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World Leaders Upset of Trump's New Tariffs; Jared Kushner's Conflict of Interest in his White House Role; Putin Brags Invincible Nukes. Aired 3-4a ET

Aired March 2, 2018 - 03:00   ET



[03:00:00] GEORGE HOWELL, HOST, CNN: The Trump tariff gamble. Sparking fears of global trade war after allies threaten retaliation.

NATALIE ALLEN, HOST, CNN: More questions for Benjamin Netanyahu. Investigators talk with the Israeli prime minister about the latest corruption probes.

HOWELL: And in Europe, winter misery. Freezing temperatures and icy conditions causing travel headaches in several countries.

ALLEN: The beast from the east. Hello from CNN's center in Atlanta. Thank you for joining us. I'm Natalie Allen.

HOWELL: And I'm George Howell. CNN Newsroom starts right now.

It is being called the biggest policy blunder of the Trump presidency, that at least according to the Wall Street Journal.

ALLEN: It's talking about the president's decision to impose 25 percent tariffs on steel import, 10 percent tariffs on aluminum. Mr. Trump made that announcement Thursday in a hastily arranged meeting at the White House.

It sent Wall Street into a nose dive. On fears it would spark an international trade war.

HOWELL: Republican senator Orrin Hatch called it a tax hike the American people don't need and can't afford. He urged the president to reconsider, rethink the move. President Trump said it's been needed for long time. Let's listen.


DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: What's been allowed to go on for decades is disgraceful. It's disgraceful. And when it comes to a time when our country can't make aluminum and steel, and somebody said it before, and I will tell you, you almost don't have much of a country, because without steel and aluminum, your country is not the same.

(END VIDEO CLIP) ALLEN: Reaction around the world was swift and very critical. The European Commission president said "We will not sit idly while our industry is hit with unfair measures that put thousands of European jobs at risk." He adds, "The E.U. will develop a plan to retaliate."

HOWELL: Canada is the largest supplier of steel to the United States. Its officials call the move absolutely unacceptable.


FRANCOIS-PHILIPPE CHAMPAGNE, CANADIAN MINISTER OF INTERNATIONAL TRADE: Any such decision will have an impact on both sides of the borders. Canada would obviously take appropriate measures to defend the workers and the steel industry as well as to fend our industry.

Canada buys more U.S. steel than any country in the world and any suggestion that Canadian steel would cause a threat to national security is completely obviously misplaced.


ALLEN: So you see the negative reaction from around the world also in the markets. Our Andrew Stevens is following developments in Hong Kong. Anna Stewart is in London following developments for us. First to you, Andrew. Talk more about why president Trump made this move that doesn't seem to have one fan.

ANDREW STEVENS, ASIA-PACIFIC EDITOR, CNN: Well, it's got one fan. Donald Trump's trade secretary, I guess two fans if you include Donald Trump. But certainly this hawkish view from Trump is echoed, in fact, Navarro is being seen as the architect of this move. But it plays to Trump's longtime feelings about trade.

He is a protectionist at heart. He won the election on a campaign which did include a lot of rhetoric about how the world was eating the U.S.' lunch when it came down to trade, and he was going to do something about it.

So we shouldn't be surprised by what he has done, but there has been as you point out, a swift reaction internationally. We saw that. First of all, let's talk about investors.

The U.S. market sold off 1.5 percent for the Dow. The sell went around Asia. The Nikkei was down 2.5 percent. Seoul was down, Australia down, all the big markets were down here because there is this fear of a trade war.

I just want to bring you up today on the latest action, which surprisingly is quite muted. Because this one comes from China. So we've heard from the Canadians, we've heard from the Europeans, the Australians are saying the same thing they're going to protect their interests.

The Chinese had said that leading up to this announcement. We've now got news from the ministry of foreign affairs. And what they said very quickly is that the basis for the global recovery is still unstable and all countries should make concerted efforts to cooperation to resolve relevant issues instead.

So what the Chinese are saying here, we are not going to immediately take retaliatory action. We need to solve this on a multilateral basis, which is the World Trade Organization. Which a lot of people were expecting, Natalie China to come back hard. They've got plenty of ammunition if they choose to do that against U.S. goods which would hurt the U.S. and the U.S. economy, and particularly U.S. farmers, for example. So they haven't pulled that trigger yet.

We're watching this space, but certainly at this stage seems to be more interested in keeping in low key and going for an approach, a solution through the World Trade Organization.

[03:05:06] ALLEN: All right. Andrew, thanks for that. Let's go to Anna now in London. What are the European markets doing, Anna? Not too good for Asia?

ANNA STEWART, PRODUCER, CNN: Yes. And it comes as no surprise that has flooded into Europe as well. All the markets have opened down and it's really led by the German DAX there, which is down some 1.25 percent. Now that comes as no surprise because Germany is the biggest steel exporter in the E.U.

And actually the steel exporters of Germany came out yesterday and said that this announcement by Donald Trump really violates WTO rules. The E.U. commission has come out as well very firmly saying protectionism cannot be the answer and the E.E will react firmly.

The U.K. government came out this morning to say that they are very concerned but they're waiting to hear more.

Currently we don't know whether this tariff will apply to all countries or whether there will be some exceptions. We're still waiting to find out a little bit more, but investors very much not happy.

ALLEN: Anna Stewart watching things in London for us. Andrew Stevens, thanks to you as well in Hong Kong. Thank you both.

HOWELL: The topic now, North Korea. If that nation successfully builds a nuclear missile that can strike the United States, the Trump administration would consider taking military action. Now this according to multiple sources with knowledge of the administration's latest thinking.

ALLEN: Senator Lindsey Graham spoke with CNN about the potential for a strike. He says the Trump administration has drawn a red line over North Korea's nuclear ambitions.

HOWELL: Let's bring in CNN's Ivan Watson following the story live in Seoul, South Korea. Ivan, it's good to have you with us this hour. This just isn't about the danger of a missile that can strike the U.S., but also the concern that North Korea could profit by sharing its missiles and technology beyond its borders.

IVAN WATSON, SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT, CNN: Yes, that's one of the concerns that these people that CNN has been talking to have expressed on behalf of the Trump administration. The concern not only that North Korea could build the technology to have basically an intercontinental ballistic missile with a nuclear-tipped warhead that could hit the U.S. mainland, but also the concerns about proliferation, that this kind of technology could be shared with countries like Iran, Libya, Pakistan, and others, non-state actors, for example.

And there are some who have made the rationale that it might be better to risk an enormous amount of military and civilian casualties trying to take care of this now rather than to wait for the scenarios that could happen down the road.

That's what people have been telling CNN. And there is an example that in the headlines, in the news just this week of allegations of this kind of proliferation. You've had a United Nations panel of experts report.

So far confidential, not published, but CNN and other news organizations have gotten a look at parts of it, which alleges that North Korea has been sharing supplies for the possible manufacture of chemical weapons with Syria. And also sending ballistic missile specialists to Syria to help there.

Now, North Korea has responded today with a statement published by North Korean state media rejecting that allegation, claiming that it's all cooked up by the U.S. and also stating that North Korea does not endorse or support or produce chemical weapons. So you still have Pyongyang and Washington very far apart on issues like this. George?

HOWELL: Ivan, the U.S. still, though, open to talk with North Korea as that nation also indicated it's open to talks with the U.S. and an invitation with the South Korean to visit Pyongyang. So, the question to you, where does diplomacy stand at this point, given the rhetoric that we're also hearing?

WATSON: Well, you know, North and South Korea now, since basically the beginning of January, have been in pretty frequent contact. You've had a number of high-level delegations from the North Korea that have travelled here to South Korea for multiple meetings with the South Korean president and other top officials here.

This, of course, was all around the Winter Olympic that South Korea hosted. But in a phone call with President Trump, a half-hour phone call, the South Korean President, Moon Jae-in informed him that he was planning to send a special envoy to Pyongyang. And both leaders reaffirmed their commitment to trying to establish a nuclear-free Korean Peninsula as well. That's kind of a final line that both leaders have agreed upon.

There does seem to be disagreement on how to get there. South Korea very actively involved now in diplomacy with North Korea and urging both Pyongyang and Washington to soften their positions and urging them to try to quickly come to the table.

[03:09:58] And perhaps some of the time pressure here is the fact that we're now through the Winter Olympics in South Korea, we are about to start the Paralympics here.

The U.S. has agreed to postpone military exercises until after these sport festivals, but the concern is that when they resume again, joint military exercises with South Korea, that's when North Korea gets very angry, arguably frightened or feels threatened.

And you could presumably get back into a cycle of threats and fear and intimidation between the U.S., between North Korea, and of course, the arsenals that these two forces have in very close contact with each other. George?

HOWELL: All right. So military options certainly being examined but diplomacy still in play. We'll continue to follow the story. Ivan, thank you for the reporting.

ALLEN: A bold and provocative speech from Russia's leader put the world on notice Thursday, mess with Moscow at your own peril.

HOWELL: The Russian President Vladimir Putin boasted the Russian military has developed what he described as an invincible new arsenal of nuclear weapons that can strike anywhere on earth with impunity and render all of NATO's defenses completely useless.

ALLEN: And if that was too subtle, this animated video showed Russian nuclear warheads dropping from the sky on to Florida. That, of course, is where U.S. President Donald Trump has his vacation resort. The U.S. government was not impressed.


DANA WHITE, SPOKESWOMAN, UNITED STATES DEFENSE DEPARTMENT: We're not surprised by the statement, and the American people should rest assured that we are fully prepared.

HEATHER NAUERT, SPOKESPERSON, UNITED STATES DEPARTMENT OF STATE: We don't think it's responsible. We don't think that kind of imagery seeing the portrayal in a cheesy video of that kind of attack being conducted on the United States as being a responsible action.

SARAH HUCKABEE-SANDERS, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: U.S. defense capabilities are and will remain second to none. And now because of the new defense budget of $700 billion, our military will be far stronger than ever.


ALLEN: Let's talk more about it with Matthew Chance. He's live for us in Moscow. We just heard it referred to as a cheesy video. Is there something, though, more menacing to this plan that Mr. Putin outlined?

MATTHEW CHANCE, SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT, CNN: Well, I think it was sending a very strong message, wasn't it? To Russia's perceived western adversaries, particularly in the United States. That it wasn't to be messed with. That it was back as a military power and as a nuclear power, if it ever went away as a nuclear power. I mean, these kinds of weaponry that Putin described invincible will

have got U.S. military planners scratching their heads and wondering what is true and what is false and what is actually, you know, able to be deployed and what is just theoretical.

He talked about a hypersonic missile that could travel 20 times the speed of sound. He talked about a nuclear-power cruise missile that had no range limitations and could basically, you know, travel for extended periods or around the globe and strike whenever it was ordered to.

And he talked about an underwater drone that was being developed that could carry a nuclear payload. These are all things that, you know, kind of, you know, show that Russia is bolstering its military and not prepared to tolerate any further military advancements or at least responding to military advances in the west.

But, of course, it was also aimed as a domestic audience as well. This is a political season in Russia. It's just 16 days now until Vladimir Putin stands for re-election as president. He's almost certain to win that election hands down, but he still wants to take every opportunity he can to show himself to be a strong leader, a leader that, you know, things about national security and is strongly behind his country's military, Natalie.

ALLEN: So it kind of outlines what his presumed next term will look like, doesn't it? Defending Russia at all costs. What does it say to the larger picture of what Putin wants?

CHANCE: Well, I think he's been spurred on by his military successes in the Middle East, in Syria in particular, where Russian -- the Russian air force and the Russian military has been immensely successful in backing its ally Bashar al-Assad, turning around the situation on the battlefield there and bolstering the position of the Syrian president.

And I think it's a message that, you know, Russia is back on the international stage and it's a message to potential allies of Russia or people who look to Russia for support, particularly in the Middle East region, that, you know, this is a country that they can depend on to support them in the face of perhaps pro-western democracy movements or things like that.

It's also an opportunity of course, and this shouldn't be understated, to showcase Russia's array of weaponry, which is largely for sale on the international market. Perhaps not these missiles he was talking about right now.

But, you know, since Syria, where various Russian missiles and, you know, kind of other bits of military equipment have been showcase to devastating effect, Russia's arms industry has undergone something of a boom.

[03:15:05] It's selling lots of weaponry to lots of regional armies in the Middle East and elsewhere. And you know, this is a big, important business for Russia. ALLEN: All right. Matthew Chance for us in Moscow. Helping us

understand it. Thank you, Matthew.

HOWELL: It has been almost a week now since the U.N. voted for a ceasefire in Syria, but on the ground, well, nothing appears to have changed. There are reports that air strikes killed almost 80 people in eastern Ghouta since last Saturday's truce vote.

ALLEN: The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights says almost half of the dead are women and children. On Thursday, the U.N. special envoy for Syria said he would work until he was quote, "blue in the face to implement a ceasefire." He said he was determined to not let eastern Ghouta be a copycat of Aleppo.

Well, British Prime Minister Theresa May wants the E.U. to work with her on trade in a post-Brexit world, and just hours from now she will lay out her thoughts on this touchy issue in a long-awaited speech. Mrs. May will explain why she thinks Britain and Europe can build a free trade agreement stronger than any other in the world.

HOWELL: That is despite the European Council President Donald Tusk is warning Mrs. May on Thursday that there is no way of a post-Brexit trade agreement could be put frictionless.

Stay with CNN, of course. We'll bring you the speech. Bring it all -- break it down for you 1.30 p.m. in London.

ALLEN: Some high-profile members of the Trump team have been heading for the exits lately. Now we're hearing there can be yet another one. We'll have that coming up.

Also, Israel's prime minister expected to face more questions by police as part of ongoing corruption investigations. We'll have a live report from Jerusalem. CNN Newsroom pushes on.


ALLEN: CNN has learned U.S. national security adviser H.R. McMaster could leave his White House position by the end of the month. That according to an administration official.

HOWELL: McMaster has disagreed with the president on policy matters, including Iran and Afghanistan strategy. A senior republican source says the president is irritated with what he calls McMaster's gruff style. You may remember, McMaster was brought in to replace Michael Flynn. Flynn resigned in controversy over contacts with Russian officials.

ALLEN: And this comes one day after White House communications director Hope Hicks announced her resignation, adding to a growing list of high-profile White House departures including Sean Spicer, Reince Priebus, Anthony Scaramucci, Steve Bannon, Tom Price, that's just to name a few.

HOWELL: And if there weren't enough turmoil there, now the president's daughter Ivanka has come under scrutiny by FBI counterintelligence agents.

ALLEN: Specifically, her role in putting together this real estate deal in Vancouver, Canada. According to two sources, the FBI is interested in the negotiations and financing of the Trump international hotel and tower.

[03:20:04] HOWELL: What's not clear is why the FBI is probing this particular deal. One reason could be the timing. The luxury high-rise opened in February of 2017, this shortly after Donald Trump took office. It immediately attracted an influx o4 foreign buyers and made the Trump organization millions of dollars.

ALLEN: And it doesn't stop there. The FBI has been looking at both, Ms. Trump and her husband Jared Kushner, who is also, of course, one of the president's closest advisers.

HOWELL: That's right. The New York Times reports that Kushner's family real estate group received half a billion dollars in loans after Kushner met with heads of those companies in his official White House role.

We get details now from CNN's Christina Alesci.

CHRISTINA ALESCI, CORRESPONDENT, CNN: This Chicago skyscraper is majority owned by Jared Kushner and his family. Mortgage documents show a fund link to New York City private equity Apollo Global Management provided them with a $184 million mortgage for the building.

Apollo was founded by Josh Harris. Months earlier, that same executive was in talks with the White House about an advisory role according to a source with knowledge of the decisions. Jared stepped down as CEO of his family's business, Kushner companies, since going to Washington, but questions of conflicts still persist.

Also at the White House, Jared met with Citibank CEO Michael Corbat last year. Around the same time Citibank made a $325 million loan to Kushner companies and its partners. Spokespeople for both Apollo and Citibank said their executives were not involved in granting those loans.


NOAH BOOKBINDER, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, CITIZENS FOR RESPONSIBILITY AND ETHICS IN WASHINGTON (CREW): You also have to worry about whether he has an incentive to use his official power, to use the power of the White House to help people that he has business relations with.


ALESCI: A Kushner company spokesperson said there was nothing inappropriate and stories like this attempt to make insinuating connections that do not exist to disparage the financial institutions and the companies involved.

Just last week, CNN reported that special counsel Robert Mueller is inquiring about Kushner approaching foreign investors during the transition, including a Chinese insurance company and a Qatari investor for the family's biggest bet, 666 Fifth Avenue. The building hasn't generated enough profit to cover its debts.


HITEN SAMTANI, EDITORIAL DIRECTOR FOR DIGITAL, THEREALDEAL.COM: One point eight billion was a record price for a Manhattan skyscraper. It was a highly, highly leveraged deal, which means the income in the building isn't close to covering what they would have to pay in interest. So it was a deal that a lot of people say was doomed from the start.


ALESCI: About $1.2 billion in debt on the tower comes due next year. But sources say that negotiations with lenders and new sources of capital need to start soon. Kushner companies confirmed it's in talks to buy out its partner in the project. But the question remains, how will they pay for it? When asked by CNN, they declined to comment.


SAMTANI: They're always looking for loans and construction loans a development loans and acquisition loans. So I would say it's an active business.


ALESCI: Kushner companies also needs to find investors for a development in Jersey City. The company scuttled a plan to use a government program that would help foreigners get U.S. visas in exchange for investment after Jared's sister was reportedly referencing him during a presentation in China.

Another deal raising questions, the New York Times reported that Kushner companies received $30 million from one of Israel's largest financial institutions just before Jared's first diplomatic trip to the country.

Last week, the Washington Post reported officials from at least four countries, Mexico, Israel, China and the United Arab Emirates, discussed ways they can manipulate Jared because of his family's finances.

The constant search for capital, which is normal for any real estate firm, casts a cloud over Jared's White House role. Because like his father-in-law, he has refused to fully divest from his holdings.

ALLEN: Other news we're following, police are at the residence of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu this hour as part of their ongoing corruption investigations.

HOWELL: Mr. Netanyahu is expected to be questioned in two cases in which he has not been questioned before. His wife Sarah also expected to be interviewed separately. He has repeatedly proclaimed his innocence.

Let's bring in CNN's Oren Liebermann, following this story live in Jerusalem with us. Oren, it goes without saying the stakes are high for the prime minister. During this interrogation, everything he says really will matter here.

OREN LIEBERMANN, CORRESPONDENT, CNN: And these cases are bigger than cases from earlier, so these also known as case 3,000 and 4,000. He has not been named a suspect in this case, but this is the first time he's being questioned here.

So to be will be critical to see what wording police use and investigators use in a statement, if they put out a statement following the interrogation. If they say he's been questioned under caution, that means he is a suspect in one or perhaps even both of these cases.

[03:25:04] That would be a big blow to the prime minister, specifically because these are much, much bigger cases than cases in which he has already been named a suspect.

So, yes, absolutely the stakes are high and police also saying this morning that they be detained a ninth suspect in one of these case for questioning, an indication that the investigation is continuing and crucially growing.

So everyone here is watching to see what comes out of these interrogations. It's also interesting that Netanyahu and his wife Sarah are being questioned simultaneously but separately. He's being interrogated at the official residence here in Jerusalem. She is being interrogated at the national crimes investigation unit, which is near Tel Aviv. So, absolutely waiting to see what comes out of here, George.

HOWELL: High stakes, indeed. Look, depending on what happens today, is there any indication as to when a decision will be reached and what possible consequences would come into play if things don't quite go the prime minister's way?

LIEBERMANN: So even if police say they suspect Netanyahu of having committed a crime here, that won't speed up the attorney general's decision. The attorney general, it's up to him whether or not to indict the prime minister, and that process is expected to take months.

And there is no suspicion here that even if the police make a very strong statement today that the attorney general will move any quicker. So there that will take time. The bigger question is what happens to his political coalition partners? Do they decide to pull support for the prime minister? No indication they will yet. They've said they'll stand by his side until the A.G. makes his decision.

So at least politically it looks like right now that Netanyahu has some time after this interrogation, but, again, we'll look for that wording. And just as crucially, we'll see what his coalition partners will say after this interrogation. That of course will take time. The Sabbath only a few hours away here and nobody will make statements over the ext24 hours or so until the Sabbath has concluded.

HOWELL: All right. Oren Liebermann pointing out that wording will be important. We'll watch and wait to see what happens there. Oren, thanks for the reporting.

ALLEN: The winter storm known as the beast from the east is joining forces with another big storm and sending shivering Europeans under cover. A live report from London about it coming up here.

HOWELL: Plus, Italy is facing a reminder of its past, but not a welcomed reminder. We'll hear why some fascist parties are appearing on the ballot for Sunday's national election. Stay with us.


HOWELL: Welcome back to our viewers around the world. You're watching CNN Newsroom live from Atlanta. I'm George Howell.

ALLEN: I'm Natalie Allen. Let's update you on our top stories.

[03:29:56] U.S. President Donald Trump planning to impose a 25 percent tariff on steel imports, 10 percent on aluminum. That news sent markets plunging. The Dow lost 420 points, world markets are also down. Mr. Trump announced the move during a hastily arranged meeting that caught off guard.

GEORGE HOWELL, CNN NEWSROOM SHOW HOST: At this hour police are at the home of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, this as part of their ongoing corruption investigations. Mr. Netanyahu is expected to be questioned in two cases in which he has not been questioned before. He is already been interviewed at least seven times for other cases. Netanyahu has repeatedly stated that he is innocent.

ALLEN: British Prime Minister Theresa May will soon lay out provision for post on Brexit trade relationship with the E.U. In the coming hour, she'll give a long-awaited speech pushing for cooperation. Mrs. May believes Britain and the E.U. can have the strongest possible trade agreement because it's in their mutual interests.

HOWELL: The details of this next story are disturbingly familiar. Empty dorm rooms and hastily discarded belongings. It's been more than a week now since Boko Haram militants abducted 110 schoolgirls in northeastern Nigeria.

ALLEN: There is still no word on their whereabouts, although the government insists it is still searching. Here is CNN's David McKenzie.


DAVID MCKENZIE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: These young girls in Dapchi escaped abduction, but they've, already lost so much. I looked for her at the school, but I couldn't find her, says this girl. I tried her number, but I couldn't get through. Their sisters have been taken. My sister was sick in bed since Abu-Bakr I took her medicine but then the gunshots started. They took her right from her bed, she says. The Nigerian military fell back from this town, saying it was safe. Just weeks later, gunmen stormed Dapchi science and technical college in three cars and a flatbed truck. They wanted to load up as many girls as they could. When the militants stormed the school, they came in and said to the young girls, come here, you'll be safe, because they were wearing Nigerian military uniforms. They made the girls sit like this, but some of the girls told us they noticed they were wearing flip-flops on their feet, not boots like normal military so they ran.

The men attacked at prayer time. Many girls were still in the mosque. Footprints still in the sand. Some girls escaped over fences, into bushes. Others hid in classrooms.

ISIS-linked Boko Haram militants took 110, say parents. The youngest just 11 years old.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: My demand now is to see our children back. That is our demand.

MCKENZIE: The fathers of missing daughters are asking how never again could now happen. After almost 300 schoolgirls were taken four years ago. They're helpless to a government that says it has scrambled jets and choppers to look, but so far has achieved nothing. Boko Haram forces girls into becoming sex slaves, straps bombs on their bodies and sends them into markets. These girls of Dapchi are too terrified to go back to school. We are just afraid if we return there they will return and attack again says Zara, but mostly she is afraid for her abducted sister. I'm worried that I've lost her for good, she says.


ALLEN: David McKenzie joins us now live from Congo, Nigeria. To be at that site, to see the footprints still visible from the girls must really be something. We heard the pleas of the fathers there in your piece. What about the government? What's the latest from them?

MCKENZIE: Well, Natalie and George, it's been on awful situation for those families. You know, one father showed me the one photo he has of his daughter. He had it wedged between the battery and his phone, carefully brought it out to hold up like this as you saw in that piece. They are just distraught, not feeling the government is helping in any way. I just got off the phone with the military spokesman here in Nigeria, he says the chief of the army, the chief of the air force is in this region and they are desperately searching for these girls. More than 200 hours of air sorties to look over the remote areas controlled by military group Boko Haram. That initial confusion of 24 hours, even 48 hours after this happened as to what exactly had happened meant that those crucial moments were lost where it could have been possible to get these girls back. Now the Nigerians and the people of Dapchi face this awful situation that it might be a very, very long wait to hear anything concrete about what happened to their daughter, sisters and relatives. Natalie? George?

ALLEN: It is just so cruel that they have just vanished as of now. David McKenzie, thank you for reporting on this. [03:35:05] HOWELL: Italy is gearing up for national elections on

Sunday and European leaders are keeping a very close eye on what happens there. Many voters are frustrated by unemployment and angry about immigration, and that is giving an opening to far-right neo fascist parties. Let's go live to Rome. CNN's Ben Wedeman following this story for us this hour. Ben, looking ahead here, the campaign set to end there in the coming hours. What happens in Italy will have huge implications across Europe due to the frustration over immigration.

BEN WEDEMAN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Indeed, but to a certain extent the frustration is really more than anything whipped up by the parties on the right. I mean, it is ironic here in Italy that where ordinary Italians have to struggle under a mountain of red tape and fight against an obtuse creaking bureaucracy that the right wing has decided that the real issue facing this country is immigrants. Despite the fact when you take a long, hard look at it, it's the immigrants who are the backbone of the economy.


WEDEMAN: Migrants from Africa, Latin America and the Middle East are learning the essentials of Italian in a cold classroom in Rome. More than 600,000 immigrants and refugees have arrived here since the last election in 2013. Sparking a backlash that has dominated this year's election campaign.

Italians first. Italians first, proclaims Matteo Salvini leader of the right-wing anti-immigrant labor Party. His call is echoed on the far-right. At a rally, the leader of the neo fascist (inaudible) group declares Italy belongs to the Italians and no one else. This heated rhetoric is filled into violence. In February, Luka, a failed candidate, is accused of going on a shooting rampage in the town of Macchiato, wounding six African migrants.

The remnants of the once powerful Italian left recently demonstrated in Rome against the rising tide of fascism and racism. But the far- right has latched on to the issue of migration.

Here we are on our national land called Italy, and for us Italians come first says this man, candidate for the regional elections in Rome.

He shows me around the once middle class, now multiethnic District of Esquilino. If you look at the names on the doors, Italian surnames are rare, he says. The businesses here are all Indian, Pakistani and Chinese. He isn't shy about his political leading. If they ask me if I'm fascist, I respond, absolutely, yes, he says.

Migrants run most of the stalls in Esquilino's main market and most of the customers are also migrants. For all the mounting hostility, Italy depends on workers from abroad.

According to one study, in 2016, 2.4 million migrants worked in Italy, producing 9.6 percent of the gross domestic product. This man from Bangladesh works overnights in a bakery. Italians don't want the kind of work foreigners do, he says. The jobs are more tiring, more sweaty and pay less. But it's a lesson some Italians have yet to learn.


WEDEMAN: And it's a complicated situation because, of course the Italian birth rates so low that the population of this country is shrinking. So they desperately need those migrants to basically fill in for all the Italians that simply aren't being born. And another reason why the Italian birth rate is so low is that the economy is in such miserable shape.

[03:40:12] Per capita income here has not grown at all in the last 25 years. Nonetheless, the right-wing Party thinks it's the migrants that are the problem. George?

HOWELL: It is a complicated soup there. A very important election. We'll continue to watch it. Ben Wedeman, thanks for the reporting. We'll stay in touch with you.

ALLEN: Blizzards, strong winds, subzero temperatures all causing major problems in Europe as a weather system nicknamed the beast from the east is mixing with another storm named Emma. Even people in southern France are turning through the snow and shoveling out.

HOWELL: Weather warnings remain in place across much of central and southern Europe. Dublin's airport re-opened on Thursday, but some flights still cancelled there. Look at that. Massive storm system for sure. Let's bring in CNN's Salma Abdelaziz following the story from Hyde Park in London. Salma, it looks cold. We see a great deal of snow behind you there. How are people dealing with all of this?

SALMA ABDELAZIZ, CNN PRODUCER: Good morning, George and Natalie. As you mentioned, we are in Hyde Park. We came out here because many of the streets in central London have seen cleared, of course, for safety. If you take a look around me here in Hyde Park, you can really see the impact on the last few days on the city. Nothing but white. That is just a glimpse of the amount of snowfall that has fallen. Most importantly, what that snowfall means. Those are the dangerous weather conditions that you are referencing. Let's quickly go through what you mentioned, why this has happened. That beast from the east, those subzero chills coming in from Russia swept across Europe and the U.K. over the last few days, but what really intensified conditions is storm Emma coming up from the Atlantic. Those two together created 48 hours of extreme weather conditions. We really saw the worst of it last night across the U.K. Hundreds of motorists reported being stranded on roads for hours on end. Rescue services had to have the military support them in order to rescue stranded passengers. We heard that local volunteer are going out with blanket and fuel to help family that were stuck on hilltops in other areas across the country. You mentioned as well airports, many flights delayed and cancelled. Many train services as well. This country relies on train services to connect all the different regions. Many of the train services were delayed.

Most importantly, there was a great deal of concern about the fatalities. There is a red alert issue, for parts of the country that is the highest level alert, one that signals risk to life. The alerts are of course coming down this morning. We see that red alert has expired. Amber alerts for part of the country have expired. One meteorologist has made it clear we are not out of the woods yet. We will still continue to monitor these conditions and still concerns. George and Natalie?

ALLEN: All right, Salam Abdelaziz, thank you so much. It's been a nightmare for folks there and it's going to be there a little bit longer. Thank you.

HOWELL: Thank you so much. The multi-day winter storm has had major travel implications for airports. As you heard Selma explain. Let us bring out our meteorologist Derek Van Dam from the international weather center.

DEREK VAN DAM, CNN METEOROLOGIST: Good day, George, Natalie. This is the reason why you do not want to be flying in or out of Dublin's airport. I mean, this is why this airport has suspended all of its flights through Saturday morning. I mean, that runway is barely visible or this taxying area, wow, not a good situation for them. That is just one of many airports being impacted by this massive storm system that continues to pound the U.K. as we speak. We have Aberdeen, Dublin, Edinburgh, and Glasgow in the London region. This is yesterday flight impact 652 cancelations with over 450 delays. And then you talk about todays, Friday's, over 360 cancellations from the same airports and more delays.

So this is kind of having that compounding effect that will be a terrible nightmare heading into early parts of the early weekend. Look at this radar image. There is plenty to talk about here, because we are still getting influence from the North Sea. Actually pulling in some of this moisture across the area, creating banding. Heavier snow taking place across the eastern coast of Scotland. Across Wales and into Ireland, this area is picking up significant snowfall as the low pressure system continues to move in from the south and east.

These are two combining forces, really. We talk about the beast from the east which is really just cold air moving in from the north and that is the lowest temperatures remain well below freezing, keeping this precipitation in the frozen form. We've seen over 45 centimeters in the past 24 hours across many locations.

[03:45:00] Of course higher elevations seeing snowfall totals in excess of 60 centimeters. Impressive stuff. Dublin's temperature forecast starts to moderate as we head into the second part of the weekend, but, really, this storm system is going to hold on for the next 12 to 24 hours. The worst of it is over, but we'll feel the impacts, especially on some rural roads. It will take some time before they could be cleared out and start to improve the conditions, of course. Some of the amber alerts have been dropped, but nonetheless it is still dangerous out on the roadways for many of the back country areas of United Kingdom and Ireland. Ireland is going to be several hours if not days before the cleanup is underway and done, I should say. George? Natalie?

HOWELL: All right.

ALLEN: Spring can't come any sooner, can it?

HOWELL: Absolutely.

ALLEN: The man known as America's pastor will be buried in the coming hours. Coming up here, our Will Ripley will have a story about Billy Graham's visit to North Korea.


ALLEN: The body of the reverend Billy Graham has arrived in North Carolina where the beloved American preacher will be buried Friday. Graham was the fourth private U.S. citizen to lie in honor at the U.S. Capital over this week.

HOWELL: The early honor, preaching to hundreds of millions of people over his 99 years. He also prayed with U.S. Presidents dating back to Harry Truman. A private funeral service is planned, Graham will be buried next to his wife Ruth. Billy Graham's impact was felt far beyond the United States and religious circles.

ALLEN: At the end of the cold war, he gained rare access to North Korea, even helped shape U.S. policy. CNN's Will Ripley has more on the preacher's Korean legacy.


BILLY GRAHAM, AMERICA'S MOST FAMOUS EVANGELIC LEADERS: In that terrible moment, god took your sins, your sins.

WILL RIPLEY, INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT, CNN: America's pastor Billy Graham drew the kinds of crowds in Asia usually reserved for the Pope. Famously preaching to more than a million people in South Korea in 1973. But there is another story, a largely untold story of Graham's groundbreaking work in the secret state of North Korea.

Billy Kim was Graham's translator during his massive crusade in Seoul, and even made headlines in the North Korean capital, Pyongyang.

BILLY KIM, BILLY GRAHAM'S TRANSLATOR: The North Korean response was the witch doctor from America came and performed a witch act.

RIPLEY: Two decades later, the anti-communist pastor was invited to Pyongyang. Graham, an honored guest of North Korea's late President Kim Il-sung. The nations was reeling from the collapse of the Soviet Union. Looking to improve ties with the U.S., Graham brought a private message from President H.W. Bush and a bible for the North Korean leader.

GRAHAM: My wife went to school in North Korea. That was one of the reasons that they could get in and talk to the leaders that made it possible for us to go.

RIPLEY: Ruth's grandparents were Christian missionaries in Pyongyang, a City once called the Jerusalem of the east. Today possessing a bible can lead to criminal charges. [03:50:10] Graham was the first foreigner ever to preach at

Pyongyang's Bung-su church. One of the handful Christian churches in North Korea. Human rights and religious groups accuse of being state propaganda. Graham's two trips in 1992 and 1994 helped shape U.S. policy. He offered insight to U.S. Presidents and peace-makers.

GRAHAM: And I said, Jimmy, what they're looking for is a friend.

RIPLEY: He paved the way for other Americans and aid workers to visit North Korea.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We come as your friends.

RIPLEY: Including Graham's son Franklin, whose charity, Samaritan's purse, provided badly needed aid? Graham's popularity in South Korea helped make this megachurch in Seoul the largest Presbyterian Church in the world. Weekly attendance, around 100,000 people.

Do you think that there are lessons we can learn today from what Billy Graham did in North Korea?

We certainly believe what we need to follow the legacy of Billy Graham, says this senior pastor. What he did in North Korea really pushed us to go to the people who are suffering. Billy Graham never realized his dream of bringing Christianity to the North Korean masses, but he did crack open the door of a closed society, allowing aid and perhaps faith to trickle in. Will Ripley CNN, Seoul, South Korea.


ALLEN: What an interesting story. Again, Billy Graham will be buried Friday in North Carolina where he is from.

Police in Oslo, Norway are investigating what appears to be a forged nomination for U.S. President Trump for the Nobel peace prize. The Nobel committee made the announcement Tuesday. It also revealed that what appeared to be another forged nomination or the U.S. President was submitted last year. That was also referred to Norwegian police, but it wasn't made public at the time.

HOWELL: The process for nominating and choosing Nobel peace prize winners, it is highly secretive. Candidates' names are kept secret and Nobel committee members are forbidden from talking about the process for 50 years. Head of state, lawmakers, academics, Judges and past winners, they are among those with the right to nominate candidates for the peace price.

ALLEN: This year, the committee is considering more than 300 candidates for the awards. Some 200 individuals and over 100 organizations. Four U.S. president have received the award. The latest, Barack Obama in 2009 and Jimmy Carter, 2002.

HOWELL: All right. Hollywood's biggest night has hit a new level of suspense. The question, how will the time's up and the #metoo campaigns play out during the academy awards? (COMMERCIAL BREAK)

ALLEN: The academy awards on Sunday mark the end of the Hollywood's award season and, of course, as you know, this year has seen unique due to Hollywood scandal.

HOWELL: That is right. Sunday's Oscars will air in the midst of the #metoo movement, as women fight back against sexual misconduct. How will the academy handle it? Stephanie Elam reports.


STEPHANIE ELAM, CNN CORRESPONDENT: The grounds weld has been impossible to ignore.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Now that we've all joined as one voice, it feels like empowerment to those women who never had it.

[03:55:03] ELAM: All award season, the #metoo and time's up movement have dominated red carpet conversations as the entertainment industry took a stand against sexual assault and harassment. Allegations against numerous Hollywood heavyweights spurred the action. With a call to action providing an outlet for victims to speak out against their aggressors.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It's humbling and empowering. I think this is such a bold statement for women who work in Hollywood to make in solidarity with women across the world.

ELAM: Other celebrities has used the word (inaudible) to show their support.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We see the time's up pins at many events and we still hear people at the events, on the carpet referring to this movement, referring to the opening up that is happened in Hollywood and how important it is to keep the conversations going.

ELAM: At both the Golden Globes and Banta awards, attendees arrived in all black. With some bringing female activist as their guest. The SAG Awards featured only female presenters and guests at the Grammys carried white roses in solidarity. Now the question is, how the academy awards will address the surge in activism.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: ABC and the academy have both made pretty clear statement that they hope that they can find a way to appropriately address it, possibly within the program, but that it won't dominate the conversation.

ELAM: While the Oscars are meant to be a celebration of film's biggest achievements, backlash is expected at the industries largest hurdles are not addressed during the broadcast.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: As much as Hollywood wants to celebrate the films and supports the notion that the Oscars should never be completely politicize I think there would be a backlash if they don't find one official to acknowledge it in the show. ELAM: The effect of the major shakeup in the industry ripping into

Hollywood's biggest night. Stephanie Elam, CNN, Hollywood.


ALLEN: We will see how it all plays out on Sunday. Remember to join CNN for special coverage of the academy awards.

HOWELL: Our colleagues Isha Sesay and John Vause will have all the winners, the losers and of course much more on Hollywood's biggest night. That is right here after the Oscars telecast 1:00 p.m. in Monday in Hong Kong 5:00 a.m. in London, only here at CNN. Thanks for being with us in "CNN newsroom." I'm George Howell.

ALLEN: I'm Natalie Allen. The news continue next with Max Foster from London. Thanks for watching.