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South Korea Prepares for Election; Sally Yates Testifies Before Congress; Big Celebration in Russia; Final Battle in Mosul; Montreal Under State of Emergency. Aired 3-4a ET
Aired May 9, 2017 - 03:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[03:00:00] ROSEMARY CHURCH, CNN ANCHOR: Decision day in South Korea. Voters look to move past a divisive corruption scandal and choose their next president.
In Washington the long awaited testimony of the former acting attorney general. She says Donald Trump's former security adviser was vulnerable to Russian blackmail and she warned the White House about it.
Also, ahead. The city under siege. The civilians still in Mosul caught in the middle of the grueling battle between ISIS and the Iraqi army.
Hello and welcome to our viewers from all around the recalled would. I'm Rosemary Church. And this is CNN NEWSROOM.
South Korean voters are choosing their next president. And the result could lead the country toward a more moderate approach to the North Korean nuclear crisis. Government corruption and the economy are also main issues for voters. The election will end a leadership vacuum.
Former President Park Geun-hye was impeached. And she's now on trial for corruption. She took a hardline approach on North Korea. But front-runner Moon Jae-in is promising to change that. He favors engagement and dialogue with Pyongyang.
And our Paula Hancocks is live in Seoul, South Korea. She joins us now. So Paula, only a few more hours to go before polls close. How is it all going? And what sort of turnout has there been so far.
PAULA HANCOCKS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Rosemary, so far it is 67 percent turnout according to the election commission which is higher than we've seen just four years ago for the previous election. We still have four hours to go. And it is expected to be quite a high turnout basically because there has been so much going on over recent months in this country.
And there seems to be a sense that South Koreans want to draw a line under what has happened this massive corruption scandal. Months, as you say, having a leadership vacuum when you have heightened tensions with North Korea, when you have a relatively new U.S. president. The next South Korea will have to deal with.
So certainly, there is a sense among South Korean people that they are looking forward and that they want the past few months to be over. North Korea, though, is not the biggest issue. It is an issue here
when people are coming to the polling stations. The main issue, according to real meter, which did a poll on this, is corruption, is to make sure the next candidate is clean, the next president is clean.
They are trying to reform these close links between business and government that we've seen in recent months, also the economy. Jobs that's the second most pressing concern for voters, then national security, meaning North Korea, Rosemary.
CHURCH: And of course, as we mentioned the front-runner for this election is moderate Moon Jae-in. How might a win for him change the direction of South Korea and most specifically the way it relates to North Korea?
HANCOCKS: Well, certainly, Moon Jae-in is diametrically opposed to Park Geun-hye, the former president. The policies are different. The personality is different. Moon Jae-in, if he does become the next president is pro-engagement with North Korea. He is pro-dialogue.
And certainly that's very different than the hardline approach that Park Geun-hye and also the U.S. administration in the past had been taken.
There is a potential for conflict with South Korea's closest ally, the United States. Moon's camp has played down that possibly. But on THAAD, for example, the U.S. missile defense system that is now deployed and basically operational Moon Jae-in has said that it shouldn't have been brought in before parliamentary approval. He said it should have been decided by the next president.
So just that in and itself is potential room for conflict with the United States. But certainly, when Donald Trump, the U.S. president said potentially he would be honored to meet the North Korean leader, Kim Jong-un as he said in the Bloomberg interview. The moon camp said that that did help them because it brought the two sides a little closer together. Rosemary?
CHURCH: All right, our Paula Hancocks at a polling station there in Seoul, South Korea, where voters are determining the next leader of the country. Just after 4 o'clock there. Many thanks to you, Paula.
Well, now to bombshell testimony that Donald Trump's national security adviser could have been a blackmail target for Russia.
Former U.S. acting Attorney General Sally Yates appeared before a Senate panel on Monday. She told lawmakers she alerted the White House that Michael Flynn had lied about his communications with Russia's ambassador and that Flynn was compromised. Democrats want to know why it then took 18 days for Flynn to be fired.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
[03:05:02] SEN. DICK DURBIN, (D) ILLINOIS: During those 18 days, General Flynn continued to hire key senior staff on the National Security Council, announce new sanctions on Iran's ballistic missile program, met with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe along with President Trump at Mar-a-Lago, and participated in discussions about responding to a North Korean missile launch and spoke repeatedly to the press about his communications with Russian Ambassador Kislyak.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CHURCH: And more now from CNN's Jim Sciutto.
SALLY YATES, FORMER U.S. ACTING ATTORNEY GENERAL: The national security adviser essentially could be blackmailed by the Russians.
JIM SCIUTTO, CNN CHIEF NATIONAL SECURITY CORRESPONDENT: In a hearing sharply divided along partisan lines, former acting Attorney General Sally Yates sharply contradicted the White House version of events regarding fired National Security Adviser Michael Flynn.
Yates told senators she gave the White House a forceful and detailed warning that Flynn lied when he denied discussing U.S. sanctions with the Russian ambassador.
YATES: We walked -- the White House counsel, who also had an associate there with him, through General Flynn's underlying conduct, the contents of which I obviously cannot go through with you today because it's classified. But we took him through a fair amount of detail of the underlying conduct, what General Flynn had done and went through the various press accounts and how it had been falsely reported. We also told the White House Counsel that Flynn had been interviewed by the FBI.
SCIUTTO: In February, the day after his firing by the president, Sean Spicer claimed Yates had only given a heads up about Flynn's comments.
SEAN SPICER, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: The acting attorney general informed the White House counsel that they wanted to give, quote, "a heads up" to us on some comments that may have seemed in conflict with what he had sent the vice president.
SCIUTTO: But Yates said it was much more than just a heads up. She spoke with the White House three separate times warning that the president's closest adviser on national security was in danger of being blackmailed by Russia.
YATES: We felt like it was critical that we get this information to the White House because in part because the vice president was unknowingly making false statements to the public. And because we believed that General Flynn was compromised with respect to the Russians.
SCIUTTO: The hearing was intended to focus on Russian interference in the U.S. election. On the key question of whether Trump advisors colluded with Russia in that interference, the former Director of National Intelligence, James Clapper said he has not seen evidence as he said in the past.
SEN. LINDSEY GRAHAM, (R) SOUTH CAROLINA: Is that still accurate?
JAMES CLAPPER, FORMER U.S. DIRECTOR OF NATIONAL INTELLIGENCE: It is.
SCIUTTO: Yates, however, was less definitive.
GRAHAM: Miss Yates, do you have any evidence, are you aware of any evidence that would suggest that in the 2016 campaign anybody in the Trump campaign colluded with the Russian government or intelligence services in an improper fashion?
YATES: And senator, my answer to that question would require me to reveal classified information, and so I can't answer that.
SCIUTTO: Over all, the hearing was a tale of two hearings. Many democratic senators focused mostly on Flynn. Many republicans focused on leak.
SEN. CHUCK GRASSLEY, (R) IOWA: Have either of you ever been an anonymous source in a news report about matters relating to Mr. Trump, his associates, or Russian's attempt to meddle in the election?
YATES: Absolutely not.
SCIUTTO: And unmasking.
GRAHAM: Do we know who unmasked the conversation between the Russian ambassador and General Flynn? Was there unmasking in this situation?
CLAPPER: I don't know.
GRAHAM: Do you, Ms. Yates.
YATES: I can't to this specific situation.
SCIUTTO: And with all those different topics raised you might forget that the subject of the hearing was Russian interference in the U.S. election. An on that point, former Director Clapper, former acting Attorney General Yates and the democrats and the republicans in the room were united.
Russia interfered in the election, attacked they said both democratic and republican targets and that they expect Russia to do the same again against both parties.
Jim Sciutto, CNN, Washington.
CHURCH: President Trump also got a warning about Michael Flynn from Barack Obama. Back in November then-President Obama advised Mr. Trump not to hire Flynn as his national security adviser. The White House acknowledges that Obama raised concerns but says he did not do much beyond alerting Mr. Trump.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SPICER: The question that you have to ask yourself really is if President Obama was truly concerned about General Flynn, why didn't he suspend General Flynn's security clearance which they had just reapproved month earlier.
Additionally, why did the Obama administration let Flynn go to Russia for a paid speaking engagement and receive fee. If there were steps that they could have taken that if that was truly a concern more just a person that didn't had that blood.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CHURCH: So let's talk more about Sally Yates' testimony. Her career with the Justice Department spanned three decades. And most of that time was spent here in Atlanta.
[03:10:04] Pulitzer Prize winning journalist Douglas Blackmon has reported on her over the years and he joins me now in the studio. Pleasure to have you here.
DOUGLAS BLACKMON, PULITZER PRIZE WINNER JOURNALIST: Thanks for having me.
CHURCH: So let's start with Sally Yates' testimony Monday. What do you think came out of that? How much did it change the story that we know so far given President Trump himself has said this is all fake news?
BLACKMON: I don't think we learned a lot of new information about the specific facts, particularly about the question of whether there was some sort of active collusion between the Trump campaign and Russian espionage agencies. I think we heard again things that we already knew.
But what did come through decisively was that Sally Yates had given the White House a very strenuous warning about the risk of having Michael Flynn be the national security adviser, and had done that in a forceful way on two occasions in a way that the White House did apparently didn't take seriously or didn't do anything about.
And when you couple that with the revelation in the last 24 hours that President Obama also directly warned President Trump about these issues just after the election, I think it lifts all of this to a significantly higher level in terms of a question about President Trump's direct involvement, whether there was an active cover-up of some sort inside and White House.
And as we've learned over the years it's almost always the cover-up or the response to an embarrassing thing that becomes the bigger problem than the originating problem.
CHURCH: All right. So we have two different narratives. We have the White House saying that they simply got a heads up on Michael Flynn. And then you have got Sally Yates saying they were substantial warnings. And then of course we are hearing as you said that former President Obama gave President Trump a heads up.
How do you reconcile those two very different interpretations of what were presumably the same events?
BLACKMON: I really don't think it's hard to reconcile those things. Particularly in terms of that it's very clear there is no way to dispute that there were these two visits to the White House one of which was requested by the White House in which Sally Yates then the attorney general of the United States meets with the White House counsel, the president's personal lawyer.
There is no dispute that those things occurred. There were other people at those meetings. All of this puts completely to the lie the sort of flippant remarks of Sean Spicer, the White House spokesman. There is no doubt whatsoever.
There is no way to spin this into anything other than a very substantial warning was given to the White House unless all of these events I've just described are complete fabrications. And if they were that would have already been made apparent by now.
CHURCH: And of course you have, as we mentioned in the introduction there, you have reported on Sally Yates for many, many years. So what is your reaction given that to efforts by the White House and indeed some GOP senators to paint her as partisan?
BLACKMON: Well, there is a perfectly reasonable argument to be had about whether the way that Sally Yates reacted not so much to these events but to the attempt by the White House to ban Muslims from certain countries or citizens of certain countries to come to the United States.
You can argue whether the events that led to her being fired by the president as it turns out on the same day that some of the events related to Michael Flynn occurred, you can argue about all of that. But there is no question whatsoever that she is a partisan hack.
Over the course of her term as a prosecutor, she put in prison many, many politicians who were democrats, and many politicians who were republicans. In the State of Georgia at the beginning of her career most politicians were democrats. And that's when to president when she was the prosecutor then.
In the years after that, most politicians in Georgia were republicans, and that's who she prosecuted then because corruption occurs where power lies. There is just nothing in her background of Sally Yates to suggest that's sort of partisan activity.
CHURCH: So you think her background really speaks for itself?
BLACKMON: Well, it does. I wrote a piece in Sltae.com a few months back that it had the headline on and I didn't come up with it, that just said Sally Yates doesn't care who you are. And that's the bottom mine. She is a tough-minded prosecutor who is very serious about the law, and a smart politician, a smart leader listens to the voices of people like that. It's how they stay out of trouble. CHURCH: Douglas Blackmon, thank you so much for coming in. We
BLACKMON: My pleasure. Thank you.
CHURCH: Four republican senators also grilled Yates over her opposition to President Trump's travel ban. She was fired back in January for refusing to enforce the president's first executive order on travel. Listen to this exchange between Yates and republican Senator Ted Cruz.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. TED CRUZ, (R) TEXAS: Is it correct that the Constitution vests the executive authority in the president.
[03:14:58] CRUZ: And if an attorney general disagrees with a policy decision of the president, a policy decision that is lawful, does the attorney general have the authority to direct the Department of Justice to defy the president's order?
YATES: I don't know whether the attorney general has the authority to do that or not. But I don't think it would be a good idea. And that's not what I did in this case.
CRUZ: Well, are you familiar with 8US C-section 1182?
YATES: Not off the top of my head, no.
CRUZ: Well, it is the binding statutory authority for the executive order that you refused to implement. And that led to your termination. So it certainly is a relevant and not a terribly obscure statute?
By this express text of the statute it says quote, "Whenever the president finds that the entry of any alien or any class of aliens into the United States would be detrimental to the interests of the United States. He may by proclamation and for such period as he shall deem necessary suspend the entry of all aliens or any class of aliens as immigrants or non-immigrants or impose on the entry or aliens any restrictions he may deem appropriate." Would you agree that that is broad statutory authority provisions?
YATES: I would, and I am familiar with that. And I'm also familiar with an additional provision of the INA that says, "No person shall receive preference or be discriminated against in issuance of a visa because of race, nationality or place of birth."
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CHURCH: Well, a federal appeals court is hearing arguments on President Trump's latest travel ban. The plaintiff's say his campaign rhetoric about banning Muslims clearly shows what he intended with the executive order. But attorneys for the government say those statements should not be
considered. The travel ban was halted by two federal judges. One in Maryland, and one in Hawaii. So the administration will be arguing this same case before another court next week as well.
Emmanuel Macron's presidential win has Europe's leaders breathing a sigh of relief. Just ahead, what they are saying about his victory.
Plus a U.S. company apologizes for name dropping President Trump's son-in-law, Jared Kushner. The promise they were making to Chinese investors next on CNN NEWSROOM.
CHURCH: Looking at live pictures here, and happening right now, Russian President Vladimir Putin is addressing Victory Day celebrations in Moscow. The occasion marks May 9th, 1945, when Germany's unconditional surrender took effect in Russia ending World War II in Europe. Moscow pays tribute with an annual military parade.
And we will have more on this celebration and indeed this speech later this hour.
Emmanuel Macron made his first official appearance as France's president-elect as a victory day ceremony in Paris. He attended the event with the man he is about to replace, Francois Hollande. They laid a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier at the Arc de Triomphe.
Macron's appearance happened hours after his win in the presidential election. Europe's leaders are celebrating his victory.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JEAN-CLAUDE JUNCKER, EUROPEAN COMMISSION PRESIDENT: I hope that the new president will be able to reconcile the two Frances. France that's highly necessary and good news for you because the program that President Macron was very pro-European approach and (Inaudible).
ANGELA MERKEL, GERMAN CHANCELLOR (through translator): Emmanuel Macron carries the hopes of millions of French people and also of many people in Germany and the whole of Europe. He ran a courageous pro- European campaign. He stands for openness to the world.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CHURCH: So let's bring in Dominic Thomas now from Paris. He chairs the Department of French and Francophone studies at UCLA. Thanks so much for joining us.
As of course we saw there, Europe very happy with the outcome. But the overall view appears to be that the challenges now confronting Emmanuel Macron are immense and the real work has only just begun. His most immediate challenge of course next month's parliamentary elections. Can he win a majority?
DOMINIC THOMAS, PROFESSOR, DEPARTMENT OF FRENCH AND FRANCOPHONE STUDIES UCLA: This is a big question, Rosemary. Certainly for the European Union this was a wonderful -- wonderful occasion. And as he celebrated winning the presidency to the music of Beethoven's Ode to Joy, which is of course the European Union anthem, you can guarantee that European leaders were smiling.
Winning the election though is only half the battle. In the next week he has to appoint a prime minister. He has to select 20 to 30 government ministers. And Emmanuel Macron's primary goal right now is to find 577 deputies who will run in the different areas of France in the parliamentary elections in five weeks' time.
This is going to prove an extraordinary challenge. If he doesn't win a presidential majority then he is going to have to go into all sorts of discussions and potential coalition building and so on which will of course make it harder for him to legislate. But right now he is, you know, determined to take the momentum of this historic victory into those elections and to win a majority.
CHURCH: Yes, of course the hope is that he will win that majority. But as you mentioned, if he doesn't, it's going to be very difficult and very hard for France going forward.
THOMAS: Well, it could be. The first thing is, you know, winning an outright majority would of course be the ideal. He could also emerge from this without a majority but as the leading party which would of course make it much easier for him to legislate.
I think the greatest concern and fear right now is that the republic can now write and that during very well in this. And going into some kind of cohabitation government and so on would not be good for him. But there are indications that folks from both sides of the political spectrum are going to come over to his political party.
Former Prime Minister Manuel Valls today announced that he wants to run in his district as an En Marche candidate. And the En Marche movement in fact yesterday change its name to La Republique En Marche onward that the republic.
[03:25:04] And this is course, you know, a deliberate attempt also to appeal to those righteous from the Republican Party who changed their name just a few years ago to that particular label. So I think that was an important strategic move.
CHURCH: Yes, it will certainly be interesting to see how much of a uniting force he proves to be in the end. Dominic Thomas, thank you so much for all of your analysis throughout this election. We appreciate that.
Well, a U.S. real estate developer is apologizing for highlighting its ties to the Trump administration. Nicole Kushner-Meyer is the sister of White House senior adviser and Trump's son-in-law Jared Kushner. She told investors in China they could get a special visa to come to the U.S. if they invested $500,000 in the family business. Kushner companies says Jared Kushner has separated himself from the
business and Meyer did not intend to draw attention to his White House role.
Well, nobody knows what prompted it but a business breakfast with the CEO of Qantas Airways took a bizarre turn. Alan Joyce was addressing the event when this man calmly walked on stage and mashed a cream pie into his face.
Reports say the audience was silent not knowing if this was a strange part of the speech. Security officers at the hotel surrounded the man. It is unclear what charges he will face. Joyce cleaned up and resumed his speech.
Well, the people of South Korea are voting for their next president. Coming up, why the result could change how the country deals with the North Korean nuclear crisis.
And Iraqi forces are planning the final push into Mosul. Ahead, what they face in their lengthy battle against ISIS.
We're back in a moment.
[03:30:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
CHURCH: A very warm welcome back to you all. I'm Rosemary Church. I want to update you now on the stories we've been following this hour.
The former acting U.S. attorney general says she alerted the Trump White House several times that former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn was lying about his conversations with Russia's ambassador. Sally Yates told lawmakers Monday she feared Russia could blackmail Flynn over his misstatements. President Trump dismissed the testimony calling it old news.
Jakarta's governor, commonly known as a "hawk" has been sentenced to two years in prison after being convicted of blasphemy. He was accused of insulting Islam by quoting the Koran during his re-election campaign. He said a verse proved there are no restrictions on Muslims voting for non-Muslims. The trial was seen as test of Indonesia's religious tolerance.
South Korean vote are choosing a replacement for ousted Park Geun-hye who is on trial for corruption. The economy and security national are also top issues for voters. Polls indicate the front runner is Moon Jae-in. He wants to take a moderate approach to the North Korean nuclear crisis and supports dialogue with Pyongyang.
And here's how the front runner in South Korea compares to his closest rival. Moon Jae-in is from the left leaning Democratic Party. Ahn Cheol-soo is part of the centrist People's Party.
Moon is a former student activist and a human rights lawyer. Ahn is a former doctor and software mogul. Moon has had a longer career in politics. He served as chief of staff to a former president. Ahn is relatively new to the political scene. He ran for president as an independent candidate back in 2012.
Well, Jean Lee has covered the Korean Peninsula extensively, including reporting from North Korea. Jean is also a global fellow with the Wilson Center and she joins us now via Skype from Seoul. Great to talk with you.
JEAN LEE, FELLOW, WILSON CENTER: Hello.
CHURCH: So let's start. Of course we know that voting is underway. It's a few hours away from the polls being closed. And there has been some great voter turnout, around the 67 percent mark.
But let's talk about front-runner Moon Jae-in, because he does and would represent quite a shift in approach certainly to North Korea. And clearly, if he is the front-runner, and that seems to be what the polls are showing, then this is what people in South Korea want to see.
LEE: If he does win the presidency -- and I think it's important to note, as you mention we have got three and a half hours before the polls close and they are already pasted 67 percent the last time I checked. It could reach 80 percent, even perhaps top that.
So highest voter turnout possibly in 20 years. And I think that that really illustrate the conviction and the passion that the people have to see this process to the end. This is really the culmination. And he really, if he does win, he will have ridden this wave of push for change in South Korea.
So anger toward endemic corruption, and a real desire for a different kind of South Korea. You know, he won there -- he lost narrowly in the last election. So perhaps it's his time.
CHURCH: Just going back to the point of dialogue with Pyongyang, because that is quite a major shift, isn't it? How would North Korea respond to such a move?
LEE: So I was in Pyongyang last week, and North Koreans that I spoke to were very excited, I have to say, at the prospect of a liberal government in the Blue House here in South Korea. They remember what it was like 10 years ago when South Korea last had a liberal government.
This was a time of easing tensions, lots of engagement. You know, when I first got here in South Korea as the A.P. Seoul bureau chief I was still able to take a bus across the border and visit North Korea. So things have changed drastically. And of course those inter-Korean tours, for example, ended with the arrival of the conservative government.
So the North Koreans would benefit greatly. You know, these inter- Korean exchanges are financially beneficial, they can pump a lot of money into the North Korean economy.
But I have to say, Moon Jae-in, if he does win, he is not going to be able to completely just reinstate some of those programs. Things have changed. What we know now about where this money goes is going to change that calculation and change and affect how he reinstates some of those policies.
[03:35:02] So, it will be interesting to see what he chooses to reinstate and how he chooses to engage with North Korea in this changed environment.
CHURCH: Yes. And it's a clear rejection, isn't it, of the rather hawkish approach that we are seeing from the United States. The use of sanctions, and the threat of military action. So talk to us about that. Moon Jae-in clearly wanting to move in a completely different direction.
LEE: One of the first things he's going to have to do of course is unite the country here in South Korea, it's been a divisive past six months. But it's also going to be important for him to really assert him as the president of South Korea. You know its political vacuum has been terrible in terms of South Korea's ability to shape and play a role in U.S. policy toward North Korea.
So how he's going to bridge the differences with the new president is going to be interesting to see. I do think, though, that one of the fascinating things is that both Moon Jae-in and Donald Trump have expressed a desire to perhaps consider sitting down with the North Korean leader. So we'll see. We'll see. I think that this pairing could be unpredictable and will definitely mean a change in terms of regional politics when it comes to North Korea.
CHURCH: It is a new world order. Jane Lee, thank you so much. We appreciate your analysis and bringing us up to date on the situation. Less than four hours away from polls closing there in South Korea. Many thanks.
Well, after more than seven months, Iraqi forces say the battle to retake Mosul is entering its final phase. The fight against ISIS is taking place in tighter quarters, and hundreds of thousands of civilians are caught in the middle.
And according to the International Organization for Migration, more than 363,000 Iraqis are currently displaced.
Ben Wedeman talked to some who managed to escape.
BEN WEDEMAN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Barely able to see through the blinding dust, west Mosul residents trudge to safety. Thousands have fled in the past days.
"We have escaped from death," says this man. Three month old Merriam (Ph) was carried out by her uncle. Miserable is how he describes life in the city, under siege now for months. "God save us from that rotten gang," Abu Hassim (Ph) tells me referring to ISIS. With little food or medicine left, hundreds of thousands remain trapped in the city.
Iraqi forces have established what they call safe passages for fleeing civilians. Safe, however, may not be the best way to describe them.
On the hill above, soldiers fire rockets over the civilians heads into the city. And this is what has become of Mosul. An ISIS car bomb goes up in flames at the edge of a Musharraf neighborhood.
Iraqi forces launched this latest operation last Thursday morning from the north and the northwest. "Be careful," major Mustafa Lasso he warns his troops. "Watch out for booby traps." A lone black banner of the extremists flutters in the hot wind. The bombardment is unrelenting.
This is the final push in the battle for Mosul, a battle that began in the middle of October of last year. At the time Iraqi officials said it would be over by the end of 2016. Now it's well into its seventh month.
In a nearby operations room, Iraqi officers and American advisors direct a drone over the city. Unlike in the past, the Americans on the ground like lieutenant colonel Jim Browning can now direct air strikes without waiting for approval from senior officers in the rear.
JIM BROWNING, U.S. ARMY: All it requires is me to be able to see it with my partner. And once we are able to kind of communicate and say yes that is emphatically enemy and we are under threat let's deliver a strike, and let's do it quick.
WEDEMAN: Iraqi leaders are hoping to regain full control of Mosul by the start of the month of Ramadan in late May. But lieutenant general Kassim Nasser of the Iraqi army's ninth armored division, which is leading the fight, is more cautious.
"Timetables and conventional warfare are possible," he says, "but this is guerrilla warfare with a well-trained enemy using snipers, booby traps and car bombs."
[03:40:06] And as always, civilians are caught in the middle, struggling to survive, struggling to escape.
Ben Wedeman, CNN, Mosul.
CHURCH: We'll take a short break here. But still to come, Russia celebrates Victory Day. We have details on the celebration in Moscow's Red Square. That's coming up next.
CHURCH: It is Victory Day in Russia. And celebrations are underway in a very cold Moscow in Red Square. May 9th, 1945 was the day that Nazi Germany's unconditional surrender took effect in Russia, ending World War II in Europe. A spectacular parade marks the anniversary of this major holiday in Russia.
And just a short time ago, in fact, President Vladimir Putin made his annual address. CNN's Matthew Chance is in the middle of all of it. And he joins us now live. So Matthew, talk to us about the significance this day to the people of Russia. And what did President Putin have to say when he spoke just a short time ago?
MATTHEW CHANCE, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes. Well, it's immensely significant. You can see that the numbers of people that have turned out here. We just pan across here to the left. There are thousands of people that have come out today standing on the side of the route the parade will take as it makes its way through Red Square.
We are seeing those dramatic pictures now of that spectacular display of military hardware moving through the cobbled piazza of Red Square. They will be coming around here very shortly. All these thousands of people, many of them Russians, many people from former Soviet states have gathered to pay their respects and to remember what is essentially a sacred day in Russia.
[03:44:56] Remember, there were more than 20 million people who died in the Second World War, what the Russians called the great patriotic war. And this is first and foremost a day to commemorate those dead.
Vladimir Putin, you mentioned he made in a short address. He did it. It wasn't a political speech overtly. It was a speech to commemorate the millions of people who died, call upon Russians of today to remember the sacrifice that their grandfathers and their great grandfathers and others of course made in the battles against the Nazis on the eastern front.
Eventually of course the Soviet army pushed into Berlin itself. But there was also a call about the modern era as well. And this parade is about the past but it's also about present day Russia. Vladimir Putin saying that the world should collaborate to fight terrorism just as it did during the Second World War.
And again, the parade is about the past. But it's also about today. It's also about the show of military might, a very powerful illustration of Russian's modern military.
They spend billions of dollars over the last decade or so modernizing its military. It's been active of course in various theaters of wars, particularly in Syria where Russian airplanes have been bombing targets object the side of Bashar al-Assad, the Syrian president.
And this underlines that, that Russia is a powerful military, it is a military super power in their eyes and this is a very potent symbol of that in the eyes of many Russians and many people watching this around the world, Rosemary.
CHURCH: Yes. Incredible pictures there. Our Matthew Chance joining us live from Moscow's Red Square, where it is 10.46 in the morning and very cold. I appreciate that.
Well, Canada is being battered by the heaviest rainfall the country has seen in 50 years. Montreal is under a state of emergency. And at least three people are missing in the heavy flooding.
Our meteorologist Pedram Javaheri joins us now from the International Weather Center with the details. And some of the images we are seeing are incredible, Pedram.
PEDRAM JAVAHERI, AMS METEOROLOGIST: Yes. It turns incredible. You think about the time of year it is, Rosemary, of course the month of May, snow is beginning to melt. So you put this on top of snow melt, we know three dikes north of Montreal have given way as well in recent days because of the incredible amount of rainfall.
And you look at the numbers. Typically between the 1st of April to the 7th of May you get about 86 millimeters out of Montreal. We picked up well over 200. That is almost 300 percent of normal. So that alone tells you the story as far as how much rain have come down the last seven days, look at the depiction here over the last seven days.
See the areas indicated in orange as north of Montreal on onto the City of Quebec there, we're talking about 200 to almost 300 millimeters of rainfall, again, inside of a one week period. When you talk about 300 millimeters you would have to take the four wettest months of the year out of Montreal, out them together and that's how much this comes down in seven days, for months' worth of rainfall in seven days.
There is the broad spin in the atmosphere. We have had a blocking pattern in recent days. But this sort of a persistent pattern really what has set the stage for major flooding.
And we'll get some additional rainfall the next couple of days. But I think the worst of it is over across this region. There are at least 1200 troops on the ground across this region helping out with what is going on across parts of Canada in the past few days.
But I want to show you what's going on across parts of the eastern portion of Colorado. Because significant hail damage is being reported. See these photos, these particular ones coming out of Golden, Colorado, Jacqueline. The viewer who shared these with us saying the entire parking lot was littered with baseball sized hails that last damage in place like this one across this region.
And I'll leave you with a photograph of ice balls in Alberta, Canada, Rosemary. Precisely occurs the same way as you would make say a snowman. You would roll snow on the ground to make a snow man. The snow is being rolled by waves on the shores there and been piled up and creating a little snow balls essentially on some of these coastal communities.
CHURCH: Wow. Extraordinary images there. And I saw a few like that banked up right against people's houses.
CHURCH: Just incredible. Pedram Javaheri, always a pleasure. Thank you so much.
CHURCH: We'll take a short break. But royalty on the road. Queen Elizabeth takes the Sunday spin in her Jaguar. A look at more world leaders behind the wheel. That's coming your way in just a moment.
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JAVAHERI: Meteorologist Pedram Javaheri for CNN weather watch.
And the Southern United States getting ready for another warming trend over the next couple of days here. While around the Midwest we'll get a couple of shots of heavy rainfall working the way out of places like Chicago. And you know, it is just north of this region as you work your way into Canada and in around Montreal in particular, we're seeing very heavy rainfall. Some of the heaviest rains we've seen in years and the largest flooding we've seen in years as well.
And a big reason for this is this broad circulation. We've seen multiple storms follow that same track with a blocking pattern that set up shop across parts of Greenland.
So we'll get additional rainfall the next few days. But notice very light amounts. Generally about say 25 to 50
millimeters versus the 150 to almost 300 in spots that have come down. But you notice the trend wants to stay very cool, which is somewhat unusual here for this time of year especially after how mild it's been.
Look at Washington, D.C. cool off down to 14. New York City down into the teens as well. And the western U.S. getting some unusual rainfall as well. And mainly across parts of the Sonoran Desert. In fact, around Yuma, Arizona, work your way into the Mohave Desert, the driest locations in the United States getting some beneficial rainfall across this region.
All right. If you have weather photos we would love to see them, just make sure you put the hash tag CNN weather onto your favorite social media platform and we will locate it and share it. Thank you.
CHURCH: Welcome back, everyone. In Iran, people are doing a double take when they see Reza Parastesh, that's because the student bears an uncanny resemblance to footballer Lionel Messi. In fact, during the weekend police in Hamadan had to rush him into a police station because so many people wanted to take selfies with him.
Parastesh is now booking interviews and modeling contracts. And he says looking like Messi might be a big benefit to the busy super star.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REZA PARASTESH, IRANIAN LIONEL MESSI LOOK-ALIKE (through translator): Being the best player in football in history, he definitely has more work than he can handle. I could be his representative when he is too busy.
(END VIDEO CLIP) CHURCH: OK. So can you tell which is which? That's the real Lionel
Messi on the right and Parastesh on the left. Parastesh says he hopes to one day meet Messi in Barcelona. I'm sure that will happen.
Well, 91 years old, and Britain's Queen Elizabeth isn't letting age slow her down. She hit the road in her hot rod this weekend. A privilege some world leaders just don't have. Here's Jeanne Moos.
JEANNE MOOS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: One British paper dubbed her the queen of the road. Ninety-one-year-old Queen Elizabeth was spotted driving her Jaguar home from church of it's enough to make car loving American presidents envious because they can't just say.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Let's hop in.
MOOS: President Trump was the latest to lament. "I like to drive I can't drive anymore." And this is a guy who's owned everything from a Ferrari to a Lamborghini to a Mercedes McLaren in which he posed for Vogue with his pregnant wife.
Melania has fondly posted pictures of her husband at the wheel of his Rolls, with their son Barron riding shotgun. No Rolls for Hillary. A cutlass Sierra was the car she drove to the White House.
[03:55:02] HILLARY CLINTON, (D) FORMER UNITED STATES PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Last time I actually drove a car myself was 1996. And I remember it very well. And unfortunately, so does the secret service, which is why I haven't driven since then.
MOOS: President Bill Clinton told Ellen driving was the everyday thing he missed most.
BILL CLINTON, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Whenever I'm on the golf course I always make them let me drive the golf cart.
MOOS: George W. Bush used to scratch his itch to drive by taking leaders like Angela Merkel on tours of his ranch in his pickup.
GEORGE W. BUSH, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I still know how to drive.
MOOS: Sometimes the only way a White House occupant gets to drive is with the host of a comedy show.
BARACK OBAMA, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Yes, babe.
MOOS: But President Obama had to confine his 1963 stingray joyride to the White House grounds.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I like the hand hanging over the wheel.
OBAMA: Yes, yes.
MOOS: James Corden came to the White House to pick up Michelle. MICHELLE OBAMA, FORMER FIRST LADY OF THE UNITED STATES: So this is a
MOOS: And Jay Leno gave Joe Biden an excuse to burn some rubber in the V.P.'s '67 Corvette. But these are the exceptions. Usually these want-to-be drivers are carried around like packages.
Jeanne Moos, CNN, New York.
CHURCH: The joys of driving, right? And Nicki Minaj is giving back to her fans. The rap superstar has offered to pay the college tuition for a lucky few. This weekend a fan on Twitter asked Minaj to help with his school expenses. Her response, "If you show me straight a's I'll pay it."
More of her Twitter followers jumped on board sending screen shots of their GPA's and student loan statements. Minaj asked for their bank information and according to TMZ she has already started sending the money. Great idea. I hope others do the same, right?
Thanks for your company. I'm Rosemary Church. The news continues next with Max Foster in London.
Have yourself a great day.
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