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U.S. Government Now Shut Down For 16 Days; An Arrest Is Made After An Intense Week-Long Manhunt In The Shooting Death Of 7-Year-Old Jazmine Barnes; The Impact Of The Partial U.S. Government Shutdown Is Being Felt By Americans Coast To Coast; President Trump Breaking His Silence On Detained American Paul Whelan Nine Days After Russia Arrested Whelan On Espionage Charges; President Trump Pledge To Pull U.S. Troops Out Of Syria; Hollywood Is Rolling Out The Red Carpet Once Again For Award Season Starting With Tonight's 76th Annual Golden Globes. Aired 2-3p ET
Aired January 6, 2019 - 14:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[14:00:17] FREDRICKA WHITFIELD, CNN HOST: Hello, everyone. Thank you so much for joining me this Sunday. I'm Fredricka Whitfield.
The U.S. government now shut down for 16 days. So far what we have seen, plenty of rhetoric, political bluster and finger-pointing. What we haven't seen? Any signs of real progress.
Now President Trump is warning he will consider declaring a national emergency to build the border wall based on what happens over the next few days. He is meeting with administration officials in Camp David right now.
And vice president Mike Pence is having another meeting with Capitol Hill staffers after talks yesterday for about two-and-a-half hours went nowhere. Sources tell CNN today the administration is laying out the justifications for the $5.7 billion wall. But the President himself says no progress is expected at that meeting. And Trump has made it clear he will not back down on his demands for wall funding.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: This is a very important battle to win from the standpoint of safety, number one, defining our country and who we are, also from the standpoint of dollars. This wall will pay for itself many times during the course of a year. The money we are talking about is very small compared to the return. Do you think I like doing this? I don't like doing this. But we have no choice, we have to have it.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WHITFIELD: Let's check in with CNN correspondent Boris Sanchez.
So what more can you tell us about these negotiations and even talks at Camp David? What's happening?
BORIS SANCHEZ, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Hey, there, Fred. Yes. A source indicating that right now Republicans are presenting to
Democrats that official justification that you mentioned, basically an explanation of how they plan to spend the $5.7 billion that President Trump has requested for his border wall.
Acting chief of staff Mick Mulvaney suggested that requesting that justification was actually a delay tactic on the part of Democrats. He believes they are attempting to stall these talks. Further, he is frustrated by what he is seeing in these conversations as he told Jake Tapper.
The President is also frustrated. Late yesterday, a White House source confirming to CNN that President Trump was inclined to call on a national emergency to be able to secure funds for his long promised border wall. The President confirmed that report this morning, suggesting it was a serious option. Listen to this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: I may declare a national emergency dependent on what's going to happen over the next few days. We have a meeting. Vice president Pence and a group will be going to a certain location that you know where that is, and they will be having another meeting. I don't expect to have anything happen at that meeting. But I think we will have, nor does the vice President, but I think we are going to have some very serious talks come Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SANCHEZ: Now, if the President were to declare a national emergency to get his border wall funded, it is almost certain that he would face a number of lawsuits to try to prevent that from happening.
Essentially, what this boils down to according to a number of sources is that both sides don't see eye to eye. They disagree on several basic facts. According to a White House source, Democrats simply don't trust some of the statistics being presented by the department of homeland security, Kirstjen Nielsen.
An aide to speaker of the house Nancy Pelosi told CNN that secretary Nielsen simply is not credible on these issues. A spokesperson for DHS responded saying these statistics simply speak for themselves.
President Trump is expected to return from Camp David shortly. He is there for a pow-wow essentially outlining the administration's 2019 priorities. We will let you know if he says much when he returns to the White House, Fred.
WHITFIELD: All right. Boris, thank you so much.
All right. During that 20-minute-long back and forth with reporters on the way back to Camp David, earlier today, President Trump also said this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) TRUMP: I can say this. Everybody is playing games, but I can say this. I think that the Democrats want to make a deal, I really do. I feel that.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: What is the deal? Will you come down?
TRUMP: We will call it something different.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WHITFIELD: So while everyone is quote "playing games," as the President puts it, it is important to remember that you are still paying for government services that are shut down.
For example, the agency that handles small business loans is not processing loan applications right now. Residents in Washington, D.C. who are planning to get married may have to wait a little longer. The D.C. court that handles marriage licenses is closed. And perhaps you are in the middle of buying a house. Well, depending on your type of loan, your closing date could be delayed. And of course, it is tax season, so many people are looking forward to those IRS refund checks this time of year. Well, most of the workers at the IRS are off the job.
CNN spoke to one of those workers who says his furlough could easily become your problem.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
[14:05:20] TERRY SCOTT, FURLOUGHED IRS EMPLOYEE: It is going to take the public, those people who are going to be impacted beyond the federal employees to stand up and say enough is enough. Because what we do at the IRS, I mean, anyone that's due a refund, they won't get that refund until we get back to work.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WHITFIELD: So despite those impacts, many Republicans are firmly standing behind the President. Senator Lindsey Graham is fiercely defending the President's call for a border wall. This morning on CBS, he was asked, why not just open the government and then continue negotiations on the border wall? Well, here is how he responded.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. LINDSEY GRAHAM (R), SOUTH CAROLINA: I do want to open up the government, but the goal is not to open up the government, the goal is to fix a broken immigration system, to bring reality to this table that ICE is not the problem, it is the solution. The goal is to repair a damaged broken immigration system.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WHITFIELD: All right. Joining me right now to discuss all of this, political reporter for Bloomberg Sahil Kapur and historian and professor at Princeton University, Julian Zelizer. He is also the coauthor of a new book, "the Fault Lines, a history of the U.S. since 1974."
Congratulations, Julian on a new book. And good to see both of you. Happy New Year.
JULIAN ZELIZER, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: Happy New Year.
SAHIL KAPUR, POLITICAL REPORTER, BLOOMBERG: Happy New Year.
WHITFIELD: All right. So Sahil, let me begin with you. So the goal, at least according to Lindsey Graham, is not to open the government, but instead to fund the wall. Wasn't all of this about spending to keep a government going in the first place?
KAPUR: Right. That is generally what these government funding debates tend to be about. But, you know, what we are seeing here is that these 800,000 federal workers have become pawns in an unrelated policy fight for Congress. Immigration is not the issue here when you are talking about government funding. It's simply to keep the lights on, to keep government functioning. And what's happening now is that about half of these 800,000 federal workers are going to continue to have to work, not getting paid for the duration of the shutdown.
But your previous guest was right. It's going to take the rest of the American public feeling the negative impacts of the shutdown before, I think, the pressure mounts on the White House to, I think, back down from the wall demand. Because Democrats view this as a binary. They don't view the steel or concrete wall as necessary, and they are adamantly opposed to it. So I don't see a scenario where the Democrats give the President this wall.
WHITFIELD: And before that, Julian, you know, the President already said that, you know, he would consider now declaring a national emergency to fund the border wall and that within the next few days. Listen to what Democratic Congressman Adam Schiff said about all of this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. ADAM SCHIFF (R), CALIFORNIA: I may give that really threatening talk from the President that he doesn't have the power to execute. Look, if Harry Truman couldn't nationalize the steel industry during wartime, this President doesn't have the power to declare an emergency and build a multi-billion-dollar wall on the border. So that's a nonstarter.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WHITFIELD: So Julian, is it a nonstarter, because the President sounded pretty defensive it may exercise this in the next couple days of thinking.
ZELIZER: Yes. I mean, I think Schiff is being optimistic, overly optimistic. Presidents have invoked emergency power very often since Truman, since the 1970s. We have seen it used repeatedly, including after 9/11. So I could imagine him using this. I could imagine this is the President's way out, open the government but then move the fight to the emergency power fight.
But it will be challenged. It will be challenged in the court. It will be challenged by house Democrats. And I think he's going to have a lot of problems making a convincing case that we are in the middle of anything other than a manufactured emergency.
WHITFIELD: OK. And acting White House chief of staff Mick Mulvaney also took to the airwaves today, and on CNN he talked about the President and this shutdown. Listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MICK MULVANEY, ACTING CHIEF OF STAFF: The President really does believe that you could solve this in 10 minutes. We are asking for $5.6 billion. They are offering us zero. It sounds like we are simply arguing about one variable. Just how much are we going to spend on that barrier, on the southern border, on the steel slat fence, whatever you want to call it? This should be relatively simple.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WHITFIELD: So Sahil, if it's so simple, then what is this all about?
KAPUR: well, it's simple, the President gets what he wants. But Democrats aren't willing to give him what he wants. So I mean, we are stuck, you know. I think there is no way around that impasse unless Democrats are willing to give the President $5 billion for the wall or the President is willing to back down.
But this issue is so central to his political identity. It's the reason for his rise in the Republican Party, immigration and migration in general. It is his answer to voters for their problems on everything relating ranging from jobs, to crime, to the opioid epidemic.
Now, it may not be the right answer, but it is his answer. And the wall to him and his supporters are the potent symbol for, you know, him taking action to deal with that problem. So this seems to be the one issue that he, you know, that he is not willing to back down from.
[14:10:11] WHITFIELD: Yes, Sahil, except that campaign promise was really about Mexico paying for the wall.
KAPUR: That's right.
WHITFIELD: So where is that end of the promise? And is the President behaving as though he thinks people have forgotten about that jargon?
KAPUR: He has tried a number of different arguments here. He said -- he started by saying Mexico will pay for the wall, then he is saying the wall will pay for itself. Lately, he has been saying that savings from this new updated NAFTA deal, the USMCA will pay for the wall. So, you know, he has tried to approach that a number of different ways. But it's very clear that Mexico is not paying for the wall. There is no provision in the law that prohibits Mexico from funding this wall. So that with the case, he could easily build it.
WHITFIELD: So Julian, the President and Republicans are really seem to be digging in their hills. There was a meeting with the vice president yesterday. There might be another one. The President went to Camp David today, presumably to talk about all of this. But where is the compromise? Where are the signs that anyone, either side, is willing to give in on something so as to at least get government up and running again?
ZELIZER: It's very hard to see where the compromise might be other than some kind of -- from the Democrats increased funding for border security, not for the wall, but not nearly anything that he wants.
The Democrats are not going to concede. They have already agreed to a budget that doesn't really include much of what they want. And most Republicans had agreed to that budget. So the real question is, when do congressional Republicans feel enough pressure to pass a budget whereby they can override the President? That's the way this whole logjam can be braked. It's really about the Republicans on Capitol Hill, not even Republicans in the White House.
WHITFIELD: And Sahil, that's what former chief of staff Rahm Emanuel, you know, said this morning on another program saying it really is going to take Republicans perhaps crumbling, acquiescing, once this feeling, you know, the impact is made beyond the federal workers. Is he right?
KAPUR: I think that is very true. I think the way, you know, one of the ways that this impasse finally break so that congressional Republicans are not willing to go along with this anymore, and we are seeing some cracks in the congressional Republican alliance with the President on this, and that Cory Gardner, the senator from Colorado, and Susan Collins from Maine, both Republicans who happen to be up for reelection in 2020 in states that Hillary Clinton won have called for reopening the government without wall money.
Now, if you see an outpouring of more and more Republicans coming out and saying this, you know, this fight needs to end and the government needs to reopen, then the White House would be in a very, very difficult position. But at this point, we are seeing Senate majority leader Mitch McConnell standing behind the President on this. He has said no bill will come to the floor of the Senate without the President's support.
WHITFIELD: All right. Sahil Kapur, Julian Zelizer, we will leave it there for now. Thanks so much.
ZELIZER: Thank you.
KAPUR: Thank you.
WHITFIELD: And this breaking news. Overnight in Texas where an arrest is made after an intense week-long manhunt in the shooting death of 7-year-old Jazmine Barnes. Now police have charged a man with capital murder. But investigators say there could still be other suspects at large. We are live from Houston, next. (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
[14:16:30] WHITFIELD: In the next hour, we will be hearing from Texas investigators following an arrest in the drive-by killing of 7-year- old Jazmine Barnes.
After an intense week-long manhunt near Houston, Eric Black Jr. appeared in court this morning. He faces charges of capital murder in Jazmine's death. Jazmine was riding in the car with her mother and three sisters when she was shot in the head in what investigators say what may have been the case of mistaken identity. The arrest comes as Jazmine's family prepares for her funeral on Wednesday.
CNN's Kaylee Hartung is in Houston standing by for us where a news conference will be getting underway at 3:00 eastern time.
So Kaylee, what more do we know about the arrest and a distinctive, you know, difference in the person we saw walking versus the composite sketch that was distributed?
KAYLEE HARTUNG, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Fred, over the course of the past week, authorities have been pleading with the public to share any information they could to lead to the capture of Jazmine Barnes' killer. And that's exactly how we got to where we are now.
It was a tip from an anonymous source sent by email to the Harris County sheriff here. This email incredibly detailed in which Eric Black Jr. and another man were named as being involved in this killing.
It's really a case of twofold mistaken identity. In one way in the sense that these two men attacked that car by mistake. They believed someone else to be inside that car. It wasn't until they saw this story covered so widely on the news that they realized that wasn't, in fact, who was inside.
And the second part of this being, Fred, as you mentioned, a discrepancy between the composite sketch that had been so widely shared and the features of Eric Black Jr. We saw in that sketch a man who was described to be in his 30s or 40s, a white man. Eric Black Jr., a black man in his 20s. Authorities have not yet directly addressed that discrepancy. We hope to learn more details in this press conference that will be happening in the next hour or so.
But let me go back to this tip that then led to the arrest of Eric Black Jr. Yesterday, with that information in hand, authorities were able to bring him into custody after a traffic stop. Once questioning began, Eric Black Jr. admitted to driving the car that attacked Jazmine Barnes' car. There was another man mentioned in his probable cause hearing only by the initials L.W. as being the gunman.
Now Eric Black is currently the only man being charged in direct connection to this murder, so authorities have not yet named that second man considered to be the gunman. But it's our understanding overnight a man with the initials L.W. was taken into custody. He is currently being held on charges, possession of drugs and controlled substances.
But interesting enough, in his probable cause hearing, when the state was making the case for his bond to be higher than the typical $5,000 for the charge such as the ones he is being held on, they mentioned that he is a suspect in a homicide and murder investigation. His bond now with $100,000, Fred.
Again, we hope for many of these details to be cleared up when we hear from authorities publicly for the first time since these arrested were made.
WHITFIELD: And Kaylee, any reaction coming from the family? Because the teenage sister who was in the vehicle was very descriptive in what she saw in the person in this red vehicle that is alleged to have been involved in this shooting.
[14:20:07] HARTUNG: Well, we have heard from the family's attorney, Lee Merritt, who has said there were four independent witnesses who also described that red pickup truck, a white man driving it. But he makes the point that it could have been very easy in those early morning hours for someone to confuse a fleeing bystander with the actual shooter.
Considering you have a confession from Eric Black Jr., I think we can make the conclusion that that white man in that red pickup truck was not, in fact, involved in this at all.
WHITFIELD: Kaylee Hartung, thank you so much from Houston.
All right next, farmers are just some of the latest who feel the effects of the U.S. government shutdown. But the President says the American people support his standoff.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: There's not going to be any bend right here. And the people that voted for Donald Trump, which are a lot of people, one of the great elections ever, those people are for it so much. And let me tell you, people that didn't vote for Donald Trump are for it also.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
[14:24:22] WHITFIELD: Welcome back.
The impact of the partial U.S. government shutdown is being felt by Americans coast to coast. This morning President Trump says he understands the frustrations of those who can't pay their bills.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: I can relate. And I'm sure that the people that are on the receiving end will make adjustments. They always do. And they will make adjustment. People understand exactly what is going on.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WHITFIELD: So the shutdown isn't just affecting federal workers, millions of other Americans are feeling the pain, including farmers who need federal data to plan for the year ahead. The people who do contract work with the U.S. government on so many different scales.
CNN correspondent Polo Sandoval is live for us in New York.
So Polo, the shutdown is hitting America in a variety of ways.
[14:25:09] POLO SANDOVAL, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Fred, you will hear from a farmer in just a few seconds.
But first, this information that came in from the national parks service a few moments ago. The agency announcing that they will be dipping to enter the revenue that was generated by entrance fees to begin operations that some locations, and we have to stress that this is just a temporary solution for now that will essentially clean up the garbage and some of these locations, clean up the bathrooms, even provide security to at least partially open some locations, but this is very much a temporary solution for now as the shutdown lingers now for over 15 days.
SANDOVAL (voice-over): It's week three of a shutdown showdown between the President and lawmakers with Americans caught in the middle, 800,000 federal employees considered essential continue to either be furloughed or working without pay. People like TSA officer Brian Turner.
BRIAN TURNER, TSA OFFICER: I live about a half hour from work. And it's going to come to a point where you say, do I put gas in my car or do I feed my family?
SANDOVAL: Already hundreds of TSA employees have missed work in major airports across the country. It is a feeling concern of possible security risks and travel disruptions. The TSA insists that security for travelers will not be compromised and that screening weight times remain well within TSA standards. Air traffic controllers may soon be forced to support themselves through other financial means.
In Washington State, Alex Navarro says he has able to stay financially afloat for now.
ALEX NAVARRO, AIR TRAFFIC CONTROLLER: Safety is still on al-time high. Efficiency is still at an all-time high. It's just trying to fight back the doubt and the worry of not getting that paycheck.
SANDOVAL: The partial shutdown may lead to other hassles. This year's tax refunds could be delayed as IRS workers are temporarily off the job. Farmers may have to wait for loans and for a major agricultural report due out this month from the USDA. It's supposed to help plan this year's harvests.
MOREY HILL, FARMER: The January report has a lot to do with 2018's productions of farmers and acres. And a lot of farmer and traders base a lot on what they are doing in the coming year on what that report tells us.
SANDOVAL: Also at a standstill, some environmental drug and food inspections. At KC Beer company in Kansas City, the new beers are blocked before they can get approval from federal inspectors.
ANDREW ZENDER, KC BEER COMPANY: We are just in a holding pattern, just enough to keep brewing the beer that we already doing and getting that out there while we wait for approval on the new products.
SANDOVAL: Helpless and hopeless. Americans have to wait for an answer from Washington how to run this partial shutdown will land. The President, who seems to be in a deadlock with Democrats, says he can relate to affected workers.
TRUMP: People understand exactly what's going on. But many of those people that won't be receiving a paycheck, many of those people agree 100 percent with what I'm doing.
SANDOVAL: And then there are those who benefit from the government's snap program, that's the supplemental nutrition assistance program, basically food stamps here. The USDA, who runs that program, has announced that they have enough emergency reserves to at least take them through this month, but that had becomes very much a question of how they will be able to provide that assistance to millions of Americans after January.
Of course, the main question here, Fred, has the President heard from some of those people?
WHITFIELD: All right. Polo Sandoval, thank you so much.
So one of the federal workers who has been furloughed from the shutdown is Lorie McCann. She has spent the last 28 years as an IRS programmer. She also serves as a chapter president of the national treasury employees union that covers some 700 federal workers.
Lorie, thanks so much for being with us.
Thank you for the opportunity.
WHITFIELD: So Lorie McCann, you just heard from the President who says, you know, people not receiving a paycheck agree 100 percent with what I'm doing. Would that include you? Would that include any of the 700 folks that you represent in the union?
LORIE MCCANN, FURLOUGHED FEDERAL WORKER: Well, I'm sorry. I won't get into politics here. What I will say is this. You know, I had a reality check on January 1st. That's the day usually of reflection. On that day, I was paying my bills for the month and realized that that was from my last paycheck. So I'm not going to say whether or not I understand about the wall, I understand that I'm not getting another paycheck, and I just paid my bills. WHITFIELD: And how stressful has this been, knowing that that last
paycheck is the one that has covered you thus far but you have got more bills coming in?
MCCANN: It is very stressful. And not only for myself, but I have heard from members of chapter 10. You know, we have some that are sole providers and we have some that are actually where both spouses are furloughed and they are trying to figure out what should they do? They are looking for guidance, you know.
We have to make hard decisions this week. Should we file for unemployment? It's not going to take up most of our check, but should we file for unemployment? Should we look for second jobs, you know. I have had an employee that contacted me yesterday that was trying to figure out if they should just look for a new job altogether. You know, whether or not they should retire. I'm getting a lot of questions from our members and from myself. I do have to figure out what I'm going to do.
[14:30:23] WHITFIELD: Right. And as you and other members try to entertain all those options, have you come up with plain of attack for yourself yet?
MCCANN: As I was working on my vision board for 2019, unfortunately right now my vision board consist of how to pay bills. You know, I have had family members that have reached out to me, so I'm blessed to ask me did I need some assistance. I can work through my savings for a little while, but you know, I'm by myself. What about the people that are trying to provide for their families?
WHITFIELD: And I know, Ms. McCann, you said you don't want to get into the politics. But when the President of the United States says to all Americans, and most notably to the federal workers who are not receiving these paychecks, he says, I can relate and I'm sure people who are on the receiving end will make adjustments, they always do. I mean, it makes you chuckle, but, you know, this is serious business, too, right? So what is your visceral, you know, gut reaction here besides the laughter I just got from you?
MCCANN: Well, you know, this is our reality, our reality, which is our bills have to be paid. You know, we want to do our jobs. As federal employees, we are a dedicated work force and we are hurting, you know. And so we have to pay our bills. We have to figure out a way to pay our bills. If we go, if we apply for unemployment, and if Congress passes a bill and a sign that say that we will receive back pay, then we have to pay back the unemployment. If we go for a second job, we have guidelines for outside employment, you know. So my reaction, that's the best I can do right now on television.
WHITFIELD: Yes, I got you. OK. So that's the right now. And, you know, the President said a few days ago it could go months, it could go years. How do you prepare yourself this day forward for that kind of uncertainty on how long U.S. government, a place of your employment, the root of your livelihood, could go on? Shut down?
MCCANN: I was actually thinking about that this morning, you know. I really have to figure out what I'm going to do. It's not that easy after being on a job for 28 years to go out and look for another job. How do you start all over again, you know? But if it goes on much longer, then I am going to have to figure out what I'm going to do to sustain my lifestyle and just to be able to eat, honestly.
WHITFIELD: All right. Best to you. Lorie McCann, thank you so much for joining us from Chicago.
MCCANN: Thank you.
WHITFIELD: President Trump breaking his silence on detained American Paul Whelan nine days after Russia arrested Whelan on espionage charges. We are live in Moscow, next.
[14:36:31] WHITFIELD: President Trump speaking for the first time about Paul Whelan, a U.S. citizen detained in Russia for allegedly being a spy. Whelan's family has said from the start that he was in Russia for a wedding. But President Trump has been silent until today.
Just a few hours ago, the President told the press quote "we are looking into it." Whelan has met with the U.S. ambassador to Russia, John Huntsman, in recent days. But expert can't help but notice his arrest comes just one month after alleged spy Maria Butina pleaded guilty in a U.S. court for engaging in a conspiracy against the U.S.
CNN senior international correspondent Matthew Chance joins me now.
So Matthew, could this all be leading up to some kind of prisoner's swap?
MATTHEW CHANCE, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, of course, that's something has been speculated about widely since this Paul Whelan, former U.S. marine, was taken on custody and held on suspicion of espionage, simply for the reason you said, the timing of it was suspicious. It came just a week or so after Maria Butina, as you mentioned, that pro-gun activist who is Russian who is being held in the United States, pleaded guilty to conspiracy. She was accused by U.S. prosecutors of attempting to infiltrate the National Rifle Association, the Republican Party, and influence prominent Americans in those groups. And, of course, she's been cooperating with the U.S. authorities. And so there is a sense in that t Russians want her back before she does any more damage. That's one aspect.
The Russian foreign ministry, though, has ruled that out at the moment. The deputy foreign minister in this country, Sergei Ryabkov is his name, says this. It is far too early to discuss a prisoner swap involving Paul Whelan at this stage.
And so, at the moment they are ruling it out, but then of course they would publicly. They are not going to talk about a prisoner swap, you know, in public. If they are going to agree to it, they are going to agree to it behind closed doors, Fredricka.
WHITFIELD: All right. Matthew Chance, thank you so much in Moscow.
President Trump said U.S. troops won't leave Syria until ISIS is gone, but is Israel concerned about even more than ISIS? Up next how the President is reassuring a key ally.
[14:42:46] AARON STANTON, VIRTUAL REALITY INSTITUTE OF HEALTH: Virtual reality gives the ability for people to exercise in environment you simply can't do in your like. To distract you from the fact that you are exercising and letting you just enjoy the game.
MARIALICE KERN, DEPARTMENT OF KINESIOLOGY, SAN FRANCISCO STATE: We are in a different world when you put that headset on. From what we have test in the lab here, we see, indeed, that you can get a great workout from virtual reality, just like running on a treadmill, just like biking. We are actually measuring the oxygen consumption. We are measuring the metabolic rate of the person who is playing the games. And we also measure heart rate.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You are put in an environment that you don't normally go in, like a boxing ring.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I think this is a lot safer and I feel more comfortable doing this.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: When you are first starting out, you want to choose a virtual reality experience that's comparable to your experience level.
KERN: You can have people who suffer from motion sickness, and I would say as soon as that starts to happen, you just kind of have to stop the game.
KEISHIA GU, INSTRUCTOR, 24 HOUR FITNESS: The trip is a virtual interactive immersive fitness experience.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: In regular spring classes, I usually got bored. But this class grabs your attention. It's an Imax screen and you are really great graphics. Going through the jungle, going through the water, going through the fire. Here I can't get hit by a car.
WHITFIELD: Two American ISIS fighters have been captured in Syria, according to Syrian democratic forces. The man on the left is Warren Christopher Clark from Houston, Texas. And on the right, Zayeb Hadel al-Hamid (ph) who is from the U.S., but where exactly still unclear. The group also contained members from Ireland and Pakistan. A spokesman for the Pentagon would not confirm reports of their capture.
And just days after President Trump pledge to pull U.S. troops out of Syria, National security adviser John Bolton is overseas trying to reassure a key U.S. ally that the U.S. will not leave them high and dry in the fight against ISIS.
Here's what the President said from the White House this morning about the withdrawal.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: We are pulling back in Syria. We are going to be removing our troops. I never said we are doing it that quickly, but we are decimating ISIS. We are helping other countries when we do that, too. You have to remember, Iran hates ISIS more than we do, if that's possible. Russia hates ISIS more than we do. Turkey hates ISIS, maybe not as much as we do.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
[14:45:21] WHITFIELD: CNN's Ian Lee is in Jerusalem.
So Ian, Bolton is in Israel and trying to reassure at least that ally. How effective is this?
IAN LEE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: I think it's going to make some Pope in the region feel better, especially after President Trump made that decision to pull out U.S. forces. There was a lot of concern about who is going to fill that void once the United States does eventually leave? There were -- even Israeli political and military leaders who expressed some sharp criticism for that decision. So having Bolton here, we heard him talk alongside Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, where he reaffirmed his commitment for Israel, as well as Syrian Kurds who fought alongside the United States against ISIS.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JOHN BOLTON, NATIONAL SECURITY ADVISER: We are going to be discussing the President's decision to withdraw, but to do so for northeast Syria in a way to make sure that ISIS is defeated and is not able to revive itself and become a threat again. And to make sure that the defense of Israel and our other friends in the region is absolutely assured. And to take care of those who have fought with us against ISIS and other terrorist groups.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LEE: Fred, another issue they were talking about was Iran. Israel perceives Iran as its major security threat. Bolton talked about the fact that he believes Iran is on a path to developing a deliverable nuclear weapon. Israel feels the same way, although international inspectors who are inside Iran has said there is just no evidence that proves Iran is on path to developing that type of weapon, Fred.
WHITFIELD: All right. Ian Lee in Jerusalem, thank you so much.
All right. I want to bring in Samantha Vinograd now. She is the foreign senior adviser to the national security adviser in the Obama administration. Good to see you.
We heard the President say the intent still is to pull back U.S. troops from Syria, but he was noncommittal on a timetable. Has this become that much more ominous or even confusing in terms of what this administration's point of view is and tactic is on U.S. engagement in Syria?
SAMANTHA VINOGRAD, CNN NATIONAL SECURITY ANALYST: Well, the confusion grows by the day. Various administration officials make different statements about the timetable for withdrawal as well as what our mission is in Syria going forward whether that includes deterring ISIS and defeating ISIS or defending Israel and keeping Iran at bay.
But Fred, troop withdrawal should not be a guessing game. There is a process that occurs when a President makes a decision to orders troops to begin a draw down in any specific theater. And it is an outstanding question whether President Trump has, in fact, delivered guidance to the Pentagon instructing them to draw down forces in Syria. And if the Pentagon has internally come up with those option, to started removing troops and material from the Syrian theater. We should not be guessing about whether this troop will be leaving and on what timetable. If the President has, in fact, matched his words with actions, the Pentagon is very clear on what that timetable looks like.
WHITFIELD: Well. I remember the department of defense, Secretary Mattis' resignation came as a result of hearing the news from the President that there was going to be this troop withdrawal. So conferring with members of DOD and national security, at least the public inference was that the President was doing things and kind of caught a lot of them flat-footed and off guard.
So now, you have got the president who says, OK, it will happen in perhaps a little bit more slowly. You have Senator Lindsey Graham who says he is behind the President's idea of withdrawing forces slowly, but do it smartly. Are we now seeing on the public stage that this is, you know, going to go about in a more methodical, slower method?
VINOGRAD: I think if the Pentagon has its way, most definitely, because when the Pentagon presents its option to the pot how to implement his guidance. Again, assuming that that signed order from the President has made its way over the Pentagon even with general Mattis' resignation.
Any pentagon official is going to want to do this in a responsible manner, not only because it will help keep safe the troops that are actually leaving. If this is hurried and the troops are forced to withdraw in the 30 days I believe that the White House first said that this is going to occur, that puts them at risk. And obviously leaves our Kurdish allies at risk as well of Turkish massacre because we are no longer deterring Turkish incursions against them.
So if the pentagon has any flexibility with respect to that timeline, my guess is that they are presenting the President with an attenuated set of options for withdrawing troops.
[14:50:18] WHITFIELD: And what is the message now from the President who not long ago said ISIS has been defeated, and now, you know, he says there remains an aggressive fight against ISIS in some areas. VINOGRAD: It really depends on the time of day, doesn't it? At some
junctures, he says that we have won against ISIS, at other junctures, he calibrates his language and says that ISIS has been largely defeated, and makes clear that we still have a large mission stretching ahead of us. I really do think it comes down on who the latest person is that he is spoke to. And whether he wants to send a political message that he has defeated a terrorist organization that lives not only on the ground in Syria and Iraq but also in cyberspace. Or if he is actually listening to his counterterrorism officials and making clear that we still need to continue this mission.
WHITFIELD: Samantha Vinograd, thank you so much. And happy New Year.
VINOGRAD: Thanks. Happy New Year.
WHITFIELD: Keven Sweeney, the pentagon chief of staff has resigned after two years. A source tells CNN that he was forced out by the White House. Sweeney was a retired rear admiral who served under former secretary James Mattis. Mattis, as you can recall and we just spoke about it, retired and left his post just last week. Sweeney says he is returning to the private sector.
Glitz, glam? Well, it's the Golden Globes tonight. Hollywood honors the stars on the big and small screens. So who will win big next year? A preview, next.
[14:55:29] WHITFIELD: Dramatic video out of Corpus Christi, Texas. Police officers and bystanders flipped over a burning car on the freeway in order to help a trapped driver. Take a look.
(VIDEO CLIP PLAYING)
WHITFIELD: Their drivers were already out of their vehicles trying to push the car over when police arrived. The officers jumped out to help, and once they flipped over that burning car, police were able to pull the 70-year-old driver out of the wreckage. Officials say that car was hit by a wrong-way driver who died on the scene. The man who was rescued from that burning car survived and is expected to be OK. Largely thanks to those really generous bystanders.
All right, Hollywood is rolling out the red carpet once again for award season starting with tonight's 76th annual Golden Globes. And the awards show honors the best in television and film. And this year the show will be hosted by Sandra Oh from "Killing E" and actor Andy Samberg from "Brooklynn 99." Sandra Oh is also nominated for best actress in a YV drama series, by the way.
But more importantly, who are this year's big contenders?
Well, here is CNN's Stephanie Elam.
STEPHANIE ELAM, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Black Panther, "A Star Is Born," "Crazy Rich Asians," big movies getting big nominations for this year's Golden Globe awards picked by the Hollywood foreign press association.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They go for big Hollywood star-driven stories.
ELAM: Like "Bohemian Rhapsody" up for best drama and best actor for Rami Malek show he turn as Freddie Mercury. But the frontrunner is "A Star Is Born."
MATTHEW BELONI, EDITORIAL DIRECTOR, THE HOLLYWOOD REPORTER: It has a nice narrative behind it with Bradley Cooper. This is his first movie as a director. And it's a popular movie that did well at the box office.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I just done feel comfortable.
ELAM: Both Lady Gaga and Cooper scored acting nods as well. The film will face off with "Black Panther." If beetle could talk, and spike as Black Klansmen which also earned an acting nom for John David Washington, Denzel's son.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Do you love me?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You know I do.
ELAM: A-list stars taking big creative turns also snag nominations from Nicole Kidman's gritty "Destroyer" to Melissa McCarthy's dramatic "Can You Ever Forgive Me?"
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I want you. You are my vice.
ELAM: In the musical or comedy category, "Vice" is the one to beat, with more nominations than any other film. It faces off against "Mary Poppins' returns, "Green Book, the favorite" and groundbreaking "Crazy Rich Asians."
BELONI: It was a movie that was all about inclusion. It is all Asian cast. Had a nice narrative behind it. I wouldn't be surprised if the Globe back that narrative.
ELAM: As for the actors, eyes are on Christian Bale to win for his stunning transformation into Dick Cheney in "Vice."
CHRISTIAN BALE, ACTOR: I can handle more (INAUDIBLE).
ELAM: Hosting the Golden Globes this year --
SANDRA OH, ACTRESS: Seriously, there is an elephant in that room. Please help us.
ANDY SAMBERG, ACTOR: It is so big in that.
ELAM: Two television stars, Sandra Oh and Andy Samberg. Oh is also nominated for "Killing E," but she faces stiff completion from "Homecoming" which also earned Julia Roberts a best actress nomination. BELONI: And I think there is a lot of goodwill around her for trying
TV for the first time and hitting it out in the park.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes, there is shrimp in the eggrolls. I was just kidding.
ELAM: "The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel" looks to repeat as best TV musical or comedy as does it star, Rachel Brosniham (ph).
But a new show called Jim Carey's "Kidding" could be a contender.
And while the Globes have a habit of making news --.
OPRAH WINFREY, ACTRESS: That a new day is on the horizon.
ELAM: It may be hard to top the presidential rumors spark last year by Oprah Winfrey's spirited speech.
Stephanie Elam, CNN, Hollywood.
WHITFIELD: All right. And hello again, everyone. Welcome this Sunday. I'm Fredricka Whitfield.
At any moment now, we expect to learn more about the arrest in the murder of a 7-year-old Houston girl. Jazmine Barnes' death and the week-long hunt for a suspect or suspects has gripped the nation. We are standing by for a briefing from police in Houston, Texas. And we bring that to you live once it begins.
The break in the case came through a tip that ended with Eric Black Jr.