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Trump Warns Comey, Hints at Secret Recordings; Hackers Exploit Weakness in Windows Computers; U.S. May Extend Laptop Ban to Flights from Europe. Aired 5-6a ET

Aired May 13, 2017 - 05:00   ET




HANNAH VAUGHAN JONES, CNN ANCHOR (voice-over): U.S. President Donald Trump suggests that he may have taped James Comey and warned the fired FBI director not to leak to the media.

GEORGE HOWELL, CNN ANCHOR (voice-over): Also, an international cyber attack that freezes I.T. systems in hospitals, companies and government offices in almost 100 countries, demanding a ransom from the victims. We'll have the story.

JONES (voice-over): And 100 years after three young shepherds claimed to see the Virgin Mary in Fatima, Pope Francis is about to declare two of them saints.

HOWELL (voice-over): In the United States, good morning. It is 5:00 am on the U.S. East Coast. We want to welcome our viewers here in the United States and around the world. I'm George Howell live at CNN World Headquarters in Atlanta.

Good to see you, George.

I'm Hannah Vaughan Jones in London, where it's just gone 10 o'clock this Saturday morning. Welcome to this hour of NEWSROOM. Stay with us. See what's coming up.


JONES: Straight to our first story, the search for a new FBI director gets under way this Saturday at the U.S. Justice Department. Acting director Andrew McCabe will be among those interviewed to replace James Comey, who was, of course, fired by President Trump on Tuesday.

The dismissal itself came just as the FBI's investigation into Russian meddling was starting to gain traction. Calls for an independent prosecutor to take over that investigation are now growing louder in the wake of Comey's firing.

Some Democratic lawmakers say Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein should resign if he's not willing to appoint a special counsel. However, those close to Rosenstein say he doesn't see the need for an outside prosecutor. HOWELL: It's still not clear why Comey was fired in the first place. The White House has given conflicting reports -- accounts of it. But rather than settling the matter, the president on Friday offered a threat on Twitter, hinting that his conversations with Comey may have been recorded, just in case Comey decides to go public. CNN's Jeff Zeleny picks up the story here.


JEFF ZELENY, CNN SR. WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): President Trump adding new fuel to the fire in his escalating fight with the FBI, making a veiled threat on Twitter to James Comey.

The president saying the fired FBI director better hope that there are no tapes of our conversations before he starts leaking to the press.

Stunning words from the commander in chief, directed at the nation's former top law enforcement official, the man who was leading an investigation into potential collusion between the Trump campaign and Russian operatives before being fired Tuesday.

The president refused to answer the question he raised himself, in an interview with FOX News.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: What about the idea that in a tweet you said that there might be tape recordings?

DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Well, that I can't talk about. I won't talk about that. All I want is for Comey to be honest and I hope he will be and I'm sure he will be, I hope.

ZELENY (voice-over): White House press secretary Sean Spicer also refused to answer whether there's a recording system in the Oval Office or whether the president is taping his conversations there or elsewhere.

SEAN SPICER, WHITE HOUSE SPOKESPERSON: I've talked to the president. The president has nothing further to add on that.

ZELENY (voice-over): When asked again and again, press secretary Sean Spicer ended the daily White House briefing with the question whether any tapes exist still hanging in the air. Spicer disputed the suggestion the president's warning to Comey was a threat.

SPICER: That's not a threat. He simply stated a fact. The tweet speaks for itself. I'm moving on.

ZELENY (voice-over): But it's unclear whether the president is moving on. He aimed another missive at Comey today after making his feelings clear in an NBC interview Thursday.

TRUMP: Look, he's a showboat. He's a grandstander.

ZELENY (voice-over): At issue is a dinner the president invited Comey to seven days after taking office. It was there, CNN has learned, that the president asked the FBI director about loyalty. TRUMP: We had a very nice dinner. And at that time he told me, "You are not under investigation."

ZELENY (voice-over): The president's obsession with the investigation into Russian meddling in the 2016 election is what led to Comey's firing. The credibility of the president and his advisers is in question, as the White House becomes increasingly consumed by chaos and a crisis of leadership.

The president is isolated and agitated, associates tell CNN. He finished a full week barely seen at the White House before making this brief afternoon appearance with the first lady.

TRUMP: Hi, everyone, a friendly, beautiful group.

ZELENY (voice-over): But his views have been heard in a roaring Twitter storm. He acknowledged conflicting explanations in the timeline of Comey's firing, offering no apology but bluntly conceding, accuracy seems optional.

"As a very active president with lots of things happening, it is not possible for my surrogates to stand at the podium with perfect accuracy."

He went on to say, "Maybe the best thing to do would be to cancel all future press briefings and hand out written responses for the sake of accuracy."

SPICER: Wow. We've got a full house today.

ZELENY (voice-over): The White House press secretary was back at the podium, under siege, after a perilous week for the administration.

SPICER: Time and time --


SPICER: -- again, an attempt to parse every little word and make it more of a game of gotcha.

ZELENY (voice-over): Look to point blame elsewhere, the president is frustrated by his communications team, telling FOX News he might take matters into his own hands.

TRUMP: Sean Spicer, he is a wonderful human being. He's a nice man.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Is he your press secretary today and tomorrow?

TRUMP: Yes --



TRUMP: Yes, he's -- well, he's doing a good job but he gets beat up.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Will he be there tomorrow?

TRUMP: Yes. Well, he's been there from the beginning.

ZELENY (voice-over): For now, Spicer remains in place, apparently just in time to be lampooned again on "Saturday Night Live." Melissa McCarthy, Spicer's impersonator, spotted today in midtown Manhattan, filming this week's episode.

ZELENY: So as this incredibly chaotic week comes to an end, still many questions hanging over this White House, one, of course, of credibility; two, who will the next FBI director be?

And, three, does the president actually have a recording device either in the Oval Office or elsewhere, recording these conversations?

The White House of course would not talk about that but, going forward here, this whole issue of firing James Comey has stymied their legislative agenda. He'll be traveling abroad next week, his first foreign trip of his presidency. They're hoping that helps get the president back on track -- Jeff Zeleny, CNN, the White House.


HOWELL: Jeff Zeleny, thanks for the reporting. A lot to talk about now. Let's get some perspective on what's happening with Politico reporter Silvia Borrelli live for us in London this hour.

It's always a pleasure to have you with us, Silvia. Let's talk about this threat that was made on Twitter by the President of the United States to the former FBI director, James Comey.

First of all, what does it say about Mr. Trump putting that on record on Twitter?

And what about the people around him who are supposed to be his advisers?

SILVIA BORRELLI, POLITICO: First of all, we're talking about a threat but it actually depends who you ask whether it's a threat or not because Sean Spicer yesterday during the press briefing said the president was just stating a fact, it wasn't a threat.

Now of course, we know the president has a very unorthodox way of doing things and he takes to Twitter every time he has to voice his mind. So it is quite telling about the president's style and the fact that his aides are really unable to manage what he says and what he does when he's holding his phone and tweeting away.

At the same time, you know, you have these people surrounding him and his surrogates at the White House that are having a bit of a difficult time just handling the president and keeping up with his pace. This is something Trump himself has said.

But now is it the president's fault and is it his way of approaching things that is making everyone's life in the White House so difficult?

Or is it these people that are not up for the job?

What I can say is that from here in Europe, of course, and most people even in the U.S., I think, did actually see Trump's tweet as a threat to former director James Comey as if, you know, he wanted to warn him.

Now that you're out, please don't say anything, don't talk to the media and watch out. So we're going to have to see really what happens going forward.

HOWELL: You point out that Sean Spicer says that this is a fact that the president was pointing out on Twitter. But again, looks like a duck, quacks like a duck, it might be a duck. I think we're calling it a veiled threat here on CNN for the least.

Mr. Trump indicates that there may have been recording devices also present during the conversation with Comey; neither the president nor his press secretary, though, would confirm or deny whether recording devices are there.

What are the implications if they are there?

BORRELLI: Well, I mean, the fact that they wouldn't confirm or deny is already quite telling in itself. We know both Trump and Spicer have always very forcefully rebuked any statement that they thought was inaccurate.

So the fact that they're being a bit vague about it now hints at the fact that there might have been some recordings. At the same time, you know, in the States, it varies from state to state whether it's legal or not to record conversations without people present all being aware of it.

In D.C., it's perfectly legal if Donald Trump was aware of it. So it's not illegal for the president to have tapped anyone at the White House. But at the same time, the result is just going to be that there's going to be mounting pressure on the White House to produce these recordings if they exist.

Some Democrats have already asked the president to bring these recordings forward if they exist. And we know, I believe it was a BuzzFeed report from 2016 that Trump has a bit of a habit of recording people and he did record his staff in Mar-a-lago during the presidential campaign last year.

So you know, he just has a different way of doing things. And this is another, you know, fact that points to the fact that he does things in a different way and people are going to want to know about what these recordings say and if they actually exist.

HOWELL: Yes. You point out, you know, that he does things in a different way and that is one of the main reasons --


HOWELL: -- many people who supported Mr. Trump continue to support him looking for, you know, change in Washington that they expect him to usher in.

I want to also talk about the press and an issue that's come up just this week. So in the United Kingdom, as here in the United States, there is a tradition of the press, you know, asking questions, continuing to probe and get at information for the people that we serve.

But there's this question, the president suggested that he might scrap press briefings altogether, basically saying that, you know, his surrogates aren't able to quite keep up with a busy president with complete accuracy.

Your thoughts on that?

BORRELLI: Well, I've been chatting to my colleagues at Politico in Washington and they think that's not going to happen anytime soon because, actually, Trump loves these press briefings and he's obsessed with the media. So just cutting them completely out is not something that they see as being very realistic.

The White House Correspondents Association has also said that these press briefings, whether they're accurate or not accurate, are extremely important because they hold the White House accountable.

So I mean, again, it's Trump. Who knows what he's going to do. But it doesn't seem like it's something that he really is going to enforce anytime soon, really. I don't think so, at least.

HOWELL: Silvia Borrelli, always a pleasure to have you with us, live in London. Thank you for your time.

BORRELLI: Thank you.

JONES: And still ahead on NEWSROOM this hour, it's called ransomware and it will only give you your computer data back if you pay up. A global computer attack strikes at least 99 countries. All the details when NEWSROOM returns.




HOWELL: Welcome back to CNN NEWSROOM. I'm George Howell.

Computers around the world held for ransom. This is all due to a massive cyber attack that's hit 99 countries so far. One expert calls it the worst attack he's ever seen. Our Samuel Burke explains.


SAMUEL BURKE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Let's be clear from the outset, this is unlike any cyber attack we have seen before. This isn't the hacking of passwords or credit card numbers. This is ransomware, going through the Internet, looking for vulnerable computers, without people even having to click a link on a phishing email.

This ransomware takes over their computers and demands $300 in Bitcoin for people to get access to their files again. But what's most --


BURKE: -- troubling about this is it isn't just affecting big companies like Telefonica and FedEx or individuals. It's also affecting hospitals.

In the U.K., multiple hospitals had to cancel outpatient appointments because their computers had been affected. Now at the root of this is a flaw in Windows, which Microsoft has been trying to correct since March. But it can only be fixed if you, the user, do that security update.

So often we get that notification in the lower right hand corner and we say I don't want to restart my computer. But this is proof that you need to do that immediately, because, if you haven't updated your Windows computer since March, you could go victim to this malware.

Now nobody is pointing fingers just yet, cyber security researchers say it's too soon to do that. But it's interesting, because Avast, which is the cyber security research firm, they have a map of the places that have been most affected. And so far, that is Taiwan, Ukraine and Russia.

So we can't be quick to say it's the Chinese or the Russians, because, right now, Russia is one of the biggest victims of this malware. Now it's interesting, because this could be happening because, just last month, a group published code that they say was NSA spy tools, include this code that went after this vulnerability in Windows.

And with that, the former contractor of the NSA, Edward Snowden, tweeted the following, "If the NSA had privately disclosed the flaw used to attack hospitals when they found it, not when they lost it, this may not have happened." -- Samuel Burke, CNN, New York.


JONES: Our Nina dos Santos is following the impact of the hacking here in London with me. And Diana Magnay has the latest in Moscow, Russia, of course, as Samuel was just saying, one of the countries worst hit by this hack.

Nina, to you first. Samuel was saying in his report there that it's too soon to point the finger of flame. Now that we've moved on, can we now say for sure who might be behind this?

NINA DOS SANTOS, CNNMONEY EUROPE EDITOR: Not for sure yet. But we know that some security experts are saying this is probably a criminal gang trying to ransom people's data to get an awful lot of money rather than a state-sponsored cyber attack, which is the type of thing that would hurt an awful lot about over the last six months or a year, Hannah. Essentially, as Samuel was explaining there, what they're doing here

is harnessing this particular tool, spyware tool, that the NSA had developed, which was leaked back in March and trying to use that to cyber charge a ransomware demand for money, essentially, encrypting people's information on their computers, saying send us $300 in bitcoin, which by the way is a cryptocurrency out there on the Internet, and then we'll give you your data back.

So obviously, monitoring some of those bitcoin accounts to try and find out who's paying, where the money eventually will be going will be key to try and find out exactly who might be behind this.

But for the moment, cyber security experts and national cyber security experts like the ones here in the U.K. are working overnight on this, seem to be leaning towards the explanation of this being a criminal gang that has managed to get its hands on something very powerful indeed.

JONES: And just before we come to Diana, as well, what measures have been put in place to try and prevent the spread of this further?

Is it all just down to individuals uploading this sort of virus scam?

DOS SANTOS: What is so key about this, Hannah, is that if you take a look at this particular attack, it's used large organizations with large scale computer networks. That's why it's been so successful and it's spread so quickly.

From the Russian interior ministry to the National Health Service here in the U.K., these are government organizations. But also the private sector has been affected as well. Big private entities where they've got large numbers of computers all synced up to the same central hub. And that is exactly how a virus like this spreads so quickly, laterally.

Think also of management consultants or accountants, who may take their own company laptop to a cyber cafe, for instance, and link up to the wi-fi in a different country. That could spread that virus to other computers in the same cafe. And this is how these things start.

So it seems as though it's large organizations that have been targeted in particular for money, for their data, but also because it spreads so quickly through the computer networks and it seems to spread exponentially from there.

JONES: Diana Magnay, live for us in Moscow now, Russia one of the worst affected countries by this hack.

What are the Russians saying about this?

Have they managed to get a grip on the spread of this virus?

DIANA MAGNAY, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, there seems to be some disparity between the scale of the attacks and what we're hearing in terms of who has been targeted. It doesn't seem from the reported attacks as though it would match up

with the huge amounts of sort of dots that you see on the Avast site, suggesting that Russia has been targeted.

What we know is that the interior ministry says just 1 percent of their computers were affected. But they don't think that any data was --


MAGNAY: -- leaked or released and the servers weren't damaged.

Russia's health ministry says that they weren't compromised. It does seem to have attacked several domestic banks and also telecom companies have reported attacks, especially the Russian telecom provider, MegaFon.

We know from the adviser on the Internet to President Putin that he says that this won't have any big economic impact but that they may see various data breaches. And of course we've heard from Edward Snowden, the finger of blame pointing at the NSA.

And I think what's interesting here, considering Russia is so often at the center of all these hacking allegations, that the original group who hacked the NSA were called Shadow Brokers. And Edward Snowden in the past has suggested, based on circumstantial evidence, he admits himself, but has suggested that they were associated with the Russian government.

But once they put that data online, the NSA's trove of spy tools which exploited this vulnerability in the Microsoft system, then anyone could get their hands on it, cyber criminals. And it would appear, similar to what Nina was saying, that this is cyber criminals who realized they could make a lot of money by holding so many companies around the world to ransom in this way -- Hannah.

JONES: Diana Magnay, live for us in Moscow, and Nina dos Santos, live for us here in London, thank you both.

HOWELL: The airline industry is bracing for a major change. The United States is said to expand its laptop ban to flights coming from Europe. But officials there say new restrictions might actually pose a safety risk. Rene Marsh has more.


RENE MARSH, CNN CORRESPONDENT: As the U.S. moves toward expanding its ban on all electronics larger than a cellphone from the main cabin of U.S.-bound aircraft, airlines are in preparation mode. The Department of Homeland Security is preparing to announce it will expand its electronics ban to Europe.

Right now, the ban is in place for flights from 10 airports in eight Muslim majority countries. An expanded ban, though, could impact more than 350 flights a day. The Europe-to-U.S. track is the world's busiest international corridor. Delta, United as well as American Airlines are the U.S. carriers that would be impacted the most. They have the most flights on this route.

Right now, airlines are trying to figures out new protocols and policy for how to check passengers for compliance. They are also working with international airports to reconfigure the setup to isolate passengers and flights bound for the U.S.

DHS says that the ban was put into place because intelligence suggests that terrorists have perfected their ability to hide explosives in the battery components of these electronics.

Now, European officials, they are voicing safety concerns that there will be a large number of electronic devices with lithium-ion batteries in the cargo holds.

But, the FAA says, the dangers associated with these batteries are reduced because they are spread out in bags, in pieces of luggage, and they are not stored together and on top of each other -- Rene Marsh, CNN, Washington.


JONES: Rene, thank you for your report.

A senior North Korean diplomat is opening the door to direct talks with the United States, quote, "under the right conditions." That official made those comments to South Korea's Yonhap news agency and other reporters just after meeting with a group of American arms control and diplomatic experts.

Earlier this month, you'll remember U.S. President Donald Trump expressed a willingness at least to meet with the North Korean leader, Kim Jong-un. Saturday's comments from North Korea come amid a slight letup in military tensions on the Korean Peninsula.



JONES: It might be Mother's Day for you guys in the States but it was two months ago here in the U.K. So if you missed it here in the U.K., then you're really, really, really late to get that card to your mom.

Coming up here on CNN NEWSROOM, plenty more on the firing of FBI director James Comey. How a former U.S. intelligence chief contradicts the president's version of events. That's coming up.

Plus, Pope Francis currently holing mass at a historic site for the Catholic faith. More on his service. These are live pictures from Fatima in Portugal. Plenty more on that and a live report coming up later on in the program.


(MUSIC PLAYING) GEORGE HOWELL, CNN ANCHOR (voice-over): 5:30 am on the U.S. East Coast. We want to welcome our viewers back here in the United States and around the world. You're watching CNN NEWSROOM. It is good to have you with us. I'm George Howell, live in Atlanta.

HANNAH VAUGHAN JONES, CNN ANCHOR (voice-over): And I'm Hannah Vaughan Jones, live for you in London. We're taking you now through the headlines we're following this hour.


HOWELL: Former U.S. officials are reacting to the White House claims about James Comey and the Russia investigation. The former head of the National Intelligence in the U.S. is among those challenging the president, including his suggestion that there's no evidence of collusion between the Trump team and Russia. Our Jim Sciutto has this report.


JIM SCIUTTO, CNN CHIEF U.S. SECURITY CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The nation's former top spy says that he has never ruled out evidence of collusion between Trump associates and Russia during the campaign, directly contradicting President Trump, who tweeted just hours earlier, "When James Clapper himself and virtually everyone else with knowledge of the witch hunt says there is no collusion, when does it end?"

In an interview with MSNBC, the former Director of National Intelligence says he believes...


GEN. JAMES CLAPPER, FORMER DIRECTOR OF NATIONAL INTELLIGENCE: There was no evidence that came -- that rose to that level at that time, that found its way into the intelligence community assessment, which we had pretty high confidence in.

That's not to say there wasn't evidence but not that met that threshold.

SCIUTTO (voice-over): But during the White House press briefing Sean Spicer insisted it is James Clapper who is changing his story.

SPICER: It is interesting how the story has changed and now suddenly he's saying I wasn't sure about it. The burden seems to be on him, not us.

SCIUTTO: Director Clapper also expressed doubts about Mr. Trump's version of a dinner with fired FBI Director James Comey in January.

TRUMP: He wanted to have dinner because he wanted to stay on. We had a very nice dinner at the White House --

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He asked for the dinner?

TRUMP: A dinner was arranged. I think he asked for the dinner.

SCIUTTO: But Clapper says it was Trump who invited Comey.

CLAPPER: He had been invited to the White House to have dinner with the president.

SCIUTTO: And that the former FBI chief was uncomfortable with the invitation.

CLAPPER: In a difficult position to refuse to go, but I do know he was uneasy with it just for the appearance of compromising the independence of the FBI.

SCIUTTO: The dinner came just one day after then Acting Attorney General Sally Yates warned the White House that then National Security Adviser Michael Flynn could be compromised by Russia. That timing raising concerns about White House interference in the FBI's ongoing investigation into whether the Trump campaign associates colluded with the Russian government.

CNN has learn that Comey was, quote, "Taken aback" when Trump asked him to pledge his loyalty during the dinner. A source close to Comey tells CNN, the FBI chief refused and instead promised to always be honest with the president.

In fact, FBI employees pledged to be loyal --


SCIUTTO (voice-over): -- only to the U.S. Constitution, not to any individual including the president.

JAMES GAGLIANO, RETIRED FBI CHIEF OF STAFF: All of us in the FBI are focused, hyper focus is on fealty to the mission, not fealty to a politician, not fealty to any person.

SCIUTTO: The president has claimed that Comey assured Mr. Trump that he was not under investigation related to the Russian probe and that Comey asked Trump to keep him on as FBI chief. A source tells CNN this is a fabrication. That Comey did not ask to keep his job and that in fact just three days earlier, the president told Comey he would stay on as FBI director.

The source adds the former FBI chief is, quote, "not worried" about any recorded conversations between him and the president after Trump issued a thinly veiled threat to Comey tweeting, quote, "James Comey better hope that there are no tapes of our conversations before he starts leaking to the press."

Now James Comey was invited by the Senate Intelligence Committee to testify next week. We learned that he has turned down that invitation. I'm told by someone with firsthand knowledge of his thinking that he wants to take some time off and lay low for a while -- Jim Sciutto, CNN, Washington.

(END VIDEOTAPE) JONES: Jim, thank you.

Let's get back now to our other main story we're following this morning, the global cyber security breach. Thousands of people couldn't access their computer files unless they paid a ransom. Hackers targeted computers in 99 countries, especially going after Ukraine, Russia and Taiwan. And we still don't know who is responsible.

Stuart McKenzie joins me now live. He is a vice president at cyber security Mandiant (ph). Stuart, thank you very much for joining us this morning.


JONES: This attack is massive. We don't know who exactly is responsible but who or what could be capable of exposing this kind of vulnerability.

STUART MCKENZIE: Absolutely, it's huge. The spread of the attacks has been so quick. I think that's the thing that's taken everyone by surprise. The initial attack was an e-mail, multiple threat (INAUDIBLE) but the initial was an e-mail and then it starts propagating.

Who, I think, is a really interesting question. It's obviously cyber criminals. When we look at it, we see that link to those three bitcoin wallets that are asking for the ransom. So that's an anonymous cryptocurrency which makes it harsher for us to track who those criminals are.

But I think it's not really who, it's more that it's how easy it is now for a criminal to release an attack like this from the vulnerabilities being released.

JONES: And deliberately targeting national institutions such as the National Health Service here in the U.K.?

Or are they just going after anyone?


STUART MCKENZIE: No, I don't thinking -- there is absolutely no targeting with this -- well, there is targeting but the targeting is more about people who haven't patched computer vulnerabilities. (INAUDIBLE) seeing the widespread attacks is just that organizations have been slow to patch against the Microsoft MS17010 vulnerabilities, which were recently patched in relation to the Shadow Brokers leaks, which when the organizations needed to patch and this is what this is exploiting.

JONES: Was this foreseen at all?

I mean, Microsoft, for example, it all stems from them.

Have they said anything about it? Or did they warn that they were very vulnerable?

STUART MCKENZIE: Well, they're no more vulnerable than normal. I think the issue is that this is an advanced attack to all that's been deployed. Microsoft issue patches all the time. And organizations need to patch against it.

What it is is we've seen a really interesting use of the attackers, who've been able to deploy these e-mails and then use these emails to further propagate using a vulnerability to scan internal in the networks, which has then enabled this massive spread of secondary infections.

So Microsoft warned people regularly and they patch regularly, the patches for this were issued back in March. And it's then down to organizations to have a really effective patch management program.

JONES: And the lesson, I guess, then is for users to then actually go and use that patch when it's issued.

STUART MCKENZIE: Absolutely. And if you can't patch because you can't always patch every single machine, you put in additional controls around it, you maybe segment them, keep them away from the Internet.

And even if you can't do that, you just limit and limit the amount of computers that will be vulnerable so we don't have such a widespread effect on mission critical systems.

JONES: And you were just saying to me before we came to this interview that you think this is not the end of the story, there's plenty more to come as well.

STUART MCKENZIE: Absolutely not. I think if we look at -- we see how effective this campaign has been, you look at the efficacy that the guys have had with being able to deploy an e-mail followed by a secondary payload.

This has been stopped because, the way this attack works, once it established an initial foothold, it looks for a website that it was then able to reference. And security researchers identified that and they were able to put a website actually in place so that it stopped it going and it stopped that initial infection.

But we're going to see other people quickly reuse this and reuse these techniques because people won't have patched. It's going to take people a while to catch up. So I expect to see secondary and tertiary waves --


JONES: -- across it thank you very much for updating us on what we know so far. Stuart McKenzie, thank you very much for coming in.

STUART MCKENZIE: Thank you. HOWELL: And still ahead here on CNN NEWSROOM, we go to Portugal, where Pope Francis is holding mass at one of the Catholic Church's most revered sites. Stay with us.





HOWELL (voice-over): Following Pope Francis, celebrating mass in Fatima, Portugal, take a look at these images here. One of the holiest sites in Catholicism, this is where three shepherd children claimed the Virgin Mary appeared to them exactly 100 years ago.

They said she made prophesies about the future and ever since the town has been a major site of pilgrimage. Take a look at these live images here. You see exactly what's happening right now, live images in Fatima, Portugal, at 10:43 in the morning.

Again, so many thousands of people who have come together to celebrate mass.

Let's bring in CNN's Vatican correspondent, Delia Gallagher, following the pope on his travels there in Portugal.

It's good to have you with us. So many people behind you, I see that shot there behind you. We know within the last hour that two witnesses, both children, have been declared saints while the third is on the path to sainthood.

What more can you explain to our viewers around the world about this event?

DELIA GALLAGHER, CNN VATICAN CORRESPONDENT: Well, George, this is really one of the most important events for Catholics all around the world because May 13th, today, is the feast of Our Lady of Fatima. Our Lady of Fatima is one of the most beloved figures for Catholics because she is the one who is responsible, they say, for miracles and for prophesies, as you mentioned.

Those prophesies, George, are called the Secrets of Fatima and they've garnered a lot of interest throughout the years because she gave these visions to these three shepherd children, a kind of an apocalyptic nature, of world wars, who people said predicted the world wars in the 20th century. So there's been a lot of mystery and debate about these visions and predictions --


GALLAGHER: -- that the Virgin Mary is said to have made, by the way, just behind me on a spot here on the other side of the crowd, which is called the Chapel of the Apparitions. She's also a very important figure because, when John Paul II was shot

in 1981 in St. Peter's Square, if you remember that, he was shot on May 13th on the feast of on Our Lady of Fatima. And he credited the Virgin of Fatima with saving his life.

So that next year after that assassination attempt, he brought the bullet here to place in her crown on her statue in a kind of thanksgiving for saving his life and so really re-ignited the interest, let's say, in Fatima and in Our Lady of Fatima.

And Pope Francis is here saying mass right now, as you mentioned, canonized two of those children, who first witnessed the apparitions. And the pope is taking that theme of war and of suffering of the 20th century and saying, you know, we are still in a period of war and that this is a moment to pray for peace, peace for tearing down walls, he said, and for overcoming barriers, for crossing frontiers and also peace to stop the wars, which are tearing our world apart, he said.

And as you can imagine, George, it's about 600,000 people here; security is very tight. This is a religious day, obviously. But certainly Portugal has put out all efforts to make sure that it will be a secure one-day reinstated the border controls on their borders, they've closed the airspace above us and they've put up cement barriers all around here to avoid any attacks with trucks or other vehicles, to keep the pope and the crowd who has come here to pray with him safe -- George.

Delia Gallagher, live for us in Portugal, Delia, thank you for the report.

JONES: From the peace in Portugal to violence now in Venezuela as elderly protesters face off with police.

The Grandparents' March, as it was called, was the latest demonstration in six weeks now of anti-government rallies. Riot police used pepper gas several times on the protesters.

Older people have been hit especially hard in four years of recession in Venezuela. The protesters, they blame the president, Nicolas Maduro, for the economic and political crisis in the country and that includes severe medical shortages. Now the country's health minister has been fired. She'd only been in the job since January.

The ministry just released new data showing skyrocketing infant mortality and malaria rates.

HOWELL: China is putting a new twist on an ancient success story. A 21st-century version of the famous trading route known as the Silk Road. The Turkish president, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, is among the world leaders China is welcoming to launch this ambitious project. The planned $500 billion investment would expand China's commercial and political reach. Our David McKenzie has more.





DAVID MCKENZIE (voice-over): Pomegranate juice and (INAUDIBLE), the taste in Sian's (ph) popular --


DAVID MCKENZIE (voice-over): -- Muslim quarter tell a story.

Sian (ph) was always the link between East and West.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That's right. That's right.

DAVID MCKENZIE (voice-over): Its city walls draw tourists to the crossroads of ancient Silk Road trade. In modern china, Sian (ph) has been neglected. But officials hope that a new free trade zone here will change that.

"We are building a gateway to the West," he says. "I'm sure this China-Europe freight train service will cement our trade with Europe."

DAVID MCKENZIE: These goods will be placed on this train and then shipped as far afield as Hamburg in Germany by rail. The new Silk Road is an extraordinary, ambitious move by China to expand its global trade.

DAVID MCKENZIE (voice-over): Targeting 68 countries across the globe with at least $500 billion in Chinese investment, the Belton Road (ph) initiative is a mega infrastructure and trade project. Conspicuously not on the list, the United States.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE (voice-over): The United States hasn't joined the initiative.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (voice-over): Is that because it's too far away?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (voice-over): Actually, any country can join anywhere.

DAVID MCKENZIE (voice-over): In a relentless PR push like these bedtime stories on China Daily, China is trying to highlight its benevolent aims. But some see the Communist Party trying to create a new world order.

Much of the plan is still only on paper. From Sian (ph), the train to Europe is still not as fast as air cargo, not as cheap as sea freight. For now, the e-commerce hub operates on a very modest scale.

"We want to expand both exports and imports," he says.

And if history is anything to go by, the world's future will have a decidedly Chinese flavor -- David McKenzie, CNN, Sian (ph), China.



DAVID MCKENZIE (voice-over): -- Chinese flavor -- David McKenzie, CNN, Sian (ph), China.


JONES: Now it takes quite a lot to grab the attention of jaded New Yorkers but it seems a parading podium and a runaway press secretary worked the charm on Friday. Coming up, we'll be previewing the "Saturday Night Live" TV show with a Washington twist.




JONES: Welcome back.

Now in the U.S., it has been a dizzying political week of firings, tweet storms and a White House game of hide and seek. The long- running late night comedy show "Saturday Night Live" is expected to have a field day.

Brian Stelter brings us a preview of the show that will feature, yes, you guessed it, the press secretary and yes, you guessed it, his doppelganger.


BRIAN STELTER, CNN SENIOR MEDIA CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Is the Trump administration making America laugh again or just making the press even more frustrated?

SPICER: The president has nothing further to add on that.

STELTER (voice-over): A credibility crisis intensifying this week and making late night comics rewrite their scripts right up until airtime.



"SPICER": Any other questions?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes, just mentally, though, are you OK?

"SPICER": Are you kidding me?

STELTER (voice-over): Melissa McCarthy back this weekend, it's perfect timing for her to host "SNL" partly in character.

"SPICER": I came out here to punch you. And also I don't talk so good.

STELTER (voice-over): Friday, the same day Sean Spicer returned to his real podium, McCarthy was in full Spicey regalia, whizzing down the streets of New York on her podium, "SNL" going the extra mile, promoting her return.


STELTER (voice-over): One likely punchline, Spicer's impromptu press briefing among the bushes Tuesday night.

SPICER: OK, hold on. Just turn those lights off.

STELTER (voice-over): The Internet has already had a field day with it. But just how long McCarthy will get to play Spicer is an open question. His absence from the Briefing Room earlier this week stirring speculation about his future.

This as the president refuses to commit to keeping him.

TRUMP: He is going a good job but he gets beat up.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Will he be there tomorrow?

TRUMP: Yes. Well, he has been there from the beginning.

STELTER (voice-over): For now, "SNL" fans are waiting for McCarthy's masterful impression.

"SPICER": You like that?

You like that, dork?

You like that, dork?

STELTER (voice-over): Brian Stelter, CNN, New York.


JONES: One not to miss.

That is all for this hour of CNN NEWSROOM. I'm Hannah Vaughan Jones in London for you.

HOWELL: And I'm George Howell, live here in Atlanta. For our viewers in the United States, "NEW DAY" is next. For other viewers around the world, I'll have your world headlines after the break.