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North Korea Launches Four Ballistic Missiles; FBI Breaks With Trump On Wiretapping Claim. Aired 1-2a ET

Aired March 6, 2017 - 01:00   ET


[01:00:00] GEORGE HOWELL, CNN NEWSROOM ANCHOR: Another missile launch, met by strong condemnation. North Korea launches four ballistic missiles, three of them landed in Japan's exclusive economic zone, and a number of countries are not happy with what happened. New details on the U.S. President's unsubstantiated accusations that Trump Tower was wire-tapped by his predecessor, the FBI now asking the Justice Department to publicly knockdown that claim. And ahead of a very busy week for the President including a revised travel ban expected this week. Live from CNN World Headquarters in Atlanta, welcome to our viewers around the world. I'm George Howell, CNN NEWSROOM starts right now.

North Korea has fired off around four ballistic missiles, and the United States has a strong message in response. Here it is: "The United States strongly condemns the DPRK's ballistic missile launches tonight. We remain prepared and will continue to take steps to increase our readiness to defend ourselves and our allies from attack, and are prepared to use the full range of capabilities at our disposal against this growing threat." Japan's Prime Minister says, three of those missiles landed in that nation's exclusive economic zone. He called the launches extremely dangerous. South Korea, also condemning North Korea's actions - its military estimates, the missiles flew about 1,000 kilometers. All of this happening at a time when South Korea is holding Joint Military exercises with the United States. CNN's Elise Labott, tells us more on the significance of these latest moves by Pyongyang.


ELISE LABOTT, CNN GLOBAL AFFAIRS CORRESPONDENT: North Korea is making no secret that they are trying to develop that long range, Inter- Continental Ballistic Missile that could hit the United States. U.S. Commanders have warned that North Korea is making progress at developing that type of missile technology and pairing it, with the kind of miniaturization to put a nuclear warhead that could really threaten the United States. So, yes, it's a provocation and, you know, it's destabilizing behavior. But it's also, every test North Korea makes, also brings them closer to that final goal of that long- range ICBM. And that's really what's concerning here.


HOWELL: CNN is covering this story with our correspondents based around the world. Paula Hancocks, live this hour in Seoul, South Korea. And Will Ripley, live for us in Tokyo this hour. Paula, let's start with you. What can you tell us about these missiles, and what has been the reaction there?

PAULA HANCOCKS, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, George, what we've heard from one U.S. official is that initial reports suggest that these four ballistic missiles were in fact intermediate range missiles. We heard from the South Korean Joint Chief of Staff, they flew around 1,000 kilometers, that's about 600 miles. And we also know, that they flew about 260 kilometers high, so that means the overall range of these ballistic missiles is far more the 1,000 kilometers.

So, the officials in South Korea, in Washington, in Japan are now pouring over the satellite data and try to figure out exactly what type of missile this was. It has been strongly condemned here in South Korea, though. There was a National Security Council meeting in the early hours of this morning, 9:00 a.m. They met the acting President, Hwang Kyo-ahn, said that it was a violation of U.N. resolutions, he said it was outright defiance to the International Community. And also, said that the consequences of a nuclear armed North Korean regime, will be the most appalling beyond imagination.

So, really condemning words against these missile launches, and of course, concerns us to what exactly North Korea is learning every time they carry these out. The timing of course, not a surprise to anybody here. Just last week there's Joint Military Drills between the U.S. and South Korea started, they are annual. The U.S. and South Korea say, they're defensive in nature. But every single year they anger Pyongyang, who believes that it's practicing for an invasion of North Korea. And so, every single year we do see an increase in ballistic missiles at this of the year. George.

HOWELL: Let's touch base on that as well, just a little more context of the background here, we have seen these provocative actions before. Remind us of the last time and the reason for it and just put it into context from what we're seeing right now.

HANCOCKS: It was just a few weeks ago, that we saw the last ballistic missile. This one was an intermediate range as well, slightly different because it used solid fuel rather than liquid fuel. And what we hear from officials at that time was, that was significant because it means it's a lot easier and quicker for the North Korean's to set up this kind of launch. It can be a mobile launch which obviously in the grand scheme of things, makes it far more difficult to track and to detect. George.

[01:05:20] HOWELL: Paula Hancocks, live for us in Seoul, South Korea. Let's now go to Will Ripley, live in Tokyo. These missiles did land there in the Sea of Japan. Will, what has been the response there?

WILL RIPLEY, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: There's certainly alarm here in Tokyo, George. Just a short distance down the road from where we're standing, the Prime Minister Shinzo Abe spoke with Japanese lawmakers. He confirmed the news out of South Korea, there was four ballistic missiles, three of them landing in those exclusive economic zone waters - the waters very close to the Japanese coast. In fact, some reports place the missiles landing less than 200 miles from the Japanese coast. So, obviously, had the missiles been aimed at a different trajectory it would've put all of Japan within striking distance including more than 50,000 U.S. troops.

So, this continues to be a very grave regional threat. But looking at the bigger picture, I was just at North Korea a couple of weeks ago, after the first missile launch of the Trump administration. And the attitude there, despite the fact that while we were on the ground in Pyongyang, coal exports were suspended by China. There was word of even more additional sanctions, and the North Korean officials I was speaking with remain undeterred. Their end-game, as Elise Labott was saying, is an Intercontinental Ballistic Missile that Kim Jong-un has said, a launch of that kind of missile - an extremely long range is imminent.

And what they want is a missile like that, they can put a nuclear warhead at the tip off to strike not only here in Japan, not only South Korea where more than 25,000 U.S. troops are based, but also the cities on the mainland United States. And experts are saying, George, that despite the sanctions, despite New York Times reporting over the weekend, cyber-attacks trying to - trying to disrupt these missile launches, even lacing the defective parts into the missile part supply chain; none of this has really been able to stop - maybe slow a little bit, but not stop North Korea for moving forward to their ultimate goal.

HOWELL: Will, just drawing on the fact that you have travelled so many times into Pyongyang, into North Korea, and you have a good of things there. When these missile launches happen, so there are really two audiences: there is the domestic audience there in North Korea, and there's also the international reaction to what happens. So, given what we saw in this particular case, what would you say would be the response in North Korea compared to what the international response has been?

RIPLEY: I've been there ten times over the last several years. And I've been there during successful missile launches, and I've also been there when there have been missile-launch failures. And the way that the country responds, and what people learn inside the country is dramatically different depending on the outcome of the test. If there's a failure, nobody ever hears about it. It's not reported on the state controlled media. Of course, people in North Korea can't make outside phone calls, almost nobody has access to the internet aside from a small handful of elite officials. And so, a missile failure, nobody learns about it. If there's a successful missile test, it's celebrated, it'll be all over the news as it will be this evening. And of course, celebrating the North Korean leader Kim Jong- un another triumph, and people will say that they're happy about it.

HOWELL: Will Ripley, live for us in Tokyo; and Paula Hancocks as well, live for us in Seoul, South Korea. We appreciate the reporting and context from you both. A very important story. We'll stay in touch with you, as well. Moving on now here to the United States, this next story. The FBI challenging President Donald Trump's allegation that he was wiretapped before the election. The President accused his predecessor - the former President Barrack Obama, of ordering those wiretaps. But again, Mr. Trump has offered no evidence to support it. Still, he's asking Congress to investigate this matter. CNN's Shimon Prokupecz, has this report for us. (BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

SHIMON PROKUPECZ, CNN LAW ENFORCEMENT CORRESPONDENT: The FBI, yesterday, asked the Department of Justice to refute the allegations by Donald Trump, that the Obama administration wiretapped his phone in October during the campaign. We learnt that sometime over weekend, the FBI reached out to the Department of Justice to try and work something out, to try and ask them if there was a way they could refute these stories. The FBI was very concerned about allegations being not true, and climate that it could create, and the feeling that somehow the FBI was involved in this. And so, the Director, asked that the Department of Justice these.

And so far, the Department of Justice has not done so, we asked them for comment tonight, they have not responded to our request for comment. And we're just basically now waiting to see what happens going forward. And also, politically, what this means for the FBI Director and Trump, and how Trump will react to the idea that the Chief Law Enforcement Officer of this country, of the United States, would refute. Basically say, these allegations that you're making are not true.


[01:10:18] HOWELL: Shimon Prokupecz, in New York for us. Thank you. The former Director of National Intelligence, strongly denies that the FBI obtained a Court Order to monitor Mr. Trump's phones before the election. James Clapper, oversaw U.S. Intelligence Agencies including the FBI during the Obama administration. Let's listen.


JAMES CLAPPER, NATIONAL INTELLIGENCE FORMER DIRECTOR: There's no such wiretap activity mounted against the President-elect at the time as a candidate, or against his campaign. I can't speak for other title three authorized entities in the government, or a state, or local entity.

CHUCK TODD, MSNBC MTP DAILY HOST: I was going to say, if the FBI for instance, had a FISA court order for some sort for surveillance, would that the information you would know or not know?


TODD: You would be told this?

CLAPPER: I would know that.

TODD: If there was a FISA court order on something like this?

CLAPPER: Something like this, absolutely.

TODD: And at this point you can't confirm or deny whether that exists?

CLAPPER: I can deny it. TODD: There is no FISA court order?

CLAPPER: Not to my knowledge.

TODD: Of anything at Trump tower?



HOWELL: Very strong denial there. For more on this, my colleagues Pamela Brown, and CNN's Senior Political Analyst David Gergen; spoke with Tom Fuentes. Fuentes is the former Assistant Director of the FBI and he says the FBI's request itself, is a rejection of Mr. Trump's claim. Let's listen.


TOM FUENTES, FEDERAL BUREAU OF INVESTIGATION FORMER ASSISTANT DIRECTOR: As far as I can tell, it is unprecedented. But I think that, you know, it's interesting that what seems to be a request of the Department of Justice, has actually knocked down the story. So, it doesn't matter now if the Department of Justice concurs or not, and I'm not sure who would.


HOWELL: Joining us now to talk more about this is Steve Hall, a retired CIA Chief of Russia Operations, also CNN National Security Analyst. Steve, good to have you with us this hour. First of all, just to get your take on the significance of the President of the United States accusing his predecessor, of breaking the law all the while the White House, the President, have offered no evidence to back it up?

STEVE HALL, CNN NATIONAL SECURITY ANALYST AND CENTRAL INTELLIGENCE AGENCY FORMER CHIEF OF RUSSIA OPERATIONS: Well, it's significant and unprecedented. Again, so much - so much that President Trump has done is indeed unprecedented. But in terms of the National Security of this, you know, it is significant. There is so much stuff up in the air right now, which regards to accusations, counter-accusations. I believe all of this works in the favor of two people, or two entities. The first being the Trump administration, definitely trying to keep focus away from any Russia angle here. And secondly, the people who really benefit from this are the people sitting in the Kremlin, who must be pleased with the chaos that they have sown over the past couple of months.

HOWELL: So, I'd like to get your take on this. I mean, you've had deep involvement in highly sensitive operations and conversations within government. From your perspective, help our viewers to understand the gravity of what's happening here. The fact that the FBI is taking measures to ask the Justice Department to knockdown these claims.

HALL: Well, there's a lot of politics here. And of course, the more senior you go in government, the you encounter these politics. You saw, I think, probably DNI or former DNI James Clapper, I have great regard say earlier, categorically, that he was not aware of, which probably means there were no specific wiretaps against, either then candidate Trump or his campaign. So, and then on the other side, you've got Trump saying well, no, there were wiretaps but there's no - there's no factual basis or at least he didn't provide factual basis.

Caught in the middle of this, are the people who would actually do this, which is the FBI. And of course, it puts the FBI in a difficult position because the Attorney General, who is the Head or runs - sits over the FBI is of course appointed by President Trump. So, this is - this is just a - it's an amazing circle of events that they are unprecedented. And again, sow great confusion and take a lot of, I think, attention and focus off of what we really need to know, which is what was the nature? If there was any cooperation in contact between the Trump campaign and the Russian government prior to the election.

HOWELL: And following on that angle though, when it comes to the Justice Department and Jeff Sessions, he's obviously recused himself with any investigations into Russia matters. But there is a question about - concern about the Justice Department, is it able to stand up to its duties despite the fact that its Director has had questionable meetings with the Russia's ambassador?

[01:14:18] HALL: Well sure, and yes, the Attorney General Sessions has as recused himself. And so, once again, when FBI Director Comey says, I would like the Department of Justice to refute this claims, I supposed that means that the Attorney General Sessions can't be involved in that. So, again, it doesn't get bunked down, at what point do we begin to about: OK, we really need to get to some sort of independent investigation into the whole matter.

HOWELL: Steven Hall, retired CIA Chief of Russia Operations and CNN Analyst, thank you so much for your insight.

HALL: My pleasure.

HOWELL: Aside from the unsubstantiated claims of wiretapping, this is set to be a very busy week for the President of the United States. His team set to unveil, as early as Monday, an updated Executive Order banning travel from certain Middle Eastern and African nations. Also, his Attorney General, Jeff Sessions, is set to give a written text statement to the Senate Judiciary Committee regarding his contact with Russia's Ambassador to the U.S. We could also hear more from Congress about how it will respond to the President's unsubstantiated claims of wiretapping.

[01:16:16] Still ahead here on CNN NEWSROOM, refugees are streaming out of Western Mosul by the thousands. You'll hear what they have to say about life under ISIS as they look for a better situation.


PATRICK SNELL, CNN WORLD SPORT ANCHOR: I'm Patrick Snell with your CNN WORLD SPORTS Headlines. The English Premier League is Chelsea's to lose this season and the teams who are chasing them, don't they just know it. Tottenham's second in the League and they we're looking to maintain that position as they hosted Everton on Sunday. Hotspur's leading man, Harry Kane, making sure of it striking twice. He's now the League's top scorer with 90 goals. Dele Alli without a third. Spurs beats Everton3-2.

Man City entering Sunday play, looking after Chelsea and top them in the table. They had high hopes as they took bottom of the table Sunderland City did not disappoint. South American star Sergio Aguero started the scoring just before halftime. The young German, Leroy Sane, following in suit adding and took the lead just before the hour mark. City wins, 2-nil and move into sole position of third place. And the Premiere quotes, Spurs and Man City, wait with the results of Chelsea's game with West Ham on Monday. Finally, if you know of beating Rafael Nadal before, then getting one

over him really is a big deal. On Saturday, the American Sam Querrey did just about beating Nadal for the first time ever in his career at the Mexico Open. Previously, Nadal had played the Mexico open in Acapulco twice without even dropping a set. The young city's American who won the final, thundering down 19 aces to win 376, his first win against Nadal in five attempts.

That's a look at your CNN WORLD SPORT Headlines, I'm Patrick Snell.


[01:20:21] HOWELL: Iraqi forces are closing in on the old city in the heart of Western Mosul. This is another big step in their fight to push ISIS out of its last major stronghold in Iraq. An Iraqi commander says troops are storming neighborhoods near the city's main government complex. Terrorists though are accused of using chemical weapons on civilians in that city. The Red Cross says 12 people were treated for exposure to some form of gas which is strictly prohibited under International Law.

Iraq launched its offensive to retake Western Mosul two weeks ago after recapturing the Eastern part of the city back in January. Nearly 60,000 civilians have escaped -- have run for their lives, leaving Western Mosul and the 10,000, in the fact, the last two days alone. Ben Wedeman has more now on their journey.


BEN WEDEMAN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: With the few possession they could carry and the white flag, they trudged towards safety. Yet another group of West Mosul residents flee the fighting that engulfed their neighborhood. Battles, bombardment and mortars said a medics explaining why they left. He said they survived on just bread and water for the last month. At the first main Iraqi checkpoint, they board our new trucks.

The United Nations expects as many as 250,000 people to flee Mosul as this battle continues. As they leave, they pass the austere symbols and slogans of the so-called Islamic state. Down the road at the main assembly point, truck after truck arrives with the weary and the show shocked, children scared and disoriented in the confusion, others need help every step of the way while soldiers search for the parents of lost children.

"We left at night at 2:00," says Muhammad adding that ISIS snipers fired at his family as they left. Weary of ISIS infiltrators, Iraqi troops quickly separate the men and boys from the women and girls, first frisking them, then checking identity cards against a data base ISIS members and sympathizers.

Brigadier General Salman Hashan of the Iraqi Counterterrorism Service says everyday, they weed out five or six ISIS suspects. Aifah Sarhan says ISIS held her and her family as human shields. She wants revenge. "10, 10 of my uncles they killed," she tells me. "If I catch one of those rats, I'll kill them with my own hands and drink their blood." Volunteers from Southern Iraq deserve plated rice and beans, the best

hot meal for many in weeks. The U.N. warned this battle could be a humanitarian disaster for years to stay. Ben Wedeman, CNN, South of Mosul.


HOWELL: In the United States, police are investigating another violent incident as a possible hate crime. The witness says that the gunman shouted, quote, "Go back to your country," this before he shot a Sikh man outside of a home near Seattle, Washington. The victim is expected to recover. He was washing his car when the conversation with the gunman grew heated. Police are now searching for the shooter.

A Sikh community leader tells CNN the victim is a U.S. citizen but is originally from India. For more details on how that country is reacting to the shooting, we're bringing in now CNN's New Delhi Bureau Chief Ravi Agrawal, live for us. It's good to have you with us. You've been covering this story, obviously. What is the reaction that you're hearing from India about all of this?

RAVI AGRAWAL, CNN NEW DELHI BUREAU CHIEF: George, well there's been a very senior level reaction here because India's Foreign Minister, Sushma Swaraj, tweeted on Sunday saying that she was deeply saddened by the news of this shooting. She also spoke to the father of the victim who was in Punjab and learned that the victim, he's name is Deep Rai, by the way, that he was shot in the arm. That he is recovering. He's already been discharged from the hospital. The key thing to note here is that Deep Rai is an American citizen, as you mentioned. And he was told by the person who shot him to get out of the country and this despite the fact that America is his country, he's taken the oath of allegiance.

Now all of this is greatly disturbing to Indians in India because India has such close ties to the United States. There are more than 166,000 Indians studying in the United States and many more working there. So a lot of Indians know someone or have a family member who's in the United States. And this all comes just a week after two Indian engineers were shot at a bar in Kansas. They we're living there, they were working for the American company, Garmin. And they were also told to get out of the country. One of them even died, his name was Srinivas Kuchibhotla and his body arrived here in India last week. So amidst all of that, India is really discussing and debating whether

America is still a safe place for them to go to. America really - is a place that Indians have always seen as a country where they could live the American dream, where they could get the best jobs and that very much now is in question here.

[01:26:05] HOWELL: Ravi, I mean, you've covered the other incident that you mentioned here that happened in Kansas. This is a turbulent political climate and talk to us about the situation for the Sikh community in the United States itself.

AGRAWAL: That's right. So, the Sikh community -- very interesting story behind them, George. They are one of the oldest Indian immigrant communities in the United States. They've been in America since the early 1900s. Some of them came over from Canada, some Sikhs even fought in the first World War. These Sikhs are no strangers to hate crimes against them as far back as 1991 during the Gulf War and then again after 9/11. Sikhs reported that they were victims of hate crimes, their temples which are known as Gurdwaras were attacked by people who thought that they were Muslims. This could be because Sikhs have long beards, they have - they wear turn bans which is part of their faith and so, the Sikh community in America really feels as if, you know, it could be under siege. This is a moment for them to really worry about. But one Sikh community member told CNN in Washington that, you know, for now, they're just hoping and praying that this passes. They also said, George, importantly that political tone matters, discourse matters. And in times like this, discourse really does matter on both sides, George.

HOWELL: Ravi Agrawal, covering this story live for us in New Delhi. Thank you so much for the reporting. We'll stay in touch with you.

Still ahead here on CNN NEWSROOM, he signed it in January, it was suspended though by the courts. Now, the President and his team are about to unveil a more finally tuned travel ban. We'll have that story ahead.

Plus, Mexico makes good on the promise to help its immigrants in the United States. Legal aide centers are up and running now and businesses risk. Live across the world, this is CNN NEWSROOM.


[01:31:24] GEORGE HOWELL, CNN ANCHOR: Welcome back to our viewers around the world. You are watching CNN NEWSROOM. It's good to have you with us. I'm George Howell, with the headlines we're following for you this hour --


HOWELL: Recapping the other big story we're following this hour, the FBI is asking for a public rejection of the president's unsubstantiated claim that former president, Barack Obama, ordered Mr. Trump's phones to be wiretapped at Trump Tower last year. So far, the Justice Department has no comment on the story. Mr. Trump made the charge without offering any evidence and asked for congressional investigation into the matter.

Obama's former director of National Intelligence flatly denied the claim.

And here's how our congressional leaders are talking about it.


SEN. MARCO RUBIO, (R), FLORIDA: I'm not aware of it. Perhaps the president has something not known to us or to the public. If it's true, we'll find out very quickly. And if it isn't, then obviously he'll have to explain what he meant by it.

REP. NANCY PELOSI, (D-CA), HOUSE MINORITY LEADER: The president is the deflector-in-chief, anything to change the subject from where the heat is. As one who has been engaged in intelligence, as a member of the gang of eight for a long time, I can tell you that is ridiculous for the president, President Trump, to say that President Obama would ever order any wiretap of an American citizen.

REP. MIKE ROGERS, (R), MICHIGAN: I don't understand why he did that. He just put another quarter in the conspiracy parking meter. They extended this story a week, two weeks. Makes no sense whatsoever.


HOWELL: Those comments came after Mr. Trump's aides called for a congressional inquiry.

White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer released this statement, which he posted to Twitter also, "Reports concerning potentially politically motivated investigations immediately ahead of the 2016 election are very troubling. President Trump is requesting that, as part of their investigation into Russian activity, the congressional intelligence committees exercise their oversight authority to determine whether executive branch investigative powers were abused in 2016. Neither the White House nor president will comment until such oversight has been conducted."

This week is set to be a very busy for the president, set to sign a new updated executive order banning travel from a number of countries.

CNN's Ryan Nobles reports that reported travel ban could come within hours.


RYAN NOBLES, CNN CORRESPONDENT: The newly revised executive order revealing who can and cannot get into the United States could come as soon as Monday. It is expected to be more finally tuned than the original with the goal of avoiding legal hurdles like the first travel ban currently being held up in federal court.

The new executive order is expected to exclude legal permanent residents and those holding visas and also expected to exclude launch that prioritizes refuge claims of certain religious minorities. This new executive order was expected to come out last week but after

the president's successful joint address to Congress, the White House decided to separate the announcement from the speech to give the executive order its own moment.

What isn't clear what happens to the old executive order. It's possible it could be outright revoked. White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer says the two orders could continue on a dual track. Up until the last minute, they are making tweaks to the order. Sources say there is a debate among Trump advisors about whether or not Iraq should be removed from the list of travel of Muslim-majority countries from which travel will be cut off.

One thing that will be dramatically different will be the implementation of the order. Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly said the new policy will be phased in opposed to being immediately put into place. Immigration advocates are already staffing airports around the country prepared to help those that may get caught up in the bans once implemented.

Ryan Nobles, CNN, Washington.


[01:36:14] HOWELL: Ryan, thank you.

In the meantime, Mexico is providing support to its immigrants in the United States, given the president's crackdown on undocumented workers. It's spending millions of dollars to provide legal aid to Mexican diplomatic missions across the United States.

CNN's Layla Santiago reports immigrant centers are already up and running.


LAYLA SANTIAGO, CNN CORRESPONDENT: All 50 Mexican consulates in the U.S. will have this defense center for legal aid and advocates will come together to help Mexicans who have questions about legal aid, their own immigration case. This is a service that will cost the Mexican government $54 million. They will have to use about 300 temporary workers to make sure human rights are not violated for Mexicans in the U.S. That's something that is said to be a priority for the Mexican government. Just days ago, the foreign minister at the U.N. said if human rights are violated for Mexican immigrants, they will seek justice. The foreign minister made it a point when Secretary Tillerson and Secretary Kelly came to Mexico to visit, and even the president has said this is a priority not only on Twitter but also in speeches.

We're seeing the demand in Mexican consulates in the U.S. Mexican consulates have said they've seen a rise in demand of consular services. And call centers set up to answer any questions Mexicans have had also seeing a rise. This is the response from the Mexican government, one that has become stronger with time.

Layla Santiago, CNN, Mexico City.


HOWELL: Layla, thank you.

Three Muslim students in the U.S. wanted to meet with their legislator. Here's the questions they were asked first, "Do you beat your wife." That's the question they were asked. The students simply trying to meet with Oklahoma Representative John Bennett. But first, they were given a questionnaire from his assistant. The state director for the Council on American-Islamic Relations says the questions were filled with misinformation.


ADAM SOLTANI, STATE DIRECTOR, COUNCIL ON AMERICAN-ISLAMIC RELATIONS: Any can cherry pick verses from a holy scripture and claim it says one thing or another. In the case of Representative John Bennett, he has really latched on to Islamaphobic rhetoric that takes verses of the Koran or scenes from the Prophet Mohammad out of context or even sometimes completely makes them up and uses them to propagate a misunderstanding of the Islamic religious faith.


HOWELL: CNN was not able to reach Representative Bennett for comment, as you see him here. He told our affiliate he had already left the office when the students came in. He told our affiliate he had already left his office when the students came. He said the questionnaire was based on Islamic religious books and writings by Islamic scholars.

We'll be right back after this.


[01:42:25] HOWELL: The United States, Japan and South Korea are strongly condemning North Korea for firing off four ballistic missiles. Military officials in South Korea say the missiles flew more than a thousand kilometers, or about 600 miles. Japan says three of the missiles landed in their exclusive economic zone, a violation of the U.N. Security Council resolutions. These launches come as the U.S. and South Korea are holding joint military exercises.

China is one of the few allies in North Korea's corner and, according to some experts, the one of the only one that can reign in its threats.

CNN's Matt Rivers looks at how Beijing has done that and what it could do in the future.


MATT RIVERS, CNN ASIA-PACIFIC EDITOR: How do you solve a problem like Kim Jong-Un and North Korea? President Trump's answer, always look east. DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: China should get

involved and China should solve that problem. We should put pressure on China to solve the problem.

RIVERS: Before talking more about what China could do, let's talk about what they've done already. February, 2017, China says they're done importing North Korean coal for the year. Some estimates say that could lower North Korea's GDP by 5 percent. March and November 2016, two new sets of U.N. Security Council sanctions levied against North Korea, the toughest yet. China helped draft and approve both. They regularly condemn North Korea's weapons program. And in the most telling sign of frosty relationship, China's President Xi Jinping has yet to meet Kim Jong-Un, despite years of opportunity.

What else could they be doing? A lot. Trade flows constantly across this bridge on the North Korean border. China accounts for at least 70 percent of trade, not to mention food and fuel aid. Critics argue Beijing doesn't really enforce those U.N. sanctions. China could cripple the Kim Jong-Un regime almost immediately if it stopped this flow of trucks loaded with goods. But in all likelihood, the show goes on. If the regime collapse two things might happen. One, Korea unifies under a pro U.S.-South Korean government, subsequently putting U.S. troops right on the Chinese border. Two, a potential refugee crisis on China's doorstep. Neither option suits Beijing.

For China, North Korea is like working at a job they don't like but still needing that paycheck. So for now, China will play ball with sanctions at the U.N. Security Council while hoping the Trump administration chooses to negotiate directly with North Korea.

(on camera): Many experts think that no matter how much food and fuel that China sends across that bridge right there to North Korea, Kim Jong-Un will not give up his nuclear weapons program because it's his only card to play on the world stage. For North Korea, nuclear weapons equals survival. Not even China can change that fact.

Matt Rivers, CNN, Beijing.


[01:45:29] HOWELL: Matt Rivers, thank you for the reporting.

In France, pressure is mounting on presidential candidate Francois Fillon to drop out of the race. His Republican Party meets Monday to discuss what it calls a respectful exit plan for Fillon. Fillon has been accused of misusing money, a claim he denies. He told a Paris rally on Sunday no one can stop him from being a candidate, reiterating a statement he made a few days ago. Let's listen.


FRANCOIS FILLION, FRENCH PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE (through translation): Seven days a week, 24 hours a day, the shredder, news scoop machine, the rumor mill has motored on. I'm telling you, I have no intention of giving up.


HOWELL: Fillon also tweeted his views on Sunday, quote, "I will not withdraw my candidacy. My withdrawal would lead to an impasse for my political family."

Madagascar is bracing for a powerful tropical cyclone.

Our meteorologist, Karen Maginnis, is here to tell us about that storm.

KAREN MAGINNESS, AMS METEOROLOGIST: Yes, it is going to be one of the most powerful in a couple years. Folks in Madagascar are bracing for it.

Let's bring you up to date on what's happening now. Winds associated at 165 kilometers per hour. It is still substantially off the coast of Madagascar but moving to the west. We think for that 48-hour time period -- to back up, we think within the next 24 hours or so, as it makes landfall the potential for rainfall still exists here. As we look at this imagery we can clearly see a defined eye. That tells us it is gathering intensity. The tighter and more cylindrical that eye is, it is wrapping up. It was looking a little ragged prior to that. We're looking for the potential of as much as 400 millimeters of rainfall. From November through April, that's when Madagascar sees the bulk of precipitation. Certainly, with the tropical systems there to protect the region, it will be too much. We watch it make its way towards the southwest and much lesser towards the south is a better system. We're looking for localized flooding, power outages and mudslides and landslides. This is a different side of that coin. Across Somalia, it has been dreadful several years now, especially in the last 48 hours. Reports of many as 110 people, mostly women and children, who have starved to death, primarily, because the drought is so severe across this region. This is typical to be hot and dry but to be sustained this long. Over the next seven days, the temperatures remain below 30s and all the way through Monday, partly cloudy. Little, if any precipitation is expected here.

George, they're saying this could be all-out famine. Something they have to watch for. 110,000 fatalities is just in that one area, not the whole country.

HOWELL: Karen, thank you.

MAGINNIS: Thank you.

HOWELL: Still ahead this story.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Come on, faster.

OK, give her detention right here, just because.


[01:50:21] HOWELL: Teaching students what it feels like to be a victim of forced labor, that story ahead at the CNN Freedom Project. Stay with us.




HOWELL: All this week, CNN's Freedom Project is showcasing Students for Freedom. It's a special series showcasing young people involved in the global fight against modern-day slavery. We're starting it off at a Hong Kong high school where empathy building included an hour of forced labor.

CNN's Alexandra Field has the details.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I need you to take a vote, slower, another row here. Five in a row.

ALEXANDRA FIELD, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): It's 8:30 in the morning at this Hong Kong high school, but this is not a regular day.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: My name is Mr. Friedman. I run a company and our company makes nuts and bolts. You have one of them in your hands.

FIELD: Classes are canceled, Mr. Friedman says. Their labor is his for the next five hours.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You will take the nut and put it on the bolt and take the nut and put it on the bolt continuously. I don't want you to talk to anyone else. I don't want you to make eye contact with me.

FIELD: The minutes crawl by. The students look confused and bewildered and even angry.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Hey, you, come over here. You're not doing it faster. Stand over here and do it faster. Time is money. Come on, faster.

OK, give her detention right here, just because. Don't drop the bolt. Give her detention.

FIELD: The teenagers struggle. The process is painfully slow.


FIELD: Then, Mr. Friedman reveals his true intentions.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This was a simulation. It was to give you an opportunity to experience what it's like for a short period of time to lose control of your life.

[01:55:14] FIELD: To help them understand what it's like for the millions trapped enforced labor. UNIDENTIFIED STUDENT: When I was doing it, my hand started sweating,

I was sweating. I can't basically imagine how people would do it for like 14, 15 hours every day.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Do you think it was fair?


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No. Did you like me?


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Thank you very much.

UNIDENTIFIED STUDENT: I was pretty close to walking out.


I felt disheartened.

FIELD: Just an hour in their school day designed to drive home the realities of modern day slavery, an experience to try to motivate young people to try to make a difference.

UNIDENTIFIED STUDENT: I will differently feel more sympathy for those in slave labor.

UNIDENTIFIED STUDENT: I feel like as students we can raise awareness about this issue.


FIELD: Alexander Field, CNN, Hong Kong.


HOWELL: Thank you for being with us. I'm George Howell.

The news continues next hour. Stay with us.