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President's Rough Relationship with FBI; North Korea's Provoking Actions; Experiencing Force Labor; Stopping Hate. Aired 3-4a ET

Aired March 6, 2017 - 03:00   ET



[03:00:00] HANNAH VAUGHAN JONES, CNN HOST: Ahead this hour, President Trump and the FBI at odds over the president claim that his phones were wiretapped by the Obama administration.

We'll have the latest on where this investigation is headed.

GEORGE HOWELL, CNN HOST: North Korea is facing condemnation after that country fired four ballistic missiles. We have a reaction from the United States and our live in Seoul in Tokyo.

JONES: And in our Freedom Project series we take you to a school in Hong Kong where students experience what life is like for the millions forced to work in sweatshops.

HOWELL: We want to welcome our viewers here in the United States and around the world. I'm George Howell at CNN world headquarters in Atlanta.

JONES: And I'm Hannah Vaughan Jones, live to you in London. Thank so much for joining us for this hour of CNN Newsroom.

HOWELL: It is 3.01 on the U.S. East Coast. The U.S. president and his unsubstantiated claims that he is wiretapped.

The FBI is now calling on the U.S. Department of Justice to publicly knock down that allegation. He accused his predecessor, the former U.S. President Barack Obama of ordering the wiretaps at Trump Tower last year.

Again, Mr. Trump offering no evidence still asking Congress to investigate.

CNN's Shimon Prokupecz has more.

SHIMON PROKUPECZ, CNN PRODUCER: 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 learned that sometime over the weekend, the FBI reached out to the Department of Justice and 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 the allegations being not true and the 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 refute these.

And so far the Department of Justice has not done so. We asked him for comment tonight. They have not responded to our requests 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 saying these allegations that you're making are not true.

HOWELL: Shimon Prokupecz in New York for us. Thank you.

Pushing ahead on this story for more my colleagues Pamela Brown and CNN's senior political David Gergen spoke with Tom Fuentes who is the former assistant director of the FBI. And Fuentes says the FBI's request in itself is a rejection of Mr. Trump's claim. Let's listen.


PAMELA BROWN, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Tom, this request from the FBI to the Department of Justice to knock down this claim by the president, is this unprecedented?

TOM FUENTES, FORMER FBI ASSISTANT DIRECTOR: I can't remember another time when something like this happened. So I think, yes, as far as I can tell it is unprecedented. But I think that you know, it's interesting 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. Because if we have the Attorney General, Sessions recusing himself on matters related to the campaign investigations and all of this related to the Russian investigation, then who is the request going to go to at the Department of Justice?

This is similar to what happened last July when the Attorney General Lynch at that time said that she'll go with whatever the recommendation the FBI makes. So yet again, we have a situation where we don't have a fully on board attorney general with regard to this case.


JONES: Let's get more on this now. Joining me is Leslie Vinjamuri, she is a senior lecturer in international relations at the University of London. Leslie, so much to talk about.

Let's start with wiretapping allegations. We understand that the FBI or the Justice Department should have something to say about this, and yet we have heard not a peep out of them. Yes, I guess it is early on a Monday morning. Your take though, on the wiretapping scandal, if you like, that Donald Trump is talking about.

LESLIE VINJAMURI, SENIOR LECTURER, UNIVERSITY OF LONDON: Yes, it was quite a weekend. It sort of came up very quickly. Of course, on the back of Attorney General Jeff Sessions recusing himself from many investigations having to deal with Russian invasion of the integrity of the election.

And so Donald Trump didn't respond well to that and went down to Mar- a-Lago on his own and woke up and tweeted.

[03:04:56] And so now we have this very curious situation where the former director of national intelligence says there were no -- there was no wiretapping, no approval for wiretapping during his period of rule. And of course, the FBI director asking that the Justice Department make it clear that this did not happen.

So, it is a very difficult situation. Now what could happen is that the ongoing investigations by the House and Senate intelligence committees could just look at this. And that would be a very easy resolution at some level. But politically this is very, very serious allegation and it seems to be unfounded.

JONES: Everyone hunkered down in Mar-a-Lago. The winter White House over the weekend. A busy week ahead as if you ever had quite ones since the administration began.


JONES: And the travel ban though, and Obamacare both going to be topics coming up on the agenda this week.

VINJAMURI: That's right. Supposedly there will be a revised travel ban put out today. Now remember, this was an incredibly contentious travel ban when it came out and it did invoked massive waves of protests across the United States.

And interestingly the Trump administration has taken quite a long time to try and revise this. Now what we're lead to believe is that there will some major revisions that Iraq will be taken off of the list of the seven states. Now it's very significant because the United States has been working with many Iraqis in the war against ISIS and in many different capacities.

And also that Syrian refugees will not be treated differently from other categories of refugees. And also the protection for religious minorities will apparently be removed which will make it harder to lodge an attack on the basis that's it's unconstitutional for violating the rights of any religious group. So it should be quite different.

JONES: One of the things that's been plaguing Donald Trump's administration so far is the idea of leaks to me. There was Washington Post article just the other day saying that there was 17 sources within the other day that this article was based on, so it's obviously leaking all over the place.

This idea of a deep state of some sort of forces in action against Donald Trump within his administration, just explain for this viewers what this deep state might be. VINJAMURI: It's a very curious term. Because usually the term deep

state has been used to refer to countries like Egypt, not the United States where you think.

JONES: Or Russia.

VINJAMURI: Exactly, where you think about the United States and this term being applied. It tends to be adapted by those on center right. And the idea is that there are forces within the government within the bureaucracy especially with the intelligence communities that are opposed to the president that are leaking.

Now remember, leaks in the Washington, D.C., this is the way the game is played leaks are not uncommon but there have been a lot of leaks. And there's a sense that there's a deep bureaucracy within the United States government. This is the claim, right, that's really fighting against the president, the current president of the United States.

JONES: And Nancy Pelosi among the democrats you've described Donald Trump, President as the deflector in chief at the moment. He says he wants to get on with his agenda and focus on what he is doing about jobs and all the rest. But do you sense that there's some frustration within his own staff? He says she is angry with them about Jeff Session and everything that happened last week.

But they must be angry with him as well, maybe about these tweets early -- in the early hours of the Saturday and the Sunday morning as well, just catching them all on the wrong foot.

VINJAMURI: That's right. Because remember Tuesday after his address to Congress there was a sense that I read quite well actually with the American public, and that there might be moment to move forward the legislative agenda. Everybody is waiting, right, repeal and replace for Obamacare.

Tax reform, and a series of other measures that really we are seven -- we're into the seventh week, that those first 100 days are crucial and there's probably some dissatisfaction that there is an -- that there is so much energy put in -- being put into try to contain the president, contain the tweets and to contain the sort of distraction from his ability and their ability to move forward the legislative agenda.

It's no longer a new presidency that I think really moving forward is seen to be quite critical at this moment.

JONES: And you mentioned Obamacare we are expecting some sort of legislative plan to be outlined this week as well.


VINJAMURI: That's right.

JONES: Leslie Vinjamuri, thanks very much for coming in and joining us this morning.

VINJAMURI: Thank you.

JONES: Now a new version of President Donald Trump's controversial executive order to ban travel from seven Muslim majority countries could be unveiled in a matter of hours as we were just alluding to.

Our CNN's Ryan Nobles reports though, the Trump team hopes this version will clear the hurdles that stalled the first one.

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

The new executive order is expected to exclude legal permanent residence and those currently holding visas. It's also expected to exclude language that prioritizes refugee claims of certain religious minorities.

This new executive order was expected to come out last week. But after the president's joint address to Congress the White House decided to separate the announcement from the speech to, quote, "give executive order its own moment."

[03:10:04] What isn't clear is what's going to happen to the old executive order. It's possible that it could be outright revoked. But White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer has said that the two orders could continue on a dual track.

Even right up until the last minute the administration is making tweaks to the order. And sources say there is a debate among Trump advisers about whether or not Iraq should be removed from the list of Muslim majority countries form 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 has promised the new policy will be phased in as opposed to just immediately put into place. Still, immigration advocates are already staffing international airports around the country prepared to help those that may could get caught up in the ban once implemented.

Ryan Nobles, CNN, Washington.

JONES: Well, aside from those unsubstantiated claims of wiretapping and of course, the revised travel ban that we are expecting possibly in the coming hours, this is going to be another very, very week for the U.S. president.

His Attorney General Jeff Sessions plans to give a written statement to the Senate judiciary committee regarding his contacts with the Russia's ambassador Kislyak and we could hear more from Congress about how it's going to respond to President Trump's wiretapping claims against President Obama.

HOWELL: A very busy week indeed. Another big story we're covering this hour, North Korea launching four ballistic missiles resulting in sharp reaction from Japan, from South Korea, and from the United States. Japan's Prime Minister says three of the missiles landed in its exclusive economic zone.

Shinzo Abe is calling the launch a clear violation of U.N. Security Council resolutions. The United States also released this statement. Saying in part, quote, "We will remain prepared and we'll continue to take steps to increase our readiness to defend ourselves and our allies from attack.

Joining now to talk more about this is CNN global affairs correspondent Elise Labott. Elise has been following this story for us. Thanks for being with us.

So let's talk about this. You know, given the strong statements that we heard from the United States there are several things at play here. One of them, the U.S. and South Korea are engaged in joint military drills. And just to the North, China's national people's Congress is taking place there is a lot happening at a very delicate time, Elise.

ELISE LABOTT, CNN GLOBAL AFFAIRS CORRESPONDENT: I think the U.S. and its allies, especially South Korea expected that North Korea would do something in response to these annual drills, it's from the U.S. and South Korea. These are some of the largest annual drills.

North Korea is always warning against them says that being perceive them as a threat. And even though the U.S. and South Korea maintain that it's not they do always expect that some North Korean provocation around the times of the missile of the joint exercises.

HOWELL: I want to talk more about what's happening in China right now. Do you remember back on the campaign trail last year, President Trump said that China, he suggested China that could do more about the North Korean issue, the threats coming from North Korea. Given that this has happened at a time where China is having its National People's Congress. Give us a sense of optics.

LABOTT: Well, I mean, I think the optics are more right now about these joint exercises. But certainly while the Chinese are having these important meetings, you know, that obviously that brings North Korea, you know to the kind of top of national security conversations there.

I think that the U.S. and President Trump, in particular has really, you know, made an comfort of trying to talk to the Chinese to say listen, you have to become part of the solution here.

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson has made this one of his priorities trying to get China to do more, and to put pressure on North Korea as North Korea's only ally and benefactor. He has been putting pressure on the Chinese after his meeting with Foreign Minister Wang at the G- 20 in Berlin a couple of weeks ago.

You saw the Chinese tell us all pull imports from North Korea, so obviously there's a lot more that the Chinese can do. It certainly got enough for the U.S. But I think as the pressure will slowly begin to grow on China to do more to bring North Korea to the table.

HOWELL: It is good to get the reporting and perspective from you, Elise Labott, our CNN's global affairs correspondent. Thank you so much for joining us on the line.

LABOTT: My pleasure.

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

[03:15:04] PAULA HANCOCKS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, George, we heard from one U.S. official that they, they said the initial reports were that these were intermediate range missiles. We know they flew in size in kilometers, we know they also may have flown up to 260 kilometers into the air the height. So, clearly the range of this missile is far more than just that one size in kilometers.

The South Koreans are condemning it, very seriously. The actin President this morning, Hwang Kyo-ahn held a national Security Council meeting. And he that said North Korea is acting in defiance of the international community saying that the consequences of a nuclear arm North Korean regime will be appalling beyond imagination.

So there are serious concerns that these ballistic missile tests do continue. And of course the timing isn't a surprise. That at this point though, the Elise was saying, these joint military drills between the U.S. and South Korea every single year provoke this kind of response from North Korea.

Some years we have seen dozens of ballistic missiles being fired in protest to North Korea, it says it believes that these drills are a prelude to an invasion. The U.S. and South Korea they are saying that they are defensive and routine. George?

HOWELL: Some serious reaction there from South Korea. These missiles again fired into the Sea of Japan. Will Ripley in Tokyo this hour. Will, this is certainly alarming for that nation so close to its shores. What has been the reaction there?

WILL RIPLEY, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes. By some accounts, George, those are the ballistic missiles landed less than 200 miles from the Japanese coast. So, obviously any projectile, the land and the exclusive economic zone, those waters very close to Japan is alarming.

But it is not the first time that North Korean missiles have threatened this country, there have been incidents dating back even 10 years ago when missiles have flown over Japan and, you know, essentially putting within striking range.

Millions of people here in Tokyo. More than 50,000 U.S. troops are stationed here in Japan. And so here in Tokyo, the Prime Minister Shinzo Abe was speaking with lawmakers and he said that they believe this is a new level of danger from North Korea.

Because even though there have been missiles launch before what we have seen over the last few years has been a very rapid progress in this missile development., more advanced type of missiles, the solid fuel missiles that can be launched without much warning. And so this is a major concern here.

HOWELL: Paula, if you would just put this incident into context what we saw before North Korea taking provocative steps with its missile program.

HANCOCKS: Well, certainly as well I just mentioned that there was one just a few weeks ago that was actually the first missile launch during the Trump administration, since Donald Trump has taken power. We had seen some relative restraint from North Korea from just before the U.S. election last November for a month or so afterwards as well.

Some saying that they were just sitting back and enjoying the political upheaval in South Korea. But others are saying that it was a potential reach out to the United States to see if there could be some kind of different relationship with the Trump administration, and certainly we heard that from some North Korean officials.

But we know that these drills every year annoy North Korea. So it's not in the list but surprising that we are seeing these missiles now. And potentially we will see far more in the coming weeks. These drills don't finish until the end of April. George?

HOWELL: And Will, this question to you just drawing on your experience traveling to and reporting from Pyongyang and throughout North Korea, there are really two reactions here. So there is the reaction we're talking about from around the world.

But also there's the reaction domestically within North Korea, how they view these launches. Explain to our viewers around the world how important it is for North Koreans and do they get the full story of what happens with these launches?

RIPLEY: They don't get the full story, George. They hear about every success and every triumph by their leader Kim Jong-un. But they don't hear about missile test failures. What they are told though, is that North Korea is under the imminent threat of invasion by the United States.

When I was in North Korea talking with officials they were already outraged about these joint military exercises which are happening right now. And as Paula said we often see North Korea fire these missiles during those exercises.

But the message that they get is that despite the hardship in the country going with a lot of electricity many people feel insecure, that they believe they have to do this. They're told that they have to endure this because their government must invest in these weapons to protect their national sovereignty. And so the messaging inside the country is very different from what the rest of the world sees. HOWELL: Will Ripley, live in Tokyo, Japan, and Paula Hancocks, live

in Seoul, South Korea. We appreciate the reporting and context from you both.

[03:20:00] We'll stay in touch with you as we continue to cover this very important story.

JONES: And do stay with us here on CNN Newsroom. I'm Hannah Vaughan Jones. It's just coming up to 20 past 8 in the morning here in London.

New York's governor has been in Israel to just show his support following a rash of anti-Semitic incidents in the United States. We'll be taking you live to Israel after this break.


KAREN MAGINNIS, CNN METEOROLOGIST: I'm CNN meteorologist Karen Maginnis. And welcome. This is your weather watch.

Taking a look across the United States. That plume of moisture once again making us way across the interior west promising mountain snowfall lower elevation and some rain, but we're expecting some pretty high wind right across the central plains.

You could see some wind gusts as high as 50 miles an hour. That increases the fire danger because humidity is so low. The temperatures are warming up.

And you can see this brisk wind. And we've got a very dangerous situation that's extending all the way from the Dakotas down across Colorado and into northern sections of Texas.

Well, here is the rain pattern as we go into the next 24 to 48 hours. Look for some heavy rain right along the Gulf Coast region. Could see the potential for some strong to severe storms popping up as we go into Monday. It is right across the Central Plains into the central Mississippi River valley. With kind of the bull's eye right along the Missouri and Arkansas border.

That's where we could see the potential for hail, high winds, heavy downpours and maybe an isolated tornado. And then you see kind of the depiction of the rain and snow expected for the west. How about Denver, partly cloudy, windy, Chicago, 16 for a high. And for New York City the northeast is warming up. It should be about 6 for a high.

HOWELL: Welcome back to CNN Newsroom. In Rochester, New York police are investigating damage to a Jewish cemetery where more than a dozen tombstones were toppled just last week. It appears to be part of the recent rash of vandalism and threats against Jewish institutions across the United States.

The Governor of New York, Andrew Cuomo is showing his support for America's Jewish community with a visit to Israel over the weekend.

CNN's Oren Liebermann had to speak with the governor, now joins live from Jerusalem with more on what the governor had to say about the vandalism at the cemeteries. Oren?

OREN LIEBERMANN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: George, it was a very short visit but a very important visit for New York Governor Andrew Cuomo. His purpose here was to show people, to show the United States and to show Israel how close these two countries stand together, and perhaps more importantly how close New York stands to Israel.

[03:25:01] And he said that anybody who tries to drive these two apart will only serve to drive them closer together. His visit wasn't just here to tell Israel and to tell the people here what the U.S. is doing against anti-Semitism.

He targeted hate crimes in general, pointing out that just as anti- Semitism isn't acceptable neither is Islamophobia, neither are hate crimes against blacks. His message here was against hate crimes in general. And he said to stop one is to work on stopping all of them.

I've got the chance to talk to him one on one and here is part of what he had to say.


ANDREW CUOMO, NEW YORK GOVERNOR: We have had anti-Muslim attacks in the United States. We have had anti-African-American attacks and incidents in the United States. We have had more anti-Semitic incidents, no doubt. But it's not just anti-Semitism. There is an anger in the United States that is being vented and it's being vented at people who are different, right, who is the target of people who are different are the target.

Different color skin, different religion, they come from a different place, different language. The differences become the enemy. And that's very dangerous for the United States.


LIEBERMANN: Governor Cuomo has had the New York State police not only a reward to help catch those responsible but has also set up a special task force to investigate hate crimes. But we're putting out him stopping hate crime is a matter of security. Stopping hate in general is a matter of education. He said that's absolutely right. First step is to stop hate crimes then you can work on the bigger picture of eradicating hatred in general. George?

HOWELL: Stopping hate. Oren Liebermann, live for us in Jerusalem. Thank you for the reporting.

Still ahead here on Newsroom, Russia's enthusiasm for the President of the United States. Well, it may be cooling off a bit. We'll see why the country's media there is dramatically ramping down its coverage of the Trump administration. That's ahead.

JONES: Plus, we'll be looking at a school exercise known as the sweatshop challenge. Sitting students what it feels like to be a victim of force labor.


HOWELL: A warm welcome back to our viewers here in the United States and around the world. You are watching CNN Newsroom. It is good to have you with us. I'm George Howell at CNN world headquarters in Atlanta.

JONES: And I'm Hannah Vaughan Jones, live for you in London. We're going to update you now on our top stories that we are covering this hour.

HOWELL: Sources tell CNN the FBI wants the Justice Department to knock down President Donald Trump's claims, unsubstantiated claims that his phones were wiretapped last year on orders from the former President Barack Obama. The Justice Department and FBI have no comment at this point.

Mr. Trump again made the accusation on Twitter Saturday without presenting any evidence.

JONES: Many civilians are fleeing western Mosul as Iraqi forces fight to drive ISIS out of the city. Iraqi officials say around 60,000 people have fled in recent weeks and more than 10,000 people left in the last two days alone.

HOWELL: Now to France, the defiant Francois Fillon is making it very clear he will not give up his bid for the French presidency. He says that no one can stop him from being a candidate. His Republican Party meets Monday to discuss what it calls, quote, "respectful exit plan for him." Fillon has been accused of misusing public money. It is a claim to which he denies.

North Korea's latest ballistic missile launch is getting a strong response from Japan, from the United States and from South Korea. Japan's Prime Minister says three missiles landed in its inclusive economic zone. He calls the launches extremely dangerous.

This all comes as the United States and South Korea hold joint military exercises. Both nations condemning North Korea's actions with the U.S. stating that it will defend its allies and itself.

And now China also responding. Its ministry of foreign affairs says that it, quote, "opposes North Korea's launches" and calls them a, quote, "violation of relevant U.N. Security Council resolutions. It's urging restraints by all sides.

CNN's Matt Rivers looks at how Beijing is trying to reign in Pyongyang and how it could do so in the future.

MATT RIVERS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: How do you solve a problem like Kim Jong-un and North Korea? President Donald Trump's answer always looks west.


DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: China has to get involved. And China should solve that problem. And we should put pressure on China to solve the problem.


RIVERS: Before talking about what more China could 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 a full 5 percent.

March and November 2016, two new sets of U.N. Security Council sanctions levied against North Korea the toughest yet. China helps draft and approves both. Beijing also regularly condemns North Korea's weapons program and in perhaps the most telling sign of a frosty relationship.

Chinese President Xi Jinping has yet to meet Kim Jong-un despite years of opportunity. So, what else could they be doing? Well, a lot. Trade flows constantly across this bridge in Dandong, China on the North Korean border. China accounts for at least 70 percent of North Korean trade, not to mention vast amounts of food and fuel aid.

Critics also argue Beijing doesn't really enforce those U.N. sanctions. China could triple the Kim Jong-un regime almost immediately if it totally stopped this flow of trucks loaded down with goods.

But in all likelihood the show will go on. Because of the regime collapses 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 options 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 U.N. Security Council while hoping the Trump administration chooses to negotiate directly with North Korea.

But many experts think that no matter how much foot and fuel China sends cross that bridge right there to North Korea, Kim Jong-un is not going to give up his nuclear weapons program. Because in reality, it is the only real card to play on the world stage.

For North Korea, nuclear weapons, equal survival, not even China can change that fact.

Matt Rivers, CNN, Beijing.

HOWELL: The FBI is calling on the Justice Department in the United States to publicly reject President Donald Trump's unsubstantiated claim that his phones were wiretapped last year on order from his predecessor, the former President Barack Obama.

[03:35:09] Mr. Trump made that allegation without offering any evidence again. And he's now asking for a congressional investigation. Mr. Obama's former director of national intelligence flatly denied the charge. Listen.


JAMES CLAPPER, FORMER UNITED STATES NATIONAL INTELLIGENCE DIRECTOR: I will say that for the part of the national security apparatus that I oversaw as DNI, there was no such wiretap activity mounted against the president-elect at the time as a candidate or against his campaign.

I can't speak for all title three authorized entity in the government or a state or local entity.

CHUCK TODD, MSNBC HOST: Yes, I was just going to say, if the FBI, for instance, had a FISA court order of some sort for a surveillance, would that be information you would know or would 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: Yes, 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.



JONES: Well, earlier we spoke with CNN national security analyst, Steve Hall, about the impact of President Trump's claim.


STEVE HALL, CNN NATIONAL SECURITY ANALYST: Because it's significant and unprecedented against so much -- so much that President Trump has done is in deep unprecedented. But in terms of the national security implications of this, you know, it is significant. There is so much stuff up in the air right now with regard to accusations, counteraccusations.

I believe all of this works in the favor of two people or two entities, the first being the Trump administration just really trying to keep focus away from any Russian angle here.

And secondly, the people who will really benefit from this are the people sitting in the Kremlin who must be very pleased with the chaos that they've seen over the past couple of months. It's an amazing struggle of events that are unprecedented.

And again, so great confusion and take a lot I think take attention and focus off of what we really need to know, which was what exactly was the nature, if there was any, cooperation and contract between the Trump campaign and the Russian government prior to the election.


JONES: Steve Hall there. Well, Mr. Trump's wiretapping claim will expand the congressional investigation of Russia's alleged interference in the presidential election.

Fred Pleitgen joins me now from Moscow with more on this. Fred, good to see you. The Russian press trumpeted Trump, if you like, in the run-up to his presidency. What are they saying now?

FREDERIK PLEITGEN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: It wasn't just the Russian press, Hannah. There were actually a lot of people here according to public opinion who felt at that time that Donald Trump would be a good president for U.S./Russia relations at least for the perspective of the Russians.

Now it seems as though the Russian public and indeed many Russian politician have somewhat cooled off. But I wouldn't say that they necessarily make the president himself responsible for that.

It was interesting because last week you had the Prime Minister of this country, Dmitry Medvedev come forward and say they don't believe the lifting of sanctions against Russia that obviously were levied against Russia in the wake of the Ukraine crisis that even with this new administration that these sanctions could disappear any time soon.

So it doesn't look as though people here believe that there can be a very quick positive diplomatic momentum between the U.S. and Russia at anymore.

Now at the same time you have the main pundits here in Russia who is always a good sort of measure on what the Kremlim is thinking as well. His name is Dmitry Kiselyov. He came forward and he said that he believes Donald Trump, President Trump has been pushed in the corner, as he put it, had pinned to the ground to the point where he can't even talk about Russia anymore without it erupting some sort of political scandal in Washington, D.C.

And so, certainly, the mood seems to have cooled down a little bit. But at the same time it seems as though politicians here or many politicians here still believe that President Trump himself wants to improve relations with the Russian federation but they believe that there are a lot of obstacles in his way in the form of a lot of the things coming out of the administrative bodies in the United States, Hannah.

JONES: And Fred, how much frustration is there the way that Russia and its citizens are being portrayed in the world at the moment when you've got the Russian Ambassador Kislyak, the allegation of spies, of hacking of underhand cover activities going on. What's the reaction there?

PLEITGEN: Well, you know, there is a great deal of frustration on the part of many Russia's officials also on the part of Russian public as well. The Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, he came out on Friday and he called what's going on, currently in Washington, D.C. some of those allegations of course against the Russian ambassador, he called that a witch-hunt.

He said that that was similar or he felt that that was similar to the era of McCarthyism, is what he said. So there certainly is a great deal of frustration that is there.

[03:39:59] It's also something that Dmitry Kiselyov said as well. And then of course you had that angry reaction by the spokeswoman of Sergey Lavrov, by Maria Zakharova who came out and accused, for instance, our outlet CNN of spreading what she called fake news when it came to the role of that the Russian ambassador plays in Washington, D.C.

So there is a great deal of frustration. On the one hand, of course, at the way that Russia is being portrayed in all of this. There's articles that are coming out saying look, if everybody who's ever met with the Russian ambassador in Washington, D.C. going to be accused of having two close relations with Russia.

But at the same time, there is also a great deal of frustration at the lack of any sort of diplomatic momentum, because the Russians at the very least believe that possibly relations between the U.S. and Russia could be redefined but they at least believed that there could be deals in certain areas.

Of course, Syria is being one of them. At the same time, of course, you still have Washington and Moscow at Lavrov's head over many other topics. Now the spokesman for Vladimir Putin, Dmitry Peskov, he said that Russia is still patiently waiting to see what the Trump administration will do and if relations will improve.

But at the same time you do feel a certain cooling off to the Trump presidency and especially to the belief that the relations between these two countries could improve significantly in the near future, Hannah.

JONES: Fred Pleitgen, reporting live from the Russian capital. We appreciate it. Thanks very much, Fred.

Well, as we were just hearing that the Russia media is somewhat dialing back its coverage of the Trump White House.

And our Nic Robertson reports the Russian President, Vladimir Putin may be changing his tone towards the new administration in Washington. Take a look.

NIC ROBERTSON, CNN INTERNATIONAL DIPLOMATIC EDITOR: Around the U.S. election Donald Trump fever hit Moscow Matryoshka doll in his likeness on sale in the shadow of the Kremlin. And plenty of face time in Russian media. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DMITRI TRENIN, DIRECTOR, CARNEGIE MOSCOW CENTER: He ordered Putin, ordered the tone of the state controlled media, particularly television in Russia to be more friendly towards the Trump administration.

ROBERTSON: Veteran commentator, Dmitri Trenin says Trump's popularity in Moscow was overdone.

TRENIN: I think there was a lot of hype in the U.S. media about the relationship, about the 'bromance.' I don't know where people got that from.


ROBERTSON: If there was a 'bromance' the last 40 days have pulled the other.


TRUMP: I love to negotiate things. I do it really well and all that stuff. But it's possible I won't be able to get along with Putin.


ROBERTSON: Then came the tumult over who in the Trump camp met the Russian ambassador and why media vandalism say officials in Moscow.




ROBERTSON: And some hard line comments by U.S. officials on Russia's seizure of Crimea and its meddling in Ukraine.


NIKKI HALEY, UNITED STATES AMBASSADOR TO THE UNITED NATIONS: I must condemn the aggressive actions of Russia.


ROBERTSON: A quick scan of the newspapers here reveals a lot less Trump and a lot more Putin and reflects frustrations at the Kremlin of what officials describe as an emotionally charge atmosphere in Washington and mixed signals for the new administration.

But also full of questions. The increase President Trump wants in U.S. defense spending, 54 billion. That's as much as the entire Russian defense budget. Moscow also wants an understanding over Syria but doesn't know what it's going to get. Some expect old rivalries to win out. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

PAVEL FELGENHAUER, RUSSIAN DEFENSE ANALYST: The differences between vested interest in Moscow and Washington are too important especially the military industrial complexes on both sides.


ROBERTSON: Maybe expectations were too high.


TRENIN: What is Russians wanted from the U.S. in ideally would have amounted to a foreign policy revolution in the U.S., something not to be had.


ROBERTSON: The history of the relationship has always been one of twists and turns, but the view from Moscow looks will less than euphoric.

Nic Robertson, CNN, Moscow.

JONES: You are watching CNN Newsroom, It's just coming up close to 9 this Monday morning here in London. Coming up on the program, we'll look at a school exercise in Hong Kong known as the sweatshop challenge, teaching students what it feels like to be a victim of forced labor.


JONES: Iraqi are closing in on the old city in the heart of western Mosul. It's another big step in the fight to push ISIS out of its last major stronghold in Iraq. And Iraqi commander says troops are storming neighborhoods near the city's main government complex.

HOWELL: But terrorist 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 side of that city back in January.

Nearly 60,000 civilians have escaped western Mosul since then, 10,000 in the last two days alone.

CNN's senior international correspondent Ben Wedeman has more on their journey.

BEN WEDEMAN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: With the few possessions they could carry and a white flag they trudged towards safety. Yet another group of west Mosul residents flee the fighting that engulfed their neighborhood.

"Battles, bombardment, and mortars," says Ahmed, 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 army trucks. The United Nation 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 wary and shell shocked. Children scared and disoriented at 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 o'clock," says Muhammad, adding that ISIS snipers fired at his family as they left. Wary of ISIS infiltrators Iraqi troops quickly separate the men and boys from the women and girls.

[03:49:59] First, frisking them, then checking identity cards against a database and ISIS members and sympathizers.

Brigadier General Salman Hassim (Ph) of the Iraqi counterterrorism service says every day they weed out five or six ISIS suspects. Alfah Sarham (Ph) says ISIS held her and her family as human shields. She wants revenge.

"Ten, ten 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 received plates of rice and beans, the first had meal for many in weeks. The U.N. warned this battle could be a humanitarian disaster.

Ben Wedeman, CNN, south of Mosul.


PATRICK SNELL, CNN WORLD SPORT REPORTER: Hi, there. I'm Patrick Snell with your CNN World Sport headlines.

The English Premier League is Chelsea's to lose this season in the teams would facing them they (Inaudible) Tottenham is second in the League and they were looking to maintain that position if they hosted Everton on Sunday as first leading man Harry Kane making sure striking twice. He's now the league's top scorer with 19. Dele Alli without a third Spurs beat Everton 3-2.

Man City entering Sunday play looking up at Chelsea and Tottenham at the table. They had high hopes as they took on bottom of the table at Sunderland and City did not disappoint. South American star Sergio Aguero started the scoring just for half time.

The young German, Leroy Sane following suit adding to the lead just before the hour mark. City win 2-nil and moving to sole position of third place. And the premier both Spurs and Man City went to results of Chelsea's game with West Ham on Monday.

Finally, if you are going to beat Rafael Nadal before then getting one over him really is a big deal. On Saturday, the American Sam Querrey did just beating Nadal for the first time ever in his career at the Mexico Open. Previously, Nadal had played the Mexico Open Acapulco twice without even dropping a set. The unseeded American who won the final thundering down 19 to win that 6-3, 7-6 his first win against Nadal in five attempts.

That's a look at your CNN's World Sport headlines. I'm Patrick Snell.

JONES: All this week CNN's Freedom Project is showcasing students for freedom.

HOWELL: And we're starting it off at a high school in Hong Kong.

CNN's Alexandra Field has details.


MATT FRIEDMAN, CEO, THE MEKONG CLUB: I need you to take a bolt, slower. Another row here. Five in a row.

[03:55:00] ALEXANDRA FIELD, CNN CORRESPONDENT: It is 830 in the morning at this Hong Kong school but this is not a regular day.

FRIEDMAN: My name is Mr. Friedman. I run a company. And our company makes nuts and bolts. And you have one of them in your hands.

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

FRIEDMAN: Then you're going to take the nut, you're going to put it on the bolt, you're going to take the nut and put it on the bolt continuously. I do not want you to talk to anyone else. I don't want you to even make eye contact with me.

FIELD: The students crawl by but the students look bewildered, confused, and even angry.

FRIEDMAN: 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 a detention right here. Just because. Don't drop the bolt. Give her a detention.

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

FRIEDMAN: You're done.

FIELD: Then Mr. Friedman reveals his true intention.

FRIEDMAN: 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.

FIELD: To help them understand what it's like for the millions trapped in forced labor.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: When I was doing it my hands started sweating. I was sweating. So I can't basically imagine how people would do it for like 14, 15 hours every day.

FRIEDMAN: Did you think it was fair?


FRIEDMAN: Did you like me?


FRIEDMAN: Ok. Thank you very much.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I was pretty close to walking out. I was like, I felt disheartened when I caught, you know, punishment.

FIELD: Just an hour from their school...


JONES: And that does it for this hour of CNN Newsroom. Thanks so much for joining us. I'm Hannah Vaughan Jones, live in London.

HOWELL: And a pleasure, Hannah. I'm George Howell in Atlanta. The news continues on CNN after the break.