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Sean Penn Met "El Chapo" for Secret Interview; 4 Dead, 10 Injured as "Projectile" Hits Yemen Hospital; U.S. Sends Warning to North Korea. Aired 8-8:30a ET

Aired January 10, 2016 - 08:00   ET



[08:00:10] CHRISTI PAUL, CNN ANCHOR: Good morning. So grateful to have you on board with us here. I'm Christi Paul.

VICTOR BLACKWELL, CNN ANCHOR: I'm Victor Blackwell. Good to start the Sunday with you.

And we have some new pictures from "Rolling Stone" magazine. You see Mexican drug lord Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman there on the right, and there you see on the left of your screen is Oscar winning actor Sean Penn. Yes, this is a new twist to this already bizarre story. Penn met Guzman because he wanted to learn more about him, make a movie about his life.

What you're about to see is part of an interview with Guzman answering follow up questions sent from Penn. Watch.


QUESTION: How did you get involved in the drug business?

JOAQUIN "EL CHAPO" GUZMAN, DRUG LORD (through translator): Well, from the age 15 and on, where I'm from, which is the municipality of Badiraguato, I was raised in a ranch called La Tuna. In that area, and until today, there are no job opportunities.

QUESTION: Is it true what they say that drugs destroy humanity and bring harm?

GUZMAN: Well, it's a reality that drugs destroy. Unfortunately, as I said, where I grew up, there's no other way. There still isn't a way to survive. No other way to work in our economy, to be able to make a living.

QUESTION: Do you think it's true you're responsible for the high level of drug addiction and the fact there are so many drugs in the world?

GUZMAN: No. That's false. Because the day I don't exist, there's not going to be a decrease in any way at all. Drug trafficking? That's false.


BLACKWELL: It's surprising, how did you get involved with the drug business, was a follow up question after so many hours of face to face.

Let's go to now CNN's Nick Valencia outside the prison where Guzman is being held. Tell us, how did these two connect?

NICK VALENCIA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Victor, it's a moment that is just as remarkable as it is rare. The first interview that El Chapo has given not in an interrogation room and it goes to all people, a celebrity.

Actor Sean Penn was able to connect with the drug kingpin after an interview was brokered between him and an actress Kate del Castillo, a famous Mexican actress here. It reportedly took place three months after the escape of El Chapo from this prison here behind me, the Altiplano maximum security in Juarez, Mexico. It reportedly took place in an undisclosed location in Mexico over the course of several weeks. You talk about those follow up questions there.

And we have a chunk of interview we would like to play for you that was released last night on


QUESTION: How did you get involved in the drug business?

GUZMAN (through translator): Well, from the age 15 and on, where I'm from, which is the municipality of Badiraguato, I was raised in a ranch called La Tuna. In that area, and until today, there are no job opportunities.

QUESTION: Is it true what they say that drugs destroy humanity and bring harm?

GUZMAN: Well, it's a reality that drugs destroy. Unfortunately, as I said, where I grew up, there's no other way. There still isn't a way to survive. No other way to work in our economy, to be able to make a living.

QUESTION: Do you think it's true you're --


VALENCIA: Now I mentioned that actress. She put out a series of tweets in 2012 that were critical of the Mexican government and celebrated the drug trafficker Guzman. Apparently, a relationship or a friendship so to speak started between El Chapo and del Castillo. That was their communication they continued over the years through letters and BlackBerry messages even while El Chapo was incarcerated here at this prison behind me.

In that interview, El Chapo talks about being in the drug trade starting at age of 15 saying he had no other option trying to get out of the small town in the state of Sinaloa where he was from -- Victor. BLACKWELL: Nick, we know the U.S. has been chomping at the bit to get

Guzman into the U.S. to have him extradited to the U.S. even before the most recent escape they were trying to get him into the country. We know now from the Mexican attorney general's office, they've got this statement that was released, since Guzman has been recaptured at the beginning of the extradition proceedings should begin.

Help us understand the next steps and the timing, likely, for the extradition.

VALENCIA: Well, we spoke yesterday to a senior Mexican law enforcement official who did tell us it was going to be very likely that extradition was going to happen. We hear it will happen. The time table -- it's not going to be a quick one.

[08:05:02] We have reports out there. We read reports, I should say, that this extradition could happen as early as this summer.

Yesterday, that source telling me that it's not going to be a very fast process. There needs to be some formalities and formal stages. The U.S. needs to formally request that extradition process. The Mexican government also needs to put together some paperwork as well.

We understand those steps have not been taken, or not underway, but it come happen as early as this summer. And you're right, the U.S. is very eager.

A big concern is the trust and concern that El Chapo may escape yet again. He's already done it twice. This is a prison that he's very familiar with. And that, of course, is the concern for U.S. authorities he could escape again. They want the process to happen as quickly as possible -- Victor.

BLACKWELL: And, of course, the expectations is that Guzman does not have the reach, doesn't have the influence inside the U.S. as he does inside Mexico with those inside and outside of law enforcement.

Nick Valencia there for us -- Nick, thank you so much.

PAUL: We're going to have more on the meeting between Penn and Guzman in just a minute.

But we have new video I want you to look at here of the hotel room where Guzman was held while police waited for back up to arrive.

CNN's Martin Savidge went to that motel -- Martin.


MARTIN SAVIDGE, CNN CORESPONDENT: This hotel is located on the outskirts of the town, maybe about, oh, three or four miles, about six kilometers. When you look at it, it's a perfect place for federal authorities to bring El Chapo. Remember, it's just after they've had a shoot out. After they chased him, allegedly, through the sewer system. Look at this, this is a hotel room that its own garage space. Now,

the federal authorities could have pulled in here and taken El Chapo out under cover and walked him into this room. If you look, this is the room. It's the room that you see that has been made famous now as a result of the photograph. In fact, just sort of guesstimating El Chapo would have been sitting about here looking off in that direction, with a rather sullen look on his face.

There's one thing messing. You might have noticed in the background, certainly a lot of men did in the photograph, there was another photo of a woman not wearing a whole lot. It was up in this area. It appears that has been taken down. Who has it or why? We don't know.

But we do know that federal authorities had El Chapo in here for about an hour and a half until they can get reinforcements, until they can essentially get their act together to be ready to move and transport him.

Fairly standard room. It's got a toilet. It's got a shower, and it's got a sink and wash up area. And it's located right by the highway.

So, there are a lot of things that make this room almost ideal for the job they had, and it's hidden away. Almost kind of like a fortress.

Thanks to that photograph, thanks to the most wanted man in all of America. This room is now world famous.

Martin Savidge, CNN Los Mochis, Mexico.


PAUL: Thank you, Martin.

Let's bring in Page Pate, criminal defense attorney and constitutional attorney into this conversation. I want to get back to what a lot of people are talking about, you know, in their conversations today and online. Is this meeting between Sean Penn and Guzman himself. Did Penn and "Rolling Stone" have any legal obligation, do you think, to alert authorities to this meeting?

PAGE PATE, CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEY: Well, not legally. Perhaps ethically and morally, but the law is very specific about a crime of harboring or assisting a fugitive. You have to be able to prove that the person gave them some type of assistance. Gave them money, game them food, tried to keep them from authorities. In some way assisted them in evading capture.

I don't think what we've heard right now is enough to rise to that level.

PAUL: OK. So you don't think there are any charges that could be forthcoming for either the magazine or for Sean Penn himself?

PAGE: Not based on what we know at this point. If they did anything to try to assist him or some of his associates in evading capture, then perhaps. We don't know at this point what communications they had with his associates. What, if any, compensation. The resources for the meeting. Did they feed him or give him a place to stay?

I think Mexican and American authorities want to look into those before making a final decision about charges.

PAUL: Remind me, is there an investigation into either the actor or the magazine?

PATE: I've heard they want to question them. That's all I know at this point.

PAUL: I want to ask you about something Guzman said to Penn. Because Guzman in an interview in '93 he was interviewed by a group of reporters. He denied any drug dealing whatsoever.

He told Penn, according to "Rolling Stone", quote, "I supply more heroin, methamphetamine, cocaine and marijuana anybody else in the world.

[08:10:01] Is that an outright confession that can be used against him?

PATE: Absolutely. He gave a statement and it was not made to the lawyer. It was made to the celebrity. It was made to the media. They can absolutely use that very tape we saw in a trial later against him.

PAUL: All right. Page Pate, appreciate your insight. Thank you for being here.

PATE: Thank you.

BLACKWELL: All right. Get your dollars together because Powerball the jackpot is going up above a billion dollars.

PAUL: Oh, my gosh.

BLACKWELL: No winner last night in the Powerball drawing. It was at almost $950 million for the jackpot there. They got my $20 and probably $20 more, because for Wednesday night's drawing, the jackpot will hit $1.3 billion. And maybe go beyond that.

PAUL: If you get that, you'll probably see somebody else next to me.

BLACKWELL: You sure will. You sure will.

PAUL: Don't toss the tickets, though. Here's a thing, there are smaller prizes likely out there. I believe you win $100,000 if you get everything but the Powerball ticket.

BLACKWELL: A million.

PAUL: Is it a million?

BLACKWELL: It's a million.

PAUL: See? The winning numbers were, just in case you missed it, 32, 16, 19, 57, 34 and, of course, lucky number 13 for the Powerball. In this case, really lucky.

BLACKWELL: All right. Still to come the United States flies a B-52 bomber over South Korea days after North Korea carried out a nuclear bomb test. CNN is the only U.S. news organization inside North Korea. We'll take you live to Pyongyang next.

PAUL: And just three weeks before the Iowa caucuses, Donald Trump ramps up the birther campaign against Cruz. What Cruz has to say about it now.


PAUL: We're following breaking news out of Yemen right now. Doctors Without Borders says four people were killed and ten others injured when a hospital they were working at in northern Yemen was hit by some kind of projectile.

[08:15:02] The impact, we understand, happened early this morning around 9:20 a.m. local time. The group added the number of casualties could o he People may be trapped in the rubble where several buildings collapsed. We're going to continue to obviously follow this and bring you updates as they come into us.

BLACKWELL: The U.S. Air Force sent North Korea a warning this weekend, just days after Pyongyang conducted its fourth nuclear test. The U.S. responded with a show of force deploying a B-52 bomber to the Korean Peninsula. Now, the bomber, which can carry nuclear weapons, was joined by South Korea fighter jets, as it swept through the skies near Pyongyang.

Now, it did not fly directly over North Korea but Admiral Harry Harris, Jr. called it a, quote, "a demonstration of the ironclad U.S. commitment to our allies in South Korea, Japan, and the defense of the American homeland."

CNN's Will Ripley joins us now with the latest. He's the only reporter from a U.S. news organization reporting from inside North Korea. He's in Pyongyang. Tell us more about this fly over and how it's being receive there, Will.

WILL RIPLEY, CNN CORRESPODNENT: Well, this was a really interesting move on the part of the United States, because it was just four day after that reported H-bomb test. North Korea says it was a hydrogen bomb. A lot of experts around the world dispute that, but nonetheless, a very troubling situation for the United States, its key ally, South Korea, Japan, and really the whole world, because it's a sign that the regime is actively growing its nuclear arsenal.

And so, after North Korea's last nuclear test in 2013, it took a full month before the United States decided to do a similar move where they flew a bomber very close to the demilitarized zone. In fact, they did it twice. They flew a B-52 and then they also flew a stealth bomber, a B-2 that dropped eight dummy pounds that weighed about 2,000 pounds each. They were dropped on a target right near the North Korean border, clearly a show of force. Clearly the bombers, and the bomber that flew close to the border today was escorted by South Korea fighter jets in addition to American fighter jets as well.

And so, now, what we have to wait to see is exactly how the regime will respond. There was an editorial put out by state media earlier today. It didn't specifically address this bombing run, so we don't know if it was written before or after it happened. But what we know is after the 2013 incident, North Korea aimed its missiles at U.S. bases both in South Korea and the Pacific, and also put the long range missiles on standby to -- in a direction toward the United States. And they used words like "burning with hatred" to describe the situation before it eventually deescalated.

Nothing like that yet here in Pyongyang, but we'll have to wait and see what happens, Victor.

BLACKWELL: All right. Will Ripley there reporting from Pyongyang, giving us the latest on the fallout after that North Korean nuclear test -- Will, thanks so much.

PAUL: GOP candidate Ted Cruz said it's a settled issue. Donald Trump -- not so much. He's intensifying his attacks in the birther battle.

Coming up, we're going to talk live with Jake Tapper. He was on the campaign buzz with Ted Cruz in Iowa. Find out what he had to say.


PAUL: New this morning, the birther battle between the Donald Trump and Ted Cruz is getting dicey on the campaign trail in Iowa, just weeks ago now obviously until the caucuses.

And the Republican frontrunner is still hammering Canadian-born Ted Cruz over his eligibility to be president. But just last night, Trump claimed Cruz's parents voted in Canada.

Jake Tapper, host of "STATE OF THE UNION" and "THE LEAD", with us now.

And I know, Jake, you joined Ted Cruz on his bus in Iowa for this exclusive interview. What stuck out to you? What's he saying?

JAKE TAPPER, CNN ANCHOR, STATE OF THE UNION: Well, he's trying to stay on message and not talk about the accusations that he's not constitutionally eligible to be president because he is, in the views of Donald Trump and others, not an natural-born citizens.

Ted Cruz said nothing could be further from the truth. He's perfectly eligible. But it's tough for him to stay on message when so many of his opponents now, not just Donald Trump, are jumping into the act. Take a listen.


TAPPER: Carly Fiorina saying the other day that she says it's odd that it wasn't until 2014 that you were announced you were dual citizenship your citizenship with Canada. You say you didn't know about it until "Dallas Morning News" wrote the story I think in 2013.

Did you ever go back after the "Dallas Morning News" story and try to find out more about your parents' time in Canada? Whether they did any -- I mean, did they vote in Canada when they were there?


TAPPER: No, they did not.

CRUZ: My mother didn't because she was a U.S. citizen. My mother -- look, the Internet has all sorts of theories. But the facts are simple: my mom was born in Wilmington, Delaware. She was an American citizen by birth. She's been an American citizen all 81 years of her life. She's never been a citizen of any other place.


TAPPER: And of course, we talked about a lot more including immigration. He's trying to tell us voters in Iowa that he is actually to the right of Donald Trump on some of these illegal immigration issues. We talked about that. We talked about guns in America, and much, much more.

PAUL: And we know, of course, President Obama's final State of the Union Address is Tuesday. I'm sure you have people who are inching to talk about that. Look ahead.

TAPPER: Well, we have the White House Chief of Staff Denis McDonough here to talk about what we can expect. We will have to ask him about big items in the news, including North Korea saying they exploded a hydrogen bomb in a test, and we'll find out the latest on that, and also, of the arrest of El Chapo and Sean Penn's interview of El Chapo in "Rolling Stone" magazine. Mexican authorities saying they want to talk to Mr. Penn. We'll weigh in as well as get a preview of the state of the union address on Tuesday night.

PAUL: All righty. Jake, good to see you.

And, of course, Jake is sticking around because "STATE OF THE UNION" with Jake Tapper starts at the top of the hour 9:00 a.m. Eastern, right here on CNN.

Also, be sure to watch President Obama's final State of the Union address to the nation, as we said, Tuesday night, coverage begins at 7:00 p.m. Eastern.. The address starts at 9:00. All of that here on CNN.

BLACKWELL: Ands up next, it's been three years since a Georgia teenager was found dead, rolled up in a gym mat in his school. Today, Kendrick Johnson's family is still searching for answers.



[08:28:12] UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: In 2016, I'm hoping that somebody, someone, some people will be held accountable for Kendrick Johnson's murder.


BLACKWELL: This is the final day of three days of memorial event happening this weekend in the South Georgian hometown of Kendrick Johnson. The 17-year-old was found three years ago today dead in a rolled up gym mat at his high school. He disappeared from classes the day before, and local and state authorities ruled his death an accident.

The family hired a pathologist who found evidence of a homicide. He was found inside a rolled up gym mat, as we said. A federal probe has entered the beginning of its third year.

PAUL: The Mississippi River swelling from record rainfall. Because of that hundreds are clearing campgrounds in New Orleans preparing for intentional flooding. The city is about to open flood gates to avoid major flooding there. And take this to heart, they've only opened the gates 11 times in 85 years.

BLACKWELL: All right. Let's you an update on the breaking news out of Yemen. Doctors Without Borders said four people were killed, ten others injured when a hospital they were working at in Razeh district of northern Yemen was hit by some sort of projectile. The impact, it happened early this morning around 9:20 a.m. local time. The group added the number of casualties could go higher.

People may be trapped in the rubble where several buildings collapsed there. And according to the group, this is the third severe incident at a Doctors Without Borders facility. Twice last year hospitals supported by the group were hit by air strikes by the Saudi-led coalition. It's not known where that projectile in today's incident originated. But we'll stay on top of that.

PAUL: All righty. Make some good memories today. Thanks for being with us.