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CNN NEWSROOM

Trump May Invoke Emergency Powers to End Shutdown; House Dems Will Try to Reopen IRS This Week; Yellow Vest Protesters Out Eighth Week in a Row; Detained U.S. Citizen Accused of Espionage in Russia; Police Make Arrest in Texas Girl's Murder; Witness Says El Chapo Spent $1 Million a Month on Bribes; Polish City Mourns Five Teenage Girls Killed Friday; Golden Globes 2019. Aired 3-3:30a ET

Aired January 6, 2019 - 03:00   ET

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


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PAULA NEWTON, CNN ANCHOR (voice-over): We're 15 days into the U.S. government shutdown. Now President Trump considers declaring a national emergency on border security to resolve the issue on his terms.

Plus the first Yellow Vest protests of the year turn violent in France.

And a tragedy in Poland. Five teenage girls die from a fire in a so- called escape room.

Live from CNN Center, I'm Paula Newton and this is CNN NEWSROOM.

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NEWTON: A White House official tells CNN the U.S. president is now seriously leaning toward invoking emergency powers to fund his border wall. The official says Donald Trump is inclined to take this radical step if talks to reopen the government continue to stall.

Negotiators are expected to meet in just a few hours after making no real progress on Saturday. CNN's Boris Sanchez has the latest from the White House.

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BORIS SANCHEZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Following a Saturday meeting between top administration officials and aides for congressional leadership at the White House on Saturday, we heard a number of conflicting reports of exactly what transpired during negotiations to reopen the federal government.

One source on Capitol Hill indicating the discussions led to baby steps in the progress of reopening the federal government. The source indicating that Democrats asked Republicans for official justification for the $5.6 billion the president has been demanding for his long- promised border wall. The source saying that Republicans responded by saying they would get

back to Democrats by Sunday, the date of the next scheduled meeting between the two sides.

A source close to Vice president Mike Pence indicated that the talks were productive but the acting chief of staff, Mick Mulvaney, didn't think so. He spoke with CNN's Jake Tapper on "STATE OF THE UNION," saying both sides were far apart and he believes Democrats are simply trying to stall.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JAKE TAPPER, CNN HOST: I know that Speaker Pelosi had said she didn't want to give even more than one dollar to the border wall. President Trump has talked about $5.6 billion.

Is there any give in the $5.6 billion in terms of whether or not it has to be for a wall or whether it can be for more generally border security?

MICK MULVANEY, ACTING WHITE HOUSE CHIEF OF STAFF: The president's said for a long time it's $5.6 billion for border security, including the wall. We recognize things like technology at border crossings are important but a barrier is important.

We didn't make much progress at the meeting, which was surprising to me. I thought we had come in to talk about terms we could agree on, places where we all agreed we should be spending more time, more attention, things we could do to improve border security.

And yet the opening line from one of the lead Democratic negotiators was they were not there to talk about any agreement. They were actually, in my mind, there to stall. And we did not make much progress.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SANCHEZ: Late Saturday night a source at the White House has indicated if these talks continue to stall, President Trump is likely to declare a national emergency and use his emergency powers as president to secure funding for his border wall.

It is a drastic move, one that would likely be challenged through the court system by Democrats. The source indicates that there are very basic factual disagreements between these two sides that they can't get on the same page and that perhaps declaring a national emergency is the only way out for the president as the shutdown enters its third week -- Boris Sanchez, CNN, at the White House.

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NEWTON: Now House Democrats will again try and reopen shuttered federal agencies this week one at a time. Near the top of the list is the Internal Revenue Service. Because the annual tax season is about to kick into high gear, soon millions of American taxpayers will be looking for those refunds. Those payments could be delayed if the shutdown continues. So far the

agency hasn't revealed how it plans to process tax returns and refunds if the shutdown drags on.

With me is Terry Scott. He is a furloughed IRS employee in Atlanta.

Thanks so much for being with us.

TERRY SCOTT, IRS EMPLOYEE: My pleasure.

NEWTON: How's it going?

Because we even have news this afternoon that says the president says, not much headway.

SCOTT: Well, the mere fact that his last comment or statement was he's prepared to let the shutdown stand for a year, people have now gone from being concerned to worried. The reason being is that this next pay period will be the first pay period where federal employees won't have a paycheck. Now the bills --

NEWTON: Zero coming in?

SCOTT: Zero coming in.

NEWTON: And a lot of them still going to work?

SCOTT: A lot of them still going to work. The bills aren't stopping but you'll have employees with no money --

[03:05:00]

SCOTT: -- in their bank account.

NEWTON: Who do you blame for this shutdown?

Do you think both sides, Democrats and Republicans, should take the blame?

Do you think neither of them really realize that, like they can't feature the fact that my pay is supposed to be in my checking account and it's just not going to be there?

SCOTT: Yes, I think it -- both parties really need to just step back and think about and do what's best for 800,000 federal employees and make decisions. I really don't think the two -- the wall issue and our being furloughed should be combined at all.

Now that it is, then ultimately the president is the one who has the power, really, to stop it.

NEWTON: He has the power but he seems to be pretty dug in at this point. I want you to listen to Donald Trump now, what he said in the Rose Garden on Friday.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) TRUMP: Many of those people, maybe even most of those people, that really have not been and will not be getting their money in at this moment, those people in many cases are the biggest fan of what we're doing.

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NEWTON: Your reaction to that?

The biggest fan?

SCOTT: I'm not sure who he's talking to. But I know of no federal employee that's happy about being furloughed.

NEWTON: Not happy about being furloughed but do you think he's trying to dig into what he heard, the emotion he heard in the campaign, saying I heard from people that wanted a wall and they're saying, short-term pain, long-term gain, we're going to get that wall.

Do you think there's any ounce of truth from that?

SCOTT: Yes, from the people he heard from. But many of those people aren't federal employees. And even if they are, the campaign, there was no mention of a furlough. The campaign was all about building a wall.

NEWTON: And Mexico was going to pay for it.

SCOTT: And Mexico was going to pay for it.

NEWTON: Meaning federal employees didn't bargain for this.

SCOTT: No.

NEWTON: To be a bargaining chip right now?

SCOTT: No.

NEWTON: I want to point out he tweeted -- this has become a partisan debate. All of a sudden, I didn't know, apparently federal employees in the United States, it matters whether or not you're a Democrat, at least to this president.

He tweeted, "I don't care that most of the workers not getting paid are Democrats. I want to stop the shutdown as soon as we are in agreement on strong border security."

The point being there that, you know what, I could keep these so- called Democrats off of work forever.

What do you think the implications are when you have the president, your boss, essentially, saying that, tweeting that?

SCOTT: Well, I'm not sure what data he's looking at to support whether or not most federal employees are Democrats or not. I know plenty that are Republicans. At the end of the day, for us, we're just federal employees. We don't draw those party lines on the job. It's about us just coming to work and doing our jobs.

NEWTON: What do you think it's going to take to get this done, when you look at it?

SCOTT: It's 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, the IRS, I mean, anyone that's due a refund, they won't get that refund until we go back to work.

NEWTON: Do you feel kind of marginalized a bit?

Like it really won't matter until, as you said, it starts to touch more facets of American life?

SCOTT: Yes. And that's the scary part in that we have to get to that point where more people stand up because people don't really know exactly what federal agencies do. But this furlough is going to impact everybody, either directly or indirectly, in some form or fashion.

Until that happens, I don't know if we're going to get that kind of support that we need.

NEWTON: What's your worst fear right now?

SCOTT: My worst fear is that his position stays the same. When I heard his comments at the Rose Garden, it really concerned me because I walked away not knowing if he actually really cared about the impact or if he was even aware of the impact.

But when you say things like, "Most people support it," I don't know of anyone who wants to be without a paycheck. When day care is due, the mortgage is due, rent is due, I don't know of anybody who's happy about that.

NEWTON: Terry, thanks so much for coming in, appreciate it. We'll continue to watch this and hope that the meetings on the weekend amount to something.

SCOTT: Thank you very much.

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NEWTON: We're following breaking news now from Texas. Police have made an arrest in the shooting death of a 7-year-old girl. Jazmine Barnes was riding in a car with her mother and sisters near Houston when they were ambushed by gunfire.

Police have now arrested Eric Black Jr. in Barnes' death. Police say he admitted to taking part and more arrests may come. Investigators have not said if Black was indeed the shooter.

They also do not believe the family was the intended target and may have been the victims of mistaken identity. Jazmine's murder prompted nationwide outrage against senseless gun violence, gained the attention of politicians -- [03:10:00]

NEWTON: -- and prompted rallies like this one here on Saturday in supporting the little girl's family. A memorial is set for Tuesday. We'll continue to follow this story and bring you any new developments.

French president Emmanuel Macron is denouncing what he calls extreme violence and says in a tweet that justice will be done, after the Yellow Vest protests turned violent Saturday. Some demonstrators clashed with police and set fire to vehicles. CNN's Melissa Bell has more from Paris.

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MELISSA BELL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Ahead of this eighth protest in a row, this eighth protest held on a Saturday by Yellow Vests, the government had warned that it believed anyone who took to the streets at this point was an agitator seeking insurrection.

And we did see scuffles in Paris but also in other French cities, as police took on rioters, using tear gas to try and disperse them and a very different approach on the part of the protesters here in Paris this Saturday to what we've seen previous weeks, with the Yellow Vests dispersing out to different parts of the capital, trying to take security forces by surprise.

As for the numbers, very much a success for the Yellow Vest movement. There had been questions about whether the momentum could survive the new year and whether in 2019 they would get the numbers out on the street. They are nowhere near as high as when this protest began back in November and early December.

But still 50,000 people, according to France's interior ministry, out on the streets of France this Saturday. That compares to 32,000 last Saturday for the Yellow Vests.

That would suggest they're still managing to keep up that momentum, they're still trying to get out there on the streets and they believe that is what is needed to keep up the pressure on the French government -- Melissa Bell, CNN, Paris.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

NEWTON: The Kremlin is protesting the arrest of a Russian citizen on the U.S. island of Saipan. A U.S. court document shows Dmitry Makarenko was detained late last month on the Northern Mariana Islands in the Pacific.

The charges are tied to money laundering and the export of weapons parts. The Kremlin says the U.S. didn't properly identify him or notify Russian authorities of his arrest. It also says Russian diplomats have struggled to meet with him.

All of this comes as Russia continues to hold a U.S. citizen accused of espionage. Paul Whelan was arrested after alleged Russian spy Maria Butina pleaded guilty in a U.S. court. As CNN's Sam Kiley reports, that's led to talk already of a prisoner swap.

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SAM KILEY, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Sergei Ryabkov, deputy foreign minister of Russia, has insisted any talk involving a prisoner swap by Mr. Whelan is premature to say the least, because Mr. Whelan has not yet, at any rate, been charged with espionage.

That is inconsistent somewhat with what Mr. Whelan's Russian-based lawyer has told CNN in an interview with CNN over the telephone. The lawyer said that Mr. Whelan, he believed, had been charged and indeed he'd applied for bail. But that bail is difficult to get in cases of espionage because of a fear of flight risk.

Nonetheless, the only other evidence of any kind of espionage activity alleged by Mr. Whelan has been released in local media reports, which suggested, based on their sources inside Russian intelligence, that he'd been in receipt of an electronic memory device that contained sensitive information, which led to a raid on his hotel room in the Metropol hotel close to the Kremlin.

Mr. Whelan's official line here, supported very strongly by his family, is that he was in Russia, a country he's visited several times, effectively as a volunteer tour guide to Americans in a wedding party for a friend of his who is marrying a Russian woman.

And to further undermine allegations that he is at least a formal espionage agent is his previous conviction for larceny for embezzlement of just over $10,000 whilst a serving U.S. Marine in Iraq, when he was convicted of that offense and dismissed.

That would preclude him from formal recruitment into an American defense or Central Intelligence Agency -- Sam Kiley, CNN, Moscow.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

NEWTON: A new week, a new twist in the saga of El Chapo and his trial. What investigators are hearing from one of the accused kingpin's former colleagues.

And Hollywood prepares to honor its own in the first event of the awards season. We've got your Golden Globes preview coming up.

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NEWTON: A stunning betrayal in the U.S. trial against accused Mexican drug lord El Chapo. A man who spent years as El Chapo's associate and protege now brings damning testimony against his former boss, not only betraying El Chapo, also turning against his own father. Polo Sandoval breaks it down. (BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

POLO SANDOVAL, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: It's less than halfway through the trial of Mexican drug lord Joaquin Guzman, El Chapo as he's known. He faced the son of his fellow suspected cartel leader, Ismael el mayo Zambada.

Flashing a smile at Chapo and referring to him as his compadre, cooperating witness Vicente Zambada revealed more about the inner workings of the Sinaloa cartel, the 43-year old revealing how the criminal empire, headed jointly by his father and El Chapo, paid millions of dollars to corrupt Mexican officials in their heyday.

According to Zambada, in 1997, his father even met privately with a Mexican general who reported directly to the Mexican president at the time. Zambada testified he believed there was a campaign by the U.S. and Mexico to make El Chapo, quote, "bigger than he was" in order to bring him down, an argument made by the defense at the start of the trial.

Zambada is not the only one agreeing to testify for the government. The jury has heard from a parade of former Sinaloa associates, taking the stand, hoping for leaner sentences in drug trafficking cases of their own.

Jurors have also been shown evidence, including old photos of El Chapo, his flashy diamond-encrusted pistol tucked in his waistband. Just before the trial broke for the holidays, prosecutors displayed a cache of seized weapons believed to have been used by the Sinaloa cartel.

The made-for-TV testimony is attracting a steady stream of spectators. Dmitri Mendoza has spent four days watching the courtroom drama.

DMITRI MENDOZA, TRIAL WATCHER: As the trial goes on, they're unveiling a lot more of the corruption that's in Mexico, how bad Mexico was hit, how much money was laundered.

SANDOVAL (voice-over): Fascination coupled with curiosity is what also drew in New Yorkers Allie Pike and Nina Sussman.

ALLIE PIKE, TRIAL WATCHER; I'm still fascinated with the escape, the tunneling under to get out of prison. I think that's unbelievable.

NINA SUSSMAN, TRIAL WATCHER: He smiled at all his lawyers and shook their hands very fiercely and nicely. And I was just like, oh, it's weird, because it's someone that you watch things about, read things about. But he's just like a dude.

PIKE: Just a regular person.

SANDOVAL (voice-over): Court is back in session next week. With the trial expected to last through February, more stories of bribes and bloodshed are likely to be told -- Polo Sandoval, CNN, Brooklyn, New York.

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NEWTON: Mourners in Poland are laying out candles for the five teenage girls killed by a fire in an escape room. Investigators are trying to figure out what happened and are looking to ensure that, of course, a tragedy like this never happens again. CNN's Pauline Chiou has the story.

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PAULINE CHIOU, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): A birthday celebration at an escape room in northwestern Poland turns tragic when a fire breaks out, killing five teen girls and leaving another person hospitalized with severe burns.

Escape rooms have gained immense popularity in both North America and Europe in the past decade.

[03:20:00]

CHIOU (voice-over): In the game, participants are locked in a room and given a time limit to solve puzzles and riddles to escape.

MONIKA KOSIEC, KOSZALIN POLICE SPOKESPERSON (through translator): At the moment we are not in a position to say it was an explosion or give any detail of the fire. This will be determined in the course of the investigation.

There are different assumptions. It may have been a gas cylinder or another cause that had sparked the fire. It's too early to say. This must be determined by a fire expert.

CHIOU (voice-over): Meantime, a Polish fire official has ordered all escape rooms, game centers and clubs to undergo fire safety inspections.

PIOTR JEDINSKI, KOSZALIN MAYOR: We join the families of the victims in their grief. The fire broke out at 5:00 in the afternoon in one of the escape rooms in Koszalin. There have been five victims, five young victims.

We have provided psychological, psychiatric care to the families. The perimeter of the incident is being secured as we speak.

CHIOU (voice-over): While photos and identities of the victims have not been released, the investigation continues as the community unites in mourning and solidarity with the families of the teens -- Pauline Chiou, CNN.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

NEWTON: Residents of Southern Thailand's east coast are sorting through the wreckage left behind by tropical storm Pabuk. Four people were killed in the storm, which battered coastal homes with heavy winds and surging seas. Downed power lines caused outages inland. Authorities say the damage is unfortunately widespread.

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NEWTON: Now the entertainment world is gearing up for awards season. First up, the Golden Globes, honoring the best in TV and film as voted on by the Hollywood Foreign Press Association. Now many see the Globes as a preview of what's to come in the Oscars and Emmys. Stephanie Elam looks at the front-runners.

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(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

STEPHANIE ELAM, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): "Black Panther," "A Star Is Born," "Crazy Rich Asians," big movies getting big nominations are this year's Golden Globe awards picked by the Hollywood Foreign Press Association.

MATHEW BELLONI, "THE HOLLYWOOD REPORTER": They go for big, star- driven stories.

ELAM (voice-over): Like "Bohemian Rhapsody," up for Best Drama and Best Actor for Rami Malek as Freddie Mercury.

But the front-runner is "A Star Is Born."

BELLONI: It's got a nice narrative behind it. It's Bradley Cooper, this is his first movie as a director. And it's a big populist movie that did really well at the box office.

ELAM (voice-over): Both Lady Gaga and Cooper scored acting nods as well. The film will face off with "Black Panther," "If Beale Street Could Talk" and Spike Lee's "BlacKkKlansman," which also earned an acting nod for John David Washington, Denzel's son.

A-list stars taking big creative turns also snagged nominations, from Nicole Kidman's gritty "Destroyer" to Melissa McCarthy's dramatic "Can You Ever Forgive Me?"

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 Favourite" and ground-breaking "Crazy Rich Asians."

BELLONI: It was a movie that was all about inclusion, it was an all- Asian cast, had a nice narrative behind it. I wouldn't be surprised if the Globes backed that narrative.

ELAM (voice-over): As for the actors, eyes are on Christian Bale to win for his stunning transformation into Dick Cheney in "Vice."

Hosting the Golden Globes this year, two television stars, Sandra Oh and Andy Sandberg. Oh is also nominated for "Killing Eve." But she faces stiff competition from "Homecoming," which also earned Julia Roberts a Best Actress nomination.

BELLONI: I think there's a lot of goodwill around her for trying TV for the first time and hitting it out of the park. ELAM (voice-over): "The Marvelous Ms. Maisel" looks to repeat as best TV musical comedy as does its star, Rachel Brosnahan. But a new show like Jim Carrey's "Kidding" could be a contender.

And while the Globes have a habit of making news --

OPRAH WINFREY, ACTOR AND ACTIVIST: That a new day is on the horizon.

ELAM (voice-over): It may be hard to top the presidential rumors sparked last year by Oprah Winfrey's spirited speech -- Stephanie Elam, CNN, Hollywood.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

NEWTON: Thanks for joining us here on CNN NEWSROOM. I'm Paula Newton. I'll be back in a moment with the headlines.