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CNN NEWSROOM

North Korea Tests Trump with Missile Launch; Trump Defends ICE Arrests in 12 States; Mexican Call Center in U.S. Flooded with Calls; "SNL" Lampoons Trump Administration;; Senior Trump Adviser Fuels False Voter Fraud Claims; Flight Attendants Fight Human Trafficking; Grammy Award-Winning Jazz Singer Dead at 76. Aired 6-7p ET

Aired February 12, 2017 - 18:00   ET

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


[18:00:00] ANA CABRERA, CNN ANCHOR: -- test was a success overseen by leader Kim Jong-un. Last night President Trump and Prime Minister Abe put on a united front while addressing the world and the president saying very little but affirming the United States stands behind its ally 100 percent.

Let's bring in CNN global affairs correspondent Elise Labott who's been following this story from the moment we first learned of this launch.

Elise, has the White House mentioned any plans now to respond to the launch?

ELISE LABOTT, CNN FOREIGN AFFAIRS REPORTER: Well, Ana, after that short statement by the president, really not even mentioning North Korea or the missile test, this morning we heard from the White House policy adviser Stephen Miller who kind of, you know, very conceptually said that the U.S. is going to increase its defensive and show some resolve. Take a listen to Stephen Miller.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

STEPHEN MILLER, SENIOR ADVISER TO PRESIDENT TRUMP: The message we're sending to the world right now is a message of strength and solidarity. We stand with Japan and we stand with our allies in the region to address the North Korean menace. And the important point is that we're inheriting a situation around the world that is as challenging as any we've ever seen in our lives. The situation in North Korea, the situation in Syria, the situation in Yemen.

These are complex and difficult challenges. And that's why President Trump is displaying the strength of America to the whole world and it's why we're going to begin a process of rebuilding our depleted defense capabilities.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

LABOTT: Well, certainly a lot of challenges for this new president. But North Korea really one of the gravest national security threats that this president is facing because U.S. commanders in the Pacific have said maybe within a year not only would North Korea have a nuclear weapon, but could also have that ICBM, that intercontinental ballistic long-range missile. To marry it together that could deliver a nuclear weapon to the continental United States.

So what are the options? You've seen the Obama administration exercised what they called strategic patience, not really wanting to negotiate with North Korea until it agreed to give up its nuclear weapons. That was not successful. And a lot of critics have said that that delayed the administration into a much more robust North Korean nuclear program.

So the administration has a few choices. It could go to the U.N. Security Council and impose some sanctions. That hasn't worked before. It could increase its defenses in the region and that's what the U.S. is doing with that missile defense shield called THAAD in South Korea. But it could also work with the Chinese. I think President Trump has made clear this is one of the things that he wants to do is put more pressure on the Chinese to use its influence with North Korea to abandon its nuclear ambitions.

And until you get some traction with China I really think we're going to continue to see these North Korean threats. And this is really just the beginning, Ana, because experts and officials have said, you know, in addition to trying to test this new president and make sure that everyone notices North Korea, it's also a missile testing program. And with every test, this was intermediate range missile, not that ICBM but with every test that North Korea does, it continues to improve its missile capability. And that's a real concern for the United States -- Ana.

CABRERA: Right. And we're learning this is apparently a new style strategic weapons system they were testing out here according to the state media reports in North Korea.

Elise Labott, thanks for that.

Now let's talk about more of the president's response, what options the U.S. has. Joining me on the phone is David Gergen, CNN senior political analyst. He served as adviser to four U.S. presidents.

David, thanks for being here. This is President Trump's first major test from North Korea. He's been in the White House for just a few weeks. How do you think he's handled this situation so far?

DAVID GERGEN, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: I think he handled it quite properly last night. He said behind Japan, said we're 100 percent with them, they're one of our greatest allies. I think it's fortuitous that he was actually with Prime Minister Abe on this weekend. The North Koreans perhaps intended it, send a stiff message when they were together. But nonetheless I think it helped that the president, he can look -- and Abe can look each other in the eye and say we've got to deal with this. And we're not doing it by phone. We're here together and can talk it through.

I do think what the president has sworn is that North Korea will not be able to develop an intercontinental ballistic missile that could reach the United States. The missile they fired in the last 48 hours, you know, only went 310 miles or so. It's a lot further to get to the United States. But as your reporting says there are certain indications and certain North Koreans have been very aggressive about this. They want to develop an intercontinental ballistic missile that could carry a nuclear warhead that would reach United States. And President Trump has said no, they're not going to be allowed to do this.

Ana, this is very, very similar to what the United States faced with Iran, in which we said, though, they're not going to have a nuclear capability.

[18:05:07] And the question became, OK, what are the options, and the only two options seemed to be if you learn to live with an Iranian bomb or you take it out militarily. And those are not good options. That's when the Obama negotiated this third option that was they promised not to do anything within the next 10 to 15 years. Will allow sanctions to be lifted and they can participate in the world market place.

Donald Trump hasn't liked that option or that result. So I don't know if he will go down that track or not. That's the most obvious way to see if you can negotiate that with the Chinese taking the lead on it. If you can negotiate a settlement that prevents them from going to the ballistic missile but in term they get some economic benefits from it. But it's a form of blackmail, by the way, on the part of the North Koreans. But that's what the Iranians were doing as well.

CABRERA: So if you were advising Trump, it sounds like that's the direction that you would point them in. Getting the Chinese involved and trying to create some kind of leverage through that avenue.

GERGEN: Yes. Right. I think -- yes, yes. But to do that, you know, this all -- all these things are complicated. You know, President Trump came into office vowing to reverse our trade relationship with the Chinese. We have a huge trade deficit with the Chinese. The Chinese have been very unfair. He's made it clear he wants to put on protective tariffs. If we did that, the hopes of intervening probably goes down the tubes. This stuff is complicated. The best thing that can be said is president trump has got some heavy weights in office now at state department and defense department and he's starting to get his team together.

And I would think, Ana, he would -- instead of engaging in, you know, public bluster or tweets about all this, I would think, Ana, he would take it indoors and have some very quiet meetings of how to figure this out.

(CROSSTALK)

CABRERA: It is notable --

GERGEN: What are we going to do?

CABRERA: It is notable that he has not tweeted really at all on this issue.

GERGEN: Yes. Yes, he is.

CABRERA: Since the launch. He tweeted about immigration.

GERGEN: And he was -- yes.

CABRERA: Yes.

GERGEN: He was very careful last night what he said. It was very brief and then get off the stage.

CABRERA: Are you surprised?

GERGEN: No, I'm not. I'm pleased because I think that's so much better way to conduct diplomacy than do it by tweets, than by, you know, bluster. I think those two things -- how to work with some of these countries. But I -- in recent days, we've seen him moderate on several issues, on international issues, you know, some of his critics saying he's caving to the Chinese. You know, he was going to use his "One China" policy question as a bargaining chip. And he gave it up before -- in order to get that phone call with Xi, President Xi of China.

So he's going to be under a lot of conflicting pressures from within his own party, from within the conservative base, within the international community. But these are the things that are best taken indoors inside and very quietly, work it through with your allies to see it they can came up with a united policy that you can agree on and go to work with them.

CABRERA: All right, David Gergen. Thank you so much. We're glad to have you on.

GERGEN: OK, Ana, thank you so much. Take care.

CABRERA: You too. Have a good weekend.

GERGEN: Bye.

CABRERA: Immigrants families rattled after the string of raids across the U.S. Some now pulling their children out of school. Up next, what President Trump has to say about those raids. While he's not tweeting on North Korea, he is tweeting on this issue. And how an immigration reform advocate plans to help some of these families living in fear.

You are live here in the CNN NEWSROOM.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[18:12:05] CABRERA: President Trump is defending immigration raids in 12 states. Now he calls it a crackdown that fulfills a campaign promise. More than 500 undocumented immigrants are in custody. Protests are erupting over this, yet federal immigration officials insist that the raids are routine enforcement and mainly target violent criminals. Now immigration advocates aren't so sure about that, saying these raids swept up many without criminal records. Let's talk it over with Jehmu Greene, co-founder of Define American,

an immigration reform group and a candidate for the chair of the Democratic National Committee.

Jehmu, thanks so much for coming on for us this weekend.

JEHMU GREENE, CO-FOUNDER, DEFINE AMERICAN: Thanks for having me.

CABRERA: What are you hearing from some of the -- these undocumented immigrant families?

GREENE: People are terrorized. They are living in fear not know figure their families are going to be split apart forcefully. This is the third week in a row since President Trump took office where we've had massive protests around the country. Clearly he is not making policy that is making people feel safe. In many ways he's ripping apart the fabric of our country and it is inspiring to see so many people take to the streets. But as someone who is the daughter of a former undocumented immigrant, I understand that fear from when you didn't know if your mom or your dad was going to come home or if they were going to have employment to make sure that there was food on the table.

And these are families that have been in this country for years, for decades at times at the compassion that we're seeing from allies around the country is incredible. But the terrorizing that is intentional coming from this administration should absolutely I think force everyone to understand that we have a moment where we can either sit back and accept these policies moving forward or we can get involved in an electoral way.

And that's why I'm running for DNC chair because elections have consequences and the Democratic Party is going to be that infrastructure. A lot of different institutions have roles to play. The ACLU does an amazing job in the courts, but the Democratic Party is how we stop Trump. And we need to be as strong as possible for the resistance.

CABRERA: Jehmu, remind you that President Obama was once called the deporter-in-chief by La Raza, which represents again some of these immigrant families. And so he was a Democrat. He implemented policy that affected these people just as we're seeing now. In fact, it was ICE officials who tell us that the raids that were carried out this past week were planned under the Obama administration. So to play devil's advocate, why blame Donald Trump for what we're seeing?

GREENE: Well, I think certainly the tone that Donald Trump set in not just the election, but since he's come into office has emboldened this agency.

[18:15:04] When we hear that it is not just undocumented immigrants who have committed a crime who are being swept up, but these are undocumented immigrants across the board who are being swept up. And there's not the kind of smart targeting that was coming from the Obama administration. Of course, everyone wants to feel safe and make sure that if there's someone who has committed a crime or committed multiple crimes that they are in the system and going through a process.

But to just put an entire net over a community and start knocking on doors, asking people to show their papers, in this environment, can you imagine the fear of children in these homes, of not knowing if their parents are going to come home that evening, not knowing what their next day is going to look like?

This is why we need to have a smarter, more focused immigration policy and it needs to also understand the contributions that immigrants make to this country. So from the rhetoric we saw in 2016 throughout that campaign to how he is operating as president, it's very clear if there's no understanding of the contributions that immigrants have made to this country from a very start to the contributions they're making now in making sure that we are actually creating new collar new jobs so it would be great if we have a president who understood the nuance.

(CROSSTALK)

CABRERA: If you were to be leading the Democratic National Committee -- you mentioned you're running for that -- what would you suggest Democrats do? Obviously, they are in the minority in Congress.

GREENE: They are. And this is why it is so important that we do everything we can as a party to shore up our infrastructure, to make sure that the energy and the passion that we are seeing in the streets that people know that the Democratic Party is a home for this resistance. The institution that is going to be able to stop Donald Trump, whether it's through taking back Congress, taking back the Senate is going to be the Democratic Party. It is absolutely important to keep having these protests. It's absolutely important recruit new candidates.

It's important to make sure that the voices are heard in opposition. But the only way we defeat this administration is going to be through electoral politics. And so the Democratic Party has some work to do to be a more welcoming home to these activists, to all of that energy that is out there because elections have consequences. And I think we are now all seeing the consequences. That's why there have been massive protests over the past three weekends, but we have to funnel that energy into a solid infrastructure.

We have to funnel that energy into recruiting new leadership and we need to funnel that energy into making sure that we are defending the policies that actually make our country stronger, not rip us apart in what Donald Trump is doing.

CABRERA: Jehmu Greene, thanks for coming on.

GREENE: Thank you.

CABRERA: Nice to meet you.

Still to come, a Mexican call center operating inside the U.S. is swarmed with phone calls from undocumented immigrants fearful of deportation. We'll show you how this center is managing some of those pleas for help, ahead.

You're live in the CNN NEWSROOM.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[18:21:55] CABRERA: A Mexican call center operating out of Arizona has been inundated with phone calls from scared and confused undocumented immigrants and their families. The spike comes after immigration authorities arrested hundreds in a series of deportation raids this week.

CNN's Polo Sandoval has more details.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

POLO SANDOVAL, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): You wouldn't know it if you drove by this Tucson, Arizona, building that bares the Mexican seal, but inside is a small army of call takers. This is more than just a phone bank. It's a clearinghouse for Mexicans run by the Mexican government.

It's called the CIAM or the Center for Information and Assistance for Mexicans. It's the only one in the U.S.

PATRICIA AHUMADA, CALL CENTER OPERATOR: We also explain all the consular services that we offer.

SANDOVAL: These days, Patricia Ahumada says people are concerned about more than just basic services.

AHUMADA: It can be really tough for us as well. Because every story, every call is another story. And I can have a call that can be about a passport, but I can also have a call saying that happened if my kids are U.S. citizens and I have to go back to Mexico.

RICARDO PINEDA ALBARRAN, CONSUL OF MEXICO, TUCSON, ARIZONA: The need is high. That's why we have around 40 people working over here.

SANDOVAL: Counsel General Ricardo Pineda who leads this team noticed a recent 100 percent increase in call traffic. The center received an average of 700 calls a day before Donald Trump was sworn in. Today nearly 1300, according to Pineda who thinks more of his fellow Mexicans want answers about President Trump's immigration orders. He says many of the calls come from undocumented Mexicans with the new fear of dealing with U.S. immigration authorities. They fear deportation.

ALBARRAN: What we are trying to do is referring over the communicate to professionals, to newly authorized attorneys, right here or in many locations around the U.S. that can provide information. We are doing that and we're going to continue to do that on a more intensive manner.

SANDOVAL: Pineda echoes a new message from his Foreign Ministry's office warning Mexican citizens in the U.S. to take precautions. The advice vice coming as hundreds of undocumented immigrants are being arrested in several states. The Mexican government foresees more severe immigration measures to be implemented with possible violations to constitutional precepts. Pineda says those concerns have prompted them to keep their lines open 24/7.

ALBARRAN: Call your consulate. Please come to the consulate. It's our duty to get along with you, to accompany you in any possible process.

SANDOVAL: With concerns about what the White House's next step will be it doesn't seem that the phones will stop ringing any time soon.

Polo Sandoval, CNN, Tucson, Arizona.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

CABRERA: Coming up, "Saturday Night Live" poking fun at President Trump's staff. So is the war between late night and the White House heating up? We'll talk about it. Plus plenty of action on the red carpet at the 69th Grammy Awards.

[18:25:02] Moments ago Adele seen walking the carpet looking lovely in green. Live from Los Angeles, coming up.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

CABRERA: What a boost "Saturday Night Live" is getting out of politics in the Trump White House. Last night's show with President Trump impersonator Alec Baldwin as host had huge ratings. The best in six years. But the bigly performance of the night came as Melissa McCarthy returned with her explosive impression of a screaming, unhinged White House press secretary Sean Spicer. You just have to see it for yourself.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MELISSA MCCARTHY, ACTRESS: And there's some light terrorism this week when Nordstrom's decided it's not selling Ivanka Trump's line of clothing and accessories. OK. And that's Nordstrom's loss. Because these are high, high quality products. In fact, I'm wearing one of her bangles right now. It's beautiful. It's shimmery. It's elegant. And at $39.99 it's unbelievably affordable. OK. And don't even get me started on her shoes because these babies are a real head turner.

All right. Any other questions?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes. Just mentally, though, are you OK?

MCCARTHY: Are you kidding me? You better run. You don't have a chance. You didn't not just turn around. And live from New York it's Saturday night.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(LAUGHTER)

CABRERA: All right. In case you missed it, there you have it. Let's talk about "SNL" and the Trump White House with Bob Garfield. He is co-host of the weekly radio program "On the Media."

Good to have you, Bob.

[18:30:00] BOB GARFIELD, CO-HOST, ON THE MEDIA: Thanks, Ana.

CABRERA: First, that shear energy of McCarthy's performance there, in the hawking of Ivanka Trump's stuff. Is this war now, do you think, between "SNL" and the Trump White House?

GARFIELD: Is it war? Yes, I guess it's war. She's joking about light terrorism, and I guess this is light war. Only the thing is, as hilarious as it all is, what's underlying it is very not funny. It's horrifying, it's alarming, and altogether despicable.

CABRERA: What we're seeing here, while it's satire, you mentioned there is a serious nature, some of the content that's being made fun of, essentially, here --

GARFIELD: You know --

CABRERA: -- does it hurt the credibility of the White House?

GARFIELD: Well, who knows? The White House, as had the Trump campaign before, was able to make its message heard in spite of, you know, reality and facts and truth. And as of the most recent polling, 40 percent of the electorate seems to approve of the first couple of three weeks of the Trump administration. That's a pretty large percentage, considering what we've witnessed.

And one of the reasons they have approval is because of a campaign to marginalize and delegitimize some very major institutions, most recently the judiciary, but most particularly the media. There has been a campaign to discredit the media, to call its product fake news.

And what the media has done is nothing more than call out the President's lies, call out the prevarications, call out the delusional references to nonexistent voter fraud and Bowling Green massacres and so on. So, the press, by merely doing its job, has, in some ways, played right into the White House's hands.

CABRERA: Let's take a listen --

GARFIELD: So, yes, ultimately not funny.

CABRERA: Yes. Let's take a listen to another skit. This is the people's court skit.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

CECILY STRONG, ACTRESS: President Trump, look, I read the ban, OK? It seemed rushed even to me, and I decide three court cases in an hour. OK?

(LAUGHTER)

STRONG: I see no evidence that it will help, so I'm sorry to say -- ALEC BALDWIN, ACTOR: I want to settle.

STRONG: Excuse me?

BALDWIN: I'd like to settle, settle out of court.

STRONG: No, Mr. President, I'm sorry but --

BALDWIN: They always settle, Pocahontas, and so will you.

STRONG: No, sir. No, I won't. And let me just say you're doing too much, OK? I want one day without a CNN alert that scares the hell out of me. All right? I just --

(APPLAUSE)

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CABRERA: So judging from the laughter, the actress playing that judge, apparently, hit a chord with those lines, delivered them with such weariness. What were your thoughts when you saw that?

GARFIELD: Well, I, of course, was thinking exactly the same thought. I would like to live in such a day as well. I haven't had one in three weeks. And, you know, the people's court sketch is a reference to his attack on the judiciary and the Court of Appeals that upheld the lower court's stay of the Muslim ban.

And what's really scary about this is, notwithstanding the satire, is that the administration seems to be setting the table for things to come, to setting the table to, you know, when the inevitable terror attack occurs, for example, to blame it on the judiciary and the media. And then to play to that 40 percent I referred to earlier and say, aha! You see their weakness is what's given us this. And that's when truly authoritarian, truly dangerous thing cans happen.

And it's why I'm grateful that "Saturday Night Live" is able to get across to America what, in some ways, the mainstream media have not been able to because so many people discount every word that comes out of our mouths.

CABRERA: Right. And we'll have to leave it there. Bob Garfield, thanks for coming on.

GARFIELD: Thank you, Ana.

CABRERA: Coming up, President Trump's White House adviser repeating claims that there was widespread voter fraud in November's election without a shred of proof. Why is the White House sticking to this story?

[18:34:29] We'll debate it, next. You're live in the CNN NEWSROOM.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

CABRERA: President Trump is again claiming there was massive voter fraud in last year's election. This time, the President said thousands of people were bused in to New Hampshire to illegally vote, but there's zero proof of that.

Yet the White House isn't trying to tamp down these claims. Instead, they're fueling them. Listen to what the President's senior adviser Stephen Miller had to say this morning.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

STEPHEN MILLER, SENIOR ADVISER TO PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP: Voter fraud is a serious problem in this country. You have millions of people who are registered in two states or who are dead who are registered to vote. And you have 14 percent of non-citizens, according to academic research, at a minimum, are registered to vote, which is an astonishing statistic.

GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS, ABC NEWS ANCHOR: You can't make --

MILLER: There --

STEPHANOPOULOS: Hold on a second. You just claimed, again, that there was illegal voting in New Hampshire, people bused in from the state of Massachusetts. Do you have any evidence to back that up?

MILLER: I'm saying anybody -- George, go to New Hampshire. Talk to anybody who's worked in politic there for a long time. Everybody is aware of the problem in New Hampshire.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CABRERA: Now, the President is backing Miller's interview, tweeting, today, "Congratulations, Stephen Miller on representing me this morning on the various Sunday morning shows. Great job!"

Again, no proof of that voter fraud he spoke of. Let's bring in my panel. With me, Ben Ferguson, CNN political commentator and conservative radio host. Also, Wajahat Ali, a "New York Times" contributor.

Ben, I'll start with you.

BEN FERGUSON, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Yes.

CABRERA: The White House has offered no evidence of this massive voter fraud they speak of. Election officials have said there is no evidence of large-scale fraud. Why would President Trump continue to make this completely baseless claim?

FERGUSON: Well, I think there's one of two things here. Either they do have information and they're going to put it together in a major way moving forward, or it's time to move on past this.

There is definitely potential in this country for mass voter fraud. But I have to say, looking at the information, I'm not seeing any real evidence that's showing that there was some sort of major voter fraud here. [15:40:01] There are people that are registered in two states. That

is potential for major voter fraud. And, yes, in New Hampshire -- I've worked on presidential campaigns -- they do have a lot of people that are bused in to that state.

Was there thousands upon thousands that were illegal voters? You've got to back that up with substantial evidence, moving forward. Otherwise, people are going to start looking at this issue and saying, I just don't trust the White House on it. They need to back it up if they have this evidence. They need to do it very soon.

CABRERA: Wajahat, the President spent the weekend with the Prime Minister of Japan. North Korea launched a ballistic missile. It could have been the perfect opportunity to step away from these claims to move on to other things, yet they doubled down. It doesn't seem like an accident. Do you think this is their strategy?

WAJAHAT ALI, CREATIVE DIRECTOR, AFFINIS LABS: Well, there's only two options. Either President Bannon -- excuse me -- Trump is delusional and really believes that 3 million illegal immigrants voted for Clinton and then also did the Bowling Green massacre and then took a bus all the way to Chicago and killed two people during President Obama's farewell address, all of which are alternative facts and didn't happen, or, two, he is a pathological liar.

And he is seen as a very insecure fickle man who seems obsessed, Ana, with sizes. The size of his fingers, the size of his hands, the size of his crowd sizes, the size of favorability ratings, which are all small, by the way. And so he's doubling down --

FERGUSON: What does this have to do with any of the issues today?

ALI: Look, he's doubling down -- I'm sorry, Ben, I know you want to defend Trump and Banner, but, look, he's doubling down on this because of his ego. And the worst part is, is Stephen Miller and Bannon, by the way, who are ideological extremists, they are going to use this to actually attack the Voting Rights Act because, let's not forget, Stephen Miller was the right-hand man of Jeff Sessions, our new Attorney General. And Jeff Sessions --

FERGUSON: All right. I'm going to jump in here.

ALI: -- said the Voting Rights Act was, a what, an inconsequential piece of legislation. So they're going to use this --

FERGUSON: All right. Let's be clear about something. There's a significant number of Americans --

ALI: They're going to use this to attack the voting rights of African-Americans. Let's be honest here.

CABRERA: Go ahead, Ben.

FERGUSON: See here, there's a significant number of Americans that think it is absolutely appropriate to be able to show proof of who you are before you vote so that there is not as much voter fraud or even potential for voter fraud.

We show IDs for everything. The building you went in into today, I bet you probably showed an I.D. When you go to the bank, you show an I.D. When you get on a plane, you go to an I.D. Americans are happy to be able to show who they are to protect their own bank accounts. Why wouldn't you want to protect your vote?

ALI: And, Ben --

FERGUSON: Yes, liberals just like you --

ALI: And, Ben --

FERGUSON: No, no, no. Liberals just like you say this every time. If I ask you to show proof --

ALI: No, Americans. I'm an American, Ben.

FERGUSON: -- say I'm more racist --

ALI: I'm an American --

FERGUSON: -- the racist idea. No, it's not. It's protecting the vote of every minority, everybody in America. You want to protect that vote, don't you? Why would you want someone's vote to be taken away? Why would you want --

ALI: Sure, I'll have a response. Ana, North Carolina --

FERGUSON: -- to be taken away by somebody?

ALI: North Carolina's so-called judges reviewed the Republican's crackdown, right, on this voter fraud that doesn't exist? And they said what the Voter Fraud Protection Act was for them, these voter IDs, was actually to limit the votes of African-Americans, specifically, quote, "with surgical precision --"

FERGUSON: And any other judges --

ALI: ''-- with surgical precision --"

FERGUSON: Thank you.

ALI: -- the Republicans went after African-American voters. So the really scary part here, again, is Stephen Miller and Steve Bannon will use the fickle ego of Trump to promote voter suppression. That's the scary part.

FERGUSON: Again, you always go back -- and this is the reason why you guys lost the election, thank the lord -- is every time that you don't like something, you scream that it's somehow racist or bigoted instead of actually looking at what the American people have said about this.

The majority of the American people are in favor of actually protecting their vote by showing who you are. That is not an extreme idea. The fact that you do not -- ALI: Ben, we already do that. Ben, we already to that. And number one, the majority of the people voted for Clinton, not Trump. And Trump has the lowest favorability rating of an incoming president in modern history. So maybe you want to switch parties.

CABRERA: All right.

FERGUSON: Maybe you should --

CABRERA: We're going to leave it there you, guys.

ALI: Alternative facts, Ben.

CABRERA: We're going to leave it there. We've --

ALI: Alternative facts.

CABRERA: We've discussed the voter fraud issue. I mean, we've been discussion for some time since the elections, since these initial voter fraud claims came up, but we do appreciate the ongoing discussion.

Again, it's not us putting this in the media discussion. It's the President who continues to bring up voter fraud, and he did say he was going to investigate it.

Ben, real quick, why do you think we haven't seen a formal investigation that he initially had said was going to be coming via an executive order?

FERGUSON: Well, as I said earlier, I think they have to do it very soon. It's important, when you say something like this, to back it up. I'm a realist when it comes to these types of things.

If the White House does, in fact, have the evidence that they claim that they have, they need to make it clear to the American people and move forward with it quickly. If they do not do it quickly, they will start to lose people who will say, hey, you made a major claim, you did not back it up.

You've got to do this soon, otherwise you start to lose people in this country and their support for you. That's how politics works.

[18:45:06] CABRERA: I see Wajahat nodding his head, so that's a good place for us to take a break.

ALI: I agree.

CABRERA: Wajahat and Ben, thank you both for being here.

FERGUSON: Thanks.

CABRERA: We do appreciate the feisty debate.

Flight attendants are now coming together to fight human trafficking. Up next, how a group of flight attendants helped bust a trafficking ring and set free 82 children. That's next in the CNN NEWSROOM.

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CABRERA: Flight attendants use their eyes in the sky to fight human trafficking. They get special training on how to spot young girls and boys who may be traveling against their will, and they are making a huge difference. In fact, in one case, their work on a flight leaving the Dominican Republic helped bust a human trafficking ring with 82 children.

Now, this all started about 20 years ago when one flight attendant decided to change her life. I want to bring in Nancy Rivard, the founder of Airline Ambassadors International.

Nancy, you are doing great work. I'm curious how you go about training airline workers to spot these human trafficking victims.

[18:49:54] NANCY RIVARD, FOUNDER, AIRLINE AMBASSADORS INTERNATIONAL: Well, now, we have trainings. We just provided our 52nd training at Houston Hobby Airport before the Super Bowl. And we provide free training for front line personnel, teaching them background on the issue, what they can look for, the effect on victims, and how to recognize and report human trafficking.

CABRERA: So what are they looking for?

RIVARD: Well, we ask our front line personnel and everyone who travels frequently to be aware of people around them. Notice children and who they're traveling with, young women or men traveling alone. A flight attendant has time with a passenger more than a customs agent does and has time to assess the situation.

We know of 15 cases where we've correctly identified a trafficking, and there are many heroic flight attendants out there. You might have read recently about Sheila Frederick.

CABRERA: Well, what does a flight attendant do if they have a suspicion? You say there have been 15 cases cracked recently.

RIVARD: Fifteen that we know of, traffickers that we've correctly --

CABRERA: Right.

RIVARD: -- identified it. Yes, so --

CABRERA: Right. And so you identify it and then you report to the authorities. And then what happens?

RIVARD: Right. So then the authorities, our professional personnel evaluates the situation. The best thing for any of us to do is to report a tip. And the Blue Lightning protocol of the United States government has the flight attendant tells the pilot. He radios ahead to the next airport.

CABRERA: OK. RIVARD: But we've also developed a tip line app that's easy to use

and free to download, where any individual can get the information to law enforcement as soon as possible because time is of the essence.

CABRERA: And when we mention that Dominican Republic trip in 2009 where 82 children were part of that ring, and a flight attendant helped break that up, tell us more about how that went down.

RIVARD: Yes, that was pretty amazing. That was our very first situation where we recognized trafficking. And a flight attendant that was part of our group recognized a young girl crying next to a man. And he noticed that the boy and the girl didn't seem to be with their parents. The parents had inconsistent stories.

And our whole team, what we had promised to each other, to be aware of human trafficking, began to watch the group, and noticed that the girl was, and boy, were handed off from a man to a woman, who had a different story. The man said he was going to New York, and the woman said she was going to Boston.

One of us noticed bruises on the little boy's arm. We told the flight attendant on a major airline, and she didn't know what to do either. And so we said, tell the captain and radio ahead.

And the customs agent told us, when they went through customs, "Thank you for the tip, this seems to be an inside job. We're going to send a detective to follow these guys when they land in Boston." They went from New York to Boston.

And that's when we got word that that had led to the bust of a pornography ring --

CABRERA: Wow!

RIVARD: -- that saved over 80 children.

CABRERA: Amazing.

RIVARD: Yes.

CABRERA: Nancy Rivard, thank you so much for the work you're doing and for sharing it with our viewers.

For those who want more information on how to report a case of human trafficking or offer help to victims, you can check out CNN.com/freedomproject.

Stay with us. We're back in a moment.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[18:57:41] CABRERA: Some sad news now to report from the entertainment world. Grammy award-winning jazz singer Al Jarreau passed away this morning after being hospitalized in Los Angeles last week due to exhaustion. The 76-year-old vocalist announced his retirement from touring just last week, after a music career that spanned five decades, more than 20 albums, and seven Grammy awards.

Now, you may remember Al Jarreau best for singing the theme song to that popular '80s T.V. show, "Moonlighting," starring Cybill Shepherd and Bruce Willis.

Well, this news comes on the very day the recording academy is honoring its best and brightest artists at the 59th Annual Grammy Awards. And CNN Correspondent Stephanie Elam, looking glamorous tonight, joining me from Los Angeles on the red carpet at the Staple Center there.

Stephanie, we've lost a lot of music greats in the past year, certainly. What's the reaction to Jarreau's death there in the music industry that you're hearing?

STEPHANIE ELAM, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Definitely, Ana. I've already seen people tweeting about it today. I saw that one of the persons who's going to be performing here tonight, John Legend, tweeting about the great loss of Al Jarreau, who is a Grammy winner himself.

And just, no one could scat like Al Jarreau, so I would be surprised if, somehow, they don't manage to fold this into the show tonight. We do know, in the show, there will be separate tributes to the iconic George Michael and also Prince. We know that those will be separate tributes that will happen here during the show.

But what everyone else is talking about as well, besides wanting to see that, is seeing whether or not Beyonce is going to perform tonight. We do know that she is pregnant with twins. People want to know if she's going to show up here and be part of the show, so that's what people are talking about here on the red carpet, Ana.

CABRERA: All right. Stephanie Elam, have fun out there. Thanks so much.

You're live in the CNN NEWSROOM. I'm Ana Cabrera in New York. Thank you for spending some time with me.

[18:59:54] At this hour, President Trump is on his way back to Washington after a weekend in Florida where he was hit with the first big international test of his presidency, North Korea test firing a ballistic missile that traveled about 300 miles before crashing into the Sea of Japan.