there, the protestors on the awning there. And they are getting their message. They're actually in the -- I think they're on the train is what we understand. It's difficult to say we've got our fonts up there but, yes, there we go.
You can see it's actually a train that they have climbed aboard and we understand that some of the climate change protestors have glued themselves we understand at the London Stock Exchange. So we'll keep a very close eye on that and bring you more pictures as they come into us.
The U.S. State Department says Russia continues to undermine the Ukraine's sovereignty. This time offering to fast-track Russian citizenship to people in Eastern Ukraine where Moscow-backed rebels are in control. President Vladimir Putin framed the issue as a humanitarian gesture. But it was posted on the Kremlin's Web site just three days after the Ukraine's presidential election, posing a direct challenge to the new leader. Outgoing Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko slammed it as a pretext to annex more Ukrainian territory.
Well, as protestors in Sudan continue to hold out against the country's latest military rulers, the families of the dozens killed by Sudanese government forces over the three months of protest are still mourning their death. But as deadly as the months of protest of being, CNN has learned it could have been so much worse. Documents obtained by the London-based group, Dossier Center an shared with CNN, detail a plan very similar to that which is believed to have played out during the 2016 U.S. elections.
This time, put forward by a shadowy mining company linked to U.S. sanction Putin confident, Yevgeny Prigozhin, now offering to help crush the protesters, spread misinformation and keep Omar al-Bashir in power.
[02:40:06] At stake, a Russian naval presence on Sudan's strategic Red Sea coast. CNN's Nima Elbagir has this exclusive report.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): He was just 17 years old in his first year of university.
NIMA ELBAGIR, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: January 8th, government forces in Hartum opened on unarmed protesters. A teenager, Mohammed (INAUDIBLE) is among the first to die. His mother tells us, he knew there was a chance he'd be killed that day.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It was Mohammed's hope that the government would be overthrown. Our hope is that the same way Bashir killed our son. He must be executed, killed.
ELBAGIR: Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir is ousted but the crowds gather still outside the military headquarters. Today, they're chanting, only blood washes blood. They want justice for the dozens of lives lost during the (INAUDIBLE) process. That it could have been so much worse. CNN has learned that in January, Russia advisers to the government draw up plans to suppress the process.
Government sources in Sudan say they worked from an office in Hartum, belonging to an obscure Russian mining company called M Invest.
We just asked in those offices and they told us that this was another mining company not M Invest but this is the exact address that we've been given by numerous sources and there really isn't any Russian company matching the description that we were given of M Invest right here.
CNN has discovered that M Invest had sophisticated plans to disrupt the process. Painting them as a foreign plot. Fabricating evidence the protesters were being paid. That they were destroying mosques and schools. The evidence comes from thousands of documents shared with us by the London-based Dossier Center. They paint a picture of an operation prepared to go to great length to keep Omar al-Bashir but why would an obscure mining company care?
Because M Invest is part of a business empire of Yevgeny Prigozhin, one of Russia's most prominent oligarchs and a man close to President Vladimir Putin. The documents reviewed by CNN often no confirmation that official Russian security agencies were involved directly. And trying to suppress the process in Sudan. But Sudan was at the heart of the Russian drive to expand its influence in Africa.
Russia had bet big on Omar al-Bashir. It wanted logistical help for their Navy that poured Sudan. In January, activists circulated images of heavily armed men observing the process. Government and military sources in Sudan say they were private Russian contractors imbedded with Sudanese government forces.
At the same time, M Invest was working in a plan to discredit the leaders of this process. Recommending that losers, so called losers to be executed. But they go their social media campaign suggesting that Israel was behind the process. And saying the lesbian, gay, and bisexual activists were working among the processes. Something that would have been utterly unacceptable in a deeply Islamic and conservative society here in Sudan.
Multiple government and military sources in Sudan tells CNN that Russian advisers were placed in government ministries and the National Intelligence Service. According to one senior figure in Bashir's regime, their plans involved what he called minimal but unacceptable loss of life. The regime did begin to implement the M Invest plan. Smearing students as trying to ferment civil war, limiting internet access and even devising a fake social media campaign to start disputes and disinformation.
The same playbook U.S. prosecutors say Russia's internet research agencies used to disrupt the 2016 presidential election. The agency and M Invest both tied to Yevgeny Prigozhin. He's previously denied any ties to election meddling and caused his company for this report went unanswered. And when he apparently felt Sudan's government was slow to act, Prigozhin evidently wanted more.
In a letter to Bashir in mid-March, he accused the government of inaction. And warned that the lack of active steps to overcome the crisis is likely to lead to even more serious consequences.
[02:45:08] As a process gained strength, Prigozhin wrote again. Praising Bashir as a wise and farsighted leader, but urging immediate reforms. Senior officials in Khartoum tell us that she hesitated. Within a week, he was gone. But (INAUDIBLE) is not. The documents we've reviewed show that it has close ties to Sudan's military, and they're in charge now. The families of the fallen pray that their sacrifices are not in vain.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: (through translator): I'm happy that's Mohammad's dream of freedom was realized. I'm grateful to God and I hope dear God forgive me.
ELBAGIR: The Kremlin and its oligarchs may have other ideas. But for now, here in Khartoum, the fight for freedom continues. Nima Elbagir, CNN, Khartoum, Sudan.
CHURCH: And Russia has consistently played down. Russian contractors operating in Sudan saying, "We are informed that some employees of Russian private security firms who have no relation to the Russian government authorities are indeed working in Sudan. But their functions are limited to personnel training."
Well, deadly flooding has hit South Africa where some areas saw three to four times their average April rainfall in just 48 hours. That's still to come.
CHURCH: I want to show you these pictures. We were telling you about the story a little earlier. Climate change activists disrupting transportation in London. This has been ongoing, but what we're seeing here, a few protesters climbing on top of trains at Canary station. One man is holding a sign that reads, "Don't jail the canaries."
The group extension rebellion has led to mass protests across the city. It's annoyed a lot of people but then, there been a lot of people in London who sympathize with their cause, and more than a thousand people have been arrested last week.
One of those pictures we showed you on the left of your screen was some protesters, and they had glued themselves outside the front of the London Stock Exchange. So, they are trying to get their message across. Some suggest they're distracting it with -- the disruption they're causing, but there are many different views on this whole situation. But we'll continue to watch it and bring you the pictures and the information as it comes into us.
Well, just a month after Cyclone Idai devastates the parts of Mozambique, they're now bracing for another powerful storm. In just 24 hours, Cyclone Kenneth strengthened from a tropical storm to the equivalent of a Category 3 hurricane.
Now, meteorologists, Pedram Javaheri has been following all of this. He joins us now to bring us the very latest. Pedram, what can you tell us?
[02:50:43] PEDRAM JAVAHERI, CNN INTERNATIONAL METEOROLOGIST: Yes, Rosemary, the storm is even strengthening at this hour. We've seen it go up to a Category 4, potential further strengthening in there as well because of the conditions across this region of the world. As far as water temperatures, and also low wind shear. But really, the past several weeks and past several days across this region, and not just Mozambique, even if you shift the efficient south into the neighboring country of South Africa.
In the area around Durban there, we've seen significant rainfall, as you mentioned. Of a couple of minutes ago, three to four times the month of April's worth of rainfall has come down and sees as such if played out here with significant damage in and around Durban, as 50- plus lives have been lost. We know of some 1,000 people that have been displaced across this region as well. An incredible rainfall amounts when you're averaging say 40, 50, 60 millimeters in the month of April. And then, you pick up 200 to 300 millimeters in just a couple of days' time.
So, that's part of the element down across portions of South Africa. But to the north, of course, we know some five weeks ago, we had the first tropical system here to come in with such winds of 175 kilometers per hour in over a decade across portions of Mozambique made landfall across Beira and left with its significant damage.
The deadliest southern hemisphere tropical system on record. And over a billion dollars in losses, in fact. That is equivalent to 10 percent of the country's GDP. That's storm system -- now, I'm here to tell you there's a stronger storm system just to the north impacting portions of extreme Northern Mozambique. This would be the city of Pemba. Their population 200,000 people in the path of a storm that is sitting at 215 kilometers per hour which is a Category 4 equivalent. Only one time in recorded history have you had a storm of this magnitude impact Mozambique as a nation. And again, we're coming off the heels of a similar but weaker storm that caused devastation across the south. This particular feature, tropical Cyclone Kenneth, forecast to come in inside the next 10 hours would make landfall somewhere around Pemba or points to the north. The concern just like what we saw with Idai, Rosemary, is the amount of rainfall and the slow nature of the storm system.
Top of the charts rainfall here, as much as half a meter, potentially, right around this particular city and its vicinity. So, we're going to be following the story potentially for a very long time with amount of rain and the winds in the forecast.
CHURCH: Right. And we appreciate you doing that, and keeping us up to date on the situation. Many thanks.
CHURCH: And just ahead, measles was eliminated in the United States almost 20 years ago. But now, the preventable disease is back and it's spreading.
CHURCH: Well, measles cases in the United States have reached their highest level in two decades when the disease was eliminated in the country. Government health officials have found 695 cases in 22 states this year. Raising serious concerns, as our chief medical correspondent Dr. Sanjay Gupta reports.
[02:55:03] DR. SANJAY GUPTA, CNN CHIEF MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: The measles virus, it used to kill hundreds of Americans each year, and millions of people got sick. Then in 1963, a successful vaccine. This spotted van designed to look like the characteristic rash became a delivery vehicle for vaccinations. On it, a message, measles must go. And it did. Cases plummeted.
But now, measles cases are at their greatest number in the United States since the disease was eliminated in the year 2000.
DR. WILLIAM SCHAFFNER, PROFESSOR, VANDERBILT UNIVERSITY: I'm appalled, depressed and redetermined. We have to get measles back down to zero. It's as though we've turned back the clock, 10 years or more.
GUPTA: One large outbreak, New York City.
MAYOR BILL DE BLASIO, NEW YORK CITY, NEW YORK: We are declaring a public health emergency effective immediately.
GUPTA: Another, just outside Portland, in Washington State.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Thinking that keeps me up at night is that we're going to have a child died from this. GUPTA: So, how did we get here? From the elimination of measles, to now the highest number of cases in 25 years. Public health experts blame misinformation about the virus and the vaccine, spread largely on social media.
On sites like this one, "Stop mandatory vaccination." It has more than 160,000 members on Facebook.
DR. PETER HOTEZ, FOUNDING DEAN, BAYLOR COLLEGE OF MEDICINE: The anti- vaccine lobby has been telling parents that children are getting injured from vaccines or they're getting autism. We know none of those things are true.
GUPTA: With anti-vaxxers sowing doubt, increasingly parents are exempting their children from vaccines required for school. For a community to be safe from measles, about 95 percent of people need to be vaccinated. But in Rockland County, New York, only about 73 percent of the children are. That makes containing the county's outbreak difficult.
On Capitol Hill, recently, the head of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases warned, the nation needs to do more.
DR. ANTHONY FAUCI, DIRECTOR, NATIONAL INSTITUTE OF ALLERGY AND INFECTIOUS DISEASES: I consider it really an irony that you have one of the most contagious viruses known to man, juxtaposed against one of the most effective vaccines that we have. And yet, we don't do and have not done what could be done namely completely eliminate and eradicate this virus.
GUPTA: Dr. Sanjay Gupta, CNN, Atlanta.
CHURCH: And you're watching CNN NEWSROOM. I'm Rosemary Church. I'll be back with another hour of news in just a moment. Stay -- do stay with us.