Return to Transcripts main page
Trump Told Top Russians He Wasn't Worried about Moscow's Meddling in 2016 Election; White House Restricted Access to Trump's Calls with Saudi Crown Prince and Russian President; Trump Facing Impeachment Inquiry for Ukraine Contacts; Pelosi: Impeachment Not a Cause for Any Joy; Warren: Trump Believed He Could Break the Law; Zelensky Unintentionally Embroiled in U.S. Politics; Joseph Wilson, U.S. Diplomat Who Questioned Iraq War, Dies; Afghanistan Votes Despite Taliban Threat; Prince Harry Retraces Mother's Footsteps in Angola. Aired 3-4a ET
Aired September 28, 2019 - 03:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
NATALIE ALLEN, CNN ANCHOR (voice-over): Hello and welcome to viewers joining us here in the United States and all around the world. This is CNN NEWSROOM. I am Natalie Allen.
Ahead this, hour the impeachment inquiry against Donald Trump is moving quickly. Stunning new developments to share with you, including the congressional subpoenas for U.S. secretary of state Mike Pompeo.
Plus, what the White House did to restrict access to Donald Trump's conversations with Russia's president and Saudi Arabia's crown prince and why.
ALLEN: And we begin with the impeachment inquiry into President Trump's dealings with Ukraine, which will soon take center stage in the U.S. Congress.
Also we are learning how other activity by the president has been shielded from the American public. "The Washington Post" reporting that during this 2017 meeting at the White House, Mr. Trump told Russian officials he was not concerned about Moscow's interference in the 2016 election.
CNN's Anderson Cooper spoke with one of "The Post's" reporters who broke that story.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SHANE HARRIS, "THE WASHINGTON POST": What we know is that essentially this was no longer available to people who might actually have access, ordinarily have access to it at the White House. And I would name it is (ph), if you are sort of a country expert or you are in an issue area you ordinarily would get access to conversations from that area. Another senior NSC people (ph) who might have security clearance can get it.
At the time this conversation happened, the White House had already started restricting these memos, fearful of press leaks. We are told that this memo about this conversation with Lavrov and Kislyak was restricted even more tightly, so that only very few officials could see it.
That said, clearly an understanding of what happened in that conversation did get around. And I would note that this is the same conversation in which the president revealed a highly classified source of information that the United States had about ISIS operations and also remarked to the Russian officials that, after having fired Jim Comey the day before, that he had relieved a lot of pressure on him at the time.
You will remember that when the president fired Jim Comey, there was suspicion that he had done that because the FBI was investigating him and his campaign for connections to Russia. And, of course, that firing ultimately leads to a special counsel being appointed.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ALLEN: CNN has also learned that some phone calls between President Trump and other world leaders were held to a higher level of secrecy than usual. In particular, his conversations with the leaders of Saudi Arabia and Russia. CNN's Pamela Brown has more about that.
PAMELA BROWN, CNN SENIOR WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Well, we have learned the White House efforts to limit access to President Trump's conversations with foreign leaders extended to phone calls with Saudi crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman and Russian leader Vladimir Putin. This is according to several people familiar with the matter.
Now those, calls both with leaders who maintain controversial relationships with Trump, were among the presidential conversations that aides took remarkable steps to keep from becoming public.
In the case of Trump's call with Prince Mohammed, officials who ordinarily would have been given access to a rough transcript of the conversation, never saw, one according to one of the sources. Instead, the transcript was never circulated at all, which the source said was highly unusual, particularly after a high-profile conversation.
The call, which the person said contained no especially sensitive national security secrets, came as the White House was confronting the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi, which a U.S. intelligence assessment said came at the hand of the Saudi government. Now with Putin, access to the transcript of at least one of Trump's
conversation was also highly restricted according to a former Trump administration official. It is not clear if aides took the additional step of placing the Saudi Arabian-Russia phone calls in that same highly secured codeword operated system that held that now infamous phone call with Ukraine's president and which helped spark the whistleblower complaint made public this week, though officials did confirm calls aside from the Ukraine conversation were placed there.
BROWN: And those calls did not also reach the threshold, similar to the Ukraine conversation. But these attempts to conceal information about Trump's discussions with Prince Mohammed and Putin further illustrate the extraordinary efforts taken by Trump's aides to strictly limit the number of people with access to his conversations with foreign leaders.
I am told this practice really went into place more than a year ago after there were conversations leaked between the leaders of President Trump and Mexico as well as Australia. We should note the White House did not comment about the limiting of access to calls with the Russian and Saudi leaders -- Pamela Brown, CNN, Washington.
ALLEN: The U.S. special envoy to Ukraine is the first administration figure to resign since that whistleblower's complaint against President Trump came to light this week. Kurt Volker reportedly decided he could no longer be effective in his post.
The whistleblower writes Volker advised Ukrainian officials on how to deal with President Trump and his lawyer, Rudy Giuliani. The House Foreign Affairs Committee has announced Volker will be questioned next week.
Next week is also when the House impeachment inquiry could begin but already three House committees have subpoenaed secretary of state Mike Pompeo after he missed a deadline to turn over documents on Ukraine. For more about that, here is Manu Raju.
MANU RAJU, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: Now in the first batch of subpoenas that have come out since Speaker Nancy Pelosi announced an official impeachment inquiry, the secretary of state Mike Pompeo has been subpoenaed by the House chairman, asking for information regarding what the State Department did in trying to facilitate apparent meetings and discussions with Rudy Giuliani, the president's personal attorney, and Ukrainian officials, as Giuliani was pushing Ukraine to investigate the president's political rival, former vice president Joe Biden.
Now the Democrats had demanded for several weeks that the State Department turn over this information. They have not gotten that information, which led them to this point. Now at the same time Democrats say if they do not get this information
from this subpoena or other subpoenas, it will only strengthen their case for impeachment. They say, I am being told by Democratic sources, that, in fact, if the administration does not comply with a number of their requests, they will cite that as an article of impeachment, saying that the president sought to obstruct Congress, similar to what happened with Richard Nixon during one of the articles of impeachment that was drafted for him before he ultimately resigned.
Now at the same, time Democrats are planning a very aggressive few weeks here on the Intelligence Committee, which is taking the lead on the impeachment probe. Adam Schiff, the chairman of the committee, telling me that he plans to issue subpoenas as soon as the coming week, also planning to hold a hearing next Friday with the inspector general of the Intelligence Committee, Michael Atkinson.
A committee source tells me that, Schiff tells me more generally that other hearings could also take place in the coming weeks.
Expect that whistleblower, who drew all the attention about the president's conduct with the Ukrainian president, asking for an apparent investigation into the Bidens, that whistleblower could also come before the House Intelligence Committee.
Now this is all happening expeditiously because Democrats want this all wrapped up potentially by Thanksgiving, if not sooner, to have a vote on the House floor through the Judiciary Committee to make President Trump just the third president in history to get impeached -- Manu Raju, CNN, Capitol Hill.
ALLEN: Joining us now to talk about these developments from, Munich, Germany, is James Davis, a political science professor at the University of St. Gallen.
Thank you so much for joining, us James. First up here, it is widely accepted that the U.S. president committed an impeachable offense with that call to Ukraine.
But the question is, is the impeachment process the right approach at this time, during an election?
JAMES DAVIS, UNIVERSITY OF ST. GALLEN: I mean, that is the question that the Democrats have to ask themselves. And at the end of the day, impeachment is a political act. It is only going to work if a majority of the Congress and a majority of the American people think that the crimes -- that looks right now as if there were crimes committed -- that the crimes warrant the removal from office of the president.
I think the Democrats are asking themselves two things.
First of all, can we do this better than the Mueller report?
I think the Mueller report dragged on and the longer it dragged on, the more opportunity it gave the president to attack Mr. Mueller, to attack the process, to convince the base that this was a witch hunt and also to convince many Americans that we were wasting time when there was important business of the country to do.
DAVIS: So I think what Democrats are trying to do now is speed up this process to keep the president off balance, to not give him that opportunity to challenge the legitimacy of the process and those people that are coming forth with this information.
The second question they have to ask themselves is how do they keep their majority in the Congress, in the House of Representatives and how will this play out on the presidential election in 2020?
And I think getting this over quickly helps because, the longer it drags on, the more oxygen it will suck out of the political discourse and their candidates, the many talented candidates that the Democrats have put up for the presidency, those candidates will not get the coverage because all we will be talking about is this investigation.
So I think getting this moved along quickly makes sense politically.
ALLEN: Right and issues involving the election will be sidelined as well. Whether the House votes to impeach President Trump, if Senate Republicans, James, remain entrenched by his side, the belief is that will give Mr. Trump a boost after this impeachment inquiry is over.
How risky is that for Democrats?
DAVIS: I think at this point it is risky for the Republicans because there are a number of Republicans who are in marginal seats. Take Susan Collins of, Maine for example. Or the senator who took Senator McCain's position in Arizona.
These are people in marginal states, in swing states; their position is not secure. And these Republican senators who are up for reelection in 2020 are going to have to ask themselves, am I going to side with the president and his malfeasance?
Or is it going to make more sense for me to decide with the Constitution and American principles?
So I think the onus is going to be on Republicans to say why, if in fact the House comes up with a reasonable case against the president, why this president should remain in office.
ALLEN: Right. Because is there a danger, you mention this briefly, to the United States if the president is not held accountable?
So many things that this president says, some egregious acts that he has done, people have gotten used to shrugging it off. This may not be shruggable.
DAVIS: No, the people have gotten numb and just this week the number of reports coming in, of really disturbing incidences, is dizzying, right?
So people have become numb to this. But I think if the House of Representatives can focus on a few key points and make a clear case that this president has misused his office, has misused it for political gain, has misused it for private gain, that is something I think that the average American can understand.
And if you keep the message simple, if you keep on message, I think you can convince even a numbed public that this president is so far removed from the traditions of the country that this impeachment proceeding is indeed warranted.
ALLEN: Well, it begins next week and no doubt many people will be riveted to see what is revealed after already we have had so many great developments. James Davis, we appreciate your insight. Thank you for speaking with.
DAVIS: Thank, you Natalie.
ALLEN: Well, as he faces another scandal, President Trump maybe seeking help from the gun lobby. He met Friday with the chief executive of the National Rifle Association, Wayne La Pierre. "The New York Times" reports they discussed NRA support for Mr. Trump, both in his reelection bid and during a possible impeachment.
La Pierre reportedly wants the White House to, quote, "stop the games over gun control legislation," end quote. The NRA is denying it has special arrangements with the president. It did help him in the previous election to the tune of donating $30 million .
Ahead here, the timeline of the whistleblower's complaint into Donald Trump's dealing with Ukraine is prompting questions into how the Justice Department handled the allegations.
Also, a CNN exclusive with USA presidential candidate Elizabeth Warren. What she says about the impeachment inquiry and if it should focus just on Ukraine.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. NANCY PELOSI (D-CA), HOUSE SPEAKER: This is not a cause for any joy that we have to go down this path. It's a difficult decision to make. But we have that obligation because the actions that were taken that undermine the Constitution and the oath we take to protect and defend, including the oath that the president takes.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ALLEN: U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi there talking about the impeachment inquiry into the president. She is not giving a timeline of when the House Intelligence Committee leading the inquiry will finish its work. But as we mentioned earlier, they seem to want it ending sooner than later.
Congress was informed on September 9th that there was a whistleblower complaint. We are learning now about what administration officials knew about it and when they knew it. CNN's Justice correspondent Jessica Schneider with that story.
JESSICA SCHNEIDER, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Officials now say the Department of Justice and the White House knew about the whistleblower's concerns more than one week before they were formally alerted by the acting director of national intelligence and the intelligence community inspector general, the last week of August.
Here's the timeline we know so far. August 12, the inspector general for the intelligence community receives the whistleblower's seven- page complaint. Two days later, on August 14, attorneys at the DOJ's National Security Division are alerted about the whistleblower's concerns during a routine conference call.
The next day, the head of the division goes to the White House to review the transcript of the call between President Trump and Ukraine's president, where the president pressed the Ukrainian government to investigate Joe Biden and his son.
SCHNEIDER (voice-over): The head of the DOJ's Criminal Division and the deputy attorney general are notified afterward that the attorney general was mentioned in that call. For at least the next 10 days, the DOJ deliberated about how to handle the matter.
It's unclear how much the attorney general learned during that time or on which day, but he was made generally aware of the situation.
JOSEPH MAGUIRE, ACTING DIRECTOR OF NATIONAL INTELLIGENCE: The inspector general, in consultation with my office, referred this matter to the Department of Justice for investigation. I think the whistleblower did the right thing. I think he followed the law every step of the way.
SCHNEIDER: And there is major scrutiny over the DOJ's decision not to open a full-fledged criminal investigation into potential campaign finance violations stemming from that July 25th phone call.
The DOJ came to its conclusion despite the inspector general for the intelligence community concluding that the whistleblower's complaint was, in fact, credible -- Jessica Schneider, CNN, Washington.
(END VIDEOTAPE) ALLEN: Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden is no stranger to attacking President Trump. But after he and his family were targeted in the Ukraine scandal, it is personal. Here was the former vice president speaking in Las Vegas Friday.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JOE BIDEN, FORMER U.S. VICE PRESIDENT AND PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Folks, we have a president who has violated his oath of office, a president who has put at risk our national security, a president who may -- and that will be the decision of the Congress to make -- may have committed a crime and a president -- and a president who used the power of his office and your tax dollars to try to persuade a foreign leader to once again interfere in a presidential campaign.
It is pretty clear that he will stop at nothing to hold on to power.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ALLEN: Well, presidential candidate Elizabeth Warren says she wants a Senate vote on impeachment before the Iowa caucuses. The Senate Democrat is running close with Joe Biden at the top of the polls and she spoke exclusively with CNN's MJ Lee and said she worries about the whistleblower's safety.
SEN. ELIZABETH WARREN (D-MA), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I do. And I worry about this whole investigation as it unfolds. Donald Trump and his administration have made clear not just that Donald Trump is willing to break the law but that they are doing their best to try to cover this up and discredit anyone who is trying to get to the truth.
MJ LEE, CNN POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: And as this process unfolds, do you have any reason to believe that any of your Senate Republican colleagues will vote to convict the president?
WARREN: I don't know. But I see this as a lot more important than politics. Donald Trump has admitted -- and it is right there in the documentation -- that he has solicited a foreign country to interfere in our 2020 elections.
That is not right. It is a violation of the law. No one is above the law in this country. And that is why it is so important that Congress bring impeachment proceedings to hold him accountable.
It is not just about this president, it is about the next president and the one after that and the one after that. This is our constitutional responsibility, whether you are Democrat or Republican.
LEE: Do you think that impeachment investigation should be narrowly focused on just the Ukraine issue or everything else about the president and his conduct while in office?
WARREN: Right now, I would like to just see us do the Ukraine issue because it is so clear and it is such a clear violation of law. The president is asking for help against one of his political rivals and asking a foreign government for a thing of value for himself personally. That is against the law.
After all that happened in 2016 and the Mueller investigation, the president of the United States knows that. This is not he somehow stumbled into it and did not think about the consequences.
No, he knew. He believed he could break the law and get away with it and so did his administration. They did not leave that transcript in the regular course of transcripts of phone calls with foreign leaders.
Because it was not a regular call. It was a call that violated the law. And so they're immediate instinct is, let's lock it up. Let's make sure no one can see it, let's cover it up so no one is there. And that is why it is that this impeachment proceeding is so important on this issue.
LEE: Do you think it is important at all of this be wrapped up before voting begins in February?
WARREN: I hope that it is. I would like to see us get to the bottom of this as quickly as possible.
ALLEN: We know the implications an impeachment could have on President Trump but it could also have far-reaching effects on Ukraine and Russia. We will explain about that coming next in the interview.
Plus, Rudy Giuliani says the State Department asked him to reach out to Ukraine. The problem, the State Department says that did not happen.
ALLEN: Welcome back. To viewers in United States and around the, world the CNN NEWSROOM live from Atlanta. I'm Natalie Allen. Here is our top stories.
ALLEN: Joining me now is Jill Dougherty, global fellow for Woodrow Wilson Center and former CNN Moscow bureau chief.
Hi, Jill. Thank you for being with us. My first question for you. How is this story likely affecting Ukraine?
What are you hearing as far as what people there think and whether this distraction, the impeachment process, will hurt Ukraine's ability to fight corruption?
JILL DOUGHERTY, CNN CORRESPONDENT: I think it is very bad for Ukraine on many levels. Internationally you have, where it is Ukraine and corruption. That is one thing that Ukraine obviously has a long history of major corruption, there is no question.
But there have been attempts to get away from that and now, once again, just the image of the country is out there with the word corruption.
I think also domestically I think it hurts President Zelensky because he is embroiled in the United States election whether he wants to be or not. And you would have to say that it hurts him because he does not want to be drawn into something that has both Democrats and Republicans. He does not want to take sides.
What he wants is help from the United States. And I think it weakens him domestically within Ukraine, because he looked, let's say, not very forceful when he had that obsequious performance with President Trump the other day at the United Nations.
And then I would say it does definitely make it harder for him, now having been weakened by this, to do any type of deal with President Putin to solve or resolve the conflict in the eastern and southern part of Ukraine.
ALLEN: Right and add to that, that he is new to politics and came from the world of acting, so welcome to your new role.
Another thing, developments, of course, fast and furious on the impeachment story. The White House worked to limit access to President Trump's conversations with foreign leaders, including Mr. Putin.
Mr. Trump, of course, sometimes cozy relationship and accolades towards Putin have been mystifying from the start and also "The Washington Post" released a story late Friday that Mr. Trump told Russian officials in that meeting in the White House in 2017 that he did not think Russia's interference in the 2016 election was a big deal.
What do you make of these?
DOUGHERTY: You, know he has said things similar to that before, this kind of equating what Russia does with what the United States does, because of course, doesn't everybody do that?
That is the context. And I think that is where the danger is because this is not a conversation, let's say, by a candidate or a friend of President Putin or the ambassador or whatever, this is the president of the United States essentially saying, if the story is correct, that it was not a big deal that Russia interfered in the election.
Now obviously the United States in its history has done things, interfering in other countries. There is no question about that. But more recently, the United States does things like helps citizens' organizations, helping them to get education in how to run a campaign.
It has provided advisers for campaigns, for people to run. And Putin has considered this interference. But I don't think that you can equate what the United States is doing with what Russia is doing.
ALLEN: Right. And something else that you mentioned that I would like you to talk more about is whether this story, the impeachment story, how that might affect Russia's aspirations with Ukraine while the United States distracted.
DOUGHERTY: That is a very interesting question because right now you can certainly say that, in the Kremlin, they are pretty happy about what is happening with Ukraine because it takes a little pressure off Russia.
Russia is usually the one that is connected with the word corruption or interference or the election, et cetera, now it is Ukraine. And Ukraine and Russia, you can really call them competing images for people in the former Soviet Union.
What would they like to happen?
Would they like to be Russia would like to be a Ukraine that is not corrupting the world, that is moving towards the West?
So when you have a counter narrative right now, it damages Ukraine and ultimately I think it helps Russia, which can say look, there is the country that you, United States, have been supporting that you always praise and look what is happening with that.
DOUGHERTY: They can just again stand back, the Russians, stand back and just watch this chaos unfold and they can make hay from it.
ALLEN: Right, we know that Russia likes the chaos that they helped create in the United States. Ukraine seems to be really stuck in the middle now.
But one more question for you, also Friday the secretary of state was subpoenaed, the special envoy to Ukraine from the State Department stepped down. We also know the White House recall the U.S. ambassador to Ukraine back in May.
How might these developments affect diplomatic efforts between the United States and Ukraine?
DOUGHERTY: This is extraordinarily bad, I, mean Kurt Volker is a professional. He's been a diplomat for many, many years. He is stepping down. Obviously there is a lot going on right now. We will have to see how he explains that. But having, you, know the U.S. representative, the envoy on Ukraine
out is very bad right now. This is when you need somebody in that position.
Then you have the secretary of state being subpoenaed, which is more of a problem. The State Department will have to provide more documents. This will concern them and keep him busy collecting those documents. It weakens the secretary of state.
Now some of this may have to happen. There may be good reason to do that. But the chaos that is created is very, very bad and the signal from the former U.S. ambassador to Ukraine, essentially being taken out of the country just a few weeks before she was going to leave anyway, she obviously was a nemesis of conservative Republicans.
And in that sense, a very bad signal. I've been talking to people who are in the State Department, who have been in the State Department. And all of them are very concerned about what this is doing to morale of the diplomats that serve the United States.
ALLEN: So many angles to keep an eye on as this unfolds and it is just getting going. Jill, thank you. Jill Dougherty for us. We always appreciate your expertise.
President Trump's high-profile personal attorney is featured prominently in the whistleblower complaint. Now Rudy Giuliani is fighting back and says he had the State Department's blessing to reach out to Ukraine.
But did he?
Here is CNN's Tom Foreman.
RUDY GIULIANI, TRUMP ATTORNEY: Let me tell you the facts. They called me.
TOM FOREMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Rudy Giuliani is fighting back.
GIULIANI: I was not operating on my own.
FOREMAN (voice-over): Insisting his talks with Ukrainian officials were proper, important and encouraged by the U.S. State Department.
GIULIANI: In fact, I am a legitimate whistleblower.
FOREMAN (voice-over): So why is President Trump's personal lawyer so worked up?
It comes in the wake of news about the now infamous call between Trump and Ukrainian President Zelensky. In that call, Giuliani's name comes up repeatedly as Trump asked for foreign help investigating Democrat Joe Biden.
"Rudy very much knows what happening," Trump says, "if you could speak to him, that would be great."
That has raised accusations that Giuliani was acting as an improper action of the State Department, arranging up a little hit job from afar in the name of official business. Giuliani says, no way.
He was helping investigate corruption and he says he has a paper trail that proves it, including this text message from a State Department official arranging a meeting.
GIULIANI: I went to meet Mr. Zelensky's aide at the request of the State Department, 15 memos make that clear.
The State Department says, "Mr. Giuliani is a private citizen and acts in a personal capacity as a lawyer for President Trump. He does not speak on behalf of the U.S. government."
But he has spoken for Trump many times.
GIULIANI: What you just said is totally erroneous.
It is not a crime.
FOREMAN (voice-over): Attacking his foes, dismissing his critics.
GIULIANI: It depends on where it came from.
He didn't obstruct.
FOREMAN (voice-over): The president calls him a loyal ally.
TRUMP: Rudy's a very straight shooter.
FOREMAN (voice-over): His critics call him something else.
REP. JACKIE SPEIER (D-CA), MEMBER, OVERSIGHT AND INTELLIGENCE COMMITTEES: He is the political henchman for the president.
FOREMAN (voice-over): And Giuliani is clearly hedging his bets against another potential title he could be saddled with if the Ukraine affair gets much messier: fall guy.
FOREMAN: Giuliani is pledging to defend himself as vigorously as he has defended Donald Trump.
The question is, will the president stand by him as strongly if the going gets tough?
Tom Foreman, CNN, Washington.
ALLEN: The American diplomat best known for challenging the 2003 Iraq War has died.
[03:40:00] ALLEN: Joe Wilson had worked as a deputy chief of mission to Iraq during the first Gulf War acting as the go-between for Washington and the Iraqi foreign ministry. Years later, he publicly challenged U.S. assessment that Iraq was trying to buy nuclear materials to produce weapons, which then president George W. Bush used as a way to lead in to the invasion of Iraq. Wilson suffered from organ failure. He was 69.
People in Afghanistan are braving threats of Taliban violence just by heading to the polls right now. Coming up, a live report on the vote and how it is going.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ALLEN (voice-over): There you have it, tens of thousands of young people around the world, skipping school again on Friday, demanding action on climate change. The teenager behind the movement now known around the world, Greta Thunberg, was at a rally in Montreal.
She hit back at critics who mock her for being young and accused them of diverting focus from the real issue.
ALLEN: We will be right back.
ALLEN: Voters in Afghanistan are risking their lives to cast ballots in the presidential election. The Taliban has threatened to attack voting centers and the Reuters News Service reports one explosion at a polling station in Kandahar left three people injured. No group has claimed responsibility.
Security's very tight with tens of thousands of Afghan troops deployed around the country.
Let's get the latest on how things are going with journalist Jennifer Glass. She is in Kabul and joining us now by phone.
Are you hearing, Jennifer, about voter turnout?
We said people are going to the polls, it, seems despite threat from the Taliban. JENNIFER GLASS, JOURNALIST: In some areas, that is true but I have to tell you, I'm at a polling station here in Kabul and the voter turnout is, very, very light. I was at the same polling station last October during the parliamentary elections and there were long lines of voters here and now that is not the case at all.
We're seeing them trickle in, one by, one two by two but not very many, only a few dozen in the last few hours I've been here. And more than 5,000 people are registered at this polling station, a rather secure one in the very center of Kabul.
We have also heard reports of sporadic violence around the country, the most serious so far being that attack in Kandahar that injured more than a dozen people. Some casualties, some injuries or just menacing polling stations in at least six provinces.
ALLEN: All right, Jennifer Glass following the developments for us. We will stay in contact with you as the voting continues. Thank you, Jennifer.
Prince Harry's 10-day tour of southern Africa continued Friday with a deeply personal trip to Angola. He visited what used to be a minefield, the same one his late mother drew attention to during her landmark trip in 1997. For more about, it here is CNN's Max Foster from Angola.
MAX FOSTER, CNN LONDON CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): An iconic image and one that drew world attention to the plight of landmines in Angola. Diana's son, Prince Harry, now literally retracing his mother's footsteps from 1997, pondering a moment in history.
The mines cleared from here but more than 1,000 minefields are still estimated to be riddling the landscape beyond. Earlier in a town in southeastern Angola, Harry, like his mother before him, remotely detonated a mine, reminding everyone how deadly they still are.
HENRY, PRINCE OF WALES: Without question, if she had not have campaigned the way she did 22 years ago, this could arguably still be a minefield.
FOSTER: Huambo was the scene of some of the fiercest fighting in the Angolan civil war. The transformation of this street really speaks to how much progress has been made in the clearance of land mines. Still a long way to go, though, and Harry hopes that by coming here he can raise awareness around the issue to the levels that his mother created in exactly the same spot.
The prince then recreating these other memorable images of Diana, comforting the most innocent of landmine victims at an orthopedic center now bearing her name.
PRINCE HARRY: It has been an honor to retrace my mother's steps today. I lost her 22 years ago but the memory of her is with me daily. [03:55:00]
PRINCE HARRY: And her legacy lives on, which is why I am so happy to name this center the Princess Diana Orthopaedic Centre.
FOSTER: Sandra Tagica, who was 13 when she famously sat for this image with Diana, now meeting her son. Demining groups operating here say Diana's visit was pivotal in creating the momentum needed for an international ban on land mines.
The treaty was signed shortly after she died, her son now continuing to fight in her name -- Max Foster, CNN, Huambo, Angola.
ALLEN: Los Angeles is called the City of Angels and this mystery woman definitely seems like one.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ALLEN (voice-over): Los Angeles police tweeted out the video of the woman singing a Puccini aria in a subway station. Her identity remains a mystery.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ALLEN: Thank you for watching CNN NEWSROOM this hour. I am Natalie Allen. Stay with, us another hour of news is just ahead with George Howell.