Return to Transcripts main page


Beijing Retaliates Against U.S. Tariff Hike, As Expected; Trump Praises Hungary's Strongman Viktor Orban; Tensions on the Rise in the Persian Gulf; Iran Pressures Europe Over Nuclear Deal; Hackers Target Facebook's Messaging Service. Aired 1-2a ET

Aired May 14, 2019 - 01:00   ET



[01:00:00] NICK WATT, CNN INTERNATIONAL ANCHOR: Hello and thanks for joining us. I'm Nick Watt and you're watching CNN NEWSROOM. Ahead this hour, the latest shots in the trade war between the world's two largest economies. Beijing fires back at the United States with tariff hikes of its own.

Plus they're both fans of border walls and foes of a free press. Donald Trump welcomes Hungary's far-right prime minister to the White House. Also, ahead WhatsApp comes under attack. The company says hackers were able to infect some user's phone.

U.S. President Donald Trump remains confident despite the U.S.-China trade war escalating Beijing, retaliating with its own round of tariffs and jittery investors. Some Asian markets extended, Wall Street's sell-off there, red arrows going down, down, down a little bit of green, a little bit of up in Seoul.

The Dow plunged 617 points on Monday, the S&P 500 fell 2.4 percent, and the NASDAQ dropped 3.4 percent. President Donald Trump said he'll meet with Chinese President Xi Jinping at the G20 summit next month. He said he believes China wants to reach a trade deal and he insists Washington has the upper hand.


DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: A word a very strong position. Our economy has been very powerful, theirs has not been. We're dealing with them. We have a very good relationship. Maybe something will happen. We're in a great position right now no matter what we do.


WATT: Steven Jiang joins us now from Beijing with the latest. Steven, President Trump is confident that he will win are they confident in Beijing that they will win?

STEVEN JIANG, CNN BEIJING SENIOR PRODUCER: Well, Nick, it's interesting because if you were looking at the state media here their tone in covering the story has become increasingly defiant and nationalistic. I've been sharing some of the headlines with our viewers in the past few days but Monday night last night the state broadcaster CCTV had a male anchor read a scathing commentary against the U.S. in its primetime newscast.

It was I think less about what he said but he how -- he how he said it. His tone was so strident and defiant, really capturing the mood of the government and probably a sizable portion of the population. That video actually went viral, already revealed million -- viewed millions of times across Chinese social media.

And that really serves as a reminder according to many analysts of the kind of advantages President Xi Jinping enjoys when it comes to fighting a protractor trade war. He can actually deploy any kind of resources he sees fit while not having to worry about re-election as Trump has to -- you know Mr. Trump is said to be increasingly view industry war in the prism of this 2020 reelection.

So you know, given the kind of white gap between the two sides, given the kind of rhetoric we are hearing from Beijing right now, it's really hard to envision the two leaders even if they sit down next month as Mr. Trump has said in the G20 Summit, how they can really resolve and bridge the gap at the moment. Nick?

WATT: Steven Jiang in Beijing, thank you very much for your time. Now, let's head to Los Angeles and Alex Cherin who is Senior Vice President at EKA Public Relations. Alex, Steven Jiang there was suggesting that Donald Trump is playing this for election points in 2020. Is that going to work or could that possibly backfire?

ALEX CHERIN, SENIOR VICE PRESIDENT, EKA PUBLIC RELATIONS: Well, I think we've already seen a little bit of evidence that it's backfiring. If you look at some of the sound bites and interviews that have been going on in the last few days with some of the farmers in the Midwest which is an electorate that he's very much targeting for 2020 and a right front and center in this trade war.

So I think there's a potential that it's going to backfire. But you know, there are three things to remember which really make this iteration of the trade war different from the things that we've seen in the past six months. Number one are the amounts. We've got $200 billion worth of goods subject to the tariff on the U.S. side, 60 billion on the Chinese side. Those are significant sums.

Number two is the pace at which these tariffs were imposed. We've got about a two to four-week ramp up here before these things take effect. That's a lot shorter than in some of the earlier impositions of trade tariffs.

And the third which I think really has the markets rattled and has the biggest potential to backfire to answer your question is this these talking points coming out of Beijing that potentially the Chinese holdings and U.S. Treasury bonds could be subject or at risk here.

[01:05:24] Watt: And the one other thing -- I mean, Donald Trump is talking about and has been propping up the farmers here who have been suffering as you mentioned, I mean propping up farmers, that's borderline socialism.

CHERIN: Well, it depends on your definition of socialism but he's certainly looking at the farmers again as his a sort of red meat base for 2020. You're talking about agricultural exporters and states like Wisconsin and Minnesota, soybean exporters in Iowa and places like that which he very much is counting on in 2020.

And I think there are a little bit disillusion from the first couple innings if you want to use a baseball analogy of this trade war and I think they're a little skeptical of this later iteration -- later iteration.

WATT: Does President Trump know what he's doing here or is he out of his depth?

CHERIN: Well, again, I think it depends on who you ask. I think, the safety net here as you alluded to in the introduction is this G20 meeting in Japan next month. I think, everybody at least is taking a little bit of comfort in the fact that there will be a time place where Trump is going to be able to meet with President Xi and hopefully work out these issues.

You know, according to some reports, they had a deal that was about 95 percent of the way done before both sides began beating their chests again. So again, I think people are taking a little bit of comfort in the fact that at least next month the two will be face-to-face to talk about these issues.

WATT: Are we right to be taking comfort in that? Are you confident that by the end of June, by that G20, by the end of the G20 we'll have something, this will be over?

CHERIN: Well, I think if past practice you know, gives us any sort of indication, I do have a little bit of comfort. I think that the consensus in the international trade community is that we've seen this before. This is just the next chap in a back-and-forth, a tit-for- tat. You know, one thing I can tell you is just down the road from us here, the ports of Long Beach in Los Angeles are the largest trade gateway to Asia in the United States, and about 90 percent of that trade is directly with China.

And last month, if you look at the data, both the ports of Long Beach and Los Angeles had their largest months by volume in their history so I think that there may be a silver lining here.

WATT: Silver lining. Alex, joining us from Los Angeles, thank you very much for your time.

CHERIN: Thank you.

WATT: Donald Trump has made no secret of his fondness for authoritarian leaders from other countries from Russia's Vladimir Putin to the Philippines Rodrigo Duterte. They've all gotten glowing reviews from the U.S. President.

And after Monday's meeting at the White House ad Hungary's Viktor Orban to that list. CNN's Michelle Kosinski reports.


MICHELLE KOSINSKI, CNN SENIOR DIPLOMATIC CORRESPONDENT: In the Oval Office, President Trump full of praise for Viktor Orban.

TRUMP: Highly respected, respected all over Europe.

KOSINSKI: The man the European Union has branded a systemic threat to the rule of law as the prime minister of Hungary --

TRUMP: Probably like me, a little bit controversial but that's OK. That's OK. You've done a good job.

KOSINSKI: Orban is just the latest version of autocrat Trump has either welcomed, invited, or praised like Egypt's el-Sisi, Vladimir Putin, Kim Jong-un. Yet Trump's ex-campaign manager Steve Bannon called Orban Trump before Trump.

VIKTOR ORBAN, PRIME MINISTER, HUNGARY: We are proud to stand together the United States on fighting against illegal migration.

KOSINSKI: In the last eight years, Orban and his party have been accused by international observers of chipping away democracy, rewriting the constitution, allowing corruption, controlling the media, gerrymandering, thwarting opposition, and stacking the courts and government offices with loyalists.

Months ago, an international watchdog group named Hungary, the least democratic in the E.U. But he and Trump do have some things in common.

TRUMP: America first.

KOSINSKI: Orban's motto, Hungary first. Once a fighter for democracy post-communism in 2010, he seized on populism after economic downturn and fear over migrants. Orban called it an invasion.

TRUMP: You look at what's marching up, that's an invasion.

KOSINSKI: Orban built a wall, a big one on the border with Serbia.

TRUMP: We will build a wall. Mexico is going to pay for the wall.

KOSINSKI: Orban sent the bill for his wall to the E.U. and he's demonized Hungarian-born billionaire George Soros who has the means to fund opposition there just as Trump supporters have demonized him here.

Seeing the threat of a free press Orban has consolidated now around 90 percent of Hungary's media under either state control Orban's friends according to a Hungarian study.

[01:10:05] FRANKLIN FOER, STAFF WRITER, THE ATLANTIC: One of the reasons that Obama didn't want to meet with this guy is because he considered he -- the way that he ran his society to be beyond the pale and he was worthy of the reprimand of the United States.

KOSINSKI: The Last time an American president led Orban in for a one- on-one was 1998.


KOSINSKI: So Trump administration officials tell CNN that this meeting is just part of a push to engage more with countries in Central Europe, at the same time that they're being courted by the likes of Russia and China, that they want the erosion of democracy to stop, although Trump was not expected to bring that up at this meeting.

It ends up being just one more example where he is finding plenty of kind words for somebody like Viktor Orban on the same day that he is harshly criticizing a fellow American namely -- a Democrat namely on this day Congresswoman Rashida Tlaib. Michelle Kosinski, CNN the State Department.

WATT: Josh Rogin is the CNN Political Analyst and a Columnist for The Washington Post. He joins us now from Washington. So, Josh, those scenes of President Trump in the White House with Viktor Orban, I just want to read a couple of things to really T this up.

So the European Union leaders have rebuked Orban as quote a systemic threat to the rule of law. We've got a joint statement today from Eliot Engel, the Chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee and Marcy Kaptur who's co-chair the Congressional Hungarian Caucus.

They say that Orban does things that are antithetical to core American values. He has overseen a rollback of democracy, used anti-Semitic and xenophobic tropes, and suppressed independent media. Yet President Trump invited him to the White House and said that he has a lot of respect and is doing a good job. Why does the president do this?

JOSH ROGIN, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: Well, first of all, it should be noted that everything that you just read, that whole litany of offenses is completely true, well documented, and represents a bipartisan consensus in Congress that what Viktor Orban is doing in Hungary not just a counter to American values but also to Western values and universal rights for the people who live in Hungary.

The reason that President Trump is doing in this is because he doesn't agree with all of this. He made clear during his campaign and has made clear almost every day since these are not the values that he believes that American foreign policy should be based on. He pursues a realist interest-based approach which -- in which dictators have the rights to do whatever they want inside their own country absent U.S. and Western meddling.

Now, of course, that puts him in opposition not only to Congress but also to a lot of people who work for him in his own administration including his cabinet officials, including his diplomats in his generals, but that is the contradiction that is causing the sheer dysfunction that you're seeing across U.S. foreign policy right now. WATT: I mean, it seems almost the President Trump is sort of jealous of the powers that Viktor Orban has. And we've seen similar relationships, similar issues with you know Xi Jinping, with Vladimir Putin, you know, he seems to be jealous of the powers that some of these more authoritarian rulers wield.

ROGIN: Well, I think that's right. I think there's a clear reason. For president Trump, foreign policy is like most other policies. They're prisms through which he diffracts his own personal self- interest. And when he sees leaders in foreign countries dealing with their opposition, dealing with their institutions in ways that gives them even more power, of course he's envious of that because again he doesn't believe in the basic values that establish the division of labor and the division of powers that the U.S. government's based on in the first place.

Now, again, that doesn't mean he's going to become Viktor Orban because of course, the American political system and institutions are more robust than they are in Hungry. But what it does signal is for movements and oppositions, leaders, and dissidents, and human-rights leaders in countries all over the world that if they pursue the path that the prime minister of Hungary has pursued that this U.S. president won't say anything about it.

WATT: Yes. I mean, it's the symbolism of a meeting in the White House with the president of the U.S. is a big deal.

ROGIN: Not only is it a big deal, it's a clear signal, right, who doesn't get those meetings, that those traditional U.S. allies who have followed what has been traditional U.S. policy. So it has a cascading effect around the world that sends a clear incentive for other autocratic or foe to Democratic leaders we're heading down this path that they can actually find an ally in President Trump.

And again, that doesn't mean that they're going to find an ally in all parts of the U.S. government or much -- definitely not in the U.S. Congress but it is significant in it -- because it is such a departure from the U.S. policy we've done for so long.

WATT: I want to move now, Josh, to Iran -- the Iranian leadership of course late last week announced that they will pull out certain parts of that nuclear deal that was signed back in 2015 that the U.S. has already left behind.

[01:15:13] And we are seeing a bit of tension in the region, the U.S. sending some ships to the Middle East, claiming that the Iranians have been moving some missiles around. I want to just play a couple of pieces of sound from President Trump and his Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo. Take a listen.


TRUMP: We'll see what happens with Iran. If they do anything, it would be a very bad mistake, if they do anything. I'm hearing little stories about Iran. If they do anything, they will suffer greatly. We'll see what happens with Iran. MIKE POMPEO, U.S. SECRETARY OF STATE: An attack on American interests from an Iranian led force, whether it's an Iranian proper or it's an entity that is controlled by the Iranians. We will hold the responsible party accountable. President Trump has been very clear about that. Our response will be appropriate.


WATT: And Josh, Mike Pompeo said that the U.S. won't miscalculate on it, but listening to European and British leaders, they seem concerned that Iran and the U.S. are somehow possibly may be going to cause a war in the Middle East by mistake. Should we really be concerned?

OGIN: I think the risks of conflict that erupt unintentionally, have gone way up in the last few days. I don't think there's any doubt about that, and it's not just a risk of miscalculation.

Although, that risk is real, there's a dysfunctional signaling going on, right? The Iranians are not sure what Trump's intentions are. The Trump administration is not sure what Iranian's intentions are.

And those risks take you up an escalation ladder that it's very hard to climb down from. And, you know, there is some real threat reporting. My sources in the U.S. government tell me that this threat reporting is credible and specific, and that it warranted a reaction, and that we're seeing that reaction now.

But more broadly, as the United States ramps up the pressure on Tehran, it's clear that the Iranians are not just going to sit there and take it. They are going to have some moves to make. And as they make those moves, both sides, are operating at a high degree of risk and a high degree of unknowability, and that's where the real danger lies.

WATT: And what about this nuclear deal itself? I mean, you know, the U.S. has already pulled back from that and the Iranians are now giving the other signatories, I think, 60 days to make further concessions or the Iranians say that they will stop following other big chunks of this deal. Is this deal, dead?

ROGIN: It's headed there and quick. And, you know, Foreign Minister Javad Zarif was in New York, and I met with him about three weeks ago, and he made it very clear that the Iranians would stick to their side of the deal, as long as there was some benefit in it, for them, whatsoever. And they're increasingly coming to the conclusion that there is no benefit, certainly, no economic benefit.

And as their economic situation worsens, they are needing to put new cards on the table. And by resuming their uranium enrichment and increasing their activities, again, threatening U.S. troops, sponsoring proxies abroad, these are all things that they can then use to negotiate if they want to eventually de-escalate.

But, again, you know, because the Iranians are not exactly sure how far the administration is willing to go, and the administration -- Trump administration is not exactly sure for the Iranians are willing to go. It's impossible to really predict who's going to blink first, and for, right now, neither side will.

WATT: Josh Rogin, in Washington, thanks very much for your time.

ROGIN: Anytime.

WATT: Now, as the U.S. sends extra forces to the Middle East, it's also facing what's being called sabotage, against its allies. The United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia say four commercial ships were attacked, Sunday, near the Straits of Hormuz.

Officials say three of the ships are oil tankers to Saudi, and one Norwegian, the fourth is an Emirate fuel vessel. A UAE official says that they've asked the U.S. to help investigate. They also say the damage looks like a missile or rocket attack.

Next on CNN NEWSROOM, WhatsApp attacked by a hacker, more than a billion and a half users are being warned to take action. Plus, Felicity Huffman's emotional day in court, why the Hollywood actress was in tears for U.S. federal judge, that's coming up.


WATT: The encrypted messaging service, WhatsApp, is under attack, or was under attack, and more than 1.5 billion users are being warned to update their apps for safety. The company, which is owned by Facebook, announced on Monday, that hackers had compromised select targeted accounts. WhatsApp says the problem has been fixed.

Now, we got more details about this attack, last hour, with an expert in internet security, who joined us from California.


WATT: So, tell us, in layman's terms, what do we know has happened here?

HEMU NIGAM, INTERNET SECURITY ANALYST: Hello, Nick. So, what we know, so far, is that all signs of using this exploit is probably by intelligence agencies or government actors. We don't quite know who built the exploit or who identified it.

But what we do is that this is something that affected all the WhatsApp users out there who had not already installed a temporary fix that -- once they had notified, but now, it's actually being deployed everywhere. But 1.5 billion people are affected by this, so everyone needs to -- all your viewers need to, if they're on WhatsApp, upgrade immediately, because the upgrade will have the fix.

WATT: And I just want to pick up on something you mentioned there about speculation about who might be behind it, I mean, WhatsApp itself put out a statement, that they believe that this was carried out by, "an advances cyber actor." They say the attack has all the hallmarks of a private company reportedly that works with governments to deliver spyware. What does that tell us?

NIGAM: I actually find that statement a little bit amusing and perhaps, somewhat, fascinating, because it's trying to blame some private entity, which, of course, is going to create all sorts of speculations of who might be behind it.

What it's not doing is focusing the attention in this particular case, where it ought to be, because the type of exploit that has been used here is actually a very common exploit.

And for a company that has been showing off, in an essence, in a positive way, that there is end-to-end encryption, I see all sorts of articles that say you could never break something like this unless you actually have physical hold of the telephone where the WhatsApp is installed.

But in this case, all you had to do was make a phone call that's connected to WhatsApp, and it would work. The exploit takes over. It's called a buffer overflow, if anybody wants to Google search it, they can, but it's a very --

WATT: Please explain that -- please explain that just a little bit more. How exactly do this work? Someone would call your phone and even if you didn't answer this malicious software, it could be installed, is that right?

NIGAM: Exactly. Because what happens is when that connection takes place, that moment in time, the exploit starts taking over and starts doing things to manipulate what can be done on that and through that app.

[01:25:11] And that means everything from turning on your camera, to recording what you're saying, to listening to things, to reading your messages that you think are confidential, especially for Human Rights people.

This is a very, very dangerous and scary environment for them now, if it has been used and collected information on people who may be trying to challenge a sitting government, for example, especially a dangerous or dictatorship-type government.

WATT: And you were suggesting just a minute ago that perhaps, WhatsApp was trying to shift focus onto the people who made this spyware rather than perhaps deficiencies of their own. Was there a gap, a hole in WhatsApp defenses?

NIGAM: Oh, absolutely there was, or this never would have happened. And that is exactly what they fixed. It's a gap in WhatsApp. They didn't -- they didn't lock something that, you know, anyone could have been a victim of. They fixed an issue in their own software program. So, it is a WhatsApp issue that has now been corrected.

And instead of talking about that, the statement actually tells us, oh well, go climb that private company, figure out who it might be, and all sorts of speculations are being raised, even companies are coming out, some of them, and denying they had any role in actually directly impacting this.

So, the news of the day, right now, is that, but it really ought to be, how did this happen for an end-to-end encrypted piece of software that everybody thought from their own words was absolutely secure?


WATT: That was Internet Security Analyst, Hemu Nigam. Speaking of WhatsApp, the general elections is underway in India, and social media there, plays a role as it does everywhere, in informing voters. And efforts are now underway to assure that social media isn't being used as a weapon. CNN's Nikhil Kumar, explains.


NIKHIL KUMAR, CNN NEW DELHI BUREAU CHIEF: As India votes, a typical village scene in Northern Uttar Pradesh State, a post-lunch huddle about who might win. These men are discussing the latest political news, their main source, messages and posts on Facebook and WhatsApp.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): We only use WhatsApp and Facebook. That's the internet for us. And with the election, my phone is flooded with political messages.

KUMAR: Almost everyone we spoke to in this village has a phone, and they're often relying on the messages they see there, the politically- themed videos and memes to decide who gets their vote. It's their main source of news. The electoral battle ground, it's in their hands.

But the terrain is murky, littered with fake news that can sometimes prove fatal. Authorities here say fake rumors spread on WhatsApp, which is owned by Facebook, triggered mob attacks that claimed more than a dozen lives in 2018.

Experts on Indian politics are worried that during the elections, social media could be used to divide communities or worse, trigger political violence.

Facebook, already under scrutiny after the 2016 U.S. presidential election, has set up this election war room in California. Sitting in Silicon Valley, these Facebook staffers are keeping a close eye on posts being seen by hundreds of millions of Indian voters.

KATIE HARBATH, PUBLIC POLICY DIRECTOR FOR GLOBAL ELECTIONS, FACEBOOK: We are starting to see a wide variety of different tactics that people might be using to interfere with the elections. One of those that we've been invested in a lot in our capabilities around is, video or audio that might be altered to not be truthful.

KUMAR: Indian police are also worried. This is just one of the many special units setup to monitor social media around the clock. And WhatsApp has launched a massive campaign to warn Indians about the threat of fake news. With more than 200 million users, this is the app's single biggest market.

Back in Uttar Pradesh, the problem is clear, voters say it's often hard to figure out which political message on social media is real and which is fake.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): We can't trust every message. We get a lot of fake messages. We just don't know what's true.

KUMAR: Social media has become more than just a tool for mobilizing support. It's become a weapon for peddlers on misinformation. And voters like these often don't know what to believe. Nikhil Kumar, CNN, Uttar Pradesh, India.


WATT: The founder of WikiLeaks now could be facing two expedition requests, one from the U.S. and another from Sweden, when we return, a look at what's next for Julian Assange.


[01:32:06] WATT: You're watching CNN NEWSROOM.

I'm Nick Watt with the headlines this hour.

The U.S. President claims he is optimistic that the escalating trade dispute with China will soon be resolved. Mr. Trump will meet with Chinese President Xi Jinping at next months G20 summit.

But the markets were jittery after Beijing retaliated with its own tariff hike. The Dow plunged more than 600 points on Monday. Asian markets extended their losses but stabilized somewhat.

Iran is set to be on the agenda as the U.S. Secretary of State meets with the Russian President Vladimir Putin. Mike Pompeo's Russia trip comes as the U.A.E. and Saudi Arabia say ships were sabotaged near the Strait of Hormuz. The U.S. has sent extra warships and bombers to the Middle East citing an Iranian threat.

President Trump is praising Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban. They met at the White House on Monday. Mr. Orban's first face to face meeting with a U.S. president since 1998. He's been the target of criticism from the E.U. and others for his anti-immigrant policies and rolling back press freedoms.

Legal issues are mounting for WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange who is being held in the U.K. over bail violations. As our Atika Shubert reports, he now could face two extradition requests.


ATIKA SHUBERT, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: This sets out a huge complicated legal battle. On the one hand you have Sweden who has just filed a European arrest warrant because they are now reopening the investigation into this rape allegation against Julian Assange which was filed in 2010, nine years ago.

On the other hand, you have the United States who wants him on charges of computer hacking those Department of Defense documents and has indicated that there could be more charges to come.

Now, who will decide this? A British judge. A British judge will have to weigh both cases and see whether he goes to Sweden or whether he goes to the U.S.

Now the woman who originally accused Julian Assange of rape in 2010 did put out a statement through her lawyer welcoming the news.

ELISABETH MASSI FRITZ, LAWYER OF WOMAN ACCUSING ASSANGE OF RAPE (through translator): She is relieved. She is incredibly relieved. And she hopes and believes that she will actually get redress. She has waited for many years for the prosecutor to decide on an indictment. That decision has not yet been taken.

But like I said before, speaking as her lawyer and somebody with insight into the case, I'm convinced that no prosecutor would decide to reopen a preliminary investigation unless there is sufficient corroborating evidence.

SHUBERT: Now, WikiLeaks editor-in-chief Kristinn Hrafnsson was very quick to respond to the news saying that this was an opportunity for Julian Assange to finally clear his name

[013458] What he said in a statement was quote, "This case has been mishandled throughout. Assange was always willing to answer any questions from the Swedish authorities. And repeatedly offered to do so over six years."

Now he may have offered to answer some of the questions by the Swedish prosecutor but his actions spoke very differently. He left Sweden after the initial allegations resurfaced.

Once in the U.K., you know, Sweden applied for extradition. But Julian Assange fought that extradition request. When the U.K. finally ruled, the British courts finally ruled that he would be extradited. He skipped out on bail and fled to the Ecuador embassy where he was holed up for several years.

He is now in British custody, of course, and remains in Belmarsh prison as he goes through the British court system.

Atika Shubert, CNN -- Berlin.


WATT: Mark Zaid is a national security attorney and joins us now from Washington. So Mark -- according to Pamela Anderson, Julian Assange is a courageous truth teller and an underdog. According to a Swedish prosecutor, there is still probable cause to suggest Mr. Assange committed rape. And according to a WikiLeaks spokesperson, Sweden was under political pressure to reopen this investigation.

Any truth in that last allegation?

MARK ZAID, NATIONAL SECURITY ATTORNEY: Well, I obviously don't have the insight from the U.S. government from behind the scenes. But the reality of the matter if we look at it both factually and legally. One factually, one of his alleged victims certainly has been very outspoken through her lawyer in Sweden that she wanted this case reopened. I'm sure that had more influence than anything else on the Swedish prosecutor.

Second, the premise original was that if Assange had been extradited to Sweden he would then be turned over to the United States. Well, we don't need that anymore because we have indicted him here in the United States and we have submitted an extradition request. We, the United States, I'm not the government.

The United States has submitted an extradition request to Britain. And if he were extradited to Sweden to face these charges, it would still be up to the British to decide whether or not Sweden could extradite him to the United States because it still goes through the same process.

WATT: And as I understand is, the Home Secretary in Britain now has to make a decision as to whether Britain would extradite Assange to the U.S. where he faces, I believe, a charge of conspiring with Chelsea Manning. Or to Sweden.

I mean how do the Brits make that decision? What is the legal basis for any such decision?

ZAID: Sure. So right now, the Swedish have only said they have reopened the investigation. They're going to have Europol, European law enforcement issue an arrest warrant to allow him to be questioned. Which as I understand it now the law permits that to actually happen via video if Assange consents. So he doesn't even have to be brought back to Sweden for it.

If Sweden does submit a formal extradition request, there are provisions in British law to decide when there are competing extradition requests. And some of the factors deal with what is the seriousness of the crime. Which country requested the extradition first?

And always, it's a determination not on what is the evidence in either underlying crime but whether or not that criminal the allegation would have been a crime in Britain. And of course, both what the U.S. has indicted him for and what the Swedish are investigating him for are crimes in Britain.

WATT: So what -- I mean is there a scenario under which he could go to Sweden and then the U.S.? Or the U.S. and then Sweden? I mean let's just assume that he is charged in Sweden that they file an extradition request. I mean I'm just struggling to figure out how this could potentially play out.

ZAID: There are hypothetical fact patterns where he could be indicted to Sweden and then -- I'm sorry, extradited to Sweden and then extradited to the United States so long as the British government consents it.

Meaning there can't be a run around between the United States and Sweden, to sort of circumvent the British system. So meaning if Britain extradited Assange to Sweden, Sweden would have to then make assurances to Britain that it either would not extradite Assange to the United States or that arrangements had already been made that Britain had consented to the extradition of Assange to the United States.

[01:40:00] But first he's going to Sweden to face the rape charges, and then over to the United States. So regardless, at least under, as I understand British law to be, that Britain has the say so on whether or not Assange goes either to Sweden or ultimately to the United States.

WATT: But it seems that nobody can make a decision in this case on any the level without being accused of acting under political pressure. I mean is there a way for the law to triumph here somehow?

ZAID: I mean I certainly hope so. I mean I'm sure, and you are absolutely right, and it has already started that everyone is on Assange side as decrying this to be just a political effort by the differing governments to squelch WikiLeaks.

I would say, for one thing, everything Assange and WikiLeaks have been doing has been political in their own right, too. So I'm not quite sure why anyone would be surprised that there would be any politics on the other side to fight back.

But the reality is the countries -- certainly the United States is only fighting back because Julian Assange and WikiLeaks is accused of breaking U.S. Law. And again, this is a very narrow indictment of him trying to conspire allegedly with Chelsea Manning to break into Defense Department computers.

It has nothing to do with the publication of information Even though it was classified which is against the law. But that's not what he's been charged with at all. So it's not a First Amendment issue. It's not a freedom of the press issue. And many national security journalists in the United States have come forward and said that. Made it clear that what Assange is accused of doing is not what they as journalists do.

WATT: It's a fascinating case. Thank you very much for your time Mark Zaid in Washington.

ZAID: Any time.

WATT: You are watching CNN NEWSROOM. Just ahead, selfie obsession. How the quest for the perfect pic could land you in therapy.


[01:44:48] (MUSIC)

WATT: The sweet sound of Doris Day. The legendary American singer and actress has died age 97. Day was one of the silver screen's most popular leading ladies for two decades. Known as the quintessential girl next door, she shot to fame with films like a "Pillow Talk", "Calamity Jane", and "The Man Who Knew Too Much". She passed away early Monday morning. Doris Day had just celebrated her 97th birthday last month.

It has been called the biggest college admissions scam in U.S. history. And one of the most famous names associated with it had an emotional day in court on Monday. Actress Felicity Huffman broke down while pleading guilty to funding an illegal scheme to get her daughter into college.

CNN's Brin Gingras has more.


BRIN GINGRAS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Tonight Hollywood actress Felicity Huffman admitting to her part in the largest college admissions scam in U.S. history. The Oscar-nominated actress sobbed in court today as she pled guilty to a federal conspiracy to commit fraud charge for paying a fake foundation 15,000 dollars to get her daughter into college.

In court Huffman said she had no knowledge about the payments, confessed mastermind Rick Singer made as part of the cheating scam but then said quote, "Everything else they said I did, I did."

In court documents, prosecutors detailed evidence of emails and recorded phone conversations between Huffman and Singer. The two making a deal for a proctor to correct Huffman's oldest daughter's SAT answers boosting her score.

They government also said they had proof the payment came from Huffman's account. Huffman wrote in a statement last month, "My daughter knew absolutely nothing about my actions. And in my misguided and profoundly wrong way, I have betrayed her. This transgression toward her and the public, I will carry for the rest of my life.

In exchange for her guilty plea, prosecutors recommended to the judge Huffman get four months in prison, and she is spared additional charges. If possible, she may receive no time at all depending on the judge's decision at sentencing.

It is a much different path than actress Lori Loughlin who was also implicated in the scam but instead facing 40 years behind bar after she refused to plead guilty to the initial charge.

LORI LOUGHLIN, ACTRESS: Becky is still happily married to Jesse.

GINGRAS: The actress most known for her role as Aunt Becky on "Full House" maintains she did nothing wrong. A source tells CNN she feels like she did what any other parent would do for their kids.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I don't really care about school. AS you guys all know.

GINGRAS: Loughlin and her husband, fashion designer Mossimo Giannulli are accused of paying $500,000 to get their daughters admitted to USC is crew recruits, though neither joined the team.

A source tells CNN that Loughlin is now searching for a crisis management team to help improve her image after the public backlash of this case. Loughlin' publicist denies that. The couple is among more than a dozen parents pleading not guilty in the case that has a global reach.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: This year I am admitted to Stanford.

GINGRAS: The parents of this girl, allegedly paid $6.5 million dollars to facilitate her admission into Stanford. They denied knowing anything about the fraud, and have not been charged.

Authorities have yet to make more arrests in the case. But a source tells CNN, more may be coming may include students who authorities believe knowingly participated in the scam.

A source says so-called target letters have been sent to three students, informing them they are the subject of the ongoing investigation. As of earlier this month, Loughlin's daughter did not receive a letter, says the source.

Huffman will be back in this Boston courthouse in September for her sentencing.

Brin Gingras, CNN -- Boston.


WATT: British broadcaster ITV has suspended the "Jeremy Kyle Show" and launched a review after a guest died one week after taping an episode. No cause of death has been confirmed, and ITV says it will not air the episode in question.

The daytime tabloid talk show, which centers on family disputes, is known for its fierce confrontations and its host's combative style.

It is mental health awareness week in the U.K. And one of the main themes is body image. In a world where sharing selfies on social media is a regular part of life, it is easy to see why that has become such a concern.

Filters and editing tools can give you smoother skin, whiter teeth and sparkling eyes with just the press of a button. But has as the pursuit of a flawless look gone too far?

Hala Gorani reports.


[01:49:56] HALA GORANI, CNN CORRESPONDENT: With almost half a million followers, Tyrese Devoe (ph) or Tugzzie (ph) to his fans, makes his living through Instagram. Like others in his generation of social media influencers, he's on a constant quest for physical perfection.

KYRHYS DEVOE, SOCIAL MEDIA INFLUENCER: We all want to have smooth skin. We all want to have, you know, high cheekbones. We all want to have like frozen faces. We just want to look perfect.

GORANI: KyRhys spends at least an hour editing each selfie using apps like FaceTune and AirBrush. He is also part of a new trend which is seeing the Snapchat selfie spill over into real life.

DEVOE: I want to be a Bratz Doll. I want to be a living Bratz Doll.

GORANI: A doll is not human by definition. Why do you want to look less human?

DEVOE: Because a doll's perfect. I just want to look like my actual photos on Instagram. So I want to look selfie ready all the time.

GORANI: KyRhys even gets regular cosmetic procedures done to look more like his edited selfies.

DEVOE: I don't want to have any lines. So I feel like I just want to be a Facetuned version of myself.

GORANI: Today he's having filler injected into his smile lines and under eye area.

DEVOE: It is looking much better already.

GORANI: KyRhys is not alone.

Leading plastic surgeon, Dr. Dirk Kremer (ph) says he has noticed his clientele get younger and younger. And edited selfies play a big role in what people ask him for.

DR. DIRK KREMER, PLASTIC SURGEON: Most of them come with a phone -- with their phone and show me pictures and says that's how I get most likes and most followers. And I notice, could we do that in reality? I'm tired of, you know, modifying, editing the picture.

GORANI: And it just gives you a sense --

I show him the selfie I took with KyRhys. He edited the picture. I showed the doctor the before and after.

KREMER: Nasal folds (ph) are --


KREMER: -- smoother. That is easy to do.

GORANI: With filler.

KREMER: With filler.

GORANI: This obsession with personal appearance that selfie culture encourages may have darker implications for mental health.

DR. BRUCE CLARK, PSYCHIATRIST: In those people who have that psychological vulnerability it can be particularly concerning. They are constantly bombarded with the image, and constantly referencing their own image.

GORANI: At its most extreme, this fixation on appearance can manifest in a mental health condition known as body dysmorphic disorder or BDD. For people like Alanah Bagwell BDD can be completely debilitating.

ALANAH BAGWELL: I barely left the house. I was stuck in a dark room, curtains closed. Sleeping most of the day. I wouldn't let my family see me. They have to bring food to the door.

GORANI: Alanah says although selfies didn't cause her illness, the hours she spent taking pictures of herself exacerbated her condition.

BAGWELL: I felt that I looked so disgusting and deformed, and monstrous that I just wished to be normal. So I post selfies in the hopes of this will reassure some other people. And when you hate the way look that's can lead to you taking hundreds before you find the perfect one.

GORANI: Our collective obsession with social media can be a very innocent and fun experience. But we're only just beginning to understand the potential mental health impacts on this selfie generation.

Hala Gorani, CNN -- London.


WATT: When we come back, a plastic bag (INAUDIBLE) pollution found in one of the most remote places on earth. We'll be right back.


WATT: An undersea explorer claims to have completed the deepest manned sea dive ever recorded. But it is what Victor Vescovo discovered more than 10,000 meters below the surface of the southern Pacific Ocean that's raising eyebrows -- a plastic bag, and candy wrappers.

Yes, our trash has made it to one of the deepest points on planet earth. Part of Vescovo's mission to the Mariana Trench was to test the limits of human endurance.

And colleges in South Korea are now offering classes on dating, love, and sex. The goal -- to get more people on the market. A growing number of South Koreans are apparently choosing to stay single.

And as CNN's Anna Coren reports, finances have a lot to do with it.


ANNA COREN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: This isn't just a date. It is a college assignment. Students Kim Vin-ye (ph) and Kim Joon-hyup (ph) are taking a class in dating and relationships. They have been instructed to go on a cheap date and write about it.

KIM VIN-YE, STUDENT (through translator): I was curious about man and how they think. When I learned these things, I thought they could be helpful when I'm with my boyfriend.

COREN: In South Korea, college level dating classes are popular and very competitive to get into.

BAE JEONG-WEON, PROFESSOR (through translator): The goal is to understand differences among peoples, especially between men and women and how to form good relationships.

COREN: From picking the right partner to coping with break ups. It's a lesson on dating, love, and sex.

BAE: Students learn about sex more through porn than through sex education. They know about sex, but often their knowledge is distorted.

KIM JOON-HYUP, STUDENT: Sex education in school doesn't teach you about sex. They just teach physical differences. Many of my friends learned about sex through porn. So when they have their first sexual experience, it leads them to make mistakes.

COREN: The class at Sejong University is popular for its dating assignment. Students are paired with random partners and required to spend at least four hours together spending less than 10,000 won which is $9 U.S..

KIM: I have to think of something different. I wanted to bring her to where I work. This way we save money, I learned that I don't need to spend much money to have a good time.

COREN: In 2018 South Korea had the lowest number of marriages in 46 years according to Statistics Korea. And experts believe part of the reason is the lack of full time employment. A recent survey found only one in ten college students due to graduate this year have found full time jobs.

BAE: Young people in South Korea are suffering economically. So many feel they don't have enough money to get married.

COREN: And these students seem to agree.

KIM: Because it's hard to get a job, there is no money to spare. I can't afford to meet anyone. Going on a date like this makes me want to date.

COREN: Anna Coren, CNN.


WATT: You are watching CNN NEWSROOM. I'm Nick Watt.

The news continues on CNN right after this.