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Republican Memo Alleges FBI Abused Surveillance Powers; Wall Street Sees Worst Day of Trump Presidency; Distraught Father Charges at Nassar in Courtroom; Olympic Winter Games Set to Kick Off; Man Fired for Sending Out Hawaiian False Missile Alert; Cape Town on Water Alert; Eagles Take on Patriots in Super Bowl. Aired 4-5a ET

Aired February 3, 2018 - 04:00   ET

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


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GEORGE HOWELL, CNN ANCHOR (voice-over): The much talked about memo, the U.S. president approves its release. Republicans say it shows the FBI and Justice Department abused power. But Democrats say it distorts the truth, is an attempt to undermine the Russia investigation. We'll explain it.

NATALIE ALLEN, CNN ANCHOR (voice-over): We'll break it down this hour.

Plus this, a father's unspeakable pain, facing the sports doctor who abused his three daughters and over 150 other young girls, he loses control.

HOWELL (voice-over): And later this hour, the battle of the bands. Advertisers hoping to win big this coming Super Bowl Sunday.

ALLEN (voice-over): Some of us watch it for the commercials. I like football but those commercials are killer.

Welcome to our viewers here in the U.S. and around the world, we are coming to you live from Atlanta, Georgia. I'm Natalie Allen.

HOWELL (voice-over): And I'm George Howell from CNN World Headquarters. NEWSROOM starts right now.

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HOWELL: It's 4:00 am here on the U.S. East Coast.

Fair to say, Natalie, a lot of people find this very story confusing. A lot of details to it. We want to break this down.

It is that much talked about memo and the question, does it discredit the Russia investigation?

Congressional supporters of the U.S. president, Donald Trump, are being accused of trying to do just that. They allege that the FBI improperly obtained a warrant to spy on a private citizen -- in this case, Carter Page, a former adviser of then candidate Donald Trump.

ALLEN: The content of the controversial memo by House Republican Devin Nunes are highly disputed. Critics say it only shows part of the picture. And as CNN's Jim Acosta explains, Justice Department officials had said the memo should not be public.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

JIM ACOSTA, CNN SR. WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): As all of Washington expected, the president greenlighted the release of a disputed House Republican memo that portrays Mr. Trump as the real victim of the Russia investigation. The president poured it on from the Oval Office.

DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I think it's terrible. If you want to know the truth, I think it's a disgrace what's going on in this country. I think it's a disgrace.

The memo was sent to Congress. It was declassified. Congress will do whatever they're going to do. But I think it's a disgrace, what's happening in our country. And when you look at that and you see that and so many other things, what's going on, a lot of people should be ashamed of themselves and much worse than that.

ACOSTA (voice-over): The memo, drafted by House Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin Nunes, accuses federal investigators of using what Republicans characterize as a politically-compromised dossier, drawn up by former British intelligence operative Christopher Steele to obtain authorization to spy on former Trump campaign foreign policy advisor Carter Page's interactions with the Russians.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I think people are conflating a lot of details and sort of jumping to conclusions.

ACOSTA (voice-over): The White House authorized the release of the memo, stating there was significant public interest in the document. The memo insists the Steele dossier was an essential part of the federal case for the surveillance warrant, alleging Steele was desperate that Mr. Trump not be elected.

For the memo's release, FBI Director Christopher Wray warned it doesn't tell the whole story, releasing a statement expressing grave concerns about material omissions of fact. The president's decision to release the memo was all too clear early in the morning, when he lashed out at his own GOP-led Justice Department team.

"The top leadership and investigators of the FBI and the Justice Department have politicized the sacred investigative process in favor of Democrats and against Republicans, something which would have been unthinkable just a short time ago. Rank and file are great people."

The memo's release raises questions about whether Mr. Trump would fire Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, a move that could pave the way to removing Special Counsel Robert Mueller.

Asked about the fate of Rosenstein, the president was abrupt. TRUMP: You figure that one out.

ACOSTA (voice-over): Just hours earlier, Attorney General Jeff Sessions was praising Rosenstein, as well as another Justice Department colleague.

JEFF SESSIONS, U.S. ATTORNEY GENERAL: Rod and Rachel are Harvard graduates. They are experienced lawyers. They've -- Rod's had 27 years in the department. Rachel has had a number of years in the department previously. And so they both represent the kind of quality and leadership that we want in the department.

ACOSTA (voice-over): Critics blasted the president's handling of the memo from all sides. Senator John McCain said in a statement, "The latest attacks on the FBI and Department of Justice serve no American interests: no party's, no president's, only Putin's."

Former FBI Director Jim Comey, who was fired by the president, tweeted, "That's it?" describing the memo as dishonest and misleading.

The ranking Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee, Adam Schiff, disputed the memo's finding, saying, "This ignores the inconvenient fact that the investigation did not begin with or arise from Christopher Steele or the dossier."

REP. ADAM SCHIFF (D-CA), RANKING MEMBER, INTELLIGENCE COMMITTEE: The investigation would have begun and continued even if Christopher Steele had never come along.

ACOSTA (voice-over): Democrats have their own memo --

[04:05:00]

ACOSTA (voice-over): -- that disputes the Republicans' findings.

ACOSTA: Mr. President, will you release the Democratic memo?

ACOSTA (voice-over): But Republicans on the House Intelligence Committee voted Monday to block its release.

The president would not answer whether he would release that memo, though the White House issued a statement hinting it could, saying, "The administration stands ready to work with Congress to accommodate oversight requests."

The White House tried to clean up the comments from Rosenstein, saying there's no conversation about firing the deputy attorney general -- Jim Acosta, CNN, the White House.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

ALLEN: Well, again, the main allegation in this memo that the Justice Department misused a FISA court to target former Trump advisor Carter Page.

HOWELL: So exactly what is the FISA court? Another question, how does Carter Page fit into all this?

We asked our Tom Foreman to explain.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

TOM FOREMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: In the long investigation into possible Russian meddling in the U.S. election, Carter Page has become a flashpoint, not because this one-time adviser to Donald Trump has had a long relationship with Russia or because he traveled there during the campaign, although that is true, but instead, because some Republicans believe the Justice Department improperly used a FISA court to wiretap Carter Page.

Now FISA stands for the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act. And this is what is used when investigators want to spy on, essentially, somebody who is actually on U.S. soil. They go to FISA court, they present information explaining why they believe this person is a suspected agent of a foreign government and the FISA court would then give them permission, if it's all approved properly, to then go forward with this.

The FISA court did that in this case. Not only that but they approved an extension three different times. And analysts say that's probably because there was something coming out of this or most likely something coming out of this that gave them reason to keep approving this.

But some Republicans are saying the real problem here is that there was a secret political hand at work that the court was not told about, that the original information on Carter Page, some of it at least, came from an investigation that was partially funded by Democrats out there. And those Democrats were feeding it into the Justice Department; FISA court didn't know about it.

Now if that's the case, then why doesn't the Justice Department just come out and say, look, maybe we have got other sources, other things we can tell you about.

The reason that would not happen, according to many intelligence analysts, is that there may indeed be other sources. There may be other avenues out there they're proceeding that they do not want to make public because that could somehow imperil the further investigation of all of this.

Whether or not that's true, we don't know. The very secretive nature of the FISA court is the reason that it may be hard for investigators, the Justice Department to come forward and say, here is what's happening and why they think the memo is wrong.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

ALLEN: Tom Foreman there.

The man behind the memo is the chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, Republican Devin Nunes. He has been roundly criticized. Some say he's so overly partisan, he's hurting his committee's investigation.

HOWELL: And the first interview that he gave after the memo came out was to the conservative FOX News network, slamming Democrats. Let's listen.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

REP. DEVIN NUNES (R), CALIF.: These are not honest actors. They know they are not honest actors. And I get tired of playing whack-a-mole every day with the Democrats on this committee, who never wanted to start this investigation in the first place.

So there's clear evidence of collusion with the Russians, it just happens to be with the Hillary Clinton campaign and the Democratic National Committee that the news media fails to talk about or fails to even investigate.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

HOWELL: All right, the top Democrat on the committee, though, says the memo was not meant to help this investigation but rather to hurt it. Let's listen.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

REP. ADAM SCHIFF (D-CALIF.), MEMBER, HOUSE INTELLIGENCE COMMITTEE: The goal was simply to get a misleading piece of information before the public, help support the president, help discredit the Mueller investigation and the FBI, help do the bidding of the White House. And that's all that's going on here.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ALLEN: Adam Schiff there. He called the memo "a completely reckless abuse of the classification process" and will result, he says, in long-lasting damage.

HOWELL: We hope we've helped to explain some of this to you. To do that further, let's now bring in Steven Erlanger, Steven is the chief diplomatic correspondent for "The New York Times," joining us live this hour from Brussels, Belgium.

Steven, it's good to have you with us. So a lot of details to talk about here. A lot of people that I have spoken to find it all very confusing. So we want to go through this point by point.

This memo was supposed to prove that Russia, this investigation, that it was tainted and the FBI is biased against the U.S. president. Critics, though, say it's misleading and shows part of the picture.

Given what we know, and keeping in mind there is a lot that we don't know --

[04:10:00]

HOWELL: -- was this a hit or a miss from Republicans, making this information public?

STEVEN ERLANGER, "THE NEW YORK TIMES": Well, I think what's behind it are two things, let's be fair. One is the midterm elections in November; which the Republicans want to win, they want to hold onto the House.

And two is a White House under threat from the Robert Mueller investigation into alleged links, the campaign with Russia. So that's the basis of all this.

The memo itself said little that we didn't already know, to be honest. And it is true that the investigation into Carter Page began before the Christopher Steele memo came out. So that is factual.

We also know that British and Dutch intelligence had both warned the United States that there were communications about manipulation of the election campaign and efforts to harm Hillary Clinton coming from Russia to people who were involved with the Republican Trump campaign. So we know that to be true.

So the big question is, how does this memo work politically?

Because it's an intensely political document; it doesn't reveal very much. In fact the only thing it reveals are secrets about the FISA court, which normally isn't discussed. But as you said, the FISA court did renew its warrant to listen in to Carter Page more than once.

Apparently something told that court that that was a productive listening tap. So, you know, the details are difficult, it's true. But they are intensely partisan, intensely political.

And what worries some people, even if, you know, they love Donald Trump and love -- and are deep Republicans, is the way America's justice system and the FBI are being dragged into an intensely partisan fight. This is, I think, going to have detrimental effect among America's friends abroad and possibly to the American justice system itself.

HOWELL: You bring up interesting points. Let's push into those two points. Let's specifically talk about the question about whether people are asking, does this at least provide the groundwork for the president to fire the deputy attorney general, Rosenstein?

ERLANGER: Well, you know, the initial idea of the memo, as I understand it, was to find a way of showing that Rod Rosenstein had been negligent or careless in his job. But he had little to do with these FISA warrants, except for one of them.

The White House insists it has no intention of firing Rod Rosenstein. I think it would be a tremendous constitutional crisis, comparable to the Saturday night massacre under Watergate, when Nixon fired the special prosecutor, Archibald Cox.

Should Rod Rosenstein be fired because Rod Rosenstein's firing would be the initial step to firing Robert Mueller? And I think that would be a step too far for quite a few Republicans as well. The Republicans have warned the White House not to do it. But one can feel a slow constitutional crisis emerging out of this deeply intensely partisan political fight that's going on around the Trump investigation into Russia.

HOWELL: And Rosenstein vaguely implicated in this memo but we hear from the White House that there are no plans to change any personnel at the Justice Department, that at least the moment. That's what we are hearing at the moment. So we'll have to wait to see how all this plays out, Steven.

The other question that you brought up, this point about FISA, is a very secretive process, typically. To see it in full display here or

should I say parts of this process on display, it is unprecedented. The FBI warned the president against releasing this information.

What impact on the intelligence community will all of this have, given the hyperpartisan nature of this release, do you think that other nations might pause about sharing delicate details with the United States?

ERLANGER: Well, it's very hard to say. I mean, FISA is secretive, by definition because it involves tapping Americans in America. I mean, personally, and it's a very personal view. I mean, I think there's too much secrecy surrounding all of this in general.

I mean, I do worry about government overstepping in --

[04:15:00]

ERLANGER: -- a secretive process where you are a subject for surveillance but don't even know it and have no way of defending yourself against it and don't know why you might be surveilled.

Now this memo gives you some insight into that process. So that doesn't bother me so much. I don't think intelligence services are so worried about this.

But I do think the Justice Department is worried because, as your own reporter said, it is restrained from discussing what led to the FBI investigation because of intelligence. It came out of intelligence.

My understanding is it came out of British and Dutch intelligence, not from this Christopher Steele memo. But it's very difficult for the Justice Department to go public on things like that because that gives away methods and it confirms to the people who have been tapped abroad that they have been tapped and how they have been tapped.

So I think that's really the danger here. But I think that pales, quite honestly, compared to the partisan nature of this release, as if, you know, intelligence secrets, Justice Department workings, the identity and integrity of the FBI all are supposed to be subject to this bitter fight between Republicans and Democrats.

And that, I think, we all ought to be worried about.

HOWELL: Just for the viewers who have been following this story, we have not seen the testimony of Andrew McCabe. Again, Democrats saying the Democratic memo also important as counterpoint to the Republican memo. Steven Erlanger, thank you so much for your time today.

ERLANGER: Thanks, George.

ALLEN: Stocks collapsed on Wall Street on Friday. Investors are probably glad a turbulent week is over. We'll look at the huge drop and what might be ahead coming up here.

HOWELL: Plus, a father enraged as he hears the details of sexual abuse of his daughters. The judge's message to the furious parent. We'll have that story right after the break. Stay with us.

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ALLEN: Wall Street suffered its worst day of the Trump presidency on Friday. The Dow fell slightly more than 665 points, that's the steepest point decline since the 2008 financial crisis. Paradoxically, the strong economy is causing this. The strong jobs report is fueling fears of inflation and higher interest rates.

HOWELL: Analysts say the political turmoil in Washington is adding to that uncertainty.

The disgraced former USA gymnastics physician, Larry Nassar, is facing several life sentences for sexually abusing hundreds of women and girls. This as dozens more women are coming forward to share their incredibly raw and painful stories.

ALLEN: For the father of three girls abused by Nassar, the weight of their words in court on Friday was too much to bear. Kaylee Hartung describes what happened. We want to warn you, her report contains graphic testimony.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

RANDALL MARGRAVES, FATHER OF LAUREN, MORGAN AND MADISON: You son of a (INAUDIBLE).

KAYLEE HARTUNG, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): This father's anger...

RANDALL MARGRAVES: As part of the sentencing to grant me five minutes in a locked room with this demon.

HARTUNG (voice-over): -- aimed squarely at the man who abused his three daughters.

RANDALL MARGRAVES: Would you give me one minute?

(CROSSTALK)

RANDALL MARGRAVES: Well, I'm going to have to do --

(CROSSTALK)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Please!

HARTUNG (voice-over): From this angle, you can see the court bailiff quickly get Larry Nassar out of the room.

More than 200 survivors in two different courtrooms over the past two weeks have provided victim impact statements in the case against Nassar, enraging and disgusting the country.

On Friday, Randall Margraves listened to two of his daughters publicly share details of their abuse.

MADISON MARGRAVES, NASSAR SEXUAL ASSAULT VICTIM: He said this meant because I had back pain he would need to put the needles on my vagina, with no coverage, no gloves, underwear and pants down to my thighs. My entire vagina was completely exposed to him.

LAUREN MARGRAVES, NASSAR SEXUAL ASSAULT VICTIM: When I was 13, just a kid, laying on a table at MSU and you put your ungloved hands all over my rear and slipped your thumb into the most private area of my body.

MADISON MARGRAVES: To my parents, thank you for all of your love and support through all of this. You have done everything that a parent could ever do.

I really feel that my entire family has gone to hell and back over the last few months of what Larry Nassar did to me and my sisters over the last are years.

LAUREN MARGRAVES: My parents are heartbroken and so filled with guilt. The guilt they have will never go away.

HARTUNG: Margraves' actions prompted praise on Twitter, calling him a hero. Parents swaying they would have done the same thing.

JANICE CUNNINGHAM, INGHAM COUNTY CIRCUIT JUDGE: You have to understand --

HARTUNG: Compassion and understanding, too, from the judge overseeing Margraves' civil contempt hearing a couple hours later in the same courtroom.

CUNNINGHAM: I cannot tolerate or condone vigilantism. But as for the direct contempt of court, there is no way that this court is going to issue any kind of punishment given the circumstances of this case. And I do, my heart does go out to you and your family because of what you have gone through. RANDALL MARGRAVES: I appreciate it, Your Honor. Something that I would like to apologize to you and the courtroom. I'm embarrassed. I am not here to upstage my daughters. I am here to help them heal.

HARTUNG: In a family press conference later in the day, an apologetic Margraves tried to explain his emotional reaction, saying that it was the first time he had heard some of the details on Nassar's sexual assault on his daughters.

RANDALL MARGRAVES: What I had to hear what was said in those statements and I have to look over at Larry Nassar shaking his head, that is when I lost control.

HARTUNG: Nassar --

[04:25:00]

HARTUNG: -- who was sentenced up to 175 years in prison for similar charges in another Michigan courtroom last week, is expected to be sentenced in this hearing early next week -- in Atlanta, Georgia, Kaylee Hartung, CNN.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

ALLEN: People have reacted to the father's actions. They can kind of understand how he did that.

Well, there's more evidence North Korea is violating international sanctions. A new U.N. report says North Korea made nearly $200 million last year by exporting coal and other banned goods.

HOWELL: The report indicates the coal went to countries like Russia and China. Investigators also suggest North Korea supplied weapons to Syria and Myanmar.

ALLEN: As you know, North Korea is participating in the South Korean Olympics. They are almost here. The Games kick off next Friday in PyeongChang, South Korea. And Paula Newton is there and joins us live.

Paula, hello.

PAULA NEWTON, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Hey, there, Natalie, good to see you. Hello and good to see you.

Yes, they are getting underway in a few days. It's important, Natalie, the news cycle is just so short now. Just a few weeks ago, we were talking about whether or not the U.S. team would even come here, given security concerns. Nikki Haley, the U.S. ambassador to the U.N., actually putting on the table that the team may not come here.

We have come so far. We now have 22 North Korean participants. Moon Jae-in, the South Korean president, saying that he thinks it will come to fruition, the Peace Games that he has wanted for this country, may, actually, end up getting some kind of entente between North Korea and South Korea.

Skeptics say that is not what this is about. But Olympic organizers will take what they can get at this point. They are putting the finishing touches on all the events here, having a lot of things to do still.

We were out there today in what is some bitter cold. The sunshine helped a little bit. They were still putting up the ticket booths, rehearsing for the opening ceremonies. But in general, people believe that these will be the biggest Winter Olympics ever. And many hoping now, that everything is in place for these to be uneventful in terms of politics. And everyone hopes so -- Natalie.

ALLEN: We certainly do. Thank you so much, Paula Newton for us there in South Korea, we can't wait.

HOWELL: Still ahead, after the fanfare and buildup of the Nunes memo, what is next in the wake of the information that's been released?

We'll take a look.

ALLEN: Plus, the fired worker who sent out Hawaii's false missile alert is telling his side of the story. Hear why he thinks he is being treated unfairly -- coming up.

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ALLEN: Welcome back to our viewers in the U.S. and around the world, you are watching CNN NEWSROOM. I'm Natalie Allen.

HOWELL: I'm George Howell with the headlines we're following for you this hour.

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HOWELL: Now more on the controversial Republican memo, the story we are following. It was released on Friday. It has become the talk of Washington because of what it might mean for the Trump presidency. At its core, the memo alleged the FBI abused its surveillance powers in targeting a former aide in the Trump campaign.

ALLEN: Democrats and other critics say the document is not an accurate representation of the facts. Fired FBI director James Comey called it "dishonest and misleading." Our Jeff Zeleny explains why some believe the memo was meant to undermine the Mueller investigation.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

JEFF ZELENY, CNN SR. WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT: In the wake of President Trump's decision to release that controversial House Intelligence memo, now there is still a fight brewing between the White House, the Justice Department and the FBI.

President Trump declined to say if he had confidence in the deputy attorney general, Rod Rosenstein, who oversees the Russia investigation. Now none of this changes special counsel Robert Mueller's investigation. This is still going along full speed. One of the next things to find out is if the president will sit down for an interview with him.

But the release of this memo, at least in the eyes of the White House and the president, they believe it helps discredit the Russia investigation. Now many Republicans across Washington said that was not the point of it. They said that is not the case. It is separate from that.

The reality here, though, is the president goes into the weekend, where he'll be spending it in Mar-a-lago, Florida.

Will he make a decision to have a change either at the Justice Department with Rod Rosenstein or will he fire Bob Mueller?

Those are still two possible things that could happen. Now most advisers here at the White House say the president knows that would be explosive and that would continue and draw out the investigation.

But the mindset of the president on this is unclear. Again, he declined to say if he has confidence in the deputy attorney general here. And his own FBI director said he had grave concerns about the memo. The memo was released, anyway.

Now as this moves forward here, going into the coming weeks, the Russia investigation still going full blast. The question is, now, if the White House can move beyond it and get to the point of legislating. So much work here to be done here in Washington. The Republicans believe this has overtaken their agenda. They simply want to get back to legislating -- Jeff Zeleny, CNN, the White House.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

ALLEN: The fired government employee who triggered the false ballistic missile alert in Hawaii says he's being treated unfairly.

HOWELL: He say he feels terrible that so many people panicked but he ultimately did what he was trained to do.

[04:35:00]

HOWELL: We get more now from Hawaii News with this report.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: A variety of problems system-wide. The failure, as far as the unannounced, unplanned drill that occurred during transition time between shifts is a very vulnerable time. People weren't ready.

LYNN KAWANO, HAWAII NEWS NOW (voice-over): Employee One, as the state investigation identifies him, says he had just logged on to his computer on Saturday, January 13th, at the Hawaii Emergency Management Agency when the phone rang.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I was supposed to be on speakerphone but someone picked up the receiver and the first part of the message exercise (INAUDIBLE) was not heard.

KAWANO (voice-over): What he did hear, instead, was not part of any language he heard before during an exercise.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The message I heard was that this is not a drill and I did not hear "exercise" in the message at all.

KAWANO (voice-over): He pushed the proverbial button, an option on his computer screen, sending out the alert to Hawaii cell phones and broadcasters that a ballistic missile was on the way.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I was 100 percent sure that it was real. I did what I was trained to do, based on the information I heard.

KAWANO (voice-over): Employee One says he realizes the alert caused panic across the state but says he thought he was doing the right thing, trying to give people time to find shelter.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No, we weren't ready and we could have been trained more. And the documentation could have been better. The system, the software could have been better. A lot of things played into it. And it was just a big failure of the system.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is a change in shifts and the supervisor is not even there at the time. People are logging in and here comes this phone call. And he thinks it's coming from the base, the military base. And they have got so many minutes before there's nobody left here in the state.

KAWANO (voice-over): Employee One says the minutes that followed were also chaotic because the state had no way to instantly retract or correct the message. It took 38 minutes while leaders tried to figure out what to do -- Lynn Kawano, Hawaii News Now.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

HOWELL: Still ahead, Cape Town, South Africa, is running out of water. How residents there are dealing with the approaching disaster.

ALLEN: Plus, misery in Argentina as wild floodwaters wash away homes and cars. We'll have that. Derek Van Dam is up next.

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(MUSIC PLAYING) ALLEN: The 4 million residents of Cape Town are staring down a

painful reality. In a little more than two months, the South African city could run out of water. People are waiting in long lines stockpiling water for the so-called Day Zero. Some are even building their own rationing systems for their homes.

HOWELL: The city has restricted residents to just over 13 gallons, that's about 50 liters of water a day from municipal sources. And the crisis is spreading. The industrial area around Johannesburg could also face shortages because of low levels in the reservoirs.

ALLEN: Let's talk more about it now with Reggie Ferreira. He's a research fellow in the Department of Social Work at South Africa's University of the Free State. He joins me from Cape Town via Skype.

Thank you so much for joining us, Dr. Ferreira. I want to ask you first of all, these reservoirs, which are almost empty, were full about three years ago.

How did this crisis happen?

REGGIE FERREIRA PH.D., UNIVERSITY OF THE FREE STATE: That's correct. I mean, we are facing a nearly three-year drought down this side. So, yes, it's pretty severe. It's historical drought that's currently being experienced in the Western Cape. But parts of South Africa are also experiencing drought.

ALLEN: Other cities watching this, should they think, what as far as anything happened there, it could happen anywhere where there's drought perhaps.

Yes, correct. Folks need to prepare. We live in a changing environment. So definitely now is the time to prepare. And also look at sustainability measures that we can come up with and ensure we have a longer-term vision in mind. So we're basing it on resilience.

ALLEN: It's really astounding that a city can just run out of water and there hasn't been the innovation.

What is it that can keep something like that from happening?

What in the short term can Cape Town do?

Then talk to us about the long term.

Where does this innovation need to go?

FERREIRA: That's a great question. There's a multitude of factors that's caused this situation. We are faced with the changing climate down here. There's also issues of rapid urbanization and migration. Also, folks are just using too much water in some instances.

On to your next question, in terms of the short term, is folks really need to ration their water supplies; be smart when you're using a tap. Don't let it run for too long. Then in terms of longer term vision, one should look at desalinization, aquifer water systems, but, yes, also possibly put development on hold for some time until the situation improves.

ALLEN: Right because this is a people story and it's a climate story, it's an economical story because businesses, many businesses need water to run.

What do you think the overall effect, as far as just from a business standpoint and the psyche of the people in Cape Town, what effect could that have?

FERREIRA: Definitely, we are going to see cascading effects. Folks are going to be laid off or they're going to work less hours. And that's just going to cause a cascading effect where, in the long term, we'll have mental health issues, family issues that can arise. So, yes, it's pretty severe.

ALLEN: You attribute this, you know -- it's a climate related story, it's not just a city that didn't have, you know, a capable aquifer system or water system for its people.

FERREIRA: Correct, yes. Definitely. Yes.

ALLEN: All right. We thank you so much for joining us, Dr. Reggie Ferreira. Thank you so much.

FERREIRA: Thank you.

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[04:45:00]

HOWELL: Still ahead, we received some dramatic video that shows cars and homes being washed away by raging floodwaters in Northwestern Argentina.

ALLEN: Reports say 10,000 people were forced to leave their homes when heavy rains caused this river to burst its banks. Some residents had to be pulled from the water.

Coming up here, we're just a couple days away from the biggest sporting extravaganza in the United States.

Hmm, what could that be?

We'll tell you why viewers tune in for more than just the football game.

HOWELL: A lot of people will be watching.

Plus the UAE is unveiling what some people may consider the world's scariest new tourist attraction. The scary part, being part of it.

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HOWELL: Look at that.

Can you do that? I couldn't.

ALLEN: I don't even like watching that.

HOWELL: Yikes.

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[04:50:00]

(SPORTS)

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HOWELL: The biggest pro football event of the year in the United States, it is the Super Bowl, of course. It's set to be played on Sunday, with the Philadelphia Eagles taking on the reigning champs, the New England Patriots.

ALLEN: Depending on whom you ask, the best action could happen when it goes to commercial break.

HOWELL: A lot of people watch those commercials.

ALLEN: We all love the commercials, they are the best. CNN's Maggie Lake has that.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

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MAGGIE LAKE, CNN BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT: "Game of Thrones" star, Peter Dinklage, channeling his inner Busta Rhymes.

And Morgan Freeman getting his freak on, promoting Doritos and Mountain Dew. Their lip-sync battle of sorts is a teaser for one of the high-priced ads to come on America's most-watched sporting event of the year, Super Bowl Sunday.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Thirty-second spots are going for $5 million this year. But that's only the beginning for advertisers. They spend many millions more on production, on celebrity endorsers.

LAKE (voice-over): Most brands are holding off the big surprises for Super Bowl Sunday. But star-studded mini previews create almost as much buzz at the game itself.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Alexa?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Amazon's Alexa lost her voice this morning.

LAKE (voice-over): Amazon's CEO Jeff Bezos revealed that the company's digital assistant device is getting a new voice. The ad shows executives scrambling to replace Alexa's lost voice with hilarious alternatives.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Alexa, show me a recipe for a grilled cheese sandwich.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You're 32 years of age and you don't know how to make a grilled cheese sandwich?

LAKE (voice-over): Amazon is paying millions for the ad space and they are just one of many big spenders.

Actor Chris Pratt is headlining the spot for low-calorie brew Michelob Ultra.

[04:55:00]

LAKE (voice-over): M&Ms hired Danny DeVito to depict their signature chocolate candy.

Budweiser's ad tugs at the heartstrings, promoting the company's efforts to send water to areas hard-hit by natural disasters in the U.S.

While the tones may differ, most will likely stay far away from anything that could lead to controversy.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This year, for the first time, I think, people are backing off political, kind of like social (INAUDIBLE) kind of stuff. We had the election in the last year so people are ready to pounce on commercials and say, I don't like that, that's not for me, that's offensive.

LAKE (voice-over): While they'll have to tread a careful line between charming and politically charged the big brands spend big on Super Bowl Sunday for one reason: if it's anything like last year, more than 100 million people will be watching -- Maggie Lake, CNN.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

ALLEN: I'm already sucked in just from her report. The snippets --

(CROSSTALK)

HOWELL: It's going to be fun to watch.

ALLEN: Awesome.

All right. Now we have this. Depending on how you feel about heights, what we are going to show you next may top your bucket list or give you the heebie-jeebies.

HOWELL: Take a look.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Off they go. ALLEN: Off they go. It's the longest zipline in the world. The

tourist attraction opens for business in the United Arab Emirates on Friday.

HOWELL: The zipline shoots passengers down a nearly 3 kilometer-long track at top speeds of 150 kilometers an hour. The Guinness world record folks were on hand to certify that the zipline is indeed the world's longest.

ALLEN: At that's 93 miles per hour for the rest of (INAUDIBLE).

I don't know, George.

HOWELL: I don't think I could do that.

ALLEN: I don't think so.

(CROSSTALK)

ALLEN: We are so boring.

All right. We have another hour of news. We promise we won't be boring. We won't give you the heebie-jeebies. Thanks for watching, I'm Natalie Allen.

HOWELL: I'm George Howell. We'll do it again. Another hour of NEWSROOM right back after the break. Stay with us.