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CONNECT THE WORLD

Trump, this is a Tremendous Crisis at the Border; Trump, "Would Almost Say Definitely; Will Declare Emergency; President Trump Heads to U.S.-Mexico Border Amid Shutdown; Pompeo, "U.S. is Force for Good, Period; McAllen Lies on the Banks of the Rio Grande River; Houthi Rebel Drone Attacks Yemeni Military Base; Hundreds of Thousands of Workers Feel the Pain of No Pay. Aired 10-11a ET

Aired January 10, 2019 - 10:00   ET

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


[10:00:00] DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Tremendous success with China. And I find China, frankly, in many ways to be far more

honorable than crying Chuck and Nancy. I really do. I think that China is actually much easier to deal with than the opposition party.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Are you now going to have -- even how the meeting went yesterday. Are you now going to decide to declare a national

emergency? Are you holding out too much?

TRUMP: I have the absolute right to declare a national emergency. The lawyers have so advised me. I'm not prepared to do that yet. But if I

have to, I will. I have no doubt about it. I will. I have the absolute right to declare -- this was passed by Congress. So when you say was it

passed by Congress, it was. Other Presidents have used it. Some fairly often. I have the absolute right to declare a national emergency. I

haven't done it yet. I may do it. If this doesn't work out, probably I will do it. I would almost say definitely. This is a national emergency.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: If this is a national emergency, why haven't you declared a national emergency already?

TRUMP: Because I would like to do the deal through Congress, and because it makes sense to do it through Congress. And because it makes sense to do

it through Congress. But the easy route for me would have been, call a national emergency, and do it. And I will tell you, this is a tremendous

crisis at the border. Look at President Obama's statements, from the past, numerous statements where he calls it a crisis. This is a crisis. You

have human trafficking. You have drugs. You have criminals coming in. You have gangs, MS-13. We're taking them out by the thousand and bringing

them back. This is a crisis. And they don't come in at the checkpoint, which they do also, but they go in between the checkpoints where you don't

have any barriers.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Mr. President --

TRUMP: Go ahead.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: If it is a national emergency, if this doesn't work out, if you don't do it, you will do it, or are you still thinking about

if?

TRUMP: If we don't make a deal, I mean, I would say 100 percent. But I don't want to say 100 percent, because maybe something else comes up. But

if we don't make a deal, I would say it would be very surprising to me that we don't declare a national emergency and just fund it through the various

mechanisms.

And by the way, there's more than one mechanism. There's various mechanisms. And the lawyers tell me 100 percent. It would be nice if we

could make a deal but dealing with these people is ridiculous. I don't know if they know how to make a deal. We need -- and I will tell you what,

a lot of Democrats -- I was looking at numbers -- a lot of Democrats agree, we need national security. And the only way you have it, the only way you

have it, is you have to have a strong border. And the only way you have a strong border is you need a wall, or you need some kind of a steel -- go

ahead.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Mr. President --

TRUMP: You need a steel barrier. And if you don't have the steel barrier, or a concrete wall, forget it.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There are pictures this morning of a steel wall being sawed right through. What good is a steel wall if they can saw through it?

TRUMP: Well, that's a wall that was designed by previous administrations. There's nothing that can't be penetrated but you fix it. But it's a very

difficult thing to do. But that's a wall and they have other walls. We have many walls under consideration. Even concrete. There's acid that can

go through concrete. But what you do, is you fix it. And it's very much limits, it's very, very hard. The wall that we're doing, is very, very

hard to penetrate.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Mr. President, you walked out on the Democrats, are you going to bring them back? How can you get a deal here -- ?

TRUMP: Well, the news incorrectly reported, because I said, well, if we go back, and everything's peachy-dory and you say we'll talk over 30 day, at

the end of 30 days, are you going to give us great border security which includes a wall or a steel barrier? She said no. I didn't pound on the

table. I didn't raise my voice. That was a lie. What you should do is give them Pinocchios because if you ask Mike Pence and ask you Kevin

McCarthy, you ask anybody in the room, they will say -- because I know if I do that, you're going to report it. But you guys report it anyway because

your fake news.

But let me tell you something, I very calmly said if you're not going to give us strong borders, bye-bye, and I left. I didn't rant. I didn't rave

like you reported. I mean some of the newspapers, when then Schumer always has his standard line. He had a temper tantrum. I don't have a temper

tantrum. I really don't. But it plays to his narrative, but it is a lie.

[10:05:01] I very calmly walked out of the room. I didn't smash the table. I should have, but I didn't smash the table. And that's the story. So,

all of that -- wait -- all of that narrative is alive.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: My question is, how can you get a deal if you're not talking and you walked out?

TRUMP: But we'll see.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Are you going to bring them back?

TRUMP: Let me tell you, I think there's far more pressure on them. Because the people of our country want security. We want to be a secure

country. We don't want drugs pouring in. Most of our drugs are coming through the southern border and they don't come through the portal, they

come in, in between the portals, where you have no barrier.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: What do you --

TRUMP: Say it.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: What do you (INAUDIBLE).

TRUMP: Well, you know who has more human pain, the parents of people who have children killed by an illegal immigrant who should have never been in

the country. You know who has more human pain? The husband that lost a wife or the wife at lost a husband to an illegal immigrant that came in

five or six times that shouldn't be here. That's the human pain. And the people that will be paid but maybe a little bit later, those people, many

of them are on my side. They want to see border security. And by the way, NBC maybe -- NBC maybe the most dishonest reporters of all times.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Mr. President --

(INAUDIBLE)

TRUMP: I have no idea what they're doing.

Go ahead. Next question.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: (INAUDIBLE)

TRUMP: What? I can't hear you.

(INAUDIBLE)

TRUMP: We have plenty of funds, if there is a national emergency, there's a lot of funds.

(INAUDIBLE)

TRUMP: I just want to say, if we declare a national emergency, we have a tremendous amount of funds. Tremendous. If we want to do that, if we want

to go that route. Again, there is no reason why we can't come to a deal. But you have another side that doesn't care about border security. The

Democrats -- which I've been saying all along -- they don't give a damn about crime. They don't care about crime. They don't care about gang

members coming in and stabbing people and cutting people up. They don't care about crime. And if they're not going to care about crime, then I

agree, they shouldn't do anything at the border. But I care about crime, and I care about drugs. We're spending a fortune on trying to stop drug,

and they pour in through the border. But I see it more now than ever before, the Democrats don't care about the border, and they don't care

about crime.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Mr. President --

TRUMP: Say it. Say it.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Is there an emergency on the border, when did it begin?

TRUMP: It began a long time -- ask President Obama. Obama used to call it a crisis at the border, too. I think he said it in 2014. Look, look, you

can all play cute, and I say 80 percent of you are possibly in coordination with the opposition party. I mean the whole thing is ridiculous. All you

have to do is look at the borders, rent a helicopter, except you don't want to know the truth, and watch. And by the way, here's the story, there is

another major caravan forming, right now, in Honduras, and so far, we're trying to break it up. But so far, it's bigger than anything we've seen.

And a drone isn't going to stop it. And a sensor isn't going to stop it. But you know what is going to stop it in its tracks? A nice powerful wall.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Mr. President --

Does the buck stop with you over this shutdown?

TRUMP: The buck stops with everybody. They could solve this problem in literally 15 minutes. We could be back, we could have border security,

they could stop this problem, in 15 minutes, if they wanted to. I really believe now that they don't want to. I really believe that. I really

believe that they don't care about crime. I really believe this. The Democrats don't care about crime. They have been taken over by a group of

young people, who frankly, in some cases, I've been watching, I actually think they're crazy. But they've been taken over by a group that's so far

left, I really don't think they care about crime. And you know, sadly, they're viewing this as the beginning of the 2020 Presidential race, and

that's OK with me.

[10:10:00] But they have been taken over by a group of people that don't care about gangs. They don't care about human trafficking, and drugs.

They don't care about anything. I will tell you why. They have gone crazy.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Mr. President --

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Mr. President --

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: How much longer is this shutdown going to last?

TRUMP: We have to get a win or I will have to go national security. One or the other. Either we're going to win --

(INAUDIBLE)

TRUMP: -- either we're going to win or make a compromise. I'm OK to make it a compromise. Compromise is in my vocabulary, very strongly. So we're

either going to have a win, make a compromise, because I think a compromise is a win for everybody, or I will declare a national emergency.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Mr. President --

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Mr. President, have you already --

(INAUDIBLE)

TRUMP: Very, very, this is a thing that the lawyers tell me is 100 percent. You just have to read the language. Just read the language.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Mr. President --

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Mr. President --

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: If special counsel signed a report, do you want that to be made public?

TRUMP: We'll have to see. There has been no collusion whatsoever. We'll have to see.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Mr. President, did you know that Paul Manafort was sharing polling data from your campaign with the Russians?

TRUMP: No, I didn't know anything about it.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Mr. President, do you know anything about Jeff Bezos and his divorce and his affairs?

TRUMP: Well, I wish him luck.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (INAUDIBLE)

TRUMP: I wish him luck. It's going to be a beauty.

BECKY ANDERSON, CNN HOST: Welcome to CONNECT THE WORLD, with me, Becky Anderson. You have been listening to the U.S. President, 20 days in, and

there is a complete and total stalemate. As I say, we've been listening to the U.S. President, ahead of his trip south to the border with Mexico.

Now, the President, who prides himself on the art of the deal, is still deadlocked with Democrats, over the U.S. government shutdown, after another

round of budget talks collapsed. So Donald Trump now heading for the border, hoping that the backdrop will help his push for billions of dollars

to build a wall or a fence -- whatever he wants to call it -- with Mexico. Running up against a tough deadline, though, as hundreds of thousands of

federal workers will miss, miss their first full paychecks of 2019, tomorrow.

Let's connect you to everywhere this story matters. We're joined by CNN White House correspondent Abby Phillip, and our Polo Sandoval is in the

border town of McAllen in Texas, joining us there live. Let me start you with, Abby. Donald Trump says I have, and I quote him, the absolute right

to declare a national emergency. Is he right?

ABBY PHILLIP, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: In some ways, he is right. Usually, this is something that the Congress and the courts defer to the

President on, in terms of whether or not the circumstances require calling for a national emergency. That being said, there are a lot of questions

about whether the President is correct, that these circumstances require calling for a national emergency. There is a widespread expectation among

Republicans and Democrats, that if he does that, it will be challenged in the courts, almost immediately. Leaving him perhaps without the ability to

build this border wall anyway. Because it will be tied up in the courts.

The problem with this, is that this is usually something that is done in a bipartisan or in a nonpartisan fashion. For example, after 9/11, when the

United States was attacked, it was beyond question that that was a national emergency. Meaning that Democrats and Republicans agreed on it. In this

case, it is going to be challenged, Democrats do not agree that the circumstances require it. And there are going to be some real questions

about why the President hasn't done it before, if in fact the situation on the border has been at a crisis level. The President has been in office

for over two years, at this point. There are some real questions about why he hasn't done it sooner. And why he waited until there is a Democratic

House of Representatives to bring the situation to a point of crisis, where the government has now been shut down for 20 days -- Becky.

ANDERSON: And our colleague, Manu Raju, suggesting on Twitter, just in the past few minutes, that Donald Trump once again, setting as the standard for

declaring a national emergency, the inability to get a deal with Congress, which is certainly not the sort of precedent that's set in the past,

correct?

PHILLIP: Absolutely, and I think that is one of the reasons why a lot of people believe this is more of a political consideration. Because the

President is making it contingent upon his ability to strike a deal with Democrats, over one specific part of this issue of border security, and

that is his border wall.

[10:15:00] So one of the interesting things about this, is that if this plays out, the President might declare a national emergency, I think there

is nothing stopping him from declaring it. The issue is, will the courts stop him, after it's been declared. And either way, it seems that if he

does that, it will basically eliminate the possibility of a deal through Congress. The talks have already broken down but I think Democrats very

much will view that as a shot across the bow. He's not going to be able to go back to the negotiating table.

So that's why you're seeing President Trump saying I want to wait until we've really played out all of the possibilities in terms of negotiating

with Democrats. But it does seem, Becky, that we could be close. Talks really broke down yesterday at the White House. The President walked out

of a meeting with Democrats saying he doesn't think he can work with them. He said on the lawn a few minutes ago that China is a more honorable

negotiator than Democratic leaders. So I think there is really kind of a sense of frustration on both sides here, that we may not be getting any

closer to a resolution to this problem.

ANDERSON: And Abby, the nonpartisan objective observer might suggest that this is a game of chicken between the White House -- well, Donald Trump, at

this point, and the Democrats getting absolutely nowhere. Polo, you are in McAllen in Texas, where the U.S. President is headed. What are you seeing,

and what are people telling you there?

POLO SANDOVAL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, it's important to keep in mind why the President is coming here, at least one of the reasons here, Becky.

We're in McAllen, Texas, it is the largest city, in what is what the border patrol has identified as its busiest sector in terms of the apprehension of

undocumented families. So obviously, that is significant that the President is coming here.

Also significant are the political demographics here. A majority of this part of Texas is highly Democratic. So there are many people who will not

see eye to eye with the President, as you're about to hear. A majority of the people who live here will disagree with the President's policies, and

with what you just heard from him just a short time ago, that the crisis isn't here.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

SANDOVAL (voice-over): In the south Texas city of McAllen, most people we talked to disagree with the President about his proposed border barrier.

Ahead of Trump's arrival, the mayor feels like most do in the Democratic strong hold, that the wall is not the answer to the country's immigration

problem. He also says the real crisis is not happening here.

JIM DARLING, MCALLEN, TEXAS MAYOR: The crisis is really over for them, when they hit the border, and they can seek asylum. The crisis for them in

their home country, and the journey across Mexico is over.

SANDOVAL: Since 2014, Mayor Jim Darling, McAllen has been the epicenter of the border debate It's where the tens of thousands of undocumented families

apprehended in the region by border control are released with future immigration court dates. After they're released, the legal asylum-seekers

make their way into Sister Norma Pimentel humanitarian respite center.

SISTER NORMA PIMENTEL, CATHOLIC CHARITIES OF THE RIO GRANDE VALLEY: The crisis is a crisis that we create when we don't facilitate a safe passage

for families who are innocent children, moms, infants.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Hello, sister, how are you?

PIMENTEL: Hi there.

SANDOVAL: As an opponent to Trump's border barrier, she is among the majority in this predominantly Democratic region of a red state. But up

river from McAllen, Ruperto Escobar, supports not only building Trump's wall but letting it cut through his 600-acre ranch.

RUPERTO ESCOBAR, SUPPORTS BUILDING WALL: In my opinion, nothing has changed. Other than him -- and I'm talking about the President -- not

being able to find a way to get it done.

SANDOVAL: For Escobar, a Trump supporter, it's about securing the rugged south Texas ranchland that's been in his family since 1767. He says he has

seen the influx of people and drugs crossing the border illegally firsthand.

ESCOBAR: One night, two men, two armed men, stood right in front of that gate, the last gate we passed by, and they stopped my men from coming to

shut down the pump. They told them, we're going to shut the pump down. Leave it. We need this place. This place is ours tonight. What were they

going to do with it? They were armed like that. They were going to smuggle drugs or humans. I have no idea. I didn't come to check. It's

not my part. It's my government's duty to secure my boarder.

SANDOVAL: Escobar believes the wall is a solution but that opinion isn't a popular one. The mayor of McAllen says, given the vast majority of people

coming across the border or illegally seeking asylum, there is no simple solution.

DARLING: We all agree national security is important, border security is important, we live on the border. We think it is important but living on

the border, you realize there are different ways of accomplishing that.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

SANDOVAL: As you hear there from the Mayor of McAllen, Becky, it really does give you a better sense of why people feel the way they do in this

part of south Texas. It is much more complex than what the President just described in his own words as a big powerful wall. There are many layers

here.

[10:20:00] I can tell you that during the President's three hours on the ground here, he will visit with law enforcement. Also, that Catholic nun,

who you just heard from, will have a seat at that round table and then -- according to several reports -- he is also expected to see first-hand, the

Rio Grande. Which is that river that divides both U.S. and Mexico. The question everybody here is really asking here, Becky, will he see enough to

take back to Washington and try to bring this shutdown to a close?

ANDERSON: Polo Sandoval is in McAllen in Texas, along the border with Mexico. Of course, that is where the President is headed. You heard the

Mayor of McAllen in Polo's report. And we will be speaking to him live a little later in this show.

We're going to take a quick break at this point. I'm Becky Anderson. You're watching CONNECT THE WORLD. And Mr. Trump's top diplomat is on the

road. CNN are in Cairo and in northern Syria, that is up next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

ANDERSON: A force for good, period. That was Mike Pompeo's rallying cry in Cairo, about an hour ago. The U.S. Secretary of State delivering a

bullish speech, defending U.S. policy in the Middle East. Well, Pompeo referenced his own faith in the first few sentences saying, as an

Evangelical Christian, he was there to speak the truth. And what a version of the truth it was. Painting a picture of America taking back what he

called its traditional leading role after an Obama era abandonment of the region as he characterized it. It was a speech tough on terror, Iran, and

Hezbollah, even as U.S. plans to withdraw troops from Syria. And full of praise, the speech, for Gulf Arab partners and Israel's warming ties with

them.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MIKE POMPEO, U.S. SECRETARY OF STATE: The U.S. knows that we can't and shouldn't fight every fight or sustain every economy. No nation wants to

be dependent on another. Our aim, our aim is to partner with our friends and vigorously oppose our enemies because a strong, secure and economically

vibrant Middle East is in our national interest. And it's in yours.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ANDERSON: Also, a new beginning, it seems. A reinvigorated return to the region, so far, so expected. But did Pompeo's words dispel any of the

confusion and criticism around this administration's approach to this region? Ben Wedeman is in Cairo. Clarissa Ward is in northern Syria for

you. Ben, starting with you, what do you make of the speech?

BEN WEDEMAN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: What I heard was a one-dimensional speech, Becky, very much the focus was on fighting

terrorism. Whether that's Al Qaeda, ISIS, and countering Iran's presence in the Middle East. But what he didn't really discuss was the plight of

hundreds of millions of people in this part of the world who live in police states.

[10:25:02] Who have very little in the way of basic freedoms. People who we're seeing increasingly are no longer even concerned with those, they're

concerned with just making a living. You are having massive demonstrations in Sudan, where people are angry over the price of bread and the cost of

living. You've had demonstrations in Jordan, Tunisia, Lebanon, the Palestinian territories, where people simply are finding it very difficult

to make ends meet. So it was really sort of a military solution, what he was laying out, for a region that needs so much more. It needs to see a

breath of freedom. It needs to see the chance of hope for a better life. Because at the moment, things are getting worse, both politically, and

economically, and he didn't address either of those areas -- Becky.

ANDERSON: Clarissa, Mike Pompeo referenced President Obama's famous speech in Cairo, nearly ten years ago, one that CNN of course were there to cover.

And I know Ben was there actually for that speech itself. And it was meant to signal a new beginning for America's relationship with the Middle East.

But if you listen to Pompeo, it started a decade of quote, misjudgments and dire consequences. Misunderstandings and misjudgments, accusations often

brought at Trump's Middle East policy, to not least at a policy on Syria. Contradictions, no contradictions, says Mike Pompeo. Clarissa, your

thoughts?

CLARISSA WARD, CNN CHIEF INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, I think there were a lot of contradictions. You know, he talked about this idea of when

America retreats, chaos follows, but that's exactly what America intends to do here in northern Syria. Roughly 2,000 troops, President Trump has

ordered them to withdraw. There's still some confusion as to the exact time line. But you heard Pompeo saying that withdraw they will. And that

raises real questions, as to what happens to this part of Syria, and what happens to the U.S.'s Kurdish allies on the ground, the Syrian Democratic

forces who have been fighting and dying in the battle against ISIS.

If as Pompeo articulated, the strategic objectives are to defeat ISIS and to oppose or counter Iran, and to nurture strategic alliances, then there

are real questions as to how the withdrawal of U.S. troops will in any way facilitate those goals. Because the reality is the minute the U.S. ups and

leaves from here, this territory is likely going to be handed over to the regime of Bashar al-Assad and to Iran and the Iranian backed (INAUDIBLE)

who fight alongside the regime. The reality is that the minute U.S. ups and leaves, there is likely over time to be a resurgence in ISIS activity.

Already we've been hearing some people on the ground, that there are sleeper cells in various parts of the country. And perhaps most

importantly, when it comes to the subject of the U.S.'s allies here, on the ground, the Kurds, they feel absolutely abandoned. They are very concerned

that once they leave, they will be left to the mercy of Turkey. Turkey of course views the Kurds here that are in Syria as an existential terrorist

threat. And so there are still a lot of questions, Becky, as to what the U.S.'s actual role is here, not just in the Middle East, but specifically

in Syria, and what that means for the people who will be left behind -- Becky?

ANDERSON: Clarissa is on the ground in Syria. Apologies for the quality of sound. Extremely important we can get to her there and get the

perspective from there.

Ben, back to you. Just finally, we heard Mike Pompeo applauding the warmer relations between members of the Gulf states, where we are based here in

the UAE, for example, and Israel. I mean, to a certain extent, none of that will surprise people who live in this region, who have been watching

the emergence of those relations? What are the consequences? Should we expect that to continue? And what are the consequences of those warmer

relations?

WEDEMAN: Well, certainly, the relations appear to have been -- be much warmer now than they were a few years ago. But it is important to keep in

mind that there has been an unofficial Israeli representational office in the UAE for several years, well preceding the Trump administration.

Certainly what the Gulf states and Israel have in common is this fear of a perceived Iranian threat in the region. And that is really what's bringing

them ever closer together.

[10:30:03] But the closer the Gulf states get to Israel, the more problematic it becomes when you get to their relationship with the broader

Arab world, and that's an uncomfortable position for them, and so even though we have seen a somewhat closer embrace, between Gulf rulers, and

Israel, all it takes is another blowup in Gaza, or something along those lines, and that relationship could be disrupted -- Becky.

ANDERSON: The story on the ground in the region, as Mike Pompeo continues his eight-stop tour of the Middle East, with Clarissa in Syria, and Ben in

Cairo. Thank you.

I'm going to take a very quick break. When we come back, and get back to the U.S./Mexico border, a border that is mostly made up of the Rio Grande

River. I'm going to ask the mayor of one of the cities there how Donald Trump's wall would impact his community, if it ever gets built. That,

after this.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

ANDERSON: Live from Abu Dhabi in the UAE, welcome back to what is a packed show, with an awful lot going on this hour. We are waiting for House

Speaker Nancy Pelosi, to speak after her disastrous meeting with the U.S. President. We'll be bringing you that live, and we just heard, Mr. Trump

speak a very short time ago.

[10:35:00] Highlighting his right to declare a national emergency on the U.S. southern border. As I speak, the U.S. President is on his way to the

border town of McAllen in Texas. Let's get you there and to the mayor of McAllen, Jim Darling. Who we heard from earlier in one of our reporters'

pieces. Sir, thank you for joining us. The President on his way. He calls what is going on at the border a crisis. Is it?

JIM DARLING, MAYOR, MCALLEN, TEXAS (via Skype): Well, good morning, I understand the President is here, and I think it depends on what you call a

crisis. Actually from that standpoint, one of the issues is the debates about a wall, and it's much more complicated than that, I think.

ANDERSON: Well, he says he has the right to call a national emergency. Which many experts dispute by the way. A national emergency that he says

can only be fixed by a $5.5 billion wall, or steel-slatted barrier, or fence, whatever he wants to call. You don't agree, sir, as I understand

it. Why?

DARLING: Well, I think there's more than a wall. We agree with border security. And if you're really talking about border security, we agree

with that. Some places a barricade is appropriate. Some places it's not. But really what's spiked all the concern about a crisis on the border, was

in 2014, we saw a great number of people seeking asylum from Central America. And those numbers have spiked depending on rhetoric, et cetera,

and so what we're dealing with is 75 to 80 percent of the people that are being apprehended, quote, illegally, are really asylum seekers who are then

processed and released up country for a court date later on.

But if you look at the typical illegal alien, which you know there are some bad people coming across the border, those numbers haven't gone up

significantly and the border patrol has made good strides in preventing that typical illegal entry in our country. So you know, if we have to take

a look at it, and really digest what we're talking about.

ANDERSON: Fascinating. Sorry, and I know the coms on this line aren't brilliant, so let me just crack on. If a wall, sir, where to be built,

what would that mean for your city's access, for example to the Rio Grande River. We are looking at beautiful pictures of that, I visited it, it is a

stunning, stunning area, and it is an integral part of your city, isn't it?

DARLING: Well, it sure. You know, we have nature centers, et cetera, and it is an old, old river, so it meanders. And so, building a wall at the

border, our border is the river, unlike New Mexico and California, and Arizona, and so we already have a border, what we're afraid of is we create

a wall with a new border and what happens with that property in between the river and the wall, it affects the property owner's right, it doesn't have

ecological results, and those kind of things. And so it is much more complicated, I think, than just building a wall.

You know, the bottom line is border security is important. And there's ways of doing it. Unfortunately, the wall itself, has become a political

football. People got elected or unelected because of their stance on the wall. And I think the average American, they want border security, they

think it is a wall or nothing, and there is obviously more than just a wall involved.

ANDERSON: You make a very good point. Let's have a quick look at the polling. Because it has shown, and continues to show, that only about a

third of Americans actually support the idea of a wall on the border. But as you rightly point out, there is no doubt that security and immigration

are big ticket issues. And while the White House and the Democrats, it has to be said, play chicken on this, you've suggested that you absolutely want

to ensure that there is security in the area where you are. So how do you improve security? I mean is the White House talking to you, your office,

other mayors, in other cities? Are they reaching out to actually speak to the people who count here, for a discussion?

DARLING: Well, you know, the White House, we've had, I don't know, scores of Congressmen, and almost the same amount of Senators, come to visit the

area, and it shows really the dichotomy of the country, the Democrats invariably go to the detention centers where there housing the immigrants

before they go up state and up country. The Republicans go on the riverboat and the river and look at those facilities and then they go back

to Washington, and don't talk about it. The two major things that should be talking about is immigration and border security. And until they start

talking and compromise, we're not going to make any progress.

I thought it was interesting, yesterday, where it was considered a disaster, with both parties and so, now we're talking about who caused the

problems with the meeting and talking about compromise, isn't that what politics is, for the better of everybody.

[10:40:05] To really address immigration and really address border security. That's what I think we need, and I think those are the guys

involved with border security will tell you that.

ANDERSON: Sir, it is a pleasure having you on. Your city, the story, front and center for viewers. Not just in the U.S., but around the world.

Mayor Jim Darling of McAllen, Texas, thank you for joining us.

And just add that Donald Trump reportedly speaking to reporters off the record, last night, actually said he doesn't think this trip is necessary.

He doesn't seem to understand why his aides are encouraging him to go. Many saying, you know, the question is being asked about whether this trip

is just about optics and I'll leave that for you to decide.

You're watching CONNECT THE WORLD. Still to come, a drone attack in Yemen. The war-torn country's hopes of peace. The latest on the crisis there is

coming up.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

ANDERSON: Well, America's top diplomat, using a speech in Egypt to lay out and defend U.S. policy in the Middle East. Mike Pompeo says he has no

plans to visit war-torn Yemen, during this trip, but will hold talks with leaders in Kuwait about the conflict. Well there was hope that Yemen was

on the path to peace following talks in Sweden last month. But now, a major attack has presented the first major challenge to that fragile plan.

Reports say a drone operated by Houthi rebels attacked a Yemeni government military base. A number of military leaders and journalists were

reportedly killed or wounded.

Peter Salisbury is the senior analyst for Yemen, with the nonprofit organization Crisis Group. Knows an awful lot about this. As good as it

gets, out of New York today, but as good as it gets when it comes to real knowledge of what is going on, on the ground. And before we talk about

what Mike Pompeo said on Yemen today, let's just talk about this latest news, this drone attack. Just how damaging is this for the prospect of

peace in Yemen at present?

PETER SALISBURY, SENIOR ANALYST FOR YEMEN, CRISIS GROUP: Sure, and thanks for having me on. Part of the issue here is, you are going to see two

narratives emerge from this really. Technically, the cease fire that was agreed to in Sweden in December is only in Hodeidah governorate, on the Red

seacoast, the west coast of Yemen. This strike took place in Lahj province which is by and large seen as being sort of fair game as it were, part of

the wider conflict. So this isn't subject to the ceasefire. But it is clearly provocation. And what we've really seen since the ceasefire was

agreed in December is both side.

[10:45:00] But the Houthis in particular, trying to push the other side into breaking the deal, into returning to conflict around Hodeidah, into

blinking, blinking first. So this is really a setback to that process. And it's worth remembering that that process really was meant to be a

precursor to an actual peace process, so that the pre-peace process is already breaking down. So it is not looking great. But at the same time,

this wasn't unexpected, and technically, it isn't a breach of the deal agreed to in December. But I think it breaks the spirit of that agreement.

ANDERSON: Yes, and that provocation by the Houthis of coalition assets was talked about by the coalition, was expected to a certain extent, and was a

concern, wasn't it, from the outset. Just over an hour ago, Mike Pompeo, framed the Yemen war as one preventing Iranian expansion. Now, there are

divergent views on that in the region. You've forgotten more than a lot of people will ever know. Is that a realistic view on the conflict?

SALISBURY: I mean, look, the problem with Yemen and any complex conflict like this is people are looking for the one thing that explains the

conflict. Is Iran involved? Is Iran backing the Houthis to a greater or lesser extent? Yes, yes, they are. Is Iran the source of the issue, the

source of the Houthi movement and the source of everything that has made this civil war happen? No, they're not. So by framing it simply as an

issue of we need to push back against Iran, it's an over-simplification, and it means that the diagnosis is wrong, so the cure is probably going to

be wrong.

And the fact is, you are probably not going to get rid of the Houthis in the entirety, barring I don't know, I don't know what major additional

military intervention, and as long as the Houthis are around, they're not going to trust anyone else, but they're going to work with the Iranian. So

the Iranian presence is something that you have to deal with, and there has to be a smarter way than this very black and white narrative of what Yemen

is.

ANDERSON: Sure. Let's have a listen to what the U.N. Special Envoy to Yemen Martin Griffiths said to the Security Council on Wednesday. For

those who missed this, have a listen.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MARTIN GRIFFITHS, U.N. SPECIAL ENVOY TO YEMEN: So I'm still hopeful that we can proceed to the next round of consultations within the near future.

And I'm working with both parties to make sure that that will happen at the earliest possible date.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ANDERSON: No dates and no place as of yet. But I talked to enough people about this conflict and those who are involved in this process that we are

now in, and people remain relatively optimistic. I know you haven't been necessarily as optimistic as others, from the outset, but there is a sense

that there is some optimism, still. This has always been an asymmetric war, since the conflict and the coalition were involved in this conflict.

It was always going to be more difficult for the Houthis who were imbedded on the ground, with the sort of fire power that the coalition had.

And from the coalition side, there was this expectation that eventually they would have to cave. Is there a face-saving position for the Houthis

at this point, which will accelerate any possible solution? And will provide for them an environment where they can still survive, in what will

be a new Yemen at some point?

SALISBURY: Yes, I think absolutely. And one of the issues we have right now is what was agreed in Sweden is a deal based on a phased withdrawal of

different forces from different places around this port city, Hodeidah.

The first move is meant to be the Houthis. They're meant to withdraw forces from all of these ports. They've announced they have withdrawn, but

there is no mechanism agreed to actually verify that. But if they can act in good faith around that, if they will withdraw from the port, if they

will engage in this process, they can demonstrate their ability to do deals. And they can start moving towards a place where the conflict is

effectively frozen, and everyone has to agree on a power-sharing agreement. So there is the potential here for things to move in the right directions.

But the problem is that the Houthi do have this long track record, unfortunately, of using deals like this to maneuver themselves into a new

position.

ANDERSON: Peter, it's always a pleasure speaking to you. Thank you so much for joining us, out of New York. First time we've spoken this year.

Certainly will not be the last time that we speak in 2019. Thank you, sir.

[10:50:03] Live from Abu Dhabi, you're watching CONNECT THE WORLD. We'll be right back after this.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

ANDERSON: We want to get you back to one of the top stories, five minutes or so left. The U.S. government shut down. Now, of course, in its 20th

day. Away from the cameras and news conferences and bright lights of Washington, we saw the U.S. President out on the lawn earlier today before

he makes his trip, as he is now doing, down to the southern border. But away from all of that, hundreds of thousands of ordinary Americans are

hurting from lack of pay. Randi Kaye takes us to the country's heartland to talk with one air traffic controller. Have a listen.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

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.

MARC SCHNEIDER, AIR TRAFFIC CONTROLLER: 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 paycheck, quote, agree 100 percent with what he is doing, and are fans of

what he is doing, don't count Mark in.

SCHNEIDER: I don't know many of those people. I assume that he's getting his data from somewhere, I don't know 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. The number of air traffic controllers is at a 30-year low. And many of them are working six

days a week, and ten-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.

(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 travel controller worrying 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.

(on camera): You and your wife are both air traffic controllers. How did it feel to just lose both paychecks like that?

SCHNEIDER: It's 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 0K with you?

SCHNEIDER: Why am I different? What's less valuable about my job?

[10:55:00] 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? Absolutely. 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.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

ANDERSON: Well, as the U.S. President heads to the border, with Mexico, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, and Democratic forces, getting ready to address

the impasse over his proposed border wall. She is expected to address from this podium. The partial government shutdown that has resulted from all of

this back and forth between the two, and that is any time soon. Stay with CNN for that one.

Becky Anderson. That was CONNECT THE WORLD. Our show is over. "I-DESK" will continue. Thanks for watching.

END