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CNN NEWSROOM

March for Life Demonstrations Gather in D.C.; Syrian Refugee Seek Safety in Small-town Georgia; Who Will Win the Golden Actor Statue?; Aired 10:30-11a ET

Aired January 27, 2017 - 10:30   ET

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


(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[10:32:15] CAROL COSTELLO, CNN ANCHOR: And good morning, I'm Carol Costello. Thank you so much for joining me.

The antiabortion movement getting a big boost of support from the White House. The vice president, Mike Pence, and top aide Kellyanne Conway both plan to attend and speak at the March for Life event. All of this happening ahead of President Trump's pick for a Supreme Court nominee.

CNN correspondent Sunlen Serfaty is on the National Mall covering this for us this morning.

Hi, Sunlen.

SUNLEN SERFATY, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Good morning to you, Carol. This is an annual march. It happens every year, but certainly this year, these antiabortion activists are feeling an extra sense of momentum and energy with the Trump White House firmly in place. And certainly the heavy administration presence here at this rally later.

Today is sending them a big signal of support. You have Vice President Pence coming down in person to address this crowd in just a few hours and top Trump adviser Kellyanne Conway also showing up as well.

And as you mentioned, the backdrop of the Supreme Court vacancy certainly is an important moment for this movement. They really are sensing an opportunity, very hopeful to see a more conservative court in place. Very hopeful that President Trump pick an anti-abortion justice and we know that decision is likely to come very soon President Trump says potentially next week he'll make his decision.

And here's what he said to Sean Hannity last night as he inches towards making his pick.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEAN HANNITY, FOX NEWS ANCHOR: Will it be from the list that you gave out during the campaign?

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: The answer is yes.

HANNITY: Will it be an originalist?

TRUMP: I don't want to say that. You're going to see on Thursday.

HANNITY: Have you made your decision?

TRUMP: I have made my decision pretty much in my mind, yes.

HANNITY: Next question --

TRUMP: I may be subject to change at the last moment. But I think this will be a great choice.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SERFATY: Now this march here will start after the rally. These activists will then march down this way, off the Washington Monument area, down the iconic Constitution Avenue, all the way to symbolically end at the Supreme Court, after having another rally there. Then many of these activists will go on Capitol Hill and meet -- try to meet with members of Congress, many of whom, though, notably are still out of town at their party retreat.

But certainly, Carol, I can tell you that this movement is feeling very emboldened by a Republican Congress and a Republican White House. They feel that they certainly have much more support on both sides of Pennsylvania Avenue -- Carol.

COSTELLO: All right. Sunlen Serfaty reporting live from the National Mall, thanks so much.

Let's talk more about this. With me now is Deanna Wallace, staff counsel for Americans United for Life. Welcome.

DEANNA WALLACE, STAFF COUNSEL, AMERICANS UNITED FOR LIFE: Thank you for having me today.

COSTELLO: Thanks for being here. I see you're at the march. So is this the moment? Because the crowd appears very energized right now.

WALLACE: It's a very hopeful crowd.

[10:35:03] This is our moment for many of us that have been in the pro-life movement, as a new generation of pro-life activists.

COSTELLO: So I'm just saying that, do you think that a victory is very close? Or -- I mean, are you hopeful it's close?

WALLACE: I think we have a unique moment in history right now where we have the ability to maybe take the Supreme Court back to a constitutional court where this isn't a political issue but the legal issue it was always intended to be.

COSTELLO: President Trump says he has a Supreme Court nominee in mind, actually there are three he has in his mind, all are George Bush nominees, all are conservative. Are you satisfied with his choices? WALLACE: We are a legal organization. So we don't comment on

potential nominees until they are actually before the Senate Judiciary Committee. We have testified before and we will definitely look forward to seeing this Trump administration support a nominee and put forth a nominee that would be true to the Constitution, true to the text of the Constitution, and really continue Scalia's legacy of making sure that the Constitution is followed and not political whims.

COSTELLO: Gotcha. And I ask you that question because, you know, I was wondering, will one Supreme Court justice be enough for you to achieve your goal of overturning "Roe v. Wade." After all, Justices Breyer, Kennedy, Ginsburg, Sotomayor, and Kagan, they threw a health and safety standards for Texas abortion clinics, a move that would have shut them down in Texas. Does that concern you?

WALLACE: I think we are not saying that one Supreme Court justice would be enough. But we have four years with a president who has promised to consider this issue when choosing his Supreme Court justices. And the pro-life movement is sending a message here that we are paying attention, we are here, and we are expecting President Trump to keep that promise.

COSTELLO: OK. So I'll ask you this question now. So you're at this big rally. So what is the next step? You said you're going to keep -- you're going to hold Trump's feet to the fire. So is there a plan?

WALLACE: Well, here at Americans United for Life, we have been working with state legislators for many decades on making sure that at the state level, we are promoting good legislation that protects both mothers and their unborn infants from the abortion industry. And so we're going to continue to push our legislation to help legislators to protect the mothers and the children in their states. So that whenever the Supreme Court is ready to hear this issue again, they have a solid piece of legislation to look at.

COSTELLO: And as you well know, pro-abortion rights groups are energized, too. You saw those large numbers turn out the day after inauguration day, hundreds of thousands of women throughout the country and the world. Are you prepared for that?

WALLACE: We're definitely prepared to educate the nation on what the real issues here are, the humanity of the unborn, the legal status of the unborn. We're not afraid of that discussion. We would encourage that discussion across the nation and states. And that's why we work with the state legislators on all of these issues.

COSTELLO: All right, Deanna Wallace, thanks so much for joining me this morning.

Still to come in the NEWSROOM, the Department of Homeland Security now freezing trips overseas to interview potential immigrants. I talked with a family of Syrian refugees already living here in the United States. What they think about Trump's policies, next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK) [10:43:05] COSTELLO: The Department of Homeland Security is no longer interviewing refugees who want to come into the United States. That's according to a law enforcement source. The DHS is freezing staff trips to other countries as well, where the interviews would be held. The agency is apparently waiting for guidance from the new president on a new immigration policy.

Here is what President Trump said on FOX last night.

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TRUMP: Right now the FBI has over 1,000 investigations going on. 1,000.

HANNITY: In all 50 states?

TRUMP: All over the place. And these are people that we let in. We don't need this. We don't need this. Some people have come in with evil intentions, and, you know, most haven't, I guess. But we can't take chances.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

COSTELLO: OK. So that news may be troubling to many Americans but it's far more troubling to those trying to become Americans. I talked with one Syrian family that now lives in the United States. Here is their story.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

COSTELLO (voice-over): Dozens of refugees live here in Clarkston, Georgia. The locals say it's the most diverse square mile in America.

(On camera): Do you feel lucky that you're here?

SAMER, SYRIAN REFUGEE (Through Translator): Certainly I am lucky. I'm safe now. Safety is everyone's wish.

COSTELLO (voice-over): Samer and his wife Dania paid a smuggler $100 to sneak them out of Holms, Syria. They don't talk about it much. Because of their family died in Syria's relentless civil war.

(On camera): When you guys had to leave Syria, leave your home, leave your family, leave what all was familiar to you to go somewhere, I just wonder what that's like.

SAMER (Through Translator): Your heart bleeds from the inside when you have to leave your country but at the same time, you're leaving to seek safety and stability for your family. You want to live, to stay away from problems.

COSTELLO: If you could go home, would you?

SAMER (Through Translator): Yes. Everybody would prefer to go back to his or her country if it's safe. [10:45:05] I'm happy living in the U.S., but nonetheless, I always

miss my home country. My country is still at war. We don't want to go back.

COSTELLO (voice-over): The non-profit New American Pathways helped Samer find a home. It provides his family with English classes and Samer a job in a Middle Eastern restaurant. Trump's executive order will suspend programs like this.

SAMER (Through Translator): It's not a humane approach to reject the people who are fleeing the war. Instead the president should being in and rescue more people for humanitarian reasons.

COSTELLO (on camera): Some Americans are afraid of people from the Middle East, from Syria. Why do you think that is?

DANIA, SYRIAN REFUGEE (Through Translator): To the country, we love the American people. We want them to reciprocate our feeling. We came to them for help. We want them to love us. We will love them back.

COSTELLO (voice-over): After fleeing Syria, Samer's family wound up in Jordan. They registered as refugees with the United Nations Refugee Agency. They were vetted by the FBI, the Defense Department, the National Counterterrorism Center, Homeland Security and the United Nations. And along the way, Dania had two more babies.

(On camera): So your children, each child was born in a different country?

DANIA (Through Translator): Yes. Each of my kids was born in a different country. My oldest son was born in Syria. My next child was born in Jordan. And the youngest one was born in the U.S.

COSTELLO: What can you say to the American people?

SAMER (Through Translator): If you have left your country and the war, you're only seeking safety. You don't want anything to do with the war and terrorism. If what you want is terror, then your country which is at war is the perfect ground for you.

COSTELLO (voice-over): Still Samer's family yearns to go home, but they can't. There is no home in Syria anymore. So like so many refugees before them, they're working to create their own American dream.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

COSTELLO: And if you're wondering what they're American dream is, Samer is busy, well, opening up his own restaurant, and of course they're busy learning English.

Still to come in the NEWSROOM, awards season officially in full swing as the SAG Awards prepare to kick off this weekend. A live preview just ahead.

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[10:51:18] COSTELLO: Checking some stories for you at 51 minutes past.

A Chicago judge has denied bail for four suspects accused of torturing a young man with special needs and streaming the attack on Facebook Live. Prosecutors say the suspects kidnapped the 18-year-old victim and then beat him and sliced scalp. All four suspects have been charged with committing a hate crime. They're expected to appear in court together later today.

President Trump making his case against Obamacare by pulling TV ads promoting enrollment. The ads were scheduled to run during the final few days of the open enrollment period. But with President Trump and congressional Republicans vowing to repeal the Affordable Care Act, $5 million worth of commercial placement have now been cancelled.

Prince's sister and half brother say millions are owed to the pop super star's estate. They filed court documents saying the proceeds from the singer's tribute concert last October were mishandled.

That five-hour concert featured more than 100 artists but two of Prince's family says $7 million is missing and may have gone to promoters.

The hit movie, "The Devil Wears Prada" is being turned into a musical and Sir Elton John is writing the music.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

STANLEY TUCCI, ACTOR: All right, everyone, gird your loins. Did someone eat an onion bagel?

(END VIDEO CLIP)

COSTELLO: Imagine those lyrics in musical form. Elton John composed music for other Broadway plays like "The Lion King." No word when the musical will hit the stage.

Voting now under way for the 23rd Annual Screen Actors Guild Awards. And The star-studded event goes down this Sunday and pays tribute to the best film and television performances of the year.

CNN's NBC's Stephanie Elam live in Los Angeles at the Shrine Auditorium where the show kicks off. Good morning.

STEPHANIE ELAM, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Good morning, Carol. This is where the magic is going to happen here inside the Shrine Auditorium. And you can see that they are busy setting up. This is where you're going to see a lot of A listers sitting down.

We just learned this morning that John Legend and Nicole Kidman will be presenting on Sunday. Remember "La La Land," John Legend is in that. And "Lion," Nicole Kidman is in that. And there's a lot going on here. This is where the actors get to honor the best of the best, from TV and also in film. So you're looking at on the TV side "The Crown," a lot of people saying that one may be a big hit here at the SAG Awards, we'll find out. Actors supporting actors.

And on the film side, of course "La La Land," "Manchester by the Sea," these are big ones, also, "Fences," "Hidden Figures." There's a lot of talk about.

Let me introduce you to Kathy Connell. She is the executive producer of the show.

So tell me, how hard is it to make a show -- and it's awards season. How hard is it to make this show stand out?

KATHY CONNELL, SAG AWARDS EXECUTIVE PRODUCER: You know what, it's about the actors. And every award is going to an actor. The audience at home knows all the actors. And we're going to have a big party.

ELAM: A big party, and a hard time trying to figure out, there's a lot of close contenders here this year.

CONNELL: I think there are a lot of great performances. And it's going to be very challenging. I'm glad I don't have to vote.

ELAM: Yes. That's probably -- thanks a lot.

So, you know, think about it, there's some great performances out there right now, Carol, and we are going to see a lot of people here tuning in to see what's going to happen. And then after they come through here, they're going to come up. And let's go ahead and show them the stage. They will come up and accept their award here, Carol. So highly anticipated. A lot of people think what happens here will show us what's going to happen come Oscars. You know who people vote.

COSTELLO: May I make a prediction?

ELAM: This is voting bloc.

COSTELLO: May I make a prediction?

ELAM: Yes. I would love to hear it.

COSTELLO: "La La Land" will take everything.

ELAM: "La La Land" is a favorite. And let's keep in mind, it's about actors who are struggling to make it in Hollywood. And these are actors. So that may play pretty well with those crowd. Let's just say. I wouldn't be surprised. I wouldn't surprised at all.

COSTELLO: Although I did see "Lion." Did you see "Lion"?

[10:55:04] ELAM: I've seen them just about all. Yes, I loved "Lion." I absolutely loved "Moonlight." And you think about it, these movies are looking at Best Cast. That's the big award at the SAG Award. So you're looking at movies like that. You're going to look for those big performances that involve the entire cast. That is going to play really big here at the SAG Awards on Sunday.

COSTELLO: All right. We'll be watching. Stephanie Elam, thanks for the preview.

And thank you for joining me today. I'm Carol Costello. "AT THIS HOUR WITH BERMAN AND BOLDUAN" after the break.

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JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: Hello, everyone, I'm John Berman.

KATE BOLDUAN, CNN ANCHOR: Hi, everybody, I'm Kate Bolduan. One week ago today we were standing on the National Mall as Donald Trump became President Donald Trump. He's now closing out his first week in office with several firsts. His first time hosting a foreign leader. His first presidential news conference. And tomorrow --

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