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Peace Meeting Between Rivals Finally Comes; Macron Laid Out Differences of Policies; White House in Full Support for V.A. Nominee; Golden State Killer Now in Custody. Aired 3-4a ET

Aired April 26, 2018 - 03:00   ET



ROSEMARY CHURCH, HOST, CNN: The table is set for diplomacy, but will the leaders of North and South Korea make any progress on their issues?

Plus, what a difference a day makes. French President Emmanuel Macron takes a swipe at U.S. Donald Trump's policies after showering him with praise.

And the New York Times isn't where you'd normally read a comic strip, but a cartoon series about Syrian refugees just snapped up one of journalism's top honors, and we will tell you the story behind it.

Hello and welcome to our viewers joining us from all around the world. I'm Rosemary Church, and this is CNN Newsroom.

We are less than 24 hours away from an historic moment on the Korean peninsula. North Korea's Kim Jong-un will walk across the military demarcation line into South Korea for unprecedented face-to-face talks with President Moon Jae-in, making Kim the first North Korean leader to visit the South.

The two sides have been rehearsing every little detail in the border village of Panmunjom. The main meeting room in the peace house has even undergone a makeover, specifically for this summit.

CNN's Paula Hancocks joins us now from near the DMZ. So, Paula, we are hearing this much anticipated Korean summit will be a made for TV moment. How is it all going to play out and what are all the highlights we need to look out for?

PAULA HANCOCKS, CORRESPONDENT, CNN: Well, Rosemary, this will be broadcast live on television we are hearing from the South Korean side. So, you're right, it is a made for TV moment. The Blue House here in South Korea really appreciating just how historic this moment is.

Now, I spoke to a friend of President Moon Jae-in. He was saying that at this point the president feels the world's pressure on his shoulders. He knows how important it is that this goes well.

Of course, the key thing on the agenda is denuclearization and figuring out what each side understands from that word and making sure they have a clear concept on what they are trying to work towards. And certainly, President Moon appreciates that he does have two previous summits to learn lessons from.


HANCOKS: It was a powerful image, the leader of two countries that torn each other apart 50 years earlier embracing and smiling. The 2000 summit between North Korea's Kim Jong-il made and South Korea's Kim Dae-jung made history. But Kim Dae-jung son said it was a massive gamble for South Korea.

"Unlike other summits," he says, "where you workout the agenda in advance, there were no pre talks. The North said, just come, everything will be fine. My father said Kim Jong-il did not want to concede anything. He had to really convince me, even joking saying, I'm much older than you and I came all the way from Pyongyang. If I leave empty-handed, I will lose face."

The summit ended with a June 15th declarations signed by both leaders pushing for humanitarian and economic cooperation.

A visit later that year by then then-Secretary of the State Madeleine Albright intended to lay the groundwork for a a visit by a U.S. President Bill Clinton, which never came.

"If Clinton had a little more time, if he had visited North Korea," Kim says, "it would have had a huge impact on peace in this region. My father really regretted it never happened."

One lesson learned, President Moon Jae-in is starting early, meeting Kim Jong-un within the first year of his presidency, his goal, his office said, is to complete the whole denuclearized process within his five-year term.

Two thousand seven, the second inter-Korean summit, this time Kim Jong-il met Roh Moo-hyun, the President Roh walking across the border, another historic first.

A further agreement signed with Kim Jong-il pledging to work towards a permanent peace. One top diplomat who met Kim Jong-il before the second summit says that his son Kim Jong-un is in a fast stronger position having developed his nuclear and missile programs and that feeling of security could help.

[03:05:10] CHUNG DONG-YOUNG, FORMER SOUTH KOREAN MINISTER OF UNIFICATION: The third South inter-Korean summit meeting would be a historic turning point that led the two Koreas from hatred and confrontation to reconciliation and cooperation.

HANCOCKS: One source of optimism for supporters of the first two summits is U.S. President Donald Trump agreeing to meet Kim Jong-un, ensuring some kind of momentum. But some more conservative elements question whether the lesson to be learned is whether you can trust North Korea.

(END VIDEOTAPE) HANCOCKS: So, Rosemary, running you through what exactly what we are

expecting tomorrow, 9.30 a.m. local time Friday, 8.30 p.m. Eastern on Thursday, we are going to see Kim Jong-un, the North Korea leader walking towards the MDL, the military demarcation line in the DMZ that splits North and South Korea. He will meet President Moon there -- Moon Jae-in there of South Korea, and he will then step across that lip of concrete, which is the MDL, that will be the first time ever that a North Korean leader has done that.

They will then be welcomed by traditional South Korean guards from the army, the navy and the air force, and then they will start an official welcoming ceremony.

Now, the ceremony itself will take place within the peace house which is about 200 meters from the MDL, and about 10.30 in the morning. That's when the real work starts. That's when the summit really starts to hammer out the details between these two leaders.

That part, of course, will not be broadcast live. We're being told lunch will be taken separately. And then in the afternoon they are going to plant a tree that has aged from 1953, the year the Korean War ended. And it's very symbolic we're being told, there will be soil from North Korea and South Korea to plant this tree. Water from a river in North Korea and a river in South Korea to water this tree.

So, they are really trying to show the symbolism of the two Koreas coming together. Then, more of the summit before closing statements or some kind of an agreement, possibly an announcement. It really depends how the leaders feel we are being told by the Blue House, Rosemary.

CHURCH: Yes. Very historic moment, incredible images. But of course, the big question is whether any progress will be made beyond these historic photo ops. So what are the expectations on that point?

HANCOCKS: Well, what we understand from the South Korean side is they appreciate the main thing that they have to nail down is what does denuclearization mean. The United States and South Korea, for them, they say that it is the complete verifiable irreversible denuclearization of North Korea.

But I have yet to find an expert on North Korea that truly believes Kim Jong-un is going to give up all of his nuclear weapons. So, there is an assumption that there is a gap between the understanding of what both sides are aiming for here.

Now apparently, they tried to hammer this out within working level talks. It simply wasn't possible. So it is up to the two leaders to decide what they're aiming for, Rosemary.

CHURCH: And we will be watching every moment there. Our Paula Hancocks near the DMZ area there at just 4.10 in the afternoon. We thank you so much for that.

Well, there were many displays of camaraderie between the French and U.S. presidents during Emmanuel Macron's visit to Washington. But it was also clear the two men are far apart on major issues. In his speech to the U.S. Congress that was interrupted repeatedly by

ovations and cheers, Mr. Macron outlined their differences on climate change, trade and globalism.


EMMANUEL MACRON, PRESIDENT OF FRANCE: We can choose isolationism, withdrawal, and nationalism. This is an option. It can be tempting to us as a temporary remedy to our fears. But closing the door to the world will not stop the evolution of the world. It will not douse that inflame the fears of our citizens.


CHURCH: President Macron's primary goal this trip was to convince President Donald Trump to stay in the Iran nuclear deal. Reports say he told reporters he expects Mr. Trump to get rid of the deal for his own domestic reasons.


MACRON (through translator): I had no inside information on what Trump might be deciding for the Iranian nuclear deal, just like you do, I listen to what President Trump is saying and it seems to me he's not eager to defend it.

Do I take it personally? No. I believe that it is a campaign commitment and I do not know what the American decision will be. The comments by Trump as it seems to me, won't do much to preserve the JCPOA.


CHURCH: And for more on this, Sophie Pedder joins us now, she is the Paris bureau chief for The Economist. Good to have you with us.


[03:09:57] CHURCH: So after all the hugs, kisses and hand holding, Macron appeared to turn on the U.S. president Wednesday in his speech to Congress when he attacked Mr. Trump's position on the Iran nuclear deal, climate change, and trade along with other policy issues.

What was that all about? And what was the strategy behind first thee romancing of Trump and then the attack?

PEDDER: I don't see it as turning on Trump. I mean, you know, Macron arrives in the U.S. with pretty much directly opposing views on most subjects. And he knew that. And Trump and he have discussed this in the past. You know, he came to France a year ago, so this isn't news.

I think what Macron was trying to do was to, you know, sort of give him a double strategy. On the one hand, to try to charm him, to establish the fact that they do have a relationship. That they do find a way to connect, you know, these two outsiders who came from nowhere, to sort of seize the president in each country. But at the same time to try and, you know, coax him or take a stick to

try to beat him on some of those subjects that they -- that Macron feels pressured about and that he feels that Trump is actually in an obstructing progress. And that goes for everything from Iran to climate change, the Paris climate deal.

So I think this is very typical of Macron. This is the sort of way he approaches world leaders with whom he has great differences. He's done the same with Vladimir Putin in Russia, you know, whom he pretty much berated in front of him, having invited him to their side last year. He then described Russia media organs of propaganda in Russian media.

This is something that Macron does. You know, it's a high-risk gamble because it may result in nothing and Macron seemed to backtrack a little bit in terms of the optimism yesterday about Iran.


PEDDER: But it is what -- it is the way he operates.

CHURCH: Yes, I mean, that is the problem, isn't it? Because on Tuesday, we were led to believe that some progress may have been made with Mr. Trump on the Iran nuclear deal specifically, at least in the form of a new extended agreement. But that doesn't appear to be the case now. Macron says Mr. Trump won't do much to preserve the Iran deal.

So, what happened there? That was the main goal, after all of Macron when he came here to the United States.

PEDDER: It was and, you know, he did seem to scale back his hopes in the comments he made yesterday at the end of his three-day visit. At the same time, you know, the way I see Macron's foreign policy, he's a pragmatist. He keeps it going. His main -- he says sometimes I win, sometimes I lose, sometimes I will convince Trump to change his mind, sometimes I won't.

You know, that isn't going to be, I don't think, seen by Macron as a huge loss or disappointment. I think that the expectations were quite low for this trip. The main thing for him I think is that he wants to be seen to be trying, you know. And for the French domestic audience the important thing for him is to be seen to put France back on the map, you know, to be a country that counts again, which it hasn't really been for the last few years.

So, I think that, you know, even if he can't get concrete results, at least in the short term he will still be seen in France, and possibly in the rest of the world, thank to the speech he made to Congress as, you know, a leader who is emerging on the world scene as someone who defends liberal values and the liberal western order.

CHURCH: Indeed. And of course, on Friday, Germany's Angela Merkel will meet with Mr. Trump and we shall see what progress is made on the Iran nuclear deal with the two of them. So, Sophie Pedder, thank you so much for joining us. We appreciate it.

PEDDER: Thank you.

CHURCH: Well, if Russian defectors living in the U.S. have felt someone was watching them, they may be right. CNN has learned that some of the recently expelled Russian diplomats were suspected spies who had been tracking their former countrymen.

CNN's Evan Perez has this exclusive report.

EVAN PEREZ, JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT, CNN: Among the 60 Russian diplomats expelled by the Trump administration in recent weeks were suspected spies who were thought to be tracking Russian defectors and their families in the United States.

Sources tell us that at least one instance, suspected Russian spies were thought to be trying to case someone who was part of a CIA program that provides new identities to protect resettled Russians. Now this raised concerns among FBI counterintelligence investigators that the Russians were preparing to possibly target emigrates that the Kremlin considers to be traitors or enemies.

Now those concerns have increased after the poison attack on a former Russian spy and his daughter living in the United Kingdom. British and U.S. officials have blamed the Russians for the attack using a nerve agent. The Russian embassy didn't respond to a request for comment for the story. The CIA and the White House declined to comment.

The U.S. officials say that the Russian government appears emboldened to attack critics in western countries and that's changing how the U.S. and other countries protect sources who the Kremlin might be trying to target.

[03:15:02] Evan Perez, CNN, Washington.

CHURCH: To another story we're watching very carefully, Dr. Ronny Jackson denies he once wrecked a government car while he was drunk. That's just the latest allegation against Donald Trump's pick to lead the Veterans Affairs Department.

CNN's Pamela Brown has the details.

PAMELA BROWN, SENIOR WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT, CNN: The president's pick to lead the Department of Veteran Affairs is vowing to fight on.


RONNY JACKSON, PRESIDENT TRUMP'S PHYSICIAN: I can answer the questions absolutely. I'm looking forward to rescheduling the hearing and answering everyone's questions.


BROWN: Despite the numerous allegations surfacing over past inappropriate behavior.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) JON TESTER, (D) UNITED STATES SENATOR: There are very serious accusations where there's a prescription drugs handing out like it was a candy or whether it's intoxication or whether it's toxic work environment.


BROWN: The top senate affairs committee telling CNN Jackson was known as the candy man inside the White House and passed out prescription drugs on international flights. It's something Jackson has spoken about before.


JACKSON: I recommend that everyone on the plane take a sleep aid at certain times so that we can try our best to get on the schedule of our destination.


BROWN: The White House calling that claim unfair.


MARC SHORT, WHITE HOUSE DIRECTOR OF LEGISLATIVE AFFAIRS: Every year they come in and they do review the White House physician's office on things like prescriptions and every year they said that he's totally in compliance with what he's been prescribing.


BROWN: Jackson also facing an allegation that during an overseas trip in 2015 he was intoxicated and banged on the hotel door of a female employee according to four sources familiar with the incident.


TESTER: We have confirmed it with the people who have told us and, quite frankly, moving forward we just need to do more finding of sources to finding it out.

I mean, the bottom line is, there's over 20 people that have come forward. These are active military people, retired military people who actually put their jobs on the line if their name becomes public.


BROWN: Yesterday, Trump giving Jackson a chance to lead the nomination process.


DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I really don't think personally he should do it. But it's his -- I would stand behind him. Totally his decision.


BROWN: Jackson later met with Trump and it was decided he would not withdraw. The White House now working to salvage Jackson's reputation and nomination including releasing handwritten notes from Trump, calling him two-star material.

And one from President Obama in 2014, asking for Jackson to be immediately promoted. But Republicans on Capitol Hill are growing frustrated with the lack of information coming from the White House.


JEFF FLAKE, (R) UNITED STATES SENATOR: A lot of us have questions about lack of experience. We obviously didn't know about any of these allegations.


BROWN: And saying the vetting process is partially to blame.


LINDSEY GRAHAM, (R) UNITED STATES SENATOR: All I can say is that there's been a history here of people coming to the Hill not very well vetted.

BOB CORKER, (R) UNITED STATES SENATOR: Maybe in his particular case, a better job should have been done.


BROWN: The Trump administration defending its vetting of Jackson today, saying he has had four independent background investigations during his time at the White House.


SANDERS: Dr. Jackson's record as a White House physician has been impeccable. In fact, because Dr. Jackson has worked within arm's reach of three presidents, he has received more vetting than most nominees.


CHURCH: And that report from Pamela Brown in Washington.

Well, President Trump's personal attorney says he will plead the fifth. Michael Cohen filed papers on Wednesday saying he will invoke his right under t U.S. Constitution's Fifth Amendment against self- incrimination.

It concerns his involvement in a hush money deal involving porn star Stormy Daniels and the president. He cited an ongoing criminal investigation in New York. Daniels' attorney called Cohen's declaration, quote, "stunning and unprecedented for a president's lawyer." We'll take a short break here. But still to come, hear arguments from

inside the U.S. Supreme Court over the Trump travel ban. Will the president's own words on the campaign trail doom one of his most divisive policies?

Plus, to catch a serial killer, it has taken 40 years. California police say the Golden State killer is finally behind bars. We're back with that in just a moment.


CHURCH: Welcome back, everyone. Well, U.S. Homeland Security has a warning for a group of Central Americans who have been traveling north. It says if anyone enters the country illegally, makes a false immigration claim or koshers an individual to make a false claim, they will be prosecuted.

Hundreds of migrants have camped out in Tijuana near the U.S. border, hoping to seek asylum in the U.S. Some told CNN they spent weeks traveling in difficult conditions to escape violence and poverty in their home country.

The annual caravan organized by activists is used to highlight the plight of migrants.

Well, U.S. President Trump may score a big win on his controversial travel ban at America's highest court. Conservative justices and swing vote Justice Anthony Kennedy signaled support for the president's case during oral arguments.

The ban restricts visitors from five Muslim majority countries plus North Korea and Venezuela.

Our Jessica Schneider has more now from Washington.


JESSICA SCHNEIDER, CORRESPONDENT, CNN: President Trump's travel ban is finally being judged by the nine justices on the nation's highest court after nearly a year and a half of different versions winding their way through the lower courts.

And initial chaos, the justices are considering whether the president has the authority to issue that travel ban. Arguments open with questions and hypotheticals about how much the president's word matter.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Let's say in some future time a president gets elected who is a vehement anti-Semite. What emerges is a proclamation that says no one shall enter from Israel. This is an out of the box kind of president in my hypothetical.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We don't have those, your honor.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: And, yes, he thinks that there are good diplomatic reasons and there might -- who knows what the future holds.


SCHNEIDER: Solicitor General Noel Francisco argued the president's comments on the campaign trail--


TRUMP: Donald J. Trump is calling for a total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States.


SCHNEIDER: -- should be dismissed since they came from a private citizen and that while the president lashed out when his first two bans were struck down by lower courts--


TRUMP: We're going to fight this terrible ruling.


SCHNEIDER: Francisco said the president never intended this latest ban to be a Muslim ban.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He has made crystal clear that Muslims in this country are great Americans and there are many, many Muslim countries who love this country, and he has praised Islam.


SCHNEIDER: That it's crystal clear is still a question. The president only tweeted this following his third and final ban in September. "We will not admit those into our country we cannot safely vet."

The government argued the current travel ban underwent a lengthy security review and that the president has the authority to implement immigration restrictions to safeguard national security.

And while Justice Kennedy early in the arguments probed the president's words, in the end he also acknowledged protecting country is well within the president's purview.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: For such period as he deems necessary and he can have continuing supervising over whether it's still necessary.


CHURCH: Jessica Schneider reporting from Washington.

A Danish inventor has been sentenced to life in prison for the murder and mutilation of Swedish journalist Km Wall. Peter Madsen has denied killing Wall claiming her death was an accident. But he admitted to dismembering her body and disposing of it.

[03:24:57] Wall was last seen in August on a submarine Madsen built. She planned to interview him for an article. Madsen is appealing the verdict to Denmark's high court.

A California man has been charged with eight counts of murder, but that's likely only the beginning. Police say 72-year-old Joseph James DeAngelo is the Golden State killer, and is believed to have killed 12 people and raped more than 50 in a crime spree that stretches back four decades.

Our Dan Simon has the details.

DAN SIMON, CORRESPONDENT, CNN: What a scene here in the neighborhood where police are going through the suspect's house collecting evidence. Now, we know this arrest of Joseph James DeAngelo came about after authorities collected what they described as discarded DNA from the suspect.

Now whether that was from the suspect's trash or by some other means, we don't know. But it was matching DNA that allowed police to say that they have, in fact, captured the Golden State killer.

Now this is somebody who really terrorized much of the state beginning in 1976 that lasted for a decade. He is accused of committing at least 12 murders, 45 rapes and more than 100 robberies.

Police aren't saying what ultimately led them to collect DeAngelo's DNA, but they say the case against him developed over the last six days, and once they were ready to make an arrest, police staked out his home and got him as he was leaving the house.

They said he seemed very surprised by the apprehension. Now, DeAngelo himself, was a police officer for two law enforcement agencies in the area, but he was fired from his last department in 1985 for shoplifting. How he was able to elude authorities for so long and whether his law enforcement background played a role we do not know, but authorities ultimately said they were looking for a needle in the haystack, but they knew the needle was there.

Dan Simon, CNN, Sacramento.

CHURCH: No verdict yet in the retrial of comedian Bill Cosby. He is charged with three counts of aggravated indecent assault. Andrea Constand, a former employee with the Temple University women's basketball team, says Cosby drugged and sexually assaulted her back in 2004. But Cosby's attorneys call the interaction consensual.

The jury asked the judge Wednesday what is the legal definition of consent? He said they need to decide what it means to them. The jury returns for more deliberation in the coming hours.

We'll take a short break here, but still to come, the former FBI director takes some tough questions at a CNN town hall. Why James Comey says he thinks Donald Trump is just making stuff up.

Plus, the U.S. president's one night in Moscow, new reporting on what compromising information the Kremlin may have on the U.S. president.

We're back in just a moment.


ROSEMARY CHURCH, CNN NEWSROOM HOST: Welcome back to our viewers joining us from all around the world. I'm Rosemary Church and this is CNN Newsroom. Let's update you now on the main stories we've been following.

French President Emmanuel Macron believes he is made some progress in changing Donald Trump's thinking on the Iran nuclear agreement. But he still doesn't think the U.S. President will do much to preserve the deal. A key goal of Mr. Macron's visit to Washington was to convince Mr. Trump to stay in the pact.

Dr. Ronny Jackson denies he once wrecked a government car while he was drunk. That is just the latest allegation against Donald Trump's pick to lead the Veteran's Affairs Department. Whistleblowers claim Jackson drank on the job and handed out prescription drugs like candy.

Less than 24 hours from now, Kim Jong-un will make history. He will walk across the military demarcation line into South Korea, becoming the first North Korean leader to do so. Kim will be met by South Korea's President Moon Jae-in and the leaders will sit down for an unprecedented summit.

Well, South Korea's foreign minister says diplomacy has been moving fast leading up to this historic event. Our Christiane Amanpour talked to her.


CHRISTIANE AMANPOUR, CHIEF INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT, CNN: Are you surprised by how quickly this moment has arrived? And let's face it, just four months ago Kim Jong-un was talking about pressing nuclear buttons from his desk and President Trump was responding in kind.

KANG KYUNG-WHA, SOUTH KOREA'S FOREIGN MINISTER: I feel like somebody stepped on the accelerator at the beginning of the year and it's been nonstop since then.

AMANPOUR: How do you account for it?

KYUNG-WHA: Clearly, you know, credit goes to President Trump. He is been determined to come to grips with this from day one.


CHURCH: And you can see the full interview with the foreign minister of South Korea on Amanpour that is 7:00 p.m. in London, 2:00 p.m. in New York. Don't miss that. Well, the British Prime Minister is facing her most difficult test yet

on Brexit. The House of Commons is set to debate whether to remain in the Customs Union with Europe. It's one of the most contentious issues of the Brexit debate, but outside of the U.K. a lot of people don't know why and what exactly is the Customs Union. Our Phil Black explains.


PHIL BLACK, CNN CORRESPONDENT: The Customs Union is a club of countries focused on one goal. Smooth trading, making it easy to move goods across borders by removing customs checks and charges. The members agree they won't hit each other with custom duties, while setting common tariffs, they all impose on products imported from outside the group. But membership also usually restricts each country's freedom to strike their own individual trade deals with nonmembers.

Together, the European Union's 28 plus Monaco make up the biggest Customs Union in the world. The question of Britain's status within that trade block after it leaves the E.U. has become one of Brexit's most divisive issues. On one side, those arguing for a clean break.

THERESA MAY, BRITISH PRIME MINISTER: The British people voted to leave the European Union. In voting to leave the European Union. They voted to leave the single market and Customs Union. We will -- what we want to ensure is that we as a country are able to negotiate independently negotiate free trade deals around the rest of the world.

BLACK: Remainders and supporters of what has been called South Brexit believes staying in the Customs Union will ensure frictionless trade with their closest neighbors and they believe that is more important than new deals with far away countries like Japan or China.

IAN BLACKFORD, SCOTTISH NATIONAL PARTY, MP: The Prime Minister's own government analysis shows almost every sector of the economy and every region of the United Kingdom would be negatively impacted if the U.K. leaves the Customs Union.

BLACK: The Irish border is a further complication. In a no deal scenario, a hard border between Ireland and Northern Ireland is guaranteed, meaning customs checks on both sides, pews and tariffs and a risk to peace in the region.

Some British M.P.'s believe staying in the Customs Union is the only way to ensure that doesn't happen after Brexit. The debate over Customs Union membership has divided Britain's parliament and the ruling conservative party.

The challenge for Prime Minister Theresa May is finding a way forward while holding her fragile minority government together. Phil Black, CNN, London.


CHURCH: Facebook is raking it in. The social media giant has posted its first quarter earnings, $12 billion in revenue in the first three months of 2018.

[03:35:00] In other words, Facebook crushed expectations. It appears the data privacy scandal that put founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg in the hot seat has had no negative financial effect. So much for he delete Facebook campaign, right?

Well, former FBI Director James Comey says Donald Trump is just making stuff up when he claims Comey leaked confidential memos and broke the law. Comey answered questions at a CNN town hall Wednesday night. He says the memo he gave to a friend back in 2016 was not classified, and there's no credible claim he violated the law. Comey also says he found it suspicious when the President repeatedly denied spending the night in Moscow after the Miss Universe pageant in 2013.


JAMES COMEY, FBI DIRECTOR: It's always significant when someone lies to you, especially about something you're not asking about. It tends to reflect a consciousness of guilt as we would say in law enforcement.

ANDERSON COOPER, BREAKING NEWS SHOW HOST: You noticed that in past interactions as a prosecutor, if someone is lying about stuff you haven't asked about, that is a tell?

COMEY: Right, two tells. If they bring things up you didn't ask about and if they bring it up and make a false statement about it, it's not definitive, but it certainly makes you very concerned about what might be going on there.


CHURCH: And that trip to Moscow in 2013 is central to the rumors that the Russians may have compromising information on Mr. Trump. CNN's Brian Todd has more on that.


BRIAN TODD, CNN CORRESPONDENT: James Comey is continuing his media rounds. The fired FBI Director keeping afloat the possibility that Vladimir Putin has so-called kompromat on President Trump. The Russian phrase for compromising information.

COMEY: I honestly never thought these words would come out of my mouth, but I don't know whether the current President of the United States was with prostitutes peeing on each other in Moscow in 2013, it's possible, but I don't know.

TODD: Just after that interview aired, the Trump administration held back on sanctioning Russia. Its ambassador to the U.N. Nikki Haley first stating that sanctions would be leveled.

NIKKI HALEY, U.S. AMBASSADOR TO THE UNITED NATIONS: You will see that Russian sanctions will be coming down.

TODD: Then the next day the White House said no new sanctions. The Trump team said sanctions might come later, but the move still led to some head scratching.

JAMES GOLDGEIER, COUNCIL ON FOREIGN RELATIONS: We're trying to understand, why does Trump treat Putin so gently? He is got all these derogatory nicknames for everybody else. But why is he so gentle on Putin. And this is one of the things we've come up with. Well, Putin must have something on him.

TODD: Both Trump and Putin denied that there is any Russian kompromat on Trump. A key question now, if he has damaging information, what would push Vladimir Putin to use it against the President?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: If Putin were to come to the conclusion that we are intent on actually overthrowing his government, his regime, destabilizing Russia, in other words, if he is in an extreme position and he is going to employ all means necessary to fight back, that might be a situation where he were to do that.

TODD: Kompromat has long been used by the KGB. In the 1950s, the soviet spy agency had pictures of a British diplomat in Moscow, John Vassall, engaging in homosexual activity at a time when that was illegal in Britain. The KGB used those pictures to get Vassall to spy for them.

GOLDGEIER: If they have something on you and you don't want it out there in the public, then they can try to get you to do things for them that you might not otherwise do. And, of course, Putin is a former KGB agent.

TODD: But intelligence veterans say it would also be advantageous for Putin not to use his kompromat on Trump, to leave it hanging over the President's head.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Information like that is most effective when it' not actually deluge, when you don't actually employ it. The threat of using it is the leverage that you have over the individual that you're trying to blackmail.

TODD: It is also possible that Trump could have kompromat on Putin. Analyst say the U.S. government might have sensitive information on how Putin has accumulated some of his questionable wealth and where he stashed some of it. Information that could be damaging to Putin, if it was revealed publicly and they say Putin might have that hanging over his head. Brian Todd, CNN, Washington.


CHURCH: After this short break, a writer and a cartoonist received journalism's highest award for their comic strip on Syrian refugees in the United States. My conversation with them still to come.


CHURCH: Newcomers to the United States often face enormous challenges as they try to adjust to life in a new culture. For many, there is also another concern, the fear of deportation. That struggle was recently told by "the New York Times," in the form of an unusual comic strip which earned Pulitzer prizes for the two creators.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Election night in America. As Donald Trump swept to victory, two Syrian families were on their way to new lives in the United States. Escaping the horror and nightmare of their hometown of Holmes in Western Syria.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: For cartooning, the prize is awarded to Jake Halpern, a freelance writer, and Michael Sloan, a freelance cartoonist, working for the "The New York Times" for an emotionally powerful series --

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: A powerful series that tells the story of brothers, Jamil and Amad (ph), their wives, Ula and Regida (ph), and their children as they struggle to adjust to life in the United States. It captures their hopes, aspirations, and, of course, their fears.

Here, for example, a day after arriving the families discuss their fears of deportation after learning that Donald Trump had won the election. And here they wondered if the FBI would find a man who threatened to behead Amad and his family. Writer Jake Halpern spent days with their families learning about their struggles, their experience with prejudice and their longing for the simple reality of life back in their hometown of Hommes devastated by the Civil War.

One of the wives still carries a key for her house back in Hommes hoping for a day when she will return. Writer Jake Halpern and cartoonist Michael Sloan made history with this series. Welcome to the new world. It was the first fully reported regularly published comic strip in "The New York Times."


CHURCH: And the two men behind the series of Pulitzer Prize winning cartoons, joins me now from New York, Jake Halpern and Michael Sloan. Congratulations to you both and thank you for being with us.



CHURCH: Wonderful and Jake, you are the writer in this partnership. Why did you decide this was something you needed to do, and what were you actually trying to achieve in all of this?

HALPERN: I think that what we wanted to do was to tell a story of a refugee family in a way that felt accessible with over 15 million refugees now, the greatest number since World War II. But the numbers sometimes wash over us, so I think the challenge was, is there a way to humanize this story and tell it on a small level that someone who is ten years old or someone that was, you know, 90 years old could relate to and feel drawn in to and just kind of humanize them. And so the idea of doing it like a comic was kind of our entree into doing that. CHURCH: Right. And Michael, you, of course, are the cartoonist. So,

how did you come to select these two families to be central to your comic series and how difficult was it to relay the challenges they confronted through cartoons?

[03:45:06] SLOAN: I think, Jake can probably speak about how the families were selected better than I can. This was something that he had worked on with a local Director of a refugee resettlement agency before I became involved with the project. If you want to --

HALPERN: One thing you should know, Michael and I are actually neighbors. We live like probably 15 houses away from one another.

CHURCH: Right.

HALPERN: And we -- the times had come to us and said, what do you think about doing a story about refugees? And I reached out to our local resettlement agency and they said, "Hey, why don't you profile a family from the day they arrive. We have two brothers who are arriving on Election Day." And at this point no one knew that Trump was going to become President, which would change the life of refugees, but I said to Michael, hey, why don't we go to downtown New Haven where we live and meet these families? And so he went with me.

And it was only the next morning when we woke up and the headlines were that Trump had won that we kind of realized this family landed in one country and effectively woke up in another.

CHURCH: So, Michael, looking back over this comic series, were you surprised by the response to your work? And how did the families deal with their new lives? Were they always comfortable with sharing their experiences with you both?

SLOAN: I didn't meet with the families as frequently as Jake did. Jake met with them every week, sometimes more than once a week to do the reporting and the fact checking. And the sense I had is they trusted you. They felt very comfortable with you. I would meet with them once every few months and so on. I certainly enjoyed those experiences. They seemed comfortable with me, too.

As far as the reaction, it was very nice hearing from family and friends who were reading the comic in the Times online and in print and walking around town and having people say, I really appreciated this particular aspect of this episode which made me realize that people were getting deeply involved with it, in a way that I felt was important. It seemed like they were appreciating the experience of the family in a way that we were presenting the story.

HALPERN: There was one really beautiful moment we were -- the families had to go to a kind of welcome to America crash course. It's kind of an amazing thing. It's like everything you need to know about America in three hours. And Michael and I both went. On that particular day, Michael brought his sketch book and he was sketching as the event was going on. And the kids in the family were coming and looking over Michael's shoulder as he was sketching it and kind of seeing in a way the comic being created in real-time. That was really cool, because the kids and the whole family were kind of in on the process on that occasion.

CHURCH: Yes, and I think what you said earlier, when you said, you know, there are so many millions of refugees throughout the world, who actually get it down to a couple families, does allow people to relate more directly with those people and with their experiences. So how are those two families coping right now? And do you plan to do more work with them in the future?

HALPERN: Yes, we are expanding our "The New York Times" series into a book that will be much larger in scope. It will start with the family's lives in Jordan and in fact, in Syria, and take them right up to the present moment. So, we're still in the process of following them and documenting their lives. They're doing pretty well. It's interesting. It's been about a year and a half now and what you're seeing is the classic immigrant family situation where the kids are rapidly becoming American and the parents much more slowly so.

And the kids are almost -- the teenage kids are almost fluent in English now. And I think there is almost -- it's like almost like Moses and the promised land kind of thing, where the one -- the younger generation will kind of realize the dream and the older one maybe less likely and I think it's kind of bitter/sweet for the parents. So, I think they're doing, they're doing OK, but it's, of course, it's inherently difficult.

CHURCH: It is. And I think when you tell the story about one of the mothers still having the key to her house back home in Hommes, it really does a hit home, how difficult that whole experience is for so many of these refugees. Jake Halpern and Michael Sloan, thank you so much. And congratulations again for incredible work there. We appreciate it.

HALPERN: Thank you.

SLOAN: Thanks so much.

CHURCH: Great story there. And the top tourist spot in the Philippines is closing for six months. The problem on Boracay Island, pollution. President Rodrigo Duterte ordered the closure reportedly after seeing a video of sewage on the beach. Security forces are getting ready, they carried out drills aimed at showing they are ready to handle any protesters who may show up. Meanwhile, some who live and work on the island say the closure is going too far. Alexandra Field has the details.


[03:50:15] ALEXANDRA FIELD, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: They conquer the sun, those white sand beaches, the surf, seemingly clear blue waters. This is Boracay, one of the Philippines most visited islands. 2 million came in 2017. Now it is being called a cesspool by the country's own president. The island, government officials say, is overrun with trash and has a waste water problem.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: On the height of it we heard basically the first ten meters on the shoreline, raw sewage, it was yellowish, smelly. I mean, you could really smell it.

FIELD: And this is a place people are coming from around the world to visit?


FIELD: This is one of the famous beaches in Boracay. But all along you'll find these big drainage pipes. They're meant for storm runoff. That locals say that for years they've been seeing raw sewage flowing right out of it.

At the end of April, Boracay beach party ends for as many as six months of clean-up and repair work that is already on your way. Measures to deal with problems caused by rapid development. Locals say the water looks better already, but that little notice of the sweeping shutdown could leave them without businesses to come back to.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You could have done it in less than dramatic way. You don't need to shut down an entire island. You could have done phase by phase.

FIELD: What will this mean for you, for your business?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Basically stand still, no more income, zero. And also the employees, no more income.

FIELD: Louise Dekker runs a water sports school. He fears his employees will leave to find work on other islands and that they won't come back. Those who make their money off Boracay's wind and wave an even bigger fear, that tourists won't come back either.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The damage is done already.

FIELD: Kristopher Nakor, says his water sports business is losing money even before the official shutdown begins.

KRISTOPHER NAKOR, BUSINESS OWNER: They said, oh, we don't want to come back to Bulabog, because it's dirty. So, I mean, it's affecting us already.

FIELD: Swimming will be banned. Flights are being canceled. The government says calamity funds will be available for affected workers. Still, (inaudible) is a tour guide, he says he isn't sure how he'll get by. Boracay is popular the world over as a wedding destination.

AMANDA TIROL, WEDDING PLANNER: I ended up crying. She ended up crying. We were both crying. Very emotional, of course.

FIELD: Wedding planner Amanda Tirol says her employees, her vendors and her venues will all feel the effect. Then there is the heart break, too.

TIROL: All of a sudden the wedding of their dreams can't happen anymore. We actually have some brides that were crying and saying, you know, the wedding of their dreams aren't going to happen anymore. FIELD: The problem is that Boracay will look better by the time the

next high season starts, six months from now. The fear here is visitors won't come back to see it. In Boracay, Alexander Field, CNN.


CHURCH: And when we come back, which one of these doesn't belong? Spoiler alert. It's the one who moves. Did Sean Spicer just photo bomb the unveiling at Madame Tussaud? We'll take a look.


[03:55:00] CHURCH: Welcome back, everyone. A wax figure of U.S. first lady Melania Trump was unveiled at Madame Tussaud Museum in New York on Wednesday and it was almost like a nostalgic flash back to the early days of the Trump White House. It was enough to make our Jeanne Moos get a bit touchy feely. Take a look.


JEANNE MOOS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Question one, which is the real Melania? Time's up. Question two, which one of these three is flesh and blood? Former White House press secretary Sean Spicer helped unveil Madame Tussaud's latest wax figure.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Here we encourage you to take selfies.

MOOS: Is it OK if I hold her hand?


MOOS: Unlike the real one.

Plus, I got to do what the President sometimes can't.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Trump tried to hold Melania's hand. And, nope.

MOOS: Actually she was holding his hand minutes earlier. Just not while they posed for an official photo. We wonder.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Does she ever seem mad at the President?

SEAN SPICER, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: Not that I ever saw. As a spouse for 14 years, I've had my own awkward moments, but I think there is genuine love and concern.

MOOS: Spicer was genuinely concerned with promoting his new book. Wax Melania is dressed in a replica of a blue dress she wore to a debate. Madame Tussaud invites the public to give Melania a voice. You can post a tweet on behalf of the wax first lady.

Never mind, it's just a publicity stunt. Melania will be move from New York to Washington at the end of May. Until then, her neighbors include the Obamas, the Pope, and a Queen along with Prince William and Kate.

I'm going to hold her hand while we talk.

A least wax Melania doesn't mind the jokes.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He is like trying to arouse a dead trout.

MOOS: There is something fishy about these fingers, too. Jeanne Moos, CNN, New York.


CHURCH: Well, popular rapper Kanye West is criticizing former President Barack Obama and saying positive things about President Trump on Twitter. And he is apparently not afraid about how his fans are reacting to it. On Wednesday he said in a tweet that Obama was in office for eight years and nothing in Chicago changed.

He went on to say that you don't have to agree with Trump, but the mob can't make me not love him. We are both dragon energy. He is my brother. I love everyone. I don't agree with everything anyone does. That is what makes us individuals. And we have the right to independent thought. Well, President Trump responded with his own tweet saying, thank you, Kanye. Very cool.

And thanks so much to you for your company this hour. I'm Rosemary Church. The news continues with our Max Foster in London. You're watching CNN. Have a great day.