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Trump Storms out of Meeting with Democratic Leaders; U.K. Prime Minister May Suffers Brexit Setbacks in Parliament; Tshisekedi Elected Leader of DRC; U.S. Government Employees Facing No Paychecks This Week; TSA Union Warns of Security Risks during Shutdown; Trump Storms Out of Shutdown Meeting With Democrats; Reports: Kim and Xi Talk Denuclearization, U.S. Summit; U.N. Concerned Over Fighting In Myanmar. Aired 12-1a ET
Aired January 10, 2019 - 00:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
JOHN VAUSE, CNN ANCHOR (voice-over): The U.S. president hits the wall, a great big Democrat wall, telling Donald Trump during tense negotiations yet again there will be no government funding for his wall with Mexico. In response, an angry president walked out, saying the meeting is pointless and bye-bye.
Results will be announced in the presidential race in the Democratic Republic of Congo. The first transition of presidential power in almost two decades but the results are not without controversy.
Troubling news out of Myanmar, growing concern about a military crackdown with thousands already displaced, this time against a minority group of Buddhists and once again in Rakhine state.
Hello and welcome to our viewers all around the world. Great to have you with us. I'm John Vause and you're watching CNN NEWSROOM.
VAUSE: The U.S. government shutdown days away from being the longest ever, President Trump travels to the southern border on what he admits will be a photo-op. The president is digging in to his demands for a border wall; nonetheless. And when he was told yet again his wall wouldn't be funded he stormed out of a meeting with Democratic congressional leaders.
Mr. Trump called the meeting a total waste of time. Democrats accused the president of acting like a child.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. CHUCK SCHUMER (D-N.Y.), SENATE MINORITY LEADER: The president just got up and walked out.
He asked Speaker Pelosi, "Will you agree to my wall?" She said, "No."
And he just got up and said, "Then we have nothing to discuss," and he just walked out.
Again, we saw a temper tantrum because he couldn't get his way.
MIKE PENCE, VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: They demanded once again that before any negotiations then we would have to agree to -- to reopen the government. And the president called the question in the meeting, he asked Speaker Pelosi that if he opened things up quickly, if he reopened the government quickly, would she be willing to agree to funding for a wall or a barrier on the southern border.
And when she said no, the president said goodbye.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VAUSE: David Drucker is a CNN political analyst and senior political correspondent for the "Washington Examiner" and he's with us this hour from Washington.
David, the tweet from Trump seems to have created to Schumer's version of events that regardless the bottom line is that the commander in chief walked out of a meeting attempting to find a solution to what may be the biggest political crisis of his presidency. And while some might see walking out as a sign of strength, to others it seems to confirm what the Democrats say about temper tantrums.
DAVID DRUCKER, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: Right. I think this is going to cut two ways. The president's base will love the treatment that he gave Schumer. They're going to love that he walked out. This is the sort of heavy-handed, impulsive leadership, no nonsense that they voted for.
For those voters that had issues with Trump, never mind Democrats, independents, soft Republicans, the reasons why his reelection could be imperiled, this is another example of why they're exhausted and they're frustrated and they don't feel his brand of leadership is getting it done.
So when you walk out of a meeting like this or whatever move you make, it is all about how effective you could be and what kind of leverage you have.
VAUSE: Here's a little more detail coming from the exchange in that meeting between the president and the minority Senate leader, Democrat Chuck Schumer.
Schumer said to Trump, "You're using people as leverage. Why won't you open the government and stop hurting people?"
Trump then responded, "Because then you won't give me what I want and I'm trying to do the right thing for the country. This isn't about politics."
This is all about politics. But putting that to one side, why can't the world's greatest dealmaker actually make a deal with Democrats?
He's not explained why -- why holding 800,000 federal workers hostage or holding up their paychecks, why is that a necessary part of the negotiations?
DRUCKER: I think this is the most interesting part of the Trump presidency, aside from the controversies, here's a president who ran on being a pragmatic dealmaker, who said he was going to bring negotiating skills that other politicians didn't have and therefore he would get more done.
But one reason why the president has trouble cutting deals in Congress and why there is some issues with Democrats, it is not just because they don't want to move because they don't feel the incentive, it's because there's not a lot of trust when you're dealing with President Trump.
His style is to -- to agree to something and then move a few steps back to where he --
DRUCKER: -- wants to be and break the deal to try to get people to move, to fluster them, to be unpredictable. That sort of operation doesn't work in a legislative setting. Not in the United States Congress where people need to know that your word is good, because they'll take votes that will stick with them a lot longer than you're going to be around as president.
VAUSE: After meeting with the Republican lawmakers on Wednesday, the president insisted that everyone was united in the support of the government shutdown and he explained why he's refusing to give ground. Listen to this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: Right now, if I did something that was foolish, like gave up on border security, the first ones that would hit me are my senators. They would be angry at me. The second ones would be the House. The third ones would be my base and a lot of Republicans out there and a lot of Democrats that want to see border security.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VAUSE: Assuming the president means funding for the wall when he says border security, because border security is not the sticking point when it comes to funding the government, is there anything in that statement that is actually true?
DRUCKER: Some things are true. I think if he capitulated and caved, I think a lot of Republicans on Capitol Hill would be upset, particularly in the House. Not so much in the Senate. You would have a group in the Senate. But I think most Republican senators would be happy to just move on with this already.
I think a lot of House Republicans would be upset. The president's base would be upset. I think a lot of the president's supporters in conservative media would be upset.
So I don't think that any of that is untrue. I think you make a good point that this is not about border security, it is about the wall. I think the president said, give me $5 billion for a whole measure of border security changes and fixes but not the wall, I think they would deliver. That doesn't mean that's what he's supposed to do.
The president can try and strike the deal he thinks is best for the country. But I think he needs to understand where the political pressure points are. If he wants to get the Democrats to do something that they don't want to do, he has to entice them by offering things that maybe he doesn't want to do.
That's usually how deals are made in Congress. That way everybody can say they won.
VAUSE: Privately the president reportedly thought the national address from the Oval Office was pointless and he thought the planned trip to the southern border on Thursday is just a photo-op and pointless as well.
Democratic Senator Dick Durbin told CNN before Trump walked out of the meeting with congressional leaders, he said, "I don't know why I'm doing this. I don't want to do this meeting. They told me I had to do this meeting."
"They," presumably, are his advisors. This paints a picture of a president that is lacking direction. It is almost like days, because his usual bag of tricks like bluster and threats and falsehoods just aren't working. If seems you could say he has hit a wall and that's Chuck and Nancy.
DRUCKER: To a degree that's true. The president has not had to deal with Democratic opposition in this Congress and actually controlled part of Congress. This is a little bit new for him. I think part of it is the president and his style. He believes if acts like he's not interested in doing a deal and he stomps his feet and walks away, people will chase him.
He sort of things the leverage is everybody wants to cut a deal with me. So if I make myself unavailable, I'll get them to move as far as possible in my direction. I think that this is how he has always operated and I think this is how he knows how to operate.
It doesn't work well in a legislative setting in the United States Congress. And it won't work with Democrats as long as they feel that the politics of this are on their side. Especially because, as a matter of policy, they have some key disagreements with the president.
I'm not sure the president understands that the politics of the issue at the moment, when you look at the broad American electorate, not just the Republican electorate, they're not on his side.
VAUSE: David, thank you for you being with us.
DRUCKER: Anytime. Thank you. VAUSE: Now to the Russia investigation and a story brought just a few hours before the president was delivering his first Oval Office address on Tuesday, that meant it did not receive a lot of attention but it should.
It appears Donald Trump's former campaign chairman, Paul Manafort, had polling data that was intended or being shared with two Ukrainian oligarchs. A person familiar with the matter said that Manafort worked for the men for years promoting Russian interests in Ukraine.
His legal team accidentally revealed that he shared the polling data in a legal filing on Tuesday. The spokesperson said he expected to get more than $2 million from the Ukrainian backers but it was meant to be reimbursement for old debts that predated the Trump campaign.
Another day, another crushing defeat for Theresa May. In just 24 hours, the prime minister faced two setbacks in the British Parliament as she tried to push the Brexit plan through. Meantime, lawmakers are still nowhere close to a consensus at the next crucial Parliamentary vote. Here's CNN's Bianca Nobilo with details.
BIANCA NOBILO, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Parliament resumed its final few days of debate on Theresa May's Brexit deal before the big vote next Tuesday. The week got off to an ominous start for the prime minister because she faced two crushing defeats over the last 24 hours.
The first was an amendment to the finance bill, which will see the government powers curtailed in event of a no deal Brexit. The second was an amendment tabled by one of the prime minister's own MPs that shortens the time that the prime minister will have to come back to the House of Commons in the event that her deal fails to pass next week.
Originally the prime minister was going to have 21 days to return to Parliament and express what her plan B was in the event that her deal failed to pass the first time.
Now Theresa May will only have three days before she has to tell Parliament what she plans to do next. MPs say that they chose to do this because the timetable for Brexit needs to be accelerated. There's only 79 days until Britain leaves the E.U. Parliament looks no more likely to come to a consensus on any of the options on the table -- back to you.
VAUSE: Bianca, thank you.
When the referendum was held two years ago, the good folk in Cornwall in the southwest of England voted in favor of leaving the E.U. But now like so many across the U.K., there are those in Cornwall who are rethinking that decision, as CNN's Phil Black reports.
(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE) PHIL BLACK, CNN CORRESPONDENT: The people of Cornwall are known for being independently minded. In the local fishing industry, well, it is no secret that many fishermen don't like the European Union's common fisheries policy.
Despite all that, it came as something of a surprise when Cornwall voted heavily in favor of Brexit. That's because this region of the United Kingdom has benefited significantly from E.U. development money. It's a net beneficiary. It gets back a lot more E.U. money than it puts in. In fact, hundreds of millions of pounds over many years have been invested in local infrastructure and have helped local businesses get started.
It has made a real difference to the local economy and the quality of people's lives. It is money that Cornwall qualified for because, under the E.U.'s classification systems, it was deemed to be among the most deprived corners of the European Union.
Despite that, walk around the streets of Newquay in Cornwall and you will meet people who are still committed to Brexit, who want it immediately and even want it in a no deal scenario. We have also been talking to people who have had something of a change of heart, people who voted for Brexit, voted to leave but now say they would like another go at the question.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The E.U. is striking this down. It is taking all this money off us. We're the second or third highest payor into everything that is going on and what do we get out of it?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The sooner we can get out, the better, with a deal or with no deal.
BLACK: The figure shows apparently there's tens of millions of pounds a year that goes into this region from the E.U.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Never realized it was that much.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I honestly think that they should back Theresa May and not just (INAUDIBLE).
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I think we should do try and stay in. I think it is too late (INAUDIBLE) place now.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I think there should be another referendum. I think there should be a chance for us to really understand what is going on. There's a lot of promises, a lot of what I call fanfare. No one really knew what we were doing.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BLACK: The idea that there should be another referendum because people in this country generally are more informed, more aware of the detail and the consequences of Brexit, is often defined as informed consent. You hear it a lot from Remainers, people that never wanted Britain to leave the European Union in the first place.
But here in Cornwall, there's people that say they're in favor of that as well. There's a grassroots campaign building on the momentum it says of many people changing their minds. Even the local government, the local Cornwall council has voted formally in favor of the idea of yet another referendum.
What people in Cornwall have told us is that there are now more people here who are aware of the support, financially and otherwise, provided by -- by the European Union and they're also aware that they're unlikely to ever see that matched by the British government -- Phil Black, CNN, in Newquay, Cornwall.
VAUSE: Now to Africa where opposition leader Felix Tshisekedi has been declared president-elect of the Democratic Republic of Congo. It was announced on Twitter, long delayed elections were held December 30th and the results now pave the way for the first handover of power in the DRC in nearly two decades.
Tshisekedi will replace president Joseph Kabila, who has been in power since 2001. CNN's David McKenzie joins us now live from Johannesburg.
David, the election itself was relatively peaceful, but there's been fears that the results could spark widespread violence.
What about now that the electoral commission has made the announcement and put out the initial tally?
DAVID MCKENZIE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: That announcement came in the very early hours of this morning in the Congo. It is a surprise to many that the leading opposition candidate from the official opposition, Felix Tshisekedi, has been announced the provisional winner. The two other main candidates, the handpicked --
MCKENZIE: -- successor of Joseph Kabila, long-time president of the country, and a business man, Martin Fayulu, has gained a lot of popularity throughout the country, it was a close-ish election, it seems, according those results.
But there's a severe lack of trust at this stage in terms of the transparency by which the election was held and there were no international observers in the country, John, and the key will be in the coming hours, what the local observers have to say about this result.
There's been rumors swirling for some days now that some kind of backroom deal was done. I don't really talk about rumors but it was interesting to see that Tshisekedi spoke to the local media in previous days, praising the outgoing president, Joseph Kabila.
If this election result stands, this will be a momentous occasion for the Democratic Republic of Congo, the first transition of power peacefully, one would hope, since independence, and a transition of the power to the opposition.
But still a great deal of questions. The main other opposition candidate has at this stage spoken to French media, saying he won't accept the result.
VAUSE: Apart from widespread violence and supporters trying to take matters into their own hands, there's legal ways to challenge the result, not just Kabila but anybody else, that it may not be legitimate.
MCKENZIE: They can take it to the main constitutional court. The U.N. secretary-general a short time ago saying that he hopes that this will -- any disputes will not go onto the streets but will go through these mechanisms.
This is a provisional result. The final result is due January 15th with the president sworn in a few days later. But this election was beset by multiple delays, at least two years' delay before the election was actually set and -- and because two of the key opposition regions were delayed in the voting entirely until March, there were questions of whether Kabila was trying to change things behind the scenes.
But it is hugely significant and appears that an opposition candidate has won the election, according to the results by the electoral commission. I think the key will be to see in the coming hours how regional powers like here in South Africa and Zambia and African Union respond to this announcement.
That will be a key sign of whether this will be pushed through. A lot of international observers have behind the scenes been relieved that Kabila finally decided to step down after 18 years. They may be tempted to just accept this and move on -- John.
VAUSE: Yes, stability, a peaceful transfer of power, crucial to so many parts of the country as it continues. And we'll continue to watch the story. David, thank you for taking the early morning shift there in Johannesburg. Thank you.
A quick break here and when we come back, thousands of innocent people in the middle of escalating violence in Myanmar.
The U.N. is warning it could happen again in Rakhine state.
VAUSE: As the U.S. government shutdown drags on, there's a growing question about the impact on the safety of air travel. Experts believe there's been no compromise in security at least not yet but expect some delays in the near future.
Officers with the Transportation Security Administration and air traffic controllers will miss their first paychecks on Friday. TSA workers have called out sick on their shifts.
One couple is especially hard hit by the shutdown. They're both government employees. Both employed by the airports and Randi Kaye has their story.
MARC SCHNEIDER, AIR TRAFFIC CONTROLLER: Give me a kiss.
RANDI KAYE, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): These days, family is the only thing Marc Schneider can count on. The 48-year-old air traffic controller from Indianapolis is working. He's considered an essential employee but he isn't getting paid because of the government shutdown.
SCHNEIDER: I'm being paid on an IOU.
KAYE: An IOU he hopes the government will make good on.
TRUMP: Many of those people -- maybe even most of them --
KAYE: When President Trump says that many people who aren't getting paychecks, quote, "agree 100 percent with what he's doing" and are "fans of what he's doing," don't count Marc in.
SCHNEIDER: I don't many of those people. It must -- he -- I assume that he's getting his data from somewhere. I don't many of those people that are big fans of not getting paid.
KAYE: And when asked if he considers a safe border his safety net, as the president has suggested for these unpaid workers --
SCHNEIDER: I can't spend border security if that's what you're asking me. Border security isn't going to pay my mortgage next month.
It's not an immediate need for me right now. I would prefer to be able to pay my bills, to take care of my family.
KAYE: None of this is good for Marc's family and it could be downright dangerous for airline passengers.
KAYE (on camera): The system is already stressed and the number of air traffic controllers is at a 30-year low and many of them are working six days a week and 10-hour shifts.
Also, about 2,000 of them are eligible for retirement. If they retire early because of this shutdown there could be massive delays nationwide.
KAYE (voice-over): Delays and distractions. Marc is worried about passenger safety and how his fellow air traffic controllers will handle the stress of not getting paid.
SCHNEIDER: The last thing I want is my air traffic controller worry about where his next check is coming from.
KAYE: At Marc's house the shutdown hit twice as hard as some others. Marc's wife isn't getting paid, either.
KAYE (on camera): You and your wife are both air traffic controllers. How did it feel to just lose both your paychecks like that?
SCHNEIDER: You know, it was terrifying. I don't have a plan B. I have my savings account and then after that, I have no idea what we're going to do.
KAYE: Congress is still getting paid and you're not.
Is that OK with you?
SCHNEIDER: Why am I different?
What's less valuable about my job?
What's less valuable about a TSA employee?
What's less valuable about a park ranger?
Where's the difference?
Why are my bills less important than someone else's?
KAYE (voice-over): Marc was last paid two weeks ago. If he doesn't get a paycheck this Friday, due to the shutdown, it will be the first check he's missed as a federal employee. He has some savings but can't hang on more than a month or so.
SCHNEIDER: Am I upset about it?
Do I think it's right?
It's not, it's not.
Someone should be paid for the work that they do, period. That's what our country has always stood behind. A day's wages for a day's work.
KAYE: Randi Kaye, CNN, Indianapolis.
VAUSE: And of all of the federal employees in the U.S., workers at the TSA are among the lowest paid. According to the agency's website, a screener at the Indianapolis airport like Marc, who we just heard from, earns almost $33,000 a year.
In Los Angeles they pay shy of $37,000 annually and at New York's JFK, just over $37,000 dollars. Not a lot of money, especially in Los Angeles and New York, where many live paycheck to paycheck. To Los Angeles now. We're joined by Erroll Southers, an expert in air
traffic security and counter terrorism who served as assistant secretary of Homeland Security under President Obama.
Erroll, thank you for being with us. We'll get to the direct security threat caused by the shutdown in a moment.
VAUSE: -- any direct security threat created by the shutdown in a moment. I'd like you to listen to president Trump when asked about workers not getting paid, including TSA workers. This is what he said.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Mr. President, what do you say to those federal workers, security guards, Secret Service agents and TSA agents, who are now going without pay?
TRUMP: I think they have been terrific. These are terrific patriots. A lot of them agree with what I'm doing. And I hope we are going to have the situation worked out.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: But these people have to go without their paychecks. They're being -- some are being forced to work without pay. Some have been furloughed. These are park rangers --
TRUMP: They're all going to get their money. They're all going to get their money and I think they're going to be happy.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VAUSE: Maybe they are patriots but they're certainly not volunteers. They really had no choice but to keep working. And they're the ones who can least afford to miss a paycheck.
ERROLL SOUTHERS, U.S. DEPARTMENT OF HOMELAND SECURITY: Absolutely right. As you mentioned earlier, you have a situation where the workforce is at about $15 an hour. TSA as you look at all the federal agencies in the United States, they run about a 30 percent turnover rate, where the average for the federal workers in the United States is about 15 percent. So they already have a retention problem.
Added with the fact that most TSA, if not all TSA screeners come on, they're hired part time and they have to stay on for an undetermined amount of time before they're eligible for full time, if ever. So they have a challenge now with employees who are typically part time, not knowing if they're going to be full time and they're unpaid.
VAUSE: The union that represents the TSA said some are considering quitting or have quit already. There's lots of officers, while we're already shorthanded, who are a massive security risk for American travelers since we don't have enough trainees in the pipeline or the ability to process new hires. The reason TSA's workforce has fallen, around 47,000 to 44,000, and the number of passengers has gone up from 740 million to more than 850 million.
Part of that is probably better technology but essentially what they're saying is that -- there's not a lot of slack in the system.
So what happens when the resignations pick up or the number of sickouts continue to grow or the workers just don't show up at the airports?
What are the risks that travelers could be facing not just in the United States but around the world?
SOUTHERS: You're right, John, the cascading effect both domestically and internationally could be devastating. First of all, you've got layers of security at an airport. The screeners make up one or several more layers of that process. Anytime that layer is not fully staffed or the layer is not fully trained, you risk actually compromising the system.
Aviation has always been a target of terrorists. Aviation, as you know it, LAX, as recently as 2013, was the victim of an active shooter who wasn't even a terrorist, if you will. He was someone who had an anti-government extremist ideology.
So airports are always a challenge. And it's part of a system that has to be secured. If you have people not in the pipeline to be trained or people who are not coming to work, that certainly is an issue that can compromise the entire system.
VAUSE: What about morale? The TSA was already pretty low, the lowest of all the federal agencies. Not getting paid doesn't do a whole lot to improve morale.
What impact does that have for someone who is actually there doing their job?
SOUTHERS: People start to question their self-worth, it is one thing to be, as the president may have stated, a loyal patriot. It's another thing to be a loyal patriot who has bills to pay and family concerns. If I'm worried about my family and my bills and my health and other issues, I'm not focused on the job. That's means I'm not doing my job in terms of screening.
When I was President Obama's nominee to be assistant secretary, I went through the screening training that they get.
My hat is off to those people that sit there and look at those X-ray machines all day long and the amount of prohibited items that they're actually able to identify is amazing.
If I'm not paying attention and if I'm not focused on the position that I'm being assigned to, that is a challenge in terms of compromising our system of security for aviation.
VAUSE: It seems odd the president would decide that the best way to get funding for border security would to defund the parts of the federal government that are in part responsible for border security? SOUTHERS: That's correct. It seems counter intuitive. I don't understand the logic behind it. I'm not the president. But that would be the system that I would never compromise with regard to cuts that had to be made, decisions that had to be outlined on how we're going to do this.
But security is the basic premise of a -- of a safe and sound community and a country, everywhere. Once you compromise that, everything else can fall in a domino effect.
VAUSE: Clearly there's a need for TSA and that is not being met, then that creates problems. Erroll Southers, appreciate you being with us.
SOUTHERS: Thank you.
[00:30:03] VAUSE: And now, we'll take a short break, and lots more, when we come back.
VAUSE: Welcome back, everybody, thanks for staying with us. I'm John Vause with an update on the top stories this hour. U.S. President Donald Trump stormed out of the meeting with Democratic Congressional leaders on Wednesday, after House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, again, refused to fund his border wall.
Mr. Trump called the media a total waste of time. Democrats say he threw a temper tantrum. And the government shutdown continues.
Kim Jong-un says he is still committed to an agreement with Donald Trump to denuclearize the Korean peninsula. The North Korean leader is back from Beijing, where he held talks with Chinese president, Xi Jinping. State media report they discussed plans for a second U.S.- North Korea summit.
British lawmakers have handed Prime Minister Theresa May, yet another Brexit blow. In an event on Wednesday, they've decided if her deal fell in parliament next Tuesday, she must comeback with a plan B within three days, instead of the 21 days she would have had, originally.
The U.N. is warning of a another potential military crackdown in Myanmar, with fears it could be similar in size and scale to the one in 2017, which forced more than 700,000 Rohingya Muslims to flee the country. Only this time, the Rohingya are not the targets. The country's Buddhists are being attacked.
And it seems the reason for the military offensive this time, is the same as it was last time, an attack on Myanmar police. The government says 13 officers have been killed by Buddhist fighters from the Arakan Army. The response from the military has been swift and harsh, with the reports of an unprecedented level of fighting, and the troubled Rakhine State.
Not only is that the same area where the Rohingya crisis began in August 2017, but the government is using similar language to what was heard back then, with talk of clearance operations.
Knut Ostby is a U.N. President and Humanitarian Coordinator in Myanmar, and he is with us now from Yangon. So, thank you for your time. What exactly do you know at this point about Myanmar's military option, which the government says it's targeting this Buddhist insurgency and an army which they say is well-armed and 7,000 fighters strong?
KNUT OSTBY, PRESIDENT AND HUMANITARIAN COORDINATOR, U.N. MYANMAR: Yes, thank you for having me. This attack that happened on the 4th of January that you referred to was an unprecedented escalation from the Arakan Army, and I need -- I would like to express my sympathies to the families of those who were killed.
Then, now, that has led to an escalation in military presence in Rakhine State. And we are worried that -- of the fighting that might come out of this escalation.
VAUSE: Yes. And what do you see in terms of, sort of, troop movements and essentially the level of military deployment in the region which would suggest that something more serious is in the works?
OSTBY: Yes. And there's been a number of government statements saying that the insurgents should be crushed and that these operations would be -- would be large. And there has been a number of -- a large number of troops move into the area, the situation is not entirely clear.
[00:35:10] We do not know exactly where the troops are deployed. And the large scale fighting has not started yet. We are, of course, hoping that there will be some peaceful solution to this, because in a large scale military action, there's a big risk for civilians. Our main concern is the civilian population.
VAUSE: Back in August 2017, an attack on police outpost was used as a pretext for the start of the military operation against the Rohingya Muslims. The U.N. later described that as a textbook example of genocide. Is it just coincidence that the same pretext, the same incident has happened again, and there is now what appears to be a, you know, a military operation, you know, targeting another minority within Myanmar?
OSTBY: We don't know exactly the reason that they were escalated and more coordinated attacks from Arakan Army. I am worried about the similarity in the types of response because we know the severity of what happened to the civilian population last time, the hope, of course, that this will not escalate to a very large extent.
But, we need to be prepared for the possibility that there will be a new humanitarian crisis, on top of the existing one.
VAUSE: Was it an ominous sign last month, when the army declared a ceasefire, four months-long ceasefire, in five military regions, but that did not include Rakhine State where this military operation appears to be underway right now. OSTBY: Yes. That's -- we are happy, of course, to know about the ceasefire in the north and east, but that did not include this area. And we just are worried that we will now see a new crisis. We have already, in the Rakhine State alone, about 700,000 people in need of humanitarian assistance. And they have already limitations on humanitarian access, in the area.
So, we are worried that this escalation could lead to less humanitarian access and could more suffering, but we are trying to be ready to respond to the needs that could occur.
VAUSE: Could you clarify that 700,000 number, is that a 700,000 number in total over a period of time or 700,000 as a result of this military operation? Because we've also heard, you know, initially, that because of the military offensive in Rakhine State, what, about 5,000 -- almost 5,000 people have been displaced.
So, what is the direct result of this military escalation, I guess, is the question.
OSTBY: Yes. The direct result, you know, of this last fighting, has been displacement of a few thousand. But we have for six years now, for example, have about 129,000 people sitting in the displaced camps (INAUDIBLE) continuous need for humanitarian assistance.
We have a number of people with movement restrictions and therefore, cannot farm their land and go fishing, and therefore, become very dependent on humanitarian assistance, and they have people who are dependent on humanitarian assistance for other reasons.
There is humanitarian crisis in the -- in the state, and we do need to try to have an upgraded response to that.
VAUSE: So, we shall leave it there, but very much appreciative of your time and the update. Knut Ostby, the U.N. Humanitarian Coordinator in Myanmar, with us there, from Yangon, thank you, sir.
OSTBY: Thank you.
VAUSE: Next up here on CNN NEWSROOM, renewed outrage that R&B singer, R. Kelly, has a docuseries, details years of allegations against him including sexual abuse (INAUDIBLE)
[00:40:06] VAUSE: Protesters marched outside the R&B singer, R. Kelly's studio in Chicago, calling for a boycott of his music and demanding his prosecution for alleged sexual assault. A new docuseries details longstanding allegations of abuse predatory behavior (INAUDIBLE)
Kelly denies any wrongdoing but he could be facing a new investigation. We have details now from CNN's Martin Savidge.
(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE) MARTIN SAVIDGE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: The documentary, Surviving R. Kelly, has been a huge ratings hit for the network that (INAUDIBLE) also sparks conversation online that continues to this day. It's a very damning portrayal of R&B superstar, R. Kelly, portraying him as a sexual predator and these allegations go back not just years, they go back decades.
And even though much of this information has been reported previously over the years, the documentary does a good job of, sort of, compressing, bringing it all together in a way that is very compelling and very hard to look away and hard to overlook.
We should point out that R. Kelly has, previously in the past, denied all of these allegations, his attorneys still deny the allegations that have been made against him. But nonetheless, the popularity of this documentary has sparked renewed interest by law enforcement to investigate, that includes here in Atlanta, and also in Chicago. These are two American cities where R. Kelly has lived or continues to live, and have a studio.
And in fact, Cook County, in Chicago, the state's attorney, there put out a plea for witnesses and victims to come forward so that they could build some kind of a case. The success of the documentary has also been pleasing to the family of Jocelyn Savage. That's Timothy and Jonjelyn Savage.
They believe their daughter is still in the hands of R. Kelly. In fact, they believe that he's kind of brain washed her, and that she is part of a sexual cult, and that she's being held against her will, and they have been fighting for years just to have contact with her, with hardly any success at all.
And so, I asked them, how are they feeling now in the aftermath of this documentary? Here's what they told me.
TIMOTHY SAVAGE, DAUGHTER FEATURED IN SURVIVING R. KELLY: We haven't seen our daughter. We, as of right now, today, have no proof of life, whatsoever. And that's hard for me to say. I have no proof of life that my daughter is living right now, none.
JAILYN SAVAGE, SISTER FEATURED IN SURVIVING R. KELLY: She's 23 now. She's in her mid-20s. In your mid-20s, you're supposed to be living your best life, you're supposed to be, you know, having fun, and not like being ruined -- like getting ruined by some --
JONJELYN SAVAGE, DAUGHTER FEATURED IN SURVIVING R. KELLY: Right. Yes, we just want to --
J. SAVAGE: -- pervert.
J. SAVAGE: We want to get back to where she was before she left.
SAVIDGE: The Savage family hopes that not only will law enforcement be able to make a case, they also hope that soon they will be reunited with their daughter and that other families won't have to go through what they have been through. They still suffer in other ways, because of their outspokenness, just last May, they received death threats, they alleged coming from what was -- a man who used to be R. Kelly's manager. The authorities have taken those death threats so seriously that they issued an arrest warrant for that man.
And as recently as January 3rd, that's the date that this latest documentary was premiering, they received harassing phone calls from another associate of R. Kelly. One of those calls was actually overheard by law enforcement.
So, they not only continue to suffer the loss of their daughter, they also apparently continued to be harassed just for speaking out on her behalf. Back to you.
VAUSE: Martin, thank you. And thank you for watching CNN NEWSROOM. I'm John Vause. Stay with us now for "WORLD SPORT". You're watching CNN.
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