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A Farewell to a Peacemaker: Martin McGuiness Dies; FBI Director James Comey Says No Wiretapping Evidence; Kremlin Distancing Itself from "Anti-Russia Hysteria"; No Gadgets Allowed on Direct Flights to U.S. From Middle East. Aired 3-4a ET

Aired March 21, 2017 - 03:00   ET



[03:00:00] UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is CNN breaking news.

ROSEMARY CHURCH, CNN HOST: Hello everyone. I'm Rosemary Church. And we are following this breaking news.

Former Deputy First Minister of Northern Ireland Martin McGuiness has died. McGuiness was well-known as an Irish republican army commander in the 1970s before turning to politics. McGuiness retired in January saying his health was deteriorating. Martin McGuiness was 66 years old.

And our Max Foster joins us now live from London with more on this. Of course, Max, we knew he was experiencing ailing health here. But talk to us about what the situation was toward the end and indeed the legacy. How will Martin McGuiness be remembered across Ireland and indeed, across Britain?

MAX FOSTER, CNN HOST: Well, I have to say, I mean, for me, one on the most memorable moments in my reporting was when he shook hands with the queen back in 2012. And this was a massive moment in British than Irish history. Because what he did was symbolize a moment in that history.

This was a man who was an irate commander. Everyone has pretty much accepted on that, and British secret services pretty convinced he had a direct hand in some of the most famous attacks involving the IRA. So he went from that position. He was signed up with them back in his teens, really from the grassroots republican movement.

And then he went on to become a peace negotiator. And ultimately, deputy first minister of Ireland. And that handshake with the queen really symbolized that moment in Irish history. It was a huge, huge moment and very much power of the reconciliation.

And he had a fascinating, you know, career trajectory behind the scenes when you look at the political side of this. It was back in the 1990s that he had secret talks with the British government which led to the peace negotiations which led to the Good Friday agreement which created this power sharing government effectively in Northern Ireland.

And he was very much the architect behind that. Of course there were other people involved, but he's the one consistent figure that goes through this entire process. And for him to meet the queen at that point was just a huge moment.

And laterally he became ill and he went into the background. And Sinn Fein have been, you know, very respectful to his family and his privacy and haven't said too much about that. So it was a surprise that came today, the news came in the last hour or so. We did know he was very ill so not a complete shock.

CHURCH: It's extraordinary when you look at his legacy as you mentioned. As you mentioned, an IRA commander and then this incredible leap from back to peacemaker. For a lot of people, though, they will not be able to forget his past with the IRA, will they?

FOSTER: They won't. And obviously, forgiveness is has been a big part of that peace process in Northern Ireland. You're not going to have complete forgiveness at once. So it dug into their positions there. And there were some horrific incidents.

But you know, those on the republican side would argue that the British government was responsible for some of those instance, too. And was also accused of murder. I think one of the things that he did very cleverly was form and alliance with the DUP leader, Ian Paisley. He was from the complete opposite end of the political spectrum. But they both have this ambition to bring peace and power to storm one as well.

And they just manage to find some common ground. They didn't share the same supporters but they shared common interest between them. Then they gained this sort of label, the chuckle brothers. Because they clearly got on his people even though they were so different politically, and that was one of the key alliances in Northern Ireland history which made peace possible.

Will there be ultimate peace forever, we don't really know the answers to that. But they certainly were two people responsible for saving a lot of lives in Northern Ireland eventually as well by calming down the tensions.

CHURCH: All right. Many thanks to our Max Foster joining us there live from London. I want to go to journalist Peter Taggart now. He joins us with more on this. So, Peter, Martin McGuiness dead at the age of 66. We knew he had ailing health, but this is still comes as a surprise.

Talk to us about his legacy. Because this is the problem with his background, because we're talking about instances of murder when he was commander with the IRA. But then he did turned peacemaker, got very involved in politics. Talk to us about how his death is likely to be met by many in Northern Ireland particularly.

PETER TAGGART, JOURNALIST: Well, there will be those who will never forgive and never forget of course. But generally I think you'll find of course in Northern Ireland and that the reaction so far political and otherwise is that Martin McGuiness did play a key role in the peace process. After those days when of course he was an IRA commander.

[03:05:13] CHURCH: So let's go back to his history, how he is likely to be remembered most. We heard from Max Foster there that iconic moment when Martin McGuiness shook the hand of the queen in 2012. What was the turning point for him, though, when he went from IRA commander to peacemaker? What was the critical point at which that happened?

TAGGART: We obviously has violence for decades in Northern Ireland with the loss of many thousands of lives. And the fact that it was a gradual process that people realized that violence was not going to achieve anything. The peace process started, it was a lot in process and it's still continuing.

And it was that realization that we have to live together. And I think on both sides let's not forget that Martin McGuiness eventually became recognized with Ian Paisley. Who would have thought that through the years of the troubled conflict here?

CHURCH: All right, we're talking there with journalist Peter Taggart remembering Northern Ireland's Martin McGuiness who has died at the age of 66.

Well, back in the United States, and FBI Director James Comey is dealing a serious blow to U.S. President Donald Trump's credibility. Despite repeated claims by the president, Comey says there is no information that Barack Obama wiretapped Mr. Trump during the 2016 presidential campaign. And that wasn't the only blockbuster information.

CNN's Pamela Brown reports.

PAMELA BROWN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: FBI Director James Comey for the first time publicly confirming that the FBI is investigating alleged links between Russia and associates of the Trump campaign. An investigation that began last July.


JAMES COMEY, UNITED STATES FBI DIRECTOR: The FBI as part of our counterintelligence mission is investigating the Russian government's efforts to interfere in the 2016 presidential election. And that includes investigating the nature of any links between individuals associated with the Trump campaign and the Russian government and whether there was any coordination between the campaign and Russia's efforts.


BROWN: In the rebuke to the president, Comey said there is no evidence to support the president's claim that former President Obama had, quote, "wires tapped inside Trump Tower."


COMEY: I have no information that supports those tweets, and we have looked carefully inside the FBI. The Department of Justice has asked me to share with you that the answer is the same for the Department of Justice and all its components.


BROWN: The head of the NSA Admiral Mike Rogers also denying the report repeated by the White House that the Obama administration asked British intelligence to spy on the Trump campaign.


ADAM SCHIFF, (D) UNITED STATES REPRESENTATIVE: Did you ever request that your counterpart in the GCHQ should wiretap Mr. Trump on behalf of President Obama?

MIKE ROGERS, DIRECTOR OF THE NATIONAL SECURITY AGENCY: No, sir. No would I, that would be expressly against the construct of the 5i's agreement that's been in place for decades.


BROWN: Republicans avoided asking about Trump's wiretapping claims, instead focusing on whether laws were broken and reporting about ousted national Security Adviser Michael Flynn's conversations with the Russian ambassador that were caught on surveillance.


TREY GOWDY, UNITED STATES REPRESENTATIVE: Do you know whether Director Clapper knew the names of the U.S. citizens that appeared in the New York Times and Washington Post?

COMEY: I can't say on this forum.

GOWDY: Were Director Brennan have access to an unmasked U.S. citizen's name?

COMEY: In some circumstances, yes.


BROWN: Congressman Trey Gowdy providing no evidence to back up his claims. Republican wanting to deflect details regarding the investigation and to potential collusion between Trump associates and Russia insisting there was a real crime and the leaks to the press.


GOWDY: Some may rise to level of a crime. Some of it does not rise to the level of a claim. One thing you and I agree on is the felonious dissemination of classified material most definitely is a crime.


BROWN: democrats zeroed in on the Russia investigation. From the beginning laying out a circumstantial argument about what they believe may have transpired.


SCHIFF: It wasn't simply that the Russians had a negative preference against Secretary Clinton but also they had a positive preference for Donald Trump, isn't it, is that correct?

COMEY: Correct.

SCHIFF: Were they have a preference for a candidate who express open admiration for Putin?

COMEY: Mr. Putin would like people who liked him.


BROWN: Comey repeatedly tried to avoid going any further on what the investigation has uncovered.


COMEY: I'm not going to talk about any particular person here today, so I can't answer that.


BROWN: Pamela Brown, CNN, Washington.

CHURCH: Well, meantime, the White House is trying to downplay Comey's testimony. The president didn't even mention it during a campaign- style rally in Louisville, Kentucky on Monday night.

[03:10:05] Instead he focused on the republican health care plan up for vote in the House later this week.

White House spokesman Sean Spicer refused to back off Mr. Trump's wiretapping claim. And here's what Spicer said about the Russia investigation.


SEAN SPICER, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: Following this testimony it's clear that nothing has changed. Senior Obama intelligence official have gone on record to confirm that there's no evidence of a Trump, Russia collusion. The Obama CIA director said so, Obama's director of national intelligence said so, and we take them at their word.


CHURCH: All right, we'll take a very short break here. But when we come back we'll have more on Northern Ireland's Martin McGuiness dead at the age of 66.


CHURCH: Welcome back. I want to have more now on our breaking news the passing of Northern Ireland's Martin McGuiness. Nic Robertson joins us now on the line and an actual fact, live there

from London. So, Nic, talk to us about the passing of Martin McGuiness at the age of 66. We knew he was sick, but it's still a surprise. Talk to us about that and also his legacy.

NIC ROBERTSON, CNN INTERNATIONAL DIPLOMATIC EDITOR: We knew he was sick. We don't know precisely what was wrong with him. Very much that has been kept close to the family, Sinn Fein, very typically could really cast there a cloak of secrecy across anything. And they were very careful with Martin McGuiness's ill health.

But it really became clear over the past couple of months when he resigned his position as deputy first minister in the power sharing assembly in Stormont in Northern Ireland. It collapsed the assembly. Elections were only just held a few weeks ago. Talks continue now to try to get that power share - power sharing assembly up and running.

But it coincided with the announcement of his ill health. I mean, it did feel like a sort of a political, less political roll of the dice, if you will, even using his ill health, although it was pegged to the broader political issues that are going on in Northern Ireland.

It did feel that even as he stepped down, his last political act was to try to enhance the position of Sinn Fein. And elect thoroughly in those elections they did emerge better. So that perhaps be one immediate effect of part of his legacy, if you will.

But at the time of stepping down you had people like the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, Brokenshire speaking out and saying -- paying a tribute to Martin McGuiness.

[03:15:05] And that would have almost been unheard of, you know, a decade, or two decades ago when, you know, he would have been the person who was most opposed in Northern Ireland to Martin McGuiness and everything he stood for.

And the political rivals across the sectarian divide, the son of Ian Paisley, the sort of arch, strongest unionist protestant wanting to remain united with Britain -- keeping Northern Ireland united with Britain.

His son paid tribute, Arlene Foster the leader of the main democratic unionist party, the first minister at the time that he stepped down, also paid tribute. And when you had people that who had been so opposed to Martin McGuiness and so entrenched on the other side away from him and paying tribute, you really got a sense that even those engaged with him recognized the contribution he was making as a politician.

Because for so many years, people could see him in one of two coats. And that was a killer terrorist on one side or a man who was a smart politician on the other and a good leader on the other. So, you know, I think --I think part of his legacy is going to be that he did manage to bring the IRA, of which he was a northern commander.

Although he always denied. And he only ever admitted twice to being in the IRA. Once at what's known as a Savile enquiry into bloody Sunday when British paratroopers shot dead 13 unarmed protesters in Northern Ireland in the City of London very daring (Ph).

Martin McGuiness at that enquiry admitted to being a commander on that day. Also when he was in court on convictions connected to terrorism in the south of Ireland, he did at that point after the judge read the ruling shout support of the IRA, that he was proud to be a member of the IRA. Other than that he didn't ever admit to it.

However, the legacy will be that this was a man who was trusted by the hard men of Northern Ireland, the gunman in the IRA, trusted by them to put ultimately, to put down their weapons and move to the path of peace. And I think ultimately, that will be his legacy. And bringing together making the political compromises necessary to get that power sharing government up and running and relatively stable for a fairly lengthy period.

CHURCH: And Nic, this is the extraordinary story here, isn't it? This trajectory from an IRA commander to a peacemaker, and for many of our younger viewers watching now they may not grasp the enormity of that and some of the history here which you've just gone through.

But talk to us because we're looking at a peaceful Northern Ireland now, but for many of us who have been around for a while there were many troubled times. And it might be difficult for some of our younger viewers to possibly grasp that. Talk to us though, encapsulate that move that Martin McGuiness took that move from commander of the IRA to peacemaker and how significant that is.

ROBERTSON: Well, the IRA has been around in Ireland for many, many, many decades, close to a century and probably longer if you trace republican roots back. But what happened at the Civil Rights monument of the late 1960s were Catholics were demanding better jobs and better housing because they felt that they weren't getting a fair shake from the Protestants who were the majority who had controlled all the leaders of political power pretty much.

Those Civil Rights marches, became a violent protest, that the IRA kind of took over. And the bloodshed in Northern Ireland was absolutely catastrophic. More than 3,000 people, close to 3,500 people were killed across what amounted to about 30 years of violence.

There were times when Martin McGuiness was the commander of the IRA in Derry Londonderry, Northern Ireland, that was his home city. That it resembled London during the blitz in the Second World War. There were so many in 1972, approximately 200 businesses were blown up, firearms put in them blown up with explosives.

So, the city looked absolutely devastated because of the reign of terror by the IRA. People got to point where they didn't know if they were safe sitting in their apartment. Got to the point where they didn't know if they were safe going shopping, you know, on a Friday afternoon.

This such was the reign of terror that the IRA brought to Northern Ireland. But such was Martin McGuiness' statue that when the first, if you will, secret talks were held between British politicians of the time and leading members of the IRA, a handful six of them.

[03:19:58] In 1962, Martin McGuiness here is just in his early 20's, he was secretly brought to London to meet with the prime minister of the day to talk about how there could be peace in Northern Ireland.

Of course, it took another 26 years from that to get to the peace agreement. But that was the extent of the horrific nature and the terror that the IRA and protestant paramilitary organizations brought to the people of the Northern Ireland.

And that's why even to this day people will find it difficult to reconcile Martin McGuiness, the commander of the IRA, something he always denied apart from those exceptions that he made that he really became a peacemaker and a politician.

I shot a documentary with him in the year 2000,a couple of years after the peace agreement, and at the end of that documentary I really was searching to try to figure out has this man really crossed the Rubicon? Has he gone from gunman to politician?

At that stage the IRA hadn't got rid of its weapons. They just simply won't using them and I couldn't come to that. And I was criticized by his -- by his political associates at that time. They saw him as a Nelson Mandela figure.

Today, when you hear the accolades that have been awarded to him by politicians, British and Protestant politicians, he will be remembered as somebody who did cross that Rubicon and become someone who stood for peace in his community.

But he never gave up what he always wanted, which was a united island. That was his political agenda. And that's -- and that's essentially why he took that last political roll of the dice.

CHURCH: Extraordinary. All right. Nic Robertson, joining us there, live from London. Many thanks to you for that.

And political commentator Patricia MacBride joins us now from Northern Ireland. Patricia, we heard Nic Robertson talking there about the crossing of the Rubicon. How did Martin McGuiness achieved that going from IRA commander to a peacemaker to a politician? And did he ultimately achieve his goal of the united Ireland?

PATRICIA MACBRIDE, POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Good morning, Rosemary. Well, I think first of all, I want to express my sympathies to Martin's family and his children, his brothers and sisters.

But how Martin McGuiness achieved of what he did is very much going to the character of him as an individual. And he was the embodiment of the expression of politics as he acts of the possible (Ph). He had the capacity to ensure that people trusted him. And because he was decent, and honest and fair.

And it was through the relationship that he developed with his political opponents where he distributed his words that we were able to develop a peace process that has brought us as far as we have come in the north of Ireland.

CHURCH: And you say that ultimately he achieved a united Ireland?

MACBRIDE: Well, I think that certainly that object of republicanism is closer now than it was prior to the Good Friday agreement. I think we see certainly if you look back to not much more than a year ago, a joint survey this kind between BBC and RCA, in which for the first time since the Northern Ireland states was created in the 1920s, the majority of people who live here do not any longer define themselves as British.

They define themselves as Irish or Northern Irish. They have developed an identity that is -- that is very much grinded in where they have grown up. And it is not -- it is not a British identity. And I think that is something that is we continue to see that when you consider that Northern Ireland was one of regions that voted against Brexit.

So there's very much a sense of an identity here that is much closer to united Ireland than it was 20 years ago.

CHURCH: With the death of Martin McGuiness now what will that mean for this movement towards a truer united Ireland? His work is done clearly. Who will pick out the mantle from here?

MACBRIDE: Well, I think that the current phase of talks, we've recently had an assembly election which has changed the political dynamic, the gap between. There's no longer a unionist majority in Stormont for the first time since the 1920s.

We are looking at the gap between unionism and republicanism has narrowed. And the currency of the talks is that by developing mechanisms that ensure that there is a quality in high government.

And I think that the current leadership is very well paced to continue the work that Martin McGuiness started. Michelle O'Neill has shown herself in the short time that she has taken on the role of Sinn Fein's chief negotiator in the north to be a competent and able leader.

[03:25:06] She was a competent and able minister when she was previously in office. I think there's a support structure there of the younger grip of republicans coming forward. People like Pearse Doherty and Mary Lou McDonald who had not previously held office in the party but there's a very strong core there, very much who served the apprenticeship of the citizen master.

Martin McGuiness was the political master when it came to making peace with her enemies, when it came to reassuring people that they were -- that their interests would be protected. When it came to ensuring that he brought his own people along with him in terms specifically of the IRA it would not have been decommissioning of IRA weapons without Martin McGuiness entered into the negotiations. So he has, he did take huge risks for peace that it ended being paid.

CHURCH: All right. Political commentator Patricia MacBride joining us there from Derry in Northern Ireland as we cover this breaking news, the death of Northern Ireland's Martin McGuiness at the age of 66. And we will continue to do this.

I want to move back to some news here in the United States. A new ban will potentially keep thousands of passengers on certain flights to the U.S. from using almost all their electronic devices.

It impacts a number of airlines that fly nonstop from certain countries in the Middle East and Africa. Passengers with devices bigger than cellphone will have to check them. U.S. officials tell CNN the rule is linked to a possible security concern believed to be linked to Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula.

CNN's money emerging market editor, John Defterios joins us now with more from Abu Dhabi. Good to see you, John. So, I know you had an opportunity to reach out to some carriers in the region, how are they responding to this new directive?

JOHN DEFTERIOS, CNN EMERGING MARKETS EDITOR: Well, the story, if you will, Rosemary is still taking shape in the Middle East. The carriers the say they're prepared to respond to the directive. It's our understanding they received the official information from the Department of Homeland Security at the top of the hour, about 25 minutes ago.

The embargo on that information is reportedly going to be lifted at 6 a.m. Eastern Time or 2 p.m. here in the Gulf. Now, nobody wanted to jump over that official announcement. By connecting the dots after the different conversations I've had in the region, it appears that these are numbers we're working with. That 10 airports will be affected with this.

At least nine carriers to the Middle East and North Africa covering eight countries at this stage. A royal Jordanian airlines that coming out of Amman, Jordan was the first to respond on a Twitter feed last night, suggesting that all electronics will be banned with the exception of mobile phones. And that seems to be very consistent right across the board.

And emergency medical devices, they said this will go into effect as of today. Now, Saudi Airlines, based out of Riyadh and Jeddah with direct flights going to New York said they will implement this ban starting on Wednesday, the 22nd.

The carriers had up to 96 hours to respond. Again, they're getting the information as we speak. Now, you may ask about the Gulf carriers, that would be Emirates, Etihad and Qatar Airways. Emirates put out a statement. They said it was awaiting the official information and that it would follow the directives.

A spokeswoman for Qatar Airways suggested the same. And a spokeswoman for Etihad Airlines suggested we, again are waiting for the official numbers right now. But the numbers that I talked about seem to be in line with what they're applying to right now. They have pre-clearance for U.S. passengers leaving Abu Dhabi. So an extra layer of security as well, Rosemary. Back to you.

CHURCH: All right. Many thanks to our John Defterios, covering that from Abu Dhabi. I appreciate that.

We'll take a very short break here. But still to come more on the legacy of Northern Ireland's Martin McGuiness dead at the age of 66.


CHURCH: One of Northern Ireland's best known politician has died. Martin McGuiness was Deputy First Minister of Northern Ireland from 2007 until this past January. The former IRA leader left the group to become a negotiator for peace. Martin McGuiness was 66 years old.

Well, CNN's international diplomatic editor Nic Robertson has more now on McGuiness' life.

ROBERTSON: Martin McGuiness was never in any doubt about what he wanted, an end to British rule in Northern Ireland.


MARTIN MCGUINESS, FORMER DEPUTY FIRST MINISTER OF NORTHERN IRELAND: I am an Irish republican, and Irish context that we believe that the British government should have real part to play and the life of assailant that we believe the assailant should be free.


ROBERTSON: McGuiness was born into poverty, in the bankside slums of Londonderry, a city that would become the cradle of the republican movement in the province.

In the late 1960's, Londonderry's Catholics took to the streets demanding Civil Rights and end to Protestant dominance of Northern Ireland. McGuiness joined the IRA, the Irish Republican Army to fight.


MCGUINESS: That first came I picked that the form was during (Inaudible) which was 1969 whenever the fighting effect have erupted.


ROBERTSON: By 1972, and bloody Sunday and British paratroopers fired on angry demonstrators, killing unarmed civilians, McGuiness had risen to be an IRA commander. In the early 80's, McGuiness became an elected politician for Sinn Fein, the political wing of the IRA.

But even as the IRA launch bombing attacks in Northern Ireland in mainland Britain, McGuiness was talking with British officials, a risky initiative.


MCGUINESS: We were dealing with very dangerous people who had the capability to effectively destroy me as a republican and the fact that he bring about a set of circumstances where I could lose my life as a result of participation in these talks. (END VIDEO CLIP)

ROBERTSON: His risks eventually paid off, the 1998 Good Friday Peace Agreement called for power sharing between Catholic and Protestants.

[03:35:00] Vindication came at the ballot box. Sinn Fein's popularity soared, the most powerful Catholic party in Northern Ireland.

In a new power sharing government McGuiness rose to be deputy first minister. The first in his party to shake hand with Britain's Queen Elizabeth. A testament to how far this one-time republican terrorist had come.

But after 10 years of power sharing with Protestants, McGuiness abruptly resigned.


MCGUINESS: So, I believe at his very theme to call a halt to the DUP's parliament.


ROBERTSON: It was all the more shocking because he appeared so visibly weak. He was ill. It was the last roll of the political dice, a republican through and through.


MCGUINESS: Well, I've always believed in myself. From the day that I stood with the young people and the old people of Derry and through the storms there in the battle of Bogside, it was that moment on that I believed in my myself, that I believe that we could achieve important things.


ROBERTSON: A belief he never let go.


CHURCH: All right. I want to bring you up-to-date now on our breaking news. Martin McGuiness the oldest statesman of Northern Ireland politics has died. He got his start as the member of Irish Republican Army terrorist group. But before turning to politics McGuiness became the chief negotiator for the Sinn Fein political party during the Northern Ireland peace process.

He served as Northern Ireland's deputy first minister from 2007 until this year. Martin McGuiness was 66.

All right, returning now to news in the United States, FBI Director James Comey says he has no information to support Donald Trump's claim that former President Barack Obama wiretapped him at Trump Tower. Mr. Trump made the accusation three weeks ago without offering any proof. Well, Director Comey also officially announced the existence of an

investigation into whether President Trump's campaign worked with Russia to influence the election.


COMEY: I have been authorized by the Department of Justice to confirm that the FBI as part of our counterintelligence mission is investigating the Russian government's efforts to interfere in the 2016 presidential election.

[03:40:11] And that includes investigating the nature of any links between individuals associated with the Trump campaign and the Russian government and whether there was any coordination between the campaign and Russia's efforts.


CHURCH: All right, let's get some reaction now from Russia. Clare Sebastian joins us live from Moscow. And of course before this hearing we had heard from Russia they wouldn't be listening to this. But what has been the reaction? Anything?

CLARE SEBASTIAN, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, Rosemary, we asked the Kremlin's spokesman Dmitry Peskov while the hearing was still going on yesterday if he had any reaction to that announcement by the FBI director that they are investigating potential meddling or collusion by Russia.

He said they don't see any reason to comment. But it's extraordinary from the outside when you note how unusual it was that the FBI even disclose this investigation. But certainly that's been in keeping with what we've heard from the Kremlin throughout this, as you said.

And also striking was the lack of media coverage of this event. Certainly a measure of how far we've come from the euphoria surrounding Trump's election hearing in Russia to this hearing which appeared to have the opposite effect.


REP. DEVIN NUNES, (R) CALIFORNIA: The Putin regime has a long history of aggressive actions against other countries.


SEBASTIAN: As accusations against Russia echoed through Washington, on the streets of Moscow few even knew it was happening. "I found out from you," this man said. "I think Russia will still be in first place despite the U.S.," this woman tells me.

The hearing comes at a time when Russian euphoria over Trump's election has orbit fizzled out. And that is partly because of these investigations. Russia has realized that far from a potential ally it is now politically toxic for Trump.


DMITRY PESKOV, KREMLIN SPOKESMAN: Quite unexpectedly we've faced a situation when Russia all of a sudden became let's say a nightmare for the United States.


SEBASTIAN: The Kremlin has distanced itself calling this anti-Russian hysteria, saying they were too busy with their own work to follow the hearing.

Sergey Karaganov has advised the Russian government since the Cold War.


SEBASTIAN: What do you think was going on inside the Kremlin today?

SERGEY KARAGANOV, FORMER VLADIMIR PUTIN'S ADVISER: With the Kremlin, I mean, we're preparing for our own elections which are a thousand times more important I think than the Trump elections. We have a lot -- some of it (Inaudible) I mean, the whole debate is unbelievably humiliating for America.


SEBASTIAN: The Russian media stay mostly quiet on the hearing on Monday. The editor in chief of Kremlin funded English language channel RT saying it was quote, "like a spy movie from the 1970s."

Sergey Strokan, is a political columnist for Russian newspaper Kommersant.


SERGEY STROKAN, POLITICAL COLUMNIST, KOMMERSANT NEWSPAPER: Just to repeat those accusations which are well-known for Russian publics and which were downplayed by Russian officials, this is seen as a futile exercise.

KARAGANOV: People are bored. I mean at first it was exhilarating. People felt interested, proud. But now it's boring. And then it's boring and stupid.


SEBASTIAN: So, denial, dismissals and even outright derision here in Moscow, Rosemary. But of course, the big question is will Russia and the U.S. still be able to salvage some of a working relationship going forward? We may get some get some clarity on that.

The U.S. State Department spokesman for the U.S. State Department has told CNN that Secretary of State Rex Tillerson does plan to visit Moscow in April. That will be his first visit as Secretary of State, the first visit by a member of the Trump administration to Russia since Trump's inauguration. So, we may get some clarity there on how this will progress. Rex

Tillerson has already met with Sergey Lavrov back in February, set a very clear tone by immediately calling on Russia to call back Russian- backed forces in eastern Ukraine.

So, you know, there's still an openness on the Russian side, they say to find in some kind of common ground to work together, perhaps on the side against terrorism, but this will certainly be a very closely watched event here in Moscow, and certainly in Washington, as well, Rosemary.

CHURCH: Yes. Certainly renewed scrutiny on the relationship between the United States and Russia.

Clare Sebastian, joining us there, live from Moscow where it is 10.44 in the morning. We'll take a very short break. We'll be back in just a moment.


CHURCH: Welcome back. Well, Donald Trump Supreme Court pick Judge Neil Gorsuch faces another day of tensed hearings Tuesday. During the first day of his confirmation hearing Monday, democrats vented their anger at the republican controlled Senate which refuse to consider President Obama's Supreme Court nominee last year.

Gorsuch promised to be impartial if confirmed. The hearings are scheduled to end on Thursday.

Laptops, iPods, and most other electronic devices won't be allowed in aircraft cabins on some non-stop flights to the United States. A new ban affects a number of airlines with flights to the U.S. from certain countries in the Middle East and in Africa.

Officials tell CNN the rule could be linked to a security threat from Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula.

Mary Schiavo joins me now. She is a CNN aviation analyst. Welcome. Great to talk to you as always. So what do you think is behind this decision to ban electronics from cabins on some Middle Eastern and African flights coming to the United States? What are main concerns for aviation officials?

MARY SCHIAVO, CNN AVIATION ANALYST: Well, this ban comes out of raid that was conducted in Yemen a few weeks back. And the, you know, the information that they get from these raids has in the past been very efficient and has been spot on.

For example, way back in 1995 of a worldwide-plot was foiled. It was called project Bojinka and when they got some information and searched locations, I believed in the Philippines, they found that the airlines were going to be attacked. In that case they wanted to take out a dozen airliners that were coming to the U.S. over the ocean.

And so, when they get this information from the search it's very important to pay attention to it. And the search, we don't have the information they uncovered, but that indicates that they would be using electronics on certain U.S. bound flights.

CHURCH: Interesting. So, would you expect this ban would make a big difference and create a much safer environment in the end?

SCHIAVO: Well, we have again, we have to trust the information from the raid, which is certainly I don't have and haven't seen. But the information that has been released says that they believe that an Al Qaeda bomb maker, one that has of course, unfortunately, and sadly successful in the past, has trained bomb makers to implant these devices into small personnel electronics, laptops, iPods, et cetera.

And that is they are banning them on certain flights to the United States. They did add also that where screening is more robust, for example, if a flight makes a stop in an intermediary country where the U.S. deems the screening more robust, more explosive detection equipment, more personal screening, et cetera, then that ban would not be in place.

[03:50:13] CHURCH: Interesting. I was going to ask you about that as well. But I do want to just get an idea. Because cell phones are allowed but not these other electronics. Why couldn't a cell phone be used to do this same sort of thing?

SCHIAVO: Well, you know, it could and they have shown instances where cell phones have been adapted to all matter of contraband explosives done as you name it. But here again, they seem to be going on whatever intelligence it was that they got out of the raid in Yemen and that these devices were the ones that had been targeted by the bomb maker.

So that's why they're using and that's why they're targeting these devices. If they have additional information for that more electronics might be used or different countries involved and more flights, I would expect the ban to be expanded if they get additional intelligence.

CHURCH: All right, we'll be watching this very closely. Mary Schiavo, many thanks to you. I appreciate it.

SCHIAVO: Thank you.

CHURCH: Well, Kurdish YPG forces say they have an agreement to train with Russian fighters in Syria. Russia's ministry of defense had no comment. Reuters is reporting Russia is planning to build a new military base in northwestern Syria. Moscow denied that claim in an online statement.

Well, Iraq's prime minister says the U.S. is promising more support in the fight against ISIS. Haider al-Abadi had his first face-to-face meeting with President Trump on Monday. The visit comes ahead of Secretary of State Rex Tilerson's meeting with the anti-ISIS coalition.

And with more on this Jomana Karadsheh joins us now from Istanbul.

So, talk to us about the new landscape now in efforts to find peace and efforts to fight ISIS with the new U.S. administration. JOMANA KARADSHEH, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, I think, you know, with

the new U.S. administration as we know, Rosemary, President Trump had asked the military officials, the Pentagon to provide him with a plan to defeat ISIS. And last month they did provide him with plans and suggestions for how they wanted to see this fight go forward.

And this would likely see an increase in the number of U.S. forces in Iraq and also in Syria.

But as we are hearing from leaders like Prime Minister of Iraq Haider al-Abadi that you are looking at those final stages, it would seem of this fight against ISIS to try and drive them out of the last territory that they hold, whether it's in Iraq or whether it's in Syria with the fight for Mosul and the fight that's looming for the recapture of their de factor capital in Raqqa in Syria.

That this is not just a military fight. And this is something Prime Minister al-Abadi is saying that they want to see more done. And this is perhaps something that will be brought up in the meetings. This is something that comes from the 2014 President Obama strategy when it comes to defeating ISIS. This is not just a military fight.

But officials like the Iraqi prime minister would tell you not enough is being done in other fields to try and fight ISIS when it comes to cutting the funding and support that the group gets when it comes to fighting that extreme ideology.

So, that is something where leaders of Iraq and other countries want to see more being done. U.S. officials do say that there has been a lot of success when it comes to cutting that source of funding and the finances that they've targeted for ISIS. But again, Iraqis, for example, would say that more needs to be done by countries or entities that they feel maybe supporting ISIS, Rosemary.

CHURCH: All right. Jomana Karadsheh, with that live report beaming there from Istanbul. Many thanks to you.

Well, the British government will officially begin what promises to be a messy and lengthy divorce from the European Union a week from Wednesday. Prime Minister Theresa May's spokesman says she invoke article 50 beginning formal proceedings to leave the E.U.

Britain told the E.U. about the plan on Monday. The European Council now has to come up with a draft Brexit guideline within 48 hours. But it will still be several more weeks before negotiations begin.

A former newspaper editor in Mexico could be facing charges in the United States after police recovered quarterback Tom Brady's missing Super Bowl jersey inside his home.

Mauricio Ortega was one of the journalists who had access to locker room after the New England Patriots won the Super Bowl last month.

[03:55:01] Authorities say charges will not be brought against Ortego in Mexico since the allege crime happened in the United States. But the police chief in Houston, Texas says he fully anticipates charges will be filed. Tom Brady's jersey worn at this year's Super Bowl is worth an estimated $500,000.

Well, everyone has survived the commercial plane in south Sudan, but when you see the burning jet it makes you wonder how that was even possible. The president's spokesman calls it was miraculous and says there were only minor injuries among some of the 43 people on board. He said fog caused the pilot to overshoot the runway but the crew managed to get everyone off safely, thankfully.

Well, an update on our breaking news before we go. Martin McGuiness the eldest statesman of Northern Irish politics has died. He got his start as a member of the Irish Republican Army terrorist group before turning to politics.

McGuiness became chief negotiator for the Sinn Fein political party during the Northern Ireland peace process. He served as Northern Ireland's deputy first minister from 2007 until this year. Martin McGuiness was 66.

Well, CNN's Max Foster is in London is and will have much more on the political life and legacy of Martin McGuiness next hour. Do stay with us here on CNN.


FOSTER: Thank you for joining us. I'm Max Foster in London.

And we begin with breaking news.

[04:00:01] One of Northern Ireland's best known politicians has died.