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Trump Warns U.S. Government Shutdown May Go on a Year, Hundreds Working without Pay; Mueller Grand Jury Extended up to Six Months; Navy SEAL Pleads Not Guilty to Murder Charges; American Detainee in Russia Has No Connections to Intel Operations; Elizabeth Warren Tests Political Waters in Iowa; Ongoing Effort by Lawmaker's Critics to Diminish Her; U.K. Dispatches Patrol Ships to English Channel; Trump is the Expert on Everything, According to Trump. Aired 5-6a ET

Aired January 5, 2019 - 05:00   ET




NATALIE ALLEN, CNN ANCHOR (voice-over): A year maybe or more. That's how long President Trump threatens the partial government shutdown may last if he doesn't get his deal on a border wall.

A former U.S. Marine held in a Russian jail for alleged spying. Sources say he has no connection to intel operations. We'll ask an expert what his background tells us.

And later this hour, Democratic congresswoman Alexandra Ocasio-Cortez responds to her dance video critics with more dancing.

Live from CNN World Headquarters in Atlanta, welcome to our viewers here in the United States and all around the world. I'm Natalie Allen. This is CNN NEWSROOM.


ALLEN: Our top story: 800,000 U.S. government workers are beginning their third week without pay and there's no sign the situation will improve anytime soon. The U.S. president says he's prepared for the partial government shutdown to drag on for a year or more unless Congress gives him $5.6 billion for a wall on the U.S. southern border.

Democratic leaders left Friday's two-hour meeting at the White House, offering little hope of a resolution. They said discussing a border wall was not possible until the government reopened. But the president said he doesn't need Congress to get what he wants. He claimed he could get the Pentagon to do it if Congress refuses.

We get details from CNN's Kaitlan Collins at the White House.


DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: And I can do it if I want. KAITLAN COLLINS, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): President Trump amping up his threats over funding for his border wall, declaring he's considering using emergency powers to build it.

TRUMP: I may do it. But we can call a national emergency and build it very quickly.

COLLINS (voice-over): After a two-hour meeting with congressional leaders that Democrats described as contentious, Trump threatened to leave the government shut down for years if it comes down to it.

TRUMP: Absolutely, I said that. If we have to stay out for a very long period of time, we're going to do that.

COLLINS (voice-over): Asked if he still owns the government shutdown, the president said he's no longer calling it one.

TRUMP: I'm very proud of doing what I'm doing. I don't call it a shutdown.

COLLINS (voice-over): On the campaign trail, Trump promised his supporters a concrete wall paid for by Mexico. Now with the government shut down over a demand from his administration that the American taxpayer fund it, he says it could be made of steel.

COLLINS: So how can you say you're not failing on that promise to your supporters?

TRUMP: We just made it a trade deal. And we will take in billions and billions of dollars. Far more than the cost of the wall. The wall is peanuts compared to what the value of this trade deal is to the United States. As far as concrete, I said I was going to build a wall. I never said, "I'm going to build a concrete."

I said, "I'm going to build a wall."

COLLINS (voice-over): Even though he did.

TRUMP: No windows, no nothing. Precast concrete, going very high. Let's see, about a little higher than that.

COLLINS: But the president continued.

TRUMP: Steel is stronger than concrete. If I build this wall or fence or anything the Democrats need to call it, because I'm not into names, I'm into production.

COLLINS (voice-over): Trump claiming the recently renegotiated trade deal with Canada and Mexico will pay for the wall, even though it hasn't passed Congress yet and he didn't explain why the government is shut down if USMCA is paying for it.

A redo in the Rose Garden after Trump took no questions from reporters during his first appearance in the Briefing Room yesterday. The president describing his meeting with Democrats as productive, though that's not what they said. REP. NANCY PELOSI (D-CA), SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE: We really cannot resolve this until we open up government and we made that very clear to the president.

COLLINS: Friday ending with no solution to the government shutdown in sight. But the president said he's assigned a team to huddle with Hill staffers over the weekend.

Asked about his message to those federal employees who won't receive a paycheck during the shutdown...

TRUMP: Those people, in many cases, are the biggest fan of what we're doing.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: How do you know that, sir?

Do you have evidence to support that?

TRUMP: All right, please, Major, go ahead.

COLLINS: After several rank-and-file House Democrats brought up impeaching the president, Trump said he discussed it directly with Speaker Pelosi today.

TRUMP: Well, you can't impeach somebody that's doing a great job.

I said, "Why don't you use this for impeachment?"

And Nancy said, "We're not looking to impeach you."

COLLINS: But the bottom line regarding the shutdown is that it is going to come down to two people: Trump and Pelosi. And right now, judging on the comments they made today, neither of them are feeling the political pressure to come up with a compromise to reopen the government at this time -- Kaitlan Collins, CNN, the White House.



ALLEN: In Congress, there's growing impatience on both sides of the aisle over the partial government shutdown. CNN's Manu Raju spoke with a key Republican and new freshman Democrat who say it's time for their parties' leaders to negotiate and make a deal.


REP. PETER KING (R), N.Y.: I just thought it was wrong to hold hundreds of thousands of employees hostage. I would issue they have nothing else to do with. I think the president should negotiate. I think the Democrats should negotiate.

I don't know what's going on behind closed doors but I think if Chuck Schumer and Nancy Pelosi weren't bound by their base, they would be able to negotiate more. And the president should know he's been listening to the Freedom Caucus. (END VIDEO CLIP)


MANU RAJU, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: So she should cut a deal essentially?

REP. JEFF VAN DREW (D), NEW JERSEY: In my opinion. I would -- I know there are some people in my party that don't agree. But there are people that are now not working and not getting paid.

I wish we weren't. And I know the Republicans are digging in too much. Everybody is digging in too much.

And you know who doesn't like it, in my opinion?

The vast majority of the American public.


ALLEN: CNN has learned hundreds of U.S. transportation safety officers called off sick from work this week. Transportation Security Administration officers are required to work without pay during the partial government shutdown. According to several senior agency and union officials, the sickouts affected at least four major U.S. airports.

A TSA spokesman said passenger safety has not been affected but the wife of a Coast Guard member argues that it's no longer about border security at all.


KAYLA, WIFE OF COAST GUARDSMAN: Regardless of what side you play for, regardless of if you agree or disagree with the president or the Republicans or Democrats, this is not an issue of border security at this point. I think it's an issue of funding one of our military branches.

There are a lot of service members and a lot of spouses who work really hard. And for me personally, my holidays were very stressful. I thought about returning my son's Christmas gifts because of all of this.


KAYLA: -- think about all of us. And even if the shutdown doesn't have a resolution in sight anytime soon, if they could please pass something that would at least fund the Coast Guard. If one of the people in charge could at least recognize, hey, this is part of our military that's not getting paid and they depend on these checks, I would be very appreciative of that.


ALLEN: Some furloughed workers are taking out loans to hold them over until they get back to work. Some 4,500 members of the Navy Federal Credit Union have applied for the zero interest loans and thousands more are being urged to apply for them.

Leslie Vinjamuri joins us now from London. She's the head of the U.S. and Americas Programme at Chatham House think tank and a frequent visitor.

Hi, Leslie.

LESLIE VINJAMURI, SOAS, UNIVERSITY OF LONDON: Hi, thank you. Good to see you. Happy new year.

ALLEN: Thank you, happy new year to you. And what a year federal workers are starting off with. We just heard there, Leslie, despite the story, there are federal workers who aren't getting paid, who are suffering.

And the president is threatening to keep the government partially shut down for months or years.

What might be the implications if he did?

VINJAMURI: This is clearly devastating and very serious news for those workers, 800,000, who are out of pay, many of them who are continuing to turn up to work and not to be underestimated the number of people who live paycheck to paycheck and are very seriously affected.

It's difficult to imagine the president's language, that this could go on for weeks or years. It's almost impossible to imagine, given the consequences and the issue that it's ostensibly about, protecting the border itself, is not based on the allegations that the president's making, that terrorists come across the border and they're not based on any credible evidence.

But that sort of basic fact is really being lost because it's becoming a very political significant issue and public attitudes are very negative. The president's been blamed for the shutdown. Increasingly over time, the polls are showing Congress is being blamed and Republicans even more than Democrats.

It's becoming a political issue for Congress and for the president. It's a very dire issue for the public and the consequences would be very serious if it continues.

ALLEN: We know for many Democrats, who say he has manufactured this emergency at the wall. But he also said on Friday he has the power to build the wall, even without Congress, that he could declare a national emergency. He might be able to try it.

But can you imagine he would take it that far?

VINJAMURI: Yes. He says it's not a threat. It's clearly a veiled threat to Congress to negotiate, to reach some sort of deal. It could also be a signal of how he's thinking about different ways to resolve the problem, to be able to claim victory. The thing for the president, of course, is he needs --


VINJAMURI: -- to find some way of being able to claim a victory because that border wall has been key to his rallying throughout the campaign, throughout his first two years in office. It's important to his base. It's been something that's been a central part of what he wants to claim success on.

And now he's really digging his heels in, so there has to be some sort of negotiation, which at least allows the president to turn back to those people who he's made the border wall so important to, to say, look, I've scored and the wall's going to be built.

He's made false claims as we've seen along the way that it's being built. It hasn't been built. Nothing's been built since he's been in office.

ALLEN: Yes, he's trying to find a way to stick to his pledge to get it done but he's getting major pushback, isn't he, all of those workers not getting a paycheck for the foreseeable future are starting to feel the pain, not knowing if or when they'll be paid.

But the president claims they're on his side.


ALLEN: Yes. Listen to what he said on Friday about that.


TRUMP: I really believe that these people, many of the people that we're talking about, many of the people you're discussing, I really believe they agree with what we're doing. Many of those people, maybe most of those people have been not getting their money, those people in many cases are the biggest fan of what we're doing.


ALLEN: Oh, yes.

VINJAMURI: What do you make of that statement, Leslie?

VINJAMURI: Well, you know, the polls show that 71 percent of employees, federal employees, are opposed and blame the president. So you know, it's simply not true. The damage that the president experienced over the holidays was he had to spend more time in the White House than he wanted to.

But we're talking about ordinary people working across all branches of the government at all different levels who are simply not receiving paychecks, never mind the significant and very potentially serious consequences coming from people not being able to do those jobs and the services not being actually executed across many different branches of the government. We're hearing stories about whether or not the national parks will

have to close because they couldn't respond quickly enough to emergencies if somebody had a heart attack, would the response rate be as quick as it should be. I mean these are very significant issues, not to be underestimated.

ALLEN: Three people have died at national parks in the past few days, you know, that are closed.

Is there any wiggle room on either side?

Nancy Pelosi said one dollar for the wall, that's it.

Where do they meet again in six hours?

Are they holding back some cards?

VINJAMURI: There's clearly pressure on both sides on the House, on Democrats and on Republicans, to solve this problem, undoubtedly they will try to find an agreement that will be acceptable to both sides because everybody will suffer.

Politically people are suffering. There's a question of whether or not there's negotiation to be done on immigration. There's been talk whether or not the president would offer some sort of amnesty for the DREAMers and would move forward a package that would allow the Democrats to claim a victory and the president to claim a victory if the Democrats were to grant more funding for the wall.

But at the moment nobody is revealing their hand.


ALLEN: Absolutely. Leslie Vinjamuri, we appreciate it. Thank you for joining us.

VINJAMURI: Thank you.

ALLEN: President Trump was hoping the Russia investigation would end soon. He's just received some bad news. Special counsel Robert Mueller's federal grand jury has been extended. Our Kara Scannell has that.


KARA SCANNELL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: The grand jury hearing add-ins from special counsel Robert Mueller has been extended, allowing the investigation to continue. The chief judge of the district court in Washington agreed to request that Mueller's term extend the grand jury's term.

That 18-month term, which began in July of 2017, was set to expire this weekend. Under federal rules, the judge could extend the term up to six months if she finds it is in the public interest.

Mueller's grand jury has voted to indict roughly 3 dozen individuals and so far on charges raining from hacking to lying to the FBI. They have heard testimony from multiple witnesses. The extension means the grand jury will continue to hear evidence in the investigation and Bob Mueller is not finished -- Kara Scannell, CNN, Washington.


ALLEN: More countries join efforts to help as an American with citizenship in several countries sits in prison charged with espionage. We'll have more ahead.

Plus President Trump's battle for border security leaves thousands of workers feeling very insecure about their own futures. More about that as well --


ALLEN: -- as we push on.




ALLEN: A U.S. service member has pleaded not guilty to charges surrounding the death of an ISIS fighter. Navy SEAL Edward Gallagher was in a military court Friday facing nine charges, including premeditated murder.

He's accused in the stabbing death of an injured ISIS fighter, believed to be 15 years old. The other charges include retaliating against and trying to stop fellow service members from reporting his actions. Gallagher's trial begins next month.

A source tells CNN the American arrested a week ago in Russia for spying does not have apparent ties to any national intelligence operations. Paul Whelan is facing espionage charges but his brother denies he's a spy.

In "The Washington Post" he wrote, "Paul is a kind and considerate brother, son and uncle and a generous and loyal friend. He travels as often as he can both for work and pleasure. He's many things to many people but he's not a spy."

Diplomats from the U.S., Ireland, Britain and Canada are already moving to help him as he's a citizen of all four countries. Sam Kiley is joining us --


ALLEN: -- from our Moscow bureau with the latest.

What can the diplomats working on this story do for Whelan?

His family is saying Russia got it wrong, he's just an innocent traveler. What has Russia said about what led them to Whelan, if anything?

SAM KILEY, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, they're being very silent, unusually silent, officials from the Kremlin outward here in Moscow, Natalie. The only information has been reported in the local news website, citing unnamed officials saying Mr. Whelan was caught red-handed, receiving some kind of memory disks that had on it confidential information.

We don't know that that even is the evidence being used against him in this investigation for which he's already been charged in espionage. His lawyer said he's in reasonably good spirits since he was arrested on December 28th.

But he has been reaching out to the four countries of which he's a citizen, the United States, Canada, Britain and Ireland, with the British foreign secretary coming out yesterday, saying innocent individuals should not be used as pawns in games of international diplomacy and chess.

And the reason for that, of course, is the very bitter relations indeed that exist at the moment between the United Kingdom and Russia, not the least over the use of chemical weapons in Salisbury last year -- Natalie.

ALLEN: Yes. It comes at a time when Vladimir Putin for his new year's message said he wanted closer ties with the United States and now this. So it's unusual at best. All right. Sam Kiley for us in Moscow, thanks so much.

Let's talk about this with Steve Moore. He's a CNN law enforcement contributor and retired supervisory special agent for the FBI.

Steve, thanks for joining us.


ALLEN: Is there any part of this story that has you thinking Mr. Whelan could be a spy, has a unique connection or interest to Russia?

This follows being convicted of a crime as a U.S. Marine involving larceny then receiving a bad conduct discharge.

Is this story curious to you?

MOORE: Yes, it's very curious, Natalie, because, while he seems to be having -- cultivating relationships with certain people in Russia, he doesn't have the access or the background that lead you to believe that any intelligence organization would utilize him. So while his behavior is somewhat strange, I don't think he's an operative.

ALLEN: Experts say the U.S. wouldn't use someone with his track record for dishonesty in the military as a spy.

Would he possibly be doing any kind of work for a different entity? MOORE: No. You know, I don't think so because, if it was, if he was, it would be probably Canada or Britain. And the type of information he was allegedly bargaining for, even if true, was so low level, I can't imagine them using somebody who was that risky.

What I suspect is it's at least possible that he was freelancing, that he was trying to get information that he thought he might be able to sell to an intelligence agency.

ALLEN: I see. His family is certainly standing by him. They say he was in Russia for a friend's wedding. He traveled in Russia often.

What about the fact he holds four passports?

He has an American citizenship, also Canada, Ireland and Britain.

MOORE: Yes. His sister does, too, and she's probably not a spy. The issue is that his grandparents were Irish, his parents were British. He was born in Canada and he got citizenship in the United States. So that's not entirely unusual.

What -- and it hurts me to say this for the family's sake. The family, while they trust him, had no idea that he had a dishonorable discharge due to larceny charges, so he may be living differently than he's letting on.

ALLEN: OK. What about the other angle here?

Questions are posed whether Russia arrested him, planning to get a prisoner swap in the U.S. It has happened before many times and the U.S. recently arrested Russian citizen Maria Butina on conspiracy to act as a foreign agent.

MOORE: First of all, she's going to be released and I think the Russians know that, eventually released in months. So I don't think they would --


MOORE: -- want to start a several-months-long bargaining process to get somebody out who's already getting out. You're using a lot of capital to do that.

I think -- Putin, when translated to English, is petulant. I think this is more likely some kind of irritation with what happened to her rather than any kind of desire to bargain.

ALLEN: Where does this go from here, Steve?

Vladimir Putin reached out to the U.S., saying he wants closer ties and then this happens.

How do you think this might play out?

MOORE: I don't believe what Vladimir Putin says about wanting better ties necessarily. At least he wants them on his terms. I think the way this plays out is the U.S. is going to essentially pitch a fit over this. Their reaction so far has been above and beyond what usually happens.

You might get a consular official going out to visit an American who's been arrested. But you don't get the ambassador of a major country to a major country like Russia coming and visiting you yourself.

This has become a very large political issue and I believe it's possible there will be a somewhat reasonably short release. The alternative is that the Russians dig their heels in and they want to get a pound of flesh for this. So you know, there's a lot at stake.

ALLEN: We'll be watching it because it's certainly a curious story and it's someone who's an American citizen, being held in a former KGB prison outside of Moscow. Steve Moore, always appreciate your insights. Thanks, Steve.

MOORE: Thank you.

ALLEN: Yellow Vest protesters are back in the streets of the French capital for more demonstrations. They began in November over higher fuel taxes and grew into a revolt against the French president's policies. This week, officials signaled they would take a tougher stance on the movement.

On Friday France called protesters agitators trying to topple the government. And on Wednesday police detained a protest leader for organizing an unauthorized demonstration.

Ahead here, how the partial U.S. government shutdown is having negative consequences all across the country and trashing the nation's capital.

Also, the congresswoman takes on her critics for trying to embarrass her with her video from her college days.





Welcome back to our viewers in the United States and all around the world. I'm Natalie Allen.


ALLEN: As we mentioned, 800,000 U.S. government workers are now working into their third week without pay and many are getting desperate. The Navy Federal Credit Union is offering no interest loans to its members affected by the shutdown but it's only a Band-aid for a worsening crisis. CNN's Suzanne Malveaux explains how the shutdown's impact is being felt beyond the federal workforce.


SUZANNE MALVEAUX, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Ryan Baugh and his furloughed friends spend their unplanned time away from work volunteering.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Really, I did find a volunteer thing we could do tomorrow morning if you're interested.

MALVEAUX: Thursday, Ryan spent three hours giving blood platelets. Friday, he picked up trash at the National Mall. And while he's being productive with his newfound freedom, he says he still feels held hostage by the shutdown.

RYAN BAUGH, FURLOUGHED GOVERNMENT EMPLOYEE: Let us work without having anxiety over our next grocery bill, for those who are working out the bill right now and whose leave was canceled over the holidays.

MALVEAUX: Andrea Popelka is one of those with a choice between groceries and utilities.

ANDREA POPELKA, FURLOUGHED GOVERNMENT EMPLOYEE: All those things are already pre-budgeted. When something like this happens and you're not going to get your next check, it's like, OK, well, what do I do?

MALVEAUX: Overall, 380,000 workers are furloughed. Another 420,000 working without pay. But in a way, they could be the lucky ones.

Traditionally, Congress grants back pay to those federal employees. Though not guaranteed for anyone, back pay is even less likely for federal contractors and the companies they work for, who might not get any money at all.

DAVID BERTEAU, PROFESSIONAL SERVICES COUNCIL: It puts small businesses out of business if it continues much longer.

MALVEAUX: David Berteau, who represents federal contractors, says some businesses are still paying employees without getting paid by the government. He says the biggest impact for so many is the uncertainty.

BERTEAU: When is this going to be over?

Am I going to be made whole at the end of it?

Will anybody care about the work I do that matters so much to me?

MALVEAUX: It's a question some federal workers were asking even before the shutdown.

Author Michael Lewis' latest book, "The Fifth Risk," looks at how President Trump's election impacted agencies across the government.

MICHAEL LEWIS, AUTHOR: All they get is slandered and abused. And yet we expect them to perform these critical missions in society.

MALVEAUX: Lewis says the president just doesn't understand what federal employees do.

TRUMP: I will shut down the government. Absolutely.


TRUMP: And I am proud.

SCHUMER: We disagree. We disagree.

TRUMP: And I'll tell you what, I am proud to shut down the government for border security, Chuck.

MALVEAUX: Last week, President Trump canceled federal employee pay raises for 2019 and claimed, without evidence, that --


TRUMP: -- quote, "Most of the people not getting paid are Democrats."

Ryan, who refuses to get into the political mud, worries he may miss his opportunity to buy a house of his own.

BAUGH: When people in leadership positions publicly surmise about how the pain of a million federal workers and their families is going to tip the scale of the debate one way or the other, that represents a lack of moral leadership.

MALVEAUX (on camera): And ironically, while the president is fighting with lawmakers over his push to build a border wall, the partial government shutdown is interfering with his administration's immigration agenda, as Border Patrol agents and border protection officers are forced to continue working without pay, immigration judges are furloughed and some immigration asylum cases are now put on hold -- Suzanne Malveaux, CNN, Washington.


ALLEN: In the midst of this shutdown, the 2020 presidential campaign begins. Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren is in Iowa, her first trip to that pivotal state since announcing her exploratory bid for the White House.

She addressed an overflow crowd in Council Bluffs, Iowa, Friday night, taking on government corruption and powerful interests she says are decimating the American working class. In a Q&A session with the audience, she gave some advice on how to handle foreign policy.


SEN. ELIZABETH WARREN (D), MASSACHUSETTS: I believe you should know the difference between your friends and your enemies.


WARREN: Deep, deep, deep foreign policy insight, work with your friends and keep your guard up against your enemies.


ALLEN: The Democratic congresswoman said she's not making any excuses for her expletive-laden speech pushing for President Trump's impeachment. Rashida Tlaib's remarks came hours after she was sworn in as the first Palestinian American woman to serve in Congress.


REP. RASHIDA TLAIB (D), MICHIGAN: I think no one expects me to be anything but myself, the girl from southwest Detroit, with a little sass and attitude. I think, you know, President Trump has met his match.

I can tell you I've talked to a number of my colleagues, including Congresswoman Maxine Waters and Al Green and others, who were very -- you know, smiling and telling me, we love your spirit, we welcome it. Come to us if you ever need any help or advice and they agreed we need to impeach the President of the United States.

You know, look. It's probably exactly how my grandmother, if she were alive, would say it. Obviously, I'm a member of Congress and things I say are elevated on a national level and I understand that very clearly.


ALLEN: House Speaker Nancy Pelosi says she wouldn't have used the congresswoman's choice of words but she adds, its is nothing worse than what the president has said. Here's his reaction.


TRUMP: I thought her comments were disgraceful, using language like that in front of her son and whoever else was there, I thought that was a great dishonor to her and to her family. I thought it was highly disrespectful to the United States of America.


ALLEN: Tlaib is not the only freshman member of Congress facing some backlash. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is fighting a backlash after a video of her dancing in college went viral. Here's Athena Jones with that.


ATHENA JONES, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): A 30-second video clip, widely shared on Twitter, showing New York Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez dancing on a rooftop. Shot while she was a student at Boston University, it's part of a several-minute homage to '80s movies like "The Breakfast Club."

The clip was posted the day before the new Congress was sworn in, in an apparent bid to embarrass the 29-year-old Bronx-born Latina, the youngest woman ever elected to Congress.

The since-deleted anonymous post called the self-described Democratic socialist "a commie and a clueless nitwit" and inspired a backlash from those who saw nothing wrong with a college student having fun.

Ocasio-Cortez responded by tweeting a new video of herself dancing into her office. The dancing post was just the latest example of an ongoing effort by critics of Ocasio-Cortez to diminish her.



UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Democratic socialist.

JONES: She's become a lightning rod for conservatives.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: She's proposing that we take -- that we bring socialism to our country right now in Venezuela there are people who can't afford shoes.

JONES: In November, a columnist for the right-leaning "Washington Examiner" tweeted this photo of Ocasio-Cortez walking down a hallway in a blazer, apparently seeking to raise doubts about whether she --


JONES (voice-over): -- struggles economically.

Ocasio-Cortez wasn't shy about fighting back, posting in response, "Dark hates light. That's why you tune it out."

She parries attacks from conservatives, including ongoing questions about her working class roots by calling out corny Republicans and telling one poster, "You didn't even know who I was seven months ago, you're not going to birther me now," a reference to the long-time effort once championed by now President Trump to paint President Obama as un-American.

REP. ALEXANDRIA OCASIO-CORTEZ (D), NEW YORK: We made it here to Washington, D.C., for what I am lovingly calling Congress camp day zero.

People are going to have to start paying their fair share in taxes.

JONES: Ocasio-Cortez also supports liberal policies that some, even within her own party, see as pie in the sky and that it made her a favorite target of Republicans.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: With Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, she's constantly wrong but never in doubt.

JONES (on camera): The GOP attacks on Ocasio-Cortez don't appear to be letting up. Some of her new Republican colleagues jeered her on the House floor yesterday when she cast her vote for Nancy Pelosi as Speaker. She retweeted a video of the moment, writing, "Over 200 members voted for Nancy Pelosi today yet the GOP only booed one, me. Don't hate me because you ain't me, fellas" -- Athena Jones, CNN, New York.


ALLEN: Desperately seeking a better life. When we come back, migrants are risking everything to reach the white cliffs of Dover.




ALLEN: An infamous tent city for migrant children in the U.S. may close by the end of the month. Officials operating the shelter in Texas say they expect all the children housed there to be placed in sponsored homes by the end of the month. At one point there were 3,000 children housed there. Now there are 1,200.

In another part of the world since November, some 240 migrants have made their way --


ALLEN: -- dangerous trek across the English Channel to get to Britain, most in small boats. Royal Navy patrol ships have been dispatched to intercept the crossings. Up until now, some civilians had taken that on. Our Phil Black met a charter boat captain who rescued a number of people.


PHIL BLACK, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Stand on England's southern coast in the right light and you can see France, those dark shadows against the golden haze. Between them lies a formidable boundary. The Channel is at least 19 nautical miles of open water, although there are big swells, powerful tides, ships and ferries going up, down and across it.

But recently much smaller vessels have been crossing, too.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Do you need help?

BLACK (voice-over): Tiny inflatable boats, carrying people from far away. The desperate and determined, risking everything to reach Dover's white cliffs and make the United Kingdom their home.

Out on the Channel, charter boat operator Matthew Coker tells us he had has contact with five migrant boats in recent months. He recorded video at this moment last year. A small inflatable drifting near the coast.

MATTHEW COKER, CHARTER BOAT OPERATOR: We seen them waving some oars, with some T-shirts tied to them. Obviously, it was -- you know, they were in distress.

BLACK (voice-over): The three men, one woman and their tiny boat were brought on board but they lost their engine. They were exhausted and dehydrated and lucky to be alive.

BLACK: Were you able to talk to these people?

COKER: I tried to communicate but they didn't speak English. But they were saying they were from Cape Sandoval (ph).

BLACK (voice-over): Many of those crossing say they're Iranian. Every civilian boat operator is now under orders to look out for them.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Mariners are requested to report any unusual activity or sightings of small vessels transiting the Dover Strait.

BLACK (voice-over): The British government is also deploying its resources to find and rescue migrants.

BLACK: We'll soon be three of these larger border forces, trolling this stretch of the coast. The government was initially reluctant to bring in extra safety boats because they feared that could encourage more migrants to attempt to cross it. But they decided saving lives must be the priority.

BLACK (voice-over): The minister responsible has questioned whether the migrants are genuine refugees and some people, including the area's local MP, want those rescued by British vessels to be returned to France.

CHARLIE ELPHICKE, BRITISH CONSERVATIVE MP: That way, the migrants and the traffickers who are really driving this, who are behind this, get the message that there's no point in trying.

BLACK (voice-over): All this is being described by some British newspapers as a migrant crisis, even though the numbers of people arriving on this coast are relatively small, especially compared to migrant crossings in the Mediterranean.

BLACK: The British government says 539 people tried to cross this border and reach the U.K. in 2018. Many didn't even get close. The French stopped around 42 percent. But the fact that has got some people concerned, triggered talk of a crisis and inflamed some passion is the recent increase. Around 80 percent of the total attempts were in the last three months.

BLACK (voice-over): Migrant activist Christine Oliver is more concerned about ensuring people's rights to claim asylum.

CHRISTINE OLIVER, SAMPHIRE PROJECT: We should be able to demonstrate our compassion and our humanity and rather than worrying about the very small numbers that are coming here.

BLACK (voice-over): Britain has a proud history of welcome those in need to their shores. Their control over borders and migration are remoted (ph) often divisive issues here. They drove many to vote for Brexit and they worry some when they see

small boats landing uninvited on British beaches -- Phil Black, CNN, New Dover, in the English Channel.


ALLEN: Drones, technology, nuclear war, what isn't the U.S. president an expert on?

According to him, he knows the most about everything. That story's next.






ALLEN: On Wall Street, stocks surged today in a roller coaster week of trading. The Dow soared almost 750 points. The S&P 500 was up more than 3 percent while the Nasdaq climbed more than 4 percent.

The rally followed a strong jobs report and from news that China has taken actions to stimulate its economy. Federal Reserve chairman Jerome Powell also pushed the markets higher, saying the Fed will be flexible when it considers interest rates.

What is more exhausting than being around someone who thinks they know it all?

Believe me, we haven't found an answer. Neither has CNN's Jeanne Moos. Here we go.


JEANNE MOOS, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Remember how Muhammad Ali always used to call himself the greatest of all time?

Well, now it's President Trump calling himself the greatest at all times.

TRUMP: I think nobody knows more about campaign finance than I do.

Nobody knows more about trade than me.

Nobody knows more about construction than I do.

MOOS (voice-over): What field doesn't he excel in?

TRUMP: I know more about ISIS than the generals do, believe me.

Nobody knows more about environmental impact statements than me. There's nobody that understands the horror of nuclear better than me.

MOOS (voice-over): It's enough to make your head explode.

TRUMP: Nobody knows the politicians better than I do, believe me.

MOOS (voice-over): Even political opponents like Cory Booker, "I know more about Cory than he knows about himself."

TRUMP: And nobody builds walls better than me, believe me.

MOOS (voice-over): President Trump sure knows how to spew superlatives.

TRUMP: I know words. I have the best words.

I think I have the best temperament.

Look, nobody has better toys than I do.

MOOS (voice-over): And from a guy who doesn't like to read, this:

TRUMP: And nobody loves the Bible more than I do.

MOOS: Thou shalt not exaggerate, Mr. President.

MOOS (voice-over): For years, journalists have been chronicling Donald Trump's breathtaking self-admiration, delivered in a third person, no less.

TRUMP: Because nobody's ever had crowds like Trump has had.

MOOS: Occasionally President Trump has demonstrated a flash of humility, a moment of modesty.

TRUMP: I understand the tax laws better than almost anyone.

MOOS (voice-over): Almost anyone.


MOOS (voice-over): It means someone understands tax laws better than he does?

BETTY HUTTON, ACTOR: Anything you can do --

MOOS (voice-over): -- he can do better.

TRUMP: They're more elite than me?

I have better everything than they have, including this.

MOOS (voice-over): Jeanne Moos, CNN --

HOWARD KEEL, ACTOR: No, you can't.

HUTTON: Yes, I can, yes, I can.

MOOS (voice-over): -- New York.

KEEL: OK, thank you.


ALLEN: At this moment a robot is exploring places never before seen by humans. China's lunar rover, named Yutu 2, is sending back data and images from the far side of the moon. It made history when it touched down on Thursday, opening a new chapter in moon exploration. It's also a major milestone for China as it expands its space program.

And before we go, a story of record proportions at Tokyo's newly minted fish market. A $3 million tuna weighing a whopping 613 pounds or 278 kilograms was just sold. The New Year auction record was set by a Japanese restaurant chain whose owner says he may have gone overboard with the purchase.


KIYOSHI KIMURA, KIYOMURA COMPANY (voice-over): The tuna looks so tasty because it's fat and looks very fresh. It is a good tuna but I think I did too much.


ALLEN: That's CNN NEWSROOM. For U.S. viewers, "NEW DAY" is next. For everyone else, I'll be back with our top stories. Thanks for watching.