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Harsh Words From Donald Trump; After Historic Vote UK Moves One Step Closer to Brexit; Mysterious Illness for Russian Critic; Deadly Inferno In Philippines Capital; Endless Protests in Paris Over Alleged Assault; Abuse of Authority; Trump's "America First" Policy. Aired 3- 4a ET

Aired February 9, 2017 - 03:00   ET

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


(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[03:00:00] ROSEMARY CHURCH, CNN ANCHOR: Changing his story. President Trump makes new claims about the chaotic rollout of his travel ban order while also attacking the judges who will soon rule on that case.

Plus.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The ayes have it. The ayes have it.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MAX FOSTER, CNN ANCHOR: With an historic vote, the U.K. moves one step closer to an official Brexit.

CHURCH: And later, fears of a crackdown. Accusations fly after a critic of the Russian president falls gravely ill. His wife speaking to CNN.

FOSTER: Hello and welcome to our viewers from all around the world. I'm Max Foster in London.

CHURCH: And I'm Rosemary Church at the CNN center in Atlanta. This is CNN NEWSROOM.

A U.S. Appeals Court is expected to rule anytime now on whether to reinstate President Donald Trump's travel ban. And Mr. Trump is going on the offensive against the judges who will make that decision. The president says even a bad high school student could understand why the ban is needed.

But even the president's Supreme Court pick, Judge Neil Gorsuch is pushing back. He called the comments demoralizing and disheartening.

(CROWD CHANTING)

Meanwhile, protesters are targeting the home of senate republican leader Mitch McConnell. They're angry after he shut down democrat Elizabeth Warren during debate over attorney general nominee Jeff Sessions on Tuesday. The Senate eventually voted to confirm Sessions. He will be sworn in later in the day.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JEFF SESSIONS, CONFIRMED ATTORNEY GENERAL OF THE UNITED STATES: I want to thank President Donald Trump. He believes in the rule of law. He believes in protecting the American people from crime and violence. He believes in a lawful system of immigration that serves the national interest.

And within bounds, those are things that may from time to time come before the office of attorney general. And I look forward to lawfully and properly advancing those items and others.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CHURCH: And Senator Warren tweeted Wednesday, "Deeply disappointed that the Senate confirmed an attorney general whose record does not show he will faithfully and fairly enforce the law. If Jeff Sessions makes even the tiniest attempt to bring his racism, sexism, and bigotry into the Justice Department, he'll hear from all of us."

FOSTER: Well, the White House is trying to change the narrative now on President Trump's travel ban, deflecting criticism and focusing on why it's necessary.

CNN's Jim Acosta reports.

JIM ACOSTA, CNN SENIOR WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: President Trump is making his case to the court of public opinion, thundering that if there's a terrorist attack, the judges holding up his executive order imposing a travel ban on seven majority Muslim nations will be to blame.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: So, I think it's sad. I think it's a sad day. I think our security is at risk today. I listened to a bunch of stuff last night on television that was disgraceful. But courts seem to be so political, and it would be so great for our justice system if they would be able to read a statement and do what's right.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ACOSTA: The president warns the legal delay could have consequences, tweeting, "Big increase in traffic into our country from certain areas while our people are far more vulnerable." But the president didn't offer any proof of his claims.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP: A bad high school student would understand this. Anybody would understand this.

(CROWD CHANTING) ACOSTA: In what seemed like a response to the images of chaos and

confusion at the nation's airports, the president also tried to argue he never wanted his travel ban implemented immediately.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP: I said let's give a one-month notice, but the law enforcement people said to me, oh, you can't give a notice because if you give a notice that you're going to be really tough in one month from now or in one week from now -- I suggested a month, and I said what about a week? They said, no, you can't do that because then people are going to pour in before the toughness goes in.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ACOSTA: But the president never mentioned his desire to wait until today. More than a week ago, he tweeted, "If the ban were announced with a one week notice, the bad would rush into our country during that week. A lot of bad dudes out there."

Sentiment echoed by Press Secretary Sean Spicer.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEAN SPICER, UNITED STATES White House PRESS SECRETARY: We don't know when the next bomb is going to go off, and the last thing that you want to do is to say, well, we could have done this Saturday, but we waited one more day or we wanted to roll it out differently.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ACOSTA: Democrats contend the White House is missing the point.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

[03:04:57] JIM HIMES, (D) UNITED STATES REPRESENTATIVE: None of the terrorist attacks that have occurred in the United States since 9/11 have undertaken by refugees or immigrants from the seven countries that are named in the executive order.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SEAN SPICER, UNITED STATES White House PRESS SECRETARY: The president maintains he's right about the terror threat because of the intelligence he's receiving as commander in chief.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP: A tremendous threat far greater than people in our country understand. Believe me, I've learned a lot in the last two weeks. And terrorism is a far greater threat than the people of our country understand.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SEAN SPICER, UNITED STATES White House PRESS SECRETARY: But shortly after the scheduled start of his daily intelligence briefing at 10.30 a.m., the president was tweeting that his daughter, Ivanka, had been treated unfairly by Nordstrom.

The White House says Mr. Trump was free at the time the tweet was posted. The department store recently decided to stop selling Ivanka Trump's products, citing the brand's performance. Drawing this ferocious response from the White House.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SPICER: I think this was less about his family business and an attack on his daughter. And for someone to take out their concern with his policies on a family member of her -- his is just -- is not acceptable.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SEAN SPICER, UNITED STATES White House PRESS SECRETARY: And the president's own Supreme Court pick, Judge Neil Gorsuch told Senate democrat Richard Blumenthal that President Trump's sharply critical comments about the judges handling the executive order case are quote. "demoralizing and disheartening." The White House confirms Gorsuch said just that.

Jim Acosta, CNN, the White House.

FOSTER: Well, Professor Peter Trubowitz, is the director of the United States Centre of the London School of Economics. Another day, another sort of series of controversies surrounding Donald Trump.

PETER TRUBOWITZ, DIRECTOR OF UNITED STATES CENTRE, LONDON SCHOOL OF ECONOMICS: It is.

FOSTER: But what do you make about what some people are saying is a tactic really, where he's suggesting that he didn't want to trigger this travel ban as quickly as he did, but it was based on advice?

TRUBOWITZ: Yes. Well, I think what Trump is doing is trying to walk it back and prepare the ground in case the federal court rules against him, which many people are predicting will be the outcome. And therefore he can try to put some distance between himself and the outcome or at least try.

I mean he's taken on a lot of water. The impact on his approval rating has been quite significant. I mean, even though there are some polls that show that the ban is popular in the United States, most show that it is not. And his approval rating right now is about 43 percent, which is very, very low.

FOSTER: But he is taking it through, isn't he, and it could end up in the Supreme Court, probably will end up in the Supreme Court. What if he does win? That's going to be seen as a huge win.

TRUBOWITZ: Yes, he's rolled the dice here, and so he's got a lot of his political capital invested in this, and it would be seen, I suppose, as a win. But it's not obvious to me that the kind of political opposition would just melt away.

What's been interesting through this as well is seeing him come up against the judiciary. TRUBOWITZ: Yes.

FOSTER: Which is a pretty one-way argument, isn't it, because they can't argue back.

TRUBOWITZ: Right. They can't, because otherwise they would play directly into his hands that these are political decisions and that they're politicized.

But it is worth noting that even his Supreme Court pick has put a little bit of distance through daylight between himself and Trump's position, calling it disheartening and disappointing, that is, his attack on the federal judges.

FOSTER: So, this is Gorsuch trying to -- you know, he's got to work with the judiciary, right?

TRUBOWITZ: Absolutely.

FOSTER: But what does the judiciary make of government policy when Gorsuch is saying one thing and Trump is saying something completely different?

TRUBOWITZ: They have to decide this on the merits, bottom line.

FOSTER: OK. We need to mention Nordstrom as well because this has become, you know, overnight.

TRUBOWITZ: Yes.

FOSTER: Really blown up, hasn't it? Because it's seen as an abuse of position to use an -- use the POTUS Twitter account.

TRUBOWITZ: Yes.

FOSTER: The official twitter account to re-tweet his own. People already have an issue with his own tweet.

TRUBOWITZ: Yes. Well, I mean there's two things to say about it. On the lighter side, Nordstrom has found a way to boost its stock.

FOSTER: Because the share price has gone up.

TRUBOWITZ: Share price has shot up, and you can -- if you look at the Twitter feed and so forth, people are saying, now I'm only going to buy Nordstrom and so forth, so.

But the larger point here really is the one that you are raising, is that he's essentially used the power of the office to boost the profits of or profit margins of his daughter's brand. You know, this is just not Mount Rushmore material.

FOSTER: Because we haven't been there before, we don't know what the possible sort of fight back of that might be.

TRUBOWITZ: Yes.

FOSTER: You know, is there any follow up?

TRUBOWITZ: Well, I think this just stirs the pot, and it just plays into the line that is really developing and expanding that he's abusing power.

FOSTER: Businesses, you know, have different views, don't they, on Donald Trump? Because on one level, they like what he's doing with the economy and the free market. But at the same time, they're very concerned that they don't have any sort of strategy to follow with him.

TRUBOWITZ: Right.

FOSTER: Nordstrom, though, is an interesting example, isn't it, because you don't know quite what's going to come your come your way to do deal with him.

[03:09:55] TRUBOWITZ: Yes. I mean, look, business, you know, they abhor uncertainty. And the problem with Trump and Twitter is there's a lot of uncertainty that's baked in there. I mean, it's just you don't know from one day to the next.

So, but I think the larger point is, you know, if he's pushing deregulation, which he is, that's something that the business community can warm up to and ditto if he goes down the path of tax cuts.

FOSTER: OK. Professor Trubowitz, thank you very much for joining us.

TRUBOWITZ: Yes. Glad to be here.

FOSTER: I'm sure you're having fun analyzing all of this and place in history.

Now, I think it's you, Rosemary. I think you're next.

CHURCH: Thanks so much, Max. While the world awaits a ruling from a U.S. Appeals Court on whether to reinstate President Trump's travel ban, refugees who have been cleared to come to the United States are hoping to get here before the border possibly closes again.

The State of Utah is particularly familiar with this issue since it has a long history of providing sanctuary to Mormons fleeing persecution.

Our Kyung Lah profiles an African family there caught up in the current legal battle.

KYUNG LAH, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Nemo Hashi (Ph) is a broken wife without her husband, the mother of a toddler without her father. But on government papers, she's a Somali refugee. Her husband, trapped in Africa, in a legal tug off war over the travel ban. What is this back and forth in the courts like?

"I went from being happy to confused and angry," she says. "You don't know what's real or not."

Are you worried he won't be coming?

"Until I see him at the Salt Lake City Airport," she says, "I won't believe it." The last time Hashi (Ph) saw her husband was in a refugee camp in Ethiopia. Both had fled the bloody war in Somalia.

You were pregnant at the time.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes.

LAH: The U.S. Refugee Resettlement Program brought Hashi to Salt Lake City three years ago. Just this year, her husband was finally cleared. But President Trump's executive order slammed the door shut, halting all refugee entries for 120 days. Hashi's husband stuck in Ethiopia.

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ADEN BATAR, DIRECTOR, CATHOLIC COMMUNITY SERVICES OF UTAH: Actually, when the executive order came out, all these cases were canceled.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

LAH: Aden Batar, once a refugee himself, he says 69 refugees from Iraq, Afghanistan, and several African countries had entries canceled into Utah. Many of them children.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BATAR: When you're telling somebody their loved one is not coming, our president should understand how that would be if he was told his wife was not coming or his daughter was not coming. How would he feel? I want him to think of that.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

LAH: But then a 180. A federal judge suspended the ban and gave new hope to Nemo Hashi (Ph). Her husband's travel to the U.S. was back on. Refugees began to trickle back into Utah days ago, greeted by hundreds of Salt Lake City residents. Even Utah's republican governor Instagramed their arrival, saying "We welcome Utah's newest pioneers."

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

LAH: How is the refugee program working for your state and its citizens here?

GARY HERBERT, (R) GOVEROR OF UTAH: Very well.

LAH: The republican Governor Gary Herbert breaks ranks with fellow republicans on the executive order. He supports the president's right to review immigration policy. But from the governor's vantage point? HERBERT: Refugees as I look at them are people running away from bad

circumstances. We've had some of that in our own culture. Maybe that makes us a little more sensitive to this issue. Maybe a little bit more empathetic because of our own history in Utah.

BATAR: American Airlines and their flight.

LAH: Written in erasable ink in this white board, the name of Abdeslam Ahmed, that's Nemo Hashi's husband. He's now scheduled to arrive on Friday where he will meet his daughter for the very first time in person.

Do you believe that it's going to happen? "By the will of God," she says.

Kyung Lah, CNN, Salt Lake City, Utah.

FOSTER: Now U.S. anti-terror raid in Yemen last month left several civilians dead as well as one Navy SEAL. The White House called it a success, but Yemeni officials disagree and they're taking steps to show it as well.

Our Jim Sciutto reports.

JIM SCIUTTO, CNN'S CHIEF NATIONAL SECURITY CORRESPONDENT: Tonight, Yemen condemning the deadly U.S. raid on an AQAP compound last month. Yemeni officials tell CNN it is now requesting that all future U.S. operations come only with the approval of the Yemeni government.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JULIETTE KAYYEM, CNN NATIONAL SECURITY ANALYST: It has a government that has cooperated with us in the sharing of intelligence, allowing missions to come in, drone strikes by the United States in their country so that we could help them and help us minimize the terror threat. And that is a cooperation that is now at risk.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

[03:15:01] SCIUTTO: A U.S. defense official tells CNN that, quote, "nothing has changed in the relationship and that Yemen officials were notified ahead of the January 29th raid."

The assault left U.S. Navy SEAL William Ryan Owens and some two dozen Yemeni civilians dead. Among them, an 8-year-old girl who was the daughter of an American-born terrorist, Anwar al-Awlaki.

Today, Senator John McCain who chaired the Senate Arms Services Committee raised hard questions about the raid, saying in a statement, quote, "While many of the objectives of the recent raid in Yemen were met, I would not describe any operation that results in the loss of American life as a success."

White House spokesman Sean Spicer immediately demanded an apology from McCain.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SPICER: It's absolutely a success. And I think anyone who would suggest it's not a success does disservice to the life of Chief Ryan Owens.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCIUTTO: Though, just week, he seemed to echo Senator McCain's words.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SPICER: You never want to call something a success 100 percent when someone's hurt or killed, and that was the case here.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCIUTTO: AQAP's leader, Qassim al-Rimi, now is taunting the U.S. in a new audio recording.

(BEGIN VOICE CLIP)

QASSIM AL-RIMI, AQAP LEADER (through translator): The new fool of the White House received a painful slap across his face by your own hands and upon your own land.

(END VOICE CLIP)

SCIUTTO: Yemen's criticism of the raid comes as the country is included on a list of countries whose people are temporarily banned from entering the United States, with potentially damaging effects on a key U.S. Counterterror partnership.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

KAYYEM: Between the executive order and then 24 hours later a failed raid in Yemen, it just became unsustainable for the country to essentially cooperate with the United States anymore. And that's a long-term impact of the executive order whether it survives in court or not.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CHURCH: Our thanks to Jim Sciutto for that report.

Iran has fired a defensive surface to air missile. A U.S. official says it was not covered by a U.N. ban on nuclear-capable ballistic missiles but was likely connected to Iran's 10-day celebration of its 1979 revolution.

This launch comes less than a week after the U.S. imposed new sanctions on theran for a ballistic missile test last month.

FOSTER: Anger boils over in the streets of Paris. Protests turn to riots after a man's alleged rape at the hands of police.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK) (WORLD SPORTS)

FOSTER: Now the U.K. is a step closer to officially beginning its exit from the European Union. The House of Commons voted on the Brexit bill on Wednesday, and after seven hours of debate on amendments, the legislation easily passed.

Nic Robertson has more on what happens next.

NIC ROBERTSON, CNN INTERNATIONAL DIPLOMATIC EDITOR: It's taken about two weeks almost going through the House of Commons to get to this point. The first reading, second reading, the third reading, the vote, all the amendments. No amendments were passed. And perhaps the one that got most scrutiny and most interest was the call for parliamentary oversight.

On this one the government seems to have potentially dodged a bullet by saying, yes, parliament can get a vote at the end of the negotiations for the European Union before the final handshake in Brussels.

However, it was later revealed that the government's position on that was parliament can vote against the agreement that the government is able to get, but the alternative is not going back to continued negotiations. The alternative is nothing.

So it seems unlikely anyone will do that. That caused some disappointment along the way. But when it came this vote pretty much as expected.

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UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The ayes to the right, 494. The noes to the left, 122. The ayes have it. The ayes have it.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ROBERTSON: You almost saw a moment of merriment there where the deputy speaker almost calls it wrong, that 494 to 122. This, the government getting what it wants handily, timely, and the way that it expected it as well.

And now it goes to the House of Lords. And the House of Lords they'll do the same thing, first reading, second reading, third reading, a vote. If they pass it with no amendments, then it can become --it can become this bill can become law.

However, if -- and it's not really expected. But if there are amendments in House of Lords, it comes back to the House of Commons again. They vote on it again. They can make other changes as well. On top of that it could ping pong around for a while. But no one expecting this.

Theresa May, the British government on course it seems right now to be able to trigger article 50, triggering the Brexit talks by the government's self-imposed deadline at the end of March. Nic Robertson, CNN, London.

CHURCH: Four police officers in France are facing charges after a man says he was beaten and sodomized with a baton during an arrest.

Parisians have been rioting for the past several nights over the alleged assault. The man identified only as Theo is calling for calm in the city.

Here's Paris correspondent Melissa Bell.

MELISSA BELL, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: With this not an election period here in France, the issue of what happened to young Theo last Thursday in a Parisian suburb might well have remained confined to what the French refer as the volus (Ph). Those urban, slightly remote areas where unemployment and criminality are high, they don't often make the press.

It was last Thursday that Theo was stopped. Four policemen asked him for his papers, and what happened afterwards is the subject of a great deal of controversy. Young Theo for the time being is still recovering all these days later in a hospital.

One of the policemen is to be tried for rape, the other three for violence. This has become a tremendously political issue.

Francois Hollande visited Theo's bedside in hospital just a few days ago. He, himself, the young man in question has appealed for calm after several nights of violence in his neighborhood and on his behalf.

Every single one of France's presidential candidates has come out to speak about what they thought of what had gone on and to condemn the violence that had been perpetrated against Theo.

[03:25:01] The fear now is that this will escalate into more demonstrations and that this issue will come back to haunt this French presidential election that the volus (Ph) will once again be satellite. They were in 2005 and a number of times since.

Melissa Bell, CNN, Paris.

FOSTER: Now, 15,000 people are homeless after a huge fire swept through a shantytown in the capital of the Philippines. Authorities say flames broke out on Tuesday night near the folks in Manila and burned for more than 10 hours. Seven people were injured and more than 1,000 houses were burned.

CHURCH: Meanwhile, Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte is calling a former Colombian leader an idiot and dismissing his advice on drug wars. Mr. Duterte's drug battle is drawing global attention with nearly 8,000 deaths recorded since it began.

Former Colombian President Cesar Gaviria offered advice in a New York Times column. He wrote -- and I'm quoting here, "Illegal drugs are a matter of national security. But the war against them cannot be won by armed forces and law enforcement agencies alone. Throwing more soldiers and police at the drug users is not just a waste of money but also can actually make the problem worse."

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RODRIGO DUTERTE, PRESIDENT OF THE PHILIPPINES: To tell you frankly.

(FOREIGN LANGUAGE)

Colombia has been lecturing about me. That idiot. Cocaine and heroin is not really, but cocaine is more or less marijuana. You can still communicate. But with shabu.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CHURCH: Mr. Duterte used the slang term shabu for methamphetamines.

FOSTER: Well, still to come, an outspoken critic of the Kremlin is suddenly struck down by a mysterious illness. He now clings to life in a Moscow hospital.

[03:30:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)

CHURCH: A warm welcome back to our viewers from all around the world. I'm Rosemary Church at CNN world headquarters in Atlanta.

FOSTER: I'm Max Foster in London. Let's update you on our top stories this hour.

Then-Donald Trump's Supreme Court nominee is taking exception to some of the president's recent comments, it seems. Judge Neil Gorsuch told one senator it's demoralizing and disheartening to hear Mr. Trump criticize the U.S. judicial system. The president called the appeal of his travel ban disgraceful.

CHURCH: The bill authorizing Britain's exit from the European Union now moves to the House of Lords for a vote. The House of Commons voted in favor of the measure after a seven-hour debate on amendments. Prime Minister Theresa May wants to trigger Brexit by the end of March.

FOSTER: In northern Afghanistan, six Red Cross workers are dead and two others are still unaccounted for. Officials say gunmen attacked vehicles that were headed to deliver aid. The Taliban denied involvement and no other group has claimed responsibility.

CHURCH: Doctors still don't know exactly why a well-known critic of Russian President Vladimir Putin became gravely ill while visiting Moscow. It's not the first time it's happened to him either. But this time, doctors say he has little chance of surviving.

We get the latest now from CNN's Ivan Watson in Moscow.

IVAN WATSON, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: In a hospital in Moscow, an outspoken critic of the Kremlin fights for his life. Vladimir Kara-Murza's wife Evgenia says her husband fell sick with sudden and mysterious organ failure last week. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

WATSON: What is your husband's official diagnosis right now?

EVGENIA KARA-MURZA, VLADIMIR KARA-MURZA'S WIFE: An acute intoxication by an unidentified substance.

WATSON: What do you think that means?

KARA-MURZA: Poisoning.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

WATSON: CNN cannot independently confirm this claim, but powerful supporters in Washington are speaking out because this is the second time in just two years Kara-Murza has suddenly gotten sick.

(BEGIN VOICE CLIP)

JOHN MCCAIN, (R) UNITED STATES SENATOR: Many suspected he was poisoned to intimidate him or worse. That's why last week's news signaled another shadowy strike against a brilliant voice who has defied the tyranny of Putin's Russia.

(END VOICE CLIP)

WATSON: Pure nonsense says a Kremlin spokesman, denying any links between the government and his illness.

CNN's Matthew Chance spoke with Kara-Murza last year. The 35-year-old walking with a cane due to severe nerve damage from his first illness, which he blamed on the government.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

VLADIMIR KARA-MURZA, RUSSIAN POLITICIAN & JOURNALIST: It's a dangerous location to oppose Mr. Putin's regime. It's a dangerous location to be in opposition in Russia today. But, again, these are the risks which know, and these are the risks we accept.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

WATSON: At the time the Chechen strongman and close ally of the Kremlin, Ramzan Kadyrov published this video on his Instagram account, showing Kara-Murza in the crosshairs of a sniper rifle. Kara-Murza could have stayed at his adopted home in the U.S. State of Virginia where he's lived for years with his wife and three children.

But he came back to Russia last month to promote a documentary about the assassination of his friend, Boris Nemtsov, an opposition leader who was shot dead in the shadow of the Kremlin in 2015.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

WATSON: Were you worried about your husband on this visit to Russia?

E. KARA-MURZA: I was terrified not only on this visit. Every time he leaves the house to go on one of his trips, I'm terrified.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

WATSON: Evgenia says that doctors are giving her husband a 5 percent chance of survival.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

E. KARA-MURZA: The Russian government and President Putin are responsible for what happened to my husband two years ago. And now one way or another, the climate in our country is such that opposition figures can be intimidated, threatened, thrown in jail, shot, and poisoned.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CHURCH: Ivan Watson is with us now live from Moscow. And Ivan, a 5 percent chance of survival is just shocking. What steps are being taken to try to determine if Kara-Murza was, indeed, poisoned here?

WATSON: Well, Evgenia Kara-Murza says the first time he fell ill, allegedly poisoned, it was also a 5 percent survival rate. The update as of now is within this week, he was awoken from a medically induced coma.

[03:35:00] The news today is that he is no longer being intubated. He can breathe on his own, so he doesn't need a breathing device. So there are signs that parts of the organ failure are recovering, but there's still a very, very long road clearly ahead, and he's still not in the clear just yet.

As far as the evidence of a possible poisoning, Rosemary, after the first incident two years ago, the family did send samples to a lab in France to be tested, and there they say that the results came back that he was found with traces of heavy metals in his bloodstream, which is absolutely not normal.

In this case, the family has once again collected samples to send to laboratories in France and Israel to try to get to the bottom of what this unknown substance could be that has caused what doctors say is acute intoxication. Rosemary?

CHURCH: It is just horrifying to think this could possibly happen and could be a poisoning. But of course we're waiting for confirmation on that. Many thanks to our Ivan Watson for joining us there live from Moscow.

FOSTER: And another high-profile prison critic is facing a five-year suspended sentence after his retrial on embezzlement charges that Russian co-handed that Alexei Navalny. Seated there in the white chair.

Now disqualifies the opposition leader from running for the presidency in 2018 as he plans. He says the verdict is, quote, "A cable from the kremlin that says, they consider us too dangerous to let us run in the presidential election." Navalny is vowing to get the verdict overturned.

In neighboring eastern Ukraine, a well-known commander of pro-Russian separatist has been killed. Mikhail Tolstykh whose nickname was Givi, reportedly was killed by a bomb at his office near Donetsk. It's not known who carried out the attack but it comes during a sharp rise in fighting across the region that's caused dozens of casualties.

One area north of Donetsk has been hit especially hard. About 200 people were evacuated, nearly half of them children.

CNN's Phil Black spoke with some of the frightened people who stayed behind.

PHIL BLACK, CNN CORRESPONDENT: The horrors of war aren't easily swept away. For almost three years, the front line in eastern Ukraine has shifted close to and around the Nodeska Konyeshenko's (Ph) home. She fled as shelling crept closer. Minutes later, the windows exploded and a shower of broken glass as shrapnel torture the building

Her daughter, Delina Ytsikova (Ph) shows me what she calls a gift, a fragment of the large explosive projectile that landed just outside. This neighborhood in Avdiivka is scarred by war. Residents know the shells falling here are fired by pro-Russian separatists.

The fighters American President Donald Trump recently said may not be taking orders from Moscow. Few here believe that to be true.

Delina says, "I hope the American people will never experience something like this." On the same street, we meet Gleb (Inaudible). The 5-year-old beams proudly when he shows us his puppies. But his face darkens when he talks about the war and fear he's lived with for most of his life.

Gleb (Ph) says when the shooting gets close, he and his mother hide in a room with no windows. They hold each other, and he prays. "Save us, God. Please rescue us."

The war is a constant presence on these streets, one that forces children to stay inside. Marika and her brother Danilo (Ph) are often kept from school. Their mother (Inaudible) tells me after the most recent shelling, Marika is too scared to be left in a room alone.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's like roulette, yes? When the shell can hit your house and it's very dangerous for the psychology of children.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BLACK: Homes are shelled here. Their owners are often too poor to pay for repairs or move somewhere else, so teams of volunteers come to patch up what they can. But there's no one to help with the unseen emotional damage inflicted on people every day by a war which has become an inescapable and defining feature of their lives.

Phil Black, CNN, Avdiivka, eastern Ukraine. CHURCH: And coming up next here on CNN NEWSROOM, the Trump

administration is deciding whether to label two powerful groups in the Islamic world as terrorists. The story straight ahead. Do stay with us.

[03:40:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)

CHURCH: Protesters in Arizona are showing support for a woman who could be deported back to Mexico under U.S. President Donald Trump's immigration order. Guadalupe Garcia del Rios was convicted in 2009 for working in the U.S. illegally. But she was allowed to stay as long as she checked in with immigration officials every six months.

When she went for her check-in on Wednesday, she was taken into custody. Her attorney says Garcia has lived in the U.S. for 21 years, has two children who are U.S. Citizens, and says her arrest years ago was unconstitutional.

But under President Trump's new order, officials could deport an undocumented immigrant convicted of any crime. As of now, she has only been detained, and her supporters are fighting to let her stay in the United States.

FOSTER: Sources tell CNN the White House may label two powerful groups Iran's revolutionary guard and the Muslim brotherhood as foreign terrorist organizations. The move is on hold as the Trump administration weighs the potential risks.

Our Elise Labott reports.

ELISE LABOTT, CNN GLOBAL AFFAIRS CORRESPONDENT: In a bold move against the oldest and one of the most powerful Islamic groups in the Middle East, the White House is debating officially labeling the Muslim brotherhoods a terrorist organization.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SPICER: There's no one that can question the president's commitment to fully attacking and addressing the threat that we face by radical Islamic terrorism.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

LABOTT: A social and political group that calls for a society based on Islamic law, the Muslim brotherhood is best known for their 2011 election victory in a democratic election in Egypt after the overthrow of Hosni Mubarak. A year later, the brotherhood's president, Mohamed Morsi was ousted in a military coup.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP: Egypt was turned over to the radical Muslim brotherhood, forcing the military to retake control.

(END VIDEO CLIP) [03:45:01] LABOTT: On the campaign trail, Donald Trump labeled the

brotherhood a faction of radical Islam, trying to bring Sharia law to the U.S.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP: We must also screen out any who have hostile attitudes toward our country or its principles or who believe that Sharia law should supplant American law.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

LABOTT: Steve Bannon, one of Trump's top political advisers, now on the Security Council, once ran Breitbart News, whose stories rang alarm bells about the group.

Critics fear the Trump White House may be attempting a further crackdown on other Muslim groups, mosques, and charities in the U.S. in the wake of his controversial travel ban for citizens of seven Muslim majority countries.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SHADI HAMID, SENIOR FELLOW, THE BROOKINGS INSTITUTION: This desire that we see from many in Trump's inner circle to wage war not just against extremist groups like ISIS but also Islamist groups of any kind whether or not they're violent or whether or not they participate in the political process.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

LABOTT: The brotherhood officially rejects the use of violence, yet some of its offshoots have been linked to terror attacks in the past like the Palestinian group Hamas.

U.S. allies like Egypt and the UAE have banned the group and want Trump to take action. But with branches throughout the Middle East, career diplomats warn targeting the brotherhood could alienate key U.S. allies. Members are politicians in Jordan, Tunisia, Morocco, and Kuwait. Turkey's Islamic President Erdogan is also a strong supporter.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

HAMID: It would undermine American national security. It would undermine our relationships potentially with our allies in the Arab world.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

LABOTT: The White House has more support for labeling Iran's powerful revolutionary guards corps, a terrorist organization as part of a new effort to ramp up pressure on the regime.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MICHAEL FLYNN, UNITED STATES NATIONAL SECURITY ADVISOR: As of today, we are officially putting Iran on notice.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

LABOTT: Trump has already slapped sanctions on group's link to the Revolutionary Guard for last week's ballistic missile tests. But the executive order targeting the guard is now on hold after the State Department and Pentagon warned going after the guard could complicate the U.S. fight against ISIS in Iraq.

Since the IRGC helps arm and train Iraqi Shiite militias in the fight against ISIS.

And officials say the executive orders regarding both the Muslim brotherhood and Iran's Revolutionary Guard are being delayed even further because of those concerns voiced by career officials.

And they say it is a positive sign that the White House is now considering the expertise of career officials after failing to consult the State Department and Defense Department during the rollout of the president's immigration policy.

Elise Labott, CNN, the State Department.

CHURCH: A snowstorm is expected to start hitting the northeastern United States over the next few hours. Icy roads are being blamed for a huge pile-up in Massachusetts.

Public schools in Philadelphia, Boston, and New York are closed Thursday, and airlines have already canceled thousands of flights as they anticipate more than a foot of snow in some areas.

For more on this potent winter storm, meteorologist Pedram Javaheri joins us now from the International Weather Center. Not looking good at all.

PEDRAM JAVAHERI, CNN METEOROLOGIST: Not at all. Yes, it's a dramatic shift too, Rosemary, with what has been going on across much of the United States in the past couple of days. That's about 60 million people right here in parts of 13 states that are underneath winter weather alerts at this hour.

A blizzard warning now issued for parts of Nantucket, certainly parts of Long Island as well as all the elements coming together here for tremendous impacts for tens of millions of people.

Precisely about 2,700 flights now canceled across the United States. Sixty flights delayed. In fact, almost 70 percent of the flights out of Boston's Logan Airport have now been canceled going into Thursday morning.

And the elements again were remarkable because we had extreme heat in place. Almost 60 record temperatures set on Wednesday across the United States. Very easy to pick out the high density of them right there around the northern and eastern corner of the U.S.

And in fact, the dramatic shift in temps is really what's impressive as well, going from 17 degrees Celsius down to minus 2. That is going from 62 Fahrenheit down to 28 Fahrenheit in less than 24 hours across parts of New York.

But how much snow are we talking? Let's show you, let's bring in the skyline for New York City, we're talking about potentially 20 to 30 centimeters of snow coming down after all of that record warmth. Twenty eight centimeters is what has already come down so far this season. Thirty eighty centimeters is what is normal for this point into this season.

So, there's been a little bit of a deficit and certainly going to be a surplus before this is all done with across parts of the United States with additional freight snow. But that's not the only weather that we're following.

Look at what's happening around Western Europe, in particular around the driest corner of Europe there around the southwest. That's a potent storm system. And you know, this area has been plagued with droughts and also extreme fires during the summer season.

One storm after another coming in. In fact, you look at a forecast for Madrid. Six of the next seven days in Madrid have rain showers in the forecast, and then you go in where you typically expect to the see the rainfall.

[03:50:02] Work your way up to the north around London. Six of the next seven days in the forecast are going to be dry. And in fact, almost spring-like in nature.

And Rosemary, when you think about places like London, when spring is around the corner, of course about six weeks away, but daylight is increasing by about three to four minutes per day every single day now all the way until the 21st of March. So, certainly beginning to see some signs that spring is going to be coming soon.

CHURCH: Yes. Of course, that can wreak havoc for some of the flowers, can't it, as they're trying to bloom?

(CROSSTALK)

JAVAHERI: Very good point.

CHURCH: All right. Many thanks to you, Pedram. I appreciate it.

JAVAHERI: Thanks, Rosemary.

CHURCH: Max, back to you.

FOSTER: Rosemary, coming up, Donald Trump says America first. But which country is second? Some TV hosts are having fun with that question.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We totally understand it's going to be America first. But can we just say the Netherlands, second? Is that OK? (END VIDEO CLIP)

FOSTER: Up next, which countries are in a mock competition to be number two.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

FOSTER: Check this out. A family reunion in China has taken on epic proportions. More than 500 members of the Ren family came together last week for this gigantic group photo. It was shot by a drone camera. Six generations of the family traveled from all over China and Taiwan to celebrate the lunar New Year together. Wow.

CHURCH: That's quite a picture.

Well, Madonna's family has grown by two. The singer posted this photo on her Instagram Wednesday to announce she has adopted the twin girls from Malawi. Madonna has four other children. She gave birth to two of them and she adopted the two others from Malawi several years ago.

FOSTER: Donald Trump's America first campaign has raised eyebrows all around the world. Now several countries are in a mock competition to simply be second.

Here's Jeanne Moos.

JEANNE MOOS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: When President Trump laid down his policy.

TRUMP: America first.

MOOS: Who knew he'd set off a competition.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Switzerland second, Denmark second.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Italy second.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Kazakhstan, second. Not the stupid Netherlands.

MOOS: The Netherlands started the trend with a Dutch comedy show.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Dear Mr. President.

MOOS: Created a parody video introducing the Netherlands to President Trump and begging.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We totally understand it's going to be America first. But can we just say the Netherlands, second?

MOOS: Comedy shows from other countries followed suit.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That we, the Danish people, not the pastry.

MOOS: Extolling their attributes. For instance, Switzerland.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The sexiest country in Europe. Look at those mountains. We're not flat like the Netherlands.

MOOS: Many of the videos feature Trump impersonators like Greg Shapiro.

[03:55:02] GREG SHAPIRO, COMEDIAN: His eyes are never fully open, and his mouth is never fully closed.

MOOS: Organizers set up a web site. Who wants to be second?

Has this ever happened before? Late night comedy shows unite in a global comedy campaign. A German host seemed to be one of the ring leaders.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: When the whole world is standing up to make fun of you

MOOS: The German video mocked Trump and Germany's own history.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Germany hosted two World Wars in the last 100 years. They were the best World Wars in the world, and we won both of them bigly. Anyone who says anything else is fake news.

MOOS: Slovenia chimed in.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Our country is only 25 years old now. So you should totally date her.

MOOS: Even mars?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: If America blows up, second America on mars.

MOOS: President Trump is making America first among targets for comedians.

Jeanne Moos.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Let's make Lithuania third.

MOOS: CNN.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Can we just say Bulgaria second? OK, Russia second. Can we at least be in the top ten?

MOOS: New York.

FOSTER: At least they're having fun with it, Rosemary.

CHURCH: They are.

FOSTER: I mean, we always think we're the closest country to America, but you know, obviously not.

CHURCH: The global joke. It's going to be interesting to hear what the president thinks of this.

FOSTER: Yes, I'm sure he'll be tweeting any moment now. He should be getting up, shouldn't he?

CHURCH: He might be watching.

FOSTER: He's definitely watching. Anyway, I'm here in London waiting for that tweet.

CHURCH: And I'm Rosemary Church here at CNN center in Atlanta. That does it for me.

FOSTER: I'll be back with more NEWSROOM after this short break.

[04:00:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)