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FBI Releases New Information Regarding Russian Efforts to Influence U.S. Election; U.S. to Honor Refugee Agreement with Australia; French Presidential Election Underway; Man who Abducted 15- Year-Old Captured in California; Marches Take Place Across Country to Support Science. Aired 2-2:30p ET

Aired April 22, 2017 - 14:00   ET


[14:00:00] MAX FOSTER, CNN ROYAL CORRESPONDENT: So it's quite an interesting moment I think in the royals story as well.

FREDRICKA WHITFIELD, CNN ANCHOR: Being less formal and how much that is resonating. All right, Max Foster, thank you so much.

Still so much more straight ahead in the next hour of the CNN NEWSROOM. And it all starts right now.

Hello, again, everyone, a thank you so much for being with me. I'm Fredricka Whitfield.

All right, CNN has new exclusive details into how the Russians may have tried to influence the Trump campaign. Pam Brown is reporting on the story.


PAMELA BROWN, CNN JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT: We've learned the FBI gathered intelligence last summer that suggests Russian operatives tried to use Trump advisers, including Carter Page, to infiltrate the Trump campaign according to multiple U.S. officials.

Now, Carter Page's critical speech of U.S. policy against Russia in July of 2016 at a prominent Moscow university is one factor. It's part of what raised concerns in the bureau that he may have been compromised by Russian intelligence. But the new information adds to this emerging picture of how the Russians tried to influence the 2016 U.S. election not only through email hacks and propaganda, sometimes referred to as fake news, but also by trying to infiltrate the Trump orbit.

The intelligence that we've gathered led to that broader FBI investigation into the coordination of Trump's campaign associates and the Russians as FBI Director James Comey has referred to. But the officials we've spoken with make clear they don't know whether Page was aware may have been using him because of the way Russian spy services operate. Page could have unknowingly talked with Russian agents.

Now, he disputes the idea he has ever collected intelligence for the Russians, saying that at times he actually helped the U.S. intelligence community. He told CNN, quote, "My assumption throughout the last 26 years I've been going there has always been that any Russian person might share information with the Russian government as I have similarly done with the CIA, the FBI and other government agencies in the past."

And it is important to note that within the Trump campaign Carter Page was viewed as someone who had little or no influence, but he was one of several Trump advisers whom U.S. and European intelligence detected had contacts with Russian officials. The FBI investigation is still ongoing.

Pamela Brown, CNN, Washington.


WHITFIELD: And now we are just one week away from a milestone for President Donald Trump, his 100th day in office. But he faces a major hurdle next Friday. That's the deadline for Congress to pass a funding bill to keep the government running. Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly told our Dana Bash that you could possibly see funding for a border wall to be part of that plan.


DANA BASH, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: Let's start with the border wall with Mexico and how it relates to keeping the government open. If Congress doesn't send President Trump a government funding bill by midnight on Friday the government will run out of money and a shutdown would begin. So will the president go to the mat and insist on funding his border wall as part of the stopgap government funding measure.

JOHN KELLY, SECRETARY OF HOMELAND SECURITY: Well, Dana, I think it goes without saying that the president has been pretty straightforward about his desire and the need for a border wall. So I would suspect he'll do the right thing for sure, but I suspect he will be insistent on the funding.


WHITFIELD: The remainder of that interview airs tomorrow morning, 9:00 a.m. eastern right here on CNN.

A refugee resettlement agreement forged between the U.S. and Australia will be honored by the U.S. despite President Trump previously calling it a quote-unquote "dumb deal." In February Trump tweeted after learning of the agreement, quote, "Do you believe it? The Obama administration agreed to take thousands of illegal immigrants from Australia. Why? I will study this dumb deal," end quote.

Earlier today Vice President Mike Pence appearing at a joint press conference with the Australian prime minister saying the U.S. will obey the deal even though the administration might not like it.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) MIKE PENCE, VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Let me make it clear the United States intends to honor the agreement subject to the results of the vetting processes that now apply to all refugees considered for admission to the United States of America. President Trump has made it clear that we'll honor the agreement. It doesn't mean we admire the agreement. Frankly, looking back on the last administration, the president has never been shy about expressing frustration with other international agreements.


WHITFIELD: CNN's global affairs correspondent Elise Labott is covering this for us. So Elise, along with the refugee agree, the vice president is also talking with allies in hopes of putting pressure on North Korea to what degree?

ELISE LABOTT, CNN GLOBAL AFFAIRS CORRESPONDENT: Well, Fred, this is a swing through Europe -- through Asia, excuse me, to really reassert U.S. leadership in that area and really kind of get all of the allies in the region on board with the U.S. strategy to combat North Korea's growing missile and nuclear threat.

[14:05:15] But Vice President Pence made clear today that that strategy really hinges on one country, and that's China. Take a listen to the vice president earlier today.


PENCE: The United States of America is determined to work with our allies and especially with China to achieve the objective of a nuclear free Korean peninsula. We believe that that can occur peaceably, largely owing to the new engagement of China.


LABOTT: And when he is talking about that, that's really this kind of budding relationship between President Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping who was just in Mar-a-Lago a couple of weeks ago. And President Trump really looking on President Xi to use Chinese really incredible economic leverage on China on North Korea. They hold about 85 percent of their trade, most of their oil. And President Trump offering the Chinese a better trade deal, a little bit more of a relaxed policy on their currency. He said he won't call them a currency manipulator. And that's all in exchange for Chinese cooperation.

And the president said, well, if I don't get Chinese cooperation, we'll go it alone, and that means sanctioning Chinese companies and Chinese banks who do business with North Korea. So it's kind of a carrot and stick approach that the U.S. is using with China over North Korea because really they see that as the key here, the real lynchpin in this strategy. The vice president going to all of these countries and talking about all the allies, but they really see China as the critical element.

WHITFIELD: Elise Labott, thank you so much. Voters head to the polls in France just days after an apparent terror attack. What implications might it have on the U.S.? We'll go live to Paris, next.


[14:10:44] WHITFIELD: Just days after an apparent terror attack voters in France are set to go to the polls. The bitterly fought campaign is pitting a strident French nationalist with a strong anti- immigration stance against a more moderate political newcomer. And it all has implications for the U.S. CNN's Jim Bittermann is in Paris. So Jim, does it appear that this week's attack in any influences how people vote?

JIM BITTERMANN, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, we've spent the last 48 hours kind of discussing that, Fredricka. The fact is we don't know. It could very well strengthen the hand of the extreme right candidate Marine Le Pen because of the fact that she is tough on law and order and says that sort of thing wouldn't happen under presidency. So it could help her, it could work against her, because some people may go the poll and say, look, we don't want that kind of government and we'd rather vote the other direction. So it's difficult to know.

They're actually 11 candidates. Two will be selected tomorrow. By this time tomorrow we'll know who those two are. And they'll go on to a runoff election on May 7th. Fredricka?

WHITFIELD: And so President Trump has expressed his support for Le Pen, calling her the strongest on borders while former President Obama called Emmanuel Macron to offer his support. So what does this mean for the U.S. potentially?

BITTERMANN: I think that there are plenty of parallels to be drawn between Le Pen and President Trump. The fact is that she is very tough on borders. She's tough on immigration. She's also tough on trade agreements like the European Union which she wants to get out of. She said she'll hold a referendum on the European Union within the first six months of her mandate.

So I think that those kind of issues, there's a great deal of parallel and her path and Donald Trump's path. Now, whether the voters approve this tomorrow seems a little bit distant that she could get elected, because what's happened here in past elections when the extreme parties like the National Front come in second or first even in an election, the rest of the parties gang up on the extremists to make sure that they don't get elected. This happened with Marine Le Pen's father and with Marine Le Pen in previous elections.

So I think we'll see a substantial movement of people and voters between the two the rounds because tomorrow and May 7th. And whether or not that will be enough to stop Le Pen is a good question. Of course she also could get 50 percent of the vote tomorrow and then there wouldn't be a runoff election. But the polls just tell us that's pretty unlikely.

WHITFIELD: All right, Jim Bittermann in Paris, thank you so much.

Meantime, just a short time ago President Trump tweeted about his afternoon plan getting ready to visit Walter Reed Medical Center with Melania, and "looking forward to seeing our bravest Americans." And now we see the reason for that trip with this photograph. The White House releasing this image of the president after presenting a Purple Heart to Sergeant First Class Alvaro Barrientos who was recently injured in Afghanistan. President Trump said when he heard about the sergeant's injuries, he wanted to make the presentation himself right there at Walter Reed in the nation's capital.

All right, still to come, marching for science on Earth Day, thousands taking to the streets around the world to call for more funding and support for science and climate change solutions.


[14:18:10] WHITFIELD: No electricity, no cell service, and nothing around for miles. We're not getting a look inside the northern California cabin where Tad Cummins was captured. The former teacher had been on the run for 39 days along with the 15-year-old girl he is accused of kidnapping. Here is Sara Sidner with a look at where the two were found.


SARA SIDNER, CNN CORRESPONDENT: I wanted to give you a quick look at just how remote this cabin is. You can see there is a private road that almost nobody goes on here. And then on the other side of the cabin is a mountain stream.

Now I'm going to go inside the cabin. We have permission from the property owner to come inside after investigators have left and taken all the evidence they needed. You can see that they had things to cook with. They had a little cooking stove there. And they left behind some paperwork from the FBI. It is the search warrant. It also lists some of the things that were confiscate including coconut oil and K-Y jelly. Those are things that are important because authorities are trying to prove that not only did Tad Cummins kidnap this young lady, this girl, but that he also intended to have sexual contact with her, which is another, separate crime.

And so they are gathering as much evidence as possible. This is a very, very small cabin. It has no electricity, no warmth, no Wi-Fi. There's no cell service here. And authorities say he came out here because he was trying to lay low. He was only caught because a caretaker and a couple of folks from this area in Cecilville decided that something was wrong. They contacted authorities, and the caretaker himself helped lure him out of this cabin.

Everybody is OK, both of them. one of them headed to court, the other one headed back home.


WHITFIELD: Thanks so much to Sara Sidner there. [14:20:00] Meantime today, a global event underway right now on this earth day with nearly 500 cities holding massive rallies and marches today. This is the scene in Chicago earlier, demonstrators hitting the streets there along with several other cities around the world. Massive turnout in cities including London, Sydney, Geneva, and Munich. Marchers are pushing for the implementation of evidence-based policies and more funding to support science and climate change solutions.

President Donald Trump just releasing a statement on Earth Day, in part saying "economic growth enhances environmental protection. We can and must protect our environment without harming America's working families. Rigorous science is critical to my administration's efforts to achieve the twin goals of economic growth and environmental protection. My administration is committed to advancing scientific that leads to a better understanding of our environment and of environmental risks." That from the president.

I want to bring in now CNN's Miguel Marquez who is live for us there in Washington. With all that movement now, they're all making their way along Constitution Avenue heading up to the capitol?

MIGUEL MARQUEZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT: They are indeed. The march is on and the rain is back. If we can I want to try to show you what this march looks like. You guys excited to be marching, finally?


MARQUEZ: They have waited out here for hours in the rain, in the cold. It was basically a half-concert and half sort of science fair for the last several hours up here as people were waiting to march towards the capitol.

Their big concerns are funding for science, that the new budget by the president offered up a lot of cuts in the -- "She Blinded Me with Science," Thomas Dolby from the 1980s was here singing his actual song. It was kind of amazing, total geek-out. Cuts to science funding. They're also concerned about just the general tone out of the White House about science and science issues.

Also a lot of federal employees obviously in Washington D.C., they are concerned with the way the administration is handling their science. They say they don't want to have their science sifted through a political lens before it is used.

So we're going to march on to the capitol on this very, very rainy day in Washington. Fredricka?

WHITFIELD: All right, Miguel Marquez, thank you so much, appreciate that from the nation's capital.

Many of the marchers we see today are not taking kindly to President Trump's executive order to roll back Obama era environmental policies. A Quinnipiac University poll released earlier this month showing 61 percent of voters across the country disapprove of the way Trump is handling the environment, while only 29 percent approve. CNN's Polo Sandoval takes a look why.


POLO SANDOVAL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: The latest wave of climate change demonstrations were set off by a stroke of the president's pen on several executive orders seeking to end Obama era climate regulations.

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I am taking historic steps to lift the restrictions on American energy, to reverse government intrusion, and to cancel job killing regulations.

SANDOVAL: The commander in chief reversed a three-year moratorium for coal mining on federal lands and also quashed his predecessor's executive order meant to curb carbon emissions. Then he approved the Keystone XL pipeline previously blocked by the Obama administration.

TRUMP: TransCanada will finally be allowed to complete this long overdue project.

SANDOVAL: The White House approved that controversial oil project following years of intense debate. It also reversed its position on the Dakota Access Pipeline, delivering a blow to the protesting Standing Rock Indian Tribe. This week the Environmental Protection Agency announced its plan to reduce its workforce with the use of buyouts and early retirements. This comes as the agency maintains a hiring freeze. White House claims the best way to protect the environment is to strengthen the economy.

MICK MULVANEY, DIRECTOR, OFFICE OF MANAGEMENT AND BUDGET: The question as to climate change, I think the president was fairly straight forward. We're not spending money on that anymore. We consider that to be a waste of your money.

SANDOVAL: At stake today is the U.S.'s role in the Paris climate agreement. The president continues to threaten to pull the U.S. out of that accord. He's also open to drilling for oil in the national parks, something not sitting well with environmentalists taking their message to the streets this weekend.

Polo Sandoval, CNN, Atlanta.


WHITFIELD: Thanks for being with me this afternoon. I'm Fredricka Whitfield. "Vital Signs" with Dr. Sanjay Gupta starts right after a quick break. But first a look at "TURNING POINTS." See you tomorrow.


ANDRE ROZIER, BOXING COACH: I don't like to lose. I don't like my fighters to lose.

DR. SANJAY GUPTA, CNN CHIEF MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: Andre Rozier is a champion corner man who began his boxing career inside the ring.

[14:25:03] ROZIER: I started out in the junior Olympic category of amateur boxing. And I went on until my first Golden Glove tournament, which was at the age of 16. But when I went to the Gold Glove physical I was told that I had high blood pressure. And I said to myself, what are you talking about. And I was tested again, and the results were the same.

GUPTA: Rozier was stripped of his boxing credentials. Unable to compete, he hung up his gloves and left the sport.

ROZIER: At that point I was like, well, you know what, this is it. I'm finished. I'm done.

GUPTA: Until a persistent young boxer asked for his help.

ROZIER: His confidence and his exuberance brought me back to where I was before. This time as a teacher it's opened me back to the sport that I did love. I think I've coached about a million people. Sometimes you train an athlete and they're with you for two days. And sometimes you train an athlete and they're with you for the rest of their lives. It's only because I love.

GUPTA: Dr. Sanjay Gupta, CNN, reporting.