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Humanitarian Pause Fell on Deaf Ears; Human Trafficking and Slavery in the 21st Century; Trump's Longtime Aide Heads the Exit Door; Boko Haram Terrorize Communities; Longtime Trump Aide Hope Hicks Resigning; Netanyahu Tied To Bribery Case 4000; Breitbart, Trump The Gun Grabber; Dick's CEO, We Are Taking A Stand; Silvio Berlusconi Back In Italy's Political Spotlight; Brutal Weather Disputes Travel In Parts Of Europe; White Lies A True Story. Aired 3-4a ET

Aired March 1, 2018 - 03:00   ET



[03:00:00] ROSEMARY CHURCH, HOST, CNN: This young one of many rescued from slavery in Libya last year. He's now back home. Grateful, but still struggling.

A ceasefire and daily humanitarian pauses are proving useless in Syria's eastern Ghouta. Both sides are getting them. Aid can't get in and civilians can't get out.

And another exit from the Trump White House, this time it's one of the president's closest and most trusted aides.

Hello and welcome to our viewers joining us from all around the world. I'm Rosemary Church here at CNN headquarters in Atlanta. This is CNN Newsroom.

Africa migrants are risking everything as they seek a better future in Europe. But for some that dream won't come true. Thousands of people are making this dangerous journey. More than 10,000 have arrived in Europe so far this year, but hundreds died along the way. Countless others have been force to turn back and some are stuck in detention centers.

CNN's Nima Elbagir has been reporting on all of this, and she joins me now from London. Nima, your reports on slavery have delved into the extraordinary desperation that drives so many of these people to attempt the challenging journey to Europe in search of a better life only to be sold into slavery.

You've followed one young man, this one we've just seen and introduced to our viewers. You followed him from a Libyan detention center back to his home in Nigeria. How is he coping?

NIMA ELBAGIR, SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT, CNN: Unfortunately, the answer to that question, Rosemary, is reintegration back into Nigeria is proving much more difficult than victory could have ever expected.

Take a look at this. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ELBAGIR: Benin City in Nigeria is the trafficking capital of the country. It's one of the most trafficked from departure points in the whole continent. It's where tens of thousands of young people, men and women, head off for their dream of Europe. It's also where tens of thousands of them are returned with that shattered, and today, we're hoping to be one of those returnees.

The last time we saw Victory he was lying on the floor of a Libyan detention center just rescued from slavery, begging to be sent back home. Now he is back in Nigeria, but has he found his happy ending.

How do you feel coming back here?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: A lot of people lost their lives over there, I am happy that l didn't lose my life. I'm back home now so I can take another step. So I am happy.

ELBAGIR: Victory is responsible for his mother and three younger siblings. His mother says she's too embarrassed to show her face on camera. Too embarrassed to admit her family was desperate enough that her son risked everything to try and make his way to Europe.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I also have the children to care of so just to see what I can for myself. Even where I am working now, if I get 3,000 naira a day I have to split it into three.

The money is not even enough to feed us. When I go to work I don't even eat. If I eat from that money there will be nothing left for me. Maybe if I want to eat dinner, maybe once, it should be in the evening so that is just it. If I was to come here and eat with them when there is no much food to eat. So I just have to face everything on my own. So let me see what I can do for myself. So I'm happy to work even though the pay is not good.

ELBAGIR: Victory is homeless, afraid to burden his with his presence, another mouth for her to feed. If anything, Victory says their life now is worse since his return from Libya, but that doesn't mean he's giving up.

[03:04:53] UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Because everything I do is because of them. I believe that I have to be somebody tomorrow. I have to do something with my life.

ELBAGIR: After we did the interview with you in Libya a lot of people got in touch to say that they thought that you were a hero, for having survived what you survived. Do you feel like a hero?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I am happy that my life (Inaudible) face tomorrow to see what I can do for myself.

ELBAGIR: How many more like Victory will attempt the journey to Europe, thousands, maybe tens of thousands. Many returning to a poverty they say is even more dehumanizing than the horrors they down in Libya. Victory, though, is convinced that his will be a happy ending. That

like he did in Libya he will again find the strength to survive.


ELBAGIR: And if you want to help Victory and others like him you can head to where we've got a list of organizations that have been vetted by CNN and you will be able to put your money to good use if you choose to donate in terms of bettering the situation, not just in the for Victory and others but also in Libya. Rosemary?

CHURCH: Thanks, Nima. And we know of course, our viewers will definitely want to do that. We also want to point out that you and your team were honored at the World Television Society last night. You won the Scoop of the Year award for your incredible reporting on the Libyan slave trade last year.

And we just want to remind our viewers with a clip from that report.


ELBAGIR: Bring strong voice for farm work, he says. The numbers roll in. These men are sold for 1,200 Libyan pound, $400 apiece, a flood light obscuring much of the scene. One by one, men are brought out as the bidding begins. And they kept bringing out what they kept referring in Arabic is 'al buda,' the merchandise.


CHURCH: And Nima, first, congratulations on putting a spotlight on the plight of those fleeing slavery in search of freedom. While you're reporting on the Libyan slave trade last year did it ever occur to you that this story would end up getting the global reaction that it received in the end and how important is that to you.

ELBAGIR: Honestly, no. We didn't really think that there would be this kind of outpouring this -- we had hoped that it would resonate with people and we definitely were shell shock when we -- when we started unraveling the different parts of this story that it could exist and it could be so brazen.

And it's important to bear in mind, Rosemary, that although we were able to get the visual confirmation of this, this isn't a story that been buried somewhere deep in the dark. The international criminal court the office of the prosecutor they had given a presentation at the security council talking about slavery.

The International Organization of Migration had been talking about the enslavement of migrants in Libya. And so, we hoped that the world would take notice, but even everything that had gone before we didn't really -- we didn't dare believe to be honest. And so it was extraordinary. It was -- I mean, even just watching that video again and hearing you talk about the reaction is emotional.

It is amazing that people cared as much as they did. And our hope is by going back to -- by going to Nigeria where the major source country of migrants that end up exploited and slaved and trafficked, showing what has happened to Victory and just staying on this across CNN is to remind people that that was -- that was fantastic and that commitment was great.

But this is still happening and we have to remain incredibly vigilant.

CHURCH: Indeed, we certainly do. And that is a lot of people are surprised that this still happens in this day and age. And thank you again for putting a spotlight on this and for your incredible reporting, Nima.

ELBAGIR: Thank you.

CHURCH: Thank you. Well, a 30-day ceasefire in Syria mandated by the U.N. and a daily humanitarian pause ordered by the Russian president are proving useless. The bombardment continues. Fighter jets and massive explosions of common side outside Damascus.

A humanitarian corridor that would allow residents to escape eastern Ghouta is going unused and ambulances and buses are waiting empty. Russia and Syria say rebels are shelling the corridor to prevent residents from leaving, but the rebel says people simply won't leave because they're afraid of the government.

The U.N. humanitarian affairs coordinated paints a very bleak picture.


[03:10:00] MARK LOWCOCK, UNDER-SECRETARY-GENERAL, UNITED NATIONS HUMANITARIAN AFFAIRS: Can you deliver assistance in eastern Ghouta during a humanitarian pause between 9 a.m. and 2 p.m. local time?

Well, to quote the International Committee of the Red Cross's Middle East who spoke yesterday on this, it's impossible to bring a humanitarian convoy in five hours. Agencies now have years of experience with this and it can take days simply to pass checkpoint even when the parties have agreed, then you have to off load the goods.

So, if there's been no humanitarian access since the resolution on Saturday, what has happened in the last few days more bombing, more fighting, more death, more destruction, more men, women, and children, more hunger, more misery. More, in other words, the same.


CHURCH: And CNN's senior international correspondent Sam Kiley is following this story from Istanbul. Sam, we are getting these conflicting reports about what's happening in eastern Ghouta and why the ceasefire and humanitarian pauses prove useless. What are you hearing?

SAM KILEY, SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT, CNN: There has been a slight dialing down in the level of violence in comparison to what prevailed before that weekend United Nations Security Council resolution demanding a 24/7 30-day ceasefire across the whole of Syria not just east Ghouta, but of course east Ghouta was very specifically singled out in that resolution.

Since then the Russians have chosen to re-fashion, if you like, with this humanitarian pause so-called between 9 o'clock and 2 o'clock in the afternoon local time. During this so-called pause there has been a continued levels of shelling, a slight reduction in air strikes.

The amount of air strikes that have been going in to east Ghouta is down but it isn't over. There are daily reports of people being killed and buildings being destroyed in air strikes by the Syrian air force but not on the scale I have to say that we saw before the weekends.

So there is still an extreme level of violence. And the other thing to point out about this humanitarian corridor so-called this is many local was saying that the United Nations, the International Committee of the Red Cross have made abundantly clear five hours is simply not enough time to organize a humanitarian evacuation or even deliver aid into a besieged environment where there are 400,000 people living pretty much on fresh air well water.

But on top of that these corridors or this corridor actually lead into government held territory where local people are very, very fearful that they'll either be arrested or force into the Syrian army if they are male. So in that context there is no real prospect of a serious ceasefire until it is applied as the United Nations have insisted over the full 24-hour period.

But we've seen this with Russia and Syria in the past like moving in the goalposts repackaging humanitarian efforts to look as though they're making something of an effort was they prosecute as they did in Eastern Aleppo a campaign to actually break the back of the rebellion and then overrun the entire area.

That clearly remains the agenda indeed. The Russians Mr. Shoygu, the defense minister said their whole campaign here is to eradicate groups that they described as quote, unquote, "terrorist." That's just how they describe all of the rebels in that area. Rosemary.

CHURCH: Yes. Sam Kiley monitoring developments in eastern Ghouta from his vantage point there in Istanbul. We thank you so very much.

We'll take a very short break here but still to come, she is one of President Trump's most trusted but now Hope Hicks is leaving the White House. A look at the timing of her resignation.

Plus, officials linked Israel prime minister to another corruption case even though he's not a suspect. We'll have the details for you on the other side of the break. Do stay with us.


CHURCH: Well, one of President Trump's longtime aide is resigning. White House communications director hope Hicks announced her resignation one day after testifying before the House intelligence committee. A source says Mr. Trump berated Hicks for admitting she told white lies on his behalf. Hicks help cropped a misleading statement about Donald Trump, Jr.'s

meeting with Russians during the 2016 campaign. She also worked to defend staff secretary Robe Porter when charges of domestic abuse emerged from his ex-wives.

CNN political analyst Ryan Lizza joins me now from Washington to talk more about this resignation. Ryan, good to have you with us.


CHURCH: So, let's start by taking a look at all the communication directors at the Trump administration has had so far. And it's worth pointing out that Jason Miller was named that never served. So Hope Hicks is essentially the fifth in that job. How unusually it is to have so many people in this role compared to other administrations?

LIZZA: Well, I think the Obama administration had five in eight years so having that many in a little more than a year is very unusual. It's a bit like that that job is become a bit like the drummer in spinal tap if you remember that movie, Rosemary, the person who just kept on the leaving the job under mysterious circumstances.

You know, and it's really not just that position but this White House has had an extraordinary amount of turnover in multiple positions. The communications director is a pretty important job in most White Houses since it does exactly what it sounds like.

It's the person who reads the communication strategy for the whole administration. And you now, as you know in some ways Donald Trump is his own communications director, so it's a pretty tough job to have, it's a pretty tough person to work for doing communications because he micromanage his communications at the White House. So I think that's one reason you've seen so much turnover.

CHURCH: And that take to my next question which is, what you know about the circumstances behind the resignation of Hope Hicks and was in her admission that she told white lies for the president, is that what triggered her departure.

LIZZA: Well, CNN, this is on my reporting that CNN reported earlier that the president did dress her down for her comments up in Congress on Tuesday and conceding that she told white lies on behalf of Trump. So I think the, you know, the coincidence of this coming or this turn leaking the news of this the day after that, you know, which raises some questions about whether that was the final -- that's what finally made her decision.

Other reporting has suggested that she's been talking about leaving for a long time. And frankly, every senior administration official every senior White House official has been through a press cycle where there are rumors that they are thinking about leaving usually based on them talking to people saying, I got a place it's too hard to do this job.

So, in that sense we shouldn't be shocked by anyone leaving. Trump is extraordinary difficult and demanding, certainly difficult to work for is very demanding and it's very, very easy to get on his bad side. So it's not shocking.

CHURCH: And just very quickly, how will Donald Trump deal with the absence of Hope Hicks, one of his closest and longest-serving aide and some have described her as his emotional support.

[03:19:59] LIZZA: Yes, they were very close. She's really the only person left at the White House who was with Trump -- except for Jared Kushner, his son-in-law and Ivanka, his daughter two important exceptions.

She was really the last person who was with him on this improbable journey that started way back in 2014, '15 depending on when you date it. So it's a real change in the White House and that's the original cast of characters that started this with Trump they're all gone now.

And I think she's going to be very -- it's very hard to replace one because she was so unique in her relationship with Trump, but two, there aren't a lot of people in the republican communications world who are dying to take on this position.

CHURCH: Apparently not. Ryan Lizza, always good to talk with you. Thanks so much.

LIZZA: Thank you, Rosemary.

CHURCH: We go to the African continent now. We're learning more about the raid on the school in northeastern Nigeria from some of the girls who escaped a mass kidnapping. The government believes Boko Haram militants took 110 girls from this school in Dapchi more than a week ago. The air forces as since launched a massive search to try to find them.

And CNN's David McKenzie joins us now from Kano in Nigeria with more. David, you traveled to Dapchi in Northeastern Nigeria where these girls were kidnapped and you met with some of the girls who escaped to the Boko Haram attack, what did they tell you?

DAVID MCKENZIE, INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT, CNN: Well, Rosemary, there is a real sense of shock and anger in Dapchi in that village which was attacked by Boko Haram. We went to the school in question that it was a shocking scene. The girls had ran out of the mosque when the attack happened. They said that they were called by the militant -- the militants who were dressed like the Nigerian military.

But some of them noticed that they were wearing flip-flops not boots and they started scattering and running. They left their alarm clock, their goods in their dormitory in this boarding school. Everything there is just like standing still in time.

And more than 100 girls are missing. We spoke to some of the survivors of that attack, two of them that we spoke to have lost their sisters. Take a listen.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (through translator): I haven't seen my sisters since it happened. I tried to call her number and didn't go through. In the morning I look her at the school but I just couldn't find her.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (through translator): I worry that I lost her for good.


MCKENZIE: Well, Rosemary, there is real sense that the government has let this region and the school girls down, that they say that more than 20 days ahead of this attack the military was removed from the area that was protecting it. It's right there close to where Boko Haram the ISIS affiliated group operates.

And these girls said they are scared to go back to school now and that they will never go back to school in that village. We spoke to the parents of some of those missing. They made a list, a handwritten list of all the girls that they cannot locate.

They say they want more from the international community from the government of Nigeria to try and find those missing girls. And there is a sense that they've been forgotten.

If you compared the reaction to this to when four years ago the Chibok girls were taken more than 300 of them when there was a worldwide outcry. There's been very little sense that the world is watching the situation here anymore and these girls that survived their parents or feel forgotten.

I have to say it was extremely disturbing to be there at that empty school in a place where a girls education is a really such a struggle and they just really don't know what to do now with the government promising they'll bring the girls back but no indication that they are going to deliver on that promise any time soon. Rosemary?

CHURCH: Yes, certainly a lot of frustration about what the government there is not doing as far as the story goes.

David McKenzie joining us from Kano in Nigeria, where it is nearly 9.25 in the morning. We thank you.

Well, CNN is partnering with young people around the world for students led day of action against modern-day slavery on March 14. And in advance My Freedom Day we asking students what freedom means to them. Here is what Salma, an eighth grader from the American community school in Abu Dhabi had to say about that.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: To me freedom means (Inaudible) and the right to live your life the way you want.


CHURCH: Millions have shared with is what freedom means to them on social media. Join them and share your story using the hash tag my freedom day. [03:24:55] Well, Benjamin Netanyahu's legal troubles could be growing, prosecutors say they have tied the Israeli Prime Minister to a bribery investigation called case 4,000, although he is not a suspect.

Our Oren Liebermann has more now on the allegations against the leader who was repeatedly proclaimed his innocence.

OREN LIEBERMANN, CORRESPONDENT, CNN: For the first time prosecutors directly linked Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to another graft throw, this one though is case 4,000, alleging he gave regulatory benefits worth up to one billion shekels or up $200 million to is friend in exchange for favorable media coverage.

Case 4,000 is one of five investigations targeting the prime minister and members of his inner circle. Netanyahu has been named a suspect in two of those cases but not in case 4,000.

In an appeals hearing for two of the key suspects in this case prosecutors said Netanyahu gave regulatory benefits worth up to a billion shekels to the owner of one the big telecommunications firms in Israel, a man who happens to be his friend. That friend who also owns a major online news site in Israel was to give Netanyahu favorable coverage according to prosecutors.

Case 4,000 has become one of the biggest case facing Netanyahu and his inner circle so far eight suspects have been arrested as the investigation continues and gropes one of those closest to Netanyahu.

His long-term confidant turn state witness in this case agreeing to work with prosecutors. Netanyahu suspected for question in case 4,000 later this week. Responding on Facebook, Netanyahu dismissed the allegation completely. He said, "After they suggested that the Prime Minister smoke cigars worth a million shekels a new balloon has arrived, favors of a billion shekels. However, all the actions were made in a practical manner on the basis of recommendations from the professional echelon, professional committees and legal consultants."

He added, "Not a million, not a billion, not a trillion and not anything."

Oren Liebermann, CNN, Jerusalem.

CHURCH: We'll take another break here but still to come, President Trump surprises lawmakers by pressing for action on gun control, what is discussed in the hour long meeting. We'll bring that to you in just a moment.

Plus, there is a small squabbling between Britain and the E.U. over Brexit talks, what they're saying now about the Northern Ireland border.

We're back in a moment.


CHURCH: Welcome back to CNN Newsroom. I'm Rosemary Church. I want to update you now on the main stories we've been following this hour.

A U.N. mandated ceasefire is having no effect in Syria. Fighting in rebel-held east Ghouta has not let up despite the U.N.'s resolution and the Russian president's call for daily five-hour humanitarian pause.

[03:30:02] The U.N. says trucks are loaded with relief supplies ready to go into the area but it's just too dangerous.

White House communications director Hope Hicks is resigning effective in the coming weeks. President Trump longtime aide testified this week she told white lies as part of her duties. She also help write a misleading statement about Donald Trump Jr. meeting with the Russian lawyer during the 2016 campaign.

Israeli prosecutors say they have directly connected Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu into a bribery related investigation court case4000. It could be questioned later this week, he is not a suspect in that case, but he is into others. He said he did nothing wrong.

President Trump stunned U.S. lawmakers when he expressed support to several gun control measures in a meeting Wednesday. Those lawmakers has a message for the president, if he does not lead on the issue it won't get done. Our Jim Acosta reports.


JIM ACOSTA, CNN SENIOR WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: This time President Trump promise new gun-control measures are on the way, but first he professed his love to the lawmakers from both parties gathered at the White House.

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I see some folks who don't say nice things about me that is OK, because if you turn that into energy, I love you, I don't care.

ACOSTA: The president gun vowed action is coming, first on the use of bump stocks, attachments that effectively turns semi-automatic rifles into machine guns.

TRUMP: I am going to write that out. We will have that done pretty quickly.

ACOSTA: Mr. Trump their reaffirmed his interest in raising the age limit to 21 for purchasing some firearms after some waffling from the White House on the issue.

TRUMP: I think it is something you have to think about. I tell you what, I am going to give a lot of consideration.

ACOSTA: Democratic Senator Dianne Feinstein showed the president data that shows how the assault weapons ban passed in the 90s cut down on gun deaths.

SEN DIANNE FEINSTEIN, (D) CALIFORNIA: When it ended, you see it growing up. ACOSTA: Also on the table was the influence of the National Rifle

Association, the powerful gun lobby closely tied to the president.

TRUMP: I am the biggest fan of Second Amendment many of you are, I'm a big fan of the NRA that I had lunch with them with Wade and Chris and David on Sunday and said it's time, we got to stop this nonsense it's time.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The reason that nothing is done here is because the gun lobby have a veto power over any legislation.

ACOSTA: On the proposal to expand background checks sponsored by Senators Joe Manchin and Pat Toomey the president criticized the measures GOP sponsor Toomey as fearful of the NRA.

TRUMP: You know what, because you are afraid of the NRA.

ACOSTA: The president also made a stunning comment that people with mental health issues should have their firearms confiscated.

TRUMP: A lot of time by the time you go to court it takes so long to go to court to get the due process, procedures I like taking the guns early. Take the guns first, go to due process second.

ACOSTA: The president stage the gun discussion as the West Wing is still trying to get a handle on why so many of its top aides like top- secret security clearances. Mr. Trump son in law Jared Kushner recently had his clearance status downgraded from top-secret to secret, but CNN has learned other White House staffers have been notified there clearances were bumped down as well. That is despite promises to the president during the campaign to properly handle classified material.

TRUMP: This was not just extreme carelessness with classified material which is still totally disqualify, this is calculated, deliberate, premeditated, misconduct if elected Hillary Clinton would become the first President of the United States who would not be able to pass a background check.

ACOSTA: Another headache for the president appears to be Attorney General Jeff sessions in his handling of alleged abuses in the Russian investigation.

The president tweeted why is AG Jeff sessions asking the inspector general to investigate, will take forever. Why not use Justice Department lawyers disgraceful. Sessions announced he's letting the Justice Department's inspector general to look into it.

JEFF SESSIONS, ATTORNEY GENERAL: We believe the Department of Justice must adhere to the high standards in the FISA court and yes it will be investigated and I think that's just the appropriate thing inspector general will I think that is one of the manners he will deal with.

ACOSTA: Today Sessions fired back at the president's tweet with a blunt statement as long as I'm the Attorney General I will continue to discharge my duties with integrity and honor in this department will continue to do its work and it is fair and impartial manner according to the law and Constitution. And the conservative backlash of the presidents meeting on gun control is just beginning with the conservative website Breitbart running the headline Trump the gun grabber. Jim Acosta CNN the White House.


[03:35:00] CHURCH: And while Congress and the White House struggled to agree on what to do about gun violence there is no confusion in parts of corporate America two large retailers Walmart and Dick's Sporting Goods announced on Wednesday they are taking action. Both said they will raise the age to buy a firearm to 21 regardless of the law. Dick's Sporting Good said it will stop selling all semiautomatic assault style guns. It will stop selling high-capacity magazines and it will stop selling accessories for AR 15's and similar types of guns. The company CEO's says it's time to take a stand.


EDWARD STACK, CEO, DICK'S SPORTING GOODS: We think it's the right move and whatever happens we think this is the right move it's the right thing to do for these kids it's the right thing to do for what's going on and we hope that it spurs the conversation and brings people along to have a serious conversation about what's happening in our schools and with gun violence and put a stop to it. I am a gun owner myself, I am a supporter of the Second Amendment, I am a gun owner myself, and we have to do something about this. This is tragic what's going on and were taking a stand.


CHURCH: And we will continue to follow that story. We turn to Britain now, Prime Minister Theresa May is at all it's a game with the European Union over Brexit talks the issue now is the E.U.'s new proposal to keep Northern Ireland in a trade union, but Mrs. May says it's such a threat to the U.K. no British prime minister could ever accept it. Our Nic Robertson has more now from London.


NIC ROBERTSON, SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CNN CORRESPONDENT: On a day began with this headline don't break our Britain, May warns E.U. leaders continued with the E.U.'s chief Brexit negotiator, apparently raising that specter. Announcing E.U.'s full back plan if Brexit agreements in Northern Ireland's border is not reached.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The main thing full align resource rules of the internal market and the customs union which now fall into future. (Inaudible) Corporation (inaudible) economy and the protection of the Good Friday agreement.

ROBERTSON: In other words Northern Ireland remains inside the E.U. customs union not leaving it as May says it will. British journalist in Brussels asking the question on the minds of many in the U.K.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Are you trying to create a border between Northern Ireland and the U.K. mainland and aren't you risking toppling her government by meddling in the constitutional affairs of the U.K.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (TRANSLATOR): I am trying to take a pragmatic approach to this subject like everybody else, but we have to have a text agreed with the U.K. government.

ROBERTSON: Minutes later in London May shutdown Bonnie's proposal part of the E.U.'s new 118 page proposal on Brexit.

THERESA MAY, BRITISH PRIME MINISTER: The legal text of the commission has post publish it undermines the U.K. common market and threaten the constitutional integrity of the U.K. by creating a custom regulated board on the (inaudible). No U.K. Prime Minister could ever agree to it.

ROBERTSON: May's maneuver is limited, hardline leaders in her party and in Northern Ireland affirming their battle lines suggesting Northern Ireland won't meet E.U. expectations.

BORIS JOHNSON, BRITISH FOREIGN SECRETARY: It was on amendment is the issue in the Northern Ireland border is being used quite politically to try to keep the U.K. in the customs union affecting the market so you can't relieve the E.U. That is what going on.

ROBERTSON: Next step, eyes turn here to London. For Theresa May Brexit speech on Friday, Bonnie has given her until the fold to find accommodation on Northern Ireland and other contentious issues implication being failure to find agreement. May's fears could be realized. Nic Robertson CNN London.


CHURCH: And the European Council President Donald Tusk will be meeting with Theresa May in London in the coming hours. CNN Erin McLaughlin joins us now in Brussels with more on this. So Erin what was expected to come out of this meeting between Donald Tusk and Teresa May particularly on the question of Northern Ireland.

ERIN MCLAUGHLIN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Rosemary, The E.U. source tells me that the topic of Northern Ireland will be discuss at today's meeting at Downing Street although it seems entirely unlikely the Theresa May will reach a resolution on that issue. Today is incredibly complex. They have some six months both sides to reach an agreement on that and so much of it. Potentially also hinge on the future relationship which I am told by a resourceful also the focus on the Downing Street meeting today, next week the President to the European council Donald Tusk is expected to put forward draft E.U. guidelines.

[03:40:09] The E.U.'s position on the future relationship and then tomorrow critically we are expecting Prime Minister May to deliver a very important speech her government vision of what that peaceful relationship looks like all already last week the president has pouring cold water on media reports of that vision saying that is on pure allusion and announced to cherry picking so both Prime Minister May and President Tusk has plenty to talk about. Today I understand that, Tusk right now is at a conference, we expect him added at the speech at the conference underway right now in Brussels to talks about Brexit as well. So we are interested to see what he have to say.

CHURCH: Indeed, it will be and Erin on another complex issue causing some problems, what is the latest on what's been called the transitional implementation period.

MCLAUGHLIN: It called the transition period hereby by Brussels an implementation period by the United Kingdom. Expectedly what that is something that has been requested by the U.K. something at the British business community especially has been screaming for an implementation period of time period amounting to around two years after the Brexit date in March 2019 to allow businesses both sides really to adjust to the new reality, but Chief Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier yesterday saying that there is speaking points HANKS: remain on that as well to do with the citizens to moved to the U.K. and vice versa during implementation period as well as how the U.K. will have any if any input in terms of the rulemaking process during that time periods so some sticking points remain on that. The problem being that the business community wants an agreement on the transition/implementation period by end of March. There is not a lot of time to decide to work that out.

CHURCH: Indeed. Erin McLaughlin keeping an eye on this story from Brussels in Belgium where it is after 9:40 in the morning we thank you. We will take a short break, but still to come. Half of Europe battling a huge winter storm system and of course more kind of problems from disrupting travel to closing schools. We will have a live report for you from London that is coming up. Next the Bangga Bangga party are in the past but (inaudible) is everywhere in Italy's election campaign. We will take a look at that when we come back.


CHURCH: Welcome back everyone. Geneva airport in Switzerland is closed for now to air traffic because of freezing weather there still a massive storm system across Europe it's been nicknamed the beast from the East, subzero temperatures of chilled much of the continent and in Britain's snow has blanketed the country forcing hundreds of schools to close and of course disrupting travel.

[03:45:00] And in Spain alerts were issued for Sunday for Windy and Gnostic conditions rough thingies and low temperatures, Salma Abdelaziz is pulling this massive storm system from London she joins us now live where is very, very cold. Salma how bad has it been across Britain and what has been the greatest challenges for people dealing with this extreme weather?

SALMA ABDELAZIZ, CNN PRODUCER: Good morning Rosemary very snowy you can see it is still coming down now this is our third day of snowfall here in the city and it's turned it into an absolute winter wonderland on what is actually the first day of spring ironically that is beautiful as it is when it falls down it is causing a great deal of trouble here in the U.K.

Let us talk briefly about what you mention what exactly happening here for the past few days he had that is Russian stories this Russian winds coming in sweeping across much of Europe in the U.K. that's causing the snowfall, you see here, but now the second issue that a storm is coming from the Atlantic and these two are coming together to create what will be 48 hours of extreme weather according to meteorologist some parts of the U.K. are expected to see up to 50 cm of snow fall by tomorrow that's 19 inches if you can believe it and as you can imagine this has caused a great deal of travel disruptions across the country Scotland and Costco the airport has been shut.

No flight have been in or out, people are stranded there overnight. Motorists across the U.K. have reported waiting for hours up to 13 hours in traffic due to road closures, public transportation had been troubled in on some parts of the country, tons of schools close. The meteorologist have warn if you don't have to go out stay home, stay warm, stay inside, Rosemary.

CHURCH: Good advice Salma Abdelaziz thank you so much for bringing up to date on the situation there in Britain and now our meteorologist Derek Van Dam joins us here in the studio. And I mean this is horrible, this is very extreme where the people are dealing with how long is this going to be around?

DEREK VAN DAM, CNN METEOROLOGIST: This beast from the East has been in trench over much of Europe for the better part of a week now and on top of this we got storm Elma who is the name storm from the services, now going to bring us another round of (inaudible). It is a one-two punch with a couple of days before all this is kind of said and done.

Let us get to the details talk about it and bring it to a familiar spot maybe you seen this before Beatles cover. Beatles fan myself as Abby Road in the Northwestern wanted and you see some of snow on the ground, but look at the radar just lighting up across U.K. at the moment is a surge of flurries my snow showers and London were not expecting more than bitty a centimeter through across the city center of London, but newly as he had West towards Wales and Ireland and Scotland that's a whole different story maybe 30, 40 cm of snow this on top of what's already fallen from the previous beast from the east storm.

This is the latest weather alerts from the U.K. Met office by the way Ireland should be shaded in red here, but you can see the (inaudible) this particular location that is the first time the U.K. Met service has issued a red alert for travel disruptions things to snow that is a first for that particular area and snowfall totals there could easily pile up in excess of 15 to 20 cm but then let us pay attention to Dublin. Look at the cork region that is off the charts heavy across the southern sections of Ireland. That is incredible amounts of snow for that area brings back memories of 1982 for some of the local residents there were people ran out of milk and run out of bread and so the rural areas were cut off, because of heavy snowfall from that storm.

There is the beast from the east it is really just a very high pressure Austrian cold air from Siberia the storm system across the Siberian Peninsula is going to collide with that and what I don't like to see with this particular weather map is a strong winds that means that blowing and drifting of the snow will be a concern as well for people across the U.K. Drift could easily exceed 40 cm once the storm all said and done by Saturday morning, so long way to go and a big cleanup effort involved with getting the snow off the roads.

CHURCH: Yes that is tough so people braced themselves until then. Thank you so much for giving us all the details Derek. I appreciate it. Well (inaudible) journey has his Bangga Bangga sex scandals and corruption keep them from grabbing the political spotlight as Italians go to the polls on Sunday, he can't run for now, but as ben Wedeman reports love him or hate him he could be laying the groundwork for a comeback.


BEN WEDEMAN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Rested, tanned and ready to get back in the free, thrice Prime Minister of Italy Silvio Berlusconi is back.

[03:50:00] In octogenarian with an advancing hairline the weakness for beautiful women and checkered political past. At 81 Silvio Berlusconi you might think would be ready withdraw from public life but even though he's barred by law because of a previous tax conviction from running for office he's very much parts of the election. He is still the undisputed leader of his party the center-right Foxy Tanya which is form the campaign coalition with the rabidly anti-migrant the (inaudible) and the neo fascist Pratelli (inaudible) the brothers of Italy. It now represents the largest political block in the general election due to take place on March 4.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Berlusconi will make a deal with the devil as long as he gets to make stages come back.

WEDEMAN: Berlusconi is an American biographer Alan Friedman recalls an Italian leader pursued the scandal.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: During all his years in government so Silvio Berlusconi was always distracted by 65 lawsuits and trials against him. Criminal trials, accusations of corruption, money laundering, tax fraud and so he spend more time worrying about his own future than about the future of this country.

WEDEMAN: Yet he commands a loyal base. With an improvement rating of almost 25 percent. In Italy's fraction of political landscape considered kind.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (TRANSLATOR): He is an entrepreneur says Hassam an Italian citizen originally from Lebanon he wants to cut taxes for businesses, I would vote for him.

WEDEMAN: One fourth of Italians will support him the other three fourths despise him.

Berlusconi is really a thief says Laura's studying to become aerospace engineer. He says one thing and does the opposite.

The ban on Berlusconi holding public office expires next year which means if his coalition wins next Sunday's vote he could be at least once in future Prime Minister. Ben Wedeman CNN, Rome.


CHURCH: A quick break but when we come back, the Internet lets loose on white lies and Trump confident Hope Hicks. The true story in a moment.


CHURCH: When news broke, the White House communications director Hope Hicks said she is sometimes told white lies, we knew it is only a matter of time before social media weighs in. Sure enough it did. Here is CNN Jeannie Moos with the true story.


MOOS: The president love to say,

TRUMP: Believe me. Believe me. Believe me. Believe me, I know.

MOOS: You better believe critics pounce when the soon departing White House White House communications director told the House Intelligence Committee.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: She sometimes have to tell white lies. She occasionally tells white lies.


[03:55:00] UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The color of lies.

MOOS: To some it made Hope Hicks into a white liar and inspired the hashtag white lies matter. Twitter took it a step further coming up with white lies that Hope Hicks might tell for instance based on his now famous video I Hope Hicks white lie might be nobody saw your bald spot. Remember when Kellyanne Conway drove critic's knots when she used the phrase.


MOOS: Well now white lies are the new alternative facts and taking aim at the presidency love for nicknames.

TRUMP: Lying Ted. Lying Ted.

MOOS: A Washington Post cartoonist created Lion Hicks with a nose that grows not if it is a white lie, Jeannie Moos CNN, New York.


CHURCH: And of course late night TV host in the U.S. had a field day with the Hope Hicks resignation, take a look.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Just this afternoon one of his closest and longest standing adviser's communications director Hope Hicks suddenly announced her resignation, this last piece of news was really shocking from had the communications director.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: True story White House communications director Hope Hicks reportedly admitted to investigators that she told some white lies on behalf of President Trump. Then Hicks admitted that that was a white line in fact she actually makes up all the time.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Hope Hicks is resigning as President Trump communications director, because he already lost his communications director Chris Trump said about her departure was just Hope go bye- bye.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: She refuse to answer almost all of the committee's questions but she did acknowledge that she sometimes tells white lies for Trump. Well done, telling lies to white people is what got Trump elected.


CHURCH: And will be more of that of course in the days ahead. Thanks so much for your company this hour. I am Rosemary Church remember to connect with me anytime on twitter the news continues now with Max Foster in London. You are watching CNN have a great day.