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Attorney General Barr Defends Handling Of Mueller Report Amid Furore; Julian Assange Sentenced To 50 Weeks In Prison; Head of Venezuela's Secret Police Breaks With Maduro; Olympian With Elevated Testosterone Loses Appeal; SpaceX Mission To International Space Station Delayed; Senator's Quote Turns Into Internet Memes. Aired 2-3a ET

Aired May 2, 2019 - 02:00   ET


[02:00:00] ROSEMARY CHURCH, CNN INTERNATIONAL NEWS ANCHOR Senator grill the U.S. attorney general over and now, Bill Barr says no thanks to testifying before a House committee. Supporters of Juan Guaido and Nicolas Maduro take to the streets of Caracas as a situation of Venezuela threatens to escalate further. And WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange begins his U.S. extradition battle one day after finding out of his fate in the U.K. for skipping bail.

Hello and welcome to our viewers joining us from all around the world. I'm Rosemary Church and this is CNN newsroom. Well anyone hoping for round two of the U.S. Attorney General versus the Democrats, bad news. The show is canceled. William Barr will not appear before the house Judiciary Committee on Thursday, saying he objects to being questioned by staff Attorneys. Democratic Chairman Jerry Nadler had this to say.

REP. JERRY NADLER (D-NY): He is trying to blackmail the Committee into not following what we think is the most effective means of eliciting the information we need. And Congress cannot have the Executive Branch - we cannot permit the administration to dictate to Congress how we operate.

CHURCH: William Barr's testimony on Wednesday in the Senate Judiciary Committee was packed with punches and cause from Democrats for Barr to resign. CNN Sara Murray has the details.

SARA MURRAY, CNN POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: Attorney General William Barr in the hot seat today.

WILLIAM BARR, U.S. ATTORNEY GENERAL: It was my decision how and went to make it public not Bob Mueller's.

MURRAY: Barr defending his rollout of Robert Mueller's report just hours after it was revealed that Mueller criticized Barr for mischaracterizing his conclusions.

BARR: His worked concluded when he sent his report to the Attorney General. At that point, it was my baby.

MURRAY: Mueller initially raised objections on March 25th, a day after Barr sent his four-page summary to Congress. On March 27th, he reiterated his concerns writing, "There is now public confusion about critical aspects of the results our investigation. This threatens to undermine a central purpose for which the department appointed the special counsel. To assure full public confidence in the outcome of the investigations."

BARR: I said, "Bob what's with the letter? You know, why don't you just pick up the phone and call me if there is an issue."

MURRAY: Barr recounted at the call he had with Mueller after receiving the letter.

BARR: He said that they were concerned about the way the media was playing this and felt that it was important to get out the summaries, which they felt would put their work in proper context and avoid some of the confusion that was emerging. And I asked him if he felt that my letter was misleading or inaccurate. And, He said no.

MURRAY: But, Mueller does not mention media coverage in his letter, instead writing that Barr did not fully capture the context, nature and substance of this office's work and conclusions. Senators pounced.

SEN. RICHARD BLUMENTHAL (D-CT): This letter was an extraordinary act. A career prosecutor rebuking the Attorney General of the United States. Memorializing in writing, right?

BARR: The letter's a bit snitty and I think it was probably written by one of his staff people.

MURRAY: Mueller also pressured Barr to release the summaries the investigators had written - something Barr did not do until he released the full report.

BARR: I said to him, I wasn't interested - the fact is that we didn't have readily avail summaries that had been fully vetted.

MURRAY: Now Democrats are accusing Barr of lying to Congress, when he said this on April 10th, just weeks after Mueller expressed his concerns.

UNIDENTIFIED CONGRESSMAN: "Did Bob Mueller support your conclusion?"

BARR: "I don't know whether Bob Mueller supported my conclusion.

MURRAY: Today Barr evaded explaining that discrepancy, instead bringing up a different answer from a different hearing.

BARR: The question was relating to unidentified members who were expressing frustration over the accuracy relating to findings. I don't know what that refers to at all.

MURRAY: Democrats weren't buying it.

SEN. MAZIE HIRONO (D-HI): You lied. And now we know.

SEN. PATRICK LEAHY (D-VT): Barr, I feel your answer was purposely misleading. And I think others do too. MURRAY: Barr also parried questions about why he concluded President

Trump's conduct like trying to fire Mueller didn't not rise to obstruction of justice.

BARR: There is a distinction between go fire him - go fire Mueller and saying, have him removed based on conflict. There have different results.

MURRAY: But Mueller did not see that distinction. Writing in the more than 400 page report that in seeking to fire the Special Counsel, the President sought to exclude his and his campaign's conduct from the investigation scope. Barr argued that without a criminal conspiracy between the Trump campaign and the Russians, an obstruction case was tough to make.

[02:05:00] MURRAY: An obstruction case typically has two aspects to it. One, there's an underlying criminality ...

UNIDENTIFIED CONGRESSMAN: Let's stop right there.

BARR: Yes.

UNIDENTIFIED CONGRESSMAN: Was there an underlying crime here?


MURRAY: Democrats also raised a number of concerns about the fact that Barr will be overseeing more than a dozen offshoots investigations from the Special Counsel's probe. Barr says he has no plans to recuse himself from those investigations. Sara Murray, CNN Washington.

CHURCH: And, Donald Trump did not miss an opportunity to weigh in. He says, "Calls for the Attorney General to resign are ridiculous." And he criticized the Democratic Senators running for President in 2020, saying that they were ranting and raving like lunatics. As for Barr, the President praised him for what he called his outstanding legal mind.

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I heard that the Attorney General was really, really solid and did a great job today.

CHURCH: So let's talk more about all of this with Former Assistant U.S. Attorney David Katz in Los Angeles. Good to have you with us.

DAVID KATZ, FMR. ASST U.S. ATTORNEY: Good to be with you.

CHURCH: So, before we get to Wednesday's grilling of the Attorney General, I do want to get to your assessment of Bill Barr's decision not to appear before the house Judiciary Committee. Thursday, the Democrats will subpoena him, but how long could this go on for? And what are the legal ramifications of Barr's decision not to appear and the optics here?

KATZ: Well, the optics are terrible, but Barr is already made his mind that he is going to be with Trump and be with Trump's base. All of us in the legal community who are so surprised to see this, whether left, right or middle, he doesn't seem to care very much that he looks like he's just President Trump's lackey and attack dog and defense lawyer and not the Attorney General of the people of the United States. So, they're not too worried about the optics. In terms of what this issue is supposedly about, Barr is going to be asked questions by House staff. And, that is not unusual, in fact, there are some people who become very well-known in America. T

here was Sam Dash, who is a Watergate questioner. He was not a Senator or Congressman. He was a member of the staff. And Fred Thompson, who went on to be a famous actor and politician in his own right, was a staff member. So, this is totally normal and there are people like Feinstein and Leahy who are great Senators, but it's not strange that they want to have somebody who's on the staff actually do the questioning, who is a trained cross examiner, a trained trial attorney, that I like to think I am. We bring special skills to something like this, which are not running and maintaining office, but questioning witnesses. And, that is what Barr seems to be terrified, in the words of Chairman Nadler, to have. He's terrified, although he's the lawyer himself and the chief law enforcement officer in the country. And, he's terrified to have a lawyer asking him questions? Really?

CHURCH: Right, of course we also learned Tuesday that Robert Mueller sent Barr a letter in late March telling him that his four-page memo did not capture the context, nature and substance of his findings. But when Barr answered a question in early April about Mueller's reaction to his memo, Barr denied that he knew whether Mueller supported his conclusions, essentially lying to Congress. What are the legal ramifications of that?

KATZ: Abraham Lincoln was a famous American President and was a rail splitter. This is one is a hair splitter. The way he answered these questions with such hair splitting., really, you couldn't answer questions like this in front of any judge in America. And his argument now is that well, when they asked him if he talked to the Mueller team, he hadn't talked to the Mueller team and he'd actually talked to Mueller. That is way too cute. And not mentioning that there was criticism of him because he said it was a criticism of how the press was covering him. And then when you see the letter, it's very obvious that it was criticism of Barr. That's what was coming from Mueller. Criticism of Barr, not criticism of how the press was covering it. At the end of the day, Mueller seems to be the least concerned with public commentary of any public servant that we've seen in a long time.

So, Barr kept acting like he didn't really understand what was going on. And, I think Barr is very crafty and knew exactly, in this cagey way, what was going on and he evaded the questions. I'm not going to get into whether he lied, but he certainly acted in a way that would be inappropriate for a lawyer in a forum that was taken seriously. He doesn't seem to take the senate seriously and, of course, the Chairman of the Committee, Lindsey Graham, who was a prosecutor of the Clinton fiasco in front of the Senate, he himself won't allow a lot of the questioning to go forward. There are arguments that Graham, the Chairman, is acting like a human shield for Barr and Trump. It was really a very depressing day for people who care about the rule of law and the separation of powers in America.

[02:10:00] CHURCH: Senator Lindsey Graham has made it quite clear; he will block Mueller coming before the hearing. So, a lot of people won't get an opportunity to ask a lot of the questions to clarify some of this information that Bill Barr's now revealing about this phone call that they had. Now on the question of obstruction of justice, Barr said that he didn't exonerate the President. Which, of course, contradicts what the President keeps saying and keeps tweeting,about that, saying he was exonerated. What did you make of that? And why was and Mueller more decisive on obstruction of justice issue? And then there wouldn't be all these problems.

KATZ: I think Mueller had a huge problem, because of this Justice Department rule, it's not a law, but this rule. That Mueller is a company guy. He's a marine. He wants to play by the rules and the rules were that he could indict the President. Given that he could indict the President, he didn't want to issue a recommendation, you know, the boy scout in him, didn't want to issue a recommendation that but for that fact, he would indict the President , because the argument goes: Where would the President go to clear his name?

Since he wasn't getting indicted, he wasn't going to court. If he never got impeached, how would he clear his name? Being a boy scout, I think Mueller took that route and that was, of course, exploited by Barr. Because Barr and Trump seemed to have this idea, it doesn't matter what the news is, win the headline. So they won the headline for three or four weeks and then when the news actually comes out, when the 448 report details 10 or 11 instances of obstruction of justice committed by the President, it's kind of, well we already know that he's not getting indicted and he's not getting impeached. We're not going to read the report, we're all busy people working for a living, trying to put food on the table.

And, so they won the headline, although the report is devastating. I suggest anyone read it. And, then Mueller said, "read at least my summary." This letter said "why haven't you put out my summary?" Three days later after this misleading four-page letter by Barr, Mueller wrote and said, "Put out my summaries. I wrote my summaries. They don't have any classified information. They don't have any Grand Jury. I wrote those executive summaries just so the public could see them. Why don't release my summaries a couple days after you've released that misleading letter." And Barr said, "No, I don't want to do it piecemeal."

And there's a memo that was kept of that key conversation. But, when they asked him in Congress today whether they could see the memo Barr said, "No. Why should I give it you?" That's a memo that's critically important to understand what happened during that phone call between the Special Prosecutor, Mueller, and between this man, Barr. What happened? He won't reveal even that. And then, as you said, Senator Graham said, "Well we're done with this. As far as I'm concerned, it's over."

The only good news in terms of transparency and knowing what happened during the two-year investigation is that the House will call Mueller and it will be a blockbuster. I'll be looking forward to come back on the day that Mueller appears in front of House Committee, because that will be the day that people really want to know. I mean, it's Mueller's report. Let's hear from Mueller.

CHURCH: A lot of politics at play here as well as all of the legal aspects. David Katz, thank you so much for joining us, we do appreciate it.

KATZ: My pleasure.

CHURCH: We turn to Venezuela now and the head of the Secret Police has publicly broken ranks with President Nicolas Maduro. In an open letter, he accuses the government of widespread corruption. He was fired by Mr. Maduro a short time after that. And he is the highest ranking security official to break from the Maduro administration since the opposition leader and Nationals Assembly President, Juan Guaido, called for a popular uprising. Guaido is now urging supporters to take to the streets for a third straight day and Michael Holmes is in the Venezuelan capital.

MICHAEL HOLMES, CNN INTERNATIONAL NEWS ANCHOR: The day after one person died in more than a hundred were hurt in clashes, Venezuelans where back on the streets Wednesday.

UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: The people have listened to the man they consider to be their President, Juan Guaido, and turned out here in Caracas in their thousands, perhaps not in the numbers he'd like to see. Guaido considered yesterday's protest to beginning the end for President Nicolas Maduro. But as has been the case for months now, Mr. Maduro showing no signs of going anywhere.

HOLMES: And in the light of day, Guaido acknowledged there just aren't enough anti-Maduro military deffectors to provide a tipping point. And, it was Mr. Maduro who claimed victory. On the streets, defiant and long-suffering Venezuelans saying that tipping point will come.

UNIDENTIFIED VENEZUELAN: Maduro's time is over. It is time for him to go.

UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: But he's not going anywhere?

UNIDENTIFIED VENEZUELAN: Uh, but there's still time. You know, Guaido has got his program. It's going to take some time. But we're going to be here forever.

UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: How long will you keep doing this?

[02:15:00] UNIDENTIFIED VENEZUELAN: Well, until I know. Ten years. Who knows.

UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: As the day wore on, the numbers steadily built from here and in other places around the city and indeed the country. (INAUDIBLE) molotov cocktails for the violence that would inevitably come.

HOLMES: It's a familiar script. The protesters are just outside a military base and security forces firing tear gas, plenty of it. Along with the tear gas the sound of shots fired, rubber bullets or live fire, it is difficult to tell, though one medical team leader said among the injuries treated: bullet wounds.

UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: Rubber bullet or live round?

UNIDENTIFIED VENEZUELAN: No. Round shot from fire.

HOLMES: There is continued determination among these people to see this through. And they say that they will be back, until Nicolas Maduro is gone. But he's not yet. While the military continues to support him, his position seems to be intact. Michael Holmes, CNN Caracas Venezuela.

CHURCH: Well, Jennifer McCoy is a distinguished professor of political science at Georgia State University. She joins us now from (Budapest?).Thank you so much for being with us.


CHURCH: So, anti-Maduro protests continue on the streets of Venezuela, battling it out with pro-Maduro demonstrators and now head of the Secret Police has been fired from breaking ranks with the President. Could this be the beginning at the end for Maduro? Or do you think that's still a very long way off?

MCCOY: I think this stalemate will continue for sometime. But, what we've seen are steps forward and back, and each time since January, at least, Guaido has been gaining support in various areas, first internationally, then nationally with support in the streets. And now we see one more high-ranking confession. But, Maduro also has his card to play and has been able to stop the apparent plan of other high-level defections on April 30th. And, it's clearly resorting again to force.

CHURCH: Yes, and that is what we're seeing; top military brass still standing firmly behind President Maduro. So, how long can Juan Guaido and his supporters sustain this fight in the hope that some of those military leaders will join them, as you mentioned? I mean, this is going to take some time. So, realistically, how sustainable is this, what we're watching here on the screen?

MCCOY: It's not sustainable to keep people in the streets for months. We did see that happen in 2017, four months of daily protests, increasing repression, detentions and, deaths. And, the people were exhausted after that. So, many will be remembering that and not want to repeat it. Of course, there are some that will continue to go out. I think the key now thought is to look at this, for both sides to recognize this is a stalemate. It's like in a civil conflict or war, when both sides realize neither can eliminate or defeat, completely vanquish the other, through this continued combat. And that's the kind of situation when both sides recognize that, that these negotiations start.

So, there did appear to be secret negotiations going on, if the reports coming out about those are accurate. And that's the key. There have to be talks, whether they're facilitated by an outside mediator. There have to be talks to begin to break this stalemate, reassurances about what will happen in the future and even the United States has offered to lift the individual sanctions on individuals who do defect from Maduro. That kind of incentive needs to continue.

CHURCH: While that's playing out though, just how dangerous is it right now for Guaido and his supporters.

MCCOY: It is dangerous, but, again, one of those steps forward that we see so far is that Maduro has not felt that he could or that it would be wise to order the detention of Guaido or Leopoldo Lopez, who was sprung from house arrest of the Intelligence Chief. And, so that may indicate that Maduro doesn't have confidence that his orders would be complied with or that it could spur further defections if he ordered it. So, I think that's an interesting signal. If Guaido and Lope continue to be free, that will indicate a shift in the playing field. But, it's going to take time, it's going to take talks.

[02:20:00] MCCOY: And, of course, meanwhile the country falls further and further into misery as sanctions continued to hurt and bite and the resources of the country continue to (INAUDIBLE).

CHURCH: And, as the U.S. is watching by the sidelines how likely do you think it is that we will see American armed forces in Venezuela and if that happens, how might Russia respond?

MCCOY: Well, "Washington Post" has reported that there are debates within the administration, pro and con, or those who are more in favor of military intervention and those who are not. The military itself, does not favor military intervention. I think that that would be a fairly drastic step that would risk political support for the administration, public opinion support. Various forms of smaller military help, such as helping on the border with humanitarian aid, providing more visible presence in that might help put pressure on. But, military intervention, unless there were direct threats to the U.S. citizens, or as President Trump has said, they're warned not to have direct threats against President Guaido himself.

CHURCH: We will continue to watch this story and we certainly appreciate your perspective and insight as we try to work through and analyze the situation. Jennifer McCoy joining us there by Skype we, appreciate it.

MCCOY: Thank you.

CHURCH: Well, a judge has sentenced the founder of WikiLeaks ahead. The prison time Julian Assange is facing for jumping bail. And, a chaotic scene on the streets of Paris. Demonstrators and police clash at the May Day March. Will be back in just a moment.


[02:24:35] CHURCH: Well, Julian Assange now faces nearly a year in prison for violating his bail conditions. The WikiLeaks founder appeared in court, in London, Wednesday. He was wanted in Sweden a sexual assault and rape allegations when he took refuge Ecuador's Embassy in 2012. Police finally hauled him out last month. In a letter to the judge, he apologized to those he thought disrespected them. The judge was unmoved, saying he chose to commit an offense.

Well, Assange's next legal challenge is just ahead. The first hearing on a U.S. request for his extradition takes place in just a few hours. Assange faces conspiracy charges for trying to access a classified U.S. Government computer. Though the U.S. and U.K. are allies, extradition cases have put strains on their ties. Isa Soares explains.


ISA SOARES, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Before Julian Assange faced extradition, it was his friend Lauri Love who fought to avoid American justice.

LAURI LOVE, POLITICAL ACTIVIST: On October evening in 2013 a long trooper gentleman turned up to the door. I 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.

UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: Do you consider yourself a computer hacker?

LOVE: I am a hacker, yes. Those skills can be put to what are constructive or malicious ends. And, I would consider myself more on the constructive or ethical side.

SOARES: 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 years.

UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: How did you react? What did you think?

LOVE: It was quite scary, and always mind boggling as well

SOARES: Love, who lives with his parents in a rural England is diagnosed as autistic. At his extradition hearing In the hearing, he argued he would not survive the U.S. prison system given his health and should instead be tried in U.K..

LOVE: I'm really worried for the toll it's taking on my health and my family's

SOARES: The judge ruled in his favor, after a four-year battle. His case struck a nerve among the British public wary of American justice and could provide a roadmap for Julian Assange.

UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: You've said publicly that Julian Assange is being put on a sacrificial altar. Why do you say that?

LOVE: He is up for this and quite horrific treatment that he would face in the U.S.A. It's a pretext 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. UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: They're making an example of him?

LOVE: They're making example of him yes.

SOARES: The U.K. has long wrestled with sending hackers to the U.S. for extradition. In 2012, then Home Secretary, Theresa May, controversially blocked the extradition of Gary Mackinnon. He was accused of breaking into U.S. military computers.

NICK VAMOS, FMR. U.K. HEAD OF EXTRADITION: 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. doesn't have any skin in the game with Assange. He didn't commit any offenses here. He's not a U.K. citizen, so there's no great national interest to say that we need to protect Julian Assange.

SOARES: Lauri Love says he visited the WikiLeaks founder in the Ecuadorean Embassy just weeks before his arrest.

LOVE: I know this from 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's a final ruling on his extradition. Lisa Soares, CNN, Suffolk


CHURCH: And coming up next on CNN Newsroom, a prominent opposition figure reemerges on the streets of Venezuela at a crucial moment. We will explain who he is. And, Britain's Prime Minister abruptly sacks her Defense Secretary. But, he says he did nothing wrong. That story is next.


[02:31:32] CHURCH: Welcome back, everyone. I'm Rosemary Church and this is CNN NEWSROOM. Let's update you on the main stories we've been following. U.S. Attorney General William Barr is defending his handling of the Mueller report. He dismissed criticism from Special Counsel Robert Mueller that he didn't fully capture the reports context and conclusions. Barr is refusing to appear before the House Committee in the day ahead.

WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange has been sentenced to 50 weeks in prison for jumping bail when he took refuge in Ecuador's London embassy. At the time, he was wanted in Sweden on sexual assault and rape allegations. In a few hours, he faces a U.S. extradition hearing on conspiracy charges. Venezuelan President Nicholas Maduro has fired the head of the secret police after the official publicly denounced the Maduro government as corrupt. He's one of the highest ranking official's to defect. The surprise move comes as the country braces for a third straight day of anti-government protests.

While Russia is one of the few countries that recognizes Nicolas Maduro as the rightful leader of Venezuela. As political unrest ripples across the country but Moscow and Washington accuse each other of meddling in Venezuelans internal politics. CNN's Frederik Pleitgen has more from Moscow.


FREDERIK PLEITGEN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: The row between the United States and Russia over the situation in Venezuela is continuing to heat up. Now, the U.S. for its part of course is saying that it believes that Russia is meddling in the United States' backyard. Senior American officials have warned the Russian federation to stop its support of the Maduro government and have also accused the Russians of preventing Nicolas Maduro from leaving power and also leaving the country.

Now the Russians are having none of that, they're shooting straight back at the United States saying that they believe that it's the Americans who were meddling in the domestic affairs of a sovereign country as the Russians put it. Now, there was a phone call on the level of the foreign ministers between Sergei Lavrov and the U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo. We have the read eat out from the Russian side and they are saying, this is a quote, "It was stressed by the Russians side that Washington's interference in the internal affairs of a sovereign state, the threat against its leadership is a gross violation of international law."

It was indicated that the continuation of aggressive steps is fraud with the most grave consequences. So you can see how the rhetoric between these two countries is heating up. The Russians of course for their part are accusing the United States of openly supporting the opposition and wanting to implement regime change in Venezuela. Of course the American government has said that they believe that Juan Guaido as the legitimate interim president of the country.

And has said that they want Nicolas Maduro to leave power as fast as possible. The Russians are absolutely sticking with the Maduro government. Still very much favoring Maduro of course. The Russians do have very strong relations with that government. Both economically and military as well. Fred Pleitgen, CNN Moscow.


CHURCH: Well, the Venezuelan opposition move got a major psychological boost when influential political figure Leopoldo Lopez emerged from house arrest. We get more from CNN'S Robyn Curnow.


government's best attempts to whitewash the Leopoldo Lopez from Venezuelan political life, he remains one of the most high profile and influential figures in opposition circles.

[02:35:11] Here is alongside Juan Guaido just hours after being freed from house arrest.

LEOPOLDO LOPEZ, VENEZUELAN OPPOSITION MEMBER (through translator): At this moment, all Venezuelans in uniform and without uniform. Everyone to the streets, police, military civil servants. Venezuelan people take to the streets. And Venezuela and around the world the announcement is worldwide. The announcement is at this moment the use of patience stops.

CURNOW: In September 2015, Lopez was convicted of sentenced to nearly 14 years in prison for inciting street protest that left more than 40 dead and nearly 900 injured. While supporters of President Nicolas Maduro see Lopez as a ring-wing throwback to a time when they poor were marginalized. For government opponents both inside and outside Venezuela, Lopez is a freedom fighter whose sentence was politically motivated.

LILIAN TINTORI, WIFE OF LEOPOLDO LOPEZ: He's a political constant prisoner. Because Leopoldo use his words, peaceful words. Our fight is for human rights, our fight is for humanity and dignity. And we can't stop.

CURNOW: Following his conviction, Lopez spent nearly two years in this military prison outside Caracas. He was kept mainly in isolation, with these exclusive CNN pictures show him communicating from inside the prison in 2015. And here is Lopez greeting supporters after news of his release to house arrest in 2017. Born into a prominent upper middle-class family, Leopoldo Lopez studied in the U.S. He's a longtime critic of Venezuela's socialist government. Here is speaking with Christiane Amanpour in 2013.


L. LOPEZ: Venezuela over these years has become an economy addicted to imports. What we eat, what we dress, everything that we use comes from other countries. And of course, that has had a consequence.

CURNOW: Politics runs in Lopez's blood. He's the great, great grandson of the Venezuela's first president, Cristobal Mendoza. And he's also a descendant of Simon Bolivar. Perhaps it's not surprising after all. And when fellow opposition leader Juan Guaido called people into the streets, Lopez appeared beside him. Robyn Curnow, CNN Atlanta.

CHURCH: Well, nearly 400 people are under arrest after a May Day demonstration in Paris turned violent. There was a huge police presence as dozens of masked anarchists mixed in with so-called yellow vest a protestors. Riot police used tear gas and water cannons to disperse the crowd. Our Ben Wedeman has the details. (BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

BEN WEDEMAN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: We're in Place d'Italie where the march commemorating International Workers' Day, May Day ended up. It began in (INAUDIBLE) and what we saw there, the very beginning was a lot of tear gas being fired. Clashes between protestors and the security --the police and the security and of course according to the French interior minister, as many as 7,400 policemen and security forces were deployed in the capital.

That compared to only 1,500 in the year before. And in terms of numbers by midafternoon, the authorities were saying that around 16,000 people have participated in the demonstrations in Paris. More than 150,000 around in the country. Now these marches take place every year and they do underscore the strength of the French labor movement. Now, this also coincides with what is coming up on the 25th consecutive Saturday of demonstrations by the so-called gilet jaune, the yellow vest.

Who started as a protest over an increase in petrol taxes but is now broadened into such much -- something much larger. President Emmanuel Macron did hold what he called a great national debate in which he tried to listen to and respond to some of their demands. I'm Ben Wedeman, CNN reporting from Paris.


CHURCH: The British Defense Secretary has been sacked for revealing a secret decision to allow tech giant Huawei to supply some equipment for the country's 5G network. Downing Street says Gavin Williamson leaked the news to The Daily Telegraph. But he denies he was the source. Our Nina dos Santos has more from London.

NINA DOS SANTOS, CNN EUROPE EDITOR: The British Prime Minister Theresa May unceremoniously sat to Secretary of State for Defense Gavin Williamson accusing him or somebody inside his department of having been behind the recent leaking of a sensitive government decision to allow the controversial telecoms giant of China Huawei to become involved in the building of the country's superfast 5G network.

[02:40:11] That was something that dominated the agenda of the cyrbersecurity conference which was supposed to be the first time that we saw intelligence heads of the so-called Five Eyes alliance meet publicly on stage for the first time in the United Kingdom. So this leak was time to called maximum embarrassment. Well, within the hour of the Prime Minister issuing her letter doing which she admonish, Gavin Williamson saying his conduct during the subsequent inquiry into the leak had not been to same standard as others.

He also said that there was no other credible version of events to explain this leak than be an identifying thus far. Gavin Williamson then issued via Twitter his own letter addressed to the British Prime Minister denying strenuously that he or anyone within his department was behind this leak and he also said, I'm confident that a thorough and formal inquiry would have vindicated my position. He went on to say he felt he had no option but to allow himself to be

sat because a resignation on his part could have been viewed as an admission of guilt. Now, whether or not Huawei is a suitable partner for the 5G network building is a big hot topic of debate among Five Eye allies. The United States has repeatedly said it does not feel comfortable with Huawei being part of its 5G network and has encourage other Five Eyes allies to take the same position.

Australia has already banned Huawei from building its 5G networks. So the U.K.'s decision to invoke Huawei does somewhat stand at odds with other Five Eyes allies. Well, one of the things that the Five Eyes allies will also be concerned about is whether or not when they share intelligence it will be safe. The members of this particular National Security Council meeting that were present in the room, one of whom would have leaked this information will assign the official secret side to the U.K. which criminalizes the dissemination of state sensitive information.

And that means whoever was behind this inquiry whether they deny it or not could be subject to not just being sacked but a criminal probe as well. Nina dos Santos, CNN London.

CHURCH: A decision from the supreme ruling body in international sports have may upend the athletic career of an Olympic champion who was born with a certain medical conditions. Plus, Tropical Cyclone Fani is on a collision course with Eastern India. Meteorologist Derek Van Dam will join us with the details on that. Back in just a moment.


[02:45:22] CHURCH: Well, a landmark ruling is threatening the career of an Olympic champion and could impact the others in similar situations. Middle distance runner Caster Semenya, lost her appeal Wednesday regarding new rules regulating hormones.

South African has high naturally-occurring levels of testosterone. The decision from the highest authority overseeing international competition means Semenya must take drugs to bring those levels down if she wants to compete in her preferred women's events.


MATTHIEU REEB, SECRETARY-GENERAL, COURT OF ARBITRATION FOR SPORT: The panel also stressed that while much of the argument in this procedure has centered around the fairness of committing Ms. Semenya to compete against other female athletes, there can be no suggestion that Ms. Semenya or any other female athletes in the same position has done anything wrong.

This is not a case about cheating. Miss Semenya is not accused of breaching any rule. She has done nothing whatsoever to warrant any personal criticism.


CHURCH: Men and women produce testosterone, but men, of course, produce more of it. An elevated level can increase a woman's muscle mass, strength, and energy. And some argue it gives Semenya an advantage.

So, exactly how does this medical condition affect women in sports? CNN's Christina Macfarlane explains what the research reveals.


CHRISTINA MACFARLANE, CNN SPORTS CORRESPONDENT: It's one of the most highly contested issues in sport for decades, with a question at its heart. When is it not OK, for a woman to compete against other women?

Take two-time Olympic gold medalist Caster Semenya, who is biologically different. She is hyperandrogenic, which means her levels of testosterone are higher than the typical female.

Hyperandrogenism is a medical condition estimated to occur in five to 10 percent of women. While Semenya identifies as female, her body shares some similar characteristics to men. So, why is this important? Well, an excess of testosterone has been found to increase muscle mass within females and cause increased strength, stamina, and physical energy.

Some officials who govern the sport, say increased testosterone provides an unfair advantage in certain events. But other experts say, research has so far been inconclusive, and that this is just a quirk of biology, the sort not legislated against in others.

For instance, very few have the wingspan of Michael Phelps or the combination of both height and fast-twitch muscles as Usain Bolt. But it's the benefits brought by Semenya's hyperandrogenism that some feel are skewing what should be a level playing field in women's athletics.

But sports' governing body and Caster Semenya's battle led them to sports' highest court over new track and field rules.

As you can see here, these are the average levels of testosterone in elite male and female athletes. The IAAF have proposed that in certain events, all women athletes who identify as female must be at acceptable levels or have to artificially reduce their testosterone to a level deemed satisfactory, essentially, changing their natural body chemistry.

For Semenya, who is the most dominant middle-distance runner of her generation, this could have a profound effect on future results. And while the current number of hyperandrogenic and transgender athletes competing at international level is thought to be relatively low, the ruling is likely to have a seismic impact on the future of sport and society that is slowly shifting away from binary definitions of gender.


CHURCH: Well, India's Navy is on standby right now. An emergency crews are deployed as the country braces for Tropical Cyclone Fani. The storm is headed right for the Eastern Coast. Let's turn to meteorologists Derek Van Dam to get more on all of this. So, Derek, when might it make landfall do you think?

DEREK VAN DAM, CNN INTERNATIONAL WEATHER ANCHOR: Well, Rosemary, the residents of Andhra Pradesh, and Odisha along the east coast of India have about 24 hours before the worst of Tropical Cyclone Fani makes landfall.

We're talking about storm surge, coastal flooding, the potential for winds that excess of 200 km/h. It currently sits about 250 km/h just off the coast of Andhra Pradesh, right near Visakhapatnam. But it is moving in a northeasterly direction.

Unfortunately, the water temperatures here are about 30 degrees Celsius. We need temperatures of 28 degrees, at least, to help maintain and help fuel a strengthening process with tropical cyclones of this magnitude. And we do expect this to really hold its shape and its strength, at least, for the next 12 to 18 hours. But the only saving grace here is the potential for some slight weakening as it reaches the coastline into extreme northeastern sections of India.

This, by the way, is the strongest cyclone this early in the year since 2008 to make landfall in this area. Incredible, are you remember Tropical Cyclone Nargis one of the deadliest natural disasters back in May, about 11 years ago, when over 130,000 people died.

And when you look at the population density in the path of Tropical Cyclone Fani, we have well over 100,000 people and the potential risk factors that I mentioned just a moment ago. And that's why the government of India is putting in all the measures. We have the highest possible warning levels in place for this particular region.

Andhra Pradesh and Odisha have red warnings in place, schools have been let out and canceled for the next few days in anticipation of the arrival of this particular cyclone.

This is the storm's path, 185 kilometer-per-hour sustained winds. When it makes landfall across the northeastern sections of Andhra Pradesh, about lunchtime on Friday, local time. The main concerns here, the potential for rainfall in excess of 300, 400 millimeters that means imminent flooding across this area.

Again, I talked about the potential for some weakening as it reaches slightly cooler waters as it edges closer and closer to the shoreline, we'll keep a close eye out on this. And by the way, the last time a Category 3 Atlantic hurricane equivalent storm of this magnitude to actually impact this area, was Hudhud back in 2014. That was also a deadly disaster for the area, we don't want to see a repeat by any means. Rosemary.

[02:51:45] CHURCH: Absolutely, you are right. Thank you so much for keeping such a close eye on that Derek, appreciated.

VAN DAM: Absolutely. CHURCH: Well, the latest SpaceX mission to the International Space Station is on hold for now, at least. The 20-year old orbiter is running on about three-quarters power. SpaceX was supposed to launch a cargo vessel on Wednesday to deliver hardware and supplies to the six astronauts on the ISS.

But the station's robotic arm which would latch onto the cargo ship has no backup power, raising safety concerns. NASA, says if full power can be restored, the cargo capsule will launch on Friday. So, we keep an eye on that. Time now for short break, but when we come back, one of Donald Trump's closest allies blows up the Internet with an out-of-context f-bomb. We'll explain.


CHURCH: Well, U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham, probably didn't expect the Internet to explode after he dropped the f-bomb on Capitol Hill. But Twitter was ecstatic over the explosive. Here is our Jeanne Moos.


JEANNE MOOS, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: It's not what you usually hear at a hearing.

SEN. LINDSEY GRAHAM (R-SC): Trump is a -- idiot.

MOOS: Senate Judiciary chair Lindsey Graham dropped the f-bomb while quoting an FBI agent's text to his then-girlfriend. Graham was trying to demonstrate the agent's bias.

GRAHAM: Sorry to the kids out there.

MOOS: Sorry to the networks covering the hearing live.

BILL HEMMER, HOST, FOX NEWS: About 90 minutes ago, I had a little bit of language slip by us. And for that, we apologize to our viewers down the line. We can thank Senator Lindsey Graham for his candid response there.

MOOS: But the people most thankful for the f-bomb were Trump critics. "Nice of Lindsey Graham to have created Trump is a bleeping idiot memes for years to come.

[02:55:07] GRAHAM: Trump is -- idiot. Trump is -- idiot.

MOOS: Cue to remixes.

GRAHAM: Trump is -- idiot. Trump, Trump, Trump.

MOOS: "My new ringtone is Lindsey Graham, saying Trump is a bleeping idiot. Though definitely not safe for work." "I just accidentally played this in the office and everyone around me laughed. Get yourself some of that joy."

But you know who said the very same thing about candidate Donald Trump, and he wasn't quoting anyone in his very own words. GRAHAM: Well, I think Donald Trump's pretty much an idiot on policy, and he's a complete idiot when it comes to Mideast policy.

MOOS: And guess who then-candidate Trump called an idiot?

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: And then I watch this idiot Lindsey Graham on television today, and he calls me a jackass. "He's a jackass."

GRAHAM: He's becoming a jackass.

MOSS: But that was almost four years ago. Idiots and jackasses are now golfing partners and allies. Senator Graham's effort to defend President Trump.

GRAHAM: Trump is a -- idiot.

MOOS: Didn't seem to raise an eyebrow even if it's not the kind of swearing you expected a hearing. Jeanne Moos, CNN.

GRAHAM: Trump, Trump, Trump.

MOOS: New York.

GRAHAM: Idiot. He's unable --


CHURCH: OK. Well, Thailand's king has a new queen. The 66-year-old monarch married his royal consort on Wednesday in Bangkok. She's 40 years old and the deputy commander of the King's Royal Guard Command.

King Rama X, assumed the throne after his father's death in 2016. But his official coronation is set for Saturday with celebrations scheduled throughout the weekend.

And in the U.K., a royal birthday and new photos of a cutie. Princess Charlotte turns four years old today. A mom, the Duchess of Cambridge snapped the pictures recently, Charlotte is shown in a couple of different outfits, playing and posing at home in Norfolk, England. She is fourth in line to the British throne.

Well, rapper Drake is clearly a Game of Thrones fan. At the Billboard Music Awards, he won for his album, Scorpion once he got on the stage. He thanked everyone who worked on it, and then, he shout-out.


AUBREY DRAKE GRAHAM, CANADIAN RAPPER: And yes, thank you to the Billboards and I need a glass of champagne. And hey, shout-out to Arya Stark for putting in that work last week. Hey.


CHURCH: Well, Drake also won two top artist awards. Well done. And thanks 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. Don't go anywhere. You are watching CNN.