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North Korea's Threat; U.S. General: Russia And China Targeting U.S. Satellites; Trump Plans To Recognize Jerusalem As Israel's Capital; U.S. Ends Participation In Global Compact On Migration; CNN Hero Mona Patel; Prince Harry And Meghan Markle's First Royal Visit; A Look At The Life of Prince Harry's Bride-To-Be Aired 6-7a ET

Aired December 3, 2017 - 06:00   ET





UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Smart people when they are under investigation have their attorneys do the talking.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I don't think we has admitted to obstruction of justice, but his actions regarding General Flynn have changed dramatically.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He has a problem with the truth, but he has a real problem in that he can't seem to keep his fingers off his Blackberry or whatever he uses.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We may look back on the plea bargain by Michael Flynn as the beginning of the end of the Trump administration.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That raises the question here of the legal jeopardy not simply for the president but for members of his family.


CHRISTI PAUL, CNN ANCHOR: Good morning to you. This morning, a president on the attack. His White House claiming defense and critics raising some new questions.

VICTOR BLACKWELL, CNN ANCHOR: It all stems from this tweet from President Trump, "I had to fire General Flynn because he lied to the vice president and the FBI. He has pled guilty to those lies. It is a shame because his actions during the transition were lawful. There was nothing to hide."

What's the big issue here? Well, the question is, did the president know that Flynn lied to the FBI when he asked the FBI director to stop investigating Flynn? Now, some, including Democrats, are crying obstruction of justice. The White House is playing it down.

Also, this morning, there are new questions about whether or not the president wrote this tweet himself. PAUL: We want to get straight to CNN Dan Merica live in Washington. So, there are multiple reports, Dan, "New York Times," "Washington Post" among others who are claiming that President Trump didn't even write this tweet. What do you know this morning?

DAN MERICA, CNN POLITICS REPORTER: Yes, "The New York Times," "Washington Post" reporting that John Dowd, Trump's lawyer offered this tweet. That certainly raises questions about how much did Dowd know when he wrote this tweet and is that why it's not entirely accurate based on what we know about the Russia investigation?

Obviously, Mike Flynn, a very important member of Trump's campaign, transition team, but he was fired less than a month into the administration because he lied, at the time, we were told, because he lied to Mike Flynn about contacts with Russia.

Now, this is an ongoing, shifting explanation for why these Trump administration officials have been wrapped up in the Russia probe and it raises questions about why Dowd, if these reports are accurate, why he would author such a tweet.

Now, John Dowd told CNN that the tweet just mimics what Ty Cobb, a White House lawyer, has told reporters on Friday when the Flynn news broke. That's not entirely accurate. Cobb's statement at that time did not mention the fact that Trump knew Flynn lied to the FBI when he was let go from the White House.

Now the significance here, really, is Flynn is, by far, the most significant member of Trump's inner circle to be wrapped up into this Russia probe. As we have seen overtime, the White House's story has been changing.

Mike Flynn was not only a close Trump aide on the campaign, but someone that we are told Trump genuinely liked and enjoyed spending time with and talk to during that campaign and during the White House, and briefed the president on a number of very serious matters.

You remember, when Paul Manafort and Rick Gates, two campaign officials were wrapped up into the probe, the White House basically said this has nothing to do with the White House because these two officials never worked in the White House.

The same was said for George Papadopoulos, who is a campaign official, who one Trump official described as nothing more than a coffee boy because he was, you know, a low level foreign policy official.

That's not the case for Mike Flynn. Mike Flynn is a very significant member of the Trump team and that's why you are seeing the president they to distance himself from what he knew about Mike Flynn at the time and tried to add some context to that.

BLACKWELL: All right. Dan Merica for us in Washington. Dan, thank you.

PAUL: So, on the heels of the new Trump tweets on Flynn, former FBI Director James Comey is offering what some might describe as a cryptic message. Here is what he wrote, "Beautiful Long Island (inaudible) from Westbrook, Connecticut, to paraphrase the buddha, three things cannot be long hidden, the sun, the moon and the truth."

BLACKWELL: Now, this is not the first time that James Comey seemed to react to news in the Russia investigation via social media. After Flynn pleaded guilty on Friday, Comey tweeted a bible verse about justice.

PAUL: So, here to discuss, Gloria Browne-Marshal, constitutional law professor at John Jay College of Criminal Justice, and Errol Louis, CNN political commentator and political anchor at Spectrum News. Thank you both and good morning to you.

Gloria, I want to start with you. Let's revisit President Trump's original tweet here. Whether he wrote it, his attorney wrote it, we don't know at this point, but it says, "I had to fire General Flynn because he lied to the vice president and the FBI.

[06:05:14] He has pled guilty to those lies. It's a shame because his actions during the transition were lawful. There was nothing to hide." This prompted a flurry of response on Twitter, also from Michael Schubb (ph), who tweeted this, he said, "Just couldn't resist commenting on Flynn.

Are you admitting that you knew Flynn lied to the FBI when you asked Comey to back off Flynn? I have to ask you, is this an admission of obstruction of justice? Gloria?

GLORIA BROWNE-MARSHAL, CONSTITUTIONAL LAW PROFESSOR, JOHN JAY COLLEGE OF CRIMINAL JUSTICE: It can be but, once again, it's not under oath. Once again, they could hide behind, I didn't really write it. It's a summery and something that we have done Donald Trump -- I don't think we've done with any modern president, assume that he doesn't know what he's talking about.

That he's just shooting from the hip and he has no real credibility. It's really a sad thing to say that he is hiding behind the ability to say whatever comes off the top of his head and turn around and deny later.

So, yes, on one hand, it's an admission. On the other hand, we don't know if he is even telling the truth. We give him so much leeway when it comes to anything he tweets out.

PAUL: Here is the thing I think people can get away from. If Dowd wrote this, his attorney, John Dowd, why would somebody as Abby Phillip put so clearly, why would somebody with a law degree write something that would incriminate their client?

ERROL LOUIS, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Right. That's a very good question. It really does take away the presumption that this was something spontaneous. A lot of the social media traffic yesterday focused on the idea that the president was in the middle of a motorcade and spontaneously incriminating himself. That seems unlikely now especially that was his attorney who composed that particular message. On the other hand, lawyers are not in the habit and Gloria knows this very well, of incriminating their clients. They are supposed to take well considered action before they speak on behalf of a client.

In fact, to do otherwise could constitute malpractice. I'm not sure what the defense is going to be, but in this case, this is a tantalizing clue, I think, about a strategy, looking down the road, a defense of the president's actions that really suggest that there's a lot more to come about what he knew and when he knew it.

PAUL: So, Gloria, from a legal standpoint, if President Trump or, say, Sally Yates, then acting attorney general knew or was aware that Flynn lied to the FBI, is there somewhere in that realm a legal obligation to report that? If Sally Yates is the acting attorney general, who do you report it to?

BROWNE-MARSHAL: That's the problem. Sally Yates is fired. I still think we need to follow that road. I mean, when she went to the White House, personally, and said we have this information on Flynn and the Russians and the fact that there had to be Mike Pence in the room and others who are aware that, at that point in time, Flynn was not only a liability, but he was lying to government officials.

And I think there is a true path to some sort of obstruction of justice if no one comes forward with information. I think that's the whole question, is there an obligation to report information you know or obstructing information that is sought after by the FBI?

PAUL: So, if I'm hearing you correctly, it's unclear whether there is a legal obligation for somebody to report if they know a government official lied to the FBI?

BROWNE-MARSHAL: I mean, that's the question we have right now. We only can go by the Clinton administration investigations as well as the Nixon investigations when we talk about what they knew and when they knew it. Then, what was the obligation for them to turn that knowledge over to the FBI.

PAUL: OK. OK. I want to listen here to Representative Denny Heck. He is a member of the House Intel and Financial Services Committee. Here is what he said. Let's listen to this, Errol?


REPRESENTATIVE DENNY HECK (D), WASHINGTON: We very well may look back on this plea bargain deal by Michael Flynn as the beginning of the end of the Trump administration. I say that because of the facts here. Here are the facts. We now have four people from the Trump administration or the campaign who have been indicted or pled guilty to felonies. Two of whom are at the highest levels of the Trump campaign or administration.


PAUL: Errol, could this be the unraveling of Donald Trump's presidency? [06:10:04] LOUIS: Well, it certainly suggests that there's some explosive information that we are going to find out about. The Mueller investigation is operating according to a standard prosecutorial playbook.

In that playbook, you give a guilty plea of some credence or use it as a tool to get more information, right? So, we know that the crimes to which Michael Flynn pleaded guilty could have sent him to prison for over 30 years, yet he's facing only one count, a much smaller possibility of a sentence, a lighter sentence, and he's going to cooperate with the Mueller investigation.

That suggests that, again, following the playbook, they are trying to get more information about a wider, more important possible set of unlawful activities. There's nobody higher than the national security adviser than the president, the vice president, perhaps one or two other people.

So, yes, I think we have a real serious problem here. Whether it brings down the presidency is really for Congress and the voters to decide.

PAUL: Gloria, your last thought on, you know, what Flynn might have, with your legal mind and knowing these kinds of procedures, what Flynn might have that could be incendiary enough to make this kind of plea deal?

BROWNE-MARSHAL: I think he has a connection to Mike Pence.

PAUL: You think it's Pence -- you think Pence is the one that is in trouble here?

BROWNE-MARSHAL: I think so. We rarely hear about him and time and time again, Donald Trump has said, oh, he lied to Mike Pence, in a protective shield of his vice president. We haven't really talked about the fact that MIKE PENCE should have been in the room when all these high-level discussions were taking place. So, I think there might be a connection to Michael Pence.

PAUL: All right. Gloria Browne-Marshal and Errol Louis, you are going to stick with us. We appreciate that. Thank you so much for sharing this morning.

LOUIS: Thanks.


BLACKWELL: Well, officials say an FBI agent assigned to the Russia investigation was removed because of an anti-Trump message. Now this happened during the summer, Robert Mueller removed Peter Strzok (ph) after an internal investigation found he had sent messages during the 2016 campaign that appeared to make fun of then candidate, Donald Trump.

The messages, of course, raised some concerns that they could be seen as pro-Clinton. Sources tell CNN that the Justice Department has now agreed to allow the House Intelligence Committee to interview Strzok.

WHITFIELD: The White House says General Flynn was acting alone when it comes to Russia. New e-mails obtained by "The New York Times," however, tell a different story.

BLACKWELL: Plus, the Trump administration says the threat of war with North Korea is very real. More details of the national security adviser, H.R. McMaster's comments.



BLACKWELL: We have breaking news coming in now. This is from New York City. The Richmond Hill neighborhood of Queens, New York where the NYPD is telling CNN that one person is dead, five people have now been sent to the hospital, two with stab wounds and three that were struck by a vehicle. They are describing only as a large disturbance.

PAUL: He said the Richmond Hill neighborhood of Queens. It's not far from the JFK airport, but apparently, we just know that several people are injured, as he said. Five people at the hospital. One person is dead. That's all police are telling us now.

Except for the fact that police say they are looking for a white sedan that fled that area, that fled the scene. We don't have a time frame on this, yet. That is all we know. We will continue to look at it and let you know what we hear as soon as we get more information.

BLACKWELL: New questions this morning, casting doubt on the White House's betrayal of Michael Flynn and how he supposedly acted alone, a rogue actor when he made contact with Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak.

The "New York Times" says e-mails written by a former transition team adviser, KT McFarland, revealing that Flynn was in close touch with other members of the transition team before and after he spoke with the Russian ambassador.

PAUL: McFarland sent out this e-mail right after the Obama administration imposed sanctions on Russia for meddling in the 2016 election and here's the important part of what she wrote, quote, "If there is a tit for tat escalation, Trump will have difficulty improving relations with Russia, which has just thrown USA election to him."

Now "The New York Times" admits, it's not clear whether McFarland believes Russia threw the election to Trump or the Democrats would spin Mr. Trump's election in that way.

BLACKWELL: All right. So, this may be a new name for a lot of people, maybe for you as well. Question, who is K.T. McFarland? This is what we know. She was a top official on the president's transition team. We told you that and she was also one of President Trump's national security advisers, the deputy NSA, but was asked to step down after General Flynn was fired. PAUL: Well, six months ago, she was nominated as the ambassador to Singapore. She has yet to be confirmed, we should point out, and she has spoken with Special Counsel Mueller as part of the Russia investigation.

BLACKWELL: All right. Let's bring in Julian Zelizer, CNN political analyst and historian and professor at Princeton University. Julian, good morning to you.


BLACKWELL: And so these e-mails from K.T. McFarland would seemed debunk the notion that Flynn was acting on his own. He was talking out of school with the former Russian ambassador about sanctions. On the day, actually, that these were announced, December 29th of 2016.

ZELIZER: Right. Putting aside this one part of the e-mail, which we all want to know what she meant, it debunks this argument that Flynn was a lone wolf, acting on his own, taking steps without knowledge of people in the administration.

[06:20:05] And it brings us back to the question of sanctions against Russia, which was a big story in December of 2016, and clearly was of concern to members of the Trump transition. So, that's why this e- mail is so revealing and potentially so damaging to the administration.

BLACKWELL: Let's put up a full screen of what was characterized as my take from K.T. McFarland that sent out on the 29th. All three of these bullet points from her in which she says one of them is that Russia has just thrown the U.S. election to Trump.

That's the one everyone is asking about. Is she admitting in this e- mail that there has been some collusion, some conspiracy? What is your take? Is this just sarcasm, her summation of the way Democrats at that time were playing? What have they learned about Russian meddling in the election?

ZELIZER: Well, it's very hard to tell. If you look at the news stories from this period, this again was already an issue. President- elect Trump was already defending himself from this charge. There were accusations that Russians had thrown the election.

So, we have to be careful not to read into an e-mail. This informal kind of communication that we often have, what she meant, or this offers proof there was collusion. But, again, to have this statement and this conversation at this moment, is still damaging and raises the question. The fact we are uncertain in itself suggests that there's enough information now to be suspicious.

BLACKWELL: We just got this in from the president, an official statement via Twitter, six minutes ago. The president tweeting, "I never asked Comey to stop investigating Flynn, just more fake news covering another Comey lie."

Of course, the testimony from James Comey back earlier this year, when he talked about the conversation with the president on February 14th where he says the president asked him, when they were alone, I hope you can find your way away from this or can let go of this.

That is what the president is responding to. Your reaction, as a presidential historian, to the president's almost real-time commentary about this ongoing investigation, which clearly includes an obstruction of justice.

ZELIZER: It's absolutely unbelievable. The trail of tweets that we have had about this right through today is becoming part of the investigation. Usually presidents are very careful at this stage in an investigation in terms of what they say and who they say it to.

Here, instead, we have a president in realtime, seemingly unfiltered and in public expressing his thoughts. That could put him in legal jeopardy. That's what happened, in part, with firing of Comey. It's what the president says that becomes the basis of the investigation.

That's what we are seeing play out this weekend. This is not your standard practice in presidential history. This is something new. It will make this investigation different than others we have seen with President Clinton or with President Nixon.

BLACKWELL: Well, it is only 6:23 here on the east coast. The president is up and responding to what he's seeing on television. Julian Zelizer, thank you so much.

ZELIZER: Thank you.

PAUL: General McMaster is saying the potential war with North Korea, quote, "is increasing every day" as the U.S. and South Korea get ready to joint drills near the Korean Peninsula.

BLACKWELL: Plus, Russia and China building weapons able of taking out U.S. satellites.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They've been building weapons and testing weapons to operate from the earth, in space, jamming weapons, laser weapons, and have not kept it secret.




PAUL: Welcome back. It's 28 minutes past the hour. I'm Christi Paul.

BLACKWELL: I'm Victor Blackwell. Good morning to you.

PAUL: So, President Trump is up tweeting this morning and it seems that he has the former --

BLACKWELL: FBI director.

PAUL: -- thank you. James Comey on his mind. He said, "I never asked Comey to stop investigating Flynn. Just more fake news covering another Comey lie."

BLACKWELL: Of course, that's part of the conversation this morning after the president tweeted or someone from the president's account tweeted, we'll get into that later that he had to fire Michael Flynn because Flynn lied to the vice president and the FBI.

That begs the question, if, then in February of this year, February 14, Valentine's Day, as James Comey said, the president asked him to let go of this, let go of Flynn, is that a direct link to obstruction of justice.

PAUL: So, we are going to get into that in a minute.

But right now, we want to talk about White House National Security Advisor H.R. McMaster. He says the potential for war with North Korea is, quote, "increasing every day."

BLACKWELL: So, this was interview with Fox News. He said that the U.S. is in a race to solve this problem in nonmilitary ways, including calling on China to impose more sanctions on Pyongyang.

PAUL: The dramatic words come as U.S. stealth jets are arriving in South Korea. The U.S. and South Korea are getting ready for these joint drills. North Korea said conducting these drills are pushing, quote, "The current touch and go situation of the Korean Peninsula to a flair up."

BLACKWELL: Also, new information, North Korea's latest missile likely broke up upon reentry into the earth's atmosphere. CNN's Pentagon correspondent, Barbara Starr, with details.

BARBARA STARR, CNN PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT: Christi, Victor, a U.S. official tells CNN the North Korean missile that was launched last week that flew higher and longer than any missile in the past, actually broke up on re-entry. It simply could not withstand the heat and pressure of re-entering the earth's atmosphere.

That's an important piece of news because it means North Korea has a long way to go before it really can feel the missile that reasonably could attack the United States. But it doesn't mean a threat is any less.

In fact, the National Security adviser, H.R. McMaster told an audience the threat from North Korea grows every day and that because of that, the Trump administration is determined to pursue its policy of total denuclearization of the entire Korean peninsula. That means diplomacy may be leading the way.

But he U.S. wants that diplomacy to lead to Kim Jong-un giving up his nuclear weapons. And right now, there's no sign of that happening. Christie? Victor?

PAUL: Barbara Starr, thank you so much.

I want to bring in Samantha Vinograd, CNN national security analyst. Sam, thank you so much.

Let's talk about McMaster, you know, saying that the potential for war with North Korea is increasing every day. North Korea reacted this morning as we said saying that the U.S. would be fully responsible if there's a nuclear war. Your reaction first of all to this back and forth.

SAMANTHA VINOGRAD, CNN NATIONAL SECURITY ANALYST: My reaction is that this digital back and forth is not surprising. We have seen an ongoing pattern of name calling and assigning blame between North Korea and the United States.

You know, one positive is, it could mean the North Koreans are starting to take seriously the threat of a military strike. What does worry me more is that in the past few weeks we have seen the Russians actually start to flip the blame on to the United States for a potential military strike.

We had the foreign minister of Russia say about a week ago that the United States was trying to provoke war with North Korea, without mentioning the north's illegal activities. That's very troublesome to me.

PAUL: It's troublesome and it's dangerous, to some degree, certainly. Do you think that we are, as McMaster said, escalating toward a nuclear war between the U.S. and North Korea?

VINOGRAD: I think what the launch earlier this week made abundantly clear, unfortunately, is two things. One is that the sophistication of North Korea's program is increasing. And, two -- and this is not a partisan statement, it's just a factual one.

The administration's North Korea policy just isn't working. If the north was able to launch another missile that is bigger and more powerful than the previous one, we are not achieving our objective of denuclearization. And I don't think it's true to say that all options are on the table and we can walk through diplomacy, we can walk through sanctions, we can walk through a military strike. But I don't think that the administration has all tools in their tool kit.

PAUL: But, other than asking China to mediate this somehow, what are the options?

VINOGRAD: Well, I think you touched on China, Christi, and President Trump also tweeted believe on Thursday that --

PAUL: Yes. I think we have that tweet here, the Chinese envoy who just returned from North Korea seems to have had no impact on little rocket man.

What -- when you read that, first of all, what -- what was your take on it first of all? Because you don't understand why he's playing with an ally that can mediate for the U.S. on their behalf. VINOGRAD: Exactly. It's incredibly counterproductive for the following reasons. It broadcasts President Trump's frustration with the Chinese to North Korea and to President Trump's 45 million Twitter followers. And we also know that the Chinese don't react very well to being publicly chastised for a lack of action.

We know President Trump would like the Chinese and Russians to do several things, including cutting off diplomatic contact, which neither country have done. Russia actually had a diplomatic group in Pyongyang last week. President Trump also wants both China and Russia to cut off energy exports.

I do think some sort of energy embargo would have a material impact. But, again, last week the Russians indicated publically that they -- quote -- perceived negatively any additional steps to pressure Pyongyang. So I don't think it's likely they are going to cut off oil exports.

PAUL: With everything that is going on with the U.S. and Russia and the Russia investigation and Russia since Flynn -- since Michael Flynn pled guilty they are pushing it off as fake news themselves, essentially, that it doesn't matter.

How does the U.S. move forward not just with North Korea, but with Russia seeming to support that regime?

VINOGRAD: I think, the only way that the United States is going to have any kind of productive relationship with Vladimir Putin is to take the immediate first step of holding Russia accountable for their direct attack on the United States.


At this point, Vladimir Putin thinks that he has all of the leverage and has no reason to think that he has to do anything that the United States asks him to do because he directly attacked our country at no cost. Now, there are a set of sanctions that overwhelmingly passed Congress several months ago, they're due to come into effect at the end of January. And I sincerely hope that the administration will implement them on time to start going down that path of holding Russia accountable so we can work on all these other issues.

PAUL: All right. Sam Vinograd (ph), so good to have you with us -- Vinograd -- excuse me. We appreciate your time.

VINOGRAD: Thank you. Thank you.

PAUL: Victor --

BLACKWELL: All right, listen to this. The United States military satellites could be targets of new Russian and Chinese space weapons. General John Hyten, the head of U.S. strategic command said, Russia and China are building and testing weapons capable of disabling U.S. satellites.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) GEN. JOHN E. HYTEN, COMMANDER, UNITED STATES STRATEGIC COMMAND: They are building those capabilities to challenge the United States of America, to challenge our allies, and to change the balance of power in the world.


BLACKWELL: Targets are satellites, which warn the military of enemy missile launches.

Still to come, the Palestinian authority warns that Middle East peace negotiations may be dead, if the president moves the U.S. embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. We are live in Jerusalem.

PAUL: And the American actress set to become the newest member of the royal family. A look at Meghan Markle's life before Prince Harry.



PAUL: All right. Good morning to you.

There is the White House. There is a light on. Looks like maybe one, maybe two lights with a wreath on the window.

BLACKWELL: Yes, there is someone who's awake at the White House and tweeting.

PAUL: And tweeting. That's right. Donald Trump, Mr. President Trump, of course, tweeting this morning, "I never asked Comey to stop investigating Flynn, just more fake news covering another Comey lie."

This, of course, coming after some new reports about who wrote the tweet yesterday.

BLACKWELL: Yes. We will talk about that, of course. The tweet yesterday leading off with the president saying that, he had to fire Michael Flynn because he lied to the vice president and the FBI.

And the FBI can be troublesome for this president. But the White House is saying the president didn't write that tweet, we'll tell you who they say wrote it later this morning.

PAUL: We want to talk now about the State Department because it has been warned that there could be violent protests at embassies, in consulates if the administration announces that it is moving the embassy in Israel to Jerusalem.

And that announcement we know could come soon.

BLACKWELL: Yes, as early as Tuesday.

CNN correspondent Ian Lee is in Jerusalem. Ian, good morning to you. And the reaction you are hearing from Israel there, about this potential move? IAN LEE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Good morning, Christi and Victor.

Right here, people are watching closely the president's mood. You have the Israeli government who has been very enthusiastic about a moving of the embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. Palestinians though say that this could be a real blow to the peace process because they say it calls into question America's role as being a partner in the negotiating process.

It also gets to one of the core issues of the peace process, the status of Jerusalem. The Israeli say Jerusalem is their unified capital, Palestinians say east Jerusalem will be the future capital of a Palestinian state. Also, we are hearing from Palestinian officials that there in -- there in Washington, D.C., they're putting pressure on the Trump administration to not make this move.

Also, regional allies also trying to put pressure on the Trump administration to have them not move the embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.

PAUL: So talk to us about the security concerns that are created by all of this there.

LEE: That's something that diplomatic emissions around, not here, but around the Middle East are looking at to see what reaction this could have.

I was in Cairo on September 11th, 2012 when protesters attacked the United States embassy there. I was outside and I saw that.

And it was just only because of an inflammatory video that was released in the United States. That's what sparked this protest and this attack.

So embassies and missions around the Middle East will be watching this closely. We know that they have increased security if something were to happen after this move.

BLACKWELL: All right. Ian Lee for us in Jerusalem. Ian, thank you.

PAUL: Thank you.

So into President Trump's firm stance on immigration, the U.S. has decided to end its participation in the global compact on migration. This is a press release that came out just yesterday.

U.N. Ambassador, Nikki Haley there said numerous provisions are inconsistent with the U.S. immigration policies and the Trump administration immigration principles. The U.S. joined that compact last year in 2016 under the Obama administration, upholding the rights of refugees and assisting with their resettling. That is the goal.

BLACKWELL: We are talking about the royal wedding.

PAUL: What?


BLACKWELL: And you know what? Our executive producer --

PAUL: Why are you -- why are you smiling so much?

BLACKWELL: -- who is from the U.K. --

PAUL: Because he's British?

BLACKWELL: He loves this. He knows it's not my deal but I know he wants me to read this, so I will.

PAUL: That's why you got it.

BLACKWELL: American actress, Megan Markle, turned bride-to-be. Who is she really? We'll take you back to her hometown for a look at her life before Prince Harry.

See? You got that. There you go.

PAUL: I guess I'm reading the story after the break.

BLACKWELL: Yes. First though, voting is under way for the CNN hero of the year.


PAUL: Yes. Here is one of this year's top 10 heroes. I want to introduce you now to Mona Patel.


MONA PATEL, CNN HERO: We are so much more than just a body part. We can either lay down and let our circumstance overtake us or we can stand-up and take charge.

Age 17, I was struck by a drunk driver. I vowed that once I got back on my feet, I would start a support group.

Thirty to 60 amputees get together once a month and share stories of strength and resilience. Doctors, case managers, call me to provide individual support and then also, we will provide prosthetic limbs to those that have no access to any other options and resources.

BENNELINA, YOUNG AMPUTEE: I met Miss Mona a good day before my surgery.

PATEL: When you stand can you put pressure on it? Is that easier for you?

BENNELINA: Telling me what I'm going to be able to do when I'm done. Like how she climbs (INAUDIBLE) with one leg. She is like a superhero.

PATEL: She is walking.


PATEL: We are stronger than any circumstance that comes our way, truly.


BLACKWELL: Good work there. Vote for your favorite top 10 heroes right now at



PAUL: He's back.

BLACKWELL: I am back.

PAUL: He has to read it.

BLACKWELL: And for this one.

Prince Harry and his fiance, Meghan Markle attended their first official royal event as an engaged couple this week.

PAUL: Yes. Hundreds of people were lined in the streets of Nottingham where they were visiting charities for world AIDS' day.

Now, Markle is -- Markle I should say isn't a stranger to philanthropy. And she said that that's what actually brought her and Prince Harry together.

BLACKWELL: Yes. Her humanitarian efforts they started as a child and continued through her upbringing. And really it's an unconventional one that has led her to become the next member of the royal family.

PAUL: Here is CNN's Stephanie Elam with the closer look.


STEPHANIE ELAM, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The spotlight on Megan Markle was already hot. Now it's intense after her engagement to Prince Harry.

MEGHAN MARKLE, AMERICAN ACTRESS: As a matter of fact, I could barely let you finish proposing. I said, "Can I say yes now?"


ELAM: But Markle, a Hollywood native is no stranger to attention.

MARKLE: Why would you do something like that in the first place?

ELAM: A regular on USA Network's series "Suits" she grew up around television. Her father worked on the hit T.V. show, "Married With Children." Markle often visited the set telling "Esquire" it was -- quote -- "a really funny and perverse place for a little girl in a Catholic school uniform to grow up.

The all-girl school behind that uniform is Immaculate Heart nestled on the Hollywood hillside.

ELAM (on camera): How many of you plan on getting up in the middle of the night in May to watch the wedding? What do you think?


ELAM (voice-over): The students here are thrilled that one of their own is now making her mark internationally.

BECKY DOYLE, IMMACULATE HEART SENIOR: It's just super cool that she came from here like L.A. and just spread out all over the place. And, you know, who doesn't love a good love story?

MARIA POLIA, MARKLE'S FORMER TEACHER: My first reaction was he is so fortunate to have found her.

ELAM: Markle's former teachers say she was a standout on stage and in the classroom.

CHRISTINE KNUDSEN, MARKLE'S FORMER TEACHER: A person like that who isn't just beautiful and smart and an actress but has this depth. That's what Prince Harry saw in her.

ELAM: At an early age Markle yearned to help others. She volunteered on L.A. Skid Row at just 13 scared but determined, she turned to a teacher for advice on how to do it.

Markle said in "Harper's Bazaar" -- quote -- "I remember one of my mentors, Mrs. Maria Polia told me that life is about putting other's need above your own fears. That has always stayed with me."

POLIA: That has helped her is -- to do the great things that she has been doing and will continue to do. It's immensely humbling but it also demonstrates the kind of heart that she has.

ELAM: After high school, Markle left L.A. for Northwestern University outside Chicago.

HARVEY YOUNG, CHAIR, NORTHWESTERN THEATER DEPARTMENT: There is a presence, you know, that make you aware of this person as being smart, intelligent, hardworking, destined to succeed.

ELAM: Professor Harvey Young recalls Markle embracing her biracial roots. Speaking openly during his class on Contemporary Black Theater in 2003.

YOUNG: And that stand out. You know, the fact that she's a person who was willing to reflect upon her experiences and to share that perspective of the life that she lived.

ELAM: After graduating, Markle remained focused on human rights and women's rights.

MARKLE: This has to change.

ELAM: A topic she addressed before the United Nations in 2015.

MARKLE: Women need a seat at the table. They need an invitation to be seated there. And in some cases where this isn't available, well then, you know what, then they need to create their own table.

ELAM: Philanthropy is one thing the royal couple says drew them together. Now they shared the scrutiny of a worldwide press. Harry chastising British tabloids for racially charged headlines about where Markle grew up.

In reality, this is Markle's family home, in a desired historically black neighborhood in L.A.

ELAM (on camera): What do you want to see the most?




ELAM (voice-over): Hometown excitement of a local girl turned star now getting the royal treatment.

Stephanie Elam, CNN Hollywood.


BLACKWELL: All right. "Saturday Night Live" poking fun at President Trump.

PAUL: Kind of put their own twist on "A Christmas Carol" with the ghost of the president's past, present and future.


ALEC BALDWIN AS DONALD TRUMP: Oh, thank God, Steve Bannon. You are here to save the day with your terrible white magic.


Wait. Who are you?

KATE MCKINNON AS HILLARY CLINTON: Merry Christmas. (INAUDIBLE). Hillary Rodham Clinton.




UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Smart people, when they are under investigation, have their attorneys do the talking. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I don't think he has submitted to obstruction of justice, but his actions, regarding General Flynn have changed dramatically.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He has a problem with the truth but he has a real problem in that he can't seem to keep his fingers off his Blackberry or whatever he uses.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We very well may look back on this plea bargain deal by Michael Flynn as the beginning of the end of the Trump administration.