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Tensions Rise Before Dutch Vote; White House Walks Back Wiretapping Claims; Turkey Halts High-Level Relations With Netherlands; Turkish Foreign Minister: Problem Is Extremism, Islamophobia; Turkey's Erdogan Compares Dutch Government To Nazis; Dutch Foreign Minister Situation "Unworkable"; Netherlands Barred Turkish Foreign Minister Over The Weekend; U.K. Parliament Clears Way For Brexit Talks; Scotland's First Minister Wants Independence Referendum; Scotland Voted Against Independence In 2014; #MyFreedomDay: Students Worldwide Stand Up To Slavery; Student-Led Events Celebrate Freedom; White House Reshapes Trump's Wiretap Allegation; Spicer: Trump Meant Broad Surveillance Activities; Ryan: CBO Report Confirms Plan Will Lower Premiums. Aired 1-2a ET

Aired March 14, 2017 - 01:00   ET

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


[01:00:00] ISHA SESAY, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT AND ANCHOR: You're watching CNN NEWSROOM, live from Los Angeles.

JOHN VAUSE, CNN NEWSROOM ANCHOR: Ahead this hour, tensions rising between the Turkish and Dutch governments just days before a critical vote in the Netherlands.

SESAY: Plus, the White House appears to be walking back claims made by President Donald Trump, that Barack Obama wiretapped his phones during the campaign.

VAUSE: Also ahead, standing together for freedom, students around the world joins the fight against slavery.

SESAY: Hello, and thank you for joining us. I'm Isha Sesay.

VAUSE: I'm John Vause. We're now into the second hour of NEWSROOM L.A. Turkey is ramping up its diplomatic fight with the Netherlands. Ankara, is suspending high level relations, and refusing to let the Dutch Ambassador back into the country.

SESAY: And the dispute started over the weekend, when the Netherlands barred Turkish officials from a political rally. CNN's Atika Shubert, reports.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

ATIKA SHUBERT, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: After Dutch police deployed water cannons, and riot police to disperse angry protesters outside the Turkish Consulate in Rotterdam, on Saturday night. Netherlands' Prime Minister, Mark Rutte, used a Monday press conference to talk tough, on the Turkish diplomatic crisis.

MARK RUTTE, THE NETHERLANDS PRIME MINISTER: And we will still try to deescalate. But of course, to deescalate these two to tango, and we will never, never, ever negotiate under threat.

SHUBERT: But this is more than a diplomatic blowout. It has become a political football, playing straight into Rutte's re-election campaign as he faces off against Geert Wilders, the stridently nationalist and anti-Islam politician. The latest poll show the candidates are neck and neck. Even before the diplomatic crisis with Turkey - Wilders told CNN: Rutte's tougher talk in immigration was a pale imitation of the original.

GEERT WILDERS, PARTY FOR FREEDOM FOUNDER AND LEADER: Many partisan copying what we intend to do. Everybody's talking about it, that's a good thing. As a matter of fact, we won the elections before election day because everybody's talking about immigration, national identity.

SHUBERT: It is a tight race, and the first, in a serious of game- changing elections across Europe. Now, the first televised debate between the two candidates, is happening here at Erasmus University in Rotterdam. And here, voters remain divided.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I think, Rutte will win.

SHUBERT: Yes?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: In the end.

SHUBERT: Why?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I think he has acted as a Prime Minister the past few days. And I think that is what people need.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I think it will, cause that many people are going to vote for Wilders.

SHUBERT: How would you feel if Wilders became the next Prime Minister?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I think it would be terrible. I see it as being part of a larger movement of democracies moving toward populism.

SHUBERT: Rutte, is staking his campaign on an appeal to Dutch voters, not to gamble with the county's and Europe's future.

RUTTE: Remember the Brexit. We all thought that would never happen. Remember the U.S. elections. So, let's not make that mistake again. These elections are crucial. Let us stop the domino effect, right here, this week, this Wednesday. The domino effect, of the wrong sort of populism winning in this world.

SHUBERT: On Wednesday, Dutch voters will get to decide. Atika Shubert, CNN, Rotterdam.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

VAUSE: Dominic Thomas, is the Chair of the Department of French and Francophone Studies at UCLA. He joins us from Amsterdam. Dominic, good to see you again. You know, we heard from the Turkish Foreign Minister saying, this dispute with the Netherlands is being driven, and he calls it, an increasing lack of tolerance not just in the Netherlands but across Europe. This is what he said.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MEVLUT CAVUSOGLU, TURKEY FOREIGN MINISTER: The main problem, overall, is the rise of extremism, xenophobia, racism, and anti-Turkey - anti- Turk sentiments, islamophobia, and anti-immigrants' sentiments in - mainly in the Netherlands, in Austria, and some - in some other European countries.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

VAUSE: So just focusing on Netherlands right now, how accurate is that statement by the Turkish Foreign Minister? And how will that play into Wednesday's election?

[01:04:47] DOMINIC THOMAS, UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA LOS ANGELES DEPARTMENT OF FRENCH AND FRANCOPHONE STUDIES CHAIR: Right. When it plays into elections, both in Turkey where President Erdogan is next month facing this referendum, where he's trying to consolidate his powers. And let's not forget that, since the coup in Turkey a while back, the decline of democratic principles there have been absolutely staggering and have actually fed into this debate as people have pointed to those kinds of things taking place in Turkey.

On the landscape, here, there has been - on the one hand of focus on a range of domestic issues, but it is absolutely true that the focus on Islam and on Muslim communities living in the Netherlands, and on the sort of the question of their allegiance to democratic principles and so on, has been put into question. And that Wilders is far right political party like Marine Le Pen in France, been shaping this election to the extent that all other candidates have been responding to his statements on national identity, Islam, and so on. So, this latest and crisis, which can be explained by all of these factors and by the need of the candidates to take a particularly tough position, is going to have an impact on the ways in which the people will go to the polls on Wednesday morning.

VAUSE: OK. Well, the Dutch government is really not taking a backwards step in this, you know, dispute with Turkey. Listen to the Foreign Minister he was speaking to Hala Gorani.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

HALA GORANI, CNN CORRESPONDENT AND ANCHOR: Under what conditions would you allow the Foreign Minister or any other administer of the government of President Erdogan to come to Holland, to campaign.

BERT KOENDERS, NETHERLANDS' MINISTER OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS: Well, I think it's now becoming quite impossible, frankly, in this situation.

GORANI: So, in under no condition.

KOENDERS: Well, we have now a situation which I think that is unworkable. (END VIDEO CLIP)

VAUSE: Dominic, under normal circumstances, a diplomatic dispute like this may go away be quite a result after the Dutch elections. But I guess depending on the results, this Wednesday's, relations between these countries might get even worse.

THOMAS: They could very well get worse, and this could, you know, it's not just a Dutch problem any longer, it's a European Union problem. The question of Turkey has been of course a very important one, in European politics far while. And since the 2016 migrants' crisis deal with Turkey, where Turkey's essentially agreed in exchange for a various sort of concessions to serve as a kind of migrant shield to Europe, which has also impacts the question of Islam, immigration, terrorism and so on, and this is unlikely to go away.

The interesting thing of course is that the French allowed the Foreign Minister to speak there in a rally in Eastern France just the other day. So, the European response has not been consistent. What has been consistent, is a total unanimous denunciation of the response by the Turkish authorities by raising questions around Nazism and fascism, that has not been tolerated. Now, once the election is over in the Netherlands, the focus is going to be on the formation of coalition parties, and so, of course, the interest in the Turkish issue and could potentially go down.

VAUSE: OK. Dominic, thank you for being with us. Dominic Thomas, in Amsterdam, of his perspective. We appreciate it.

SESAY: Well, the U.K. is a big step closer to leaving the European Union. On Monday, the British Parliament passed a bill that will allow Prime Minister Theresa May, to begin talks on an E.U. exit. The House of Law devoted not to re-introduce two amendments that had been rejected by the House of Common.

VAUSE: Queen Elizabeth is expected to approve the bill on Tuesday, making it law. Once that is done, Prime Minister May, could trigger article 50 any day now.

SESAY: Well, Scotland's First Minister says the U.K. is heading for a bad deal on Brexit. And she wants no part of it.

VAUSE: Nicola Sturgeon plans to ask the Scottish Parliament to approve a second referendum on independence. Unlike Britain, a majority of Scots voted to remain in the E.U. Sturgeon says, Scotland is at a risk of being taken out of the E.U. against its will.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

NICOLA STURGEON, SCOTLAND FIRST MINISTER: Over the past few months, we have worked hard, really hard to try to find agreement. The Prime Minister and her government have been given every opportunity to compromise. But today, as we stand for all we know on the eve of article 50 being triggered, not only is there no U.K.-wide agreement on the way ahead, but the U.K. government has not moved even an inch in pursuit of compromise and agreement. Our efforts at compromise have instead be met with a brick wall of intransigence.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SESAY: Well, Scottish journalist, Isla Traquair, is here with us now. Isla, good to have you with us. In response to Nicola Sturgeon's call for the Second Scottish Independence Referendum, the British Prime Minister is insisting that the majority of people in Scotland do not want another vote on this issue, is she, right?

ISLA TRAQUAIR, SCOTTISH JOURNALIST: Well, Theresa May is saying she has evidence that the majority of Scottish people don't want this vote. However, there are polls that suggest that it would still be deeply divided. But it's a very complicated issue, so it's hard to say. There's still the hangover of the First Referendum, followed by the onslaught of the Brexit. And do the Scottish people really want more uncertainty and divisiveness? I don't know.

[01:10:01] SESAY: Yes. Have we got to this point due to an inflexibility on the part of Theresa May's part - on the part of Theresa May, I mean? That seems to be what Nicola Sturgeon was saying quite clearly, and some analysts have said the same thing. I mean, in other words, could this have been avoided if handled differently by Theresa May?

TRAQUAIR: Possibly. Nicola Sturgeon said, yes, they would've looked at it differently. But they're in the situation now where - we actually anticipated Nikola Sturgeon just to come forward with an ultimatum, instead she went straight for the jugular calling for a Second Referendum. So, that was unexpected.

SESAY: So now, Theresa May, finds herself in a bit of a tight spot when it comes down to the decision of whether to give approval for another referendum. I mean, what is your sense in terms of the political calculus? Can she say no?

TRAQUAIR: She can say yes, she can say no. And the third option is, she can say yes but after the U.K. has left the E.U. and that's not what Nicola Sturgeon wants. She's asked for the timeframe, sometime after next autumn but before spring. So, there are more detail, the Scottish people know what they're going to be voting for. And this is the biggest challenge, in all of this issue's, is the voters haven't had the facts and they've been voting on emotion. And Nicola Sturgeon has been accused of appealing to this this brave heart mindset, and hoping that people do vote in emotion rather than fact. Let's not forget, that the majority of the exports from Scotland go to the rest of U.K. - 63 percent, and its only 16 percent to the E.U., and the rest 21 percent as the rest of the world.

SESAY: You know, the other point in all of this is, you know, as we talk about a Scottish referendum and Scotland choosing to remain with the E.U., and Britain chooses to go out. It is not a straight forward, automatic situation. They would still have to reapply or apply for E.U. membership, correct?

TRAQUAIR: Yes, it's complicated. They certainly don't just get handed the membership. And there's all the other questions that come into force as well, if they do decide to leave. And also, the timing. If they are able to have that referendum before the U.K. exit Europe, that might change things as well. It's very complex, and very confusing, and the voters don't actually know what they'll be voting for yet. This is the problem that's been with the first referendum, with Brexit, and now this. More disruption, more indecisiveness.

SESAY: Yes, more uncertainty. Isla Traquair, we really appreciate the insight. Thank you very much.

VAUSE: Well, CNN asked students, what does freedom mean to you? From South Korea to Nigeria; Mongolia to Brazil; their responses have been coming in, as they celebrate My Freedom Day.

SESAY: We, partnered with young people from more than 100 schools worldwide, as they bring awareness in modern day slavery. They're also spreading the word on social media with the #MyFreedomDay.

VAUSE: CNN is covering these events with our correspondents around the world. Live now to Hong Kong where Christie Lue Stout, joins us from the Hong Kong International School. Christie, good to see you.

CHRISTIE LUE STOUT, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: You too, John, good to see you. Yes, I'm at Hong Kong International School to mark My Freedom Day, the student led day of action against modern day slavery. This is happening at over a hundred schools around the world, and in about 15 cities across Asia; from Hong Kong to Tokyo; Mumbai to New Delhi. Now, here in Hong Kong International School, students have been taking part in various activities, making paper chains, posters, arts and crafts, with anti-slavery messages and also sharing stories of their recent two-week long service trips to countries around the world. Many of the students, encountering and working with populations who are vulnerable to human trafficking. Joining me now to talk more about what's happening here, is Ella Hurworth, she's the ring leader of My Freedom Day in Hong Kong International School. Welcome.

ELLA HURWORTH, HONG KONG INTERNATIONAL SCHOOL STUDENT: Thank you.

STOUT: Tell me, what have you been doing up to now?

HURWORTH: For My Freedom Day, our school has really focused on bringing light to the issue of human trafficking. We've done that through a variety of methods, like you mentioned, we've had arts and crafts, posters. We were mostly trying to get the dialogue about human trafficking to be open and to be clear. So right now, we have people making bracelets to promote being a conscious consumer. We have people writing message of anti-trafficking sentiment. We have people learning about victim's stories. So, we're just trying to shed the light on the issue, so that students are aware and students are engaged with it.

STOUT: It's all about engagement, it's all about raising awareness. Why?

HURWORTH: Human trafficking is enormous issue, it's tremendous in our society, but I think it's one of the issues that goes largely unnoticed. And I think that is so harmful because it's an underground industry that's making billions of dollars every year, and it's violating people's basic human rights. And I think that it's something that we need to stop. It's our responsibility.

[01:15:12] STOUT: You were recently on one of these two-week-long service trips. Where did you go and how did the issue of freedom and human trafficking come up during your experience?

HUNWORTH: I went to Bosnia which is a really beautiful part of the world but is also plagued by many issues and social divisions. That is something that has emerged after the war in the conflicts between the three ethnicity groups. So right now, freedom for them is a little bit restricted especially for the teenagers. They're not able to mix and, you know, immerse themselves with other locals due to their different ethnicities and different ideologies. So I think that really limits one's freedom when you are told you cannot hang out with somebody because they look different or they believe something different so that's something I definitely witnessed in Bosnia.

STOUT: Thank you for sharing your experiences with us and you are so eloquent as well. And Ella is just one of many, many students who were involved. It's incredible. So often young people are victims of human trafficking and they are also emerging as some of the most passionate activist to fight this despicable practice. Back to you on the studio.

SESAY: Christie, very much appreciated. She was very eloquent.

VAUSE: Yes, absolutely.

SESAY: Yes. Thank you, Christie.

VAUSE: That's some good people talk, so far. The day is still young.

SESAY: Yes, indeed. All right, time for a quick break. Up next, more of the My Freedom Day events. We'll talk to the head of a shelter in Abu Dhabi where victims of human trafficking find sanctuary.

VAUSE: Also with no evidence to support the U.S. President's wiretapping allegations, now a new spin from the White House.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

DON RIDDELL, CNN WORLD SPORT ACNHOR: Hey, I'm Don Riddell with your CNN WORLD SPORT Headlines. Monday's F.A. Cup Quarterfinal between Chelsea and Manchester United had an intriguing narrative. The United's manager, Jose Mourinho, returning to the club with whom he enjoyed so much success. And it got pretty feisty with Chelsea's Manager Antonio Conte on the touch line. The flash point came in the 35th minute when United's midfielder Ander Herrera was controversially sent off for a second yellow card. In the aftermath, Mourinho kicked the ball in frustration, Conte reacted. The pair of them had to be physically kept apart. In the end it took a special finish from the brilliant N'Golo Kante to win it for Chelsea 1-nil the final score. There's the goal. Now Israel's baseball team had been the unlikely success story of the

World Baseball Classic, but their extraordinary winning streak came to an end on Monday. Having already beaten the Netherlands earlier in the tournament, the Dutch were ready for Israel this time and they tumbled them by 12 runs to two. Israel can still make it to the semis but a lot now rests on their next game against Japan.

And finally, just Sunday's NASCAR racing. Las Vegas where drivers, Kyle Busch and Joey Logano had a rather friendly exchange of views in the pit lane. Things got just a little bit heated after their cars came together in the final lap. And that is a quick look at the Sports Headlines, I'm Don Riddell.

[01:20:23] SESAY: Hello, everyone. For days, White House officials have tried to dodge questions about President Trump's explosive and unsubstantiated claim that former President Barack Obama ordered his phones tapped last year.

VAUSE: Now, they're trying to recast the accusation in more general terms. Here's Jim Acosta.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

JIM ACOSTA, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Ask President Trump if he has any proof that former President Obama wiretapped the offices at Trump Tower, an allegation he made more than a week ago, and the room goes quiet. White House officials sounded as if they are starting to walk back the Presidents accusation.

SEAN SPICER, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: I think that there's two things that are important about what he said. I think recognizing that it's the Obama -- he doesn't really think that President Obama went up and tapped his phone personally.

ACOSTA: The answers don't get much better from top White House advisers. Do you know whether Trump Tower was wiretapped?

KELLYANNE CONWAY COUNSELOR OF THE PRESIDENT: What I can say is there are many ways to surveil each other now. There is an article this week that talked about how you can surveil someone through their phones, through their - certainly through their television sets, any number of different ways, and microwaves that turn into cameras, etc.

ACOSTA: On CNN's "NEW DAY," White House Counselor, Kellyanne Conway insisted she wasn't suggesting that she had evidence that the President was being spied on through his appliances or otherwise.

CONWAY: I was answering a question about surveillance techniques generally. So this article --

CHRIS CUOMO, CNN NEW DAY ANCHOR: He didn't ask about it generally, though. That's just truly the transcript. You may have answered it generally but you were asked specifically.

CONWAY: Chris, I'm not inspector gadget. I don't believe people are using the microwave to spy on the Trump campaign. However, I have -- I'm not in the job of having evidence, that's what the investigations are for.

ACOSTA: The President took to his favorite gadgets to bristle at the continuing questions, tweeting "It is amazing how rude much of the media is to my very hard working representatives. Be nice, you will do much better!" But even fellow Republicans are demanding answers. On CNN's "STATE OF THE UNION," Senator John McCain explained the President has two options.

JOHN MCCAIN, REPUBLICAN SENATOR: Either retract or to provide the information that the American people deserve because if his predecessor violated the law, President Obama violated the law, we've got a serious issue here.

ACOSTA: After meeting with FBI Director James Comey, House Speaker Paul Ryan, is still waiting to see the proof. Have, you seen anything to suggest their wiretaps?

PAUL RYAN, HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES SPEAKER: No.

ACOSTA: But Democrats contend the President's wiretapping claims are more about what's bugging him.

CHRIS MURPHY, DEMOCRATIC SENATOR: I say that this is all an intentional strategy, right? When the news starts to get bad for the Trump administration, they, you know, very intentionally and consistently try to say something outrageous.

ACOSTA: Jim Acosta, CNN, the White House.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

VAUSE: Joining us here right now in Los Angeles -- they have already started. Talk Radio Show Host, Ethan Bearman and Shawn Steel, member of California's Republican National Committee. Glad you guys could stop talking long enough to join us which is great.

OK, so you know what Sean Spicer was saying about, you know, don't take the President literally because he put wiretapping in quotes and it was wiretapping because, here is the tweet from the President about a couple weekends ago. "So because of wiretapping is in quotes, don't take it literally." Shawn, the problem is its Spicer has already said when he was asked about this, he said he spoke directly to the President and the tweets speak for themselves. So now, they don't speak for themselves. So which one is it?

SHAWN STEEL, CALIFORNIA REPUBLICAN NATIONAL COMMITTEE MEMBER: We're parsing over a concept of --

VAUSE: We're not parsing it. They're parsing out the words, the White House is.

STEEL: Let me tell you this, really. Stephen Colbert has the answer and I will tell you what he had to say. When WikiLeaks came out just a few days ago with 8,000 pages of C.I.A. evidence of having --

VAUSE: Defensive shields at maximum. STEEL: Having the ability to keep track of everybody in the world and

blame it on somebody else. The C.I.A. is very good at this stuff except keeping secrets themselves. The whole point is we have the most wired government in the history of mankind, plus the other Nation States that are keeping track of everybody else and Obama is the one that invented surveillance on a masses. George Bush - George Bush liked it.

ETHAN BEARMAN, TALK RAIDO SHOW HOST: Absolutely not true, absolutely not true.

STEEL: Oh, he doesn't like surveillance? You're defending Obama?

BEARMAN: Who passed the Patriot Act?

STEEL: Unfortunately Republicans and Democrats.

(CROSSTALK)

STEEL: Who used the Patriot Act?

BEARMAN: Obama did.

VAUSE: President Obama.

STEEL: We're just hoping one thing. Maybe Trump learned something about this national surveilled state that we are leaving in and that we all see him -

BEARMAN: And he enjoys it as well.

STEEL: Oh, I don't know.

SESAY: Again -

STEEL: Apparently, he didn't like being surveilled.

BEARMAN: But President Obama did not order a wiretap on Trump when he was running.

STEEL: You know what, neither did he tell Lois Lerner to take U.C.I arrest upon his concern.

(CROSSTALK)

BEARMAN: The accusation that Donald Trump made President Trump.

SESAY: Where is the evidence?

[01:25:00] STEEL: Here's the evidence. Every administration has a deep state going back to Jefferson and Adams. There is always holdovers from the prior administration that don't like the new guys. This has been going on for 200 years. It's an American tradition. Andrew Jackson takes over, he had to take out all the John Quincy Adams people. BEARMAN: Are we going to review the whiskey rebellion while we're at it?

(CROSSTALK)

STEEL: What's wrong with it? We should.

SESAY: You can take on the deep state.

STEEL: Yes.

SESAY: The situation on the deep state which continues to -

STEEL: No, no. But it's a phenomenon. It's nothing mysterious or it's nothing new. When Raegan took over, he had to take care of the Carter people it takes about six months to find them and to fire them.

BEARMAN: In the Federal State, that is called Bureaucratic Transition.

VAUSE: The physical transition.

BEARMAN: Yes, exactly.

VAUSE: And that's -- and when you have a transition and you have people ready to go and to be employed at these positions, which most campaigns do but this one did not.

STEEL: But they're not ready to go. The trouble is they have to be ferreted out, fouled out, exposed and fired.

VAUSE: Because they believed they won't go away. OK, all of this leads now to the question of when the President says something, can he be trusted? Listen to this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Can you say affirmatively that whenever the President says something, we can trust it to be real?

SPICER: Every time that he speaks authoritatively, he -- that he speaks -- that he is speaking as President of the United States.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

VAUSE: OK, so Ethan, Spicer was saying, you know, if he is speaking authoritatively, he is the President. And when he is joking, then he gets out of jail for free. It's not a controversy this seems to be, you know every time there is a controversy now, he was joking.

BEARMAN: Yes, right. I mean, this is what is so dangerous. We actually have been talking about this dating back to the race where he tweeted out Foreign Policy, critical Foreign Policy decisions and then are we supposed to believe it or not? This is dangerous territory for the world. Again, wars have started over these kinds of small things. Let's go back to World War I and how that began since Sean wants to talk about history for a minute. But the point is, it's dangerous and it's unsettling to everybody in the world, led alone to America.

STEEL: It's unsettling to Liberals particularly. What the mainstream media and Liberals don't understand is that Americans take Trump seriously but not literally. Mainstream media and putting Ethan here takes him literally but not seriously. There's a total disconnect world, two totally different worlds. When Trump speaks, it's interesting but you don't take it literally. That's your lesson for tonight, keep that in mind.

BEARMAN: So we shouldn't believe what he says? That's what you're saying.

STEEL: No, no, no, no. You have to understand -

BEARMAN: But we don't know which way is literal and which way is real or he's just joking.

STEEL: You have to understand what he says.

SESAY: OK, in the absence of him providing evidence to support this one he claims.

STEEL: Except the NEW YORK TIMES is his best evidence.

VAUSE: No.

STEEL: Oh, they're not? They're not?

SESAY: No, they are not good with that because we've often to provide a list of these publications that support these things and today we have not received it.

STEEL: We needed careful investigation about the people that are engaged in this surveillance against Trump in his building and that information should come out, but it's not going to happen overnight.

SESAY: In the absence of that information coming out, would you accept that with each day that goes by, his credibility is taking a hit?

STEEL: Not at all. It's going to take a long time to try to - look, first of all, you seriously doubt that Trump wasn't surveilled the entire time? That his people weren't surveilled? You seriously doubt that a president surveillance is taking place?

BEARMAN: The order of President Obama is the accusation.

(CROSSTALK)

BEARMAN: He said it was President Obama that did it.

VAUSE: That is actually ordered by the President to politically motivated means, or recent, that I don't know. I don't think so.

BEARMAN: And by the way, there is only one definition of what wiretapping is. And it doesn't mean, well I don't know, Sean Spicer said oh, we don't even know what wiretapping is. There is only one thing, one thing.

STEEL: You're doing the literal scheme again.

VAUSE: OK.

STEELE: We all know there's surveillance and it's a problem.

SESAY: Obamacare.

VAUSE: Yes, let's get on to the repealing of the Obamacare, the correctional budget of this report is out. The Republican Speaker of the House, Paul Ryan he really likes this report. Listen to this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

RYAN: Of course, the CBO. is going to say, if you're not going to force people to buy something they don't want to buy, they won't buy it. But at the same time, they're saying our reforms will kick in and lower premiums and make healthcare therefore more accessible. This, compared to the status quo, is far better.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

VAUSE: So Ethan, the House Speaker likes it but the 24 million Americans who could lose their health insurance coverage for the next 10 years, they may not like it so much.

BEARMAN: Yes, they're not going to like it. I would clarify though, 24 million might include a few who choose not to buy insurance, which of course, insurance works as a risk pool. So, if suddenly the young healthy people choose not to participate in a risk pool, what does that means it's going to be much higher premiums for older people and people who aren't well. This is going to be terrible for older people, for people with illnesses and also for people in lower income brackets, all the way around bad news. And by the way, and for those who wants to attack the CBO, Keith Hall was selected by the Republicans, including -

STEEL: Secretary Price himself.

VAUSE: (INAUDIBLE)

STEEL: So much for your mongering. How much caring there are (INAUDIBLE). There's 280 million Americans covered, 280 covered, happily covered with Obamacare. It's going to be changed and modified so that the 280 are happy. Is there a problem with 20 million?

(CROSSTALK)

STEEL: It's a small minority, half of whom don't even want coverage because they already are taking fines rather than paying the premiums.

BEARMAN: So let's bring back the idea of death panel. So, which of those 20 million are getting the death panel then?

STEEL: Nobody's getting the - Which is exactly what you accuse -

STELL: Where do you get that stuff?

BEARMAN: -- President Obama of for the Affordable Care Act.

STEEL: Why are you trying to scare - you know, right now, a lot of people are watching you. You're scaring babies

BEARMAN: That was your argument against the Affordable Care Act

STEEL: You're making up stuff.

SESAY: You know what, as much as I like this to go on for another an hour -

VAUSE: Me too. I could eat popcorn now.

SESAY: We have a call time.

VAUSE: Thank you.

SESAY: Gentlemen, thank you. Thank you.

Quick break. My Freedom Day is here and people around the world are celebrating. We go to Abu Dhabi where a shelter is take in victims and giving them a second chance at life.

VAUSE: Also, a massive blizzard is hitting the northeastern U.S. Millions are in its path. Thousands of flights have been canceled. We will have the latest in a moment.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

VAUSE: Welcome back, everybody. You're watching CNN NEWSROOM, live from Los Angeles. I'm John Vause.

SESAY: And I'm Isha Sesay. The headlines this hour --

(HEADLINES)

[01:35:24] SESAY: My Freedom Day has arrived. Students around the world are take part in this special day.

VAUSE: CNN has partnered with young people with more than 100 schools across the globe as they celebrate freedom and fight against modern- day slavery. We have received more than 19,000 submissions on Twitter, people telling us what freedom means to them.

SESAY: We are covering some of these student-led events around the world for My Freedom Day.

Our Becky Anderson joins us from Abu Dhabi with more.

Hi, there, Becky. BECKY ANDERSON, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Hello, Isha. Hello, John. Good

morning, live from the American Community School here in Abu Dhabi, as you point out, one of hundreds of schools around the world taking part today in #myfreedomday as we hand the mantle to students standing up for freedom and against modern-day slavery. Because really bringing this issue up, discussing it, discussing how modern-day slavery impacts the lives of so many people around the world, men, women, and children, five million kids caught up in slavery, slavery today, in 2017.

Before we discuss that with these students here who have been working hard across the curriculum to discuss this, to raise awareness, to talk to their peers about it, I want to introduce you to Maisha al Madreri (ph), who works at a shelter here that is a Eua Shelter (ph), which looks after women and girls, and another shelter in the UAE that also looks after men whose lives have really been damaged by the issue of slavery. They have been caught up in slavery and the shelter is there to help.

Maisha (ph), talk about the work that you do.

MAISHA AL MADRERI (ph), EUA SHELTER (ph): At our shelter, it is for victims of human trafficking. We shelter the victims after coming through specific channels whether through the police or embassies, a lot come through churches or mosques. We've got a hot line which is 800-save. Once the victim arrive through the shelter, if they don't come through the police we inform the police to start an investigation about the crime. We pride medical services. Many come with medical issues.

ANDERSON: Can you describe some of the experiences that they've been through?

MADRERI (ph): You mean a story? One story where one of the victim came with a dream to the UAE to open a restaurant and she was so optimistic about this it took her about two months to find herself locked up in one of the flats, beaten and sexually exploited and got pregnant and they had to abort her and it didn't happen in a proper hospital. When she came to the shelter she was unfortunately bleeding and nearly died because the body got poisoned.

ANDERSON: You are describing a story that we have to acknowledge isn't a one-off in Abu Dhabi. It's not a one-off in Alabama or in Atlanta. But what is the UAE doing to help fight, combat, modern-day slavery to put away the perpetrators of these dreadful crimes?

MADRERI (ph): The UAE started with the human trafficking law, the first in all the Arab world. One year after in 2007 we had the national committee to combat human trafficking with people from all stake holders, ministry of interior, health, shelters, members of the committee they meet and discuss this.

ANDERSON: But you are not by any stretch suggesting that it isn't a problem here, are you?

MADRERI (ph): It is a problem found in every single place in the world. And it is one of the most quick-moving crimes in the world unfortunately. And most income come from the crime of human trafficking. But it is a multinational crime. All countries have to work together to fight this crime because you are a country that people come to traffic here. But you've got the countries of source of those victims. So all countries should be working together.

[01:40:01] ANDERSON: Got it.

Well, listen, let's get to the final word this hour from the students who have been work so hard to ensure that there is awareness amongst their peers and others about this horrible scourge.

Three, two, one, #myfreedomday.

(SHOUTING)

SESAY: Thank you, Becky. Great job. And thanks to all the students there. They should be proud of their passion and just how eloquent they have been on this issue. So thank you, Becky.

VAUSE: There is a lot more here on CNN coming up on air and online for My Freedom Day. Go to CNN.com/freedom. Check out the blogs. There are live streams from school events all around the world and a whole lot more.

We'll be right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

VAUSE: Spring is just around the corner in the northeastern United States but you would not know it by looking at some of these pictures. A massive blizzard is moving across the region right now.

SESAY: Baltimore is getting hit hard. New York and New Jersey and Virginia are under states of emergency.

VAUSE: CNN's Rachel Crane will join us in a moment from New York.

But we'll start with Pedram Javaheri at the CNN Weather Center.

Pedram, I understand one in three in the United States are under a winter alert.

PEDRAM JAVAHERI, AMS METEORGOLOGIST: Yes.

[01:45:03] VAUSE: And that makes sense because there are three of us here, you are under the alert, and we're not.

(LAUGHTER)

JAVAHERI: That's funny. That's pretty good. Nice working with you, John, as always.

I want to talk about this. A lot of people are comparing this particular event to what occurred in 1888, 129 years ago this week, the Great Blizzard of 1888 and that event was so detrimental to the infrastructure of New York City it is believed to have sparked the construction of the subway system because we had multiple story high snow drifts in New York. Snow amounts of 16 inches and hurricane- force wind gusts. But the elements are in place. The arctic blast and the storm system is coming together. It's all about the timing of where it lines up. If it is close to land it could lessen the snowfall for the major cities. But blizzard warnings have been issued. And you notice this model takes us into the early morning hours and we think the heaviest snowfall will come down between 6:00 to 9:00 a.m. And we will see the rain from the south mix in here. We think it will be all sleet by 9:00 or 10:00 a.m. Significant damage could already be done. All the school closures as well. The best estimations are the heaviest snowfall, 60 centimeters or 2 feet are around Allentown and Scranton and the Catskills mountains of New York. Notice the winds that could be associated with this as it comes in. 50 to 60 miles an hour. 100 kilometer-per-hour gusts in New York City and Boston as well. You put this together with the snow coming down and it will make visibility near zero in this region. We think significant damage could be done if you are trying to make your way across town. And the coastal communities, there is storm damage as well on the shores there because of the water being piled up. A lot of dangerous weather in the next few hours -- John?

VAUSE: Pedram, thank you.

SESAY: Thanks, Pedram.

JAVAHERI: Thanks, guys.

SESAY: Let's go now to CNN's Rachel Crane from New York.

Rachel, schools closed for Tuesday and travel services interrupted. Is the snow coming down now?

RACHEL CRANE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: It has finally just started to come down seriously. The wind is picking up. The blizzard warning just went into effect two hours ago and will be in place for 24 hours and New York City is expected to get up to 20 inches of snow. Also 40- mile-an-hour winds are expected later today. Could cause whiteout conditions.

Of course, the city going to great lengths to prepare for this massive storm. Mayor Bill de Blasio held a press conference earlier today to talk about the city's response to the storm. Take a listen.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BILL DE BLASIO, (D), NEW YORK CITY MAYOR: We expect this storm overall to be in the range of 16 inches to 20 inches of snow. The high end right now remains, according to the last National Weather Service report, as much as 24 inches. That is a huge amount of snow. And a lot of it will happen in a concentrated period of time. For that reason, I'm declaring a state of emergency in New York City commencing at 12:00 midnight tonight.

(END VIDEO CLIP) CRANE: Now he went on in the press conference to describe how in New York City they have nearly 300,000 tons of salt. They also have nearly 700 salt spreaders and 1600 plows. We have seen some of the plows and salt spreaders drive by this morning. And schools are closed here in New York City tomorrow, or today, rather. It's now today. We have been out here all night, in Boston, in Philadelphia. Also a state of emergency has been declared for New York also Virginia and New Jersey and travel delays of course all across the country as a result of this storm. 6500 flights already cancelled and also Amtrak service suspended between New York and Boston -- Isha?

SESAY: Rachel, you're doing a great job out there. Please stay warm. And we appreciate the reporting. Thank you.

VAUSE: Been a long day.

SESAY: Yes.

[01:49:41] VAUSE: A short break here. When we come back, Scarlett Johansson stepped into Ivanka Trump's shoes on "SNL" but the TV sketch had some viewers heading for a dictionary. We'll explain when we come back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Freedom to me means the freedom to think.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Choosing love over hate.

CHRISTIAN AMANPOUR, CNN CHIEF INTERNATIONAL CORRSEPONDENT: Never taking it for granted.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The right to do what you want to do.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Freedom to me means going to school. What about you?

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SESAY: Hello, everyone. "Saturday Night Live" has drawn big laughs mock U.S. President Donald Trump but last weekend the show took aim at his daughter, Ivanka.

VAUSE: CNN's Jeanne Moos reports on that parody which some are calling a stinker.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

JEANNE MOOS, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Taking a page for Calvin Klein ads --

UNIDENTIFIED MODEL: Between love and madness lives obsession.

MOOS: -- "SNL" created a scent and caused a stink with an imaginary fragrance for Ivanka.

UNIDENTIFIED COMEDIAN: She's beautiful. She's powerful. She's complicit.

(LAUGHTER)

MOOS: Ivanka's more women-friendly, climate-friendly image got scorched.

UNIDENTIFIED COMEDIAN: She doesn't crave the spotlight but we see her. Oh, how we see her. Complicit.

(LAUGHTER)

MOOS: The sketch had viewers searching the dictionary.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Complicit. Complicit.

MOOD: Helping to commit a crime or do wrong in some way.

Merriam Webster called complicit our number-one lookup.

UNIDENTIFIED COMEDIAN: I bet when she watches "Titanic" she thinks she's Rose. Sorry, girl, you're Billy Zane.

(LAUGHTER)

MOOS: The film's villain.

[01:55:02] (on camera): But some on the right say, if anyone has an obsession, it's "SNL" with its constant attacks on everything Trump.

(voice-over): Supporters fired back.

"If Ivanka Trump markets a perfumed named complicit, I'm buying it."

Another pointed out the sweet smell of success, booming sales of merchandise.

A week earlier "SNL" zinged the Trump's sons, portraying Eric as a clueless cereal-munching kid, unable to even open his juice.

UNIDENTIFIED COMEDIAN: The only people making decisions regarding the Trump Organization are Eric and myself.

UNIDENTIFIED COMEDIAN: And Dad.

UNIDENTIFIED COMEDIAN: No doubt.

MOOS: Donald Jr joked back, tweeting himself eating Cheerios. "I stole somebody's snack today."

"SNL" did feature one Trump supporter, a dog wearing a mind reading helmet.

UNIDENTIFIED COMEDIAN: And I like Trump. He's my man. (LAUGHTER)

MOOS: Notwithstanding the doggie vote of confidence, we can only imagine "SNL"'s diss of his daughter has the president caught between love and madness over complicit.

UNIDENTIFIED COMEDIAN: Also available in a cologne for Jared.

MOOS: Jeanne Moos CNN --

UNIDENTIFIED COMEDIAN: Oh, the smell of it.

MOOS: -- New York.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

SESAY: This is NEWSROOM L.A. I'm Isha Sesay.

VAUSE: I'm John Vause. Stay with us. A lot more after a short break.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Freedom to me means the freedom to think.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Choosing love over hate.

CHRISTIAN AMANPOUR, CNN CHIEF INTERNATIONAL CORRSEPONDENT: Never taking it for granted.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The right to do what you want to do.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Freedom to me means going to school. What about you?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Freedom is knowledge.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Happiness.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: A life without prosecution and slavery.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Freedom means living in a world that allows children to be children.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: (INAUDIBLE)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Raising the awareness of 2000 students.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Organizing a panel discussion about human trafficking.

CROWD: Join us on March 14th.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Rally around the organizations that are creating freedom for slaves around the world.

(END VIDEO CLIP)