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Protesters Rage After Park Removed from Office; Vice President Dodges on Wiretapping Claims; Assange Has Offer for Tech Companies; Acting President Puts South Korean Military On Alert; Court Votes To Remove South Korean President From Office; Huge Corruption Investigation Led To Park's Impeachment; "Foreign Agent" Questions For White House; Sources: FBI Investigation Continues Into Computer Links Between Russian Bank And Trump Organization; FBI Chief Briefs Lawmakers With Top Intel Access; Pence Responds To Trump's Wiretap Allegation; Reaction To Flynn's Lobbying In Behalf Of Turkey; Spicer: Trump Unaware Flynn Worked On Turkey's Behalf. Aired 1-2a ET

Aired March 10, 2017 - 01:00   ET



JOHN VAUSE, CNN NEWSROOM ANCHOR: Ahead this hour, protests raging on the streets of Seoul after the court removes South Korean President Park Geun-hye from office.

SESAY: Plus, the U.S. Vice President once again, dodges questions about President Trump's wiretapping claims.

VAUSE: And later, Julian Assange, has an offer for the major tech companies. He wants to give them more info on the CIA's secret hacking tools.

SESAY: Hello, and thank you for joining us. I'm Isha Sesay.

VAUSE: Great to have you with us into the second hour of NEWSROOM L.A. And we're covering historic breaking news out of Seoul, South Korea. A short time ago, Park Geun-hye was ousted as President by the country's Constitutional Court. This is the first time a South Korean President has been removed from office through impeachment.

SESAY: The eight justices voted unanimously Friday morning, to uphold Park's impeachment over alleged influence peddling. Here was the announcement sealing Park's fate.


LEE JUNG-MI, SOUTH KOREA ACTING PRESIDENT: We announce the decision as the unanimous opinion of all judges. We dismiss the defendant, President Park.


SESAY: Well, supporters of the former president have been trying to get past police lines ever since that decision came down. The Acting President has put the country's military on alert and ordered increased security. Let's go straight to CNN's Paula Hancocks, who joins us now from Seoul, South Korea. Paula, we've seen these protests ebb and flow, the temple rise and fall. What is happening right now?

PAULA HANCOCKS, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, Isha, as you can see, it's a very different situation from just ten minutes ago, one lady here, actually went to the riot police line with some water, some cups and some flowers, trying to make the peace. The situation, at least at this point, has been completely defused. We did have a loud speaker announcement from the organizers just a little further down this road, who said to those who are throwing stones, those who are trying to push into the police line - remember, these are our sons as well. Now, it's worth mentioning that a lot of the police in South Korea are actually on military service. So, there are a lot of quite young police in here that's with something that this personal - the loud speaker honed in on. The fact that, these are our sons, do not push against them. And they also said if you will continue to carry on being violent, then we are going to leave.

So, it really has calmed down at this point. The line's still here, though, these police are not going anywhere. They are making sure that the pro-Park supporters who are angry at the decision that has come down today, they'll get nowhere near the constitutional court. It's very important to point out that there are a lot more pro-Park supporters who have shown no pockets of violence, whatsoever. They are peacefully protesting. They are very angry and very emotional, but they're peaceful. And then of course, you have the anti-Park protesters - a huge number of them have been protesting, asking for this impeachment. They're happy with the decision we had today. Isha and John.

VAUSE: Yes. And with that in mind, Paula. You know, this unanimous decision by the constitutional court really came as no surprise. And despite what we've seen over the last hour or so, the, you know, handful of angry pro-Park demonstrators here. For the most part, this decision to remove Park has been welcomed by the majority of South Koreans.

HANCOCKS: It's a little hard for me to hear at this point, John, but I think you're asking what the pro-Park supporters wanted? They don't believe, that there was enough evidence to impeach President Park. Now, we heard from the Constitutional Court that they believed there was enough evidence that President Park had colluded the allegation - she colluded with a close confidante, she was elected. And much of the people of Korea didn't even know about, and that they heard there was allegations from the prosecution that they had extorted money from big business. Constitutional Court says, they believe there was enough evidence or allegations of wrong doing that they did want to uphold this impeachment.

But people here were saying, that's not the case. And they are very worried about who comes next. Of course, now, President Park Geun- hye, is no longer the President. That means, that she is instantly stepping down. And in 60 days' time, we will have elections. The people here are very worried about who might come next. The front runner, at this point, is a liberal candidate who's Moon Jae-in, he has the exact opposite policy of the people here. He would potentially, welcome negotiations with North Korea. He's - these people are telling me softer on North Korea. That's how they see it. And he does not support the U.S. Missile Defense System, THAAD, that is being installed here in South Korea. So, the fear among many of these people here is that the policies of the next President are completely juxtaposed to that of their own, and they're about what comes next. They don't believe that Park should've been impeached.

[01:05:19] SESAY: Paula, as we talk about those who are out there on the streets. From where we're sitting and as we look at the pictures, they seem to be older - they seem to be an older crowd. Can you tell us a little bit more about the people who've come out there? And the fact that they're older, what that tells us about South Korea that they are the ones standing with Park Geun-hye?

HANCOCKS: Well, among the people who are here, supported Park Geun- hye not just because of Park Geun-hye, but because of who her father was. That is a big part of her support base, and her father was President or leader back in the '60s and '70s. He was hailed as an economic hero by many of the people standing around me. They believe that he kick-started the economy. But a lot of other people believe head was a brutal dictator, and he's cracked down on dissent.

So, there was a complete split when it comes to Park Chung-hee, Park Geun-hye's father. But the people here they are - many of them are of the older generation. They look back on those days with fondness. They believe that Park transformed the economy, that his role was the architect of this economic miracle, that is bringing South Korea and rising it up from the ashes. But for many people, they believe that human rights abuses and human rights were moved to one side because of that leadership. So, the people here, today's decision is just not what they wanted at all.

VAUSE: Paula, we'll just put you on hold while we take in what's happening at the moment. The crowd there, obviously, they're chanting and yelling, they're waving flags, as well. Do we know what they are saying, Paula? What are they chanting?

HANCOCKS: I'll find out what they're saying. My Korean is not good, I'm afraid. But they have been calling - they've been calling for peace among their own people. Because most of the producers - the organizers themselves are actually angry, that there has been this - OK, the police have just asked the protesters to disperse. That's what we understand one of the announcements was. But you see here, you've got people who are actually lying down. I mean, it doesn't look like they're going anywhere.

This is, obviously, the sort of protest that police find it very difficult to push against. They can't push forward, because you have people lying in the street. It's difficult to know, exactly how you're going to move this man, unless you try and physically move him. He looks like he's got - he's actually got somewhat of a pillow under his back there. He's been in it for the long haul by the looks of it. The police have asked the protesters to disperse.

VAUSE: Very quickly, Paula, while we still have you, where is Park Geun-hye right now? And has she issued any of kind of official statement at this point?

HANCOCKS: As I understand it, she is still in Blue House. We know that she's been there for many months. Even when she was still at her duties, that was still her home, so even when she was suspended. I don't have information on when she might be leaving. At this point, obviously, they have many logistical and security concerns to take into consideration. But I do know that she had said before that she would probably go back to her home in the southern part of Seoul, in Gangnam. So, I guess the security arrangements have to be made, that she's secure in her new home.

VAUSE: Paula Hancocks, on the streets there, amid the pro-Park Geun- hye demonstrators outside the Constitution Court. Thanks to you. We'll come back to you, later this hour.

SESAY: And joining us now from Los Angeles, is David Kang, he's the Director of the Korean Studies Institute at the University of Southern California. David, good to have you with us. You know, as we look at the scenes on the streets of South Korea, I mean, this is a decision that impacts not just South Korea but has ripple effects across the region, coming as it does at a time where tensions are high.

DAVID KANG, UNIVERSITY OF SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA KOREAN STUDIES INSTITUTE DIRECTOR: Yes, absolutely. And in fact, the impeachment may change the way that South Korea deals with things. But the pendulum had been shifting back towards the progressive or leftist side already. They had already won a majority in the national assembly last spring, very surprisingly. So, it's not a surprise now that Moon Jae-in or the leftists are leading the possibility that they will become the President as well. And that could have real ramifications for China, North Korea and the United States.

VAUSE: There is some talk that if the democratic opposition party actually, you know, wins in the elections in 60 days from now, we could almost see a return to the old sunshine policy when it comes to North Korea. Is that possible? If it does happen, China would be pretty happy?

[01:10:03] KANG: Well, absolutely. And that's the thing, is that in Korea, there's always been a sizable contingent or coalition that believes that engagement's the best way forward. Two Presidents' have been conservative, they haven't wanted to do that. But Moon Jae-in, An Choi-soo, many of these candidates are the ones who say that they think the current policy of isolation hasn't worked. So, we could see a radical change in policy.

SESAY: David, to talk about the relationship between the South Korea and the U.S., with the new President in place. I mean, what are your expectations if it is indeed that left-leaning government? Your expectations for relationship for the THAAD Missile Defense System?

KANG: Yes. There's two things. The first thing to remember is that even leftist Presidents that we had, say ten years ago, still value a strong U.S. alliance. And so, none of these Presidents is advocating, abrogating the U.S. alliance. That said, things like THAAD, the Terminal High Altitude Air Defense, these things would be on the table, and quite likely, would be taken down. So, we'll have a real change in Korean policy towards the U.S.

VAUSE: David, just going back to what's happening in Seoul right now, are you surprised by these pro-Park Geun-hye demonstrations which are on the streets? And they've been there for quite some time. And this is going to get some, you know, outbursts of violence over the last couple of hours.

KANG: Yes. I'm not surprised by the pro-Park. Because again, Korean politics is deeply divided - just like American politics is deeply divided. And although, probably, a majority thought that Park needed to go. There's a very sizable minority that thinks that she is exactly what the country needs. So, I'm not surprised there's counter demonstrations at all.

SESAY: And David, quickly, as we look at this divided society there in South Korea, what is it going to take to unite it?

KANG: Well, in many ways, I'm not, you know, I'm not sure that there is a solution. Because there's a deeply different opinion about how best to deal with North Korea, how to deal with China, and how to deal with Japan and the United States. And just as in the United States, we have these divisions. In South Korea, they're not going to be resolved any time soon.

VAUSE: OK. David, thank you for being with us.

SESAY: Thank you.

VAUSE: Before we go to break, there's a very short statement which has come out from North Korea. It reads, "Park Geun-hye has been dismissed as President and will be investigated as a common criminal." That's it.

SESAY: Short. And to the point.

VAUSE: Absolutely.

SESAY: Quick break. Next on NEWSROOM L.A. A foreign agent in the new administration. Did President Trump know about his former National Security Adviser? We're going to ask our guests.


[01:15:09] JOHN VAUSE CNN NEWSROOM ANCHOR: Welcome back, everybody. New information has emerged about computer communications this hour between servers owned by a Russian bank and the Trump organization.

SESAY: CNN Justice Correspondent Pamela Brown and Investigative Reporter, Jose Pagliery, have been looking into this. They joined Anderson Cooper with all the details.

ANDERSOON COOPER, CNN ANDERSON COOPER 360 ANCHOR: Pamela, what have you learned about the investigation?

PAMELA BROWN, CNN JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT: Well Anderson, we've learned that FBI investigators and computer scientists continue to examine whether there was a computer connection between the Trump organization and a Russian bank called Alpha Bank, this is according to several sources familiar with the investigation.

Now, this is the same server mentioned in a Breitbart article that a White House official said sparked Trump's series of tweets last Saturday accusing investigators of tapping his phone. CNN has told there was no FISA warrant on this server. Questions about the connections between the server and the Russian bank were widely dismissed four months ago as an attempt by Alpha Bank to block spam. But Anderson we're learning that the FBI's Counter Intelligence Team, the same one looking into Russia suspected interference in the 2016 election, is still examining it. And one official that I spoke with said the server relationship is odd. It's seen as somewhat perplexing and investigators are not ignoring it but the FBI still has a lot more work to do to determine what was behind the unusual activity and whether there is any significance to it. The FBI decline the comment and the White House did not respond to our request for comment, Anderson.

COOPER: So Jose, I mean, it's kind of confusing. Explain what was odd about these communications between this Russian bank and the later.

JOSE PAGLIERY, CNN INVESTIGATIVE REPORTER: Sure, Anderson. This can get pretty technical fast. What's so odd about the communication here is that this Russian bank repeatedly looked up the unique internet address of a particular computer server in the U.S. being used by the Trump organization.

In the computer world, it's the equivalent of looking up someone's phone number over and over and over again. And while there isn't necessarily a phone call, it usually indicates an intention to communicate and that's according to several computer scientists we spoke to.

Now, a group of computer scientists who obtained these leaked internet records, records they were never supposed to make public, they we're puzzled as to why a Russian bank was doing this. Was it trying to send an e-mail to the Trump organization? These scientists just couldn't tell. Now, last summer during the Presidential campaign, the Russian bank looked up the address to this Trump corporate server some 2,800 times. That is more lookups than the Trump server receive from any other source. The only other entity, curiously enough, doing so many internet lookups for Trumps server was Spectrum Health. That's a medical facility chained led by Dick DeVos, the husband of Betsy DeVos, who was later appointed by the President as U.S. Education Secretary. Those two entities alone made up 99 percent of the lookups.

The computer scientist we spoke to just found that claim weird. All the corporations involve say they never communicated by e-mail with the Trump organization and they have different explanation for the server activity, but they haven't provided any proof and they don't agree on to what the explanation is. For example, the Russian bank thinks it was receiving Trump hotel marketing last summer. But it hasn't provided CNN with a single internet to back up that theory. Meanwhile, the American marketing company that would have been sending Trump e-mails said it wasn't doing that at that time. And Alpha Bank, for its part, stressed that not a single executive has had any affiliation at all with the President or the Trump organization.

Their statement says that neither Alpha Bank nor its principles, including Mikhail Fridman and Petr Aven, have or have had any contact with Mr. Trump or his organizations. So this potential computer link remains a mystery.

COOPER: Pamela Brown, thanks so much. Jose Pagliery, thanks so much.

SESAY: Those questions about the Trump campaign's alleged ties to Russia intensify. FBI Director James Comey met with eight of the nation's top lawmakers, Thursday; lawmakers with access to the most highly classified intelligence.

VAUSE: They reportedly discussed Russia's interference in last year's election and possible ties to the Trump campaign. Sources on the Senate Intelligence Committee tell CNN they want all Trump associates who allegedly spoke with Russian officials to testify before the committee. They're going to need a bigger boat.

SESAY: And now we're joined by Wendy Greuel and John Philips.

VAUSE: Wendy is a former L.A. City Controller and John is a CNN Political Commentator, Talk Radio Host, and last but not least, a Trump Supporter. Good to have you guys with us.

OK. So, we've got James Comey on the hill, we've got the Senate intelligence investigation underway. Democrats are hoping that with these investigations, they can actually get their hands on Donald Trump's tax returns. Dianne Feinstein made the case this way.

The tax returns become a primary lead into a Russian connection and that would be Russian money in his businesses. Many Republicans who control the House, control the committees, they say, not going to happen because they need to protect Donald Trump's privacy and they are worried about the President, they would say.

WENDY GREUEL, LOS ANGELES COUNCILWOMAN: I think we should go back to when Donald Trump said when the audit was finished; he would present his tax returns. Well, he has a chance April 15th it's when tax returns need to be done for this year. Those will not be under an audit to be able to share that.

VAUSE: But does the President have a right to privacy like every other citizen?

[01:20:8] GREUEL: I believe he committed to releasing his tax returns. Every President on the United States has release his tax returns. If you don't, people are going to question whether or not you have something to hide. And he should put it forward.

JOHN PHILLIPS, CNN, POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: The Senate can't force him to release his tax returns. That's a political issue.

VAUSE: They can't subpoena them?

PHILLIPS: And he - well -- I mean, he doesn't have to. I don't believe he's going to be forced to release his tax returns because Congress wants him to. It was an issue that was discussed in the campaign, it was an issue that his political opponents used against him. He didn't release his tax returns and the voters elected him President of the United States. And I think once a political issue has been resolved at the ballot box, the opponents can use it at their peril. Republicans made these mistakes with Benghazi. A lot of the really dirty details about Benghazi were released before the 2012 election. The fact that they continued to beat the dead horse after the election, I think, cost them political capital.

SESAY: So let me ask you this. This -- what you're pointing to the Democrats, trying to push this issue, had some asking whether Congress is simply too partisan to mount a credible investigation into all of this. How do you see it?

PHILLIPS: Again, the issue of Russia is one and the alleged connection between Russia and Donald Trump that has been out there since the summer. This was something that the Democrats were screaming about at the DNC in Philadelphia. Voters elected him to be President. If they continue to go down this road, I think they're going to pay a political price.

There's a huge Matt Taibbi piece in Rolling Stone today speaking to this fact. And I think he's right. I think that's a big mistake by the Democrats if they hang all of their prospects on it.

VAUSE: OK, let's get next to the Vice President who again, was asked that awful question that no one wants to answer. And this time, he was asked by Fox News.


BRET BAIER, FOX NEWS ANCHOR: Do you think it is possible that President Obama ordered the wiretap on candidate Trump?

MIKE PENCE, UNITED STATES VICE PRESIDENT: I think we'll just let the congressional committees review that and answer those questions. Those are knowable answers and the by part is the Congressional Committees can appropriately review the facts.


VAUSE: Wendy, it seems the Republicans in the White House are twisting themselves in knots trying to not answer that question.

GREUEL: That is correct. And I haven't seen very many Republican Senators or Congressman were standing up and saying, Trump was right, you know, this should occur actually Obama had a wiretap. I think -- the public is saying, "Wait a minute, there's nothing here." The White House has been silent as mentioned earlier. He has not been in front of a camera necessarily where those questions could be asked of the President of the United States. And I think when you go back to, just for a moment, on the tax returns or what happened in the election, yes, the American people voted for Donald Trump but the issues are still relevant today as to whether or not there was some connection to Russia and if they had an impact. And two, if he has any business ties or financial dealings with foreign governments. That is still real today whether he you got elected President or not.

SESAY: John, every time you see the Vice President dodge the question and other senior Republicans, do you not think it dings the President's credibility?

PHILLIPS: No, because I think at this point, we're talking about semantics. Somebody listened in to his conversation with the President of Australia and leaked it to the press, someone listened to his conversation with the President of Mexico and leaked it to the press. Someone listened to Michael Flynn's conversation with the Russian ambassador and leaked it to the press. Whether it's - whether the Debate Center's on, if it was Obama individually, no, I don't think it him as an individual that did it but certainly his allies, that still remained in the government, did.

VAUSE: Just for the record, James Rosen of Fox News was not tapped. He said he wasn't. You said it's wiretapped so I corrected it.

PHILLIPS: Yes, his emails.

SESAY: The President, the one you said. President Obama.

VAUSE: They did it so they could look at the server. It wasn't e- mail.

PHILIPPS: And call records.

VAUSE: Yes, OK. Let's move on because Michael Flynn, he seems to be the controversy that just won't quit. Revelation now he was paid more than half a million dollars to work as a lobbyist for the Turkish government, whilst at the same time, working for the Trump campaign. Again, Mike Pence says this was just another reason why he should have been fired as National Security Adviser.


PENCE: The first I heard of it and I think it is an affirmation of the President's decision to ask General Flynn to resign.


VAUSE: Raises the, Wendy, the whole question about extreme vetting of these people?

GREUEL: Absolutely. I mean, he's going after immigrants and extreme vetting but in fact, someone who had an op-ed in a newspaper about Turkey. They didn't even look into that and why he wrote that op-ed before he was approved by the Congress. I think it's a huge mistake that they made in putting him forward without asking all those questions and now I think you're going to look at all the other appointees and see whether they have been fully vetted or not. SESAY: Yes. As we're pointing out, that's what Pence said apparently, the President didn't know about Flynn's ties to Turkey when he named him National Security Adviser. Take a listen.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Was the President aware that Lieutenant General Michael Flynn was acting as a foreign agent when he appointed him to be the National Security Adviser?

SEAN SPICER, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: I don't believe that, that was known. I would refer you to General Flynn and to the Department of Justice in terms of the filings that had been made.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Had the President have known that, would he have appointed him that?

SPICER: I don't know, John, at the hypothetical that I'm not prepared to ask. I don't - I don't know what he discussed prior to being appointed in terms of his background, his resume, his client base. I don't know any of that.


[01:25:33] SESAY: John, does that not strike you as troubling?

PHILLIPS: I think that Flynn's relationship with Turkey is inappropriate. I think the Vice President was right that this guy didn't fall out of the sky. This guy was our number two General in Afghanistan. This guy was in charge of D.I.A. He worked for the Obama Administration. He worked for Republicans and Democrats. He didn't get fired from Afghanistan. He got promoted. And so the fact of the matter is, it's good that he is gone and the Vice President is right.

VAUSE: Wendy, if Michael Flynn was working for Turkey, is it possible he was also working for Russia?

GREUEL: Well, I think that's -- you know, unknown whatsoever. But I think what the question is, if this could have happened for the National Security Adviser that they did not vet him and understand what his relationships were that there are a lot of questions for all the other nominees and that those questions need to be asked by in Congress, by both Republicans and Democrats for any nominees that are going before them.


SESAY: There we will leave it.

VAUSE: Those questions will be asked, I'm sure, next week so we'll wait for that to happen.

SESAY: You'll be back to help us read the tea leaves.

VAUSE: Wendy and John. SEASY: Appreciate it. Thank you.

PHILLIPS: Thank you.

GREUEL: Thank you.

VAUSE: OK, we'll take a quick break here. When we come back, WikiLeaks says, it has a lot more secrets to share. Our founder, Julian Assange, now says he wants to help journalists and every else to stay safe from spying. He just wants to do something good.


[01:30:18] JOHN VAUSE, CNN ANCHOR: Welcome back, everybody. You're watching CNN NEWSROOM, live from Los Angeles. I'm John Vause.


Large demonstrations are taking place right now in Seoul, South Korea, after the nation's president was removed from office. Riot police are facing off with protesters outside the constitutional court. Inside that court, eight justices unanimously upheld the impeachment of Park Geun-Hye effectively ending her presidency. She is the first South Korean leader to be removed from office by impeachment.

VAUSE: Paula Hancocks is in the midst of the protest and joins us live.

Paula, last time we spoke, the police had asked the crowd to move on. Is that happening?

PAULA HANCOCKS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Absolutely not, John. They're now in the middle of singing the South Korean national anthem. A lot of pride around me at this point. Every single person I'm looking at is singing and singing with gusto. These protesters are going nowhere. In fact, what we have heard organizers ask is calling for more people to come down here. They have said call your friends, text message your family. But they are calling for it to be peaceful. They don't want to see the violence, the pocket we saw in the last hour. These people have a point to make and don't want it muddied with violence. They called on the police to go home. They said clear the road. We will not be violent. Please clear the road. It's difficult to know how far down this road the protest goes but it looks like is it a fair way. It looks like there are a fair number of people who have come here to show they are not happy about this impeachment.

Important to note the vast majority here are peaceful and want their voice to be heard. And there is a lot of people elsewhere in Seoul and in South Korea that are happy with this decision. The anti-Park protest hears the you saw every Saturday night there were tears of joy, cheering and jumping up and down when they heard that Park Geun- Hye had been impeached -- John and Isha?

SESAY: Paula, when we spoke to you earlier we saw the scenes of protesters trying to break the police line to get to the constitutional court. One would assume they have given up on that. Is the goal just to stand there now and sing and shout?

HANCOCKS: It certainly has got a lot calmer. That was a flash point for a couple of hours there. And I think in part because there are a couple of people who have laid themselves on the road in front of that massive line of riot police and there's not a lot that the police can do with that unless they try to remove them. That has calmed the situation down. And we saw an elderly woman go to the police with water and flowers. The organizers said, do not push the police, these are our sons. Some of these police are doing their military service. These are young men and women. So it certainly seems like it has calmed down at this point.

VAUSE: And, Paula, we have asked this question, where is Park Geun- Hye? And is she expected to make a statement?

HANCOCKS: It's difficult a say. I have been asking the blue House for this answer but of course, the people who are working with President Park Geun-Hye are now no longer representing the president. She isn't the president so it's difficult to get a gauge on what will happen. We understand she is still in the Blue House. She has been there for many months while the investigation was ongoing, since December 9th when lawmakers voted to impeach her. She stayed there. The expectation is she will go back to her previous house. She has a house in the south part of Seoul in Gangnam. But logistics and security have to be thought of. This is a woman who was president and who has provoked a huge response on both sides of the aisle. It's very dangerous. A big responsibility to sort out the security. It's not clear how soon she will be able to go to her old home.

VAUSE: Paula, thank you. Paula Hancocks, we'll check in with you as the protests continue.

Paul Hancocks, live there.

SESAY: Thanks, Paula.

VAUSE: WikiLeaks Founder Julian Assange says he wants to work with tech companies to help them patch security flaws. He made that claim after WikiLeaks published what it said were internal CIA documents showing the agency can infiltrate your phone and TV to spy on you. Assange now says he wants to help out in the interest of security and accountability.


[01:35:00] JULIAN ASSANGE, FOUNDER, WIKILEAKS: We decided to work with them to give them some exclusive access to the additional technical details we have so that fixes can be developed and pushed out so people can be secured.


SESAY: Here's what WikiLeaks claims the CIA can do, access the microphone and camera on Smartphones, spy on people through connected devices like TVs, and make the hacking look like it's coming from Russia. VAUSE: Joining us now is Hemu Nigam, the founder and CEO of internet

security company SSP Blue.

Hemu, thanks for being with us.

If the tech companies take up Assange's offer and patch the security flaws, where does that leave the CIA and its surveillance program?

HEMU NIGAM, FOUNDER & CEO, SSP BLUE: To put it simply, in a horrible place. There were about 3,000 to 5,000 people working on creating these exploits. And one of the things they were doing is -- these are true methods of getting into counterintelligence activities and gathering intelligence. If you shut it off, the CIA goes dark on all of these cyber intel activities and that could also mean somebody has given them information or they collected it through a hack of a WhatsApp, let's say, and they're finding out that a bomb is going to go off and they're working an intelligence case on that, and the next thing you know, they go dark. This is a very serious, extremely serious leak that is happening, or however they got it. Let's call it a leak for now. But it's extremely serious and will have detriments.

VAUSE: But is it legal for them to take up this offer?

NIGAM: Yes. Well, for the companies to take up the offer -- I heard today the Electronic Frontier Organization saying it is legal but the reality is it may not be. Put in the physical world. Somebody like Julian Assange says, hey, I have this piece of bomb here that can break your phone when it shoots at you, do you want it? And by the way, I got it from a classified source, and it's illegal to have it and I may have received it illegally, but do you want it? If you look at the tech company's response, it has been quiet.

SESAY: That's what I was going the ask you, we are a long way from the CIA's efforts going dark. The tech companies have to cooperate with WikiLeaks. How does that happen? How would they get it? Through open sources? What do you think?

NIGAM: Microsoft today said, well, follow our normal practices. Go to secure And they were hinting we don't want to talk to you but if you go through this process it's normal standard operating protocol, nothing is going to go wrong, this is how it works. Apple and the other companies I'm sure are absolutely interested but I think they're trying to figure out how do they get it?


NIGAM: These are zero-day flaws which means there's no fix right now. They are still going to have to take a look at it and say, wow, they did that now we got to fix it.

VAUSE: Julian Assange levelled a serious charge at the CIA. Listen to this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) ASSANGE: The Central Intelligence Agency lost control of its entire cyberweapons arsenal, what appears to be the largest arsenal of Trojans and viruses in the world that attacks most of the systems that journalists, people in government, politicians, CEOs and average people use.


VAUSE: So this may sound like a stupid question, but I'm not a tech person. If he's right, would the CIA have a way to shutting down the hacking tools? A countermeasure if you like.

NIGAM: Not really. They can do it in some instances. For example, if you have planted something and you know it's there, you can send another piece of code to say, hey, wake up and go away, I'm going to turn you off. But to stop that -- I would treat it as almost impossible. That's why everyone is so concerned. If it goes in the public, and you have hackers out there who don't care about doing it the way the CIA is, which is targeting national security issues, they don't care, they're going to turn on your microwave if that's a smart microwave and start listening.

SESAY: How long do the companies have to patch the vulnerabilities?

NIGAM: Julian Assange never said how long he's going to give them. What he said was, I will share it with you and then I will put it out in the public. I think there is a lot of nervousness going on, on all sides, and I'm sure there is communication between the CIA as well as Apple and Google and Microsoft going on live right now trying to figure out how to make something happen that protects the company, because their privacy is putting out there to the public, hey, look, maybe we weren't private after all. We didn't know you were using encrypted messages and messenger and WhatsApp and all these other devices, it's not work. So there's a problem here that everyone is concerned about for different reasons.

VAUSE: We appreciate it. Thanks for coming in.

[01:40:02] SESAY: Thank you.

VAUSE: It really feels as if people haven't grasped how serious this is.

SESAY: There is no privacy.

VAUSE: Yeah.

Thank you.

SESAY: Nigam, thank you.

VAUSE: The battle to retake the Iraqi city of Mosul is intensifying as thousands of people run for their lives. A freelance cameraman is there and has a glimpse into the battle.

CNN senior international correspondent, Ben Wedeman, now has this report.



BEN WEDEMAN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESOPNDENT (voice-over): Gunfire roaring nearby, Mosul residents flee their neighborhood.



WEDEMAN: Then, an ISIS suicide car bomb explodes nearby. Pieces of metal and concrete raining down. The blast sets an Iraqi federal police Humvee on fire, killing several policemen, wounding others.


WEDEMAN: This footage provided to CNN by a freelance cameraman is a raw glimpse of the intensity of the battle for western Mosul.




WEDEMAN: Iraqi officials aren't putting out casualty figures but it's clear that government forces are paying a high price.


WEDEMAN: ISIS fighters continue to put up stiff resistance. Car bombs, their weapon of choice. They've used dozens to attack Iraqi forces since the push in west Mosul began two and a half weeks ago.

More than 70,000 civilians have fled the western part of the city. Others, like this old woman and her granddaughter, had no choice but to stick it out. Hundreds of thousands remain inside, hanging white flags on their doors in the hopes they'll be spared.


WEDEMAN: Fighting in western Mosul appears far heavier than in the east, where it took Iraqi forces three months to gain control.


WEDEMAN: The phrase "war is hell" here becomes reality.

Ben Wedeman, CNN, Irbil, northern Iraq.


SESAY: Next on NEWSROOM L.A., a young woman is warning her community about for-profit orphanages that exploit children. Our CNN Freedom Project has her story next.


[01:45:40] UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Freedom to me is going to bed at night with both eyes closed and not a single worry and waking up in the morning to hopefully a better day. Freedom is breathing and knowing that every breath is your right and no man on earth or no woman on earth will take that away from you.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Freedom is to me is you can go everywhere and do everything. Free.


SESAY: This week, the CNN Freedom Project features young leaders fighting against modern-day slavery.

VAUSE: We are about to meet a young woman from Kenya who is educating her community about the dangers of trafficking at for-profit orphanages. It's something that she survived herself.

Our Forisa Enzo (ph) has her story.


FORISA ENZO (ph), CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): It's been a long journey home for this girl. Orphaned at 6, she was living with her aunt in this house when a man arrived at the door offering free education, food and housing and a room in an orphanage. He was known as a child finder in the community.

"I wanted her to stay with me like a daughter but I didn't have enough money," she says. "When I was approached by someone who could take her into an orphanage, I didn't have a choice."

Food, education, and safety proved to be a false promise for the girl. She says the orphanage director ensured the lives of the orphans revolved around foreign volunteers who traveled specifically to help children and are known as voluntourists.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Sometimes you could be going to school and the volunteer is coming so you had to entertain that volunteer. We used to not go to school. We stay until they come.

ENZO (ph): She said she was ordered not to speak to volunteers about the conditions at the school.

UNIDENIFIED FEMALE: Sometimes you might told you won't eat because you fear the punishment.

ENZO (ph): Michelle Oliel was one volunteer. She says she raised thousands of dollars for the orphanage, money she claims did not reach the children.

MICHELLE OLIEL, CO-FOUNDER & EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, STAHILI FOUNDATION: Children were often starving. Children were being forced to work. Some of the children were not even sleeping at the orphanage but going home and sleeping in porcupine holes, for example.

ENZO (ph): Not all orphanages are corrupt or guilty of trafficking. Still, the U.N. and other groups are now warning about child trafficking to orphanages around the world.

OLIERL: The children are being commodified and placed in an orphanage for the sole purpose of bringing in donations and other various donated goods. And this is done intentionally. This is not an accident. It's not an accident that most of the cases that we've dealt with children have families. They're exploiting vulnerable children, vulnerable people, vulnerable guardians.

ENZO (ph): Oliel set up a Stahili Foundation, an organization dedicated to the elimination of orphanages and reuniting children with their families.

The former orphanage is now empty. Oliel says after pressure from the Stahili and the surrounding community, and faced with declining donations, the owner abandoned the orphanage. Police have not investigated and no formal charges have been brought. CNN has been unable to reach him for comment.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: -- trafficking.

ENZO (ph): Meanwhile, the community that once handed children over, some paying for places in orphanages, is now working actively against recruiting any more.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I would condemn every orphanage in every area. If we put away with the orphanages and demolish them it could be of great help to the society.

ENZO (ph): The girl now works with the Stahili Foundation, helping trace children who have been trafficked to orphanages and assisting them in supporting themselves and their families. She is now at university and hopes to become a human rights lawyer and advocate against the orphanages.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: According to me, the hidden agenda of the orphanages become revealed when the kids start maturing up and getting older, they get to learn their rights and they can defend themselves.

ENZO (ph): Once forced into silence, she has found her voice and purpose.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I'll be speaking out to many and many other generation and change the world.

[01:50:08] ENZO (ph): Forisa Enzo (ph), CNN, Nairobi.


VAUSE: In Boston, first came the ban, then the backlash, and now what might just be a back down. Earlier this week, organizers of the annual south Boston parade on St. Patrick's parade voted to exclude OutVets, a group of gay and transgender military veterans, even though they had marched for the last two years. And that decision back in 2015 to allow them to take part was seen as a major step forward in equality and civil rights. Because 20 years before that, the Allied War Veterans Council that organized the parade waged a successful legal battle all the way to keep gay groups out of the parade. Reinstating the ban this week has sparked outrage. The mayor of Boston said he wouldn't attend so, too, the state governor, and sponsors pulled out as well and the grand marshal also quit.

Dan Magoon is the former parade grand marshal. He is a veteran of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. He joins us now from Boston.

Dan, thanks for being with us.

It looks as if there will now be another vote to see if OutVets can take part in the parade. How do you think that will play out?


There is a meeting tomorrow. You know, we're trying to figure out if we can get a solution and bring the group back into the parade. And we'll know more tomorrow.

VAUSE: There was a huge backlash after the vote that banned this group OutVets. Do you think the organizers were shocked by the scale of the backlash?

MAGOON: I don't know if they were. There's been a history here and we gave them a heads-up if the group was not allowed. There was favorable opposition. Myself and three other veterans were in favor of keeping the group as part of the parade. So to have them go back in time and create a controversy that didn't have to happen was disheartening and, obviously, it outraged a lot of the veterans in the community and the community and the politicians. There's been a serious issue here. It didn't have to happen. And we're seeing sponsors are backing out. A lot of the veterans' groups and the U.S. military assets that were coming in have also backed out.

VAUSE: If the decision is reversed on Friday, will that un-do the damage which has been done?

MAGOON: I don't think it will un-do the damage but the good thing of this and the blessing in disguise of what has happened is it has unified the community and the veterans' communities. As we move forward, maybe not this year but next year, it could be a positive impact in changing this, including not only OutVets, but making sure as we move forward that everyone is on the same page and we don't have this issue again. Because this is not a reflection of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts or the city of Boston. It is a handful of people who made this happen. And I, along with my fellow veterans in the city and state and country, and quite frankly, globally, have stood with OutVets and will continue to stand with them until they are included in the parade.

[01:55:38] VAUSE: Dan, will you return as grand marshal if the decision is reversed? MAGOON: I don't know. I'm going the reassess.


MAGOON: Tomorrow is the vote and we'll figure out from there what I'm going. We also have to figure out where everyone is going to stand and who is marching.


MAGOON: Like I said, there is a huge backlash from the military community and the veteran community. We'll reassess after the vote.

VAUSE: Dan, we've got to go but thanks for being with us. We appreciate it.

MAGOON: All right, sir.

SESAY: And finally, a big scare followed by even bigger relief when this happened. Take a look.


VAUSE: No. But it all ended well. The parents of the 4-year-old say she was not hurt after being blown off her feet by high winds at their home in Ohio on Wednesday. She did manage to keep ahold of that cell phone. It wasn't going anywhere.


SESAY: Glad she is safe.

You're watching CNN NEWSROOM live from Los Angeles. I'm Isha Sesay.

VAUSE: Like Dorothy.

I'm John Vause. We'll be right back after this.


[02:00:09] VAUSE: This is CNN NEWSROOM, live from Los Angeles.