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Diplomatic Row Between Turkey and Netherlands; Trump Fires New York's Attorney; South Korea's Ousted President to Leave Blue House; North Korea Taking Advantage of South Korea in Political Limbo?; American Muslims at Odds Over Trump; A Look at Europe's Fight Against Cybercrime; Saudi King Travels to Asia; Pharaoh's Statue Dug Up in Cairo Slum. Aired 4-5a ET

Aired March 12, 2017 - 04:00   ET


[04:00:10] NATALIE ALLEN, CNN ANCHOR: Angry protests in Turkey and the Netherlands after the Dutch government refuses to allow Turkish Foreign minister to hold a rally in Rotterdam. We'll talk with the reporter from the Netherlands.

Donald Trump fires a high-profile U.S. attorney while the vice president works to unite Republicans on health care. Will he?

Crowds continue to gather on the streets of Seoul, South Korea two days after the removal of the president.

These stories all ahead here on CNN NEWSROOM this hour. Live from Atlanta, I'm Natalie Allen. And we want to welcome our viewers here in the United States and all around the world to CNN NEWSROOM.

Our top story, a diplomatic battle is brewing between Turkey and the Netherlands after Dutch officials refuse to let the Turkish Foreign minister's plane land for a rally in Rotterdam Saturday. Protests have now broken out in both countries and now Turkey has sealed off Dutch diplomatic missions for what it calls security reasons.

Dutch police also blocked Turkey's Family Affairs minister from entering the Turkish consulate.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE (Through Translator): The manager of this location has higher orders to ask you to leave Holland today.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (Through Translator): We can escort. We advise Germany.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (Through Translator): The team is here to escort you in the fastest route to Germany by following the team in your own car.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (Through Translator): I will go to the consulate building. This is my country's building and I'm the country's minister. There is nowhere in the world this can happen. I don't agree on this and I'm not leaving for Germany.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (Through Translator): She refuses that. She is a minister. She does not want to go to Germany.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (Through Translator): Then we'll just discuss. Then we'll discuss. It's possible that there will then be other consequences.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (Through Translator): Then we have to make a call and other decisions could be made that might not be good for you.


ALLEN: Well, there's an example right there of the tension. Turkey's Foreign minister is now warning of a strong response to the Netherlands' actions.


MEVLUT CAVUSOGLU, TURKISH FOREIGN MINISTER (Through Translator): Absolutely, it will not go unanswered and will have consequences the Dutch government decide. So they cancelled it due to security concerns? What? So is the Turkish minister a terrorist? Of course, we will not target the Netherlands people when we take steps. Our target is the Dutch government. This is not an attitude to me. This behavior is aimed at Turkey's Foreign minister.


ALLEN: Well, let's talk about this right now with Netherlands based freelance journalist Robert Chesal, he joins me now.

Robert, let's back up and talk about the genesis of this. This protest in Rotterdam, who was holding the protest and what was it going to be about?

ROBERT CHESAL, FREELANCE JOURNALIST: Well, what we've discovered -- actually what the Netherlands discovered and the mayor of Rotterdam late last night is that it was orchestrated very much by the consul- general of Turkey in the Netherlands at the Rotterdam consulate. He among others were by social media calling on Turkish Dutch people to come to the consulate to hold a demonstration, to -- as a show force and basically this is an example of election time grandstanding, let's say polling time grandstanding.

Turkey has a big referendum coming up next month that's going to give a lot more power to President Erdogan. The Turks are trying to get Dutch -- Turkish people in the Netherlands and in other European countries, campaign and rally, to get them to vote for that referendum to give Erdogan more power.

The Netherlands, meantime, is about to face a general election in just a couple of days, that's on Wednesday. So Prime Minister Rutte could not possibly allow a huge Turkish campaign to take place in the city of Rotterdam or anywhere else in the Netherlands. So this is basically election time grandstanding from both sides.

ALLEN: And we're seeing the scene right there in Rotterdam as you speak. CHESAL: Yes.

ALLEN: As this unfolded. This is really incredible. Now the back and forth between Turkey and the Netherlands, and with less than two days away --


CHESAL: Yes, it's unprecedented.

ALLEN: Go ahead.

CHESAL: It's unprecedented. It's unprecedented that a minister of a foreign country is basically detained and deported from the country and she's not even allowed to enter what is in effect her country's territory. The consul as you know is the territory of Turkey even though it's here in the Netherlands. So it's -- it is unprecedented or practically unprecedented internationally for this sort of thing to happen. Certainly hasn't happened in the Netherlands any time in living memory. So it's just a bizarre situation.

[04:05:04] But you know, all of the protests are very much being orchestrated. That's certainly the case.

ALLEN: And where do you see this going from here? How might this simmer down?

CHESAL: I don't think it's going to simmer down any time soon. You know, Erdogan -- the Turkish leaders' whole point is to show his people, the Turkish people, that he has power, power enough to influence affairs even all the way over there in Europe and he is making use of this for his referendum campaign, showing that Europe is against Turkey. Turkey, he would like to position it as a democratic country, even though we know that there are very big problems with Turkish democracy, with a sweep and arrests of lots of people in academia, journalists, freedom of the presses on the way down in Turkey.

So clearly Erdogan is making full use of this to position Europe as an enemy of Turkey to try to gain as much possible support for his referendum for more presidential -- for more political power.

ALLEN: It's a story we'll continue to watch as it unfolds right now.

Robert Chesal for us there in the Netherlands. Thank you so much, Robert. We appreciate it. We'll talk with you again for sure.

CHESAL: Thank you.

ALLEN: Now to U.S. politics. A federal prosecutor who thought his job was safe in the Trump administration was suddenly fired Saturday after getting into a showdown with the White House. Preet Bharara was U.S. attorney of southern Manhattan, famous for taking on drug lords and crooked bankers.

CNN's Laura Jarred explains how the sheriff of Wall Street, as he's called, lost his badge.


LAUREN JARRED, CNN U.S. JUSTICE REPORTER: Well, after a stunning standoff with the White House on Saturday, the U.S. attorney in Manhattan, Preet Bharara, is out. But we're also learning what exactly he was told and by whom. The president did not call him. The Department of Justice did. The acting deputy attorney Dana Boente called him and asked him if it was true that he was refusing to resign. Bharara said that it was, and then Dana Boente later called him back and said if that's true, then the president says that you are fired.

Now the question is, what suddenly has changed since November when Bharara says that he was told that he could stay on and continue through Trump's presidency. So that is the real question here, is what's changed since November?

Now the White House is not saying much and referred us to the Justice Department. The Justice Department is also not saying anything other than Bharara has been asked to step aside. And so the question is what will we see in these coming days about why exactly we have seen a difference from November until now. Back to you.


ALLEN: Well, the Trump White House is trying hard not to get bogged down in the controversy over the sacking of these U.S. attorneys and is it focusing on trying to get rid of Obamacare. U.S. Vice President Mike Pence was doing the heavy lifting Saturday urging Republicans to back the plan now before Congress. He traveled to Louisville, Kentucky, and posed a direct challenge to Republican skeptics like Rand Paul without mentioning the senator by name.


MIKE PENCE, VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: And folks, let me be clear, this is going to be a battle in Washington, D.C. And for us to seize this opportunity to repeal and replace Obamacare once and for all, we need every Republican in Congress and we are counting on Kentucky.

President Trump and I know at the end of the day, after a good and vigorous debate, we know Kentucky will be there and we will repeal and replace Obamacare once and for all.


ALLEN: Well, let's talk about the goings on from the Trump administration with a frequent guest of ours, Scott Lucas, professor of International politics at the University of Birmingham in England.

Hi there, Scott, how are you?

SCOTT LUCAS, PROFESSOR OF INTERNATIONAL POLITICS, UNIVERSITY OF BIRMINGHAM: Doing well. ALLEN: All right. Nice to see you and thank you again for joining

us. So the big headline this week for us the Trump administration's firing of dozens of U.S. attorneys. And, of course, the story we just brought to you about Preet Bharara who kind of forced Trump to fire him. What do make of that? And is this all really any kind of big deal?

LUCAS: Well, on the surface there have been other administrations who have asked when they come into office for the resignations of U.S. attorneys. But they usually do so in a very well ordered process so that you can replace those attorneys and not leave a giant vacancy.

Now as has been common with the Trump administration in a number of areas, it acted suddenly in this case. All of a sudden it just told 46 U.S. attorney, all of whom are from the Obama era, that's it, you're out.

Bharara is getting the headlines because, one, he's the Manhattan prosecutor. And two, he refused to go. Now there's a wider context that I think that's important to this that shouldn't be lost. And that is the Trump administration has been in a running battle with the judiciary and with the staff of the Justice Department since it took office.

[04:10:03] You may remember in January that Trump dismissed the acting attorney general Sally Yates when she raised the issue of National Security Adviser's Michael Flynn's links with Russia. Then you had the affair that came up later about the judges dismissing the Muslim ban and Trump saying, you know, we can't let so-called judges to pursue this, but the Justice Department saying, wait a minute, you have to act within the law.

And then, you know, significantly, Attorney General Jeff Sessions, the head of the Justice Department, is under fire for his Russian links and apparently there's a big divide between him and Justice Department staff. So Bharara is making the headlines for what's important beyond this immediate battle is that there's a war going on between Trump and the judiciary.

ALLEN: We'll continue to follow that element. Now we want to turn to another one, we just saw Mike Pence in Kentucky saying, you've got to rally behind this new health care plan. We need everyone on board. And the question is, will they get it from Republicans?

LUCAS: That's a huge question because right now they are looking like they don't have many troops to go into battle. It's -- the Trump administration is under fire from two sides. On one side, you've got doctors, nurses, the chief medical officer for Medicare, the major hospitals who are saying they don't like the plan, they don't think it's viable. They are joined by economists who are saying that this plan will give $157 billion windfall to the richest in the U.S. while not assuring coverage for the poor.

And now on the other side, you've got those who say this doesn't go far enough. You know, the really hard-line Republicans who say this is Obamacare-lite. Now Rand Paul is part of that second group, but I think it's probably more important that there's a lot of people within that first group who aren't just simply going to be Breitbart News and Paul, it's going be a lot of professionals. And Congress tends to listen to those people when it comes to a vote.

ALLEN: And, you know, the other part of the story is that these -- a lot of Republican leaders, moderate representatives, have been getting pushback from their constituents, the constituents who've kind of been in their face, afraid of losing Obamacare and afraid of what will be right there to replace it as well. That's another big part of the story.

LUCAS: You're absolutely right. What we've been seeing in town hall meetings is this, is that once you get beyond the headline of, oh, Obamacare must be repealed, the question is how you do it, and people are saying a couple of things. One is, look, you're looking to restrict the expansion of Medicare. So as I get older, am I going to be covered? And two, more than 20 million people were able to get insurance or were added to the rolls because of Obamacare.

How do you assure that those people will continue to have coverage? And right now there's well justified skepticism that the Republican plan does not -- does not meet the challenge in either of those points.

ALLEN: Well, this is a major story right now. And so many people have a lot at stake here, not just in the health care industry, but the people receiving health insurance right now. And of course, a big, big deal for President Trump to see this through. We will wait to see what happens.

As always, Scott, we appreciate you joining us. Thank you.

LUCAS: Thank you.

ALLEN: Well, how about this one? An arraignment is set for Monday for a man found outside the White House late Friday while President Trump was inside. The Secret Service says 26-year-old Jonathan Tran was carrying a laptop, a book by Mr. Trump, two cans of mace and a letter claiming information about Russian hacking. Agents found Tran outside the south entrance of the White House shortly before midnight. He told them he jumped the fence. It's the first known intrusion of the complex since Mr. Trump took office.

North Korea is reacting to the political crisis in South Korea. Next, hear why Pyongyang calls it a victory.

Also, what the turmoil in South Korea might mean for North Korea's nuclear program and its ties with the United States.

That's coming up here on CNN NEWSROOM. We've got much more ahead. Stay with us.



[04:18:03] ALLEN: And welcome back. You're watching CNN NEWSROOM live from Atlanta.

North Korea is gloating over the political turmoil in its southern neighbor. A court upheld the impeachment, as you know, of former South Korean president Park Geun-hye on Friday and a North Korean official calls her ouster a historical victory for South Koreans. That's according to North Korean state media.

Park has been mired in a corruption scandal and on Saturday her opponents held a rally in Seoul. Many called for Park's arrest. An election to decide her successor is set to be held within 16 days.

CNN's Ivan Watson is in Seoul. He joins us now with the latest. He is in the region of Blue House where the president has been.

And Ivan, we are just now hearing she may be leaving. What can you tell us about that?

IVAN WATSON, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes, we don't have this confirmed independently yet, Natalie, but local Korean media is reporting that it is anticipated that the now former president -- impeached president Park Geun-hye is expected to be leaving imminently from the official residence of the president, that's the Blue House. So I'm standing in front of the security checkpoint, one of them, that presumably it's possible she could leave out of now that she's basically been stripped of her powers as president, and now is becoming a private citizen. So we're keeping a close eye on that.

Now, of course, this is historic. This is the first impeachment of an elected South Korean president. And it's also notable because nobody has really heard from Park Geun-hye since the impeachment took place, since the eight constitutional court judges ruled unanimously that she must be stripped of her powers on Friday. So there has not been any formal, you know, communication with the public about this dramatic move.

We do know that her private residence, which is on the other side of the South Korean capital, that preparations have been underway there for her to move in there.

[04:20:08] Though she will become a private citizen again, there are some security precautions that are going into place there, such as security cameras for her move back to that place. We're anticipating that she would return there. So, again, this is a big moment for this country, a moment that thousands of people were celebrating in the streets of Seoul on Saturday night. Celebrating with fireworks, in fact, after months of mass protests helped lead to this historic moment -- Natalie.

ALLEN: Right. And there will, no doubt, be celebrations when they realize her car is pulling out of the Blue House and she is headed back home.

What about her future, Ivan? What about the calls for her to be prosecuted? Where does she go from here? And who knows?

WATSON: Well, all of this is kind of quite speculation, but it is likely that there could be, you know, prosecution and a further investigation of the corruption allegations, the scandal that brought her down in the first place. And unlike in the past where she refused to testify, arguing that her post as president and her responsibilities protected her from that, she is now stripped of those protections. So presumably could be forced to answer in person to the charges against her. Those are some of the measures that she could face in the future.

Meanwhile, the country will have to prepare for elections for a new president and that is expected to take place within 60 days. One date that has been floated is possibly May 9th. And her conservative political party, which changed its name within the last couple of months amid this enormous scandal, has already announced that its candidate will be announced at the end of this month on March 31st. So we can anticipate that South Korea will embark on this new political cycle to choose a new leader.

And the challenges that South Korea faces after this incredible political drama, they are significant, beginning, of course, with North Korea, the neighbor to the north, which continues to act in a quite bellicose manner launching missiles and being accused of assassinating a member of the ruling dynasty of North Korean in a Malaysian airport with poison last night, charges that the North Korean regime denies -- Natalie.

ALLEN: Right. That, plus the fact that North Korea is now gloating over all of this bedlam that's going on to the South.

So, Ivan Watson, we thank you. We know we'll get back to you live if you do, indeed, see her motorcade exiting the Blue House because that will be quite a moment. Ivan, thank you.

Well, South Korea's next leader will face a host of international challenges at the forefront, perhaps, a growing nuclear threat from North Korea as we just talked about.

Here's CNN's Kyung Lah with more about that.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No less than the end of civilization.

KYUNG LAH, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The end and it could happen in a flash with a nuclear bomb warrants former U.S. Defense secretary William Perry. North Korea's recent missile tests, an aggressive flexing of its growing nuclear power, sounds an alarm. Combined with today's political climate, Perry says, means a ratcheting up of the world's nuclear threat level.

WILLIAM PERRY, FORMER U.S. DEFENSE SECRETARY: The possibility of some kind of a nuclear catastrophe is probably greater than it has ever been, greater than any time during the Cold War.

LAH: Perry served under President Bill Clinton, but traces his nuclear knowledge back to the Cuban missile crisis, as a CIA analyst during the Kennedy administration when America edged frighteningly close to a nuclear war with Russia. That was the height of the Cold War when schoolchildren rehearsed for a nuclear attack.

Today an aggressive Russia is once again touting its nuclear capability while North Korea tests the new president, a brash first- time politician. The administration promising a strengthening of its nuclear arsenal.

SEAN SPICER, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: The United States will not yield its supremacy in this area to anybody. Our goal is to make sure that we maintain America's dominance around the world.

LAH (on camera): What is North Korea piece of this?

PERRY: The danger is not that North Korea would deliberately inclined to plan an attack with weapons, but they would blunder it into some kind of a conflict.

LAH" Is it real? How real is this?

PERRY: Well, first of all, a nuclear weapon is very real. And there are almost 15,000 in the world today, more than enough to destroy the entire planet.

BRUCE BLAIR, FORMER NUCLEAR MISSILE LAUNCH OFFICER: If the president gave the order, we had to launch the missiles.

LAH (voice-over): It's a concern being echoed by Bruce Blair, former nuclear missile launch officer, who recorded this anti-Trump ad for the Clinton campaign. Blair says he's speaking not as a partisan but as a scholar.

[04:25:04] His concern? Not just Kim Jong-un but President Trump.

BLAIR: This person is erratic, impulsive, aggressive, ill-informed. He is the sole authority who can decide whether or not to launch thousands of nuclear weapons in minutes with a single phone call. I just don't have confidence in his judgment. I live in fear that he would make a bad call and that that call could be civilization ending.

LAH: Trump supporters like former Navy SEAL Carl Higbie say despite his fiery rhetoric the president understands the power of the office.

CARL HIGBIE, TRUMP SUPPORTER: Launching a nuclear weapon is far different from launching a tweet. The world is a safer place when America is on top, when America is in power. The world is a safer place if our enemies believe there is a chance that we may use nuclear power.

LAH (on camera): President Trump in an interview with Reuters last month said that he does dream of a world where nuclear weapons don't exist. But as long as they do, he wants the United States to, quote, "be at the top of the pack." His critics counter that that simply doesn't make the world any safer.

Kyung Lah, CNN, Los Angeles.

(END VIDEOTAPE) ALLEN: Syrian President Bashar al-Assad is questioning why U.S. troops are in Syria. He told the Chinese media outlet he does not think American forces will help in the battle against ISIS. He added that the Americans had, in his words, lost nearly every war and only end up creating a mess wherever they have been.

U.S. officials say U.S. Marines are currently in northern Syria to back up local forces there who are preparing for an assault on the ISIS-held city of Raqqa.

This week will be crucial for the revised travel ban of U.S. President Trump. Coming up, you'll hear from Muslim Americans who are defending the president.

Plus, espionage has gone digital as hackers go after Europe online. We'll give you a rare look at the intel agency tracking their every step.


[04:30:35] ALLEN: And welcome back to our viewers here in the U.S. and around the world. You're watching CNN NEWSROOM live from Atlanta. I'm Natalie Allen. Here are our top stories.

The Dutch prime minister says the Netherlands wants no part in the political campaign of Turkish ministers in their country. The statement comes after Dutch officials refused to let the Turkish Foreign minister's plane land for a rally for Turkey in Rotterdam. Turkey fired back by sealing off the Dutch embassy in their capital Ankara.

U.S. President Donald Trump on Saturday fired the legendary federal prosecutor Preet Bharara. He was fired for refusing to resign on Friday along with more than 40 other U.S. attorneys who were forced out. CNN has learned President Trump's aide called Bharara on Thursday, but Bharara wouldn't answer because of rules forbidding such contact.

A 26-year-old man who recently lost his job was discovered just outside the White House late Friday while President Trump was inside. It was the first-known intrusion of the complex since Donald Trump took office. Officers say the man had jumped the White House fence and had made a personal letter to the president.

Opponents and supporters of South Korea's ousted former president rallied in Seoul Saturday yet again after a court on Friday upheld her impeachment. Park Gyun-hae has been mired in a corruption scandal and many of her critics want her arrested.

A handful of U.S. states are filing court challenges to the revised travel ban from President Trump. And much like the first order Muslim American leaders are criticizing the ban. But some Muslim Americans are coming to the president's defense.

CNN's Martin Savidge has our story.


MARTIN SAVIDGE, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Talat Rashid and Dr. Waqas Khan faced an anger and ugliness they had never seen before thanks to Donald Trump.

TALAT RASHID, TRUMP VOTER: I have some of my close friends that turn their back on me.

SAVIDGE: Pakistani Americans and Muslim, the backlash wasn't against their faith but their politics.

DR. WAQAS KHAN, TRUMP VOTER: I supported Donald Trump.

SAVIDGE: Rashid campaigned for Trump and twice got to meet him. Kahn and Rashid even went to Trump's inauguration. All of which earned them scorn from fellow Muslims.

KHAN: I had to receive comments like I never knew you were a racist, you're anti-Islamic, you're a traitor, a brown guy trying to be white, brownie, all these slurs.

SAVIDGE: Trump's campaign rhetoric particularly about Muslims bothered many people including Saleem Sheikh. He's friends with Rashid, attends the same Bowling Brooke mosque, and is a lifelong Republican who voted for Hillary Clinton.

SALEEM SHEIKH, CLINTON VOTER: I was quite concerned about some of Mr. Trump's statements at the time.

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States until our country's representatives can figure out what the hell is going on.

SAVIDGE (on camera): How could you support a man who seemed to be so anti-Muslim?

KHAN: When the statement about the Muslim ban came out, I was kind of offended to be very honest. But then I took a deep breath and I looked at the message behind the statement.

SAVIDGE (voice-over): The message Rashid and Khan heard wasn't of discrimination. Instead, they heard Trump identifying a problem they see in their own faith. One they say American leaders and even many Muslims up until now haven't openly faced. Violent, radical extremism.

KHAN: The main war is between -- is within Islam, it's not outside Islam. And the first war that we have to win is the war that the reformists or the moderate Muslims have to win against the radicals.

SAVIDGE: Terrorism, the men say, is a byproduct of that war. And Trump is taking action against some Muslims to protect all Americans. Still they admit the first travel ban was a mistake.

RASHID: Yes, I think that was too much. I mean, I did not agree with him in the beginning. SAVIDGE (on camera): You think it's better now?

RASHID: It's a little better now. It is. But again, you know, his message is he is not -- it's not his hating all the Muslims. He is just trying to protect this country as a president. That's his job.

SAVIDGE (voice-over): Saleem disagrees, saying the best way to protect America is not by shutting people out.

SHEIKH: I'm a very patriotic American citizen. So I want to look and see America as being number one in the world. But I think it can do that by reaching out to the people.

[04:35:10] SAVIDGE: Like many of Donald Trump's supporters, Rashid and Khan say that kind of thinking is too idealistic in today's frightening world.

KHAN: America's national security should be beyond any politics. It should be beyond any religion. That should be our top priority, being an American.

SAVIDGE (on camera): As you heard, all three of those men are from Pakistan. And Pakistan's not under any travel restrictions currently from the Trump administration. And I asked them maybe it should be considered. After all, there are questions about Pakistan's connections to the Taliban. And there was the fact that Osama bin Laden was found in Pakistan. All three men were unanimous, no, they said. There's no need.

Martin Savidge, CNN, Naperville, Illinois.


ALLEN: A Florida man accused of setting a convenience store on fire reportedly wanted to, quote, "run the Arabs out of our country," end quote. Officials say Richard Lloyd told them he thought the owners were Muslim and that he was doing his part for America. He's been charged and officials are investigating whether it was a hate crime. The store owners are actually of Indian descent and the fire did not cause much damage to their store.

One of the biggest shopping malls in Germany was closed Saturday over fears of a possible terror attack. Police say they received concrete indications there was a plan to attack this mall here in the western city of Eessen. Police questioned two men and raided at least one apartment in a nearby town. Germany is on high alert after attacks last year, some of which have been claimed by ISIS.

Security analysts say hackers targeted European governments and thousands of cyber attacks last year. Now as some nations get closer to crucial elections, intelligence agencies are fighting back. They are guarding against espionage and those trying to influence voters.

Our Nina Dos Santos was given rare access to Europe's cybercrime center at The Hague.


NINA DOS SANTOS, CNNMONEY EUROPE EDITOR (voice-over): Deep inside one of Europe's most secure buildings behind a bomb-proof facade and unbreakable doors, agents at Europol are tracking the digital footprints of the world's most dangerous hackers.

CNN has been given a rare insight into the EU's fight against illicit online activity. But there are limits as to what and who we can film as the head of the agency's cyber crime center explains.

STEVE WILSON, HEAD OF EUROPEAN CYBERCRIME CENTER, EUROPOL: This is where we have staff from 15 different countries all working together in relation to the cyber crime investigations. Unfortunately because of the needs of the investigations that are ongoing in there I can't take you in.

DOS SANTOS: Secrecy is paramount. Cutting-edge technology just as crucial. From forensic labs to mining date from hardware, to signal blocking rooms used to extract the most infectious computer viruses.

WILSON: I'm going to take you in, I'm sure you're (INAUDIBLE). Many of industries don't have the ability of it, to actually do something.

DOS SANTOS: Now with key elections in some of those states this year, online espionage and extortion has increased thanks to the availability of hackers for hire.

WILSON: They'll be using advances processors today to exploit, things that have never been seen before, that are unknown to the security companies. The use of this type of tactics is extremely difficult to detect.

DOS SANTOS: The trend in Europol's cyber investigations soaring 200 percent since 2013.

ROB WAINWRIGHT, DIRECTOR, EUROPOL: I think cybercrime is probably our longest term of enduring security challenge that we face in Europe. It is a concern for all of us in democracy, that's evidence. What we are seeing, however, is a cyber criminal infrastructure online that is supporting state-sponsored attacked and large scale cyber criminal activity in very similar ways.

DOS SANTOS: The prime suspect, Russia, which Germany says probably infiltrated its parliament's computers in 2015. Among the targets, NATO, which is facing 500 attempted breaches a month. Russia has denied that it's behind these attacks but the EU is on high alert.

JULIAN KING, EU SECURITY COMMISSIONER: We have seen an increase of about 20 percent in the attacks against the commission. Sometimes I think they are seeking to extract information, but there are also attacks which are clearly designed more generally to put a question mark over the correct functioning of the commission in this case or other institutions that have been attacked elsewhere across the European Union.

DOS SANTOS: For those delving into the Web's darker side, they are finding a world where the front line is no longer physical. And the armies are online.

Nina Dos Santos, CNN, in The Hague.


ALLEN: Well, this is something we have been talking about for the past few days. March 14th is "My Freedom Day." CNN is partnering with young people around the world for a student-led day of action against modern-day slavery.

[04:40:03] Driving "My Freedom Day" is a simple question, what does freedom mean to you?


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Those who have freedom forget how important it is. And I think it's the right to express yourself without interference, whoever or wherever you are.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Freedom means being able to express myself in every aspect of my life without fear of prosecution and retaliation.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Freedom to me is having no limitations. It means if you have the opportunity to create a vision for your life. Freedom is also the opportunity to chase your dream and aspirations.


ALLEN: We want to hear what freedom means to you, too. So post a photo or video using the #myfreedomday. And you might see it right here on CNN.

Well, as you know, "Saturday Night Live" has not shied away from criticizing the new president. Ahead how the comedy show imagined the president would handle an alien invasion.

Plus, winter does not want to leave the eastern part of the U.S. just yet. Parts of New York are under a blizzard watch. How much snow to expect, next? That's a live picture of New York right there. We'll hear from Karen Maginnis.


ALLEN: The calendar says it is mid-March, yes, it is. But there's still a mammoth winter weather system bearing down on the U.S. northeast. We just saw a shot of New York there live. They're expecting it.

And our meteorologist Karen Maginnis joins us again. And I know yesterday Karen, I called it a -- what was it, a cuckoo winter wackadoodle weather day? And it's still looking like that, isn't it?

KAREN MAGINNIS, AMS METEOROLOGIST: It still is. And I know we've got some live shots out in New York and Washington, D.C. which we can show and you think, that looks OK. If you ask folks in both of those cities they would say this past winter, nah, it was OK. Nothing terribly bad.

[04:45:07] They had these spells of bad weather. But just wait. We've got about 36 to 48 hours before those two scenes are going to change dramatically.


MAGINNIS: But, Natalie, this is one that has captured everybody's attention. And we'll keep you updated on it.

ALLEN: Yes. A blizzard, not just a little spring sprinkling of snow. Right?

MAGINNIS: Exactly.

ALLEN: And I was in New York two weeks ago, it was 70.

MAGINNIS: Yes, it was, at the beginning of the month.

ALLEN: Our cuckoo winter.


ALLEN: Thanks, Karen.

The king of Saudi Arabia is on a tour of Asia, and his top priority of his trip is energy. CNN's John Defterios has the story from Beijing.


JOHN DEFTERIOS, CNNMONEY EMERGING MARKETS EDITOR: The size of King Salman's entourage on his tour of Asia has been stealing the show, but the continent is a big deal to the kingdom as the world's number one oil exporter, energy takes top billing.

Asia represents about a third of daily global oil demand and over 31 million barrels a day. The kingdom competes against the other Gulf States plus Iran and Russia for their slice of the Asian market. This year demand is expected to grow by 1.4 million barrels a day. One million is coming from right here in Asia.

On the first leg of his Asia tour, King Salman signed deals worth $13 billion in Malaysia and Indonesia for gas refining. But Japan and China are the two most important markets for crude. State oil giants Saudi Aramco is considering a partial listing of its IPO at the Tokyo stock market. And its Asian headquarters are based right here in Beijing.

And there's plenty to consider beyond oil. With China's practice of long-term planning, it could support the kingdom in its effort to diversify its economy. The so-called 2030 vision. And with U.S. President Donald Trump still defining his Middle East strategy, many suggest this tilt to Asia by Saudi Arabia couldn't come at a better time.

(END VIDEOTAPE) ALLEN: John Defterios for us there.

You're watching CNN. I'll have more right after this.



[04:53:15] ALLEN: In Egypt archaeologists have made a major discovery of an enormous statue of a pharaoh who's been long gone, as you can imagine, for thousands of years.

Here's Jonathan Mann.


JONATHAN MANN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): A discovery of colossal proportions. Archaeologists have uncovered a colossus, a massive eight-meter statue of what they believe to be Ramses II, one of Egypt's most powerful and celebrated pharaohs. Ramses the Great ruled Egypt more than 3,000 years ago. But the quartzite statue was unearthed from this mighty hole in a Cairo slum just days ago. A crowd looked on as experts used an earth mover to pull the statue's huge head out of the muck. Egypt's Antiquities Ministry calls the found pharaoh one of its most important discoveries ever.

KHALED AL-ANANI, EGYPTIAN ANTIQUITIES MINISTER: We found the bust or the statue. And the lower part of the head and now we remove the head, we found the crown and the right ear and a fragment of the right eye.

MANN: The joint Egyptian-German expedition also found part of a life- sized limestone statue of Ramses' grandson. The discoveries were made in Matariya, a working class part of eastern Cairo with unfinished buildings and mud roads. And experts say this area was once home to an ancient city of the Sun God.

DIETRICH RAUE, HEAD OF THE GERMAN EXPEDITION: According to the pharaonic belief, the world was created in Matariya. And that means that every king had to build here, make statues, temples, obelisks, everything.

MANN: Archaeologists are now working to recover and restore the remaining pieces of the Ramses colossus, hopefully in time for the opening of the Grand Egyptian Museum next year.

Jonathan Mann, CNN.


[04:55:01] ALLEN: How fascinating is that one. Can't wait to see the whole thing when they bring it up.

Well, as you know, the American satirical TV show "Saturday Night Live" is, you know, having fun with Donald Trump. Well, in the latest episode, it wondered how U.S. president Trump would handle an alien invasion. Actor Alec Baldwin returned with his impression of the president.


ALEC BALDWIN, ACTOR: Yes, what a beautiful day. Who here loves Trump? I know this guy over here, he loves Trump. Now here's the deal, we are going to beat these aliens because we have got the best military. But we don't win anymore. And the aliens are laughing at us. They're killing us and they're laughing at us.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Mr. President, what about the aliens? They just vaporized the entire state of California.

BALDWIN: So then I win the popular vote?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We are dealing with a highly-advanced species here. They're from Zorblat 9. Their ships are invisible, they are telepathic.

BALDWIN: OK. No, we don't know that they are from Zorblat 9. I've actually heard Zorblat 9 is very beautiful, very fantastic.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Oh my god, does he have business ties on Zorblat 9?


ALLEN: Well, there you have it, another "SNL."

Thanks for joining me. The news continues next with Hannah Vaughn Jones live from London. You're watching CNN.



UNIDENTIFIED MALE (Through Translator): The manager of this location has higher orders to ask you to leave Holland today.


HANNAH VAUGHN JONES, CNN ANCHOR: Diplomatic row. The Turkish Family minister asked to leave the Netherlands amid tensions that has Turkey threatening retaliation. A live report ahead.