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CNN NEWSROOM

Trump Expected to Order Mexico Border Wall; Trump to Announce Visa and Refugee Restrictions; Trump Signs Executive Actions on Pipelines; Trump Believes Millions Voted Illegally; Israeli PM Announces West Bank Settlement Surge; Eastern Mosul Liberated from ISIS; Brexit Bill to be Introduced Within Days; Oscar Nominations Announced in Hollywood; Donald Trump and His Alternative Facts; Interview with Wyclef Jean; Aired 2-3a ET

Aired January 25, 2017 - 02:00   ET

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


[02:00:00] ISHA SESAY, CNN ANCHOR: Campaign promise in the coming hours with executive orders with strict immigration and to build a wall on the border with Mexico.

JOHN VAUSE, CNN ANCHOR: Trump effect. Just days into a new president in Washington, Israel announces thousands of new homes will be built for Jewish settlers in the West Bank.

SESAY: And hip-hip artist Wyclef Sean will be here with new music and a message for America's new president.

Hello, and welcome to our viewers all around the world. I am Isha Sesay.

VAUSE: I'm John Vause, thanks for staying with us because we're now into the third hour of NEWSROOM L.A.

SESAY: We begin with breaking news in Somalia where a truck bomb exploded at a Mogadishu hotel a short time ago. Police say attackers then stormed the property in an area popular with lawmakers and government officials.

VAUSE: A second explosion was heard about 15 minutes later. Gunfire is still ongoing. That's the last we heard from a journalist at the scene. Ambulances were also seen carrying victims away from the hotel. And we'll have more information for you as soon as we get it.

Meantime, Donald Trump will soon make good on another of his campaign promises, building a wall on the U.S. border with Mexico. A White House official confirms Mr. Trump will sign an executive action on Wednesday directing federal resources to build the wall.

SESAY: The president will also announce new restrictions on visas and refugees coming to the U.S. A congressional source says those actions will cover people from countries including Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen.

VAUSE: Meantime, the White House is defending President Trump's false claim that three million to five million Americans cast illegal ballots costing him the popular vote. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEAN SPICER, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: The president does believe that. He has stated that before. I think he stated his concerns of voter fraud and people voting illegally during the campaign. And he continues to maintain that belief based on studies and evidence that people have presented to him.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

VAUSE: Joining us here now in Los Angeles, California talk radio host Ethan Bearman and Shawn Steel, a member of the California Republican National Committee.

Thank you for both being with us.

SESAY: Gentlemen, welcome.

VAUSE: OK. Let's start with the breaking news over the last couple of hours. The executive order on Wednesday. The president tweeted this out a short time ago.

"Big day planned on national security for tomorrow. Among many other things, we will build the wall."

So, Shawn, among other things, is this the moment when the Muslim travel ban comes into effect?

SHAWN STEEL, CALIFORNIA REPUBLICAN NATIONAL COMMITTEE: No, you're not going to see that at all. That's not in the agenda. But gosh, don't you love Twitter?

VAUSE: The president does, I'll give you that.

STEEL: Don't you like getting all that information that cuts through all the mainstream media press, goes right through the filters or over the filters, around the filters?

VAUSE: News that travel, Shawn. OK.

STEEL: We're going get ourselves a very beautiful good looking border. Part of it is going to be a wall, part of it is going to be fencing. But we're going to have border agents that can actually be border agents. We're going to start looking like a country now. That's a good thing.

SESAY: Yes. Ethan, it's one thing to say you're going to divert funds to build a wall. It's another thing to actually get the wall. I mean, what do you make of all of this?

ETHAN BEARMAN, RADIO HOST: Yes. Well, first off, I thought it was ridiculous since he promised us that Mexico is going to pay for it. But it's actually my tax dollars now that are going to pay for his beautiful fence which isn't actually a wall. So he is backtracking on his campaign promise. But on top of it all, I mean, if border security is really the issue we have internal issues in the United States like enforcement of laws against employers who knowingly employ people who aren't legal to work here. That has always been my approach, not a giant wall or a deportation force.

VAUSE: OK. There has been swift criticism already in the past couple of hours. The spokesman for the Council on American-Islamic Relations told CNN, "These executive orders will not make our nation any safer, rather it will make our nation more fearful and less welcoming and such restrictions run contrary to the very founding principles of our nation."

The National Iranian-American Council said this. "This is discriminatory. This is un-American. And last but not least, this is dangerous as it pits Americans against Americans while undermining the very principles of inclusivity and tolerance that define America."

Shawn, civil rights groups, Muslim groups, every, you know, legal groups out there gearing up for a fight. This is not a done deal yet.

STEEL: Complete rubbish. But you actually quote from CAIR which has already been indicted as a co-conspirator to a terrorist front in Texas, an organization that has a number of its leaders in jail committing quasi or objective terrorist acts.

(CROSSTALK)

STEEL: They are a very bad set of actors. The other group I can't tell you anything about. But the concept of not having refugees coming in from terrorist-laden countries and maybe vetting them is something that probably 80 percent of Americans want. It's rational. It's appropriate because clearly, though, a lot more discontented young Muslim males, if you bring into any society, you're going to have a certain percentage of them, higher than other groups that are not going to be -- not going to be working in the society, acculturating themselves or frankly they won't be very happy.

SESAY: But Shawn, you're talking as if there is no vetting process in place right now. There is and it's a stringent one and it goes for multiple months, in cases over a year.

[02:05:05] STEEL: You're my -- you're my hero. You're completely wrong. It's actually run by the United Nations. The United Nations -- it's a Sunni religious Muslims that are actually controlling the vetting. There is no non-Muslims involved in that.

(CROSSTALK)

SESAY: There is no flood of refugees coming in here, we know that. There is no flood of refugees coming into this country.

STEEL: Good. Then there is no problem.

BEARMAN: And on top of it all, Germany did an extensive study, government study on crimes committed by refugees and it was lower than German citizens on a per capita basis.

STEEL: I totally trust the Germans on that. They know everything about immigration.

BEARMAN: Well --

STEEL: I don't trust them, come on. Give me a break.

BEARMAN: They took the time to do a scientific study on it.

STEEL: Scientific? I'm sorry.

BEARMAN: And they showed that -- the data showed that there is a much lower crime rate among refugees than there were of German citizens. So, you know, the issue becomes who are we as the United States? Do we welcome --

SESAY: What's the message you're sending to the world?

BEARMAN: Right, do we welcome refugees or not?

STEEL: Sadly -- listen, our country has welcomed more refugees, the United States of America, than all the other rest of the countries combined.

VAUSE: It's true.

STEEL: We have actually -- we have brought in legally, just legally, 65 million citizens since the Act of 1965. Only 12 percent come from Europe. We are rationally and logically bringing in non-whites to America and this is something that is a very good, positive experience. But to bring in people that have been -- young males particularly -- look at the overwhelming numbers of the migrants that are coming. I wish it were nice young families, children, mothers. No, they're mostly young males.

Young males ought to be at home protecting the women, protecting their mothers, protecting their daughters, protecting their wives. Those are getting help coming to America, and many of them are not happy being here.

VAUSE: OK. Well, the other executive order which is causing a lot of controversy, a lot of outrage, it was the move by the president to revise the Dakota and Keystone oil pipelines. First were blocked by former President Barack Obama because of environmental reasons. On Tuesday after the order was signed, protests gathered outside the White House. Native American groups, celebrities, veterans and others have spent months camped out in North Dakota trying to stop the pipeline because they say it would disturb sacred burial sites and could pollute their water supply.

Well, joining us now from Mobridge in South Dakota is Linda Black Elk. She's a member of the Catawba Nation and she lives on the Standing Rock Reservation.

Linda, thank you for being with us. This decision by the U.S. president was not entirely unexpected. Donald Trump made no secret that this was his plan, that he was a supporter of the pipeline. So what do you do now? LINDA BLACK ELK, MEMBER OF CATAWBA NATION: Well, you're right. It

certainly wasn't unexpected. We knew that this would happen. But we will continue to stand. We will continue to oppose the Dakota Access pipeline and the Keystone XL pipeline. We can't leave. We can't back down now. We will continue to stand peacefully in prayer, in peaceful resistance with our people. And, you know, be the warriors that we were meant to be, but the peaceful prayerful warriors.

VAUSE: You know, a pipeline in western Canada leaked over the weekend spilling about 50,000 gallons on aboriginal lands. Is that the example of the kind of environmental damage which the Dakota pipeline could cause? Is that what you're worried about?

BLACK ELK: That's exactly what we're worried about. Pipeline leaks happen every day. They leak hundreds of thousands of gallons of water -- of oil into our water systems. And so, of course, we are concerned about our water. But we're also concerned about our soil, our air. We are concerned about treaty rights. We're concerned about sacred sites.

These pipelines are akin to cultural genocide. They destroy sacred edible and medicinal plants that we as native people still use every single day. So this pipeline is about a lot more than just water.

VAUSE: OK, Linda. We thank you for being with us. We appreciate your point of view.

Linda Black Elk there from Mobridge in South Dakota.

SESAY: And we're back with the gentlemen here in the studio. So as you may know, Donald Trump met with auto executives on Tuesday. He said this. I want you to take a listen.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I'm going to have friends that want to build in the United States. They go many, many years and then they can't get their environmental permit over something that nobody ever heard of before. And it's absolutely crazy. And I am to a large extent an environmentalist. I believe in it. But it's out of control.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SESAY: Donald Trump saying he is an environmentalist. Many saying how? How can he say that?

VAUSE: After just signing the executive order for the Keystone.

STEEL: He's not following a -- listen, the great thing about Donald Trump, over everything else is that he smashed PC into the ground. He is destroying it bit by bit, including the concept that only one group of people can actually like the environment. There is a whole lot of Americans that like the environment. But you don't have to make a religious cult out of it. And the fact that he is taking a businesslike approach to it, he is bringing another side of the debate in.

BEARMAN: No, no, no.

STEEL: He is not ignoring legitimate environmental concerns.

SESAY: Ethan?

BEARMAN: Of course he is because -- and what's sad for the Republican Party is the Republicans worked with the Democrats under Richard Nixon to create the Clean Air and Clean Water Act.

[02:10:06] SESAY: Are you OK?

BEARMAN: And they were actually originally environmentalists, and you know this.

VAUSE: Yes.

BEARMAN: And so for the Republican Party to step as far away from that as possible -- granted maybe there are regulations that need to be reviewed, but just to say, I'm going to cut 75 percent out and immediately sign executive orders to move forward on that without taking a reasoned approach doesn't seem practical.

STEEL: We were disappointed with the 75 percent. We thought that was a little low.

SESAY: Oh, you did, did you?

STEEL: We think that Donald Trump could do much better. But he is compromising. He is a businessman.

SESAY: So what regulations do you want to see?

STEEL: I want to see something that's rationally and scientifically based. Not something conjured up in a university by a person who has never had a job in his life.

VAUSE: That doesn't make any sense.

STEEL: Is that reasonable?

VAUSE: No, it's not reasonable.

BEARMAN: Clean air, clean water, get the toxic chemicals out.

VAUSE: And a planet that's not overheating would be good.

STEEL: You know, I'm going to walk out of the studio at some point tonight hopefully not sooner than later and I'm going to put on a jacket because it's freezing in Los Angeles.

VAUSE: Yes, because it's winter. OK. During the White House briefing Sean Spicer continued to defend Trump's claim that millions of people voted illegally at the election, costing him the popular vote. Listen to this exchange. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JEFF ZELENY, CNN SENIOR WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT: Do you believe there was widespread voter fraud?

SPICER: Listen, my job is not -- look --

ZELENY: How can he be comfortable with his win if he believes --

SPICER: He is very comfortable with his win.

ZELENY: -- million votes. Maybe he didn't win.

SPICER: No, he is very comfortable with his win. It's an electoral- based system. He got 306 electoral votes, 33 of 50 states voted for him. I think, look, Jeff, I've asked and answered this question twice. He believes what he believes based on the information he is provided.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

VAUSE: OK. Now the information that he's been provided, that Sean Spicer was talking about, the author of that study tweeted this. "We found millions of out of date registration records due to people moving or dying but found no evidence that voter fraud resulted."

So, Shawn, why doesn't the president simply acknowledge the truth?

STEEL: No, all he said -- and you know, look, I don't think and I don't know and neither do you that millions of people did vote illegally or illegals did vote or didn't vote. There is a lot of data that has to be researched. And that's not impossible, of course.

(CROSSTALK)

VAUSE: Like what?

STEEL: Well, I'll give you an example here.

VAUSE: OK.

STEEL: You don't remember Luis Colasio in 1994. He was assassinated in Mexico. He was running for president. He was -- he was shot and killed in Tijuana by a Mario Martinez who lived in San Pedro, California, who is a registered Democrat. Now this --

VAUSE: Did he vote for Hillary Clinton? I'm a little confused.

STEEL: In 1994 -- I'm not too sure. But this goes way back 20 years. You had an illegal alien in America who assassinated a president in Mexico who is a registered voter in San Pedro, California.

VAUSE: There are problems with the rolls, it doesn't mean that they --

(CROSSTALK) STEEL: Yes. Well, I'm telling you --

SESAY: Yes. Three million to five million people --

STEEL: Here's good news.

VAUSE: You have three million more of us?

SESAY: Yes, exactly.

STEEL: No, no. Here is the good news. And there is different states with attorney general, secretaries of state that are looking at the voter rolls. You had entire precincts in Detroit, for example, that voted 200 percent of the population. But the other part of town that had honest votes were typically normal vote. Those precincts, those areas have to be investigated. It will take years to find out the extent.

SESAY: I'm going to let Ethan weigh in. Final word to you, Ethan.

BEARMAN: Yes. I mean we now know that that study was flawed. I used to cite that study on the air as something that we needed to investigate. It's the one from George Mason University where they used the Harvard data.

VAUSE: Yes.

BEARMAN: And for the author to come out and say no, we had flawed data that was underlying the entire study. Yes, we need to have integrity in our elections. To question the validity of the election by the president who just won is insane.

SESAY: We'll see many more feisty conversations.

VAUSE: Absolutely. We'll leave it at that.

SESAY: Civil rights groups representing immigrant Americans are already speaking out against Trump's plans to impose restrictions on people with visas and refugees from several Muslim majority countries. One Iranian group says Trump is taking the first steps toward enacting a Muslim ban.

VAUSE: Another group says legal immigrants and refugees already in the U.S. are expressing concern about how this would affect their families and keep in mind, hundreds of thousands of immigrants from the countries that Trump plans to target are already living in the United States. The largest numbers are from Iran, Iraq, and Somalia, according to the estimates from the Migration Policy Institute.

SESAY: A quick break now. Israel has renewed commitment from the U.S., and is pushing forward with some controversial moves at home. More on the building at West Bank settlement just ahead.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(SPORTS) [02:18:16] VAUSE: Iran, Russia and Turkey have agreed to monitor and enforce the ceasefire in Syria. The plan was announced after two days in talks in Kazakhstan's capital.

SESAY: There was no broad agreement on ending the conflict. The joint statement noted the only way to do that is through the political process and not military action.

In the phone call with India's prime minister Tuesday, U.S. President Trump said Washington considered India a true friend and partner in addressing challenges the world.

VAUSE: The White House says both leaders talked about strengthening their partnership on the economy and defense. They also discussed security in South and Central Asia.

SESAY: Trump has promised to move the U.S. embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. And the very idea is already inflaming tensions.

VAUSE: The Iraqi Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr responded by saying, "Transferring the U.S. embassy to Jerusalem would be a public and more explicit than ever declaration of war against Islam." He went on to recommend a special task force to, quote, "liberate the city," if the move went through.

SESAY: Meanwhile, Israel isn't shying away from its own controversial project settlement building in the West Bank. Our own Elise Labott explains why Israel may be feeling emboldened.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

ELISE LABOTT, CNN FOREIGN AFFAIRS REPORTER (voice-over): Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu moving forward with one of the largest settlement expansions in years. 2500 new homes in the West Bank, just two days after his phone call to President Trump and promising, quote, "no daylight between the U.S. and Israel."

"We are building," he tweeted Tuesday. "And we will continue to build."

On Sunday, Netanyahu lifted all restrictions on settlement construction in a contested part of east Jerusalem and announced 500 new settler homes there telling his Cabinet that was just the beginning.

[02:20:04] BENJAMIN NETANYAHU, ISRAELI PRIME MINISTER (Through Translator): On the issue of settlement, we will continue to look out for it wisely and responsibly for the benefit of the settlement enterprise and the state of Israel.

LABOTT: The new settlement built in areas that Israelis claim will always remain part of Israel were a blow to the Palestinians who rejected the move and promised consequences.

MAEN AREIKAT, PALESTINIAN REPRESENTATIVE TO THE U.S.: We will continue to use whatever available means available to us -- diplomatic, nonviolent, political -- to defend the rights of our people against these Israeli policies.

LABOTT: In 2003, Trump donated $10,000 to the Beit El settlement, one of the same sites as the planned expansion in honor of his friend David Friedman, Trump's hard line pick as ambassador to Israel. Friedman supports legalizing settlements, annexing the West Bank and promised during the campaign to back Israel's government in whatever policies it chooses.

DAVID FRIEDMAN, U.S. AMBASSADOR TO ISRAEL NOMINEE: Israel is a friend. The United States under a Trump administration is going to be loyal to its friends. It's going to trust its friends.

LABOTT: A welcome sentiment for Netanyahu after eight years of sparring with President Obama.

TRUMP: We have to protect Israel. Israel to me is very, very important.

LABOTT: President Trump has promised to have Israel's back, and recently lobbied to head off a controversial U.N. vote criticizing Israeli settlements. The Obama administration's decision not to veto the measure allowed it to pass.

AARON DAVID MILLER, CNN GLOBAL AFFAIRS ANALYST: The peace process is dead. You've got an outgoing administration that has been hyper critical. You've got an incoming administration that has a very strong pro-Israeli sensibility. It's the perfect storm. And I think Prime Minister Netanyahu sees it to his advantage to move now.

LABOTT: Elise Labott, CNN, Washington.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

VAUSE: Josh Lockman joins us now. He is a lecturer in international law at the University of Southern California.

Josh, good to see you. The Israeli government here is sort of arguing that almost all of these new homes were built within the existing settlement blocs. That's land which they say would be included within Israel's borders in any peace deal with the Palestinians. This is an agreement they had in place back in 2004 with President George W. Bush. So does that still hold?

JOSH LOCKMAN, UNIVERSITY OF SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA: Well, no. There is probably a new understanding and agreement that will come into fruition between President Trump and Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu.

But it's important to note here, John, that this move, while it may not be as inflammatory as certain outposts that Israel has created or expanded upon way deep into the West Bank like Amona, the optics and veneer of this settlement building on the heels of Trump's inauguration isn't an inflammatory move in my opinion.

With Bibi now feeling emboldened perhaps by Trump assuming power, he and his government in Israel may embark upon additional measures which could enflame the region, more settlement building, and possibly even there has been talk of annexing certain settlement blocks like Ma'Ale Adumin, which is considered a suburb of Jerusalem by many in Bibi's government.

VAUSE: Yes. And also Ariel, which is smash bang right in the middle of the West Bank.

LOCKMAN: Right.

VAUSE: The White House spokesman Sean Spicer was asked specifically about settlement expansion at Tuesday's briefing. This is what he said.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SPICER: Israel continues to be a huge ally of the United States. He wants to grow closer with Israel to make sure that it gets the full respect that it deserves in the Middle East. And what he is going to do, as I mentioned yesterday, we're going to have a meeting with Prime Minister Netanyahu. We will continue to discuss that.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Does he support the expansion of settlements?

SPICER: Well, like I said, we'll have a conversation with the prime minister.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

VAUSE: How out of step is the United States right now compared with, you know, other countries in Europe, for instance?

LOCKMAN: Well, I mean, I think what we're seeing here from the press secretary's statements and obviously from what Trump has said during the campaign, just a disastrous foreign policy move in this arena, which is so emotive and sensitive, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. On the macro level, Trump seems to be intent on supplanting the liberal international order that we've seen since the end of World War II. And in this arena, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, Trump is actively destroying the central American role that has been forged for three decades -- over three decades where the United States has been a broker but in the Arab-Israeli conflict and then in the Israeli- Palestinian conflict as well.

So this is just another example of where words and actions do matter. And you can see from what you mentioned earlier about Trump nominating David Friedman to be U.S. ambassador to Israel, a man that has trafficked in hate, a man who is Islamophobic, and has said vile things about Muslims, Muslim Americans. This only underscores the fear that Trump himself could enflame the region not just by supporting Bibi Netanyahu and giving him support or at least carte blanche for actions like the one we saw today.

[02:25:04] But in the event of a future intifada if one were to occur, that that type of violence would be used by Trump for politically expedient ends.

VAUSE: Very quickly, a spokesman for the settlers group said this. "We hope that this is just the beginning of a wave of building across our ancestral homeland after eight very difficult years. So clearly there are those settlers who see the times are changing.

LOCKMAN: Right, they do. I mean there is a cheering corner in parts of Israel for this incoming administration. But it's important to note, John, that as you all know, the center left in Israel is growing. Bibi Netanyahu has a tenuous hold on power. And if opinion polls are to be believed in Israel right now, it's as tenuous as ever. So he is definitely subject to the whims and vicissitudes of Israeli democracy. And his alliance with Trump may not bode well for him in the short or long term.

VAUSE: OK. Josh, good to speak with you. Josh Lockman joining us there.

LOCKMAN: Thank you.

VAUSE: With some of the legalities and some of the political implications. Thanks, Josh.

SESAY: A really fascinating conversation there.

VAUSE: There is a lot to digest with what's happening in Israel and the West Bank right now.

SESAY: The timing and everything.

Well, the earth's highest peak Mount Everest may have shrunk. Now a team of experts are investigating. Curious Minds want to know so India will be an expedition to find out if the peak has dropped. Some experts believe an earthquake in Nepal nearly two years ago may be caused. The mountain was last measured six decades ago.

How high do you think it is? Come on, have a guess.

SESAY: I haven't been climbing pretty heavily.

VAUSE: It's 8,848 meters.

SESAY: Yes.

VAUSE: Above sea level.

SESAY: There you go.

VAUSE: Here we are.

SESAY: All right. Time for a quick break. I didn't look up.

(LAUGHTER)

SESAY: "STATE OF AMERICA" with Kate Bolduan is up next for our viewers in Asia.

VAUSE: Coming up for everyone else, Iraqi forces claiming a big victory against ISIS in Mosul. Hear where the next part of their fight proved much more challenging.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[02:30:20] VAUSE: And welcome back, everyone. You're watching CNN NEWSROOM live from Los Angeles. I'm John Vause.

SESAY: And I'm Isha Sesay. The headlines this hour.

Breaking news out of Somalia. Two truck bombs exploded at a Mogadishu hotel a short time ago. Police say the attackers stormed the property and are still inside. The hospital reports at least five people killed in the attack. The hotel is in an area popular with lawmakers and government officials.

VAUSE: U.S. President Donald Trump is expected to sign an executive action directing federal resources toward building a border wall with Mexico. Mr. Trump will also announce new restrictions on visas and refugees for people coming to the U.S. from countries associated with terrorism.

SESAY: Protests erupted in Washington, New York and Seattle just hours after Mr. Trump signed orders to revive the Dakota and Keystone oil pipelines. The Obama administration had bilked both to protect the environment. Native American groups say the Dakota Access Pipeline would destroy their sacred land.

VAUSE: Belgian police have released their findings after analyzing the laptop used and thrown away by terrorists in the March 201 Brussels airport attack. They discovered communications with senior ISIS leaders from Syria including bomb-making instructions and a massive amount of terrorist propaganda.

Iraqi forces have done a big blow to ISIS. The prime minister says eastern Mosul is finally free after months of fierce fighting.

SESAY: Mosul is the terror group's last major stronghold in Iraq. But retaking the western half of the city would be much difficult. Well, much more difficult. Details now from our own Arwa Damon.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

ARWA DAMON, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Celebrations did break out in some parts of the country following Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi's announcement that the security forces had managed to recapture all of eastern Mosul from ISIS. He also promised a quick and swift victory in the western portion of the city as well.

This is a fight that has lasted well over 100 days, one that has proven to be unspeakably tough and difficult, costly for the Iraqi Security Forces, namely the counterterrorism forces that were the tip of the spear pushing through these various different neighborhoods, coming across wave after wave of ISIS suicide bombers and a variety of other tactics, also backed up by police forces and various different army elements.

It's really only now to a certain degree that we're beginning to understand the sheer scale of the horror of what life under ISIS was like for the civilian population. Life in Mosul today does have traces of what it was and of what so many in the population hope that it will become. Markets are open. Things that were banned under ISIS like cigarettes and cell phones are on sale.

Women do not have to wear the full black niqab covering that ISIS forced them to don. Men can shave their beards. We have also seen ISIS prisons that they had established inside residential civilian homes. Various different bomb-making factories as well as stories from family upon family about the pressures that ISIS put on them. Little school children talking to us about how their fathers were taken away and lashed, about how they witnessed people's hands being chopped off and all sorts of other unspeakable horrors.

This is a battle, though, that is far from over with many military commanders acknowledging that in the western part of the city where the streets are a lot narrower, the population density a lot greater could prove to be even more difficult than what we have already seen.

Arwa Damon, CNN, Irbil.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

SESAY: Turning now to Europe and Britain's withdrawal from the European Union now faces another hurdle. The UK Supreme Court says parliament will have to vote first before the process can begin.

VAUSE: Still, Prime Minister Theresa May is sticking to her plan of triggering Brexit by the end of March.

We get details now from Isa Soares.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

ISA SOARES, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The verdict just seven minutes long.

DANIEL NEUBERGER, PRESIDENT, BRITISH SUPREME COURT: By a majority of 8-3.

SOARES: But the ruling changes the course of the UK's Brexit negotiations.

NEUBERGER: The Supreme Court rules that the government cannot trigger Article 50 without an act of parliament authorizing it to do so.

SOARES: The prime minister wants to avoid this, but her party says they will forge ahead with their timeline, and will introduce a new bill to begin the legal Brexit process to both Houses of Parliament within days.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We want colleagues in both houses to ensure this bill is passed in good time for us to invoke Article 50 by the end of March this year, as my right honorable. friend the Prime Minister has set out.

[02:35:05] SOARES: The government says there is no turning back on Brexit. This is, they say, the will of the people.

(On camera): This is a major win for Gina Miller. She is the lead claimant here and she has always argued this was never about overturning Brexit. But that a decision this big shouldn't be made by the prime minister alone.

GINA MILLER, CHIEF BREXIT CASE CLAIMANT: Only parliament can grant rights to the British people and only parliament can take them away. No prime minister, no government can expect to be unanswerable or unchallenged. Parliament alone is sovereign.

SOARES: In a charge legal process the lawyers claimant Deir Dos Santos, a hairdresser who voted for Brexit, says the last few months have been ugly.

DAVID GREENE, LAWYER FOR DEIR DOS SANTOS, BREXIT CASE CHAIRMAN: It's a sad day when someone has to sit in a court with body guards to protect any potential threats. But it follows on from the e-mails they received.

SOARES: With the legal process over, the battle becomes political. With the majority MP saying they will back the bill. But with amendments.

So I believe we could have got single market membership and changed immigration arrangement. And that would have been the ambitious place for the prime minister to start negotiating.

SOARES: Amendments that could complicate the prime minister's goal of a speedy exit from the European Union.

Isa Soares, CNN, London.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

SESAY: Not the way she wanted that one to go.

VAUSE: Yes. Well, you deal the hand you got.

SESAY: All right. Let's talk movies. After the break, the nominations for Hollywood's biggest nights are in. And this year's Oscars boasts the most diverse group of talents. We'll look at the nominees next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[02:40:05] SESAY: Hello, everyone. The Oscar nominations are in. And the musical "La La Land" leads the pack with 14 nods, including the Best Picture, and for both of its stars Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone. 14 nods including for best picture and for both of its stars, Ryan Gosling and Emma stone.

VAUSE: "La La Land" is now tied with "All About Eve" and "Titanic" for the most nominations ever. The film won a record seven Golden Globe Awards earlier this month. SESAY: Another big winner, this coming-of-age story, "Moonlight." It

got eight nominations including one for Mahershala Ali, as Best Supporting Actor.

As you know, the Oscars have been criticized in the past for lack of diversity among nominees, but this year seven actors of color were recognized for their work, including Ali.

VAUSE: Both Denzel Washington and Viola Davis were nominated for the film "Fences." Davis is now a three-time Oscar nominee, a first for an African-American woman. The hashtag OscarLessWhite has been making the rounds on social media.

SESAY: Well, I'm pleased to say we're joined now by co-founder and president of the African-American Film Critics Association, Gil Robertson.

Gil, so good to have you with us. I know you said you're thrilled about the 18 African-Americans nominated across various categories. But put the significance of this moment into context for us.

GIL ROBERTSON, CO-FOUNDER AND PRESIDENT, AFRICAN-AMERICAN FILM CRITICS ASSOCIATION: Well, I mean, it certainly brings to a close at least for now, you know, the whole controversy connected with the previous two years where we didn't see any nominees of color. And so one might hope that it's going to lead to, you know, a different set -- a different agenda for Hollywood where quality pictures that feature actors of color, storylines about people of color will become the norm. I think the jury is still out on that.

VAUSE: There was so much publicity last time around because, you know, Denzel Washington missed out. You know, "Creed," you know --

(CROSSTALK)

VAUSE: You know, got the nod for the Best Supporting Actor, the only white guy in the movie. And there was a lot of pressure essentially on the Academy to change the way it was doing things. I don't want to be sort of the Debbie Downer here, but is there a concern that there are so many black actors and black talent who got nominated that somehow, you know, it's a result of all of that social pressure? I'm not saying this is the case. But is there a concern that maybe they didn't get there themselves?

ROBERTSON: No, no, no. Absolutely not. All of the people who were nominated today deserved it. They earned the right to be nominated. Just as last year all of the performers who received nominations, they deserved it. You know, filmmaking is a very arduous process. And it often takes years to get a film off the ground to the big screen. So certainly anyone who is nominated for an Oscar, you know, should be applauded for their efforts.

[01:45:04] I think where the controversy stems from is that, you know, the body of the Academy wasn't representative of the people around them. I mean, this is a diversity. It's a diverse country. But yet we didn't see a reflection of that in terms of the nominations. And so, you know, that's the reason why, you know, repeatedly, you know, the first year was like OK. But year two, it's like really?

SESAY: What does it say to you, though, that the number -- in fact I'd say most of the films that garnered awards on nominations for the African-American actors were made outside of the studio system. What should we make of that? And what does that say about diversity and change and just where we're at in terms of Hollywood?

ROBERTSON: That's a real interesting question. And I think that, although the Academy has certainly shown great leadership with regards to their efforts, the studios really need to do something as well. And after all, the studios are the ones who provide the pipeline of content that the Academy members ultimately vote for.

SESAY: Because if that doesn't change, this could just be a flash in the pan.

ROBERTSON: Absolutely. Absolutely. And already when you look at what's being lined up for 2017, it really looks like business as usual. So we're hopeful that --

SESAY: You don't sound too hopeful, Gil, I have to say.

ROBERTSON: My fingers are crossed.

(LAUGHTER)

VAUSE: OK. Well, the other big complaint this year is the absence of Latinos.

ROBERTSON: Absolutely.

VAUSE: And not because any particular Latino actor or talented producer, director, or staff, simply because they don't have the chance there are no roles for Latinos. There was a study in UCLA that said 5 percent of speaking roles on television go to Latinos. And this is not representative certainly of L.A.

ROBERTSON: You know, I mean, if you can't drive through this city, I don't know how the creators in the studio system can't see that. They're driving to and from work every day, to lunch, to wherever they go. And yet the projects that they create and invest in don't reflect their own personal reality.

And you're very right. Where are the Latinos? Where are the Asian Americans? Where are the Muslims? Where are the women behind the camera in technical roles like directing, like editing? I mean, granted, an African-American woman was nominated today.

[02:45:04] But there just are not enough opportunities being extended. And very much like Viola Davis said a few years ago after she won her Emmy, just give me the opportunity.

VAUSE: Yes.

SESAY: And I'll do my best.

ROBERTSON: Absolutely.

VAUSE: Give us a chance. Thanks, Gil.

SESAY: Really appreciate it. Thank you.

ROBERTSON: Thank you.

Next on CNN NEWSROOM, singer Wyclef Jean shares his thoughts on the current state of U.S. affairs and his hopes that music can make a difference.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SESAY: Shortly after the election of Barack Obama, Grammy Award- winning hip-hop artist released this song.

That song is called "If I was President" and now in 2017 there is a new man in the White House. And Wyclef's concerns have only grown. He re-released the song just before Donald Trump was elected with new lyrics and an urgent call to action.

SESAY: It's Wyclef's first new album in seven years. And I'm thrilled to say we have him here in the studio.

WYCLEF JEAN, HIP HOP ARTIST: Yes.

SESAY: Welcome, Wyclef.

JEAN: I'm excited.

SESAY: We are excited to have you here.

JEAN: I'm a fan.

SESAY: Aw, thank you.

JEAN: To see you now go from the stage to CNN. CNN International.

(LAUGHTER)

SESAY: We appreciate the transition. But like I just said, this is -- this is your first album in seven years.

JEAN: Yes, yes.

SESAY: Where have you been?

JEAN: I mean, really, I had a reunion with the Fujis. I think like over seven years ago, Dave Chappelle. We did Dave Chappelle block party. After that I was in Paris one night. And I was watching TV. And when I was watching the TV, I saw what was going on in Haiti. At the time, they took Jean-Bertrand Aristide out. And the kids were speaking Creole. And they said look, the only person that can make us put our guns down is Wyclef Jean.

So I decided that, you know, after 100 million records in, this is not the legacy I want to leave behind. I had to go down there and use myself as a vessel to try to help move my people forward. So I just dived into Haiti, you know.

SESAY: But now you're back. You're back in the music.

JEAN: Yes, yes, yes. We're back into music. You know, we have a new president in Haiti and I'll be working with everybody. But I'm so happy to be back in this music space.

SESAY: And, you know, we just played a clip of the song, the remix "If I was President" taking some pretty serious jabs at Donald Trump.

[02:50:05] JEAN: Well, not really. Not at all.

SESAY: OK.

JEAN: What I'm doing is if you look at -- you know, because, what -- as an artist, it's important that we understand that we don't approach this on an emotional level, but on a level of policy where it's going matter. The video actually took a shot at everyone.

SESAY: Yes.

JEAN: I took a shot at Hillary, Bernie, Trump in the sense of humor. My concern is really just a bipartisan one. It's like at the end of the day, if we don't find a middle ground, then we're going to be in trouble. And that was the whole idea of doing this song and clowning everyone.

SESAY: OK. And now there is a new president, Donald Trump.

JEAN: Yes, yes.

SESAY: What do you make of the decisions he's made in the last couple of days?

JEAN: Well, I mean, one of the things that probably personal to me really is probably going to be the immigration issue, you know. Coming from Haiti, getting a chance to come to the United States. My parents came in. They were good people. They raised great kids. And the idea of, you know, right now with laws getting enforced for me, was to get out and do stand the idea of immigration laws where my concern are great citizens that are living here, you know. That might -- that face that subject, you know.

The other day I was watching Speaker Ryan. And then there was a woman who was with her child. And she was like, so are you going to send me back or send my child back. That is one of the -- you know, that's definitely one of my forefront concerns as a child who came from Haiti. I even had before me cousins that even came over that were considered refugees over on boats.

SESAY: So this is close to your heart. This is something that you're following very closely.

JEAN: Yes. It's definitely -- yes, definitely close to my heart. Like I said, it's not personal. It's just we have to find policies and legislation that's going to work.

SESAY: You know, a couple of days ago, we saw tens of thousands of women and a lot of men take to the streets in Washington in protest and defiance, if you will, of the new administration, of Donald Trump. What's the role of music at a time like this as we see a country really quite divided?

JEAN: Well, I mean, I would tell the artists really just express yourself, you know, but at the same time, be careful because they use our sound bites as movies, you know what I mean. And so when you're out there and you're marching, remember what the cause is. And I think that the women that organized this march, it was incredible. And the idea of them saying this is what we want, this is what we're going to fight for, that's the idea of what America is about. And just we had an election and then the next day all of these women, they hit the streets. Men hit the streets. What it is important that you all stay on message. And that's the most important thing.

Do not get distracted. You know, you are electing your senators, your mayor, your governors. And it's like the we the people are very important. And I want people to understand that.

SESAY: Just last question before I let you go. As we talk about messages, what's the message behind the new album? What's the message behind the new sound where you go in?

JEAN: Man, this album, if you can't make it to the Caribbean Island, you just throw on that album and we're going to take you there. The whole album is about love.

SESAY: Wyclef Jean, thank you so much for coming in.

JEAN: Thank you.

SESAY: Thank you.

All right. Well, Wyclef will perform "If I was President" in just a few moments.

John, back to you.

VAUSE: Isha, thank you. We'll finish with there are facts and then over the weekend we heard about alternative facts, and now George Orwell's "1984" is Amazon's bestselling book. The 1949 classic is set in a dystopian future totalitarian states where facts are distorted and the public is manipulated by state propaganda. It's considered one of the most influential novels of the 20th century.

A lot of people felt they heard echoes of "1984" when Donald Trump's senior adviser referred to false claims made by her boss as alternative facts.

You're watching CNN NEWSROOM live from Los Angeles. I'm John Vause. The news continues with Rosemary Church at CNN's world headquarters in Atlanta. But we leave you now with the performance of "If I was President" by Wyclef Jean. You're watching CNN.

(WYCLEF JEAN PERFORMS "IF I WAS PRESIDENT")