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Trump To Speak With Five World Leaders Today; Trump Places Restrictions On Refugees; Trump: We Need To Help "Targeted" Christians; Google Warns Affected Employees Not To Travel; Seven Muslim-Majority Nations On Temporary Ban List; Trump's Wall Presents New Challenges; Syrian Child Reacts to Refugee Ban; Serena Williams Beats Venus at Australian Open. Aired 6-7a ET

Aired January 28, 2017 - 06:00   ET




[06:00:22] DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We have a great relationship with Russia and other countries. I will consider that a good thing and not a bad thing.

I'm establishing new vetting measures to keep radical Islamic terrorists out of the United States.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There's no evidence that any refugees that we have brought into this country have committed any act of terrorism in the U.S.

PRESIDENT TRUMP: If you were a Christian in Syria, it was impossible, at least very, very tough to get into the United States. We are going to help them.

JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR, "EARLY START": You say a minimum of 3 million voted. That's a huge percentage. You think 15 percent of the people who are not citizens in this country voted in the last election.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: When we're complete and satisfied, we'll expose the list to the public.


CHRISTI PAUL, CNN ANCHOR: Good morning and welcome to Saturday. Always good to have your company with us. I'm Christi Paul.

VICTOR BLACKWELL, CNN ANCHOR: I'm Victor Blackwell. President Donald Trump has a very busy day ahead. He's got several important phone calls with five heads of state, Japan, Germany, France, Australia, Russian, so Vladimir Putin is on the list today, too. President Trump says he is interested in warmer times with Russia and says it's too early to discuss lifting those sanctions on Russia.

PAUL: But Republican Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is drawing a hard line against it telling the "National Journal," quote, "I'd be opposed to that if there's any country in the world that doesn't deserve any kind of sanctions relief, it's the Russians," unquote. All of this as there is global concern over Trump's executive order banning refugees and immigrants from seven Muslim countries.

BLACKWELL: Well, CNN is covering the story from all angles. We have CNN senior international correspondents, Ivan Watson in Moscow, Atika Shubert in Berlin, and CNN's global affairs analyst, Kimberly Dozier in Washington.

I want to start with Ivan, U.S. officials tell CNN that the White House asked for information on Syria and sanctions ahead of this call with Vladimir Putin. What are you hearing about the itinerary here, the agenda for this call?

IVAN WATSON, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, the kremlin seems to be lowering expectations some. He has indicated that this is pretty much standard diplomatic protocol that Vladimir Putin will be congratulating the U.S. president on his inauguration.

And the kremlin spokesman saying that he didn't really expect, in this initial, this first direct communication, since Donald Trump became president with the Russian president, does not expect for them to get into serious issues like Ukraine, like sanctions.

And as you mentioned, Donald Trump has also said, perhaps it's too early to start talking about lifting sanctions, but it's clear, that he's going to be watched very closely by some lawmakers from within his own party, who are very concerned that he may try to go soft on Russia.

And that was also a message that appeared to be sent by the British prime minister when she met face-to-face with Donald Trump. And she made it clear that the U.K. is going to maintain sanctions until the time when Russia may move forward with the peace process in Ukraine.

And we do have to also keep in mind that in the final days of the Obama administration, fresh sanctions were slapped on to Russia. That would be another potential issue.

But the Trump at station has also made it very clear it wants to work with Russia particularly embattling against terrorism, embattling against ISIS and we are hearing from some circles here in Russia, some officials circles that they would hope that that would also be an area where the two countries could cooperate in the future -- Victor and Christi.

BLACKWELL: Well, for all these have said about one another, it's now time for them to speak to one another. We will wait for the read out of that call. Ivan Watson in Moscow, thanks so much.

PAUL: Let's go with Atika Shubert now. Atika, what do you expect President Trump and Ms. Merkel will discuss later today?

ATIKA SHUBERT, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, similar to what Ivan said there, this is really more of an introductory call. Of course, she had spoken to President Trump when he won the election. She made a brief congratulations call to him. They're going to hit on a variety of topics including Russia, but nothing too in-depth.

This is really more of a getting to know you. What is the relationship going to be and it is going to be quite awkward. President Trump said he had respect for Angela Merkel as a leader here in Germany, but that her policy on refugees was, quote, "a catastrophic mistake."

Now Merkel herself has refrained from making any direct comments on President Trump other than to say that Germany stands by its liberal democratic values. In fact, the people around her have been far more outspoken such as Foreign Minister Stein Meyer, who said he was appalled by President Trump's campaign.

And that he sees the kind of nationalism that Trump represents is dangerous to the world. So it will be an interesting conversation to follow, to see exactly what they talk about, but most of all what the relationship will be.

[06:05:07]And interesting to note here, Angela Merkel is one of the world leaders who knows Vladimir Putin best. She speaks fluent Russian. She grew up in East Germany under the Soviet era. She could certainly offer a few words of advice for President Trump on how to deal with President Putin.

PAUL: Duly noted. Atika Shubert, thank you so much. Good point to make there. Let's get some analysis from Kimberly Dozier. She's a CNN global affairs analyst and senior national security correspondent at "The Daily Beast." So President Trump said that his executives actions are meant to make the U.S. safer. What is the possibility that it could have the opposite effect?

KIMBERLY DOZIER, CNN GLOBAL AFFAIRS ANALYST: Well, all of these measure that they've listed in the executive order banning refugees are temporary. They are supposed to buy time to give the Department of Homeland Security officials, State Department officials a chance to overhaul the system.

Come up with things like a biometric system for everyone to go through to standardize how refugees come into this country. However, how it's being seen already across the Arab world is a slap in the face.

I have spoken to at least one senior diplomat here in this country from the Arab world, who says they're still trying to figure out what does this mean. And what they're going to have to wait and see is how long are some of these measures going to stay in effect.

The temporary ban on refugees from seven Middle Eastern countries like Iraq, Iran, and also the suspension of the Syrian refugee program. Will that be permanent? And that will determine how they react overall.

But in the meantime, the headlines are going to be people who have relatives in this country, possibly can't come back here.

PAUL: And does this feed into the ISIS propaganda that the U.S. is the enemy?

DOZIER: Absolutely. It's being seen already as a banner for them to hold up that it is the next step taken in the war between, as they put it, Islam and the west. So, the fear is that this is sending a message of, you know, America's doors are shut, and they are stepping up their fight against a religion, rather than a -- rather than a group that is causing violence.

PAUL: I want to talk about Nobel Peace winner, Malala Yousafzai. She wrote about the president's executive action saying, quote, "I am heartbroken that today President Trump is closing the door on children, mothers and fathers fleeing violence and war." Do you think that the U.S. is losing what's long been viewed as this moral, upper hand on immigration?

DOZIER: In the short term, it certainly is sending the message to the world that the U.S. is more afraid of those who might enter than its willingness to risk taking those people in for humanitarian reasons. I think there are going to be some difficult phone calls today between President Trump and Angela Merkel, and also with the French President Hollande.

Because they have both, in their countries, taken in large numbers of refugees, assumed a lot of risk. I think their question is going to be, well, if the U.S. isn't going to take any at all. The cap for 2017 has now been set at 50,000 refugees where they've each taken -- Germany's taken more than 1 million.

They're going to say, all right, well, how are you going to step up in other ways to take care of this massive blow of humanity?

PAUL: What do you think, Kimberly, is the take-away from the so- called rift that was on 24 hours with President Trump and the Mexican president and how that is viewed?

DOZIER: Well, I think other world leaders are looking at that and saying, we better walk on eggshells with President Trump, because if he thinks that in any way we're going to go against him, his reaction is going to be outsized and immediate.

At the same time, I think people are realizing that this is likely a negotiating tactic that President Trump goes high and right in order to just get you to the negotiating take, he sets out an extreme position.

And probably the U.S. and Mexican president are going to end up somewhere in the middle, and then, of course, the American president will claim that's a victory.

PAUL: All righty, Kimberly Dozier, always appreciate your insights. Thank you.

BLACKWELL: President Trump signs, as we've discussed, two executive orders, two additional orders, one aimed at the military. The other at immigration policy. Next, why he says Christian refugees need to be prioritized. (COMMERCIAL BREAK)


PAUL: It's 13 minutes past the hour right now. President Trump signing two more executive orders, one aimed at military spending. The other that we've been talking about changes U.S. immigration policies. We've talked about this a lot because this is the one that has so many people concerned.

BLACKWELL: This morning, it appears to in part prioritize Christian immigrants from Middle Eastern Muslim majority countries by giving added weight to those who are minority religions in those home countries. Here's what the president told the Christian Broadcasting Network about why Christians need help.


PRESIDENT TRUMP: They've been horribly traded. If you are a Christian in Syria, it was impossible, at least very, very tough to get in the United States. If you're a Muslim, you could come in, but if you're a Christian, it's almost impossible. And the reason that it was so unfair, everybody was persecuted to be fair. They were chopping off the heads of everybody, but more so the Christians. And I thought it was very, very unfair so we are going to help them.


BLACKWELL: All right, here's a deeper look at what this order does it bars billions of people from terror-prone countries from entering the United States for 90 days. According to a White House official, those countries are Iran, Iraq, Syria, Sudan, Libya, Yemen and Somalia.

It also suspends the U.S. refugee admission program for 120 days. It also indefinitely suspends admission for Syrian refugees. But the cap on the total number of refugees admitted at the half of the current level, less than half actually from 110,000 to 50,000.

It calls for new screening procedures. It also cancels the visa interview waiver program for repeat travelers.

[06:15:06]PAUL: Certainly after this executive order was signed, by the way, Google apparently sent out an internal advisory to its employees saying if they're from a country listed in the order, they should cancel their travel plans.

CNN senior international correspondent, Ben Wedeman, joining us live in Istanbul. Ben, as I understand it, you have already been able to talk to some people who are going to be affected by this order. Help us understand how they're processing it.

BEN WEDEMAN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, they're having a very hard time processing. In fact, this morning, I spoke with a friend in Baghdad. He moved to the U.S. a few years ago under a special refugee program. He has a green card. But now he doesn't know, and he's supposed to travel back to the United States tomorrow, if he'll actually be let in, and this is the message he sent me, "I honestly am I bit scared. I'm not sure if they will let me in. I would never imagine this will happen in the U.S. since it's one of the few countries letting in immigrants from across the world to start new life there. I am shocked."

I also spoke with a Syrian on the border with Syria and Southern Turkey. He described this executive order as racist and shameful. And I know lots of people who, over the years, for instance, in Iraq, worked as translators for the U.S. military, risked their lives for the U.S. military are trying to get into the United States under this special program for, four former translators of the U.S. military.

But that program has also been affected by the executive order and they and their families are in despair. Because, of course, some of these people came from towns that are under ISIS control at the moment, or have only recently been liberated, and they continue to fear for their lives. And now they see perhaps there's no escape. So lives are at risk as a result of this executive order -- Christi.

PAUL: Have those people been able to talk about where they will go or what options they do have, because of this executive order, I suppose?

WEDEMAN: Well, they thought they had options, but now, of course, they don't. So they're going to have to perhaps simply be patient or try other options. Of course, there are many other countries in the world that do take refugees, Canada, Australia, Sweden, various other countries in Europe.

But it seems that those who were wishing to go to the United States, the country they served, they served under dangerous conditions, may be slamming the door on them -- Christi.

PAUL: Ben, you've talked to these people in depth. You have seen what they've been through. Help us understand because, really, in some degree, as we sit here, as many people in the U.S. sit here, we are removed from it, a couple times over. Help us understand where the refugee crisis stands right now.

WEDEMAN: Well, if you take in the big picture, in fact, the total number of, for instance, Syrians let into the United States as refugees in 2016 was relatively small. Somewhere in the area of less than 13,000, out of a total Syrian refugee population in the world of around 4.8 million.

So many people were looking at other options anyway. For instance, last year, hundreds of thousands fled to Europe. But that option is no long there, so they really are in desperate straits.

And it's hard enough, to live as a refugee, having lost your home, possibly never, ever been able to return home, given the circumstances in Syria.

Let's not forget, they are stuck between a rock and a hard place, a brutal regime and mad terrorists, and they are trying to get away from that and go somewhere else. So, you have here in Turkey, around 2.8 million people, many of them in refugee camps.

Many of them in refugee camps, many of them have moved out of those camps and are basically living in rented accommodations, but eventually, their resources run out. The Turkish economy is in trouble.

So, therefore, the employment opportunities are limited, at best. They really are up against the wall and even the vague, remote possibility of going to the United States, applying for a visa to the United States, has now been removed -- Christi.

PAUL: Ben Wedeman, thank you so much for sharing that perspective with us. We appreciate it.

BLACKWELL: So the conversation about the executive order is in part a conversation about security. But some are having a moral conversation.

[06:20:07]Is it appropriate for the U.S. to ban people coming in from these seven countries? You're going to hear from the top Democrat in Congress who says the Statue of Liberty is in tears over the president's decision. We'll discuss with our panel -- next.


BLACKWELL: All right, let's continue our conversation now about the president's executive order banning people from seven majority Muslim countries for at least the next 90 days. We are joined now by Errol Louis, a CNN political commentator and political anchor for "Spectrum News," and Eugene Scott, CNN politics reporter. Good morning to both of you.

Eugene, I want to start with you. And this statement released by Senate minority leader, Chuck Schumer, "Tears are running down the cheeks of the Statue of Liberty tonight as a grand tradition of America, welcoming immigrants that has existed since America was founded has been stomped upon.

Taking in immigrants and refugees is not only humanitarian has not only boosts our companying and created jobs decade after decade. This is one of the most backward and nasty executive orders that the president has issued."

Now beyond the political fight, which we'll talk about in a moment. You're there in London. What are you hearing beyond our borders and the borders of these countries about this executive order?

EUGENE SCOTT, CNN POLITICS REPORTER: I think people here that I've spoken with, Victor, are mainly surprised. Our president is the son of an immigrant and the husband of an immigrant and they would think that he would have been more sensitive to some of the concerns that people wanting to leave their country for better opportunities.

[06:25:02]But on the other hand, people here in London have been very engaged in the 2016 presidential election and have heard quite a few things from Donald Trump they don't think this is surprising including when he originally introduced this idea back in December of 2015.

BLACKWELL: Errol, these seven countries, Syria, Iran, Iraq, Somalia, Sudan, Libya and Yemen, these seven countries were initially identified by the Department of Homeland Security under the Obama administration as countries of concern, restricting individuals from participating in the visa waiver program. What do we understand is the president's reason to elevate these countries from that level of isolation, to a full ban for the next 90 days?

ERROL LOUIS, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: If you put it through a political filter, you may remember, Victor, that initially when he was a candidate, Donald Trump said he wanted a complete and total shutdown of all Muslim immigration to the United States. A furor ensued and there was a lot of discussion including on CNN about how that would be unconstitutional.

This to me comes across, again, through a political filter, as simply a substitute for that instead of simply saying, well, no Muslims will be able to come in. You identify seven areas, this was his fallback position as a matter of fact, saying, well, it won't be about Muslims. It will be about areas where there is a serious terrorism problem.

You know, the conversation now shifts to have the United States -- has the United States ever been directly attacked, or imperiled by people coming from these countries? And the answer is no. So, we'll see how the debate plays out.

But right now, I think, what we have is a president who is trying to sort of catch-up with a political promise that he made that was widely panned by many people, including Mike Pence, who is now his vice president.

BLACKWELL: So, Eugene, do we expect then that this list will be extended because it's also worth noting that there are countries where that has been these attacks that we've covered cells that are not on this list. Turkey is not on the list, the UAE, Saudi Arabia, Lebanon, Egypt, those four countries where the hijackers on 9/11, which is noted in the purpose of this executive order, they're not listed. So is there some expectation that this will be extended to include those countries or are those just so politically difficult to add to this list that we don't expect to see them?

SCOTT: Well, the administration definitely made it clear that this is not a final lesson that there could be additional countries added to this list. What countries could join the list aren't quite clear yet. As critics pay close attention to countries that Donald Trump is doing business with, those are not countries that are expected to be on the list.

So people are trying to figure out who these -- who this executive order will target and who will suffer most. I think a very interesting point to pay attention is that one of the demographics that supported Donald Trump white Evangelicals, have been quite critical of this order so far considering that Christian nonprofits in the U.S. have been very active in the refugee resettlement process. And so it will be interesting to see if the president is able to continue to appeal to his base while being criticized by some aspects of them.

BLACKWELL: Errol, let's look ahead to the call between President Trump and German Chancellor Angela Merkel coming up later this morning. There are on opposite sides of this discussion about accepting Syrian refugees specifically. We know that the U.S. has just enacted this ban from the president's executive order, more than a million have been accepted in Germany. We've heard from our reporters that this is going to be an introductory call. Do you think they'll get into this, the news of the day?

LOUIS: Sure, I suspect they'll get into that, the larger question lurking beyond all of this, which is what is the fate of the Atlantic alliance? What is the fate of NATO? What will Donald Trump do, as far as either shoring up or trying to undermine past relationships?

You know, it's ironic, Victor, the kind of sort of wall-building policy that the executive order really represents, trying to keep out refugees and so forth would make more sense in Germany than anywhere else.

It's almost as if he was reading German headlines because they have been swamped with refugees. They had had problems trying to absorb the refugee population that would always make more sense if that were the case.

So, in theory, there would be something for them to agree upon. On the other hand, Angela Merkel has put a lot of her capital on the line saying that as a value statement and as a general sort of statement about where Europe is in the world that refugees would be welcome. It should be a very interesting conversation.

BLACKWELL: All right, Errol Louis, Eugene Scott, thank you both -- Christi.

PAUL: Well, President Trump's border wall presenting some new challenges for both migrants and local law enforcement. There are voices of those living on the border.

[06:30:00] They have a lot to say and we're going to hear from them. Straight ahead. Do stay close.


PAUL: Always good to have your company. Welcome back, I'm Christi Paul.

BLACKWELL: I'm Victor Blackwell. Good morning to you.

President Donald Trump will speak with Russian president Vladimir Putin today. It's part of a series of calls he has planned. Five heads of states, leaders of Japan, Germany, France, Australia and as we said, Russia, Vladimir Putin. The president says he is interested in warmer times with Russia but says it's too early to discuss lifting sanctions on Russia.

PAUL: But the world is reacting this morning to these sweeping changes to the U.S. immigration policies specifically. The president issued an executive order temporarily banning people from seven majority Muslim countries. As we've been talking about. Now it bars those from certain terror-prone countries from entering the United States for 90 days. Those countries include Iran, Iraq, Syria, Sudan, Libya, Yemen, Somalia. And it suspends the refugee admissions program for 120 days. Indefinitely suspending admissions for Syrian refugees. And puts a cap on the total number of refugees admitted at half the current level. It calls the new screening procedures cancel the visa interview waiver program for repeat travelers as well.

The president's border wall, meanwhile, is a hotbed of contention for U.S.-Mexican relations. The Mexican president was scheduled to meet with President Trump earlier this week. Cancelled that trip, however. The point of disagreement of course is payment of that wall.

[06:35:07] BLACKWELL: Yes, which according to a few sources would cost between $10 billion and $25 billion. But yesterday the two spoke by phone and agreed to negotiate but not speak publicly about the issue. Meanwhile, the world's fourth richest man, I should say, Carlos Slim, held a rare press conference yesterday, offering to help Mexico negotiate with President Trump.

Now as the president seeks to tighten the border, new challenges not only face those seeking to migrate to the U.S. but also local law enforcement protecting that border.

PAUL: CNN's Ed Lavandera is along the Arizona southern border. He has rare access to the migrants trying to cross into America and also the volunteers who are trying to stop them.


ED LAVANDERA, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): On the border's edge from Nogales, Arizona, several dozen migrants gather for breakfast inside a shelter known as the Kino Border Initiative. It's where Jesus Garcia (PH) is trying to figure out how to get into the United States. Over a map he recounts how far he's traveled since he left home the day before Donald Trump was elected president.

(On camera): So he started here in San Pedro, Sula, in Honduras, made his way across Guatemala here into this little town, and this is where he crossed into Mexico.

He says he hasn't been able to cross. He left home November 7th of last year and he's tried three times already to get across but he hasn't been able to.

(Voice-over): Garcia says it's the first time he's ever tried crossing the border illegally and says it's harder than he imagined.

(On camera): He said if I've made it this far, I'm going to keep trying. (Voice-over): But on the other side, a legion of Border Patrol

agents, camera, barricades, ground sensors are waiting, even some private citizens working on their own to stop migrants like Jesus Garcia from getting across.

TIM FOLEY, ARIZONA BORDER RECON: This is the scene in "The Matrix."

LAVANDERA: In Tim Foley's world the borderlands are a threatening, dangerous place.

FOLEY: Well, this is the red bill. This is what the world really looks like.

LAVANDERA: Foley leads a volunteer group called Arizona Border Recon that patrols the border around Sasabe, Arizona, a town on the U.S.- Mexico border with less than 100 people.

FOLEY: I've been called everything in the book. I've been called a domestic extremist.

LAVANDERA: The Southern Poverty Law Center which monitors hate groups in the U.S. says Foley's group is made up of, quote, "native extremists." Foley sees the flow of drugs, undocumented migrants, and the wide open spaces of the border as the country's biggest threat.

(On camera): Along the nearly 2,000-mile U.S. southern border there is already about 700 miles of fencing and barricades already in place. Here in Sasabe, Arizona, this steel, see-through fence stretches for several miles, but as you approach the end of town it abruptly comes to an end, like these border fences often do, as it stretches out into rugged, remote terrain in the Arizona desert.

FOLEY: I put all my cameras about five minutes from the road.

LAVANDERA (voice-over): Foley relies on a collection of cameras he hides in the brush to capture the movements of drug smugglers. He often shares that information and the videos with Border Patrol agents.

FOLEY: You need boots on the ground. Yes, that's what's keeping you out there. Woo, good thing we have this up here.

LAVANDERA: Foley voted for Donald Trump and wants to see all undocumented immigrants who've committed crimes in the U.S. deported and additional border agents move closer to the Mexican border. But he's not convinced Trump or anyone else can change the reality he sees.

FOLEY: When you're reactive to a problem you're always going to be behind the solution.

LAVANDERA: For many, like 18-year-old Maricela Ramirez (PH), they try to come illegally from Mexico. She was caught by Border Patrol with a group of migrants and quickly deported. She wanted to find work in the U.S. to help support her elderly parents. She trembles as she recalls the experience of being smuggled across the border. (On camera): I asked her if she was going to try to cross again. Her

brother is still being detained in the United States. She's waiting for him to get out and she's not really sure what they're going to do next. So she's waiting for him to be sent back here and they'll figure out what they're going to do next.

(Voice-over): It's the cycle that never ends on the border.


PAUL: Thank you so much to CNN's Ed Lavandera reporting there from the Arizona southern border.

BLACKWELL: Well, as part of President Trump's attempt to crack down on illegal immigration, he's also calling for an end to sanctuary cities.


DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We put in place the first steps in our immigration plan ordering the immediate construction of the border wall, putting an end to catch and release, expediting the removal of criminal -- this is so important for me.

[06:40:06] From day one I've said it. And I mean the immediate removal of criminal aliens. They're going to be gone fast. And finally, at long last, cracking down on sanctuary cities.


BLACKWELL: Well, the move will strip federal grant money from states and cities that are effectively those sanctuary cities. Miami-Dade County has the second highest number of immigrants in the country and they were first to comply. Mayor Gimenez says that he will or they will cooperate with all detainer requests received from the Department of Homeland Security. This is a move that President Trump praised on Twitter saying, "It was the right decision, strong." Meanwhile, Democratic mayors in Los Angles, Boston, and New York have banned together and they've said they're going to challenge the president's order.

PAUL: The smallest refugees in the U.S., children, an 11-year-old Syrian girl reacting to the sweeping refugee changes and what it means for her family and her American dream.


BLACKWELL: Sixteen minutes before the top of the hour now. She's a Syrian refugee with an American dream. An 11-year-old girl, she tells our Nick Valencia about her first year in the U.S. and it appears that her story may be affecting some Trump voters.


NICK VALENCIA, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (on camera): : You're one of the best students, huh? NAWROZ, SYRIAN REFUGEE: Yes.

VALENCIA (voice-over): Looking at all her school merit awards, it's amazing to think that 11-year-old Nawroz has only been in the U.S. for a year.

[06:45:02] (On camera): Why are you such a good girl?

NAWROZ: I don't know.

VALENCIA (voice-over): In fact it's only been a few months since she learned English, but if you ask her, she is already making America better.

NAWROZ: My name is Nawroz and I am a student refugee, and thank you for welcoming us to our new home in America.

VALENCIA: That's her reciting this letter that she recently read at a nearby church. Her family says an estimated half of those in attendance were Donald Trump supporters.

Why does that matter? Nawroz and her family are Syrian refugees. Under President Trump's newly proposed immigration plan, families like hers wouldn't be able to come to the U.S. Or, as she says, they wouldn't be able to make America better.

NAWROZ: My dream, I want to become a doctor because I want to help all of us, the children in the world. And I want to make America better.

VALENCIA: Her family fled war torn Syria three years ago. They've asked us not to use last name because they're still nervous after all they've been through. Life has been especially difficult for her 14- year-old brother Allen who has cerebral palsy. It's because of him, Nawroz says, that she wants to be a doctor.

For two years Nawroz and her family lived in a refugee camp in Turkey. They resettled just outside of Atlanta, Georgia, with the help of Paedia Nixon at the Georgia nonprofit New American Pathways.

PAEDIA NIXON, CEO, NEW AMERICAN PATHWAYS: We are actually proactively going to refugee camps, working with the United Nations, setting up resettlement centers, and going through a careful thought out process.

VALENCIA: Nixon says Americans who fear terrorist refugees coming to the U.S. have legitimate concerns. But she says the strict 18 to 24 month vetting process for refugees headed to the U.S. should temper any worries.

MAYOR TED TERRY, CLARKSTON, GEORGIA: We've been receiving refugees for the past 35 years.

VALENCIA: Ted Terry is the mayor of Clarkston, Georgia, population 13,000, half of the town's residents are foreign born. Many of them are refugees who he says are the economic backbone of his community. He sees them not a burden but as an investment. TERRY: If you are thinking about the people around you as assets and

as truly valuable and contributing members of our community, it's not draining at all. It's actually very, very energizing.

VALENCIA: Nick Valencia, CNN, Clarkston, Georgia.


PAUL: Nick Valencia, thank you so much.

All right. Let's talk about Serena and Venus Williams. They're writing another chapter in this really amazing sibling rivalry. Andy Scholes has the latest on the Australian Open. Hey, Andy.

ANDY SCHOLES, CNN SPORTS CORRESPONDENT: Hey, Christi. Yes, while everyone was sleeping, the sisters met for the ninth time in their grand slam final. And we'll tell you who came out on top down under ahead on NEW DAY.


[06:51:21] BLACKWELL: Serena Williams on top of the tennis world once again after beating her sister Venus in the final at the Australian Open.

PAUL: Andy Scholes has more on this morning's "Bleacher Report." I give these two sisters such credit, credit I say.

SCHOLES: It is amazing what these two accomplished.

PAUL: They have such a good relationship. And yet look at what they have to do to each other.


SCHOLES: I know. I know. They go out there and act like they're not sisters for a couple of hours. You know, it's really back to the future this week at the Australian Open. You know, once tennis players reached the age of 32, 33, their careers, you know, they start to go in a downward spiral. But at age 35 for Serena, 36 for Venus, still going strong.

I want you to take a look at this. You know, they've had such an amazing run at greatness. This is them way back in 1999 when they started to dominate the tennis world. Fast forward to today. Look at this, still dominating the game of women's tennis.

Now this is the first time these two have met in a grand slam final since Wimbledon in 2009. And Serena beating Venus in straight sets this morning to win her 7th Australian Open. This is her 23rd grand slam title passing the great Steffi Graf for the most in the open era.

And Serena really has dominated the sport of women's tennis like no one before. Today's win was Serena's tenth grand slam title since turning 30 years old. No other in the Open area has won more than three after turning the big 3-0. And with today's win, Serena also returns to number one in the world in the tennis ranking, as she joined the ASEAN sports center earlier this morning to reflect on beating her sister for the seventh time in a grand slam final.


SERENA WILLIAMS, 2017 AUSTRALIAN OPEN CHAMPION: This is a lot different because it was for so much. It was so much riding on this on both of our ends. Venus was trying to get to her eighth grand slam and me, obviously, trying to get to 23, but also we're both in our -- we're both 30-fun, you know. So we're just --



WILLIAMS: It's a big moment for us. And you know, Venus has been playing really, really well. And I just had to put all that in the back -- in the back of my head and just like, I just want to the win this match.


SCHOLES: Such a great moment. Now on the men's side we're off to seeing a final that brings back some great memories. Roger Federer is going to take on Rafael Nadal tomorrow morning. You know, the Federer-Nadal rivalry, one of the greatest we've ever seen in tennis. And at age 35, not many expected to see Federer back in the finals, especially fresh off a six-month absence to rehab a knee injury. And this is going to be the ninth Federer-Nadal matchup in a grand slam final. Nadal actually leads in the rivalry winning 23 of their 34 matches.

Like I said, you know, it's kind of like, if you're a tennis fan, you're thinking, like, man, is this the 2000s right now?



SCHOLES: The last time we saw a Federer-Nadal final and a Williams sister final was 2008 Wimbledon.

PAUL: Wow.

SCHOLES: Just think about that. Almost a whole decade in between seeing these great players match up in a grand slam final.

PAUL: I sort of had a hard time going, mid-30s, you're done for.

SCHOLES: Most people, yes.

PAUL: Really?

SCHOLES: That's old for tennis, though.

PAUL: Listen to me, age is just a number. BLACKWELL: Wear down those knees for 15 years and then say age is

just a number.

PAUL: I know. But I'm just telling you, people, age is just a number. Take it from --


PAUL: The Williams sisters.

SCHOLES: Sisters, and Roger Federer, yes?

BLACKWELL: All right. Thank you, Andy.

PAUL: That's right. Thank you, Andy. Appreciate it.

SCHOLES: All right.

BLACKWELL: All right. Still to come, some really chilling video showing a pickup truck crashing into a bus. We've got the story behind this, ahead.


[06:58:14] BLACKWELL: All right, top stories this morning. A couple of minutes before the top of the hour. New Jersey Governor Chris Christie will not be charged with criminal misconduct in the Bridgegate scandal. Prosecutors say they can't prove the charge in court. A probably hearing -- a probable cause hearing, rather, over a criminal summons is scheduled for next week, however.

Now back in September 2013, Governor Christie was accused of orchestrating a lane closure on the George Washington Bridge in an alleged political revenge plot to punish a mayor who did not endorse him.

PAUL: Actor John Hurt, starred in the original science fiction hit "Aliens," well, he has died. He's known for that famous scene, of course, in "Alien" when a creature exploded from his chest during in a spacecraft. Not showing you that in full, obviously.


PAUL: Kind of pressed for time. He's worked more than six decades in TV and film. No words yet on the details why he died but he was 77 years old when he left us.

BLACKWELL: It's been 31 years since the Challenger space shuttle exploded. This is 31st year today. Now after launch a booster engine broke apart in just 73 seconds into the flight and the space shuttle exploded in midair. Seven astronauts, they were all killed in that incident. It was the first time NASA lost an astronaut during flight. Now also remember today those who died in the Apollo I and Columbia accidents.

PAUL: Want to show you some video. Imagine yourself in this moment. This is in New York. A pickup truck plowing into the side of a bus. According to police, the driver was exiting off that exit ramp, mistakenly hit the gas rather than the brake. The truck driver was fine for failure to reduce speed on a curve and keep right on a highway. But there were eight people who were hurt in that crash.

All right. Lots of news to talk to you about this morning.

BLACKWELL: And let's get to it. Next hour starts right now.