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North Korea Working On New Missiles, U.S. Officials Say, Despite Thaw; Three Babies Abandoned Across Berlin In Recent Years; Manchester Bomber Rescued From Syria By Royal Navy; Trump Declares Victory Over Honest Abe Again; Facebook Cracks Down; Paul Manafort Trial; Pyongyang May Still Be Building Missiles; Extreme Weather Could Worsen Fires Ravaging California; No Deaths Reported in Mexican Airliner Incident. Aired 2-3a ET

Aired August 1, 2018 - 02:00   ET




MICHAEL HOLMES, CNN ANCHOR (voice-over): Welcome to our viewers joining us from all around the world. I'm Michael Holmes. This is CNN NEWSROOM.

Facebook says somebody is trying influence U.S. elections and it could be Russia. What the company is doing to crack down on fake accounts that Americans believed were real.

Welcome, everyone, thanks for being with us. I'm Michael Holmes. This is CNN NEWSROOM.

Facebook has shut down dozens of pages and accounts which could be linked to Russia and may have lured hundreds of thousands of followers. The social media giant identifying new coordinated effort to interfere in U.S. politics and mislead American voters ahead of November's congressional elections.

More now from CNN's Drew Griffin.


DREW GRIFFIN, CNN SR. INVESTIGATIVE CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Facebook calls it inauthentic behavior and though Facebook can't be sure, it sure looks like Russia again. Thirty-two pages with names including Black Elevation, Resisters, Aztlan Warriors, being followed by 290,000 accounts.

The fake accounts also setting up and promoting real events and protests aimed at further polarizing U.S. political discourse.

Many of the events did occur, including this one last year in New York City, attended by actual Americans who likely had no idea that the Resisters Facebook page was probably run by Russians.

Another event by the same group was supposed to take place in a couple of weeks. Resisters set up a counterprotest against white supremacists at the White House August 10th. Five other real groups signed on to participate.

As Facebook was announcing its crackdown on these potential Russian sites, the U.S. secretary of Homeland Security was a cybersecurity conference, saying there's no doubt Russia meddled in the 2016 election.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Everyone and everything is now a target.

GRIFFIN (voice-over): And Russian actors may be at it again, comparing the upcoming midterm elections to a looming storm.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: But today, I believe the next major attack is more likely to reach us online than on an airplane. We are in a crisis mode. The cat 5 hurricane has been forecast. And now we must prepare.

GRIFFIN (voice-over): Facebook says these current pages all shut down have the hallmarks of the activities the Russians did around the presidential election, though there are some differences, this time the pages didn't lead back to Russian IP addresses and they used third-party services to buy ads to boost their posts and encourage people to follow the pages.

GRIFFIN: As part of its new transparency policy, not only is Facebook announcing this publicly that it's shut down these 32 suspected Russian sites, it is going to contact all 290,000 accounts that were in contact with these sites to let them know these were obviously fake Facebook accounts -- Drew Griffin, CNN, Atlanta.


HOWELL: CNN political analyst Brian Karem joins me now from Washington. He's also the executive editor of the Sentinel newspapers.

Good to see you, Brian.

BRIAN KAREM, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: Good to see you, Michael, how you doing?

HOLMES: I'm doing well. I guess it's no surprise this is still happening because, by all accounts, it worked so well the last time. Facebook says it's doing what it can.

What about the reaction of the trump administration?

KAREM: The Trump administration's reaction to this issue has been muted at best. He has -- the president has confused the two issues. He doesn't want to really admit there's a problem because he's so busy defending himself against charges of collusion, that to admit that the Russians in any way helped him, he doesn't want to face that possibility or the reality of that.

So while he talks about collusion, he's ignoring the simple fact that the last election was affected by Russian trolls, that they're at it again and we're inadequately prepared for it. And so he has left the preparation for this up to the states, to the Senate and to the Congress to do something about it.

And without leadership from the top, it's questionable as to whether or not we will effectively be able to head this off at the pass, as it were, and do anything about it. A very serious situation.

HOLMES: Do you think that the president's sensitivity about the election, he just doesn't want for his presidency to be seen as illegitimate in any way. And by giving credence to all of this, what impact the interference had, which clearly was significant. By giving that credence, he's hurting his own credibility or legitimacy.


HOLMES: Is that the problem?

So therefore the problem is not being tackled.

KAREM: Well, his credibility and his legitimacy is up for debate on any given day for a number of reasons, of which this is just merely one. But the heart of the issue is an outside country, tampering with and influencing the elections of the largest democracy on the planet and undermining the very foundations of our republic.

You have to address that. For a country to be legitimate, its elections have to be so. And we have, in this country, people to different countries to oversee their elections to make sure they're legitimate.

So are we going to now have to have people from the United Nations come to the United States and oversee ours?

That's a scary prospect of it.

How serious is this?

We won't really know until someone in this administration and the administration as a whole takes it as seriously as we all know it to be.


KAREM: Facebook is taking it more seriously than he is.

HOLMES: I was just going to say, even they are saying the problem clearly is difficult to spot and stop.

Is the country able to stop this sort of interference?

It's not hard to set up a Facebook page and start agitating.

KAREM: Well, and agitation is one thing. Manipulation of elections is another. And yes, the agitation is real. The trolls and the Twitter trolls and the Facebook trolls are real and they are setting out what he calls fake news and that is influencing voters.

So you have two different things working with our elections, the direct interference and hacking of election sites and election machinery and then the influence of those who do vote by the trolls, the Russian trolls, on Facebook and Twitter.

And those are two issues that we have to face as voters in this country.

HOLMES: I guess the extent of it is pretty clear, Facebook saying more than 290,000 accounts followed at least one of these suspect pages. That's a lot of followers.

In recent weeks there's been other aspects of meddling. This report that Claire McCaskill, Senate Democrat, their attempts to hack her as well. So we're not just talking social media here. You mentioned polling machines as well.

KAREM: You have to remember the history of this country goes back to the hanging chad elections with George W. Bush and we didn't want mechanical counting of the elections. We wanted it more streamlined, more efficient because of what happened there.

But when you go to the electronic counting, when you go to being able to count your votes and then get on the Internet with the same machine, you've going to have trouble. So we're finding that perhaps maybe the old-fashioned paper ballot isn't such a bad idea after all. You'd rather have a hanging chad than have a hanging election.

It's going to be very difficult to sort this all out. It's very difficult for electors. In this country, the elections are run by precinct captains. They're run by counties and states and so each state has different machinery and sometimes different counties have different machinery, sometimes different precincts have different machinery.

And if you're able to get online with that machinery and count the votes, then someone is going to be able to get online and hack those machines. That's what happened previously.

So when you put together the Facebook trolls, the Internet trolls influencing legitimate votes with a lot of fake news and stuff that's honestly illegitimate and then you have that compounded by those who go and hack the machinery, it's hard to tell exactly how much the Russian trolls have affected our elections and we do know that they have.

HOLMES: Before I let you go, it's quite a depressing picture you paint there. We've got the midterm elections coming up, obviously crucial elections for the Trump administration and for the Democrats.

How do you feel?

Do you have confidence in how those elections will go?

KAREM: That's a good question. (LAUGHTER)

KAREM: I have hope that it'll go well. I do know that there are people in Congress, in the Senate and in Maryland at the state level and in other states -- Missouri, Maryland, Kentucky, Tennessee, Texas. I've spoken with people there who are working hard to make sure and ensuring that the election is legitimate.

But there are 50 states in this grand and glorious union. There's a lot of precincts and there are a lot of machines. There are a lot of things that can go wrong. So the best I can do is hope and I hope that the people in office care more about the election results and the legitimacy of the election over their own party and will make the right decision.

Now that I do have faith in. But the machinery, I have faith in people, machine, not so much.


HOLMES: You're right. Each state and different precincts have different systems. There's been concern here in the state of Georgia about the machines as well. Brian, good to see you. Brian Karem, appreciate it.

KAREM: Thank you.

HOLMES: Prosecutors urging the jury to follow the money in the financial crimes trial of former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort. Testimony began on Tuesday. Defense attorneys hoping to show Manafort's former deputy, Rick Gates, is the real villain. He's the guy who's cooperating with prosecutors.

CNN's Lynda Kinkade reports now on what is at stake for Paul Manafort.


LYNDA KINKADE, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The first of two trials against Donald Trump's former campaign chairman, Paul Manafort, has begun. He has pleaded not guilty to an 18-count indictment in the U.S. state of Virginia.

Prosecutors claim he hid millions of dollars he earned related to his lobbying work for the Russian-friendly government of Ukraine. And then he laundered the money in U.S. real estate, never paying taxes.

If convicted on all counts, he could face over 300 years in prison. Manafort has worked on several U.S. presidential campaigns, including Gerald Ford, Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush.

In the 1980s, Manafort founded a lobbying firm with Roger Stone, another Trump adviser under investigation. Manafort also worked for Viktor Yanukovich, the pro-Russian former president of Ukraine.

In 2016, he joins the Trump campaign after a hiatus from presidential politics. His role grew when he replaced Trump's then campaign manager, Corey Lewandowski. Manafort resigned three months before the election amid questions over his lobbying work.

Manafort's Russia connections faced fresh scrutiny by special counsel Robert Mueller after a raid on his Virginia home in July of last year. He has denied participating in any Russian efforts to undermine the interests of the U.S.

This trial is not related to any U.S. investigation into collusion or conspiracy between Russia and the Trump presidential campaign. Manafort turned himself into the Justice Department after being indicted at the end of October in a separate case filed in Washington, D.C., involving conspiracy and foreign lobbing violations.

That trial is set to begin in September. His house arrest was revoked in June after Mueller's prosecutors accused him of witness tampering. He's been in jail awaiting trial -- Lynda Kinkade, CNN.


HOLMES: Donald Trump may be ready to fire a new shot in the trade war with China. A source familiar with discussions confirmed the U.S. administration plans to raise pending tariffs on $200 billion in Chinese goods from 10 percent to 25 percent. The president didn't mention those plans during a campaign rally in Florida but did claim U.S. farmers are OK with his unpopular tariffs.

Many of them have, in fact, been complaining vociferously.

Iran is now responding to President Trump's offer to meet without any preconditions in a tweet the foreign minister Mohammed Zarif says the U.S. and Iran already had two years of talks which helped produce, of course, the Iran nuclear deal and that the U.S. can only blame itself for pulling out.

He went on to say, quote, "Threats, sanctions and PR stunts won't work. Try respect for Iranians and international commitments."

On another nuclear front, there are ongoing concerns about North Korea's program after a report that Pyongyang might be building new ballistic missiles. Barbara Starr with that.


BARBARA STARR, CNN PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT: Tonight, North and South Korean military officials meeting for fresh talks at Panmunjom on reducing tensions. Just as new commercial satellite imagery shows North Korea could be building new liquid fuel ballistic missiles according to "The Washington Post."

This despite the Trump administration's hope that North Korea would give up its nuclear weapons following the Singapore summit. For intelligence analysts, the critical question, is what has North Korea been up to in the weeks since then?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What we're seeing with the intelligence leaks as well as the unclassified satellite imagery is a continuation of production as well as even the expansion of production facilities for fissile material for nuclear weapons.

STARR (voice-over): There's no signs Kim Jong-un is headed to shutting everything down. Despite these underground nuclear test tunnels being destroyed and some limited dismantlement at a satellite launch site.

The nation's top intelligence officer said days ago it's classic North Korean tactics.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'm not surprised the North Koreans might be trying to hide some things, try to be deceptive.

STARR: And the top U.S. military officer in the region also warning recently North Korea may still be producing nuclear fuel for warheads.

GEN. VINCENT BROOKS, COMMANDER, U.S. FORCES KOREA: We have not seen the complete shutdown of production yet. We have not seen the removal of fuel rods.

STARR (voice-over): If there are new liquid fuel ballistic missiles, several U.S. officials say it's not all that concerning because liquid fueling takes long enough that spy satellites can see it and offer early warning.

The larger U.S. intelligence concern, advanced solid fuel missiles can be fired in surprise.

The way ahead now has slowed.

TRUMP: We have no rush for speed. The relationships are very good. So we'll see how that goes. We have no time limit.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: If we've abandoned timelines, if we've abandoned the pressure, it seems to be that the Trump administration has embraced the Obama administration's policy of strategic patience. The longer the negotiations drag out, the less international resolve there is.

STARR (voice-over): Barbara Starr, CNN, the Pentagon.


HOLMES: All right, going to take a short break. When we come back, even by Californians' standards, this has been a brutal fire season. Now weather conditions could worsen the deadly wildfires, which have already destroyed hundreds of homes.

Also a passenger jet crashes in Mexico but reports that everyone on board miraculously survived. We'll be right back.




HOLMES: This is one of the 15 menacing wildfires ravaging California right now. Firefighters slowly making some progress but extreme heat, dry conditions and strong winds could spread the flames even further this week.

The largest fire, the so-called Carr fire, is now the 7th most destructive in California's history. Our Nick Watt has more on the human toll and the destruction left behind.


NICK WATT, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): This apocalyptic blaze is eating through thousands of acres of forest, so large it is visible from space. The flames have destroyed more than 800 homes and counting. Though statistics are stunning, the personal stories hit hardest.

WATT: You could see the flames in your rearview mirror as you're --


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes. That was the terrifying part.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It was like a wall of fire, it was like a train. It had a noise, it was awful. I thought it was some sci-fi movie.

WATT: Driving away from a home you may never see again.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: And that's what happened. Lots and lots of memories. Everything's gone.

WATT: Everything?


WATT: What did you manage to save?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I have two Rubbermaid tubs that I threw some stuff in, some scrubs for work.

WATT (voice-over): A nurse, she's back at work already.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I actually felt better yesterday than I had in a long time because I was at work and I felt like I had a purpose.

WATT (voice-over): This was her home before the fire.

WATT: And this is all that's left of Stacy Kelly's (ph) house, rubble and a few charred trees. In fact, her entire little cul-de-sac, six houses, all completely destroyed. But then if you look just across the street, the random nature of wildfires, another house, still standing.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I just feel empty. I don't know. I don't know if -- I don't think I will rebuild that house. I don't think so.

WATT (voice-over): The fire swept through the west side of Redding, population more than 90,000, and through rural communities to the north and west.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I'm a country girl. I grew up in the woods. My dad's a logger.

WATT (voice-over): Like many who attended a town hall meeting here in Redding, Janet Landalls (ph) from French Gulch, population 492, lost everything.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It's when you hit -- your head hits the pillow and you remember your home and you remember my great-grandmother's rocking chair and the things your children made you, you know, when you were little.

WATT (voice-over): The town hall was largely residents thanking first responders for saving lives but so many worldly possessions lost to the flames.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: My husband's dead and all of his artwork is gone and you just remember all of this stuff you -- I don't care that the George Foreman melted. I don't care that I need a new refrigerator. But I do care about my great-grandmother's thimble. Those are the things that I care about.

WATT: Right now, there are 17,000 homes under threat of flames across California, more than a dozen wildfires burning right now in this state. And here's a sobering statistic: of the 10 biggest wildfires in California history, four of them took place within the last year -- Nick Watt, CNN, Redding, California.


HOLMES: In Myanmar, at least 10 people lost their lives in flooding caused by heavy monsoon rains, the rising waters submerging villages in the central and southern parts of the country.

Some 120,000 people forced from their homes. Three of those who died were soldiers trying to help people cross a flooded highway.

Let's turn our attention to Mexico now --


HOLMES: -- where 49 people are in hospital after an Aeromexico flight crashed shortly after takeoff from Durango. The pilot and a passenger in critical condition but incredibly no reported deaths. Our Leyla Santiago reports from Mexico City.


LEYLA SANTIAGO, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Really a sigh of relief for a lot of people here in Mexico after this plane went down in Durango, Mexico, just northwest of Mexico City. According to the Red Cross, here in Mexico, they have transported dozens of injured to area hospitals but the extent of those injuries remain unknown.

A sign of relief because government officials have confirmed there have been no deaths but now the questions begin in terms of the investigation.

What happened, what led up to this accident?

What were the factors involved?

Surely investigators will be listening to recordings and reviewing the black box to get to the bottom of this. Before the flight was scheduled to depart, the civil protection department did warn about bad weather in the area, including hail.

But whether or not that played a role remains unknown. The investigation will be the next step in this as well as following up with those on the plane. There were 97 passengers, four crew members on this Aeromexico plane. And so now their recovery will begin.

Certainly for the people here, it is a sigh of relief that no deaths have been associated, especially when you see those images that have come from that plane in the field, with the plume of smoke, emergency workers working with a sense of urgency.

In some of the photos you can also even see flames. What led up to that will be the next big development -- Leyla Santiago, CNN, Mexico City.


HOLMES: Donald Trump's former campaign chairman finally getting his day in court. What Paul Manafort's trial says about the Russia investigation. And what could come next from special counsel Robert Mueller?

Still to come on the program, a last-minute ruling keeps blueprints for 3D printable guns off the Internet -- for now. The debate is far from over. We'll be right back.




HOLMES: Welcome back to CNN NEWSROOM, everyone, let's update you on our top stories.


[02:30:00] HOLMES: Testimony resumes on Wednesday and Paul Manafort's trial on financial crimes, the former Trump campaign manager could spend the rest of his life in prison if convicted.

It is the first big court test for special counsel Robert Mueller and this trial isn't even tied to Russia's election attacks. CNN's Jim Sciutto reports.



DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: They call it the rigged which aren't --


SCIUTTO: Yet pressing forward without interruption. Special Counsel Robert Mueller's investigation has produced a steady stream of indictments and arrests over the last 14 months. It enters a new phase with the start of the first of two trials for Paul Manafort, Trump's former campaign chairman. In Virginia, he faces charges a bank and tax fraud. In Washington, he's accused of failing to register as a lobbyist for a foreign government and obstruction of justice.

And Mueller may not be done with Manafort. This memo indicates that the special counsel is still investigating whether Manafort was, "Colluding with Russian government officials", to interfere in the 2016 election.

KEVIN DOWNING, PAUL MANAFORT ATTORNEY: There is no evidence that Mr. Manafort of the Trump campaign colluded with the Russian government.

SCIUTTO: Manafort's former business partner and former deputy chairman of the Trump campaign, Rick Gates, has already pleaded guilty and will testify against Manafort. Among the others the special counsel has indicted, Michael Flynn, Trump's former National Security Advisor and George Papadopoulos, a former campaign aide both pleaded guilty to lying to prosecutors and both are cooperating with the investigation.

Konstantin Kilimnik, an associate of Manafort's who is described in court documents as a suspected Russian intelligence operative. Also indicted, 13 Russian nationals and three Russian entities charged with interfering in the 2016 election. And most recently another group of 12 Russian nationals charged with hacking the Democratic National Committee and the Clinton campaign. Could more charges becoming? His team has interviewed at least two dozen members of the Trump administration and other Trump associates.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Bob Mueller is not making deals left and right. Rick Gates, George Papadopoulos, and Michael Flynn all traded some pieces of information for their respective plea deals. That's presumably incredibly important information.

SCIUTTO: One crucial remaining question, what has Mueller found out about that June 2016 Trump Tower meeting between Donald Trump Jr., Paul Manafort, Jared Kushner, and Russians who promised to share dirt on Hillary Clinton? Trump Jr. has said that he never told his father about the meeting.

DONALD TRUMP JR., DONALD TRUMP ELDEST SON: There was nothing to tell. It was literally just a waste of 20 minutes which was a shame.

SCIUTTO: But sources tell CNN that Trump's former personal attorney Michael Cohen is now claiming that Trump knew of the meeting in advance and that Cohen is prepared to tell Mueller. Cohen himself may not be on Mueller's to-do-list though having referred his case to federal investigators in New York.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: So what effectively brings the issue of collusion or conspiracy right to the president's feet?

SCIUTTO: Mueller's latest indictment of the Russian hackers hinted that he may still be looking at the role of other U.S. persons.

ROD ROSENSTEIN, UNITED STATES DEPUTY ATTORNEY GENERAL: The conspirator's corresponded with several Americans during the course of the conspiracy through the internet.

SCIUTTO: Some speculate that may include Roger Stone who claimed several times during the campaign to be communicating with WikiLeaks which U.S. intelligence believes acted as a middle man for stolen Democratic Party e-mails and documents.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's innocent. There's no evidence of collusion or conspiracy or coordination.

SCIUTTO: The Department of Justice also recently released the FISA warrant obtained by the FBI during the campaign to surveil another former Trump campaign advisor Carter Page. At the time, the FBI told the court is believed Page was the subject of recruitment by the Russian government.

CARTER PAGE, FORMER FOREIGN-POLICY ADVISER TO DONALD TRUMP: I've never been an aide to another foreign power in any -- by any stretch of the imagination.

SCIUTTO: Questions also remain about Blackwater Founder Erik Prince's mysterious meetings in the Seychelles with a Russian banker and George Nader, an unofficial representative of the United Arab Emirates.

[02:35:05] ERIK PRINCE, FOUNDER, BLACKWATER: No one was aware from the Trump team that I was even there. It was private business and it had nothing to do with the U.S. government. It had nothing to do with the Trump team or the transition team or anything else.

SCIUTTO: CNN has reported that the purpose of that meeting was to arrange a possible backchannel communication between the U.S. and Russia. But the UAE connection could expand Mueller's investigation to concerns of additional foreign influence in the 2016 election. Nader has been cooperating with the investigators. Perhaps the biggest question is what if anything Mueller has in store for President Trump including whether he obstructed justice.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I think we're -- that really that obstruction piece will be the final element of this and that what we're going to more likely see is, you know, sort of these dots in the center being connected. SCIUTTO: Looming large is whether the special counsel will demand a

sit down interview with President Trump himself.

TRUMP: I've always wanted to do an interview because, look, there's been no collusion.

SCIUTTO: Right now, Mr. Trump's attorney, Rudy Giuliani says any interview is still under negotiation.

RUDY GIULIANI, LEGAL COUNSEL TO DONALD TRUMP: I think he shouldn't. I know how convinced he is to he didn't do anything wrong and wants to explain it, and I've seen other people get into trouble taking that, innocent people.


SCIUTTO: Now, to be clear, none of the charges that Manafort faces so far relate directly to Russia's interference in the 2016 election. However, he was working for getting paid millions of dollars for working for the then pro-Russian president of Ukraine who's been accused of corruption and murder, and who jailed his political opponents. Jim Sciutto, CNN Washington.

HOLMES: A U.S. judge has temporarily blocked the website from posting blueprints for 3D guns. The federal government recently reached a settlement to make it legal for a gun rights organization to post the plans basically a how to make them. But a number of states filed suit to prevent that. Both sides will return to court on August 10th to argue the next steps. And CNN Legal Analyst and Criminal Defense Attorney Page Pate joins me now here on set. Always a pleasure, sir. Good to see you.


HOLMES: Now, this is a temporary restraining order blocking it being on the internet. What does that mean in a legal sense in terms of this going forward?

PATE: Well, it basically means that a federal judge look at this lawsuit that was filed by a number of different states and said, there's enough here for me to put a stop to this now, so that we can latter argue about the real issues in whether this particular entity has a constitutional right to publish this material or whether the government has more important right to stop the publishing of these blueprints.

HOLMES: And that's interesting because their argument the ones who wants this stop out there, their argument is that it's a free speech issue and the opponents saying, no, you're telling people how to make a gun.

PATE: Exactly. And that's correct. Under federal law, it is not illegal to publish blueprints for a firearm. It is illegal to possess a firearm if it's a plastic firearm that cannot be detected through metal detectors, radar devices, things of that nature, but you can tell someone how to do it. The concern here that the state have is, look, we have no way of monitoring where these blueprints are going. You can have people overseas making these firearms.

You can have terrorist organizations now having access to this sensitive information that previously had been prohibited from release.

HOLMES: (INAUDIBLE) when does blueprints and instructions basically. They're saying this is how you make it. When does that become the international distribution of weapons? Where are -- on which there are treaties and international law applies. When are you disseminating firearms basically?

PATE: That's the ultimate question. And no court has made that decision yet. The reason they were not able to publish this information initially was not because of federal firearm laws but because of the release of technical information. So it was governed by a totally different set of laws. What the court will now have to decide once this order reaches to the point where the judge has to actually go through all of the arguments, the court is going to have to decide exactly at what point are you possessing and distributing a firearm?

Is it when you publish the blueprints or when you actually use the 3D printer to make the device?

HOLMES: You see, because this is the thing, isn't it? I mean having an esoteric argument about whether it's a -- it's a free speech issue and I'm just, you know, exercising that First Amendment right and whether you are and you make the point internationally in particular. Other countries with strict gun laws all of a sudden it's out there on the internet. It's everywhere, so you could be in a country with strict gun law and be making those in your garage and violating that country's law as well. That thing is as responsibility there surely for the U.S.

PATE: There's a responsibility. But the groups that are behind this, the people that are trying to publish this information, they believe everyone should have the right to produce their own firearms. If you can afford the equipment to make it then you ought to have a right to do it.

[02:40:06] HOLMES: What about the U.S.' responsibility to other countries?

PATE: Well, that's what stopped it initially. The Obama administration was enforcing the restriction on allowing this sort of technical information to be distributed. The Trump administration changed all that.

HOLMES: Did that surprised you? I mean because it sort of like I mean it makes you wonder why would the administration after years of successfully having halted this, why would this administration say, yes, there's no problem with this?

PATE: Well, it doesn't make any the sense. And one of the main arguments that the states are making and the reason I think they got this temporary restraining order is they said, the Trump administration didn't follow the rules. You can't just willy-nilly change the requirements that you have that are already in place to prevent the release of this information. You have to go through procedures. You have to talk to Congress about it. They didn't do that at all. They just issued the settlement and said, look, you can do it now whereas you couldn't do it before.

HOLMES: You wonder what the motivation for that? Why do that? I mean the NRA has no problem with it and that's where a lot of the suspicion is now that, you know, the NRA pressure and all those sudden the Trump administration says, it's OK.

PATE: It's possible. I mean I think we're going to find out a lot more about the motivation once we get into the litigation. Remember, this is just pressing the pause button. No judge has decided whether it's illegal or legal. That's going to come much later.

HOLMES: Of course the issue to here is that these were out there from I think last Friday and by Sunday I think two and a half thousand or so had been downloaded. The genie is out of the bottle. Once it's out there, I mean you can't -- you can't put it out. It's out in the internet.

PATE: Right. You can't get it back. But what you can still do though is prohibit anyone from actually following through and making these weapons to the extent you can enforce it. Again, with international concerns, I don't know exactly how the U.S. government intends to enforce the laws that we do have about possessing and distributing these type of firearm.

HOLMES: It seems as auspicious argument in many ways. The administration I think the one of the press secretary was saying that the administration supports the existing law that makes it illegal to own or make an untraceable gun which this would be because it's made of plastic. But supporting that law compared to outlawing the posting of plan, I mean it daggles with the end product, don't we? But if you're doing that in the privacy of your own home from nefarious reasons, where is the responsibility of government to protect the person who might be on the wrong end of that gun?

PATE: Well, that's the problem. And we've already had that in this country in Second Amendment issues with bump stocks. I mean we see these mass murders in the -- and you have law that prohibits someone from possessing and manufacturing of automatic weapon, but not this little device that can take enormous semi-automatic weapon and turning it into a machine gun. So there's always this tension we have and interpreting the Second Amendment and also enforcing federal firearms laws and this is another area.

HOLMES: And bump stocks are going to be outlawed out there what happened in Las Vegas, it didn't happen, did it?

PATE: No, not yet. What happened so far is ATF, the agency that's charge with regulating that has now said, we consider bump stocks -- bump stocks to be part of an automatic weapon, so we're not going to allow you to do it. But that's not a law. That's just a regulation. It can be changed just like this one was. HOLMES: Fascinating time. Page Pate, always a pleasure. Thanks for

coming in.

PATE: Thank you, Michael.

HOLMES: Still to come on the program, three newborn babies abandoned in Germany over a two-year period and police are trying to track down their mother. An extraordinary story we'll bring to you. Also, it was one of the most horrifying terror attacks on British soil and now we are learning more about the bomber who killed 22 people at a concert in Manchester. That's when we come back.


[02:46:20] HOLMES: And this just in, to us here at CNN. We are now getting some of the official results of the first election in Zimbabwe since former President Robert Mugabe stepped down.

Zimbabwe's Electoral Commission reporting that the governing Zanu-PF has won a majority in parliament with 109 seats. That, of course, is the party that Mugabe, helped create. But on the eve of the vote, he announced he was not going to vote for it. The main opposition has secured 41 seats, another 58 yet to be declared.

Police are trying to solve a mystery in Germany. Three baby girls abandoned on the outskirts of Berlin over a two-year period. Authorities say, their mother who has yet to be found could have used the safe and anonymous resource to drop the babies off for adoption, but she did not. CNN's Atika Shubert, reports.


ATIKA SHUBERT, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Inside this box, a small mattress of flannel blanket, and a slip of paper.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And inside, there's the letter from the mother.

SHUBERT: It reads, "We know that leaving your child with us is not easy for you. We want to assure you we will take loving care of your baby." Dr. Gerhard Mann is the pastor at (INAUDIBLE) hospital.

He tells us, "Some baby hatches have not been used for years, of course, but every child that is put in this baby hatch is a saved life."

Here, a mother with an unwanted pregnancy can anonymously deposit a newborn baby in a baby hatch.

Now, there are dozens of baby hatches in Germany, and also many hospitals like this one, where a mother can deliver a baby anonymously. But police in Berlin are asking why neither possibility was used in the case of three abandoned babies, all from the same mother.

The first baby was left here at the bus stop just outside a hospital. The next summer, another child abandoned just a few minutes' drive away. And last year, the third baby was left outside a front door in this neighborhood. The children were taken into foster care.

This year, police appealed to the public for information, fearing another child could be on the way. They distributed these, photos of the baby clothes that were worn on the day they were abandoned, but, no answers yet.

"We can only hope that any fourth child will be taken care of," this officer says. "Left in a baby hatch or hospital, so that the child can be helped and as quickly as possible."

At (INAUDIBLE) Hospital, Dr. Mann tells us that the baby hatch hasn't been used for at least two years, but he hopes the mother will know it is here for her to use.

"She wanted for her babies to live," he says. She wanted them to be found quickly, and for that reason, no one should hate her. A waiting box, a missing mother, and a mystery still unsolved. Atika Shubert, CNN, Berlin.


HOLMES: Remarkable few details emerging about the man who killed 22 people at that Ariana Grande Concert in Manchester last year. It turns out Salman Abedi was among a group of British nationals evacuated from Libya three years before he carried out that horrifying attack. Nina dos Santos with more.



NINA DOS SANTOS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: It was the worst terror attack on U.K. soil in more than a decade.


DOS SANTOS: 22 people died, many of them, children, more than 200 were injured. The attacker, Salman Abedi, detonated a homemade suicide vest in the foyer of the Manchester arena as a pop concert was coming to an end.

Now, more details are emerging of Abedi's movements in the years leading up to the attack. The U.K.'s Ministry of Defense has confirmed that Abedi, a U.K. citizen, and his brother were among 100 Britons evacuated from their parent's war-torn homelands, Libya in 2014. At the time, he was 19.

Salman Abedi was on the radar of British Intelligence Agency since traveling from the U.K. to Libya. But one month before his rescue from that country, he was removed from a list because he was deemed to be in a risk.

Well, that raises questions about the U.K.'s screening process. For the time when authorities were on high alert for homegrown fighters returning from conflicts abroad. An inquiry into the work of intelligence agencies concluded that the investigative actions taken in relation to Salman Abedi in 2014, and the subsequent decision to close him as the subject of interest was found on the basis of the information available at the time.

But according to the report, it wasn't Abedi's only trip to Libya. He returned there in 2017, just days before the Manchester attack, although, there are no details on why. The report also notes that in retrospect, there were warning signs but they redeemed at the time not to relate to terrorism.

Now, more than a year on, questions still remain of a how Abedi was radicalized and what transformed him into a homegrown terrorist. Nina dos Santos, CNN, London.


[02:51:37] HOLMES: Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte is not afraid to show criminals. He means business and to prove his point, he oversaw the destruction -- yes, you're watching that there, dozens of luxury cars. We're talking Lamborghinis, Porsches, Mustangs, all of them have been smuggled into the country.

Now, this is a tactic he has used before as part of his anti- corruption campaign. Bulldozers crushing those cars worth around $5 million.

A quick break here on the program. Then, when we come back, Trump versus Lincoln. And the president's claims that he is the one with better poll numbers.

Plus, a special welcome home for Miss Helen, the tale of the stolen shark and how she made it back safely to a Texas aquarium.


Welcome back, a few hours ago at a rally in Florida, President Trump declared, quote, "Polls are fake." But that didn't stop him from making this rather not he claimed that his poll numbers are better than Abraham Lincoln's. Now, of course, polling as we know today didn't exist when Lincoln was elected back in 1860.


TRUMP: They just came out with a poll, did you hear? The most popular person in the history of the Republican Party is Trump. Can you believe this?

So I said, does that include Honest Abe Lincoln? Yes, you know, he was pretty good, right?


HOLMES: CNN's Jeanne Moos, reports on Trump versus Lincoln.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE) JEANNE MOOS, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: President Trump seems to have a touch of Lincoln envy.

[02:55:01] TRUMP: A late great Abraham Lincoln. Most people don't even know he was a Republican, right? Does anyone know?

MOOS: Oh, yes. But we didn't know this, President Trump, tweeted, "Wow, highest poll numbers in the history of the Republican Party that includes the Honest Abe Lincoln and Ronald Reagan. There must be something wrong, please recheck that poll."

Oh, there's something wrong, all right. False on the PolitiFact Truth-O-Meter. Even Jimmy Kimmel sent someone to have to do some research.





UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Lincoln or Trump? Better president?


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Who's the better president, Lincoln or Trump?


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Trump. Perfect, they're the woman in front of the looters.

MOOS: There is one itty-bitty problem with President Trump comparing his poll numbers to President Lincoln's. "Abe Lincoln was dead before poll started." Red One exasperated tweet. Lincoln died 71 years before modern scientific polling started in 1936. In Lincoln's time, there would be only tiny local straw polls.

President Trump does have an 87 percent approval rating among Republicans, but other presidents have talked that what would Lincoln say? Coenen once juxtaposed animatronic Abe with the real Donald.

TRUMP: I mentioned food stamps, and that guy who's seriously overweight went crazy, doing crazy.

MOOS: Trump actually used Lincoln to score points against Clinton.

TRUMP: OK, Honest Abe, Honest Abe, never lie that's the good thing. That's the big difference between Abraham Lincoln and you. That's a big, big difference we're talking about some difference.

MOOS: Call me crazy, but I don't think, honest Donald is the nickname history will bestow on President Trump. When it comes to stature, even when you're saluting him, Abe seems to turn everyone into the size of one of his shins. Jeanne Moos, CNN --

TRUMP: Build that wall. Build that wall.

MOOS: New York.

TRUMP: Build that wall. Build that wall.


HOLMES: There's definitely something fishy about this next story. Police in Texas says they have sold the strange heist at the San Antonio aquarium. Have a look at this video here, thieves making off with a small shark, putting it in a bucket. And then, in a baby stroller leaving a trail of dripping water behind them.

Police arrested Antone Shannon after they found the shark named Miss Helen in his garage. Miss Helen has been returned is said to be doing great in quarantine after her ordeal. Other arrests are expected.

That'll do it for the program. Thanks for being with us. I'm Michael Holmes, remember to connect with me anytime on Twitter and Instagram, @homeCNN. And I'll be back with another hour of news next.