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Reuters Journalists Freed in Myanmar; Hundreds Of Former Justice Officials Assert Trump Would Be Facing Felony Charges If He Were Not President; Justice Department Misses Deadline For Full Mueller Report; Duchess of Sussex Gives Birth to Baby Boy. Aired 2-3a ET
Aired May 7, 2019 - 02:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
ROSEMARY CHURCH, CNN ANCHOR (voice-over): It got them a Pulitzer Prize and a prison sentence and now they say they're ready to get back to work.
Plus more market jitters amid the escalation of trade tensions between the United States and China.
And a baby boy for Harry and Meghan. We are now live in Windsor for all the available details on the latest addition to the British royal family.
Hello and welcome to our viewers joining us from all on the world. I'm Rosemary Church and this is CNN NEWSROOM.
CHURCH: We are following breaking news out of Myanmar where two Reuters journalists jailed for more than 500 days are now free. They were arrested back in 2017 for their reporting on the killing of Rohingya Muslims in Rakhine state. They were convicted under the colonial-era official secrets act and sentenced to seven years behind bars.
One of the journalists spoke to reporters after he left the prison.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
WA LONE, REUTERS JOURNALIST: And I'm really happy and glad to see my family and my colleagues. And I can't wait to go to my newsroom.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (INAUDIBLE) journalist in Myanmar in the future?
WA: (INAUDIBLE). I'm a journalist. (INAUDIBLE).
(END VIDEO CLIP) CHURCH: Eager to get back to work. Let's bring in CNN's Ivan Watson following this.
Good to see you, Ivan. And the release of these two award winning journalists surprised many people after spending more than 500 days in jail.
What has been said about why they decided to release them at this time?
And how much pressure have they brought to bear on the government to do this?
IVAN WATSON, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Before I do that, Rosemary, I'd like to show you some images of these two Pulitzer prize-winning reporters and their joyous reunification with their families in freedom. Images of them embracing their wives and their children.
One of two reporters, Wa Lone, his daughter, his only child, was born after he was put behind bars in December of 2017 so this is quite a moment for them to be able to reunite with their families after more than 500 days behind bars.
Their release comes after a much larger presidential pardon for the 6,000 inmates across the country. It's an annual event but it is clear that this was part of that larger release of prisoners.
And it comes after several courts in Myanmar rejected appeals by lawyers for the two journalists to have the seven-year prison sentence overturned, at which point just last month they were arguing that they only recourse they had left was for a presidential pardon.
And it appears that has happened. The last time one of them appeals was struck down was last month, also the month that both journalists received a Pulitzer Prize, one of the highest prizes for journalism in the world for international reporting.
And clearly, the international pressure was mounting on the government to send these two men free -- Rosemary.
CHURCH: What might this mean for other journalists facing similar charges?
WATSON: Well, that's a much bigger question because it is widely believed that the two journalists were imprisoned in connection to their groundbreaking investigation into a massacre that happened in the Rakhine state where they had testimony for some of the security forces about the mass execution of 10 Muslims in the mass grave and a torching of a Rohingya Muslim village.
More than 700,000 Rohingya Muslims were looking to flee a campaign of violence and was carried out by the military to Bangladesh. And the Myanmar government has rejected and denied accusations that they have been behind genocidal policies. These two journalists were widely believed were imprisoned for their
work as an attempt to muzzle them. Of course technically they were imprisoned and convicted of being in possession of national state secrets in what Reuters journalist alleged was a police sting operation.
So the two men had been released in a wonderful development for them, their families, for Reuters and for journalists like myself. I'm not an impartial --
WATSON: -- observer here. But it does little to stop the alleged ethnic cleansing of hundreds of thousands of Rohingya Muslims from the west of the country -- Rosemary.
CHURCH: Very true, Ivan Watson covering this incredible breaking news from his vantage point in Hong Kong, many thanks.
Well, investors across the world are feeling dazed over the new trade tension between the United States and China. The Dow futures tumbled more than 200 points after hours trading Monday. Asia stocks has in mixed as investors weigh the Trump administration's threats to escalate tariffs on $200 billion by Friday.
The two sides have been involved intense negotiations since last year. And now the U.S. is accusing China of reneging on some of its trade agreements. It's not clear yet how all of this will impact talks which are set to resume on Wednesdays. Let's turn to Matt Rivers, who joins us from Beijing.
The U.S. accuses China of reneging on trade promises and President Trump threatens to increase tariffs. How is China likely to respond to these accusations and threats?
MATT RIVERS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: There's two kinds of answers this question Rosemary. What are the Chinese going to say publicly and what kind actions do they take moving forward over the next couple days. We'll find out in the next hour or so what China plans to say publicly that differs from what they said yesterday. That's what we have the ministry of foreign affairs doing a press briefing.
Yesterday all they said was that, despite the president tweets, China will send some kind of delegation to Washington this week. They did not say who that delegation will be led by if it will be led by the chief negotiator or not. They didn't say if the schedule would be shortened in any way.
So we are looking for a bit more detail today from the Chinese government. It's safe to say we're a bit surprised at the president's tweet on Sunday as were most of us who watch -- who are watching these trade talks very closely.
The actions though that China takes moving forward, that's what's really going to matter here. China has a couple of different courses here, they can cave into the president's demands, they can backtrack on what the U.S. says, that they were reneging on commitments.
They can do what the U.S. wants. They can try and find some middle ground and not send a senior delegation by continue to try to revert those tariffs being raised on Friday, which the president tweeted.
Or they can try and hold their ground and say we are going to threaten the cancellation of any sort of trade deal and not give anything that the U.S. wants.
In terms of what track they're going to take, we don't know, Rosemary. And that's why we're going to be looking for the next hour or so to hear what the ministry will have to say.
CHURCH: Indeed, while all this happens, the investors are very concerned because they're worried the two sides will return to a full- blown trade war.
How likely is it that this could happen?
Or are we just watching a little bit of negotiation play out here publicly in the hope that both sides want the best deal they can get?
RIVERS: It's interesting because on Sunday afternoon when the president sent those tweets it looked like a came out of nowhere.
What was the motivation behind it?
Was he referring to some kind of briefing he got?
Is this just negotiating tactics?
But we did hear from the trade representative in D.C. and he laid out the U.S. disappointment with what China did last week here in Beijing, during the ninth round of negotiations -- the 10th round in total. The U.S. delegation was here in Beijing and walked away from those meetings very upset with what they call the Chinese reneging on prior commitments.
Saying that previously they had agreed to certain language in the agreements about structural economic changes that Beijing is willing to following here. And now they're saying they're walking back on that.
So the president clearly tweeted from a place of disappointment if you believe what is advisers are saying. That I think will make you pessimistic on any chance of a deal happening this week.
With that said, we have seen so many on again off again reversals during these negotiations that sometimes it looks like a trade war is going to blow and escalate even further. Just a couple days ago we were suggesting that maybe there could be a deal by Friday before the president tweeting this.
But anyone who tells you they know how this is going to play out would be lying to you but I think the chances of a deal coming by the end of the week, while still possible, are less than they were just a couple days ago.
CHURCH: We will, of course, wait to get the reaction from China to see where all this is going. Matt Rivers giving us the very latest, many thanks.
Iran says it's tracking a U.S. aircraft --
CHURCH: -- carrier as it heads to the Persian Gulf. The U.S.S. Abraham Lincoln is spearheading a deployment of warships and bombers to the region. The White House announced the move Sunday, citing threats from Iran and its proxies.
The move was slammed by an Iranian official in the state media. He called it, quote, "unskillful use of a worn-out event to wage psychological war."
The secretary of state defended the buildup on Monday, take a listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MIKE POMPEO, U.S. SECRETARY OF STATE: We have continued to see that leads us to believe that there is escalation that may be taking place. So we are taking all the appropriate actions, both from a security perspective and while it's our ability to make sure that the president has a wide range of options in the event that (INAUDIBLE) actually take place.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CHURCH: The U.S. secretary of state Mike Pompeo there.
Two U.S. officials tell CNN that there is specific and credible intelligence that Iran and its proxies are targeting U.S. forces in Syria, Iraq and at sea.
The U.S. Treasury Secretary is refusing once again to turn over Donald Trump's tax returns to House Democrats. Steven Mnuchin says that the request is unprecedented and raises serious constitutionally questions. There is no requirement for president or presidential candidate to release tax returns. Although every major party's nominee has done it since the 1970s.
Democrats are demanding the information under a obscure tax law statute and the fight is likely to end up being decided in the courts.
House Democrats will meet in the upcoming days with Justice Department officials a day ahead of their scheduled vote to hold attorney general William Barr in contempt. They want Barr to give them access to special counsel Robert Mueller's entire report.
But whether Congress will hear directly from Mueller is still up in the air. CNN's Pamela Brown reports.
(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE) PAMELA BROWN, CNN SENIOR WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): A power struggle under way over special counsel Robert Mueller and whether he will be allowed to testify before Congress.
A key member of the House Judiciary Committee says the committee wants Mueller to appear before it in nine days, May 15th, but nothing has been agreed to yet.
REP. DAVID CICILLINE (D-RI): We think the American people have a right to hear directly from him.
BROWN (voice-over): But the president says not so fast, tweeting, "Bob Mueller should not testify. No redos for the Dems," a change from just three days ago, when he said the decision wasn't his to make.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Mr. President, should Mueller testify?
Would you like to see him testify?
DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I don't know. That's up to our attorney general, who I think has done a fantastic job.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BROWN (voice-over): Attorney General William Barr already addressed it.
WILLIAM BARR, ATTORNEY GENERAL NOMINEE: I have already said publicly, I have no objection.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And Don McGahn?
BROWN: And President Trump's post-Mueller report ire possibly prompting him to retweet evangelical leader Jerry Falwell Jr., who said, quote, "Trump should have two years added to his first term because of the cloud cast by the Russia investigation," calling it "payback for time stolen by this corrupt, failed coup."
The notion of a presidential power grab addressed by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, telling "The New York Times" she's worried Trump may not willingly step down if he loses his 2020 reelection bid, quote, "He would poison the public mind. He would challenge each of the races. He would say, you can't seat these people. We have to inoculate against that. We have to be prepared for that," laying out a strategy she believes can win Democrats back the White House and the Senate, taking impeachment off the table and, quote, "own the center left, own the mainstream."
BROWN: Senator Lindsey Graham, an ally of Trump, says he is open to Robert Mueller publicly testifying to his committee specifically on the phone call that he had with Bill Barr, that Bill Barr testified about last week and Mueller's concerns about the handling of the Mueller report before its release.
Graham said he sent a letter to Mueller last week about the testimony. And he has not heard back but is open to him testifying in any way he would like as long as the focus is on that phone call -- Pamela Brown, CNN, the White House.
CHURCH: More than 500 former federal prosecutors have signed on to an open letter, saying Donald Trump would be charged with obstruction of justice if he wasn't president. Now those who signed a letter come from wide ranging backgrounds, both Democrats and Republicans.
Special counsel Robert Mueller laid out 10 situations in which he investigated the president's actions and motivations but he cited guidance from the Justice Department's Office of Legal Counsel, OLC, in deciding not to charge Mr. Trump.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JEFFREY HARRIS, FORMER U.S. DEPUTY ASSOCIATE ATTORNEY GENERAL: That OLC opinion doesn't contemplate a set of facts in which the criminal conduct could put the person in office. So if a president, while he is in office, commits a tax evasion --
HARRIS: -- having nothing to do him getting elected, the OLC opinion contemplates a set of facts like that. It doesn't contemplate a set of facts wherein the criminal conduct assisted the person in achieving the office.
And I think if OLC would look at that with that set of facts it would have arrived at a different opinion.
JACK WEISS, FORMER FEDERAL PROSECUTOR: It would have been cleaner if Mueller had simply gone to OLC, kicked it upstairs and said, I have a prosecutable case. This is a case that should be charged.
What do you think?
If he had kicked upstairs and asked for permission to indict, we would have an answer. That OLC memo that Jeffrey is referring to was drafted against the background of facts that were far, far lighter than the ones that we have today.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CHURCH: So joining me now is Richard Johnson, a lecturer in U.S. politics and international relations at Lancaster University.
Thank you for being with us.
We just heard there, more than 500 former federal prosecutors signed their open letter, saying President Trump would've been charged with obstruction of justice if he were not president. Does this make the need to hear Robert Mueller here even greater to
clarify some of these points?
How likely is it do you think that will happen?
RICHARD JOHNSON, LANCASTER UNIVERSITY: I think it doesn't make the case for Mueller to testify stronger. I think there's a lot of dissatisfaction in the way in which the Mueller report has been presented and interpreted by the attorney general's office.
I think people felt the attorney general was very quick to draw quite strong, positive conclusions in the president's favor from the Mueller report without putting it into context of the Justice Department own guidelines about not bringing indictments through the Justice Department against the president.
So really this is a matter for the Congress to decide and therefore it's important for Congress to have all the information available to it, including Mueller's testimony.
CHURCH: Of course at this point President Trump is saying there is no need for Mueller to testify. The attorney general says he doesn't object that. We'll see what happens with that.
But I want to ask you about these two congressional deadlines that came and went Monday with no compliance of the Trump administration as most people expected. Let's start with the Democrats' request for the president's tax returns. It's now up to the courts and it could take a while, couldn't it?
JOHNSON: Yes, we've been talking about this since long before President Trump was elected. And what's interesting is not just the federal action but the way in which states are preparing themselves for the next presidential election.
There has been discussion about how California may require presidential candidates to release their tax returns in order to even appear on the ballot. What we have moved from is a norm of presidents releasing their tax returns in the decades since the Ford administration to moving to where now wee have to force legal compliance.
But I think that speaks to what's happened in the last few years with the American politics, where norms of good behavior have eroded and we've moved into a more legalistic and hostile context. I think this is going to continue to play out for some time to come.
CHURCH: That other congressional deadline that came and went, the attorney general Bill Barr resisted providing an unredacted Mueller report. But the fight continues. The Democrats will never see a completely unredacted report after all the Trump administration does have the law on its side at this point because there are a number of elements that can't be revealed, right?
JOHNSON: Well, that's what they're arguing. And I think what will be interesting is that they there have been discussions about the move to hold the attorney general into contempt of Congress. On the face of it, that's quite a serious move and what that would mean is that the House of Representatives passed contempt to Congress resolution that will be forwarded on to the U.S. attorney for the District of Columbia who would take action against the attorney general and, in theory, could fine him or even imprison him.
Because the U.S. attorney for the District of Columbia is herself a Trump appointee, it's unlikely that she would take action. Congress has quite wide ranging powers in these matters and Congress in the past -- it still does but doesn't --
JOHNSON: -- practice exercises -- but could even imprison people using its own sergeant of arms and its control over D.C.'s jail. I'm not saying I expect Congress to send the sergeant of arms off to arrest the attorney general.
But we are in a increasingly escalating conflict between the legislative and executive branches. So I think we are going to see perhaps how it is being used that haven't been exercised in quite some time. Where we had that conflict that we haven't seen since Watergate.
CHURCH: Interesting, a lot of pushback for sure. Richard Johnson, thank you so much for bringing your analysis and perspective to this.
You may have learned about the new royal baby but in Windsor, England, it's a different story. We will meet not one but two town criers and make sure which one is official. We will be back.
CHURCH: The newest royal baby has arrived and it's a boy. The first child for Prince Harry and Meghan Markle, the Duke and Duchess of Sussex, arrived Monday morning weighing seven pounds and three ounces. The beaming father says he's over the moon. As is tradition, an easel with a framed announcement was placed outside Buckingham Palace.
So what will we call him?
The royal couple says that they are still thinking about a name.
Let's bring in Anna Stewart, live from Windsor.
Despite the long wait, no name yet for this baby boy.
What is being said about his arrival and his likely name?
ANNA STEWART, CNN CORRESPONDENT: I mean, this is the next big question. What will Baby Sussex be called. We don't know how league we will have to wait because with George and Charlotte it was two days before we got a name. Louis was four days.
When Charles was born it took a month for them to announce his name. So really it's how long is a piece of string. I think we will find out before the end of the week.
People placing bets, the bookies have opened up for months and months on this question. They got it run so far because they're convinced it was a girl. Let me bring you the top table so far. At the moment it stands with Alexander in first position. That's could be good because it's gender neutral --
STEWART: -- appeal to the Duchess of Sussex. We have James, Arthur. New to the top table is Spencer. This is very curious. This has climbed up the name tables in recent days. And it would be a nod to Princess Diana, the baby's late grandmother, because that was her maiden name and perhaps with all three of her siblings being mentioned in the Buckingham Palace statement announcing the baby.
But this is the big question, what will it be called. I have placed my own bets. Most of them have failed, Rosemary, particularly Anna. It's highly unlikely it will be called Anna at this stage.
CHURCH: Yes, I think you will get that one wrong. And, Anna, you met two dueling town criers.
What did they have to say about the new royal baby?
STEWART: I mean, two dueling town criers, all part of the crazy circus that comes to Windsor town every time there's a royal event.
What do they say?
Mostly oyez, oyez. Take a listen.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Oyez, oyez.
STEWART (voice-over): He's a familiar face at royal events.
Now you are the self-appointed --
TONY APPLETON, TOWN CRIER: Always town crier.
STEWART: You are the self-appointed town crier for all royal events.
APPLETON: All the royal events. And I've done three royal babies, Charlotte, --
STEWART: George, Charlotte, Louis and...
APPLETON: And now we have -- we are not sure but it is a boy. I forecast a boy. And not sure of the name yet. But --
STEWART: Any guesses on the name?
APPLETON: Oh, it might be Charles.
STEWART (voice-over): The problem is, there's another town crier in town.
CHRIS BROWN, TOWN CRIER: Oyez, oyez, oyez.
STEWART (voice-over): Royal barrow of Windsor making the town quite (ph).
STEWART: Is this official?
BROWN: This is official.
STEWART: You are the official town crier?
BROWN: The mayor appointed me in 2012. I've worked with every mayor since. I am the official town crier for this town.
STEWART: There's a bit of a rivalry because I've met Tony many times, Tony flocks in, second royal crier?
STEWART: Not awkward at all.
BROWN: Not at all. I'm sorry. We had a rule. We are polite in this town. We don't say nasty things about people.
STEWART (voice-over): But unofficial town crier Tony has more royal feathers in his cap.
APPLETON: We're all over the world. I'm international.
STEWART: You're the international --
APPLETON: I'm the international --
APPLETON: And (INAUDIBLE) the royal family do know me. The royal family actually (INAUDIBLE) royal babies. He is not in the book.
APPLETON: Hang on a minute (ph). Forget the rest, I'm the best.
BROWN: God save the Queen!
STEWART (voice-over): There may not be room for a third town crier but just in case, a backup is ever needed... STEWART: What do I shout?
BROWN: You have to start with oyez, oyez, oyez. What you say after that is just whatever --
STEWART: Oyez, oyez, oyez -- Anna Stewart, CNN, Windsor.
STEWART: You'll note that the officially town crier removed my hat fairly quickly at the end of that. I can only assume I was too good -- Rosemary.
CHURCH: Yes, absolutely, he didn't want a third one in the mix, right?
And he wasn't very happy about the other guy as it was. Anna Stewart, thank you so much, we appreciate it.
We'll take a short break but still to come a shocking admission from aircraft maker Boeing. What it knew about the 737 MAX 8 well before the two plane crashes that claimed hundreds of lives. We will take a look at that.
Plus shocking allegations of forced confessions and torture in Saudi Arabia. Why a lawyer says his clients were unjustly condemned to die. We will be back in just a moment.
[02:31:04] CHURCH: Welcome back, everyone. I'm Rosemary Church. Let's update you now on the main stories we've been following this hour. Myanmar -- two Reuters journalist jailed for more than 500 days. They were investigating the deaths of Rohingya Muslims when they were arrested in 2017. The case sparked worldwide outrage of a lack of press freedoms in Myanmar. Their release was part of a large scale presidential pardon.
The Trump administration is accusing China of reneging on its previous agreements in trade talks and will escalate tariffs on $200 billion worth of Chinese goods on Friday. It's not clear yet how all of this will impact talks which are set to resume on Wednesday in Washington.
U.N.-backed scientists say about one million species are on track for extinction because of climate change. They say the situation can be turned around but warned that any delays or lack of commitment will force the destruction of animal world as we know it.
Well, Russia's transport minister says all 41 bodies have been recovered from Sunday's plane crash near Moscow. Now these are new images of the Aeroflot passenger jet. Investigators are trying to figure out what brought the jet down. They have recovered the flight and data recorders and their examining surveillance video. The plan carrying 73 passengers and five crew members suffered what was said to be a communication failure shortly after takeoff. Headed back to the airport where it bounced on the tarmac and then burst into flames. The transport minister adds that Russia will not ground the Sukhoi Superjet 100 despite this crash landing.
We are also learning more about another plane crash. Last October's Lion Air crash near Jakarta. 189 people died when the Boeing 737 Max 8 crashed. And that is the same jet that crashed in Ethiopia in March. But now Boeing says it knew about problems with the 737 Max 8 a year before the first crash and I did nothing about it. Drew Griffin explains.
DREW GRIFFIN, CNN INVESTIGATIVE CORRESPONDENT: A year before the doomed liner flight crash, Boeing engineers discovered they had a problem with their new 737 Max airplane. An alert system that was supposed to be standard on all 737 Maxes was mistakenly made optional. Part of an upgraded safety package that caused airlines extra. The disagree alert system tells pilots that whether one of the two AOA sensors on the side of the plane is malfunctioning sending incorrect data about the airplane's angle in fight.
In both 737 Max crashes, a single malfunctioning AOA sensor triggered a powerful anti-stall system called MCAS which forced the nose of the plane down as the pilot struggled for control. Boeing Engineers decided the missing alert was not a safety issue. Didn't have to be fixed immediately and didn't tell anyone until after the Lion Air crash. The reason? AOA sensors and alert system have never been considered safety feature on a commercial jet transport airplanes.
But Boeing 737 Max is different from other planes. Its powerful MCAS software can take over the planes controls in flight and that system is triggered by a single AOA sensor, a sensor that's known to fail.
DAVID SOUCIE, CNN SAFETY ANALYST: You can fly an aircraft without an AOA sensor, you certainly can. But can you do it when it's pushing the nose of the aircraft down erroneously? No, you can't. You have no hope. It has to go down.
GRIFFIN: Former FAA Safety Official David Soucie says the accidents have proven Boeing's reliance on past procedures is flawed. And today the chairman of Ethiopian Airline says, Boeing needs to go back to square one with its 737 Max.
[02:35:00] TEWOLDE GEBREMARIAM, CHIEF EXECUTIVE OFFICER, ETHIOPIAN AIRLINES: Their entire flight control systems designed needs to be reviewed.
GRIFFIN: As CNN previously reported Boeing never flight tested what would happen if the sensor malfunctioned. A former Boeing test pilot telling CNN apparently we missed the ramifications of the failure of the AOA probe. AOA sensors has been known to fail. A CNN review of FAA records shows AOA sensors had problems on at least 216 commercial flights since 2004. Sometimes, forcing profits to make emergency landings or aboard takeoffs. 42 of them happening on Boeing planes. CHURCH: Drew Griffin with that report. Well, U.N. officials are not
calling it a famine just yet but they warned food shortages in North Korea could soon link to one. The World Food Program says 40 percent of North Korea's population doesn't have enough to eat. And that on top of the worst harvests in a decade could make for a dire future for the country. Experts say high temperatures, floods and poverty have decreased the amount of available crops.
Causing many people to live without enough protein in their diets and forcing others to skip meals so their children can eat. Well now to an update to a story we brought you a couple of weeks ago about a mass execution carried out by Saudi Arabia. And court documents exclusively obtained by CNN, many of the men said their confessions were false and coerced. Their pleas of innocence apparently ignored.
Now a lawyer who represented some of those condemn to death is speaking out to CNN. Our Arwa Damon has that.
ARWA DAMON, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Seventeen are arrested for protesting.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I was sleep deprived, tortured, and coerced into confessing to something that I didn't do.
DAMON: On interrogator threatens the 16-year-old.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: If you don't validate your confession, I will kill your father and your mother.
DAMON: And this young man also claiming he was abused in custody.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The confession that was written by the interrogator and I signed it only after torture and threats.
DAMON: These are statements made in Saudi court by some of the 37 whose death sentences were carried out in the second largest mass executions in the kingdom's recent history. Taha al-Haji is haunted by their stories. He was a lawyer in his former homeland of Saudi Arabia, where he briefly represented some of those executed in April on what he calls trumped up and bogus spying and terrorism charges.
The day of their execution, the Saudi government said justice had been served. But hundreds and hundreds of pages of documents, exclusively obtained by CNN laid bare another narrative.
TAJA AL-HAJI, LAWYER FOR MEN EXECUTED BY SAUDI ARABIA (through translator): The court documents are proof of torture and injustice. And they still have the audacity to say they are merciful and humane.
DAMON: That defendant say they confessed because they were being tortured. That should have been investigated under Saudi law?
AL-HAJI: The judge is supposed to take this seriously, to ask the interrogators for an answer to these allegations. But what happens in most of these cases is that the judge ignores it.
DAMON: Saudi Arabia has denied accusations of torture in the past. And the Saudi government has not responded to CNN'S numerous queries about allegations of confession under torture. As stated in the court documents. Among the crimes the dead are accused of committing, demonstrating violence, spying, organizing demonstrations, filming misleading videos, and communicating with foreign media.
Taha suspects that the government may have also accused him of false crimes. While still in Saudi, he received a call asking him to appear to a police station. He fled the same day. But even here in Germany, he is wary of the far reaching tentacles of the Saudi government.
It's a politely worded letter from the Saudi embassy here that he quote called on his phone. How did they get your number?
AL-HAJI: I don't know how they got my number. This was a new number.
DAMON: The message from someone claiming to be a Saudi official in Berlin says the homeland still welcomes its sons with open arms. And if you want, I could help you go back. I guarantee you an easy return that you will thank me for.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: CNN has obtained exclusive new video in the murder investigation of Washington Post columnist Jamal --
DAMON: A few months later, at the news of the brutal murder of the journalist Jamal Khashoggi dominated the headlines. He too had received similar assurances from Saudi officials.
AL-HAJI: I thought to myself I could be in the same state as Jamal if I had agreed. It brought to this to my mind right away.
DAMON: He says his government could try to get to him. Even here. But he will not stop using his freedom to be a voice for those who are still inside.
[02:40:02] For those who are being tortured and abused. For those who can't scream, even when they are in pain. Arwa Damon, CNN, Berlin.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
HENRY CHARLES ALBERT DAVID, BRITISH PRINCE: As every father and parent would ever say your baby is absolutely amazing. This little thing is absolutely to-die-for, so I'm just over the moon.
CHURCH: Just in case you didn't know that beaming fathers is Prince Harry whose wife, the Duchess of Sussex just had a baby boy. As is tradition, the birth was announced by a royal easel outside Buckingham Palace and by town choir in the town in Windsor.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFED MALE: Oh, yay! Oh yay! Oh yay! I wish him a long life.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CHURCH: A carrier says the mother and child are doing incredibly well however we will have to wait a bit to see the royal baby and find out his name. So let's talk more about all this with a T.V. host and pop culture expert, Scott Nevins. Great to have you with us.
SCOTT NEVINS, POP CULTURE EXPERT: Hi, thanks for having me.
CHURCH: All right. We all witnessed deliriously happy Prince Harry thrilled with the arrival of his new baby boy and of course brimming with pride for his wife Meghan. What are you curious about these royal baby's arrival and of course the history he's made?
NEVINS: Yes. Exactly. It's the history which is really telling most of the story now. They have broken protocol all over the place which is as you know, as you know very un-British and it's kind of exciting, right? It's about ushering in this new generation of the royal family and they are doing it brilliantly, they are doing it by their own rules and we see that, you know, instead of being at having labor in the hospital in the same areas where they usually do.
They went out to their cottage and they said -- and there is rumors that they had the baby in the actual cottage. Now this has not been confirmed, it was asked and it was not confirmed by the palace. So we are waiting on that. And they are just having this blissful moment and making it all their own. And as you can see, Harry was not supposed to come out and speak. And he was just so exuberant and so happy that he came out and he actually took questions and was really friendly with the reporters.
And as you know, he doesn't have the warmest relationship with the press. So it was really kind of a great moment to watch.
CHURCH: Yes. Definitely. And of course, this royal babe was overdue but Harry and Meghan insist they still haven't figured out a name.
[02:45:06] What clues are you picking up from the royal side? And of course, what are the bookies saying about possible name and title?
NEVINS: Well, it's interesting. So, there's a -- I guess you call a conspiracy theory that's out there now that the royal web site actually slipped up and might have released the name, and before the birth, the sex, of the baby -- as we know it's now a boy.
But, there is a way that people found out that if you typed in certain names and certain web addresses related to boy's names, it led to the main page of the web site, and people thought, oh, this is going to lead to the name.
And I think we'll know in about two days. Harry said that they're going to come out and present the baby in about two days. And I think, you know, as protocol says, the queen has to know the name first, and then, all of us get to hear it afterwards. So, once -- you know, I think --
CHURCH: What's your -- what's your guess then, from the research you've done?
NEVINS: I would say, Arthur, I think.
CHURCH: I guess, that's what the some of the bookies thinks. Yes, that's the name that's on the list. All right, so, you know, talking about this, we have to show this fun moment where Prince Harry inadvertently thanks some stable horses, thinking their journalist. Let's just roll that.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
PRINCE HARRY, DUKE OF SUSSEX: Thank you very much, guys. Thank you. Thanks, guys.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CHURCH: We'll just show that again. We'll show it again. We've got -- I think we've got it on a loop. Can we bring that up again, then? Very quick.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
PRINCE HARRY: Thank you very much, guys. Thank you. Thanks, guys.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CHURCH: It's so cute, isn't it? It's so politely.
NEVINS: It's right.
CHURCH: It's sort of I think that we hear the noise from behind me, I will just thank these people as well. It's very comfortable in front of the cameras. And he both -- he and Meghan as you pointed out the taking the stuffiness out of royalty, and doing things their way. They're very much insisted upon that. Hasn't made them popular with some parts of the British population. It is proving tough for them in some instances, isn't it, and a lot of rumors?
NEVINS: Absolutely. And you know, listen, I think we all can agree, we don't want history repeating itself with Harry's mother, and now, you have his beautiful wife. And I can't help but thinking his mother is smiling down on him today and so proud.
And I think they're smart. I think they're smart to say, we will play along with the press on our terms. And I guess, you know, maybe in hindsight, maybe his mother could have done that and things would have been different. But I think he's proud to take this into his own reins and say, you know what? We're going to do this. We are so in charge and we are the new generation. And that is thrilling. You know, I speak to a lot of British people and they are thrilled with this sort of rebirth of the British family. And it's sort of a breath of fresh air.
CHURCH: Of course, it helps that Harry is not directly in line. It's far enough away from the throne that he can do things his way to a certain extent.
NEVINS: Absolutely, absolutely. And the baby is seventh in line, right? So, it's granddad, uncle, uncle Steve cousins, and then, dad. So, I -- you know, we have a lot of room there to play.
CHURCH: Yes, exactly right. Scott Nevins, thank you so much. Fun chatting with you.
NEVINS: So great chatting with you. Thank you.
CHURCH: All right, coming up here on CNN NEWSROOM, the man President Donald Trump called a rat is now in a federal prison. Michael Cohen began serving his sentence, Monday.
Plus, an eye-popping parade of fashion hits the pink carpet. Who outdid whom at this year's Met Gala? We'll take a look.
[02:50:05] CHURCH: Welcome back, everyone. Well, President Trump's former attorney, his self-described fixer is now in federal prison. Our CNN's Jason Carroll, reports it's been quite a fall for the man who once said he'd take a bullet for the boss.
JASON CARROLL, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Michael Cohen is no longer a free man. Trump's former fixer and personal attorney seen arriving this afternoon in an SUV at the federal prison in Otisville, New York, where he will be inmate # 86067-054.
He'll be serving a three-year sentence for among other crimes, campaign finance violations, and tax evasion. Cohen used his last few hours of freedom to issue a not-so-veiled message to President Trump, a man he once said would take a bullet for.
MICHAEL COHEN, FORMER LAWYER TO DONALD TRUMP: I hope that when I rejoin my family and friends that the country will be in a place without xenophobia, injustice, and lies at the helm of our country. There still remains much to be told. And I look forward to the day that I can share the truth.
CARROLL: Cohen was charged in August by the Southern District of New York and pleaded guilty to tax fraud, providing false statements to a bank, and two campaign finance violations, and by special counsel Mueller's team with lying to Congress. He has spoken to Special Counsel Robert Mueller's team on several occasions. And has testified publicly and privately, and also testified before Congress in the weeks leading up to leaving for prison.
COHEN: I lied to Congress when Mr. Trump stopped negotiating the Moscow Tower project in Russia. I am ashamed because I know what Mr. Trump is. He is a racist, he is a conman, and he is a cheat.
CARROLL: Cohen first started cooperating with Mueller's team and the Southern District of New York after agencies documents related to the $130,000 in hush money, Cohen admitted paying to porn stars Stormy Daniels before the 2016 election.
Trump has repeatedly denied having an affair with Daniels and he initially defended Cohen when teams of federal agents raided Cohen's office, apartment, and hotel room last year.
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: So, I just heard that they broke into the office of one of my personal attorneys, a good man. And it's a disgraceful situation, it's a total witch hunt, I've been saying it for a long time.
CARROLL: But what it became clear to Trump, his former fixer had flipped and was cooperating with investigators, the relationship quickly soured.
Trump, calling Cohen a rat in a tweet. Experts say Otisville is a top prison for white-collar criminals. The facility located about 70 miles northwest of New York City has been called a castle behind bars. Forbes magazine once ranked at one of America's 10 cushiest prisons. Cohen's fellow inmates include Fyre Festival convicted conman Billy McFarland and Jersey Shore tax evader Michael "The Situation" Sorrentino. Jason Carroll, CNN, New York.
CHURCH: Well, Tiger Woods has received the highest U.S. civilian honor. The golfer was awarded the Medal of Freedom by President Donald Trump. The two have been business associates for years which raised some eyebrows regarding the intent and timing of the award which rattled the sports world last month when he won the Masters Golf Tournament.
It was a stunning comeback for a career that had been derailed by injury and personal turmoil.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TIGER WOODS, PROFESSIONAL GOLFER, 14-TIME MAJOR WINNER: I've had battled and I've tried to -- I've tried to hang in there, and I've tried to come back and play the great game of golf again. I've been lucky enough to have had the opportunity to do it again, and I found a game that has allowed me to do this. And the amazing Masters experience that I've just had a few weeks ago certainly is part of the highlight of one of what I've accomplished so far in my life. (END VIDEO CLIP)
CHURCH: A one person who won't be visiting the White House anytime soon, Boston Red Sox manager Alex Cora. He says he will skip this week celebration of his team's World Series victory. Cora is a native of Puerto Rico, and he says he's not happy with the Trump administration's response to Hurricane Maria in 2017, which killed nearly 3,000 people.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ALEX CORA, MANAGER, BOSTON RED SOX: The government has done -- you know, some things back home that are great, you know, but that's the report said, you know, we still have a long ways to go, you know, and that's our reality. So, and I was this -- pretty tough -- you know, to go celebrate when we're, and where we're at, you know. I'd rather not go and just -- you know, be consistent with everything.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
[02:55:03] CHURCH: Well, President Trump defended his administration in a tweet on Monday. But he's claimed that Puerto Rico received $91 billion in aid is misleading at best.
Well, it's known for some of the most daring fashion statements. And this year's Met Gala theme camp notes on fashion took couture costume design to another level of risque and playful.
On Monday night, celebrities came to the charity ball in their borders outfits inspired by irony, humor, and parody. For Lady Gaga, one of the night's hosts, one look was simply not enough. She arrived in a fuchsia dress with an enormous frame. And an entourage of umbrella holding suit-wearing men to handle it. Making her way toward the myth as she stripped off three different outfits all on the pink carpet. Eventually, Gaga made her way in wearing only black undergarments and boots.
And to light up the ball literally, Katy Perry came as a chandelier, who wouldn't? Her headpiece weighed a whopping 40 pounds or 18 kilograms and if that's not gaudy enough for you, Rapper Cardi B, owned the theme with a red feather gown that nearly covered the entire floor. Her dress was so big, an entourage had to help her from tripping on it going up the stairs.
Actor Billy Porter's entrance featured a theatrical nod to ancient Egypt wearing a bejeweled catsuit. He arrived being carried on a chair by six shirtless men. His Sun God ensemble was accented with 10-foot wings and a 24 karat gold headpiece.
And, of course, let's not forget some of the most eye-catching and bizarre actors, Jared Leto and Ezra Miller arrived with some form of their own faces. The Met Museum gave Miller props for his costume, tweeting, he dressed as the epitome of camp.
How about that? Well, thanks for joining us. I'm Rosemary Church. Remember to connect with me anytime on Twitter, and I'll be back with another our news in just a moment. You're watching CNN. Do stay with us.