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Congressional Race in Georgia Heads to a Runoff; FBI Used Trump Dossier to Investigate Former Adviser; Vice President Mike Pence Gives Out Warning to North Korea; Facebook Murder Suspect Kills Himself; U.K. P.M. May Seeking Snap General Election; Sturgeon: Scotland Must Stand Up For Its Future; Turkish President Erdogan Speaks Exclusively To CNN; Ivanka Trump Gets China Trademark After Meeting Xi. Aired 2-3a ET

Aired April 19, 2017 - 02:00   ET


ANNOUNCER: This is CNN Breaking News.

[02:00:22] ISHA SESAY, CNN ANCHOR: Hello, and welcome to our viewers in the United States and around the world. I am Isha Sesay.

JOHN VAUSE, CNN ANCHOR: I'm John Vause. It's just gone 11:00 here in Los Angeles. It is now 2:00 a.m. in Atlanta, Georgia.

SESAY: And Donald Trump is claiming victory in a special election in the U.S. state of Georgia even though the Democrat finished far ahead of his Republican opponent.

Jon Ossoff came very close to the majority he needed to claim the seat in the House of Representatives.

VAUSE: But now he will face Karen Handel in a runoff in June and that could favor the Republican.

CNN's Manu Raju is at Ossoff campaign headquarters in Atlanta.


MANU RAJU, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: Democratic candidate John Ossoff falling just short of the threshold he needed to win this race outright, getting less than 50 percent of the vote in this Republican-heavy district, a district that actually no Democrat has won in 37 years, getting close to that 50 percent number, but not close enough.

Now, going forward, this means that this is going to be a two-person race between him and Karen Handel, Republican former state -- Secretary of State from Georgia, someone who has run for statewide office twice, lost both times for governor and once for senator. Now she has a chance at consolidating the support on the Republican side that was fractured by 11 different candidates as they try to get into this runoff with John Ossoff.

Now Ossoff does have the support of the National Democratic Party infrastructure. This party is energized behind him. And last night, when he just talked to voters, he said that he shattered all expectations.


JON OSSOFF (D), GEORGIA CONGRESSIONAL CANDIDATE: There is no doubt that this is already a victory for the ages. We have defied the odds, we have shattered expectations.


RAJU: Now the question for Republicans is the Trump factor and how much it will weigh in during the general election. Donald Trump himself tweeting several times last night, also saying that this essentially was a victory for his party and criticizing outside money that was spent to help Jon Ossoff. Of course, there's outside money spent on the Republican side as well. The question is, will he be a liability for Karen Handel or will he be an asset going forward?

Manu Raju, CNN, Atlanta.


VAUSE: Well, joining us here now in Los Angeles, CNN's senior reporter for media and politics, Dylan Byers. Thank you for staying up late.

Dylan, it's an exciting story.


VAUSE: It's like election night all over again. But I was just wondering, did Democratic put too much in the stock in the outcome of this result? Because, you know, these special elections, yes, they can be an indicator that a big change is on its way. But it could also not be.

DYLAN BYERS, CNN SENIOR MEDIA AND POLITICAL REPORTER: Well, I think -- I think all of the attention given into this, I think what Democratic are trying to do is they're trying to wet the appetite of not only the Democratic Party, most importantly Democratic donors.

Look, what they're saying --

VAUSE: It might work.

BYERS: Yes. Right. What they're saying here is Donald Trump has historically low approval rating. There is a lot of vulnerability among the Republican Party. Clearly things have not worked out well with his administration within the first 100 days.

There's an opening for us here. If you would ask Democratic several weeks ago do you think you could take back the House during midterms what they would say is no, that's an almost impossible task. Had Ossoff won tonight decisively and not needed the runoff, they would say the Republican Party is in, you know, historic trouble.

What happened instead is a little more murky. It's not as clean as other Democrats or Republicans would like to admit. They are vulnerable and now there's a chance for Democrats to make some serious inroads but they have to do more than what they did tonight. They have to put forward a bigger message than just I'm not Trump.

SESAY: Yes. The Republicans of course seeing this as a victory as one would expect. Here's a reaction from the Republican National Committee. Let's share this with our viewers.

"The liberal Democrats failed to inspire voters with a candidate who couldn't even vote for himself. Received 97 percent of his donations from outside the district and consistently lied about his own weak resume. For the second week in a row, Democrats have misread the electorate falling short to Republicans and wasting millions of dollars in the process."

I mean --

VAUSE: Ouch.

BYERS: Ouch.


BYERS: But look --

VAUSE: But true.

SESAY: I'll just say, it's not all wrong.

BYERS: It's not all wrong but these are -- they're trying to comfort Republicans here. I mean. again, there is, you know, this was a very staunchly Republican district. It wasn't necessarily a pro-Trump district. He only won by 1.5 points whereas Mitt Romney won by more than 20, but if Democrats can do this well here, there are 23 districts that Trump lost that still have Republican lawmakers.

[02:05:01] So they are very vulnerable in those districts and they could be very vulnerable in some of these districts, too, where you do have strong Republican support but not necessarily Trump support.

SESAY: If you're Karen Handel who's going to be running against Jon Ossoff, and in the race in June, in the runoff, what are you thinking? Are you saying draw President Trump closer or you're thinking just keep him at bay? What do you do? Especially when he said, you know, I deserve some of the credit which is effectively what he's done in the tweet.

BYERS: That's a very good question and hopefully she's hiring the right people or has the right people to figure out the answer to that question because look, there are different constituencies among the Republican Party. There are establishment Republicans, there are anti-Trump Republicans, there are hardcore Republicans who are farther right than Trump and aren't unsatisfied with the say he sort of attack -- I mean, there's a lot of different people to satisfy here.

VAUSE: Because it's interesting the role that Donald Trump played in this special election. There were a lot of Republicans, so he went after the Democrat. Let's listen to the robo-call that Donald Trump made during this campaign essentially going after Ossoff.


DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: If you don't vote tomorrow Ossoff will raise your taxes, destroy your health care and flood our country with illegal immigrants.


VAUSE: One bad dude there, Ossoff, I mean --

BYERS: Right.

VAUSE: He also went after him on Twitter. It was kind of -- was it a big commitment for the president? Because it kind of seems almost, you know, half-hearted.

BYERS: No, it does seem a little half-heartened last night and the big question about how closely if you're a Republican candidate do you align yourself with the president depends on how much credibility that president still has. He brings up health care. Well, he's failed to pass any new health care legislation so far. But look, there are a lot of Trump diehards and a lot of Republicans, too, who might be weary of Trump or even more weary of Democrats who are still willing to sort of listen to his message because they have yet to see a better alternative from the Democrats. So, so long as he still has, I believe, his approval rating right now is somewhere near 40 percent.

VAUSE: (INAUDIBLE) bully pulpit, yes.

BYERS: Yes. He might have -- he might have a little bit of sway there but no, if you want -- the outcome of this election, a little bit of sway there. But no, if you want -- the outcome of this election, if it hinged on Donald Trump at all he put Republicans at greater risk and they would have been.

VAUSE: Isn't this about this being a referendum about Donald Trump? You know, in some ways, it just seems like this was also a referendum on the Democrats. Was going to be a huge story if the Democrats won. I think it's a huge story for the Democrats because they didn't get over 50 percent because if you look at -- again you look at the margin that Trump won this commercial district, it was less than 2 percent. That's exactly the result we're looking at right now so the Democrats over the past 90 days have faced an administration the only thing they can complain is a Supreme Court and that a domestic agenda which has been a disaster. And they can't make 2 percent headway against Donald Trump?

BYERS: No, this is --

VAUSE: Is this in effect a referendum on them?

BYERS: This is a question about the Democratic leadership and an absence of Democratic leadership right now. It is very -- Democrats are finding out what Republicans found out in the age of Obama, which is that it's sort of easy and fun to be the party of no. You know, I think if you're Representative Adam Schiff or Al Franken, you sort of wake up every morning and think, my job is going to be really easy, but in terms of the people who are actually going to run, win elections, not just in the House but in the Senate, who the next presidential candidates are going to be. If we've been having that conversation in 2004 going into the George W. Bush's second term, you knew who some of those leaders were.

The only question about Barack Obama was, was he going to run in 2008 or was he going to run in 2012? We really don't know who the leaders of the Democratic Party are right now and Democrats really need to come together and again, like I said, come up with a better message than just "I'm not Trump."

SESAY: In the absence of that festive message and in the absence of a clear cut win in Georgia, does the money keep flowing?

BYERS: I think it does and the reason it keeps going is because whereas you need a stronger message to turn out votes, the fear especially among the donor class about Trump especially from liberal pockets like Hollywood where a lot of the money came from, that's going to continue to flow. There's a lot of that money and there's a huge desire to see Democrats take back at least one branch.

VAUSE: Right.

BYERS: Of government solely because of the fears about what Trump could do to America are so strong.

VAUSE: But you cannot continue to raise $8 million for this kind of congressional races. I mean, that is unheard of, it's an obscene amount of money, you know, the Democrats poured into this and the result, you know, wasn't great.

BYERS: No. Democratic donors need to start seeing results.


BYERS: And they need to be convinced that the candidates who are going out there actually have a real shot at winning. And in fact, that's why this runoff election has become extremely important not just in terms of whether Republicans or Democrats control Georgia's 6th District is the message it sends to those Democratic donors.

SESAY: We've been talking about the Democrats. But on the Republican side in terms of the Republican National Committee what do they do now that the field has been narrowed and it's Karen Handel, who's won twice previously, you know, and hasn't -- you know, hasn't succeeded.

BYERS: Right.

SESAY: So how do they coalesce around here? I mean, how does this play out for them?

[02:10:02] BYERS: Well, again it's very hard, in part it would be easier if they had a greater sense of where the Republican leader right now who is Donald Trump, where he's taking them. For a long time it seemed like he was this sort of populist hero and he has a lot of support among the populists. Now you're starting to see some of that populist support get a little bit angry, get a little bit frustrated with him. So the -- Republicans have to decide, and this is going to be ad hoc for each race. Am I a populist far-right Republican? Am I a stand-with-Trump Republican? Am I establishment Republican who's going to sort of tolerate Trump but sort of run on my own platform? These are the big questions Republicans already starting to figure out.

VAUSE: I've always thought of the Democrats, with people who turned over the weekend to protest Donald Trump's tax returns in Atlanta. Where were they? And what were they doing?

BYERS: Right.

VAUSE: Were they handing out, you know, ballots? Were they getting people -- driving people to the polls? Were they actually mobilizing or -- because protests is useless, this is what counted.

BYERS: Right. This is the big question. You know, in 2016 should be -- it was supposed to be a wakeup call from Democrats.


BYERS: If you want to win these elections you got to get involved for people to turn out.



VAUSE: Dylan, thank you so much.

SESAY: Dylan, thank you. Thanks for staying with us. Thank you.

BYERS: Thank you.

VAUSE: For sticking with us. Appreciate it.

SESAY: All right. Well, North Korea says expect more missile tests even on a weekly basis. Now why this photo shows the U.S. was initially misleading about warships sent to the Korean peninsula?




[02:15:15] VAUSE: Welcome back, everybody. We are bringing you live coverage of that hotly contested U.S. congressional race in Georgia. Democrat Jon Ossoff fell short of the majority he needed to claim a set in the House. So now he will face Republican Karen Handel in a runoff this June. SESAY: Now this is a race that has captured national attention with

Democrats spending more than $8 million to the Ossoff campaign. The vote in a longtime Republican district is viewed as something of a test of President Trump's popularity.

VAUSE: And the president got involved, recording a robo-call and attacking Ossoff on Twitter as well. He did that repeatedly over the past few days.

We have new reporting on the FBI investigation into Russian meddling in last year's election and possible connections to Trump associates.

Justice correspondent Evan Perez broke the story along with Shimon Prokupecz and Manu Raju. Evan is with us now from Washington with the details -- Evan.

EVAN PEREZ, CNN JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT: Well, John, U.S. officials tell CNN that last year the FBI used a dossier of allegations of Russian ties to Donald Trump's campaign as part of the justification to get approval to secretly monitor Trump associate Carter Page.

FBI Director James Comey has cited the dossier in some of the briefings to members of Congress in recent weeks as one of the sources of information that the bureau used to bolster and to support its investigation.

This includes approval from the secret court that oversees the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, known as FISA in this country, to monitor Page's communications. Now to obtain court permission to target Page, the FBI and the Justice Department would have to present probable cause that he was acting as an agent of a foreign power, including possibly engaging in clandestine intelligence gathering for a foreign government.

Comey and other top Justice Department officials would have had to sign off on this request. Last year, Page was identified by the Trump campaign as an adviser on national security, though they have since said that he was only limited in how the interactions with the campaign as a volunteer -- John.

VAUSE: Well, Evan, how surprising is it that this action was actually done?

PEREZ: Well, it's actually quite surprising. Comey's briefings to lawmakers frankly stand in contrast to efforts in recent months by the FBI and by U.S. intelligence agencies to try to distance themselves from this dossier U.S. law enforcement and intelligence officials have said repeatedly to us that U.S. investigators did their own work, separate from the dossier, to support their findings that Russia tried to meddle in the 2016 election in favor of Donald Trump.

Now Comey has not mentioned the dossier in all of these briefings with lawmakers here in Congress.

VAUSE: So would Carter Page be aware that this was even happening in the first place? PEREZ: You're right. He probably would not. You'll recall, though,

that Page has been scrutinized before by the FBI. In a 2013 investigation of a Russian spy ring that included descriptions of interactions that he had with one of the alleged Russian spies. Page has denied that he knew that these people were Russian spies.

Also in a speech he gave in Russia last summer the FBI took notice of the things that he had to say about U.S. and West and Russia relations. Now Page says he took the trip independently. Expressed his own views and overall he has disputed that anything was illegal in his interactions with Russians.

He gave us a statement in which he said, quote, "I look forward to the Privacy Act of 1974 lawsuit that I plan to file in response to civil rights violations by the Obama administration appointees last year. The discovery process will be of great value to the United States as our nation hears testimony from them under oath and we received disclosure of the documents which show what exactly was done in 2016."

John, the bottom line here is that Carter Page is saying that the Obama administration officials are the ones that are pushing this Russia story and he says there's no voracity to any of it.

VAUSE: Certainly taking, you know, one foot on the offensive. I guess we'll see how this and so many other aspects of this investigation will play out.

Evan, thanks so much. Good to talk with you.

PEREZ: Thank you.

SESAY: Busy night. Lots of news to bring you. Well, American vice president is in Japan to show that the United States is determined to act against North Korea. Mike Pence tells CNN the U.S. will focus on economic and diplomatic pressure to stop Pyongyang's nuclear threat. Those approaches have failed before.

Meanwhile another threat from North Korea. A senior official there told the BBC to expect more missile tests. A lot more. Even on a weekly basis. In a new interview, U.S. president Donald Trump was asked about Pyongyang.


UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: How concerned and worried should American be about a thermal nuclear war with North Korea?

TRUMP: Look, you always have to be concerned. You don't know exactly who you're dealing with. I had a great, great meeting with the president of China.

[02:20:02] And that meeting tells me a lot and you've seen a lot of things happened. They have a pretty good power. Not a good power perhaps but a pretty good power over North Korea. We're going to see what happens.


VAUSE: Alexandra Field joins us now from Tokyo.

So, Alexandra, a few days ago the vice president warned North Korea not to test U.S. resolve. Given from what we've just from that North Korean official about the possibility of weekly missile test, it seems that's exactly what Pyongyang is now planning to do to rest the U.S. resolve.

ALEXANDRA FIELD, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, it would certainly seem like it. I mean, of course, the U.S. has repeatedly warned Pyongyang that they should not test the resolve. You heard the words delivered directly by the vice president but the message has been sent to Pyongyang over and over again that these provocations will not be tolerated. You're talking about some five attempted missile launches just from the start of the year and in an unprecedented number of missile launches last year.

Now the threat that analysts believe is the fact that it appears that North Korea is readying to conduct its sixth nuclear test. So the provocations continue despite the words from the vice president, despite the warnings from President Donald Trump himself. You had the vice president in Seoul just a couple of days ago reaffirming the relationship and the alliance there. He's doing the same thing here, visiting with troops today. Telling them that the commitment from the U.S. to the security of Japan, to South Korea, to this region, is total. That the goal remains 100 percent denuclearization of the peninsula.

And he went so far to again warn North Korea not to test the resolve of the U.S. but also to say that the recent strikes in Syria and that the decision to drop the MOAB, this mother of all bombs, in Afghanistan are evidence of the Trump administration's ability to act decisively when called for -- John.

VAUSE: Alexandra, part of that more muscular approach for dealing with North Korea was sending the aircraft carrier group the Carl Vinson to the region, essentially as a show of force. Didn't quite work out that way. Where is the Carl Vinson right now? And why is it that the administration sort of appeared to know where it was?

FIELD: Well, we are hearing from Washington that this was a miscommunication. That's what officials in the Pentagon are saying. That there was a miscommunication between the Pentagon and the White House. It was the result of a failure to follow up with the commanders who would have been in charge of moving that U.S. aircraft carrier.

That's on April 8th, you might remember, John, we were reporting back then that the USS Vinson was going to leave Singapore, that a decision had been made to cancel a fourth stop in Australia. So that's this aircraft carrier could be sent towards the waters off the Korean peninsula as a deterrent against Pyongyang. A show of strength. A flexing of American muscle. And then you had President Donald Trump on television saying that these warships were on their way, that he was sending an armada to send a message to Pyongyang. It turns up that isn't the case at all. Those warships had actually headed south as the world is being told that they were headed north.

We are now hearing from officials in Washington again that this isn't miscommunication, that while the stop in Australia was cancelled, that the plan all along was for the USS Vinson to carry out some training exercises south of Singapore and then it will head to go around just off the Korean peninsula. It should be there by the end of the month -- John.

VAUSE: They know where the aircraft carrier group is which is a good thing.

Alexandra Field, live for us this hour. Thank you.

SESAY: Now the nationwide search for the accused Facebook killer has come to an end. Steve Stephens was on the run for three days when police finally caught up with him.

CNN's Gary Tuchman tells us how it happened.


GARY TUCHMAN, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The man who murdered 74-year-old Robert Godwin is in the white car being trailed by police in Erie, Pennsylvania, about 100 miles east of Cleveland.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Units, PSP is behind a white Ford Fusion, on Buffalo Road heading out of Wesleyville into Erie.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We can put some spikes down.

TUCHMAN: The end, moments away for fugitive Steve Stephens. This video of the getaway car captured by a local businesses surveillance camera. Police ended up ramming his car with one of their vehicles. And instead of surrendering, he shoots and kills himself.

CHIEF CALVIN WILLIAMS, CLEVELAND POLICE: I want to officially announce that the search for Steve Stephens has ended.

TUCHMAN: But how was he caught? A diligent and courageous employee at a McDonald's drive-thru was his undoing. Tom DuCharme was the woman's boss.

TOM DUCHARME, MCDONALD'S OWNER: The drive-thru employee that was working at the time recognized him or thought, noticed that the car was Ohio tags on it and it was a white Fusion. And took his money and he pulled to the next window. Meanwhile she stepped out of there and called the state police right away.

TUCHMAN: The killer had ordered chicken nuggets and French fries.

DUCHARME: Basically just told him it was going to be a minute for his fries, which it wasn't really. We were just trying to make sure she got in contact with the state police. And he didn't want to wait for the fries which was fine, but he took his six-piece. He didn't want any money back and headed out on the Buffalo Road and about a minute he turned right on Buffalo Road the state police was right behind him at that point.

[02:25:03] TUCHMAN: There was suspicion the murderer might be in Erie. Partly because of reports of a ping received from his cell phone in the area. But --

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: As far as the Pennsylvania State Police, we had no direct knowledge of a ping.

TUCHMAN: A more solid lead? This Erie casino where Stephens had previously been seen. This statement issued before he was located.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The gentleman has been here on property one time so far this year based on his card at play.

TUCHMAN: On the street where the murder happened in Cleveland, (INAUDIBLE) witnessed the killer getting away and feared for her safety. Today --

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I feel a little better because I'm thinking that he might come back and terrorize everybody. So I feel better.

TUCHMAN (on camera): The fear in many Cleveland -- is now lessened. But the sadness for family members of Robert Godwin is not. As they prepare for his funeral.

(Voice-over): Authorities do not think Stephens killed anybody else despite his saying on Facebook he did. The potential for more violence from him now over because of the quick thinking of a McDonald's employee.

DUCHARME: I'm just very proud of my staff and how they handled it.

TUCHMAN: Gary Tuchman, CNN, Cleveland.


VAUSE: Of course there's that $50,000 reward which is not why they did but it seems they will be getting that, which is great.

SESAY: Which is great.

VAUSE: We'll take a short break. When we come back, the British prime minister breaks a promise, calls an earlier election. We'll tell you why Theresa May is setting the U.K. back to the polls three years early.


[02:30:10] VAUSE: Welcome back, everybody. You're watching CNN NEWSROOM live from Los Angeles. It has just gone 11:30 here. I'm John Vause.

SESAY: And I'm Isha Sesay. You democrats will have to wait a while longer to see if they can flip a long-held republican congressional district in Georgia. New comer, Jon Ossoff will face republican can handle in a runoff, June 20th. The close watched race is seen as a possible predictor of next year's midterm election.

VAUSE: Also fell short of majority to win that ride but he says his strong showing still sends a message.


JON OSSOF, (D) GEORGIA CONGRESSIONAL CANDIDATE: But let me tell you this, there is no doubt that this is already a victory for the ages. That no matter what the outcome is tonight, whether we take it all or whether we all will fight on. We have defied the odds, we have shattered expectations.


SESAY: Well, President Trump had a personal interest in the race and said this about Tuesday's result. Despite major outside money, fake media support, and 11 republican candidates, big are win with runoff in Georgia, glad to be of help.

VAUSE: We are also following another big election, this one is still to come. It is happening in Britain. Prime Minister Theresa May is calling for a snap election in June. For months she promised there would be no early election but now says, opposition parties are trying to block her (INAUDIBLE) and the country needs you unity for a smooth transition out of the EU.


THERESA MAY, BRITISH PRIME MINISTER: Every vote for the Conservatives will make me stronger when I negotiate for Britain with the prime ministers, presidents, and chancellors of the European Union. Every vote for the Conservatives will mean we can stick to our plan for a stronger person and take the right long-term decision for a more secure future.


SESAY: Well, the latest polls suggest that May is playing a strong hand here. A YouGov survey last week said 44 percent of voters would support her Conservatives. Now, that is almost double for the Opposition Labor Party. The Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon says this only helps her case but another vote on Scotland's independence.


NICOLA STURGEON, SCOTLAND FIRST MINISTER: You know, Clearly she sees the opportunity, given the total disarray in the ranks of the Labor Party, to crush all opposition to her, to get rid of people who disagree with her and to give herself a free hand to take the country in the increasingly right-wing direction that she wants to take in.


SESAY: All right. Well, CNN's Europe Editor Nina dos Santos is live at 10 Downing Street for us. Nina, good to see you. Theresa May breaking the promise that there will be no vote before 2020. How is her decision to call the snap election going over with the British public?

NINA DOS SANTOS, CNN EUROPE EDITOR: Well, remember, there's a lot of voter fatigue here across the U.K., Isha, because this is a country that went to the post less than two years ago for a general election in 2015. And also we had two referenda, deeply divisive referenda as well in the last three years, one of them of course on the issue of leaving the European Union and U.K. voted in favour of Brexit.

And the other one on Scotland, the U.K. deciding -- Scots by the way deciding to keep Scotland inside the U.K. But you just heard there from the Scottish National Party, they've been agitating for a second referendum on the issue of Scotland. And so, a lot of votes is here across this county. It's been increasingly exhausted where it's hamming to go to the post and there's some frustration of the costs that are being incurred as well.

Remember that because this snap election is being called with just five to six-week window here, there's not going to be a huge amount of time that Theresa May (INAUDIBLE) very clear, manifesto that has anything other than Brexit in it. And there's frustration among some of the opposition parties like liberal party and the liberal democrat party that they want more opportunity to debate issues like the national health service and domestic issues that they find very important aside from Brexit.

Coming said all of that, it is likely that she will manage to get through the votes that we're going to see in Parliament later on today. She needs the two-thirds majority of MPs to back as to call his general election and both the liberal democrats and the Labor Party said that they welcome the opportunity for new votes in five to six weeks time. Isha?

SESAY: We shall see. 10 space ahead. CNN's Europe Editor Nina dos Santos serving us there from outside 10 Downing Street. Thank you, Nina. Well, Anand Menon joins me now, he is the professor of European Politics and Foreign Affairs at Kings College London. Thank you so much for being with us.


Is Theresa May has (INAUDIBLE) as a non-political gameplaying politician but here she is playing a rude move. (INAUDIBLE) being underestimating Theresa May all this time.

MENON: Well, I think the fact is mistook everyone by surprise. No one was expecting. And it was very funny yesterday with people from all sides of the spectrum site. This announcement weren't be an election and they're having to (INAUDIBLE) a few minutes later. She shocked everyone with us and I think it's a canny move. I mean, the polls put the miles ahead as your correspondent just said. And actually, I think one of the things she force so was problems in Parliament in trying to pass bricks at legislation if she try to do this with a small majority she's got now. So this will free her hand. SESAY: OK. If you see are sitting in Brussels right now in the E.U. you are taking in this news of there's going to be a snap election in the U.K. What are you thinking? What is the method you are taking away from this?

MENON: Well, to perfectly honest, I don't think this election matters at all Brussels. I think Brussels is going to define a position on the Brexit talks, they're going to stick to it. I don't think countries what the prime minister says that this selection is the going to strengthen our hand in Brussels, it will strengthen her hand in the Westminster, both with opposition parties and remember with some of her own back backbenchers who aren't happy with the directors she's taking the country in. If to some polls do say she ends up with the majority, there's a hundred, than actually the pressure at home disappears but I don't think as I said is going to affect her negotiating strength in Brussels.

SESAY: The expectation here is that with this vote, we will see a crashing for the Labor Party on Jeremy Corbyn and that he may even be forced to step down as leader. Do you see that on the cards and should he be ousted? Is this the moment for labor to rebuild and become an effective opposition to Theresa May even with her stronger hand?

MENON: Well, several things there. All the polls indicate that labor is going to do extremely badly. There are some in the label party who are calling for Corbyn to step down now. I don't think that's going to happen before the election, then it's far from certainly, he'll do so even if he does very badly in the election itself. Ultimately the decision is up to him because Labor Party has rules that say, it's not members of parliament that select the leader, it is the party membership. And one of the things he has done is attract a lot of people to join the party who supports him. So it remains to be seen what happens to the leadership afterwards even if he loses stability.

SESAY: I want to talk to you about the voter apathy issue or just the voter fatigue, I mean, four major votes in these many years. I mean, talk to me about your expectation for the tone of this - of this election. I mean, how after they get people out, how did they get buy in?

MENON: Well, I should say that it's - it - the situation is slightly worse than you correspondent hint to that because of course between now and the general election, we also have local election in this country. So voter fatigue is a real issue. What I would say in terms of the polls is it will take a massive drop and turnout for it to seriously affect the result of the polls of predicting. But yes, I mean, turnout will be important and we saw in both the Brexit referendum and then did with the Trump election, that actually turnout is the greater moon that makes polls to stay up at night in cold sweats. We don't know how many people are going to vote but I think it would take something really dramatic in the way of turnout to alter the result of the polls or the predicting.

SESAY: Yes. I think there are going to be a lot of people sweating for a long time. Well, at least polls -- MENON: To date.

SESAY: At least pollster. Anand Menon, thank you so much for joining.

MENON: My pleasure.

SESAY: Anand Menon from Kings College London. I appreciate it.

VAUSE: The pollsters, the pollsters. OK.

SESAY: The pollster.

VAUSE: And the exclusive interview with the president of Turkey is up next. His response to allegations. The new constitutional reforms actually make him a dictator.


VAUSE: Welcome back everybody. The live coverage of the battle for the U.S. congressional seat in Georgia.

SESAY: It now moves a runoff in June where democrat Jon Ossoff will face republican Karen Handel, the vote in the solidly republican district as seen as a predictor of midterm elections next year.

VAUSE: Some other news right now. The White House defending President Trump's phone call congratulating Turkey's president after the country's controversial referendum. Mr. Trump is the first and so far the only western leader to congratulate Recep Tayyip Erdogan, basically means it ends the Turkey's parliamentary democracy. It will hand Erdogan new mostly unchecked powers. U.S. officials says Donald Trump is just trying to strengthen the alliance with Turkey. Critics say Mr. Trump has a conflict of interest with this Trump Towers in Istanbul.

SESAY: Well, President Erdogan won by a very thin margin and the opposition is challenging the outcome and election (INAUDIBLE) up to 2 1/2 million votes may have been manipulated that almost doubled the margin of victory.

VAUSE: Any regularities could also complicate Turkey's big to join the European Union. Turkey says the findings from these international (INAUDIBLE) are bias and prejudice.

SESAY: Well, in a CNN exclusive, our own Becky Anderson spoke with President Erdogan in his first interview since the vote. Becky, congrats and securing that sit down with the president and she joins us now from Ankara. Becky, even though this referendum masses a tremendous amount of power for President Erdogan. He was keen to stress to you that he is not a dictator.

BECKY ANDERSON, MANAGING EDITOR, CNN ABU DHABI: That's right, Isha. I asked Mr. Erdogan directly what he has to say to his harshest critics. He say this new Turkish style presidency and the sweeping powers that gives him is a slow march to dictatorship here in Turkey. His response, and I mean, mortal, this is bigger than one man. This is not about regime type but about reforming a system that over the years he says created deadlock that he blames for crippling the economy and causing a legacy of military that once we saw here back in July last year. Listen to what he said.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There's something that I say in disperse over and over again. This is not a system belonging to tell you at one. I am a mortal being. I can die at any time. Therefore to have a system for immortal being who can die at any moment. Is that possible? The system represents a change, a transformation in the democratic history of Turkey. That's the purpose of it. We are now removing a deal head system. At the moment, the Prime Minister is head off executive, head of the government but as well as being the leader of a political party. What we are saying is let's look at this reality and have a system where we have one (INAUDIBLE) and so that we have a much stronger executive position.

ANDERSON: And the deepest of respect, your greatest critics will say that this is the march towards dictatorship. What's your response?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: A dictatorship though exist, you don't necessarily have to have a (INAUDIBLE) system. Here we have an election, a ballot box, if you ballot box produces a dictator that will be unjust, unfair to the ballot box process. And to those who cost their ballots in that box.


ANDERSON: Well, I say it was a wide range in view and we also spoke about the core he have with Donald Trump, congratulate him and what is clear is that the U.S. file in front and center for President Erdogan when he cites clearly said on resetting relations with Washington. Aisha?

SESAY: Yes. And he clearly has his agenda that he's looking to enact but there's still a little issue of the opposition there in Turkey, we know election monitors question the credibility of this vote. Is here a clear path forward for the opposition who are vowing to challenge this referendum result?

ANDERSON: Isha, this was a big defeat for the opposition here in Turkey. From all my conversation with people here, they ran more of their best campaigns for this referendum but they still lost, they say not only was their voting irregularities during the day but that even before the first ballot was cost, the deck was stacked against him charging, it was no level playing field. Just now, I'm saying reports for the head of the Turkish election board says that he won't evaluate complaints on the referendum today.

Will that change the outcome of the results? That's very doubtful. This is will be a moment of truth for the opposition, how can they effectively challenge a president to ruling party that now has even more power than before. Isha? SESAY: Becky Anderson. I appreciate the analysis. Thank you for the interview. We look forward to watching the full conversation and Becky Anderson joining us there from Ankara, Turkey. You can see the full exclusive interview with Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdogan Wednesday at noon in Ankara, 5:00 p.m. in Hong Kong. At this point I'm going to pull to a quick break. Coming up. Ivanka Trump goes trademark in China on the same day she dines with the Chinese President.


SESAY: We're going to take a look.

VAUSE: Or conflict of interest.



SESAY: Welcome back, everyone. This is a contested race that U.S. congressional seat in Georgia now head into runoff. Democrat Jon Ossoff had hope to win the seat outright but he fails to win the necessary majority.

VAUSE: So now he face republican Karen Handel in that second round, June 20th. The race is in a long time republican district. It's seen as a test to President Trump's popularity, maybe as well a bellwether for the 2018 midterm election.

SESAY: It might be.

VAUSE: Well, right here. A business, good times. It's blooming for the Trump family in China. The CNN has learn Beijing approved at least two trademarks, very valuable trademarks for Ivanka Trump's company. That will happen April 6.

SESAY: So here's the thing -

VAUSE: About April 6.

SESAY: Here's the thing. This happens the same day she had dinner with the Chinese President and her father at Mar-a-Lago.

VAUSE: That is a - such a coincidence.

SESAY: Tom Foreman reports.


TOM FOREMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: When President Trump's granddaughter saying in Mandarin during the China-U.S. Summit Meeting, the video was a hit back in the people's republic. But the real story is how her mother's business is booming there too.

IVANKA TRUMP, DONALD TRUMP'S DAUGHTER: White diamonds (INAUDIBLE) either side, and it set in 18 karat yellow gold. FOREMAN: This year alone, first daughter Ivanka's business in China is growing fast. She seemed at least two trademarks approved by the Chinese. Another one provisionally adding to 16 she already holds. According to the A.P. which first reported the story, some came the very day she shared dinner with the Chinese President. True. She was hiring Chinese labor before the election.

ZHANG HUAJIANG, CHAIRMAN, HUAJIANG GROUP: Ivanka is a very good client but of course I never imagine her father would become president.

FOREMAN: Still since the start of the year, her father's companies have seen 35 other trademarks preliminarily approved by China too. Ivanka says.

TRUMP: Any growth is done with extreme caution.

FOREMAN: Her company will neither confirm nor deny those numbers for CNN instead issuing a statement saying, we have recently seen a surge in trademark filings by unrelated third parties trying to capitalize on the Trump name and it is our responsibility to diligently protect our trademark. Nonetheless, that's big business especially considering how much the Trump family has repeatedly brushed away concerns about politics affecting their financial interests.

TRUMP: I don't think it matters. This is so much more important and more serious and so that, you know, that's the focus.

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I think what Ivanka is trying to say, who cares? Who cares? This is big league stuff. This is - this is our country.

FOREMAN: An Attorney for Ivanka Trump says she has nothing to do with trademarks and is worth noting that when she became a member of the White House staff, even an unpaid one, she officially put all of her business into a trust so there would be no conflict of interest. But it's worth bearing in mind while the president actually has legal protection from conflict of interest claims. That is not true of this staff and if she were to step across any line, she can come under very harsh scrutiny. Tom Foreman, CNN Washington.


SESAY: And a lot of people are watching.

VAUSE: Yes. Interesting.

SESAY: Yes. And you've been watching CNN NEWSROOM live from Los Angeles. I'm Isha Sesay.

VAUSE: I'm John Vause. The news continues with Rosemary Church after the show break. You've been watching CNN.


ROSEMARY CHURCH, CNN INTERNATIONAL ANCHOR: I'm Rosemary Church at CNN Center. Hello and welcome to our viewers all around the world.