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French Presidential Election; American Detained in North Korea; North Korea Threatens to Sink U.S. Aircraft Carrier; Low Approval Rating for Trump; A Family Affair in the Trump Administration; Congress Deadline on Friday for Spending Bill; U.S Funded Flights for Deportees to Mexico; Trump Administration Takes on MS-13. Aired 5-6p ET
Aired April 23, 2017 - 17:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[17:00:00] ANA CABRERA, CNN ANCHOR: Here's why this matters to the United States and the rest of the world. France has a huge economy, the sixth biggest on Earth. What happens there affects markets everywhere. France is a permanent member of the U.N. Security Council making decisions that change the shape of the world.
France is also America's oldest ally. The partnership is strong and Washington has an interest in keeping it that way. With me now, CNN global affairs correspondent Elise Labbot, also CNN international anchor Cyril Vanier and career diplomat and former U.S. ambassador to Iraq as well as ambassador to Poland, Christopher Hill.
Elise, we'll start with you. We know the White House is paying close attention to what's happening in France. Today, President Trump tweeted this just a few hours ago, "Very interesting election currently taking place in France." So what makes this final round such a political earthquake?
ELISE LABOTT, CNN GLOBAL AFFAIRS CORRESPONDENT: Well, I think it's for the reasons that you said in your introduction, Ana. I mean look, this is very much a French-first kind of foreign policy. You know, France has been such a leader in the European Union, in NATO, really a leader of the European experiment.
And so the kind of policies that Marine Le Pen has been proposing such as leaving the Eurozone, leaving the European Union, and also kind of not only the ideas of them but also what that would mean for France. That would mean closing off the kind of free border zone, not sharing the same currency as Europe.
So, I mean, why it's such a political firestorm is taking France out of the European project that they were one of the leaders on I think is really having earthquakes not just in France but also in Europe and around the world and as you said, obviously very important to the United States.
CABRERA: Cyril, I want to read you the words of Marine Le Pen on twitter this evening, and she writes, "It is time to free the French people of the arrogant elites who want to dictate their conduct." She is a clear politician from a long-standing political family. Who are the elites she's talking about? CYRIL VANIER, CNN INTERNATIONAL ANCHOR: The elites in her words and
the thinking of Marine Le Pen are the center right and center left parties that have been essentially (ph) exchanging power over the last few decades. You know Ana, I'm 36 and since I've been born I've only ever seen power change hands in between those two parties. The socialist party center left and some incarnation of the conservatives.
So, Marine Le Pen is essentially telling French people, you want change? You want real change? Well, think outside the box. And she's obviously portraying herself as being that outside the box candidate. What's going to be difficult for her going forward is that Emmanuel Macron can also have to some extent a claim to being an outsider. He's never run for elected office. He doesn't have a political party. How's that for an outsider?
CABRERA: Yes, isn't that interesting. This is two, is going to be a change election, regardless it sounds like. Ambassador Hill, depending on who wins in this head-to-head between Le Pen and Macron, how will the U.S. feel the ripple effect?
CHRISTOPHER HILL, FORMER U.S. AMBASSADOR TO IRAQ: Well, no question the stakes are high, but I think it's also important to point out that Le Pen did not close the deal with the French electorate. She was up against a historically weak socialist party. Prime Minister Hollande had approval ratings in single digits. The Republicans were also very, very weak after the experience of Sarkozy. So, this was her moment. This was her chance.
She did not close the deal. And I think out of nowhere this new face and very intelligent, very wise person came out of nowhere and it seems to me that he's going to be able to get a lot of support for the second round. Now, anything can happen but I think we may have seen a marker put down by the French people that they are going to stay, with an albeit reformed E.U. but, you know, won't be business as usual.
But France will continue to be a pillar of European integration. And frankly speaking, I think of U.S. interests, this is really something that's really very positive that she has been rebuffed, and by the way, to claim that she is such an outsider, my goodness. I mean, her father was a big name in this far right politics for decades.
So, I think the French people know them very well and that's why this terrible terrorist incident that took place just a couple days ago was not going to be the deciding factor.
CABRERA: Elise, we know President Obama, former president, called Macron just this past week and apparently encouraged him to work hard to the end to win over voters. While he didn't actually endorse Macron, what do you read into that?
LABOTT: Well, I think it's that during his whole administration, you know, the U.S. was working to kind of integrate and strengthen the European Union, and that's I think what Macron, as Chris and the others have said, that's what Macron would represent. Obviously, he wants to make some reforms of E.U., [17:05:01] but the choices are really stark here. You can have a
revamped kind of reformed E.U. or you can have what some people feel after the Brexit, what French would be is kind of a disillusion of the E.U., that the E.U. would not be able to stand without -- to remain without France and the U.K. And so I think, you know, here in the United States, it's a very, you know, people that supported President Trump clearly were looking to Marine Le Pen to continue.
And certainly his White House chief strategist Steve Bannon was, you know, very clear about who he preferred, Marine Le Pen to continue this populist wave and those who would have supported Hillary Clinton are looking for, you know, obviously this kind of pro-E.U., pro-NATO stance. So, I think it really mimicked what happened here in the United States with Trump's victory. They were hoping that wouldn't be repeated with Marine Le Pen.
And I think President Trump has been very careful here. Yes, he did say, you know, this is an interesting election. He had said that the attack in Paris last week would have an impact. He hasn't necessarily endorsed Marine Le Pen. She's been much closer talking about him than he has about her. But her stance on immigrants, on getting rid of immigrants from the countries, her stance on globalization, her stance on Islamic fundamental terrorism and trying to reduce the presence of Muslims in France I think is very similar to what we've seen here in the United States. And that political firestorm is what we're seeing over in France now.
CABRERA: In fact, we know after that terrorist attack on Thursday that Ambassador Hill was talking about, Marine Le Pen responded calling for closing all Islamic mosques in the country and immediate expulsion of those who were on the French equivalent of the terror watch list. So, we know this tough stance on immigration perhaps resonates with some people. Is that her version of build the wall, Cyril?
VANIER: Well, yes, I suppose it is some French version. You're absolutely right, of build the wall. She doesn't want a physical wall but she does want to have much closer surveillance of the French borders and control of the French borders. Her entire policy platform is about regaining control over French policies and French sovereignty that she feels has been lost to the European Union.
Bear in mind, Ana, once you travel to any one of the, or most of the European Union countries at the moment, whether you're in France, Belgium, you can just drive across the border. And we've seen how that can be leveraged to devastating effect in France because some of the perpetrators of some of the most deadly terror attacks are people who just drove from Belgium into France.
So, Marine Le Pen definitely has a case there that she says, you know, we need to control our borders more. That could have an echo with voters. What I would say though about the general impact of that latest terror attack on French politics is that people in France have been subject to a very high terrorist threat level for two and a half years. So they have factored this in to their politics for a long time now. CABRERA: Now let me ask you, Ambassador Hill, another interesting
element of all this is Marine Le Pen and her openly cozy relationship with Russian president Vladimir Putin. A U.S. senator has even accused Russia of being involved in the French election. Are there grounds for that concern?
HILL: Oh, they probably are. I mean, this is what the Russians do. They've certainly done it all over Central and Eastern Europe. It's really what they do and I think, you know, we have to go back a couple centuries to see how France and Russia have had close relations. But obviously given her overall poll numbers, I mean this should have been a moment where she did better than she did.
And I think the French people are kind of on to her and I think the real issue of course for France is they've essentially taken the two main parties that have dominated French politics ever since World War II and said, no more of these parties. So if macron succeeds and I suspect he will in terms of building up support for the second round, I think we're going to see some big changes in the European Union.
But I want to make very clear, when the Brits talked about leaving, for them the European Union was a transactional event anyway. It was about, you know, would there be more profit for the British economy in or out. For the French, for the Germans, it is a civilizational issue. It is how Europe prevents itself from ever having war again and I think the French people understood that.
CABRERA: Well, Ambassador Christopher Hill, Cyril Vanier, Elise Labott, thanks to all of you.
From France to North Korea now, President Trump is set to talk with Japan's prime minister and China's president tonight, this as we get news that an American was detained in North Korea this weekend
[17:10:00] as he attempted to fly out of the country. We're told Tony Kim had just finished teaching for several weeks at Pyongyang University Science and Technology but we do not know why North Korea detained him. Also today, in a state-run newspaper editorial North Korea threatened to sink a U.S. aircraft carrier and claims it has weapons that can reach the continental U.S. Now this threat to attack a U.S. carrier comes as the USS Carl Vinson strike group holds joint drills with Japanese destroyers in the western pacific.
Up next, President Trump finds a poll that he likes tweeting out the results of a survey that shows nearly all his supporters stand by their vote. We'll break down what the numbers mean including his overall approval rating and will those results have an impact in a countdown to a possible government shutdown this week.
White House officials saying they expect some type of border wall funding to make it in the budget but can they convince Congress. You're live in the "CNN Newsroom."
[17:15:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
CABRERA: President Trump is inching closer to his 100th day in office. And while he has recently called it a ridiculous standard, it's clear that the White House desperately wants more to show for it. Here's President Trump's agenda for the next week. Along with everything you see here, he also plans to announce a major tax reform plan on Wednesday.
At the same time, Trump's also pushing for Congress to pass a health care plan and a spending bill by Friday. If they can't agree on a spending bill, well, the government will shut down. So, it's a full plate needles to say for the White House and for lawmakers, and this could be why. The president's approval rating is at 42 percent in the latest ABC News/Washington Post poll.
And a brand-new survey from NBC News and the "Wall Street Journal," it's only 40 percent. This is the lowest approval rating of any U.S. president in his first 100 days since polling began. Let's talk with our panel joining us, CNN political commentator and Democratic strategist Keith Boykin and CNN political commentator and Republican strategist Alice Stewart. So Alice, Trump just tweeted a short time ago that these polls are actually very good. What's good about these polls?
ALICE STEWART, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Well, what is good about the polls is the fact that amongst his base, he has 73 percent of support from those who are his base and he's really focused a lot of time and attention on making sure that he keeps his base. And that was the key for him in winning this election. He's really focusing on reaching out to people in rustbelt states. And lot of what he's been doing with regard to buy American/hire American is just that.
Another thing I think is very lost in this article, you have to go to page A14, the 26th paragraph to see what I think is another important part of this poll. Is that if the election -- another election were held today, Trump would beat Hillary Clinton 46-43, which goes to show that while his overall popularity numbers are not great, they're better than Hillary Clinton.
CABRERA: I am going to talk more about the base. But in terms of pushing Congress to act with an overall approval rating underwater, is the president negotiating from is position of strength, do you think?
STEWART: I think -- look, he's certainly got a long way to go in order to show a real identifiable success. Certainly health care was not -- didn't turn out the way that he wanted it to be and he needs to work closer with Congress in order for it to be successful the second time around. And I think if he can do that, if he can get members of Congress together, I think that will show him more in a position of strength.
The first out of the gate effort on health care wasn't exactly what he wanted and hopefully he'll be able to at least get something on paper in the next several days, if not the next few weeks so he can negotiate from a position of strength moving forward.
CABRERA: Keith, let's take a look at what Alice is talking about in terms of the base. Despite his overall approval rating that's underwater, his base likes what they're seeing -- 96 percent of those who voted for Trump according to this ABC News-Washington Post poll say they don't regret that vote and it certainly doesn't sound like that's promising for Democrats.
KEITH BOYKIN, CNN POTICAL COMMENTATOR: Well, his base are pretty much people who were going to support him anyway. He's the guy who said he could stand in Fifth Avenue and shoot somebody and his supporters still would vote for him.
CABRERA: Yes, but of all the people who voted for him and we know he won the election, only 2 percent say they regretted voting for him.
BOYKIN: And again, I'm saying, you know, he's talking about a base of people who are so loyal to him that he himself said that he could shoot somebody on Fifth Avenue and they would still support him. So, it's hard for me to think of what he would have to do for his base to abandon him because he's abandoned all his principles.
He didn't build a wall. He didn't lock up Hillary Clinton. He didn't do anything about a constitutional amendment he planned to for having some sort of term limits for members of congress. He hasn't drained the swamp. He hasn't followed up on any of his promises but his base is supporting him basically because he's Donald Trump. He is not Barack Obama or Hillary Clinton.
So, I mean, it doesn't say anything but his ability to reach out beyond his space because in order to be president you can't just be president of 43 percent of the country. You have to be president of the entire country and you have to be president for people who didn't vote for you. And remember, the majority of American people did not vote for him. More people voted for Hillary Clinton, 3 million more people voted for Hillary Clinton than voted for Donald Trump.
Secondly, you know, getting back to the whole question of what he's accomplished, I don't think he has much to look at right now in terms of accomplishments. That's why he's desperately trying to reach out for tax reform and reach out for health care all in the next six or seven days which is not going to happen because he hasn't been able to accomplish anything over the course of the past 94 days. So the idea you can just sort of at the last minute, just try to do something, and this is a ridiculous standard I agree, but he's the one who accepted the standard. He can't handle the standard.
CABRERA: Let me put up if that's what you're speaking of in terms of his promises in his first 100 days. Let's put up this graphic and take a look at how he has completed or not completed some of those promises. Obviously, the SCOTUS nominee and withdrawing from the TPP were a couple of wins, but a lot of incompletes
[17:20:00] and failures on this list. So Alice, just how important are these other agenda items to his supporters?
STEWART: They're very important. And I will say this and Keith's right about virtually everything he said with regard to, to this date, there haven't been a lot of identifiable successes other than Neil Gorsuch to the Supreme Court and with regard to TPP. But the good thing is he's going back to the table on Obamacare. He is continuing to work on securing the border. That's a big part of the budget proposal that he's putting forward.
So while things haven't materialized to this point, he continues to keep them high on the list of priorities and we haven't seen the last certainly of health care. We're going to see some tremendous work with regard to tax reform that will be beneficial to all Americans, not just his base and certainly with regard to immigration reform and securing the border. That work is just beginning.
CABRERA: Keith, what are the chances we'll see a government shutdown this week?
BOYKIN: Well, here's the thing, you know, Jeff Sessions was on TV today saying that the Democrats might shut down the government. The Democrats don't control the Congress. The Democrats don't control the executive branch of the White House. They don't control the judiciary. It's the Republicans who will shut down the Congress.
Republicans can't agree with themselves about what to do. They can't agree about how to govern. They can't agree even with a Republican Congress, after seven years of talking about how much they hated Obamacare, they couldn't even agree on a plan to repeal and replace Obamacare. So the idea of their somehow going to be trying to assess that blame for failing to shut down the government or for shutting down the government on to the Democratic party just doesn't wash.
I don't know what's the likelihood of that happening because it all relies on whether the Republican Party can get its act together finally and start to govern and stop campaigning because that's all they've been doing for the past 94 days.
CABRERA: Keith Boykin, Alice Stewart, thanks both for being here.
STEWART: Thanks Ana.
CABRERA: Up next, Vice President Pence just wrapped up a long trip in Asia with his wife in tow. CNN's Dana Bash spoke to them about how their relationship works in the public eye. You're live in the "CNN Newsroom." stay with us.
[17:25:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
CABRERA: Almost everywhere President Trump goes we're used to seeing his family right there with him. But the first family isn't the only one in Washington turning government into a family affair. Here's CNN chief political correspondent Dana Bash.
DANA BASH, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): In this administration, politics is all in the family. And it's not just the Trump clan along for the ride.
KAREN PENCE, WIFE OF THE VICE PRESIDENT: We just kind of made it a family affair.
BASH: The vice president brought his wife and two daughters on his 10-day trip to Asia and Australia. Mike Pence says his wife Karen isn't just the second lady. She's his closest confidant and ally.
MIKE PENCE, VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I just can't imagine being in this process without her at my side.
She who holds up my arms like no others, Karen Pence.
BASH: Since he started in Indiana politics, Karen Pence has had a direct line to her husband.
Now I know he had effectively what was a bat phone, a phone that only you could call back when you were I guess in the state house and then in congress.
K. PENCE: Well, this is before Blackberries so, the switchboard went off.
BASH: OK, but the you kept it as a symbolic gesture of the fact that you could always communicate. Is it in the West Wing office?
M. PENCE: I did.
K. PENC: It's not. It's not.
M. PENCE: Well, we wanted to get a phone line that she could always reach me if votes went late.
BASH: Social media lit up after a recent "Washington Post" profile unearth a 2002 story quoting then Congressman Pence saying he never eats alone with a woman other than his wife. A source close to Pence insists is he was trying to say he would not put himself in an awkward position when not with his wife.
You seem to be inseparable and have a really frankly rare bond.
M. PENCE: From the first time we were dating I told her that some day in the future I hoped to be in public office and she said, I'm ready to go.
BASH: As second lady, Mrs. Pence will continue to champion what she did when her husband was governor of Indiana, shining a light on art therapy as a way to help sick children. In Japan, she returned to a hospital she had visited before.
K. PENCE: She said, you know, last time I didn't know who you were, I didn't really know why you were coming to my place and she said but this time I know who you are and thank you for bringing attention to art therapy.
M. PENCE: Now the prayer-in-chief in our family is my wife, Karen.
BASH: A big part of the Pence's bond is their faith.
K. PENCE: Heavenly Father, we thank you for your son --
BASH: Those close to the Pence's say while she treads carefully when it comes to policy, her intense faith is a strong influence on her husband.
M.PENCE: She's got a strength that I think really comes out of lots of life experiences, but it also comes out of her faith.
BASH: When Trump first met with Pence about becoming his running mate, the New Yorker was taken aback when Pence asked for a moment of prayer according to a source familiar with the encounter.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I will tell you one thing. He has one hell of a good marriage going.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BASH: Now they know each other much better. The president also knows his wife is a key part of the Pence package. Dana Bash, CNN, Washington.
CABRERA: As the administration is now gearing up for a fight over that border wall, CNN introduces you to the people affected by the president's immigration policies. We're onboard a deportation flight carrying undocumented immigrants from the U.S. back to Mexico. Hear their stories next live in the "CNN Newsroom."
[17:30:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
CABRERA: One of president Trump's signature campaign promises is at the center of a major funding standoff in Washington. Congress must pass the spending bill by this Friday to avoid a government shutdown. And the wall Trump wants to build along the Mexican border is becoming a major sticking point. White House chief of staff Reince Priebus tell CNN money for that wall should be in this bill. Watch
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REINCE PRIEBUS, WHITE HOUSE CHIEF OF STAFF: It will be enough in the negotiation for us to move forward with either the construction or the planning or enough for us to move forward through the end of September to get going on the border wall and the border security. We expect a massive increase in military spending. We expect money for border security in this bill. And it ought to be because the president won overwhelmingly.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CABRERA: So will Congress respond? This debate comes amid the president's recent crackdown on undocumented immigrants. You may never have heard of ICE Air, but it's a nickname given to flight that carry Mexican deportees out of the United States after they've been arrested by U.S. Immigration and Customs Agents. CNN's Leila Santiago met some of those people on board.
(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE) LEYLA SANTIAGO, CNN CORRESPONDENT: These are the deported, the
repatriated, or as President Trump calls them --
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: These are bad dudes. We're getting the bad ones out.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SANTIAGO: When Trump says bad hombres.
[17:35:00] DAVID PADILLA, DEPORTED IMMIGRANT: No. DUI. That's what they got me with. I was never selling drugs.
SANTIAGO: David Padilla is 1 of 135 Mexican nationals who arrived on this flight from El Paso to Mexico City. It's a scene repeated three times a week, year round. It's called ICE Air, an airline funded by the U.S. government and run by immigration and customs enforcement, a fleet of commercial planes flying deported immigrants out of the United States. Each passenger costing U.S. taxpayers an average of $2,000 last year.
PADILLA: It's just so hard. They just pull you away. You can't even say bye to anybody. So hard. That's my daughter.
SANTIAGO: Padilla explains he was separated from his two young daughters in early March when immigration officials pulled him over on his way to work and took him into custody. He blames President Trump.
PADILLA: I would have been like pulled over the day that it happened without Trump being in office, I think I would have been able to go home.
SANTIAGO: Others have similar stories. Alonzo Diaz was convicted of a DUI in 2008. This man, domestic violence in Colorado and that's all he would tell us. And 21-year-old Eduardo Hernandez is a convicted felon. On his record, fleeing and eluding. He is happy to see his family. The last time they saw each other was 13 years ago before he crossed the border illegally into the U.S. with his parents. On the ICE Air flight back --
EDUARDO HERNANDEZ, DEPORTED IMMIGRANT: I know everybody thinks about their family, they're leaving their family, they're leaving their kids, they're leaving everything behind, start a new life.
SANTIAGO: ICE Air is not listed on the arrivals screen. Aboard the flight, deportees are provided a meal. They're also handcuffed. Upon arrival they carry a take-home bag with water, snacks, paperwork, along with some personal belongings.
Then there are those on ICE Air like Guadalupe Figueroa. ICE confirmed her criminal record consists only of deportations. She tells us she's not a dangerous criminal and can't understand why she's been separated from her two children in the United States.
PADILLA: They don't treat you like a human being. SANTIAGO: Padilla, who claims ICE cut off his shoelaces, says none of
it is enough to keep him from his family in the United States.
What do you tell your kids?
PADILLA: That I'll be back.
CABRERA: Thanks to Leyla Santiago for that report. Now, those deportees you just saw were cited for mostly low-grade offenses. President Trump today taking aim at a much more dangerous group, an international gang called MS-13. The president tweeting, quote, "Democrats don't want money from budget going to border wall despite the fact that it will stop drugs and very bad MS-13 gang members."
Let's talk more about this with senior Latin-American affairs editor Rafael Romo. So Rafael, we know MS-13 has tentacles spreading across the U.S., Mexico, Canada, Central America. What types of crimes are we talking about?
RAFAEL ROMO, CNN SENIOR LATIN-AMERICAN AFFAIRS EDITOR: Well Ana, it's a long list of crimes according to U.S. officials, including human smuggling, drugs and sex trafficking, kidnapping, murder and extortion. MS-13 also known as Mara Salvatrucha has a long history in the United States. According to the U.S. Justice Department, the gang is composed primarily of immigrants or descendants of immigrants from El Salvador.
It originated in Los Angeles and it has been around since at least the 1980s. In addition to the United States now, Mara Salvatrucha has a presence in El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras and to a lesser degree also in Mexico, Ana.
CABRERA: So, would a border wall stop members of this MS-13 gang from crossing over?
ROMO: Well, that's the thing. They're here already. According to the FBI's Gang Intelligence Center, the criminal gang is a national and international criminal organization with more than 30,000 members in the world, and more than 10,000 of those in the United States with the presence in at least 40 states and the District of Columbia, Ana.
CABRERA: What about President Trump's claim that weak immigration policies of the Obama administration allowed this group to form in cities across the U.S.?
ROMO: Well, it's true that many of its members entered the U.S. illegally. It didn't only happen during the Obama president though but also during every administration going back to at least the 1980s. The Obama administration designated MS-13 as a transnational criminal organization in 2012, the first street gang to get this designation and sanctioned six of its leaders the following year, Ana.
CABRERA: Bottom line, how big is this current threat then? ROMO: This is very dangerous. The U.S. Justice Department says that recent investigations in some regions of the country have revealed that major leaders of Ms-13 in El Salvador, many of whom are in prison there for murder, kidnapping or extortion, have been sending representatives to cross into the U.S. illegally
[17:40:00] to gain control of local MS-13 cliques and reconstitute them. In other words, they're not respecting any boundaries or any borders and they're just trying to do their thing across the U.S., Mexico and Central America, Ana.
CABRERA: Very interesting. Rafael Romo, thanks for that report.
Coming up, the growing pains of legalizing marijuana in Colorado. It may be legal to light up there, but the new industry may also be fostering more illegal pot sales. We'll take a closer look. You're live in the "CNN Newsroom."
CABRERA: More than a dozen states could legalize marijuana for recreational use this year. Twenty-seven states have already legalized some form of marijuana for medical or recreational use. Listen to this, industry analysts forecast the legal marijuana market will top $21 billion nationally by 2020
[17:45:00] in Colorado alone. One of the first states to legalize the drug for recreational use saw more than $1 billion in sales just last year. That was the legal marijuana market. Yet, law enforcement tells us they're still finding a thriving black market as criminals try to cash in too.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You can see all the (INAUDIBLE). We have maybe about 300 acres right now.
CABRERA: Plant after plant filling room after room.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is room number three.
CABRERA: Illegal cannabis cultivation busted by law enforcement in Colorado. These are images from inside alleged criminal enterprises hiding in plain sight under the guise of the state's legal pot laws which regulate who, where and how much pot people can grow.
Do you find people are coming here with the intent to create a marijuana or pot trafficking ring?
DAVID WALTERS, SHERIF, ARAPAHOE COUNTY: There's no doubt in my mind --
CABRERA: Arapahoe County Sheriff David Walters says it's a rowing concern. Just last year, his narcotics team alone seized more than $3 million worth of illegal pot products.
WALTERS: It's everywhere and it can be in any neighborhood. Any neighborhood we haven't seen everywhere. CABRERA: He drove us to a home in a wealthy subdivision just
southeast of Denver. A fire initially brought officials here. In the end hundreds of pot plants and paraphernalia were seized, another bust here in this suburban neighborhood, and yet again at this warehouse facility also in the same county.
This is not a commercial cultivation licensed by the state. Yet video provided exclusively to CNN shows marijuana in every stage of the growing process. Nearly 2,000 plants total according to the sheriff's office. Walter says Colorado legalizing marijuana has strained his department.
I'm curious if you see anything positive about the legalization of marijuana in Colorado.
CABRERA: The future of marijuana's legal use and sale remains in question under the new Trump administration.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JEFF SESSIONS, UNITES STATES ATTORNEY GENERAL: I, as you know, am dubious about marijuana.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CABRERA: Attorney General Jeff Sessions has been a vocal critic. But so far hasn't had the Justice Department intervene where marijuana has been legalized.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GOV. JOHN HICKENLOOPER (D), COLORADO: We're part way into this. It's going to be one of the great social experiments of the century, I think. And I think it would be short-sided to retreat.
CABRERA: We talked with the Arapahoe County sheriff who said he feels like its worst than ever and that, you know, marijuana issues and problems are taxing his resources.
HICKENLOOPER: What is he talking about? That means he wasn't doing his job before.
CABRERA: Wasn't that part of the (INAUDIBLE) who are proponents of legalizing marijuana is that you would get rid off the black market.
CABRERA: But the black market is still alive, something the governor acknowledges. He says state regulators are working to address that.
HICKENLOOPER: We want to actually lower the taxes to make it harder on the black market. Right? It makes it -- in other words --
CABRERA: So it would make the pot cheaper for people.
HICKENLOOPER: Exactly. For everybody, that it would mean someone is doing it illegally, then they're not going to make as much a profit and we're going to raise the penalties if you get caught illegally selling marijuana, you'll have a higher penalty to pay.
CABRERA: Sixteen people were indicted in March on a slew of charges ranging from distribution of marijuana to racketeering to money laundering as part of cross state raids at 19 different locations involving some 200 local, state, and federal officials. The suspects allegedly pumped out 300 pounds of illegal pot per month for at least three years.
Authorities say they were shipping and selling to people in Arkansas, Illinois, Minnesota and Missouri. Colorado prohibits carrying marijuana over state lines.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BARBARA ROACCH, DEA SPECIAL AGENT IN-CHARGE: We are seeing ourselves as a larger source of supply for our outer lying states than what we were before.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CABRERA: It's an issue that if not addressed could threaten not just Colorado's but the country's cannabis experiment.
Now, Governor Hickenlooper advices the other states may be contemplating legalizing marijuana to wait. Clearly, Colorado continues to have some growing pains more than three years since recreational sales began there. By the way, in response to the governor, the Arapahoe County sheriff says he invites Governor Hickenlooper to speak with him directly or to the district attorney to give more information about what they are finding in their county.
Coming up next, captured on tape, watch this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
RYAN CIAMPOLI, VOLUNTEER FIREFIGHTER: I saw it happening and it blew my mind. It was kind of, like I wasn't even seeing what I was seeing.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CABRERA: You won't believe it either. An off-duty volunteer firefighter springs into action when a little girl falls out of the back of a moving bus. She lands on a busy highway. Hear from the firefighter who helped rescue her, next.
And, live pictures from Paris, the capital of France which today witnessed a historic election that could impact the fate of Europe and U.S./European relations. That's ahead. You're live in the "CNN Newsroom." (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What I love about snowkiting is just your imagination that sets the limits.
[17:50:01] No day of kiting is the same.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Bjorn Kaupang is a championship snowkiter from Haugastol, Norway, population, nine. His entire family.
BJORN KAUPANG, SNOWKITER: I've grown up here so I don't know anything else but living here. It's nice and calm.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Haugastol sits next to one of Europe's largest mountain plateaus. For snowkiters, it's an area that offers a near perfect mix of snow, sun, and most importantly wind.
KAUPANG: Haugastol is the best place in the world for snow kiting. You can kite for days without seeing anyone. The scale of it blows you a little bit away.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Bjorn embraced the sport nearly two decades ago and his dedication has paid off.
KAUPANG: I've been lucky to have lot of success in snow kiting. I've won six world championships but when I first started it wasn't really that much of a sport.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: But it's grown and now Bjorn's tiny town hosts the biggest snow kite race in the world, The "Red Bull Ragnarok."
KAUPANG: You have 350 kites on a small starting line. Once we start, it's an exhilarating feeling.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Ragnarok is not only the world's largest snow kite race, it's the toughest. According to race officials only about 7 percent of the racers finish.
KAUPANG: I think a lot of people don't realize how exhausting it is. The wind might die out so you have to walk a bit. You have to ride out the steep hills.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Racers have five hours to complete 80 miles of terrain with wind speeds as high as 60 miles per hour.
KAUPANG: It's made so people don't finish. If you don't know what you're there, the potential for injury is quite big.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This year, wind and snow conditions made the race more challenging than usual. Out of 350 racers, only 8 finished. Bjorn came in fourth.
KAUPANG: Just being able to finish is perfect. When we started snow kiting, we never dreamed of getting as popular as this.
[17:55:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK) CABRERA: Imagine seeing a child fall out of a bus in front of your car on a busy highway. Take a look at this video captured by the dash cam in a firefighter's personal vehicle. You can just make out the rear door of the bus flying open, and then a 4-year-old girl tumbles out.
She lands in the middle of an Arkansas highway and incredibly you see this volunteer firefighter who was driving right behind the bus and he stopped just in time to save that little girl. CNN's correspondent, Polo Sandoval who is following the story, joins me now. An incredible story captured on video there, Polo. How is that little girl and what are you hearing from that firefighter?
POLO SANDOVAL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, Ana, I had an opportunity to speak to that man in the blue shirt, Ryan Ciampoli, who tells me that before he's a firefighter he is a father. So the moment that he pulled into that scene there, what was a very heartbreaking scene, that paternal instinct immediately kicked in, rushing to that 4-year-old little girl as you see there, carefully picking her up off that asphalt and then eventually taking her onto the bed of a pickup truck to wait for even more help to arrive. Mr. Ciampoli also speaking to our colleague, Fredricka Whitfield, in the last couple of hours. I want you to hear directly from him how he describes what a truly heartbreaking scene.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CIAMPOLI: It was just unbelievable. You know, one minute I'm just driving down the road and the next minute I see a little girl swing open the door on this church bus and fall to the highway. It was heartbreaking, but instantly, you know, I used my EMS training and firefighter training and assessed the scene as best as I could. I realized that it wasn't a good place for her laying there.
You know, typically, you know, in EMS we're not supposed to move the patient unless they're in a pretty dangerous situation, and because she was on a state highway there in Arkansas, it was grounds to get her out of there. I couldn't stand for her to get hit by a car or someone hit us both.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SANDOVAL: As Ciampoli also told me that he has responded to many calls for help during his career as a volunteer firefighter and an EMT but it's always those involving children that are the ones that are very difficult to forget. This is obviously one that fortunately has a good ending, Ana.
To answer your second question, that little girl is doing OK. Mom apparently saying she did break her jaw and will have to undergo some surgeries but is expected to eventually make a full recovery. But again, if it weren't for this man, we can only imagine what the outcome could have been.
CABRERA: What about that bus door? How did she manage to open it? SANDOVAL: That's a key question here and that's something that we've
been trying to answer all day, trying to find out maybe who was the operator of that bus. We know that Mr. Ciampoli told us that it was a church bus, but we've not been able to find the facility or the place that actually kept that bus so, that is a key question to find out whether or not that bus was possibly fitted with some kind of special devices or if it wasn't to be able to prevent that door from swinging open.
But Mr. Ciampolu did tell me that that bus driver did eventually come back to the scene several minutes later. But now the question is how was this 4-year-old little girl able to open that door as you see it there swing open and then eventually that little girl sustained some very serious injuries, some that she'll be able to recover from.
CABRERA: Thankfully that she's okay. There's a happy ending to that story. Polo Sandoval, thank you.
You're in the CNN NEWSROOM. Thanks for spending part of your weekend with us. I'm Ana Cabrera, in New York. We have some breaking news right now on CNN, a big surprise in an election overseas that will have an impact right here in the United States. The people of France deciding it's time for a major change in their country and picking two people to face off for president. Neither of them from the political mainstream.
[18:00:00] On one side, Emmanuel Macron, a wealthy investment banker never elected to any office, then on the other side, Marine Le Pen, a far right, a candidate who wants to shut the borders to immigrants and pull France out of the European Union.