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Trump Threatens To Declare National Emergency To Fund Border Wall While Government Shutdown Drags On; U.S. Federal Employees Rally To Pressure Lawmakers; Michael Cohen To Testify Before Congress; Special Counsel Interviewed Trump Pollster Tony Fabrizio; Tennis Great Andy Murray To Retire This Year; Opposition Calls For Election If PM's Deal Rejected; Pompeo Outlines U.S. Foreign Policy in Middle East; The State of Syrian Kurds as U.S. Plans Withdrawal; Jailed Journalists Appealing Seven-Year Sentence; National Enquirer's Bezos Story and Trump Links; When Trump Parts Ways, It's "Bye-Bye". Aired 1-2a ET
Aired January 11, 2019 - 01:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[01:00:00] JOHN VAUSE, CNN INTERNATIONAL ANCHOR: Donald Trump travels to the Southern Border as he makes his case for a wall with Mexico. The White House prepares the groundwork for a possible emergency order to pay for it and the money could come from disaster relief earmarked for communities devastated by Hurricane. After dropping and created confusion of when U.S. troops will pull out of Syria, the U.S. Secretary of State tries to reassure allies telling them it will happen sooner or later.
And an emotional announcement from British tennis great Andy Murray. A hip injury means his career will soon come to an end. Precisely when remains unclear. Hello, everybody! Great to have you with us. Wherever you're watching from around the world, I'm John Vause, this is CNN NEWSROOM.
800,000 government workers are ending their third week without pay with little hope it will get any better. By this time tomorrow, the partial shutdown will be the longest in U.S. history. But Democrats standing firm and refusing to approve funding for his border wall. The Trump White House is now laying the groundwork for the President to declare a national emergency that will allow the administration to access billions of dollars. In some cases money which was approved for hurricane disaster relief. And to make his case about this urgent need for a dramatic increase in
security spending, Mr. Trump traveled to one of the safest towns on the U.S. border with Mexico. The very latest al from CNN's Kaitlan Collins.
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Politicians in Washington are saying oh, you know, they don't know the first thing about -- they've never been here.
KAITLAN COLLINS, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: President Trump making the case for his wall on the border after suggesting he may declare a national emergency to build it.
TRUMP: I have the absolute right to declare a national emergency.
COLLINS: After storming out of negotiations with Democrats the day before, the President telling reporters today he'll bypass Congress if they can't make a deal.
TRUMP: If we don't make a deal, I would say it would be very surprising to me that I would not declare a national emergency.
COLLINS: The President's third meeting with Democratic leaders ended in anger after House Speaker Nancy Pelosi refused to fund his signature campaign promise. Trump claiming today that negotiating with China is easier than talking to Democrats.
TRUMP: 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.
COLLINS: The President pushing back on Senator Chuck Schumer's claims that he raised his voice impounded his fist.
TRUMP: I don't have temper tantrums. I really don't. But it plays through his narrative but its' a lie. I very calmly walked out of the room. I didn't smash the table. I should have but I didn't smash the table.
COLLINS: But as the President played coy about whether he'll declare a national emergency, sources telling CNN the White House legal team has started preparing the legal justification for doing so including advising aides to ramp up calling it a crisis suggesting the more times they say it, the more times they can cite it in a legal defense.
TRUMP: This is a crisis.
MIKE PENCE, VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We have a crisis.
SARAH HUCKABEE SANDERS, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: We have a crisis.
KELLYANNE CONWAY, COUNSELOR TO THE PRESIDENT: He sees this as security at a humanitarian crisis at the border.
COLLINS: Vice President Mike Pence back on the Hill today meeting with lawmakers even as some members of the President's own party voiced skepticism about Trump using his emergency powers.
SEN. JOHN THUNE (R), SOUTH DAKOTA: The emergency declaration is something obviously that's been kicked around and contemplated but I think there are -- I mean, frankly, I'm not crazy about going down that path.
COLLINS: But some Republicans believe he's already made up his mind.
SEN. JOHN KENNEDY (R), LOUISIANA: After listening to the President yesterday as just listening to him this morning and listening to Speaker Pelosi, I think he's going to invoke the national emergencies act.
COLLINS: Now sources tell CNN that it's not a sure thing yet that the President is going to declare a national emergency but they like floating that idea because they think it's a card in their pocket that can help them serve as a negotiating tool with Democrats.
However, behind the scenes, White House officials are becoming increasingly concerned about the optics of this shutdown because even those officials who feel that they've been able to effectively message this in their favor are going to get worried about what it's going to look like the longer it continues to drag out especially starting on Friday when those first federal government workers will not receive their paychecks and on Saturday when this will turn into the longest continuous shutdown in U.S. history. Kaitlan Collins, CNN the White House.
VAUSE: David Gergen is CNN Senior Political Analyst and he was also advisor to the President's Nixon, Ford, Clinton, and Reagan and he is with us once again from Massachusetts. So David, possibly the biggest gobsmacking moment of the day came early when the President tried to rewrite history by saying this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
[01:05:06] TRUMP: Mexico is paying for the wall indirectly. And when I said Mexico will pay for the wall in front of thousands and thousands of people, obviously they're not going to write a check, but they are paying for the wall indirectly.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VAUSE: Yes. And then he did say Mexico would pay directly for the wall.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: Watch this. Are you guys ready for it? Who's going to pay for the wall? And by the way, and by the way, 100 percent. You know the politicians say they'll never pay -- 100 percent.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They're not going to write us a check.
TRUMP: They'll pay. They'll pay. In one form or another. They may even write us a check by the time they see what happened.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VAUSE: David, this was a fundamental promise of his campaign and it was a one-two punch not just a border war but a border wall paid for by Mexico. Now he wants to clarify what he really meant?
DAVID GERGEN, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: It's a little late two years later, three years later. He's first started talking about this back in 2015. He has been consistent and that is we're going to build a wall and Mexico will pay for it. Everyone understood that to be exactly what that somehow Mexico was magically going to send us a check. The Mexicans you know, stood up and said we're not doing that. They've been saying because they're saying we're not doing it whether these -- you know, don't be crazy we're not doing that.
And now at this late hour, he's rewriting that as you say and I think it is -- this has been a very troublesome episode for us as Americans because it seems so manufactured, it seems Orwellian and the way it's being described by people around the president. The Democrats have gotten increasingly hot under the collar about it. And I think has made the country you know, it's somewhat humiliating or embarrassing. Let's put that way more embarrassing a better word.
It's embarrassing for a lot of us Americans to see this kind of charade in Washington and to feel so helpless in the midst of all of it.
VAUSE: You know, because in so many ways, it seems to be a crisis which is built on falsehoods and misrepresentations and that continued on Thursday. Everything on display as the President made his case for the wall, the drugs, and all the contraband, that was seized by Border Patrol at lawful points of entry. And so right now, it seems the President and his aides, what they just given up on even trying to have an honest and factual debate here because what, they've lost so much credibility they've got nothing left to lose?
GERGEN: Yes, I think that's right. He did have an opportunity. I thought the President did the right thing a couple of nights ago by going on television to explain himself. But then they say -- he made a speech that was so brief and that didn't have much logic to it. And once again drew upon misleading statements and numbers that are demonstrably false. That the speech wound up being I think actually harming the President, not helping the case because Americans saw that there -- this is a very flimsy argument and it has all sorts of overtones of being wrongheaded, the facts seem wrong, and you know it's a con job from a point of view of a lot of Americans.
VAUSE: Well, President Trump also tweeted out what was a soundbite from 2014 with President Barack Obama at the time he was dealing with his own immigration crisis and this what he said.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BARACK OBAMA, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We now have an actual humanitarian crisis on the border that only underscores the need to drop the politics and fix our immigration system once and for all.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VAUSE: And Trump added this. President Obama, thank you for your great support. I've been saying this all along. It is an incredible stretch to try and quake the you know, essentially the positions of Barack Obama and Donald Trump when it comes to dealing with the crisis of -- on the Southern Border and you know, an influx of immigration. GERGEN: Yes, John, you're absolutely right. President Obama if
anything was on the far-- the other end of the political spectrum. He actually is very sympathetic to those who've come to our border. He's always believed that immigration was the strength of the United States not a weakness. Most economists would agree with that proposition as well as human rights activists.
And so he -- Obama was accused by Republicans of overstretching his authority when he tried -- when he protected the so-called DREAMers. These were -- these were young children who came to this country with their parents born in this -- born elsewhere, became here with their parents and then have grown up here, gone to school here, served in the military and dream of becoming American citizens. That's why they're called DREAMers.
President Obama by unilaterally extended protection to them for the last part of his presidency and the Republicans have never accepted that. They've always wanted to sort of treat them that they're their deportation material. But Obama was seemed like Merkel in being too soft on immigration. That the Conservatives accused him being too soft and it's very different from what President Trump represents.
[01:10:06] VAUSE: And as the White House would move towards is declaring of a national emergency, you served both Republican and Democrat presidents, five in all. Should any one of them have ever considered using emergency powers to resolve what is essentially a political crisis of their own making?
GERGEN: Well I'm not sure they ever considered it, but I can tell you they never did it and they never even came close to doing that. It is one of the deep concerns in this -- a deepening concern here in this country just as it is in many European countries is whether we're undermining the forces of democracy, the rule of law, the norms and the traditions that go with the rule of law, and we're twisting those for political purposes.
To declare this a national emergency when it's not, as the Trump administration is doing and then to do an end run on the Constitution and run on Congress by grabbing this money in one pile out of one pot which where it's appropriately going to be spent and putting over another pot where we inappropriately spend. That is beginning to twist and undermine the rule of law in the country and that is a dangerous trend that a lot of us are very worried about.
VAUSE: Yes. And that's the big picture in all of this and that's you know obviously overwhelming concern here. David, thank you so much. You're in the position to comment on all of this because of your experience.
GERGEN: Thank you.
VAUSE: Thank you, Sir.
GERGEN: Thank you.
VAUSE: Well, many federal employees of the U.S. are legally required to show up for work despite not getting paid. Many putting in their usual 40 hours a week day-in day-out and here's what they get now zero dollars, zero cents. This is the pay stub from an air traffic controller in Newark. And with those federal workers paid on this coming Friday, they're now say to fill the financial pain from the gridlock in Washington.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MARC SCHNEIDER, AIR TRAFFIC CONTROLLER: That'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.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VAUSE: And some federal employees are trying to ramp up the pressure on Capitol Hill. They have a message for lawmakers.
And so on day 20 of the shutdown, they gathered in Washington demanding the government reopened. Here's Ryan Nobles with the very latest from Washington.
RYAN NOBLES, CNN WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT: The growing sense of frustration from federal workers across the country was palpable here in Washington D.C. A series of protests throughout the nation's capital demanding the federal government to get the government back open. This particular protest that were in the middle of was organized by the AFL-CIO. It features a number of different employee unions that represent federal workers of all different stripes. This was just one there was another protest on that far from we are in another part of the city representing air-traffic controllers who are also impacted by the shutdown.
Now, their message is pretty clear. They are sick of politicians fighting over their paychecks. They don't want this to be a part of the battle over a border wall on the Southern Border between Mexico. They're not interested in that political fight. They want both Republicans and Democrats and President Trump to come together to try and find a solution.
And well, there's no doubt this frustration with President Trump, that's why they're here right in front of the White House. There's also a growing sense of frustration with the leaders in Congress. Mitch McConnell in particular among those that was under attack by this group. This is big because tomorrow is the first day that they could be potentially without a paycheck which is one of the reasons that you hear this frustration growing at a very, very loud rate. Ryan Nobles, CNN Washington.
VAUSE: Well, Democrats now in control of the lower House. They're using that majority power and calling a one-time member of the President's inner circle to testify. Former lawyer and bagman Michael Cohen will appear before the House Oversight Committee in February just before he heads to jail for three years.
Cohen says he wants to provide the American people with answers. He pleaded guilty in August to multiple charges including campaign finance crimes committed during Trump's 2016 run for office essentially paying hush money to women through alleged sexual affairs with Donald Trump.
Lawmakers plan to ask Cohen for details about his work with Mr. Trump and are looking for more specifics about his corporation with the Special Counsel in the Russia investigation, Robert Mueller.
CNN has learned that the Special Counsel's team has interviewed a former Trump campaign holster with close ties to Paul Manafort. CNN's Evan Perez explains how this ties in with the Russia investigation.
[01:14:46] EVAN PEREZ, CNN SENIOR JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT: Special Counsel Robert Mueller's investigators interviewed Tony Fabrizio, one of the Trump campaign pollsters last year as part of the Russia investigation. Now, this is a discussion that possibly takes on new importance now that we know that Mueller's investigators even recently were asking questions about internal polling data that Paul Manafort, the former Trump campaign Chairman shared with a former business associate who the Special Counsel says is connected to Russian intelligence.
Now, Manafort's lawyers this week accidentally made public in a court filing that prosecutors reclaiming Manafort lied to them about sharing the polling information with his business associate, Konstantin Kilimnik.
We don't know why that information was being shared and when it any -- whether any of that data ended up with the Russians who at the time were trying to launch a campaign to try to help Donald Trump win the White House.
The president was asked by reporters whether he knew that his campaign chairman was sharing that information.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Did you know, that Paul Manafort was sharing polling data from your campaign with the Russia?
TRUMP: No, I didn't know anything about it. Nothing about it.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
PEREZ: CNN reporters in February of last year, saw Fabrizio leaving his interview at the Mueller offices here in Washington. And we've since confirmed that he provided information to the Muller investigation.
Fabrizio is a former business associate of Manafort and he is someone who would have knowledge about the inner workings of the Trump campaign as well as Manafort's connections in Eastern Europe. Fabricio worked with Manafort on elections in Ukraine. And he went on to serve as the chief pollster for the Trump campaign in the spring of 2016.
Fabricio declined to comment for the story, but a source familiar with his testimony says that he was asked about Manafort's business dealings. We don't know whether he had any follow-up interviews and what other topics he provided information on. Evan Perez, CNN, Washington.
VAUSE: And "BREAKING NEWS" of Tokyo, Former Nissan chairman Carlos Ghosn has been indicted on two new charges of financial misconduct. Ghosn was detained in Japan nearly two months ago on similar accusations. On Tuesday, he declared his innocence in a Tokyo court appearing in public for the first time since the arrest.
Britain's A league tennis star Andy Murray has announced plans to retire from the sport later this year. The former world number one has been battling a hip injury and has plunged in the world rankings.
He says Friday, that his final event could be his beloved Wimbledon in July if he could make it that far. Here's Coy Wire.
COY WIRE, CNN SPORTS CORRESPONDENT: There were shocking news from the tennis world when Andy Murray, one of the all-time greats broke down with emotion earlier when he revealed that he may soon be forced to retire due to chronic hip pain. Watch as the heartbroken Murray is barely able to speak at a press conference when asked if the Australian Open will be his last tournament.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ANDY MURRAY, THREE-TIME MAJOR TENNIS CHAMPION: I think there's a chance of that, yes, for sure. Yes, there's a chance of that for sure because -- yes, like I said, I'm not -- I'm not sure. I'm not sure I'm able to play through the pain -- you know for another four or five months.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WIRE: Murray also said that he hoped he could finish his career at Wimbledon in July. But if he is unable to do so because of the pain, it would mean that the Australian Open which starts Monday could be the last time we see the tennis legend play in his illustrious career.
Considering Murray played his entire career during the era of Federer Nadal and Djokovic. The Scot managed to carve out an incredible Hall of Fame career for himself. In 2012, at the London Olympics, Murray claimed Olympic gold for Britain playing at the All England Club. Beating Roger Federer in the final.
A month later, after four Grand Slam final losses, Murray finally made his breakthrough at the 2012 U.S. Open, defeating Novak Djokovic in an epic five-setter to claim his first major title. The next year, he won his second. The one he wanted more than any at Wimbledon. Breaking a 77-year wait for a British men's singles champion. In 2015, Murray led Great Britain to the Davis Cup for the first time since 1936, going an incredible 11-0 along the way.
In 2016, Murray found himself back in the Wimbledon final. And once again, the title would be his, beating Milos Raonic in straight sets. A month later in Rio, Murray claimed a second gold. The only man or woman ever to win two Olympic gold's in single's tennis. But his year didn't stop there. Winning five straight titles to end the year including the ATP finals for the first time ever and in doing so becoming world number one which he held for 41 weeks.
But that's where things took a turn for the worst. After an injury- plagued 2017, Murray elected to have hip surgery and has never been the same player since. And now, his career is likely coming to a premature end. I'm Coy Wire. Back to you.
VAUSE: Coy, thank you. The U.K. Prime Minister Theresa May is trying to win last-minute support for her Brexit deal. During a news conference with the Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe on Thursday, she told reporters U.K. could strike good trade deals with countries like Japan that is if the Brexit deal actually goes through.
Mr. Abe says he fully supports her withdrawal deal, does what want to see a disorderly Brexit deal. Happen there would be a no-deal, Parliament said to vote on the agreement next Tuesday, widely expected to be defeated. And when that happens -- if that happens, say when that happens, opposition leader Jeremy Corbyn wants a general election.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
[01:20:13] JEREMY CORBYN, LEADER OF THE LABOUR PARTY: If the government cannot pass its most important legislation, then there must be a general election at the earliest opportunity. A government that cannot get its business through the House of Commons is no government at all.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VAUSE: The U.K. scheduled to leave the European Union at the end of March, and it is still not clear what will happen next if Mrs. Mays deal is defeated in Parliament on Tuesday.
Meantime, we sent out Phil Black on a road trip across the U.K. to engage support for the prime minister's Brexit plan. This hour, he reports from the former mining town in Wales that voted in favor of leaving the E.U. in a referendum back in 2016.
PHIL BLACK, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Wales is a Brexit contradiction. By one important measure, it's done very well out of the E.U. receiving more E.U. funds per member of the population than anywhere else in the United Kingdom, and yet, it's still voted for Brexit.
Wales qualified for that funding because it was deemed to be among the very poorest and least developed places in the European Union. I'm in a part of Wales known as the Valleys. A series of towns and communities built around a once prosperous coal mining industry. But the mines closed long ago and years of economic decline followed.
Travel through this region and you will see E.U. logos attached to key pieces of infrastructure, roads, buildings. Even here in Pontypridd right now, E.U. money is working in a big construction site to regenerate the center of town.
Despite all of this, people here have told us Wales remains Brexit territory. We've met a few people have had a change of heart since the referendum, but not many.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We voted to go out and they should all abide by that, you know. Whether that means no-deal, so be it.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I think we should have remained because I think we're going to be resolved.
BLACK: What would you like to see happen now?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No-deal, of course. I think we should leave the E.U. as soon as possible.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I don't like big government, I don't think the E.U. was a very efficient organization.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'd like you to go the way the Prime Minister wants it.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I didn't know much about it. So, I voted to come out. Now I wish I'd fought it to stay in. The thing is they didn't give us enough, you know, about it.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: That's the word.
BLACK: Brexit supporters here point out that E.U. funding is not charity. It's not a gift. Because Wales pays insignificantly to the E.U. and Britain as a whole pays in billions more, than it gets back. They acknowledge it's likely there will be a shortfall of development funding in the future. But they say Britain's ability to rule itself is more important. Their view, sovereignty is all. Phil Black, CNN, Pontypridd, Wales.
VAUSE: President Trump has focused for years now the so-called crisis on the border with Mexico. But what about the border to the North? In facts, matter compared to the south, it's a potential hotbed of terrorist activity. That's next on CNN NEWSROOM.
[01:25:51] VAUSE: As a partial shutdown of the U.S. government drags on, President Donald Trump is sticking with his made-up story about a crisis on the southern border. And on a visit to a border town in Texas, he insisted his great big wall would fix everything. With so criminals, gangs, and drugs, within undocumented immigrants from entering illegally. In the past, his aides have claimed it would prevent terrorists from reaching American soil. But what about the threat on the northern border? Here's Alex Marquardt.
ALEX MARQUARDT, CNN SENIOR NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: In looking at the potential terror threat from the two different borders on the north and the south of the United States, experts will tell you that in so far as there is a threat that the northern border is potentially more problematic, and this is part of the reason why it is much more open, there is far less of a physical barrier between the two countries.
This is the border between the United States and Canada. This marker delineate says its United States right here, Canada on the other side. Those cars, those houses, those are all over in Canada. So, it's at some extent, it's just a matter of walking across the border.
But as one resident here told us, you're not going to get very far. If you look at this library here, if you go inside, there's actually a line that cuts straight through the middle and tape that shows that one side is in the United States, the other side is in Canada.
And the main reason that this northern border is more of a threat than the southern border is because of its length. It is 4,000 miles long compared to just over 1,900 miles down in the south. And then, when you look at the apprehension of people who are on the terror watch list.
In the fiscal year 2018, down on the southern border, there were around a dozen apprehensions. While up here in the north, in the first half of that period, there was more than triple that amount. There were 41 people, foreigners, on that terror watch list who were apprehended.
There is more of a terror threat in Canada. There have been cells that have been broken up. There have been people who have pledged allegiance to ISIS. We have seen people carry out attacks in the name of ISIS.
Just last month in New York, a young Canadian man was sentenced to 40 years in prison for wanting to carry out attacks in the United States. But when you speak with the residents here in Northern Vermont and ask them if they feel the border secure if there is enough security for the residents here, they will tell you, absolutely. Here's a little bit of what they have to say.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Well, we got a lot of people trying to cross but they don't make it very far.
MARQUARDT: There is no fence, though. There's no wall.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No.
MARQUARDT: Do you feel like that's needed?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No, no, I don't think it's needed down here, either.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: There's actually Border Patrol everywhere. There's undercover Border Patrol they're all over the place.
MARQUARDT: And this is part of that security that is everywhere. If you go down the streets that go right up to the border with Canada, you will see those cameras, you will see these Border Patrol agents. And in speaking with more residents around here asking them if they feel the need for a border wall, either on the northern part of this border or down south, in the words of one man, they find it silly. Alex Marquardt, CNN, Derby Line, Vermont.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VAUSE: Well, make no mistake. The message coming from the U.S. is clear, American troops will be withdrawing from Syria sooner, maybe later. The Secretary of State crystal clear on that during a visit to Egypt.
And when U.S. troops leave, a key ally in the fight against ISIS will be left behind and in peril. Why that matters next on CNN NEWSROOM.
[01:31:43] JOHN VAUSE, CNN ANCHOR: And welcome back. I'm John Vause with an update of our top stories this hour.
President Trump went to the southern U.S. border in Texas to make another pitch for his wall. But before leaving the capital Mr. Trump he would probably declare a national emergency to get the wall built if congressional Democrats do not agree to his demands.
The impasse has partially shut down the U.S. government for almost three weeks now.
Former Nissan chairman, Carlos Ghosn has been indicted on two new charges of financial misconduct. He denies any wrongdoing and was placed in custody nearly two months ago on similar charges. Nissan which is cooperating with Japanese prosecutors has also been indicted for alleged financial crimes.
Tennis great Andy Murray has announced plans to hang up his racquet later this year. A tearful Murray told reporters on Friday on the eve of the Australian Open that his final event might be Wimbledon this coming July if he can make it that far. The former world number one has been battling a hip injury and has plunged in the world rankings. America's top diplomat is on an eight-nation tour to reassure nervous
allies that despite what the President may say or tweet about American troops in Syria, the U.S. is still a partner in the Middle East. But Pompeo may have only added to the overall state of confusion about U.S. foreign policy.
Michelle Kosinski explains.
MICHELLE KOSINSKI, CNN SENIOR DIPLOMATIC CORRESPONDENT (voice over): In the daily evolution of what exactly the U.S.'s plan is Syria, today Secretary of State Mike Pompeo in Cairo said he wanted to be clear.
MIKE POMPEO, U.S. SECRETARY OF STATE: There's no contradiction, whatsoever. This is a story made up by the media. When President Trump's decision to withdraw our troops has been made, we will do that.
And so it is -- it is possible to hold in your head the thought that we would withdraw our forces, our uniformed forces from Syria and continue America's crushing campaign.
KOSINSKI: Speaking from a country that has imprisoned tens of thousands of political prisoners and journalists, Pompeo blasted the American press for what he calls making up the confusion over different things, different members of the administration had said at different times over the last few weeks.
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: They're all coming back and they're coming back now. We won.
JOHN BOLTON, NATIONAL SECURITY ADVISOR: We're going to be discussing the President's decision to withdraw but to do so from northeast Syria in a way that makes sure that ISIS is defeated.
TRUMP: I never said we're doing it that quickly.
KOSINKSI: What even administration officials privately acknowledge and various U.S. allies have expressed confusion about publicly. From a 30-day withdrawal to a four-month withdrawal process to one now contingent upon a number of political variables.
But then in the speech Pompeo shed little light on how long the 2,000 troops are going to stay in Syria or whether this is a fast or slow withdrawal, sounding like something of both in the same breath.
POMPEO: America will not retreat until the terror fight is over.
President Trump has made the decision to bring our troops home from Syria.
But this isn't a change of mission. We remain committed to the complete dismantling of ISIS -- the ISIS threat.
For our part, air strikes in the region will continue with targets arise (ph).
KOSINSKI: An administration official acknowledges to CNN that this will be a long process. For logistical reasons, and because the diplomacy will take time.
[01:34:57] UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Secretary Pompeo is probably doing the right thing by trying to shore up the complete uncertainty that has been inflicted on the Saudis, on the Israelis, on our allies in the Middle East to say nothing of the Kurds.
KOSINSKI (on camera): So we see Pompeo trying to bridge the differences between the things we heard from the President and national security advisor Bolton by saying yes, now is the time for the U.S. to leave Syria but the U.S. is also committed to the long- term defeat of ISIS. Whether or not that adds clarity is open to debate.
And another intriguing line from his speech, he said "When America retreats, chaos often ensues. When we neglect our friends, resentment builds. When we partner with enemies, they advance." But those are all things that this administration has been harshly criticized for doing -- for pulling away from international institutions and agreements, for angering U.S.'s closest friends and becoming chummy with certain dictators.
Michelle Kosinski, CNN -- the State Department.
VAUSE: The U.S. military has started withdrawing ground equipment from Syria -- the first signs of the drawdown ordered by Donald Trump. And that raises questions about the fate of the Kurds in northern Syria.
What happens next to the loyal U.S. allies who turned the fight against ISIS and paid for it in blood?
CNN's Clarissa Ward reports.
CLARISSA WARD, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: it was the Syrian Kurds who led the liberation of Raqqa, ISIS' self-declared capital in Syria just over a year ago.
As coalition air strikes intensified, the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces fought street to street against the remnants of the terror group, finally planting their flag in the stadium.
By then the Kurdish militia, the YPG had become a trusted ally of the United States, receiving weapons, intelligence and training and clearing ISIS from a huge tract of northern Syria. It was a remarkable turnaround.
In the late summer of 2014 Syria's Kurdish population was fighting for survival against a rampant ISIS desperately defending the city of Kobani. The YPG took heavy casualties but held out and began to turn the tide. It also helped rescue thousands of Yazidis trapped by ISIS' lightning advance.
Gradually the YPG forced ISIS into an even smaller space pushing them out of the oil fields of northern Syria, working closely with the U.S.-led coalition in the skies above. But despite U.S. help they fought a low-tech war in sandals with pickup trucks and old weapons.
As they drove ISIS for nearly a quarter of Syrian territory, the Syrian Kurds lost thousands of fighters. Many of them teenagers, many of them young women. And even as they were destroying one enemy, another was waiting in the wings.
Turkey has long described the YPG as terrorists, close to Kurdish separatists inside Turkey. It has frequently criticized the U.S. for working with the Kurds.
Last year its military rolled into one Kurdish-controlled part of Syria. And President Erdogan has threatened to cleanse other Kurdish- held land of those he calls terrorist.
A U.S. withdrawal from Syria would leave the Kurds vulnerable to further Turkish attacks to regime forces and to the few thousand ISIS fighters still left on Syrian soil.
Just a few weeks ago, chasing down ISIS remnants on the Syria-Iraq border, the YPG lost dozens of fighters.
ISIS paraded others they captured in videos. In the long campaign against ISIS many have shed blood -- the Iraqi army, Arab tribes, Shia militia. But the Syrian Kurds like their brethren in Iraq have been the most steadfast allies of the U.S.-led coalition.
Clarissa Ward, CNN.
VAUSE: When we come back, just how effective is the border wall with it comes to stopping illegal drugs.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SANJAY GUPTA, CNN CHIEF MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: This is just a one kilogram bag of flour. But if this were street fentanyl, it would cost about $8,000 to make, could be turned into a million pills and then sold for $20 million to $30 million on the black market. All of that from a small contain container that looks like this.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VAUSE: In a moment a closer look at the tactics used to stop drug smuggling into the U.S. And despite what the President may say, it isn't that simple.
[01:39:55] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
VAUSE: They've been honored as guardians of the truth but right now they're sitting in a jail in Myanmar. That might change in the next couple of hours. Reuters journalists Wa Lone and Kyaw Soe Oo exposed the massacre which happened through the military's crackdown on Rohingya Muslims back in 2017.
That reporting led to jail time to seven members of the military but it also landed them behind bars convicted of violating the State Secrets Act. Yangon's high court now ruling on their appeal.
CNN's Matt Rivers live again this hour with more on this. So what do we know about where this -- this, you know, legal action stands right now?
MATT RIVERS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, what we know is that we're not going to hear anything from our reporter inside the courtroom until around 3:30 a.m. Eastern time. Basically it's a closed court session that will last for about two hours or so where reporters are not allowed to just enter or leave as they would. They have to wait until it's over and they're only allowed to take notes. They can't film.
So really we're going to have to wait and see a little bit about how this appeal really shakes out. But I think generally, John, there's a lot of pessimism amongst the family members and also amongst the journalism community in Myanmar that we've been speaking to about the fact that the judge -- I think the general sense is the judge is not going to grant the appeal. We don't know that for certain but I think that's generally the sense.
For the viewers who might now remember or know the background to all of this, it was Wa Lone and Kyaw Soe Oo, two Reuters journalists who really systemically exposed a brutal massacre engaged in by the Burmese military during that crackdown by the military against the Rohingya in late 2017.
These two Reuters journalists really exposed and their journalism led to members of the military actually being sent to jail as a result of that massacre. But it also made the Burmese government look very bad.
And so what the international community largely alleges is that these two Reuters journalists were set up by the police. And now they're accused of state secrets violation, basically holding documents that the two journalists say they were set up with
So basically the judge is hearing an appeal because they had previously been convicted. They're facing seven years each in prison. And so we're going to wait and see how this appeal hearing works out today -- John.
VAUSE: Matt -- thank you. Matt Rivers there live for us in Beijing. Of course, as soon as you get more details on how this plays out we'll bring it to you. But Matt, as you say, it is not expected to be good news.
RIVERS: Thank you.
[01:44:53] VAUSE: Well, the U.S. President Donald Trump insists there's a crisis at the U.S.-Mexico border. It's a point which he stressed during a televised address on Tuesday -- America's southern border he described as a pipeline to drugs.
So we sent CNN's Sanjay Gupta to Phoenix, Arizona -- a border town to find out if Mr. Trump is telling the truth.
GUPTA (on camera): What you're witnessing here are efforts to stop drugs from coming across the U.S.-Mexican border.
SCOTT BROWN, SPECIAL AGENT IN CHARGE: You know, almost every car crossing -- (INAUDIBLE), it's just a very small percentage that comes in carrying contraband. But I think when the inspectors pick up on something, their success rate is pretty high.
When you tell the dogs to sit down at the back of the car, that's how that makes the dog alert.
GUPTA: Special agent in charge Scott Brown oversees the Phoenix field office for homeland security investigations and drugs are a big part of what he does.
BROWN: This is how it happens. I mean what we're witnessing here is what happens every day along the southwest border of the U.S.
And you know, the officers at the ports of entry are phenomenal. They're fantastic at identifying (INAUDIBLE) shouldn't be there. (INAUDIBLE) there will be a reason for (INAUDIBLE) -- they can pick up on that. I mean they're experts.
GUPTA (on camera): Like human heart and intelligence together.
BROWN: Yes. Absolutely.
GUPTA: What they find -- about 24 kilos of hard drugs. Minutes later field testing reveals cocaine. Situations like this were a central tenet of President Trump's argument this week for a wall.
TRUMP: Our southern border is a pipeline for vast quantities of illegal drugs including meth, heroin, cocaine and fentanyl. Every week, 300 of our citizens are killed by heroin alone, 90 percent of which floods across from our southern border.
GUPTA (voice over): But I wanted to learn just how effective the wall would be.
(on camera) This is literally a physical wall here between these two fences that we're looking at here.
BROWN: The vast amount of hard narcotics don't come through at places like this. The vast amount of hard narcotics come through at the ports of entry where we just were.
GUPTA (voice over): And besides meth, cocaine, heroin or marijuana, it is fentanyl which is 50 times stronger than heroin. It's the biggest challenge nowadays. The most recent numbers from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found that overdose deaths from fentanyl have skyrocketed. At least 1,100 percent since 2011.
(on camera): In the past cartels might try and smuggle a hundred kilograms of drugs across the border. More than easy to do. They're likely to get caught.
But here's part of the problem. Nowadays they could smuggle across something that looks like this. This is just a one kilogram a bag of flour, but this were street fentanyl, it would cost about $8,000 to make, could be turned into a million pills and then sold for $20 million to $30 million on the black market. All of that from a small container that looks like this.
BROWN: The vast majority of fentanyl is produced in China. It comes into the U.S. two ways. You know, it comes into -- into Mexico, where these are pressed into pill form or combined with heroin. The other way it comes in is American consumers buying it direct, oftentimes from vendors out of China.
GUPTA (voice over): And then it gets mailed in?
BROWN: U.S. mail which is the most common -- a very small quantity of fentanyl is very hard to detect in the masses of letters that come into the U.S. every day.
GUPTA: How effective is a wall at preventing drugs from getting into the United States?
BROWN: In terms of hard narcotics -- no, I don't know that we get it immediately say for hard narcotics. As of right now, the vast majority of hard narcotics come in through the ports of entry in deep concealment or come in through, you know, the mail or express consignments.
GUPTA: Dr. Sanjay Gupta, CNN -- phoenix.
VAUSE: When we come back, he is the richest man in the world and a frequent punching bag for the President who we now know was a target of an expose by Trump's favorite tabloid. What role did that have, if any, in Jeff Bezos' divorce announcement earlier this week?
Also ahead, it's the President's favorite parting shot but in the midst of the government shutdown, maybe it is time to say goodbye to this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: I would have said bye-bye.
So I said bye-bye. (END VIDEO CLIP)
[01:49:30[ (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
VAUSE: Well, hours after Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos and his wife announced their coming divorce, tabloid magazine "National Enquirer" announced they've been investigating an alleged affair involving the billionaire. The story is actually raising questions about a potential connection to the U.S. President who's attacked Bezos and has been linked to the boss of the magazine's parent company.
CNN's Jason Carroll explains.
JASON CARROLL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: The supermarket tabloid that used to do a lot of dirty work for President Trump has a new target -- Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos, the world's richest person who became a frequent Twitter target of President Trump after he purchased the "Washington Post".
For its current cover story that hit newsstands today, the tabloid seemingly spared no expenses to expose what they say is Bezos' extramarital affair with Lauren Sanchez, a former Los Angeles TV anchor.
The tabloid claims it tracked him across five states and over 40,000 miles. According to the "Enquirer" Bezos' lawyer told the publication that it was widely known that he and his wife had been long separated.
Hours before the story broke, Bezos announced on Twitter that he and his wife McKenzie were divorcing.
TRUMP: I wish him luck. It's going to be a beauty.
CARROLL: The world's richest person may be newsworthy but the tabloid generally seems to focus on glamorous celebrities and powerful politicians, not the Forbes list. The tabloid insists this was just good journalism and nothing more.
"The National Enquirer has been doggedly investigating this story for four months and the extraordinary details and evidence uncovered by our team and presented to Mr. Bezos' representatives for comment earlier this week, underscores the kind of investigative reporting that the publication has long been known for."
Media insiders wondered about the Donald Trump connection.
TRUMP: I have respect for Jeff Bezos, but he bought the "Washington Post" to have political influence. He owns Amazon. He wants political influence so that Amazon will benefit from it.
CARROLL: Bezos has not been shy where he stands when it comes to Trump. JEFF BEZOS, CEO, AMAZON: It is a mistake for any elected official in
my opinion. I don't think this is a very out there opinion to attack media and journalists.
CARROLL: The Enquirer has also been known for its previous cozy relationship with the campaign of then-presidential candidate Donald Trump. American media, the Enquirer's parent company, under its CEO David Pecker admitted in court documents it worked with the Trump campaign to pay former playmate Karen McDougal $150,000 for exclusive rights to her story about an alleged affair with Trump.
The tabloid then killed the story. Trump has repeatedly denied he had the affair. Pecker along with AMI chief content officer Dylan Howard worked with Trump's former lawyer Michael Cohen to deal with negative stories about Trump. Both received immunity and federal prosecutor's probe into Cohen last year. Howard was one of the authors credited on the Bezos report.
A source with knowledge of the Enquirer's news gathering says neither the President, nor anyone within the administration had knowledge the tabloid was pursuing the Bezos story.
Another source said, "It is fanciful to suggest that the Enquired pursued this because Bezos is a perceived enemy. It was pursued because he's the world's richest man and a newsworthy subject."
CNN did reach out to both Sanchez and Bezos to try to get some sort of a comment about the Enquirer report. Neither one responded to our request.
Jason Carroll, CNN -- New York.
VAUSE: And for those who are playing at home, the partial government shutdown in the U.S. began almost three weeks ago. While negotiations have been going nowhere that has not stopped President Trump from using one of his more annoying lines.
[01:55:02] CNN's Jeanne Moos explains.
JEANNE MOOS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: You've heard of long goodbyes. This is the long --
MOOS: Donald Trump has been saying it forever.
TRUMP: You know what? Bye-bye.
So I said bye-bye. Would that make it a deal?
MOOS: But when he said it and then walked out on Chuck and Nancy.
TRUMP: I very calmly said if you are not going to give us strong borders, bye-bye.
MOOS: It made headlines even in France.
It's one thing for N'Sync to sing it or Ann-Margaret to belt it out.
But this is POTUS not some SNL skit about a mean airline.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Could you tell me --
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Bye-bye. I'm sorry -- what part didn't you understand? Bye-bye.
MOOS: Often President Trump's signature kiss off line is accompanied by a signature hand wave.
TRUMP: And if they said no, I would have said bye-bye.
MOOS: Whether it is about dealing with Iran or NATO.
TRUMP: If they don't pay, bye-bye. Bye-bye. Bye-bye.
MOOS: He loves saying it to protesters.
TRUMP: Bye -- go home to mommy.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You're a bigot.
MOOS: But when it comes to a government shutdown, political analysts Howard Fineman tweeted "@RealDonaldTrump doesn't understand that being president means you can't say bye-bye. This isn't a real estate deal in New York where you can just walk away."
Sure a host of a show could do it.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Out of time bye-bye.
MOOS: But out of line, according to this analyst, bye-bye -- what is he a teletubby.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Bye-bye.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Bye-bye Lala.
MOOS: Having their line hijacked by the President, enough to turn a teletubby's tummy.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Bye-bye.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Bye-bye Lala.
MOOS: Jeanne Moos, CNN --
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Bye-bye Poe.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Bye-bye.
MOOS: -- New York.
VAUSE: It's so tempting isn't it? Yes, it is time for us to say bye- bye.
You're watching CNN NEWSROOM. I'm John Vause. But George Howell and Natalie Allen will be here after a very short break.
You're watching CNN.
[02:00:06] GEORGE HOWELL, CNN ANCHOR: Raising the stakes in the shutdown showdown as U.S. --