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Death of 2nd Child in U.S. Custody Prompts DHS Action; ICE Continues to Release Hundreds of Migrants in Border Cities; Policy Have Video of Kevin Spacey Groping Busboy; Russia Boasts New "Invulnerable" Hypersonic Missile System; Wild Winter Weather Across U.S. Causing Dangerous Conditions for Holiday Travelers. Aired 2:30-3p ET

Aired December 27, 2018 - 14:30   ET



[14:31:58] RYAN NOBLES, CNN ANCHOR: And just in to CNN, Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen will be traveling to the border on Friday and Saturday. Mrs. Nielsen is warning that the border has been pushed to the breaking point. The head of the Border Patrol says his agency needs a, quote, "complete overhaul" and more money to deal with the influx of migrants at the border.

The dire warnings come after the death of another migrant child in U.S. custody. The 8-yar-old boy died on Christmas Eve in a Mexico hospital It was the second death of a migrant child in U.S. custody this month.

Nielsen blames parents for putting their children at risk by making the journey to the United States. She will travel to the border to personally review her department's care of migrant kids.

Meanwhile, ICE continues to release hundreds of migrants in border cities.

CNN's Dan Simon is live in El Paso, Texas.

Dan, what's being done to make sure migrants are getting the medical care they need?

DAN SIMON, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Ryan, first of all, it's very clear that Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen is facing a fresh new crisis. That's why she's coming to the border as a result of these two children who have died in the past month. That has raised obviously a host of questions as to whether or not Border Patrol is up to the job, if they're equipped to handle the influx of migrants coming to the country, especially children. Secretary Nielsen has ordered her agency to perform enhanced health screening for these children and that is why she wants to come down here, to monitor that process. We know that the coast guard is going to be assisting with those screenings. Now in terms of how this 8-year-old died, we don't really know the facts yet. We do know that he obviously became ill and was vomiting while in the custody of Border Patrol, but did he become ill while trying to cross the border and the dangerous journey associated with that or did he become ill because of being in the custody of Border Patrol? Hopefully, the autopsy will answer those questions but the results won't be released for a few weeks.

NOBLES: What about the situation in El Paso? Are you still seeing migrants being dropped off there?

SIMON: We have not seen any migrants dropped off today. This was another P.R. blunder or crisis for immigration authorities. You essentially had hundreds of migrants dropped off at the bus transit with nowhere to go in the freezing cold. It's happened to be honest over the past few years spanning different administrations, but when it occurs, local shelters and churches are essentially given a heads- up so much they can take these migrants in for a short period of time. In this particular case, that did not happen. Also what made it all the more extraordinary is the numbers involved. Again, several hundred. And we know that at least 500 more migrants came to the city of El Paso last night. That happened in a much more coordinated fashion with those shelters -- Ryan?

NOBLES: Dan Simon, along the southern border in El Paso, thank you for that report.

[14:35:02] Coming up, first, the cryptic video online. Now new details about how Kevin Spacey plans to fight allegations he sexual assaulted an 18-year-old boy.


NOBLES: A criminal complaint filed against disgraced actor, Kevin Spacey, says the police have video of his alleged assault against an 18-year-old bus boy.

A warning to viewers, the details you are about to hear are sexually explicit.

Spacey has been charged with indecent assault and battery in Massachusetts. He accused of groping the teen in a Nantucket bar back in 2016 and supplying him with alcohol before asking him back to his house. The complaint says the alleged victim recorded the incident on SnapChat and later shared it with his girlfriend. It also states the actor bragged about the size of his genitals.

Spacey has been silent on the accusations and charges. But Monday, he posted a cryptic YouTube video speaking as his "House of cards" character, Frank Underwood.


[14:40:08] KEVIN SPACEY, ACTOR: I know what you want. You want me back. Of course, some have been waiting for anything, waiting with bated breath and dying for me to say it true and I got what I deserved. Wouldn't it be easy if it was all so simple? You and I know it's not so simple. But you wouldn't believe the rest without evidence, would you? You wouldn't rush to judgment without facts, would you? Did you?


NOBLES: Another allegation of sexual misconduct on the "House of Cards" set cost Spacey his job.

Joining me is Joey Jackson, a criminal defense attorney and CNN legal analyst.

Joey, millions have seen that YouTube video, and thought, what is he doing. If he is Frank Underwood, we do know Frank Underwood is guilty of those charges. Now we have a report about a SnapChat video. How damaging can this be from his case?

JOEY JACKSON, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: It's damaging. He's been off Twitter for a year. Why he came back and chose this forum, beyond me. The character, rather sinister. Butch it' but it's going to depend on the actual allegations themselves. I think what you'll see in a case like this, you have two narratives, the prosecution's, that he apparently groped inappropriately this 18-year-old when they were at a bar, shouldn't have done it, took advantage of his celebrity in doing so, supplied him with alcohol such that he can have his way with him and as a result of guilty of the charge. The defense will say not so fast, this was a person, the 18-year-old, who looked to meet him, Mr. Spacey, knew what he was doing, got drunk voluntarily, was at the bar with him voluntarily, joined in with it voluntarily and the groping, if you can call it that, lasted for about three minutes or so and as a result he could have twisted, moved and said I don't consent. So there will be those two narratives that move forward and what narrative wins out will ultimately win the day in terms of his guilt or lack thereof.

NOBLES: The "Boston Globe" saying they acquired an audio recording and it shows how his defense team petitioned the court to rule there want enough evidence to charge Spacey but the court rejected it. And they tried to rush the arraignment and get Spacey into court next week. His first date scheduled for January 7th. What's the legal strategy here?

JACKSON: The legal strategy is to initially not be charged. That's what his attorneys attempted to do by saying there's no probable cause here, this was a con sensual activity. If the jury believes it wasn't consensual, a picture will be worth a thousand words.

NOBLES: The SnapChat.

JACKSON: Exactly. With the SnapChat, if it comes out, will be very telling. I think the whole strategy will be that it was at a bar, that he did not, Mr. Spacey, take advantage of this 18-year-old in any way, the 18-year-old knew what he was doing, if he wanted not to be touched, he would have twisted, moved his body. They're saying it was crowded, he couldn't do it, he went to see a person at the bar who said, get out of here, he did. Those will be the narratives that will collide in the courtroom. He'll be arraigned, informed of the charges he faces, and bail will be set or not set and it will be on at that time.

NOBLES: There's a legal fight for Kevin Spacey but also a P.R. fight. This YouTube video appears to be part of the P.R. fight, if there's any fight left to have.


NOBLES: If you were his attorney, was this a good idea for him to put out a video like this?

JACKSON: I don't think so. I think that's why he was off air at it relates to Twitter for a year. To pick this way to come back, a little auspicious. When you're in the courtroom, you want the jury to be sympathetic to each of his cause. His cause is that, look, I may be accused of this, there may be a video but at the end of the day I did nothing criminal, this is something we were doing consensually, so you'll see the battle of that P.R.

NOBLES: All right, Joey Jackson, thank you very much.

JACKSON: My pleasure.

[14:44:56] NOBLES: Coming up, Russian President Vladimir Putin is claiming bragging rights as he boasts about a ballistic missile that is invulnerable to American defenses. Fact or fiction? We're in Moscow next.


NOBLES: Russian President Vladimir Putin is taking a victory lap today after what the Kremlin says was a successful launch of a new hypersonic missile system. Russian state media reporting it can avoid missile defense systems. This is the latest in the Kremlin's efforts to depict Russia as a global weapons super power.

But as CNN's Fred Pleitgen explains, some experts doubt that the missile system is actually operational.


[14:50:00] FRED PLEITGEN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): A jubilant Vladimir Putin was in the control room overseeing a test of what Russia says is a hypersonic nuclear weapon. The reason they say it is invincible is because it can travel 20 times the speed of sound but also, apparently, as they put it, it's capable of conducting invasive maneuvers if it is confronted by something like America's missile defense system.

Now, needless to say that Vladimir Putin was very happy after what he says was a successful test of this weapon. He says that the avant- garde system will be very important for Russia's defense in the future.

VLADIMIR PUTIN, RUSSIAN PRESIDENT (through translation): The new avant-garde missile system is invisible against today's and future air and missile defense systems of the potential enemy. This is a big success and great achievement.


PLEITGEN: Vladimir Putin also called the avant-garde system a gift to the Russian nation and said that the Russians will begin deploying this weapon in 2019, so not very far from now.

Now there are some who doubt whether this system is as capable and whether it is as combat ready. Some experts say Vladimir Putin first announced the existence of this program in March of 2018 and from March until now, until this test took place really seems like an awfully short time to get a weapon like that combat ready. Nevertheless, it's said to be part of a larger Russia program and several new nuclear weapons that the Russians believe could be gamechangers, including an underwater, unmanned nuclear weapon that the Russians say they are developing, which they also say could be invincible to American systems trying to deter it. There are some who fear all of this could trigger something like a new arms race between nations like the U.S., Russia and China.

Fred Pleitgen, CNN, Moscow.


NOBLES: Fred, thank you.

Coming up, as millions of Americans travel home after the Christmas holiday, there's everything from snowstorms to flooding in their path.

But, first, this programming note on New Year's Day, CNN will premiere a new film about the life and work of comedienne, Gilda Radner. Tune into, "Love Gilda," at 9:00 p.m. Tuesday night.

Here's a preview.


GILDA RADNER, COMEDIAN: Hi, I'm Gilda Radner. And, OK, now.


RADNER: People want to know what made you funny. From the time I was a kid, I loved to pretend.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: She was the very first performer chosen for the cast of "Saturday Night Live."

RADNER: Rosanne Roseannadanna.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They loved her.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I basically stole all my characters from Gilda.

RADNER: I can do almost anything if people are laughing.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Gilda was just not quite herself.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: One morning, she just said, I don't know what's wrong with me.

RADNER: For a comedian, it's the most unfunny thing in the world.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: She felt that she could be of help. And that's exactly what she did.

RADNER: How often do we get to know exactly how brave we are?

I always felt that my comedy was just to make things be all right.

ANNOUNCER: "Love, Gilda," New Year's Day at 9:00 p.m.



[14:57:50] NOBLES: Wild winter weather is moving across the country causing dangerous conditions for millions traveling for the holidays. In the Midwest, blizzard warnings are in effect in five states from the Dakotas to Kansas. Snow in the southwest is causing treacherous road conditions. In Texas, severe storms are causing flash flooding, prompting two high-water rescues from swept-away cars. Across the southeast, severe storms continue to threaten high winds, flooding and possible tornadoes. More than 25 million people are under flash flood and flood watches across the country.

CNN Meteorologist Tom Sater joins me now.

Tom, it seems like virtually all the country is experiencing some sort of severe weather right now.

TOM SATER, AMS METEOROLOGIST: Ryan, this started on Christmas Eve with flight delays in San Francisco. Pretty vigorous storm system for this time of year, classic comet shape. We've had heavy snow from Santa Fe and Albuquerque, about eight inches in parts of Oklahoma, seven in Bismarck, North Dakota, 10 in Minnesota. Tornado watch to the south. Talking about flights, the only delays we're seeing now are at the ski resorts, the seasonal flights out of parts of southern Idaho, Utah and Colorado. Tomorrow the problem is the east coast. You factor that with the high volume and we're going to see a cascade event and trickle down of regional flights. Tornado watch in parishes in Louisiana, central areas of Mississippi, Jackson, moving to the east. Low clouds right now in Atlanta. That severe weather doesn't move in until tonight.

But not only is travel advised against on the roadways out here in the upper Midwest and the plains, it's highly advised against because we've got winds at 40, 50 miles per hour. Without the barriers of the trees and the wide-open highways, we have whiteout conditions. That is a big, big problem. Those are the blizzard warnings you were talking about earlier.

Some good news however. That comes down to Minneapolis. The rain has moved into the area and is pushing the heavy snow to the north. It may mix at times tonight with ice in Minneapolis, not looking at the significant heavy snowfall and just a few inches of snowfall tomorrow. Then the rain, Ryan, moves to the east. Heavy amounts of severe weather threat will slide off.