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Horror in Kabul; Trump Campaign Investigation; Trump V. Clinton Twitter War; Trump Decision on Paris Climate Accord. Aired 12-1a ET

Aired June 1, 2017 - 00:00   ET



[00:00:07] ISHA SESAY, CNN ANCHOR: This is CNN NEWSROOM live from Los Angeles.

Ahead this hour --

Horror in Kabul -- Afghanistan's president condemning the deadly bombing as concerns about (inaudible) security in the country grow.

U.K. election surprise -- a new projection shakes up the race.

Plus, Donald Trump versus Hillary Clinton -- as if the campaign wasn't bitter enough, a new Twitter war is erupting.

Hello and welcome to our viewers all around the world. I'm Isha Sesay.

NEWSROOM L.A. starts right now.

Well, the massive explosion in Afghanistan's capital is a grim reminder that there is no promise of safety there, not even in Kabul's heavily-fortified diplomatic district.

At least 90 people were killed in Wednesday's suicide bombing, the latest victims of Afghanistan's deteriorating security.

Our own Ian Lee has the update.


IAN LEE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Blaring sirens and a towering plume of black smoke -- these are the latest sights and sounds of Wednesday morning rush hour in Kabul. Scores of people killed and hundreds injured after a truck bomb ripped through the city's diplomatic quarter.

Among the dead an Afghan BBC driver taking journalists to work, and a security officer involved in the protection of the German embassy.

The first few days of the Islamic holy month of Ramadan replaced by carnage and chaos on the streets and overwhelmed hospitals. The blast, one of the worst attacks to hit the country in years, felt blocks away.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): I heard a very loud bang. And then I don't remember what happened next.

The waves of the explosion were so powerful that you could see a lot of people in the hospital wounded by shattered windows and collapsed walls.

LEE: 16 years after the U.S.-led invasion of Afghanistan, with deteriorating security and gains by both the Taliban and ISIS, Kabul seems increasingly unstable. The Taliban, which controls large chunks of the country, denies any involvement in the deadly blast. ISIS -- known for carrying out increasingly deadly attacks, silent on this bombing.

As Afghan civilians suffer the most, the vast majority killed in such attacks, the international community calls out for more blood and treasure. NATO currently assessing a request for more troops while U.S. President Donald Trump weighs a Pentagon plan to send up to 5,000 additional soldiers and increase air strikes against Taliban and ISIS targets.

Ian Lee, CNN.


SESAY: Well, Afghanistan's president condemned the attack and sent a message to the victims' families.


ASHRAF GHANI, PRESIDENT OF AFGHANISTAN (through translator): I express my deepest condolences to the families of the victims following today's terrorist attack in Kabul city, which martyred and wounded a number of our countrymen and damaged public installations. It was a brutal act which has caused our countrymen grief in this holy month of Ramadan.


SESAY: Well, journalist Jennifer Glasse is in Kabul and joins us now. Jennifer -- thank you for joining us.

What's the situation like within the diplomatic quarter right now after this massive attack?

JENNIFER GLASSE, REPORTER: Well, right now of course, the main priority is to clean up. And it won't be an easy task -- Isha. That bomb brought down several buildings, including the headquarters of a major cell phone company. And they will have to be rebuilt. There is a big crater in the middle of the road there.

Here in this neighborhood, about a mile away, shops are still assessing the damage. On one side of the street, half the shops had their windows blown out.

And so Afghans now have to try and assess and rebuild. It is right now businesses are saying the total cost of this blast to them will be probably in hundreds of thousands if not millions of dollars in lost business, in rebuilding, in trying to get back on their feet.

And so the devastating cost not only of lives but also to the livelihoods of Afghans here is really what everyone is focusing on today.

SESAY: Yes. It was a terrifying attack with deadly consequences.

The outstanding question on the minds of many, Jennifer, is how did a tanker full of explosives get so close without detection? Has any light been shed on how this was able to happen?

GLASSE: No. And that's what is under investigation today. We're getting a few more details. We understand there were more than 3,000 pounds of explosives in that tanker truck -- that waste water tanker truck.

[00:05:00] It is a big question. How it got into that diplomatic quarter. It is an area that is restricted. There are checkpoints getting in. And that's why -- that's what the government is looking into now.

Now the intelligence services are saying that all signs point to the Haqqani network, that is an insurgent network affiliated with the Taliban. It does bear all their hallmarks, a big explosive attack in the middle of Kabul.

How they got in, though, it is under question. And many Afghans are really asking whether there was some sort of collusion. It's a very delicate time for Afghan President Ashraf Ghani.

SESAY: Jennifer Glasse there with the very latest from Kabul. Jennifer -- stay safe. Thank you for the update.

Well, CNN military analyst Lieutenant Colonel Rick Francona joins us now from Windsor, California. Colonel Francona -- always good the see you.

Let's pick up where we left off with Jennifer. She mentioned that the Afghan intelligence agency blaming the Taliban-aligned Haqqani group for this attack. They have not claimed responsibility.

From what you know of this group, do they have the capability to do something like this?

LT. COL. RICK FRANCONA, CNN MILITARY ANALYST: Yes, they do. And they have demonstrated that capability in the past. So if it's the Haqqani network, I don't think that will surprise anybody.

I think what is surprising is, as Jennifer said, the ability of them to get this far into a secured area. They didn't quite reach the gates of the green zone yet, but they were very close. They still had to pass through a series of checkpoints. How did they get there?

This shows a real breakdown in security. A breakdown in security in this are is very troubling to the Afghan people. It used to be that Kabul was the island of security in the country. All the violence was outside the capital.

Now we're seeing it penetrate the capital. It really undermines the inability of the Afghan government to provide security to its most secure area.


FRANCONA: So there is going to be a lot of repercussions from this not only in Afghanistan, but in the international community as well.

SESAY: Yes. I mean, Colonel Francona; Rick -- does it not also beg the question of what of all the years of western support for the Afghan military security services, what has it achieved?

FRANCONA: Well, that is the big question. I mean it's not just the United States. Other countries, NATO has put billions of dollars into training, reorganizing and supporting the Afghan army, providing these advise and assist missions.

Of course, there has been no technical NATO combat mission for over two years. It's been turned over to the Afghans. I think we're seeing the results of just a failure of that effort.

And everybody is asking well, what can they do? And of course the immediate answer would be to send more troops. We need to spend more money. And every time we do this, the same result. It works for a little bit of time and then we fall back.

SESAY: Well, the President, the U.S. President is considering whether to send thousands more troops to Afghanistan. Does this attack change that calculus?

FRANCONA: Well, it might -- I know General Nicholson, the U.S. commander there has asked for 5,000 more troops. And what we're seeing is a debate at the Pentagon now is that really the wise thing to do. And that debate will -- the Pentagon now, the President has delegated the authority for troop levels to the Secretary of Defense and the battlefield commander.

So if General Nicholson asked the Pentagon for those troops, I feel that he'll probably get them. The question is will they be effective. Will that be what we need at the time?

SESAY: Colonel Rick Francona joining us there from Windsor, California. Rick -- we always appreciate it. Thank you for the insight.

FRANCONA: Good to be with you, Isha.

Well, for the third time in nine days, the Eiffel Tower in Paris is once again dark to honor terror victims. The Paris landmark dimmed its lights to mourn those killed and wounded in Kabul's suicide attack. And this follows the tower's tribute one night earlier for the victims of the multiple bombings in Iraq. And after last week's terror attack in Manchester, England. Well, we have a flurry of new developments in the investigation of the

Trump campaign's possible ties to Russia. Multiple sources say Congress is looking into whether Attorney General Jeff Sessions had an additional private meeting with the Russian ambassador during the 2016 campaign when Sessions was still a senator. Sessions has come under fire for not reporting several contacts with Sergey Kislyak.

Another source tells CNN that former FBI director, James Comey will testify as soon as next week that President Trump pressured him to end his investigation into former national security adviser Michael Flynn.

Meanwhile, the House Intelligence Committee has issued subpoenas for Flynn and Mr. Trump's personal attorney Michael Cohen. And yes, there is more, the White House is now referring all questions about the Russia probe to the President's newly hired outside attorney Marc Kasowitz.

All right. Well, joining me now here in L.A. to discuss all of this -- Democratic strategist Caroline Heldman and Republican strategist Andrea Kaye. Ladies -- welcome.

So much to discuss. Let's start with this news about congressional investigators looking into this possible additional meeting between the Attorney General and once again the Russian ambassador to the U.S. Sergey Kislyak.

Caroline -- to you first. What do you make of this? How significant is this?

[00:10:03] CAROLINE HELDMAN, DEMOCRATIC STRATEGIST: I don't think it's particularly significant given the sheer volume of people in the Trump White House who have lied on their security forms. We saw actually Jeff Sessions be dishonest during his confirmation hearing.

So finding out that he has now been dishonest again, I think it just adds to this growing pile of people who are connected to Russia, who had meetings with Russia in the Trump administration, 100 percent of whom lied or omitted -- let's use kinder language here -- omitted the fact that they met with the Russians on their security clearance forms.

So, again, I think we're weary at this point. We really just need answers from a real investigation.

SESAY: Well, Andrea, the Attorney General had previously failed to disclose to meetings with Sergey Kislyak. And he didn't bring them up in his congressional hearing. Let's remind our viewers on what he actually said about the issue of connections with Russia. Take a listen.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Have you met with any other Russian officials or folks connected to the Russian government since you endorsed Donald Trump?

JEFF SESSIONS, U.S. ATTORNEY GENERAL: I don't believe so. I -- you know, we meet a lot of people.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Except from those two meetings you discussed with the ambassador?

SESSIONS: I don't believe so.


SESAY: All right. That was actually the Attorney General speaking on a separate occasion. Again, coming out and saying he felt the two meetings that he had declared, that was it as far -- to the best of his knowledge, as he said; and now this.

The question on the minds of many, Andrea, if there is nothing to hide, why do these things -- why are they omitted? Why are they kept secret, if you will?

ANDREA KAYE, REPUBLICAN STRATEGIST: Well, I don't know that he kept anything secret. I mean my understanding inside the circle, inside the Beltway in Washington is the ambassador, it's like who hasn't met with him and multiple times. I mean how many pictures have we seen of Chuck Schumer with this same ambassador and other people. He is at every event.

I mean it seems like he gets around more than a dozen donuts on a construction site. I mean who hasn't had meetings with -- so many meetings with him that maybe they might not remember how many times they met with this ambassador?

SESAY: But, as you well know, having any kind of contact with the Russians, given what the intelligence community had said about Russia meddling in the election, that's the -- you'd remember, right, wouldn't you?

KAYE: Not necessarily. Again, isn't that the job of the elected officials in Washington? Why do we have ambassadors? Why do we have them here if they're not supposed to be having meetings and developing relations with our elected officials here?

And you know, may I remind everybody that we still have not been presented evidence to the American people that there was probable cause to even begin this investigation. Let alone that there was any there, there that has been the result of seven months.

In fact, James Woolsey came out recently and said so far the only thing that the leaks have revealed in terms of scandals is the leaks themselves. So, again, I'm thinking that some of this is really a deflection from the real crimes that have occurred, and that's involving the leaks.

SESAY: Well, Caroline, I mentioned (ph) Wednesday that the House Intelligence Committee has issued subpoenas, as we mentioned at the top for the fired national security adviser Michael Flynn, and for the President's personal attorney Michael Cohen. What does that say to you about the way the congressional probe, at least on the House side, is progressing? HELDMAN: Well, they've issued as many subpoenas for leaks as they

have for actual testimony. And I would very much disagree with Andrea, right. If we were to look at what happened with Watergate, would you go after Deep Throat? The story is not the leaks.

Granted, the leaks are an issue because Trump doesn't have a very loyal -- it's not deep state. He doesn't have loyal people in his own camp. But why are we focusing on the leaks? That's what you do when you're covering something up, when you know that is something there.

I mean go down the list. There is Manafort. There is Carter Page. There is Roger Stone, right. There is Flynn. There is Kushner. Now his attorney. I mean the list is simply incredible.

But what's more incredible to me are the number of people who lied on their security forms. It's almost as though there was a pattern here as though perhaps it was a group decision to do this.

And sure, Kislyak gets around. But why have these forms if people are going to admit key and crucial details, especially after we know that the Russians interfered with our election.

SESAY: Andrea?

KAYE: Well, what's shocking to me is for you to discount -- why do you not want an investigation of the leaks?

HELDMAN: Oh, I do. I do. But that's not the big focus here.

KAYE: Shouldn't it be the focus?

HELDMAN: Was Deep Throat the focus of Watergate?

KAYE: You want to talk about comparisons to Nixon --

HELDMAN: Oh, in that case.

KAYE: What's Nixonian to me is we had a sitting Democratic president who on the basis of no probable cause that has been presented had an investigation done of an opposition party candidate in his campaign. And there's been no evidence --

SESAY: All right. Let's not --


KAYE: -- that there were crimes committed.

SESAY: Let's not go down that road.

HELDMAN: I'm going to get back --

KAYE: Let me address the leak thing. Those were crimes that were committed. Why does the left not care about actual crimes?

(CROSSTALK) SESAY: Those are being investigated.

So let me ask you this, Andrea. On Thursday, the President has hired as I just said Marc Kasowitz as outside council. Now they're saying any questions about these Russia probes should be directed to him.

[00:15:01] This is an attempt to control the narrative, to get ahead of the story, and to help the President navigate his way through all of this. Will it work?

KAYE: Well, I think that the President was wise to hire counsel and to protect himself because what we have now is we actually have a criminal investigation done. And don't you think it makes sense for anybody who's on the receiving end of a criminal investigation have counsel to advise him in regarding the investigation.

I don't think that's an indication of anything untoward in terms of behavior or a bad move on his part. I think it just makes sense for him to do that particularly given the fact that eight months into an investigation, there has been no evidence to even continue an investigation.

I think it was wrong of the Republican Party to agree to a special counsel. The only crimes that we know that have been committed have been the leaks. And so far Jim Comey would not even acknowledge an investigation into the only crimes that we know of so far eight months in.

HELDMAN: That's desperation talking. If you're focusing on the leaks instead of all of the evidence that is piling up and acting as though that is the story, that is such a clear indication --

KAYE: I always say crimes are the story. And crimes should be this -- a FISA court came out and said that there were serious Fourth Amendment violations of Americans that have happened under President Obama and their surveillance. We need to find out why American citizens' privacy were violated. Why the intercepts --

SESAY: Let's move on. Let's move on because well could go around in circles with some of this stuff. And again, the facts will lead us. I think we can all agree the investigation will take us where it does.

I want to talk about this new war of words between the President and Hillary Clinton. All kicking -- you laughed already. It all kicked off with Hillary Clinton's comments made at an event on Thursday. Take a listen.


HILLARY CLINTON, FORMER SECRETARY OF STATE: So the Russians, in my opinion, and based on the intel and counter intel people I've talked to, could not have known how best to weaponize that information unless they had been guided. And here is --

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Guided by Americans?

CLINTON: Guided by Americans and guided by people who had, you know, polling and data information.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: And who is that? Meaning Trump?

CLINTON: Yes, yes. I'm meaning Trump. I think it's pretty hard not to.


SESAY: All right. Well, the President didn't take too kindly to any of that. And this is how he responded, via Twitter. Let's put up the tweet. The President said "Crooked Hillary Clinton now blames everybody but herself, refuses to say she was a terrible candidate, hits Facebook and even Dems and DNC."

Hillary Clinton responded, again using Twitter. She said this. "People in covfefe houses shouldn't throw covfefe." If that's indeed how you say it.

Caroline, what do you make of all of this?

HELDMAN: Oh, goodness, I thought the election was over. And I really wish that it was.

SESAY: Don't you miss this?

HELDMAN: Ah, the back and forth. You know, honestly, I don't think that Hillary Clinton has much of a basis for that claim. I do think that she has a basis for saying that our election was not free and fair given that 17 intelligence agencies have said that the Russians compromised our election.

But saying that they had assistance from U.S. officials or from people in the United States, I don't know. I think that's underestimating what the Russians could have done on their own and I don't know what her basis is for that. And perhaps she has information that we don't have access to.

But I kind of felt like it wasn't well supported. I love the back and forth, though. I love the back and forth.

SESAY: Oh, something tells me the gates have opened. Andrea?

KAYE: Yes, in fact talk about conspiracy theorist. I mean on what evidence is she basing that on? I'm glad you acknowledged that because, you know, wasn't it the DNC who refused to allow the U.S. government to see the servers? You talk about the 17 agencies, none of which from my understanding actually saw the DNC servers, and actually corroborated the fact that some company that the DNC and Hillary Clinton hired out of Ukraine supposedly with an axe to grind against Putin were the ones who said that the Russian hacked.

James clapper himself said the same. There's no evidence --

SESAY: It's all based on the assessment on the DNC statements.

KAYE: Pardon me? SESAY: I don't think the 17 intelligence agencies were basing their

assessment --

KAYE: But then on what evidence? Because we haven't heard any evidence that Russia actually hacked into our system. But what we do know is that it in o no way affected the outcome. It was Hillary Clinton herself in October in a debate who said that anybody who refuses to accept the free and fair election of this presidential -- then why did she say in October?

SESAY: Ladies.

KAYE: Why did she say in October that anybody who doesn't accept it is the greatest threat to our democracy? We have a free and fair election. In fact, she mocked Donald Trump for not stating up front that he will accept the outcome.

SESAY: To be continued. To be continued.


SESAY: Caroline -- you get to start next hour, ok? Andrea and Caroline -- always a pleasure. Come back next hour. We'll pick it up from there. Thank you.

All right. Quick break here.

Just ahead, as the world is holding its corrective breath over whether the U.S. will walk away from the Paris climate agreement. Senior officials now reveal which way President Trump is leaning.

Plus harsh words about China from a Republican U.S. senator who accuses Beijing of using its economic strength to bully other nations.

Stay with us.


SESAY: Just hours from now, the Trump White House is expected to bid adieu to the historic Paris Climate Accord. A short time ago President Trump tweeted he would make his announcement Thursday at 3:00 p.m. Eastern -- set your watches, everyone. Despite heavy lobbying to stay in the agreement, senior officials tell CNN that Mr. Trump is leaning toward pulling out as he promised repeatedly during his campaign.

CNN's Jim Acosta has all the details.



JIM ACOSTA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: The Secretary of State Rex Tillerson wouldn't answer the question.

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Very soon. ACOSTA: The President tweeted he'll be making his decision on the

Paris climate agreement over the next few days. But administration officials say the President is expected to end U.S. participation -- a decision that flies in the face of last-minute appeals from U.S. allies and scientists from around the world.

SEAN SPICER, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: I think the President's comments on this that he'll be making a decision in the next few days stand.

ACOSTA: The President's move to pull out of the climate deal would fulfill a campaign promise.

TRUMP: We will cancel this deal so that our companies can compete.

ACOSTA: But the decision also runs counter to advice coming from his own daughter Ivanka who supported staying in the agreement. An administration official said Ivanka created a process to ensure the President heard from people on all sides of the issue, both inside and outside government.

Yet White House press secretary Sean Spicer could not say whether the President believed human activity contributed to climate change. The President has repeatedly called climate change a hoax.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Can you say whether or not the President believes that human activity is contributing to the warming of the climate?

SPICER: I just haven't asked him.

ACOSTA: Cancelling the Paris agreement is sure to excite conservatives, dealing a blow to the legacy of Barack Obama.

BARACK OBAMA, FORMER POUTS: Today is a historic day in the fight to protect our planet for future generations.

ACOSTA: Democrats are furious. House minority leader Nancy Pelosi said in a statement, "In walking away from this agreement, the President is denying scientific truths." Even some Republicans have their doubts.

SEN. LINDSEY GRAHAM (R), SOUTH CAROLINA: If he does withdraw, that would be a definitive statement by the President that he believes climate change is a hoax. Stay in the deal, make it a better deal would be my advice.

ACOSTA: Still, the President was signaling for some time he was pulling out of the Paris deal, telling French President Emmanuel Macron over the weekend "A lot of people in my country are against this agreement".

TRUMP: Chancellor Merkel -- thank you very much.

ACOSTA: The move to scrap the Paris agreement will further isolate the President from some of the same allies that he irritated at times during his foreign trip.

Even as the President is said to be feeling increasingly withdrawn at home, he has been seeking closer ties to other foreign leader, asking Macron of France to exchange phone numbers. "You want my cell phone so we can speak directly to each other?" And offered to swap digits that is once again raising questions about the security of the President's phone habits.

As for the Russia investigation, the White House offered a new approach to dealing with questions about the probe, referring reporters' inquiries to the President's outside counsel Marc Kasowitz.

[00:25:05] Jim Acosta, CNN -- the White House.


SESAY: All right. Well, let's get some perspective on the climate accord from China's perspective with our very own Matt Rivers who is there in Beijing. Matt -- good to see you.

Much of the world's leaders are awaiting Donald Trump's decision on whether the U.S. will remain as part of this agreement with a significant amount of nervousness and trepidation. What is the feeling there in Beijing?

MATT RIVERS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: No one in the Beijing government, no one in China's government is going to admit that they're nervous about what the United States might do. What they have been very consistent with is their position that the agreement that those 195 countries came to in Paris is the right way forward.

It is China's government's very consistent and stated position. You've heard it all the way from the top of leadership from President Xi Jinping down to the U.N. Ambassador down to the foreign minister. They're all repeating the same message that China will remain in and should remain in the Paris climate agreement.

And furthermore, that other countries, other stakeholders should do the same. And they're really putting their money where their mouth is. I mean look no further. By 2020, the Chinese government has committed to investing $360 billion in renewable energy projects like infrastructure, things like solar power, wind power, geothermal.

So they're putting their money where their mouth is. And their message is consistent. And I think they're very prepared to not change that course no matter what President Trump decides to do.

SESAY: Well, Matt -- if the U.S. does indeed pull out, which is the expectation at this point, then we must make it clear the President could change his mind before 3:00 p.m. tomorrow. Then it effectively cedes ground to China -- the world's largest polluter -- to drive the climate agenda.

I want you to listen to what California's Governor Jerry Brown had to say.


GOV. JERRY BROWN (D), CALIFORNIA: Paris was very much created because of Xi and Obama. Obama has left the scene. President Trump has gone AWOL, Absent without Leave. And now it's up to Xi. And California will work with him and work with other countries to do everything we can to offset the negative pathway chosen by President Trump.


SESAY: Well, California's governor wants to work with China, if indeed the President pulls out of this agreement. But the question now is how would China use its newly-gained position of dominance in this space?

RIVERS: Well, they're going to use it as a point of leverage, moving forward with different policy proposals. They're going to continue to try and o make this push that you have seen recently under President Xi to become more of a global thought leader, a global influencer.

You know, it was at President Xi's keynote address at Davos when he specifically urged all countries to stay in the Paris climate agreements, saying that it is a responsibility that we must assume for future generations. That's not the kind of talk that we've heard from Chinese leaders in the past.

So President Xi and China clearly ready to take on a leadership mantle with this. And it only makes sense given that China seems to be putting its stakes in the ground as one of the two biggest emitters in the world, carbon emitters in the world.

Once the U.S. pulls out, who is left but China to take the lead? And I think you're going to look at developing countries also are going to follow China's example here in terms of policies.

SESAY: Yes. Well, as you talk about China, you know, using their position of dominance for leverage, I mean that's indeed what foreign policy analysts fear -- at least some of them, that America retreating from multilateralism creates a space for a stronger, bolder China.

Senator John McCain is already expressing concern about China's actions at present. Take a listen to what the Senator had to say.


SEN. JOHN MCCAIN (R), ARIZONA: The challenge is that as China has grown wealthier and stronger, it seems to be acting more and more like a bully. It is refusing to open more of its economy so that foreign businesses can compete fairly. It's stealing other people's intellectual property. It's asserting vast territorial claims that have no basis in international law. And it's using its trade and investment as tools to coerce its neighbors.


SESAY: So Matt, how will statements like those from a U.S. Senator go over in Beijing? RIVERS: Well, officially, the government here didn't take the bait.

No response from the ministry of foreign affairs when we reached out for a comment on that. But in a state-run newspaper, a tabloid newspaper called "The Global Times" they said in part as an influential figure in the U.S., John McCain obviously crossed the line with his vicious words about China.

That is a state-sanctioned newspaper. It wouldn't be printed if the government didn't want it out there. So officially they're not saying anything. But their state newspapers certainly are expressing their displeasure with the senator's words.

SESAY: Matt Rivers joining us there from Beijing. Matt -- appreciate it. Thank you.

[00:30:03] All right. Time for a quick break here.

The British Prime Minister bet on herself when she called a snap election. But now that it's almost here, well, the bet is looking a bit more riskier than expected.

We will explain when we come back.


[00:30:00] ISHA SESAY, CNN ANCHOR: All right. Time for a quick break here.

And British Prime Minister bet on herself when she called a snap electioion. But now that it's almost here, well, the bet is looking a bit more risky than expected. We will explain when we come back.


You're watching CNN NEWSROOM live from Los Angeles. I'm Isha Sesay. The headlines this hour.

There is still no claim of responsibility for the powerful suicide bombing in Kabul, Wednesday. At least 90 people were killed and 400 others are wounded. The attack comes as the U.S. is deciding whether to send more troops to train Afghan forces.

U.S. President Donald Trump is just hours away from deciding whether the U.S. will quit the Paris climate agreements. Senior officials tell CNN the president is leaning towards scrapping the deal, which the U.S. signed in 2015. Mr. Trump says he'll announce his decision Thursday afternoon at the White House.

Former FBI Director James Comey is expected to testify Donald Trump pressured him to end his investigation into Michael Flynn's ties to Russia. A source close to the issue says Comey could appear before the Senate Intelligence Committee as early as next week.

Well, when Theresa May called the snap general election last month, her conservative party was predicted to widen its majority in parliament. The British prime minister was riding high in the polls, holding a double-digit lead over Jeremy Corbyn's Labour Party. But that was then and this is now.

With about a week to go, a project from the polls to YouGov suggests Mrs. May's party could lose its majority. The results say the conservatives could win anywhere from 274 to 345 seats, a wide range around the magic number of 326.

Now let's be clear. The methodology that produced those numbers is different from CNN standards. But they have nonetheless attracted attention, putting new pressure on the prime minister and spooking the markets.

Well, this projection completely changes the narrative of this race, raising the prospect of a hung parliament, coalition governments or even, even another election.

Theresa may was campaigning in Somerset, Wednesday, and she insists these numbers are not what's most important.


THERESA MAY, BRITISH PRIME MINISTER: The only poll that matters is the one that is going to take place on the 8th of June. And then people will have a choice as to who they want to see as leader, who they want to see as prime minister, taking this country forward into the future -- me or Jeremy Corbyn.

I have a plan for the Brexit negotiations, but I've also got a plan to build a stronger and more prosperous Britain.


SESAY: Well, the prime minister was blindsided by Jeremy Corbyn when the labour leader announced last minute that he would in fact take part in Wednesday's TV debate of party leaders.

Corbyn had previously said he wouldn't take part unless Theresa May did. The prime minister sat out regardless. (INAUDIBLE)

And it was down to home secretary Amber Rudd who filled in for Theresa May. Corbyn wasted little time in criticizing her party, calling it out of touch.


JEREMY CORBYN, BRITISH LABOUR PARTY LEADER: I would just say this. Amber Rudd seems so confident that this is a country at ease with itself. Have you been to a food bank? Have you seen people sleeping around our station? Have you seen?


Have you seen the level --

AMBER RUDD, HOME SECRETARY: Jeremy, I'd like to answer your attack. I would like to answer your attack. Of course, I have seen food banks. (END VIDEO CLIP)

SESAY: Well, with the election looming, there is a sense of uncertainty among voters who will decide the outcome. Many people are resigning themselves to a very simple reality. Anything could happen. But our own Richard Quest went out to test the waters.


RICHARD QUEST, CNN CORRESPONDENT (on-camera): Since we brought Freddie Brexit to the English seaside, we thought we would bring the candidates too. Tim Farron from the Dems, Jeremy Corbyn for Labour, Theresa May for the Tory.

Well, obviously the candidates couldn't come, but this was the next best thing. And it was perfect to gauge the reaction of people here in western supermarket.

I saw you taking the picture with Mr. Corbyn.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Mr. Corbyn, yes, absolutely.

QUEST: A sign of approval I think?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Definitely a sign of approval. Yes, absolutely, yes. I think a sign of hope as well for the country.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We're having a happy day.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I was surprise people haven't taken a potshot at them all to be honest.

QUEST: Really, or thrown some sand?


QUEST: Were you tempted?



QUEST: Do you think it will be a hung poll?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I do. I certainly do.

QUEST: Not a surprise, wouldn't it?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes, with the Labour (INAUDIBLE) appeals to a lot people. She dropped a few gaffes, didn't she?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: They're all much the same now. There is not much to choose between them. And they don't actually tell us the truth.

QUEST: The general election is a lot closer. What do you think? UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Hopefully labor. I think it will be a draw.

I think it will be neck and neck. That's what I really think. I'm labor. But don't know. I see it being neck and neck.

QUEST: So good news for Jeremy Corbyn. Less so for the Prime Minister Theresa May. And still a week to go as they saddle up for the final furlong.


SESAY: Our Richard Quest reporting there.

OK. We're going to take a break now. Ahead, the sun's atmosphere is as hot as, well, hell. But that's not stopping NASA from sending a probe closer to the solar surface than any spacecraft ever.


SESAY: Well, NASA is sending a probe to the sun for the first time ever. The spacecraft will plunge into the sun's corona or outer atmosphere and fly seven times closer to the sun's surface than any other spacecraft in history.

[00:40:10] NASA hopes the probe will answer questions about how the sun and its atmosphere work. Its surface is about 10,000 degrees Fahrenheit, or 5500 degrees Celsius, and its atmosphere is hundreds of times hotter.


NICOLA FOX, MISSION PROJECT SCIENTIST: Right now the spacecraft is being built and tested, being put through a lot of rigorous testing to make sure we can withstand that environment.

We're going into the corona. As you heard, the corona temperatures can get up to a couple million degrees. We're not going quite that close, but still, where we're going to will be at 2,500 degrees Fahrenheit.


SESAY: Wow. Well, joining me now is retired NASA astronaut Leroy Chiao.

Leroy, always good to see you.

We just heard that scientist there talking about the temperature. The surface of the sun is 5,600 Celsius.

How is this mission even possible?

LEROY CHIAO, RETIRED NASA ASTRONAUT: Right. So this is a very exciting mission. This is the first time we're going to send a spacecraft to a star. And of course that star is our own sun. And 5,000 degrees Celsius doesn't sound very hot for the sun, and it's not. Once you get past the corona. Now you're going to get into millions of degrees. Touching the corona is already going to be a first and very exciting. But the probe is, of course, going to be shielded. It's going to have a lot of thermal protection system on it.

It's going to have instruments that measure different parts of the sun. It will be the first time we've gone down and actually measured inside of the corona. Very exciting stuff. It could give us a lot of insights into what we call space weather, which would be like sun spots, solar flares, coronal mass ejections. All of these things can cause a lot of disruptions on satellites and other power systems and on the ground here on the earth.

SESAY: OK. Well, NASA sent spacecrafts to other planets, the moon and now this challenge.

How would you rate the sun probe on a scale of difficulty?

CHIAO: Well, this has its own unique difficulty because it is punching into the corona. 5,000 degrees Celsius is pretty darn hot. You know, when we use to -- when we bring spacecraft back from low earth orbit, we get down to somewhere around in the neighborhood of 2,000 degrees Celsius, you know, coming back through the earth's atmosphere. So this is a particular challenge. It's much hotter than any spacecraft has ever had to encounter.

So on a difficulty level from that perspective, we've never done anything like it before. But we hope to find some very interesting things, things that we don't expect, just like the recent probes to Enceladus, in Saturn's moon.

You know, we found things we didn't expect there. Found the presence of these water plumes that Cassini dived through. So we're hoping to find similarly fascinating things from this mission. Again, showing you how little we actually know about our universe and our solar system.

SESAY: Well, Leroy, this proposal was first made in the 1950s. So why now? Why did it take so long to make it happen?

CHIAO: I really don't know. I mean, I guess it was just a matter of priority, of funding. You know, people had wanted to measure of course the sun and we had been measuring the sun. This will be the first time that we've actually gone into the corona of the sun.

So I don't know when it was first proposed. I guess in the 50s. But I couldn't tell you why it didn't make it to this state until now, but very exciting that it has.

SESAY: All right. It is very exciting, indeed. Leroy, I can feel the excitement coming off you. Just like we can feel the heat coming off these pictures.

Leroy Chiao joining us there. We appreciate it. Thank you so much.

CHIAO: My pleasure. Thank you. SESAY: It's pretty exciting stuff. We'll see what it sends

back, that probe. Thank you for watching CNN NEWSROOM live from Los Angeles. I'm Isha Sesay. "World Sport" is up next. Then I'll be back with another hour of news from all around the world. You're watching CNN.