tv CNN Newsroom Live CNN March 31, 2017 11:00pm-12:01am PDT
under sharia law? >> it's a reality. it will happen. it's a promise of allah. >> authorities can go after isis on the battlefield. but they cannot kill an ideology. exclusive on cnn, american intelligence agencies believe terror groups have got a lot closer to making bombs that can go undetected at airports. we'll break down what we know about the threat and what's being done to counter it. and michael flynn's lawyer says the disgraced former national security adviser has a story to tell provided he's granted immunity. the white house says go for it. plus, in paraguay protesters ransacked the congress building over efforts to change the constitution. we'll have more on that later in the show. from cnn world headquarters in atlanta, a warm welcome to our viewers here in the u.s. and around the world. i'm cyril vanier.
terrorists may have found a new way to get bombs onto passenger airplanes without being detected. cnn has learned exclusively that u.s. intelligence and law enforcement agencies believe the bomb-making skills of isis and other terror groups have improved. they may now be able to hide explosives in laptops and other electronic device that's are capable of bypassing airport security screening. sources say the intelligence on this played a major role in the recent white house decision to prohibit travelers flying out of some airports in the middle east and africa. you see them there. from bringing large electronic devices onto planes. more now from our pentagon correspondent barbara starr. >> reporter: u.s. intelligence and law enforcement agencies believe that isis and other terror groups have developed innovative ways to plant explosives in electronic devices that can fool airport security screening. the concern is heightened
because there is u.s. intelligence suggesting that terrorists have obtained sophisticated airport security equipment to test how well the bombs are concealed. cnn has learned this new intelligence was a significant part of the decision earlier this month to ban laptops, tablets, and other electronic devices from the passenger cabins of planes flying directly to the united states from ten middle eastern and north african airports. demanding instead that they be zord in checked luggage. >> elevated intelligence we're aware of indicates terrorist groups continue to target commercial aviation and are aggressive in pursuing innovative methods to undertake their attacks to include smuggling an explosive device in various consumer objects. >> reporter: officials have told cnn there was credible and specific intelligence that isis would try to attack aviation assets and a hint from a top
u.s. commander about why the accelerated effort on the ground in syria against the group. >> there's an imperative to get isolation in place around raqqah because our intelligence feeds tell us that there is a significant external operations attacks planning. >> reporter: al qaeda's affiliate in yemen, aqap, has for years been actively trying to target commercial airliners destined for the u.s. looking for ways to create bombs that contain little or no metal content to evade airport security measures including hiding exclusives in the batteries of electronic devices like laptops. and in february of 2016 a wake-up call when a laptop bomb according to somali authorities was used to blow a hole in this somali passenger jet. the plane landed safely despite the attack, claimed by the al
qaeda affiliate al shabab. cnn has learned the explosives were hidden in space created by removing parts of the dvd drive. >> paul cruickshank joins us now, cnn terrorism analyst for more on this. you were telling us just now that this is serious but not catastrophic. >> serious. because these terrorist groups including al qaeda in yemen are developing new ways to try to get bombs onto airplanes including by concealing them inside laptops. perfecting some of those techniques, the intelligence suggests. they are obtaining detection systems to try to probe their weaknesses. and so there's significant concern that they may stage future attempts to try to get a bomb onto a western passenger jet. but at the same time the state-of-the-art systems which are deployed in airports in the united states in europe and
certain other parts of the world including places like dubai and abu dhabi, those state-of-the-art systems are actually very good at detecting the kind of explosives that groups like al qaeda in yemen are developing, even when they're concealing them inside laptops. the key technology here is called explosive trace detection technology. that involves the gate -- a laptop or some other electronic laptop device being swabbed and then a machine being used to analyze whether there's any explosive residue on that swab at all. and they can actually, these machines, detect a trillionth of a gram of residue. so they're very, very good. >> the group that is believed to have the highest level of bomb-making expertise is aqap. that's essentially al qaeda in yemen. tell us more about them and how they developed this expertise. >> al qaeda in yemen are at the center of the concern when it comes to this threat. they are significantly ahead of isis when it comes to developing
sophisticated devices, concealing bombs inside electronics. they have a master bomb maker ibrahim al asiri, a saudi who's very good at building these kind of devices. and for years has been developing underwear bombs, shoe bombs, even the group has experimented with surgically implanting devices inside people so that they can get them on planes. there's intelligence that's come out on that. and this is a group which is believed to have shared this technology with a number of other al qaeda affiliates in the region, including al qaeda's affiliate in syria, the so-called khorasan group, a group that western intelligence learned in the summer of 2014 were plotting to get a bomb inside electronics in some kind of laptop or other device onto a plane. and actually, that plotting led to new rules being introduced by the tsa for foreign airports
with the last destination coming into the united states. and those rules included the idea that you would have to power on your device to show that it wasn't a bomb. >> you have to turn on your computer. many people traveling in the u.s. have had to do that before. >> well, that's right. but one of the concerns here, cyril, is what these terrorist groups are now developing, we understand are the capability of producing laptop bombs where these laptops can actually power on and still house an explosive device. that bomb in somalia, we understand, which was put on that airliner in february of 2016 was put inside the dvd drive of the laptop. so they're looking at new innovative, inventive ways to hide bombs on laptops. it should also be -- >> as we're look at the footage of the hole in the fuselage of that flight from mogadishu to djibouti last year.
and as barbara starr mentioned that was one of the wake-up calls. the question is could that plan come to fruition on a flight going to the u.s. and has that technology improved since that attempt? >> ever since the attempted bombing of that airliner in somalia in february 2016 there's been concern that al qaeda or one of its affiliates would replicate that attack on a western passenger jet somewhere. that's not materialized yet, but there's been a significant concern about that given the sophistication of that device. one of the things we're learning, and this comes from our colleague robyn kriel is that that device was taken through an x-ray checkpoint by two airport workers, insiders who'd been recruited by the al qaeda affiliates in somalia. actually went through the x-ray machine and they handed it off to a third man, the suicide bomber, who brought it onto the plane. it then exploded. fortunately, didn't blow the whole aircraft up. but the investigators actually
went back and looked at that x-ray scan and were able to figure out that actually you could see the possibility of an explosive device. in that case the belief is there was human error involved in not detecting that device even though it was quite sophisticated. sort of shows you that even x-ray machines, which are the least effective at detecting these kind of explosive threats, have in the past detected them, should have stopped these kind of attacks getting through. the most sophisticated technology, those swab tests at the airport, should detect all manner of explosive devices that groups like al qaeda in yemen are putting together because they can detect tiny minuscule amounts of explosives and al qaeda's bomb makers are just not clean enough in their handiwork to stop a little bit of residue getting onto the surface of a
laptop. >> sources tell cnn the fbi may not be all that interested in giving immunity to michael flynn. donald trump's former national security adviser, who was fired. flynn's lawyer says his client has a story to tell but he wants assurances first against unfair prosecution. our jeff zeleny reports. >> any comment on michael flynn, mr. president? >> reporter: president trump facing new questions on michael flynn. his former national security adviser, whose shadow still looms large at the white house. flynn is offering to testify in exchange for immunity in the growing probe of russia meddling in the 2016 election. flynn, a retired army general, fired after only 26 days in office for misleading the administration about contacts with the russian ambassador. the president took the unusual step of inserting himself in an ongoing investigation, saying on twitter, "mike flynn should ask for immunity in that this is a witch hunt. excuse for big election loss by media and dems of historic
proportion." white house press secretary sean spicer amplified that message. >> he believes that mike flynn should go testify. he thinks that he should go up there and do what he has to do to get the story out. >> reporter: the immunity offer for flynn was rebuffed by the senate intelligence community and drew skepticism from congressman jason chaffetz who took issue with the president's characterization as a witch hunt. >> no, i don't think it's a witch hunt. it's very mysterious to me why all of a sudden general flynn is out there saying he wants immunity. i don't think congress should give him immunity. >> reporter: it all adds up to another head-spinning moment at the white house considering what the president said about immunity last year on the campaign trail. >> if you're not guilty of a crime, why do you need immunity for? right? >> reporter: it was a frequent attack against his rival hillary clinton. >> did anybody ever see so many people get immunity? everybody! >> reporter: after leading attacks of his own at the republican convention -- >> yeah, that's right. lock her up.
>> reporter: -- flynn had this to say about immunity. >> when you are given immunity, that means you've probably committed a crime. >> reporter: at the white house spicer said it was not hypocritical to suddenly support immunity if it brought to light the president's belief that conversations with trump aides were swept up by government surveillance. >> he's saying do whatever you have to do to go up to make it clear what happened, take whatever precaution you want or however your legal counsel advises you. >> and paul callen joins's now, cnn legal analyst. paul, as a lawyer what goes through your mind when you hear that michael flynn wants immunity in exchange for giving his story? what do you think the play is there? and especially when you hear his lawyer saying he's got a story to tell. >> you know, it's very interesting, cyril. and i've been in this situation representing clients in the past. you almost never see a lawyer publicly go around trying to sell an immunity deal. usually, if he's got something to sell, in other words, information to trade for
immunity, it's done quietly by an approach to the prosecutors or the chairman of the committee that's doing the investigation. but here you have this attorney robert kehlner, who's a sophisticated, well-known attorney, making a public statement that i've got a story to tell. now, that certainly would sound like the former national security adviser to the president has something significant to share that would be of interest to prosecutors. >> so you agree the lawyer is trying to raise interest for this michael flynn story, whatever it might be. >> yes. this is the lawyer's definitely trying to do that and the question really is why. and what i wonder about is if he really had something that was worth selling to the prosecutors he wouldn't have to hold a press conference about it. he'd make a phone call to the lead prosecutor and say get over here to the office right away, that sounds fascinating. instead he's issuing a press release, and that makes me a little skeptical about whether he's got -- he's trying to sell ice in winter. you know. so we'll have to see. >> so if he doesn't have a big story to tell, what's the play? >> hard to say.
there are three possibilities. one is it's just a lawyer being overly cautious and trying to get immunity for a client who doesn't need it. the second is there's a minor crime involved, possibly for instance there's been a lot of talk that flynn was an agent for a foreign country and he didn't register properly or possibly he was interviewed by the fbi and maybe didn't tell the full truth. that would be a crime under u.s. law. the third possibility is political armageddon, and that is he's got information that could show a conspiracy with the russians to destroy the american election. i mean, that would be such an enormous piece of information that it would be hard to resist for prosecutors. so i'm betting it's an overly cautious lawyer and it's scenario one, that he's worried that maybe his client said something to the fbi that wasn't fully accurate and he wants to get immunity before he starts testifying in congress. >> and so that would square with
michael flynn's own point of of view and even what appears to be mr. trump's point of view as he expressed it in a tweet saying michael flynn should ask for immunity given this political climate, his precise words are "given that there's a witch hunt of historic proportions by media and the democrats." >> that would certainly explain why the attorney being extra cautious and extra safe would seek immunity. ironically, both the president and general flynn have made repeated statements on the campaign trail that if you ask for immunity you must be guilty of something. so i'm sure they're ruing the day they ever made those statements now that both of them are recommending immunity. >> who's in power to make a deal with michael flynn and his lawyer? >> there are really two areas where you have authority. one, congressional authorities can make an immunity deal for testimony and the department of justice could approve a deal separately. he could go either way. he could go for congressional immunity or justice immunity. now, justice immunity to be
would be the best because that would indicate they're not ever going to prosecute. if he gets congressional immunity, it just means that his testimony can't be used against him but justice could try to independently develop a case and still come after him. >> the sense from congress is they're going to wait to get more information on this whole investigation until they consider making a deal with flynn. why wouldn't they just go ahead and see what he has to say? >> it's way too dangerous because let's say hypothetically that it's a huge piece of information and that he is a major character in the commission of some crime. they may have immunized him from prosecution because bear in mind this can cause real problems for the justice department if congressional immunity's in play. they have to show all their leads came from something other than the testimony given by the witness. the oliver north case, for instance, was utterly destroyed by congress giving immunity to oliver north that prosecutors can't prosecute him after that. the smart move is for congress
to work with the justice department and make a joint decision as to whether they want to give him immunity, or whether his testimony's important enough to give him immunity or whether they just want to proceed and see if he takes the fifth amendment if he's subpoenaed. >> all right. enlightening. thank you very much. paul callan, cnn legal analyst, we appreciate it. >> thank you, cyril. coming up after the break, demonstrators storm paraguay's congress and light it on fire. we'll be telling you why they're so outraged. plus anger also in the streets of venezuela after its high court strips the congress of power. but president maduro says he can fix it. stay with us. my belly pain and constipation? i could build a small city with all the over-the-counter products i've used. enough! i've tried enough laxatives to cover the eastern seaboard. i've climbed a mount everest of fiber. probiotics? enough! (avo) if you've had enough, tell your doctor what you've tried and how long you've been at it. linzess works differently from laxatives. linzess treats adults with ibs with constipation
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welcome back. in the capital of paraguay angry protesters set fire to the country's congressional building on friday night. the outrage is directed at the ruling party for trying to pass a law that would allow the current president to run for another term. journalist and historian lawrence blair joins me now over the phone from asuncion. as far as you can tell, you can make out, lawrence, has calm returned to the streeths of the capital now?
>> it has more or less. just walking through the streets now, i've seen piles of burning trash at various crossroads, afew police patrols, a few people walking around, even one or two bars and restaurants open at this time. so calm has returned relatively compared to a few hours ago when we were seeing really pitched battles in the street between protesters and the police. protesters throwing rocks, fireworks. the police firing rubber bullets and tear gas. i can tell you right now, i'm outside the party headquarters of the liberal party, which is the country's main opposition party, and people here are absolutely stunned and shocked because a few hours ago the police entered here. apparently the police say pursuing protesters who'd been throwing -- we assume throwing rocks. people here say it was an unprovoked attack. the police entered the building.
apparently firing rubber bullets as they entered. and entering the building now there's a lot of blood on the floor. apparently one young party member had come from the countryside to come to these protests today, was shot in the head. a media report suggests that this young person has sadly died. a lot of shock right here at the liberal party headquarters. people are talking about a possible case for impeachment of the president. and -- >> so laurence, very important events unfolding in what is still a relatively young democracy. help us understand where this is coming from. the one-term rule for presidents was put in place in fact to protect this democracy after decades of dictatorships. who is trying to change that? >> with paraguay it's had the same ruling party, the colorado party for more or less the past
80 years, minus four years before 2012. as the colorado party. out of a 35-year dictatorship in 1989. the constitution in 1992 as a means of preventing dictatorships from really happening again expressly forbids re-election in any case. the spirit of the constitution is very clear that re-election is not allowed. however, there has been a growing consensus over the past 10, 15 years that maybe having a president serving two consecutive terms is not a bad idea because maybe it would give a bit of institutional stability because what tends to happen at the minute is the president will serve for two years, a honeymoon period of sorts, and then immediately the succession struggle will break out. it has been a degree of contentiousness but maybe it's worth looking at the idea of re-election. however, a lot more people are in favor of a constitutional reform. that will be a much more gradual
process whereby there would be several votes within congress, much more scrutiny. what the president horacio cart ez is trying to do at the moment is pass an amendment to the constitution, a much quicker process, much fewer examples, opportunities for scrutiny. and that's what's got people angry here. and the fact there's been very little communication from the part of the presidency about this amendment. you know, president cartez hasn't made any public statements this week apart from a brief twitter message tonight condemning the violence. i think the people feel they haven't been told the truth, they haven't been informed of what's going on. and there may well be reasons for re-election and the colorado party may have good intentions but it's failed to communicate massively. and the people are bound to fear the worst here.
and the violent tonight i think has shocked most people. >> all right. >> you will have seen the images of congress in flames. i was there. i was there as part of that crowd -- >> laurence, we did see those dramatic pictures. we're looking at them right now. >> -- tear gas being fired around. this is the first time that protesters have ever taken paraguay's congress building, which is quite a historic moment. although that said it seems as though the police at least at that point were under orders not to put up too much resistance. >> laurence blair, thank you so much for joining the show and putting this all in context for us. thanks a lot. we're going to stay in latin america because venezuela's president is asking the country's supreme court to review a ruling that critics say amounts to a government coup d'etat. nicolas maduro had vowed to step in after the attorney general slammed the high court's decision. it would strip the opposition-led national assembly
of its powers. >> translator: as the head of state invested with authority and constitutional power this impasse will be resolved in the quickest and best way possible. we will hand over to our people another constitutional victory through dialogue, through the heights of politics, through the heights of the state. >> and that ruling has sparked violent clashes in the venezuelan capital. protesters scuffled with the national guard outside the supreme court. mr. maduro is also calling for dialogue with the opposition. two of the most influential men in the white house are abroad and they're spending most of their time walking back past comments from their boss, the president. plus a top member of the u.s. intelligence committee finally views controversial reports at the white house. we'll explain what's going on after the break.
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and a warm welcome back to everyone here in the u.s. and around the world. you're watching "cnn newsroom." i'm cyril vanier. terrorists may have found a new way to get bombs onto passenger airplanes without detection. cnn has learned exclusively that u.s. intelligence and law enforcement agencies believe isis and other terror groups have improved techniques to hide explosives in laptops and other electronic devices that can evade airport security screening. officials tell cnn there's no indication the fbi will grant michael flynn immunity in exchange for his testimony on russia. the ex-national security adviser's lawyer made that request after saying his client had, quote, a story to tell. the white house, however, appears unfazed, urging flynn to get his story out.
demonstrators stormed paraguay's congressional building, setting it on fire on friday. protesters are angry over an effort to legally allow the president to run for office again. police fired rubber bullets at the crowd. a senate meeting scheduled for saturday has been canceled. and amid heated protests venezuela's president says he will ask the supreme court to review its decision to strip congress of its power. the court's ruling, that it would take on the role of the national assembly, has sparked condemnation from around the world. nicolas maduro offered to step in after venezuela's attorney general slammed the court decision on friday. now, two of the u.s. president's top cabinet members are on the road. secretary of state rex tillerson is in brussels for a nato meeting. he expressed his support for the organization, a military alliance that remember, not so long ago was described as obsolete by the u.s. president. and defense secretary james mattis held a news conference with his british counterpart in london. both of them played down
expectations for u.s. engagement with russia. here's james mattis. >> right now russia is choosing to be a strategic competitor, and we're finding that we can only have very modest expectations at this point of areas that we can cooperate with russia. contrary to how we were just ten years ago, five years ago. >> joining me now is matthew chance in moscow. let's get the russian perspective on this. matthew, if you listen to james mattis, you listen to rex tillerson over the last 24 hours, you think back to just a few months ago when there was talk of a possible detente between russia and washington. now you listen to them, it seems a very distant prospect indeed. >> reporter: it certainly does seem a distant prospect, and that's immensely frustrating for those people, particularly in russia, the russian government, that thought and hoped that the trump administration was going to dlfr a much better
relationship between moscow and washington. remember trump as a candidate promised to build a much stronger relationship, a detente as you said. he said he would recognize, for instance, or look at recognizing crimea as being a part of russia. russia annexed of course crimea from ukraine in 2014. he said he would cooperate with russia over issues of international terrorism, particularly in the war in syria. he criticized nato, as you mentioned. all this was music to the ears of the kremlin. but none of that, of course, has come to pass. instead the whole russia issue has descended into this kind of poisonous, toxic notion in politics in the united states. and if anything, and this is what the kremlin says, if anything, the relationship between washington and moscow is now worse than it has been at any time in the past. >> matthew, i'd like you to look now at the ongoing investigation here in the u.s. into the
possible relationship and connections between russia and the trump campaign team. how is that perceived in russia? are you able to assess how russians feel about this? >> reporter: yeah. i mean, look. the russian officials that we speak to regularly make no bones about what they feel about it. and the refrains they use are very familiar to anybody living in the united states or anybody listening to donald trump because they say this is a witch hunt, this is the corrupt media that is spinning this and of course this is fake news or false news. these are the phrases is that they're actually using themselves. they're using the same language as the trump administration when it comes to this issue. they also point out that there is nothing but circumstantial evidence linking them with any kind of involvement in hacking or trying to influence the u.s. election. and it's something the kremlin and russian officials under the kremlin categorically deny. just a few days ago vladimir
putin came out for the first time really since the trump administration and said read my lips, did we influence the u.s. election? read my lips. no. and that's the message we're getting from russian officials all the way down from the kremlin. >> matthew chance reporting live from moscow. thank you very much. on friday the top democrat of the house intelligence committee was given access to the same documents that were shown earlier to the committee chairman, devon nunes. now, nunes has been at the center of this latest controversy for the trump administration. the white house is accused of sharing intel reports with nunes. our jessica schneider takes a closer look. >> reporter: as the ranking member on the intelligence committee arrived at the white house to examine documents, the trump administration pushed back against concerns it coordinated with the chairman of the house intelligence committee. >> it's not in our interest to talk about the process. what occurred between chairman nunes and coming here was both routine and proper. >> reporter: the administration continues to deflect questions about whether it provided the
documents devin nunes said revealed the incidental collection of communications by president trump and his staff. >> the unmasking and leaks is what we should all be concerned about. it affects all americans, our liberties, our freedom, our civil liberties. >> reporter: but ranking member adam schiff questioned the timing of this letter from the white house inviting the committee to view documents the national security council discovered in the ordinary course of business. the letter was sent on the same day "the new york times" identified white house officials who allegedly provided nunes with intelligence reports during a secret visit to the white house grounds. >> the timing certainly looks fortuitous. and probably more than fortuitous. >> reporter: nunes has repeatedly declared it was a whistleblower who provided the documents. >> we ichblt whnvite whistleblo come forward. in fact, we've had many people come forward to the committee in recent weeks. >> by holding the meeting on the white house grounds it makes it appear that someone in the administration was coordinating
the release of this information to you. is that not the case? >> no, it's not the case. in fact, i'm quite sure that i think people in the west wing had no idea that i was there. >> reporter: house minority leader nancy pelosi is calling chairman nunes's actions bizarre and says there's no doubt the white house set nunes up for political purposes. >> of course. he was duped. now, let's just give -- that's the most innocent, most benign characterization, that he was duped, but he should have known better. the chairman of the committee. >> larry sabato's the director of the center for politics at the university of virginia. larry, the documents that were first shown to devin nunes, intelligence documents about a week ago were shown on friday to the number two in the house intelligence committee, a democrat, adam schiff. do you think the investigation can now continue as if nothing had happened? >> certainly not. i would say that chairman nunes's actions have really
brought discredit on his chairmanship and probably made it less likely that the house intelligence panel will be accorded the kind of respect that the senate intelligence panel will be. because the co-chairs on the senate side are well respected. they are clearly interested in a bipartisan inquiry. and they have done everything right. so far the house committee, or the chairman at least, has done everything wrong. >> but you could also argue, you know, if the intelligence has been shown, if it was intended and can be shared with everyone on the committee and it's now been shared with the number one and the number two on that committee, that that means that there's nothing wrong with it or nothing politically damaging. >> well, what was politically damaging was that the chairman of the committee was willing to go to the white house complex and be briefed by people who are essentially white house aides, given the information, and then rush back to the white house the
next day and pretend to be briefing president trump. one assumes that these individuals in the white house complex had already briefed trump or certainly could have. there's just too much subterfuge here and i think it has ruined the effect of the house committee no matter what happens from here on out. >> and there's also a lot of tension between the chairman of the committee, the one who's leading the investigation, who's a republican, devin nunes, and the ranking democrat on the committee. how big a factor is that? if those two men don't get along or even are accusing each other of wrongdoing. >> it's going to confirm what many americans think about this anyway, that it's just a partisan witch hunt, as undoubtedly trump would call it. now, democrats are very supportive of the inquiry, and republicans think it's a waste of time and money. but again, i think that we're bound to see the partisanship show once the hearings are held. that is simply going to shift attention to the senate, where frankly the adults seem to be in
charge. >> and does the senate have any powers or any powers of investigation that the house doesn't have? should the american public be concerned that the house may be less effective in its investigation at the moment? >> the public should certainly question what the house committee does because i doubt they will use the powers that they have. for example, the subpoena power. they could get some information, financial and otherwise, from the white house and even from the president if they wanted to do so. the senate committee, it's going to be interesting to see whether they stray into that area. certainly some democrats would like to do so. to this point the republicans on the committee or at least the chairman, senator richard burr from north carolina, has been willing to cooperate fully with the democratic vice chair, senator mark warner of virginia. those two seem to have formed a bond and seem to be determined to get to the bottom of this
probably because in part senator burr has already announced he's not seeking re-election when he would next come up in six years. >> so is the investigation in good hands with the senate, then? >> yes. i have confidence that the senate committee is going to produce real information and has a much better chance of getting to the bottom of this, although if you had to pick an inquiry that might get to the bottom of the situation it would probably be the fbi and not either house of congress. >> larry sabato, always appreciate having you on the show. thank you very much. >> thank you, cyril. and still ahead on the show, eu leaders warn of difficult brexit talks but tell britain there will be no punishment for leaving the bloc. stay with us.
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britain quitting the eu will be difficult, complex, even confrontational. cnn's erin mclaughlin has more on this. >> reporter: eu leaders are saying they're not going to be punitive about the brexit process, that it's punishing enough. at the seam time guidelines that they released on friday make it very clear that they intend to be in the driver's seat, especially when it comes to the organization, the order of the brexit negotiations. the uk has made it clear that it wants to negotiate its future relationship with the eu in parallel to the actual withdrawal. today president of the european council donald tusk saying simply that won't happen, that the withdrawal will be negotiated first, which includes such thorny issues and budgetary issues as well as citizens living within the uk and the eu. once the european council has determined they've made sufficient progress in those areas, that's when they'll move on to discuss a framework for the future relationship. and keep in mind the clock is
ticking. two years is not a lot of time to get all of this done. and while eu leaders are saying that they want a deal, that that is what they are working toward, at the same time they're preparing for the possibility of no deal. erin mclaughlin, cnn, malta. and scottish voters largely rejected brexit. now its first minister has told the british prime minister her country will hold a second independence referendum. this whether theresa may likes it or not. nicholas sturgeon says there's no reason for the uk to block a new vote. she wrote a letter saying the people of scotland must have the right to choose their own future. but london has already said it would decline the request. still ahead on "cnn newsroom," officials in atlanta charge three people in connection with a massive fire that collapsed a portion of this vital fire. stay with us. ♪
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highway will be closed for months, impacting an estimated 220,000 vehicles that drive daily over that particular stretch of the road. and a powerful tornado caused significant damage to homes near virginia beach in virginia. meteorologist derek van dam joins us with the latest on the storm wreckage. what do we know? >> cyril, according to the virginia beach firefighters, there were 50 homes that were damaged within this tornado that touched down about 6:30 in the evening on friday. by the way, 25 homes moderately damaged. 12 of them completely condemned or destroyed from this funnel that you can see forming. the damage, you'll see in this next video, this is actually from a church in the chesapeake region. and the entire building basically, at least the right side of the building there, taken apart by the strong force of the winds. it's going to take several weeks if not months to clean up this
effort. let's look at the storm reports from today. being friday. the last day of march. there were three confirmed tornadoes. five reports of wind and 16 reports of hail damage. now, all associated with the same storm system as it continues to move along the northeast coast. there's even a full-on winter storm taking place across upstate new york into vermont as well as new hampshire, including boston. if you're traveling in or out of boston's airport, well, yeah, you can expect some delays because they have a good six inches of snow, heavy wet snow covering the tarmac as we speak. you can see the i-95 corridor here just blanketed with a christmas tree of lights. that is a mixture of snowfall to the north, rain-snow mix to the south, and more precipitation as we head into the big apple in the nation's capital as well as philadelphia. even coastal flood advisories as we speak. how much more snow can anticipate? well, on top of the three to six inches we've already seen on the ground, another three inches
possible in the overnight period into early saturday morning. fortunately not a workday across this part of the united states but certainly a mess going forward for the weekend. let's talk about the severe weather threat because it kicks up once again this afternoon, this time through central texas. isolated tornadoes, strong damaging wind, large hail. but look for the day tomorrow, this being sunday, we're really putting a bullseye over houston. that's where we're expecting an elevated high risk of severe thunderstorms producing tornadoes. that is an area we're going to monitor very closely for the potential of long track tornadoes, very powerful storm system emerging from the gulf coast to end off the weekend. >> derek van dam, thank you very much. we'll keep an eye on that. derek from the cnn weather center. thanks. donald trump has a habit. it's starting to get noticed. he shuffles around whatever objects are in front of him. and because he's donald trump it's being parodied, even psychoanalyzed. jeanne moos checks it out. >> reporter: it's your move, mr.
president. whether it's a glass or a coaster, president trump has a habit of moving things. a few inches here, a few inches there. a viewer alerted jimmy kimmel to the president's quirk. >> he's more of a mover than a shaker. >> reporter: moving individual items and even an entire place setting. apparently seeking the sweet spot. >> general counsel and -- >> reporter: a shorter compilation circulated online, leading to comments like "this is desktop manspreading. he's marking his territory and trying to intimidate others with the space he takes up." the president's moves inspired web gags and armchair psychology. he thinks he's the master of everything. "this is mine to touch." [ laughter ] >> nice to see you. >> all i have to say is i hope the new health care plan covers ocd because -- >> reporter: okay. so everyone has an opinion. what's a professional think?
a professor of psychology. while declining to diagnose, professor kevin volkan weighed in on what may be behind this type of behavior. >> they're feeling some anxiety about something and so they control things, they move things around, make lists -- >> reporter: or more likely the professor says in someone with a narcissistic profile -- >> they're just really bored. they get bored very easily. especially when the conversation is not about them. >> reporter: internet posters likewise wouldn't resist moving things like the president's head. replacing it with a cartoon called business cat and adding a soundtrack. ♪ you like to ♪ move it ♪ i like to move it, move it ♪ i like to move it, move it i like to move it, move it ♪ ♪ you like to -- move it >> reporter: funny, president trump doesn't seem like the type to be a paper pusher. jeanne moos, cnn, new york. >> all right. thank you very much for watching. i'll be back with another hour of news right after the break. stay with cnn.
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