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Russian False Story behind Qatar Crisis; U.K. Voters Head to Polls Soon. Aired 2-3a ET

Aired June 7, 2017 - 02:00   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


[02:00:00]

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JOHN VAUSE, CNN ANCHOR (voice-over): Hello, everybody. Great to have you with us. We're now into the third hour of NEWSROOM L.A. I'm John Vause.

And we're following developments now on three major stories. U.S. investigators say fake news planted by Russian hackers is behind the diplomatic dispute among Qatar and its neighbors.

In the U.S., attorney general Jeff Sessions allegedly threatened to resign during a recent heated exchange with Donald Trump.

And former FBI director James Comey set to testify he never told President Trump that he was not under investigation.

And we begin with CNN's exclusive reporting on Qatar. Russian meddling may have sparked the biggest diplomatic crisis in the Middle East in years. U.S. investigators say Russians hacked into Qatar's state news agency and planted false stories, meant to drive a wedge between the U.S. and its allies.

We begin now with CNN's Becky Anderson.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

MOHAMMED BIN ABDULRAHMAN AL THANI, QATAR FOREIGN MINISTER: Qatar is preventing the war from petition terrorists. They are replacing the weapons with pens (ph).

BECKY ANDERSON, CNN HOST (voice-over): Qatar, wealthy, powerful but most of all a maverick.

Some of its neighbors see it more like this, looking for trouble, accusing it of supporting terrorism. So a bunch of them are cutting the country off, boxing it in. The emirate counterpart of the man you just saw from Qatar broke it down like this.

AMWAR GARGASH, UAE FOREIGN AFFAIRS MINISTER: I think it's an accumulation of Qatar's behavior in the region and especially I would see over the lat period very, very huge logistical financial support for extremist groups, to support also to some set terrorist organizations, such as Al-Nusra and some organizations in Libya and in other areas, such as the Sinai and other areas.

And this is really at the crux of the issue.

AL-THANI: There is no any support going to Al-Nusra or Al Qaeda or others. Whatever being thrown as an accusation is all based on misinformation and --

ANDERSON (voice-over): "Fake news," they claim.

DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We are fighting the fake news.

ANDERSON (voice-over): The American president isn't buying it, even though Washington has a long-term relationship with Qatar, ties that include the largest number of U.S. forces in the Middle East, Trump's tweets suggested his recent trip to the Middle East is bearing fruit by cutting funding for extremism, pointing the finger squarely at Qatar.

AL-THANI: During the conversation with the President of the United States between him and His Highness, he has raised this issue that this is the funding of terrorism need to be stopped by different countries and told us that (INAUDIBLE) a lot of reports that measuring Qatar and Saudi and other countries.

And we told him that those reports based on media information which is not really based on evidence.

ANDERSON (voice-over): But apparently Trump was listening more to the Saudis, who they just announced a $110 billion arms deal with. The cutting of ties by several nations is designed to isolate Qatar and squeeze almost every aspect of life in the tiny country.

Hosting the World Cup in just a few years while it is building nonstop for that, building bridges with others is a lot harder.

AL-THANI: If there is any intervention in our affairs or intervention to change our policy because it is contradicting with other policies in different countries, this is not going to happen because Qatar, based on our policy, based on our president.

ANDERSON (voice-over): Becky Anderson, CNN, London.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

VAUSE: (INAUDIBLE) crisis Muhammad Lila is in Abu Dhabi and Clare Sebastian is standing by in Moscow. But Muhammad, first to you. Qatar has insisted for weeks, the state news agency, was actually hacked.

Now this intelligence, if it's right, says the Russians may be responsible for all of this. But that still does not resolve the underlying reasons for the tensions between Qatar and so many of its neighbors.

MUHAMMAD LILA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, that's right. And you've seen some of those underlying reasons in that package that we just ran earlier. These tensions have been brewing for quite some time. Even before this one allegedly fake news article came out that attributed some quotes to Qatar's ruler, that did not sit well in Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, you saw the United Arab Emirates' foreign minister there, talking about Qatar's behavior in the region.

And you have remember, Qatar's part of the GCC, which is the Gulf Cooperation Council. It's a group of six countries in the Middle East that have a sort of an alliance between them.

But Qatar has sometimes been considered the black sheep out of --

[02:05:00]

LILA: -- that group, primarily because it has been accused for a long time of supporting groups like Hamas or Al-Nusra in Syria. And that has drawn the ire and really the condemnation of some of its neighbors.

And I think what really caught Qatar off guard in this case was how quickly this erupted into basically a complete isolation. It appears as though this moved to isolate Qatar was orchestrated well in advance.

It was announced all at the same time and the biggest shift in this, John, is just three weeks ago, Donald Trump was in Saudi Arabia -- we covered it fairly extensively. And this was the meeting that took place between President Trump and the ruler of Qatar.

It's important for context. This is some of their exchange. Have a listen.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP: Thank you very much, everybody. We have some wonderful meetings going over the last two days. To our friends, we've been friends now for a long time (INAUDIBLE).

And the relationship is extremely good. We have some very serious discussions right now going on.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

LILA: So if you look at that, just three weeks ago, President Trump was saying that the relationship between the United States and Qatar was really good. Fast forward to today and Donald Trump is now tweeting about Qatar, talking about it being the source of financing terrorism in the region.

So look how quickly things can change in just a matter of weeks.

VAUSE: And, Clare, to you in Moscow, it's still not know if these Russian hackers, if there are freelance hackers or patriotic freelance hackers, as Vladimir Putin calls them, but in CNN's reporting on this -- and we noted one official noted that, based on past intelligence, not much happens in that country -- being Russia -- without the blessing of the government.

Is that a fairly accurate assessment, that someone within the Russian government would have to know about this, one way or the other?

CLARE SEBASTIAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, John, I think this is a country that maintains tight control over its Internet largely through its intelligence services. And where many experts, particularly outside of Russia, have said that the lines appear to be blurred between state-sponsored and criminal hackers, we know from various experts, even anecdotally, that Russia is prepared to offer protection to criminal hackers who work on behalf of the state.

So the lines there are definitely blurred. But having said that, I do think it -- you know, there are elements that the Russian government is not in control of. We know that it has its own problems with hacking. We know that there's been several high-profile crackdowns recently, particularly hacks on the Russian financial sector.

It even reached into the Russian government in terms of information being leaked. So I think Russia is vulnerable like everyone else to hackers. They are trying to control their Internet, perhaps going beyond what countries in the West are doing.

But there's definitely elements here that they don't know about -- John.

And, Muhammad, back to you, if the goal of this hack was to sow disruption among U.S. allies, it seems then it's mission accomplished.

How do they resolve this now?

LILA: Well, you know Kuwait has long been seen as the old wise hand amongst the GCC and Kuwait has been trying to mediate. We understand Kuwait has been speaking with the ruler of Qatar as well as the ruler of Saudi Arabia.

But as the interviews yesterday with the foreign ministers of the UAE as well as Qatar show, neither side at this point appears willing to budge. And it may come down to how much pressure Qatar can take before it gives in.

Look, Qatar's a small country. It is very wealthy but it also relies on food imports for about 90 percent of the food that comes into the country, and a lot of that food comes through Saudi Arabia. Those borders are now closed and the question is how long can Qatar hold out before they have to capitulate, even in terms of its airlines?

They no longer have access to Saudi airspace or airspace in the United Arab Emirates or Bahrain. That really isolates Qatar to the point where if they want to continue running their airline they have to do what they've started to do, which is fly over Iranian airspace. And even simple flights that would be from Qatar to Jordan, for example, now have to take a detour that could be one or sometimes even two hours long. That is no doubt going to affect Qatar Airways' bottom line and it's

going to affect traveling into the region. And there's going to be a major ripple effect. And as Qatar and the companies there continue to lose money, there is going to be more pressure internally on the government to find a very quick resolution to this conflict.

VAUSE: OK, Muhammad, thank you, Muhammad Lila in Abu Dhabi and Clare Sebastian in Moscow. Thanks to you both.

Joining me now, California talk radio host Ethan Bearman and California Republican National Committee man Shawn Steel.

So, Ethan, just so -- it seems as if the president is clearly choosing a side here. Maybe without knowing the implications or the consequences of doing that.

ETHAN BEARMAN, CALIFORNIA TALK RADIO HOST: Yes, I think that there is -- this whole thing with the Russians hacking, this is more evidence for what they did here. But to your point, I'm really disturbed between the rhetoric from his campaign. He was so anti-Saudi Arabia; now suddenly he has cozied up to Saudi Arabia.

This is a complex --

[02:10:00]

BEARMAN: -- series of relationships in the Middle East. Saudi Arabia was not directly responsible for the 9/11 attacks but there were nationals from that country. And their funding of some of the radical --

(CROSSTALK)

VAUSE: And the Saudis fund their own fair share of --

BEARMAN: That's right.

VAUSE: -- terrorism and jihadi groups around the world. And the Trump tweets on Qatar, they seemed what officials in the Defense Department and the State Department have been saying, this is how Secretary of State Rex Tillerson responded to the issue.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

REX TILLERSON, U.S. SECRETARY OF STATE: The president's message in Riyadh, remember, was to motivate all of the Arab and Muslim nations worldwide in the Arab Muslim Summit.

That all nations needed to take action against extremism and take action to also terminate the support, financial support, in any ways that they can. Now I think every country in the region has their own obligations they need to live up to.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

VAUSE: So, Shawn, that is the diplomatic answer, not seeing one side out against the other because everyone in the administration, it seems, values the relationship with Qatar. There's the biggest airbase in the Middle East in Qatar, which the U.S. uses. And they have been using for strikes against ISIS.

They used it during the Iraq War.

SHAWN STEEL, CALIFORNIA RNC: Qatar is schizophrenic. If we do have it, the largest base in the entire Persian Gulf. At the same time, they were the founders of Al Jazeera that that was a huge propaganda machine. It was explicitly anti-American.

Qatar has been a bad player with a lot of bad personnel for a very long time. It's not a new story. And Muhammad, your own affiliate, revealed that this is a just a story that suddenly changed the entire diplomatic reality in the Middle East.

Not true at all. Qatar's heard this. This is not something -- and you're going to see more information come out. It's such a new story and by putting the Russian spice on it, there's no evidence of that.

Once again -- and you said it yourself -- if it is true, if it is verified, again, it's unnamed sources. I'm not in the -- I'm not interested in makeup facts or potential --

(CROSSTALK)

VAUSE: -- sources are telling us -- we've had that discussion --

STEEL: No, no, no.

(CROSSTALK)

BEARMAN: I have experience in information security, information technology security, and I'm going to tell you something. The Russians are renowned for ever attacking everything that they can, probing everything and trying to get in there. This is -- there is nothing new about this. I absolutely --

(CROSSTALK)

STEEL: -- know for a fact they did it?

(CROSSTALK)

VAUSE: -- running out of time. There'll be a headline. President Trump apparently furious at his attorney general Jeff Sessions because he recused himself from the Russia investigation. That was after he failed to disclose his contacts with the Russian ambassador.

And again to you, Ethan, essentially Sessions had no other choice but to recuse himself from that investigation.

BEARMAN: He had to. Otherwise the investigation is completely invalid because he was part of the investigation itself. He was a subject of the investigation. This needed to happen -- he needed to recuse himself. This is interesting, though; we're suddenly -- we have a question of the attorney general this early in addition to all the other missteps that have happened in this administration.

This is, if he steps down as attorney general, this is a huge issue --

(CROSSTALK)

VAUSE: -- just for a moment because on Tuesday, White House spokesman Sean Spicer could not say if Sessions still had support of the president. Listen to this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MAJOR GARRETT, CBS NEWS HOST: How would you describe the president's level of confidence in the attorney general, Jeff Sessions?

SEAN SPICER, WHITE HOUSE SPOKESPERSON: I have not had a discussion with him about that.

(CROSSTALK)

GARRETT: The last time you said that, there was a development.

(CROSSTALK)

SPICER: I'm asking -- I'm answering a question, which I have not had that discussion with him.

(CROSSTALK)

GARRETT: So you can't say he has confidence in his attorney general?

SPICER: I said I have not had a discussion with him on the question. I don't -- if I haven't had a discussion with him about a subject, I tend not to speak about it.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

VAUSE: And we are still waiting of that whether or not the president has confidence in the attorney general.

Shawn, the thing is, though, if Sessions is on thin ice, everybody's on thin ice. And this is a president who is now completely isolated.

STEEL: I think you're speculation's interesting. But I happen to know people in Justice. I happen to know somebody that's very close to Jeff Sessions and they think it is a laugher that the 1 percent truth has been magnified 100 times beyond the --

(CROSSTALK)

STEEL: -- and secondly, is Donald Trump possibly unhappy that Jeff Sessions did the right thing? I would think that that is likely. But again, unnamed sources. Probably people that are not even in government anymore, this kind of news is, again, speculation. Now -- VAUSE: Much like Michael Flynn was speculation when he resigned? In my mind, a lot of speculations come out to be true.

STEEL: That's true. But what's real is what Sean Spicer said. I think that is disconcerting.

(CROSSTALK)

STEEL: I would like him to talk to the president and get that cleared up. But I think in 24 hours, we're going to have a lot more information.

VAUSE: OK, Shawn, Ethan, good to see you both. Thank you.

So in the meantime, the former FBI director, James Comey, will break his silence on Capitol Hill Thursday. Sources say Comey will testify President Trump misinterpreted conversations they had, concluding he was not under investigation.

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VAUSE: Comey will be a fact witness and will describe his interactions with Mr. Trump but won't offer any opinions on whether the president did anything illegal.

French authorities say the man who attacked a police officer with a hammer near Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris shouted, "This is for Syria."

Inside the church, hundreds of people took refuge as place confronted the suspect, a 40-year-old Algerian student. It is believed he acted alone.

One officer shot the man in the chest. Investigators have opened an antiterror inquiry into the attack.

Just one day now until the U.K. votes in a snap election and when we come back we'll look at the unexpected challenge that Labour has mounted against the ruling Conservative Party.

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VAUSE: British voters head to the ballot boxes on Thursday, most opinion polls put Prime Minister Theresa May's Conservative Party still in the lead. But Jeremy Corbyn and Labour have been gaining ground recently.

Now the polling company YouGov puts the Conservatives at 42 percent; Labour 38 percent, but Dems at 9 percent. It projects no outright winner, meaning there could be a hung parliament.

Meantime, Britain's top-selling newspaper, "The Sun," urging readers to support Theresa May. A full-page editorial is aimed at supporters of the U.K. Independence Party, in recent part, "The Tories need every former UKIPer's vote to win a decent majority to make Brexit happen without opposition parties or rebellious MPs holding it back."

Jeremy Corbyn is allied pass Labour leaders and that could be just what he needs to pull off a massive upset or he might just shrink his campaign. Here's Phil Black.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

PHIL BLACK, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): This man continues to defy many people's expectations. Jessup (ph), J.C.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Thank you for coming into London.

BLACK (voice-over): -- or just Jeremy.

Jeremy Corbyn's faithful can be fanatical.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I follow Jeremy around the country because he's a fantastic leader. He cares for everyone.

JEREMY CORBYN, LEADER, U.K. LABOUR PARTY: There's a great mood and spirit here that we're moving on to win this election.

Is that right?

BLACK (voice-over): This left-wing veteran who's never held a senior position in the party became the surprise pick for Labour leader in 2015.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I think Jeremy Corbyn represents something young, something new, like we're -- he's not a traditional career politician.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Only they could have been here today to listen, to be there in the presence of this man, to feel that leadership.

BLACK (voice-over): That's one side of the Corbyn effect.

There's another.

And you find it by traveling away from the rallies into some of Labour's traditional heartlands.

This is Brigette (ph) in Wales, for decades, voters here have been sending --

[02:20:00]

BLACK (voice-over): -- Labour candidates to Parliament. But over a drink in The Prince of Wales, we learned why that might not happen this time.

Like his parents before him, and Iron Lewis (ph) has always voted Labour. He did it in the last election, not this time. BLACK: We were only happily years down the track.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes.

BLACK: What's really changed your thinking so quickly in that time, do you think?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This was all technical then.

BLACK: Jeremy Corbyn?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes. This guy's on teb (ph) he's the mander (ph) and a neighbor. I don't think he got enough substance.

BLACK (voice-over): Here, he party and its leader are losing lifetime Labour voters.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I wouldn't trust the polling. I'm feared not. He's not a man you can trust.

BLACK: Why is that?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: His values are different than mine.

BLACK (voice-over): People here are talking an extraordinary political shift, not just abandoning Labour but doing what was for so long unthinkable: backing the Conservative Party.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: A remember a time growing up when if I'd said that in the future I would even think Conservative, and I may have been friends, quite frankly, (INAUDIBLE).

(CROSSTALK)

BLACK: If you were lucky, yes.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes.

(LAUGHTER)

BLACK (voice-over): Jeremy Corbyn entered this campaign the clear underdog. Early opinion polls pointed to a Labour wipeout.

Since then, he's closed the gap significantly. But few outside the leader's circle are talking about a Labour victory.

CORBYN: Don't afraid to witness, though, you know (ph).

(APPLAUSE)

BLACK (voice-over): As the election nears, Corbyn's campaign is still fighting to get past its greatest challenge: growing his personal appeal and credibility beyond a passionate core group of supporters -- Phil Black, CNN, London.

(END VIDEOTAPE) VAUSE: We have this just in to CNN. Reports from Iran say there has been a shooting inside the country's parliament. Iran's press TV says a security guard has been injured. Not a lot more information right now but as soon as we get any new details, we will bring them to you.

In the meantime, let's head over to our Nina dos Santos at London's Abingdon Green.

So, Nina, it could be a cliffhanger after all.

NINA DOS SANTOS, CNNMONEY EUROPE EDITOR: It could. It seems as though this election campaign was likely to be rather dull when it was originally called as a snap election because Theresa May had something like an 18-point lead over her nearest rival.

But that particular leader of the Labour Party has all but evaporated as we head into the final stretches.

Let's bring in CNN's political contributor, Robin Oakley, who's live outside the Houses of Parliament with me to discuss this and more.

And it'd suddenly gotten, Robin, interesting, hasn't it, Robin.

What do you think if everything we've heard has been a real game- changer?

ROBIN OAKLEY, CNN POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, first of all, the British public doesn't like unnecessary elections. We didn't have to have this election. Theresa May called it on an opportunist urge, seeing how far behind Labour was in the polls, being urged by her fellow ministers, go for it; build a big majority in Parliament.

She justified that by saying she needed that for the Brexit negotiations, which start 11 days after this election campaign.

So that was what triggered it, what set it off. But a lot of people said we've been voting for this and that; we had a referendum. We've had local government elections. It's only two years since the last general election. We're fed up with elections.

And then it became such an election of such a bad tone. The Conservative Party has run it appallingly, largely because they've done nothing but attack Jeremy Corbyn personally, saying he's not fit for the job.

Well, a lot of Labour MPs used to agree with that, three-quarters of them tried to get him out as Labour Party leader. But a lot of people say, OK, look, I probably am Conservative. I want to vote Conservative but I want to be voting Conservative for a reason, not just because they say Jeremy Corbyn's useless.

DOS SANTOS: And we look in the Brexit campaign that David Cameron ran to try and convince people to stay inside the E.U., again, we know that negative campaigns do not wash well with voters, don't we, Robin, and --

OAKLEY: One jake fear (ph), they call it, and it didn't work.

DOS SANTOS: It didn't. And so Theresa May, ironically enough, is famous for calling the term "the nasty party" for the Conservative Party. She said that the Tory Party should try and rejig its image. But she's done very little to change that. In fact, she might have just reinforced that message.

OAKLEY: The curious thing is she started out going -- heading for a new kind of mainstream Conservatives and saying she wanted to look after the people who were just getting by, the people who were in jobs, struggling, you know, finding their bills a bit too much, wanting to help those people.

She deliberately didn't get big business people to sign a letter backing her as previous prime ministers have done. She tried to say, look, we're out for ordinary people. But somehow, that's got lost in the course of this campaign.

And also remember this, this was supposed to be the Brexit election. We know nothing more today about the Conservative plans for negotiations with Europe or what a post-Brexit Britain is going to look like than we did the day the election was called.

DOS SANTOS: Enough is enough, Brexit means Brexit. All of these --

[02:25:00]

DOS SANTOS: kinds of these -- strong and stable -- all of these kind of catchphrases that Theresa May's famous for seem to be backed up with empty promises don't they.

And here's the question. Even if she does manage to scrape through with a majority of -- perhaps even she could be as lucky as getting 40 seats and so on and so forth, could she face a leadership challenge from somebody inside her own party?

She hasn't taken part in those TV debates. That's given oxygen to other people like Amber Rudd, the home secretary.

OAKLEY: Depending entirely, I think, on the arithmetic. You know, is it a scrape by or is it a respectable majority that she gets at the end of the day?

And of course all the opinion polls that we're relying on so much for these predictions, they're all trying out new methodologies because they got things pretty wrong in a whole series of recent elections.

So we just don't know what the arithmetic is going to look like. But if she finishes with a smaller majority than she went into this election with 10, then I think her future leadership would be in question. But I don't think, given the current state of security, the terrorist attacks, the fact that Brexit talks start 11 days' time, I don't think that the challenge would be immediate.

But certainly her future would look in doubt. DOS SANTOS: Now there's all two things that Jeremy Corbyn does look decidedly weak on, when it comes to the economy and the future of how to negotiate a good Brexit deal indeed, his whole vision of the U.K.'s membership with the European Union, that is very questionable, isn't it, because he's no fan of the E.U. And he would like to see the U.K. leave.

And also security as well. This is somebody who, in the past, has called groups like Hamas and Hezbollah that are deemed as terrorism organizations by this country and others, "friends." He's had links to Sinn Fein and the IRA.

OAKLEY: Certainly. There have been a lot of question marks about Jeremy Corbyn's past attitude to terrorism and the way he's voted over a long period.

And even in one of the worst polls for the Conservatives in the course of this election campaign, when the security question was asked, who do you trust most on security, it was still 42 percent for Theresa May, only 18 percent for Jeremy Corbyn.

But on the question of negotiations with Europe, she has hammered home the same that, no, he is not fit to negotiate, he is not a proper leader or all the rest of it.

I've been listening to a few phone incidents on and people have been saying, look, Theresa May, David Davis, Boris Johnson, the Tory team approaching Europe with such aggression that they're not going to get any decent result. And Jeremy Corbyn is being much more reasonable in the kinds of things he's saying about Europe.

But at the end of the day, you've got to engage with the people you want the deal with.

DOS SANTOS: (INAUDIBLE) thank you very much for that, CNN's political contributor.

John, back to you in the studio.

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JOHN VAUSE, CNN ANCHOR (voice-over): Welcome back, everybody. You're watching CNN NEWSROOM, live from Los Angeles. I'm John Vause. We'll check he headlines this hour.

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VAUSE: Police have arrested a 30-year-old man in connection with Saturday's terror attack in London. They've also identified the third attacker, 22-year-old Youssef Zaghba is believed to be an Italian of Moroccan descent. He was on an Italian watchlist because authorities suspected he had tried to travel to Syria.

And the attack's ringleader may have been one of the most dangerous extremists in the U.K; 27-year-old Khuram Butt was a key figure in an outlawed radical Islamist sympathetic to ISIS. In 2015, British authorities investigated Butt, a British citizen born in Pakistan. That investigation was downgraded because there was no evidence he was actually planning an attack.

More now from CNN's Nic Robertson.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

NIC ROBERTSON, CNN INTERNATIONAL DIPLOMATIC EDITOR (voice-over): A meeting, a former radical, Jordan Horner.

JORDAN HORNER, FORMER RADICAL: That's the individual there.

ROBERTSON: This guy?

HORNER: This guy.

ROBERTSON: Yes.

HORNER: That's the one.

ROBERTSON: The guy that you knew?

HORNER: Yes.

ROBERTSON: And you saw just a couple of weeks ago?

HORNER: Yes, I saw a couple of weeks ago inside the gym.

ROBERTSON: He knew Khuram Butt, the lead London attacker.

Looking at him now does it shock you?

HORNER: To be on this day from the last time he looks more of a sort of Youssef concern and I guess the way he's dressed and the way he looks. He looks more religious there than when I met him two or three weeks ago. He looks more...

(CROSSTALK)

ROBERTSON: Was his beard shorter?

HORNER: Yes, he trims his beard. He was wearing Western clothing so he was, here I would say I expect more extremism from him there than I did three weeks ago and that's really...

(CROSSTALK)

ROBERTSON: Really it kind of change his looks.

HORNER: Yes. His looks changed. You know, he wasn't, he didn't -- he wasn't wearing long robe so he wasn't wearing the turban, he didn't have a long beard.

ROBERTSON: Any hint from him at all that had change in some way that from the guy that you knew before. HORNER: It was nothing and that's why still of shock to me and a shock to the people that knew him that he would do something like that. I know as well, you know, on a personal level I knew that he had the birth of his baby daughter a few weeks ago, a few months ago.

So psychologically I can't understand how a man who's just, you know, had a baby is going to go in, you know, someone who just experienced and witnessed coming to the world is then going to go and take life from other people, you know.

ROBERTSON: What sort of guy was he like, what was he like?

HORNER: To be honest when I met him he was very, he was very humble and he was a quite individual. He never used to speak a lot. He was very sociable in terms of when he would speak to you he'd be very polite, you know, he would -- he would get along with a lot of people.

I don't think I've ever seen him sort of disagree with anyone or argue with anyone. You know, when I saw him in the gym he was helping the guys out.

ROBERTSON: Any talk about going after Syria or Iraq from him?

HORNER: He never spoke to me about any of those issues, you know. And I don't think personally he'd spoke to anyone else in the gym because there are numerous training partners I had never mentioned of anything about him and that myself that will shock as well.

ROBERTSON: So a lot of people are asking the question, you know, how can a guy who's been on the radar with police and MI-5 get away with an attack like this?

HORNER: Because I was involved in extremism and radicalization at one point in my life and I saw numerous individuals live a numerous life, not that MI-5 have set up in this at 3,000 extremist that they need to monitor.

Now, any time anyone of those can make the decision to pick a knife and run a van and cause chaos in the streets of London.

ROBERTSON: Do you think there's still people out there who could do more than...

(CROSSTALK)

HORNER: The thing is you just never know. The thing is you never know like, if he was to tell me that an individual is going to and done this, you know, without telling me the name and he was to tell me that I know that individual, to be honest with you I would have mentioned dozen other names, maybe hundreds of other names of people that I thought would have been.

ROBERTSON: From your perspective there's a possibility there's a lot more people out there who need to be stopped.

HORNER: Like I said, you know, many of individuals I would have thought had done this but they've never done nothing like that. And an individual I thought would have done it has done that to be the one who have done it. So, for me it's very difficult to understand.

ROBERTSON (voice-over): Nic Robertson, CNN, London.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

VAUSE: In just 18 minutes, the terrorists killed seven people -- a nurse, an au pair, a waiter, a chef, a social worker. They were young; most in their 20s. They were out enjoying a night in London, a summerlike night in London. Here's Hala Gorani with more on the lives which were lost.

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VAUSE: The first person to be charged for leaking during the Trump administration is a 25-year-old contractor from Texas. Reality Leigh Winner is accused of passing classified information about a Russian cyber attack to an online news outlet.

Before this, she was an Air Force Airman of Distinction. Brian Todd has more on her online presence and how investigators say they tracked her down.

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BRIAN TODD, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): This unassuming-looking 25-year old is behind bars in Georgia, the main suspect in a federal leak investigation that the Department of Justice calls "a threat to national security."

Reality Leigh Winner, an Air Force veteran who worked as a government contractor, is accused of removing classified material from a government facility and mailing it to a news outlet.

The government says Winner, who had a top secret security clearance, leaked this secret NSA report about a Russian --

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TODD (voice-over): -- military cyber attack on a U.S. voting software company days before the election.

The document was first published by the intercept. Now as Winner faces charges that could land her in prison for 10 years, those who know her are trying to figure out why she did what she allegedly did.

On Twitter, she appears to have followed Edward Snowden, WikiLeaks and accounts linked to the group Anonymous. But she was also a decorated airman in the U.S. Air Force. A commendation shown to CNN by Winner's mother says she provided valuable intelligence information and helped geolocate 120 enemy combatants. Her mother says she was a linguist in the Air Force, speaking Pashto,

Farsi and Dara.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You really can't tell what her motivation is. The only thing we know is she wanted this material to be public.

TODD (voice-over): Winner's mother told CNN her daughter was not especially political and had never praised leakers like Snowden.

On Election Night as it became apparent that Donald Trump was going to win, Reality Winner appears to have tweeted, quote, "Well people suck," #ElectionNight.

In February under the name Sara Winners (ph), she allegedly tweeted that President Trump was, quote, "an orange fascist." That was only about two days before Winner was hired by Pluribus International Corporation, a contractor providing analytics and engineering services to U.S. security agencies.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: These would raise questions but that are just that, just questions. In the interview process, you have to satisfy yourself that the questions have viable answers. It's not like posting political messages exclude you from getting a top-secret clearance. It has to do with the nature and content of the messages.

TODD (voice-over): Investigators say Winner was caught because the document had been creased, indicating it had been printed and taken off the premises.

When they traced the document back, investigators say it became evident only six people had printed it, including Winner. And the government says only she had contact with the intercept reporters.

Now experts tell us the NSA could have used an even more elaborate way of tracking the memo, dots embedded in printouts.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: To the naked eye, the untrained eye, you wouldn't see this unless you magnified it or used blue light. And then the dots become a little bit easier to see. But what you invert the colors and take the negative of the colors, it becomes a much more apparent that you have these little matrix of dots.

And these matrix of dots actually encode information. They encode the time and time that the printout was made and the serial number that the printer that made the printout. And you can easily find tools online -- this was by the Electronic Frontier Foundation, for example, where you could put that pattern in and it will do the math for you and show that this printout, this leaked NSA document, was made on a printer with this serial number, 535218, on May 9th, 2017, at 6:20 am.

TODD: Reality Winner's attorney tells CNN he sees nothing that would lead him to believe his client is guilty of these charges. The attorney says his client is, quote, "not a traitor, she's a veteran," and says he believes the government has a political agenda in going after Ms. Winner. The NSA did not comment for our story; her employer, Pluribus International, did not return our calls or emails -- Brian Todd, CNN, Washington.

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VAUSE: Before we go, a moment to celebrate tennis' French Open and the Eiffel Tower has been turned into a massive zipline.

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UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (Speaking French).

VAUSE (voice-over): Riders are sent across the Champ de Mars at 115 meters above the ground at speeds of 90 km an hour, which apparently is the speed the tennis balls travel during the French Open tennis.

Now we know. The zipline will be open until Sunday. If you happen to be in Paris, give it a ride. It's free.

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VAUSE: There we are, praying it doesn't crash to the ground.

Thank you for watching CNN NEWSROOM, live from Los Angeles. I'm John Vause. We'll have more news in 15 minutes, including the very latest from Iran for a shooting at the parliament there has reportedly wounded three people.

But first, here's "WORLD SPORT." You're watching CNN.

VAUSE: Nina, thank you. We'll take a short break right now. "STATE OF AMERICA" with Kate Bolduan is next for our viewers in Asia. For everyone else, in 18 minutes, seven people were dead, victims of the London Bridge terror attack among them Canadian Chrissy Archibald. We'll have more on the request from her parents to honor her memory.