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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; Manafort Shared Polling Data with Russian Contact. Aired 2-3a ET
Aired January 10, 2019 - 02:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
ROSEMARY CHURCH, CNN ANCHOR (voice-over): The U.S. president calls a discussion with Democrats a total waste of time with no compromise. The partial government shutdown drags on into its 20th day.
A Brexit blow for Theresa May, the prime minister faces a setback as she tries to lead the U.K. out of the European Union.
Plus the surprise victory in the long overdue presidential election in the Democratic Republic of Congo.
Welcome to our viewers joining us are from all around the world. I'm Rosemary Church and this is CNN NEWSROOM.
CHURCH: Neither side is giving in and soon the U.S. government shutdown will likely become the longest in U.S. history. President Donald Trump will head to the southern border Thursday for what he admits will be a photo-op. That's after he stormed out of a meeting with Democratic leaders when they again refused to fund his border wall.
Democrats say the president acted like a child. The Republicans had a different take.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. CHUCK SCHUMER (D-N.Y.), SENATE MINORITY LEADER: Again, we saw a temper tantrum because he couldn't get his way. He sort of slammed the table and when leader Pelosi said she didn't agree with the wall, he just walked out and said we have nothing to discuss.
REP. NANCY PELOSI (D-CALIF.), HOUSE MINORITY LEADER: In just a few days, many federal workers won't receive their paychecks but the president seems to be insensitive that. He thinks maybe they can just ask their father for more money but they can't.
REP. KEVIN MCCARTHY (R), MINORITY LEADER: I saw Schumer to continue to raise his voice. The president then turned to the Speaker and politely asked her, OK, Nancy, if we open the government up in 30 days, could we have border security?
She raised her hand and said no, not at all. The president calmly said, I guess you're still not wanting to deal with the problem.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CHURCH: Abby Phillip reports that pressure is mounting for the shutdown to end.
TRUMP: Look, we could all -- all play games. But -- but a wall is -- is a necessity.
ABBY PHILLIP, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Trump digging in his heels and demanding a border wall which even he admits is an ancient idea.
TRUMP: They say it is a medieval solution, a wall. That's true. It is medieval because it worked then and it works even better now.
PHILLIP (voice-over): The president saying the real barrier to finding a way to end the government shutdown may really be his base.
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.
PHILLIP (voice-over): That concern prompting the president to deliver this message to Senate Republicans on Capitol Hill, stick together.
TRUMP: No discussion about anything other than -- other than solidarity. The Republicans are unified. We want border security.
PHILLIP (voice-over): But with federal workers just two days away from the first missed paycheck of the year, cracks are beginning to show with some Republicans considering House Democrats' plan to pass funding bills that would reopen parts of the government.
REP. ADAM KINZINGER (R): They're just clean, you know, and good -- and good bills, I'll look at them on the initial merits. If it is an agreeable bill, we'll reopen as much government as we can.
PHILLIP (voice-over): Trump still threatening to use executive power to build the wall without Congress.
TRUMP: We may work a deal. If we don't, I may go that route, I have the absolute right to declare a national emergency if I want.
PHILLIP (voice-over): Also signaling that the shutdown could go on much longer.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: How long will the shutdown lasts?
TRUMP: However long it takes. PHILLIP (voice-over): In a move his aides hope will put pressure on Democrats to support the wall, Trump will go to the Texas-Mexico border on Thursday. But even the president is skeptical it will make a difference, according "The New York Times," Telling television anchors at a White House lunch on Tuesday, "It's not going to change a damn thing but I'm still doing it."
PHILLIP: Many Democrats still support proposals to reopen parts of the government in a piecemeal fashion while these negotiations over the border wall continue. While many Republicans are interested in potentially supporting the bills, the White House on Wednesday afternoon said the president would in fact veto all of the bills if his border wall is not funded.
That essentially assures none of those bills will move anywhere in Congress before the end of the week. Meanwhile federal workers are facing their first week without a paycheck for the beginning of this year and the shutdown is likely to only get worse.
PHILLIP: Abby Phillip, CNN the White House.
CHURCH: CNN political analyst Nathan Gonzales joins me now from Washington. Good to have you with us.
NATHAN GONZALES, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: Thank you for having me.
CHURCH: So according to Democrat Chuck Schumer, President Trump threw a temper tantrum when he met with congressional leaders Wednesday. Republican Kevin McCarthy disputes that, saying the president was calm when he walked out.
Whichever story is right, isn't it up to the president to try to find a solution on this issue, particularly when government workers are hurting due to this partial government shutdown?
GONZALES: I think in a way this is a giant problem but a microcosm of what we see time and time again that sort of where you place blame depends on where you sit on the political aisle.
I think what's remarkable about Washington is that for years and generations the two parties have disagreed on where to compromise or how to compromise but now we can't even agree on when to compromise.
I mean, that's typically when we're talking about the raising, the debt ceiling or the fiscal cliff that used to be a point were both party said OK. We're finally at the edge and if we don't compromise then the whole thing is going to go down.
But now where we're a couple -- almost a couple of weeks into a shutdown or more than a couple of weeks into a shutdown and the parties can't even agree on if they shouldn't even compromise at all, let alone what is that look like. CHURCH: This is the problem, isn't it? The president digging in still threatening to declare a national emergency if he doesn't get his $5.7 billion border wall and then on the other side of the political spectrum, the Democrats refusing to fund his wall.
How can a compromise be found at this juncture?
This is a stalemate. No one refused -- they all refuse to budge while government workers struggle to pay their bills. It's not sustainable.
GONZALES: You know, Rosemary, I'm supposed to be since I'm on TV I'm supposed to have all the answers. I'm not sure how this end.
You know, I think one of the things we know about the president is that I think he's a dealmaker above all else and usually he wants to get a deal done and doesn't really care about what's involved with it or who's involved with it.
But because this situation involves a campaign promise it's particularly prickly insensitive because he feels like this is something that he needs to deliver on. And I cannot -- don't know what it's going to take.
I mean, there are people that are going without paychecks. There's a -- it's a -- once we got a month into this and paychecks aren't coming in it's going to start hitting some people but I don't know how this end.
CHURCH: Yes. And the problem is that some of those people that will go without paychecks are leaving their jobs to find alternative employment. So the system is sort of starting to break down.
And it's not only the Democrats who are unhappy about this shutdown. Some Republicans are speaking out too despite the president calling for unity on the issue Wednesday.
Could that potentially bring enough pressure to bear on the president to consider opening up may be parts of the government or does he have enough support to sustain this for however long is necessary as he said?
GONZALES: You know, I think one of the reasons why we've gotten this far is because both sides believe that a shutdown, particularly the president and the Democrats believed that a shutdown that they have the people around their side that they're going to benefit from this politically.
But for some Republicans on the Hill this is where it gets sticky for a couple of Republicans in the Senate like Cory Gardner of Colorado, Susan Collins of Maine who were up for reelection in 2020 in competitive states. They're feeling the pressure, they're more likely to, they are the one saying let's open the government.
There have been -- there are eight House Republicans right now who were siding with Democrats to open the government. Some of them are members up for reelection in 2020 who represent
districts that Hillary Clinton carried in 2016 so they're feeling that political pressure. But I'm not sure that they are enough to influence the president because they are just in two very different political situations.
CHURCH: Right. Just very quickly and finally, how likely do you think it is that Mr. Trump will ultimately use the power he's threatening to use to declare a national emergency to get military funds for his wall?
GONZALES: You know, I think with this president we can't rule anything out. I mean, I just think, you know, we have to sort of leave any option on the table in terms of what he might do to solve this.
You know, maybe the compromise is that there is some sort of wall fund, specific wall funding but Democrats get a whole list of things that they want on citizenship and pathways to citizenship that they may not have -- that they may not have otherwise gotten.
CHURCH: Impossible to see where this is all going. Right?
Nathan Gonzales, thank you so much for your analysis all the same. I appreciate it.
GONZALES: Thank you.
CHURCH: We turn to Britain now and another crushing defeat for Theresa May. British lawmakers have now given the prime minister just three days to lay out a plan B in the likely event that Brexit deal fails next Tuesday.
Now this is the second setback Ms. May faced in Parliament in the span of --
CHURCH: -- 24 hours. The opposition party said it will continue to push back on a deal that is not in the national interest.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
KEIR STARMER, LABOUR PARTY BREXIT SPOKESMAN: If the prime minister attempts a no deal Brexit, we will fight her tooth and nail every inch of the way. Mr. Speaker, every member of this house is sworn to consider the deal before us, not the deal the prime minister pretends to have negotiated or promises to change between now and when we go through the lobbies but the text before us.
Labour is clear that the deal is not in the national interest. It doesn't come anywhere near meeting our test. It will make the country poorer and more divided. It won't protect jobs and the economy.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CHURCH: Anna Stewart joins me now from outside Parliament.
Another day and another defeat for Theresa May, what does this latest blow mean for Brexit?
ANNA STEWART, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Another day and another setback. She must be getting used to them at this stage. The prime minister faced with another defeat. What this one means, this means once her vote has gone through, assuming she loses it, which are fairly certain at this stage, she'll have just three days to come back to Parliament and present her plan B.
Before this, she had 21 days and since they were working days, she had a month.
Now Downing Street was saying they weren't expecting the prime minister to take anywhere near the 21 days, so perhaps this is not such a setback in terms of the logistics and the reality of the situation. But it is symbolic. It shows how Parliament will keep voting against all sorts of motions here.
So there's another realize the DUP. This is the Northern Irish party that Theresa May relies on for a majority in Parliament. She dismissed the deal outright and what she managed to get from the E.U. in terms of concessions is not good enough they say. So we're set for a further few days of debate and then what looks like a certain defeat on Tuesday when they vote on her deal finally.
CHURCH: What is on the table today and what concessions might the government have to make to get more support even from within its own party?
STEWART: It was interesting. Yesterday we saw signs that the government is willing to give out some concessions, particularly to win over rebellious Tory MPs that voted against May yesterday and the day before.
The concessions today, there's a amendment to be voted on that will mean that if we get to the end of 2020 and the U.K. has not managed to negotiate a free trade agreement or a trade deal with the E.U., then the House of Commons would actually get to vote on what happens next, whether to extend the transition period, i.e. the status quo, or to trigger this very controversial backstop.
But this is an issue. This is a big problem. She may win over some support here but she's not going to win any support in the E.U. This does contradict the deal she managed to strike with them after many months. They say that the backstop, the controversial Irish backstop, is essentially keeping the U.K. in the E.U. customs union is the only option and it is indefinite.
We'll have to see what the fallout is but we do expect the amendment to be voted on this afternoon.
CHURCH: Anna Stewart on the early shift there outside Parliament. We'll talk again soon. Many thanks.
Elsewhere in Britain people are frustrated with Parliament's inaction. Cornwall in Southwest England voted in favor of leaving the E.U., specifically in the town of Newquay. The support for Brexit in the 2016 referendum was at 62 percent.
That's despite the region being flush with E.U. funds. But now some people are rethinking their decision, as CNN's Phil Black reports.
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.
CHURCH: South Korea's president says a second summit between Donald Trump and Kim Jong-un will happen soon. Moon Jae-in says he expect the path to peace will speed up more this year and the planned summit will be a turning point for the Koreas.
Kim discussed plans for his second meeting with the U.S. president during his week's trip to China. According to state media, Kim says he remains committed to his agreement with Mr. Trump to denuclearize the peninsula.
Still to come, a big shift in power in the Democratic Republic of Congo. Voters there have elected a new president.
Plus Paul Manafort's Russia connections, new details on who Manafort shared polling data with when he was Trump's campaign chairman.
CHURCH: Welcome back.
The electoral commission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo has announced a winner in last month's election. They have declared opposition leader Felix Tshisekedi as the president-elect. This provisional result paves the way for the first handover of power in the DRC in nearly two decades.
Our David McKenzie joins us now from Johannesburg with more.
David, what has been the reaction to this result and how likely is it that the tallies will be disputed?
DAVID MCKENZIE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Certainly they'll be disputed in this election. It was a delayed election already by more than two years initially because of -- of Joseph Kabila, the outgoing president, clinging onto power.
Now the election did happen; in several key areas, though, voters were barred from voting. And the reaction, certainly for the official opposition, will be one of jubilation. It is a surprise announcement for many observers of the DRC.
There was a feeling that Joseph Kabila may try to push in his presumptive right-hand man, former interior minister, Emmanuel Shadary. But in this case it seems like the opposition leader, Felix Tshisekedi, will be the next president.
But there's strong counteraction from the -- from Martin Fayulu, who was the presumptive leader in the polls ahead of this election and here he is reacting to this announcement.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MARTIN FAYULU, LEADER, ENGAGEMENT FOR CITIZENSHIP AND DEVELOPMENT PARTY (through translator): To all those who learned of the ballot boxes, especially to the Congo's National Bishops Episcopal Conference Center and the church of Congo LCC through historical observations, we ask you to reveal to the Congolese people and to the whole world to name the person who really was our people's choice.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MCKENZIE: There was no international observers during the election. But the group he's referring to is the Catholic Bishops Conference. They had a lot of people, several thousands across the country, observing this vote. Last week they said they knew who the winner was and they would reveal the results after the official announcement.
That will be the key moment perhaps later today.
Already some questions from the international community, the foreign minister of France, speaking to French media, saying he was surprised by the announcement and seeking clarity about this because it didn't mesh -- and I'm paraphrasing -- with certain evidence they had from parts of the Congo.
This will be a disputed poll. The official ratified results are due January 15th and they have to be ratified by the constitutional court -- Rosemary.
CHURCH: We'll see what comes of the dispute over those results. David McKenzie, joining us live from Johannesburg, many thanks.
Well, the head of Israel's security agency is warning a foreign country will try to interfere in the elections this April. The ISA chief wouldn't say which nation is suspected but analysts were quick to blame Russia.
One expert says that rather than helping any particular candidate, Russia would try to destabilize the political system and reduce public trust in democracy. Russia denies any intent to interfere in Israel's elections.
There's new evidence of cooperation between the top levels of Donald Trump's presidential campaign and Russia. A court filing from former campaign chairman Paul Manafort's legal team revealed he shared polling data with a suspected Russian operative.
We now know that data was intended for two Ukrainian oligarchs who owed Manafort millions. CNN's Sara Murray has more.
SARA MURRAY, CNN NATIONAL POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Democrats today seizing on the revelation that Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort shared campaign polling data with his Russian associate Konstantin Kilimnik before the 2016 election, raising concerns about whether that intel could have been used to meddle in the election.
SEN. MARK WARNER (D-VA.), VICE CHAIR, SENATE INTELLIGENCE COMMITTEE: If what the Manafort lawyers by mistake revealed is accurate, how is that not evidence of an effort to collaborate in some way, particularly when we saw, subsequent to this sharing of information, the Russians use their social media army to, in effect, try to influence the election?
MURRAY: According to prosecutors, Kilimnik has ties to the same Russian military intelligence unit that hacked the Democratic Party.
Democrats are asking whether it's possible that the Russians could have also used Manafort's sensitive polling data to help direct Russians' propaganda and disinformation campaigns in 2016.
REP. ADAM SCHIFF (D-CALIF.), CHAIR, HOUSE INTELLIGENCE COMMITTEE: Why is the campaign chairman for a us presidential candidate providing campaign polling data to someone linked to a foreign adversarial intelligence agency?
MURRAY: Republicans quickly insisted the new details, which Manafort's attorneys inadvertently revealed in a court filing, don't amount to collusion.
SEN. JAMES LANKFORD (R), OKLAHOMA: Communicating with someone about polling data and what's going is no secret thing in that sense. So I'm -- again, looking for that as the smoking gun, I think, would be a pretty big stretch. MURRAY: Still, Manafort's contacts with Kilimnik, which continued after Donald Trump was elected, offer the clearest public evidence yet of coordination between the Trump campaign and the Russians, all of this emerging amid indications that special counsel Robert Mueller's probe may be winding down.
Deputy attorney general Rod Rosenstein is planning to voluntarily leave the Justice Department shortly after William Barr, President Trump's nominees for attorney general, is confirmed, a source tells CNN.
ROD ROSENSTEIN, U.S. DEPUTY ATTORNEY GENERAL: Bob Mueller or Rod Rosenstein or Matt Whitaker or Bill Barr, that investigation is going to be handled appropriately.
MURRAY: Rosenstein, the primary man overseeing Mueller's Russia investigation, has signaled to other officials that he intended to leave DOJ when he was satisfied the Mueller probe was completed or at least close enough to completion that it was protected.
As Barr made the rounds on Capitol Hill Wednesday...
SEN. CHARLES GRASSLEY (R), IOWA: Congratulations on your -- the president nominating you.
MURRAY: -- lawmakers tried to allay fears about his plans for the Mueller probe.
SEN. LINDSEY GRAHAM (R), SOUTH CAROLINA: That he has a high opinion of Mr. Mueller, has no reason for Mr. Mueller to stop doing his job and is committed to allowing Mr. Mueller to finish.
MURRAY: The hearing is set for mid-January, so he could be on the job through February or longer -- Sara Murray, CNN, Washington.
CHURCH: For people living along the southern U.S. border, the wall is more than a political debate.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's an occasional problem but not a crisis. Actually, I do feel safer. We actually don't even lock our doors. The doors are always open. We don't fear getting robbed or anything.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CHURCH: Coming up, what local residents think about building a barrier in their community.
Plus as Nicolas Maduro celebrates his second term as president of Venezuela, the neighbors ruin the party. Some countries refuse to recognize him as a legitimate leader.
(MUSIC PLAYING) (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
CHURCH: Welcome back. I'm Rosemary Church. Let's update you on the stories we're following this hour.
[02:30:00] CHURCH: U.S. President Donald Trump stormed out of a meeting with Democratic congressional leaders Wednesday after House Speaker Nancy Pelosi again refused to fund a border wall.
Mr. Trump called the meeting a total waste of time. Democrats say he threw a temper tantrum and so the government shutdown continues. Well, President Trump will head to the southern border later Thursday essentially for a photo-op. Ed Lavandera reports. He will find some support for the wall among border enforcement officials. But local residents, well, that's a different story.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ED LAVANDERA, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: When you cross the bridge from Mexico into El Paso, this is what you see, thousands of people walking back and forth across the river every day. Life is laid back. No sign of a crisis here. But up and down the southern U.S. border, tension is growing and many residents feel threatened by the Trump administration's push for a border wall. In the past week, Armando Rios Jr. noticed pink survey markers pop up in his neighborhood in the border Town of Roma.
ARMANDO RIOS JR., ROMA, TEXAS RESIDENT: We're actually blocks at the most -- a block -- a block and a half away from the river and you can see the border patrol right there patrolling.
LAVANDERA: City officials tell us these markers are the beginning of planning for 12 miles of steel see-through fence that would be built right through the city. Rio says he occasionally sees migrants crossing, but it doesn't bother him.
RIOS: It's not a crisis. It is a -- we would say it is occasional problem, but not a crisis. Actually, we do feel safe. We are actually don't even lock our doors. The doors are always open. We don't -- we don't fear getting robbed or anything.
LAVANDERA: Rios told us he's even removed some of these markers put in the ground by government contractors.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LAVANDERA: Since President Trump has taken office, some new border structure actually has gone up. Last year, the president signed an executive order that allocated more than $73 million to build this. It's a 20-mil stretched near Santa Teresa, New Mexico. And when you look at it, the question is, is it a wall or is it a fence? And does that question even really matter? (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
LAVANDERA: According to Customs and Border Protection officials, there are currently eight border wall projects already in the works covering about 120 miles. The Trump administration's request for five billion dollars more would pay for an additional 215 miles of new or replacement fencing in various locations along the southern border. That could include areas like this where miles of longstanding wall abruptly end.
But critics of the wall also say there are vast regions of the southern border that are so remote and filled with such rugged terrain that a wall is unnecessary.
ADOLPHO TELLES, EL PASO REPUBLICAN CHAIRMAN: The buildings you see out there is Mexico.
LAVANDERA: Republican Adolpho Telles lives in El Paso where a border fence already stretches through much of the city. Telles says Trump is right to shut down the government to get border wall funding in hopes of controlling illegal immigration.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
TELLES: This certainly doesn't end it. It will never be ended. It will never stop completely. But it certainly has slowed it down significantly compared to what it was, you know, before the wall was here.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
FRED CAVAZOS, MISSION, TEXAS RESIDENT: I'm 69 years old and I've never had any kind of sort of problems at all with these people.
LAVANDERA: Fred Cavazos and his family have owned 64 acres of land in Mission, Texas along the Rio Grande since the 1950s. They live off the rent money dozens of people pay to live on the water's edge. When they say we need a -- we need to put a wall here, what do you say to that?
CAVAZOS: It's just money spent that -- it won't help. For us, it's not going to help -- the wall is not going to help at all.
LAVANDERA: But construction of a border wall is slated to start in February which will leave there property sitting in a no man's land between the wall and the river essentially cut off from the United States. So you're running out of time?
CAVAZOS: Yes. What can you do? You can't fight the government. We'll try. We'll try to stop and install a little bit of -- we can't -- we can't stop the government. They'll do what they want to do.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LAVANDERA: So on Thursday, President Trump will visit this McAllen Area here in the Rio Grande Valley. It's a very interesting place to come.
[02:35:02] This is essentially the ground zero of this debate along the U.S. southern border where you see the highest number of apprehensions and the most human smuggling into the U.S. southern border. It's also where you've seen in the various dozen cans of cities that dot the U.S. southern border here, this patchwork of border wall that has gone up over the course of the last 15 years or so. And you've heard from border patrol agents over the years really calling for those gaps in this existing border walls to be closed.
It's an interesting place for the president to come make his case and have a very supportive audience there in the federal law enforcement ranks. But it remains -- in this border wall remains a very tough sell among local residents and local officials who remain skeptical that spending billions of dollars to erect more border wall is a smart way to spend money. By in large, most people you talk to here, they believe that this is essentially a waste of money and it really won't make a difference in undocumented immigration here into the United States. Ed Lavandera, CNN in the Rio Grande Valley of Texas.
CHURCH: Forty-nine migrants who have been stranded at sea for more than two weeks have finally docked in Malta. The migrants have been sailing back and forth in Maltese waters for days after Italy, Malta, and other E.U. countries refused to offer them a safe port. Well, that ended when the countries reached an agreement, some 300 migrants who have reached Malta in recent weeks would be redistributed among eight E.U. countries.
Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro begins his second-term on Thursday even more isolated than ever. Neighboring countries have branded him a pariah. Brazil, Argentina, and Colombia denounced his reelection as illegitimate. And Peru will place an entry ban on Venezuelan officials. But Maduro remains defiant blaming Venezuela's problems on the U.S. and others.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
NICOLAS MADURO, PRESIDENT OF VENEZUELA (via translator): A coup d'etat ordered by Washington and the Lima cartel is under way against the legitimate and constitutional government over which I preside. And I say to you, the Venezuelan people will know how to respond to any attempt, any action they intend for today, tomorrow, or whenever they intended. The Bolivarian Revolution has been getting prepared to confront and thwart whatever fifth column of traitors who intend violence against the internal life of Venezuela.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CHURCH: Now, it may be difficult to see how Mr. Maduro has held onto power when he's brought Venezuela's economic ruin. Inflation is off the charts. Basic goods are unaffordable. And millions have fled the country. We get more now from CNN's Paula Newton.
PAULA NEWTON, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: From her rooftop perch in one of Caracas' poorest neighborhood, (INAUDIBLE) is back to coaxing skiers water from a winding hose after scouring both Peru and Colombia for a better life. She is too disillusioned now she says to even think about politics.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (via translator): Elections are meaningless here now that we have to go out and vote. That sense of duty has been lost. Even if the opposition gets the majority, the government always wins, so elections don't mean anything.
NEWTON: With fresh contempt, she listens to Nicolas Maduro declared 2019 the year of fresh starts. Touting his experience, Maduro begins a new six-year term after a disputed election last May and a collapsing economy that shows no sign of bottoming out.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's a very, very difficult situation with the economy following by, you know, nearly 50 percent and, you know, since 2013, it's the largest decline we've seen and outside of a war, you know, since the fall of the Soviet Union. And, you know, that's a huge, huge economic crisis.
NEWTON: Huge to be defined by Venezuela's astronomical inflation rate expected by the IMF to reach 10 million percent in 2019. With prices for basic food items doubling every 26 days according to Venezuela's own numbers, that means the monthly minimum wage usually can't buy you one chicken. For nearly six years, CNN has witnessed the desperation and the misery. Queues for basic food, hospitals that lack life- saving essentials, and the backlash, the daring protesters we met in 2017 now silenced.
They've been intimidated, imprisoned, or forced out of the country. The election that keeps him in power had the lowest turnout in years and has been discredited by many of its neighboring countries including Argentina, Brazil, and Colombia.
[02:40:09] And so, how has the Maduro regime hung on for so long? Some insight from the latest set of U.S. sanctions that target what the U.S. Treasury Department calls an illicit scheme to scheme profits from currency markets. In a statement, U.S. Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin says, our action against this corrupt currency exchange network expose yet another deplorable practice that Venezuela regime insiders have used to benefit themselves at the expense of the Venezuelan people.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Financially, it seems like it's coming more and more to a head whether that spills over in the political realm as it remains to be seen.
NEWTON: Propped up by deals with Russia and loan repayment extensions from China, Maduro though does hang on. And that's why Kenya isn't counting on anything to change. She joined the three million Venezuelans that the U.N. says have fled Venezuela since 2014. She returned with nothing.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: If my choice is to struggle somewhere else or struggle here, I'd rather struggle here.
NEWTON: And that struggle is the only thing Venezuelans have learned to count on. Paula Newton, CNN.
CHURCH: We'll take a short break right now. But next on CNN NEWSROOM, renewed outrage at R&B singer R. Kelly as a docu-series details years of allegations against him including sexual abuse and pedophilia. We're back with that in just a moment.
CHURCH: Well, protesters marched in front of R&B singer R. Kelly's studio in Chicago calling for a boycott of his music and demanding he be prosecuted for alleged sexual assault. A new docu-series details long-standing allegation of abuse, predatory behavior, and pedophilia against the singer. Kelly denies any wrongdoing. But he could be facing a new investigation. CNN's Martin Savidge has the details.
MARTIN SAVIDGE, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: The documentary surviving R. Kelly has been a huge ratings hit for the network that run it is also sparked the 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, it's very hard to look away, and hard to overlook.
We should point out that R. Kelly has previously in the past denied all 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 who 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.
In fact, Cook County that's Chicago. The state's attorney there put on a plea for witnesses and victims to come forward so that they could build some kind of a case.
The success of that 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 brainwashed 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.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
[02:46:19] TIMOTHY SAVAGE, DAUGHTER FEATURED IN SURVIVING R. KELLY: We haven't seen our daughter. We as right now today, have no proof of life whatsoever. And that's hard for me to say that 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 and your mid-20s you supposed to be living your best life, you supposed to be -- you know, having fine, and not like being ruined like getting ruined by some pervert.
JONJELYN SAVAGE: Right. Yes, we just want to build -- you want to get back to where she was before she left.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SAVIDGE: The Savage family hopes that not only will law enforcement be able to make a case. They also hope that soon they'll be reunited with their daughter and that other families won't have to go through what they've been through.
They still suffer in other ways because of their outspoken. It's just last May, they received death threats they allege coming from what was a man who used to be our Kelly's manager. The authorities have taken those death threats so seriously that they've issued an arrest warrant for that man.
And as recently, as January 3rd that's the day 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 continued to suffer the loss of their daughter, they also apparently continued to be harassed just for speaking out on her behalf. Back to you.
CHURCH: Thanks for that, Martin. Well, police in Norway say kidnappers are demanding ransom for the wife of a prominent businessman. Anne-Elisabeth Hagen disappeared back in October.
But authorities asked the media not to report on it until now. Her husband Tom Hagen is a real estate investor worth an estimated $200 million. The couple lives just outside Oslo. Local media report the kidnappers are asking for ransom to be paid in cryptocurrency.
Well, is growing concern about the fate of a North Korean envoy who vanished from his assignment in Italy. Some are asking South Korea to help, but they're worried the government in Seoul is not doing enough to help defectors. CNN's Brian Todd has the details.
BRIAN TODD, CNN CORRESPONDENT: He's one of Kim Jong-un's top diplomats anywhere in the world. And he's been missing without a trace for two months after disappearing from his post at North Korea's Embassy in Rome. South Korean media reports say he's defected. Now, prominent North Korean defectors say they're worried about the safety of Jo Song-gil and his wife. And they're pleading with the South Korean government to protect him. THAE YONG-HO, FORMER DEPUTY AMBASSADOR, NORTH KOREA'S U.K. EMBASSY (through translator): We urge the South Korean government to put in the effort for Jo Song-gil so that he can make the journey safely to South Korea if his family wants to.
TODD: But Thae Yong-ho, a top North Korean diplomat in London who defected three years ago says, he does not believe the South Korean government under President Moon Jae-in is doing enough to embrace the missing diplomat. "Neither the South Korean government or its citizens express their intention to rescue Jo and his family. I'm saddened by the current situation."
This comes just a few days after Thae Yong-ho wrote an open letter to the missing diplomat, begging him to come to South Korea. What our President Moon Jae-in and his government doing to make South Korea less hospitable for North Korean defectors?
SUZANNE SCHOLTE, CHAIRMAN, NORTH KOREA FREEDOM COALITION: There's a suppression of their activities. They are blocking the balloon launches. The efforts that the North Koreans are making to reach out and get information in North Korea.
Second thing is they've cut off funding for all the defector led, NGOs are advocating for human rights in North Korea. They've stopped all those activities, they've cut off all their funding. In addition, Moon Jae-in never talks about human rights in North Korea.
[02:50:03] TODD: Some analysts say, the South Korean president is so eager to make peace with Kim Jong-un that he doesn't want to anger the North Korean dictator over high-profile defectors.
DEAN CHENG, SENIOR RESEARCH FELLOW, THE HERITAGE FOUNDATION: He would like to see significant improvement in North-South relations. And the reality is a defector, especially a high-ranking one is a black eye. It's a very awkward thing for the North Koreans to have to handle.
TODD: There is no significant evidence that the South Koreans have cut back on security for North Korean defectors. But a key question now, if this missing diplomat, Jo Song-gil, doesn't surface in Seoul, where could he turn up.
GREG SCARLATOIU, COMMITTEE FOR HUMAN RIGHTS, NORTH KOREA: I suspect he may end up been a European country, in a Western European country. Perhaps, in the United States, he will assume a new identity. He will be on the protection from indefinite period of time.
TODD: We've pressed officials at the State Department on whether the U.S. will offer asylum to the missing North Korean diplomat, they haven't responded. We've also been pressing South Korean government officials in Seoul, and here at their Embassy in Washington to respond to the criticism that they've made life more difficult for North Korean defectors. They haven't responded to that. Brian Todd, CNN, Washington.
(END VIDEOTAPE) CHURCH: On a lighter note looking for a new T.V. to binge watch your favorite show. Wait till you see what's on display at the Consumer Electronics Show. T.V.s of tomorrow. We'll take a look.
CHURCH: Well, Central Europe is digging out from heavy snow and more is on the way. Let's get the details now from meteorologist Pedram Javaheri. They just can't take a break, can they?
PEDRAM JAVAHERI, CNN INTERNATIONAL METEOROLOGIST: Not at all, no, you know, so far the first 10 days of the year now has seen significant accumulations as much as two meters, Rosemary. And the photographs really are putting it in perspective of the significance of the amount of snow that has come down.
Look at the scenes across portions of Southern Germany, where not only had we see snowfall come down in forms meters here. But even burying some of the trains across this region. In fact, as you work your way across other areas around Germany, we know transportation has been disrupted on every single level, from air, to ground, of course, on the rails, as well. And the perspective as such here with additional heavy snow still in the forecast.
And officials still have not reduced the threat warnings which remain at a red, which is the highest level of concern. But in Lofer, across the northern and northwestern tier thereof Austria, the average for the month of January of snowfall typically around 60 or so centimeters. About a 129 centimeters has come down so far in the first week or so of 2019.
Again, doubling the monthly average in the month of January in Austria. So, kind of tells you that it is the snowy season, the snowiest part of the year and we're still seeing twice the amount of snowfall we should see in the snowiest of locations. But there's that red warning in place across parts of Southern Germany, much of Austria.
High risk remains in place for avalanches. 20 to 60 centimeters of additional snow still in the forecast across some of these areas. In fact, what is taking place here at these stau-effect, which we often talk about on the northern periphery. And much of the avalanches have occurred on the northern side of mountains and a lot of that has to do with aura graphics or essentially forcing the air to want to rise on the northern fringe of these mountains.
As that happens the air cools, condenses, voila, you have heavy snowfall on the northern side, while we get a rain or snow shadow on the southern side of this. And we get the fond effector where we have much, much less snowfall accumulating, of course, air warms as it compresses and sinks down to lower levels.
But with the steep slopes across portions of the Alps, Rosemary, the risk remains very high here for additional avalanches and some of the ski resorts are not only asking the guests there to evacuate but also the residents that live in the vicinity of these resorts are being asked to leave as well because of the high risk at this point.
[02:54:45] CHURCH: Yes. But there do be cautious, right? Thank you so much, Pedram. Appreciate that.
$137 billion that is the net worth of Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos. He is the richest man in the world. But those billions could be at stake. On Wednesday, he and his wife announced on Twitter they're divorcing after 25 years of marriage.
They live in the U.S. State of Washington where couples typically split assets in half during divorce settlements. If that's the situation, it would be the biggest divorce settlement on record. It's not clear if the couple have a prenuptial agreement. I'm sure they'll both be just fine with that amount to split.
Well, Jeff Bezos won't be the first to feel the pain of divorce in his bank account. Some other notable breakups, casino and resort owners Steve and Elaine Wynn spent an estimated $1 billion to divorce and that was after they were married twice.
The settlement between Formula One executive Bernie Ecclestone and model Slavica Radic cost about $1.2 billion. Although, some reports say she was the one paying Ecclestone. And media mogul Rupert Murdoch parted from his wife Anna to the cost of an estimated $1.7 billion. There you go, just be careful.
Well the Consumer Electronics Show is underway in Las Vegas. And if there's one item turning heads, it is the T.V. of the future. Samuel Burke looks at some of the screens that may find their way into your home soon.
SAMUEL BURKE, CNN BUSINESS AND TECHNOLOGY CORRESPONDENT: These prototypes from LG Display give us a sense of what televisions might be like in the future, or maybe even the near future.
You see these vibrant colors? Don't get fixated on that this is all about the potential of mobility. Taking a screen from your home office and because it's so light, just being able to take it to your kitchen, your bedroom, wherever. The power, the data, everything the screen needs to function coming through one single USBC cable. It's cool but is it necessary? Only the future consumer can decide that.
This screen is 88 inches. The speaker is also 88 inches. That's because the screen literally is the speaker. And what that technology allows this screen to do is move the sound 100 percent in sync with the image. So, you may not be able to hear this at home, but as these UFOs go up, and down I can hear the sound moving up and down.
What about a transparent television? This older technology means that each pixel is creating its own light, strong enough to make this commercial concept. But what if one day, this were your bedroom window?
CHURCH: How about that? Samuel Burke, thanks so much. And thanks for joining us this hour. I'm Rosemary Church. Remember to connect with me anytime on Twitter. And I'll be back with another hour of news in just a moment. Don't go anywhere. You're watching CNN.