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Michael Cohen Speaking Out After Being Sentenced To Three Years In Prison; Under Investigation Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke Is Now Leaving The President's Cabinet; Federal Judge In Texas Has Ruled Obamacare Unconstitutional; Governors Scott Walker And Rick Snyder Both Signed Some Very Controversial Measures In Wisconsin And Michigan; Department Of Homeland Security Is Proposing A New Policy To Deter Immigrants From Using Public Benefits; Delegates From Nearly 200 Nations Have Reached An Agreement To Put The 2015 Paris Climate Treaty Into Action; An American Student Studying Overseas Found Dying Of Stab Wounds In Her European Apartment. Aired 4-5p ET
Aired December 15, 2018 - 16:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[16:00:00] ANA CABRERA, CNN ANCHOR: And today, the secretary of the interior announces he is out. His replacement, nobody knows yet. Well, details in a live report from Washington in s a moment.
Also, this weekend a federal a federal judge knocks down the healthcare act known as Obama care. Not part of it, all of it saying it is unconstitutional. President Trump obviously happy that something he has railed against for years is under attack. How this impacts your healthcare coverage in a few minutes.
But first, a look at all the moving -- fast-moving developments from special counsel Robert Mueller. We have seen 12 shocking days of revelations since thanksgiving. The latest one, a rupture between Mueller and his star witness, Mike Flynn. The President's first national security advisor who lied about what he discussed with a high profile Russian ambassador close to Vladimir Putin. The special counsel's office ripping a suggestion by Flynn's lawyers that Flynn lied to the FBI because he was caught off guard when approached by FBI agents. Mueller makes it very clear that Flynn was committed to his false story because he had already lied repeatedly to high-ranking Trump administration members including vice president Mike Pence.
It also goes against President Trump's recent assertion that the FBI said he didn't lied and that the agency was embarrassed by the way, Flynn, was treated.
Also this week, the President's former fixer, Michael Cohen, speaking out after being sentenced to three years in prison. Cohen saying Trump absolutely directed him to pay off a porn star and a former playmate so they would keep quiet about their sexual history with then candidate Trump before he was elected.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MICHAEL COHEN, FORMER TRUMP PERSONAL ATTORNEY: First, nothing at the Trump organization who has ever done unless it was run through Mr. Trump. He directed me, as I said as in my (INAUDIBLE), and I said as well in the plea, he directed me to make the payments. He directed me to become involved in these matters.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CABRERA: Plus, we have a brand new investigation to add it this list. The Trump inauguration is now being looked at for what federal prosecutors describe as possible financial abuses. They are reportedly looking into whether the committee accepted donations from people in foreign countries looking to gain influence or access to the incoming administration.
So here's where we are right now. If we take a step back, investigations linked to Trump world are really piling up fast. The President's administration, his business, the Trump organization, his transition team, his foundation, his campaign, and now Trump's inaugural committee spending all under investigation.
With us to discuss Garrett Gratt, the author of the "Threat Matrix inside Mueller's FBI and the wrong global terror," former FBI special agent Asha Rangappa, CNN's legal and national security analyst, and former FBI supervisory special agent Josh Campbell.
OK, Garrett, you have written about Robert Mueller. You have studied how he works. What stands out to you about this week, about where his investigations stands and where it is headed?
GARRETT GRATT, AUTHOR, THE THREAT MATRIX: INSIDE ROBERT MUELLER'S FBI: Well, I think - I mean, we have had three weeks now of pretty intense date to day revelations here. And I think what we are learning is that they are -- all of these revelations are pointing in the same direction. That Mueller's investigation is building towards a larger case. Something that we have not imaged the full scope of quite yet. Not glimpsed the full scope of quite yet. But then it's beginning to appear that these two conspiracies, one that the campaign finance violations and the other, the Russian attack on the 2016 election, are not necessarily two separate cases, but are, in fact, one big case that there is in fact no real difference between the business collusion and the election collusion.
CABRERA: Asha, I want you to give us your 30,000-foot view because there is so much there. But where does the Mueller investigation stand when it comes to whether Trump and the campaign colluded with Russia? What do we know now that we didn't know one month ago, for example?
ASHA RANGAPPA, CNN LEGAL AND NATIONAL SECURITY ANALYST: Yes. I agree with Garrett that you are going to see a few things start to merge in terms of business practices that were happening before Trump took office including not just these campaign finance payments but also the Trump Moscow tower deal that's kind of bleeding into his activities once he becomes President in terms of sanctions and our foreign policy stance towards Russia.
I also just want to point out that there are now investigations coming from a lot of different fronts. It's not just the Mueller investigation. There is the southern district of New York. There is the New York attorney general looking at the Trump foundation. So there are investigations closing in on him from a number of different directions.
CABRERA: Josh, very interesting moment yesterday. We have a special counsel that has stayed largely silent amidst all the political noise, now slamming the narrative of Michael Flynn as a victim of over aggressive FBI agents.
Special counsel prosecutors saying Mike Flynn is responsible for his false statements to the FBI, saying he made the decision to lie about his communications with the Russian ambassador two weeks before his interview with the FBI. Why do you think this was the moment for such a public rebuke like that?
[16:05:00] JOSH CAMPBELL, FORMER FBI SUPERVISORY SPECIAL AGENT: So that is a question, and that was obviously a dramatic development. And can I say at the outset, first of all, how much of a pleasure it is to be on this FBI power panel here. We have got Asha, counterintelligence expert. We have Garett Gratt who studied Bob Mueller so long. He knows that Mueller is going to do before he does. So it's a pleasure to be here.
To your point, it really was a Mueller smack down to Michael Flynn. And I don't know how much general Flynn is paying his lawyers, but I think they really -- they -- they misstep whenever they decided that they were going to attack investigators. He was obviously on the road to possibly not getting a sentence. You know, the investigator said he had provided so much cooperation. But then they took that turn and said, no, we are going to actually take a page from President Trump's playbook and attack the investigators. Mueller came back and said, no, no, you are not going to do that. You know better. A 33-year veteran of the arm forces, a former intelligence chief. You don't have to have someone tell you that lying to the FBI is wrong. And you know, all of us here knowing Bob Mueller is a very impatient person, and I imagine when he saw that he said, no, that is not going to stand. I'm going to speak out through court filing to which he did telling Michael Flynn that you are out of line. You should have known better.
CABRERA: And Josh, as you know, the perception of the integrity of this investigation is so important.
Garett, go ahead and I will let you jump in and then finish this question later.
GRATT: Yes. And I think that sort of one of the things that got overlooked in that smack down for Mueller, which is sort of as close to a Mueller exclusion of temper that we have seen in court documents yet, is the story that Mueller was telling, which I think is central and important to this investigation and where it's going which is what Mueller was saying that was that basically, no, no, no, it wasn't that he lied to FBI agents. It was that he was lying to everybody. That his lies were actually consistent over several weeks to different people in different forums, both public, private, to FBI agents, to vice president Pence, and that is actually a really interesting and important question about if Michael Flynn thought what he was doing was OK if it was above board, if it was something that was fully authorized by the President, that the President was happy with, why was Mike Flynn lying about it behind closed doors to everybody who asked him about it. That is actually a really interesting and important question that we haven't seen the answer to yet.
CABRERA: Asha, what does your Intel experience tell you?
RANGAPPA: My Intel experience tells me that when I have gone and interviewed people, usually, you know, people bend over backwards to try to be as honest as possible because they know that they are speaking with FBI agents. So I find it completely implausible that he didn't know that it was a crime to lie to the FBI.
But I do think that it's interesting that these filing drops the names of Andrew McCabe and Peter Strock (ph) and attacks the FBI, these are trigger words for the President. And I almost can't help, even though he is going to do little to no time, likely, I wonder if there's, you know, sort of a bid here for the President to pardon him or exonerate him once this is all said and done and to be able to now have a narrative to use to justify doing that. Because I just can't see any other reason why his lawyers would throw this in after he has already pleaded guilty.
CABRERA: There is a transparency aspect to what we saw in Mueller's latest filing, Josh, and we talk about the perception of the integrity of this investigation. He really laid out what the process was early on when Flynn was interviewed. And I know you have some new reporting on something referenced in this new Flynn filing. You say that the FBI director at the time, James Comey, was really concerned over how Mike Flynn and him being interviewed by the FBI could be politicized. In fact, he was so worried about it, he took steps to try to hide the interview at the time from the justice department and then acting attorney general Sally Yates. Why is that significant?
CAMPBELL: Yes, it is very interesting. And part of the document that we saw that came out included that (INAUDIBLE), the testimony of documents from Peter Strock (ph)were indicated at once Sally Yates, who is the acting attorney general, was actually briefed, she wasn't happy. Now, my colleague, Laura, Garrett and I over the justice department who do some reporting and actually, you know, spoke to people familiar with that conversation between Comey and Yates and learned just what you said. That it was actually Jim Comey who sent agents over to the White House to interview Michael Flynn and didn't tell officials Sally Yates and officials in the justice department.
And what we are told is that his rationale was just what you said, that he wanted to exert some type of independence, you know. He wanted to get past a possible perception that maybe this was a last ditch effort by the Obama administration because Sally Yates was an Obama hold-over to go after Flynn. So he actually made that dramatic decision that he was going to send agents over to interview Flynn without telling justice department and told Sally Yates afterwards. She was not very happy about that because she was obviously very interested in the investigation and the chief law enforcement officer.
And one thing that's interesting, too, I tell you in full disclosure, I worked for Comey and the FBI, and this is something that's a close hold. Didn't know at the time. A lot of people there in the FBI didn't know at the time. It was kept a very close hold. But again, as we have been doing this reporting and, you know, talking to people familiar with this discussion, it's very interesting to see how this all played that out and just, you know, yet another example of Comey trying to distance himself, setting up that independence of the FBI from this perception of political influence.
[16:10:56] CABRERA: Asha, there has been more fall-out this week also from Michael Cohen's case. AMI, we have learned now cooperating with investigators. We are learning Trump was in the room when they discussed the hush money payments to Karen McDougal and Stormy Daniels.
If the President did not tell the truth about knowledge of hush money payments ahead of the election, does it put him in any increase peril as it relates to whether he has told the truth about not having knowledge of Russian election interference?
RANGAPPA: You know, what matters is how much evidence that the southern district has. I mean, the President can lie to the public, though. All of these are public statements are helpful in terms of the investigation. But ultimately, this is a question of did he act with willfulness and knowledge? And I think if he is in the room, it becomes more and more implausible for him to suggest that he did not, a, know these payments or, b, was not making them with the intent of influencing the election.
It's important to remember that that does not have to be the only motive that he had. It just needs to be a primary motive. And the timing of the payment, which was just, you know, a few weeks before the election really points in that direction and is putting him directly in the target of a criminal charge.
CABRERA: Thank you so much, Asha, Josh, Garrett. Great to have you with us. Really appreciate it on the weekend. Thank you.
Did he resign, or was he asked to resign? Under investigation interior secretary Ryan Zinke is now leaving the President's cabinet. We will have a live report from the White House straight ahead.
And Wisconsin's Republican governor may have lost the election, but he is leaving office with one last win for his party and it is infuriating Democrats.
You are live from the CNN NEWSROOM.
[16:16:58] CABRERA: Welcome back.
The secretary of the interior says he is leaving his job. The Ryan Zinke, the subject of several separate federal ethics investigations going on right now at the same time. Zinke announced today that he will leave the cabinet by New Year's Eve.
CNN Boris Sanchez is at the White House. Boris, Ryan Zinke adds his name to a very long list. Let's just look
at the faces and the names of men and women who have passed through the Trump White House revolving door.
What is the specific reason Ryan Zinke is claiming for his departure?
BORIS SANCHEZ, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Hey, there, Ana.
Yes. And a statement over twitter posted just a short while ago, Zinke tried to justify his departure by saying that he didn't want to spend thousands of dollars trying to clear his name. He says he wanted to focus on his accomplishments. Of course, Zinke is facing an investigation by the department of justice in allegations that he misused his role as the head of the interior department to advance his personal finance.
The inspector general for the department of interior was looking into a series of allegations that Zinke spent lavishly on his own travel, that he had suspicious connections to a casino deal in Connecticut. That he was having inappropriate communications with the head of (INAUDIBLE) and as well there is a series of allegations. It is a broad investigation. And it is one of the White House is not happy about.
There are reports out there that Zinke was asked to leave by the administrations. CNN still working to confirm that. But it is very easy to imagine that the President would not be happy if Zinke were asked to testify publicly by Democrats in the House now with majority who would likely expand this investigations and look into some of the allegations against Zinke.
Keep in mind, this administration has had issues like this before with Tom Price and others. Questions about unethical behavior, negative press coverage, something that the President doesn't like -- Ana.
CABRERA: Right. Tom Price, Scott Pruitt, although Pruitt lasted several months before he ended up leaving.
Boris, what about Zinke's replacements? Any names flying around just yet or it is too early with this is a sudden change?
SANCHEZ: The timing does not appear to be a coincidence here, Ana. We could tell you that deputy secretary of the interior David Burnhart is a name that has been floated out there. He is going to take over for Zinke in the interim until a permanent replacement is found. He is certainly a contender.
Another is Nevada senator Dean Heller. He is someone who may be interested in the position. Obviously, he lost his race for reelection in that state. So he could be a name that's out there. But as far as when we will find out, the President simply said soon.
CABRERA: Soon. Any day. Any time. Thank you, Boris Sanchez at the White House.
Let me bring in Kurt Bardella now to join the conversation. He writes for "Huffington Post" and "USA Today.' He was also an advisor and a spokesperson for congressional Republicans on several committees during the Obama administration.
Kurt, you predicted a couple of months ago that Zinke wouldn't last. But why now? What (INAUDIBLE)?
KURT BARDELLA, POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Well, I think that the moment the Democrats retook the majority in the midterms in November pretty much sealed Zinke's faith, knowing that for the first time in two years, this was an administration that would have to actually be subject to congressional oversight from Democrats.
You know, for the last two years, they have gotten the pass really from the Republican on the oversight committee and judiciary committees, but that's not going to change as we have this new leadership coming in January.
Democrats have been very, very vocal about how they plan to be aggressive, how they are going to unleash a quote "subpoena cannon" on the Republicans and the administration. So this is the time that if anyone has any baggage in the Trump cabinet, not just Ryan Zinke, but anybody, they should think about recusing themselves and resigning right now because come January, Democrats are going to go after them with a furor.
[16:20:34] CABRERA: And you say you have your eye on four others who are likely to be the subjects of investigations when Democrats take over in the House. Walk us through each one you see as targets and why.
BARDELLA: Well, I think you have to start with the homeland security secretary, Secretary Nielsen, in part we just has this whole of a tragedy where a 7-year-old died in custody of the border patrol. This is something that Democrats have been vocal about wanting to investigate. She is the face of the child separation policy. You can expect to see her in front of Congress very early on next year. That is going to come under tremendous scrutiny. We know there has been wrongdoing. We know that someone has died. It's probably not the only time this has happened. That's going to get investigated very thoroughly.
Commerce secretary --.
CABRERA: Although, we don't know if there's been wrong doing for sure, as you point out, though. It will be investigated, we will find out. Please continue.
BARDELLA: Commerce secretary Wilbur Ross is someone that they are going to look at, especially the role the commerce department has played and looking at the census and wanting to add a very controversial question asking about citizenship, what that can do with minority space and in the census as something that oversight committee chairman to be Elijah Cummings has already launched letter after letter asking for documents and information about that process. He is going to go after that first thing in January as well. Then you have to look at the education Secretary Betsy Devos who after
a very famous "60 Minutes" interview earlier in the year where there were concerns even within the administration that maybe she wasn't up to the scrutinizing job that has come in Congress. Well, now we are going to have those questions come. And I think Donald Trump more than most presidents cares about how people perform in those type of settings. She is going to come under fire. And if she doesn't perform well, Trump could be very quick to want to push her out.
Finally, HUD Secretary Ben Carson is someone that I think that will come under scrutiny, particularly when you look at earlier in the year there was a controversy over the $30,000 dining room table that he says his wife authorized a purchase of. Congress is going to look at what spending has been going on at HUD, what political appointments have been made, people who had been hire that don't really have experience in housing policy and what their roles are. That's going to be scrutinized very heavily.
CABRERA: Now, before republicans actually handover the reigns, they are using their final days and power to grill former FBI director James Comey and Loretta Lynch, the former AG under Obama. Come is expected back next week for round two of questioning behind closed doors. I know you read through the transcript from the last round. Why do you think Republicans are calling him back again, Kurt?
BARDELLA: Yes. This is really interesting, Ana. And Comey is coming back on Monday for round two. He sat for six hours a couple Fridays ago with the oversight committee and the Judiciary Committee. It was a joint closed door testimony. And they asked all these questions about the Clinton emails and how he handled some of these things, the FBI text messages that Trump likes to tweet a lot about.
But what it really ended up doing was giving Comey this platform and opportunity to talk about the credibility of the Mueller probe, why it is important that it's completed. Talking about how damaging the President's attacks on the FBI and the justice department have been. And it really provoked Trump to just sound off on twitter. He was upset all week long tweeting about James Comey and how he is such a liar. And it just raised a question of what are they really getting out of this by doing because it seems to just annoy Trump and send him into a twitter flurry.
CABRERA: Kurt Bardella, thanks for laying it out there for us. Good to have you with us. Thank you.
BARDELLA: Thank you.
CABRERA: The President is calling it a great ruling for the country although, thousands with preexisting conditions might disagree. A federal judge has struck down Obamacare, so what now?
You are live in the CNN NEWSROOM.
[16:28:32] CABRERA: A federal judge in Texas has ruled Obamacare unconstitutional. So what does that mean for Obamacare next year? Do you sign up or not? Legal experts say yes, sign up. The judge ruled part of the affordable care act that mandates individual coverage is what's unconstitutional.
Now if it's upheld, the judge's decision would make the entire affordable care act invalid. But this is going to be appealed. So nothing changes right now. It has to make its way through higher courts but that it could end up being decided by the Supreme Court.
Earlier today, President Trump reacted to the judge's ruling during a visit to Arlington National Cemetery. Watch this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: It was a big ruling. It is a great ruling for our country. It will be a great health care. We will sit down with the Democrats of the Supreme Court (INAUDIBLE). We will be sitting down with the Democrats and we will get great health care for our people. That is a repeal and replace handled a little bit differently but it was a big, big victory by a highly respected judge - highly, highly respected in Texas. And on the assumption that the Supreme Court upholds, we would great, great health care for our people. We will have to sit down with the Democrats to do it but I'm sure they want to do it also. Thank you very much.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CABRERA: Again, for now Obamacare remains the law of the land.
Now, in just a few weeks Wisconsin's new Democratic governor will take office, but Tony Evers is inheriting a position that has been stripped of some of its power by the outgoing Republican governor.
Scott Walker signed lame duck legislation yesterday that will keep Evers and the incoming attorney general from delivering on several of their campaign promises.
This kind of thing isn't just happening in Wisconsin. Michigan Republican Governor Rick Snyder also signed similar legislation yesterday. Fellow Republican governor John Kasich of Ohio says this is unacceptable.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
[16:30:27] GOV. JOHN KASICH (R), OHIO: It's outrageous. I mean, you lost the election, OK. When you lose, you say you lost. I mean, you don't go to try to -- you can't try to reverse the election by manipulation. It flabbergasts me to see what people are willing to do in pure partisanship and pure power.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CABRERA: Let's bring in CNN political reporter Rebecca Buck.
Rebecca, what is going on here? Democrats are outraged. We hear from Republican governor also outraged. But a lot of other Republicans are saying this is not about limiting power.
REBECCA BUCK, CNN POLITICAL REPORTER: That's right, Ana. As the Democrats indeed outraged as we saw yesterday, Governors Scott Walker and Rick Snyder both signed some very controversial measures in Wisconsin and Michigan. Measures that Democrats say work against the will of voters and rejects the election outcome. Tying hands of incoming democratic state wide official who won just last month.
Now, there are some slight differences between what we are seeing in Wisconsin and in Michigan so far. In Wisconsin the big issue and the issue with the measure signed yesterday by governor Scott Walker, for Democrats is that Democrats say these measures will tie the hands of governor Tony Evers when he takes office and limit his ability to implement some of his campaign promises by forcing him to go through the legislature for things that the governor was able to do on his own previously.
Meanwhile, in Michigan a slightly different situation we are seeing there with Governor Rick Snyder signing measures that would essentially water down measures that were originally going to be on the ballot concerning minimum wage and sick pay. And instead, Republicans in the state legislature took off the ballot and pass a less aggressive version of those measures.
So Democrats in Michigan saying they see some similarities there as well. But overall, Democrats concerned that what we are seeing in Michigan and Wisconsin as essentially Republicans being sore losers, but at worse potentially blatant power grab.
CABRERA: So what can Democrats do, these incoming governors, if anything to reverse these changes?
BUCK: Well, Democrats in Wisconsin certainly are planning some legal challenges. In Michigan, they might be able to take this into the court as well depending on what the governor assigns in the next few weeks. Their lame-duck session there is ongoing.
But there are legal challenges in the works by Democrats in these states. They believe that's their best recourse at this point. But, of course, the governor will have executive powers at his disposal in Wisconsin and incoming governor Gretchen Whitmer in Michigan. And so, it is possible that they could try to work to reverse some of these measures. But they are still going to have Republican-controlled state legislatures in Wisconsin and in Michigan. So it's going to be a push and a pull, a tug-of-war in these states. And Republicans sending a strong message to Democrats as they are taking power that they are not going to give up their power without a fight.
CABRERA: Right. Rebecca Buck, thank you.
BUCK: Thank you, Ana.
CABRERA: The Trump administration is considering a change that would make it harder for low income immigrants to achieve legal status.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's an impossible choice, right? I mean, you either accept government benefits, health care for your child, or - but if you do that, you are putting your green card status or visa status at risk.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CABRERA: One family's story just ahead.
[16:37:34] CABRERA: The Trump administration is now considering a change that would make it harder for low-income immigrants to achieve legal status. The proposal also discourages anyone applying for visas or green cards from using public benefits.
CNN's Natasha Chen explains how this change could have broad implications even for children who are American citizens.
NATASHA CHEN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The same month that Donald Trump was elected president, Au Nguyen came to the United States to join her husband.
AU NGUYEN, IMMIGRANT: I followed the love of my life.
CHEN: But it wasn't easy. When the couple found out they were expecting a baby, they were earning close to minimum wage.
NGUYEN: I was so sad that sometime I asked myself, why do I have to come here? But I also tell myself just in the country apart.
CHEN: That was 2017. Now the department of homeland security is proposing a new policy for deter immigrants from using a wide-range of public benefits, like California's medical assistance program. A program Win depended on it during her pregnancy.
NGUYEN: If I don't have that, maybe I am going to go back to Vietnam.
CHEN: American-born children like their son have access to such benefits regardless of their parents' legal status, and that would not change under this new proposal from the Trump administration. But advocates say immigrant communities are already uneasy.
DR. HUGO SCORNIK, AMERICAN ACADEMY OF PEDIATRICS: It's an impossible choice, right? I mean, you either accept government benefits, health care for your child, or - but if you do that, you are putting your green card status or visa status at risk.
CHEN: Dr. Hugo Scornik is part of the American Academy of Pediatrics, a group that sent a strong message to DHS that this idea could harm kids.
As a doctor, would you be able to tell these families to stay enrolled because that is OK to keep their citizen children on these programs? SCORNIK: Perhaps. But we don't know what the final rule is going to
CHEN: The proposal so far says many factors would be under the green card approval including income and a potential for future reliance of public assistance programs.
DOUG RAND, CO-FOUNDER, BOUNDLESS: Unless you are making a comfortable middle class salary with perfect physical health, you could very easily denied a green card, even if you have a U.S. citizen spouse.
[16:40:00] CHEN: The United States citizenship and immigration services says these proposed rules would clearly define longstanding law to make sure people coming here can support themselves and not rely on public benefits. With this new proposal, the government is saying the applicant would have a better chance at legal status if a family of three, for example, makes at least $51,000 a year. In 2017 Win and her husband didn't make that amount.
NGUYEN: And we are making about $15 per hour.
CHEN: But after a little over a year, things changed.
NGUYEN: And on December 2017, I got a job offer.
CHEN: As a business analyst. She and her husband now make at least $100,000 a year combined, enough to get off of public assistance. She says they are now proud to pay more taxes.
NGUYEN: That money can be used to help somebody like me.
CHEN: But if the new rules go into effect, the brief help they got from medical that gave them a boost, could be used to deny another person like her the opportunity to succeed.
Natasha Chen, CNN, Atlanta.
CABRERA: Still ahead in the newsroom, a breakthrough agreement on climate change. We have new details and a live report from Poland. Stay with us.
[16:45:53] CABRERA: Welcome back.
Breaking news out of Poland after days of negotiation. Delegates from nearly 200 nations have reached an agreement to put the 2015 Paris climate treaty into action.
Senior international correspondent Nick Paton Walsh joins us now from (INAUDIBLE), Poland with the details.
We were just speaking last hour, Nick, about a number of sticking points. How did the delegates now reach this consensus? NICK PATON WALSH, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, you
know, as we last spoke, we were hearing the positive news. They were mid-speech. And after we finished talking, we heard the Presidents here of this climate change summit refer to a historic moment. They now have nearly 200 countries on paper agreeing to rules as to how they will limit damaging greenhouse gases.
Now the Paris agreement spearheaded by the Obama administration; that was about setting the tone. Countries saying they wanted to do something about global warming. This summit has been about the how, the rules, the transparency, and how you are actually sure the countries are doing what they said they would do.
Remember, we have 12 years in which to keep global warming to just 1.5 degrees Celsius or see catastrophic change. You are seeing bits of it in the storms that are hitting the east coast of the U.S. now. A lot of that extreme weather is linked to manmade change in the environment and also forest fires rounding parts of California. It's happening here with a couple of hurdles.
We had last weekends, the U.S. strange bedfellows of Russians, Saudi Arabia and Kuwait refuse to welcome one of the major scientific reports that this whole thing is based upon. That cause the tone of negativity over things. And just in the last day or so, Brazil, who are really the owners of the lungs of the planet, the amazon rainforest, they wanted a tweak or different kind of reforms to how people trade emission reductions in a complicated market here, but they really were looking out for themselves in all of that.
That argument has been kicked down the road to the discussion at the next major meeting like this. And the U.S. and Russian rejection of the science has been sort of absolved by slight tweaking of the language here. They don't welcome the science. They welcome the timely completion of the science. (INAUDIBLE) despite it was done on time. That's got some people here angry, but essentially the broader take-away from tonight has been that they have got this rule book underway -- Ana.
CABRERA: Nick, obviously, the U.S. is one of the nations that have pulled out of this Paris climate accord, so what have the Americans been doing after this conference?
WALSH: Well, it's been a two-pronged approach. You mean, they are out in November 2020. But they are still technically and they have said they are leaving, but we have seen a two-pronged approach here.
On the sidelines, key U.S. political officials, they held a side event promoting fossil fuel. They were protests that shouted them down. It was a bit of a mess, frankly, but at the end of the day, the message they brought here was to promote the very same greenhouse gases which really are causing the damage everyone is concerned about. That's simply a fact that's going to do terrific damage to the planet in the decade ahead.
But we also have heard of a different track where some of the career diplomats have been working on this perhaps for over a decade and were that obstructive in some of the meetings. They seem to have let things continue. In fact, I spoke to a couple of U.S. officials on the sidelines here. And they had almost an allergic reaction to seeing me as part of the media. They are keeping a low profile. They don't appear to have done much actual technical derailing so far because we have got an agreement like this going through, but politically, there's been a lot of ill will, frankly.
One key minister I spoke to here, saying, look, it doesn't matter if people simply want to reject the science here. The science isn't going to change. It's a fact. It's been unhelpful. But I think we have two things really here to look at.
One, there is now a rule book for how greenhouse gases will be reduced. There are some holes in it. It's not perfect. It needs further work, but it's there now. And that was something people briefly thought may not come out of this, and that would have been terrible. But secondly, we are lacking something. And that's the same kind of international consensus about the problem of climate change that we have got from the Paris agreement in 2015.
The Obama administration put everybody on the same page here. They were all singing the same song. Here a lot of that has had a sort of rather unpleasant undertone of climate change. Denial. The rejection of the science. Also, too, some key countries very much looking out for their own bottom line and themselves here, Ana. But possibly a bit of good news with a pretty serious caveat in that. Thanks, Ana.
[16:50:18] CABRERA: Indeed. Thank you for your reporting, Nick.
A talented female drummer found stabbed to death in her apartment, and police suspect her roommate. 21-year-old Sarah Papenheim was a protege of former prince drummer Jolly Bean Johnson who nicknamed her thumper. Up next, hear from Sarah's anguished mother.
But first, this week's fresh money. Being an influencer on-line is becoming a big business. And this entrepreneur is helping influencers cash in on their recommendations.
AMBER VENZ BOX, PRESIDENT, REWARDSTYLE, LIKETOKNOW.IT: One of the things I'm in love about reward style is that it is empowering thousands of women to do it and I always wanted to do it which was work in the fashion and the media industry.
If you would ever wonder how influencers or bloggers make money on their content, it's through rewards style. Today we powered the small businesses of 25,000 influencers across 93 countries. These are primarily women who love either fashion or interiors or talking about their family or their fitness routines, and we have given them a way to monetize that.
I had a personal shopping business. And my blog actually became quite famous. And so my top customers just started going to my blog. And they would text me and say I got that bag. It was the first of my friends or you are those are the best skinny jeans. Thank you very much. I love the blog. OK, that was $32 commission. That was $106 commission, and adding it all up, like I have just cut myself out of my own business. And so, we started building rewards style as that way for all the sales to be tracked on-line.
And the app allowed consumers to screen shot content anywhere they found it across the web. So whether that was Instagram or Pinterest or Snapchat or they Googled something, they could actually screen shot it. And as long as it was an image taken by one of other influencers, they could shop that image.
I think that's why you see such turbulent times in retailers. Not only has your customer gone digital, they have gone digital mobile, which requires that you are really truly a tech company.
We have continued to innovate and been the innovator leader in the market. So thinking that we have peaked early is not something that's crossed my mind.
[16:56:58] CABRERA: An American student studying overseas found dying of stab wounds in her European apartment. The suspect, a roommate we have learned has been arrested now at a train station in the Netherlands.
Police say in the Netherlands say 21-year-old Sarah Papenheim was still alive and bleeding heavily when they found her, but their resuscitation efforts failed. Papenheim was a talented drummer and well-respected musician from the Minnesota Twin Cities area. Funk legend Jolly Bean Johnson, in fact, one of Prince's former drummers, had a special nickname for Papenheim. He called her Thumper because she hit the drums so hard. Here she is playing at a recent show. Watch.
(VIDEO CLIP PLAYING)
CABRERA: Now Sarah Papenheim moved to the Netherlands to study psychology shortly after her brother took his owned life a few years ago. Her mother has now lost both of her children.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONE ODEGARD, MOTHER OF SARAH PAPENHEIM: I have been through this before. I cried so much. I think my (INAUDIBLE) are dry but I'm in the angry stage.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CABRERA: Papenheim was supposed to come home for a Christmas visit next week. Instead, her ex-band mates back in Minnesota are playing benefit concerts to help her parents pay for her funeral.
President Trump making an unannounced visit to Arlington National Cemetery today. He took part in an event where volunteers lay holiday wreaths to honor the sacrifice made by veterans. And while visiting the cemetery, Trump walked through section 60, the burial ground for veterans killed in Afghanistan and Iraq.
And finally, this hour the Oxford word of the year is toxic. Oxford just announced their 2018 choice saying it's the sheer scope of its application that has made it the stand-out choice. According to Oxford, toxic strictly defined as poisonous has taken off this year saying its research shows people are using this word to describe a vast array of things, situations, concerns, and events.
Just hours after being taken into border patrol custody, a 7-year-old migrant girl from Guatemala dies. We will tell you how officials are responding to questions about how this could have happened, next.
Thanks for being with us. You are live in the CNN NEWSROOM. I'm Ana Cabrera in New York.
White House watchers trying to keep track of who is running which agency this Washington this week, stop. Because the names of the Trump administration cabinet doors are changing yet again. Shake up again. And I'm not talking about a new White House chief of staff. That was yesterday.
Today, it is Ryan Zinke. He is out as U.S. interior secretary at the end of the month. President Trump making it official this morning on twitter, of course. A short time ago, Zinke released his owned statement. This is part of it, after 30 years of public service, I cannot justify spending thousands of dollars defending myself and my family against false allegations.