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Former Spy Poisoned; Eastern Ghouta, a Place Next to Hell; South Korean Officials to Bring a Message to Washington from Kim Jong- un; Trump Versus a Porn Star; Shipment Of Humanitarian Aid Postponed; Trial Begins For Inventor Accused Of Killing Journalist; Name Calling Escalates As Feds Sue Over Immigration; Meghan Markle Baptized Into Church Of England; McDonald's Flips Logo For International Women's Day; Dangerous Weather In Northeastern United States. Aired 3-4a ET
Aired March 8, 2018 - 03:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[03:00:00] ROSEMARY CHURCH, CNN ANCHOR: South Korean envoys came to Washington with a secret message from North Korean leader Kim Jong-un.
The porn star versus the president. The legal battle over whether she can speak out about their alleged affair.
Hello and welcome to our viewers joining us from all around the world. I'm Rosemary Church at CNN headquarters in Atlanta. This is CNN newsroom.
British investigators are trying to figure out who used a nerve agent to poison a former Russia spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter. The two were found unconscious on a bench over the weekend in Southern England.
Well, now Britain's top diplomat has a warning for any foreign government that may have been involved in that attack.
So let's bring in Fred Pleitgen covering this story in Moscow and Erin McLaughlin who joins us from Salisbury in England. Good to see you both. So, Erin, to you first. We learned Wednesday the substance used to poison Skripal and his daughter was a nerve agent. What's been the fallout from that revelation? And what else has been revealed with this investigation?
ERIN MCLAUGHLIN, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Rosemary, the use of a nerve agent in this case is significant. Now authorities are saying they know the exact type of nerve agent used, but they're not giving those details out at this point, saying that the type of nerve agent is the clue as to the source.
But a nerve agent is very difficult to create, very difficult to use, rarely seen off of a battlefield, and experts say that the mere use of a nerve agent significantly narrows down the field of suspects.
The other interesting thing that authorities are saying is that both Sergei Skripal, the ex-double agent and his 33-year-old daughter Yulia, were targeted that Sunday. They were close the subject of an attempted murder. And what authorities are now working to do is retrace their footsteps
through Salisbury. They're looking at the pizza restaurant you see just behind me. They're looking at the nearby pub, as well as the park bench where they were both found rendered unconscious.
They're combing through hours and hours of surveillance footage also appealing to the public or any witnesses who may seen them that day. They are very much trying to figure out who did this and of course why.
Now we do have an update as to the police officer who responded to the scene, a first responder. He approached them on the bench. And according to authorizes, was also exposed to this nerve agent.
Home Secretary Amber Rudd this morning saying that he is talking, that he is engaging, they are more optimistic about his condition. Skripal and his daughter remain in the hospital in serious condition, Rosemary.
CHURCH: Interesting updates there. And Erin McLaughlin, just stand by, if you will. I want too to Fred now in Moscow. And of course, Fred, now that we do know that a serve agent was used to poison Skripal and as we heard from Erin, has narrowed down the aspects many are pointing the finger at Russia. What's been the response there to those accusations?
FREDERIK PLEITGEN, SENIOR CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes, the Russians are saying they have nothing to do with this. In fact, they are coming out and saying anybody who says anything to the contrary, of course referencing from the media coverage that's been out there, is conducting what they call anti-Russian propaganda, something that they have seen in the past.
So, quite a defiant tone here in Moscow. They're saying also that at this point in time, this comes from the Russian foreign ministry, by the way, that at this point in time they have not been in touch or contacted by British authority.
The British authorities have not asked for any sort of help in this case, and they are still waiting to hear any sort of updates and to get any sort additional information.
So the Russians are saying that they have nothing to do with this. But of course there are some questions coming up here in the local media, as well. Some people who are commenting on this are saying look, why on earth would Russia's intelligence services do something like this at this point in time right ahead of the fact that Russia is going to hold -- to host a big international tournament, they have -- in the football World Cup.
They have an election coming up that's very important. The last thing Russia wants at this point in time is any sort of turmoil with other countries, with the United Kingdom. And of course, all of that turning into an international incident, as well.
On the flip side of that, however, we do have to say that there was some bad blood towards Sergei Skripal within the Russian intelligence services within the FSB. We have some video up just a couple of seconds ago of when Sergei Skripal was arrested and the FSB turned that into a film about betrayal against the Russian federation, and basically used that case sort of as a warning but also towards the public here to say these people are traitors to the Russian cause, the Russian state.
[03:05:06] So, certainly there was lot of bad blood. Is that something that could have translated into people within the intelligence services wanting to do something like this? Absolutely. Unclear at this point in time.
And again, if you hear from Russian officials, they will say they had nothing to do with this and they are calling all of this anti-Russian, western propaganda, Rosemary.
CHURCH: But Fred, it gets down to motivation, doesn't it?
CHURCH: And who would benefit from doing this to Skripal, and outside of Russia, it's hard to figure out why anyone else or any other foreign agent would be interested in his demise.
PLEITGEN: Well, certainly from what we know right now, it's hard to see anybody else would have benefited from it. But then of course the Russians are also asking the question how would Russia benefit from all of this?
They point to the fact that Sergei Skripal has been out of the intelligence service for a very long time since the early 2000s, and out of Russia for almost the same amount of time, since 2010 when of course he was part of that prisoner swap that brought many of those double agents to the U.S. and into the United Kingdom, and then Russian agents who is were in the U.S. brought them back to Russia.
So they're saying, look, this is someone who is not important to the Russian federation, this is someone who had no information that could be harmful to the Russian federation, therefore, why would Russia want to do something like this?
Are there motivations for revenge? Was there something that maybe he knew. Did he have old contacts that maybe he was using? Those are all things that are in the realm of speculation. But certainly the Russians are saying, look, people are saying no one else had sort of any motivations.
The Russians are saying they didn't have any motivation to try and harm Sergei Skripal either. It is a very, very difficult case, it's one of course is being picked up by local media here.
But where the Russian authorities are saying that they -- that they are adamant, that they had nothing to do with this, and they want to see evidence that they did before anybody points the finger at them. Rosemary. CHURCH: Indeed. Of course, it has in the meantime enraged Britain.
We'll see what is done there. But Erin McLaughlin, we'd like to thank you from Salisbury in England, and of course, our Fred Pleitgen bringing us the latest from Moscow. Many thanks to you both.
Well, a convoy of U.N. trucks is schedule to see on bringing food and medical aid into eastern Ghouta. The rebel enclave is just outside the Syrian capital of Damascus. Constant bombardment has left it in ruins, and civilians are trapped with almost nothing to live on.
We want to get more now from CNN's Jomana Karadsheh.
JOMANA KARADSHEH, CNN CORRESPONDENT: There seems to be no place on earth where it's harder to dodge the bombs right now than eastern Ghouta. No Security Council resolution, and no Russian promises have stopped the bombs, or stopped the death toll rising every single day.
There's little to smile about in eastern Ghouta, where everyone has lost something or someone, yet they still smile. Most of this Baby Hala's (Ph) 28-day life has been spent underground. That's the only place families have left, hoping maybe, just maybe it will be enough to protect them from the bombs raining down on them.
Faburatza's (Ph) his family's livelihood, a little welding shop was destroyed. His children are out of school. They use what they can find to play and forget.
Civilians are skeptical as offers to evacuate to so-called humanitarian corridors.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): We are waiting for God to help us. They talk about corridors they have open. What corridors. They haven't spared us the tanks the artillery and Russian planes and they want us to go and hand ourselves over?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KARADSHEH: In another basement, another family and another story. Five-year-old Lamar (Ph) with a big smile speak of things most her age would not even understand. "Her house was bombed by the planes," she says. "Her toys burnt." Like others, they've given up on the international community saving them.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): Meetings, condemnation, concern, we have seen nothing from them over the past seven or eight years. No resolution they have passed has stopped the shelling. Give me one resolution the regime or Russia has abided by.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KARADSHEH: It seems like it's a matter of time before the regime recaptures eastern Ghouta. Time that feels like an eternity for those trapped in this hell on earth.
CHURCH: And CNN's Jomana Karadsheh joins us live from Amman, Jordan where she is monitoring the situation in eastern Ghouta. So, Jomana, let's talk about that U.N. convoy that's poised to go and the challenge of course, again will be the limited time that it has to deliver those supplies. How will this latest effort be any different?
KARADSHEH: Well, you know, moving these convoys, Rosemary, is such a complex process that they have to go through. First, they need to get, you know, permissions, and it's going through different layers of bureaucracy in Syria to get these permission from the regime, from the different groups on the ground to be able to move this interagency convoy, which is usually the United Nations agencies along with the International Committee of the Red Cross and the Syrian Red Crescent.
[03:10:13] Once they have that, as we saw on Monday, the regime inspects these convoys these trucks before they go in, checking what they can take in and what they cannot.
And as we saw on Monday, they confiscated a lot of the medical equipment, trauma kits that are badly needed in there. Those were not allowed to proceed with the convoy. Officials told us they're going to try and take that in today.
And then they need to get guarantees of safe passage. They need to make sure that these aid workers that these drivers are as safe as, you know, as they possibly can when they try and deliver this aid. They need to be on the ground for several hours to unload these trucks.
The aid workers also need to make an assessment of the situation also on the ground to report back to their agencies. And then, of course, there's the security situation that always remains so fluid as we saw on Monday, that that interrupted the aid delivery.
They need to make sure that this situation allows for them to go in and stay on the ground. And Rosemary, from what we were hearing from activists from medical workers inside eastern Ghouta on Wednesday, they were describing it as a night from hell.
They were saying it was constant, intense bombardment, shelling, air strike, using different weapons, targeting so many different parts of eastern Ghouta, that hospitals there, these medical facilities that are already overstretch were really struggling to cope with the flow of the injured and the dead coming into these medical facilities.
So we'll have to wait and see what happens with this convoy in the coming hours, if it proceeds and if they'll able to deliver aid.
CHURCH: It is a nightmare for the civilians on the ground there in eastern Ghouta. Our Jomana Karadsheh keeping an eye on that situation and we will watch very closely, as will the international community, what happens with that U.N. when it goes in.
Well, police in Vienna, Austria have arrested an Afghan man in connection with a serious stabbing incident on Wednesday. The victim was identified as a Chechen national whose wounds are considered life- threatening.
What's not yet known, whether there was any connection to a knife attack in central Vienna about 30 minutes earlier. A husband, wife, and their daughter have been hospitalized in that incident.
There is confusion over the details of U.S. President Donald Trump's tariff proposal and when it might be signed. Some aides said a ceremony was set for Thursday afternoon. Others have said it's cancelled.
What we do know as of now, the tariff signing is not on the official White House schedule. Now it also appears Mexico and Canada could be exempt from the tariffs on steel and aluminum imports, especially while NAFTA negotiations are ongoing.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SARAH HUCKABEE-SANDERS, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: The president will sign something by the end of the week, and there are potential carve outs for Mexico and Canada based on national security and possibly other countries, as well.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CHURCH: U.S. trading partners and republican leaders oppose the tariffs, fearing a global trade war may result. If that happens, China's foreign minister warns no one wins.
We'll take a short break. But still to come, they've just met with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un. Now they're on their way to Washington. Ahead, we ask what's the secret message there bringing with them?
Plus, new developments in the Stormy Daniels saga. How the adult film star's attorney says President Trump's lawyer is trying to shut her up. We'll explain when we come back.
[03:15:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
CHURCH: Welcome back, everyone. Well, the attorney for adult film star Stormy Daniels says Donald Trump's personal attorney continues to threaten his client. Daniels is suing the president to get out of a nondisclosure agreement so she can talk about her alleged affair with Mr. Trump back in 2006.
CNN's Drew Griffin has the details.
DREW GRIFFIN, CNN SENIOR INVESTIGATIVE REPORTER: The lawsuit, in explicit detail, leaves no doubt Stormy Daniels, whose real name is Stephanie Clifford, says she had an affair with the president. Ms. Clifford began an intimate relationship with Mr. Trump in the summer of 2006 in Lake Tahoe, the lawsuit claims.
And then in October 2016, Mr. Trump, with the assistance of his attorney, Mr. Cohen, aggressively sought to silence Mr. Clifford as part of an effort to avoid her telling the truth, thus helping to ensure he won the presidential election.
In exchange, Trump's attorney, Michael Cohen, wired Daniels $130,000 and the arrangement has so far prohibited Daniels from giving any details, leading to a series of bizarre talk show appearances like this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Did you have a sexual relationship with Donald Trump?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GRIFFIN: Clifford's lawyer included this so-called hush agreement in the lawsuit, saying it was written by Michael Cohen. It refers to Donald Trump under an alias, David Dennison, and Clifford under the name Peggy Peterson.
According to the agreement, Stephanie Clifford came into possession of certain confidential information pertaining to DD, Trump's alias, which includes information and certain still images, and/or text messages.
Michael Cohen goes on to write, "included in those are images Donald Trump previously presented to his counsel to exist. I.e., text messages between PP and DD." In other words, Trump told his personal attorney about communications he was having with a porn actress.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JIMMY KIMMEL, TV HOST: You can't say whether you have undisclosure agreement. But if you didn't have a nondisclosure agreement, you most certainly could say I don't have a nondisclosure agreement. Yes?
STEPHANIE CLIFFORD, PORN STAR: You're so smart, Jimmy.
KIMMEL: Thank you very much.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GRIFFIN: Also new and potentially damning if true is what happened a little more than a week ago, the president's attorney tried yet again to silence Clifford. On or about February 27, 2018, Mr. Trump's Mr. Cohen surreptitiously initiated a bogus arbitration proceeding against Ms. Clifford in Los Angeles, the lawsuit says, in an attempt to intimidate Ms. Clifford into silence and shut her up.
But Clifford is now eager to talk and explained why she claims she was coerced into signing a false statement that the affair didn't happen.
According to the lawsuit, any breach of the contract would mean Clifford would be obligated to pay the sum of $1 million.
President Trump, through his attorney Michael Cohen, has denied the affair took place. Cohen says Mr. Trump did not know about the payment he made to Ms. Clifford to keep quiet. All of that now questioned by this lawsuit.
Drew Griffin, CNN, Atlanta.
CHURCH: Joining me now to talk more about this is CNN legal analyst Areva Martin. Good to have you with us.
AREVA MARTIN, CNN LEGAL ANALYST, Hi, Rosemary.
CHURCH: Of course, another busy day for the Trump administration. Stormy Daniels' lawyer spoke to CNN and insisted that Donald Trump had to have known about the $130,000 paid to Daniels. Let's just listen to what he had to say.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MICHAEL AVENATTI, STORMY DANIELS' ATTORNEY: The suggestion that you would have an experienced, educated attorney like Mr. Cohen, who would run off half-cocked, without any knowledge of his client, that he would negotiate and draft a detailed agreement that included his client as a party, that he would engage in weeks of negotiation, that he would reach agreement.
[03:20:00] That he would then send $130,000 in connection with that agreement, that he would then later institute an arbitration proceeding without knowledge of his client.
All of this to those of us that practice under the law as attorneys, it's ludicrous.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CHURCH: Areva, as an attorney yourself, do you think Donald Trump had to have known about this payment, given his own lawyer was initiating it, presumably on his behalf?
MARTIN: Yes. It's strange to suggest that this lawyer would be acting solo. The BAR rules require attorneys to keep their clients informed of significant developments in their cases. And clearly a negotiated settlement agreement, a payment of a settlement amount, the initiation of arbitration agreements or arbitration proceeding, all of those are the kinds of significant events that BAR rules obligate, require, mandate lawyers to advise their clients of.
So, I tend to agree with Stormy Daniels' stormy. It's not credible for Trump nor Cohen to continue to assert that Trump had no knowledge of this agreement.
CHURCH: And what did you make of the White House insisting Wednesday that Donald Trump won arbitration against Daniels, even though her lawyer contradicted this telling CNN that bogus arbitration was actually filed secretly by Mr. Trump's lawyer who also, it has to be said, threatened Daniels.
MARTIN: Well, let's think about what Sarah Huckabee Sanders said. She said Trump won the arbitration. What arbitration? Remember, Trump doesn't know anything about this. He doesn't know anything about the allegations, he doesn't know anything about the payment, the settlement. He doesn't know where the money came from.
So if we are to believe Trump, he has no knowledge of this. So it's quite ironic, and even hypocritical now for her to claim that he, quote, unquote, "won the arbitration." So he can't have it both ways. Either he's a party to this lawsuit, he's fully engage, he's fully knowledgeable about the terms and conditions of this agreement or he's not.
And if he's not, I don't see why he would be claiming that he won in arbitration, that according to him he hasn't even authorized this attorney to pursue. So that statement contradicts the very premise of Trump's argument which is that he has no knowledge of his entire case.
CHURCH: And Areva, another big story affecting the Trump administration, Wednesday the New York Times reporting that President Trump had two conversations with key witnesses about matters discussed with special counsel's investigators in the Russia probe.
How problematic is this for the president from a legal perspective, does it rise to the level of witness tampering or interference?
MARTIN: I don't think this particular story of what we're learning from the story probably rises to the level of a federal violation of witness tampering. But it gets curiously close. It is unbelievable that Trump would continue to engage with these witnesses. I can imagine that his very skilled lawyers have told him not to talk to witnesses.
Witnesses typically avoid interacting with each other when they're being investigated or interviewed by the grand jury or by law enforcement, because they don't want there to be the appearance that they're cooking up some story.
What we know is that Trump has not testified yet before the special counsel. So he clearly doesn't want to send a message that he's out fishing for information from these witnesses so that he can craft his own story when he talks to or gives his testimony to the special counsel.
So, again, Trump just seems to be incapable of complying with what anyone could say are, you know, normal protocols when you have a very serious federal investigation going on such as the special counsel's investigation.
CHURCH: All right. Many thanks to Areva Martin, bringing out your legal analysis to these two big stories. I appreciate it.
MARTIN: Thank you.
CHURCH: And we have seen many parallels between the Trump White House and that of President Richard Nixon in the 1970s. Nixon resigned amid the Watergate scandal, an elaborate scheme to cover up wrongdoing by his administration.
CNN contributor and former Nixon White House counsel John Dean talked about the witness tampering. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JOHN DEAN, CONTRIBUTOR, CNN: This is one of the things that got Richard Nixon in a whole lot of trouble. He's an attorney, Nixon was an attorney, and he was openly coaching witnesses. He was coaching -- I'm one of those he tried to coach.
Halderman and Ehrlichman, his chief of staff and top domestic adviser, he coached them, he told them how to handle perjury. He was something of an expert on perjury from his days in the house.
So history is just couldn't be a stronger lesson of what a president should do in these situations because he was charged for this in his bill of impeachment. And it's just remarkable that these people would ignore this history.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CHURCH: And Dean actually served four months in prison for his role in the Watergate scandal.
[03:25:00] Well, two high-ranking South Korean envoys are due in Washington in just a few hours from now. They will brief U.S. officials on their meeting earlier this week with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un.
And there's word that they will bring a message from the North Korean leader to the United States.
For more on this, we want to bring in Andrew Stevens, who is live in Seoul. Andrew, any word on what might be contained in that secret message from North Korea? Will we ever know perhaps?
ANDREW STEVENS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, we definitely know there is a message that the envoys are taking message, and two days ago, when the envoys first came back from Pyongyang, Rosemary, they, that the Blue House which is the equivalent of White House here in Seoul, a spokesman there said that there was a message and it contained more details about denuclearization.
Details, we know that North Korea have said that it is prepared to see denuclearization on the Korean peninsula. We know that there was a five-point plan put out or revealed by the South Koreans when their envoys came back from Pyongyang.
But this message contains more detail. We don't know what that is. That the chief envoy whose name is Chung Eui-yong had a brief press conference before he left for Washington, and he said he's not giving out any further details other than to say the priority at the moment is for the U.S. and for North Korea to sit down and have talks.
But he's going to be a very sought after man in Washington. There are a lot of people who wanted to speak to him. The Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, no doubt, the head of defense forces, James Mattis, and the national security adviser, H.R. McMaster I'm sure would all want to talk to him about what the security guarantees, for example, that North Korea wants to see before they denuclearize.
It is the same old line about clearing the peninsula of U.S. troops, is there something more involved? Also about his freeze on the testing, does that mean a freeze just on testing or a freeze on development of their program?
This sort of thing, Rosemary. And of course, the more personal details. Because remember, there has been no envoy from South Korea -- in fact, very few people in the world have met Kim Jong-un in official capacity. Dennis Rodman has.
But they are going to be talking to the Washington -- the Washington contacts, their Washington senior officials about what sort of person he is, how he present himself, what his mannerisms are. All those sorts of things, which could be gold dust for Washington on formulating a strategy on how they deal with Kim Jong-un, and how they push the denuclearization talks forward.
CHURCH: All right. Our Andrew Stevens, bringing us a live update there from Seoul in South Korea, where it is nearly 5.30 in the evening. We'll see what comes of that secret message coming from North Korea. Many thanks.
Well, the trial for a man accused of killing a journalist on a submarine begins. The bizarre and brutal case against an eccentric inventor.
And the gloves are off in a legal battle between the State of California and the Trump administration over immigration. And the rhetoric is getting nasty.
We're back in just a moment.
[03:30:37] CHURCH: Welcome back to "CNN Newsroom." I'm Rosemary Church. I want to update you on the main stories we've been following this hour. An anticipated shipment of humanitarian aid into eastern Ghouta, Syria has been postponed due to security concerns. That word just moments ago from the international committee of the Red Cross. A convoy on Monday was able to deliver some of its food and medicine to the besieged civilians, but intense shelling forced the trucks to retreat.
U.K. police say a former Russian double agent and his daughter were deliberately poisoned with a nerve agent. They are treating the attack on Sergei Skripal as attempted murder. The foreign secretary Boris Johnson says Britain will respond robustly if a foreign power is responsible.
Two South Korean envoys are now on their way to the United States with a secret message from the North Korean leader. The envoy met with Kim Jong-un earlier this week in Pyongyang. Reports also say it is not known who the message is addressed to, what it says, or whether they will meet with President Trump. A journalist Kim Wolf boarded a submarine for stories seven months
ago, but she never made it back home. Now the man accused of killing her is taking the stand. CNN Atika Schubert tell us more about the case against him.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ATIKA SHUBERT, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Here along the Danish coast, the beheaded unusually torso of a 30-year-old Swedish journalist Kim Wall washed to shore in August last year, ten days after she was reported missing. Now 46-year-old Peter Madison, an inventor from Denmark is on trial for her murder in a bizarre and brutal case that has shocked the country.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Everyone was shocked, and nobody believed it. But more and more evidence came. So everybody was shocked about the story.
SHUBERT: Peter Madison had a passion for Ocean and space travel, featured in Danish films, books, even children's TV programs. This was Madison's latest project, the UC3 novelist one of the world's largest privately built submarines. He invited Kim Wall aboard for a story she was doing. At was the last time she was seen alive. The indictment charges Madison with premeditated murder and indecent handling of the corpse as well as sexual relations other than intercourse of a particularly dangerous nature. That legal language obscures the brutality of the alleged crime. Wall's body had multiple stab wounds inside and around her genital area, her limbs and head were hacked off. The indictment also cites video evidence found in this shop where Madison works. Films of the torture and execution of real women.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I think the prosecution will try to not talk too much about that also, because of her family and so on. But of course, if they are going to try to prove this, having snap videos is something that sort of points in that direction. So I think we will hear quite a bit about it.
SHUBERT: Madison has denied the murder and sexual assault, as well as any knowledge of the films. He maintains that Kim Wall died by accident, but admits to dismember her body and tossing it into the sea. What really happened? Prosecutors say they will reveal details in court to prove how Madison planned to commit the murder and dispose of the body. Trial is expected to last at the end of April. Atika Schubert, CNN.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CHURCH: Myanmar's Aung San Suu Kyi has been stripped of a humanitarian award over the ongoing violence in Rakhine state. The U.S. Holocaust memorial museum said it's rescinding the award, which they presented to her back in 2012. The museum's Director says the organization felt compelled to do something in response to the displacement and killing of Rohingya Muslims. Myanmar said it regrets the museum has been, what it calls, misled about the situation in Rakhine state. [03:35:13] A nasty war of words is heating up between the state of
California and the Trump administration, with top officials calling each other radical extremists and liars. The federal government is suing the state over its decision to offer some undocumented migrants sanctuary. As Miguel Marquez reports.
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: The State of California, they are doing a lousy management job.
MIGUEL MARQUEZ, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: The fight between President Trump --
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We know the Trump administration is full of liars.
MARQUEZ: And the California republic.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is basically going to war against the state of California. The engine of the American economy. It's not wise, it's not right, and it will not stand.
MARQUEZ: Now, a heavyweight bout.
JEFF SESSIONS, ATTORNEY GENERAL: How dare you, how dare you needlessly endanger the lives of our law enforcement officers.
MARQUEZ: The federal government now suing the golden state, its governor, and Attorney General over its so-called sanctuary immigration laws. The president first threatened to pull ICE and border patrol from the state.
TRUMP: If we ever said let California alone and let them figure it out for themselves, in two months, they would be begging for us to come back. And you know what? I'm thinking about doing it.
MARQUEZ: Now his Attorney General wants to undo three California laws limiting law enforcement cooperation and information sharing about immigration status on mainly law abiding immigrants.
SESSIONS: We're going to fight these irrational, unfair, unconstitutional policies that have been imposed on you and your officer's and federal officers.
MARQUEZ: Several California cities already have Sanctuary laws on the books. In January, the acting head of immigration and customs enforcement called for officials to be arrested for signing these laws.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We have to charge these politicians. They can't make these decisions and be held unaccountable for people dying.
MARQUEZ: For its part, California as already sued the Trump administration five times on other immigration issues. The federal government now trying to rein in the golden state and possibly hundreds of other state and cities nationwide, and their immigration laws.
The President will visit the Golden State next Tuesday. That is notable. He is the first President since the Eisenhower years, the 1950s, not to visit California in his first year in office. It does give one a sense of just where California sits on the President's agenda. Back to you.
CHURCH: Thanks so much for that. And this just in to CNN. Reports from the United Kingdom say Prince Harry's fiancee Meghan Markle had been baptized into the Church of England. The ceremony took place at St. James palace. The baptism was not necessary for Markle to marry Prince Harry, but she did say when she got engage that she would do so before their wedding which will happen May 19. So there you have it. We'll take a short break. Still to come, equal pay for equal work. Women at a major retail store in Britain say men get paid more, and they're taking legal action. We will speak to an attorney representing some of those women when we return.
CHURCH: Ok. It might look like it, but this is not photo shopped. McDonald's flipped its iconic arches into a W at a restaurant in California, and on its digital channels in honor of international women's day. And many are calling this a watershed year for women. 2017 saw the rise of the metoo and time's up movements, which sparked global conversations about sexual harassment and gender inequality. And it's not over yet. Events are happening around the world Thursday to celebrate international women's day. This year's theme is press for progress. And when it turn midnight in midnight in Madrid, women hit the streets and started banging on pots. They want people to pay attention to serious issues like unfair wages, domestic violence and (inaudible) attitude.
In South Korea, me too marches are making their voices heard, and it may be working in fact. The government says it wild toughed laws again sexual assault and set up a process for victims to anonymously report sexual harassment at work.
And our Ian Lee joins us now from the site of a women's day rally in Istanbul so Ian, still a couple of hours before this rally actually gets under way. What is planned for the day and how are men in Turkey responding to this
IAN LEE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Rosemary, you're right, despite the rein in this rally, our planned to go ahead. One just behind me in a couple of hours' time. We've been hearing from women activists, and the say there really four big issues that they are tackling, they're talking about today. The first is domestic violence. 400 women, according to NGO's, were killed in 2017 from domestic violence. That is the highest number that they've had since they started taking statistics. It's a sharp increase from 2011, when they saw the lowest number of women.
Other issues are going to be talking about is women employment. They say there's a high unemployment among women and there is also a lack of education. They say they want more women to be educated. Also, street harassment, they say these are the four big issues they're talking about. In fact in 2011, Turkey signed an E.U. convention on domestic violence. Again that was the lowest number of domestic violence death of that year, but since then, they say it has risen. When you talk to activists, they say the laws are on the books. They say it's the enforcement of laws. That is the one thing they are calling for. That is the one thing they're pushing for. When you say where are men standing on all of this? It was very popular here in Turkey. There's a lot of men on board, a lot of men supporting the women, but still they say the real fundamental problems are getting laws enforced but also giving women opportunities in the workplace as well as education. Rosemary?
CHURCH: Ian Lee standing by there in a very wet and rainy Istanbul, just a couple of hours away from this woman's day rally there. It's coming up on midday there in Istanbul. Many thanks to you. The world economic forum's global gender gap index ranks countries based on gender pay equality. A score of one would be total equality, while the score of zero would be the maximum inequality. The country that ranked worst in 2017 for equality was Yemen, with Iran, Chad, Syria, and Pakistan close behind. Out of 144 countries, Iceland, Norway, and Finland have closed the gender pay gap the most. Speaking of pay gaps, female employees at Britain's TESCO supermarket group are seeing back pay, claiming they were paid much less than their male counterparts for similar jobs. Reports say it could result in a $5.6 billion payout for that company and impact nearly 200,000 employees. A law firm representing dozens of workers has taken legal action against the company. TESCO says it works hard to pay its employees fairly.
[03:45:05] Paula Lee joins us now from London. She is an associate solicitor at the Leigh day legal firm handling the TESCO case. Thanks you so much for being with us.
PAULA LEE, ASSOCIATE SOLICITOR, LEIGH DAY: It was a pleasure.
CHURCH: So this is the record equal pay claim involving women workers of TESCO. How much less are women currently being paid compared to male counterparts and how likely is it that your law firm will win this case against TESCO?
LEE: OK. The women in stores are paid on average 8 pounds per hour and the men were paid around 11 pound an hour. So we think how things currently is a three pound per hour differential. Do we think we'll win? Yes, we do think the prospects of success for the women are good. We think they're strong. Equal pay claims are notoriously long winded and they are complex. There's a lot of hurdles to cross to be successful. And TESCO is a very sophisticated employer I am sure they will defend it quite hard. But yes, we are confident of showing that the work between the women is of equal value and should be paid the same.
CHURCH: They will be working hard to save themselves more than $5 billion that is quite extraordinary numbers isn't it? TESCO said it works very hard to pay its employees fairly. What do you say to that? LEE: I think that is right. If you look at their website, they've
been interrogating pay between the genders since 2002. And in 2011, they signed up for this country's government's think act report initiative. I think everyone is very comfortable with the idea of men and women working side by side, doing the same job being paid the same. That, however, is not this case. This case is looking at work of equaled value. The law in England permits women to compare their different job without undertaken by men. And if that job is of equal value, and we can show that then they're entitled to equal pay. When you hear employers say we always pay equal pay for equal work, they're mainly talking about side by side work. I think everyone is comfortable with that. We're looking at different jobs and we're interrogating those different jobs, and we say they are of equal value and should be paid appropriately. And our law permits that.
CHURCH: Right. How often is this happening in other companies across Britain and does your law firm have plans to work hard for women at some of those other countries where there is a disparity in male and female pay?
LEE: Absolutely. We currently represent about 20,000 female shop workers for Walmart. We've got of 1,000 women in litigation. In this country, we saw it quite a lot in the public sector throughout the early '90s. Now the equal pay issue we're talking about here is ow coming into the private sector. So we have multiple thousands of women that we are re-presenting in this discussion.
CHURCH: All right. Paula Lee, thank you so much for joining explaining all of that to us.
LEE: Thank you.
CHURCH: We appreciate it. British Prime Minister Theresa May certainly knows its international women's day, but when Jeremy Corbyn pointed it out to her, she accused him of mansplaining. Corby started by criticizing the Prime Minister for meeting with Saudi Arabia's Crown Prince. Take a listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JEREMY CORBYN, BRITISH LABOUR LEADER: Tomorrow is international women's day, a chance to both celebrate how far we've come on equality with women and reflect on how far we have to go. Not just in this country but around the world. Later today, Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister is due to meet the crown prince Mohamad Bin Salman. As she makes her arms sales pitch, will she also call on the crown prince to halt the shocking abuse of human rights in Saudi Arabia?
THERESA MAY, BRITISH PRIME MINISTER: First of all, can I thank that honorable gentleman for telling me that it is international women's day tomorrow.
I think that is what's called mansplaining.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CHURCH: All right. Let's take a very short break here, and take a look at this downed power line, just one deadly danger from a nasty winter storm lashing the U.S. Northeast. We'll take a closer look when we come back.
[03:52:00] CHURCH: A grand jury has indicted Nikolas Cruz in the school shooting in Parkland, Florida three weeks ago. He is charged with 17 counts of premeditated murder and 17 counts of attempted murder. Police say Cruz confessed to killing 17 students and teachers at his former high school on Valentine's Day.
Students at the school got a surprise Wednesday. A visit from NBA star Dwayne Wade of the Miami Heat. Wade says he spoke with them about some important and impactful things they planned, he is dedicated the rest of his season to one of the victims.
Well, to put it bluntly parts of the northeast U.S. are just a mess right now. A nasty winter storm is wreaking havoc on the region. Some 38 million people were under storm warnings. More than 2700 flight were canceled Wednesday, hundreds more were already canceled for Thursday. The Nor'easter has canceled Amtrak train service between New York and Boston. New York's governor says more than 150,000 customers are now without power. 400 National Guard troops have been deployed. This is the second nor'easter in week for New England. Our meteorologist Derek Van Dam joins us to explain what is going on.
DEREK VAN DAM, CNN METEOROLOGIST: The difference between this storm and last week's storm is last week was more of a wind maker. This time it's more of a heavy snow maker. The snow totals vary quite a bit across England. We will try to explain all that, but you can imagine what the heavy, wet snow has and the impacts on the travel, as well as the flight delays that have been taking place across some of the major airports here. LaGuardia, 58 percent cancellations just for the day on Wednesday. Now, this is coming up on 4:00 a.m. local time on the east coast, the U.S. and trying to take all the numbers into consideration. This is going to have a knock-on effect as we heard through the course of the weekend or in to the early parts of the weekend I should say. Check this out, look at this, this is in Philadelphia. You can just see how the heavy, wet snow has snarled up the traffic there. When we talk about the snowfall totals, there is a major difference from that interstate 95 corridor. Anything east of that saw influence from the ocean water, kind of keeping things at or above freezing and keeping the snow totals down, but West of I-95, we saw over half a meter of snowfall, but really a stark difference between that and central park. Only eight centimeters there where it started off as rain originally then transitioned to that heavy, wet snowfall.
The storm is starting to pull away from the New England coastline, you can see the snow coming to an end near New York, as well as the I-95 corridor, at least from New York to D.C. [03:55:00] But Boston to Portland, you still have winter storm
warnings in effect that will continuing through 1:00 p.m. this afternoon. And then we say goodbye to the storm system, still few lingering snow showers behind it. In additional 10, 15 centimeters of snow possible north of Boston in to Portland into Connecticut as well as New Hampshire and Vermont. But it's again, the heavy, wet snowfall that could lead to more power outages. Last I checked at 3:00 a.m. local time on the east coast, 350,000 customers without power along the entire New England coastline. So big impact from the storm system. But that starts to pull away. Then we focus our attention, believe it or not, on another storm that is going up the east coast.
There are two different scenario here, we are looking for impossible nor'easter heading today on Sunday and Monday. A second scenario would eject this system off the east coast and not really bring any major consequences to New York, as well as Philadelphia and into Boston. But it's a little too far away to tell the track of the next storm. But one thing is for sure, we have three nor'easters in the span of a week and a half for this area, pretty rare.
CHURCH: Unbelievable. And tough for people in the path.
VAN DAM: It is a difficult thing to have one snowstorm after another after another.
CHURCH: All right Derek. Thanks you so much for all the details. We appreciate it. Before we go, we do want to remind you that CNN is partnering with young people around the world for a student led day action against modern day slavery on March 14th. And in advance of my freedom day, we are asking students what freedom mean to them. Here's what students from the American community school in Abu Dhabi had to say.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Freedom means the right to do what you want to do and to be able to pursue our dreams.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You have the right to do whatever you want.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Freedom to me is waking up and being able to pursue my dreams.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CHURCH: And millions have already shared with us what freedom means to them on social media. So join them and share your story using the #myfreedomday. I want to hear from you. Thanks for your company this hour. I'm Rosemary Church. Remember to connect with me anytime on twitter. The news continues now with Max Foster in London. You're watching CNN. Have a great day.