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Macron Camp Claims "Massive" Hack; CNN with Le Pen Supporters; Death Toll Rises in Venezuela; North Korea Accuses South and U.S. of Plot. Aired 2-2:30a ET

Aired May 6, 2017 - 02:00   ET




NATALIE ALLEN, CNN ANCHOR (voice-over): Hacked on the eve of the presidential election, Emmanuel Macron's campaign says it's the target of a document leak, a massive one.

Stunning video out of Venezuela. Hundreds protesting against the government as tensions in that country continue to rise.

And a firsthand account from CNN's Will Ripley, how he uses social media to show rare and surprising snapshots of life in North Korea.

Hello, everyone. Thank you for joining us. This is CNN NEWSROOM.


ALLEN: It is 8:00 am in France on the eve of a critical presidential election. Voters there are waking up to news that one of the candidates may have been hacked and hacked big. Our Cyril Vanier joins us live from Paris with more about it. But this just happened. So I don't know how many details there are at this point.

Cyril, good morning.

CYRIL VANIER, CNN ANCHOR: Good morning, Natalie. It's safe to say no one saw this coming, not one day before voting. Here's what we know, Natalie. The campaign of the front-runner, Emmanuel Macron, says thousands of its files were hacked and posted online late Friday, this shortly before the midnight deadline when a media blackout begins and when campaigning officially ends.

It says some of the files are authentic but others are fake, and intended to spread confusion and disinformation and to essentially destabilize the French democracy. Right now, as I was saying, there's a media blackout now here in France on the election.

So it's quite stunning. You turn on your television in France. You look at rolling news coverage and it's as if none of this had happened. It's as if there had not been any hacking. There is no mention of it on TV, as per reporting guidelines that are applicable for French media in France. It's not true of the print press, however. You read the French

dailies and it's there online for everyone to see. So it's impossible to say how this information might affect Sunday's voting under these circumstances.

But it brings a shocking conclusion to a bruising campaign full of unexpected twists and turns. All right, let me bring in my guest, Olivier Royant (ph), editor-in-chief of the French weekly, "Paris Match," for early analysis of how you think.

And I -- the one question all our viewers are going to be asking themselves, can this impact at this stage the result of the French election?

OLIVIER ROYANT (PH), "PARIS MATCH": I don't think so. The last turning point that we lived in was the debate.

For the first time --


ROYANT (PH): -- three days ago.

And during this debate there was an episode of fake news, I mean, this idea that when Marine Le Pen announced that they will learn something about the so-called offshore account of Emmanuel Macron, so --

VANIER: That was very surprising. She looked him in the eye and said, Mr. Macron, I hope we're not going to learn you have a secret bank account.

ROYANT (PH): -- the Macron campaign sued the (INAUDIBLE) there is an investigation that was opened. But we were in this episode of fake news. Now there is an new episode of hacking, which is another thing. The French people have been following the U.S. campaign for months and they have heard about this hacking (INAUDIBLE) things.

I don't think there won't be any impact so far because what we could see that after the last Macron is holding quite a lead on this campaign. And that could help him more that -- it will help Marine Le Pen.

VANIER: There are viewers thinking, hold on, it may have had an impact on the U.S. election. It was part of the narrative of the election, these leaks -- that Hillary Clinton campaign staff e-mails.

So why wouldn't it have an impact on the election?

ROYANT (PH): Because it's so far away from the real mood of the election, which is the anger of the French public and of the French voters. Everywhere, this candidate went over the last two weeks, they met with angry voters. This anger coming from the countries about unemployment, is all about these people who are living disenfranchised far away from the decision, people who felt abandoned.

So this episode of hacking because it is a massive hacking, it will add to the confusion to this very bad campaign that we have been living for for months now, very bad, very bad mood, very bad ambiance of this campaign.

Will it have an impact?

I don't think so because it seems that the voters, 90 percent of the voters from Marine Le Pen and Emmanuel Macron have a clear choice now. They won't change. They've made up their mind.

That's why it came out from this poll yesterday.

VANIER: But you know, the National Front, which was far behind in the polls when polling stopped on Friday night in France, the vice president of the --


VANIER: -- National Front did tweet this minutes before the official end of the campaign.

He said, "Will Macron leaks" -- that's what it's being called -- "reveal things that investigative journalism covered up? This is Democratic disaster."

They're trying to gain from this.

ROYANT (PH): Absolutely. What's -- you have seen -- we have seen the National Front trying to present Macron as the candidate of the finance, candidate of the bankers. He's somebody from the establishment. And Marine Le Pen rebranded herself --


VANIER: -- close to the moneyed class as well.

ROYANT (PH): Exactly. So and on the Macron side, they said, oh, something is happening the same way something happened between Trump and the Russians. Something is happening on the National Front side, on the Marine Le Pen side, some kind of collusion between Marine Le Pen and the Russians.

They even hinted that there was some finance coming from the Russian banks to the Marine Le Pen campaign. So this was -- and Macron during the debate was very -- about the relationship with Russia was very cooling.

In the interview I did last week, we said we have the very -- not much -- many values in common with (INAUDIBLE) Putin at that point. So --


ROYANT (PH): We could see the Macron campaign trying to associate Marine Le Pen with the Russians. So this episode reinforce the reasoning that, OK, at some point, the (INAUDIBLE) Russians hackers, which are these mystery people -- we don't know who they are -- will try to meddle with this election. VANIER: All right. This is a remarkable development. Olivier, just briefly, help our viewers understand who Emmanuel Macron is. You interviewed him at length less than a week ago.

One of the privileges of this job, when you get to interview these officials, whether they're in power or about to be in power, potentially in power, as you walk away thinking, well, I have had a better understanding of them.

What's your better understanding of Emmanuel Macron?

ROYANT (PH): My feeling that he was already the day after. Two weeks ago one of the reasons --

VANIER: -- victory?

ROYANT (PH): -- he was already the president. He knows that from Monday morning, if he's being elected, he will be the younger president of the French republic. He will be quite alone also because these -- what we have seen is not a support vote for Macron and both candidates didn't trigger such enthusiasm among voters.

This candidate equals of protest votes. So Macron knows that the election Sunday night, he will have a very small moment of grace and a very small moment of joy. And then we will be entering a new process, which is a general election process. And he will be quite alone because he managed to destroy the Associates (ph) party, he managed to destroy the Republicans.

And even the ansumid (ph) of Jean-Luc Melenchon. All these people will be back on the scene Monday morning, say, OK, we'll meet you five weeks from now in the general election and we'll see if you are so powerful with your En Marche movement or if you have to deal with us.


ROYANT (PH): My feeling is that -- the question I asked him, Mr. Macron, you have been sitting next to the president for two years. So he has seen Francois Hollande from a very close, special, privileged point of view.

He has seen mistakes from Francois Hollande. He has seen the way a president acts. So he will feel comfortable at the Elysee Palace because he knows the place. He's been living there for two years. So it must have been like in a situation of the number two, who will have to accede to the number one position.

But he has seen the number one acting. So if -- he seemed to be quite full cry (ph) -- he never lost his temper during this -- once during this electric. He lost his temper against the National Front. Otherwise, he seems to be in charge of the operation.


ROYANT (PH): This is a campaign he ruled by himself. Even if you had an organization around him, he was the one in charge. He build like a startup from nothing, from scratch. So he seems to be quite cool before this --

VANIER: In control, yes.

ROYANT (PH): -- the moment when the -- something (INAUDIBLE) going to hit reality, which is probably Monday morning, when Sarkozy calls for Francois Hollande at the -- during when the -- when Hollande won five years, he said, OK, enjoy this moment, because tomorrow morning it will be the last. Exactly what happened during the five years of Hollande at the Elysee.

VANIER: Olivier Royant (ph) of the French weekly, "Paris Match," thank you very much.

He tells us Emmanuel Macron basically already sees himself as the next president of France. And we're still waiting to see what, if any impact, this alleged hack has on this election. Campaigning ended Friday with major polls giving Macron a significant overwhelming, in fact, lead. But many Le Pen supporters still say their candidate can get the win.

Our Paris correspondent, Melissa Bell, hit the road with some to find out why.



MELISSA BELL, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Renee the Renault is nearing the end of her road. With France preparing to go to the polls we've taken one last drive to seek out the far right electorate. Down in (INAUDIBLE), we found Marine Le Pen supporters who are worried about national identity. Up in her northern strongholds--


BELL (voice-over): -- where voters were more worried about industrial decline and poverty.

But what of her support in France's cities?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (Speaking French).

BELL (voice-over): In Francoise (ph), in the suburbs of Paris, (INAUDIBLE), Danielle (ph) and Michael (ph) have all agreed to jump in and tell us why they support Marine Le Pen in her battle against the independent centrist, Emmanuel Macron.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (Speaking French).

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: If you can afford living in Paris, it means that you've gained from globalization. You were part of the happy few.

BELL (voice-over): So what kind of a change would a Le Pen victory bring to France?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (Speaking French). BELL (voice-over): But what of her chances of winning, giving

Macron's substantial lead in the polls?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Human nature is such that it will, in many occasions, favor stability over change. But the situation we're in right now is not sustainable. So either we go in this way with Macron and then we die -- because this is what's going to happen, we're going to die as a country -- or we face the hardships.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (Speaking French).

BELL: They're an idea of just how Marine Le Pen supporters are feeling here in Francoise (ph) on the outskirts of Paris just ahead of the big day. As you've seen, they really believe that she can still do it.

For them, she represents the change that France needs. And what they say is that, even if the polls are right and Emmanuel Macron does win on Sunday, then Marine Le Pen will simply be a revolution waiting to happen the next time France goes to the polls -- Melissa Bell, CNN, in Francoise (ph).


VANIER: We're going to hand it back to Natalie Allen in Atlanta now.

Natalie, and just to highlight how important a development this is, this confirmed hack of the Macron campaign, the strange thing is it could very well end up that some voters will go to the polls tomorrow without even knowing about it, because, if you turn on your TV here in France, there is no information about that as per.

And that is consistent with the broadcast guidelines and the broadcast blackout that is typical in France the day before voting. The idea being give the voters one day of peace and quiet to reflect on their choice before they go to the polls.

ALLEN: But with the hackers now taking part in elections here and there that might be impossible in the future. But thank you so much for your reporting. Interesting conversation there. And we'll continue to wait and see what happens in this day before the election, Cyril. Thank you.

Ahead here on CNN NEWSROOM, live from Atlanta, anger and outcry in Venezuela. Another day of protests is planned.

Also one of CNN's reporters explains what it's really like to cover news inside North Korea. Will Ripley's personal thoughts. You're watching CNN NEWSROOM.





ALLEN: Welcome back.

Venezuela's bracing for another protest this Saturday; 36 people have died in violence over the past few weeks, much of it linked to both pro- and anti-government marches, much of the violence in the protests starting due to steps taken by Nicolas Maduro to solidify his power over his enemies, you can say, in government.

The recent video, some of it is disturbing. And here's our report from Shasta Darlington. We warn you, again, what you see you may find disturbing.


SHASTA DARLINGTON, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Dramatic images caught on amateur video, tanks plowing through crowds of Venezuelan protesters as the roof burns and shots ring out.

One man run over; somehow he survived. Separately, a protester badly burned after a nearby police motorcycle caught fire. Scenes of pitched battles repeated across the country over the last five weeks, killing at least 35 people and injuring more than 700.

As the opposition takes to the streets almost daily to protest against President Maduro, accusing him of imposing a dictatorship, President Maduro remains defiant.

NICOLAS MADURO, PRESIDENT OF VENEZUELA (through translator): The people must decide if they want war or they want peace. In the next weeks we will have elections.

You wanted elections?

Have them.

DARLINGTON (voice-over): But instead of the regional elections demanded by the opposition, Maduro has called for elections to create an constituent assembly that could, among other things, rewrite the constitution.

Critics at home and abroad say it's a blatant power grab as Maduro's popularity dwindles.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): It will be worse for the country in all ways. The financial crisis will worsen. And socially, there will be more hunger.

DARLINGTON (voice-over): Once the richest country in Latin America with vast oil reserves, these are the images that you now find on the streets of Caracas, families digging through the trash. Adriana Sanchez (ph) cleans houses but says she can't afford food for her two children.

With inflation of 800 percent last year and more than 80 percent of families living in poverty, many like Jose Godoy (ph), an unemployed construction worker, are digging for scraps.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): There are thousands of us looking through the trash to eat, thousands, not one of us or two or four. There are thousands who are on the streets, looking for something to eat to survive.

DARLINGTON (voice-over): The situation at supermarkets is hardly better. Endless lines and empty shelves, one of the main reasons Venezuelans are taking to the streets. The other, they say democracy is being eroded. Some opposition leaders like Leopoldo Lopez (ph) jailed.

It's been more than three years and still no trial. And the latest wave of protests really took off when the government banned another opposition leader, Enrique Capriles, from holding office for the next 15 years.

Maduro has tried to shore up support with his own pro-government marches and a new TV program to show off his salsa dancing, moves ridiculed by his critics -- Shasta Darlington, CNN.


ALLEN: In the U.S., the Senate is promising major rewrites to the health care bill that's prompted celebration from the House Republicans who passed it this week.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The Senate will write its own bill. That's clear. Mitch McConnell's made that clear. And others in leadership have made that clear.


ALLEN: President Trump took to Twitter, writing, "Why is it that the fake news rarely reports OCare is on its last legs and that insurance companies are fleeing for their lives?

It's dead."

And in another tweet, "Wow, the fake news media did everything in its power to make the Republican health care victory look as bad as possible. Far better than OCare!"

We turn now to North Korea, which is accusing the U.S. and South Korea of attempting to assassinate leader Kim Jong-un with a biochemical substance. Pyongyang claims a North Korean citizen was involved in the plot along with the CIA and South Korea's intelligence service. CNN is not able to independently corroborate that.

However, there are so many other stories from inside North Korea that CNN's Will Ripley has been able to gain extraordinary access to over the years. We recently asked Will to reflect on his experiences and what it's like to report and post to social media from inside North Korea. (BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)


WILL RIPLEY, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): People are often surprised that I can post on social media from inside North Korea. Even though they don't have things like Facebook or Instagram or Twitter here, North Korean officials are becoming increasingly savvy about the power of social media to get their message out to the world.

They realize that a single post, especially by a network like CNN, could be seen by millions of people. So they're paying closer attention to what I'm posting and so just like on television on social media, you have to be really careful and follow North Korean rules.

Nothing that could be perceived as disrespectful to their supreme leader, Kim Jong-un, nothing demeaning to the country.

RIPLEY: It's not something we're used to in the West.

RIPLEY (voice-over): But we do have a lot of freedom. We've built up this trust over time that has allowed us to get some really extraordinary access that we didn't used to get.

RIPLEY: We're about to enter a place that we're rarely allowed to go.

RIPLEY (voice-over): So we're getting the chance to photograph real people in real situations. We get a window into their lives that most of the world has really never seen.

And I found that these Instagram stories that people can hold in their hand and look on their phone, it takes them inside this story in a way that they really have never experienced before. People are used to seeing military parades. They're used to seeing fiery rhetoric.

But to hold their phone and see us hanging out at our North Korean hotel or walking around on the streets...

RIPLEY: At the 85th anniversary of the North Korean army...

RIPLEY (voice-over): -- it makes people feel like they are along on this journey.

I think the North Korean people are lovely people. They're friendly. They're warm. They're kind. And I try to capture that in the photographs that I take. Of all the things that I've posted about on this trip, I think the one thing that resonated so much with people were these songs that play over loudspeakers across the city.

They begin at 5:00 am with a wakeup song. And then almost hourly there's this song that plays, called, "Where Are You, Dear General?" It's a tribute to the late North Korean leaders.

People in the Western world find it very creepy. North Koreans don't find it creepy at all. They're used to the song and actually, once you're in the country for a while, you just start to get used to it. (END VIDEOTAPE)

ALLEN: You can follow Will Ripley on social media.

Coming up here, a stunning performance by a runner from Kenya in the quest for the holy grail of marathons, breaking two hours. The finish when we come back.




ALLEN: A Nike event in Italy. Derek's here to talk about a little bit with me. They tried there to close the gap on the marathon record but didn't quite make it there.

Eliud Kipchoge of Kenya fell just short of breaking the two-hour barrier -- oh, so short, right, Derek. And the Olympic marathon champion finished the Nike sponsor breaking two attempt with a time of --


ALLEN: -- 2:24. And that was in Monza, Italy, as well as.

Kipchoge and two other marathoners wore the latest running technology, including clothing and shoes by Nike to try to break that barrier. But they didn't get there.

The fastest marathon until this was 2:20:57. But again, this wasn't an official event or marathon but it was kind of fun to watch to see if they could do it.


ALLEN: Thank you for watching. Our top stories are after this.