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QUEST MEANS BUSINESS
U.S. Attorney General Barr Grilled Over Mueller Report; Maduro Supporters and Opponents Rally in Venezuela; Caster Semenya Loses Landmark Legal Challenge. Aired 3-4p ET
Aired May 1, 2019 - 15:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
ANNOUNCER: This is CNN Breaking News.
RICHARD QUEST, CNN INTERNATIONAL ANCHOR, QUEST MEANS BUSINESS: And a very good evening to you. I'm Richard Quest and you and I have a busy hour
ahead of us. So much breaking news happening in different parts of the world. We will bring it all to you as we go through the next hour.
Tonight though, there are questions of confidence in America's top justice official. The U.S. Attorney General has defended his handling of the
Mueller report and the way it was released. Bill Barr is nearing the end of a day of testimony in front of the U.S. Senate, during which he tried to
explain how he concluded there being no obstruction and no collusion by Mr. Trump, despite what is laid out in the Russia investigation report. Some
Democrats are now calling the Attorney General's resignation.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. MAZIE HIRONO (D-HI): You used every advantage of your office to create the impression that the President was cleared of misconduct. You
selectively quoted fragments from the Special Counsel's report, taking some of the most important statements out of context and ignoring the rest. You
put the power and authority of the Office of the Attorney General and the Department of Justice behind a public relations effort to help Donald Trump
Finally, you lied to Congress. You told Representative Charlie Crist that you didn't know what objections Mueller's team might have to your March
24th, so-called summary. You told Senator Chris Van Hollen that you didn't know if Bob Mueller supported your conclusions, but you knew you lied. And
now we know.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
QUEST: Well, that's putting it fairly bluntly. Jessica Schneider is at the Department of Justice. Jessica, before we get into the nitty-gritty
just on this question of Mueller's letter that basically says, "You've taken me out of context." What was the Attorney General's response besides
saying, you know, "I never got it wrong and Mueller didn't say I got it wrong."
JESSICA SCHNEIDER, CNN JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT: Well, that's the interesting thing about this entire hearing, Richard. We've been hearing from the
Attorney General here, but he really is refusing to grasp exactly what this letter was about that Robert Mueller submitted to the Justice Department on
March 27th that was three days after Attorney General Barr's letter to Congress, that four-page letter.
What the Attorney General seems to keep saying in this hearing, is that Robert Mueller was only objecting to the media reports of how Barr was
portraying Mueller's report, but it's quite clear, I have the letter right here. It's just over a page and Robert Mueller in his one plus page letter
to the Attorney General, he makes it quite clear that it's not really the media coverage that he has a gripe with, it is in fact, the way that the
Attorney General portrayed his 448-page report, in that letter to Congress. That is clear on this letter.
QUEST: And unfortunately, Mueller gave the Attorney General a get out of jail free card by referring to media reports that he was unhappy with. And
that's allowed the Attorney General to basically go off to the races in the wrong direction.
SCHNEIDER: That's perhaps what the Attorney General is seizing on here. But let me just read this like key part of this letter. It says, the
summary letter the Department sent to Congress and released to the public on March 24th, quote, "did not fully capture the context, nature and
substance of this office's work and conclusions." There it is in black and white, Richard, the Special Counsel saying Attorney General, you did not
accurately portray to Congress and to the public what we made clear in our 448-page report.
QUEST: Right now, that's the second half. The other part is of course, his actual decision not to proceed with obstruction of justice. And there,
the argument as best I can tell during the course of the day is well, Mueller couldn't decide one way or the other. He didn't come down either
side. As AG, it's my job, under the law there was no obstruction of justice.
SCHNEIDER: Well, that's exactly what the Attorney General has been saying that he, along with consultation with the Deputy Attorney General
determined that the President did not commit obstruction of justice. He said that he had to make that decision, because Mueller did not make that
And the way the Attorney General is portraying it is that, well, Mueller just couldn't come to a conclusion, but it's quite clear. If you read that
executive summary to the beginning of Volume 2 talking about obstruction, Mueller was really keyed in on the point that it is not possible to indict
a sitting President. Under the guidelines put forth by the Justice Department you cannot indict. However, Robert Mueller said, well, you can
still investigate a President, a sitting President and then you could perhaps prosecute when that President is out of office.
So Mueller actually seemed to leave the door open to whether or not Congress could launch impeachment proceedings.
[15:05:10] SCHNEIDER: And if perhaps the President could be prosecuted after leaving office, so that door remained open at least on Mueller's
side, but of course the Attorney General as we know slammed it shut and definitively said, no obstruction of justice here.
QUEST: Jessica, thank you. Excellent. Now, we've got a better understanding. Mueller and Barr are former colleagues at the Department of
Justice and close family friends. Michael Zeldin is at Harvard and is a U.S. Federal prosecutor. He was a colleague of both men, neither man would
be willing to assume the other did anything wrong in this regard. But why didn't Mueller just come out and say, I would have indicted, but for the
Office of Legal Counsel's opinion and it was only that that prevented me from indicting an obstruction?
MICHAEL ZELDIN, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: Because Mueller felt that that wasn't fair. What he felt and he said explicitly in his report, that were he to
say, but for the OLC opinion, I would have been guided him, that's tantamount to naming him as a criminal, without allowing him the
opportunity to appear in court and contest the charges against him.
He also felt that if he were to do that, it would preempt the constitutional right of Congress to inquire of this, meaning, if he were to
say, this person committed a crime, then he actually tells Congress, you need to open up an impeachment inquiry. He felt he should not preempt the
congressional inquiry of their own. So for fairness, and for preemption, and the OLC opinion, he elected to make the non-decision decision.
QUEST: In which case one cannot reproach William Barr left with the position of having -- I mean, as the Attorney General said when he released
the redacted report, it's my job to make the prosecutorial decision, and I decided that there's no evidence to prosecute.
ZELDIN: I don't agree with that decision by the Attorney General. The reason that we have Mueller in the first instance is because the Justice
Department was deemed to have a conflict in respect of the investigation of the President. That's why Mueller is here.
When Mueller issues his report, he does not relinquish the control he has of that case. He does not allow by the regulations, the Attorney General
to now re-enter and make a decision.
The Attorney General should not have made a decision. He, in sense, usurped Mueller's appointment and responsibilities, and Mueller made that
clear in the March 27th letter that he was upset with that.
QUEST: Now, if we look at the way the events unfolded, has William Barr, by his actions and the way he has handled this release pretty much sullied
an otherwise extremely stellar reputation in the legal and the political/legal world?
ZELDIN: Unfortunately, I think he has. I think he made one terrible decision or actually maybe two terrible decisions. The first was issuing
that March 24th letter, which he calls the bottom line conclusions, because the bottom line that he presented in that March 24th letter, misrepresented
a lot of what the context and substance of what Mueller said in his report.
Then secondly, when he got around to releasing the un-redacted or the redacted, sorry, redacted report, he held a press conference first where
again, he reiterated his assessment, his conclusions about what the report said, when I think he should have just released the report, and let the
report speak for itself.
QUEST: Now, finally, if Mueller can't say one way or the other for the reasons that you've said, who then should bear the responsibility of
deciding whether or not further action should be taken, do you -- against the president -- do you believe that because at the end of the day, he
can't be indicted during his term of office, so do you believe it's only Congress now? Or that it's some prosecutorial authority after the
President leaves office?
ZELDIN: I think it's both. I think in the short term, it's Congress' responsibility to determine whether or not the conduct that Mueller set
forth in this report is worthy of inquiry on an impeachment analysis. Secondly, Mueller says in his report categorically that while I could not
indict the President, there is nothing that prevents me from investigating the President.
[15:10:07] ZELDIN: And so while the evidence is fresh, I want to acquire all this evidence because there will come a point in time when this
President is no longer in office, and at that point, a prosecutorial decision will have to be made whether this evidence which I gathered is
worthy of indictment, which is why Barr should not have made it now because Mueller made clear that that's for a future date.
QUEST: All right, now, bear with me. As a sort of a trained lawyer myself, I find this discussion fascinating, and I could happily go down
every rabbit warren on the legal counsel's opinion on indictments, et cetera. But as I watched the Barr hearings today, I was left thinking, I
was left remembering an article I'd read in "The Times" this weekend. No one is listening. America doesn't care. Mueller was the moment. Mueller
didn't prosecute. Mueller said nothing more. America wants to move on. Why am I wrong?
ZELDIN: Well, you may be right as a political matter, I don't follow politics that closely. I follow the law. But I think from an integrity of
the criminal justice system, the integrity of the Special Counsel regulations, the integrity of the Mueller investigation, specifically, we
have an obligation to be transparent in and hold hearings and let that portion of the American public that wants to learn what happened, whether
it changes their minds politically or not, to hear what these witnesses told Mueller.
I do believe, Richard that they will not read this report. But I do believe that they will tune into their tellies to watch the witnesses.
That's why that's important.
QUEST: Michael, next time you're in New York, we'll have you in the studio so we have a full throttled discussion and debate on these issues. Good to
see you, sir.
ZELDIN: We have a lot of rabbit holes to discuss for sure.
QUEST: Thank you, sir. That William Barr hearing is not the only event in Washington today. The Federal Reserve Chairman Jay Powell has finished
speaking right now, the regular press conference that he gives. The Fed concluded a two-day meeting keeping rates on hold. No surprise there.
They basically ignored or rebuffed President Trump's goal to restart stimulus for the American economy.
The Chairman is trying to project an air of stability at the Central Bank after months of unusual political drama. The old adage "Sell in May and go
away," is how I'd say it again. Now, look at that. What's interesting about this, besides the fact the numbers are relatively small, we're just
down 13 points and look at the way the market goes strongly from green to red. That is just about when the press conference starts.
It's not clear why the market should choose to do this. There were some comments from the Fed, a paper put out, an interesting paper put out on the
reshaping of the balance sheet and the stimulus that result from that. That may be one reason why, but the numbers are small. So we will not
spend a moment more.
Apple is the biggest gainer. It's up around 7 percent, and earnings beat last night, even though Apple had been done about 2 percent last night, but
it roared back today once we actually got the news. It was the opposite. It was a case sell on the rumor, then buy on the news.
As you and I continue, May Day protests erupting in violence in two major capital cities. In Paris, there's tear gas that filled the streets.
Demonstrators clashing with police, and Venezuela's opposition leader is appealing to the military to help him remove Nicolas Maduro from power.
The violent protests into the second day and there's every prospect of it going longer as Juan Guaido says he wants protests every day.
[15:16:24 ] QUEST: Venezuela now and the opposition leader, Juan Guaido's attempt to topple Venezuela's Maduro government appears to have stalled.
In the last hour, he has conceded he's not yet gained the support of the military he needs and his appeal for the Armed Forces to unite and back
him. Live pictures. And you do get a chance to see the dueling protests are underway in Caracas as the violence and unrest in the country's capital
stretches into its second day.
Now, Guaido is calling for supporters to take steps towards a general strike. He said today, we have to acknowledge that yesterday there wasn't
enough pro-Guaido defectors, we have to insist that all the Armed Forces show up together. We are not asking for confrontation. We just want them
to be on the side of the people.
Michael Holmes is with me from Caracas. But earlier in the day, Michael, Guaido specifically says, "We will be on the streets every day." Now,
beggar's belief to believe that demonstrations won't turn ugly and violent if they're there every day against the Armed Forces.
MICHAEL HOLMES, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, indeed, and in fact, it has been ugly and a bit violent today and we were down there for
the last few hours at the site where the big demonstration was yesterday, on Tuesday, as well and the follow up demonstrations kicked off there again
There were dozens and dozens of teargas rounds fired towards protesters who were throwing rocks at the military base that's down there and also at
National Guard troops stationed nearby. It was a full-on exchange. We heard firing as well probably rubber bullets. It could have been live
fire, we're not sure, but we did speak to one medic down there running a medical team who said he treated bullet wounds today.
So there have been numerous injured. The exchanges of teargas and rocks was ongoing just constantly for two or three hours when we were down there,
lots of it, firing back and forth. So yes, the violence is already there earlier in the day in one of the main squares here in Caracas.
It was a far more peaceful scene as people gathered initially in small numbers and then upwards of 5,000 perhaps 6,000 as well, but then many of
them made their way down, down the road to that area near the military base where a main highway is -- they've blocked off a highway and it was on,
QUEST: All right, so what happens? He has called for demonstrations every day, you have this argy-bargy -- well, it's more than that, it is violence,
teargas with the potential for loss of life. And he says he wants more Army officers to come and defend -- but is there any evidence that more are
coming across, Michael?
HOLMES: No, there is not that, Richard. I mean, it was significant but, it would be realistic that he was standing there yesterday with Army
officers on either side, Army personnel on either side of him. We've not seen that before. So he did have support from some members of the Army.
There are others who are members of the military who support him who fled the country of course fearing retribution and crossed into neighboring
places like Colombia and so on.
So he does have some level -- he doesn't have enough clearly, the tipping point has not been reached, and we've seen with the various high ranking
officers standing with Nicolas Maduro as saying we haven't budged. We have not gone over that he has not reached that tipping point. He has got a
long way to go because the military is everything here.
[15:20:12] HOLMES: If you have the military, you have the power and at the moment, the military or the senior echelons of it, that's -- are staying
with Nicolas Maduro, Richard.
QUEST: Michael in Caracas. Thank you. Let's go to Cambridge, Massachusetts. I'm joined now by Ricardo Hausmann, the Director of the
Harvard Center for International Development. Now he is also Juan Guaido's representative to the IADB, Latin America's largest regional lender and the
first financial institution to recognize Guaido as Venezuela's Interim President. I guess, Ricardo Hausmann, what's the purpose here? Calling
people on the streets on a daily basis like this he specifically said we will be here every day, when he doesn't yet have the support. Is this not
just inviting trouble?
RICARDO HAUSMANN, DIRECTOR, HARVARD CENTER FOR INTERNATIONAL DEVELOPMENT: This is convincing the Armed Forces that the current regime is
unsustainable, it demands of them to act in ways that they were not mandated to act, to act to repress the people. They were mandated to
defend the people. And that's not what they're doing.
What you said a before was that the Army determines everything. Well, that's not what the Constitution says. The Constitution says that the
people determine who rules and the people decided in December 2015, to have a National Assembly with a two thirds opposition majority. And the people
were not allowed to decide who the President is last year.
So the people are saying we want to change this regime. And the only thing that prevents regime change is not the Constitution. What prevents regime
change is the abuse by the Armed Forces of their power in order to preserve an unconstitutional government.
So what the people are doing is telling the Armed Forces, we are here in the streets, we are the people. Don't put yourself in a situation where
you have to commit human rights abuses in order to defend this regime. It's very courageous of them.
QUEST: That it may be, but I don't see the avenue that gets from here to the Armed Forces. I mean, you say, you know, the Constitution governs it,
and of course it does. But the other side of that is might is right. And it may not be legally right. It may not be constitutionally nice, but the
reality is, until further members of the Armed Forces defect, this is a -- it is a quixotic protest.
HAUSMANN: It's not quixotic until we'll see what happens. What has been happening is that there have been negotiations. There have been
negotiations with the Armed Forces to accept to return to constitutional rule and to separate themselves from Maduro. And what they have asked for
is amnesty, guarantees or role in the process. They've been negotiating their position, and not such you know, they're not going to openly decide
to switch until sort of like they finalize their deal.
But they are thinking about it, they realize that the country has seen the worst economic deterioration ever in the Americas anywhere. This is two
times bigger than the Great Depression. It's completely unsustainable. And they have to realize that they are part of the problem and they should
become part of the solution. And people are putting their lives at risk in order to convince them.
QUEST: Ricardo, what is it that they want do you think, the Army, or the top generals to move across to Mr. Guaido? I mean, I could put it as venal
and basic as they want to ensure they don't end up before a court for any human rights abuses. How would Mr. Guaido deal with something like that?
Armed Forces saying, "Yes, we will support you, but there's to be no trials of us for what we did under Maduro."
HAUSMANN: Well, that's been on the table and there have been discussions of amnesty laws. They also run the whole Venezuelan economy. Chavez and
Maduro put them in charge of the oil company, the electricity companies, the banks, everything in the country. So they feel that going back to the
barracks would represent for them a big loss of power and influence and put them in judicial prejudice.
So that's why they've been sort of like so hard to change. But you know, for the rest of the people, the current status quo is completely
unacceptable, and they are expressing that by their willingness to march and protest, even given the risks that the government violating the law and
the Constitution are putting them under.
QUEST: Good you see you, Ricardo. Thank you. We will talk more about this and we will need your help to understand exactly what is happening.
[15:25:05 ] QUEST: Now on the streets of Paris, May Day protest turned violent. The police had to use react riot gear and teargas in part of the
effort to push back crowds of angry demonstrators. The crowds includes members of the so called yellow vest, the movement that is angry at the
French President Emmanuel Macron for not doing more to help the working class. The French president announced more than $5 billion in tax cuts,
protesters say that is not enough.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
FLORENCE, YELLOW VEST PROTESTER (through translator): We have been trying to fight to make ourselves heard for six months and nobody cares. People
don't understand the movement. Though it seems pretty simple, we just want to live normally.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
QUEST: Ben Wedeman is with me. Ben, I see you're now back in the comforts and safety of our Bureau in Paris. How bad was it on the streets? What
did it feel like?
BEN WEDEMAN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, certainly at the beginning of the demonstration or rather the march in Montparnasse, it
was fairly violent in terms of the amount of projectiles being thrown in the direction of the police and the amount of a teargas been fired back and
that continued all the way to Place d'Italie. But when the demonstration, the march actually reached Place d'Italie, which is where it was supposed
to end up and it ended quite peacefully.
The numbers would indicate that it was large, but certainly not as big as some of the gilet jaune protests were last November. In total, in Paris
around 28,000 people took part in the marches according to the French police, but by the end of the day, there were just a few thousand who were
actually finishing up the march and France as a whole just over 160,000. So it was, as usual a large and noisy and at some points, violent march,
although most of the protesters were, in fact peaceful.
But it did once again underscore the message that the French labor unions are strong and aren't to be trifled with, Richard.
QUEST: More than 200 people are in police custody tonight as a result of today's marches. Ben, the President has come out with his plan. The
marchers say it's not enough. The union's say it's not enough. Where is the middle ground where this thing gets solved?
WEDEMAN: Well, the marchers today said they weren't enough. The measures included a 5 billion euro tax cut, a pledge that schools and hospitals
would not be shut under Macron's leadership and a variety of other measures, which weren't exactly what the gilet jaune were demanding, but it
does appear that they went some way to satisfy some people.
Keep in mind, Richard that in November at the height of the gilet jaune protests, November of last year, the largest ones countrywide had 280,000
people in them. The last one last Saturday was just over 20,000. So of course, though many of those who participated in today's march are still
unsatisfied, they still want more, but broadly speaking, it does appear that enough steps were taken, not perhaps all of them to appease enough
people, so they're not going to be going out on the streets every single Saturday.
This Saturday will be the 25th consecutive Saturday when these demonstrations take place. So they're not going to end anytime soon, but
certainly it does appear that a certain amount of the fire has been taken out of them.
QUEST: Ben, thank you and in Paris tonight. We appreciate it. Tonight, coming up next, turmoil. Now look, when there's a leak at the top of the
government, you have an inquiry. When you discover that it's the Defense Minister who did the leaking and its National Security information, then
the Prime Minister fires you. After the break.
[15:30:00] RICHARD QUEST, HOST, QUEST MEANS BUSINESS: Hello, I'm Richard Quest, we've got a lot more coverage of today's breaking news. But before
we go a step further, this is CNN, and here of course, as you would always expect, the facts always come first.
The U.S. Attorney General William Barr is facing tough questions on Capitol Hill and not just handling of the Mueller report. He is defending his
actions after a letter surfaced showing that the special counsel himself complained that Barr had mischaracterized his findings in his four-page
Venezuelans for and against President Nicolas Maduro are marching in rival rallies. The opposition leader Juan Guaido is calling for daily protests
until new elections are held. The National Guard forces clashed with protesters who were blocking the road, there are no reports of any
The two-time Olympic champion Caster Semenya has lost her legal challenge against new rules that restrict testosterone levels in female athletes.
The court's ruling will force female track athletes with naturally elevated levels of testosterone to take suppressants in order to compete in certain
The star football goalkeeper Iker Casillas is said to be in fine and stable condition at a Portuguese hospital after suffering a heart attack. The 37-
year-old was in training with his club Porto when he was stricken. Casillas was part of the Spanish team that won the World Cup in 2010.
The breaking news just keeps coming. The British Defense Secretary has been fired because of a leak over a top secret decision to involve Huawei
in the country's 5G network. The plan was revealed from a "Daily Telegraph" last week after it was discussed at a national security council
Downing Street says that Gavin Williamson was the man responsible. Tonight, he strenuously denies it. Nina dos Santos and Samuel Burke join
me. Nina is going to do the leak, Samuel will do the Huawei. Let's go to Nina first. He did -- he says -- look, I've read his note of denial. He
said, "I did not do it, my team did not do it, we did not do it."
NINA DOS SANTOS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, that's right, and he issued that letter, a very strenuous denial by the way, Richard, just an hour or
so after number 10 Downing Street made their letter admonishing him to this very public. And let's make no bones about this, this is significant not
just in terms of sort of the fact that it's symptomatic of how much power trees May has lost within her own cabinet.
[15:35:00] That leaks have been continuing a pace in this feverish pre- actual Brexit climate, but that they've been continuing to exert sensitive meetings as the --
QUEST: Right --
DOS SANTOS: The NSC when obviously many of these ministers have signed the official Secrets Act.
QUEST: Samuel, this leak, why was it important beside the fact it came from the NSC? What did it tell us about the British government's state of
mind on Huawei?
SAMUEL BURKE, CNN BUSINESS & TECHNOLOGY CORRESPONDENT: Well, it shows just how powerful Huawei is. They don't want to be in this situation, the
Chinese telecom's company. But it has become really this firebrand all around the world, and what it really tells us about the U.K. is the
incredibly difficult position that they're in.
U.K. companies have spent money buying this equipment. They want Huawei here in this country, but there is incredible pressure from the United
States to take it out of this country, and, of course, Theresa May is so weak and she wants a trade deal with the United States so badly that they
want to play this perfectly to try and make the U.K. and the U.S. happy.
And of course, it doesn't look like there is really any way to do both.
QUEST: Nina, the -- as I read the letter from the Defense Secretary, he says if there had been a proper inquiry with the evidence being made clear,
he would have been exonerated. But --
DOS SANTOS: Yes --
QUEST: Nina, but Nina, I mean, there was an inquiry, it was held by the cabinet secretary who also chairs the National Security Council.
DOS SANTOS: Yes, that's right, and that is also the crucial bit in Theresa May's letter here. As she says that others cooperated essentially more
fully with that inquiry, and she says that though, she has no other options than to believe that the evidence suggests that the leak did originate from
So this begs the big question. It's a high stakes game. Who is telling the truth and who isn't? It could be embarrassing on either side if it
turns out that Gavin Williamson allowed himself to be sacked because indeed he was telling the truth, and he says that he didn't leak this.
And if it turned out to be another person around the room, maybe even somebody who might have been promoted as a result --
QUEST: Right --
DOS SANTOS: Of this position, well, that could be embarrassing. On the other hand, though, you know, if he did, he could be facing potential
criminal probes here, because the people around that room had signed the official Secrets Act, which means they can't disseminate sensitive state
QUEST: Samuel, finally, remind us where we stand with Huawei. There are many developments, and I'm sometimes a bit lost as to the state -- the
current state of play using Huawei's equipment.
BURKE: It's incredible on the very same day that Huawei is entangled in yet another negative story. New numbers have come out to show just what a
lead Huawei is taking in the smartphone industry. Check out these numbers, Richard.
The smartphone industry is in decline. Samsung's numbers are down 8 percent, Apple is in third place, they're down 30 percent. At the very
same time, Huawei has surged 50 percent in sales year-on-year in that number two spot, and IDC, the group that tracks all these numbers believes
that Huawei is now within striking distance of taking the number one spot in spite of all the negativity, all the negative headlines about their 5G
When it comes to the actual equipment that people want in their hands, particularly in China, but not limited to China, people want Huawei which
has the more innovative products than Samsung or than Apple. That is definitive.
QUEST: Samuel and Nina, thank you to both. Stories to watch and come back with more to report. WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange has been ordered to
serve nearly a year in prison. Now, that's a bit -- that's the sentence for skipping bail back in 2012.
He did so when he took shelter at the Ecuadorian Embassy, and the reason he did that was to avoid extradition to Sweden and the reason he did that was
because he didn't want to get extradited to the United States for his work with WikiLeaks.
Assange raised his fist to supporters as he was led out to prison, however, he will be back in court on Thursday for the hearing on his possible
extradition to the U.S. He is wanted in the United States for allegedly conspiring to hack into a computer government network as Isa Soares
explains. British courts are sometimes not so willing to send suspects to the U.S.
ISA SOARES, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Before Julian Assange faced extradition, it was his friend Lauri Love who fought to avoid American
LAURI LOVE, COMPUTER HACKER: On an October evening in 2013, a large group of gentlemen turned out to the door, they got handcuffs and arrest warrants
thrust in my face.
SOARES: Love was accused of hacking several U.S. government agencies, stealing data from the U.S. Army, NASA and even a missile defense agency.
[15:40:00] (on camera): Do you consider yourself a computer hacker?
LOVE: I am a hacker, yes, those skills can be put to more constructive or malicious ends. And I would consider myself more on the constructive or
SOARES (voice-over): But the Americans didn't see it that way. A U.S. indictment detailed crimes that carried a U.S. prison sentence of up to 99
(on camera): How did you react? What did you think?
LOVE: Well, it was very scary and oh, it's mind-boggling as well.
SOARES (voice-over): Love who lives with his parents in rural England is diagnosed autistic. At his extradition hearing, he argued he would not
survive the U.S. prison system, given his health and should instead be tried in the U.K.
LOVE: I really worry for the toll that it's taking on my health and my family's.
SOARES: A British judge ruled in his favor after a four-year battle. His case struck a nerve among a British public wary of American justice, and
could provide a road map for Julian Assange.
(on camera): You've said publicly that Julian Assange is being put on a sacrificial altar. Why did you say that?
LOVE: He is up for this quite horrific treatment that he would face in the USA. And it is a pre-text to send a message that if you are going to
report on things, there is a line, and you do not go beyond that line.
SOARES: They're making an example of him.
LOVE: They're making an example of him, yes.
SOARES (voice-over): The U.K. has long wrestled with sending hackers to the U.S. for extradition. In 2012, then Home Secretary Theresa May
controversially blocked extradition of Gary McKinnon. He was accused of breaking into U.S. military computers.
NICK VAMOS, FORMER HEAD OF EXTRADITION: And she said his health, and in fact his life was in danger because he was threatening to commit suicide if
he was extradited.
SOARES: Nick Vamos is the former head of extradition for the crown prosecution service. He worked on all three cases, McKinnon, Love and
Assange, and says there's a key difference with Assange.
VAMOS: Really, when it comes down to it, the U.K. does not have any skin in the game with Assange. He didn't commit any offences --
SOARES: Yes --
VAMOS: Here, he's not a U.K. citizen, so there is no great national interest to say, you know, we need to protect Julian Assange.
SOARES: Lauri Love says he visited the WikiLeaks founder in Ecuadorian Embassy just weeks before his arrest.
LOVE: And I have some personal experience, knowing that your situation is about to go from difficult to extremely difficult, this was weighing
heavily on his mind and soul.
SOARES: It's a weight Assange may be bearing for a long time. It will likely be years before there is a final ruling on his extradition. Isa
Soares, CNN, Suffolk.
QUEST: We will be back with more in a moment.
[15:45:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
QUEST: The Attorney General of the United States, Bill Barr, has been defending his handling of the Mueller report. Before that hearing began,
President Trump tweeted several times to complain about his treatment by the Mueller investigation. Jeremy Diamond is in Washington. But he
didn't -- he didn't obstruct and he was nice to him.
But I mean, what do we make of today? What do we actually make of it?
JEREMY DIAMOND, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Well, you know, it's interesting, Richard, we started off the day with these questions about
Bill Barr and his handling of that initial summary that he gave over to Congress and to the public about the Mueller report, and whether the
Attorney General had indeed sought to downplay, perhaps spin in the words of some, the conclusions of the Mueller investigation to make them look
more favorable to the president.
And today, what we saw in his testimony was the Attorney General continuing along with that line, trying to downplay certain episodes described in the
Mueller report, some of those ten instances of potential obstruction of justice to make the president look better.
And one of those instances in particular was this question about whether the president had directed Don McGahn to fire the special counsel, and we
QUEST: Right --
DIAMOND: The Attorney General there try and downplay that, and try and explain his rationale for why, at the end of the day, after special counsel
Mueller did not draw any conclusions on obstruction of justice. Why he, the Attorney General decided that there was not sufficient evidence to
QUEST: All right --
DIAMOND: The president or to conclude that he might have committed obstruction of justice.
QUEST: Now, the president tweeted the other day that he wanted interest rates lower. Have a listen to Jerome Powell; the chairman of the Fed today
when the Fed decided not to raise rates, but then certainly not to lower them, either.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JEROME POWELL, CHAIRMAN, U.S. FEDERAL RESERVE: As we look at this, at these readings in the first quarter for core, we do see good reasons to
think that some or all of the unexpected decrease may wind up being transient. If we did see a persistent -- inflation ranked persistently
below, then that is something the committee would be concerned about, and something that we would take into account in setting policy.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
QUEST: Not a reference, not a talk, not a word about what the president wanted or the president was demanding. Will -- I mean, what will the White
House make? What will -- well, what will the president make?
DIAMOND: We'll see. I mean, we've seen in the past that when the Fed has raised those interest rates, we've seen the president lash out. He's
talked about regretting his decision to appoint Jerome Powell as the chair of the Fed. So, will he be satisfied perhaps simply with the Fed not
raising those interest rates or will he still be angry at the fact that they have not lowered them to the point where the president would like to
Particularly after we saw him tweet that just yesterday. But I think one thing is clear, Richard, is that the president is going to continue going
forward to make his opinions clear as it relates to Federal Reserve interest rates even though his predecessors have largely avoided doing so.
That's something --
QUEST: Good --
DIAMOND: Very much that the president is doing, bucking precedent there.
QUEST: Tomorrow, we'll talk with you or later in the week about Stephen Moore, and whether or not he ever will actually be nominated, let alone
ever get a seat on the board. Good to see you Jeremy, thank you. Now, as we continue after the break, we return to Venezuela.
We're seeing violence on the streets for a second day, we'll need to understand exactly what might or likely to happen next.
[15:50:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
QUEST: Now, we'll continue to keep an eye on Venezuela. It could be another crucial day for the country. I believe these are live pictures
that we're seeing at the moment. Classic standoff at the moment between the forces. Paula is with me, Paula Newton is in Caracas.
She will be in just a second or three. In fact, you are now with me. And Paula, this looks -- I mean, this could go on for days, this isn't it, you
know, the protesters or the pro-Guaido supporters form lines, the military faced them down.
PAULA NEWTON, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Absolutely, and it's not just days, Richard. Remember, this is years. This is the third opposition movement
that I've covered here, and again, the tipping point does not seem to be there. Extraordinary in that speech that you and I were following this
afternoon from Juan Guaido at the same enthusiastic crowds, trying to give them some hope.
And yet, he even admitted in that speech, Richard, and he said, look, we did not have the military defectors that we needed. Listen, this was a
very bold gamble by Juan Guaido and he's wondering if it will have gotten him anywhere at the end. Right now, Nicolas Maduro is consolidating power
around those who matter.
And those are the people that have the military levers in this country. They will continue to do that, knowing that once again, the opposition
looks weakened. Now, I have to tell you the numbers out here have been quite impressive today from the opposition, but it will take so much more
stamina to try and keep the momentum of this movement going.
Especially when you still have, of course, the United States and Russia at odds over what should happen here in Venezuela.
QUEST: Paula, you've been there many times, an expert on this. I'm always reminded by what Jeffrey Sachs; Professor Sachs will be familiar with, of
Columbia said on this program once. Which I was surprise at, he said, look, the Guaido people will not be able to take this.
At the end of the day, it's only through negotiation between the two sides that they will ever manage to come to a resolution. Now, he may be right,
he may be wrong. But it does seem to be a lot more difficult than many would have thought, bearing in mind the economic peril.
NEWTON: Yes, more difficult, and you make a good point. Whether or not he's right or wrong, everyone will tell you that if you get to that hard
negotiation point, it has a chance, it has a shot of remaining peaceful without the confrontation, and that is key.
We have heard all sides saying that they want the peace to be kept here on the ground. That includes the United States, Russia, and of course, those
very important regional neighbors here in South America. Having said that, Richard, there are back room negotiations going on of every stripe right
now. They have led nowhere, complete deadlock, and that has been the problem.
There is another reason why U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo was on with his Russian counterpart Sergey Lavrov today on the phone, trying to see how
they can move those negotiations forward. We've seen this before in other spheres, there is a lot to fight for here in terms of what the people need,
in terms of aid, in terms of medicine, in terms of food.
And for that reason, they will continue those back door negotiations. But right as these pitch battles continue on the street, Richard, I don't see
anything different than I saw here in 2017 or in fact the years before that.
QUEST: Now, we're seeing pictures of water cannons. In fact, I mean, I realize this is just one locus of ranting at the moment, but we're seeing
stones being thrown, tear gas being retaliated and the authorities, the Maduro authorities using water cannons. I'm guessing this is pretty much
the modus operandi on both sides, probably that we've seen throughout the day.
[15:55:00] NEWTON: Absolutely, it is an insidious cycle, it was much more pervasive in 2017 in terms of how these crowds would react. We'll see if
this escalates over the coming days, and remember every day on the ground here, Richard, there are injuries and there is risk of people really
getting hurt on the streets and that remains a problem.
It doesn't matter how many times Juan Guaido calls for peace, these are pitched battles, confrontations now on a new level, really, brought to a
new battleground. Because a lot of these opposition protesters are now going to those all-important military installations. We are seeing them
yell over fences, come with us, give up, surrender, have you no shame?
Taunts like that to the military, understanding that, that is that, there is that current of sympathy in the military. Those who have had to
basically worry themselves for medicine for their own families. And yet -- and yet, the main components of the military, high-ranking military
officers seem to be holding their loyalty for Nicolas Maduro.
Right now, Juan Guaido saying every day, those scenes you're seeing right now on the street, Richard, will continue. He is calling for national
strikes and calling for this type of confrontation. He wants it to be peaceful, at the end of the day, same thing we saw in 2017, Richard, it
does lead to confrontation on the streets.
Juan Guaido wants those numbers, those impressive numbers to continue on the streets of Caracas and elsewhere in Venezuela every day.
QUEST: That's the bit I don't understand, Paula. He says he wants peaceful change, he wants this to be peaceful demonstrating, but it is
inevitable that it ends like this.
NEWTON: You know, in terms of how this is going to end up, you saw the confrontations yesterday, where you had protesters throwing stones and
those military vehicles basically ran them over on the streets. That is the kind of thing that you are risking.
And believe me, when I was here in the years of even the Hugo Chavez, a supportive protests, when they would have those confrontations with the
opposition, it was an incredibly dangerous situation for everyone involved, and that's what everyone is hoping to avoid.
As you can see from the pictures you're seeing now. And remember, it's not going on just in one scene here in Caracas, but in different areas of the
city right now, we've heard all afternoon the sounds, of course, of rubber bullets being fired, perhaps it was stun grenades, certainly tear gas and
water cannons now. These confrontations will go on and on.
QUEST: And we're seeing two versions of that on the screen at the moment. We'll continue to watch it. Paula, thank you, come back when there is
obviously more to report. So much breaking news on such a busy day. All of it will be with us here on CNN. I am Richard Quest, "THE LEAD" with
Jake Tapper follows next because the news never stops. This is CNN.
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