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Italy Shootings Underscore Racial Tensions; Fragile Calm Returns after Migrant Brawl in Calais; Trump Claims Memo Provides Vindication; Uma Thurman Describes Weinstein Assault; North Korea Sanctions Violations in Mozambique. Aired 12-12:30a ET

Aired February 4, 2018 - 00:00   ET



CYRIL VANIER, CNN ANCHOR (voice-over): A shooting rampage and a fascist salute. A far right activist in Italy is suspected of targeting Africans, wounding six.

Plus vindication: U.S. President Donald Trump says a controversial Republican memo proves his claim that the Russia investigation is a witch hunt.

And an exclusive report. CNN catches North Korea red-handed as it violates U.N. sanctions.

I'm Cyril Vanier live from CNN HQ here in Atlanta. Thank you for joining us.


VANIER: A far right supporter in Italy is accused of shooting at African migrants on Saturday and wounding six of them. The incident is sending shock waves through Italian politics. The suspect did not run away. After the shooting, he drove in front of a war monument, got out of his car and made a fascist salute, wearing what looked like the colors of the Italian flag around his neck.

This is happening just a month before the Italian national election. Barbie Nadeau has the details from Rome.


BARBIE NADEAU, CNN CORRESPONDENT: A series of drive-by shootings in a Central Italian town have underscored racial tensions here in Italy ahead of national elections to be held March 4th; 28-year-old Luca Triene (ph), a member of the far right Northern League political party, was arrested for the shootings, making the fascist salute in front of a war monument.

He shot six African migrants, five men and one woman, most from Nigeria, one from Gambia, in this small town at three separate stops. The shooting spree is thought to be related to a retaliation act after a Nigerian man was arrested in connection with a violent murder of an 18-year-old Italian woman was murdered, dismembered and placed into two suitcases that were found earlier this week. Italy's far right parties have distanced themselves from the shooter.

But they have underscored the racial tensions ahead of the election, saying that mass migration into this country has caused these tensions; 600,000 mostly African migrants have crossed the sea and entered into Italy since 2014.

And that has become one of the crucial issues ahead of the elections in March -- this is Barbie Nadeau for CNN in Rome.


VANIER: Dominic Thomas from the University of California at Los Angeles is with me now.

Dominic, you're an expert in European affairs but you also write on racism and immigration. We want your point of view on this.

Do you look at this as a totally isolated incident, the work of a madman like Silvio Berlusconi said?

Or does it reflect xenophobia in the country?

DOMINIC THOMAS, CNN EUROPEAN AFFAIRS COMMENTATOR: It without a doubt reflects xenophobia in the country and in Europe in a broader context. Since the Brexit referendum of 2016, the election of Donald Trump in 2016, every European election has been shaped by the question of immigration, national identity and the broader question of Islam and migration crisis.

And as Italy heads into an election in four weeks' time, this has been -- these number one questions leading up to that, it's proved incredibly divisive. And I believe this is really at sort of a physical expression of the tensions in the country today.

VANIER: Dominic, the leader of the Northern League, of course, condemned the shooting but then he went on to blame it and blame the situation not on the person who opened fire but on the invasion of migrants. Those are his words.

THOMAS: Right. So of course he can sort of denounce the horror of shooting down, racially motivated, a crime in the streets of Italy today but the basic fact is that his electoral campaign has been shaped by anti-immigration rhetoric, by inciting racial hatred and by linking the migration crisis to criminality in Italy, promises that people will be deported and promises that border control will be enhanced, should he be elected in the election coming up in a month's time.

And so it's all very well to denounce it after the fact. But one has to look very carefully at the ways in which this rhetoric and this divisiveness is fueling and encouraging people, legitimizing, one could say, to behave in this horrendous way.

And he takes responsibility for this.

VANIER: What's the general situation of migrants who arrive in Italy? We know that many cross from Northern Africa, often from Libya into Italy.

What is the government doing for them?

I mean, is there a kind of government structure or do they live on the fringes of society, as we've sometimes seen in other countries?

THOMAS: There are both elements. The main thing, of course, is that when one enters the European Union, what is so absolutely crucial is where one sets foot. And because of the geographic proximity of the country of Italy to the African continent, they have been welcoming large numbers of migrants since the 2014 migrant crisis.

Many migrants attempt to dodge the Italian authorities and to move on immediately to other European countries, where they try to declare their arrival. So and Italy has very carefully coordinated reception centers.

But the big question with the European Union is always to determine whether these individuals arriving are economic migrants or whether they are political refugees. And the European Union and Italy is, it's very clear on the distinctions between those particular groups with an attempt to deport or remove those that are economic migrants and attempt to provide asylum to those who are refugees.

VANIER: OK, Dominic Thomas, thank you for joining us and shedding light on this, thanks.

THOMAS: Thank you.

VANIER: And as Dominic explained, Italy is usually just a transit point for migrants on their way up north. After Italy, some head for the northern French town of Calais, hoping to cross the channel over to their final destination the U.K. Eight hundred migrants live in total squalor around Calais and security has worsened there.

There was a fight just this week, four people were shot. So Melissa Bell went back to Calais to find out why migrants stay there. She talked to one man who told her he has no alternative.


MELISSA BELL, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Brexit time in Calais: just two days after the violence that saw four migrants shot and 18 wounded, calm has returned to the northern French town and with it the desperate fight for survival.

Like clockwork, an aid group turns up with food and water. After getting his share, Ali, a 26-year-old Ethiopian, tells us that the kindness of aid workers are all the migrants have.

ALI, ETHIOPIAN MIGRANT: If they don't feed us, so who will feed us? Because we are mostly died here.

BELL (voice-over): Ali has been in Calais for six months. He is one of the 800 migrants still hoping to get to the U.K. nearly 18 months after the Jungle migrant camp was torn down.

BELL: This your home?

ALI: Yes. We are living in a tent.

BELL (voice-over): But the tents offer little protection and every three days, Ali tells us, the police come to tear them down.

ALI: This is not a life just we are living. We're living like animals, you know, because the polices, they chase us from here. Even this life is not there, human life, you know.

BELL (voice-over): Scenes like this are what French authorities have been trying to avoid. They want Calais to be rid of camps and migrants. Although the police would not comment on the destruction of the tents, Ali says he's stuck between a continent that doesn't want him and the home that he fled due to the persecution he says his ethnic minority faces.

ALI: Most of the people of Europe, maybe they expected African migrants (INAUDIBLE). We are knocking the door to (INAUDIBLE) but they have closed their doors.

BELL (voice-over): Ali says he is also a victim of the Dublin rule, the E.U. regulation which forces migrants to seek asylum in the first European country in which they arrive. He was registered on his arrival in Italy but refuses to return to a country that he says offers neither shelter nor hope.

He believes that only the U.K. can offer him a future. The trouble is, he can't afford the people smugglers who could help him get there.

BELL: How much does it cost to get there?

ALI: It cost from 2,500 to 3,000.

BELL: 3,000 euros?

ALI: Euros, yes.

BELL: And if you pay 3,000 euros, what happens?

ALI: Actually, you enter U.K., 90 percent will enter the U.K. (INAUDIBLE) I think it is the (INAUDIBLE).

BELL: You stay?

ALI: Yes, I stay, hell, because I don't have, look, any option.

BELL (voice-over): And so Ali continues to wait in the faint hope of sneaking one day onto a truck bound for the U.K. and supported only by charity and the friendship of those who, like him, have nothing more to lose -- Melissa Bell, CNN, Calais.

(END VIDEOTAPE) VANIER: In Syria now, a Russian warplane was shot down on Saturday by militants in Idlib province. That's according to Russian state media, citing Russia's defense ministry. This footage from anti- government activists in Syria appears to show the wreckage of that plane.

Russia says the pilot was able to eject but then died fighting militants on the ground. More than 30 militants were reportedly killed in a retaliatory strike. Saturday also turned deadly for Turkish troops in Syria. State media report at least seven soldiers were killed in separate incidents. Five died when a Turkish tank was attacked near Afrin by the Kurdish YPG. This is thought to be the deadliest day for Turkish troops since they launched that operation called Olive Branch.

That offensive against the YPG began more than two weeks ago now.

To U.S. politics now. The top Democrat on the House Judiciary Committee is slamming the controversial Republican memo that alleges the FBI abused its surveillance powers. Congressman Jerry Nadler denounced the memo as an organized effort to obstruct the Russia probe.

He and other Democrats say the memo deliberately misrepresented congressional testimony by then-deputy FBI director Andrew McCabe. U.S. President Donald Trump who approved making the memo public doesn't see it that way.

He says it totally vindicates him. Here's Boris Sanchez.


BORIS SANCHEZ, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: What we've heard coming from administration officials over the past week regarding the declassification of the Nunes memo is that this is strictly about transparency and does not reflect on the substance behind the Russia investigation.

In fact, here's House Speaker Paul Ryan, reiterating what we've heard from many congressional Republicans, as well as officials in the White House.


REP. PAUL RYAN (R), HOUSE SPEAKER: This memo is not an indictment of the FBI, of the Department of Justice. It does not impugn the Mueller investigation or the deputy attorney general.


Despite that, in a tweet from President Trump on Saturday, he contradicts what many of those around him have been saying, implying that the Nunes memo reveals a bias against him by investigators in the Department of Justice and the FBI. The president believes that this memo is evidence of a witch-hunt being persecuted against him. Similarly, there's a disparity between the messaging coming from the

president himself and some officials at the White House, about how the president feels regarding deputy attorney general Rod Rosenstein.

The president was asked if he had confidence in Rosenstein and he told reporters, "You figure that out."

Well, Raj Shah, deputy press secretary for the White House, was on CNN and he gave a more ringing endorsement of Rosenstein. Listen to what Shah had to say.


RAJ SHAH, WHITE HOUSE DEPUTY PRESS SECRETARY: I'm saying it on behalf of the White House. And that's that, you know, no changes are going to be made at the Department of Justice. We fully expect Rod Rosenstein to continue on as the deputy attorney general.


SANCHEZ: And sources familiar with the president's thinking tell CNN that, at this time, there is no consideration of firing Rod Rosenstein; in part, because the president fears that taking that step may lead to prolonging the Russia investigation, something that this president clearly does not want.

We should note, though, that we've heard similar votes of confidence from this administration before for officials that were soon after shown the door -- Boris Sanchez, CNN, traveling with the president in West Palm Beach, Florida.


VANIER: Political analyst Michael Genovese joins me now from Los Angeles. He is the author of "How Trump Governs." He's also the president of the Global Policy Institute at Loyola Marymount University.

Michael, does the Republican memo vindicate Donald Trump?

MICHAEL GENOVESE, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: Anything but. After the indescribable buildup there were about two weeks where you had #ReleaseTheMemo and the promise that this was going to upend everything.

When it was released, it met with a great splat. If anything, the memo says that it wasn't the dossier that was the source of the investigation, that it was the Papadopoulos mouthing his concerns far prior to that.

And so if anything, this undermines the president, although he's going to claim victory because Donald Trump claims victory out of everything.

VANIER: But the memo does reveal that the FBI used information that was paid for by the Clinton campaign to get authorization to spy on a former Trump guy. This in the middle of presidential election.

Doesn't that concern you?

Shouldn't that concern Americans?

GENOVESE: That should concern everyone but only if we can get the full picture. We got a very heavily edited, very shortened version that was produced by the Republicans. If what they got is that information and more information that will support that, yes, it's important.

But since they're not releasing the Democratic response and they're not going to release the full report, we're not going to see it, we have to trust them. And Devin Nunes has already demonstrated that he lot of water carrying for Donald Trump and he's not to be trusted.

And so I think one would be forgiven for being a little bit skeptical about the information that Republicans are putting out because it is all one sided and it's supposed to be protecting Donald Trump. A full investigation will -- and that's what Mueller is involved in -- will give us a fuller picture. And so we need to wait. This is not going to have any material impact on the investigation.

VANIER: What about the idea that the FBI is, was, is biased against Donald Trump?

GENOVESE: Well, you know, the FBI and the Department of Justice have been attacked vigorously by the president and by some Republicans. And if it becomes you either have to defend Donald Trump or defend the institutions of justice, I think most Americans are going to go with the latter.

But let's face it, the president is in a bind; it's getting closer and closer to Mueller asking or insisting that he testify. And so the president is really desperate to find an out and he thinks this is the out. But I think Mueller will persist no matter what.

VANIER: What's the point of the memo? You just told us, this does nothing to subtract from the results of the Russia investigation. We don't know what the investigation's going to yield but when those results come out, the memo will have having nothing to say on those results.

GENOVESE: Well, its impact will be slim I think because it's only a small, very edited, very partisan production of some of the pieces of the puzzle. We need to know the full story. And once we get the full picture, the more we get, the more we'll know. It'll be a richer story, a fuller story. But you can't base very much on 3.5 pages, which is what the memo was.

There is a lot less there than (INAUDIBLE).

VANIER: All right, Michael Genovese, thank you very much for coming on the show. Thanks.

And North Korea has few allies in the world but the ones it does have are making lucrative and illegal deals with the North. Our exclusive investigation -- coming up.




VANIER: Welcome back. Actress Uma Thurman said she, too, suffered sexual attacks at the hands of Harvey Weinstein, the disgraced movie producer. Thurman told her story to "The New York Times" in an article that was published on Saturday. She says that in one case, Weinstein pushed her down, tried to shove himself on her and exposed himself.

She was able to escape, fortunately. Thurman has only now decided to come out with her story but she said she's been struggling with this for months. A few months ago, when talking about Weinstein, she nearly broke down.


UMA THURMAN, ACTOR: I have learned that I am not a child. And I've learned that when I've spoken in anger, I usually regret the way I express myself. So I've been waiting to feel less angry. And when I'm ready, I'll say what I have to say.


VANIER: A statement from Weinstein's attorney says he acknowledges making an awkward pass 25 years ago at Ms. Thurman in England after misreading her signals, after a flirtatious exchange in Paris, for which he immediately apologized and deeply regrets.

However, her claims about being physically assaulted are untrue.

Now a new U.N. report says millions of dollars are illegally flowing into North Korea despite toughened sanctions. It finds that Pyongyang made nearly $200 million last year by exporting coal and other banned goods. And now CNN has uncovered a lucrative relationship between North Korea and Mozambique. David McKenzie has this exclusive report.


DAVID MCKENZIE, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Tracking the illicit funding of a rogue nuclear state, a month-long investigation leads us to a fishing boat in Maputo, Mozambique.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (Speaking foreign language).

MCKENZIE: Can we talk to someone?

MCKENZIE (voice-over): We uncover sanctions busting caught in the act. MCKENZIE: So there's two North Korean fishermen here in the boat. They don't want us to talk to them. And they have stuck this boat between two others. It's pretty well hidden.

MCKENZIE (voice-over): The captain locks himself away, with good reason. Illegal fishing operations generate significant cash for Pyongyang's nuclear missile program, --

MCKENZIE (voice-over): -- say U.S. officials.

"Yes, the crew are all Korean," this Mozambican crewman tells us.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (Speaking foreign language), hi.

Can we come up?

MCKENZIE: So the captain of the ship is on the phone with someone. I think it's wise we get out of here, actually.

MCKENZIE (voice-over): Kim Jong-un's ultimate aim is to develop a viable nuclear-tipped missile threatening to strike cities across the United States. But the sanctions are biting and the Trump administration is taking a tougher stance. They're scouring the globe to generate cash.

Seven-and-a-half thousand miles away from Pyongyang, they found a willing partner, one of 11 African countries the United Nations is investigating for sanctions violations.

From the channel, we can easily spot the rusting boats.

MCKENZIE: So that's the Susan One and that's the Susan Two. Our investigations show that these shrimping trawlers are part of a lucrative joint venture between the Mozambicans and the North Koreans.

MCKENZIE (voice-over): Illegal as of last August -- and there are more sinister links than just a few fishing boats. Investigators are tracking it all.

HUGH GRIFFITHS, U.N. PANEL OF EXPERTS: Surface-to-air missiles, man- portable surface to air missiles, military radar, air defense systems, the refurbishment of tanks, it's a long list.

MCKENZIE (voice-over): Pyongyang exporting its deadly expertise for hard cash, even to Mozambique's remote interior, fostering military installations like this, the U.N. says; training elite forces for at least two years, military sources tell us, all of it under sanctions for more than a decade.

So how do they keep the operation secret?

The trail leads us to one of Maputo's busiest avenues.

MCKENZIE: So according to documents, this is the headquarters of the North Korean trade emissary here in Maputo. MCKENZIE (voice-over): Reviewed by CNN, the documents name a shadowy front company called Heygungam (ph). In 2017, the U.N. revealed that it helped funnel at least $6 million in military contracts to Pyongyang.

MCKENZIE: Hi, how are you, sir?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (Speaking foreign language).

MCKENZIE (voice-over): "Some Asians were living here. They left three or four months ago," says the property agent.

Nobody could tell us where they went.

MCKENZIE: Are there still North Koreans in Mozambique?

MCKENZIE (voice-over): "Yes, we have some here cooperating in social and technical fields," he says, "which is not against sanctions that were declared by the United Nations."

He says they are implementing sanctions; we saw clear violations.

Defense ministry officials refused to be interviewed by CNN or answer our questions.

MCKENZIE: Has Mozambique been complying with the U.N. sanctions?

MCKENZIE (voice-over): "I cannot say at this moment," he says. "I don't have detailed information on the question you're asking."

The U.N. is waiting for answers from Mozambique, a country risking hundreds of millions in U.S. aid to help Kim Jong-un find ways to fund his nuclear ambitions -- David McKenzie, CNN, Maputo, Mozambique.


VANIER: A snowy mix is sweeping the Balkans. And here in the U.S., thousands of pro-football fans will brave bitter cold to watch the Super Bowl in Minnesota. We'll have the latest forecast just ahead. Stay with us.





VANIER: Thank you for watching CNN NEWSROOM. I'm Cyril Vanier. I'll be back with the headlines in just a moment.