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Kim Jong-Un Slams Sanctions, Sends New Warning to U.S; NYT: Trump Gives Pentagon Four Months To Withdraw U.S. Troops From Syria; Texas Police Ask For Public Help In Seven-Year-Old Girl's Shooting; 2019 Ushers In Slew Of New State Laws; Conjoined Twins Separated In 2016 Making Great Strides. Aired 2:30-3p ET

Aired January 1, 2019 - 14:30   ET

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


(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[14:33:02] PAMELA BROWN, CNN ANCHOR: Well, North Korea's leader, Kim Jong-un, says he is ready to meet with President Trump again at any time. Kim made that offer during his televised New Year address, where he also recommitted himself to ending his nuclear weapons program with one caveat.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

KIM JONG-UN, NORTH KOREAN SUPREME LEADER (through translation): If U.S. does not keep the promise it made in front of the world and misinterprets our people's patience and makes one-sided demands and continues down the path of sanctions and pressure on our republic, then we have no choice but to defend our country's sovereignty and supreme interests and find a new way to settle peace on our peninsula.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BROWN: Joining me now to talk more about this, CNN Political Analyst, David Sanger, a national security correspondent for "The New York Times."

David, thank you for coming on.

Real quick, off the bat here, we just heard from Kim Jong-un. He said if President Trump doesn't keep his promise he made in front of the world, we are prepared to restart our program. What was he referring to there?

DAVID SANGER, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: Well, the promise that Mr. Kim believes he got, Pamela, was that the United States was lift sanctions and that the lifting of sanctions would come before and during any steps toward denuclearization. In the six months or so since the president, President Trump, met President Kim, there's basically been no action toward denuclearization. There hasn't been even a plan put out by the North Koreans to tell the American where their nuclear weapons are, how many they have.

And Mr. Kim was basically saying he's out of patience, that if the U.S. doesn't move toward that, doesn't stop all exercises, military exercises with South Korea, if it doesn't take a series of other steps that he's demanded, we're not getting even the first denuclearization. It sort of puts us back to where we were at the beginning of the Trump administration.

BROWN: And raises the question, what was the point of the summit. It seems as though nothing came from it.

Really quick, I want to turn to Syria now. "The New York Times" is reporting that the president is giving the Pentagon four months to withdraw the 2,000 troops there. Does four months that sound like a reasonable amount of time to you?

[14:35:13] SANGER: It sounds like closer to a reasonable amount of time. You heard Secretary Mattis and others say that, prior to Secretary Mattis' decision to resign, that if there was going to be a withdrawal, you need to build up the Kurds and other forces so they're not abandoned. Four months is certainly better than 30 days. The president also said in the interview he gave a day or so ago he never said he was going to leave Syria in a rush. Yes he did. He said he was going to leave in 30 days.

(CROSSTALK)

BROWN: Yes, he said rapid withdrawal.

SANGER: That's right. I think he's heard from enough critics, including from his own party, saying, no, you didn't stop to think of the second and third order effects of doing such a rapid withdrawal.

BROWN: David Sanger, as always, thank you so much.

SANGER: Great to be with you. Happy New Year.

BROWN: Happy New Year to you.

Moments ago, we told you about the manhunt for the gunman who killed seven-yer-old Jazmine Barnes in a drive-by shooting near Houston on Sunday. Right now, the police are saying the attack was provoked.

And joining me on the phone is LaPorsha Washington, Jazmine's mother.

Ms. Washington, I'm so sorry for your loss, first of all. Thank you so much for talking to us during this difficult time. I know you're in the hospital recovery. This is very raw for you and devastating for your family. Your family can physically be there with you to comfort you because you are recovering in the hospital.

But tell us, what is going on for you right now at this moment?

LAPORSHA WASHINGTON, MOTHER OF JAZMINE BARNES (via telephone): Right now, every time I wake up, I want this to be a dream. I want to wake up and see my 7-year-old run through the door and give me a hug and a kiss. It's all so unreal to me.

BROWN: In is all so raw. It's only been two days since this happened. We're looking at seven-year-old little Jazmine on screen in these pictures. Take us through the moment when you first heard the gunshot.

WASHINGTON: When I first heard the gunshot, my first reaction was to tell all my kids to get down and to cover my oldest because she was in the front seat with me. So I dived over her, I covered her. And my window, the window broke, my driver-side window shattered from the bullet and then the truck had drove off, sped off and continued to open fire at us as he was driving off. So --

(CROSSTALK)

WASHINGTON: Yes, ma'am?

BROWN: Go ahead.

WASHINGTON: I'm listening.

BROWN: Tell us about the gunman. We're looking at a picture here of the red truck that police want viewers to take a close look at because they're still trying to find this gunman. Did you actually see him? Did you have direct eye contact with him?

WASHINGTON: No, because when the shots had started, I was talking to my kids so I wasn't looking in that direction. So when they started -- when they hit my window, I immediately looked the other way. But my 15-year-old daughter looked at him directly in his face, in his eyes. So she seen him.

BROWN: Police say this was a random attack, totally unprovoked.

WASHINGTON: Totally.

BROWN: Just set the scene for us. What were you doing that day?

WASHINGTON: We had got up, my mother was down from the country, and she's an early bird so she wakes us up about 4:00, 5:00 in the morning so we can get breakfast started and it was Sunday so much we can get Sunday dinner started and everything, go get coffee. We were dressed in pajamas. We weren't even dressed, we just went to go get coffee. And we didn't even make it to get the coffee.

And my daughter's life was taken from us over hatred, over whatever kind of feelings this man had in his heart, my child was taken away from us for no reason. I tried to run the play back in my head, can I cut this man off as I was driving talking to my kids, did I make a wrong turn or make a wrong move in front of him? I didn't do none of that. I didn't provoke him in any kind of way. He took my child's life for no reason.

[14:40:10] BROWN: LaPorsha, there's nothing you could have done to justify what this gunman did. What is your message to the man?

WASHINGTON: I just want him to be a man and turn himself in. I will never get to see my child again. And you took her away from me behind whatever what was going on in your head. I don't know if it was some kind of hatred, violent hatred, if it was a hate crime or what it was. But you could plainly see through my windows, I have no tint on my windows, so you see it was a mother, a black mother with four beautiful children, girls, in this car.

You can see right through this car. Even if something did have happened, when you fired that first shot and you seen my kids in that car, you should have stopped. You should have stopped. You took my baby from me and you have no care in the world. And I just wish you would turn yourself in, be a man about it and turn yourself in. It would never bring her back. It would never bring her back. Bring some justice. I get up and I go outside this hospital I fear for my life because I don't know if he's going to come back for me and my kids.

BROWN: I cannot imagine. LaPorsha, if you need to take a moment, please do. We all feel so much for you and what you are going through. And it is important that you are speaking out because we need -- the police are looking for this gunman. He is still on the run, as you pointed out.

WASHINGTON: Yes.

BROWN: And you said your daughter did see him. Can she describe the gunman? What did he look like so people can help in this manhunt?

WASHINGTON: You want to talk to her?

BROWN: I'm sorry?

WASHINGTON: Do you want to talk to her?

BROWN: That's OK. No, it's OK. But can you tell us --

(CROSSTALK)

WASHINGTON: My daughter said that the man had -- he was a white male, he had blue eyes -- and what color was his hoodie? And his hoodie was black. It was a black hoodie. There's been descriptions out that the hoodie had been red. I guess everybody is mistaken. The color of the truck with the color of his hoodie. His truck was red, he was a white male with blue eyes and a black hoodie on. That's all she could see at the time because the sun hadn't even came out yet.

BROWN: And we're just looking right here for our viewers. This is a picture of the red truck that you alluded to that the gunman was in apparently.

LaPorsha, how do you want Jazmine to be remembered?

WASHINGTON: I want her to be remembered as a fun, outgoing, loving, caring, wonderful child. She didn't even get to live her life. She just told me not even a week ago that she wants to be a teacher. That's what she wanted to do. She wanted to be a teacher and she didn't even get to live her life. She was so loving. If you look at these pictures of my baby, my baby is always smiling.

She's always so happy. She did not deserve this. She was so outgoing. When I say she was so loving, she used to wake me up every morning with a kiss, with a hug. She would tell you how good you smell, she would tell you how beautiful you were. She didn't care about none of this madness in this world. She just was so happy.

BROWN: We are looking at pictures of her. She really does have a million-dollar smile and just so much innocence. And it's senseless what has happened to your little girl.

(CROSSTALK)

BROWN: We are just thinking about you, praying for you and your family and your other children who had to witness this horrific act of violence.

LaPorsha Washington, thank you so much for coming on, sharing what happened and talking about your little girl, Jazmine.

[14:45:09] We'll be right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BROWN: A slew of new laws are set to take effect this year, everything from minimum wage hikes in several states to a cursive writing mandate.

CNN's Jean Casarez is here with a look at the news laws for the New Year -- Jean?

JEAN CASAREZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT: It's very interesting, and it goes state by state. But as you mentioned, one thing is there may be more money is your pocket.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

[14:50:00] CASAREZ (voice-over): The year 2019 rings in with bigger paychecks for some works in at least 19 states that are increasing or adjusting their hourly workers on New Year's Day. Workers from Maine to Missouri to Arizona will see bumps in their paychecks even as the federal minimum wage hasn't budged since $7.25 since 2009.

Just as the 2020 political season kicks off, next week, the state of Florida will restore the voting rights of former felons upon the completion of their sentences, excluding those convicted of murder and sexual offenses.

Utah has the lowest blood alcohol content standard for drunk driving. Now at .05 percent, that as little as one drink for most women and three drinks for most men to reach the new limit.

In California, public-held corporations based in the state must have at least one woman on the board of directors by the end of the year. And by the end of 2021, they must have at least two or three female board members depending on the size of the board of directors Violations can be fined up to $300,000.

And in California, pet stores can no longer sell cats, dogs or rabbits unless they come from animal shelters or non-profit rescue groups. And the Golden State is home to a new law that gives pets more rights. No longer will the family dog and cat being treated by courts as physical property. Judges can now decide who gets custody during divorce proceedings based on what is in the best interest of the pets.

Fashion-forward hunters in Illinois will have another color option for their hunting wardrobe. The state becomes the seventh to expand color options for hunting from the standard blaze orange to a bright blaze pink.

In the age of tweets and texts, the state of Ohio is going retro. Students there will be required to learn to write in cursive by the end of the fifth grade.

Just some of the news laws Americans are waking up to this New Year.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

CASAREZ: Since this goes state by state, the best thing to do is to go to your state, look it up, and you'll see the laundry list of new laws that are in effect today on January 1st -- Pamela?

BROWN: Jean Casarez, thank you so much for that. Happy New Year to you.

CASAREZ: You, too.

BROWN: Up next, a story CNN has been following exclusively for two years. An update on the recovery of once conjoined twins now separated and living toddler lives.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[14:57:18] BROWN: And turning now for an update to an incredible story CNN has been following for two years now. Back in October of 2016, the McDonald family decided to have their boys, Jadon and Anias, separated. They were born conjoined at the head. And after a 27-hour separation surgery and many complications and setbacks, the twins are now 3 years old and are making great strides.

CNN's Dr. Sanjay Gupta has been there from the beginning and he just caught up with the McDonald family again.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

DR. SANJAY GUPTA, CNN CHIEF MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): After two years, Nicole and Christina decided to leave New York and return home to the Midwest, Knox, Indiana. Big changes for everyone.

The biggest change of all, though, the boys. This is 3-year-old Jadon McDonald. He's starting to read. But as with most stories, along with victories, came defeats. For conjoined twins, there's almost always one that is more dominant and one at a greater disadvantage. Anias.

NICOLE MCDONALD, MOTHER OF JADON AND ANIAS: That's where I kind of felt apart this year because the child that had hit so many walls before, you just want them to fly, you know, and still stuck on the ground. CHRISTIAN MCDONALD, FATHER OF JADON AND ANIAS: In this day and age,

we're kind of a quantum leap society. We want quick fixes. If it doesn't happen quick, we get discouraged and think that it can't happen. But we really need to understand that amazing things can happen and Anias can do amazing things and will do amazing things.

GUPTA: But even Anias has made gains. He no longer needs any of the machines monitoring him. He's starting to be a kid again, playing with his toys.

It hard to believe just two years ago Anias and Jadon were connected. And amazingly Nicole and Christian are now more connected than ever.

(on camera): How are you guys doing as a couple? It's been your life. How are you guys doing?

CHRISTIAN MCDONALD: I think we're getting stronger and better every day. I guess they say sometimes difficult circumstances, you know, you go through the fire, you come out stronger on the other side. And I think that's definitely true for us. It's definitely made us better as couple.

NICOLE MCDONALD: This forced us into family. I've gained so much respect for him through the process and the dad that he is and in the way that he's been able to support me. But we also have to remember that we're not done. Our future has a lot more.

GUPTA (voice-over): Dr. Sanjay Gupta, CNN, Knox, Indiana.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

BROWN: And top of the hour now. I'm Pamela Brown. Happy new year to you.

Well, a Michigan family begins this new year in both shock and relief.