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CNN NEWSROOM

British PM May Arrives in U.S. for Trump Summit; Impact of Women's March on Trump Presidency; Family Fights Challenges In and Out of the Ring; Pena Nieto Cancels Trump Meeting Over Wall Feud; Trump: I Believe Torture Absolutely Works; "Sanctuary" Mayors Defiant Over New Directive. Aired 12-1a ET

Aired January 27, 2017 - 00:00   ET

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


[00:00:12] ISHA SESAY, CNN ANCHOR: This is CNN Newsroom live from Los Angeles ahead this hour. The Mexican president canceled his U.S. visit over Donald Trump's plan to build a wall.

Special relationship, the British prime minister is on tied with the U.S. on the eve of a meeting with President Trump.

And defying Trump made across from the USA, say they will protect undocumented migrants as the President vows to fight so-called sanctuary city.

Hello. And thank you for joining us. I'm Isha Sesay, Newsroom, L.A. starts right now.

Mexico's president, repeatedly warn he wouldn't pay for Donald Trump's wall between their countries. Now, he has canceled a meeting with the U.S. president to protest Mr. Trump's move to build the barrier. Mexico is one of the United States most important trading partners. As Jim Acosta reports, Mr. Trump is learning walls can burn bridges.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JIM ACOSTA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Just as President Trump stepped off of his maiden voyage as Commander in Chief on Air Force One, he landed in his first diplomatic controversy. And for a change, all eyes weren't on his Twitter feed. But on the tweets coming from Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto who announced in blunt Trump fashion that he has informed the White House he will not be attending a meeting scheduled next week with the new American president, a protest of President Trump's plan for a massive new wall on the border.

ENRIQUE PENA NIETO, MEXICAN PRESIDENT, (THROUGH TRANSLATOR): Mexico does not believe in walls. I've said time and again; Mexico will not pay for any wall.

ACOSTA: Mr. Trump all but invited Pena Nieto to scrap the trip, tweeting, "If Mexico is unwilling to pay for the badly needed wall, then it would be better to cancel the upcoming meeting."

DONALD TRUMP, U.S. PRESIDENT: Sit down everybody. Let's enjoy ourselves, right.

ACOSTA: At a GOP leaders retreat in Philadelphia, the president said the decision to cancel was mutual.

TRUMP: The president of Mexico and myself have agreed to cancel our planned meeting scheduled for next week. Unless Mexico is going to treat the United States fairly, with respect, such a meeting would be fruitless.

ACOSTA: And he touted another part of his immigration plan, the swift removal of undocumented criminals.

TRUMP: You're going to be gone fast.

ACOSTA: Top Republicans and Congress are now examining ways to pay for the wall, which comes with an estimated price tag of at least $12 billion.

MITCH MCCONNELL, U.S. SENATE REPUBLICAN LEADER: We intend to address the wall issue ourselves and the president can deal with his relations with other countries and on that issue and other issues.

ACOSTA: House Speaker Paul Ryan advice to Republicans buckle up.

PAUL RYAN, U.S. HOUSE SPEAKER: This is going to be the unconventional presidency. I think you know this by now, Casey. And I think we're going to see unconventional activities like tweets and things like that. And I think that is something we're all going to have to get used to.

ACOSTA: While Republican leaders are following the president's path on Mexico, they are flat out rejecting his latest defense of the use of torture on terror suspects.

MCCONNELL: I believe virtually all of my members are comfortable with the state of the law on that issue now.

RYAN: And torture is illegal. And torture is not legal. So -- and we agree with it not being legal.

ACOSTA: But the president warned his party he's not backing down from an agenda he sees as essential to keeping American safe, both overseas and on the streets of U.S. cities.

TRUMP: You look at Chicago. What's going on in Chicago? I said the other day, what the hell is going on? That is why we will continue to stand with the incredible men and women of law enforcement.

ACOSTA: Now there's confusion over the White House plan to pay for the wall on the border. Earlier today, White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer told reporters that the president was considering slapping an import tax on Mexican that's coming into the U.S. But now the White House says that just one of a number of options.

Jim Acosta, CNN, Philadelphia.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SESAY: Well, just a few hours ago, Mexico's foreign minister explained why it was impossible to this country to be expected to pay for Trump's wall.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

LUIS VIDEGARAY, MEXICAN FOREIGN MINISTER: We think we cannot accept the concept for the need of payment for your wall, for your own wall. That's something bad does not happen in communities as well as Mexican citizens and something I would be talking is unacceptable between nations (ph). This is something that we would not do, we'll never do and because this is about our dignity and our pride.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

[00:05:05] SESAY: Meanwhile, this feud has sent the Mexican peso into a tail spin as you see there. It is closer record low against the U.S. dollar peso fell as much as 1.4 percent of the President Pena Nieto's tweet. Mexico's county has taken a hit since the U.S. election amid Mr. Trump trade threat. Peso has lost about 13 percent of its value since November 8th.

Well, joining me now, Windy Greuel, the former L.A. city councilwoman and Hillary Clinton supporter and from San Francisco, Harmeet Dhillon is a member of the California Republican National Committee. Ladies, welcome. Good to have you with us. So many different places to start but how about the Mexican standoff over the wall and the news that the White House is considering levying 20 percent tax on Mexican imports to pay for it.

Let's listen to what Sean Spicer, the White House Press Secretary said earlier.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEAN SPICER, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: I think when you look at the plan that's taking shape now using comprehensive tax reform as a means to tax imports from countries that we have a trade deficit from like Mexico. We have new tax at 50 percent $50 billion at 20 percent of imports which is by the way a practice that 160 other countries do right now are country's policy as detect exports and let imports flow freely in which is ridiculous. But by doing it that way, we can do $10 million a year and easily pay for the wall.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SESAY: Well, and as we know by now, we then have to walk that back somewhere and explain to reporters that this 20 percent tax is just a number -- is one of the number of options the president is considering. We know lawmakers had what they see on fire spinning at the suggestion of such attacks. So Harmeet, to you first, it would appear that congressional Republicans want the wall but not that badly.

HARMEET DHILLON, RNC NATIONAL COMMITTEEWOMAN FOR CALIFORNIA: Yes, I think that's true. I think that the idea of tariffs is something that certainly not part of the general Republican platform. I think that was made clear to the president advisers today. And so, you see some other options being put forward to pay for the wall. But I think people are buying in to the idea of national security on our southern border in a form a physical barrier and now they're looking for ways to pay for it.

SESAY: Wendy, is this the beginning of a trade war with Mexico? One of this country's most significant trading partners?

WENDY GREUEL, FORMER L.A. CITY COUNCILWOMAN: Well, I'm frightened that this is not just the Mexico. But we're going to see this in other issues across the country in trade -- excuse me -- across the world on trade issues. And, you know, when you look at the fact that they're recommending this potentially 20 percent that they now pulled back on, who was going to be most impacted by that? The consumers of the United States of America. We will going to pay for that.

And so, I think, we haven't come up with any other options even though they've been talking about this for a long time about how they would pay for the wall. I think what we're going to do is insure that we're creating jobs. And that this is going to be another step that is going to challenge how we're dealing with the world with our new president.

SESAY: Harmeet?

DHILLON: Well, obviously, creating jobs is sort of the central plank of President Trump's campaign promises and we see a lot of his new orders as well as the presidential memos directed towards that. So, the Mexican border is a security issue, it involves crime, drug smuggling. And what is the cost to California and to other border states of these types of crimes in this influx of people who are not entitled to be here as well. So we have to look at in that point of view as well. What's the cost to America of allowing the current status quo?

SESAY: And Harmeet, the fact is there has been this level of confusion about this 20 percent tax that made the standoff with the Mexican president who canceled his trip to the U.S. -- raise question doesn't not -- presidency, the fact that they couldn't get this right at least in the communication of it or does it not in your view?

DHILLON: No, it doesn't. To me, you know, we didn't play whole full clip there. Sean Spicer is talking about the fact that 160 other countries in the world have a value-added tax. America is already suffering from that and the majority of the world. And so, he's talking about extending that specifically to our trade and balance with Mexico which is about $60 billion this year.

And if you did that tax just on Mexico and on the rest of the world, then the wall would be paid for according to current estimates within less than two years. The fact that they decided to mention that there are number of other options on the table is a good thing not a bad thing.

SESAY: OK. Well, let me say what Americans are thinking about President Donald Trump's first five days in office listed up on our screen, this Quinnipiac University Poll. As you see there ladies, only 36 percent of those is approve on President Trump handling on the job. And you see that 44 percent -- 19 percent, they're saying they don't know. Harmeet, to you, how much should Donald Trump recalibrate his priorities in the days ahead to take into account those numbers?

[00:09:59] DHILLON: I think he should recalibrate it exactly zero. We're talking about six days so far and you're talking about him not even being able to implement any legislative agendas at all. He is simply trying to reverse some of the excesses of the Obama administration and do some quick attempts to have stopped that measures with regards with regard to some parts of this agenda. And I think it's going to take sometime for him to roll out the full agenda and have do consultation with Congress. And then, there will more appropriate poll to people and see what they think when there's something to actually talk about.

SESAY: And Wendy how are you reading those numbers?

GREUEL: Well, I think if you compare them to previous administrations, those numbers are not good. I mean, we saw 3.5 million people come out on Saturday across the country, across the world protesting the administration in Trump's administration. And I think that this is saying -- this first week has been disastrous and you can't run a country by twitting everyday.

You've got to be able to focus on the issues that are important to the American people. And to be able to get a Congress that's going to support that. I think all of us want to see a successful country, United State of America. But, this week has not demonstrated that they're ready for prime time.

SESAY: How many -- how comfortable are you with the twitting from Oval Office which is of course was front and center in the standoff with Mexico with the Trump -- with president twitting and Pena Nieto also responding. I mean how comfortable are you with Twitter diplomacy?

DHILLON: Well, I'm comfortable with modern methods of communication being use by our world leaders, all of them to communicate directly with the people around the filter of the media across the world. So, I have no problem with that. It's a frankly shocking that this type of modern communication that weren't used earlier.

You know, with the regard to the protest, you know, Wendy, the protests were planned way before the inauguration. So, to say that's the protest against popularity on his first 6 days on office is silly. You know, he hasn't chance to govern yet. And I think that's the more proper time to look at his popularity.

SESAY: Wendy you want to respond to that?

GREUEL: Look, I think that the protest on Saturday were about the all of the time preparing for him to be president of the United States. And the campaign of some of other things that he said did with the hope to say there are people out there who want to make sure that he does not trample in women's right. So, he is not trample on LGBT right that he is going to stand up for the African-American and Latino community and the immigrants that are here in this country. And so, I think it was a statement and you'll see more that people are saying we are listening, we're watching and we're going to stand up on the issues that we care about. To have in that first week that he signed the rule that -- the law that you couldn't provide any kind of funding for women and foreign countries even if they were just providing cancer screenings or they were offering counseling to be able to ensure that they could have the kind of contraceptions.

You've seen articles by Republicans saying women are going to die in these countries because the United State of America said we're not going to fund to you for contraceptions and for health care. To me, that is a dangerous --

DHILLON: Wendy you left out the A word which is abortion.

GREUEL: You know --

DHILLON: And this is a policy that has been in place by Republican president since Reagan and every Democratic president comes in and changes it. So, don't pin that on Donald Trump. But it is a policy popular with a lot of American people that we should be prioritizing health care of Americans and spending for Americans. And there are many --

GREUEL: But wait a minute --

DHILLON: -- other forces for there --

GREUEL: Look --

DHILLON: -- there are many other sources for this policy and it's not fair to say that people are going to die because the United State has not subsiding health care abroad. It is the job of those foreign countries to take care of there people.

GREUEL: You can really --

DHILLON: The American country president to take care of these people.

GREUL: Well, look at --

(CROSSTALK)

GREUEL: -- and it talks about the fact that women are going to die because of that.

SESAY: -- that much has been documented on me as well as your point which is indeed true that, you know, when there's a Democrat in office they resend the specific law when there is Republican its back in place that much is true. But let's move on because, Harmeet to your point of the president not recalibrating his priorities. You know, with the other things that become clear this week is that he has no problems going against the census opinion. I'm talking specifically about his issues -- the issue of torture. Listen to what he told Fox News Sean Hannity in an interview on Thursday.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP: So, waterboarding use to be used because they said it really wasn't torture. It was the one step slightly below torture. That's why --

SEAN HANNITY, FOX NEWS: That's it was illegal.

TRUMP: I mean torture is real torture, OK. Waterboarding --

HANNITY: Taken out.

TRUMP: -- I'm sure it's not pleasant but waterboarding was just short of torture when, you know, all of the sudden they made a torture. So, he started it. I spoke with people the other day who are in this world that we're talking about. They said absolutely it works. Absolutely, now, General Mattis said that he doesn't intend to use it. I'm with him all the way. To live works yes, I do.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

[00:15:09] SESAY: Let us say once again because you'll say best fitting that it's illegal in this country. Torture is illegal in this country. Let's also say that the president saying it was goes against recent studies into the issue and into the practice. Harmeet, are we at the beginning of slippery slope here?

DHILLON: Well, you just heard him say that he's going to follow the lead of the secretary of defense and as other foreign policy advisers. He's entitle to his opinion but it is correct that --

SESAY: And those officials already say that --

DHILLON: -- majority of Republicans -- and the majority of Republican and the majority of legislator in this country and the law in the other direction. So, you know, I'm comfortable that the law will be follow because of the president just said that.

SESAY: You content -- you made the point that he is going -- he has said he will follow the lead of his cabinet and those official around him. But those every officials had made the point that torture does not work yet he continuos to double down in this issue and to say the same thing. Wendy, your position.

GREUEL: Well, I think you just have to listen to Senator John McCain who was tortured, a prisoner of war who said that tortured does not work and that we are a nation in which we have to stand for a values and morals and that should never talk about torture in that way. And I think the message being sent by Donald Trump as well, you know, if you decided to change your mine, I will support torture. I think the messaging to be that we do not accept the torture is a way that the United State of America is going to up right with prisoners.

SESAY: Harmeet Dhillon, Wendy Greuel such a pleasure. Thank you for the great conversation. We really appreciate it. Thank you.

DHILLON: Thank you. SESAY: Time for quick break now here on Newsroom L.A. Mayors of the some of the Americas largest city sounding the defiant after Donald Trump's executive order on sanctuary cities, president strip them of federal funding.

Plus British Prime Ministry in the U.S. with summit with President Trump and she's walking a tight rope on trade. We will explain from London.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SESAY: Hello everyone. We're hearing a lot of push back right now from the mayors of so called Sanctuary City after the White House threatened to cut off their federal fund. Part of the issues is that the term Sanctuary City has no precise legal definition. But it is a label applied to roughly 300 U.S. municipalities. Each generally has local laws. All polices not to target people solely because they are here in the United State illegally.

We get more from Los Angeles from own Kyang Lah.

KYUNG LAH, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Isha, we're hearing this evening that mayors are planning to organize. They're talking to each other and the message from these Democratic mayors is clear. On the issues Sanctuary cities, they do not plan to cade.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

[00:20:12] UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We will not cower to fear. We are Americans just like you.

LAH: Defiance to the White House's Executive Order as sanctuary cities comes not just from the streets but from city mayors. Chicago.

RAHM EMANUEL, CHICAGO CITY MAYOR: -- that I want to be clear. We're going to stay a sanctuary city.

LAH: Boston.

MARTY WALSH, BOSTON, MASSACHUSSETTS MAYOR: If necessary, we'll use City Hall itself to shelter and protect anyone who's targeted unjustly.

LAH: Los Angeles.

ERIC GARCETTI, LOS ANGELES MAYOR: You can't use Federal money as a gun to the head to change some other policies.

LAH: L.A.'s Mayor says, Federal funds weave through nearly all city services. Law enforcement, schools, veterans care.

GARCETTI: I'm talking to all mayors in this country.

LAH: Are the mayors going to unite to draw a line in the sand?

GARCETTI: We have. We want the Federal Government to protect those who -- temporary, illegal status and we want the -- to be fixed.

LAH: One thing that many mayors of sanctuary city say is broken, undocumented immigrants being held in local jails until federal authorities come to deport them. Many cities argued the extended detention is unconstitutional and costly. Trump's Executive Order demands cities follow rules or federal funds will stop.

The president is fulfilling a campaign promise after the death of Kate Steinle. She was killed by an undocumented immigrant released from a local jail in San Francisco even though federal agents targeted him for deportation.

TRUMP: For these families, it's been one injustice after another. For that all turns around beginning today.

LAH: Some estimates more than 300 cities and counties are so called sanctuary cities while it's unclear exactly what federal funding the order would cut. San Francisco estimate it receive -- in federal funds -- nearly $9 billion. New York's Mayor telling CNN, if Trump pulls funding, his next punch will come in court.

BIL DE BLASIO, NEW YORK MAYOR: If an attempt is made to do that, we will go to court immediately for an injunction to stop it.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

LAH: Democratic Mayors in Los Angeles and New York say they're confident the law is on their side so as the State of California which expects to face of with the White House in court. But in reversal, the Mayor of Miami-Dade, a Republican says that he has now ordered his county jails to comply with the White House Executive Orders siding that he's afraid of losing millions of dollars. Isha?

SESAY: All thanks to Kyung there. We're to discuss this in greater adept. Let's bring in Democratic Strategist Robin Swanson, Spokeswoman of the California Democratic Party. Thank you so much for coming in Roman.

ROBIN SWANSON, DEMOCRATIC STRATEGIST: Thanks for having me.

SESAY: Good to have you with us. I mean, listen, we know what has come about in this first week of the Trump presidency, moves to build a wall, ramp up deportations, entity fund sanctuary cities. California, we heard them they say they will resist. The state will resist. What form of that resistance take? What's the first step here?

SWANSON: Well, I think California's leaders are putting everything on the table. I mean the sanctuary cities are one thing. In some ways California has become a sanctuary state. The Governor in his state at the state address this week, mentioned that 11 million Californians were not born in this country.

And so, you know, we honor immigrants in California and we're not going to facilitate deportation. As you're seeing that from our mayors. You're seeing that from our two-thirds democratic legislature. You're seeing that from the state wide officials and you're seeing that from our United State senators and our mayors. So I think across the board, they're just not going to implement those policies.

SESAY: And, you know, across the board will not going to implement the policy that can you afford to dig in?

SWANSON: Well, I think every mayor is going to have to make that decision but they also know that, you know, California is the sixth largest economy in the world. They're not going to be left voiceless. Hard working immigrants are a backbone of our economy here in California and we're not going to let go of that.

SESAY: The fact that the Mayor said, you know, in Kyung's report that the Mayor Garcetti said that all men across this country will going to stand together only to have, you know, one break ranks so quickly. I mean what does that tell you about the road ahead, I mean and just it's going to be a tough one.

SWANSON: Well, I mean it's going to be tough for everyone. But this sort of divisive rhetoric is not representative of what California stands for. And I think is you're seeing Californians unite against the sort of Draconian policies. I mean, Donald Trump lost California by 4 million votes.

SESAY: Yeah.

SWANSON: So this is not comfortable territory for anybody.

SESAY: OK. But Donald Trump -- President Trump says, you know, this is a move -- these moves intended to make this country safer, why is he wrong?

[00:24:56] SWANSON: Sure. Well, we all want to make this country safer. But singling out one group that this proportionately is hard working and having and scapegoating undocumented immigrants is very unfair. And so, you know, these are folks that often don't have a voice and it's really easy to scapegoat them. So California stands up for those folks.

SESAY: And California stands up for those folks. The legal challenge here and the legal standing that California, I mean are you guys sure that you've got a solid legal basis here?

SWANSON: Well, you know, what also happen this week is that we got a new attorney general in California, Xavier Beccera. And he have said that he is going to fight for all citizens of California and for all immigrants and for undocumented workers. And they set basic human rights for folks. And so I believe that and I think there's no one better prepared to do that.

SESAY: What are your expectations from this White House in terms of how they're going to come at sanctuary states, these jurisdictions in order to force them to comply? What are the expectations here? What are you gearing up for aside from just the cutting of federal funding? SWANSON: Yeah. I mean I think that's their biggest weapon, right? I mean that's where the money is. But I think it's going to be really hard for them to do this in every city in America. So, you know, they may want to come after California but what they'll be cutting are federal funds for basic programs. For programs that fund children, you know, their schooling. Their fund, head start programs. Those kind of programs that are funded by the federal government. It's really hard to justify cutting.

SESAY: This is going to be a long road ahead.

SWANSON: Yeah.

SESAY: This one, we'll continue to follow with you Robin. Thank you so much.

SWANSON: Thanks for having me here.

SESAY: Thank you.

Next, in "NEWSROOM" L.A., Britain's Prime Minister faces a delicate trade challenge when she meets with President Trump in the coming hours.

Plus, women marching protest throughout the U.S. of immigration weekend. We'll speak to one woman who delivered a powerful message.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[00:30:30] ISHA SESAY, CNN ANCHOR: Hello, everyone. You're watching CNN NEWSROOM live from Los Angeles, I'm Isha Sesay. The headlines this hour.

Gambia's new president has returned home. Adama Barrow won Gambia's election last month but Yahya Jammeh refused to step down until international troops threatened to oust him. The former leader fled the West African country on Saturday.

Forest fires have killed at least nine and destroyed more than a thousand homes in Chile. Hot temperatures, dry conditions and strong winds are fueling the flames. Chile's president says it's possible some of the fires were set intentionally. She's calling for the investigation.

U.S. President Donald Trump is considering a 20 percent tax on Mexican imports to pay for his proposed border wall. Mexico's foreign minister says U.S. consumers would ultimately pay any such tax with price hikes on things like avocados, appliances and cars.

British Prime Minister Theresa May is in the U.S. for a summit with President Donald Trump. Her first stop was in Philadelphia where she addressed Republican leaders. She told them she shares their conservative values but urge them to keep a global vision. Mrs. May says America and Britain must continue to lead the world.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) THERESA MAY, BRITISH PRIME MINISTER: So it is my honor and privilege to stand before you today in this great city of Philadelphia to proclaim them again, to join hands as we pick up that mantle of leadership once more. To renew our special relationship and to recommit ourselves to the responsibility of leadership in the modern world. And it is my honor and privilege to do so at this time as dawn breaks on a new era of American renewal.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SESAY: While back home, the prime minister's government was submitting its Brexit bill to parliament. The British Supreme Court ruled earlier this week that parliament has a say in Britain's divorce from the EU.

And Isa Soares reports from London, a battle over Brexit may be brewing in the House of Commons.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

ISA SOARES, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): With Prime Minister Theresa May off to the White House in a crucial visit with an increasingly important ally, the official task of Britain's divorce from the EU falls on parliament.

Legislation introduced, Thursday, that would trigger Article 50 will now be debated. The majority of lawmakers here say they will back the bill and the will of the people. But a rebellion could be brewing.

OWEN SMITH, LABOUR MP: My view is that Brexit is going to make the constituents I represent poorer and it's making our politics meaner in Britain.

SOARES: He tells me there are many as 30 Labour MPs who will be doing the same. Fiery rhetoric and the potential for revolt will dominate parliament for the next few weeks.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That is the real agenda of the glory party.

MAY: As usual with Labour, the right hand is not talking to the far left.

SOARES: With MPs calling for amendments to the bill. But the conservatives believe, they will have the majority and still meet their March deadline.

OWEN PATERSON, CONSERVATIVE MP: We want to crack on with this. The one thing in this whole process that can be damaged is uncertainty.

SOARES: MPs will also have a chance to scrutinize another piece of legislation, a white paper which sets out the position of the government for leaving the European Union. No word yet though as to when they will receive it.

(on-camera): The official visit to Washington will be a balancing act for Prime Minister Theresa May who must strike the right tone stateside without alienating her EU partners at home as Britain begins its exit from the continent.

Isa Soares, CNN, outside 10 Downing Street in London.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

SESAY: The inauguration of Donald Trump left many women angry about his plan for women's health services. But instead of shrinking in fear, millions of people marched around the world to prove that female power is stronger than the Trump Tower.

Several celebrities also took to the streets, including actress Maria Bello. She helped lead the protest in Park City, Utah at the Sundance Film Festival and said this to thousands of activists standing there in the snow.

"Speak truth to power in any way you can. And when they punch us by nominating men who would try to take ownership of our bodies, let's punch them back harder with our words, and marches and hearts and brains. Time to light the match, witches."

Maria Bello joins me now to discuss how she's leveraging the power of her voice.

Maria, thank you so much for being with us.

[00:35:00] MARIA BELLO, ACTRESS: I'm so happy to be here especially on this day when you should just shut your mouth. And I just want to tell you that there's 4 million people behind you if you get in trouble for being an immigrant, black, Muslim, you name it.

So everybody is marching behind you and behind all of the women and men in this country who are being disenfranchised and speaking out about bigotry and hatred that has colored this entire campaign and already was in a week of this administration.

SESAY: What was it like out there in Sundance, out there that day when you were a part of a movement of millions in this country and around the world?

BELLO: It was incredible. I have to say on inauguration day, I basically couldn't get out of the bed. I was so in pain, but that day in Sundance, to be there with thousands of people, probably 4,000 men and women and to support our brothers and sisters in D.C. and around the world, to see them in seven continents, there were demonstrations, you know, it really speaks to the power of social media, the power of women, the power of our 51 percent and the power of men who love us.

SESAY: What did the march achieve? What did it accomplish?

BELLO: Oh, I think this movement has only just begun and this march was the beginning of a movement that will last for days and months and four years if it has to.

SESAY: And where is it going?

BELLO: I think the -- it's -- you know, people said in the beginning and I believed this for a while, love trumps hate. Now I think action trumps hate. And it's all about taking action. It's all about educating.

I do believe, you know, some of my family were Trump supporters. I do believe it was not education, right? We wanted a change. Some people thought that that would be a big change. I don't think that people understood that our human rights so quickly would be -- would be disavowed.

SESAY: You talked about inauguration day and being unable to get out of bed. What is it that frightens you so about this presidency?

BELLO: You know, there's -- there's everything. There is this -- and was this whole campaign, this xenophobic, racist, sexist rhetoric that is unacceptable to me. And for the values that I hold and the values that I hold for my son.

When they try to take away health care from our children, it's not just -- you know, it's not about my kid. You know, I don't claim to be, you know, someone is taking away my health care, but all of our children because we are women and men who stand with all of our children. Unacceptable. Fight back. Speak out. Speak truth to power.

When they try to denigrate entire races, like I said, try to tell us once again who we can and cannot love. Fight back. Speak up. I think that's -- that's the biggest thing. There's this great quote that I read.

It said, "Who will you be during the storm?" Not who were you before the storm, but how will you stand in the storm? And I think this big blizzard has come and it's shaking up roots of every tree, but it's also opened the levies to this incredible revolution that will not, will not cease.

SESAY: It is undoubtedly -- it's a moment. It's a moment and we shall see how it plays out in the months ahead.

Maria Bello, thank you so much.

BELLO: Thank you. Good to be here.

SESAY: Thank you.

BELLO: Appreciate it.

SESAY: Next on NEWSROOM L.A., as a boxer battles to reclaim a title, his father battles a life threatening illness. The details ahead.

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[00:40:50] SESAY: Boxer Leo Santa Cruz was dealt two devastating blows last year. He lost his super featherweight title in the first defeat of his professional career. And his father and trainer was diagnosed with cancer. But on Saturday, the younger Santa Cruz is set to get back in the ring. He'll fight to reclaim a title and his father will be there cheering him on.

Our own Paul Vercammen has more.

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PAUL VERCAMMEN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (on-camera): This almost sounds like something out of a Rocky movie. We've got the champion from Great Britain. In this case, Frampton versus the American, Santa Cruz, but the Santa Cruz family has something else at stake. They've got a battle within the battle.

LEO SANTA CRUZ, BOXER: Yes, it's very tough, you know. It was very hard. You know, when I first found out that he had cancer, you know, I cried and I imagined myself, like, you know, suffering. He was suffering from cancer and he wasn't able to be with me, pushing me and doing all the things that I was used to.

JOSE SANTA CRUZ SR., FATHER/TRAINER (through translator): The toughest part really right now physically is the chemotherapy because it comes with a lot of side effects. It really, truly is bothersome. At the moment I'm suffering from having a swollen stomach and my feet feel like they're on fire but to this day I have not been afraid of the cancer.

SANTA CRUZ, JR.: I feel pretty confident in my training and having my dad here with me. He has been, the whole time, training me and motivating me. So he's been pushing me to my limit and I feel strong. I feel fast. My legs feel good and everything.

SANTA CRUZ: For this fight, I want to make a promise to his audience that he's not only going to beat him, he's going to beat him down.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

VERCAMMEN: Outside the ring, both Frampton and Santa Cruz by all accounts, in a way family men, quite, both have to little kids but inside the ring, absolute demons. In America, the fight will be broadcast on showtime.

Isha?

SESAY: Our thanks to Paul there.

And you're watching CNN NEWSROOM live from Los Angeles. I'm Isha Sesay. John Vause will be back at the top of the hour with a look at the day's big stories. But, first, "World Sport" starts after the break.

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