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Experts: Russian Hacking Worse Than First Thought; Former South Korean President Arrested; Ex-Trump Aide Flynn Seeks Immunity For Testimony; Senate Intel Committee Opens Hacking Probe; Sen. Rubio Says His Staff Targeted By Hackers; Democrats Call For Trump's Tax Returns; FIFA Expands On 2026 World Cup; South African President Shakes Up Cabinet; Hollywood Movie "Whitewashing" Causes Outrage. Aired 1-2a ET

Aired March 31, 2017 - 01:00   ET


[01:00:09] JOHN VAUSE, CNN NEWSROOM ANCHOR: You're watching CNN NEWSROOM live from Los Angeles. Ahead this hour, former Trump Adviser, Michael Flynn, sacked over his Russian ties is now ready to talk, but only if he can cut a deal.

Security experts say Russian interference in the U.S. Election was much worse, much more extensive than first thought and Hillary Clinton was not their only target. And kicked out of office and now under arrest, South Korea's former President taken into custody. Hello everybody, great to have you with us. I'm John Vause, this is NEWSROOM L.A. Former U.S. National Security Adviser, Michael Flynn, appears ready to talk. His attorney says he will testify before the FBI and Congressional investigators looking into the Trump's teams contacts with Russia, but only if he is granted immunity from prosecution. His attorney says quote, "General Flynn certainly has a story to tell and he very much wants to tell it should the circumstances permit." Almost a week ago, CNN's National Security Analyst, Juliette Kayyem, reported Michael Flynn may be looking to make a deal.


JULIETTE KAYYEM, CNN NATIONAL SECURITY ANALYST: A name that's not mentioned is a name I mention often on the show, Mike Flynn, the former National Security Adviser. It is starting to look like from my sources and then also from open reporting that Mike Flynn is the one who may have a deal with the FBI and that's why we have not heard from him for some time.


VAUSE: And Juliette Kayyem joins us now for more on this. So, I guess you're not surprised by these developments. Last Friday, you were the one saying a deal could be in the works so what were the signs?

KAYYEM: So we've been coming to this moment and for those of us who have been in the field for a long time, started to see some of the writing on the wall a while back. I mean, remember, Flynn was fired only several weeks after the Justice Department warned the White House that he might be compromised. Then, later on, we heard about Flynn and the context of him sort of cleaning up some of his paperwork as regards some of his foreign clients. And then what struck me last week and why I said sort of let's anticipate the Flynn plea deal or immunity hopes was we heard a lot of people, including the White House, talking about Carter Page, Manafort and Roger Stone, three of the main players. But no one was mentioning Mike Flynn which suggested to lawyers like me and the National Security arena that Mike Flynn was on his own, that he was trying to seek a deal and we don't know what the nature of that deal is yet, but it's certainly bad news for the white house.

VAUSE: Well, Flynn's lawyers say their client has a story to tell and he really does. He's been at the center of the Trump campaign pretty much from the beginning. He was there for the transition. He was also there for the first month of the administration, so if anybody has, you know, information to trade, it seems it would be Michael Flynn.

KAYYEM: That's exactly right. This is -- this is as close to Donald Trump as you can get and so if there is something to tell, Michael Flynn will know it. If there's any questions or if there's any facts about a Russia connection or Russian collusion regarding the campaign, Michael Flynn was sure to know. He had been with Donald Trump before anyone essentially, anyone in particular in National Security. He was quite political and very sort of, you know, hostile towards Hillary Clinton. People will remember he stood on the convention floor at his speech and chanted mock her up which was unbecoming for a military person, many people felt. So there's no question that if Flynn has something to offer and if immunity is granted that, that story will impact the White House. What we don't know is that doesn't impact Donald Trump directly.

VAUSE: What can we read into the fact that so far at this point; it appears officials have not made this deal for immunity?

KAYYEM: So it's very interesting. I - I'd be honest with you there might be a couple theories to this case right now. One would be that they were about to and the Wall Street Journal got the story before the proffer, before there was an agreement and so basically, you may see an agreement come relatively soon as people pick up the pace. It may also be that what Flynn has to offer or what he's willing to offer is outweighed by potential illegalities that Flynn has done himself. I n other words, the committees may not want to grant him immunity because they may see him as someone that they -- that should go to jail if it comes to that. So we don't know yet.

I suspect, just based on the order of things that the Wall Street Journal and various other media outlets like our own CNN got ahead of the calendar, so to speak. And that we'll probably see some sort of proffer and agreement relatively soon.

[01:05:24] VAUSE: OK. His lawyers issued a statement. Part of it read no reasonable person who has the benefit of advice from counsel would submit to questioning in such a highly politicized witch hunt environment without assurances against unfair prosecution. So they're arguing here that General Flynn doesn't need immunity because he's done something wrong but rather, that he could become the victim of politics. He could be treated unfairly, but, and this is speculation if there is legal jeopardy from Michael Flynn, would it be related to his work as a foreign agent to the government of Turkey or would it be more than with his connections to Russia?

KAYYEM: It could be three things. It could be his connections to Russia which certainly seem the most suspicious as regards who he was talking to, whether he was offering deals to Russians. It could be the Turkish connections he had. Remember, he had to sort of admit that he had been paid for by -- or had been a foreign agent after he was fired. I actually think that it's most likely the simplest thing, which is that he may have lied to the FBI in some of these communications he had with them earlier on. The FBI does not like being lied to and many of these cases begin with a simple lie that is found out and the FBI would seek to prosecute and Flynn wants immunity from that.

VAUSE: Just very quickly, can you get immunity from lying to the FBI if you've done that?

KAYYEM: Absolutely. In fact, that's how Flynn - that's how the FBI gets most of its witnesses to speak is that they, you know, someone says something to the FBI, they later learn it's a lie, that is -- that's a criminal liability and in exchange for no prosecution, the person will then speak the truth. And you make a great point though, you know, we don't know the substance of what Flynn is going to say or what he has offered to say and so while this is a very bad news day for the White House and certainly something that is disconcerting for those of us who are in National Security, this was a big day. We still don't know the substance of what he's willing to offer.

VAUSE: OK, Juliette. Thank you so much, really appreciate you being with us. And of course, if people are watching CNN on Friday, they would have known all about this ahead of time. Thank you.

KAYYEM: Thank you.

VAUSE: Joining me now in Los Angeles, Robin Swanson, spokeswoman for the California Democratic Party, and Gina Loudon, author commentator and Trump supporter. So, Gina first to you. Is there any way this potential immunity deal for Michael Flynn is not bad news for the White House?

GINA LOUDON, BEHAVIORAL AND PSYCHOLOGY EXPERT: Oh, I think absolutely. I think the keyword there out of his attorney was witch hunt. I think that what he may have to say may, in fact, shine a little worse for Democrats rather than Republicans. And let's remember, there is nothing -- there is zero evidence of any collusion here, John. There is - the things that the Republicans did are no different than what the Democrats did, Obama met with the Russian Ambassadors some couple dozen times in the White House, Hillary, Nancy Pelosi, the rest of them. So there's really no there, there. The question really becomes if he does testify and they find a big other nothing burger like they keep finding every time, will the media drop this as a topic and focus on things like jobs and the economy that we can all agree on?

VAUSE: Robin, to that point should Democrats simply pause for a moment here because reality is, talk of immunity does not actually mean Michael Flynn has done anything wrong.

ROBIN SWANSON, CALIFORNIA DEMOCRATIC PARTY SPOKESWOMAN: Well, the evidence hasn't been presented yet. So let's go ahead and let everybody make their case and let's go ahead and see what's out there. Obviously, Michael Flynn has something to say. Obviously, he's worried about protecting himself. He's taking a very different approach than Paul Manafort, than Roger Stone and Carter Page. So, which one of these things is different? I think the one that has the information is different. And I think this looks an awful lot like the snowball at the top of hill that's about to become an avalanche for the Republican Party. And again, we're going on day 72 of bad news stories for this administration and they need to figure out which way is up because it starts at the top and the failures just keep on coming.

VAUSE: It does seem there is one thing after another. Gina, last week on the same day the FBI confirmed there was an investigation into possible ties between the Trump campaign and Russia, the White House Spokesman, Sean Spicer, tried to distance the President from two senior figures who worked on his campaign. Listen to this.


[01:10:05] SEAN SPICER, WHITE HOUSE SPOKESMAN: There is a discussion I heard some names thrown around before that were hangers on around the campaign. But even General Flynn was a volunteer of the campaign and then obviously, there's been a discussion of Paul Manafort who played a very limited role for a very limited amount of time.


VAUSE: Is this a sign that the administration is trying to rewrite history here? Because let's face it, Michael Flynn was a lot more than just a simple volunteer. He was doing more than stuffing envelopes.

SWANSON: You get whiplash trying to follow what the administration is doing.

VAUSE: This is for Gina. Robin, hold on. Gina?

SWANSON: Oh, sorry. VAUSE: That's okay.

LOUDON: No worries. You know, I don't see -- I mean, you look at people like John Podesta who has done some very questionable things and you know, you can't completely know what everyone in your campaign is doing. But again, I don't think this has been a bad news cycle for the President. He's in his first 100 days. People I know say they can't wait to wake up in the morning to hear the great things. You know, Trump's created another few thousand jobs or he's meeting with another CEO of a company and he's correcting a lot of the ills that people feel were exacted by the Obama Administration, and so I -- it's so funny, perspectives are so different here, John, but most people that I know are very excited about this presidency and don't feel like there's really been a bad news day.

VAUSE: They must be among the 35 percent that Gallup poll that, you know, approve of the job he's doing.

LOUDON: Those polls weren't very accurate during the campaign either.

VAUSE: Fair enough. OK, well Michael Flynn, he's a long-time by Donald Trump's side during the campaign, I had a major speaking role at the Republican convention. Here he was.


MICHAEL FLYNN, FORMER NATIONAL SECURITY ADVISER: We do not need a reckless President who believes she is above the law. Lock her up. That's right. Yes, that's right. Lock her up.


VAUSE: Robin, to you, there does seem to be a certain amount of irony that Michael Flynn finds himself in this situation?

SWANSON: Yes, well I mean, it's hypocrisy at its finest and we see a lot of that in Washington, D.C. and beyond. I think he probably wishes he didn't say a lot of things including that if there's smoke, there's fire and that people only ask for immunity if they've committed a crime. Those were his words and I think now he's eating that, you know, eating those words and it's not a nothing burger. That's a big, juicy, fat burger that he's eating and he wishes he never ever came out of his mouth.

VAUSE: Well, we'll find out if it's a nothing burger or Big Mac, I guess as this moves forward. Stay with us because before the news burger of Michael Flynn, the biggest story of the day was the Senate investigation into Russia's meddling in last year's election. During public hearings on Thursday, it was revealed another presidential candidate was the target of Russian hackers. Jessica has the details.


JESSICA SCHNEIDER, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: The Senate Intelligence Committee investigating the details of Russian meddling throughout the 2016 election.

RICHARD BURR, UNITED STATES SENATE INTELLIGENCE COMMITTEE CHAIRMAN: Our community has been a target of Russian information warfare, propaganda and cyber campaigns and still is.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is not fake news. This is actually what happened to us.

SCHNEIDER: Ranking Democrat, Mark Warner, stressing the bipartisan aim of the process.

MARK WARNER, UNITED STATES SENATE INTELLIGENCE COMMITTEE VICE CHAIRMAN: I want to make clear at least for me. This information is not about whether you have a D or an R next to your name, it is not about re-litigating last fall's election. It is about clearly understanding and responding to this very real threat.

SCHNEIDER: The first open hearing featured disclosures from experts on Russia and cyber security. They deduced Russian interference may have been more wide-ranging than previously believed.

CLINT WATTS, CYBERSECURITY EXPERT: Russia's overt media outlets and covert trolls sort -- sought to sideline opponents on both sides of the political spectrum with adversarial views towards the Kremlin. They were in full swing during both the Republican and Democratic primary season. It may have helped sink the hopes of candidates more on sailed Russian interest, long before the field narrowed. Senator Rubio, in my opinion, you anecdotally suffered from these efforts.

SCHNEIDER: Republican Senator Marco Rubio revealing for the first time, attempted hacks of his staff occurred last July and again yesterday.

MARCO RUBIO, UNITED STATES INTELLIGENCE COMMITTEE REPUBLICAN: A second attempt was made again against former members of my presidential campaign team who had access to our internal information again, targeted from an IP address from an unknown location in Russia and that effort was also unsuccessful.

SCHNEIDER: Clint Watts, the Senior Fellow at a National Security, Think Tank, said during the campaign, Donald Trump repeated claims also pushed by Russian media.

WATTS: He denies the Intel from the United States about Russia. He claimed that the election could be rigged. That was the number one theme pushed priorities by the news, all the way up until the election.

SCHNEIDER: Senator Ron Wyden, now urging the committee to call for President Trump's tax returns as part of the investigation.

[01:15:05] RON WYDEN, UNITED STATES INTELLIGENCE COMMITTEE DEMOCRAT: The committee needs to follow the money wherever it leads.

SCHNEIDER: Russia is also accused of launching an online smear attack against House Speaker, Paul Ryan, following the fallout from his failed health care plan.

WATTS: This past week, we observed social media accounts discrediting Speaker of the House, Paul Ryan, hoping to further ferment unrest inside U.S. Democratic institutions.


SCHNEIDER: Those experts say the Russians seem to be winning in cyberspace because they have great propagandas and they have the best hackers out there. In the testimony, those experts stressed the U.S. government needs to change its methods to start attracting top technical talent. Jessica Schneider, CNN Washington.

VAUSE: Back now to Robin and Gina. So, you know, the Senate investigation stands its sub contrast to what's happening over at the House, where we have reports now that two high-ranking officials at the White House actually helped the Chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, Devin Nunes, to access the intelligence which he said showed the President and others had been the subject of what they call, incidental surveillance. Routine - what happens during routine surveillance of foreign targets, that appeared to be an attempt to back Mr. Trump's claim that he's been wiretapped by the Obama Administration is overly complicated. But you know, the bottom line is, is it now at least the appearance that Nunes is working with the White House to try and shield the President?

LOUDON: No, I don't think so at all. In fact, I think it's really -- it's evidence in my opinion at least from a psychological perspective that you know, the information was brought to Congressman Nunes, that's Chair of the Intelligence Committee. That's where the information should have gone. If it were someone trying to protect the President, then I think that they would have probably taken it straight to the President and not given the information to anybody else. So I think it's more reassurance that things are operating as they should be operating within the ranks of the Trump Administration.

VAUSE: OK. So Robin, Nunes went to the White House, got the information from the White House and went back to the White House, and now the White House is offering to show the same intelligence reports they gave to Nunes to the Senate in the House investigations. Does that raise any suspicions to you?

SWANSON: Absolutely. I mean, the whole thing is very fishy and obviously, you know, he was used to distribute some information that the White House wanted distributed. And clearly, he cannot Chair a Committee investigating the White House when he's going to the White House and doing their bidding. That's just - I mean it - this is a problem that needs to sit down -

LOUDON: So, is there a difference between the Democrat power, Robin?

SWANSON: We're not under investigation right now. So, we're investigating the Republican and the Trump Administration, their affiliation with the Russian government. And I think it doesn't matter if you're a Democrat or a Republican. Everybody should be concerned about our democracy being interfered with and our elections being interfered with. I think everybody deserves those answers. This is the very foundation of our democracy and it doesn't need to be politicized like that, and in fact, Devin Nunes is going to have to answer to his voters when he comes here in California.

VAUSE: Well, he's in a safe seat so, you know, we'll see what happens there. But Robin and Gina, thank you so much for being with us. It's very much appreciated.

LOUDON: Thanks, John.

SWANSON: Thanks.

VAUSE: We will continue to follow this breaking news with more on the legal implication of an immunity deal from Michael Flynn when we come back. Plus, she's no longer South Korea's President. And now, Park Geun-hye is facing a legal battle that could send her to prison.


[01:20:34] KATE RILEY, CNN WORLD SPORTS ANCHOR: I'm Kate Riley with your CNN WORLD SPORTS Headlines. On Thursday, FIFA announced their continental allocations or slots for the 2026 World Cup under a proposed new 4018 FIFA World Cup. The new scheme would see all football confederations gaining increased placement, also proposed is a six-nation playoff tournament to decide the last two slots in the 2026 World Cup. Both of the proposals will be voted on by the FIFA Council on May 9th.

Staying with FIFA and the governing body is also open for proceedings against Wales fallback, Neil Taylor, following his leg-breaking tackle of the Irish defender, Seamus Coleman, during Friday's World Cup Qualifier. Coleman's injury required surgery on a broken tibia and fibula. Taylor received a red card for the tackle and the automatic one-match ban but also faces the prospects of having that ban extended given this new proceeding by FIFA.

And Emanuel Santos has come to the defense of his Ronaldo sculpture, a day after it was on unveiled as an airport renaming for the Real Madrid superstar in Madiera, Portugal. The unveiling left many questioning the sculpture's resemblance to the footballer and speaking to the Portuguese website, Global Sports, the artists referred to his sculpture as a matter of taste going on to say that even Jesus did not please everyone. And that's a look at all your Sports Headlines. I'm Kate Riley.


VAUSE: And welcome back. Our breaking news this hour, one of Donald Trump's former aides says he'll talk to investigators on one condition. He wants immunity. Former National Security Adviser, Michael Flynn was in and out of his White House job in record time after it became clear he had misled the Vice President about his contact with the Russian Ambassador and now Flynn's own words are coming back to bite him.


FLYNN: The very last thing that John Podesta just said is no individual too big to jail, that should include people like Hillary Clinton. I mean, five people around her have had - have been given immunity to include her former Chief of Staff. When you are given immunity that means you've probably committed a crime.


VAUSE: Well, joining me here now in Los Angeles, Civil Rights and Criminal Defense Attorney, Brian Claypool. Brian, good to see you.


VAUSE: We just heard from Michael Flynn he was obviously talking about Hillary Clinton. I s he right when it comes to immunity? CLAYPOOL: I think, for the most part, people have an instinct that if

you're running and seeking immunity, that maybe you've done something wrong.

VAUSE: His lawyers say he could be a victim of a witch hunt or politicization, he - you know, they sort of implied he hasn't done anything wrong.

CLAYPOOL: Right. Well, his lawyer is propagating is that, hey, my client Mike Flynn is trying to seek immunity because he's been demonized in the media. The media has -- maybe he's receiving some kind of threats, too in social media that we don't know about and he's worried about frivolous prosecution. That's why he's seeking an early immunity deal.

VAUSE: OK, so it appears he's the one putting out the sign, information for immunity. The government didn't go to him; instead, they're takers after this deal either. So, what does this all tell you?

CLAYPOOL: Not good timing, John. I'm going to Vegas this weekend and I guarantee you, I'm not going to see Mike Flynn playing poker at one of these casino tables because he'll throw his cards. He's going to show his cards right on the table too quickly.

VAUSE: So why is he doing this?

CLAYPOOL: I mean, he should not - look, if I was his lawyer, I would have told Mike Flynn to sit back, be calm and confident and let this investigation play out. And let the Senate Intelligence Committee, let the U.S. Department of Justice come to him. Then at that point in time, he says, "Hey, I have some information that might lead to you lynching somebody bigger."

VAUSE: Right. So when it comes to that information, part of any immunity deal will be honesty and reliability. So if they go down that road with Flynn, how will they know that he's actually telling the truth?

CLAYPOOL: Well, that's a great point. And that's why I don't think Mike Flynn is going to get any type of immunity deal anytime soon. The reason why is because the Senate Intelligence Committee has to dig deep, deep, deep, deep to make sure that they truly need the information that Mike Flynn is bringing to them. What if they can get this information -

VAUSE: Without cutting a deal.

CLAYPOOL: Without cutting a deal? Why would you cut a deal?

[01:25:04] VAUSE: OK. In general, if someone wants to go down this road, you know, for immunity, does that mean that, you know, they could have information or evidence which could lead to a bigger fish? Essentially, you know, you give me cover and I'll hand you someone bigger? CLAYPOOL: That to me is really the only reason why, if I'm the U.S.

attorney, they have to ultimately approve this immunity deal by the way. I'm not going to cut a deal with Mike Flynn unless I know that the information he has is going to hang a bigger fish and that's typically when immunity deals are cut.

VAUSE: And the interesting thing about that is Michael Flynn is already a pretty -- or was a big fish.

CLAYPOOL: I mean, there aren't a lot of people above Mike Flynn.

VAUSE: Right.

CLAYPOOL: And John, look, we have to call a spade a spade. There are a lot of suspicious circumstances surrounding Mike Flynn. I mean, him not being honest with the Vice President Pence and then you have him making a phone call, remember on the Inauguration Day of President Trump being elected. He's on the phone with the Russian Ambassador.

VAUSE: There's a lot of undisclosed information that he has ties with Turkey, he registers a foreign agent, he receives hundreds of thousands of dollars. A lot of people are pointing to this as the Flynn controversy and being the weak link here.

CLAYPOOL: Right, but that's all the more reason for the U.S. Intelligence Committee to take its time.

VAUSE: Right.

CLAYPOOL: To flesh out the information before deciding to cut an immunity deal.

VAUSE: As a general rule, in any kind of scandal, whether it's like the government scandal like this or some kind of corporate scandal that, you know, there's a wide-ranging investigation and a lot of people could be implicated, those who come forward first, are they the ones who usually cut the best immunity deals and those who take their time sort of you know, pick up the pieces and they're not looked upon as favorably?

CLAYPOOL: I think that's the impression that a lot of people have worldwide that, hey, if I run up and tell somebody that I want to cut an immunity deal and I'm going to help you out, that they're going to give you a deal because you're being forthright and honest. But I think in reality, John, and in the legal world, immunity deals are you're -- getting an immunity deal is only as good as the information and evidence that you have. So coming first isn't going to necessarily get you the deal. Flynn is going to have to have a bombshell here for him to get an immunity deal.

VAUSE: And then if you look at his history with the administration, I mean, if you're a prosecutor or U.S. attorney, you look at this guy who was by the side of the, you know, Donald Trump throughout the campaign, had a pivotal role in the transition. He was also there for the first month of the administration. There would be the assumption that if anybody knows what's going on with administration, it would be Flynn.

CLAYPOOL: Right, absolutely. Remember, he was an advisor to President Trump. I think even in 2015.


CLAYPOOL: And so he has arguably a lot of inside information and let's not forget, I mean, he did receive, I believe, $45,000 from a --

VAUSE: Russian association.

CLAYPOOL: Exactly. I mean, what - you know, and what does that tell you? Then we've got allegations now of the Russians being involved in helping hack into the internet to help defeat Hillary Clinton. And you know, Mike Flynn was relatively close to that as well. So it's not as if, you know, people are just unjustly picking on Mike Flynn.

VAUSE: Because that's a narrative that a lot of conservatives have said that this guy is being the victim of a campaign against him. He's just, you know, simply the helpless person caught in the middle. But I guess all of this, we will see in time and this does take a lot of time so you have to be patient

CLAYPOOL: Yes, absolutely. I'm going to predict right now, it's going to take quite a while if there's going to be an immunity deal cut. But I'm going to predict right now, I don't think you're going to get an immunity deal for Mike Flynn.

VAUSE: Hold that.

CLAYPOOL: Thanks, John.

VAUSE: Thanks, Brian. A lot more on the investigation into Russia's meddling in the U.S. Election. When we come back, we'll take a closer look at exactly what was revealed about Russia's cyber hacking capability during the Senate Intelligence Committee's public hearing.

Also ahead, a major shakeup in South Africa's government, a live report from Johannesburg, in just a moment.


[01:32:24] JOHN VAUSE, CNN ANCHOR: Welcome back, everybody. You're watching CNN NEWSROOM from Los Angeles. I'm John Vause.

Our top stories this hour.


Meantime, cybersecurity experts say Russian interference into the 2016 campaign was much more widespread than previously thought and it did not stop after the election. Senator Marco Rubio admitted there were attempts to hack his staff twice last year, and again on Wednesday.

During the Senate's public hearing there was some jaw-dropping revelations about the scale of Russia's hacking operation. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEN. MARK WARNER, (D-VA), RANKING MEMBER, SENATE INTELLIGENCE COMMITTEE: The Russians employed thousands of paid Internet trolls and botnets to push out disinformation and fake news at a high volume. This fake news and disinformation was then hyped by the American media echo chamber and our own social media networks to reach and potentially influence millions of Americans.


VAUSE: That was the ranking Democrat on the committee, Senator Mark Warner, who added some of the tactics would give shivers to anyone who believes in American democracy.

CNN's national security analyst, Juliette Kayyem, back with us once again on this.

A much better idea how determined Moscow was to disrupt the election not just in the United States but also elections still to be had in France and Germany.

JULIETTE KAYYEM, CNN NATIONAL SECURITY ANALYST: That's exactly right. I think there's a sort of mythology out there that Russia was just doing all this stuff and hoping something would stick and lo and behold Donald Trump is president and I think what you heard in this opening testimony today is this was not some random effort, that this was targeted, and quite targeted, specifically targeted against Hillary Clinton. And also as we learned today, targeted in specific geographic areas that we -- you know, that are the swing states. Wisconsin, Michigan, Pennsylvania, that some of them actually were, you know, beneficial to Donald Trump and to voters who would go out for Donald Trump.

VAUSE: There was a lot of focus on fake news. We heard testimony from the former FBI agent, and he explained why fake news was so effective it's because the Trump campaign often repeated and spread the fake news. This is what he said.


CHARLES WELLS (ph), FORMER FBI AGENT: He claimed the election could be rigged. That that was the number one thing pushed all the way up to the election. He's made claims of voter fraud, that President Obama is not a citizen, you know, that Congressman Cruz is not a citizen, so part of the reason active measures works, and it does today in terms of Trump tower being wiretapped, is because they parrot the same wines.


[01:35:22] VAUSE: According to what the Russians did, they just pushed the buttons. On another level it seems simple, but on another level, it also seems very sophisticated as well.

KAYYEM: That's exactly right. And I think what was interesting about today, because it's important for people to understand what the tactics were. Was the sort of amplification, now, whether it's collusion or not we don't know. That's what all the hearings are about here in the United States, but is -- is the -- the falsehood, the fake news targeted against Hillary Clinton that's then amplified by a campaign which then again is amplified by Russia as the truth. So it's the cyclical feeding frenzy that had an impact and no one can say voter "A" changed their mind from Clinton to Trump bauds of these Russian thoughts. But certainly, as we look at this election and then of course the ones in Europe this year and a midterm election that the United States has next year, we better get a handle on not just how to stop it but how to make voters more sophisticated about what is going on regarding what they're reading and the news around them.

VAUSE: I just want to finish up with a moment which you could almost hear the gasp in the room that Senator Rubio and his staff were targeted by Russian hackers. The first time was July last year. He'd dropped out but he also said they'd been targeting on Wednesday this week. Rubio is out of the election and, of course, you know, Wednesday is well past November, so how does this all work into, you know, interfering in the election?

KAYYEM: Well, but remember. Russia also wants policies to be changed, and Marco Rubio has been pretty consistent as have other Republicans in their support for sanctions and their animosity towards Putin and in statements that they made, remember after the -- the rallies or the anti-government rallies in Russia this weekend, so it's not just about changing a voter's mind. It's trying to create atmospherics that are pro-Russian but also to be hostile to those who would speak forthright about what Russia is doing in democracies and so they are -- their quick turnaround. That is what's so remarkable about this as Marco Rubio says as being part of Senate Foreign Relations or Senate Intel says something that is hostile or critical of Russia and they're turning right back around, asserting their presence, which can be intimidating. It's not intimidating to Marco Rubio, it could be to the average citizen.

VAUSE: Hence the line of giving somebody shivers about what the Russians may have been doing.

Juliette, thank you for being with us.

KAYYEM: Thank you so much.

VAUSE: And next here on NEWSROOM L.A., more problems for the South Korean ousted president. She's facing criminal charges for the same scandal that forced her from office.


[01:41:36] VAUSE: This stretch of highway in Atlanta collapsed after a massive fire. No one was injured during the blaze, but it did create a five-mile-long traffic jam. The cause of the fire right now is not known.

Almost three years ago, a ferry has been raised from the bottom of the ocean and is headed to port. It sank in 2014 killing 304 people, mostly high school students. Nine of those bodies were never recovered. But now, investigators can actually get inside the ship and those victims may actually be found. Grieving families have been looking on, hoping for some closure after all of this time but for some it's just too much to take, as this woman had to be carted away, carried away from the scene.

Well, just weeks after she was removed from office in a corruption scandal, former South Korean President Park Geun-hye has been arrested. She arrived at a detention center just outside Seoul early Friday morning. The judge said he granted the arrest warrant in the case Park tried to destroy evidence.

Paula Hancocks joins us with the latest now from Seoul.

So, Paula, the question now, what happens next?

PAULA HANCOCKS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, john, she's now behind bars in the detention center and she could be there for up to 20 days. That's how long prosecutors have to bring charges against her. Of course, potentially she could be there for much longer. But they have just under three weeks to bring charges against the former South Korean president. They've already touted charges. Prosecutors believe they have enough evidence to get a conviction. And certainly, we've heard that the judge making that decision in the early hours of Friday morning that she should be arrested, said there was a fear that she could actually destroy evidence.

Now, up until now, Park Geun-hye and her lawyer have denied wrong doing. The lawyer in the past said he believed it was a political witch hunt by political rivals but Sydney, hundreds of thousands of people who had been taking to the streets for the past few months. This is what they wanted to see -- John?

VAUSE: If there is a conviction here, what are the chances the new president -- the next president would actually grant her a pardon?

HANCOCKS: It's a very good question because there are many precedents of that many this country. There are two former presidents who have been charged, convicted, sentenced and went to prison, but then they were part donned by the president at the same time. It's difficult to say because you have elections coming up on May 9th, so pretty soon, and the front runner at this point is a liberal candidate. His policies are pretty much as diametrically opposed to Park Geun-hye's policies as you could get, so it's difficult to see that he would give a presidential pardon. Not that it wouldn't happen. And of course, he has to take into consideration the mood of the people at this point. As I say, many have been out on to the streets. They have called for impeachment or imprisonment. They say they are fed up with construction but it is worth mentioning there are a lot who do support her. So the task of the next president will be to smooth the political divide in this country -- John?

VAUSE: OK. Paula, thank you. Paula Hancock is there.

A major political shakeup has happened in South Africa, with President Jacob Zuma fighting his finance minister and reshuffling his cabinet. CNN's David McKenzie live in Johannesburg with more on the story.

So what is behind the night of the long knives?

[01:45:11] DAVID MCKENZIE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, when former U.S. diplomat called it the midnight massacre, most significantly the finance minister and Gordon was fired by South Africa's President Jacob Zuma. The president was warned by business leaders, opposition parties, civil society, and even senior members of his own party not to go this route, but we were potentially expecting this reshuffle. And it affects not just the finance ministry but many other ministries in South Africa at a time when the economy is struggling to get on a secure footing. The Rand, South Africa's currency, is already being pummeled by this decision, and it's as much about really, the decision to reshuffle as it might be about long-term politics and getting his hands as president on South Africa's treasury.

VAUSE: It's already being felt. The currency is down. What are the other consequences?

MCKENZIE: The long-term consequences could be severe according to economists. There's a potential ratings downgrade, hanging over the country that could put the country into junk status which would mean automatically certain funds, pulling their investments out of the country. Politically, this is a very important moment because all eyes are going to see whether the opposition and even members of the ruling AMC can rally against the president and parliament. So far, Jacob Zuma, who has a series of corruption scandals behind him, has named himself, and really put himself ahead of the country and even his party, the liberation movement in South Africa. Jacob Zuma said this was all about radical, economic transformation. Many say it's about a long-term him protecting himself when he leaves office -- John?

VAUSE: David, thank you. David McKenzie live in Johannesburg.

We'll take a break. When we come back, whitewashing in Hollywood. A new movie with Scarlett Johansson is sparking the latest outrage.




[01:50:] VAUSE: The year was 1956, playing in the movie theaters, "The Conqueror" and who else had the main role? John Wayne, naturally.


UNIDENTIFIED ACTOR: I am taking for myself a third wife.

JOHN WAYNE, ACTOR: I share your taste in women, but not in blood.

Farewell, woman. (END VIDEO CLIP)

VAUSE: Complete with the facial hair. The movie was so awful, so bad, it's blamed for killing John Wayne's career. Mostly white actors playing a stereotype of an Asian character. That may have been more than 60 years ago, but Hollywood apparently is still at it. "Ghost in the Shell" is opening Friday, a remake of an iconic Japanese film. Scarlett Johansson is in the lead. For many, this is just the latest example of whitewashing.




VAUSE: from "Hollywood Reporter" joins me now for more on this.

Good to see you, Rebecca. Thanks for being here.

Why do the studios keep going this? I mean, surely there are talented Asian actors who could do the role.

REBECCA SUN, REPORTER, HOLLYWOOD REPORTER: There's an entire continent of Asian actors.



SUN: And you can find some that speak #English here in America as well. But yeah, they keep doing this I think because the message they're sending is they don't actually believe that audiences are interested in seeing Asian leaks. That's literally the message you send when you take a character that was originally Asian and sat in an Asian city and you put a white actor at the front.

VAUSE: To put the film, Paramount asked for memes. Here were some of the responses. "I am the woman who should have been cast. I'm Hollywood's latest whitewash victim." "I am Asia. What mystical land can I visit to become a hero?"

Clearly it seems Paramount did not expect this kind of backlash.

SUN: Right. I think they didn't expect it -


SUN: Because it's been happening for decades as we saw without any sort of repercussions. Without any backlash. So they figured we can still keep doing this. But audiences are getting more diverse for one thing. The report was just released that show that Asian Americans are now the fastest growing demographic. And people online, now you're able to coalesce. Now that you have the Internet now and Twitter as a platform, it's much more vocal and variable to make themselves heard. VAUSE: Scarlet Johansson waited on the controversy. Listen to this.


JOHANSSON: I think this character is living a very unique experience in that she is a human brain in an entirely machine body.

She's essentially identity-less. I would never attempt to play a person of a different race obviously.


VAUSE: Do you agree with it? Does she have a point?

SUN: Well, the thing is, it's interesting because that assumption is that a raceless and identity-less body is one that is Caucasian. You know, that she's technically playing a shell, a cyborg android type body but if you don't have a --

VAUSE: The default is white.

SUN: The default is white and that's another incorrect assumption that you're making.

VAUSE: The character she plays, she's been physically perfect. In fact, both of the main characters are physically perfect, and both of them are white actors. Which seems, intentionally or not, the message that this movie is now sending is that to be physically perfect, it only comes in one color and that's white.

[01:55:22] SUN: That's what films do and it's interesting because you have this movie and you're very explicit movie is a standard of perfection.

VAUSE: OK. Rebecca, thank you.

SUN: Thanks so much, John.

VAUSE: You're watching CNN NEWSROOM, in Los Angeles. I'm John Vause.

Stay with us because a lot more news after a very short break.


[01:49:36] VAUSE: This is CNN NEWSROOM live from Los Angeles.

Ahead this hour --


VAUSE: Hello. Great to have you with us for another hour of NEWSROOM, L.A.