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U.S. Government Shutdown Likely To Drag On Into 2019; Trump Makes False Claims About Military Pay Raises; Iraqis In An Uproar Over Trump's Trip; UNICEF: Global Conflicts Pose Grave Risks To Children; Heavy Rain, Floods Swamp Refugee Camps In Northern Syria; Australia Suffers Extreme Heat Wave; It Is The Largest Protest In Sudan In Years; In The Democratic Republic Of The Congo, Protesters Took To The Street Because The Government Postponed Voting In The Presidential Election; In Tunisia, Protesters Clash With Police For A Third Day Over The Death Of A Journalist; Homeland Security Secretary Says She Wants To See The Medical Conditions At Border Patrol Stations For Herself; An Investigation Into The Donald Trump Inauguration; A Video Of American Actor Kevin Spacey Allegedly Groping An 18-Year-Old Busboy Has Surfaced. Aired 1-2a ET

Aired December 28, 2018 - 01:00   ET



[01:00:00] NATALIE ALLEN, CNN INTERNATIONAL ANCHOR: President Trump ramping up his attacks on Democrats as the shutdown drags on. When and how can the stalemate he broken? We're learning more about the death of an eight-year-old Guatemalan boy in U.S. custody as the top Trump administration official is heading to the border to investigate for herself. Plus, how the world failed to protect children in conflict in 2018. What must be done to save millions of our most vulnerable?

Hello and welcome to our viewers joining us from all around the world, I'm Natalie Allen and this is CNN NEWSROOM.

U.S. President Donald Trump is back from Iraq and he is in a fighting mood. The U.S. government remains partially shut down over his demand for a border wall. Congress has adjourned for the year, no closer to ending the impasse, and as Abby Phillip reports from Washington, the President is fighting not only with Democrats but with the government workers impacted by the shutdown.


ABBY PHILLIP, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: With the government still partially shut down and no end in sight, President Trump was back at the White House and tweeting after his surprise trip to Iraq. After cleaning this week the federal employees supported the shutdown --

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Many of those workers have said to me and communicated, stay out until you get the funding for the wall. These federal workers want the walls.

PHILLIP: The President is now taunting Democrats in a tweet by claiming without evidence that most of the 800,000 federal workers affected by the shutdown are Democrats. That comment prompted backlash from one of the largest unions representing federal employees. The head of the American Federation of Government Employees writing in a statement, a government shutdown doesn't hurt anyone political party or anyone federal employee more than another. It hurts all of them. It hurts their families and it hurts all of our communities. The President doesn't appear to be budging from his starting position.

TRUMP: Whatever it takes. I mean we're going to have a wall, we're going to have safety.

PHILLIP: Today, White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders doubled down saying in a statement the President does not want the government to remain shut down but he will not sign a proposal that does not first prioritize our country's safety and security. Yet while in Iraq, Trump repeatedly refused to say if you'll compromise and accept less than $5 billion in wall funding.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Mr. President, wil you come down from $5 billion to $2 billion for border security in the conversation with the Democrats?

TRUMP: Well, you know, as you know, we've already built a lot of wall. We're building a lot more.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: But as a matter of negotiation, sir, have you come down from the $5 billion ask to $2 billion.

TRUMP: Here's the problem here. Here the problem here. We have a problem with the Democrats because Nancy Pelosi is going to (INAUDIBLE).

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Will you accept $2 billion instead of $5 billion?

TRUMP: I'm not going to talk about it now, but I will say this. We have been building a lot of walls.

PHILLIP: Even on his first trip as president to a U.S. combat zone, Trump's penchant for politicizing events with the military continued. As soldiers looked on he once again attacked Democrats and pitched his border wall.

TRUMP: We want to have strong voters in the United States. The Democrats don't want to let us have strong borders. Only for one reason, you know why, because I want it.

PHILLIP: The President also drawing criticism for rallying troops with a lie about their salaries.

TRUMP: You just got one of the biggest pay raises you've ever received. They said you know, we could make it smaller, we could make three percent, we could make it two percent, we could make it four percent. I said no, make it ten percent, make it more than 10 percent, because it's been a long time. It has been more than ten years. PHILLIP: The facts, military pay has increased every year for three

decades, and the Trump era pay raises have each been less than three percent, not anywhere near the ten percent he claims. Still, the President keeps repeating it over --

TRUMP: In 2019, we want to give you your largest pay raise in over a decade.

PHILLIP: -- and over.

TRUMP: That also includes raises for our military so I know. The first time in ten years.

PHILLIP: And the White House also accused Democrats of leaving town while the government was shut down. But it should also be said that Republicans have also left town including the President's negotiator Jared Kushner who's been working with Vice President Mike Pence on negotiating with Democrats these last few days.

Meanwhile, President Trump does remain here in Washington and there's no indication that he plans to return to Florida where the rest of his family is spending the holidays. At the end of the day, there does not seem to be much urgency here in Washington to resolve this problem and the shutdown could last for many more days to come. Abby Phillip, CNN the White House.

[01:05:22] ALLEN: Many Iraqi lawmakers are in a fighting mood too over Mr. Trump surprise holiday visit to Baghdad. The President spent just three hours greeting U.S. troops at an airbase near the capital but he did not meet with any Iraqi officials including the prime minister. Now, lawmakers are accusing him of violating Iraq sovereignty and demanding U.S. troops to leave the country. For more here's CNN's Ian Lee.


IAN LEE, CNN FOREIGN CORRESPONDENT: The Christmas trip by President Trump drew strong condemnation across the political spectrum in Iraq when he didn't meet with any Iraqi officials. There's now a growing chorus of Iraqi politicians calling for U.S. troops to leave the country. The Prime Minister's party called the trip disrespectful in a statement it said, "We call on all the great Iraqi people to express their condemnation of the visit of the arrogant Trump and to demand lawmakers in the House of Representatives to issue a firm resolution to remove all foreign forces from Iraqi soil."

Even the party of former Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi rejected the visit by Trump and claimed that it violated the sovereignty of Iraq. President Trump's decision to leave troops in Iraq may have been to reassure regional allies but the declaration further infuriated many Iraqi lawmakers who saw the U.S. making unilateral decisions about the country's future without first consulting Baghdad.

During the trip President Trump also tried to alleviate fears the U.S. pullout from Syria would endanger Israel. He told reporters that the U.S. will always be there for Israel but that the country could defend itself especially with $4.5 billion a year in U.S. aid. It's important to note that Israel receives around $3.8 billion a year in aid from the United States, a deal signed during the Obama administration provides Israel with $38 billion over a 10-year period.

Israeli political and military leaders sharply criticized the U.S. pullout from Syria. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has tried to reassure the country saying while the U.S. pullout would have implications for Israel, it wouldn't change its policy toward Syria. Ian Lee, CNN Jerusalem.


ALLEN: Joining me now from Los Angeles, CNN Senior Political Analyst and Senior Editor at the Atlantic Ron Brownstein. Howdy, Ron. Well, with President Trump, there is no break to say Happy Holidays.


ALLEN: We plow on don't we? Let's begin -- let's begin with the President's trip to Iraq, his first to visit troops in a war zone but he's receiving criticism back home and from the government of Iraq. What should he have done to avoid this and make it better?

BROWNSTEIN: Well, look, I mean, obviously it's better that he visited troops in the war zone than daddy did not especially after all this time. But it did continue the pattern of the President politicizing these kinds of appearances in a way that we simply had not seen previously. I mean, it goes all the way back to his very first appearance, I think in his first week of the administration at the CIA where he did something similar. From signing the Make America Great Again hats to attacking Democrats in front of the troops.

This is just one more example of the President kind of barreling past the informal constraints that have governed the way previous presidents have behaved and there is I think a risk in the political system of kind of being numb or (INAUDIBLE) to it. I think it is striking though how many voices on different points of the political spectrums have raised concerns about this, showing off those norms are not being completely you know, obliterated.

ALLEN: And do you think this misstep has to do with the resignation at all of his very seasoned Defense Secretary Mr. Mattis?

BROWNSTEIN: No. And in fact, it's probably more like the opposite, don't you think that -- it's you know, it's more indicative of a decision-making style that contributed to the Mattis resignation. It's striking. Again, if you look at the you know, what immediately preceded the trip, the announcement that he was withdrawing American forces from Syria, there is a case for that. And obviously there have been voices on both left and right who have questioned whether we need an indefinite commitment in Syria.

But the way that the President did the absence of input not only from foreign allies but even from his own military advisors really has drawn again remarkably widespread and uniform criticism from across the political spectrum. And I think the fact, that again -- the fact that he would make this trip in a manner that was so outside the boundaries of traditional presidential behavior is really indicative of the broader style that laid Mattis to resign.

[01:10:11] ALLEN: Let's talk about what he came back to. The U.S. government remaining partially shut down. How does the President get out of this? Is he playing a losing hand?

BROWNSTEIN: Well, I think that he's playing the same hand that he has played on almost every issue where he is focusing only on the priorities and in many cases the anxieties of his base at the expense of taking positions that alienate the broader electorate. I have not seen a poll throughout this entire presidency where more than 43 percent of the country is supported building the border wall as he described it.

In the last CNN poll, it was only 38 percent. In a poll that came out today from Reuters only 35 percent of Americans said they wanted to see funding for the border wall included in a you know, a fiscal package that reopened the government. He is as always enormously focused on mobilizing his base even while taking positions that alienate the majority of the country.

Having said that there is precedent for how something like this could get done. You know, both in the 2013 comprehensive immigration reform bill and even last year informally Democrats are willing to give him substantial funding for a border wall in return for priorities of their own on immigration. In 2013, it was a pathway to citizenship for the 11 million roughly undocumented. Last year it was legal protection for the DREAMers, young people brought here illegally by their parents. None of that is on the table right now.

If the President is serious about ending the shutdown and getting his wall, he would presumably open broader discussions with Democrats about a wider immigration reform.

ALLEN: Well, we know what he thinks of Nancy Pelosi. He just pinned the shutdown on her. But a lot of -- most people don't seem to be buying that.

BROWNSTEIN: Well, in the polling today, most people blame him. And by the way, you know, the President is saying that Nancy Pelosi is not acting because you know, she is worried about having the votes. Logically, the leverage of Democrats will go up in this confrontation next week when they assume the House Majority. At that point, there will not be the votes in either chamber for the budget that the President wants.

And it was kind of striking that is in their last act out the door the House Republicans in a way that kind of reflected their posture toward Trump over the entire two years enabled this strategy which they recognized that virtually no chance of success because it required what, nine Democratic votes in the Senate that are not forthcoming, absent some broader package.

So I think all of this -- you know, the President's position, he is on he is on the wrong side of the majority of public opinion. His legislative leverage will go down into the New Year. That doesn't mean a deal can't be had but it's simply I don't think is going to be had by kind of holding this weapon up against the Democrats and assuming they're OK. Their voters, the voters who created this Democratic majority, 60 percent or more of every one of those groups, young people, minorities, college-educated whites oppose the wall. I don't think they're feeling much pressure to cave.

ALLEN: Ron Brownstein, always appreciate your insights. Thanks, Ron.

BROWNSTEIN: Thank you.

ALLEN: Well, the chaos in Washington is in part believed to be contributing to the chaos on Wall Street after a day of whiplash. The Asian markets appear to be taking it all in stride. As you can see the Nikkei is down, the Hang Seng up, as well as the Shanghai Composite up 0.43 percent.

And there was applause and cheers and a sigh of relief during Thursday's closing bell at the New York Stock Exchange in the last half hour. The Dow swung back into positive territory closing up more than one percent. That's after an uphill climb for most of the day and an early plunge of more than 600 points. The S&P also came up from the red gaining nearly one percent, and the Nasdaq closed up more than a third of a percent. That was a squeaker on Wall Street.

Let's go to Hong Kong and CNN Business Reporter Sherisse Pham. Certainly a sigh of relief there on Wall Street, Thursday. What's the story from Asia?

SHERISSE PHAM, CNN INTERNATIONAL TECH & BUSINESS REPORTER: Well that sigh of relief over in Wall Street doesn't seem to quite be playing out here in Asia. Taking a look across the markets in Asia, they're rather mixed. We saw the Nikkei, the Nikkei just stopped trading about 15-14 minutes ago. They're closing down about three-tenths of a percent. Hang Seng and the Shanghai Composite posting more modest gains. We see them up about half a percent in China, about a tenth of a percent in over here in Hong Kong.

And now investors are really getting used to these wild swings in the markets lately. Important to note and remember though that trading is thin during the holiday season as there are fewer traders participating in the markets at the moment. But still, this is something that has investors really rattled, Natalie.

[01:15:05] ALLEN: Yes, and let's talk about the many issues that are rattling them. It's not just one or two.

PHAM: It is not just one or two. There are number of factors that play here. Let's take a look at some of them. One of the biggest ones, the biggest concerns that investors are keeping an eye on is a slowdown in economic growth in China and other countries. Most importantly though in China.

You saw that play out today and yesterday in Shanghai markets where industrial data came out showing a year-on-year drop in profit for the first time in nearly three years. Also, a concern are U.S.-China trade war. The U.S.-China trade war is also continues to be a concern. You've got the news that the U.S. and China will hold talks in January. But still, no guarantee of a resolution.

Also a concern, of course, Brexit and the chaos there and what outcome may come over there? That's certainly contributed to losses in London yesterday. The foot state closing down about 1 1/2 percent.

And finally, let's not forget you talked about at the top of the show there, at the top of this hit there, chaos in Washington. Investors get really uneasy by say a tweet from the president talking about firing the Federal chairman. The chairman of the Federal Reserve.

And you also have investors who get spooked and are worried about a partial government shutdown. So, all of those factors coming into play here and resulting in the volatility that we're seeing in markets, Natalie.

ALLEN: Right. It could quell some New Year's celebrations. Who knows? Because people a little bit concerned about what 2019 holds. Sherisse, thanks so much. We appreciate it.

PHAM: Thank you.

ALLEN: But children in conflict zones around the world are under attack. And no one is doing enough to help them. The U.N. has an urgent warning for the global community, "Don't let this become the new normal." We'll have a report.

Plus soaring temperatures in Australia, not a good sign. Is the country approaches January which is the hottest month of the year? We'll get a check of the forecast, ahead here.


ALLEN: 2018 was a horrible year for many of the world's children. And 2019 doesn't look like it will be any better. UNICEF, the U.N. agency that works to protect children across the world says the world is failing these young victims.

In its year-end report, UNICEF warns millions of children trapped in conflict zones are suffering unspeakable cruelties every day. The agency singles out more than one dozen countries where children are especially at risk.

The atrocities committed against them include rape, abduction, forced marriages, starvation, and deadly attacks. It sounds extremely grim.

Let's talk about it with Kieran Dwyer. He's a UNICEF spokesman. He joins me now from New York. Thanks so much for being with us, Kieran.

[01:20:39] KIERAN DWYER, SPOKESMAN, UNICEF: Thanks for having me.

ALLEN: This is certainly a very grim news for people, but we must talk about it. I want to begin talking about one deadly attack that stands out in my mind from this year, it was the bomb that landed on a school bus in Yemen.

Certainly, that country has been one of the most dangerous for children, has it?

DWYER: The children of Yemen and there are -- there are more than 11 million children facing life-threatening conditions today in this war that's well into four years have been facing imminent starvation in many areas, they've been facing bombardment, and as you said, this terrible tragic story of tens of children in a school bus where they should be at their safest.

Any parent who's put their child on a school bus or waved their child off to school knows that you hope your child is going to a place of learning, a place where their future is secured. You many parents thought the same thing and this bus was came under bombardment.

We have seen in Yemen, we have seen in Syria, we have seen in the Central African Republic in Afghanistan. Schools coming under attack again, and again, and again. Children on their way to school, on buses, as they walk to school coming under attack.

And this is one of the patterns that UNICEF is raising the alarm on that in schools, in hospitals, in clinics, in their playgrounds. Children are constantly coming under attack in war, after war, after war, at the moment. And this is a pattern that we have to blow the whistle on and say, enough.

ALLEN: Let's talk about how we do that. And while we do, I want to mention the Rohingya nightmare, where some 700,000 fled, what is now reported to be genocide in Myanmar. Half were children and these families are still stuck in Bangladesh.

When you talk about world leaders have to think about what kind of situation they're putting children in, how does UNICEF get that message across, and how do you work with children and say places like Bangladesh when there it is overwhelming the numbers who need help?

DWYER: It's pretty powerful that you raise the situation of the Rohingya children. Of course, there are still hundreds of thousands of Rohingya children in Myanmar itself. Also is struggling to survive and many hundreds of thousands in the camp -- camps in Cox's Bazar in Bangladesh.

The Rohingya crisis is so much a children's crisis. The first thing about UNICEF, we are the United Nations Children's agency and we work with partners around the world. We are in every war zone in the world where children are facing humanitarian crises.

So, the first step is to be on the ground with children, with families, talking to all sides. Our role is not political, our role is to be there to protect children and to bring the assistance that they need to survive, to heal from trauma, and to start to plant the seeds of hope.

Every child, even in these war zones, when you're with children in Bangladesh, in Yemen, in Syria, in South Sudan, they always have the spark of hope.

ALLEN: I want to end with this question about this particular region, and that is Afghanistan and Syria where we know U.S. troops will be leaving. How could that impact children in those countries for 2019? Any ideas?

DWYER: In Afghanistan, there has been conflict in war for so long. In Syria, we're going into eight years. Ultimately, children need peace. Whether U.S. troops and other international troops are in these countries. Ultimately, what we need to see is world leaders bring about the dynamic with national leaders and warring parties to end conflicts.

What we do need is diplomatic engagement from all-powerful countries in the world to bring about peace. But also, if there is going to be fighting to insist that those who fighting are held to account for their actions.

If those people attacked children, they need to be held to account. They need to know that there are laws and that the world will not tolerate targeting of children, attacking of children by armed groups, by governments, by air strikes, by mortars, by recruiting children. So, this is the message that we have that in places like Afghanistan, where generations of children have suffered.

In Syria now, where there are 4 million children under the age of eight who only know war, we need to redouble efforts to end the war. And while those efforts are going on, we need governments around the world to insist that everybody must protect children until there is peace.

[01:25:25] ALLEN: All right. That is a message we hope will carry into 2019. Thank you. Kieran Dwyer for us, UNICEF spokesman. Thank you.

DWYER: Thanks so much, Natalie.

ALLEN: Well, children in some refugee camps are dealing with some misery. Heavy rain and flooding are making life more miserable for refugees in Northern Syria. That right there is why.

A British-based human rights group, says people living in camps there are facing catastrophic conditions. The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, says entire camps have been submerged. Video posted on social media shows flooded roads, soak tents, and people waiting in high water -- knee-high water.

A different problem in parts of Australia, temperatures in several states rose above 40 degrees Celsius Thursday for the fourth straight day. Officials say the extreme heat is creating a severe risk of wildfires.

January, typically Australia's hottest month. Many fear this early heat wave here in December may assure in more extreme weather for 2019. Ivan Cabrera is here and you were saying earlier, Ivan, this wildfire threat is going to be serious. IVAN CABRERA, CNN INTERNATIONAL WEATHER ANCHOR: Yes, that's going to be the next step we watched and there's so many times we've had these heat waves on Australia followed by wildfires. So, we'll look at that. Nothing major right now, but the issue will have continued to be the temperatures was reading up on a study recently of one of the universities in Australia.

Over 3,000 people killed because of heat waves between 2001 and 2015 in the five major cities across the continent. So, a huge deal, obviously. And especially, when you get three days in a row of the heat, that's when it really starts getting dangerous.

Also, when it gets to 49 degrees. 49.3, at Mandurah there in Western Australia. We're looking at the 28 degree average high in many areas upper 20s. But we've been reaching lower in mid 40s. And there you go, the average high in Canberra at 36. We're running a good 10 to 15 degrees above average from where we should be for this time of year.

Alice Springs typically, I mean that's the hot spot, right? At 42 degrees, but you don't expect that along the coast. And that's why we've had this a problem for the last few days. Temperatures here souring so current temperatures. And, of course, on Thursday we had those record highs will likely by the time the reports come in late Friday. We'll see I think some record highs broken as well.

So, for Friday and into what Saturday, the heat wave continues is from the Australia Bureau of Meteorology that are expecting it to be really severe across Canberra and further south into Melbourne.

You see the yellows beginning to pop up gone in Perth. But generally, we're going to continue with above-average temperatures. There will be some exemptions here by the time we get into Saturday and Sunday. A flow of the water will begin to see temperatures.

Look at that, a nice drop of 10 degrees and you're going to feel that Melbourne temperatures back into the mid-20s, which is average for this time of year.

And there you see Sydney continuing the temperature trend of lower 30s. This is a dry heat this part of the world but still. When you get temperatures in the upper 40s to near 50 degrees that is brutal stuff. So well, we'll continue to see that and we'll, of course, follow any wildfires that get going out through the weekend as well.

ALLEN: OK. Ivan, thank you.

CABRERA: You're welcome.

ALLEN: Well, clashes erupted in the Congo after three cities are excluded from voting in Sunday's presidential election. That this isn't the first time the vote was postponed. We'll tell you what that's about.

And the mother of a migrant boy who died in U.S. government custody speak out


NATALIE ALLEN, ANCHOR, CNN: And welcome back to "CNN Newsroom." I'm Natalie Allen. Let's update you on the top news this hour. Iraqi lawmakers are angry at U.S. President Donald Trump and demanding American troops leave their country. Even members of the Prime Minister's own party say Mr. Trump's visit was disrespectful to Iraq's sovereignty and the norms of diplomacy.

The partial U.S. government shutdown is likely to drag on into next week. The Democrats and Republicans are still far apart on funding for President Trump's border wall with Mexico. About 800,000 government workers are furloughed or working without pay during the shutdown.

A wild ride on Wall Street, Thursday, at one point, the Dow down more than 600 points and it rebounded to close up 260. Asia markets are hovering around the breakeven mark at the moment.

It is the largest protest in Sudan in years. The anti-government demonstrations erupted more than a week ago over rising food and fuel prices. But they've widened to include calls for President Omar al- Bashir to resign after nearly 30 years in office, as the protests show no sign of weakening, security forces were out with tear gas. Witnesses say they fired into crowds. Amnesty International says 37 people have been killed.

A similar scene in the Democratic Republic of the Congo where protesters took to the street in outrage because the government postponed voting in the presidential election, but only in some cities. Michael Holmes reports why.


MICHAEL HOLMES, CORRESPONDENT, CNN: Firing live rounds into the air and tear gas as well, security forces try to disperse protesters. Angry over their exclusion from a long-awaited presidential election in the Democratic Republic of Congo. As the country votes for a new leader on Sunday, voters in these three cities will have to wait to cast their ballots.

They happen to be opposition strongholds against the outgoing President, Joseph Kabila who has been in power since 2001.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE (Through a translator): They need to get us another President and if that doesn't happen, we will create chaos starting from today until a solution is found. If it calls for us to die, then so be it.


HOLMES: The Electoral Commission says the postponement in one city is due to violence there and an ongoing ebola outbreak in the east of the country. Reportedly, the second deadliest in history. But the opposition says that's a pretext to take away their vote. In Beni, demonstrators attacked an ebola isolation center, 24 patients

fled. In the country's capital, supporters of a leading opposition candidate marched on the headquarters of the Electoral Commission demanding the three cities be allowed to vote in Sunday's election.


PIERRE LUMBI, CAMPAIGN DIRECTOR, LAMUKA OPPOSITION COALITION (Through a translator): The Congolese people who have already been very patient, who have already accepted three postponements and even a two- year wait are saying enough. The Electoral Commission has just crossed a red line.\


HOLMES: This election is meant to lead to the first democratic transfer of power in the country, originally scheduled in 2016. Repeated delays have sparked violence that have killed dozens. Then last week, another postponement reportedly due to problems deploying voting materials. Now, scheduled for Sunday, the final results of the election are expected in January.

Although, it is unclear how the votes in the three excluded cities would ever be factored into the election. Michael Holmes, CNN.



ALLEN: In Tunisia, protesters clash with police for a third day over the death of a journalist. He set himself on fire on Monday. In video recording, he said it was because of the difficult social circumstances around himself and his family and he called on protesters to demand their right to have jobs.

The death resembles a suicide in Tunisia in 2010 that began the Arab Spring uprisings. Authorities have launched an investigation into the man's death.

After the death of a second child in U.S. Border Patrol custody, the Homeland Security Secretary says she wants to see the medical conditions at Border Patrol stations for herself. Kirstjen Nielsen will go to El Paso, Texas Friday and Yuma, Arizona on Saturday. This is hundreds of other migrants are being dropped off on the streets of El Paso. Our Nick Valencia has that.


NICK VALENCIA, CORRESPONDENT, CNN: This is eight-year-old migrant, Felipe Gomez Alonzo who died in Border Patrol custody on Christmas Eve. He had been brought to the hospital, released and brought to the hospital again. Felipe's mother inconsolable as she waits to find out how her young son died.


translator): I want them to bring my son here. I need to see him soon. I am very sad that he died.


VALENCIA: The family now pleading with the U.S. government to return his body to be laid to rest back home in Guatemala.


MARIA DOMINGO LOPEZ, SISTER OF FELIPE GOMEZ ALONZO (Through a translator): They told us they were doing what they can to get him back, but we just want them to hurry.


VALENCIA: Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen calling the case quote, "deeply concerning and heartbreaking," but adding, "It has been more than ten years since a child died in their custody." In El Paso, one of the places where Felipe was held, many migrants are being released this week in part because of the government can't handle the influx.

More than 500 migrants in the last 24 hours sent to a network of non- profits. Inside this makeshift shelter, huddled around a table, a handful of migrants just released from Border Patrol custody. Most of them don't want to talk on camera about what they have been through. But one of the migrants agrees, only if we don't show his face.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (Speaking in foreign language).

VALENCIA: So you paid you get out? How much of a bond did you pay?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (Speaking in foreign language).


VALENCIA: He shows us the paperwork they gave him as a receipt for his $10,000.00 bond to get out after three months in custody. He says, he had to mortgage his home back in Nicaragua to pay for it.


VALENCIA: What do you say to people that think that you're criminals? That you don't have a business being here in this country?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (Speaking in foreign language).

VALENCIA: You have values and you have morals and you're not here to do bad. You're not a criminal.

(END VIDEO CLIP) VALENCIA: Throughout the day here at this bus station in El Paso, we

continue to see migrants dropped off by ICE. These are migrants that are dumped on the streets of El Paso with no resources and in some cases, no place to go. The charities that are volunteering to help out these migrants are overwhelmed, calling this a crisis with no end in sight. Nick Valencia, CNN, El Paso, Texas.


ALLEN: When we come back, an investigation into the Donald Trump inauguration. Who donated? How much? And what did they get in return? Also ahead, here, tariffs and trade wars -- how the U.S. and China got here and who could fire the next shot.



ALLEN: It has been almost two years since the White House falsely claimed Donald Trump's inauguration was one for the record books. It turns out, it was not the crowd size that made history, it was the spending. And now, that inauguration is reportedly under investigation. We learn about it from CNN's Randi Kaye.


DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Starting right here and right now.

RANDI KAYE, CORRESPONDENT, CNN: $107 million. That's how much Donald Trump's inaugural committee raised in donations for the event. Now, Federal prosecutors want to know if any of that money was misspent and perhaps more importantly, did top donors pay big money in exchange for access and influence in the Trump White House?

The "Wall Street Journal" first broke the story.


REBECCA DAVIS O'BRIEN, REPORTER, WALL STREET JOURNAL: Part of this is certainly looking at what these donors gave and what they expected or what they received, but it's also partly about what happened with the Inaugural Committee's expenditures.


KAYE: This all apparently stems from the raid on former Trump attorney, Michael Cohen's office. According to the "Wall Street Journal," investigators seized a recording of a conversation between Cohen and a woman named Stephanie Winston Wolkoff, a former advisor to Melania Trump and one of the key planners for Donald Trump's 2017 inauguration.

Wolkoff reportedly expressed concern during that conversation about how the Inaugural Committee was spending money. Real estate developer, Tom Barrack who ran the Inaugural Committee

denied there was a new investigation, adding he had been questioned about it in 2017. The White House is distancing itself from the probe.


SARAH HUCKABEE SANDERS, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: That doesn't have anything to do with the President or the First Lady. The biggest thing the President did in his engagement in the inauguration was to come here and raise his hand and take the oath of office.


KAYE: Meanwhile, an investigation by ProPublica found that the inauguration paid the Trump organization for rooms, meals, and event space at Trump's Washington Hotel and that Ivanka Trump, the President's daughter and then a senior executive at the Trump organization was involved in negotiating the prices at above market value for venue rentals by the Inaugural Committee.

A spokesman for Ivanka's lawyer told ProPublica that Ivanka said discussions should be at a fair market rate.

And it isn't not just about the money. The "Washington Post" reports that certain attendees at the inauguration also reportedly caught attention of counterintelligence officials at the FBI, though it is unclear which attendees.

The paper reported that Viktor Vekselberg, a tycoon closely aligned with Putin's government attended inaugural events, along with Natalia Veselnitskaya, the Russian lawyer whose meeting with Donald Trump, Jr. at Trump Towner in June 2016 is now under scrutiny.

It is all just part of why Federal prosecutors are zeroing in on the day Donald Trump officially became the 45th President of the United States. Randi Kaye, CNN, New York.


ALLEN: The U.S. economy has been booming during the Trump administration, but the President's tariffs and his trade war with China have sent financial markets on a roller coaster ride, especially lately. Some analysts say they could send the U.S. economy into a recession.

Here's a look at how we got here.


SANDERS: The President is focused on making sure we get good trade deals and not continue to be ripped off by other countries. We have countries like China where we have a $500 billion trade imbalance and that has to be closed.

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Today, I am defending America's National Security by placing tariffs on foreign imports of steel and aluminum.

ALISON KOSIK, BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT, CNN: The E.U. is hitting back at President Trump's proposed tariffs on steel and aluminum.

TRUMP: We are putting tariffs on $50 billion worth of technology and other things because we have to. Because we've been treated very unfairly.


PETER NAVARRO, WHITE HOUSE NATIONAL TRADE COUNCIL: What we have here is a situation where they have been basically punching us in the body and in the face for years.

KOSIK: Europe is targeting things like motorcycles, bourbon, peanut butter, cigarettes and denim. They are classic American goods, but also strategic, hitting industries in states governed by senior Republicans.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (Through a translator): The Chinese side has to retaliate in order to protect our legitimate rights and safeguard the global free trade order.

CHRYSTIA FREELAND, CANADIAN FINANCE MINISTER: Canada has therefore, truly more in sorrow than in anger announced a perfectly reciprocal measured dollar for dollar retaliation response.

MATT RIVERS, CORRESPONDENT, CNN: If you were afraid to call it a trade war before, you should not be afraid to use that term anymore after a major escalation in the spat between the U.S. and China.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Donald Trump is bent on changing the equation of world trade.

TRUMP: We will be meeting with President Xi tonight, I will be and my group, a small group and we will have a small group of representatives and we'll be talking about the thing called trade.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We begin with a timeout, the U.S. and China taking a pause in their escalating trade dispute. President Trump and Xi Jinping cut a deal at the G-20 Summit in Argentina, well, sort of of.

STEVEN JIANG, SENIOR PRODUCER, CNN: Mr. Trump wants to see China not only buy more from the U.S. but also stop stealing American intellectual property and stop subsidizing its own companies and industries. These are the points long resisted by President Xi and his government because they view this as a strategic move by the U.S. to contain its rise.

At this juncture, it is really difficult to see how they can reach a permanent and mutually agreeable solution to this issue because they have remained so far apart.

(END VIDEO CLIP) ALLEN: A video of American actor, Kevin Spacey allegedly groping an

18-year-old busboy at a bar in 2016 is now in police custody, that's according to a complaint filed in court. The complaint reveals the accuser told police he lied to the actor about his age the night of the alleged assault. Miguel Marquez has more details.


MIGUEL MARQUEZ, NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT, CNN: : Well, despite what is described as a heavy night of drinking between Spacey and the accuser, the accuser was in the frame of mind to while the actual alleged incident was occurring - the sexual assault was occurring - to actually take video of it and send to his then girlfriend via Snapchat.

The accuser told police that he had told Spacey that he was 23 the night of the alleged assault. He was in fact 18 years old. All of this happening in the late night hours at the Club Car Restaurant on Nantucket after his shift as a busboy there.

It is something that the accuser's mother spoke out about last year.


HEATHER UNRUH, ALLEGED VICTIM'S MOTHER: The victim, my son was a star-struck straight 18-year-old young man who had no idea that the famous actor was an alleged sexual predator.


MARQUEZ: Now, CNN has tried to contact Mr. Spacey and his representatives for their side of the story. They have not gotten back to us, but shortly after the news broke of these charges against the 59-year-old actor, Kevin Spacey posted a video to his Twitter account. The tone, the style, the substance of it, jarring given the charges that had just been made public.


KEVIN SPACEY, AMERICAN ACTOR: I know what you want. You want me back. Of course some believed everything and had just been waiting with baited breath to hear me confess it all. They're just dying to have me to clear that everything said is true and that I got what I deserved. Wouldn't be that easy, if it was all so simple? Only you and I both know it is never that simple, not in politics and not in life. But you wouldn't believe the worst without evidence, would you? You wouldn't rush to judgment without facts, would you? Did you?


MARQUEZ: So clearly he uses the Frank Underwood character in that video with a Santa Claus apron on in a kitchen, all of it coming at a strange time and just the way in which he does it was remarked upon by many across Hollywood and around the world. The arraignment for Mr. Spacey on these charges is set right now for January 7th. Back to you. (END VIDEO TAPE)

ALLEN: Ahead here, a new invention could have older folks keep moving. These pants won't make you the bionic man or woman, but they could make getting around a lot easier. We'll have that. Plus, we will meet a man who wants to literally barrel his way across the Atlantic.



ALLEN: This is the story of a man who could win the award of the most admired father. Hal Vaughan here on the left wanted to spend Christmas with his daughter but she is a flight attendant who had to work. So Hal simply booked himself on her flight, six of them. Mike Levy sat next to Hal on one of the trips and posted these pictures after hearing the story calling Hal Vaughan a phenomenal father.

You may be bewitched by Donald Trump's charm or bothered by his tenuous relationship with the truth or bewildered by his command over his adoring base, but one group is not falling under his spell. Witches. CNN's Jeanne Moos explains.


JEANNE MOOS, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: They don't fly on broomsticks. They tend not to be bewitched by Donald Trump.


TRUMP: You know I call it a witch hunt and it is a witch hunt.


MOOS: Modern-day witches are hard to categorize.


DOROTHY, FICTIONAL CHARACTER, WIZARD OF OZ: Are you a good witch or a bad witch?


MOOS: Are you a witch?

AMANDA YATES GARCIA, THE ORACLE OF LOS ANGELES: I'm a practicing witch. That's how I make my living, yes.

MOOS: And which kind of which are you?

DAVID SALISBURY, AUTHOR, WITCHCRAFT ACTIVISM: I'm initiated into Wicca, which is the religious side of things.

MOOS: Witches tend to side with liberals. And you know what they wish, President Trump would stop saying about the Mueller investigation.


TRUMP: It's a witch hunt. That's all it is. The witch hunt as I call it. Russian witch hunt. This is a witch hunt like nobody has ever seen before.


MOOS: The author of "Witchcraft Activism" calls the president's use of the term.


SALISBURY: It's really disgraceful. I mean, thousands of people were executed in your own suspicion of witchcraft.


MOOS: Closer to home, there were the Salem witch trials. Nineteen supposed witches were hanged.


GARCIA: There's a lot to be offended by, by Donald Trump, and I think his use of the term witch hunt is very low on that list of priorities for most witches. But nevertheless, it does demonstrate his ignorance as usual.

TRUMP: The entire thing has been a witch hunt.


MOOS: But if the President stopped saying witch hunt, he'd have to hunt for a new term. Tweeted someone, "I guess he will have to start referring to it as a wild goose chase, but then, that might offend geese."

The last time witches got mixed up in politics, a losing tea party candidate for the Senate had to proclaim.




MOOS: After having said she dabbled in witchcraft in high school. If there's one demographic President Trump hasn't put a spell on, its witches, they'd rather put a spell on him.


WICKED WITCH OF THE WEST, FICTIONAL CHARACTER, WIZARD OF T HE OZ: I will catch you my pretty, and your little dog, too.


MOOS: Jeanne Moos, CNN --


TRUMP: And it is a witch hunt.


MOOS: New York.


ALLEN: All right, we have this for you now. If you struggle to get off the sofa, it could be a problem especially for older people. But now, scientists are developing robotic trousers that help the wearer stand up and move around.

Here's Jonathan Rossiter from the University of Bristol, part of the Right Trousers Project.


JONATHAN ROSSITER, UNIVERSITY OF BRISTOL: The Right Trousers Project aims to enable people who are getting older and may have disabilities to maintain their independence for as long as possible.

To do that, the idea is to give people power trousers. This enables them to maintain their independence for longer because they can move more easily.


ROSSITER: We have spent about two and a half million pounds developing these trousers. Now, that may make them the most expensive trousers in the world, but that also makes them the most exciting and potentially the most useful.

The core technologies behind this are artificial muscles. Artificial muscles are really interesting. They replicate human muscles. And you apply stimulus to an artificial muscle and it contracts, and as I apply the air, the balloons inside, our structures inflate and then the whole of the muscle element contracts.

And because it contracts, it's got enough energy to pull this which is representing a knee and there is a person's hip here, pull the actuator up. And once somebody can stand up, then they move around their house and then they can move to the kitchen to make a cup of tea or do some cooking.

Without these technologies, people who are stuck sitting in their living rooms, in their chairs may not be able to get up, may not be able to move around and then at that point in their lives, they will transition into a care setting and that's very, very expensive and of course it will reduce their mobility and also their cognitive abilities, so slowly, they start to feel less comfortable moving around.

Our goal is within ten years, you can walk into a shop, you can buy them off the shelf and you could take them home and you can start using them and that helps to restore your independence as quickly and easily as possible.


ALLEN: And finally, this hour, a 71-year-old Frenchman is hoping to cross the Atlantic Ocean in a barrel. That may sound improbable even peculiar, but this barrel is apparently a sophisticated one with a bed and small kitchen. John Jacques Savin set off from the Canary Islands on Wednesday and plans to float two to three kilometers per hour across the ocean. If it goes well, he hopes to reach the Caribbean by the end of March.

And an American man has apparently just made history in the Antarctic, Colin O'Brady says he is the first person to trek all the way across the continent alone and without assistance. He tracked his progress online with GPS. The 33-year-old adventure athlete posted on Instagram the trip ended with one of the greatest challenges, but best moments of his life.

He surged 129 kilometers in just 32 hours there at the end. O'Brady had been racing another man across the continent since early November tracked by GPS. He is going to wait for him to arrive and then they're going to fly out together. Why not? That's it for "Newsroom" George Howell takes over next. Thanks for watching.