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Turkey's Erdogan Declares Referendum Victory; Concerns Over Russian Meddling In French Elections; Aggravated Murder Warrant For Facebook Suspect. Aired 1-2a ET

Aired April 17, 2017 - 01:00   ET


[01:00:00] NATALIE ALLEN, CNN INTERNATION CORRESPONDENT AND ANCHOR: Turkey's President, Erdogan, declares victory after voters there grant him sweeping new powers in a referendum.

CYRIL VANIER, CNN NEWSROOM ANCHOR: Plus, as tensions flare on the Korean Peninsula, the U.S. Vice President reassures allies while visiting the demilitarized zone.

ALLEN: And with less than one week until France decides their next leader, concerns that Russia may be trying to influence the outcome. It's all ahead here on CNN NEWSROOM this hour. I'm Natalie Allen.

VANIER: And I'm Cyril Vanier. Thank you very much for joining us.

ALLEN: And we begin with major political changes that have divided Turkey. President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has claimed a narrow victory in Sunday's bitterly fought referendum.

VANIER: It's going to give him sweeping powers and reset the term limits for his presidency. But there's a dispute brewing over ballots, and the opposition says it's looking into suspected voter fraud. Ian Lee joins us from Istanbul. Ian, what do we know about this, and are the results final? The results that were announced by the electoral commission because the opposition says it wants a large recount.

IAN LEE, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Good morning, Cyril. Well, right now, those official results - they haven't come yet. There's still is a grace period of about ten days where people can file their complaints. But a lot of this is surrounding the Supreme Election Board which right before polls closed, announced that ballots which had a simple yes and no on them if they didn't have the official seal and there was no belief that they came from outside; those could be counted too. It was a bizarre move which the opposition to this referendum or to the yes camp say that is something that they want a recount on. They're not going to buy that. And so, they're calling for 37 percent of the ballots cast yesterday to be recounted. But whichever way this election, this referendum comes out, last night was truly historical.


LEE: Mark this the day that Turkey changed forever. Thousands celebrate a new constitution. Preliminary results give this man, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, more power.

RECEP TAYYIP ERDOGAN, TURKEY PRESIDENT (through translator): Regardless of what people voted for, I would like to thank every single member of our nation who attended the ballot box to indicate their choice. Turkey, in respect to supporting its democracy and respecting people's choices, Turkey will be able to overcome all sorts of difficulties, crises, and issues.

LEE: A "no" vote who have rebuked the strong man who has led the country for over a decade. And that's why millions of Turks, young and old, descended on the ballots to cast their vote in this narrow referendum. This father of three, voted "yes," telling me it's better for my country, the economy, my children's future that President Erdogan has more power. Leeha agrees, saying, of course, she voted "yes." We've benefited greatly by President Erdogan's leadership. If I said "no", the bad times would return. But with celebration comes sorrow, the No campaign said they faced intimidation and threats of violence. Independent election monitors say state media and pro- government outlets slanted coverage in favor of "yes." And that's what had no voters despairing.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Actually, I'm said. I cried all night. It's really sad to have to do this whole thing even. I mean, in 15 years, we saw that radical Islam has come to power and ended up in a dictator.

LEE: This father had voted for his daughter's future also. Telling me, "it's courageous to talk about this. Democracy is important. Multi-party systems, separation of powers, checks, and balances. It's valuable. That's why I voted no." Security concerns also dominated the lead-up to this referendum. A threat of a terror attack loomed largely. Security has been tight at polling stations like this one here in Istanbul.

Hundreds of thousands of members of the security forces have been deployed across the country to secure the referendum. Polls closed without a major incident, but with such a narrow victory, no perceived mandate, and the President previously calling no voters traitors who side with supporters of terror. The question now, can Recep Tayyip Erdogan heal the wounds of this deeply divisive and polarizing referendum?


LEE: Cyril, expect a fight going forward. Those supporting the no campaign say they're not going to accept these results. And President Erdogan is a man not known for giving up easily.

[01:05:03] VANIER: Ian, the President had been trying to increase his powers for a long time. Assuming those results are actually confirmed, what's actually going to change now?

LEE: You'll see a fundamental shift in the government here in Turkey from a parliamentary system to a presidential system. And the President will have, Cyril, a lot of power over the makeup of the parliament as he is will be the head of the political party, thus will be able to choose who's in his party list. Also, he'll have a lot of power over the judiciary, and that's one thing that those in the no camp says it just gives him too much power. And that's going to happen if these results are confirmed in 2019 when they officially make that shift.

VANIER: All right. Ian Lee, reporting live from Turkey. Thank you very much.

ALLEN: Turkey is a candidate to join the European Union. And the European Commission says, it's time for Ankara to address the council of Europe's concerns, especially over the far-reaching implications of the constitutional amendments. Chris Burns has more from Berlin on how Europe greeted Mr. Erdogan's apparent victory.


CHRIS BURNS, CNN BUREAU CHIEF AND CORRESPONDENT: Initially, the cool reaction from the Europeans to the results of the Turkish referendum here in Germany. Sigmar Gabriel, the Foreign Minister saying, that they are glad that this very bitter election campaign is over here in Europe, and also that they must keep cool heads about what should be done looking forward. It was a very bitter campaign. We witnessed some of that here, and we saw that the - we saw at a party headquarters, an election headquarters of the opposition, as they got very excited about watching the gap between the yes and no come out in the results. In the very end, they didn't quite make it. There was quite a bit of bitterness and here's what one of them said after that.

MURAT ALPER OZKAN, TURKISH NATIONAL: At this point, I'm really sorry to see that the Turkish people have voted for an authoritarian system, authoritarian regime which might lead us to places or situations we even don't know yet.

BURNS: Now, here in Germany, that vote was extremely important. In fact, Mr. Erdogan himself, President Erdogan has said that it played a very, very big part in his claimed victory. In fact, there were some 1.5 million Turkish voters here in Germany alone, that half of them actually cast their ballots, and that among those 63 percent voted "yes." So, that was very, very important for Mr. Erdogan in his victory. Mr. Erdogan also saying that he wanted to see more respect from his allies, that being NATO, Europe, and elsewhere. And is he seeing that respect? Well, the Europeans don't seem to be rushing to congratulate him.

What we heard from Jean-Claude Juncker, the European Commission President, and his team, they took note of the result. They are waiting for an assessment from the OSCE, the Organization for Security and Cooperation Europe. Essentially, the election watchdogs in Europe, to see what they say about it, especially because it's being contested by the opposition. Also, that they will take a look at the amendments to the constitution that were approved by this referendum and to see whether - put it in light of the fact that Turkey is trying to - still trying to join the European Union. What will that mean to their bid to join the European Union? What will this all mean to European and Turkish relations going forward? We'll have to watch. Chris Burns, Berlin. (END VIDEOTAPE)

VANIER: Let's get more analysis on this with Matthew Bryza, who joins us from Istanbul. He's a Senior Fellow of the Atlantic Council of former U.S Ambassador. Mr. Bryza, where does this leave democracy in Turkey? Once again, assuming those results are indeed confirmed? Because the President's going to have the executive powers, he's going to have increased influence over the judiciary, over the legislative body. What does this do to democracy in Turkey?

MATTHEW BRYZA, THE ATLANTIC COUNCIL OF FORMER U.S. AMBASSADOR SENIOR FELLOW: Well, it depends on how President Erdogan chooses to use these new powers. You know, if you just look at what he's gained on paper, his powers will be quite similar to that of, let's say, the United States President. But, of course, the culture of democracy in the United States and in Turkey is much different.

VANIER: Minus the checks and balances, though.

BRYZA: Yes. Well, that's, that's the key point, right. I mean, the opposition is very weak here. There is a judiciary, of course. There is a parliament. The parliament will still have the rights that it had to debate legislation, to pass it. But he, himself, is such an overpowering figure. Yes, 50 percent of the country supports him. 50 percent does not, but he really is the most consequential leader in Turkish history since the founder of the Turkish Republic, Mustafa Kemal Ataturk. So, whether he decides to use this outcome to bring the country together or tries to cement his power is the answer to your question about the future of Turkish democracy. Right now, the polarization has sharpened. We've seen protests last night. There will be more today, as the opposition party disputes the sanctity of the actual process.

[01:10:18] VANIER: And he was hoping for a big win on this, you know, maybe in the 60 percent range. That's not where he is right now. Do you think that diminishes, does that weaken him in any way?

BRYZA: I think he's worried about getting a lower win. On the other hand, the polls have been predicting a razor-thin margin of "yes" throughout the last several weeks. So, I can't imagine he's surprised. But I can imagine that he was going to try to use this momentum, if the result stands, to try to make that margin even larger in society and use his new powers to strengthen his position. So - yes, he wanted a larger margin.

If you look at the map of the votes, you'll see that the "yes" vote was really the heartland of Turkey: Anatolia, the internal part of Turkey. The "no" vote, was all around the periphery of Turkey, meaning the coastline that's more European-focused as well as the Northeast corner of Turkey close to Georgia, which is also quite connected to Europe. And then the Southeast, which is the Kurdish majority area of Turkey. So, the result so far is polarization.

VANIER: And back to the question about what this does to Turkish democracy, the argument of Mr. Erdogan is that more power in the hands of one man, in this case, himself, is actually good for stability in the country. What do you make of that argument?

BRYZA: Well, I think - you know, if you look at the way the markets and investors were talking about this vote, they would say - they were hoping for a "yes" vote that was definitive and says that would bring stability in the short term. That would be supportive of President Erdogan's line. And from his perspective, he would argue that look, the old system with coalition governments didn't work well. He felt frustrated very often with his legislative initiatives not being able to be pushed through.

On the other hand, of course if you have the use of this new mandate in a way that deepens polarization, deepens separation of the society, even if the parliament still functions, if the judiciary changes its makeup, if it becomes politicized, well, then, there is a question about the strength of democracy. So, it's in President Erdogan's hands. Again, depending upon what happens with the opposition's call for a recount.

VANIER: All right. We'll be tracking developments on that front, of course. Matthew Bryza, Senior Fellow at the Atlantic Council, thank you very much for joining us and coming on the show.

ALLEN: Well, new developments in the U.S. Vice President's trip to south Korea. Mike Pence has traveled now to the demilitarized zone and got a rare look inside North Korea. He stood just 16 meters from the border and called it "the frontier of freedom."

VANIER: And this under the gaze of North Korean troops. At one point, they even appeared to photograph Pence. The DMZ is a highly- fortified strip between North and South Korea. It was created by the Korean war armistice in 1953, but there wasn't a peace treaty. And technically, that means the Korean war never ended.

ALLEN: The Vice President's South Korean visit follows a failed launch of a North Korean missile. Our Paula Hancocks joins us now with more from Seoul. The timing is uncanny, isn't it, Paula? Just after a missile attempt by North Korea. The U.S. Vice President is standing on the demilitarized zone.

PAULA HANCOCKS, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, Natalie, this is a - this is a trip that many VIPs make when they come here to South Korea. We saw the U.S. Secretary of State, Rex Tillerson, go up to the DMZ as well. And it's really to be able to see just what the situation is on the ground, to be able to see how close the two are. As you say, they are still technically at war. Also, likely to be a message to North Korea. They know full well that North Korea knows when they're there.

As you say, the North Korean soldiers were coming out. Some of them appeared to be photographing the Vice President. There really is a number of reasons why a VIP would go to the DMZ. Also, there's a more personal aspect from the Vice President's sense as well coming to Korea. His father actually fought in the Korean war. He just tweeted a few moments ago, and I'll read this tweet for you from the Vice President. "Meaningful visit to DMZ where 64 years ago, my dad earned a bronze star in Korean war. His medal stays close in my west wing office."

So obviously, the Vice President is here in his capacity as Vice President talking about all options being on the table, but peaceful negotiations; obviously, the preferred option. But there is that extra element for Mr. Pence as well, the emotional and personal element that his father fought in this war. Natalie.

[01:15:06] ALLEN: Right. And all of this follows. You know, what has been a very tense time between North Korea and some counter moves by the United States flexing its military muscle as well. What's the feeling there in South Korea right now perhaps wanting to dial back this tension?

HANCOCKS: From a -- from the public's point of view, nothing's changed. You see on the street Seoul, you have no idea that there is supposed to be a heightened level of tension. People here have been dealing with this for decades. The threat of conflict, the threat of war is constant here. But it's also distant, no one truly believes that there will be a second Korean war. Now from an initial point of view, the South Korean officials welcome more and more VIPs coming from the United States. They want the people who are making the decisions to be coming here to see exactly what the situation is. We know that Mr. Pence right now is meeting with the acting President Hwang Kyo-ahn. Of course, it's a tricky situation he's coming into as well because the people he's meeting won't be in power in a few weeks' time as he's only acting President. So that's another tricky part of this whole scenario as well. Natalie.

ALLEN: Absolutely. All right, Paula Hancocks for us. Thank you, Paula.

VANIER: Still to come after the break, police in the U.S. are releasing new details about a man suspected of killing someone at random and then posting video of it on Facebook.

ALLEN: Just a horrific story there. Also, a former Mexican Governor arrested after six months on the run, and he had more than 100 bank accounts. We'll have more about him in just a moment.


KATE RILEY, CNN WORLD SPORTS ANCHOR: Hello. I'm Kate Riley with your CNN WORLD SPORTS Headlines. To Formula one, we had a sense of excitement after the first two races of the new season. But the action pack, Bahrain Grand Prix on Sunday confirmed it exciting once again. Valtteri Bottas came to prove himself of Mercedes but he was unable to challenge the Sebastian Vettel for the lead as teammate Lewis Hamilton had the better chance of winning but neither could challenge Ferrari Vettel who won the second race of the campaign.

And for the first time this season, South Africa didn't make it to the final of Rugby Sevens as they are still closing into the title though. In Singapore, we got something in story because the USA and Canada went head to head. Canada send-off New Zealand and England to get to the title match and the in the final seconds against the USA, Lucas Hammond scoring the game-winning try. Canada wins 26-19 and capture their first ever Sevens title.

And whenever Manchester United plays Chelsea it's always a big deal. And Sunday's game all traffic no exception. It was United who went ahead first, Marcus Rashford on target after just seven minutes. As United's fastest goal of the season but controversial, Chelsea's furious about handball in the builder. The blues were rattled and a deflected strike from Ander Herrera early in the second half would give a United a 2-0 win. Chelsea's lead at the top is only by four points. And that's a look at all your Sports Headlines. I'm Kate Riley.


[01:20:36] VANIER: Police in Cleveland, Ohio, have issued an aggravated murder warrant for a man accused of a deadly shooting posted on Facebook.

ALLEN: This is such a disturbing story. Steve Stephens, that's his name is on the run, and authorities think he may have left the state. Now they're asking people in Pennsylvania, New York, Indiana, and Michigan to be on alert. What did he do? Here's CNN's Polo Sandoval.


POLO SANDOVAL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: The city of Cleveland and also much of the U.S. is still in shock and in disbelief after the senseless crime was captured on camera and then eventually uploaded onto Facebook. Authorities say that Steve Stephens is the man who appears to go on this rant in his car, and then sets his sights on an innocent man, authorities with the latest information on this case.

CALVIN WILLIAMS, CLEVELAND POLICE CHIEF: We want him to turn himself in. If that doesn't happen, then again we have all of our partners in on this, and we'll look until we find him. Currently, division of police is, of course, the lead on this. But of course our partners from the FBI, our state and county partners are also working with us diligently to make sure that we get this person off the streets.

SANDOVAL: And now we are now learning more about the victim in this case. A 74-year-old man who was simply walking on the side of the road. And by all accounts randomly targeted by Stephens. According to authorities, his family now reacting to their loss.

ROBERT GODWIN JR, SON OF SHOOTING VICTIM: He's a good guy. I mean he'd give you the shirt off his back. I mean and I'm not just saying that for these cameras, like people do, knowing that their people really is that not right. But I'm telling the truth. This man right here was a good man.

SANDOVAL: Well CNN spoke to Stephens' mom, a woman by the name of Maggie Green, who tells CNN that the last time she saw her son was on Saturday, and he told her it would be the last time that she would see him. Polo Sandoval, CNN, Atlanta.

(END VIDEOTAPE) VANIER: Let's go to Latin America now. Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro says he's going to deploy armed forces to city streets starting today. Five people were killed and hundreds injured in violent protests that erupted earlier this month. They started when the government tried to dissolve parliament and banned opposition leader Henrique Capriles from politics.

ALLEN: All right, the people aren't standing down. As you can see, Maduro accused anti-government protesters of promoting violence. But opposition and pro-government leaders are both planning massive protests on Wednesday.

Guatemalan police ended a six-month search Saturday when they arrested former Mexican Governor Javier Duarte.

VANIER: Authorities say that the man once heralded as a leader free of corruption actually stole hundreds of millions of dollars. Rafael Romo has more on the capture and what it means to Mexico's government.


RAFAEL ROMO, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Javier Duarte had been missing for more than six months. Last October, Mexican authorities issued an arrest warrant against him on charges of money laundering and racketeering. The 43-year-old was finally located Saturday night at a resort in a Guatemalan tourist town where he was arrested by police. Duarte is accused of mishandling millions of dollars from programs for the poor. His case is an embarrassment to the Mexican President Enrique Pena . Both politicians belong to the institutional revolutionary party or PRI by its Spanish acronym which governed Mexico for most of the 20th century. But once mentioned Duarte as an example of the new younger, less corrupt PRI. In November, Mexican officials froze 112 bank accounts belonging to Duarte. They also seized five businesses and four residences owned by the former Governor. The Mexican government was offering about $810,000 for information leading to his capture and arrest. Mexican officials announced Sunday they now have 60 days to request and carry out Duarte's extradition back to Mexico. Duarte is just one of several former Mexican Governors in trouble with the law. Last week, Tomas Yarrington former Governor of the violence-ridden state of Tamaulipas who had been on the run since 2012 was captured in Florence, Italy. An arrest warrant has been issued against former Chihuahua Governor Cesar Duarte, no relation, who remains at large. Rafael Romo, CNN.


VANIER: And the U.S. and its allies are considering their options for dealing with North Korea. We'll detail those for you after the break.

ALLEN: Also as the French Presidential candidates focus on the little time left before the first vote, concerns are growing over hacking and what Russia could be up to.


[01:28:46] ALLEN: And welcome back. You're watching CNN NEWSROOM live from Atlanta. I'm Natalie Allen.

VANIER: And I'm Cyril Vanier. Let's take a quick look at the top stories we're following for you this hour. It looks like Turkish voters have handed President Recep Tayyip Erdogan sweeping new powers. Early results showing him winning Sunday's referendum by a razor-thin margin. His victory would mean major constitutional changes and the term limits for his Presidency would be reset.

ALLEN: Emergency teams are trying to rescue hundreds of migrants stranded in boats off the coast of Libya. The Italian coast guard and a relief agency says the bodies of seven people, including an 8-year- old boy, were found during the latest rescue operation Sunday.

VANIER: Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro is ordering the military to patrol city streets in the wake of protests that left five people dead. Violent demonstrations erupted when his government tried to dissolve parliament and banned a popular opposition leader from politics earlier this month. More protests are planned for Wednesday.

ALLEN: U.S. Vice President Mike Pence had visited the demilitarized zone between North and South Korea. That's happened in the past few hours. He viewed the North Korean side of the border and told reporters all U.S. options on North Korea are still on the table. Pence was in Seoul Sunday just hours after a failed missile test by Pyongyang.

VANIER: And Trump administration officials are hoping for a diplomatic resolution to the North Korean threat.

ALLEN: At - at least last reports, Washington wants Beijing to play a prominent role in easing the tension.


ELISE LABOTT, CNN GLOBAL AFFAIRS CORRESPONDENT: President Trump clearly sees China as a linchpin in the US strategy to pressure North Korea to curb its nuclear and missile program.

Now, during a recent review of North Korea policy, officials say it became evident that China has never really exerted maximum pressure on North Korea. And in Kabul, Sunday, National Security Advisor General H.R. McMaster made clear China now has to step up.

H.R. MCMASTER, US NATIONAL SECURITY ADVISER: And so, we're going to rely on our allies like we always do, but we're also going to have to rely on Chinese leadership. North Korea is very vulnerable to pressure from the Chinese. 80 percent of North Korea's trade comes from China. All of their energy requirements are fulfilled by China.

LABOTT: Now, along with those carrots, there is a stick. When he visited Beijing recently, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson warned that the US could sanction Chinese banks and companies that do business with North Korea if Beijing does not start cooperating. And those threats will continue to grow louder.

Elise Labott, CNN, Washington. (END VIDEO CLIP)

VANIER: Meanwhile, the US president indicated that he is willing to back off his scathing criticism of China if China helps the rein in Pyongyang.

After months of accusing Beijing of cheating on trade, Donald Trump tweeted this.

"Why would I call China a currency manipulator when they're working with us on the North Korean problem. We'll see what happens."

ALLEN: To talk more about all of this between the US, North Korea and tensions, we're joined from Seoul by Jean Lee. She's a journalist and global fellow at the Wilson Center. Thanks so much for joining us.

First, I want to talk about Mike Pence there on the demilitarized zone and signaling that all options are still on the table. What do you make of that?

JEAN LEE, GLOBAL FELLOW, WILSON CENTER: He wants to show that the US remains firm and committed to trying to resolve this issue and it's going to use force if necessary, although certainly have backed off a little bit on talk of a preemptive strike that has made South Korea nervous.

As we know, sitting down right now with the acting president of South Korea perhaps to allay some of the current concerns on the part of political (inaudible 2:32) here in Seoul that the US might wage some sort of military action about (inaudible 2:39).

ALLEN: Right. That's something new. We didn't hear that from the last administration. But as we know, Donald Trump does think his own way and says things and we also that North Korea is paying close attention. They even commented on tweets put out by this president. What do you make of that?

LEE: They have commented on kind of Trump's tweets in their state media. So, they are paying close attention. They do have Internet access. Certain officials do have Internet access. They have not made any comments about Pence's visit, but perhaps that is to come.

I think the North Koreans are extremely disappointed. They were hoping that Donald Trump would be a different kind of president, perhaps a president they could work with, perhaps a president who is willing to sit down with them.

We have not had a president sit down with a North Korean leader. These two countries have not had diplomatic relations - do not have diplomatic relations and are technically in a state of war. So, the North Koreans were certainly hoping for the incredible propaganda of having their leader sit down with the leader of United States, their archenemy.

So, they're clearly disappointed that President Trump is not the same as Trump the presidential candidate, and so they're making that very clear, both with some of the comments in their state media and certainly with their provocative actions in the past few months.

ALLEN: And the key question is, what are the chances that could happen, of some talks? Certainly, President Trump has lauded his new friend, it seems, the head of China, Xi Jinping, and it's kind of on China's shoulders right now to really put the heat on North Korea.

But it seems in the past no amount of tiptoeing around North Korea's nuclear ambitions, military ambitions have ever worked. So, possibly, could this be a time, with China's help, that there is a different approach to North Korea?

LEE: I think there are a couple of interesting aspects here as far as the calculation that Trump is making when it comes to relations with China, in the sense that he's using the North Korea to try to extract some trade concessions with China. So, this is certainly - to do it so overtly is certainly a first.

[01:35:00] I think we have to keep in mind what North Korea (inaudible 5:02) are and what is it that North Korea wants, and that's something that we don't know so well. They've kept themselves so much (inaudible) and kept themselves so isolated that it's very hard for us to find out what it is they want.

Now, one of the things that China really values is the little access that it has to North Korean leadership. We do see that Trump is putting pressure on China to (inaudible) lifeline that China provides North Korea. But to be honest, Beijing wants to have some access to Pyongyang and certainly putting too much pressure on Pyongyang would mean cutting off some of that access that they have and some of that leverage that they do have.

So, it's a very delicate balance for Beijing. They do want to avoid and avert any kind of conflict on the Korean Peninsula. They are clearly very worried, but they also want to make sure that those contacts, those lines of communications with Pyongyang are still open.

ALLEN: All right. We'll wait and see what happens next in this. We thank you so much for joining us. Jean Lee there in Seoul, South Korea. Thank you.

VANIER: Yes. And the current standoff with North Korea is, obviously, a complex challenge for the Trump administration. As Natalie's guest was saying just a moment ago, there is agreement that the pivotal player in trying to reach a diplomatic resolution here is China.


SEN. JOHN MCCAIN (R), ARIZONA: China is the key. China is the key. They can stop this if they want to because of their control over the North Korean economy.

This guy in North Korea is not rational. His father and his grandfather were much more rational than he is.

(END VIDEO CLIP) ALLEN: Well, on the campaign trail, we'll remember, President Trump had harsh words for Beijing, but that seems to have softened after he met with the Chinese leader at Mar-A-Lago.

Matt Rivers explains a little more about that.


MATT RIVERS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, this latest missile test out of North Korea only serves to strengthen the notion that both China and the United States continue to have a major problem on their hands when it comes to the Kim Jong-un regime.

But over the last several weeks we have seen signs of increasing cooperation between the United States and China when it comes to trying to work together to figure out a solution to this ongoing crisis. And many people will point to the relationship between Chinese President Xi Jinping and US President Donald Trump as the reason why.

DONALD TRUMP, THEN-US REPUBLICAN PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: China, which has been ripping us off, the greatest abuser in the history of this country.

RIVERS (voice-over): That was candidate Trump. But there's been a stark about-face from President Trump in just the last week on one of his favorite campaign targets, China.

Remember when he said he'd label China a currency manipulator on day one of his presidency? Didn't happen. And now he says they're not manipulating the renminbi.

And then there's North Korea. Trump consistently blasted China for failing to stop Kim Jong-un's nuclear weapons program. Now this.

TRUMP: We have a very big problem in North Korea, and as I said, I really think that China's going to try very hard and has already started.

RIVERS (voice-over): So, what changed?

TRUMP: I have really gotten to like and respect, as you know, President Xi. He's a terrific person. We spent a lot of time together in Florida. And he's a very special man.

RIVERS (voice-over): The new detente appears to have started in the sunny confines of Mar-A-Lago at the crucial first in-person meeting between Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping on April 6th. Trump said talking with Xi helped change his mind on China's ability to handle North Korea.

"After listening for 10 minutes I realized it's not so easy," the president told "The Wall Street Journal". Trump went on to praise China for banning North Korean coal imports, a move China actually made back in February.

TRUMP: The vast amount of coal that comes out of North Korea going to China, they've turned back the boats.

RIVERS (voice-over): The apparent ability of Xi Jinping to connect with Donald Trump is unexpected, if not remarkable, given that both men appear to be polar opposites.

One is the brash, attention-seeking New York media personality. The other, a scripted, enigmatic leader who has never given a face-to-face interview as president, someone who steadily rose through China's Communist Party ranks, consolidating power in a way not seen here since the days of Chairman Mao.

Speeches like this one at the World Economic Forum in Davos helped give Xi the air of an international statesman. China's economic prowess has forced many a world leader to pay homage.

Xi's global charm offensive seems to have at least temporarily worked on Donald Trump, but there are signs it won't last. Trump's strike against Syria and threats of military action against North Korea have alarmed China. Xi even called Trump this week asking for a peaceful solution to the crisis.

And despite that coal import ban, China's total trade volume with North Korea is actually up nearly 40 percent in 2017, figures sure not to sit well with the Trump administration.

[01:40:04] But a nuclear North Korea appears to have bridged the divide for now. Two very different leaders with budding cooperation over a common threat.

RIVERS: But the ability of this newfound cooperation to continue, I think, largely depends on how the United States under the Trump administration is going to react to North Korea moving forward. I think you can depend on the Chinese to remain consistent in their position as they have for well over 10 years now.

But if the Trump administration decides to launch some sort of military strike, that could put a serious dent in the ability of the United States and the Chinese to continue to cooperate.

Back to you.


VANIER: Coming up after the break. Russia is once again accused of interfering in a presidential election. We'll be hearing how France is dealing with the apparent hacking and a wave of fake news. We'll be back after this.


VANIER: France is just days away from deciding its new political future. And the presidential election has almost a dozen candidates, each of them with a different approach on how to deal with Russia.

ALLEN: Ahead of the vote, many are also concerned about Moscow meddling with their election and the spread of so-called fake news. Our Melissa Bell takes a closer look.


MELISSA BELL, CNN PARIS CORRESPONDENT: MELISSA BELL, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: The choice facing French voters is stark. Eleven candidates with radically different visions of what the future should be.

Of them, the two front-runners have almost diametrically opposed proposals. On one hand, a stronger relationship with Europe and a tough approach to Russia. On the other, a referendum on leaving the EU and a closer relationship with Moscow.

It's a rapprochement that Marine Le Pen has already started working on with a visit to Moscow. Vladimir Putin took the opportunity to state Russia's position.

VLADIMIR PUTIN, RUSSIAN PRESIDENT (through translator): We do not want to influence events in any way.

BELL: But inside Emmanuel Macron's headquarters, the fear is that Moscow has been trying to help Marine Le Pen. His campaign manager says they are being targeted by both cyberattacks and fake news.

[01:45:07] RICHARD FERRAND, CAMPAIGN MANAGER FOR EMMANUEL MACRON (THROUGH TRANSLATOR): Emmanuel Macron wants a strong European Union. And we know that the strategy of those countries that don't want a strong Europe means making him lose the election.

BELL: So, is Russia interfering in France's presidential campaign as it is alleged to have done in the American poll? France's Internet watchdog has warned of the danger of cyber interference. We asked an expert on French cybersecurity whether he thought Russia was involved.

FABRICE EPELBOIN, CO-FOUNDER, YOGOSHA: Yes, probably. Just like the United States has been interfering in many, many presidential elections around the world for the past, I don't know, 50 years at least.

Just like France has been interfering in almost every African presidential election since, well, the last 60, 70 years. It's the way democracy works around the world.

BELL: The trouble, says Fabrice, is that it is impossible, given the sophistication of the technology, to determine where a particular hack originated.

CNN reached out to the Kremlin to get their response. A spokesman said, "we strongly disagree with these accusations, they are groundless. Moscow was not involved in any cyberattacks and can't be involved."

So, what about fake news? At the French daily Le Monde, a special unit was set up in which 12 journalists worked to identify and debunk fake news. Adrien Senecat tells us that the French presidential campaign has seen

partisan news from Russian media, but not fake news, that is news stories that are entirely made up. They have tended, he says, to come from inside France.

ADRIEN SENECAT, JOURNALIST, LE MONDE: We tapped stories that were run with past couple of months under French Internet were mostly being made up by far right Web sites or far right partisans or far right Facebook pages and they mostly targeted migrants, media of Emmanuel Macron.

BELL: For those inside Emmanuel Macron's campaign headquarters, fake news stories targeting their candidate are all the more worrying because of the nature of his electorate. It is untested because he has never stood before and the polls suggest much more volatile than Marine Le Pen's.

In short, he has many more people to convince and the fear here is that some may be all too easily put off.

Melissa Bell, CNN, in Paris.

ALLEN: Prince Harry is giving a personal look at how he dealt with his mother's death. He was just 12, you will remember, when Princess Diana died in a car crash.

VANIER: In a candid interview with the UK's "Telegraph", Harry explained how he first ignored the situation for a while before seeking professional help.


VOICE OF PRINCE HARRY, UNITED KINGDOM: My way of dealing with it was, yes, sticking my head in the sand, refusing to ever think about my mum because why would that help? It's only going to make you sad, it's not going to bring her back.

So, from an emotional side, I was like, right, don't ever let your emotions be part of anything. So, I was a typical sort of 20, 25, 28- year-old running around going, you know, life is great, life is fine.


HARRY: And that was exactly it. And then, so I started a few conversations, and actually all of a sudden, all of this grief that I'd never processed started to come to the forefront. I was like, there's actually a lot of stuff here I need to deal with.


VANIER: And Harry is encouraging UK residents to seek mental health treatment and be more open about their struggles.

ALLEN: Well, coming up here, a reported feud between two of Donald Trump's top advisers is now the punch line of this SNL joke. Now, the show is poking fun at Jared Kushner and Steve Bannon. We have that coming up.



[01:52:25] ALLEN: Well, they were at it again this weekend. The parody, the Saturday Night Live poking fun at US President Donald Trump's top advisers. This time, his son-in-law Jared Kushner and Steve Bannon and the reported disagreements between the two. The skit was set up like an elimination round on the reality show, America's next top model.


ALEC BALDWIN, ACTOR: Jared? Steve? Standing before me are my two top advisers. But I only have one photo in my hand. That's right, tonight is elimination night. There's been a lot of drama in the house, and that's OK, but one of you must go, now.

If you do not see your photo, you must immediately leave the Oval Office and join Kellyanne Conway in the basement. But don't worry, your journey does not end tonight, because you will get to come back at the end of all of this and help send me to prison.

The person who will stay on as my top advisor is Jared.


ALLEN: (inaudible 3:36).

VANIER: So, in real life. When President Trump was given the opportunity to defend Steve Bannon, he wasn't too enthusiastic.

ALLEN: Brianna Keilar looks at whether Bannon may be on thin ice in the White House.


BRIANNA KEILAR, CNN SENIOR WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): President Trump's chief strategist Steve Bannon publicly dressed down by the boss.

"I like Steve, but you have to remember he was not involved in my campaign until very late. I had already beaten all the senators and all the governors and I didn't know Steve, Trump hold the "New York Post." I'm my own strategist and it wasn't like I was going to change strategies because I was facing crooked Hillary."

Asked if he has confidence in Bannon amid reports of infighting among top aides, including Trump's influential son-in-law Jared Kushner, Trump said Steve is a good guy, but I told him to straighten it out or I will.

GOV. CHRIS CHRISTIE (R), NEW JERSEY: I think the president was sending a very strong message, which knowing him I assume he's also said it in private, which is I don't like this bickering and enough already and get your act together.

KEILAR: The review comes just one week after Bannon was dumped from the National Security Council, a sign his influence on Trump's foreign policy has diminished.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I happen to believe and I think many others do he is probably the greatest public speaker in those large arenas since William Jennings Bryan.

KEILAR: And early and ardent admirer of Trump's, Bannon interviewed Trump for Breitbart radio back in 2015 when he was then heading up the far right media conglomerate.

[01:55:03] DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We have to keep our talented people in this country. I think you agree with that. Do you agree with that?

STEVE BANNON, THEN-HOST OF BREITBART RADIO: Well, I got a tougher - when two-thirds or three quarters of those CEOs in Silicon Valley are from South Asia or from Asia, I think - my point is that countries more like sessions, a country is more than an economy. We are a civic society.

KEILAR: Less than one year later, Bannon was heading up Trump's campaign, orchestrating some of its most outrageous moments. Like this photo op just before a presidential debate with women who had accused Bill Clinton of assault, Bannon looking on.

In the White House, he was instrumental in Trump's controversial travel ban of several majority Muslim countries.

TRUMP: And I said we will get the criminals out, the drug lords, the gang members, we are getting them out.

KEILAR: CNN has learned it wasn't just the infighting that frustrated Trump. It was also the frequent suggestion portrayed here on "Saturday Night Live" that Bannon was his puppet master.

GRIM REAPER PORTRAYING AS STEVE BANNON: That's enough fun for tonight. Can I have my desk back?

BALDWIN: Yes, of course, Mr. President. I will go sit at my desk.

KEILAR: Donald Trump spoke to "The Wall Street Journal" calling reports of infighting overblown. But that said he also described Bannon as "a guy who works for me" and reiterated that he, Donald Trump, is his own strategist.

Brianna Keilar, CNN, Washington.


ALLEN: Well, we'll leave with that. Thanks so much for watching this hour. I'm Natalie Allen.

VANIER: Yes. And I'm Cyril Vanier. Rosemary Church and George Howell are up next. They'll be here in just a second with all the latest from around the world. Stay with us.