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Suspected Chemical Attack Kills Dozens; North Korea Tests Another Missile; Russia: Syrian Chemical Gas Deaths Due To "Terrorrists". North Korea Fires Medium-Range Ballistic Missile. Russia Terror Attack. Trump's Border Wall. Aired 1-2a ET

Aired April 5, 2017 - 01:00   ET


[01:00:00] JOHN VAUSE, CNN NEWSROOM ANCHOR: You're watching CNN NEWSROOM live from Los Angeles. Ahead this hour, a rebel-held area in Northern Syria left a toxic kill-zone, after a suspected chemical attack. North Korea test fires another ballistic missile just days before a meeting between U.S. President Donald Trump and China, Xi Jinping.

And the former U.S. National Security Advisor accused of leaking classified information. One Republican lawmaker called her the "Typhoid Mary" of Democrat scam. Hello everybody, great to have you with us. I'm John Vause. We're into the second hour of NEWSROOM L.A.

There's outrage and condemnation around the world after an apparent chemical gas attack in Northwestern Syria. A warning here: The images you're about to see are graphic. Dozens of civilians were killed including children. And the doctor who treated victim to nearby hospitals says more than 500 people were hurt.


FIRAS Al-JUNDI, TREATED VICTIMS AT IDLIB HOSPITAL (through translator): When I entered the hospital, there were many, many atrocious things to see. Bodies were all over the place in the hospital and injured people as well. And the staff who - the staff in the, in the Northern part Idlib was not able to handle all these injuries by their own - on their own. There were cases of suffocation and cases of burning. I noticed ten dead bodies on the ground who were - who died immediately after being exposed to the gas. And I noticed people who were in their last breath and we were not able to rescue them. They died on their - on the scene.


VAUSE: For the very latest, CNN's Muhammad Lila joins us now live from Istanbul. So, Mohammad, what more do you know about this attack, where the attack was carried out, and specifically, what chemical agent was used?

MUHAMMAD LILA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, those are all very good questions, John. In terms of the chemical agent that was used, there seems to be a broad consensus that it was some sort of toxic or poisonous gas. The speculation has fallen that it might be Sarin, but there's no independent confirmation of that. In terms of the latest numbers, we know that at least 70 people have been killed as a result of this, hundreds wounded.

You heard the doctor there, and the first responder there saying that possibly 500 people are injured. We know that some of the most serious injured cases have been brought across the border here into Turkey where they are being treated. And of course, any time you're treating victims who have been exposed to some sort of poisonous or toxic gas, the first responders themselves put their lives on the line because we know with certain gasses if there's a residue on your clothes or in the body it can easily transfer to other people.

So, just treating some of these victims becomes a complicated process. It requires wearing a full hazardous material suit and of course washing down the entire body, the clothes, everything, you name it, of the victims to make sure that those last traces of that poisonous gas are removed. So, it's a complicated process and it wouldn't be surprising to see the death toll rise in the coming hours certainly throughout the day.

VAUSE: Muhammad, thank you. Muhammad Lila, live in Istanbul with late details. For more on this, let's bring in our panel: Gayle Tzemach Lemmon, she's a Senior Fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations; also Barbara Walter, Professor of Political Science at UC San Diego; and Lisa Daftari, Editor in Chief at the Foreign Desk. So, Lisa, first to you, why would the Assad regime use Sarin gas - it's believed it's Sarin gas on civilians? Not only that, not only did Assad gas his own people but he then sends a second airstrike to kill those who are trying to save the lives of the victims of the chemical attack.

LISA DAFTARI, FOREIGN DESK EDITOR IN CHIEF: Yes, it looks - it's just a confusing situation because these are his constituents, he is their leader. And for such a long time, we've looked at the situation to say, well, Assad is there and he's stuck in this position of he doesn't know how to get ISIS out, and he has these rebels that are, you know, caught up in the aftermath of the Arab spring.

But in reality, you have Russia and the Iranian regime mentoring Assad on how to stay in power, how to be brutal. And if the Iranian regime could teach him one thing out of their own playbook is to say, that your own constituents are your Achilles heel; they're the ones who are going to bring you down. Now, let's take our Western lenses off for a minute and take the ISIS situation off the table, we're still left with the civil war going into its seventh year: No resolution in sight.

And the only way the Assad regime sees its way forward is to get rid of this Achilles heel, to get rid of the opposition, and to go after these civilian areas because that's almost the last step is to just blow out these areas, get the territory back. It's become an extremely territorial war, so each one of these battles becomes so important in the larger scheme of what's going to happen in the next chapter for Syria.

[01:05:28] VAUSE: And this chemical attack comes what? Five or six days after the regime softened its policy towards Assad essentially saying he's going to remain in power, the focus will be on ISIS. And Gayle, is there a direct link now to that policy shift between the Trump administration away from Obama who basically said that Assad must go, and what happened Tuesday in Idlib?

GAYLE TZEMACH LEMMON, COUNCIL ON FOREIGN RELATIONS SENIOR FELLOW: De facto policy for years in Washington and the Obama administration officials would talk to about it was Assad must stay, more or less. But to explicitly state it, I think did take a lot of people by surprise, especially because in some diplomatic circles there was concern that what had the America gotten in exchange for basically stating what was already on the ground, fact, which is Assad is going to stay for now.

I don't think that, you know, the Trump administration has any better policy options than the Obama administration had, and in fact, more time has gone by and they are more limited and more constrained by facts on the ground which have moved in the regime's favor because they are controlling facts on the ground. You've always had a Russian regime - with a Russian presidency, the Iranians, and the Syrian regime who were all in versus America and the west, who were really kind of tepid. You have dipped a toe in the water here and there without starting another ground war in the Middle East, and there was never a question as to who was going to win as long as you had that equation.

VAUSE: One of the things that we're hearing is that you know, essentially this declared shift in policy towards ISIS. Is so that Trump - the Trump administration and the military, they can work together with Russia, they can focus on ISIS. But we heard from Senator John McCain, he believes the U.S. can do both. They can focus on ISIS, and they can also work towards removing Assad. This is what McCain said.


JOHN MCCAIN, UNITED STATES SENATOR FROM ARIZONA: The United States of America is known to help people who want freedom and democracy. No one - none of us are arguing for American troops on the ground there to fight against Bashar Assad, but we certainly believe that we can fight ISIS and we can help people who are struggling against this incredibly - one of the great brutal dictators in history: Bashar Assad and his minions.


VAUSE: So, Barbara, is McCain, right? Can they do both of these at the moment? We'll have Barbara. Actually, Barbara Walter, can they, can the McCain - is McCain, right? Can, you know, the administration do both?

BARBARA WALTER, UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA SAN DIEGO POLITICAL SCIENCE PROFESSOR: Yes, he's absolutely right. And in fact, what he's saying is very important and that's because pursuing ISIS and only ISIS, and not trying to end the civil war in Syria is a policy that's destined to fail. ISIS emerged and has thrived only because of the chaos that exists in Syria as a result of the civil war. So, even if the Trump administration is successful in eliminating ISIS, which almost nobody believes is possible. But even if they are successful, the fact that the civil war is still ongoing, the fact that the conditions that gave rise to ISIS continue to exist means that ISIS 2.0 will emerge in its place. And so, in the absence of trying to resolve and end the civil war in Syria, trying to eliminate ISIS is simply a strategy that's going to fail.

VAUSE: You know, there's a lot of outrage clearly by this attack, this chemical attack. But Gayle, to you, you know, Assad has recently carried out similar chemical attacks, maybe that was Sarin with chlorine gas, that's still a chemical attack.

LEMMON: Oh yes, there is nothing new about what happened today. You know, the U.N., a year ago, documented chemical attacks. SAMC (Syrian-American Medical Corps), documented chemical attack against civilians. What's new is the wrenching, the absolutely gut-wrenching, heart-breaking photos and video that we saw today, which you played just a few moments ago, and whether that real heartbreak punctured the global indifference to the plight of Syrians remains to be seen.

We've had moments like this before; you remember the little boy whose body we saw on - washed up on the shore. We've had moments where people say can this get worse? Must the world do more? And they've always hit the reality of the policy reality. That is, there aren't a lot of good options that the west feels it can pursue, and you have the Russia, Iran, and Syria who are all in on this side of the regime.

VAUSE: And, you know, Lisa, there's these calls from the United States and others for Iran and Russia, essentially Syria's only allies at this point to reign Assad in. Is that likely to happen?

[01:10:06] DAFTARI: Absolutely not. We have no leverage to ask them for any favors, and they have no reason to do that when they have every reason and motivation to keep Assad in power. They've put their own assets on the line in order to keep Assad in power. You talked to Iranians back at home in Iran and they know that their regime is pouring all of this money and treasure into Syria in order to keep that regime in place, and the same thing for the Russians. And I think at this point the United States is entirely cornered.

Right now, we're talking about this because it's a humanitarian cause but from a policy standpoint, there's not much we can do. We've already put all our cards on the table, and when we say Assad can stay there's not much more else that can be done. And I think right now, I hope that this is still an issue tomorrow and the next day, and the next day, and that we don't look away just because these photos are no longer being blasted in the media.

And that it becomes more of an issue again to help the Syrian people when we can to create safe zones so that they have the potential and the possibility of having a decent life in Syria and this war. And it's a proxy war, always has been from the beginning and we waited, and we waited, and we waited those who wandered too took advantage, and they knew they had their clear-cut goal; we didn't have ours. And I think it's too late in the game to actually have a say at this table. VAUSE: You know, one part of this attack, it was a - you know, a lot

of indications that this may have been Sarin gas. And the last time there was a Sarin gas attack in Syria, that was four years ago, and then the U.N. moved in. There were a lot of threats, and Assad, you know, agreed to get rid of his chemical stockpile. A member of the Syrian parliament told the BBC a few hours ago, the Assad regime could not be responsible for this chemical attack in Idlib, just because those stockpiles of chemical weapons were in fact destroyed by the U.N. Listen to this.


FARES SHEHABI, SYRIAN MEMBER OF PARLIAMENT: I clearly deny that these are the Syrian army nor the Russian army use any chemical weapons here in Syria. Of course, I deny and this through then by the U.N., they were to commit the part of the U.N. that double checks on this and clarify that we don't have any chemical weapon.


VAUSE: Barbara, clearly, you know, that's just not true. But in some ways, does it give the regime some cover? Does anyone believe them?

WALTER: Well, the Assad regime is really playing two games. One is with Syrian civilians who are supporting the opposition and he clearly wants them to know that he's willing to use chemical weapons. They know that he is behind it, and he wants them to believe that there is nothing that he is unwilling to do that he's unwilling to do in order to win a decisive victory. The second game he's playing is with the international community and he basically wants to create uncertainty as to whether in fact, he's behind it.

Now, the international community knows that he is, but he wants to, you know, nobody who uses chemical weapons public admits that they're using them. And whether that's to protect themselves from war crimes, accusations, or whether it's just simply to ensure that there are some uncertainties surrounding, what exactly he's doing? I'm not sure. But he certainly, wants Syrian civilian to know that he's behind it.

VAUSE: OK. Barbara, thank you. Barbara Walter there, in San Diego. Also, we have Lisa Daftari, and as always Gayle Tzemach Lemmon, thanks so much for being with us.

WALTER: My pressure.

VAUSE: Well, just days before the U.S. President is to meet with China's President, Pyongyang fired a medium-range ballistic missile that landed in the Sea of Japan, also known as the East Sea. Paula Hancocks standing by live this hour for more details on this ballistic missile launch. So, Paula, each time they fire a missile off there, there's new data which comes through, we learn how far their weapons program is advancing. What could we learn this time?

PAULA HANCOCKS, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, John, this time we're hearing from Washington and from here in Seoul military experts saying, that they believe this was a KN-15. This is a type of missile that uses solid fuel, which means that it can be fired much quicker, it's much easier for Pyongyang to be able to fire this. And of course, it's much harder for others to be able to track this in the height of a war. So, this is something - that we've seen in recent months, Pyongyang really trying and working hard to perfect. Now, the South Korean's saying that it flew about 60 kilometers and altitude of 189 kilometers, officials condemning it saying that it's more than just a threat to South Korea itself.

VAUSE: Also timing is always interesting, we have a meeting between the Presidents of China and the United States in the next couple of days and, you know, earlier this week Donald Trump was very adamant that when it comes to North Korea, if China doesn't intervene then the U.S. will go it alone.

[01:15:09] HANCOCKS: That's right. We always search and try to see if there is a connection to something that's happening at any one time and of course, you still got the U.S. South Korean military drills that are ongoing for a couple of months, but they go to until the end of this month. They always annoyed Pyongyang, they pay often fire ballistic missile because of that. It could also, of course, be the case if they are just trying to perfect their nuclear missile program, ask the Korean leader Kim Jong-un has been very clear that he wants to do.

The one thing that's new about today, John, is the U.S. response. The Secretary of State, Rex Tillerson, in a statement said North Korea launched yet another intermediate range missile. The U.S. has spoken enough about North Korea, we have no further comment. That's new, that's different, that's a very different response that we have seen with the Obama Administration. For example, there was always strong condemnation in the past. A couple of paragraph of the statement reminding the world that North Korea has violated you and your Security Council resolutions. This is almost dismissive and very blunt and very short statement from the U.S. Secretary of State. It will be interesting to see if North Korea responds to this, how they respond because it's likely they weren't particularly like being dismissed in this fashion. John. ?

VAUSE: An interesting new tactic if that's what it is. Paula, thank you so much. Paula Hancock live from Seoul. And with that, we'll take a short break. When we come back, we'll tell you why President Obama's former National Security Adviser is at the center of a new debate, rather, about White House leaks.

Also, Ivanka Trump, she's been posting on social media about the gender pay gap but how do her words match up to her father's actions?


KATE RILEY, CNN WORLD SPORTS ANCHOR: I'm Kate Riley with your CNN WORLD SPORTS Headlines. Zlatan Ibrahimovic rescued a point for Manchester United and preserved a 20-match unbeaten league run for the Red Devils after one all draw with Everton on Tuesday. Everton has stroked first through Phil Jagielka but it wasn't until the 93rd minute when the Everton defender, Ashley Williams, tried to block a leg effort and a ball hit his hand. He was sent off an upset Ibrahimovic to dispatch the penalty.

We are less than two days away from the start of the Masters. The year's first golfing major for the men and what a difference a day makes after storms force a suspension of practice rounds on Monday. It was a beautiful day on Tuesday, but if you know anything about Georgia weather this time of year, it is not expected to last. More rain expected on Wednesday.

An uplifting note from former World Number One, Jason Day, he broke the news in his Masters Press Conference that his mother had successful surgery for lung cancer and she won't need chemotherapy. Day said it is the most comfortable he's felt on the course in a long time.

Finally, a legend of American football has decided to hang up his boots. Tony Romo who's been with the Dallas Cowboys his entire 14- year NFL career, announced his retirement but he'll stay in the game joining a commentary team in the broadcast stage. That's a look at your WORLD SPORTS Headlines, I'm Kate Riley.


[01:20:35] VAUSE: The U.S. President is renewing his promise to push a trillion-dollar infrastructure plan through Congress. He needs a win after his administration's failed attempt at health care reform. He told workers in the building industry on Tuesday that together they would rebuild the nation.


DONALD TRUMP, UNITED STATES PRESIDENT: We enriched foreign countries at the expense of our own country, the great United States of America. But those days are over. I'm not and I don't want to be the President of the world. I'm the President of the United States. And from now on, it's going to be America first.


VAUSE: Joining me here for more on this, Ronald Brownstein CNN Senior Political Analyst and Senior Editor for the Atlantic. Ron thanks for coming back.


VAUSE: OK. So we've got, you know, Donald Trump is out there talking about infrastructure which could also be a very difficult one to get through Congress because of some various factions, we have the Vice President, Mike Pence up on Capitol Hill talking about these various factions within the Republican party trying to get health care done essentially in two weeks before the recess period, and now we also have a House Speaker Paul Ryan who seemed to indicate that right now, it's kind of back to the drawing board. Listen to this.


PAUL RYAN, UNITED STATES HOUSE SPEAKER: We want our members to talk with each other about how we can approve the bill to get consensus. Those productive talks are happening. We're at the conceptual stages right now. The Vice President has been instrumental and bringing the other different groups from our conference to talk about concepts. So right now, we're just at that conceptual stage about how to move forward in a way that can get everybody to 2016.


VAUSE: They're at the conceptual stage

BROWNSTEIN: After seven years.

VAUSE: Seven years?

BROWNSTEIN: Well, first of all, the President's speech at the building trades was indicative of what has been his greatest political strength in the campaign, the breadth of his support in wide working class America including winning a quarter of the exit pulse. 60 percent of noncollege Whites in union household, which is why the AFL, CIL have not been as loud monster day opposing him as most of the other groups in the Democratic coalition. And that is a real fisher that Democrats have to watch but Paul Ryan was talking about there is the agonies of governing because after the bill failed - the bill failed because it lost a bled out support on both sides at lost substantial number of moderates.

We thought it went to too far and repealing the expansion of coverage under Obamacare and it lost to conservatives who thought it did not go far enough, and their answer primarily in this attempt at resuscitation has been to lean more towards the conservatives on what the Speaker there was clearly kind of cautioning against, was the prospect that for each vote you gain on the right, you lose another one in the center. The basic core of the bill, basically guarantees they are not getting Democratic votes. They can be doing this only among Republicans. So, it's still unclear if they can find a way to thread that needle and even if they do, whether they can get it through the Senate.

VAUSE: It's like a Chinese finger puzzle.


VAUSE: You talk about the President supporters. Let's take a look at the latest Quinnipiac opinion poll which is out and according to Quinnipiac, his approval rating is now down to 35 percent which is historically low, his, you know, disapproval on this 57 percent and you mentioned the lack of -- the supporting excluding on among his face. You know, was it day 73?

BROWNSTEIN: Day 73. I mean look, this is not historically low. This is historically on present and he is way below any other President at this point in his term. We've never seen a - I believe Barack Obama never reach 35 percent in eight years. And so we're talking about a President who is looking at some of the lowest approval ratings. And as you say it, is spreading not only is it very low among those core Democratic group right now millennial below past baby boomers the largest generation. The election in 2020, college educated Whites and minority but for the first time, we're seeing a significant client among those very blue collar whites that was so central to his victory.

VAUSE: So given, you know, the approval numbers right now, is it wise for the President to be moving sort of towards the right to the more conservative area of that the health care plan? I mean, we saw his core group supporters, you know the builders cheering him earlier, but shouldn't, you know, you would have imagined it would be a health care reform package which will be more inclusive.

BROWNSTEIN: Well you know that's one of the interesting things is. I mean, during the campaign, Trump in many ways was an independent candidate who ran under the Republican.

VAUSE: You know about the Healthcare.

BROWNSTEIN: And who criticize Republican leaders and elements of his agenda, for example, protecting and entitlement and spending on infrastructure that collided with traditional Republican thought. Since coming, you know, and on the other side, Republican leaders replay critical of him at various points, since coming into office they have kind of tried to put that awkward history behind them and go toward a more partisan party line governing the health care bill that was really no attempt from the beginning. They try to build a Democratic support.

The question I think that -- I was in Washington last week, I think many Republicans are asking if we can't deliver, does he in a fact, cut us loose and go towards something like what Bill Clinton did in the 90's triangulation. Clinton used triangulation trying to bring the two parties together it's more likely Trump goes that way it will be more to condemn both sides than to try to reconcile them.

[01:25:36] VAUSE: OK. All of this, of course, is playing out against the investigation into, you know, alleged Russian ties and the Trump campaign and was it, you know, any alleged collusion happening? The House Investigation Committee, by the Intelligence Committee rather, I mean Intelligence Committee, it's back on track. It's been paralyzed for the last couple of days or last couple of weeks or so. What we're hearing now from the top ranking Democrat, Adam Schiff, is that he believes that the White House is essentially trying to distract the committee. Muddy the waters if you like, here's Adam Schiff.


ADAM SCHIFF, UNITED STATES HOUSE INTELLIGENCE COMMITTEE DEMOCRAT: I think there are a few things going on. There is, in the first instance, a strong desire by the White House that we lose our focus, that we not pursue the investigation of Russia, particularly as it might impact the Trump campaign. I think that's priority number one for the present administration.


VAUSE: You know, I guess this issue is that you had the surveillance issue here about caught up into their surveillance, names that have been linked, again, masking issue all of these things that, you know are important questions that needs to be answered. But is the White House in terms of the Russian investigation, complaining the two when, you know, the Russian investigation and meddling and collusion is a battle too serious?

BROWNSTEIN: You know, I think they're trying to - they're trying to create a counter-narrative something for Republicans and the conservative kind of information system to rally around. But in the end, I think everyone understands that the key issue here is going to be the questions of relationships if any, between the Trump campaign and the Russian. That is what the administration is ultimately going to face, jeopardy on or not. And this kind of, you know, the question of what - who Susan Rice unmasks and whether it was appropriate, is always going to be preferable to that central question.

Put it this way, if they find - if they can conclude that Susan Rice -- there's something inappropriate and there are - there is evidence of collusion, it's not going to save them from Syria's political consequences. That is the central front that is where this will be decided. One way on the other, it's unlikely that the House is going to be the vehicle by which we are going to learn a lot from this; either it will be the Senate or the FBI.

VAUSE: You mentioned Susan Rice, the former National Security Adviser. You know, she's accused to revealing names of Americans who caught up an incidental surveillance. This is an accusation which she denies.


ANDREA MITCHELL, NBC NEWS ANCHOR: Did you seek the names of people involve in, to unmask the names of people involved in the Trump transition, in the Trump campaign, people surrounding the President -- the President-elect, in order to spy on them. I mean?

SUSAN RICE, FORMER OBAMA NATIONAL SECURITY ADVISER: Absolutely not for any political purposes to spy, expose, anything.

MITCHELL: But you leaked the name of Michael Flynn.

RICE: I leaked nothing to nobody. And never have and never would.


VAUSE: You know, there was a very specific process here when it comes to unmasking someone, revealing the identity over American put up in surveillance of the foreign agent. And you know, Democrats have pointed that out. But for Republicans, they see this as just part of the, you know, the political attack by the Trump Administration on the incoming.


BROWNSTEIN: Right look, I don't pretend to be an expert on these standards of unmasking but certainly it is - if you are worried about Russian interference in the election, and that is the issue kind of in the background here, learning more about what Americans are -- which Americans are talking to foreign officials about topics that may be relevant to that hardly sieves and appropriate use, whatever, it is going - it is certainly almost certainly now going to be the next step in this is going to be Susan Rice being subpoenaed by the House Intelligence Committee which is going to be another front as they said. You know, along the way, it is going to be - the Republicans will want to defend President Trump, they're going to open this as a front but ultimately and it deters what will be the central issue, is that core investigation on whether there was collusion.

VAUSE: Although it does seem it is the Chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, Senator Burr, who's indicating he'd like to subpoena.

BROWNSTEIN: There you go.

VAUSE: We'll see. So, but yes, you're right. Ron, thank you so much.

BROWNSTEIN: Thank you.

VAUSE: Well, when we come back, U.S. President Donald Trump has another North Korean missile to worry about. When we - after this - after we take this short break rather, to tell you why stopping the North might just be more difficult than it sounds. Also, more than a dozen people killed in a terror attack in the St. Petersburg metro by Russia target terrorism.


[01:33:19] JOHN VAUSE, CNN ANCHOR: Welcome back, everybody. You're watching "CNN Newsroom" live from Lost Angeles. I'm John Vause, with the headlines this hour. Russia's defense ministry says, the apparent chemical gas attack in north western Syria happened because an air strike hit, what they call a terrorist ammunition depot. That explains the expand on the defense offered by the Syrian military which blamed rebels for that. Meantime, activists and most of the international community say the Syrian regime is responsible.

And so as public response to the attack, U.S. President Donald Trump took the unusual step of blaming his predecessor, Barrack Obama. On a statement he said the attack was a consequence of the past administration's weakness and irresolution.

Three days of mourning underway in Russia. Monday did a suicide bluff on the St. Petersburg Metro. Authorities say the attacker was a 22- year-old Russian national born in Kyrgyzstan. They don't know his motive yet or if he was acting alone.

North Korea fired a medium-range ballistic missile which landed in the Sea of Japan also known as the east sea. U.S. secretary of defense -- secretary of state rather, Rex Tillerson has said a military option is on the table to stop the north. Mr. Tillerson has now put out a virtual statement saying, "North Korea launched yet another intermediate-range ballistic missile. The United States has spoken enough about North Korea, we have no further comment.

Earning threat from North Korea will be a major issue when Donald and the Chinese President Xi Jinping meet for two-day summit in Florida later this week. The U.S. president has had swore he could go it alone, if he has to bring it in, but Pyongyang thought it could be facing a reality check. Is our CNN Senior International correspondent, Ivan Watson.


[01:34:59] IVAN WATSON, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: President Trump says, he's willing to go it alone to stop North Korea's nuclear weapons program, but he's facing regime that has challenged U.S. administrations on this issue for a quarter of sanctuary, experts argue, he has three basic strategies for confronting Pyongyang starting with negotiations.

DONALD TRUMP, THEN-U.S. PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Would you speak to the leader of North Korea? I said, absolutely, why not? Why not?

WATSON: Previous U.S. administrations have negotiated directly with North Korea and in the past. Pyongyang has made some concessions in exchange for big financial aide. But expert say Pyongyang used its existing nuclear weapons as the ultimate insurance policy protecting North Korea from the threat of possible military strikes.

ANDREI LANKOV, PROFESSOR, KOOKMIN UNIVERSITY: They are not going to give up a single nuclear weapon a soon as they have already produced and no amount of negotiation is going to change it.

WATSON: A second option, sanctions, the U.S. already has many sanctions in place to economically isolate North Korea. But a further step might be to punish companies that do business with North Korea particularly those in china, North Korea's largest trading partner.

LANKOV: So for this courtesy has not walked? Actually because China is not completely participating, partially because of their no scary in faith itself is designed anyway which basically makes the government quite oblivious to the demands of the population.

WATSON: The final option would be a military strike. Targets could include the North Korean leadership or their nuclear weapons and or ballistic missile facilities. But a former top U.S. official warns the consequences for a Key U.S. ally could then be devastating.

ASH CARTER, FORMER U.S. DEFENSE SECRETARY: It's quite possible that they would -- as their consequence of that launch, they attempted invasion of South Korea.

This is a word that -- of -- that would have an intensity of violence associated with it. That we haven't seen the last Korean war.

WATSON: There is one possible ray of hope neither the U.S. nor China the two biggest superpowers in the region want to see a nuclear armed North Korea. If they can work together then perhaps they can find a way to deal with the hermit kingdom and its weapons of mass destruction. Ivan Watson, CNN Seoul.


VAUSE: The death toll from the Metro's hack in St. Petersburg Russia has risen to 14. Authority say they'd now identified the bombers, still trying to work out if he has ties to any extremist. The rough is Russia may be facing a growing terror of threat. A warning here, the video you're about to see in the report by Matthew Chant is disturbing.


MATTHEW CHANCE, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Russian investigators are quickly building up a profile of the man they say is behind this devastating bomb attack. He's been named as 22-year-old Akbarzhon Dzhalilov, born in the central agent republic of Kyrgyzstan, but also a Russian citizen.

Russian investigators say they found his DNA on a bag with the second bomb at another metro station. They also say they have CCTV footage supporting their suspicion. The next day on a schedule visit to Moscow, the foreign minister of Kyrgyzstan unexpectedly found himself in the spotlight and revealing further details on the investigation.

ABDYLDAEV ERLAN BEKESHOVICH, KYRGYZSTAN FOREIGN MINISTER (Through Chance): Our security council he told reporters determined it was a suicide bombing. We're still waiting to see if there's a link to ISIS.

CHANCE: Russia is no stranger to ISIS threats.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (Through Chance): This is a message to you Vladimir Putin says this ISIS militant showing off a Russian made war plane that was captured on the battle fields of Syria. These are you jets, you send to Bashar Al-Assad he says, now, we will send them back to you.

Russia's military intervention in Syria has made it a giant target for Jihadists particularly from all the soviet states. Russian officials have made thousands of its own citizens who have joined the ranks of ISIS in Syria and Iraq. And mainly, mostly central Asia the figure is far higher, but while the threats of battle hard in Jihadist returning to wage war is real.

Russia is also saying seen an up search in ISIS sympathizes drown from former soviet states and inspired to carry out attacks. Russian television broadcast these images in November of what it called members of a terror cell being arrested in the St. Petersburg apartment block.

[01:40:04] Russian officials said the men all from central Asia were threatening attack on shopping malls in the city in amidst to prove their loyalty to ISIS before joining the group.

It's still unclear why a bomber chose to wreak so much havoc and bloodshed on this metro but it is a brutal reminder of the deadly threat Russia faces. Matthew Chance, CNN Moscow.


VAUSE: Next here on Newsroom L.A., ON equal payday in the U.S. we'll look at what needs to be done to close then the gap wages and salary.


VAUSE: Women across America celebrated equal payday on Tuesday and by celebrated we mean protested in the streets complaining on a expressed justified outrage. It goes April 4 marked on average how much longer a woman has to work to make the same wage as a man in 2016?

On average women in the U.S. earn about 20 percent less than men factor and grace and the numbers are even worse. The activist group lean in, explaining to this video 20 percent makes a real difference.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Large dark roast for Erill (ph).

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Excess a little out.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Large dark roast for Lucy (ph).

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Mine is even less.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Cool, Anthony (ph) a large dark roast.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Excuse me. Oh, watch out, I know it's painful, very hot and very full.


VAUSE: OK, we get the point. For more on this, Civil Rights Attorney Lisa Bloom joins us now.


VAUSE: Yes, it makes a good point doesn't it? But, you know, how you look at me outside, equal payday last year what? It was on April 12th, so at this rate you remember we'll have equal pay parody in the U.S. I think by 2059, 42 years from now, why you ladies in such a rush?

[01:45:02] BLOOM: Well, of course many of us are breadwinners in our families. Many of us are single mothers and our paychecks are very important to us, and so this very persistent 20 percent wage gap is a real concern.

VAUSE: The progress is so slow trying to close that gap why?

BLOOM: Right. Well, because in my jobs women are still paid less for equal work in the same job. I think sexual harassment is a big part of the problem as well. Women are often driven out of jobs and they have to start all over again, somewhere else if they don't complain, even if they do complain, it doesn't workout, sexual harassment is a big part of it.

VAUSE: OK, Ivanka Trump, who is a White House advisor also a daughter to the President, she took the Instagram, she showed a graphic showing the inequity of wages. She also had a comment about working together towards equal pay. In her words "I am proud to work towards this goal alongside my father and in support of the administrations commitment to women and family. And we also heard from another first daughter Chelsea Clinton, she tweeted out "Three years ago Obama introduced more protections for women and their workplace. Last week Trump removed them. So in terms of first total smack down this one would go to Chelsea Clinton.

BLOOM: Yes, I mean listen. Other than posting on Instagram what, you know, putting together little charts, what is Ivanka actually doing? She's in a position of power now. I would encourage her to go talk to her father get the federal equal pay act pass. Get other laws pass to protect working women. If you really care about these issues please do something.

VAUSE: And also by repealing that executive order that Obama signed back in 2009 or is that the fair pay order and that takes way a lot of at least two key protections --

BLOOM: Right.

VAUSE: -- for women workers.

BLOOM: And listen, as somebody who represents women on sexually harassment and discrimination cases everyday, I can tell you that these laws are tremendously important. We need these laws to protect working women. We all want ultimately to have equal outcome, we want women to have equal pay. We want them to have a work place free of sexual harassment. So let's strengthen the laws se we can get there.

VAUSE: Well, there was an attempt to strengthen the law. Democrats in congress, they once again introduce what's on (inaudible) paycheck fairness act, they've been doing this in 20 years and it's gotten nowhere. And this year, the Republican speaker of the House Paul Ryan, we wouldn't even bring it to the floor for a vote. So why does it seem that the republicans are so against this? There was only one Republican cosponsored this almost 200 Democrat cosponsors.

BLOOM: Well, it's really shameful and I suppose they're against it because businesses are against it, but I would say businesses don't be afraid because here in the state of California we have a state version of the equal pay act where businesses are required to pay men and women the same even if the jobs are not identical, but they're substantially similar like a janitor and a housekeeper in a hotel, they're both cleaning, one is typically male, one is typically female guess which one earns more money.

VAUSE: I would say the janitor.

BLOOM: Yes. So those pays have to be equalized now, we should have that on the federal level. California business is blooming here. We're prospering, it's not hurting anyone. VAUSE: And this so isn't just about passing, a little of that will help -- there's also issues for women. They have problems actually going out there and asking for more money. They send to gravitate towards law of paying jobs that they say there is still like a social aspect to this.

BLOOM: Yes, it's the confidence gap and I always encourage women to just pretend that you have the confidence of the medial Co white man. You got to get in there and take it, you've got to ask for more money, if you don't feel it, you know, we just don't have the confidence. We don't think we deserve it or even if we think we deserve it, we don't have the confidence to go in there and ask for a raise, but we've got to do it.

VAUSE: I may mean to have the confidence so the medial white man, so Lisa, thanks so much, appreciate it.

BLOOM: Thank you.

VAUSE: Well, coming up here on CNN Newsroom, Hispanic contractors looking to build Trump's wall are being called traitors.


[01:51:04] PEDRAM JAVAHERI, CNN METEOROLOGIST: Another stormy day for the month April across parts of the United States. I'm Pedram Javaheri here watching. Severe weather has spark at least one report of a tornado that being just out of areas around the Arkansas and northern potion of Arkansas bordering Oklahoma, but generally a lot of hail, a lot of winds go around and here's what's responsible for it in this particular storm system has adieu (ph) the plan for parts of the South Eastern United States and it pushes off to the east.

It draws in some gulf moisture here, very unstable setup for a large area of the South Eastern United States and back behind it. Cool Canadian air trying to push him through. So as you know very well if you watch CNN you know that cool air and warm air is certainly not the best of friends, because when you put them very close to one another and quite to be the case at least 53 million people inline for severe weather. This is for areas on Wednesday afternoon, early Wednesday morning into the afternoon hours.

Highest threat extends down towards the South East includes Birmingham, Atlanta, Georgia, Columbia, South Carolina there, where some storms will produce tornados and certain have the potential of some stronger and long track tornados as well scattered about the region, bit it'll be a multiround setup here. So you'll get one line of active thunderstorms in the morning and one potentially into the afternoon and certainly will tide travel into Hartsville Jackson.

Chicago will keep some blustery weather in the forecast about 6 degrees there. Denver, sunshine returns around 12. Working weight towards Los Angeles, a stunning day, around 21 and sunny.

VAUSE: So one part of the U.S. border there's been a big fall in the number of illegal crossings. A former customs and border control commissioner says officers have reported arrested out almost 70 percent of the south western part of the border. And the Trump administration's tough stand for immigration is apparently getting credit. Legal crossings typically increase in March according official numbers.

Meanwhile, the U.S. President still wants to build that big beautiful border wall and where many large construction companies are avoiding the project, other contract, there's someone Hispanic wants the job. CNN's Boris Sanchez has details.


TRUMP: I would build a great wall and nobody builds walls better than me, believe me.

BORIS SANCHEZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Since day one of his campaign, then candidate Donald Trump's promise of building a wall along the border with Mexico has been a lightning rod, drawing chance from his supporters and scorn from his opponents. And now that the federal government is accepting design bids for the wall, that ire is now focused on those who want to instruct it.

MARIO BURGOS, OWNER, BURGOS GROUP: Every country in the world has borders. If you don't have borders you don't have a country.

SANCHEZ: Mario Burgos is one of many contractors who've submitted bids to work on the wall. The son of Ecuador and immigrants did not vote for Donald Trump and he rejects the president's rhetoric about Mexicans and other minorities.

BURGOS: It absolutely mean spirited.

SANCHEZ: But thousands of miles away from the divisive language of the campaign trail, here in the desert of New Mexico on the border which you got Juarez, reality Trump's rhetoric.

BURGOS: The bottom line is New Mexico has the highest unemployment rate in the nation right now 6.7 percent. We have created these jobs. We have 120 employees now working for us. Our employees have families that they need to feed just like we have families that we need to feed.

SANCHEZ: The idea of Hispanics playing a role in the wall's construction is not been without controversy. This week, the archdiocese of Mexico City launched an attack on Mexican companies willing to work on the border wall calling them immoral and traitors.

BURGOS: A traitor to what? I am an American. It goes back to we have borders. Every country in the world has borders.

SANCHEZ: Burgos says online trolls are already targeting his business.

BURGOS: Just call me a bunch of names because I'm going to go build a wall.

SANCHEZ: But Burgos insists if a wall is going up in his backyard, he wants any economic windfall to stay in his backyard.

[01:55:06] BURGOS: There is no changing fact that New Mexico is a border state. And so if there's going to be a border build in New Mexico I'd like to see New Mexico companies of us as a general contract or as subcontractors a deeper in manufacture concrete, the folks that lived here worked here coached soccer here. They should be able to participate in building the wall. I'm not sure it is if you can't be them, bill them.

SANCHEZ: Mario Burgos is not alone, of the more than 600 contractors that have registered with the federal government to build the border wall about 10 percent or Hispanic owned. Boris Sanchez, CNN along the U.S. border with Ciudad Juarez in New Mexico.


VAUSE: You've been watching CNN Newsroom live from Los Angeles, I'm John Vause. Stay with us, a lot more news after a very short break.


VAUSE: This is CNN Newsroom live from Lost Angeles. Ahead this hour, Dozens killed in a suspected chemical attack in Syria or most accused the Assad Regime. Russia now, has a new explanation of who's to blame.

Also a North Korea fires off what's believed to be a ballistic missile and it seems there is a message in the timing. And later, advertisers has get away fast enough after one of America's most popular news anchors is --