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Trump's Explosive Wiretapping Allegations; An End to Child Slavery; Trump Issues Travel Ban 2.0; North Korea's Provoking Launch; Citizens on Hold. Aired 3-4a ET
Aired March 7, 2017 - 03:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[03:00:00] MAX FOSTER, CNN HOST: Strong push back to President Trump's explosive wiretapping allegations against his predecessor. Lawmakers are demanding proof and the head of the FBI is not happy.
The White House has revised its travel ban meanwhile. We'll talk to an immigration lawyer about the impact of those changes.
And the CNN freedom project reports how education may be the key to ending child slavery in India.
Hello and welcome to our viewers around the world. I'm Max Foster. And this is CNN NEWSROOM.
Two of U.S. President Donald Trump's campaign pledges are moving closer to being fulfilled despite the destruction of his explosive wiretapping allegation. President Trump signed a new order on Monday for a temporary travel ban for citizens of six Muslim majority countries.
And republicans unveiled their plan to repeal and replace Obamacare as well. But there's still that lingering distraction. Mr. Trump's unsubstantiated claim that former President Barack Obama ordered a tap of his phones last year.
A source says FBI Director James Comey was incredulous over the charge. Lawmakers are calling on the president to provide some proof.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. CHRIS STEWART, (R) UTAH: If the president has some information and he could declassify that without endangering national security, I would encourage him to do that.
SEN. JOHN MCCAIN, (R) ARIZONA: It is a very serious charge and one that needs corroboration and I'm all in favor of Congress continuing an investigation, but first, I believe the president should tell the American people what evidence he has that this kind of action was carried out by the previous president.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
FOSTER: Well, despite the push back from the FBI and calls for proof, just only in that reports, that the White House just isn't backing down.
JEFF ZELENY, CNN SENIOR WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: It's the first weekday since taking office. President Trump did not appear before the cameras, leaving his aides to try defending his extraordinary weekend attack on president Obama.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SARAH HUCKABEE-SANDERS, DEPUTY WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: The president firmly believes that the Obama administration may have tapped into the phones at Trump Tower.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: And is that based on media reports?
SANDERS: We should -- this is something that we should look into.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ZELENY: But neither the deputy White House press secretary nor any adviser provided any evidence to back up the president's explosive claim except to suggest Mr. Trump has access to more information than they do.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
KELLYANNE CONWAY, COUNSELOR TO THE PRESIDENT: He's the President of the United States. He has information and intelligence that the rest of us do not and that's the way it should be for presidents.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ZELENY: The latest presidential eruption started Saturday morning from Florida when the president tweeted this. "Terrible. Just found out that Obama had my wires tapped in Trump Tower just before the victory. Nothing found. This is McCarthyism."
His tweets didn't stop there attacking President Obama again. "This is Nixon Watergate. Bad or sick guy." White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer who held his daily briefing off camera today defended the president but also declined to offer any evidence.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEAN SPICER, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: I think that there's no question that something happened. The question is, is it -- is it surveillance, is it a wiretap or whatever? But there's been enough reporting that strongly suggests that something occurred.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ZELENY: The allegations shook Washington and raised the stake even higher for the Russia investigation on Capitol Hill. A new CNN/ORC poll say nearly two-thirds of Americans say a special prosecutor should investigate Russia allegations. A number that includes most democrats, many independents, and even 43 percent of all republicans. James Clapper, the former director of national intelligence was among
the federal officials who said no wiretapping took place at Trump Tower.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JAMES CLAPPER, FORMER DIRECTOR OF NATIONAL INTELLIGENCE: For the part of the national security apparatus that I oversaw as DNI, there was no such wiretap activity mounted against the president -- the president- elect at the time or as a candidate or against his campaign.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ZELENY: The White House called for a Congressional inquiry into whether President Obama abused the power of federal law enforcement before the 2016 election. A spokesman for the former president said the allegations were simply false.
Republican Senator Marco Rubio, who appeared in Florida with the president on Friday, seemed dumfounded by the allegations on CNN's state of the union.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MARCO RUBIO, (R) UNITED STATES SENATOR: If it's true, obviously we're going to find out very quickly. And if it isn't, then obviously he'll have to explain what he meant by it.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ZELENY: So as that Congressional investigation continues and deepens into Russia, the question is how will that impact the president's agenda on health care, on tax reform, on everything else? That is something this White House is concerned about because this Russia investigation consuming all of Washington could also consume this White House.
Jeff Zeleny, CNN, the White House.
FOSTER: Turning now to Silvia Borrelli, a reporter for Politico. Thanks so much for joining me. I guess, I mean, the pressure is on Donald Trump to proof some evidence, right, around this wiretapping. It's not really going to go away until he does that.
[03:05:04] SILVIA BORRELLI, POLITICO: Well, his aides say it's up to Congress to look into the issue and provide some evidence, but, you know, from across the board including Senator John McCain, he said it's up to the president before Congress even looks into it to provide some sort of proof that what he is saying has some foundation. What we're hearing is that this all started because...
LEMON: Yes, what's the talk?
BORRELLI: Well, the talk is that there was this news report out on Breitbart and it was going around the White House and he just picked it up on Saturday morning and just tweeted away like he often does. So now obviously it's become explosive.
The FBI is quite stunned apparently and there haven't been really any official statements from the Department of Justice. Trump is saying, well, the Congress has to look into it. If he said it there is evidence to support what the president is saying but really we don't know anything about this evidence.
FOSTER: It's clearly some background briefing going on from Comey or his people. Do you think he's likely to come out and speak on the record? Because the great, you know, challenge that for him is he's coming up against a U.S. president, whether or not it's Donald Trump and that's unprecedented.
BORRELLI: It is and it is quite tricky for Comey. I mean, some people have asked for him to resign. He said he's not going to at the same time, you know, the FBI and the Department of Justice are both involved. This is the U.S. president, so he is in a very tricky position once again.
FOSTER: So, he could get fired by Donald Trump but on what grounds if there's no evidence for this claim?
BORRELLI: Exactly. Exactly. So, we are really going to have to see if Congress is going to look into it. but I think before Congress goes a step further Trump is going to have to bring forward some sort of supporting evidence to explain his claims.
FOSTER: And would you say the onus is on him to do that rather than being able to bat it over to Congress?
BORRELLI: I personally think it actually is. Because you know, his -- this president has, you know, a completely new way of going about certain issues but a tweet on Saturday morning with no evidence whatsoever isn't really going to do it.
FOSTER: Just briefly on Obamacare, which is the other big story, isn't it, it's not as cut and dry as people think. Everyone assumes that the republicans will get Obamacare, so therefore, Donald Trump will get republican support to get, you know, what some democrats are calling Obamacare light through the various loops that it has to go through.
But actually not all republicans are against Obamacare. Because depending on their own constituents it's a good thing, isn't it, for some of them?
BORRELLI: There are three or four republicans that are quite uncertain about which way they'll vote and they have supported Obamacare because as you said, it works for their local community. So it's not that obvious.
And a lot of people they're saying, well, let's fix Obamacare. Let's rework the things that haven't been working as smoothly but let's not repeal and replace it full stop. But at the same time, you know, this is a very political thing because Trump has promised to slash it altogether.
And even if he comes up with something that is close to it, the democrats won't side with him. But we don't even know if republicans will because in the end it's working for some people although it isn't for others, so.
FOSTER: Yes. And there's a comparison, isn't it, the travel ban because he's realizing he can't just do what he wants to do. And he has to work through the system. At some point he's going to have to start working with the system before he makes these announcements.
BORRELLI: He will and with the new travel ban, the travel ban 2.0 is seen as, you know, being more likely to be withheld even if there will be legal actions because it doesn't seem like it's based on religious discrimination, although of course, a lot of people have criticized it, the democrats aren't on board. But at the same time it seems like some of the most controversial provisions were slashed.
FOSTER: OK. Silvia. Thank you so much, indeed. So much to digest. Critics aren't exactly rolling over the welcome matter that President Trump's revised travel ban. Then right groups says it still amounts from Muslim travel ban and they're weighing their legal options we understand.
CNN's Michelle Kosinski reports.
MICHELLE KOSINSKI, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: The Trump administration's travel ban do-over. Today, presented by the attorney general, the Department of Homeland Security, and secretary of state.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REX TILLERSON, SECRETARY OF STATE: To our allies and partners around the world, please understand this order is part of our ongoing efforts to eliminate vulnerabilities that radical Islamic terrorists can and will exploit our destructive ends.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KOSINSKI: The signing taking place in private away from reporters. Only an official photo released, quite the difference from the big ceremony for the first botched rollout in January and the Pentagon's hall of heroes.
The new 90-day ban includes six Muslim majority countries, not seven. Iraq is off the list. This after intense lobbying by the Iraqi government, the U.S.'s crucial partner against ISIS.
Among other tweaks to the original travel ban, it now spells out clearly that people who already have a green card or a visa from one of the six countries can travel to the U.S.
[03:10:05] Officials can allow others in, too, on a case-by-case basis. The refugees, Syrians are no longer banned indefinitely and the new order removes language that seem to allow remove preferential treatment to Christians. The refugee program will still be on hold for 120 days. And the total
number of refugees for this fiscal year is kept at 50,000 instead of the 110,000 the Obama administration had raised it to.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JEFF SESSIONS, ATTORNEY GENERAL: This executive order responsibly provides a needed pause, we can -- so we can carefully review how we scrutinize people coming here from these countries of concern.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KOSINSKI: This time though, the administration is making an attempt to back up the need for this order saying 300 refugees admitted to the U.S. are currently under investigation by the FBI for potential terrorist activity, but officials refused to say what countries those refugees are from or even if any are from the six named.
Even before this executive order if you are a refugee wanting to come to the United States from anywhere in the world on average the process takes a year and a half to two years. So it's unclear what more can be done to make it more stringent.
As expected, the reaction was swift. You have many republicans saying this is simply consistent with trying to protect America, and many democrats and refugee groups blasting it calling it immoral, mean- spirited, unconstitutional, un-American and dangerous.
Michelle Kosinski, CNN, the State Department.
FOSTER: The revised travel ban could end up in courts of courts just like the first one. Protestors gathered outside the White House on Monday to voice their opposition. Remember, still the liberty's group and states attorney general say they're weighing their legal options.
The Attorney General for Washington State, Bob Ferguson tells CNN his state's court challenges have made a difference.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BOB FERGUSON, WASHINGTON STATE ATTORNEY GENERAL: They said, for example, it does not apply to green cardholders. That's about 500,000 people in the United States. Does not apply to those who had visas already from the affected countries. That's tens of thousands of individuals in addition. Does not apply to Syrians on a permanent basis.
And these are major, major concessions by President Trump and despite his tweet, you know, a few weeks ago saying, "see you in court," his attorneys have done everything they can before the ninth circuit and Judge Robart and the trial court to avoid seeing us in court.
They filed motion after motion seeking delays in proceedings. So, no, there's no question in my mind that the president realized that the original executive order was indefensible and frankly, four federal judges agreed with that. (END VIDEO CLIP)
FOSTER: Joining me here in London is Christi Jackson. She is an attorney and head of the U.S. Practice at Laura Devine Solicitors. Thank you very much for joining us. So, you have a chance to digest this revised plan. Is it more watertight legally for Donald Trump and his administration?
CHRISTI JACKSON, HEAD OF U.S. PRACTICE, LAURA DEVINE SOLICITORS: I think it will likely is going to be a little bit more easier to be upheld in the court challenges, but I don't think that we're going to see no challenge to it whatsoever. Tech groups and civil rights groups are already stating that they're going to challenge the ban.
FOSTER: The challenge is based on this idea of discrimination against groups, religious groups.
JACKSON: Religious groups.
FOSTER: He could argue he's taken that out because there's no reference to Muslims, is there anymore?
JACKSON: That's exactly right. So he has removed the parts that were the most scrutinized so that is the specific reference to Syria. The specific -- when it comes to refugees. The specific reference to the idea that they are going to only, you know, apply to certain religious groups.
JACKSON: The Christian groups. He was saying the refugees were only going to be if they were minority religions and that was a problem.
JACKSON: Because that's referring the religion.
FOSTER: That's against the Constitution. So that was never a go.
JACKSON: That's right.
FOSTER: He's adapted it and he spent some time on it and he's delayed it for several weeks as well, hasn't he.
JACKSON: He has. He has. I don't know if it's been delayed due to the actual announcement or for other political reasons.
JACKSON: But we have seen, you know, that he has made some changes to it that may hold up. I don't think though that it's going to be perfect. And I think we have a lot of problems still even with the ban as it stands now, the new ban. FOSTER: How does it work in terms of this court challenges? They can
really those court challenges delay the process or does it still go into force whilst these court challenges take place.
JACKSON: Well, the last time we saw that the ban was implemented. So this time we know it's going to go until it won't start until March 16th.
JACKSON: So we got 10 more days. We'll see what happens in the next 10 days.
FOSTER: So the most challenges have 10 days.
JACKSON: Well, the delay was I think designed so that we didn't see that mass chaos...
JACKSON: ... that we saw last time at the airports where people didn't know if they were able to travel, they were in flight.
[03:15:03] So the delay is meant to address that. We'll see what happens with these challenges though. If they will be brought during the next 10 days and if anything does happen with the ban before it actually is implemented.
More likely, I think we'll see the implementation come and then the legal challenges happen and, you know, just like the last ban the judge has ordered a stay of the ban. If they feel that there is some constitutional argument they could do the same again.
FOSTER: In terms of how you see this is the way it's been handled, obviously there's this huge concern. The White House wasn't operating with the Justice Department and with enough attorneys effectively, just working within a very small group. It doesn't work under the U.S. system, does it?
FOSTER: Because everything those who see the courts and you have to refer to what's found there, even Donald Trump can't get around that.
JACKSON: Well, this is it. The first ban came out and we read it, the lawyers read it, the immigration lawyers read it and said, oh, my gosh, this is a problem.
JACKSON: It said, traveling from these countries. What's from? Is that born, is that a citizen? So, I think now they've gone back, they've put some legal thought into it. So this is why I'd say there is some possibility that we could be upheld. You know, so there has been legal thought. But I've already seen, I mean, there's definitely still issues. I
think we've got problems with visa issuance for certain people. They've sort of said, the Department of State will deal with it.
JACKSON: So until we start to see how just like last time, how it rolls out, and how it's actually being implemented I think we're still going to see some problems.
FOSTER: Could Syria, for example, go to a court in America and say, look, Iraq's been taken off this list, why can't we be taken off of it? How does that first...
JACKSON: Well, so, the idea is that this is only a 90-day travel ban. And it's during this period of time that government, the U.S. government is going to analyze some of the things that these countries can do to tighten up their vetting process, such as, is what we've been hearing all along is this extreme vetting.
JACKSON: They've said that that's why Iraq has come off the list, that Iraq is sharing the information now.
JACKSON: With the U.S. government. We don't know to what extent and we don't know what information is being shared now that is different than it was before. But that is where we are. So these other countries ideally could remove themselves if they comply.
FOSTER: Yes. Keeping politicians busy and lawyers busy.
JACKSON: Indeed, very busy.
FOSTER: Thank you very much for joining us, Christi.
JACKSON: Great. Thank you.
FOSTER: Now an outspoken critic of Donald Trump is being forced to cancel a visit to Canada. Khizr Khan was scheduled to give a talk in Toronto on Tuesday. But the event organizer says Khan's travel privileges are being reviewed. U.S. authorities citing privacy were discussing Khan's case. He's been a U.S. citizen for decades. And these adults are parents who son died fighting for the U.S. in Iraq. You'll remember him.
Now North Korea's latest missile launch is prompting reacting worldwide including from the White House. Just ahead, the system the U.S. is using to protect its allies in the region.
Plus, more trouble on the road to the Elysee Palace. The new twist in the French presidential election, just ahead. [03:20:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
FOSTER: Malaysia says it won't allow North Korean citizens to leave its territory until it's assured of the safety of Malaysians in North Korea. It's accusing North Korea of holding 11 Malaysians hostage in that alignment to leave the country. Police have been spotted North Korea's embassy in Kuala Lumpur.
It's believed three North Korean nationals are hold up there. The Malaysian police want to question them about the death of Kim Jong- un's estranged half-brother. Authorities say he was killed by a banned nerve agency at Kuala Lumpur's airport last month.
The United Nations Security Council will meet on Wednesday to discuss North Korea's latest ballistic missile launch.
Meanwhile, state media report that Kim Jong-un personally supervised Monday's test. Meanwhile, the U.S. and South Korea are speeding up their months' long plan to deploy their THUD missile defense to counter these North Korean threats.
Let's bring in Paula Hancocks who is now live in Seoul. So, just tell us a bit more about the system and what's been ramped up here.
PAULA HANCOCKS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Max, as you say, this has been months in the making, but we saw within the last 24 hours the first elements of THUD actually arriving at Osan Air Base here in South Korea. So the process has begun. Now it will take a fair bit of time still. It's going to come in parts and then they'll have to assemble it here.
But the official line at this point is that it could be fully operational by July at the earliest. The U.S. and South Korean defense minister spoke last week. They said they wanted this as soon as possible. And the opinion here in South Korea is fairly split over it. The military may want it opposition parties don't those who are going to be living next to the system don't want it as well.
But as far as the South Korean and U.S. military officials are concerned, they say it is necessary to shoot their missiles from North Korea to be able to target the short range, that the medium range, and the intermediate range missiles from North Korea. As you say, we just saw four on Monday, Max.
FOSTER: Obviously some people in South Korea not necessarily backing this move because it does make the country in that area more of a target.
HANCOCKS: Well, this is one of the arguments that's being made at this point, and certainly made by many opposition party leaders. They also say that something of this magnitude for South Korea should actually be voted on in parliament. They wanted to see this debated going through the national assembly. They say there's too much political turmoil in this country at this
point with the current president impeached and waiting to see if that impeachment will be overturned or upheld within days. They say it has to be put on hold.
But the fact is it started to arrive on Monday night. It's difficult to see how this process will be disrupted at this point.
We have the commander of U.S. Pacific Command saying that yesterday's missile launches from North Korea on Monday just showed how prudent it was that they decided last year that this should be deployed here. Now the U.S. says the system is tried and tested. It's being used in Guam and Hawaii and it should be used in South Korea as well.
FOSTER: And China also very concerned because they view this as a change in the balance of power in the region. They don't want to see that. They want to remain the dominant force there.
[03:25:01] HANCOCKS: Well, that's right. And quite frankly, China does not want to see more U.S. military hardware on their door stop. It very close to where China is. And they have this U.S. missile defense system. Now China claims that it will actually interfere with their systems, the radar aspect of this missile defense system is going to make their missile system defunct, they believe.
Russia has also said that they're not happy with it. And of course, North Korea has said that they're not happy with this but obviously, for different reasons. North Korea also saying they're not happy at this point with the U.S./South Korean military drills that are ongoing that started just last week.
So there's an awful lot of discontent at this point over what's happening. But certainly the U.S. and South Korea insist that THUD is necessary and insist it will go ahead no matter what the regional disputes are.
FOSTER: Paula, in Seoul, thank you very much indeed for bringing us that.
Now in France, the center right Republican Party is standing behind its presidential candidate despite lingering interruption scandals around him. Francois Fillon says it was a mistake to hire family members. He's accused them for her paying them for jobs that they didn't do.
Fillon says they did perform meaningful work and he has nothing to hide. The renewed backing from the Republican Party came on Monday after former Prime Minister Alain Juppe ruled himself out as a possible replacement.
British lawmakers want a greater say with Brexit terms and final approval on any deal with the European Union. The House of Lords is set to resume debate on the government plan in just a few hours' time.
Prime Minister Theresa May wants Brexit negotiations to start by the end of month. The Trump campaign's possible ties to Russia have been consuming
Washington and the media. And Russia says all the accusations are hurting diplomacy now. We'll go live to Moscow straight ahead.
Plus, CNN's Freedom Project is showcasing young people who are involved in the global fight for freedom. Coming out, we'll show you how education is unlocking the chains of child slavery in India.
[03:30:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
FOSTER: Welcome back. I'm Max Foster. Let's update you on our top stories this hour.
Malaysia says it won't allow North Korean citizens inside its country to leave. It's responding to Pyongyang's decision to prevent 11 Malaysian from leaving North Korea. Police have also been seen outside North Korea's embassy in Kuala Lumpur.
They believe three North Korean nationals are hold up there. They are going to question them over the murder of Kim Jong-un's estranged half-brother in Malaysia's capital last month.
U.S. President Donald Trump has unveiled his revised travel ban and Iraq is no longer on the list. Mr. Trump refused to let reporters in the room as he signed the executive order. This temporarily bans travel to the U.S. from Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, and Yemen.
FBI Director James Comey is said to be incredulous over President Donald Trump's wiretapping allegations. He claimed without evidence that former President Barack Obama taps his phones last year. A source says Comey felt compelled to push back on the claim.
The U.S. attorney general says he did not mislead Congress about his ties to Russia. Jeff Sessions has been under scrutiny since it was revealed last week that he met with the Russian ambassador twice during the presidential campaign. And during his confirmation hearings he denied having contact with Russian officials during that time.
Sessions released a letter on Monday saying those meetings were in his capacity as a senator not as a representative of the then-candidate Trump. But democrats think Sessions should answer their questions and in person.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. CHRIS COONS, (D) DELAWARE: I think it would be more forthcoming if the attorney general would return to the judiciary committee and answer our questions in full.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Did he lie under oath do you think?
COONS: I don't know that and I look forward to reviewing his written response. He certainly didn't answer the question presented in a straightforward and truthful way.
(END VIDEO CLIP) FOSTER: Well, Russia says it didn't interfere with the U.S. election
and all the accusations are creating conflict. Spokesman for the Russian president Vladimir Putin is calling it American hysteria.
Senior international correspondent Fred Pleitgen is in Moscow with more. They're saying they didn't get involved but also they didn't have the inclination to get involved.
FREDERIK PLEITGEN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Exactly. And he didn't just say that he believed that there was this hysteria, which he said was going on in American politics, this of course, Dmitry Peskov, the spokesperson -- the spokesman for Vladimir Putin, for Russia's President that there was not only hysteria but he felt that his country, that Russia was being turned into a toxic country, as he put it.
That the Russian ambassador in Washington, D.C. of course who around whom a lot of this is really centering that he was being turned into a, quote, "a toxic ambassador." So, certainly, the Russian say they're absolutely not happy about that.
And when our own Matthew Chance then asked Dmitry Peskov whether the Russian had any sort of information about these wiretapping allegations which the President, Donald Trump, unfoundedly made against his predecessor, Barack Obama, he said the Russians simply don't want to interfere in any domestic U.S. events. Let's listen in to what he has to say.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DMITRY PESKOV, KREMLIN SPOKESMAN: We don't have the slightest intention to interfere. The only thing I can tell you about is that the oldest hysteria in public opinion, hysteria in official Washington, hysteria in American media. This is doing lots of harm to the future of our relationship.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
PLEITGEN: So as you hear, there are a lot of harm he says as to the future of the relationship between the U.S. and Russia. Obviously the Russians were not unhappy to see President Trump take office, but at the same time of course, they were that way because they were expecting some tangible results as far as the relations between the U.S. and Russia are concerned. And they fear -- they feel so far that it doesn't seem as though there has been any headway made in trying to improve those relations.
Of course, first and foremost in the long run what the Russians want is sanctions relief against their country. Max?
FOSTER: They've been very careful, hadn't they; all along not to criticize President Trump, in particular saying it's the people around him often that they have a problem with. Do you think they're coming closer to criticizing the presidency itself?
PLEITGEN: Well, I mean, I think that they do criticize certain things about the administration in the first couple of days. I mean, I think that they do criticize the slow pace at which things are evolving. Some of the things that have happened of curse in the administration, but you're absolutely right.
They are at least at this point in time taking great care to sort of insulate the president himself from that criticism. It was interesting. Because one of the main TV pundits here in this country, Dmitry Kiselyov has a very influential show that airs here on Sunday night. He came out and said that the institution, what he calls the establishment in Washington is trying to scare Donald Trump to make sure that he doesn't mention the word Russia.
[03:35:00] And that's one of the reasons why it's become what Dmitry Peskov then later said a toxic country within the U.S. political dialogue. So that's certainly something where they feel that they're being singled out. And they're certainly trying to influence the president from any sort of criticism that they have.
But at the same time, you do feel that a lot of the almost jubilation that you heard after President Trump was elected, some of that is starting to fade as the time drags on and as the Russians continue to see what they believe are not really any sort of -- or is not really any sort of tangible progress towards any sort of improvement in relations, not just as far as potentially lifting sanctions is concerned.
But for instance, also as far as the conflict in Syria and possibly working together there, the conflict in Ukraine and possibly trying to de-conflict that a little bit are concerned as well. Max.
FOSTER: OK. Fred in Moscow, thank you very much, indeed.
Now coming up, education may be the key to breaking the chains in slavery amongst India's children. And we'll take you for a look at a nonprofit that's tackling one village at a time.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
PEGGY CALLAHAN, VOICES 4 FREEDOM CO-FOUNDER: The bottom line, education is the greatest vaccination against slavery all over the world and it is working miracles here.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
FOSTER: Now in northern India aid workers say they're making some important breakthroughs in the fight against modern day slavery.
CNN's Ravi Agrawal introduces us to schools for freedom where hundreds of former child slaves are given a new future through education.
RAVI AGRAWAL, CNN INTERNATIONAL'S NEW DELHI BUREAU CHIEF: Meet Sitara, she just loves to dance. At school yard games she more than holds her own. In the classroom she's a top student. [03:40:01] Sitara is Hindi for star. It's fitting. She's a shining
success story of a group called Schools for Freedom. This is a school of boys and girls who are singing, reciting poetry and enjoying themselves. You can feel that they have rich futures ahead of them.
When you speak to them, though, you learn that some of them are hiding dark pasts that no child and no family should ever have to go through.
Just one year ago, Sitara was working at a brick kiln like this one. It was dusty, unforgiving work she says. It was bonded death labor. But let's call it what it really is, slavery, and it's prevalent across these parts of Uttar Pradesh, Indian state with 200 million people.
Sitara's parents were enslaved there, too. They haven't forgotten that their own daughter was sucked into bonded labor to help pay back their debt.
"They used to beat me at the brick kiln," Sitara says. She hated her life then. Here's Chamela, Sitara's mom. She isn't sure how old her daughter is, 13 she reckons. Sitara thinks she's 15. Time blows our tear.
Chamela tears up when she recalls watching her daughter being beaten. What can you do when you're in debt, she says? A big part of the solution here is awareness and education and that's a battle being led by people like Peggy Callahan. She's the co-founder of Voices for Freedom which runs and sponsors Schools for Freedom.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
AGRAWAL: How important are these schools for villages like this?
CALLAHAN: They're all important. They're all important because the parents will risk everything to try to get their kids educated so they will move forward even when they're afraid of the slave holder, even when the slave holder is threatening them, they have the courage to do what it takes to help free themselves and to get their kids educated.
Because the bottom line, education is the greatest vaccination against slavery all over the world and it is working miracles here.
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AGRAWAL: The miracle isn't complete. At the village we visited, Callahan said 84 people have found a way out of bonded labor. A few dozen are still trapped. How do they get freed? Sometimes they pay off their debts, sometimes charities intervene and sometimes it can be simpler like understanding their rights and just saying no.
One of the people still enslaved is Papu. He's just 12. We're not showing his face. We don't want him to get into trouble for talking to us. "Here, Papu tells me the mass is that the brick kiln come and beats him if he skips a day of work. He shows me his fingers. They're almost sandpapered by brick. He has cuts and calluses. When he walks his bare feet betrays the scars of his life, but they
haven't broken his spirit. Papu tells me he sneaks in an hour a day at the classroom. Sometimes when the other kids line up to wash their hands he joins in.
The children get free hot lunches at the school. It's a marvel to see these kids fight the odds and still smile. At night, Papu practices the alphabet in dim light. He dreams of being a teacher someday. And here's Sitara again, cooking for the family. She knows her parents need to work late.
Every day is hard in this village, even when they're free there are a million reasons for these children to just give up to despair. And yet, the school is an example for Sitara. But Sitara is an example for the Papus. This is what freedom looks like. This is what can be.
Ravi Agrawal, CNN, in rural Uttar Pradesh, India.
FOSTER: How common is bonded labor then in India? Well, although the practice has been banned since 1976, it's still widespread. The global slavery index estimates that more than 18 million people in India are living in slavery including bonded labor as well as other forms.
And according to a new report by the U.S. State Department, estimates very, very widely, but some NGO's place the number of bonded labors in India in the tens of millions. The international labor organization says there are 11.7 million bonded laborers in the entire Asia-Pacific region.
CNN is teaming up with young people around the globe for a unique student-led day of action against modern day slavery. March 14th is My Freedom Day. These students in Europe taught us what freedom means to them.
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[03:45:08] UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: To me freedom means how to control my own body and mind.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I think that freedom is everything. It should not be based on where you're from, what you're doing or where you're going.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Freedom to me means the right to be safe, to be happy, and to be proud.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
FOSTER: Well, you tell us what freedom means to you. Send us your answer by text, photo or video across social media using the hash tag My Freedom Day.
Now a small team is braving the Arctic wilderness and sharing stories along the way. We'll tell you about one of the adventurers. We're going to speak to him, as well, and ask them why they're trekking across Iceland. (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
KAREN MAGINNIS, AMS METEOROLOGIST: Hello, everyone. I'm CNN meteorologist Karen Maginnis.
After a violent night of storms across the Central Plains and the Gulf Coast region and very high winds reported across the Central United States as well, storm system heads towards the east as we look into Tuesday, bringing with it additional wet weather all the way from Boston and New York towards Atlanta into Florida.
The interior west dominated by high pressure but we've got some wet weather and mountain snowfall expected again into the Pacific Northwest. Wow, what a season this has been there. Buy you can see right across the Central United States much quieter, still going to be windy.
Here's a forecast taking a look at windy weather conditions. Chicago, 12 degrees. So that will make it feel a lot cooler. Look for partly cloudy, windy weather conditions in Denver, 12 for a high temperature there. Vancouver, a combination of rain and snow. Thunderstorms expected in the forecast for Atlanta.
We move on a little bit further towards the south in Havana, mostly cloudy, and 29. Belize City, thunderstorms and looking at 28 for a high. And in South America, Brasilia, 31. Rio de Janeiro, expecting thunderstorms in the forecast. And even further south it looks like Rio Gallegos, 14 for a high much of a day of sunshine at 25.
FOSTER: Four people are trekking across the Icelandic wilderness pulling their gear through the snow and the ice. It's not the plot of a blockbuster film but it's the expedition of a team from the University of Minnesota.
They're following them to a group that will take them over terrain that's really not easy to travel in winter. They plan to document how the earth is changing, though, and how people are reacting to that change.
[03:49:59] For more on the expedition let's go to team member, Aaron Doering. He joins us now from northern Iceland. What's the weather like then?
AARON DOERING, EXPEDITION TEAM LEADER: Good morning, Max. This morning it looks at camp about 5 degrees. So, it's actually a pretty nice day. And the wind has died down a little bit in the islands.
FOSTER: How has it been -- how's the going been? Incredibly rough terrain?
DOERING: It's incredibly rough. In fact, you know, Reykjavik had the biggest snowfall since 1937 when we first arrived. So, the snow is extremely deep. Right now our sleds that we pull behind us with everything in it is extremely heavy because we have all of the fuel and most importantly, all of the technology that we can share with the world with the eventual learning project. FOSTER: What's been the hardest thing then so far?
DOERING: You know, the hardest thing right now is actually the terrain and also fighting the solar batteries because we not only have these heavy sleds, and we're doing great as a team, but where the sun is right now, our solar batteries are not charging like they should be. So, to get the education program out with the eventual learning program that those students around the world, that's a challenge right now.
FOSTER: Because that's one of the missions here, right? It's not for you to see what's there but to take an audience with you, and ideally a young audience, people in schools so that they can actually hook up with your expedition?
DOERING: That's right. You know, over the last 15 years I've been traveling the Arctic, it's not about me at all. It's about getting the education program out to students. My hope is that students who will never be able to leave their local, whether they are there in classrooms they can log on and experience the world with us and see the changing earth and how they can make a difference in their own local neighborhood.
FOSTER: What's been the most surprising reaction from those kids so far?
DOERING: You know, over the last 15 years I think that the biggest thing is that they can't believe how the world is changing, how the cultures are so different and them more importantly, how we're so much alike. From really from the Arctic to Africa to Australia, the last 15 years have been shared with them.
And the biggest thing with this online education program, is that they're not only learning from us but learning from each other as they collaborate online.
FOSTER: What sorts of things are they expecting to see then that you're able to show isn't the reality?
DOERING: You know what, I think the biggest thing that we're able to show is truly what it's like in these different locations, what it's like to live in Iceland, how different it is from other places in the Arctic regions, how different it is from Australia. Our goal is to understand just where they fit into this world and how they can make a difference in their own neighborhood doing citizen science themselves.
FOSTER: So those that do work and live there, how do they cope?
DOERING: You know, it's -- Iceland is just a great story, actually, because it's not only the coal mine and climate change, in the sense that they're losing in the cold an Olympic swimming pool every single day of glaciers. The land has literally risen 1.4 inches every year because of the lessening of the glaciers.
It's also the opportunity to share with the world. And they have this opportunity to -- where they have hydroelectric power that is powering 75 percent of their renewable energy and the other 25 percent is type of geothermal. So it's a great story. That they're actually now looking to export it.
FOSTER: No, it's a story they want to get out there, which is why they're supporting this trip that they want to be able to transcend it.
Thank you very much, indeed, for joining us, Aaron Doering, up there in Iceland.
DOERING: Thank you.
FOSTER: Now a powerful cyclone in the Indian Ocean, meanwhile, and it's just made landfall we understand in Madagascar. Let's get the latest from Karen Maginnis. She's over there in the weather center. Hi, Karen.
MAGINNIS: Hi, Max. And yes, we have an extremely deadly potential for Madagascar with the landfall of this tropical cyclone as its eye wall has crossed the coast here, now we're due for its slow movement as it travels towards the south and the southwest.
It just made landfall within the hour, maybe hour and a half. It is extremely powerful. The equivalent of a category 4 hurricane. Now the Southern Indian Ocean does see its fair share of tropical activity, but to see a tropical cyclone at this intensity is extraordinary.
So it makes landfall as this category four starts to move towards the south. So it's going to linger here for the next several days. This is going to impact the infrastructure. It's going to produce power outages that could last for weeks, certainly a possibility. Loss of life is great. We'll see and expect lots of property damage.
This is a rainfall estimate. They're saying on the order of 2 to 300 millimeters for most places, however, with whatever elevation this rings out, some areas could see four to 500 millimeters of rainfall. That with the gusty winds, but it's going to fall apart fairly quickly but then become a broad rain shield.
[03:54:59] We have been watching this now for the better part of a week, and it has finally made landfall as this powerful tropical cyclone across the United States, a very tortuous night of violent weather with hail, high winds and tornadoes. Hundreds of reports.
We even had a report of a town in just about Western Missouri that had a number of injuries and plenty of property damage. Now that system moves towards the east. As it does, the violent weather extending from Tennessee down towards Louisiana. We'll have to watch out for what happens there.
Max, back to you.
FOSTER: Karen, thank you very much, indeed. We will indeed be watching. Now we're going to finish with this. There's texting and there's driving and there's drinking and there's driving but what about juggling and driving. Well, a college student was driving slowly with a broken taillight. Campus police thought he might be drunk. But when they pulled over the student put on a juggling show. Why not? It did prove he was sober.
Now the campus dash cam caught it all and they later followed it up with a magic trick.
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BLAYK PUCKETT, JUGGLER MAGICIAN: But I never did fulfill your request. You wanted to see some magic the other night? A little squishy ball, see that?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Al right.
PUCKETT: Hold it right here. When you do, just like that, this is what's awesome. Get a close-up of this. The ball disappears. It doesn't go far. It just jumps over near my pocket. See?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
FOSTER: Famous for being pulled over. This video isn't likely to disappear any time soon. The juggling sobriety test has been viewed thousands of times on social media. Who needs breathalyzers?
More CNN NEWSROOM after the break including a live report from Iraq. For reaction to the Trump administrations revised travel ban. Do stay with us for that.
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