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Italy Shootings Underscore Racial Tensions; Russian Warplane Shot Down Near Idlib; Trump Claims Memo Provides Vindication; North Korea Sanctions Violations in Mozambique. Protests Outside Korean- Swedish Hockey Game. Aired 3-3:30a ET
Aired February 4, 2018 - 03:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
CYRIL VANIER, CNN ANCHOR (voice-over): African migrants targeted in central Italy. A far right supporter is suspected of a xenophobic shooting rampage.
Uma Thurman says #MeToo. The American actress accuses Harvey Weinstein of assaulting her.
And a CNN exclusive: we caught North Korea evading U.N. sanctions.
Great to have you with us. I'm Cyril Vanier from CNN Headquarters.
VANIER: A far right supporter in Central Italy is accused of shooting at African migrants on Saturday, wounding six of them. The suspect did not run away. In fact, it seems he was trying to make a statement. After the shooting, he made a fascist salute in front of a war monument.
The drive-by shooting is sending shock waves through Italian politics. It's happening in the last month of campaigning before national elections. Barbie Nadeau has been coverage this for us from Rome.
Barbie, tell us more about the suspect.
What do we know about him?
BARBIE NADEAU, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, he is a 28-year-old man who had run for office last year, under the Northern League. which is a far right party here in Italy that is polling well ahead of elections on a very strong anti-immigration stance.
He had a tattoo in support of a 1978 neo-fascist movement, tattooed into his forehead; he had an Italian flag wrapped around his necessary and as you said before he was arrested, he gave a fascist salute in front of a war monument in this little town.
But he had gone very methodically hunting migrants, shooting them and he also took a couple of shots at the center left political offices in the town -- Cyril.
VANIER: Do we know what triggered this?
NADEAU: Well, the speculation, I guess the theory that is everyone is working on is in retaliation for the arrest of a Nigerian migrant last week, who is arrested in connection with the murder and dismemberment of a young 18-year-old Italian woman, whose body was found in a couple of suitcases in this town.
And he apparently had decided to take justice and matters into his own hands. That's the theory that the townspeople and the police are working on right now -- Cyril.
VANIER: So the question is, does this go beyond just one man and his political beliefs?
Is this a reflection of the politics of the country?
NADEAU: Well, I think it's definitely underscoring the racial tensions in this country, ahead of the election. We have heard so much campaigning on anti-immigration strategies, 600,000 people have come into Italy from Libya, across the sea in the last four years and that has really caused a lot of tension, not just about whether they should be allowed to get Italian, you know, right to stay here but what to do with them and whether they are taking away valuable social services away from the Italian people.
It's the number one issue in the campaign ahead of the March 4th election and I think that this really underscores the tensions and you have seen in the morning papers this morning, a lot of those far right parties are not exactly in support of this particular action but are blaming mass migration for this man's behavior -- Cyril.
VANIER: All right, Barbie. I will be curious to see how much of it percolates through the campaign in what time is left there. Barbie Nadeau, reporting live from Rome, where it's just past 9:00 am on this Monday morning. Thank you very much.
And Italy is usually just a transit point from migrants on their way north. After Italy, some head for the northern French town of Calais, hoping to cross the channel to their final destination, the U.K., 800 migrants live in total squalor around Calais and security there has worsened recently.
There was a fight this week; four people were shot. Melissa Bell went back to Calais to find out why migrants stay there. She talked to one man who says he just 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 --
BELL (voice-over): -- 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.
VANIER: In Syria, Saturday may have been the deadliest day yet for Turkish troops in Operation Olive Branch. State media report that seven Turkish soldiers were killed near Afrin; five of the deaths came when a Turkish tank was destroyed by a missile.
Turkey launched its offensive more than two weeks ago in an effort to oust the Kurdish YPG, this video purports to be of Kurdish forces destroying a Turkish tank north of Afrin. We have not been able to independently verify it. And Turkey considers the YPG terrorists but they've been a key U.S. ally in the fight against ISIS.
And Saturday also turned deadly for Russian troops in Syria. A Russian warplane was reportedly shot down by militants in Idlib province. This footage from anti-government activists in Syria appears to show the wreckage. Russia said the pilot was able to eject but then died fighting the militants on the ground. More than 30 militants were reportedly killed in a retaliatory strike.
Over to U.S. politics, the top Democrat on the House Judiciary Committee, Congressman Jerry Nadler, said that the controversial Republican memo released on Friday is an attempt to obstruct the Russia probe. U.S. president, however, Donald Trump does not see it that way. He approved making the memo public. He says it totally vindicates him. Here's CNN'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.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
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.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
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.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
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.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
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 --
SANCHEZ: -- 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: And earlier I spoke about the significance of this memo with political analyst Michael Genovese of Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles. Here's some of what he told me.
MICHAEL GENOVESE, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: After the incredible 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.
VANIER: And that was political analyst Michael Genovese speaking to us from Los Angeles.
Now actress Uma Thurman is opening up about experiences with disgraced movie producer Harvey Weinstein. She claims that he sexually assaulted her several times during their working relationship. Her voice joins a chorus of more than 60 women who say that they also experienced Weinstein's alleged sexual misconduct. Brian Stelter has the details on this story.
BRIAN STELTER, CNNMONEY SENIOR MEDIA CORRESPONDENT: Hey, that's right. Uma Thurman now the latest woman speaking out against Harvey Weinstein, adding her name to a list of dozens of actors and assistants, who say Weinstein either assaulted or harassed them over a course of decades.
Now Thurman says the two incidents in her case happened in the 1990s after she starred in the film "Pulp Fiction," which Weinstein helped produce. She says Weinstein initially celebrated her, helped her career.
But then, on two separate occasions in London and Paris, she says he sexually attacked her, tried to come on to her, propositioned her for sex.
She says, in both cases, she rebuffed his advances and then they continued to have a relationship together on a professional level, as she appeared in the films "Kill Bill" in the 2000s.
This is notable for a couple of reasons. Thurman has not spoken out until now. She had indicated she was gathering her thoughts and wanted to speak at the right time. She has an interview in Sunday's "New York Times" with the columnist,
Maureen Dowd. She also says she regrets not doing more to try to protect other women, who were then later apparently assaulted or harassed by Weinstein.
You know, he has denied some of the claims against him, admitted to some wrongdoing and, in the case of Thurman, his camp has put out a statement, saying that he does acknowledge that there was some behavior but that he didn't physically assault her. We can put on screen part of the statement.
It says, "Mr. Weinstein 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. And this is the first time we have heard those details."
That's a statement from Weinstein's camp. He has a number of lawyers and agents and spokespeople representing him. It's interesting; recently he has started to become more aggressive in his responses. Of course, this scandal broke in October in the pages of "The New York Times."
It's been going on ever since with more and more women coming forward at times and places of their choosing. Weinstein's camp has denied some of the allegations. He apparently remains in rehab in Arizona. Meanwhile, there are ongoing criminal probes in London, Los Angeles and New York -- Brian Stelter, CNN, New York.
VANIER: U.N. sanctions aimed at crippling North Korea's exports may have missed their mark. What a CNN investigation uncovered half a world away from Pyongyang -- next.
And the North and South Korean women's hockey team hit the ice for the first time against an opponent.
Will the unified team score points for diplomacy?
We'll take a look. Stay with us.
VANIER: North Korea is still making millions of dollars illegally despite the latest round of U.N. sanctions. According to a new United Nations report, Pyongyang pulled in nearly $200 million last year, by exporting coal and other goods banned under the sanctions. U.N. investigators also believe that North Korea may have exported weapons to Syria and to Myanmar. All of this means that North Korea has willing partners who engage in
this illicit trade and help it evade sanctions. We have been investigating precisely this. In a CNN exclusive, correspondent David McKenzie, producer Ingrid Formanek and photographer Byron Blunt uncovered a lucrative relationship between North Korea and Mozambique.
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 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 --
MCKENZIE (voice-over): -- 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: For North Korea watchers, all eyes are also on PyeongChang, South Korea, for the next few days. That's because athletes from North and South Korea are playing together on the women's ice hockey team in the Olympics.
In about an hour or so, the team hits the ice in a friendly warm-up game against Sweden that's going to be taking place in Incheon, South Korea. That's where Ivan Watson is standing by live.
Ivan, I understand you just found yourself in the middle of a protest outside the stadium.
What's going on?
IVAN WATSON, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: That's right. This is the stadium where there's going to be this exhibition match between Sweden, its women's ice hockey team, and this joint team from Korea.
But as you can hear, there's music here. And for much of the last couple of hours, we've seen competing demonstrations. One of them has since thinned out between anti-North Korea protesters or across this street here, behind police, and a crowd that is in support of the Olympic diplomacy and North Korea's participation in these games.
So this is supposed to be a friendly match, Cyril. And instead we had scenes of pushing and shoving in the last two hours. It's pretty noisy, sorry.
Between the anti-North Korean demonstrators and the South Korean police, with the anti-North Korean demonstrators, shouting, Kim Jong- un is a dog and calling it the Pyongyang Olympics instead of the PyeongChang Olympics. Of course, referring to the North Korean capital.
On this side, we saw people who have since dispersed who were holding up unity signs and the unification flag that shows one united Korean Peninsula and spoke to some people who said that they hope the Olympic diplomacy leads to an end of the joint U.S.-Korean military exercises and the North Korean nuclear tests.
So a little bit of acrimony here ahead of what's supposed to be a friendly match just days before the opening of the Winter Olympics -- Cyril.
VANIER: Ivan, I wonder, have you been able to assess what the general feeling in South Korea is about these unified teams?
The fact that North and South Korean players are playing together?
WATSON: Yes, we are just going to move a little bit away from the music because it's awfully loud. But I think there is some excitement about these upcoming Olympics. There's certainly the kind of signage and the mascots from the game all over the country here in South Korea. But the last-minute diplomacy, running into the game, did attract some controversy. There were signs and petitions against the last-minute decision to unify the women's ice hockey team that will be playing inside here in just a short while.
Of course, what that has done is it has brought together 12 North Korean athletes from their national women's team with about 23 South Koreans. They'll be in a joint squad but they'll only --
WATSON: -- be able to put 22 people in uniform out for the games at a time.
So some people are being left out and, as a result, that's attracted some of the criticism from some people who say it's just not fair to South Korean athletes -- Cyril.
VANIER: All right, Ivan, thank you very much for that live reporting outside the stadium in Incheon. And by the way, I'll be really curious to find out whether we know anything, whether we have got any information on how those players from the North and the South are getting on, what the chemistry s like in that locker room going forward as we get closer to the opening ceremony of the Olympic Games.
Thank you very much thanks, Ivan.
VANIER: And thank you for watching CNN NEWSROOM. We'll be back with the headlines in just a moment. Stay with us for that.