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Nunes Accused Bias in the Investigation; Investigations Into Massive Death Toll in Mosul; Rough Weather Hits Queensland; New Leader Soon to Lead in France; Deported Immigrants: Stranger in Own Land. Aired 3-4a ET

Aired March 28, 2017 - 03:00   ET



[03:00:00] ROSEMARY CHURCH, CNN ANCHOR: He's one of the top lawmakers investigating potential ties between Russia and the Trump campaign. But democrats claim he's too close to the White House.

Plus, investigations underway after coalition air strikes targeting ISIS militants in Mosul are said to have killed dozens of civilians as well.

And the latest on the powerful cyclone that's battering Australia's northeastern coast.

Hello and welcome to our viewers all around the world. I'm Rosemary Church, and this is CNN NEWSROOM.

The investigation into Russia's alleged meddling in the 2016 U.S. presidential election is turning more partisan by the day. Top democrats want the republican leading the House probe to recuse himself.

Devin Nunes was a member of President Trump's transition team, and now critics say, they're not sure he can be fair.

CNN's Jessica Schneider reports.

JESSICA SCHNEIDER, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Tonight new details about House intelligence committee Chair Devin Nunes' whereabouts, the night before this unusual press conference.


DEVIN NUNES, (R) UNITED STATES REPRESENTATIVE: What I've read bothers me, and I think it should bother the president.


SCHNEIDER: It turns out Nunes was on White House grounds. His spokesman confirming Chairman Nunes met with his source at the White House grounds in order to have proximity to a secure location where he could view the information provided by the source. That's where Nunes tells CNN he viewed information indicating

incidental collection of the president's communications. A government official tells CNN Nunes was seen at the national security offices at the Eisenhower executive office building, despite Nunes's assertion that no one from the White House knew he was there, it raises several questions.

Who granted Nunes access onto the White House grounds, who let him into the secure room at the EEOB, and who accessed the computer system to view the files? White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer not providing answers.


SEAN SPICER, UNITED STATES WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: I'll be glad to check on that, I'm not sure that that -- that that's how that works, but I will follow-up on that point.


SCHNEIDER: Nunes still hasn't shared the details with intelligence committee members and democrats are questioning Nunes' ability to be impartial.


CHUCK SCHUMER, (D) UNITED STATES SENATOR: Without further ado, Speaker Ryan should replace Chairman Nunes.


SCHNEIDER: House Speaker Paul Ryan standing by the chair. Speaker Ryan has full confidence that Chairman Nunes is conducting a thorough, fair, and credible investigation. This as President Trump's son-in-law and top adviser Jared Kushner, has agreed to face members of the Senate intelligence committee as new information emerges about his meeting with prominent Russians.

The White House previously disclosed Kushner's December meeting at Trump Tower with the Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak. Now the White House admits the Ambassador Kislyak requested a second meeting, to with Kushner sent his deputy, Avrahm Berkowitz.

Kushner then had another meeting at the request of Ambassador Kislyak, with Sergey Gorkov, the head of Russia's economic development bank, a bank sanctioned by the United States.

Throughout the campaign and transition, Jared Kushner served as the official primary point of contact with foreign governments and officials. Given this role, he has volunteered to speak with Chairman Burr's committee, according to a White House spokesman.

Democratic lawmakers continue to express their concerns about the Trump team and possible ties to Russia. Senator Mark Warner, ranking member on the intelligence committee telling NBC's Meet the Press this. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MARK WARNER, UNITED STATES SENATOR: We have to get the facts out to the American people.

CHUCK TODD, MSNBC HOST: You keep saying there's a lot more smoke.

WARNER: There's a lot more smoke.

TODD: Do you think the fire's there?

WARNER: Listen, time will tell.


CHURCH: And Devin Nunes is defending the way he's handled his duties as chairman of the House intelligence committee. He spoke with CNN's Wolf Blitzer.


NUNES: The Congress has not been given this information, these documents, and that's the problem. So because this is executive branch, it was distributed widely through the executive branch, this was from November, December, and January, and these were reports, just let me reiterate this had nothing to do with Russia, nothing to do with the Russian investigation.

There's no way for the folks that I have been working with, to actually bring this forward to light, there was no way I could view that, because they couldn't get it to the House intelligence committee.

QOLF BLITZER, CNN HOST: In addition to going to that secure room to look over these documents, did you have other meetings at the White House? Did you meet with the president or any of his aides while you were there that night?

NUNES: No. And in fact, I'm quite sure that I think people in the west wing had no idea that I was there.

[03:04:58] Look, I go over there a lot. I go over there often for meetings and briefings, to meet foreign dignitaries, all those sort of things, I go to all the agencies, it's part -- it's part of the role of oversight. And all of our members go to the executive branch.

BLITZER: By holding the meeting on the White House grounds, it makes it appear that someone in the administration was coordinating the release of this information to you. Is that not the case?

NUNES: No, it's not the case. Like I said, this is something I'd been working for a long time. And I had to find a way for me to have access to the information because we couldn't get the information down to the committee, and this was, you know, this was a way I could facilitate me getting that information.


CHURCH: Devin Nunes talking with our Wolf Blitzer there. Well, President Trump's son-in-law is under scrutiny for his December meeting with the head of a Russian bank that's been sanctioned by the United States.

As we mentioned earlier, Jared Kushner has volunteered to talk with Senate investigators about the meeting. The White House says Kushner was just doing his job.

And CNN's Fred Pleitgen joins us now from Moscow with more on this. So Fred, when Jared Kushner talks with Senate investigators about his meeting with Russian officials, what's he likely to reveal? What are you learning?

PLEITGEN: Well, I think first and foremost, what they're going to want to hear, is what exactly the contents of those meetings were especially the meeting with that executive of the Russian economic development bank, Sergey Gorkov the Vnesh Economic Bank, which as you noted is heavily sanctioned by the United States.

And it's interesting, because we asked the bank for some sort of comment on all of this, whether this meeting actually took place. And what they said is that they basically confirmed that the meeting did take place. They said that at the time, there was a roadshow going on, of the Vnesh Economic Bank where it was looking into new fields to try invest in new business opportunities.

And that at the time of this roadshow, which was in 2016, that they met with several executives of financial institutions and also very important companies and that Jared Kushner was one of the people that they also met with.

Now, what they didn't disclose is what exactly was spoken about at those meetings. We know from the White House that they're saying that nothing of substance came of that meeting, that the meeting wasn't very long, and really didn't lead to very much.

The bank itself when contacted by us, didn't say what the contents of those meetings were, what came out of those meetings, and also possibly what exactly sort of strategy, whether or not anything for the future was spoken about.

So, there's still a lot of questions that remain open. A lot of things that the folks there will want to hear from Jared Kushner when he comes and testifies there.

CHURCH: Yes, indeed. Lot of questions. But when you look at these sorts of meetings, could the explanation be fairly innocent? That possible here?

PLEITGEN: Yes, no, it certainly could be. Look, one of the things that we keep mentioning and that certainly the White House keeps saying and even democrats are saying, is that they say look, at the time it was Jared Kushner's job to meet with foreign officials, to meet with people from foreign countries to try and scope out American relations for the Trump administration.

So certainly it could just have been talks about superficial things, possible things in the future. But we have to keep in mind that the executive that he was speaking to, Sergey Gorkov is the chairman of a bank that was heavily sanctioned by the U.S. at the time, still is, because of Russia's involvement in Ukraine.

It's also a bank that does have a lot of investments in the east of Ukraine, which was heavily hit by that fighting, and as a person who was directly appointed by Vladimir Putin.

So there's a lot of questions that democrats will have for Jared Kushner, but absolutely, there could very well be a very innocent explanation for all this, and that's certainly what the White House is saying.

They're saying this was part of a portfolio of Jared Kushner at the time he was asked for this meeting by Sergey Kislyak, to have this meeting, and that in the end, the meeting was superficial and nothing of substance was discussed, Rosemary.

CHURCH: All right. Some valid points there. Our Fred Pleitgen, bringing us up to date with that live report from Moscow, where it is just after 10 in the morning. Many thanks.

Well, Iraqi forces say they are trying to tighten the noose around the remaining ISIS positions in Mosul's old city. The battle to force the militants out of Mosul has been going on since October.

Iraqi forces have recaptured all of the east side and half of the west side of the city. Their advance has slowed in the past two weeks after the fighting resulted in high civilian death tolls.

As grieving families bury their loved ones, the U.S. and Iraq are investigating a recent coalition air strike in western Mosul. Iraqis called for a strike on an ISIS suicide truck bomb. Nearby buildings crumbled in the blast. An Iraqi official said 112 bodies have been pulled from the rubble.

[03:10:02] And CNN's Jomana Karadsheh is following developments. She joins us now from Istanbul in Turkey. So Jomana, what more are you learning about this strike on an ISIS suicide truck bomb. And what are survivors been saying about the blast and what they witnessed?

JOMANA KARADSHEH, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Rosemary, it's been more than 10 days since that incident took place on March 17th, in the western Mosul neighborhood. And it really is still unclear what caused the blast, what caused this large number of civilian casualties, and how many people were killed.

As you mentioned, according to an Iraqi health official yesterday, telling CNN, up until Monday, they had managed to recover 112 bodies, at least. But the recovery effort is ongoing. It's very slow, it's a very complex situation.

And now according to reports that are coming from on the ground there in Mosul, these civilians, the residents who have been fleeing in recent weeks are describing horrific, unimaginable conditions they've been living under, that people have been used as human shields, essentially by ISIS.

These fighters using their homes as fighting positions, describing being caught in this indiscriminate crossfire and of course those terrifying airstrikes on their very crowded neighborhoods.

So all this, Rosemary, is really adding to this concern that we don't know at this point the real extent of civilian casualties in this battle to recapture Mosul, a battle that has intensified, and where the U.N. is concerned about hundreds of thousands of civilians, they believe, are still trapped in western Mosul.

CHURCH: It is tragic, it is horrifying. So Jomana, what impact will these civilian deaths likely have on the fight against ISIS going forward?

KARADSHEH: Well, you know, Rosemary, the battle still continues, as we saw yesterday from the reporting from our team, Arwa Damon and her team, who are on the ground near the front lines of Mosul. The battle seemed to be going on and it was as intense as it has been in recent weeks.

And when it comes to the U.S. military, no indication at this point that they're going to be changing anything, or modifying anything when it comes to this fight. We've heard U.S. officials saying that they always do take care when it comes to civilian lives and trying to preserve civilian lives.

When it comes to the Iraqi military, they have, you know, talked about the possibilities of focusing less on air strikes, moving more on foot, using drones and using precision artillery.

But really, Rosemary, all this, it's going to be hard to avoid civilian casualties, because of the reality and the complexity of this battle. We're talking about this very challenging urban environment where the battle is taking place right now. Those narrow streets of western Mosul that are packed with civilians.

So it is going to be very difficult, unfortunately, if not impossible, to avoid more civilian casualties, it seems, at this point.

CHURCH: Yes, that is indeed the tragedy of this story. Jomana Karadsheh, joining us there from Istanbul in Turkey where it is 10.12 in the morning. Many thanks.

At least 11 people are dead in southern Yemen after a suicide bombing on a government compound. Local officials are blaming Al Qaeda. The terror group is taking advantage of a power vacuum there. The civil war in Yemen is now in its third year, and the U.N. says the country is on the brink of famine.

Well, South African anti-apartheid activist Ahmed Kathrada has died after complications from surgery. Kathrada was a close friend of Nelson Mandela. He spent more than 26 years in prison for anti- apartheid activities.

In recent years, the man known as Uncle Kathy became a vocal critic of government corruption under President Jacob Zuma. Ahmed Kathrada was 87 years old.

Coming up, tens of thousands are without power as a monster storm pounds the northeastern coast of Australia. We are tracking cyclone Debbie, that is next.

And a hectic pace for one candidate in France's presidential election. Francois Fillon's push to get past a financial scandal. We'll have that and more when we come back.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I grew up in Phoenix from a very young age, so that's all I captured. This is my country, but I've never actually been here.


CHURCH: Also ahead, the challenges many young immigrants face after being deported, starting a new life in a country they don't know.


DON RIDDELL, CNN WORLD SPORT ANCHOR: I'm Don Riddell with your CNN World Sport headlines.

We're just 10 days away from the start of the years' first golfing major The Masters. And although anything can happen and often does, there is one clear favorite. His name is Dustin Johnson. The world's top ranked player won the WGC match player over the weekend, beating John Rahm in a tense final.

It was Johnson's third consecutive title, meaning he's won the last three tournaments that he's entered and this one completed an unprecedented sweep of the four WGC titles. Nobody's ever done that before.

Most bookies now have him as a solid favorite to win The Masters both by Ladbrokes and William Hill priced at 5 to 1.

Manchester City has been fined almost $50,000 by the English Football Association after protests on the pitch over a penalty decision. The game question was the 1-1 draw with Liverpool earlier this month Pep Guardiola admitted to the charge of misconduct relating to players not acting in an orderly fashion.

Now in three years' time the NFL is headed to the land of bright lights and long nights, Las Vegas, that's after 31 of 32 league owners on Monday approved the move of the Oakland Raiders to Nevada, beginning in the 2020 season.

The team will play in a $1.9 billion stadium, which is going to be shared with the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, as well. That is a quick look at your sports headlines. I'm Don Riddell.

CHURCH: Welcome back, everyone. Well, Australia's most powerful storm in years has made landfall on Queensland's Coast. Tropical cyclone Debbie is battering the region with torrential rain and wind gusts over 260 kilometers per hour.

Thousands of people were forced to evacuate, and all schools are now closed. More than 50,000 homes lost power and residents have been warned of storm surges up to four meters high.

Storm chaser James Reynolds joins us now from L.A. Beach on Australia's Queensland Coast. So James, what is the situation on the ground right now and how well prepared were people and indeed the government in the lead-up to this?

JAMES REYNOLDS, STORM CHASER: Hi, Rosemary. Well, we are well and truly in the grip of the second half of the cyclone right now. The eye of the storm actually passed right over my location here about three hours ago. But now the second half of the storm is lashing us with torrential rain, damaging wind, and it really is some of the worst conditions we've seen of the storm so far.

[03:19:55] In terms of preparation, fantastic job all along the coastline I traveled yesterday and the day before. Everyone was very calm, there was no panic buying. It was just a case of people accepting that there was a big storm coming and doing what they needed to do in a timely fashion to prepare as best as possible.

CHURCH: And James, Queensland's premier said she doesn't know the extent of the devastation right now of course, and can't get emergency personnel out to those in need until it's safe. How soon might that be and when might the power be returned to what, some 50,000 people that have lost it?

REYNOLDS: Well, yes, as I mentioned earlier, we're still in the grip of this storm. It would be far too dangerous for anyone to be out on the street in the town I'm in, and in many other towns along the coast, especially south of Airlie Beach.

And it's going to be many more hours before the situation has calmed down enough for the first responders and emergency management personnel to go out and really assess the damage. Of course the problem is, it's going to be the middle of the night. So I imagine it's going to have to be first thing tomorrow when we'll get a proper assessment of how much damage the cyclone has done.

CHURCH: Yes, and worth noting, of course, people in this part of Australia, they are used to cyclones. So they are good at preparing for these. And of course the evacuation of some 25,000 people also will make all of the difference.

James Reynolds, many thanks to you for joining us, we appreciate it.

So let's get more now from our meteorologist Pedram Javaheri who joins us from the International Weather Center. Pedram, you of course have been watching this very closely for some time now. And so how much longer is this likely to remain of the area and when might we see emergency personnel get out and help those in need?

PEDRAM JAVAHERI, CNN METEOROLOGIST: Yes, I think by this time tomorrow, we should have at least some improvement here that it would been able to get people out to these regions. And through tonight, going to still see heavy rainfall, Rosemary, the storm has slowed down just a little bit.

I want to show you Queensland cyclone history. Because when you look at this region, the most recent significant storm was Yasi that moved over six years ago. Just north of Townsville in that case. That storm was actually the costliest in the nation's history, over a billion dollars in losses.

Look at cyclone Debbie, it came in just south of that region, again wind speeds very similar. This storm Debbie a very large scale feature. I show you that here on satellite imagery. Because the perspective is pretty impressive.

And we've touched on the cloud field associated with the storm system, now it kind of overlaying the continent of Europe across this region. And it kind of shows you what we're talking about with the perspective of the graphic. Not sure if the maps are going to cooperate with us today.

But the perspective is definitely an impressive one. We got about a 1,200-kilometer cloud field associated with this. Yes, the map's not popping up right now, but the impressive nature of what has happened here with the storm system and it's going to eventually push in towards the great -- dividing range there of Australia. And there you go.

Here's the map of Europe, it kind of show you that 1,200 kilometer cloud field associated with this. But some 260 kilometers an hour winds already observed on the coastal communities on some of the islands across this region.

And the storm system eventually will break down later on tonight. It has weakened now from the 185 kilometers per hour last hour to about 130 kilometers per hour, so still equivalent to a category 1 storm system.

And what is left of this, all the rainfall. In fact, the nature of how slow it's moving, less than 10 kilometers per hour. For any tropical cyclone, if you watch a storm move that slow, historically speaking, you're going to see 500 to 700 millimeters of rainfall.

Speed it up to more than average disturbance, say 20, 25 kilometers per hour, get a couple hundred millimeters of rain out of this.

This particular storm is not only large, as high as Europe in parts but also very much a slow mover, so that put together has the potential to produce this sort of rainfall totals we've seen already. Over 470 millimeters coming down in Mount William. And notice here, over the next 24 hours, it pushes off towards the south, begins to lose its tropical characteristics. The rainfall doesn't just turn off. That will continue, in fact, that will push in south towards areas of Brisbane, even as far south as Sydney will get some rainfall out of this before this disturbance scoots offshore.

But again, the amount of rain that is expected to come down in some spots could be equivalent to four months' worth of rainfall. Rock Hampton, Mackay, certainly Townsville, kind of on the northern fringe of this will miss most of this, Rosemary. But the rainfall aspect of this the flooding concern is going to be very high through tonight. Rosemary?

CHURCH: Yes. That is the big concern, isn't it? All right, Pedram, thanks so much for keeping a very close eye on that. We appreciate it.

JAVAHERI: Thank you.

CHURCH: An avalanche at a Japanese ski resort has killed seven high school students and a teacher. They were taking ski and climbing lessons when the avalanche struck on Monday. About 200 kilometers north of Tokyo. Forty people were injured. But dozens more were able to get off the mountain safely.

Japan's prime minister says the government is offering assistance.

A new provocation by North Korea. U.S. defense officials tell CNN the regime tested another ballistic missile engine on Friday.

[03:25:02] That's third such test in recent weeks. The U.S. is trying to determine whether the engine that was tested could be used for an intercontinental ballistic missile. That kind of weapon could reach the United States.

Well, more than 100 countries started negotiations Monday on an international treaty to ban nuclear weapons. But U.S., the U.K. and almost 40 other countries are boycotting the talks, arguing such a treaty will not deter nuclear threats.


NIKKI HALEY, UNITED STATES AMBASSADOR TO THE UNITED NATIONS: You're going to see almost 40 countries that are not in the general assembly today. And that's 40 countries that are saying, in this day and time, we would love to have a ban on nuclear weapons.

But in this day and time, we can't honestly say that we can protect our people by allowing the bad actors to have them, and those of us that are good, trying to keep peace and safety, not to have them.


CHURCH: The U.S. says it will continue its commitment to the non- proliferation treaty which tries to prevent the spread of nuclear weapons. We'll take a break here, but still to come, Francois Fillon was once

the front-runner in the French presidential race. His battle against a financial scandal involving his wife.

We'll have a live report on that.

President Donald Trump's frequent trips to his properties are raising ethical concerns. Still to come, a look at how often he's dropped by since taking office. Back in a moment.


[03:29:56] CHURCH: And a warm welcome back to our viewers all across the globe. I'm Rosemary Church. I want to update you now on the main stories we've been following this hour.

The U.S. and Iraq are investigating a coalition air strike that may have resulted in the death of dozens of Iraqi civilians. Iraqi forces called for a strike on an ISIS suicide truck bomber in western Mosul on March 17.

The blast crumbled nearby buildings where families were taking shelter. An Iraqi official says 112 bodies have been pulled from the rubble.

The top democrat on the U.S. House intelligence committee is asking the republican chairman to recuse himself. The committee is investigating possible ties between the Trump campaign and Russia. The Chairman, Devin Nunes, was a member of President Trump's transition team.

Tropical cyclone Debbie has made landfall on Australia's Queensland Coast. The storm has ripped up trees and brought torrential rain to the area. Wind gusts have topped 260 kilometers per hour. Thousands of people were evacuated before that storm hit.

Well, the first round of voting in the French presidential election is less than a month away. Three recent polls show far-right candidate Marine Le Pen in a statistical dead heat with centrist independent Emmanuel Macron.

Trailing in third place is one-time front-runner, Francois Fillon. His wife will appear before judges Tuesday to answer allegations she and her children were paid for work they never did.

Melissa Bell joins us now from Paris with the very latest. So, Melissa, if the polls are to be believed, the race appears to be between Marine Le Pen and Emmanuel Macron. What are the issues that would likely decide this, and what are the two different process that they offer the voters?

MELISSA BELL, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: It really is a question of that, Rosemary. It's no exaggeration to say that French voters are essentially in less four weeks' time going to be choosing between two vary visions of what the country should be, a sort of fight for its soul really. The only thing that the far right Marine Le Pen and the independent

centrist Emmanuel Macron agree on, is that this time the traditional sort of divide between left and right is not as important as this sort of fight between openness and closing down.

Emmanuel Macron believes that France has not embraced globalization far enough. He's a fervent pro-European. Marine Le Pen, on the contrary, rather like what we see in the United States with Donald Trump, wants to try and make France great again by essentially protecting it from globalization, by closing down its borders and by retreating into a sort of vision of what it might once have been.

And as you say, the reason that these two very different visions are going to be competing is that the traditional right man, Francois Fillon, whose this was to lose. I mean, he was really leading the polls just a few weeks ago. He's been embroiled in this scandal about whether or not his wife Penelope actually carried out this parliamentary work for which she was paid.

Now, she will be appearing any minute now in front of magistrates here in Paris to answer those charges. But already as you're about to see, the allegations have cost Francois Fillon that precious lead in the polls.


BELL: For weeks now, protesters have greeted Francois Fillon wherever he goes. On Saturday, it took an umbrella to protect him from their eggs, but he couldn't escape the sound of their banging sauce pan.

A play on the French word which means both a cooking utensil and a scandal.

FRANCOIS FILLON, FRENCH PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE (through translator): These demonstrations are an insult to democracy. It's an insult to the many of French people who support me and the more they'll demonstrate, the more the French will support me.

BELL: But even as he continued with his visit to this farm in the southwest of France, his position in the polls was at an all-time low.

Francois Fillon emerged as the unexpected winner of the republican primary in late November. At the time, his campaign looked unstoppable. His lead in the polls, unshakeable. But then, only two months later, the scandal, dubbed Penelope Gate, changed that.

Newspaper allegations that Francois Fillon's wife and two of their children had been paid for parliamentary work never carried out, led to a judicial inquiry, and charges that include misuse of public funds, some within the Republican Party ranks wanted a new candidate, but Fillon refused to stand aside, saying he's done nothing wrong, and maintaining that the investigation is an attack by political opponents.

But a steady drip of newspaper reports about expensive gifts now means the candidate's troubles and the inquiry go beyond the question of Penelope's work. Fillon says the press reports are also part of a campaign against him.

FILLON (through translator): How do you explain the fact that there are hundreds, or in any case, dozens of journalists who go through my bins, to take an interest in my suits and to my shirts, and why not my underwear as well?

[03:35:02] At some point the French people can see perfectly well that there's one person in this presidential race who is the target of every attack.

BELL: Before his visit to the farm on Saturday, Francois Fillon was in (Inaudible) for a rally. Keeping up a frenetic pace, that shows a candidate determined to overcome the din of scandal. And many do seem to want to give him the benefit of the doubt.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (through translator): to be honest, I think all politicians do it a little bit. So with regard to him, I think we need to see what happened. We really need to understand the context to be certain.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: At this stage, he hasn't been found guilty of anything. So therefore there's always a question mark, a doubt. So I think he should really go ahead.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He was certainly the best candidate in terms of image for French people. But due to this very bad news, now it's not exactly the same Francois Fillon as four or five weeks ago.

BELL: The damage has already been done, with Fillon trailing a distant third behind the two candidates now looking to make it to the run-off. The far right Marine Le Pen and the independent centrist Emmanuel Macron tied in their substantial lead of the opinion polls.


BELL: And so once again today, Rosemary, with Penelope Fillon standing in front of the magistrates having to explain herself in this ongoing inquiry, voters are going to be reminded of this scandal, of the fact that their political elite is accused, not just the republicans, by the way, a government minister had to resign last week over similar allegations of benefitting personally from a system that has become corrupt.

That is the view of many voters here in France, which is all to the advantage of Emmanuel Macron and Marine Le Pen, both of whom per say they come from outside the system, and that they will profoundly change it. Rosemary?

CHURCH: All right, Melissa Bell with that report, live in Paris, where it is just after 9.30 in the morning. Many thanks.

Well, Queensland Deputy Police Commissioner Steve Gollschewski joined me now from Brisbane, Australia, where of course we're watching tropical cyclone Debbie at its worst there.

Thank you so much, sir, for talking with us at this very difficult time for you and your officers, of course. What are you able to tell us about the situation on the ground there right now and just how extensive are you expecting the damage to be?

STEVE GOLLSCHEWSKI, QUEENSLAND DEPUTY POLICE COMMISSIONER: Well, it's still happening to us. We've seen the eye of the cyclone go over this afternoon, and now our areas that we're the most concerned about in the Whitsunday area, near the Great Barrier Reef, it's now back into the other side of the cyclone.

So we got many hours ahead of us. Although a very catastrophic storm. We're expecting the worst and we're preparing for the worst. We've already seen significant damage from the area. We have limited reports out of there, obviously since people are sheltering, and also we're starting to have some significant problems with our communications, as you would expect.

CHURCH: Yes, we were hearing some 50,000 people without power. That's a lot of people, certainly in that area. So, you mentioned you would expect the worst of this cyclone to still last what, for a number of hours to come yet.

And of course until it's safe, emergency personnel will not be sent out there, understandably. But what sort of work will need to be done here?I mean, we're looking at the situation there, at some tape footage there that we have, but what are you expecting the worst of this to be?

GOLLSCHEWSKI: Look, the worst for us will be extensive damages, but of course what we're trying to make sure at the moment is that no one gets killed. We don't want to have any fatalities, but we simply don't know. We have to wait until tomorrow. Of course, we're coming into the evening down here in Australia.

It will be tomorrow morning first light and later before we get any real sense of the extent of this. We're working with our colleagues across government and the military to look at how we can get in there as quickly as we can in the morning with the assets and also resources we need to find out what's happened and to help our people.

CHURCH: And of course we heard that some 25,000, maybe more, people were evacuated. That's a lot of people to get out of town, for sure. But talk to us about the situation there, the worst part of the cyclone, because I mean, people in that part of Australia are used to cyclones, so they are generally quite well prepared. What about the structures there?

GOLLSCHEWSKI: Look, many of our people are very used to that, so they moved early and they moves to friends and family well away from it. So in the end, we don't have a lot of people in shelters which is a great thing, they're out of the area.

The structures there, many of them are rated for cyclones, but of course, it's an older area too, so we have old buildings that aren't quite as good. So we're going to have to wait and see, and we're getting reports that a number of reports that buildings have substantial damaged, if not destroyed. [03:39:59] CHURCH: Yes. We hope people hunker down. And Steve is out

safety, of course Queensland Deputy Police Commissioner Steve Gollschewski, thank you so much for talking with us, and we wish you the best.

GOLLSCHEWSKI: You're welcome. Thank you.

CHURCH: Well, Donald Trump has paid a lot of visits to his properties since becoming U.S. President. He and his daughter Ivanka were spotted heading to one of his hotels for dinner Saturday night.

And on Sunday, he made his 13th visit to one of his golf clubs since taking office. As Tom Foreman tells us, questions still linger about whether the president has conflicts of interest.




TOM FOREMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: A key question of the transition was, how far would President Trump step away from all his business interests?


TRUMP: We sell water and we have water. We have Trump steaks.

We have Trump magazine.


FOREMAN: The answer, not very. Almost every three days since taking office, he's stopped by a Trump building, Trump building or Trump resort, according to a breakdown by The Washington Post. And he's been to golf courses so many times his press secretary is playing defense.


SPICER: So on a couple of occasions, he's actually conducted meetings there, he's actually had phone calls. So just because he heads there, doesn't mean that's what's happened.


FOREMAN: But all that activity behind closed doors with no oversight is making government watchdogs nervous. Democrats are pushing for legislation demanding visitor logs at places like his Mar-a-Lago resorts.


LARRY NOBLE, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: He's really making his business part of the government or the government part of his business.

TRUMP: You know, I'm a good golfer, believe it or not.


FOREMAN: It's also presenting a big P.R. problem. When Barack Obama was President, no one was more critical of his time spent playing golf than Donald Trump.


TRUMP: He played more golf than Tiger Woods.


FOREMAN: When Louisiana flooding, the candidate famously went after the chief executive for going golfing before going to the flood zone.


TRUMP: And honestly, Obama ought to get off the golf course and get down there.


FOREMAN: And candidate Trump insisted if he won the election, he might never see his own golf courses again.


TRUMP: And I love golf, but if I were in the White House, I don't think I'd ever see Turnberry again, I don't think I'd ever see Doral again. I just want to stay in the White House and work my ass off to make great deals, right, who's going to lose?


FOREMAN: But while President Obama did not hit the links until April after his first inauguration and he provided a list of his playing partners, President Trump has visited golf courses 13 times already. And while he does not reveal if he's playing or with whom, it's clearly happening enough to shred his campaign claim.


TRUMP: I'm not going to have time to play golf. Believe me.


FOREMAN: The president's defenders say this is just a bunch of petty, political squabbling, but once again, we're faced with the question, how do we know when Donald Trump is being a public servant, and when he's being a private citizen?

Tom Foreman, CNN, Washington.

CHURCH: A top democratic senator is calling for a review of Steven Mnuchin's comments after the U.S. Treasury Secretary plugged the Lego Batman movie in an interview.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What's a movie that we should see?

STEVE MNUCHIN, UNITED STATES TREASURY SECRETARY: Well, I'm not allowed to promote anything that I'm involved in, so I want to have the legal disclosure, you're asked me the question and I'm not promoting any product, but you should send all your kids to Lego Batman.


CHURCH: Mnuchin was a Hollywood producer before taking office. His company financed that film. Senator Ron Widen says the secretary's comments showed a blatant disregard and disrespect for the office he serves. Widen serves on the Senate finance committee.

Well, deported from the United States, the only place they've called home. Coming up next, we will take you to Mexico, where some young immigrants feel they're foreigners in a country they don't know at all.


CHURCH: Welcome back, everyone.

Fulfillment of Donald Trump's promise to build a wall on the U.S. border with Mexico is in the works, sort of. The project is included in the U.S. president's controversial budget. The Trump administration wants the first $1 billion of wall funding to cover 100 kilometers.

But documents from the Department of Homeland Security say that amount will only cover 77 of those kilometers. The money will be used to build new and replacement border fencing in San Diego, California, and across the Rio Grande Valley. Estimates for the entire wall along the southern U.S. border range from 12 to more than $20 billion.

Well, the Trump administration is again going after so-called sanctuary cities which protect some undocumented immigrants from being deported. The U.S. attorney general is threatening to withhold federal funding if these cities don't comply. It's part of the immigration executive order President Trump signed back in January.


JEFF SESSIONS, UNITED STATES ATTORNEY GENERAL: Unfortunately, some states and cities have adopted policies designed to frustrate this enforcement of immigration laws. This includes refusing to detain known felons under federal detainer requests, or otherwise failing to comply with these laws. Such policies cannot continue. They make our nation less safe by putting dangerous criminals back on the streets.


CHURCH: Now, it's unclear which specific funding the government wants to take away. Mayors from sanctuary cities say they are protecting public safety by ensuring immigrants' trust law enforcement.

And for many immigrants who arrived as infants or small children, the U.S. has been their only home. Their birth certificates may show they were born in other countries, but first and foremost, they feel American. So what happens when they're deported to a country they don't know at all?

Our Polo Sandoval looks into that from Mexico City.


JORGE MATADAMAS, MEXICAN CITIZEN: I grew up in Phoenix, from a very young age. So that's all I kind of captured.

POLO SANDOVAL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Jorge Matadamas feels out of place on the streets of Mexico City.

MATADAMAS: This is my country, but I've never actually been here.

SANDOVAL: The 23-year-old was only 4 when his parents took him to the United States illegally.

MATADAMAS: It's the little things that make me miss back home.

SANDOVAL: Last August, Matadamas was charged with drunk driving and evading arrest. While in jail, he lost his DACA status, that's a Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, which gave him a chance to live and work in the U.S. After seven months in detention, he was deported.

[03:49:55] UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Back home I was doing business management, and so that's what I want to focus on here. Maybe I can start my own business or...

SANDOVAL: Matadamas says he's trying to stay positive.

MATADAMAS: Things happen for a reason. I just have to be strong and keep my head up and keep going.

SANDOVAL: Unlike many Americanized Mexicans in this country, Matadams has family to turn to. Daniel Velasco is among them. He's helping his cousin learn proper Spanish. And more about Mexican culture. Matadamas says he finds the experience overwhelming and he's not alone.

DALIA GABRIELA GARCIA, SOMOS MEXICANOS NATIONAL DIRECTOR (through translator): They are foreigners in their own country.

SANDOVAL: Dalia Gabriela Garcia heads Somos Mexicanos, the government program helps repatriate Mexicans deported by the U.S., nearly 32,000 of them this year. She's seen thousands of them struggle to assimilate in their native country.

GARCIA (through translator): They understand they were born in Mexico, but don't know much else.

SANDOVAL: So where is home right now? MATADAMAS: Home is right here at my lovely tiya's house.

SANDOVAL: Matadamas lives with his aunt and uncle in La Paz, it's a suburb about an hour and a half outside of Mexico City.

MATADAMAS: I'll show you my room that she provides, she was kind enough to provide me a space in her house.

SANDOVAL: This is where he contemplates his future.

MATADAMAS: Right now, it's just the uncertainty about what the future holds that kind of keeps me up at night, just thinking about, what's going to happen, am I going to find a job, is it going to be tomorrow, is it going to be in a couple of months?

SANDOVAL: While it's unlikely he will get back in the U.S. anytime soon, Matadamas concedes that he may just want to stay.

MATADAMAS: I mean, I had everything back in the United States, so why not have it here? That's how I look at things.

SANDOVAL: The challenge now, making his old life in a new country.

Polo Sandoval, CNN, Mexico City.

CHURCH: And we'll take a break here, but still to come, thieves walk off with a valuable chunk of change in a spectacular heist in Berlin. The story, still to come.


CHURCH: Welcome back, everyone. In Germany, thieves have made off with a coin that's so heavy it weighs almost as much as a refrigerator. And so valuable it's worth millions.

CNN's Lynda Kinkade has the details.

LYNDA KINKADE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Call it the curious coin caper. Police say thieves broke into Berlin's Bode Museum overnight pulling off a huge heist worth millions.

WINFRID WENZEL, BERLIN POLICE SPOKESMAN (through translator): We believe the thief or thieves broke in through a window in the back of the museum next to the rail tracks. They managed to enter the building and went to the coin exhibition, where they stole a single object.


KINKADE: The single object, no small change. An extraordinary coin. Minted in Canada, it's called the Big Maple Leaf featuring a portrait of Queen Elizabeth on one side and weighing 100 kilograms. It takes several people just to lift it. It has a face value of $1 million, but by weight alone, it's worth more than $4 million. And it's made almost entirely of pure gold.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) WENZEL (through translator): It is of extraordinary purity, a gold grade which is exceptional. Also its enormous weight and size with a diameter of 53 centimeters make it special.


KINKADE: Now that's some serious coin. Police say they found a ladder by some nearby railway tracks but are saying very little else about clues in the case. For now the search continues for whoever illegally took this legal tender.

Lynda Kinkade, CNN.

CHURCH: And thanks so much for your company. I'm Rosemary Church. Remember to connect with me any time on Twitter. I love to hear from you.

The news continues next with our Max Foster in London. You're watching CNN, the world's news leader.

Have yourself a great day.