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Missiles Strike Airbase in Homs; Eurosceptic Anti-Immigrant Orban Claims Victory; Israeli Tank Fires across Gaza Border; Syria War: Trump Condemns Syria for 'Chemical Attack' On Douma; Facebook CEO To Be Grilled By Congress This Week; Facebook Announces Changes To Fight Election Meddling; Expert: Facebook Will Likely Be More Transparent. Aired 2-3a ET

Aired April 9, 2018 - 02:00   ET




ROSEMARY CHURCH, CNN ANCHOR (voice-over): Civilians in the crosshairs in Syria, world powers are reaction to the latest apparent chemical attack.

GEORGE HOWELL, CNN ANCHOR (voice-over): And the U.S. president Donald Trump says there is a big price to pay for that attack. Now he and his advisors planning their next move.

CHURCH (voice-over): Plus a town in mourning, remembering the victims a crash of involving a bus packed with young hockey players.

Hello and welcome to our viewers here in the United States and all around the world. I'm Rosemary Church.

HOWELL (voice-over): And I'm George Howell from CNN World Headquarters in Atlanta. NEWSROOM starts right now.


CHURCH: And we start with growing outrage over an alleged chemical attack in Syria, the U.N. Security Council is set to meet in the coming hours, this after dozens of civilians were reportedly killed in a gas attack in Douma Saturday.

And we want to warn you that some of the images we are about to show you are very graphic and very disturbing. The Syrian government denies it used chemical weapons. Its ally Russia has even called the whole thing a hoax.

But U.S. President Trump does not appear to be buying that. He lashed out on Twitter, calling Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, "an animal." He also warned there will be a big price to pay.

HOWELL: Mr. Trump may have been reacting to the images, like the images that you are seeing here. And, again, we warn you these images, they are disturbing and graphic. This video appears to show some of the victims lying on the ground, many of them children, foam in their mouths, which is a potential bit of evidence of the chemical attack.

It was just more than a year ago that the U.S. launched missiles at a Syrian airbase; that strike came after an alleged sarin attack by the Syrian government. The president will meet with his advisors and military officers in the coming hours and he will have to decide how the U.S. responds this time to those videos you just saw.

CHURCH: CNN's Ben Wedeman is in Beirut in neighboring Lebanon. He joins us now live.

So, Ben, we have seen reports of a missile strike on an airbase near Damascus.

What are you hearing about that?

And who might be behind it?

BEN WEDEMAN, CNN SR. INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, what we are hearing -- or rather seeing -- is reports by the Syrian Arab news agency that, several hours ago there was an airstrike on what is known as the T4 base, which is 100 km northeast of Damascus in Homs province.

According to the Syrian Arab news agency report, there have been fatalities and casualties as a result of this missile strike. They also say that eight of the missiles were shot down before reaching their targets.

Now the Pentagon has denied that it was involved, that the United States was behind this missile strike. And certainly given President Trump's proclivities, if the United States had been behind it, he certainly would have made it known.

Now the other main suspect is, of course, Israel, which, over the last few years, has conducted more than 100 strikes within Syria although it has denied or rather deny -- declined to comment on these reports coming out of Syria.

Now this T4 base, it is important to remember, that on the 10th February an Iranian drone was launched from there. It entered Israeli airspace. The Israelis struck the T4 base and one of their F-16s after that airstrike, while returning to Israeli airspace, was hit by Syrian defenses.

So this may actually have nothing to do with the alleged chemical attack in Douma yesterday. It may perhaps be a result of Israeli revenge for the shooting down of the F-16s. At this point we simply do not know. We are waiting for more details -- Rosemary.

CHURCH: We certainly are. And meantime, Ben, what is the latest information that you have on the situation right now in Douma where this alleged chemical weapons attack took place?

And what do you know about an evacuation deal?

It has apparently been made to get all the rebels out of the area. WEDEMAN: Yes, we understand that there has been an agreement between

the Russians and Jaysh al-Islam, the Saudi backed faction that is in control or was in control now, I suppose we should say --


WEDEMAN: -- of Douma.

Now according to that agreement, 8,000 fighters will be bused out of the area along with 40,000 of their relatives and they will go to Northern Syria, similar to other deals worked out with factions in the Eastern Ghouta, deals between the Russians and these factions, whereby they are sent up north, some of them in the area of Jerablus, which is controlled by Turkey and along the Turkish border; others to Idlib, which is an area to the northeast of Syria, where -- rather northwest -- where we have seen the tens of thousands of opponents of the regime and their relatives are moving to after similar agreements in other areas.

CHURCH: Many thanks to our Ben Wedeman, for that live report from Beirut, where it is just after 9 o'clock in the morning.

HOWELL: The White House says the president spoke with the French president Emmanuel Macron about the suspected chemical attack in Syria. Both leaders agreed, the Assad regime must be held accountable for its human rights abuses.

CHURCH: The reported chemical attack on civilians may pull Mr. Trump back into Syria's civil war just days after he said he wanted to withdraw U.S. troops. Abby Phillip has the details.


ABBY PHILLIP, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: President Trump once again finds himself responding to an alleged chemical weapons attack perpetrated by the Assad regime in Syria. This time, the president is lashing out at Vladimir Putin and Russia and Iran for enabling the Assad regime.

But he's also criticizing his predecessor, Barack Obama. He said this about Obama's red line, that he failed to enforce.

He said, "If President Obama had crossed his stated red line in the sand, the Syrian disaster would have been ended long ago. Animal Assad would have been history."

But in 2013, President Trump actually warned the president against enforcing that red line. And now it seems that he has drawn one of his own.

What that big price to pay will be is unclear and here is what Homeland Security adviser Tom Bossert said about the options available to President Trump.



MARTHA RADDATZ, HOST, ABC "THIS WEEK": So is it possible they there will be another missile attack?

BOSSERT: I wouldn't take anything off the table. These are horrible photos. We're looking into the attack at this point.


PHILLIP: The National Security Council is expected to meet on this Syrian issue on Monday, as is the U.N. Security Council. But President Trump is coming into this situation, having already said in recent weeks that he wants to pull the United States out of Syria altogether.

He also does not have his full national security team in place. The president is still waiting for his CIA director to be confirmed and also is waiting for his secretary of state to be confirmed as well. His new national security adviser, John Bolton, his first day on the job is today -- Abby Phillip, CNN, White House.


HOWELL: Abby, thank you.

Moscow is calling the reports of a chemical attack a hoax. The statement from the foreign ministry said Syrian government troops are liberating civilians from the control of terrorists and militants.

CHURCH: The statement goes on to warn that using the far-fetched and fabricated pretext for a military intervention in Syria, where Russian servicemen are deployed at the request of the legitimate government, is absolutely unacceptable and can lead to the most serious consequences.

HOWELL: Let's put all this into focus now with Scott Lucas. Scott is a professor of international politics at the University of Birmingham, live in Birmingham this hour.

It is good to have you with us. It was just a year and two days ago, Scott, that the U.S. president responded, sending U.S. rockets into Syria after a similar chemical attack there.

But last week, here is what he told his supporters about Syria. Listen.


DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We're knocking the hell out of ISIS. We will be coming out of Syria like very soon. Let the other people take care of it now.


HOWELL: And now the about-face, the president promising there will be a big price to pay, as the White House considers its next move. How do you suppose they, Scott, maneuver these many mixed messages?

SCOTT LUCAS, UNIVERSITY OF BIRMINGHAM: Well, first of all, you need to realize the context in which Donald Trump made that statement yesterday, reversing his position. He made that simply after watching television and seeing images of those who have been killed in the chemical attacks by the Assad regime.

And he responded emotively on Twitter. Now it is one thing to lash out on Twitter. It is another to make plans. So the question really is not is what Donald Trump doing but what is the Pentagon presenting to him in terms of American military options?

Now you refer to what happened last time, which was more than a year ago after a similar nerve agent attack in northwest Syria killed more than 90 people. The U.S. did fire on the airbase that launched that attack, almost 60 Tomahawk missiles.

But it's important what happened next because --


LUCAS: -- then for the next year, Russia and the Assad regime continued the attacks on opposition territory, including near Damascus, as we're seeing now, killing thousands more civilians and of course the U.S. didn't do anything at that point.

Instead, Donald Trump talked about withdrawal. What I think the options are, I think the Pentagon will give options to strike, for example, the Assad regime's military facilities, including the airbases. I think the broader option is whether the U.S. now will take an option that it could have taken six years ago and that is to join others in protected zones for civilians who remain outside of the regime's control.

In other words, an effective and protected no-fly zone, not only against the Assad regime but against the Russians.

HOWELL: Mr. Trump is receiving some criticism from his own Republican colleague, Senator John McCain, who said in a statement, "The president, by announcing that the U.S. would withdraw, Bashar al-Assad and his Russian and Iranian backers have heard him. And emboldened by American inaction, Assad has reportedly launched another chemical attack against innocent men, women and children, this time in Douma."

So the question here, what you make of the criticism that the Assad regime has been emboldened by the U.S. president, saying it's time to get out of there?

LUCAS: Well, and John McCain's been a long-time backer of the Syrian opposition and I respect what he says. But let's be clear. The Assad regime was emboldened back in 2013, when it carried out its first nerve agent attack, killing more than 1,400 people, and the international community didn't respond.

Instead Russia took the lead, steered the discussion into other areas to avoid a response to that chemical attack. Here we are, five years later, and Russia and the Assad regime did not carry out these attacks in the last three days (INAUDIBLE) killed more than 200 people because of what Donald Trump said last week.

They did it because they were not getting a full surrender and they effectively showed short of a full surrender, they will carry out these attacks, whatever the United States says.

The question is not what the U.S. says, the question is what the U.S. and in fact the U.K. and in fact other countries do. And I would say watch out for one thing in particular, George, and that is many of those people displaced in Syria, in fact, millions of them now live in opposition areas along the south and in the northwest. Those areas are controlled in part by Turkey.

Does the United States join with Turkey and say these people are beyond attack?

Now the problem with that, the challenge of that is if you do that, you effectively are saying that Syria is no longer a single country. But to protect civilian lives, that is the choice that you have in front of you.

HOWELL: All right, both the United States and France are promising a strong and joint response in the coming hours. The U.N. Security Council will hold an emergency meeting this Monday, of course, but given Russia's firm support of Syria and the failed track record of the U.N. making much of a difference in this conflict, what impact can the international community really make at this point?

LUCAS: Well it'll be rhetoric at the Security Council. The Russians -- and I'll use the nonacademic term now -- as they always do -- are lying. They are lying by saying that in fact there was no significant chemical attack or that the Assad regime didn't do it and they'll continue to do that.

The U.S., the U.K., other countries will criticize that. But what Russian will count on is that there will be no action beyond this.

Now France has said in recent months that if there's an attack with a chemical which is stronger than chlorine, and it looks like that is what happened this weekend, they will intervene militarily. The United States, at least with Donald Trump's tweet, is actually saying it will do so.

But you need to watch for this now for days and even weeks, and that is, is there a coordinated effort which is, one, to send a signal to the Assad regime that it can no longer carry out not only conventional attacks but chemical attacks, but also conventional attacks and, two, will that stance be maintained against Moscow?

And that the question we've had for five years and it is the question which is now drawn in sharp relief by what has happened this weekend.

HOWELL: 7:13 in the morning there in Birmingham, England, Scott Lucas, giving us context and perspective, thank you for your time today.

LUCAS: Thank you.

CHURCH: And coming up next on CNN NEWSROOM, a community comes together in grief after a deadly bus crash in Canada. We will have the details just ahead.






HOWELL: Activists are warning that Hungary could become more autocratic after Sunday's parliamentary election. Most of the votes have now been counted there. Right wing prime minister Viktor Orban appears to secure his third consecutive term.

CHURCH: His ruling coalition is projected to keep a supermajority in parliament. The prime minister campaigned heavily against immigrants and has widely criticized the European Union. This is what he told supporters Sunday.


VIKTOR ORBAN, HUNGARIAN PRIME MINISTER (through translator): First, I would like to congratulate the voters. Thank you for your participation. By turnout has cast aside all doubt.

There is a big battle behind us. We have won a crucial victory, got a chance, gave ourselves a chance to defend Hungary.


CHURCH: Mr. Orban has tried to create what he calls an illiberal democracy. Critics say he has undermined free media, civil society and judicial independence.

German police have detained several people now, who reportedly were planning a knife attack on Sunday's Berlin half-marathon.

HOWELL: That's according to a German newspaper. The popular event went on without incident. Police say the suspects are between 18 and 21 years old.

CHURCH: The paper adds the main suspect allegedly knew a Tunisian militant who killed 12 people in a Christmas market attack in Berlin back in 2016.

This comes barely a day after a truck slammed into a crowd in Muenster, Germany.


HOWELL: Two people were killed, 20 others injured. That when a driver plowed into a restaurant's open terrace then fatally shot himself on Saturday. Investigators now say he acted alone. CNN's Erin McLaughlin is in Muenster with the very latest on the investigation.


ERIN MCLAUGHLIN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): We still do not know why this happened, why a man acting alone plowed a van into a busy cafe, bringing horror to a sunny Saturday afternoon.

Police searched his van and his homes in East and West Germany.

Searches yielding few clues other than firecrackers, gas canisters and fake guns. They say they're chasing multiple leads. So far, no links to terror. No evidence of any political motive.

German media reports the suspect had a history of mental illness. Authorities say they're investigating that possibility.


HAJO KUHLISCH, CHIEF OF POLICE, MUNSTER POLICE DEPARTMENT (through translator): We cannot say that everything is finished. But what is very clear from the apartment search and the other related vehicles, also a container is that there is no indication of political background. We're assuming that the motives and causes are with the perpetrator himself.


MCLAUGHLIN: Authorities have yet to name the attacker other than to say he is 48 years old, German, lives in the area and had a record of petty crime. Police say that at the end of last month, he e-mailed his neighbor, making vague references to suicidal thoughts, but nothing to suggest a potential attack.

At least two people lost their lives in the attack. A 51-year-old woman and a 65-year-old man, 20 injured in this sleepy cathedral city shaken.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: One couldn't believe it. One had always felt, this cozy Muenster, everything happened all over the world, but we are safe here.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: People still are, you know, fighting for their life in the hospitals. And I think it's all these kind of things you feel with the people, you say my God, we could have sit here.


MCLAUGHLIN: Everyone here is now left with one simple question: why? With the attacker dead of an apparent suicide, some fear we may never

know for sure -- Erin McLaughlin, CNN, Muenster, Germany.


HOWELL: In Saskatchewan, Canada, a close-knit community is in mourning after a deadly bus crash that sent shockwaves across the nation.

CHURCH: Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau attended the emotional vigil for the 15 people who died after a tractor-trailer collided with a bus carrying a junior hockey team.

HOWELL: Fourteen people were injured. All the people were members of the Humboldt Broncos. Among them, 20-year-old Logan Schatz, the team captain.

CHURCH: Twenty-year-old Jackson Joseph. He is the son of former National Hockey League player Chris Joseph. And head coach, Darthy Haugen (ph).

HOWELL: Canadian police say they are investigating all aspects of this crash to figure out exactly what happened.

CHURCH: Israeli forces and Palestinian protesters clashed for the second straight weekend over Israel's blockade along the Gaza border.

HOWELL: CNN's Oren Liebermann has the very latest for us on that conflict.


OREN LIEBERMANN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: There is no question the border between Israel and Gaza remains tense after a second Friday of widespread protests along the security fence.

Sunday afternoon the Israeli military fired cross the border after they say three Palestinians crossed the fence into Israel, then crossed back into Gaza.

That gives you an idea of how sensitive the border area is right now. The most talked about story throughout the weekend has been the killing of Palestinian journalist Yaser Murtaja. Murtaja was wearing his press vest when he was shot and killed by Israeli forces on Friday according to the Palestinian ministry of health.

Hundreds attended his funeral including the head of Hamas in Gaza. Murtaja's death and eight others killed on Friday has amplified, of course, of international criticism against Israel, accusing Israel of using disproportionate and indiscriminate force against Palestinian protesters in Gaza.

Reporters Without Borders, an international media watchdog said it's clear that Israel fired intentionally at Murtaja.

In response to CNN the Israeli military said it does not intentionally target journalists. The military said quote, "The circumstances in which journalist were allegedly hit by the IDF fire are not familiar with the IDF and are being looked into."

Israel, meanwhile, holds Hamas responsible for orchestrating the violence along the Gaza border. Israeli officials have said those who were shot were attempting to carry out attacks or breach the security fence.

Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman said there were no innocent civilians. He called the demonstrations a terror parade. Since the widespread demonstration began at the end of March, 31 Gazans have been killed by IDF forces according to the Palestinian ministry of health. Hundreds more have been injured by a live fire.

PLO official Hanan Ashrawi slammed Israel's use of live fire in response to widespread Gaza protests, calling for international investigation into Israel's --


LIEBERMANN: -- actions.

Obviously, the situation remain very fluid now but already we're expecting more protests this coming Friday. That's true for every Friday from now until mid-May. Even if the numbers were down from the previous week, each of these protests still has the potential to spark a much bigger conflict -- Oren Liebermann, CNN, Jerusalem.


HOWELL: Oren, thank you.

Still ahead here on CNN NEWSROOM, more on the alleged chemical weapons attack in Syria. We will have the very latest for you.

CHURCH: Plus, will Facebook get a thumbs up or thumbs down when its CEO faces Congress this week?

A look at the issues facing the social media giant.




HOWELL: Live coast to coast across the United States from London to Sydney and all points in between, You're watching CNN NEWSROOM. Thanks for being with us. I'm George Howell.

CHURCH: And I'm Rosemary Church. It is time to update you on the main stories we've been following this hour.


[02:30:00] GEORGE HOWELL, CNN INTERNATIONAL ANCHOR: The small town in Saskatchewan, Canada. People there remembering the victims of a deadly bus crash with a vigil on Sunday. 15 people died when a tractor trailer collided with a bus carrying a junior hockey team. 14 of the people were injured. Canadian police are investigating the cause of that crash.

ROSEMARY CHURCH, CNN INTERNATIONAL ANCHOR: U.S. President Donald Trump is condemning the Syrian Government and its allies after an alleged chemical weapons attack in Douma. A warning some of the images here are very disturbing. Dozens of civilians were reportedly killed in Saturday's alleged attack. Syria's government denies it's responsible. The U.N. Security Council is set to hold an emergency session in the coming hours. Analyst Lt. Col. Rick Francona. Rick, good to see you. Now, according to rescuers, dozens of people were killed in Douma. Hundreds more were exposed to toxic gases, but Syria's government and Russia deny any involvements in this suspected chemical attack. But is there any other credible explanation for what happened particularly when you look at those images?

LT. COL. RICK FRANCONA (RET.), UNITED STATES AIR FORCE INTELLIGENCE OFFICER: No. There's no other explanation. If you look at where there is, this is -- this is the last remaining enclave to the east of Damascus. It's completely surrounding by Syrian ground forces. They're pounding it daily with artillery and air. They completely control all access to this area. If there was -- if there was any attack at all, it was done by the Syrians. I don't think there's any question about that.

CHURCH: Right. And of course, so we know now that the U.N. Security Council will hold an emergency meeting Monday, what do they need to do about this? How do they need to respond?

FRANCONA: Well, of course they're going to have to condemned the Syrians and no matter what action they try and take I believe that the Russians will veto it and the Syrians are emboldened by this because they know that the Russians not only support them militarily in the country but they also support them diplomatically on the international stage that includes the United Nations. So I don't expect anything to come out of the United Nations maybe other than -- maybe a commitment to launch an investigation. Somebody will start a study but nothing concrete is going to happen there.

CHURCH: Right. And President Donald Trump, he has condemned Syria, Russia, and Iran in the wake of this suspected chemical attack and he said on Twitter that there will be a big price to pay, what do you think he means by that?

FRANCONA: Well, you know, he's going to bash himself into a corner by making these statements. This is very similar to, you know, President Obama's redline. When you -- when you draw these lines, when you make these threats and you're challenged, you have to back them up. So now the president is probably going to have to order some reaction and I know the Pentagon is probably providing with a range of options be the initial strikes some of air strike. But he's almost force into action. Now, of course when you see those images on TV, it kind of -- you understand that we got to do something.

CHURCH: But -- and what would you expect to be the outcome here, the responsibility of the United States --

FRANCONA: Well, I think we'll probably do very much what we did a year ago. If you remember it's almost exactly one year when we launch the attack on Shayrat Airbase, the airbase responsible for the -- for the attack Khan Shaykhun. We may see a similar strike on whatever base they believe launched this attack (INAUDIBLE) dropped by helicopters (INAUDIBLE) anywhere. But you got to send a message to the Syrians. Will it have a military effect? No. Will it change the outcome? No. Are the Syrians going to win? Yes. But we cannot sit passively by whether to use these weapons on innocent people.

CHURCH: And according to state television, a deal was reached to evacuate rebels in there which of course means the government has won the entire Douma area back from the rebels. What does that tell you?

FRANCONA: This tells me that I am so confused Rosemary is to why the Syrians would do this knowing they're risking a retaliatory strike by the United States or other western countries when they didn't need to. They've won. It was only a matter of time before they reduce that pocket to nothing be it by just brute force or by the agreement that we know now that they reach, so why do it? Why incur the wrath of the rest of the world? It just makes no sense and I have to believe that the Russians would have been counseling them against this. But having spoken to several Russian military officers over the years, they say the Syrians don't always listen to their advice.

CHURCH: Rick Francona, we're always thankful for your military analysis. Thank you so much.

FRANCONA: Good to be with you, Rosemary.

HOWELL: Still ahead, Bill Cosby back in court this coming hours for his retrial, a look at the case against him.


[02:32:42] CHURCH: Welcome back everyone. Well, less than a year after Bill Cosby's trial ended in a hung jury, the TV legend is heading back to court for a retrial. HOWELL: He's facing three counts of aggravated indecent assault.

CHURCH: Opening statements are expected Monday in the Pennsylvania court room, but CCNs Jean Casarez explains the proceedings will also unfold in a different world.


JEAN CASAREZ, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: With the momentum of Me Too and public accusations against Hollywood.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I have been silenced for 20 years.

CASAREZ: Only one major celebrity has been charged with a felony sexual offense, America's dad Bill Cosby.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (INAUDIBLE) CASAREZ: The comedian and TV legend's retrial beginning now.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The atmosphere has shifted. It's not a very favorable time to be defending yourself against accusations of sexual assault.

CASAREZ: Charged with three counts of felony aggravated indecent assault, the 80-year-old Cosby could face a decade in prison if convicted. Prosecutors say in 2004 he assaulted this woman, Andrea Constand, at the time, the Director of Women's Basketball Operations at Temple University in Philadelphia. Diana Parsons is her sister and says it took a year before Constand said anything about what happened and went to police.

DIANA PARSONS, SISTER OF ANDREA CONSTAND: She said that she just knew she had to lie down and she said that Bill Cosby helped her to the couch. She said she really couldn't walk on her own.

CASAREZ: Constand told police Cosby drugged and sexually assaulted her at his home in Montgomery County, Pennsylvania. Cosby denied the allegations. The district attorney at the time said the case was weak.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Did I think that I could prove beyond reasonable doubt based on available, credible, and admissible evidence, no, I don't.

CASAREZ: No criminal charges against Cosby. Constand then filled a civil suit. Cosby testified in a sworn deposition before they reached a confidential settlement. Fast forward to 2015, that deposition was unsealed revealing Cosby had admitted giving drugs to women he wanted to have sex with.

[02:40:06] Prosecutors reopened the criminal investigation and days before the statute of limitations ran out, Cosby was charged in criminal court. Pennsylvania Defense Attorney Brian McMonagle represented Cosby from the beginning. He pleaded not guilty. A first trial last year ended in a hung jury.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: She's entitled to a verdict in this case.

CASAREZ: Now, a new trial with some big differences. A new defense team for Cosby lead by Tom Mesereau who got an acquittal in 2005 from Michael Jackson in his child molestation trial. Before representing Cosby in 2015, Mesereau told CNN how he would question Constand.

TOM MESEREAU, BILL COSBY'S LAWYER: The first thing I would ask her would be, what's more important to you, money or principle? Did you take money and walk away confidentially or did you take this to a jury and do it publicly?

CASAREZ: In the last trial, one other woman who said Cosby drugged and assaulted her was allowed to testify for the prosecution, Kelly Johnson.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I remembered waking up in a bed with Mr. Cosby naked beneath his open robe.

CASAREZ: In this trial, the judge says five prior accusers can take the stand. One who has been subpoenaed, former supermodel Janice Dickinson.


CASAREZ: The defense for instance once a witness by the name of Margaux Jackson to take the stand. She knew Andrea Constand and would testify. According to the defense that Constand said she could fabricate everything that Bill Cosby drugged her and sexually assaulted and then she could get a lot of money. Prosecutors say that is blatantly false. With no forensic evidence, the case is all about credibility. Jean Casarez, CNN Norristown, Pennsylvania.

HOWELL: Jean, thank you. Now, switching over to weather. It is that time of the year here in the States that is supposed to be spring, right?


HOWELL: But doesn't quite feel like spring.

CHURCH: It's resisting. And our meteorologist Pedram Javaheri joins us now with the latest and when we can expect to see spring appear?

HOWELL: Come on spring.

PEDRAM JAVAHERI, CNN INTERNATIONAL METEOROLOGIST: You know, across parts of the U.S., we had a very much spring like temperatures in February even in the beginning of March and it is all come to an end since then. So winter essentially happening a couple of months after it should have happen. At least for chunks of the United States but here's what it looks like. You take a look at the perspective. We're talking about snow showers across the Great Lakes, maybe not unheard of for the beginning or middle of April. But certainly this is going to extend a little further to the south and becomes somewhat unusual. In fact, notice the rain snowline into parts of Kentucky even parts of Northern Tennessee getting on the action and pretty impressive band of coverage there as far as the snow shower that are expect.

Not going to be a major player as far as accumulations are concerned but still disruptions. Absolutely going to be expected on the roadways into the early morning hours and again a quick move set to brings in some snow showers across portions let's say Pennsylvania on it to Western New York as well and the weather -- cold weather pushes in further towards the south. But incredible ratio when you take a look at the big temperature fluctuations in the recent months. Since the 1st of January, the U.S. has recorded 7300 record high temps, 6300 record low temps. Roughly a one to one ratio for every record high yet roughly a record low. But when you look at the last seven days, it has been a complete slipped off of that, 5620 record low temps have been set in the United States in the past week versus 18 record high temps.

That is a 31 to 1 ratio for every 31 record low temps, only one high temp has been coming in way above average for the record department. And here's the perspective here. Ridge of higher pressure out towards the west, Santa Ana then sending temps in Los Angeles climbing to the 80 the next couple of days while on the opposite end of the perspective, 10 to 20 below average and that had a really short lift here. We know the days are rather long also of course the sun angle quite high as well, so a mild setup as we go in towards Saturday. Look what lines up out there towards the northern portion of the U.S., guys. That is going in from Sunday into Monday of next week potentially another cold spell at that point by tax day across parts of the Eastern U.S. So it looks like spring is still going to be the latest (INAUDIBLE)


CHURCH: We don't like your weather report. All right. Thanks, Pedram. Hopefully, it will be different next hour.

JAVAHERI: I hope so maybe.

HOWELL: Pedram, thank you.

CHURCH: Thank you.

HOWELL: Still ahead here on NEWSROOM, the head of Facebook on the hot seat. How will Mark Zuckerberg do in front of the U.S. Congress? Take a look.


[02:46:53] JAVAHERI: Our weather forecast, you look at this, it almost resembles what you would see maybe in February, maybe even in the March. But certainly, the middle of April, you begin sees snow showers across the great lakes and frankly, quite a bit of snow for some of these areas expected over the next 24 hours.

It is a quick moving system but it does draw its far south as portion of the central and southern affiliations there, and all into parts of the Ohio Valleys, and these and snowfall to go around the next couple of days. So, how about this forecast to be take you in Chicago? To me, this is as impressive as a seven-day forecast for any time of year in Chicago, spells it up perfectly.

Snow showers, three degrees for a high temp there on Monday, easily climbs into the 20. Tells you the sunny goes high, the days are plenty long. And then, we get a dip in the jet stream and knows diving temperatures back down where we started. Well, below the average for this time of year. So, really shows you what we're dealing with, with this a pattern that's in place herewith potentially another round of wintery weather. But watching for potentially 15 or more centimeters of snow across this region the next couple of days.

Temps at three gone in Chicago. In Denver around 13 degrees, Atlanta at 17, Los Angeles beginning a warming (INAUDIBLE) take him up into a 30's eventually. And notice this, eventually, it looks like it wants to warm up, but look what happens going into the next couple of days, another dip in the jet stream that's been going to this upcoming weekend and then, the bottom drops out. To Southwestern U.S., there are warming trend in store.


CHURCH: Welcome back everyone. Along Tuesday, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, with both members of the U.S. Congress about the data controversy his company is facing. Information from some 87 million users was allegedly harvested by the data company Cambridge Analytica without their knowledge.

Meanwhile, the social media giant has announced more changes to its site to stop election meddling.

HOWELL: In a Facebook post on Friday, Zuckerberg, said this, "These steps by themselves won't stop all people from trying to game the system. But they will make it a lot harder for anyone to do what the Russians did during the 2016 election and use fake accounts and pages to run ads." CNN's Laurie Segall sorts it all out. What this means for your newsfeed?

LAURIE SEGALL, CNN SENIOR TECHNOLOGY CORRESPONDENT: Hi, there. Well, Facebook announcing a number of changes to combat election meddling. It's a push for more transparency around advertising and the social media company will now actually begin labeling all political and issue ads. And there are also the part of these going to show who paid for those ads and require anyone who wants to run a political or issue ad to verify their identity and location. So, there have to be approved in order to do this.

Now, this is an expansion from Facebook's par moves. This measures if you want to apply to a political ads, so, ad missioning candidates. But, you know, this expansion also covers issue ads which -- if you think about issue ads, they cover hot bottom issues that don't even mention candidates. So I think, gun control or education -- you know, as part of this, the company also announced a searchable database for users can actually see how much the ads cost, and also what kinds of people, advertisers are targeting. This is more about more transparency.

And one more move which is actually pretty interesting, the company is going to start verifying the people behind pages if they have a big following. So, think about pages like the topics or organizations that you like on Facebook.

And then, think about 2016, Russian trolls actually used pages to post as Americans on different sides of the political spectrum to create division in America. Facebook found out about this after the fact. Now, you know, this news is coming as Sheryl Sandberg, made a media rounds. She was asked a lot of tough questions. One question she was asked about -- you know, will the company find more issues when it came to user data? Let's hear what she said.


[02:50:52] SHERYL SANDBERG, CHIEF OPERATING OFFICER, FACEBOOK: We'll be warned focus enough on was protecting. Because that same data that you been able to use social experiences can also be misused. SEGALL: Do you think, there could be other breaches like the one we saw in Cambridge Analytica, where tens of millions of people's data was accessed improperly?

SANDBERG: We're doing an investigation, we're going to do audits and yes, we think it's possible. That's why we're doing the audit --

SEGALL: And all of this is coming before a monumental week for Facebook. You know, the CEO Mark Zuckerberg, will be testify before Congress on Tuesday and Wednesday. They'll have lawmakers posing very challenging question to Mark, about the company's used of data and why that the Cambridge Analytica scandal, and everything that's come out. And also, weaponization of the platform for political purposes. Back to you.


HOWELL: To talk more about this, let's bring in Logan Young. Logan, the co-founder of BlitzMetrics. Logan, it's good to have you here on the show this hour. This week, we will see the young leader of one of the most powerful companies in the world testifying for on the both the House and Senate. This is less about actual legislation, it's more about tough questions.

There may even be some grandstanding? Going into this, do you this ad a thumbs up moment for Mark Zuckerberg to change public perception? Or, should he consider the thumbs down button as he gets into this?

LOGAN YOUNG, CO-FOUNDER, BLITZMETRICS: So, I'm not sure his getting like in the government that he's looking for. So far, Mark, he's been very apologetic, but when he goes to testify this week, it's time for a show me, don't tell me approach. And Mark is OK when import regulations. But it doesn't (INAUDIBLE) as for the government have to step in, get their hands involved, and be done with the one who enforce regulations.

As long as Facebook is continue push the piece itself, I think Mark would be happy, and ultimately, how it has prepared and what he's able to test by will determine that moving forward.

HOWELL: It's interesting. And so, it's likely, we will hear Zuckerberg point to the many changes that Facebook has rolled out over the past few weeks. Things like tightening restrictions on third party, data providers and more transparency with political ads, and people's personal data. Do you think that's enough to convince lawmakers that there is a quick fix for Facebook's problems? Or -- are these challenges just beyond the scope of a simple engineering act?

YOUNG: So, it's a good question. I do think it will be enough. Facebook is been very proactive. Like you mention, they've already made some changes. Starting tomorrow, on Monday, there'll be making more when users log in. You'll be on to see just what apps can access your data.

First thing last weekend, Tinder was down. Many people use Tinder to, of course, pull they're profile pictures and information from Facebook. So, we seen a lot of changes already happening, and I think the government, hopefully, it's not really a Facebook problem is the issue. It's a regulation problem. because other flat players and the flat and the space like Google, Amazon, Apple, will start come to data.

So, the thing is, is not just Facebook, it's on their some regulation place across the board that I think the problem will be solved.

HOWELL: We're actually hearing from some lawmakers about what they will have to say this week about Facebook. Here is one example, we'll talk about on the other side.


SEN. JOHN KENNEDY (R-LA), SENATE JUDICIARY COMMITTEE: I don't want to hurt Facebook. I don't want to regulate them half to death. But we have a problem, our promised digital Utopia has minefields in it. Mr. Zuckerberg has not exhausted himself being forthcoming.

We had one hearing. Mr. Zuckerberg sent his lawyer. Very bright, very articulate. Could talk a dog off a meat wagon. But he didn't say anything. My biggest worry with all of this is that the privacy issue, and what I call, called the propaganda's issue are both too big for Facebook to fix.


HOWELL: So, Logan, Zuckerberg has admitted the Facebook could have done more. He has apologized but still points the finger to Cambridge Analytica. Do you think that lawmakers will be satisfied with what they have heard so far, his apology?

YOUNG: I don't know they'll be totally satisfied because look, the more Facebook has told us as they have been trying to give us answers, all its done is filled in more questions. Where people are saying, "Wait, your calling data from where? And how many capabilities that you have?

Initially, when we think at the 2016 election, Zuckerberg was asked, is that possible any kind of gap to the questions that would arguably crazy? And since that Patrick (INAUDIBLE) say actually came this did happen? This did happen? This did happen?

So, it's no surprise that they're trying a bit bold because people don't understand the data capabilities that Facebook and other players have. So, I was starting to have a light shine on that. But it's again, this giving us more questions so, the more we know, the more we want to find out how did this problem would goes.

[02:55:28] HOWELL: All right. So, Logan, very quickly, here still a lot of focus and attention will be on Mark Zuckerberg. But what about people in general just understanding that the rules, the terms, and conditions, before they opt into these things.

YOUNG: So, there is a big education gap that exists in Facebook and between its users. We're going to start to see everything that previously, has been kind of hidden in the shadows and the fine print. Now, it's going to be shown in front of the light. So, when you go into an app, and you try to air information through Facebook, when you log into Facebook, when you see ads in your (INAUDIBLE) that are political, all of that is going to be a way more broadly known so that the user -- innocent, he doesn't understand data, he doesn't understand the back in the Facebook. They're going to understand that, yes, you are access my data. And Facebook is trying very hard to break the educations that gap that exist.

HOWELL: Logan Young, the co-founder of BlitzMetrics. We appreciate your today, thank you.

YOUNG: Thanks, George.

CHURCH: I'm Rosemary Church.

HOWELL: And I'm George Howell, let's reset more news at the top of the hour. Stay with us.


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