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North Korea and Russia Strengthen Their Bond; Anger and Frustration Felt by Victims of Terrorism in Sri Lanka; Freedom Isn't Too Easy for Carlos Ghosn; Mozambique Bracing for Another Powerful Storm; One is Too Many for Londonderry to Bear; Catholic Services Halted In Sri Lankan Capital After Attacks; Kim And Putin Hold Their First Meeting In Vladivostok; Prosecutors Appeal Bail Decision For Ex- Nissan CEO; Mozambique Bracing For Another Dangerous Cyclone; Trump Vows We're Fighting All Subpoenas; 2020 Race For The White House; Iran Accuses U.S. Of Coercion Through Oil Sanctions; Macron's Unexpected Proposal; New Sexual Abuse Allegations Revealed; Avengers Endgame To Shatter Box Office Records; Keeping Kim On Track. Aired 3-4a ET

Aired April 25, 2019 - 03:00   ET



ROSEMARY CHURCH, CNN ANCHOR: Their first summit ever. North Korean leader Kim Jong-un meets Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Plus, growing anger in Sri Lanka over what the government knew and when it knew it.

And later.


DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I have been the most transparent president and administration in the history of our country by far.


CHURCH: The U.S. president praises his administration's openness on the same day he vows to shut down every subpoena issued by House Democrats.

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

With the U.S. talks on the denuclearization at a standstill North Korea's leader turned to Russia's president for a first-time summit. Kim Jong-un met with Vladimir Putin in Vladivostok.

Mr. Kim said the meeting was beneficial to developing ties between the two countries. While Mr. Putin said that they had thorough one on one talks about the situation on the Korean peninsula and exchange views on how to improve.

Well for more on all of this, Paula Hancocks joins us now live from Seoul in South Korea. Good to see you again, Paula. So, Kim Jong-un and Vladimir Putin holding these talks their first face to face meeting. What are they hoping to achieve with this given there is no intention to issue of any joint statements or signed agreements?

PAULA HANCOCKS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Rosemary, we've heard some words from both of them as they've been meeting so far. And what they've been highlighting is the fact that they're meeting to see how they can move the situation forward. Saying from President Vladimir Putin's point of view he was saying he wants to learn how he can help the situation. He also said that he appreciates the fact that Kim Jong-un is trying to improve inter-Korean relations and also improve the U.S.-North Korean relations.

And from Kim Jong-un's point of view he is saying that he wants to work with the Russian president. So, there's an awful lot of talk saying that they will collaborate together. very few specifics at this point. But let's listen to what President Putin had to say.


VLADIMIR PUTIN, RUSSIAN PRESIDENT (through translator): I'm sure your visit to Russia will also help to develop our bilateral relations and will help us to understand the ways we can settle the situation on the Korean peninsula. What can be done together? And what Russia can do to support the positive processes that are taking place now.

We welcome your efforts on developing inter-Korean dialog and your efforts on normalizing the U.S.-North Korean relations.


HANCOCKS: And the very fact that the Kremlin said before this summit even took place that there wasn't going to be some kind of joint statement there wasn't going to be a joint agreement at the end of this really try to downplay expectations. To tell people there is not going to be a great declaration at the end of this, potentially learning lessons from the Hanoi summit where they had to backpedal after saying that there would be a joint statement.

But really this is the first time that these two leaders have met face to face. Their countries have a long history of friendship, something else that they were both at pains to point out. Rosemary?

CHURCH: Right. And of course, Russian officials reveal that the main issue to be discussed by the two leaders will be the denuclearization. But of course, it's difficult because a lot of people don't really know what that term even means.

Certainly, when Kim Jong-un met with President Trump's. That was the case. So how much as the Russian president help with that particular issue?

HANCOCKS: Well, certainly, it's not in Russia's interest to have a nuclear North Korea. So, from that point of view, you could imagine that President Putin would be encouraging Kim Jong-un to follow that path follow the negotiation. The fact that in the very first time he was able to speak was standing

next to Kim Jong-un, he pointed out that he appreciated the way that Kim Jong-un was trying to improve those U.S.-North Korea relations.

When it comes to something tangible, though, by the end of the summit, nothing much is really expected purely for the fact that what Kim Jong-un really wants is easing of sanctions. And clearly, that is something that is expected to be brought up as well. And Russia simply can't do that.

They can't unilaterally lift sanctions that they have agreed to within the framework of the United Nations Security Council. President Putin and Russia have made it probably clear that they believe it's time to start easing those sanctions. They favor a step by step process, which is exactly what China favors and North Korea, and to some extent South Korea, as well.

So certainly, there could be some discussion on that, but we're not expecting a big announcement.

[03:05:01] CHURCH: No. All right. Many thanks. Our Paula Hancocks bringing us up to date there from Seoul in South Korea.

Well, relations between North Korea and Russian leaders go all the way back to the 1940s when Kim Il-Sung met with Joseph Stalin before the invasion of South Korea.

Now years later, the elder Kim met with Mikhail Gorbachev in Moscow several years before the breakup of the Soviet Union. Kim Il-sung son and successor Kim Jong-il met with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Pyongyang in 2000.

Now the two met again about a year later this time in Moscow. And a year after that they met in the city where the current Russian and North Korean talks are taking place. Vladivostok.

Now in 2011, the Russian presidency was in the hands of Dmitri Medvedev and Kim Jong-il met with him in Siberia for talks.

So, a little bit of background there for you to bring you up to date on these Russia- North Korea talks.

Well, all Catholic services in Colombo, Sri Lanka have been suspended until Monday because of security concerns after the Easter Sunday bombings. Police have stepped up searches and set up roadblocks across the city although they are telling people not to panic.

Meanwhile, there is a growing anger over the failure by Sri Lankan authorities to act on warnings that they received ahead of the bombings. The government admits it received three warnings from Indian intelligence about a potential plot against churches and hotels in the weeks and days leading up to the attacks.

The president has asked the state defense minister and police inspector general to resign. Sources tell CNN two of the suicide bombers were brothers, their father is a wealthy spice exporter in police custody on suspicion of aiding and abetting the suspects.

So, let's turn to CNN's Nikhil Kumar who is live this hour in Colombo. Good to see you again, Nikhil. So, what more are you learning about the suicide bombers behind this horrifying attack.

NIKHIL KUMAR, CNN NEW DELHI BUREAU CHIEF: Well, the picture is slowly coming together, Rosemary, about what happened on Sunday who were behind it. You mentioned the two brothers we now know from the Sri Lankan police spokeswoman that the father, his name is Mohammed Yusuf Ibrahim, is a prominent spice trader here, a well-known man in the community.

We've been here all day. Everybody knows him. He's known -- you know, he's a very successful businessman. He's been under arrest now for some time and we've been told that he's under arrest from suspicion of aiding and abetting the suspects.

The entire family, in fact, we're told, that everybody in the family is believed to be in custody. This is according to the Sri Lankan police spokesman.

Now I'm outside the house in Colombo where when police raided the house a few days ago in the aftermath of the bombings they were met with a woman who blew herself up who was named as the ninth suicide bomber by the state defense minister in his press conference yesterday.

Her husband was one of the members at the Shangri-La Hotel who, one of the president's advisers has told us was the mastermind behind these attacks.

So, the picture is slowly coming together of the profile of these bombers. We also know that they were from a relatively wealthy family. One of them we know went and studied in the U.K. and then went to Australia for his postgraduate studies before returning to Sri Lanka.

So even as this picture comes together authorities are also scrambling to make sure that they stop any further attacks that might be in the works. The prime minister has said that there is little concern about people out there with explosives.

We know from the police spokesman that five safe houses have been raided and sealed. So that operation of trying -- to of making sure that nobody else can strike again. That there isn't a second wave of attacks that still on the way. Rosemary?

CHURCH: Right. And of course, too, Nikhil, Sri Lanka's president says he had no prior knowledge of this attack. And he's calling for the resignation of the defense minister and the police chief. But the defense minister also denies he received a heads up on the bombs plot.

So, does this mean the president doesn't believe him or is ignorance no defense? Meaning no resignations will probably come.

KUMAR: So, yes. He has asked for the resignation of the defense secretary and the police chief. The -- look, the prime minister said before the president said that he didn't get the information. The prime minister has said that he was also in the dark.

So, it seems like a lot of people were in the dark about what a very, very specific warnings. We know that India provided three specific warnings. One, on the 4th of April, the other, the second one on Saturday, the day before the Easter bombings.

[03:10:01] And we know that the final warning came one hour before, just one hour before the first explosion which is why even if people try to come to terms with a tragedy here people are getting increasingly angry.

And they are asking the question why was this allowed to happen if there was so much intelligence out there. Why wasn't it passed up the chain? Why wasn't all the security that you will now see everywhere around this country why they weren't on place when those worshippers went into those churches and those tourists went into those hotels? Rosemary?

CHURCH: The anger is completely understandable and they need some answers from their leaders and the politicians there as to why this happened. It is unacceptable.

Nikhil Kumar, thank you so much for bringing that live report from the streets to Colombo.

Well, the bombings are exposing religious fault lines in the island nation and families who lost loved ones in the attack are struggling to cope.

CNN's Ivan Watson reports.

IVAN WATSON, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Ten-year-old Alexandria sing the song for her father.


SUDESH KOLONNE, FATHER OF VICTIM: She loved to dance. She's like, she loves to create songs, you know.


WATSON: This is the last video Sudesh Kolonne has of his little girl. On Sunday morning, the Australian-Sri Lankan, his wife, Manik, and daughter, all prepared to celebrate Easter together.


KOLONNE: They we were so excited Sunday we are going to church for the ceremony.


WATSON: And it was here at St. Sebastian Catholic Church that a suicide bomber struck.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) KOLONNE: Both died in front of me, especially my daughter and my wife both died in my hand.


WATSON: His wife and daughter two of the hundreds of people killed on Easter by a wave of suicide bombers.

Grief now echoes across this island nation, hundreds of families destroyed by acts of unspeakable violence.

The people of Sri Lanka have barely begun the process of burying their dead. And there are still so many more funerals to be had.

The suicide bomber at St. Sebastian transformed this house of worship into a slaughterhouse.

One top Sri Lankan official says the bombers were home grown Islamic extremist seeking revenge for a white nationalist's attack on two mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand last month. mass shootings that killed 50 people.

The weapons used against the mosque in New Zealand and St. Sebastian Church here in Sri Lanka may have been different but all of these attacks were fueled by the same raw hatred.

This, this is the end result of the twisted logic of mass murder.

Sri Lankans are trying hard to avoid descending into a cycle of sectarian revenge attacks. The Catholic clergy, trying to keep their targeted community calm.


NIROSHAN PERERA, PRIEST: Be calm. Don't fight with each other, don't have a grudge with each other, especially with the Muslims.


WATSON: But grieving families can't even mourn in peace. Police and troops out in force to protect funerals from the threat of a second wave of terrorist attacks. Survivors like Sudesh Kolonne are left clinging to extended relatives.


KOLONNE: We have a really good family. I mean, especially my daughter, a good time, unbelievable loss.


WATSON: Hard to imagine how anyone can ever recover from this type of loss.


KOLONNE: Now they are going, now I'm very hurt.


WATSON: Ivan Watson, CNN, Negombo, Sri Lanka.

CHURCH: It is unbearable to think of the pain.

Moving on to another story we're keeping a close eye on. Climate change protesters are trying to disrupt London's financial industry. Seven activists in black suits and red ties blocked the entrance of the stock exchange building.

The group Extinction Rebellion is demanding the finance industry to tell the truth about the devastating impact it's having on the planet. Activists are also on top of a train at the Canary wolf station with signs saying don't jail the Canaries, referring of course to them warning of danger ahead.

And business as usual, death is another sign.

Well, mass climate demonstration crippled the public transportation in London last week, more than a thousand people were arrested.

A Tokyo court as granted Nissan's former CEO bail, but there is a delay in his release. We'll explain with a live report as to why.

[03:14:54] Plus, a month after Cyclone Idai devastated parts of Mozambique the East African nation is now bracing for another powerful storm. We'll have the details on that.

Do stay with us.


CHURCH: Well, Nissan's former CEO Carlos Ghosn has been granted bail in Japan but prosecutors are appealing the court's decision delaying his released. The once powerful auto executive is accused of funneling millions of dollars of Nissan's money to car dealership he controlled.

Separately, Ghosn is also charged with underreporting his salary and transferring personal investment losses to Nissan, all of which he denies.

Sherisse Pham is following the story from Hong Kong. She joins us now. So, Sherisse, what is the latest you have on where things stand legally for Carlos Ghosn right now?

SHERISSE PHAM, CNN BUSINESS REPORTER: Legally, he is in a holding pattern, Rosemary. So, the prosecutors have appealed this decision from the Tokyo court. They called the decision regrettable. They said you are granting him bail even though you are admitting in this bail decision that he was potentially going to contact people associated with the case and could potentially destroy evidence.

Both of those things go against bail conditions. Now, this is just the latest development in a legal saga that has seen Carlos Ghosn arrested at least four times and jailed twice. And this constant back and forth of arrest and re-arrest and jail, and released, and jailed again, granted bail and then having the bail put on hold.

It's really putting a spotlight on the way that criminal suspects are treated in Japan what's known as a hostage of justice. Prosecutors have been known to sort of lean on suspects until they break in and they end up confessing to crimes that they may not have committed.

So, Carlos Ghosn has repeatedly said that he's innocent of all these charges. That being said, he has not provided evidence showing that he is. And the latest charges against him, that charges the he essentially stole $5 million of Nissan money, that is a really serious one. And if he is not going to present evidence showing that he's innocent, legal experts in Japan have told us, Rosemary, that that could really be devastating for him.

CHURCH: Sherisse Pham, thank you for bringing us up to date on that story. We'll continue to follow the twists and turns of that. I appreciate it.

We are also following a powerful cyclone now headed toward Mozambique. This comes just a month after another cyclone devastated parts of the country.

[03:20:00] And our meteorologist Pedram Javaheri joins us now from the international weather center. You've been following this very closely. What's the latest on Cyclone Kenneth?

PEDRAM JAVAHERI, CNN METEOROLOGIST: Yes, still an incredible storm. You know, it strengthens to a category four and going to maintain some of its intensity as it approaches land in the next couple of hours.

Here's what we looked at about five weeks ago, which at that point was a historic storm. Because Idai was the first we've seen a storm of this magnitude make landfall in Mozambique since 2008. And statistically speaking, a tropical system with category one equivalent winds only happens once every nine years.

Now we're talking about it happening twice within a matter of five weeks. Of course, Idai left behind a billion dollars in losses, about the equivalent to 10 percent of Mozambique's GDP. So that kind of gives you a sense of scale of the severity of that storm system.

And then you look towards the north and the storm system that is approaching Pemba which is a city of about quarter million people into northern Mozambique. This storm system is actually stronger than Idai by a wide shot. It's a category four equivalent. Idai was a category two system.

As it moves to shore, this particular system would tie the strongest storm it ever observed in Mozambique history if it makes at the landfall in the next 68 hours with this intense wind of 215 kilometers per hour.

Now, we're watching it carefully, because of course there is a lot of friction coming off of land. There's a lot of dry air coming off of the African continent. Put these together where we think some weakening expected but still would be a category three even if it wakens on landfall just because there isn't really enough time for this to weaken significantly.

But the concern becomes the water element as is always the case. Notice the white contours there as that's indicative of a half a meter of rainfall in the next couple of cays across this region.

And then you go for a closer perspective you look at a city such as Pemba, and look at the lay of the land, significant area of bay here which we would see some storm surge of course. The water would find its way into the bay itself and eventually pick up potential more energy as it works this way towards some of these coastal communities.

And of course, we saw a very similar thing play out in Beira five weeks ago, Rosemary. And the amount of water that encompass this region on rainfall, enhance satellite imagery in red showing you the flooded regions down towards the southern tier of Mozambique with Idai.

Three thousand square kilometers of land were submerged, some areas six meters deep in water. That is what led to over 800 fatalities. That is what made this the deadliest southern hemisphere storm we've ever seen. Equivalent now to about three Hong Kongs put together here, that's how much area was underwater.

So, it's a very concerning system considering it's stronger and it's moving its way towards another populated area, Rosemary.

CHURCH: All right. Thanks again for staying on top of all of these developments. I appreciate it, Pedram.

JAVAHERI: Thank you.

CHURCH: Well, Prince William is visiting New Zealand right now for Anzac Day services. The national holiday commemorates the Battle of Gallipoli when the Australian and New Zealand army corps fought Turkish forces in World War I.

Now the anniversary now honors all those who died in military conflict. The prince arrived in Christchurch after attending an Anzac ceremony in Oakland. In Christchurch he is expected to visit both mosques where an Australian gunman killed 50 people last month and wounded 50 others during Friday prayers.

Many of this years' Anzac observances were scaled back due to security concerns. Turkish authorities say a suspected ISIS member was arrested for allegedly plotting to attack one of the ceremonies in Gallipoli.

Well, British and Irish leaders from across the political divide are united in grief. They said goodbye to journalist Lyra McKee who was shot and killed in violent clashes last week in Londonderry, Northern Ireland, also known as Derry.

A funeral had a message aimed at all the politicians present.

CNN's Nic Robertson has that report.

NIC ROBERTSON, CNN INTERNATIONAL DIPLOMATIC EDITOR: On her final journey, so many came to say goodbye not just grief-stricken family and friends, a president, to prime ministers, politicians of all stripes, an untimely farewell for a rising star who reached across divides.


NICHOLA CORNER, LYRA MCKEE'S SISTER: God gave us Lyra, but what God didn't tell us was that we wouldn't have her for long.


ROBERTSON: The journalist an LGBT advocate movingly remembered by those who loved her.


STEPHEN LUSTY, LYRA MCKEE'S FRIEND: There is not here in person but our starlight filled this room. She would be thrilled that all her friends could be in one place and they could finally get to be connected.

They were smart, kind, passionate, interesting, feisty, generous, funny and above all else, truly compassionate. Today --


ROBERTSON: A far from average funeral but a far from average woman. Friends wore Harry Potter a Marvel memorabilia in tribute to Lyra's love of the characters.

[03:25:08] The spiritual secular service one with a message to the gathered politicians help unfreeze the provinces politics.


MARTIN MAGILL, PRIEST, ST. JOHN'S PARISH, BELFAST: Why in God's name does it take the death of a 29-year-old woman, with her whole life in front of her.


MAGILL: To get to this point.


ROBERTSON: A message to honor Lyra's legacy.


MAGILL: I dare to hope that Lyra's murder on Holy Thursday evening can be the doorway to a new beginning. And I detect a deep desire for this. One of Lyra's friends was reporting saying this, we've had enough.

There is a younger generation coming up in time and they don't need guns in their hands. They need jobs, they need a better health service and education. They need a life, not a gun in their hands.



ROBERTSON: Outside, crowds came to pay their respects. At 29, Lyra was more than just a child of Northern Ireland's post peace deal generation. She was a foster child with a better future respected by many, murdered most likely by a teenage gun touting terrorist.

Rare moments this day for both prime ministers to look yesteryears war in the face than all the pain that goes with it.

Nic Robertson, CNN, Belfast, Northern Ireland.

CHURCH: Some powerful messages there in the face of her death.

Well, Facebook is braced for a fine from U.S. regulators of up to $5 billion dollars over data privacy. Facebook has come under scrutiny for giving more user data to companies than it previously admitted. It's accused of violating an agreement that required the social network to have a comprehensive privacy program and to get the consent of users before sharing their data.

But Facebook investors don't seem too concerned about it. Shares closed up 5 percent following the news.

Well, President Trump may have had trouble getting his wall on the border. But he has built a big stonewall around the White House. Will it keep the Democratic investors out -- investigators out?

Plus, he's already held the second highest office in the U.S. Now Joe Biden will try for the top job if he can break out of the crowded Democratic field. We'll take a look at those stories when we come back.


ROSEMARY CHURCH, CNN ANCHOR: Welcome back, everyone. I'm Rosemary Church, and this is CNN Newsroom. Let's update you now on the main stories we've been following this hour.

All catholic services in Colombo, Sri Lanka have been suspended until Monday, because of security concerns after the Easter Sunday bombings. Police have stepped up searches and setup roadblocks across the city although they're telling people not to panic. They've now arrested more than 70 suspects since those attacks.

Pyongyang's talks with Washington stalled two months ago when now Russian President Vladimir Putin is stepping in. The leaders of North Korea and Russia met for the first time just a few hours ago. Both say the visit will help their country understand how to settle the situation on the Korean peninsula.

Prosecutors are now appealing a Tokyo court's decision to grant bail to former Nissan CEO Carlos Ghosn. Once powerful auto executive faces new financial misconduct charges, accuse of funneling money from Nissan to a car dealership that he controlled. Separately, Ghosn is also charged with under reporting his salary and transferring personal investment losses to Nissan, all of which he denies.

Well, another powerful cyclone will soon make landfall in Mozambique. The country is still reeling from cyclone Idai just last month. Cyclone Kenneth has strengthen from a tropical storm to the equivalent of a category three hurricane in just 24 hours.

The battle lines are drawn between the White House and congressional Democrats. President Trump said he will fight every subpoena the Democrats throw to his way. It is the latest evidence that stonewalling Congress is the new tactic in the president's fight against investigations and oversight. Our Jim Acosta reports from the White House.


JIM ACOSTA, CNN SENIOR WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: The president came out swinging against the investigations watch by House Democrats, gibing a thumbs down to their demands for his tax returns and a subpoena for the testimony of former White House counsel, Don McGahn.

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We are fighting all the subpoenas. Look, these aren't like impartial people. The Democrats are trying to win 2020. They're not gonna win with the people that I see. The only way can lock out is by constantly going after me on nonsense.

ACOSTA: But there's another big headache for the president. CNN has learned, Deutsche bank is now providing financial records to the New York Attorney General, which is a subpoena for documents connected to loans to Mr. Trump's business empire. Earlier in the day, the president claim he's been cooperative with Congressional investigators even as he scoffed at them, but that is not true, the president has not release his long sought tax returns.

TRUMP: I have been the most transparent president and administration in the history of our country by far.

ACOSTA: A source familiar with discussions inside the president's legal team told CNN, Mr. Trump's attorney believes Special Counsel Robert Mueller already has them, something the president assumed as well.

TRUMP: Now Mueller, I assume, for 35 million dollars he checked my taxes. And he checked by financials which were great by the way. You know, they are great. All you have to do is go look at the records. They're all over the place. But they checked my financials and they check my taxes, I assumed.

ACOSTA: Democrats say they're not giving up on obtaining the president's tax returns.

JUDY CHU, U.S. HOUSE DEMOCRAT: It is the oversight duty of ways and means to see that the law is properly complied with, and the chair is exercising his duty to make sure that the returns of the president were done properly. And we also want to know whether the president is paying his fair share of taxes.

ACOSTA: The White House is also pushing back against a report in The New York Times. The former Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen, was blocked by Chief of Staff, Mick Mulvaney from talking to the president about Russian election meddling.

Mulvaney release a statement saying, I don't recall anything along those lines happening in any meeting. And unlike the Obama administration, who knew about Russian actions in 2014 and did nothing, the Trump administration will not tolerate foreign interference in our elections. And we've already taken many steps to prevent it in the future. Former President Obama said, he warned Russians Vladimir Putin to stay out of the U.S. elections.

BARACK OBAMA, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I felt that the most effective way to unsure that that didn't happen was to talk to him directly. And tell him to cut it out or there will be some serious consequences if he didn't.

ACOSTA: White House critics wonder whether the West Wing is getting serious about Kremlin interference, given the president's son in law, Jared Kushner's comments on the subject this week.

[03:35:08] JARED KUSHNER, PRESIDENT'S SENIOR ADVISER: You look at, you know, what Russia did, buying some Facebook ads and try to saw decent and do it, and it's a terrible thing. But I think the investigation and all of the speculation that has happen for the last two years has had a much harsher impact on democracy than a couple of Facebook ads.

ACOSTA: In an op-ed on the Washington Post, former Secretary of State and former 2017 Democratic candidate, Hillary Clinton, is urging House Democrats to continue holding hearings to try to fair it out with what was revealed in the Mueller investigation. She goes on to say in this op-ed that what happened in 2016 was a crime committed against the America people. Jim Acosta, CNN the White House.


CHURCH: Joining me now is Daniel Dale, Washington bureau chief for the Toronto Star. Good to have you with us.


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.


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.


CHURCH: So, let's fact check that statement 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.

[03:40:12] 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: The crowded field of U.S. Democratic presidential candidates

is about to grow by one more and he could be a game-changer. Just hours from now, former U.S. Vice President Joe Biden will jump into a race, were minority voters may have the final word. We will get the latest now from CNN's Kyung Lah.


KYUNG LAH, SENIOR NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT, CNN: With the Democratic base shaping up to be more female and more diverse than ever, 2020 presidential candidates head to Houston courting voters of color. You hear the people forum, eight of the 2020 candidates will speak, addressing women of color issue, a signal of this voting bloc's power in the Democratic nomination. Among the speakers the only black woman running for president this cycle, Kamala Harris. At the CNN town hall, she weighed in on (inaudible) voting, a group disproportionally made up of people of color.

DON LEMON, CNN HOST: The people who are in -- convicted, in prison, like the Boston marathon bomber, on death throw, people who are convicted of sexual assault, they should be able to vote?

SEN. KAMALA HARRIS (D-CA), U.S. DEMOCRATIC PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I never should have that conversation.

LAH: The next day, Harris seeking to clarify her response.

HARRIS: Do I think that people who commit murder, people who are terrorist, should be deprived of their rights. Yes, I do. I'm a prosecutor, I believe that in terms of -- there has to be serious consequence for the most extreme types of crimes.

LAH: The issues and the entire Democratic race will be a brand-new primary game tomorrow.

When former Vice President Joe Biden makes his long awaited campaign official. His political action committee tease what CNN reports will be a video announcement on Thursday. While building up an email and fund-raising list writing. There has been a lot of chatter about what Joe Biden plans to do. And we want you to be the first to know.

After the announcement sources tell CNN, Biden will hold his first campaign event in Pittsburgh. Then hit the road to the early voting states of Iowa, South Carolina and New Hampshire.

JOE BIDEN, FORMER VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Where else today, then I get a shot, off to the races.


CHURCH: Kyung Lah, with that report. Iran's Foreign Minister is lashing out at the Trump administration decision to start sanctioning countries for the 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)

MOHAMMAD JAVAD ZARIF, FOREIGN MINISTER OF IRAN: There is a Security Council resolution. Which openly says that the purpose of the resolution is to normalize Iran's business relations. It calls on all states to implement that resolution. Now the United States is not only not complying except what it's saying that the rest of the world should not comply. And they're going a step further, saying that they're going to punish if comply. This is the first time to my knowledge, and I'm dealt with the U.N. for the last 40 years. This is the first time that this is happening in the U.N. This is coercion pure and simple.


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. Let's take a short break here, still to come, the French president prepares to take steps to diffuse months of unrest, but one proposal is so unexpected that even the yellow vest protestors didn't expected. We'll explain when we come back.

[03:45:09] Plus, trouble for the Boy Scouts of America, after the organizations own files revealed decades of sexual abuse by Scout leaders. Were back in just a moment.


CHURCH: The Boy Scouts of America could be facing a flood of legal problems from new allegations of sexual abuse dating back decades. According to a review of the Boy Scouts secret files, these allegations involve thousands of children and implicate thousands of former scout leaders. Meredith Wood has the very latest.


JEFF ANDERSON, SEXUAL ABUSE ATTORNEY: When we got this information, we had to sound the alarm.

MEREDITH WOOD, CNN EDITOR/SUPERVISOR: At least 12,254 children enrolled in the Boy Scouts allegedly sexually abused. At the hands of more than 7,800 former scout leaders from 1944 to 2016. The newly exposed court testimony publicized by a lawyer for sexual abuse victims. He says the Boy Scouts kept the names of accused child molester secret for over 70 years.

BRIDIE FARRELL, CO-FOUNDER, NY LOVES KIDS: Which allow these people to then go on and coach soccer teams and allowed them to go on and be teachers. I mean, these people shouldn't work in McDonalds with a playground. Let alone being alone with children.

WOOD: Child sex abuse advocates hope more victims will come forward with their stories. Like, Robert Costello, who says an assistant Scout master molested him repeatedly. ROBERT COSTELLO, BOY SCOUTS SEX ABUSE VICTIM: He would come in, we

would be in the tent, like 3:00 in the morning and then start reaching in my sleeping bag and fondling me.

WOOD: The Boy Scouts say every instance of suspected abuse has now been reported to law enforcement. Adding quote, throughout our history, we haven't acted strong youth protection policies to prevent future abuse. At no time have we ever knowingly allowed a perpetrator to work with youth. I'm Meredith Wood reporting.


CHURCH: Well, a few hours from now, French President Emmanuel Macron is expected to announce a long list of social and political reforms. It's aimed at ending six months of protest over economic inequality. And according to French media. Mr. Macron plans to shut down one of the country's most famous and elite colleges. CNN's Melissa Bell, has as the details.


[03:50:00] MELISSA BELL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: It's an institution that has near mythical statue in France, but according to the French press, Emmanuel Macron maybe about to announce one of his most radical moves yet. By abolishing the Ecole Nationale D'administration or ENA, created by Charles de Gaulle in 1945, the elite school has since educated nearly half of France's presidents and Prime Ministers.

(Inaudible), countless Ministers have also manage to join the 100 students annually to get through the notoriously difficult entrance exam. As have France's top CEOs like (inaudible), (inaudible), and the CEO of Orange, Stephane Richard. The institution was created to open access to the highest spheres of Frances civil servants to the cleverest rather than the richest.

In the past, Emmanuel Macron has praised it for allowing him, a boy from the provinces to make it to the top, but it has become in France a synonym for elitism. On Monday, the French president spoke to the cameras about the fire at Notre Dame, he had been due to make another address entirely about measures to address the grievances of the Yellow Vest.

On Saturday, and despite the leaks of those measures, 9000 Yellow Vest were back on the streets of Paris, protesting for the 23rd Saturday in a row. There are numbers smaller than they were to begin with, but their demands is more radical and their mood more revolutionary. None of them that we spoke to were interested in the future of ENA. CNN reached out to the government, but it declined to comment on the future of the institution. Matthias Fekl, list a former minister and graduate of ENA.

MATTHIAS FEKL, FORMER FRENCH INTERIOR MINISTER: ENA was appalled, showing that almost two thirds of French citizens were against abolishing it. They want to reform it, they want a more modern ENA, more open ENA, more international ENA, more socially represented ENA. But everybody knows that you have to form the elite and it's better to have an elite base on (inaudible).

BELL: Already, the mood is being criticize as shared populism. And yet too far removed from the concern of ordinary people whose economic difficulties have led to so much social unrest this last month. Melissa Bell, CNN, Paris.


CHURCH: We will take a short break still to come, the Avengers may not have defeated Thanos in Infinity War, but they are crushing the box office with Endgame. The series epic conclusion has already breaking in millions of dollars. We will take a look.

And Kim Jong-un won't travel in any other way. What's involve in keeping his train on track?


CHURCH: Avengers Endgame is already crushing box office records. The superhero movie set a new record on its opening day in China. And it hits theaters in the United Kingdom and the United States on Thursday. Here is a sneak peek.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Whatever it takes.


CHURCH: A very exciting Avengers Endgame is the epic conclusion of 21 previous marvel films which began with Ironman back in 2008. It's expected to earn nearly a billion dollars in its opening week globally including 107 million dollars in China on that opening day.

[03:55:13] Well, there's always plenty of (inaudible) ceremony, for a state visit, but what sets Kim Jong-un's arrival in Russia apart is insistence on traveling by train. Jeanne Moos, takes a look at the special challenges that creates.



TRUMP: There's a warp that we have.

MOOS: With President Trump in Hanoi was a dod (ph). So Kim Jong-un is playing the field, meeting with Vladimir Putin, but first he had to get to Russia in his famous armored train. And that necessitated the last minute cleaning spree. A couple of guys desperately polishing the door Kim would exit. Even as the train pulled in. Nobody does train arrivals like Kim Jong-un.

Actually, nobody does train arrivals period. Except Kim Jong-un, but still, the best laid plans, not to mention the best laid carpets can go array, for instance, when the door Kim would exit didn't line up properly with the red carpet. And the man with the ramps were left holding them until the guy in charge with the white gloves directed the engineer to back up the train, the ramps were place and repeatedly tested. No one wants to risk a collapse when Kim starts to throw his way weigh around.

It was all a bit of reminisce of Chaplin's the great dictator.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Come on! We've gone too far. I never get out without a carpet.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He is going back again. Take it away.

MOOS: But when Kim finally stepped out, there was no unsynchronized saluting, there was synchronicity in Kim's running bodyguard. And several of whom had a new twist carried briefcases as they jog. As Kim strolled around, he's struck a positively Napoleonic pose. And then there was that hat. It came off. It went back on and came off, then on. It reminds me of odd jobs someone tweeted. But at least Kim Jong-un didn't decapitated any statues. Jeanne Moos, CNN, New York.


CHURCH: And thank you so much for your company. I'm Rosemary Church. Remember to connect with me anytime on Twitter and the news continues with our Max Foster in London. You're watching CNN, have yourselves a great day.