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U.S. Shutdown: Trump Renews National Emergency Threat over Wall; Maduro Sworn In As Country Deals With Economic Crisis; "Yellow Vest" Protesters Want Movement To Become Permanent; Andy Murray Plans To Retire This Year; President Trump Threatening to Declare a National Emergency; Secretary of State Mike Pompeo's Visit to Cairo; Third Day of Debate Over Theresa May's Brexit Plan; An Emotional Announcement from a Tennis Legend; Carlos Ghosn Indicted for Two New Charges of Financial Misconduct. Aired 2-3a ET

Aired January 11, 2019 - 02:00   ET


[02:00:01] GEORGE HOWELL, CNN ANCHOR: Raising the stakes in the shutdown showdown. The U.S. President threatening to declare a national emergency to pay for the wall that he wants as congressional Democrats refuse to fund it.

NATALIE ALLEN, CNN ANCHOR: Mike Pompeo's message to the Middle East, America's top diplomat tries to clarify the Trump administration's foreign policy.

HOWELL: And in the United Kingdom in London, a third day of debate over the Prime Minister's Brexit plan soon gets under way. CNN live outside Parliament with details, plus this.


ANDY MURRAY, TENNIS PLAYER: I am not sure. I am not sure I am able to play through the pain.


ALLEN: The emotional announcement from tennis legend, Andy Murray, one of my favorites to watch. We'll have that story for you.

Hello, welcome to our viewers around the world. I am Natalie Allen.

HOWELL: And I am George Howell from CNN world headquarters in Atlanta. Newsroom starts now.

Around the world, good day to you, the third in a week in a row now, some 800,000 government workers in the U.S. are working without pay and there's little hope for resolution at this point in sight. Adding insult to injury, some workers, who are required to show up for their jobs, they had paychecks showing with zero dollars and zero cents.

ALLEN: Come this time tomorrow, the partial government shutdown will be the longest in U.S. history. Congressional Democrats keep trying to fund shuttered (ph) agencies the old-fashioned way with appropriations bills. But the U.S. President says he will veto anything that doesn't have money for his border wall.

HOWELL: Instead, Mr. Trump doubling down on his threat to declare a national emergency and to force the U.S. military to fulfill his signature campaign promise, Mr. Trump even went to the border on Thursday in Texas in an attempt to prove that it is a real crisis. Our Jim Acosta has this report.


JIM ACOSTA, CNN CHIEF WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: With an end to the government shutdown nowhere in site, President Trump took his quest for a wall down to the Texas border where he claimed the nation is under attack.

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: If we had a barrier of any kind, a powerful barrier, whether it's steel or concrete, we would stop that cold. We're certainly under attack by criminal gangs, by criminals themselves, by the human traffickers, and by drugs of all kinds. Much of it comes through the southern border.

ACOSTA: But during a roundtable discussion with law enforcement officials, Mr. Trump was told some border crossers have been digging tunnels under areas where walls are already in place.

MELISSA LUCIO, U.S. CUSTOMS AND BORDER PROTECTION: Here -- this is just a couple of miles from here from where we've been (ph). This is the tunnel. This is the second tunnel that we've been living (ph) -- we have located. This is an area that we actually have walls.

ACOSTA: The President is also trying to rewrite history, clarifying what he meant during the campaign.

TRUMP: I will build a great, great wall on the southern border, and I will have Mexico pay for that wall. Who is going to pay for the wall?


TRUMP: Who is going to pay for the wall?


TRUMP: When I say Mexico is going to pay for the wall, that's what I mean. Mexico is paying for the wall. And I didn't mean please write me a check. I mean very simply they're paying for it in the trade deal.

ACOSTA: But that's not true. Before the election, his campaign released various proposals to force Mexico to fund the wall, stating, it's an easy decision for Mexico, make a one-time payment of 5 to $10 billion.

As he was leaving for the border, the President revealed that White House lawyers have told him he could declare a state of emergency to have the military build his wall, an action that would likely be challenged in the courts. TRUMP: I have the absolute right to declare a national emergency. The lawyers have so advised me. I am not prepared to do that yet. But if I have to, I will. I have no doubt about it. I will.

ACOSTA: The President is trying to have it both ways, insisting the situation at the border is an emergency, while also claiming it's a crisis that started before he came into office.

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 play cute.

ACOSTA: Part of the reason for the President's frustration is that he can't seem to convince Democrats to agree to a wall. But reflecting on his meeting House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, the President argued he wasn't losing his cool.

TRUMP: I very calmly said if you are not going to give us strong borders, bye-bye, and I left. I didn't rant. I didn't rave like you reported. Like -- I mean some of the newspapers -- and Schumer always has a standard line. He had a temper tantrum. I don't have temper tantrums. I really don't.

[02:05:03] ACOSTA: Still, he said he would rather deal with China than with the 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.

ACOSTA: Even though it is the President who once said he would be proud to own the shutdown, he is now offering his own take on Harry Truman's famous catchphrase the buck stops here.

TRUMP: The buck stops with everybody. They could solve this problem in literally 15 minutes.

ACOSTA: Oddly, the President chose one of the most secure communities in the country to make his pitch for the border wall, where we're standing here in McAllen, Texas, is consistently ranked one of the safest cities in America, Jim Acosta, CNN, McAllen, Texas.


HOWELL: A lot of blame of waiting. A lot of, you know, reporting of temper tantrums. But at the same time, Natalie, there are hundreds of thousands of people who are going without pay, wondering what are they going to do with their bills, et cetera.

Let's talk about how this is affecting many parts of the U.S. government, people who are impacted, employees with the TSA, the Transportation Security Administration. They're not getting paid. But they are required to report to work. This may impact security operations at some airports, including Miami, where it is having an impact. Miami's airport will be closing one of its terminals at various times. Authorities, however, insist it is still safe to fly. ALLEN: Also effected food safety, 41 percent of employees at the Food and Drug Administration are off the job. And millions of food stamp recipients could lose their assistance if the shutdown stretches into February when funding is expected to run out.

HOWELL: The Federal Emergency Management Agency, FEMA, has stopped processing flood insurance claims. And the impact there, hurricane survivors are being effected.

Overall, the government shutdown is impacting some 800,000 federal workers and their families. And the longer it goes on, the more painful these effects.

ALLEN: Frustration among the furloughed workers is already reaching critical levels. They've now begun turning their agitation into rallies and protests, demanding the government reopen.

HOWELL: And you can expect that anger to grow louder as the shutdown continues to drag on. Some people say they're running out of money.


LYNN STRATTON, FURLOUGHED FEDERAL WORKER: And I have been here 20 years. I wasted 20 years of my life for the federal government.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: So are you worried about getting behind in bills, payments, that kind of thing?

STRATTON: Yeah. Yup, I have enough for one more mortgage payment, and I have got to CarMax tomorrow and sell my car.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You're going to sell your car?

STRATTON: I have to.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You can't dip into your savings, borrow some money?

STRATTON: No. Savings is gone.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: When you think about this have you figured out who you should be blaming?

STRATTON: Everybody. It's not the Democrats. It's not just the Republicans. It's not just Trump. It's everybody. And we don't want the policy. We just want our jobs back and we want them to make it right.


ALLEN: Let's talk about this situation with Political Analyst, Peter Matthews joining us from Los Angeles. He teaches Political Science at Cyprus College. Peter, always good to have you with us.

PETER MATTHEWS, PROFESSOR, CYPRUS COLLEGE: Good to be here. ALLEN: Thank you. We just heard from that young woman right there.

I mean these are real people that are hurting at this point. So President Trump traveled to McAllen, Texas, a border town to make his case for his wall. Did he make it in your opinion?

MATTHEWS: Not even close. And I have been in McAllen, Texas. It is a very quiet suburban town. It's ironic he chose that. But look at the young woman you just heard of who couldn't even -- had to sell her car in order to pay her bills. This is so unconscionable. And so many people will have difficulty getting food stamps and other kinds of programs, you know. The TSA is having to work without pay, same thing with air traffic controllers.

What kind of morale will they have when they're controlling the air traffic? And many are calling in sick at the TSA. This is unbelievable the President would do this, and then make his case in McAllen, Texas. Also, he said that he identifies with these folks who don't get a paycheck. He said they would somehow muddle. They'll make it through.

And one more thing, Natalie, that's outrageous. His administration gave instructions to Coast Guard employees -- Coast Guard members to go out and sell -- go to garage -- putting up garage sales to make their ends meet. Garage sales of our -- people are securing our coastal areas, unbelievable that he would even make those kinds of comments. It just shows what low depths this is really going to.

ALLEN: Yeah. That was bizarre. What about his argument for Mexico paying for it? He claims now, Peter, he never meant Mexico would write a check when he campaigned on Mexico paying for the wall.

MATTHEWS: He certainly did. And I am sure -- I'm glad that you put it up on the screen there showing his statements that were totally contradicting to what his position is right now. And he did tell you that Mexico would pay for the wall. He even had his crowds out in the campaign rallies echo him, and making stronger point saying Mexico would pay for it.

[02:10:02] And then now, you know, he's not able to get Mexico because Mexico is a sovereign nation with a sense of pride. It will never consent to pay for this wall in any way whatsoever. And he's trying to stretch the matter by saying that trade deal with Mexico -- new trade deal will actually help pay for it indirectly. That's just a major stretch in my opinion. It just shows the desperation trying to make his point when he's clearly in the wrong.

And I don't give equivalency to Democratic side or his side, because there's no comparison. The Democrats say separate the two issues, separate the border issue, the wall issue, and separate the government shutdown. Let's get the government going again so people can have their jobs back, the federal workers, and we can have those services of Americans who need it.

And then the border issue and the wall issue can be worked on later on. And after refusing a compromise, just last -- during the last session of Congress, he won't even do that. He wants to combine the two in order to get leverage unfairly.

ALLEN: Is he making his case at all for certain people, maybe his base, that this is an emergency and this must be addressed? Who is winning the blame game here, Peter, Democrats or the President who said he would rather negotiate with China than the Democrats? And he's starting to call them names at this point.

MATTHEWS: Completely counter-productive. You think you're going to deal with the Democrats that way. It is not going to work, whatsoever. And the American people sent a message to him by sending a majority of the House into Democratic hands, at least 38, 39-seat majority now after he -- in fact, he had ramped this whole thing up about the wall just before the election in order to get his voters out to vote.

What happened? His voters came out to vote and it wasn't enough, was it? Democrats swept the House. And the point is that it is not going to get enough voters on his side for them to just rely on his base by doing these kinds of egregious things. And it is not going to help him in 2020 to win either. So I don't think -- I do think the American people are seeing right through his hypocrisy.

And they are on the side of sanity, of separating the two issues, saying let's get our government back to work and then let's work on the wall. But most Americans don't even support the kind of border wall he was talking about, a concrete wall. Only 56 percent were against the wall, whatsoever, and 62 percent of Americans want to stop the shutdown and get the government going again. So he's clearly in the minority of what he's doing, a minority opinion.

ALLEN: Peter Matthews, we always appreciate your insights. Peter, thank you.

MATTHEWS: Thank you, Natalie.

HOWELL: Now to breaking news we're following this hour. A Myanmar court has rejected an appeal by two Reuters journalists sentenced to seven years in jail.

ALLEN: Wa Lone and Kyaw Soe Do (ph) were convicted last year of violating the state's Secrets Act. They exposed a massacre which happened during the brutal military crackdown targeting Rohingya Muslims in 2017. Their reporting led to jail time for seven members of the military.

HOWELL: Let's go live to Beijing where our Matt Rivers is covering the story. And Matt, at this point, what do we know about the court ruling?

MATT RIVERS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: We don't know much at this point other than the fact that we know the appeal was rejected. We do have a reporter there on the scene where we know he is listening to the lawyers of Joe So and Wa Lone, the two Reuters journalists who now have had their appeal rejected. And what we know then is the appeal process would continue. There could be two, maybe three more levels of appeal, depending on how far the families want to push it, maybe going all the way to Myanmar's Supreme Court. But really to take away from today in the eyes of many critics, unfortunately is that these two journalists will remain in prison.

For viewers who might not remember or know all the facts behind this, these two young men basically systematically exposed in a really remarkable report a massacre that took place in Rakhine State, the area of Myanmar where Rohingya were brutally massacred and oppressed by the Burmese military and police and others.

They exposed that. And it made the Burmese government look very bad. Myanmar's government didn't like that report at all. And after it was published, at one point, both journalists testified that a policeman who they didn't know, came up, gave them a set of documents, walked away, and then minutes later they were arrested for, quote, "holding on to state secrets."

The trial was widely regarded by the international community as a sham. Another police officer in Myanmar actually testified that other police officers did in fact intend to set up these two journalists for this alleged crime. And yet, they were convicted and now their appeal has been rejected.

So at this point, the only real outlet it seems for them if these rejections of appeals keep happening will be a pardon from Aung San Suu Kyi, the Nobel Peace Prize winner, the de facto leader of Myanmar's government, but she so far has shown zero inclination.

So really pessimistically, it does look like these two journalists are going to stay in prison for potentially the remainder of their seven year sentence.

[02:14:58] HOWELL: And this resonates, you know, certainly around the world. Matt, what does this say about Myanmar's progress toward democracy?

RIVERS: I think it probably says a lot about their lack of progress. This was a country that was lauded by President Obama just a couple of years ago as perhaps what could be the democratic darling of Southeast Asia, a country that had been brutally ruled by a military dictatorship for decades. They have been slowly transitioning into democracy.

And yet, what we know is that one of the cornerstones of any functioning democracy is the freedom of the press. And this test -- this case, has really turned into a test case of sorts, how Myanmar will deal with issues of freedom of speech, freedom of the press, freedom of expression. And what we have seen so far is Myanmar, in the eyes of the international community and really just all objective observers, is Myanmar failed categorically in their first real international eyes on the case when it comes to press freedom.

HOWELL: This is a sad day for journalism for sure. Matt Rivers, thank you for the reporting. We'll keep in touch with you for more details on this.

ALLEN: The U.K. Parliament is debating Prime Minister Theresa May's latest Brexit deal for a third day in a row.

HOWELL: The MPs are set to vote on the agreement next Tuesday, but it is widely expected that her deal will be defeated. And if it is, opposition leader Jeremy Corbyn wants to call for a general election.

ALLEN: Our Anna Stewart joins us now from London with more about it. Hello to you, Anna. You know as we get closer to the March deadline, it seems like it was a long way away. But now it is not, that deadline for the U.K. to exit the E.U. Jeremy Corbyn now putting more pressure on the Prime Minister, how might this play out?

ANNA STEWART, CNN REPORTER: Yes. He is stepping up calls for a general election, saying this is the only way to break what he calls political deadlock over Brexit. Now, how would that work? Essentially, after the vote on Tuesday, which Theresa May is expected to lose, what they'll (ph) be able to do is they could table a confidence motion on the government itself.

Now, once that takes place, if the government were to lose it -- and it is unclear whether she would because she does have some support in that party, of course, and LDP (ph) and Northern Irish Party that supports her. But if she were to lose it, she would then have 14 days for the government to see whether they could then garner enough support to win a second one. If they lose that, then we have a general election.

You might think that's the last thing we need given all the political stroke we already have on the table. Jeremy Corbyn, of course, says that if that was to happen, if a snap election were to occur, he would have to extend Article 50 to give them more time to negotiate. He isn't supporting a second referendum here on Brexit itself.

He says he will deliver Brexit, albeit a much softer Brexit to keep the U.K. in customs union with the E.U. That would go down well with Brexit here, MPs in the house, and actually it might not go down well with many people in his own party who would much rather see second referendums. So it is unclear if we had Jeremy Corbyn as our Prime Minister, whether we would be in any different position that we are now.

ALLEN: What is the reaction from the Prime Minister about Jeremy Corbyn's stance on this?

STEWART: Well, you know what? Throughout this, the Prime Minister has said bring it on, Jeremy Corbyn. If you want to have a -- sorry -- a confidence vote, then call it. She asked him to call it several times before Christmas. But frankly, the labor leader has been unwilling to do so, because it is not clear yet as to whether he would win.

And so the timing hasn't been great. So I think he's waiting to see how this vote goes down, how big a defeat it is on Tuesday night to see how much support he might have there in the house to this. ALLEN: This has been quite a struggle for Theresa May, has it not? We'll wait and see what happens next. We appreciate it. Anna Stewart for us live in London, thank you, Anna.

HOWELL: Live around the world, you're watching Newsroom. And still ahead, the U.S. Secretary of State is in the Middle East trying to clear up confusion over the Trump administration's plans for Syria, but it's not exactly going as planned. We'll have that story ahead for you.


ALLEN: Former Nissan Chairman, Carlos Ghosn, has been indicted now on two new charges of financial misconduct in Tokyo. He was detained nearly two months ago on similar charges. That detention ended Friday.

HOWELL: Ghosn denies any wrongdoing. And his defense team is expected to request bail immediately. Let's go live to CNN's Will Ripley following details of this story live in Hong Kong. And Will, what is the latest for this case?

WILL RIPLEY, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, this is really not a good development, George and Natalie, for Carlos Ghosn. This is the auto tycoon who was already facing serious charges in Japan, accused of underreporting his income over five fiscal years to the tune of some $46 billion. These new charges accused him of continuing to underreporting practice for additional years to the tune $37 or so billion dollars.

But there's an even more serious charge now, a charge of aggravated breach of trust. Essentially, Ghosn is accused of orchestrating this complex where he was trying to transfer losses on foreign exchange contracts to Nissan's books, and then using Nissan company funds to repay a Saudi man, an associate of his who provided collateral on those contracts.

This breach of trust, we are told, is extremely serious and makes it very unlikely at this point that Ghosn will actually be able to get out on bail before his trial, which could be, according to his lawyer, some six months away. So you have this 64-year-old, you know, jet- setting auto tycoon who is now living essentially in a small jail cell in Japan.

He gets to meet with his lawyers' everyday. Apparently, we hear he's been kind of acting like a CEO. He's getting interrogated possibly for hours every day by prosecutors, writing very detailed notes, sharing those notes with his attorneys. And when we saw him appear in court just last week, he was, you know, noticeably thinner, but he was also strong in his defense of himself.

And apparently he's been trying to lead his defense much like he's been leading the companies of Nissan, Renault, and Mitsubishi Motors. Of course, he was fired from Mitsubishi and Nissan. Renault is still sticking by him for now, saying they haven't found any evidence of fraud. But these are very serious charges and potentially now months before he even gets a chance to go before a judge.

HOWELL: And just touching on this situation of bail again, you touched on this, but his attorneys were making the case that there was no need for him to be in detention, to remain in detention.

RIPLEY: Yeah. And, of course, the argument for prosecutors that was accepted by the court is that Ghosn is a flight risk, that he has the means and the money and the ability to potentially get out of Japan. And even if he didn't, they're worried that he could potential tamper with evidence. Because the thing is this is not the end. There's still the possibility that Ghosn could be investigated and rearrested on more charges.

The way it works in Japan, there's a certain amount of time that you can sit in jail once you are suspected of a crime. And then once you're charged, they have another two months to get all of, you know, all the details together. So with each additional charge, each additional re-arrest, his detainment just continues on and on and on.

And in Japan, statistics show that if prosecutors feel that they have enough for an indictment, the conviction rate tends to be more than 99 percent. And there is some controversy that this is essentially hostage justice because people are just held for so long, eventually they give in. They confess. Some, you know, have later claimed that they didn't were really guilty but just confess to try to get the process over with. Ghosn is certainly not doing that at this point. He's maintaining his innocence.

HOWELL: CNN Correspondent Will Ripley, live following the details. Thank you for the reporting. We'll keep in touch with you.

ALLEN: The U.S. military has begun withdrawing some ground equipment from Syria, signaling the start of the drawdown that Donald Trump ordered last month. A source tells CNN that some cargo has already been moved, but declined to specify what type of equipment it was. It remains unclear when U.S. troops will start leaving the country.

America's top diplomat is trying to reassure allies that the U.S. is still a partner in the Middle East, despite President Trump's sudden decision to withdraw troops from Syria.

[02:24:59] HOWELL: But in a policy speech, a foreign policy speech that took place in Cairo, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo mostly ripped into two political enemies. Iran was one, and then the former U.S. President Barack Obama. Our Ben Wedeman has this.


BEN WEDEMAN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: The United States is a force for good, the U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo declared at the American University of Cairo Thursday. He then went on to bash America, rather its policies under the administration of President Barack Obama who came to Cairo 10 years ago to the extend was seen at the time as an olive branch to the Muslim world after eight years of George W. Bush, an American-led wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. He said that the United States will continue the fight against ISIS along with its allies until that fight was completed. He said that the United States and its allies had been able to take back 99 percent of the territory that ISIS once controlled. He said as far as the U.S. withdrawal from Syria goes, where the U.S. has about 2,000 troops, that that does not change the American's fundamental mission in the region.

Now, he spent almost as much time talking about the Trump administration's attempt to contain Iran and its allies in the region, and said that with ever greater sanctions and international cooperation, they -- he expected that Iran would be pushed back. He also stressed the importance of long-term alliances and putting an end to old term rivalries, as he put it, referring to the century old Arab-Israeli conflict. He didn't, however, mention how this would actually be done.

Missing from -- largely missing from his speech was any mention of human rights, this in a region where hundreds of millions of people live under authoritarian regimes, many of them close allies of the United States.

I am Ben Wedeman, CNN, reporting from Cairo.


ALLEN: Again, our top story. The U.S. government remains shut down over a border wall. But what about the people living along the southern U.S. border think of President Trump's solutions? He travelled to McAllen, Texas, so we also went there to find out what the people think. That's coming up next.


[02:29:59] ALLEN: Welcome back, all of you joining us from wherever you are around the world. We appreciate it. You're watching CNN Newsroom. I am Natalie Allen.

[02:30:00] GEORGE HOWELL, CNN INTERNATIONAL ANCHOR: And I'm George Howell with the headlines we're following for you this hour. The former Nissan Chairman Carlos Ghosn has been indicted on two new charges of financial misconduct. Ghosn denies any wrongdoing. He was placed into custody nearly two months ago on similar charges. Nissan which is cooperating with Japanese prosecutors and also been indicted for alleged financial crimes.

ALLEN: A court in Myanmar has rejected an appeal by two Reuters journalists sentenced to seven years behind bars for doing their job. Wa Lone and Kyaw Soe Oo were convicted last year of violating the State Secrets Act. They exposed a massacre which happened during a military crackdown targeting Rohingya Muslims.

HOWELL: The Prime Minister of Japan Shinzo Abe says that he supports Theresa May's Brexit deal. He made those comments and remarks on Thursday in London with the British minister by his side. M.P.'s in the U.K. are set to vote on the agreement next Tuesday. Opposition Leader Jeremy Corbyn is calling for a general election if the parliament rejects Ms. May's plan.

ALLEN: President Donald Trump visited the southern U.S. Border in Texas to make yet another pitch for his wall. Before leaving Washington, Mr. Trump said he would probably declare a national emergency to build the wall if congressional Democrats don't agree to his demand for money. The impasse has partially shut down the U.S. government now for three weeks.

HOWELL: Back to the top story claiming headlines here in the United States, the shutdown showdown, the battle at the U.S. border with Mexico. Parts of America's southern border have already been built in various places a wall or a fence. My colleague Cyril Vanier looks into where the president wants to build more parts of this wall and whether the U.S. really needs it.

CYRIL VANIER, CNN INTERNATIONAL ANCHOR: And here is the southern border, all 3,130 kilometers of it from the Pacific Ocean all the way to the Gulf of Mexico. Now, the red line, look at that. The red line shows the portions of the border here and the dots here, the portions of the border that already have some kind of barrier, a fence or a wall. That's about a thousand kilometers presently. That is a third of the border. It literally by the way starts in the Pacific Ocean. This side here is California.

The other side of this fence is Tijuana, Mexico. Now, the border has many legal ports of entry. Let's remember that. Here's one of the biggest, San Ysidro. Migrants have the right to come here, and claim asylum, and be process by the U.S. government. So there's nothing wrong with this picture. This is what Donald Trump says he's worried about, migrants entering undetected as sometimes they get through the barrier. Usually, though they choose a stretch of border where there is nothing resulting in scenes like this one.

So how many people are we actually talking about? Well, in 2018, almost 400,000 people undocumented migrants who were apprehended crossing the border. Let's put that number in context. Relative to the past half century 400,000, that's a low number. Look at peak. We're talking in the mid-80s and around the year 2000, more than 1.6 million apprehensions annually. In fact, to get a level as low as what we have now in the 300,000 to 400,000 range, you have to go all the way back to the early 70s, so that puts it in perspective for you.

Now, there are stretches of the border where a wall is not needed. The blue line here is the Rio Grande and Donald Trump himself agrees that there's no point in wasting money in places such as this where nature essentially has done his work for him. However, he wants a hard border everywhere else. In order to achieve that, the government has built prototypes, concrete, steel, see through, not see through. Here's a not see through one at the bottom. Eight different versions ready to be built.

That right there is one of Donald Trump's biggest campaign promises. However, it will only become reality if the president somehow finds those elusive billions of dollars of funding to actually build it. Back to you. ALLEN: Thank you, Cyril. President Trump visited a border town that

has become ground zero in the fight over illegal immigration. It is McAllen, Texas.

HOWELL: And most people there in McAllen agree the U.S. needs border security. Here's the thing though. They don't agree exactly on how to get it done. As our Polo Sandoval reports for us.


POLO SANDOVAL, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: In the South Texas City of McAllen, most people we talked to disagree with the president about his proposed border barrier. The mayor feels like most do in this Democratic stronghold that the wall is not the answer to the country's immigration problem. He also says the real crisis is not happening here.

[02:35:05] JIM DARLING, MAYOR OF MCALLEN, TEXAS: The crisis over 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 over.

SANDOVAL: Since 2014, Mayor Jim Darling's McAllen has become the epicenter of the border debate. It's where the tens of thousands of undocumented families apprehended in the region by border patrol are released with future immigration court dates. After their release, illegal asylum seekers make their way into Sister Norma Pimentel humanitarian's respite center.

NORMA PIMENTEL, CATHOLIC CHARITIES OF RIO GRANDE VALLEY: The crisis is a crisis that we create when we don't facilitate a safe passage for families for innocent children, moms, infants.



SANDOVAL: As an opponent of Trump's border barrier, she's among the majority in this predominantly Democratic region of a red state. But upriver from McAllen, Roberto Escobar supports not only building Trump's wall, but letting it cut through his 600-acre ranch.

RUPERTO ESCOBAR, MCALLEN, TEXAS RESIDENT: 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 ranch land that's been in his family since 1767. He says he's seen the influx of people and drugs crossing the border illegally first hand.

ESCOBAR: One night, two men, two armed men stood right in front of the gate right -- 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 if they were armed like that? They were passing -- 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 border.

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 in the border. We think it is important. But living in the border, you realized there's different ways of accomplishing that.


HOWELL: President Donald Trump's former attorney Michael Cohen is said to make a pit stop on Capitol Hill before heading to prison. Cohen is set to testify before the House Oversight Committee in February before he serves a three-year jail sentence. House Democrats plan to ask him for details about his work with Mr. Trump and hope to get more specifics about his cooperation with the Special Counsel Robert Mueller.

ALLEN: Mueller has cleared Cohen's testimony. He cooperated with Mueller's team after he pleaded guilty back in August to multiple charges including campaign finance crimes. Those involved payments to silence women during Mr. Trump's 2016 presidential run. Cohen said he looks forward to giving a full and credible account of the events that transpired. The special counsel's is wrapping up the Russia investigation and the Trump administration is gearing up for the report's release.

HOWELL: And as that is happening, CNN is learning about more about Mueller's team, who they're talking to, and what that could mean for President Trump. Our Pam Brown has details for you.


PAMELA BROWN, CNN INTERNATIONAL JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT: President Trump won't say whether he wants Robert Mueller's report on the Russia probe to be made public.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The special counsel's final report, do you want that to be made public?

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We'll have to see. There's been no collusion whatsoever. We'll have to see.

BROWN: The president's remarks come after CNN has learned that the White House counsel office under the new direction of Pat Cipollone is gearing up for a fight to keep the report private by adding 17 more lawyers to its team. Trump's legal team is preparing to argue that a large portion of the information of Mueller's investigation should be protected by executive privilege leaving only a heavily redacted version of the report to be release to the public. But Democrats are vowing to use their new power in the House to release it. REP. ADAM SCHIFF (D-CA), CHAIR OF THE HOUSE INTELLIGENCE COMMITTEE: I'm prepared to make sure we do everything possible so that the public has the advantage of his much of the information as it can.

BROWN: And now as we await the release of the Mueller report, today, CNN has learned that Mueller interviewed Trump's pollster Tony Fabrizio. The revelation comes after it was revealed that Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort shared polling data with Russian national Konstantin Kilimnik who prosecutor say has ties to the same Russian military intelligence unit that hacked the Democratic Party during the 2016 campaign, its coordination between the campaign and the Russians that the Mueller team has been looking for.

Today, the president said he had no knowledge of the information sharing.

[02:40:01] UNIDENTIFIED MALE: 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, nothing about it.

BROWN: With Kilimnik as the go between, Manafort spokesman claims the data was ultimately intended for two powerful pro-Russian-Ukrainian oligarchs who owed Manafort millions. And tonight, Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin on Capitol Hill facing tough questions from House lawmakers on the department's decision to ease sanctions on companies tied to Russian oligarch Oleg Deripaska.

REP. NANCY PELOSI (D-CA), SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES: It's one of the worst classified briefings we've received from the Trump administration. The secretary barely testified.

BROWN: In a statement, Mnuchin defended his decision stating that these companies were, "Undergoing significant restructuring and governance changes that sever Deripaska's control and significantly diminish his ownership." Democrats are now mulling over whether to formally push back against the sanctions release for the Russian companies that was announced last month.


BROWN: And one of two oligarchs denies ever requesting or receiving polling data from Manafort. But as for the Mueller probe, all indications at this point are that the special counsel is nearing the end of the investigation within the next few months setting the stage for legal and political fights over the findings in that report and who gets to see them. Pamela Brown, CNN Washington.

ALLEN: Venezuela's president begins his second-term amid crisis and criticism. Ahead here, why neighboring nations are refusing to recognize the embattled Nicolas Maduro as a legitimate leader.


ALLEN: Venezuela's Nicolas Maduro was sworn in for his second term as president Thursday. But some Latin American countries are refusing to recognize his presidency. Maduro defended his legitimacy after his swearing in ceremony saying he was a truly democratic president. But the Organization of American States voted Thursday not to recognize his new term. And Paraguay said it is breaking diplomatic relations with the country. Paraguay's president had this message for the Venezuelan people.


MARIO ABDO BENITEZ, PRESIDENT OF PARAGUAY (via translator): I want to send a message of solidarity to the Venezuelan people, to the thousands of Venezuelans that walk in caravans through our region, in Peru, Colombia, and Brazil with their hearts broken. But always with a smile because they know that they're going to make an effort to help their families that continue to suffer in Venezuela.


HOWELL: In the meantime, Argentina's president criticized Maduro tweeting this, "His power is not authentic, even though he tries to hide under victimization. Maduro presents himself as the persecuted president. But he isn't the victim. Maduro is the murderer." Venezuela has been struggling with an ongoing economic crisis in their country.

[02:45:03] ALLEN: And it has triggered a mass exodus that could grow to 5 million people this year. Stefano Pozzebon has more from the capital city Caracas.


STEFANO POZZEBON, CNN JOURNALIST: And, of course, the economic situation is on everyone's mind here in Venezuela. From the outside, it's difficult to grasp the scale, the magnitude of the collapse. It's a whole country of 30 million people that has almost been brought to a standstill.

And watching the images of President Nicolas Maduro being sworn in once again for a new fresh mandate as president, and receiving the agency and the loyalty of the armed force and those ally countries such as Bolivia, Cuba, and Nicaragua.

Watching those images is difficult not to think at the contrast with the millions, and tens of millions of Venezuelan's who live with less than $10 a month. And with the millions of Venezuelans who fled the country since 2015. About one in 10 Venezuelans have left the country since the crisis began almost four years ago.

Watch these images the contrast couldn't be stark and on one side, the official word renovating himself in front of the Supreme Court and isolating itself even more from the international community. And on the other side, the real world that is really deteriorated is collapsing eaten alive by this hyperinflationary spiral. For CNN, this is Stefano Pozzebon, Caracas.

(END VIDEO CLIP) ALLEN: And we now, turn to France where yellow vests protesters, they are not giving up, are they? They are going to take to the streets again, this Saturday. The French government is organizing a national debate to address their grievances.

HOWELL: We've been are reporting on what yellow vests for several weeks now, and the demonstrators seem determined to make their movement a permanent part of French politics. Our Melissa Bell, explains.


MELISSA BELL, CNN PARIS CORRESPONDENT: Macron, resign. The rallying cry hasn't changed. But since their first timid gatherings in early November, the yellow vests themselves have taken over the Champs- Elysees with their fiscal revolt after the French government announced a hike in the fuel tax, which it canceled in early December.

EDOUARD PHILIPPE, PRIME MINISTER OF FRANCE (through translator): The tensions have led us to decide that no tax is worth endangering civil peace.

BELL: But two days after that decision, the yellow vests were back. 136,000 of them across the country no longer calling for lower taxes, but now, for greater spending power. And beyond the Saturday gatherings, the daily protests at toll booths and roundabouts continued all over the country. By mid-December, again, the government conceded.

Financial help to those least well-off was announced. Measures that seemed to take the wind out of the sails of the yellow vest movement. By December 29th, only 12,000 people were on the streets of France. But by their first gathering of the New Year, the gloves were off.

With the former boxer caught on camera beating up a policeman at a protest in Paris, and a policeman in Toulon caught on camera facing off with protesters with both incidents now being investigated by the police.

Also, last Saturday, the numbers out on the streets were back up to 50,000. So what do the yellow vests want now?

THIERRY PAUL VALETTE, SPOKESMAN, YELLOW VEST (through translator): What we want is not complicated. It's that citizens we listen to that all citizens be able to act with the political process. With referendums when laws are made, when important decisions are taken. That's what the citizens want.

BELL: But will the citizens get that? The French government is organizing a national debate, but are changes to the political system itself actually on the cards.

JEAN-BAPTISTE LEMOYNE, JUNIOR MINISTER FOR FOREIGN AFFAIRS, FRANCE (through translator): There are people who put on their yellow vests for the right reasons. For reasons linked to their everyday lives. But there are others who fear neither the extreme left nor the extreme right. And who want to top all the institutions. And naturally, with them we will be firm.

BELL: For their part, the yellow vest says that they're here to stay with another protest fan for Saturday and some of them preparing to stand in European elections. The yellow vests believe that they are said to become a permanent feature of French political life. Melissa Bell, CNN, Paris.


HOWELL: Melissa, thank you. Still ahead, here on NEWSROOM. Parts of Central Europe, already buried in snow. Could see more snow coming? The latest forecast ahead.


[02:51:20] ALLEN: Welcome back. Parts of Europe have been dealing with heavy snow in the past several days.

HOWELL: And our meteorologist Derek Van Dam is here to tell us about a cold forecast. More to come.

DEREK VAN DAM, CNN INTERNATIONAL WEATHER ANCHOR: Yes, you won't believe this. Natalie, George, they have had over three meters of snowfall since the beginning of the year in parts of Austria. I mean, this is immobilizing entire towns within that area, it's really incredible.

Let me take you to Germany, this is an area that has had the National Guard cold in. Declaring a state of emergency within some towns in Bavaria because the snow is just frankly become too deep. They had to call in the army to help remove some of the snow that has piled up on the roadways there.

Get to my graphics and I'll show you the incredible image coming out of Austria. This just speaks volumes, right? A picture can say a million words. Figuring out to describe it really, but I want you to see this gentleman here that's across-country skiing through their town. Picture taken perfectly with that a snowplow moving through the area, trying to clear the streets, as well.

One concern that people are having with this amount of snow is how much weight this is exerting on their household. So, we did a little bit of math. You take a typical house. Let's call it nearly 200 square meters, right?

And you take the depth of the snow that's falling, the density of water, and you take the ratio of water to liquid ratio -- liquid snow -- liquid water, I should say. And the equivalent of 22,000 kilograms of weight is being applied to that size of a house. I mean, this is the potential to collapse buildings to collapse roofs. And we've seen it before.

Fortunately, hasn't happened so far this season but obviously, the concern is there. Trains are getting stuck in this amount of snowfall. In Germany, this is incredible, they have had to dig out entire locomotives just because they've become stranded. Look at this, and low for Austria they've had 57 centimeters or that is their average for the entire month of January. So far, this year, they've had 170 centimeters that's three times their entire monthly average. Just in a 10-day period people.

There is more snow in the forecast, you can see it piling up there. We are going to continue with the snowy forecast as the wind is setting up perfectly in this northerly direction, and that rides up and over the mountain ranges and creates the snowy effect.

And that the weather forecast calls for an additional 100 centimeters of snow in some parts.


ALLEN: We can tell you're a little giddy because we know you like to snowboard.

VAN DAM: Skiing.

HOWELL: Oh, we should discuss. I love snow so much. I'm very passionate about it.

VAN DAM: Thank. All right.

HOWELL: All right. Derek, thank you.

ALLEN: Thank you.

VAN DAM: Yes, you're welcome --

HOWELL: All right, this next story about tennis great 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.

ALLEN: On Friday, on the eve of the Australian Open, Murray said his final event could be his beloved Wimbledon Tournament in July if he can make it that far. CNN sports Coy Wire has his story.


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.

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.

[02:55:01] 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.


HOWELL: Thank you, Coy.

ALLEN: Love Andy Murray, sad.

HOWELL: Yes. All right, this next story, kind of out of this world. Intriguing report. Again, raising the age-old question. Natalie, are we alone?

ALLEN: We might be hearing something from somewhere out here. Very easy to find whom we might be talking to.

Canadian scientists say they have detected a repeating series of very short bursts of radio waves coming from far outside our solar system. Outside our solar system. Individual bursts are not uncommon, but in this case, the bursts were repeated several times.

HOWELL: Wow. That is intriguing. The discovery, it is exciting some believers in the possibility of intelligent alien life. But most scientists suggest the radio signals are probably some kind of natural phenomena.

ALLEN: But we don't know.

HOWELL: We don't know.

ALLEN: So, it is intriguing and it is freaking me out. Thanks for watching this hour. I'm Natalie Allen.

HOWELL: And I'm George Howell. Let's do it again. Another hour of news after the break. Stay with us.