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Cyclone Fani Makes Landfall In Eastern India; Facebook Bans Dangerous Individuals; U.S. Issues Warrant For Accused Ringleader Of North Korean Embassy Raid In Spain; Drama In Britain After Defence Secretary Sacked; Bernie Sanders Takes Direct Aim At Joe Biden; Duchess Of Sussex Nixes Photo Op For New Baby; Cyclone Fani Makes Landfall; Venezuela in Crisis; Capitol Hill Circus. Aired 2-3a ET

Aired May 3, 2019 - 02:00   ET



NATALIE ALLEN, CNN ANCHOR: Cyclone Fani slams into India. Thousands flee and millions more take cover as the strongest storm to hit the region in years makes landfall.

GEORGE HOWELL, CNN ANCHOR: Plus, Venezuela in crisis. The embattled president, Nicolas Maduro, makes a show of force with military brass while Venezuela's opposition tries to rebuild momentum.

ALLEN: Plus, a high-stake standoff ended empty chair. The U.S. attorney general is a no show for his House hearing on the Mueller report.

It's all ahead here this hour. Welcome to our viewers all around the world. I'm Natalie Allen.

HOWELL: And I'm George Howell world headquarters. "Newsroom" starts right now.

We start with the breaking news out of India where a major storm is hitting that country's east coast right now.

ALLEN: That's right. It is tropical Cyclone Fani. It made landfall a few hours ago with winds at 240 kilometers an hour. That is the strongest in 20 years. It is expected to bring significant wind damage and a strong storm surge. Two hundred million people in Northern India and neighboring Bangladesh are affected. At least one million were evacuated ahead of the cyclone.

With more details for us, we are joined now by CNN's New Delhi bureau chief, Nikhil Kumar, joining us from New Delhi. Hello to you, Nikhil. What is the latest you're hearing on the storm and how India has prepared?

NIKHIL KUMAR, CNN NEW DELHI BUREAU CHIEF: Well, Natalie, you know, for the last few days, authorities have been moving to move as many people as they can away from the coast. Now, this is the part of the country and part of this region that every time we talk about climate change, it is always singled out at an area that is particularly vulnerable.

It is low lined, a number of rivers and trees, et cetera, all of which means that the risk of storm surges as the storm moves inland and makes it way up the coast. That's very, very high. And so to minimize the loss of life, authorities over the last few days have moved away more than a million people from the coastal areas.

This is in stark contrast to what happened back in 1999, when we say that this is the worst in 20 years. What we are comparing it to is the storm back in '99. Back then, thousands of people lost their lives. The country simply wasn't prepared.

In the years since, India has effectively built itself a disaster management infrastructure. So in previous storms in recent years we have seen a significantly lower death toll and that is because they became quite good at moving people away and at moving personnel in.

There are thousands of persons involved. The navy is involved. They are very in high alert. There have ships waiting in the area with additional materials if need be as the storm moves up.

So they are doing everything they can to minimize the loss of life. Over the next few hours, the situation remains extremely risky for the people who are still there, for the temporary structures in the area.

So it is still very much a matter of very, very high alert over the next few hours, but authorities have been scrambling as much as they can to take as many people away from the coast to, as I say, minimize loss of life. Afterwards, of course, the emphasis will shift on rebuilding.

ALLEN: Right. So Nikhil, what about -- how many shelters do they have for people because I heard you say earlier, the storm is coming to an area where many people are vulnerable?

KUMAR: Absolutely. Many, many people are vulnerable. It is an area which in large part is quite rural, so you have a number of villages where the structures are simply not strong enough to withstand the force of a storm such as this. So, as I said, they moved away more than a million people, away from thousands of villages, from temporary structures into much stronger shelters.

As I said, thousands of personnel have been deployed to help with this over the last few days. We have seen reports and pictures coming from the area of personnel going into coastal regions and just telling people to move away. But as I said earlier, once this has passed and hopefully, we don't yet have a full picture, hopefully the loss of life will be minimized as much as possible.

Even after that, then begins a very, very long process of rebuilding because remember, this is home for all these people. This is where they live. This is their livelihood. Many of these are fishing communities. The boats are at risk. The whole means of these people earning a living is at risk. So, that will now have to take place once this has passed. Natalie?

ALLEN: All right. We will stay in close contact with you as the storm moves to shore. Nikhil Kumar for us, thank you.

HOWELL: Again, the storm has made landfall. Let's get a sense of exactly where it is, what is next, with our meteorologist Derek Van Dam.

DEREK VAN DAM, CNN METEOROLOGIST: It is phenomenal to see some of that first imagery coming out of the Puri region in Odisha state. You saw the palm trees just bending over, just showing the strength of the wind.

[02:04:59] The storm is providing a triple threat to this area from strong damaging winds. The potential for catastrophic damage really exists. But we also have the risk of storm surge. We also have the potential for extreme flooding with rainfall total as well in excess of 400 millimeters over the next 24 hours. Winds are gusting over at 180 kilometers per hour in the Puri region in the Odisha state.

Here is the latest from the Joint Typhoon Warning Center. This, by the way, is equivalent to a super typhoon or a strong Atlantic Category Four hurricane. Let's zoom in. It has now lost its moisture source or its energy source which was the Bay of Bengal, the warm ocean waters. It is now inland. We have land interaction, so we expect gradual weakening with the storm but not before producing significant amounts of damage with rain, flooding and coastal storm surge.

This is the latest radar from the India Meteorological Department. There is Puri. You can see it is positioned in such a way that it received what is called the right quadrants of this particular cyclone, the most dangerous part of the storm. Here is why. All the water builds up. Think about the Bay of Bengal. It almost looks like a catches myth (ph).

It literally takes the water. It takes all of that energy and pushes it on shore. That is why we expect the coastal storm surge here to be on the magnitude of three to four meters in some of the low-lying areas, lots of coastal beach regions across this area. We know that many villages and towns lie right along the coastal areas as well.

We have three states along the east coast of India at the highest state of alert. We have red warnings in place from the India Meteorological Department. Here is a look at the projected path. It is moving in a general north-easterly direction.

It is gradually weakening. It is reaching a mountainous part of Northeast India and into Bangladesh. That is going to wring out the available moisture, produce significant amounts of rain, and then will lead to the potential of flooding for this area.

By the way, we've only had nine storms equivalent to a Category Three hurricane, greater to impact this region since the mid-70s. Look at the rainfall totals going forward in this area. The potential there exists for major flooding, if not catastrophic.

By the way, 200 million people in the path of tropical Cyclone Fani with well over 10,000 villages and over 50 towns in the path of the storm as it works its way inland. So we are talking about millions upon millions that will be directly impacted by this storm's fury.

HOWELL: All right. Derek, we will stay in touch with you.

VAN DAM: Yeah, we will have updates all night.

ALLEN: Thank you, Derek.

VAN DAM: Thank you.

ALLEN: In Venezuela, opposition leaders are calling for public employees to strike on Friday.

HOWELL: Two days of massive street demonstrations failed to trigger a military uprising against President Nicolas Maduro. Instead, seems like this on Thursday, conveyed the impression the military was solidly with Mr. Maduro. He told the troops the people who were responsible for this week's unrest will be rounded up.

ALLEN: That pledge was backed up by an arrest warrant for key opposition activists. Seen here is Leopoldo Lopez, who escaped house arrest. Lopez and his family have taken refuge in the Spanish embassy in Caracas.

HOWELL: The Trump administration is looking for ways to funnel more money to the Venezuelan opposition, but it's not just the cash.

ALLEN: President Trump says the U.S. has a wide range of options to help those who are standing against the Maduro government including U.S. military intervention.


DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: It's a very, very serious situation.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: What are your red lines in Venezuela?

TRUMP: I don't want to say, but we have lots of options and some of them are very tough options.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Is there the tipping point for military intervention?

TRUMP: There is always a tipping point, but certainly I'd rather not do that. I just want to help the people. The people are dying.


HOWELL: Opposition figure and National Assembly President Juan Guaido is recognized by the U.S. and dozens of other countries as Venezuela's legitimate head of state. U.S. officials say he needs cash to set up an interim government.

ALLEN: The violence in Venezuela this week claimed at least four lives and even though the streets were quiet Thursday, opposition leaders vowed not to give up. HOWELL: CNN met with some of those who are wounded in the clashes with security forces. We get more from Nick Paton Walsh, but warn you going into this report, some images are graphic.


NICK PATON WALSH, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Venezuela's army rushing on to the culprit (INAUDIBLE) made here Tuesday by protests that showed the divisions like never before.


PATON WALSH (voice-over): The same morning, President Nicolas Maduro put on this display of loyalty from his army.


PATON WALSH (voice-over): As both sides in this month's long standoff leak their wounds. This abiding image went just graphic of protesters hit by an armoured vehicle captured the world's attention, showing the escalating brutality.

[02:10:00] It all happened next to this man, Edison (ph), who says he rushed to help his fellow protester hit by a truck. He is now in intensive care in the next hospital room.

"I saw one of my fellow protester on the floor," he says. "When I reached down to grab him, the police shot me. The bullet got in and perforated my artery. I was close to death. They are still draining it. This pillow is blooded from the night before. I thought we were all going to die. I couldn't say anything. I just saw policeman above me. He kicks me. I tried to cover my wound, but he kept kicking me."

Outside, a body is taken away. We think it is that of 14-year-old George Hernandez (ph), shot dead by the same security forces. They are now investigating the death, his father says.

"It was a live bullet," says the father. "It looks like he was shot from above because of the angle of the bullet. It came in here and left here. I didn't go into the protest at all, neither he. But that day, I don't know, maybe the adrenaline. He told me, I'll be right back, dad. He left."

Back at the scene of the crime, police combed the ground near the damaged fence. But there are many holes now, too, in the army's claim to be the righteous protector of the people.

Nick Paton Walsh, CNN, Caracas.


ALLEN: So what's next for Venezuela? Celia Szusterman joins us from London. She is a senior lecturer in Latin American politics at the University of Westminster. We really appreciate your time. Thank you for joining us. I want to ask you first, as we just saw there, the heat has been turned up in Venezuela, and now we have Guaido asking for the public sector to strike on Friday after he didn't get the military defections he had hoped for this week. Is this volatile situation leaning in his favor? How do you see it?

CELIA SZUSTERMAN, SENIOR LECTURER, LATIN AMERICAN POLITICS, UNIVERSITY OF WESTMINSTER: I don't think it is. I think we are in a stalemate but with Maduro increasingly having the upper hand. So, this has already -- we cannot get what the outcome is going to be, but certainly not going to be a happy one for those who had hoped to see the end of Maduro.

But let me say there that it is just a question of getting rid of Maduro. It's a whole international, criminal organization that Venezuela has become that needs unravelling. That's not going to be easy, even if Maduro is persuaded to go.

ALLEN: Well, that illustrates the situation right there, what you just said. So, is Guaido though right to make this aggressive push now?

SZUSTERMAN: Well, I think he sounds increasingly desperate. So, I just don't think the whole idea was based on splitting the army and getting enough support from the armed forces to back the opposition. This hasn't happened.

We don't know whether the defense minister, Padrino, was in fact acting as a double agent during the months of negotiations with the opposition and letting Maduro know what was going on or whether he was acting in good faith and then had a change of heart. But the fact is that the armed forces haven't shown sign of splitting.

ALLEN: I want to ask you about Russia. Russia is on Maduro's side. The U.S. is on Guaido's side. How does this dynamic play in the scenario? What could the U.S. do to foster Maduro's and the U.S. is talking about a military option.

SZUSTERMAN: Well, the military option is always the worst option, especially in the context of Latin America, Venezuela, and the conflicted relations between the U.S. and the region. I don't think it would tell because it would sort of give an excuse for all the left wing movements in Latin America.

I have to say, you see it has always been empire. It is always the United States trying to tell us what we should be doing. So I don't think military option is a good one. And the Russia is very entrenched in Venezuela. I mean, from the beginning, it was clear that Maduro was only going to survive while Russia backed him and Russia is showing no signs of letting him go.

ALLEN: What do the Russians want here exactly? The National Security adviser for the U.S., John Bolton, said they want to get effective control of the country in this hemisphere. Is that what they want? If so, how would they then -- what would they do with Maduro?


[02:14:57] Well, it's a very complicated situation because the Russians first were invited into Venezuela by Chavez 20 years ago. And he had a clear plan then of setting up an anti-U.S. -- oil money. He actually went around buying loyalties left, right, and center.

And the Russians and especially Mr. Putin, who had promised to restore the place in the world that the old Soviet Union had had and had been so damaged after 1989, he saw this welcoming into Venezuela and Latin America as a great opportunity.

So now -- and then there was a huge Russian investment in Venezuela. And there was a 60 billion loan from Russia to Venezuela guaranteed by oil but of course the problem is that oil production has been falling dramatically from an average of more than three million barrels a day during Chavez's time to lately less than half a million barrels.

So Russia is increasingly worried that they will never see the return of that money it has loaned. So there are financial and economic reasons but there are also geopolitical reasons. Putin is very weary of losing face over Venezuela.

ALLEN: We thank you so much for your expertise helping us understand. We will see what happens next for sure. Celia Szusterman, thank you so much.

HOWELL: -- the virtual circus on Capitol Hill when Attorney General William Barr skipped on a House hearing.

ALLEN: Yes --


HOWELL: U.S. Attorney General William Barr is the new focus of criticism in Washington. On Wednesday, Democratic senators called for his resignation after his testimony about the Mueller report.

ALLEN: And on Thursday, he refused to show up for a hearing in the House. CNN's Sara Murray has that for us.


SARA MURRAY, CNN POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, the highest-ranking Democrat, calling the nation's top law enforcement officer a liar.

REP. NANCY PELOSI (D-CA): The attorney general of the United States of America is not telling the truth to the Congress of the United States. That's a crime.

MURRAY (voice-over): House Democrats now threatening to hold William Barr in contempt, ramping up pressure on the attorney general after he refused to appear before the House Judiciary Committee today. As Barr headed to work, the Democrats seize on the empty witness chair.

REP. JERRY NADLER (D-NY): Come to order.

MURRAY (voice-over): Creating their own made for TV spectacle. Congressman Steve Cohen, a Tennessee Democrat, munched on a bucket of fried chicken during the hearing, and flaunted a ceramic chicken to drive his point home.

REP. STEVE COHEN (D-TN): Chicken Barr should've shown up today and answered questions.

MURRAY (voice-over): Barr skipping the hearing after Democrats demanded he faced questions from staff lawyers in a 30-minute block, on top of the five-minute rounds of questions from lawmakers.

REP. DOUG COLLINS (R-GA): He took our ability to hear from Bill Barr today.

MURRAY (voice-over): As Republicans slammed the performance of their Democratic colleagues --

COLLINS: Instead, we go back to a circus political stunt to say we want to look like an impeachment hearing, because they won't bring impeachment proceedings. That's the reason.

MURRAY (voice-over): House Judiciary Chairman Jerry Nadler threatened to contempt proceedings, over not giving the committee an unredacted version of Mueller's report by yesterday subpoena deadline.

NADLER: We have no choice but to move quickly to hold the attorney general in contempt, if he stalls or fails to negotiate in good faith.

MURRAY (voice-over): But it's clear he plans to drag this out, vowing first to fight for an unredacted version of the Mueller report, and then try to negotiate with the Justice Department before holding Barr in contempt.

As for House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, she is all in, accusing Barr of lying after he claimed in previous testimony to be unaware of whether the special counsel's team was frustrated with his four-page summary of their findings.

PELOSI: He lied to Congress. And if everybody else did that, it will be considered a crime. Nobody is above the law, not the president of the United States and that the attorney general.

MURRAY (voice-over): A Justice Department spokeswoman fired back saying, "The baseless attack on the attorney general is reckless, irresponsible, and false."

Bill Barr has irritated Congress with how he has been andling the Mueller report. He has even irritated special counsel Robert Mueller. But as for President Trump, he says Bill Barr is doing a fantastic job and says he is an outstanding man.

Sara Murray, CNN, Washington.


ALLEN: And on another front, Donald Trump says he doesn't think he can let former White House Attorney Don McGahn testify before Congress. HOWELL: McGahn quit but not before telling Robert Mueller, President Trump ordered him to remove Mueller as special counsel. Now, Democrats want to hear his story in person.


TRUMP: I've had him testifying already for 30 hours.


TRUMP: And it's really -- so I don't think I can let him and then tell everybody else you can't, especially him because he was a counsel. So they testified for many hours, all of them. Many --

HERRIDGE: So as far as you are concerned, it's really -- it's kind of done. Is it done?

TRUMP: I would say it's done. We've been through this. Nobody has ever done what I've done. I've given total transparency. It has never happened before like this.

HERRIDGE (voice-over): Congress --

TRUMP: They shouldn't be looking anymore. This is all -- it's done.


HOWELL: Let's talk more about this now with James Davis. James is the dean of the School of Economics and Political Science at the University of St. Gallen, joining this hour from Switzerland. It is good to have you with us, James.


HOWELL: So House Democrats want Don McGahn to testify. The question now is: Can the president legally block his former White House counsel from testifying?

DAVIS: This is going to be the important and interesting question. Don McGahn was the president's attorney in the White House. That is to say he is not a member of one of the agencies of the government over which the Congress has oversight authority.

[02:25:04] So the president is by no means obliged to allow Don McGahn to testify. There is the rule of confidentiality here. The problem is, however, he did allow him to testify before the Mueller commission, before the special counsel.

And so the question here is whether or not executive privilege has already been waived. If it's already been waived, then there is no reason to deny him access to -- or deny the Congress access to him and to prohibit him from testifying before the Congress. I think this is an interesting question, and probably one that is going to land in the courts. HOWELL: And for the Attorney General William Barr, so he did not show

up to testify the day before. Democrats definitely took that opportunity to highlight his absence, criticizing him for basically a made for TV circus-like atmosphere, but they are still pushing to get that unredacted Mueller report from him. He could be held in contempt of Congress. How difficult a fight would that be for Democrats to get that report, James?

DAVIS: Right. These are two different issues. The attorney general is subject to congressional oversight and cannot deny the Congress access to information, and so he can be held in contempt. The question is whether that serves either the Congress or the Democrats in the House of Representatives or the attorney general.

My guess is that there is going to be some negotiations going on between Mr. Nadler staff and the staff of the attorney general and they will come to some kind of an arrangement whereby the attorney general will in fact appear. But if he doesn't, I fully expect the committee to hold him in contempt, and then we will see where that goes.

The unredacted report, I think it is going to eventually see the light of day. It is just a question of when. You're right, it is a circus atmosphere. But, in this case, I think both sides are playing their role as clowns. It's a rather clownish act to come into the hearing with a bucket of Kentucky fried chicken, but the attorney general has also made himself out to look like something of a clown in the middle of the circus.

HOWELL: House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is saying the attorney general lied to Congress and in doing so committed a crime. Clearly Barr has no intention of resigning as some are demanding and he is likely not to be prosecuted.

DAVIS: That's right. Look, when you stand before a committee of Congress, you take an oath to tell the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth. And I think any reasonable Americana watching the attorney general's testimony before the Senate would have come to the conclusion that he was not telling the whole truth.

He was splitting words. He was going back on the positions he had held in the past. If you look back at his original testimony after the release of his memo on the Mueller report, it's clear that he was not telling the whole truth.

They asked him whether or not he was aware of some belief (ph) amongst members of the Mueller staff that his summary was incorrect or did not provide enough context, he said he did not. It's clear now that the special counsel, Mueller, had already told him that he had concerns that the summary was not correct.

So, I mean, he's clearly not telling the whole truth. And I think this is clearly a breach of his oath when he testified before the Congress and that under circumstances would be considered a crime.

HOWELL: All right. And looking ahead to 2020, Democrats still have yet to decide whether to focus on these investigations or to hone in instead on the issues that rally their supporters. Mr. Trump likely will focus on the economy as his strong suit. What is the best strategy, James, would you say for Democrats?

I think we may have lost James. James, can you still hear us? Yeah, we've lost James. But again, getting a sense of where this will go, Democrats have a great deal of interest in these different investigations, but the question will be they focused on those or do they focus on the issues that rally their supporters. We will have to wait and see.

Still ahead here on "Newsroom," India's strongest cyclone in 20 years has made landfall on the east coast.

ALLEN: The country has been preparing for the worst. We take a look at the response.

HOWELL: Plus, the hunt is on for the alleged mastermind behind a raid on North Korea's embassy in Madrid.


[02:32:04] GEORGE HOWELL, CNN INTERNATIONAL ANCHOR: Welcome back to viewers around welcome back. You're watching CNN NEWSROOM. I'm George Howell.

NATALIE ALLEN, CNN INTERNATIONAL ANCHOR: I'm Natalie Allen. Let's update you on our top stories this hour.

HOWELL: An arrest warrant has been issued for Venezuelan opposition activist Leopoldo Lopez. He escaped house arrest just as anti- government protest were getting underway. Lopez and his family have now taken refuge at the Spanish embassy in Caracas. Spain says it has no intention of turning them over to the Venezuelan authorities.

ALLEN: House Democrats left an empty chair where the U.S. Attorney General would have been had he shown up to testify. William Barr skipped Thursday's hearing on his handling of the Mueller report. Judiciary Chairman Jerry Nadler right there says he's considering citing Barr for contempt of Congress.

India's East Coast is getting hit with its worst cyclone in 20 years. Tropical Cyclone Fani made landfall a few hours ago with winds of 240 kilometers an hour. 200 million people in Northern India and Bangladesh are in the storm's path. Significant storm surge and wind damage are expected. As Cyclone Fani was getting ready to make landfall, officials in India were preparing for the worst.

HOWELL: That's right. They evacuated, more than a million people along the East Coast and set up almost 1,000 shelters to house those evacuees. Earlier we heard from Kirti Mishra of Catholic Relief Services about the response.


KIRTI MISHRA HEAD OF OFFICE, ODISHA, CATHOLIC RELIEF SERVICE: Any storm in the part that we have seen has caused really a very few devastations and a response like Fani expected to cause similar or more devastations where -- whatever part the cyclone is crossing through depending on the severity. People will need help. Their fishing boats, their net, their crop, everything is going to be affected.

And we at CRS, Catholic Relief Services and our partners are working on the ground with providing necessary support to the government and the local authorities in the evacuation process. As soon as the cyclone passes through, we are ready with tarpaulins, with plastic sleeping mats and other items to support the affected population with the life-saving needs. needs.


HOWELL: Well, that's Kitri Mishra there, and we'll have a live report coming up in the next hour.

Now to Facebook, that organizations saying it's removing dangerous individuals and groups from its social media platforms. On Thursday the, company ban several high profile controversial figures like the nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan, Conspiracy theorist Alex Jones who'd already been banned from Facebook, now kicked off Instagram and Milo Yiannopoulos, a French right-wing personality.

Then company explained the move to CNN Business saying this. We've always banned individuals or organizations that promote or engaged in violence and hate regardless of the ideology.

[02:35:06] The process for evaluating potential violators is extensive and is what led us to our decision to remove these accounts today.

ALLEN: Now we look at the admissions scandal rocking the U.S. University systems because there's another one to tell you about. The family of a Chinese student paid $6.5 million to William Rick Singer for a place at Stanford University. Singer has pleaded guilty to charges that he worked with wealthy families to get their children spots in top schools using bribes and false test scores.

HOWELL: But the mother of the Chinese student says she believes she was making a legitimate donation to Singer's foundation. In a statement she says that she was told it was to help students in need. The family and student have not been charged. Our Brynn Gingras has more.

BRYNN GINGRAS, CNN AMERICAN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: This particular family is so significant because it's the most amount of money at $6.5 million that U.S. attorneys say any family paid Rick Singer. Now, what's unclear according to our source is if this family who we've learn is from China, gained any sort of advantage for their child to get into school, if they took advantage of that college scheme because they have not been charged with any crime at this point and neither has their child.

We do know that child get go to Stanford though and that school certainly distancing themselves from all of this new news saying "It is important to clarify that Stanford did not receive $6.5 million from Singer or from a student's family working with Singer." Again, according to sources, it's possible this family did nothing wrong and that is still being investigated.

However, what we did learn is that this family was connected to Singer by a man named Michael Wu, he was a financial adviser at Morgan Stanley, and that company says he no longer works with them because he would not participate in its internal investigations and to the college scam. I actually did speak to Wu's attorney who says that it was Morgan Stanley who was the trusted source for Wu introducing Singer.

So there is sort of a back and forth going on there. But this really just gives you a good idea of how large the scheme is, how much money it really raised for allegedly Rick Singer and how widespread going all the way to China. Also important to know that we've learned through a source that Federal prosecutors have issued more subpoenas to parents. They are investigating others, looking to get financial records, phone logs and other evidence.

Possibly more charges coming down as this case seems to get bigger and bigger. I'm Brynn Gingras, CNN New York.

HOWELL: Brynn, thank you. So far more than a dozen parents have pleaded guilty to a charge of conspiracy to commit fraud in the college scandal.

ALLEN: But 17 parents have pleaded not guilty. CNN Legal Analyst Areva Martin says she doesn't believe it is likely the suspects were oblivious to what is going on.


AREVA MARTIN, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: What we've heard from the prosecutors is that they have a lot of these parents on, you know, audiotape, they have text messages, they e-mails where they're going to great lengths to hide what they're doing. If this is what everyone was doing it wouldn't have been done, you know, in such the colt of secrecy. They would've been talking openly about it.

And what we know about the parents that have been charged they were so careful and so cautious and they asked, you know, Singer over and over again. Are you sure no one is going to catch me? Are you sure, you know, that we're going to keep the secret? So, I don't buy that these parents didn't know what they were doing was elicit and now illegal perhaps not. But they weren't proud of what they were doing.

They weren't willing to do this in the open. And of course you could make a donation to a college, put your name on a building. That's perfectly legal. But when you start doctoring test scores, when you start having people take the exam for you, when you've create fake profiles, athletic profiles, I'm not buying that you don't know that you are engaged in some kind of illicit activity.


ALLEN: Areva Martin there. Well, the second woman accused of using a nerve agent to murder the half-brother of North Korean leader Kim Jong-un has been released from prison in Malaysia.

HOWELL: She's expected to return to her home in Vietnam and release likely means no one will ever be convicted for the murder. Attorneys from the lawyer argue the pair had been duked into carrying out the attack at the Kuala Lumpur Airport two years ago. Kim's relative died minutes after nerve agent was smeared on his face. North Korea denied any involvement in the murder.

Another international mystery has taken a new twist. A hunt now is on for a man identified as the prime suspect in the raid in February on North Korean embassy in Madrid.

ALLEN: CNN'S Brian Todd has details about the man allegedly behind this bizarre plot.


ADRIAN HONG, HUMAN RIGHTS ACTIVIST: Again my name Adrian Hong and here's --

[02:40:00] BRIAN TODD, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Adrian Hong is on the run. His face is plastered on the U.S. Marshal's wanted poster and he's allegedly armed and dangerous. Hong who strangely uses the name Oswaldo Trump as an alias, is accused of being the mastermind behind the bizarre raid on North Korea's embassy in Madrid on February 22nd.

According to court documents from prosecutors just unsealed in Los Angeles, U.S. and Spanish officials accused Hong and several others of breaking into the North Korean embassy using knives, iron bars, machetes, and fake guns. They tied up embassy staff members and beat them. Court documents alleged before making off in embassy vehicles where the stash of thumb drives, hard drives, computers and at least one cell phone.

The North Koreans call it a grave terrorist attack. Spanish authorities have asked the U.S. to find and arrest Adrian Hong but his lawyer tell CNN the U.S. Marshals aren't the only people hunting for him.

LEE WOLOSKY, ATTORNEY FOR ADRIAN HONG: We know from credible sources that the North Korean government has -- is seeking Adrian Hong and some of his associates from the Provisional Government of Free Joseon and is seeking to target them for assassination.

ADRIAN HONG, HUMAN RIGHTS ACTIVIST FOR NORTH KOREA: It is a brutal totalitarian regime ruled by royal family.

TODD: The goal of Hong's group, the Provisional Government of Free Joseon is to overthrow Kim Jong-un's regime. U.S. authorities raided Hong's apartment last month but he wasn't there. His lawyer says Hong is scared for his life and that he denies roughing up anyone at the North Korean embassy. He says they were invited into the embassy that day. And he points to these surveillance photos of another member of the group entering.

Attorney Lee Wolosky says members of the group had contact with someone at the embassy in the days before the incident. But why would members of the group which wants to overthrow Kim Jong-un be invited into that embassy?

WOLOSKY: It is there or where the defections generally occur. It is -- individuals who are posted outside of North Korea who -- when given the opportunity will choose to defect.

TODD: So did they go to the embassy to help someone defect?

WOLOSKY: They have said that they were responding to an urgent situation in that embassy. And I really, you know, out of the concern for the safety of some people who may still be in that embassy I would prefer to just leave my answer for now at that.

TODD: U.S. prosecutors now say Hong's group tried to get a top embassy official to defect. But "he would not betray or desert this country." Still analysts say, Hong's group has succeeded in embarrassing the violent and vindictive North Korean dictator.

BRUCE KLINGNER, SENIOR RESEARCH FELLOW FOR NORTHEAST ASIA, THE HERITAGE FOUNDATION: He would see it as a threat, I mean, he's assassinated or executed any number of senior official's that he saw pr perceived to be a threat. So he would go after these members as much as he could.


TODD: Adrian Hong attorney is slamming the Justice Department, telling CNN he is dismayed that the Department is executing warrants against Americans based on the accounts of the North Korea officials. The attorney says he is worried that Adrian Hong or other members of the group might eventually be extradited to North Korea. Justice officials tells CNN anyone extradited to Spain will get due process under Spanish law and they have indicated they're not likely to facilitate any extraditions to North Korea. Brian Todd, CNN, Washington.

ALLEN: Ahead here on CNN NEWSROOM. More drama in Britain. The Defense Secretary staffed by Theresa May denies he is behind a security leak.

HOWELL: Plus in the race for only a week. Former U.S. Vice President Joe Biden is already a target of the right and left. The Democratic rival firing the first shot.


[02:46:11] ALLEN: The results are beginning to emerge in local elections across the United Kingdom. And so far, voters are punishing both of Britain's main parties for the Brexit fiasco.

HOWELL: The BBC reports Theresa May's Conservative Party and the opposition Labour Party are losing council spots. But it's still early and thousands of seats are up for grabs, we'll, of course, continue to monitor and keep you updated on it.

The man who lost his job as Britain's defense secretary is defending himself claiming he was not the person behind the security leak.

ALLEN: CNN's Phil Black, says the public is left with picking sides, his or at the prime minister's.

PHIL BLACK, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: The sacked, now former British defence secretary Gavin Williamson, insists "It wasn't me." And his denials have been so strenuous that included controversially, swearing on the lives of his own children.

But the British Prime Minister Theresa May, says this compelling evidence suggesting his responsibility for leaking information on discussions at the National Security Council. The clues are in the name, the National Security Council considers the most sensitive national information. It is where there are discussions and decisions made on issues critical to the U.K.'s safety and security. And it's all supposed to happen in the strictest of confidentiality.

In this case, the government, says the concern is not so much the substance of the leak. Reportedly, permission for Chinese company, Huawei to help build part of the U.K.'s 5G telecommunications infrastructure.

Instead, the government says what it's really worried about is protecting the forum, the sanctity of the National Security Council, the cone of silence that's supposed to shroud its workings.

And so, Theresa May ordered an inquiry. And she says, it found no other credible explanation. She says she was also concerned by the lack of openness and the fact that Gavin Williamson wasn't perhaps as helpful as he should have been in working with that inquiry, and so, he's out.

And the government says it considers the matter closed. Except in the United Kingdom, telling national secrets can be a crime. It's covered by the Official Secrets Act. The government says it will not be referring this to the police for investigation. And the police, say they probably won't investigate if they don't receive an official referral. So, it is possible that the matter is closed.

But in Parliament, opposition M.P.s said this can't be the end of it, the issues are too serious. And it shouldn't be up to the government to decide if a crime has been committed. Some also argue there is an issue of fairness here.

Williamson has been accused of wrongdoing. He denies it, they say there should be some official process for determining the truth. Politically, this is all bad for Theresa May. Williamson was an ally, someone rapidly promoted by her. He was her chief whip that is the chief parliamentary enforcer, the person responsible for implementing her policies and tactics within the party. So, now this already extraordinarily weak prime minister has lost a close senior ally in cabinet, and possibly created a new very well- informed adversary within her own party.

HOWELL: All right, that was Phil Black reporting for us.

ALLEN: In the U.S., another one of Donald Trump's picks for the Federal Reserve has taken himself out of the running.

HOWELL: In this case, it's Stephen Moore, who withdrew on Thursday given revelations about decades of disparaging comments about women. Mr. Trump's other Fed choice, Herman Cain, withdrew last month.

When former Vice President Joe Biden entered the race for the White House last week, he took direct aim at President Trump.

ALLEN: And since, Biden leads the pack in early polls. His closest Democratic rival is taking direct aim at him. What goes around comes around, perhaps. Here's CNN's Ryan Nobles.


[02:49:58] RYAN NOBLES, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Joe Biden has only been in the race for president for a week, and already he's taking the heat of a front-runner. His detractors both Republican and Democrat seizing on comments of former vice president made about China's role in the global economy.

JOE BIDEN (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: China is going to eat our lunch. Come on, man. You know, they're not bad folks, folks. But guess what, they're not a competition for us.

NOBLES: Biden's campaign later issued a statement. Saying, the challenges facing the U.S. "pale in comparison to those confronting China." Still, Utah Senator in 2012 GOP nominee Mitt Romney warned, "This will not age well." While Democratic primary opponent Bernie Sanders tweeted that it was "wrong to pretend that China was not an economic power."

It is the latest example of the Sanders approach to directly challenge Biden on his policy record.

SEN. BERNIE SANDERS (I-VT), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I helped lead the fight against NAFTA. He voted for NAFTA. I voted against the war in Iraq. He voted for it.

NOBLES: The move was not by accident. It was a specific strategy campaign manager Faiz Shakir, tells CNN, spearheaded by Sanders himself. And it is just the beginning. Shakir, said they are ready to point out areas where Biden has changed his position while Sanders has remained the same.

"On many issues, Vice President Biden has been wrong first since Shakir. In some cases like the war in Yemen, he has course corrected. In others like trade, he maintains the wrong position. Meanwhile, Biden's strong start is also of keen interest to the White House. President Trump retweeting dozens of tweets Wednesday, taking aim at Biden's support from a firefighters union while talking up his chances against the former Vice President.

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I think Biden would be easier from the standpoint that you have so much dissension in the party because you're going to -- it'll make four years ago look like baby stuff.

NOBLES: But new CNN polls show five Democratic candidates outpacing Trump at this early stage. Among them is Biden, with a 51 to 45 percent advantage over Trump. Sanders, also holds a six-point lead, 50 percent to 44 percent.

At the core of this decision by Bernie Sanders to draw clear policy differences with Joe Biden is the issue of electability. He believes that he is more in line with Democratic primary voters on these big issues like trade and foreign policy, and he believes that he can convince those primary voters that it's ultimately those issues that will help him beat Donald Trump. Ryan Nobles, CNN, Washington.


HOWELL: All right, still ahead, baby watch in Britain. It might not deliver on what the public is expecting we'll explain.


HOWELL: Live image every the live image from Windsor Castle where at some point the announcement will come as the Royal baby watch is on in Britain. People around the world waiting for the news that the Duke and Duchess of Sussex have welcomed their firstborn.

ALLEN: Waiting and waiting. Waiting for that moment to win Prince Harry's wife steps out in front of cameras with their infant son or daughter. Our Max Foster reports, don't hold your breath.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The new royal heir in the United Kingdom.

MAX FOSTER, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: When the Duchess of Cambridge emerged from hospital with her first baby, Prince George in 2013, she amazed everyone waiting outside, including royal reporter, Emily Nash.

EMILY NASH, ROYAL CORRESPONDENT, HELLO! MAGAZINE: She looked every inch, the princess. As a mom myself, I found it slightly incredible that she was looking so fresh.

[02:55:07] FOSTER: Then Kate's did it again with baby number two, Charlotte. And again, with number three, Louis.

NASH: Most women who have given birth are not remotely thinking of putting themselves on display in front of the world's media within several hours of that happening. So, it's quite a feat for anyone to endure.

FOSTER: The tradition of royals appearing outside hospital shortly after giving birth only goes back a generation to, most famously, Princess Diana.

DICKIE ARBITER, FORMER ROYAL PRESS SECRETARY: Yes it would have been painful. But she put on a brave face and she smiled. And she did what she thought was expected in front of the cameras. Difficult to do straight after birth, but it was something that she felt had to be done, and it was done.

FOSTER: The Duchess of Sussex isn't having any of it, though. She hasn't even revealed where she's having her baby. And she'll only appear before the cameras after the families had time to celebrate privately in the words of the palace.

BONNIE GREER, CNN COMMENTATOR: She's saying to us that her baby, even this baby is born into a very public family, one of the most public in the world, is not a public baby. This is our baby, and we'll let you see this baby when we're ready to show you if we show you.

FOSTER: And then, as the example that sets for other new mothers.

GREER: Women won't feel the pressure to look like they're ready for the cover of Vogue after they've given birth. And I think Meghan is leading the way with that, and I think it's great.

FOSTER: Max Foster, CNN, Windsor, England.


ALLEN: Good for them. So, we wait and we wait.

Well, no wait here. We are minutes away from the launch of a SpaceX rocket headed for the International Space Station. Dragon One is scheduled to lift off from Florida carrying supplies, but no people to the International Space Station.

HOWELL: The launch was delayed when the space station lost some of its power supply on Monday. NASA, says the electricity is now back at full strength and the only thing they're worried about now is the weather in Florida.

So we'll watch and wait again for that one. Thanks for being with us for NEWSROOM. I'm George Howell.

ALLEN: I'm Natalie Allen. We'll right back with another hour. See in a minute.