Return to Transcripts main page
ISIS' Mysterious Leader Is Not Dead, New Video Shows; U.S. Treasury Secretary, Trade Rep. In Beijing; Director John Singleton Dies At 51. Aired 2-3a ET
Aired April 30, 2019 - 02:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[02:00:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
ROSEMARY CHURCH, CNN ANCHOR: Hello and welcome to our viewers joining us from all around the world. I'm Rosemary Church with your next two hours of CNN Newsroom. Let's get started.
With his so-called caliphate obliterated, the leader of ISIS is reaching out to followers in a new message and praising the attacks in Sri Lanka. Boeing's CEO's latest damage control attempt, he is pledging to re-earn trust. But hints the pilots could be to blame for the most recent fatal crash.
And we are live in Tokyo for an historic day. The Japanese emperor is giving up his throne, the first such occasion in 200 years.
Thanks for joining us. Well, it looks like Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi is alive and well. A new propaganda video depicts the ISIS leader urging on his followers. If genuine, it's his first known video since 2014.
The man in the video mentions the battle for Baghuz where ISIS lost its final piece of Syrian territory. Off camera, he also praises recent attacks in Sri Lanka. And the Sri Lankan president is also confirming to CNN in an exclusive interview that the Easter Sunday bombers had very clear links to ISIS.
Our Sam Kiley just sat down with the president and here's a bit of the conversation.
MAITHRIPALA SIRISENA, SRI LANKA PRESIDENT (through translator): I was not informed of information pertaining to this attack prior to the occurrence of the incident.
But instead security services had informed the defense minister who informed the inspector general of police for intelligence provided information to the Sri Lankan intelligence services on the 4th to of April.
Between the 4th and 12th April, letters were exchanged between officers but no one reported this to me. On 16th April, I left the country on a personal holiday. I departed the country (inaudible) after information was received. I was not informed of this information, so it is not me but the IG of police and the defense secretary who should be resigning. Therefore, I have taken necessary actions to review them as they were negligent in their duties.
SAM KILEY, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIOAL CORRESPONDENT: You seem therefore to be suggesting that the intelligence agencies were deliberate in keeping you uninformed of this?
SIRISENA (through translator): I do not think this was intentionally done. I feel they were being irresponsible and negligent in their duties. When the incidentoccured, I asked him why they didn't inform me of the matter. And their response was that even though they received information, they didn't think an incident of this nature would occur. I think they were careless and negligent in their duties.
CHURCH: Sam Kiley joins us on the phone now. Sam, we were just listening to a part of your interview there with Sri Lanka's president where he talked about the intelligence.
But let's concentrate now on claims that he made that these suicide bombers had very clear links to ISIS. What proof did he provide you of that very clear notion that he set out there.
KILEY: What was interesting, Rosemary, essentially he provided the proof that's already out there and very strikingly he did not reply to the repeated intelligence transmissions coming from India in particular. There's more than (inaudible) was going to bomb churches and hotels.
But rather he said that ISIS themselves had made claim to the attracted teams in their own (inaudible). So, he did not really come out with anything more direct by way of proof than that. But really to say that by their own section (ph) ISIS is behind it.
But we do know of course and been (inaudible) when a group of these followers killed themselves. They had ISIS flags there, they had (inaudible) in the ISIS video and (inaudible) Iraq authorities and uncovered an enormous cash of explosives and (inaudible) material to make yet more bombs in the (inaudible) the last few days.
So, the evidence is absolutely out there but it's interesting that he didn't provide any kind of granularity to that which is striking because of course it is the Sri Lanka intelligence that warned the system that are made to be enabling nine days before the attacks.
That many attacks were imminent on top if the intelligence they got from India. It's very self justifying (inaudible) have to say Rosemary, partly to back down the system rather than setting (ph) Rosemary.
[02:05:00] CHURCH: You very much pressed him (ph) on that point as well, and what else did the president tell you? And what did he reveal about how authorities there intend to catch any remaining suspects and prevent more attacks?
KILEY: So I pushed him very hard on the dysfunction of the government, (inaudible) to him that as president he'd been in open political warfare (ph) with the prime minister -- indeed between October and December last year, there was a rival prime minister that he (ph) had tried to impose on the government that was overruled in a Supreme Court in December last year. And pitted (ph) to him that the prime minister had not been able to attend meetings of the National Security Council in the four (ph) months that lead up to this atrocity.
Then (inaudible) required that it hadn't been necessary for the prime minister to attend those meetings, because he would be filled in on the information when the cabinet met. He nearly did insist that all of the failures of the Sri Lankan system were somebody else's cause. Whereas of course (inaudible) here were pointing the finger very strongly at him, and a dysfunctional government that had at least accidentally provided the opportunity for these sorts of attacks, that we've seen unfold.
In terms of how to deal with future attacks, he said he had now begun a process of effectively demanding a resignation of the Inspector General of Police, and one or two other key figures. But only yesterday did his presidency even appoint somebody to be (ph) the commander of the national operation to go after these bombers.
And you can see on the screen there, there are a phenomenal amount -- of explosives that have already been discovered. But the police who almost -- not strictly, but almost daily basis (ph) are finding more and more explosives and it seems to be a staggering (ph) amount of potential bomb making equipment out there. And only yesterday had somebody been put in charge of actually -- somebody will be making the efforts to round up this terrorist group.
There is, I think a degree of hope that the central family involved in this has destroyed itself -- that in blowing itself up a few days ago, the two brothers and the father of the spiritual leader of this elite cell (ph). Himself, a suicide bomber at the (inaudible). And also going up in the -- explosion that you can see on the screen there.
But the -- frankly he is very non-specific about how he was going to try to get a grip on the government and the security services, and the processes -- and acquire (ph) to try to continue the protective animation (ph) against what is clearly an international plot with input and inspiration at the very least from the Islamic state.
But one of the real issues that we've been unable to answer (ph), (inaudible) if it's possible for Sri Lanka to have missed the importation of such a gigantic amount of explosive material 150 sticks of dynamite, (inaudible) in that warehouse a few days ago, and a similar amount was found on a man on a motorcycle with over 100 detonators the day after. So they are having some success in running the stuff down, but equally
as the scale of the amount of explosives that seems to be out there must be causing them (ph) some deep concern. But he was very -- essentially non-committed about how he -- they would approach this in the future.
CHURCH: Shocking situation here, many challenges lie ahead, and of course as you mentioned, Sam this has highlighted the dysfunction of this government and the in-fighting that brought them to this situation. Sam Kiley joining us on the phone there, just hours after his exclusive interview with the Sri Lankan President, many thanks to you.
Well a former U.S. Army soldier sits in jail right now, accused of trying to cause mass casualties with improvised explosive devices. The FBI arrested Mark Steven Domingo on Friday, they say he was attempting to buy pressure cooker bombs filled with nails.
The Justice Department says Domingo was consumed with hate, and bent on mass murder. They add the 26 year old was a recent convert to Islam, and wanted to take revenge for the recent mosque shootings in New Zealand. His targets included Jews, police, a military facility and the crowds at the Santa Monica pier near Los Angeles.
Well the man accused of opening fire in a California synagogue heads to court later, Tuesday, prosecutors have charged John Ernest with murder, attempted murder, and arson. The charges stem from Saturday's attack on the congregation Chabad in Poway, California near San Diego.
On Monday, the FBI says it was tipped off to Earnest just minutes before he began shooting at the synagogue. By then of course it was too late to do anything. Also on Monday, a funeral was held for Lori Kaye, the 60-year-old woman killed while shielding the Rabbi from the shooter.
California's governor has announced $15 million in funding to help targets of hate crime violence and earlier he explained why California is stepping up.
GOV. GAVIN NEWSOM (D-CA): This state will do what the federal government is not doing. And I want to highlight that because it deserves to be highlighted. The Trump administration cut their domestic budget to address the issue of domestic terrorism by close to 80 percent, 80 percent.
That's a demonstrable expression of the proposition of how they value and prioritize this issue. If they won't do that work, we will step in to that position of leadership.
CHURCH: The synagogue attack is renewing a tension on President Trump's responses to white nationalist crimes while his aides insist he speaks out strongly. A democratic presidential contender disagrees and is making it a campaign issue. Abby Phillip has our report.
ABBY PHILLIP, CNN W.H. CORRESPONDENT: In the wake of a deadly attack on a California synagogue, the White House facing new questions about President Trump's reluctance to call out white nationalism as a rising threat.
SARAH SANDERS, W.H. PRESS SECRETARY: I think one of the most important things we can do it use the bully pulpit of the president and call out this hatred by name.
PHILLIP: But President Trump hasn't always done that, starting on the campaign trail.
UNKNOWN MALE: Would you repudiate (inaudible)--
TRUMP: Sure. I would do that if it made you feel better. I would certainly repute. I don't know anything about him.
PHILLIP: Then after Charlottesville--
TRUMP: You also had people that were very fine people -- on both sides.
PHILLIP: And recently after an attack on Muslims in New Zealand.
UNKNOWN MALE: Do you see today white nationalism as a rising threat around the world?
TRUMP: I don't really. I think it's a small group of people that have very, very serious problems, I guess.
PHILLIP: According to the FBI, hate crimes are on the rise for the third year in a row. The issue is becoming a growing theme on the 2020 campaign trail.
JOE BIDEN, FORMER V.P. OF THE U.S.: Very fine people on both sides?
PHILLIP: After democratic rival Joe Biden criticized the president for his redirect, Trump not backing down saying he stands by what he said about the people involved in the Charlottesville attack.
TRUMP: If you look at what I said, you will see that that question was answered perfectly.
PHILLIP: Counselor to the president Kellyanne Conway on State of the Union with Jake Tapper says Trump's comments about Charlottesville were taken out of context.
KELLYANNE CONWAY, COUNSELOR TO THE PRES.: He was talking about the debate over removing statues and renaming--
JAKE TAPPER, CNN ANCHOR: So he wasn't talking about the weekend at all? He was just talking about--
CONWAY: He was talking about--
TAPPER: -- the theoretical discussion.
CONWAY: -- white supremacists, in fact he condemned them in no uncertain terms unequivocally.
PHILLIP: Conway refusing to give a straight answer about whether Trump has actually been perfect on the issue.
CONWAY: This president--
TAPPER: Was his response perfect, yes or no?
CONWAY: I think it was twisted for many years--
TAPPER: Was his response -- he said his response on Charlottesville was perfect.
CONWAY: Because he knows -- because intent matters and he was talking about--
TAPPER: Was his response -- it's a very simple question.
CONWAY: No, it's not a simple question. It's a very complicated topic.
TAPPER: Yes or no, was President Trump's--
PHILLIP: And even as President Trump faces questions about whether or not he is doing enough to combat the rising threat of white nationalism. He is receiving some praise from Rabbi Goldstein whose synagogue was attacked over the weekend.
The White House did confirm that he has spoke with President Trump over the weekend and that call lasted about 50 minutes. Goldstein described President Trump as being gracious and comforting to him and his community. Abby Phillip, CNN, the White House.
CHURCH: Laura Barron-Lopez is a national political reporter for Politico and joins me now from Washington. Good to have you with us.
LAURA BARRON-LOPEZ, NATIONAL POLITICAL REPORTER, POLITICO: Thanks for having me.
CHURCH: So in the wake of the synagogue attack in California that followed a number of other attacks, pressure is mounting on President Trump to denounce hate crimes and white supremacy ideology.
White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders says he is pushing back. But he isn't, is he? And he still won't recognize that those hate crimes are on the rise. Why is that? BARRON-LOPEZ: Look, we've heard the president repeatedly time and time again when acts of hate crimes have happened across the country not take a forceful stance in condemning them.
Again when he was talking about Charlottesville recently he doubled down on his claim that there were quote "very fine people on both sides." The president in doing this is trying to stoke the fear among his base.
He considers it a political advantage by pushing these issues, and so we expect that he's going to continue to do this in the lead up to the 2020 election because he thinks that I'll actually benefit him.
CHURCH: Right, but this inability on the part of President Trump to speak out against hate crimes, and to realize that they're on the rise -- could this prove to be his Achilles heel in the presidential race, given his rival Joe Biden is shining a very bright light on Mr. Trump's response to events, particularly in Charlottesville.
BARRON-LOPEZ: Right, well it's not something that helps him -- it also amps up the Democratic base in response to him, and we did see that Joe Biden is the person who brought up Charlottesville when he launched his first video ad to announce his candidacy for the Democratic nomination.
And President Trump responded to that. He's been tweeting about Joe Biden multiple times today, because he seems to be quite threatened by his candidacy, and Joe Biden is already starting to paint a very strong contrast with Trump, and is focusing on Trump more than the other Democratic candidates.
CHURCH: Yes, and I wanted to talk to you about that because he -- President Trump was ignoring the advice from his own aides to avoid highlighting Joe Biden in particular, because there is this recognition that he is the one Democratic presidential candidate that could perhaps push Trump out of office.
By doing that, why do you think that Mr. Trump would then go against what his advisors have told him, take the bait from Biden -- elevate Biden to in essence become the likely nominee then on the Democratic side, because simply Trump has put him there?
BARRON-LOPEZ: Right, so Biden is already well known that's why he's leading in the polls. He was -- he is a former Vice President serving with Obama. And so the more that Trump attacks him, the more that that elevates Biden. Trump doesn't really listen to his advisors that much -- he never really has.
We know that the president is known to make his decisions based on who is maybe the last person in the room with him, but that only goes so far. When he's alone he tends to take to Twitter and react to whatever he's watching on Fox News, or on other outlets. And so that is why it seems that the president isn't taking the advice of his advisors, he can be a bit of a loose canon when it comes to what he perceives as threats to his presidency.
CHURCH: We'll see whether this ends up helping Joe Biden. Of course I do want to turn to another issue before you go -- Attorney General Bill Barr refusing to appear before the House Judiciary Committee unless they agree to dump plans to have him answer questions from lawyers regarding the Mueller report. Chairman Jerry Nadler has refused to change the format, he says he'll go ahead with the hearing with or without Barr. Who will likely out maneuver whom in this battle, do you think?
BARRON-LOPEZ: I think Democrats are taking a really hard line, they want to show that they are going to stop at no -- you know, they're going to go as far as they possibly can in order to get all the information that they think that they need.
They feel bolstered by the fact that the public does want the information out there, but then again Democrats are also threading this fine line, not going too far and not saying that they're going to start impeachment proceedings, because they know that there can be a political risk to pushing impeachment proceedings.
But so far we haven't seen any of the Democratic chairman step down, they plan to be pushing the administration as hard as they possibly can in order to get the information that they want as it relates to the Mueller report.
CHURCH: And we'll see what happens with all of this later in the week of course. Laura Barron-Lopez, thank you so much for joining us -- we appreciate it.
BARRON-LOPEZ: Thank you.
CHURCH: All right, so let's take a short break here. We are awaiting a changing of the guard in Japan -- reign of Emperor Akihito is about to end. And we will look at the mark he leaves on Japanese history.
Plus Boeing CEO promised us to bring back one of the safest airplanes in the sky -- why he bailed out of a news conference about the company's 737 Max. We're back with that in more, in just a moment (ph).
CHURCH: Well within a few hours, the reign of Akihito will be over. The emperor of Japan will abdicate the throne in less than two hours from now making way fro his son Prince Naruhito to take over.
Now earlier he dawned (ph) traditional dress for an abdication ritual. Emperor Akihito says he's stepping down because of his health. He has battled prostate caner and had heart surgery during his 30 year reign. Akihito saw to heal the wounds of World War II and engage with his citizens like no previous monarch has.
Now Will Ripley joins us now from Tokyo with more on all of this. Good to see you, Will. So, what is the significance of this abdication of the emperor and of course the royal handover to his son from the perspective of most Japanese people?
WILL RIPLEY, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, it's a very significant day, Rosemary. It marks the end of Japan's Heisei era as you mentioned that has lasted more than three decades. The Imperial era is a big deal in Japan. It's on the newspaper, it's on official documents, it's on calendars. And it's going to change.
It goes from Heisei to Reiwa, Reiwa meaning the era of beautiful harmony, Heisei meaning the era of sovereign peace. And sovereign peace was an important name for Japan because when Emperor Akihito was born, Japan was an Imperial aggressor.
But by the time he came of power -- came in to power, the entire role of the Japanese Imperial Family had changed. It become from an absolute sovereign to a symbol of the people.
And Akihito really earned the love of his people as you can see by these massive crowds out here at the Tokyo Imperial Palace. But it wasn't a tradition that happened overnight, a transition that happened overnight. It started at a very dark time for Japan during World War II.
Imperial Japan tried to concur Asia the way Nazi Germany tried to concur Europe. Ruthlessly fighting, intimidating and occupying many of its neighbors.
After the end of the war, the U.S. occupying forced led by General Douglas MacArthur imposed a new constitution stripping Japan's Imperial Family of nearly all its wealth and political power.
When Akihito was born in 1933, he was revered as the son of a God, his father Hirohito today known as Emperor Showa. By the time Akihito was a teenager his family's divinity was a thing of the past.
In 2011 during one of Japan's darkest hours, Akihito truly cemented his status as Emperor of the people. A 9.0 magnitude earthquake triggered a massive tsunami.
Waves up to 55 feet high devastated the Japanese coast. That brutal tsunami triggered a meltdown at the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Plant, spewing radiation in to the ocean and neighboring towns.
Ayako Moriie and her family were evacuated from their home in Futaba where the radioactive remains of the crippled plant still sit. Eight years on, her home, her hometown is empty -- abandoned.
For Ayako, the nightmare only deepened her despair.
AYAKO MORIIE, FUKUSHIMA EVACUEE (THROUGH TRANSLATOR): I lost my son in an accident 10 months before the disaster. For a long time, I couldn't even speak. The disaster happened just when I was able to start thinking again. I was so depressed all over again.
RIPLEY: They came the moment Ayako says changed her life.
MORIIE (THROUGH TRANSLATOR): I was in the gymnasium at the high school when he came in. He asked if I was OK, if I was hurt -- and then he said, please don't be depressed -- keep it up. He kneeled to my eyelevel and told me, "I understand."
RIPLEY: She says sitting there -- sitting eye-to-eye with the emperor and empress helped repair her broken spirit.
MORIIE (THROUGH TRANSLATOR): I'm still trying to hold on to the words their majesties the emperor and empress gave me. It was better than anything, those words gave me the strength to keep living.
RIPLEY: His words, gentle and soft-spoken carried great power. Power to help a grieving nation heal.
And now that nation has a chance to say goodbye, despite the rain and kind of nasty weather out here, these crowds have been growing by the hour. And we expect them to grow even more as we get closer, and closer Rosemary to the abdication ceremony which after months of build up and preparation is expected to last just about 10 minutes.
CHURCH: All right, thank you so much Will Ripley -- we will talk again with you soon on this very topic, appreciate it.
We'll take another short break, still to come Spain's socialists are relishing a victory, but they are still facing the challenge of forming a coalition. Their options still to come (ph).
Plus, the E.U. gets ready to vote for the next European Parliament.
How tech companies say they will fight election meddling, look at that as well. Back in just a moment.
[02:30:30] CHURCH: Welcome back, everyone. I'm Rosemary Church. I want to update you now on the main stories we've been following this hour. A new ISIS video appears to show the terror group leader Abu Bakr Al-Baghdadi alive and well. Now, if genuine, it is his first known video appearance since 2014. Off camera, the Speaker praises the bombings in Sri Lanka. He also claims responsibility for the dozens of attacks in several countries.
Japan's Emperor Akihito will advocate is thrown within hours. The 85- year-old monarch cite health problems as his reason for stepping down. His son Prince Naruhito will be inaugurated emperor on Wednesday. Japan boasts the oldest continuous hereditary monarchy in the world.
Well, Spain's ruling socialists are considering how to form a government after falling short of a majority in Sunday's election. The center-led party gain 39 seats but the prime minister still faces a splendid Parliament. Isa Soares explains available options for coalition.
ISA SOARES, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: The Spanish left is breathing a sigh of relief.
PEDRO SANCHEZ, SPANISH PRIME MINISTER (through translator): The Socialist Party has won the general election and with that the future has one in the past is lost.
SOARES: They've gained ground in a country that only a few years ago, was a sear conservative blue.
SANCHEZ: The first place I want to thank from my heart the 7,300, 000 Spanish men and women who has given us their vote and trust it in the Socialist Party to govern the country for the next four years.
SOARES: But getting there with no majority means Sanchez will need a coalition. And no doubt he will be already considering his option. He could go for a left-wing alliance with Podemos, the vast party and a smaller regional party possibly in the Catalans. But he may want to avoid appearing to give more way to the Catalan independence cause which remains highly divisive in Spain.
ANTONIO BARROSO, POLITICAL RISK EXPERT: He has gained the support of Podemos but -- Podemos but also some smaller regionalist parties essentially buying the negotiation with those smaller parties some kind of - some kind of good in exchange for their support. So it's going to be a lot of frustrating going on.
SOARES: An alternative and more centrist deal with Ciudadanos or citizen's party under Albert Rivera. But for may of Sanchez' supporters who have been chanting not with Rivera. This may be an unacceptable compromise.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (through translator): Well, I hope he doesn't vote with the Ciudadanos that he was with Pudemos and he doesn't make paths with the pro-independent factions, it would be better. I feel full of hope and very happy.
SOARES: The Vice President for the socialists government believe that they can do it alone as a minority government telling the world we have enough support to be the captains of this ship. The fear is, they fail to part legislation. This could be a sinking ship. The campaign was infused with fear that Spain might tip to the far right. And the relative newcomer Vox who promised to reconquer and to make Spain great again.
The anti-Catalan independent's anti-illegal immigration, anti-feminist and pro-European Party, has become the first far off party to enter the Spanish Parliament since the death of the Dictator Francisco Franco in 1975.
SANTIAGO ABASCAL, VOX PARTY LEADER: This is just the beginning. We told were initiating a reconquest and that is exactly what we have done. A (INAUDIBLE) has put a voice in Parliament and that's why I could say clearly to -- and all of Spain that VOX is here to stay.
SOARES: Their presidents has splint to the write and triggered a trauma in Spanish politics. Not quite a decisive victory that the ruling prime minister had longed for. Isa Soares, CNN.
CHURCH: The E.U. is getting ready for next month's European Parliament election. Campaigning has kicked off amid warnings about foreign meddling. Simon Cullen has a look at what's being done to fight fake news.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Thank you.
SIMON CULLEN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Right across Europe, the election campaign is underway.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Let's fight back.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We can win this election.
CULLEN: The European Parliamentary election is the world's second largest Democratic vote, second only to India. Across the E.U.'s 28 countries more than 360 million people are eligible to take part.
[02:35:05] UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: A lot is at stake right now in Europe.
CULLEN: For months, European officials have been warning the risks of fake news urging tech companies to do more to combat the spread of misinformation.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We can't afford to wake up the day after elections and find that we could and should have done more.
CULLEN: Twitter, Facebook and Google all says they are taking the issue of fake news very seriously. And then put in place, strict the rules to try to prevent foreign interference. During the campaign, political advertisers must prove that they live within the European Union. All ads must be accompanied by clear label to show who paid for it and all three companies say political ads will be stored in a searchable archive to promote transparency.
JOHANNES BAHRKE, E.U. COMMISSION SPOKESMAN: That forms have come a long way, it's now clear for users what is political advertisement and what is not, it was not the case before.
CULLEN: This week, Future has rolled out a new feature to make it easier to report people who share wrong information about how to vote. And Facebook has expanded its fact checking network which will rate the accuracy of material on its platform.
CHARLIE BECKETT, FOUNDING DIRECTOR, POLIS: Social networks are waking elatedly, they are trying to help, they're trying to give people signs. CULLEN: A much harder issue to deal with though is that of fake accounts which can spread up quickly and amplify false and misleading information. Following the U.S. election and Brexit referendum the social media giants have faced growing scrutiny over how that platforms have been manipulated and misused. Even Facebook acknowledges there are limits to what it can doom.
MARK ZUCKERBERG, CHIEF EXECUTIVE OFFICER, FACEBOOK: I don't think anyone can guarantee in a world where you have nation states that are trying to interfere in elections. There's no single thing that we can do and say, OK, we've now solved the issue. we have a nation state that can interfere in election. There's no single thing that we can do and segregate to say that we've saw the issue.
BECKETT: There is going to be a storm of quite horrible and messaging across the continent over the next few months.
CULLEN: A political environment in which facts matter more than ever. Simon Cullen, CNN London.
CHURCH: And for more, I'm joined now by Mark Scott. He is the chief technology correspondent at Politico in Europe. Thank you so much for being with us.
MARK SCOTT, CHIEF TECHNOLOGY CORRESPONDENT, POLITICO: Good morning.
CHURCH: Of course, wherever there's an election campaign there will be scrutiny but now we see social media platform's under the Microsoft, how do you expect Facebook, Twitter and Google to stand up to this increased pressure and ensure that their platforms are not exploited and used to spread fake news or do the best they can at least?
SCOTT: Of course. I mean, this is not (INAUDIBLE) they've done it around 206 2016 in the U.S. presidential election onwards. In Europe they have done -- taken steps to tackle this issue by signing up through a voluntary codes set by the European Commission in Brussels and the idea is to clamp down the worst offenders, the government, its own tree and fake news and Mrs. May is still getting the truth.
CHURCH: And of course, we should mention, sir. These social media companies claim that they will do all they can do to make this happen. And as you pointed out, they have already put a new reporting tools in place and other things. But this be enough and how immense is the task particularly when you hear Mark Zuckerberg say, well, there is a limit to what they can do.
SCOTT: Well, we should be clear. The task is huge and they're not doing enough. But nor are the politicians (INAUDIBLE) the last two, three months, what I found is there is a right (INAUDIBLE) is right across Europe. But it's mostly coming from Domestic act, it's not (INAUDIBLE) like Russia. And I think very difficult to combat because not Facebook nor elected officials want to be seem to meddling in freedom of speech issues or the political process within that -- in nations states.
CHURCH: So, how confident then are you that the social media companies are up to the task in April to police all of this? And what more should be done?
SCOTT: I think as best they can but in all honesty, I don't think a private company should all be in charge of policing this issue. I think the governments and even European Union need to be doing more. So I think (INAUDIBLE) we need Facebook, Google and Twitter to collect their socks if you will and I'd say greatest steps particularly when it comes to providing data and transparency about what politic ads are being bought.
But at the national level and the E.U., that more needs to be done to really focus on tracking down on what's (INAUDIBLE) not happened.
CHURCH: But what can they do? What -- when you say more needs to be done, what would you suggest?
SCOTT: This is the $64 million question in which there is a very -- it's very difficult to resolve. You have two issues here. You can either climb down too much on what is -- with all the social networks network affecting the speech or you can let too much come through and then need to sort of (INAUDIBLE) topics like immigration anti- establishment.
[02:40:02] The thing is, there's no submission to this because there is a very difficult divide between those two elements and at the moment no one has the right answer for it.
CHURCH: There is no solution, that's not very encouraging, is it? Thank you so much, Mark Scott for joining us and helping us advance this discussion a little way. This is a conversation people have to have right across the world have forgot what needs to be done here. Many thanks.
SCOTT: Thank you.
CHURCH: All right. Time now for short break. When we come back. China is building a new base and in the East African country. Why the U.S. military should be worried.
CHURCH: Welcome back, everyone. Well, Boeing CEO stirring up controversy saying the pilots were at least partially to blame for the crash of the Ethiopian Airlines 737 Max last month. Investigators say problems with the jets anti stall software were a factor in that crash and another last October. And Boeing has accepted its role in the crash. The CEO says the company is close to a software fix.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DENNIS MUILENBURG, CHIEF EXECUTIVE OFFICER, BOEING: Our commitment to safety is unwavering. And we do will regret the impact that this has had to the passengers we know we do work to do, to earn and re-earn their trust and we will. We know that in both accidents, there was a chain of events that occurred. One of the lengths in that chain was the activation of the MCAS system because of erroneous angle of attack data.
That was a common link in both accidents. We know that we can break that link in the chain.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CHURCH: But the mood at that news conference turned sour after a few tough questions. CNN's Drew Griffin has the details.
DREW GRIFFIN, CNN SENIOR INVESTIGATIVE CORRESPONDENT: Boeing says it is trying to fix the 737 Max and provide some kind of a software update that will make this plane safer than any other plane in the sky according to CEO Dennis Muilenberg but that is not an admission that anything was wrong with this plane to begin with. So says the CEO will have to fight back against tough questioning.
A questioning which he just abruptly ended and walked out of a news conference after he was whether or not there were designed flaws in the 737 Max that created these two crashes. 346 people were killed in those two crashes.
[02:45:02] This is Dennis Muilenberg's first news conference since then. He denied there was anything wrong with his plane or its design. And instead, tried to shift the blame towards pilots who apparently according to him did not follow the proper procedures in carrying out Boeing's safety of this airplane.
In the meantime, the company is testing its software fix on the 737 MAX, although there is no timeline for when this plane gets back in the air. Drew Griffin, CNN, Chicago.
ROSEMARY CHURCH, CNN INTERNATIONAL ANCHOR: Well, China and the United States, say they are optimistic they could break their trade deadlock soon. U.S. Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin is leading a delegation in Beijing for the latest talks. Economic advisor Larry Kudlow, says it will be much clearer where things stand in the next two weeks.
CNN's Andrew Stevens is live this hour in Beijing. He joins us now. Good to see you, Andrew. So, both the U.S. and China appear very optimistic about the prospect of breaking this trade deadlock. Do investors across Asia share their enthusiasm?
ANDREW STEVENS, CNN INTERNATIONAL ANCHOR: Well I think there is a general sense, Rosemary that we are close to a deal between the world's two biggest economies on getting trade back to some sort of level of normality, and getting rid of the tariffs, and this whole issue that has been dragging on for a year or so now.
Then, the optimism stems from the trade negotiators themselves, Steve Mnuchin, the treasury secretary, and the lead trade negotiator for the U.S., Bob Lighthizer. Both saying that -- you know, significant worker has being done. Steve Mnuchin, saying we're in the final laps now. Donald Trump has been tweeting that he's expecting to see Xi Jinping, the Chinese president in the White House soon. So, from Larry Kudlow, we're now hearing two weeks.
So, it does look like everything is falling into place. There are and there has been key sticking problems. So, it'll be interesting to see exactly how these are ironed out. Then, two key ones here Rosemary are the enforcement issue.
It's all very well to agree to these deals but how are they enforced? What is the mechanism to make sure that China or the U.S. doesn't backpedal once the agreement has being done? So that, it could be the form of sanctions and terrorists being snapped back into place immediately.
One of the parties starts wavering from the course, and the other big issue here really is how much will the U.S. back off once the agreement has being done. Because it has been the case that the U.S. said, "Well, we'll leave some of the tariffs in place until we're satisfied that the China is living up to its side of the accord."
The Chinese obviously want these tariffs are gone. So what deal will they do there? But where we are at the moment, Rosemary? I think it's fair to say, yes the optimism is justified. It does look like there will be -- will be a deal.
But as we know, Donald Trump likes a bit of drama and he said that he is still prepared to walk at the 11th hour. So, you know, watch this space?
CHURCH: Indeed. We will certainly do that. See what happens. Andrew Stevens, bringing us the very latest on those talks from Beijing. Many thanks. Well, China and the U.S. couldn't be further apart when it comes to Beijing's growing influence around the globe. Case in point, the African nation of Djibouti, where China is building a new military base just down the road from the Americans. CNN's Arwa Damon has our report.
ARWA DAMON, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: We're on the horn of Africa, but all the new construction in Djibouti is mostly Chinese. It's a site that is becoming ultra-familiar across the continent. As America's adversary pushes its influence further around the world. And in this case, right down the road from the U.S.
This is where it gets a bit more interesting. Just right there, that is China's first permanent military base overseas.
China's military, the People's Liberation Army is flexing its muscle. Just a 15 minute drive from the U.S. Naval Base Camp Lemonnier. The two superpowers are now occupying the same crucial piece of Red Sea real estate. Placed in Beijing right at the doorstep of U.S. military's intelligence gathering and counterterrorism operations.
When you first heard about the Chinese military presence and their desire to build a base here in Djibouti, what was your initial reaction?
REAR ADM. HEIDI BERG, DIRECTOR OF INTELLIGENCE, UNITED STATES. AFRICA COMMAND: So, the fact that they put their first military base out here, makes good sense. However, some of the incidents and some of their behaviors here in (INAUDIBLE) has proven to be challenging, not constructive.
DAMON: Behaviors the U.S. military says, that include the Chinese pointing military-grade lasers at U.S. aircraft. Something the Chinese denied. But U.S. concerns moved well beyond isolated incidents,
In a few short years, China's military has pushed past its borders. Building islands thought to be like unsinkable aircraft carriers in the South China Sea. And quietly stationing its troops around the globe.
"But it's how China invests," says the U.S. using debt to create financial chokeholds that is now the focus of the Trump administration.
[02:50:14] BERG: Seeing the investment -- the level of investment, the level of influence that China has been able to achieve, there is been raising awareness of the predatory lending practices that are in place. The debt burdens that can undermine sovereignty.
DAMON: It's just one striking example of the great power competition playing out between the U.S. and China, which according to one U.S. official, America is losing.
Here in Djibouti, nearly 80 percent of the country's debt is owned by China.
Camp Lemonnier does not have direct access to the water which is why this, Djibouti's main container port is such a vital life line for the Americans. But the U.S. does have some concerns. Given how much of Djibouti's debt China controls, could China try to maneuver that into control over Djibouti's ports?
It's happened before on another continent. In late 2017, the Sri Lankan government surrendered a major port to China after failing to pay back its loans. Djiboutian authorities bristle at that notion. Aware of the risk of literally banking on China.
ABOUBAKER OMAR HADI, CHAIRMAN, DJIBOUTI PORTS AND FREE ZONES AUTORITY: We don't want to depend on only one site or for one continent or for all one country.
DAMON: Yes, the Americans and the Europeans are a bit behind the ball.
OMAR HADI: Yes, yes. They'll be so.
DAMON: At an annual U.S. naval exercise where the Chinese were America's invited guests for the opening ceremony, the Chinese military declined to be interviewed. But China has long maintained its investments come with no strings attached. And the investments continue to come.
China has tripled its loans to Africa since 2012. To counter China's financial dominance, America is trying to push itself as the military partner of choice. But if the current trends are anything to go by, it may not be enough. Arwa Damon, CNN, Djibouti.
CHURCH: Well, counting votes in the world's third largest democracy was just too much for some election workers. Indonesian officials say, more than 300 have died mainly from illnesses related to overwork, and more than 2,200 are sick. That's from a poll of 6 million workers who were tasked with processing ballots for races with close to 200 million eligible voters.
Officials, say the employees were under a tight deadline after the April 17th vote, and it was the first time the country held a presidential and legislative election on the same day.
Well he was a trailblazer in Hollywood. A director, screenwriter, and producer like no other. Now, at age 51, he's gone too soon. When we come back, a closer look at the all too short life of John Singleton.
CHURCH: Well, John Singleton, the director who smashed barriers in Hollywood suffered a stroke two weeks ago and never recovered. His best remembered for Boyz in the Hood, his unflinching look at life in South Central Los Angeles. He went on to direct a steady stream of movies, T.V., and music videos. Stephanie Elam looks back at the mark he left on Hollywood.
[02:55:05] UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Either they don't know, (INAUDIBLE), I don't care about what's going on in the hood.
STEPHANIE ELAM, CNN CORRESPONDENT: At 24, Boyz n the Hood earned John Singleton a place in movie history, as the first black director and the youngest director ever nominated for an Academy Award.
His 1991 debut film told the story of three childhood friends, coming of age in violent South Central Los Angeles, a place Singleton called home. He loves movies from an early age, and that passion took him from southcentral to the University of Southern California's famed film school.
Singleton's college screenplays won writing awards and landed him a Hollywood agent. In surprisingly short order, he turned his senior thesis, Boyz n the Hood into a movie.
JOHN SINGLETON, FILM DIRECTOR: I looked at the time my senior in school was kind of a hallmark in my life, you know. Because I was young, I didn't have anything. All I had was promised.
ELAM: With dramas like Poetic Justice, Rosewood, and Baby Boy, Singleton led a new generation of black directors making films that spoke to the African-American experience.
SINGLETON: In my life's dream is to make films, the films I want to make. The films I want to make that comes straight from my soul. And to just do what I want to do, not only to entertain an audience but to raise people to a higher level of consciousness with every film.
ELAM: He helmed action films as well. Including the 2000 remake of Shaft, and the second installment of the blockbuster Fast and Furious franchise, Too Fast, Too Furious. He later worked mostly in television, directing episodes of Empire, The People versus O.J. Simpson, and Billions.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Who set you up?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Nobody.
ELAM: He also created the series, Snowfall, which chronicled the 80s crack epidemic in Los Angeles.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'm here to buy. I don't sell coke to pips.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What do you sell?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We said kilos to people with money.
ELAM: John Singleton, a pioneering filmmaker whose journey took him from the hood to Hollywood.
CHURCH: What a huge loss. And thank you so much for your company this hour. I'm Rosemary Church, remember to connect with me anytime on Twitter. And I'll be back with another hour of news in just a moment. You're watching CNN.