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FBI Was Investigating Whether The President Was Actually A Russian Asset; The President Points The Finger At Democrats For The U.S. Government Shutdown; U.S. Secretary Of State Mike Pompeo Promising To Address The Killing Of Journalist Jamal Khashoggi During The Sit Down With The Saudi Crown Prince; Juan Guaido Was Detained By Security Officials And Then Later Released; Smuggling Tunnel Was Discovered Running From Mexico In To The Arizona Border; Aired 2-3p ET
Aired January 13, 2019 - 14:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[14:00:17] FREDRICKA WHITFIELD, CNN HOST: Hello, everyone. Thank you so much for joining me this Sunday. I'm Fredricka Whitfield.
We start with an alarming new report detailing the extraordinary lengths, President Trump has gone in order to keep the details of his meetings with Russian President Vladimir Putin a secret. The "Washington Post" reports in one instance the President even took possession of notes by an interpreter, telling that linguist not to discuss the meeting with white House officials.
That story comes on the hills of the explosive "New York Times" report that the FBI started investigating whether President Trump was secretly working on behalf of Russia back in May of 2017. Now, that "Washington Post" report reveals there are no detailed reports of Trump's five face to face meetings with Putin. The reporter who broke that story spoke to CNN this morning.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GREG MILLER, NATIONAL SECURITY CORRESPONDENT, THE WASHINGTON POST: If you go back to Clinton, Obama, George W. Bush, George H.W. Bush, Ronald Reagan, their meetings with their Russian counterparts involved senior aides, often multiple aides taking detailed notes. In fact, you can go through the Clinton archive and read almost verbatim transcripts of his meetings with Boris (INAUDIBLE). Those just don't exist for Donald Trump because he is excluding people from in his own White House from seeing what is happening.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WHITFIELD: Reportedly, senior administration officials at the time were frustrated and uncomfortable being in the dark about these meetings. In the "Washington Post," one said, I'm quoting now, "God only knows what they were going to talk about or agree to," end quote.
The White House and President Trump are pushing back on both reports. Here is President Trump answering on his favorite TV network when directly asked are you now or have you ever worked for Russia? (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I think it's the most insulting thing I have ever been asked. I think it's the most insulting article I have ever had written. And if you read the article, you would see that they found absolutely nothing.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WHITFIELD: Let's check in now with CNN's White House correspondent Boris Sanchez.
So what more are you hearing from the White House?
BORIS SANCHEZ, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Hey, there, Fred.
Ludicrous, insulting and not worthy of a response, that is how the President and some in the administration are responding to these two back-to-back bombshell reports in the "New York Times" and the "Washington Post."
Now the President himself dismissed both of these reports. And press Sarah Sanders put out two statements about both of these that are eerily similar. Take a look at the response that she had for that reporting about a counterintelligence investigation in the "New York Times." This was on Friday. She calls it absurd and then later in the statement she goes on to say that President Trump has been tough on Russia.
In the second statement about the "Washington Post" story, take a look. She writes quote "the "Washington Post" story is so outrageously inaccurate it doesn't even warrant a response. The liberal media has wasted two years trying to manufacture a fake collusion scandal instead of reporting the fact that unlike President Obama, who let Russia and other foreign adversaries push America around, President Trump has actually been tough on Russia."
Using almost identical language comparing President Trump and President Obama on Russia, in both occasions, saying that President Trump has been significantly tougher despite the fact that there are multiple instance of President Trump actually being quite friendly to Russian officials, including Vladimir Putin. You recall that press conference in Helsinki where President Trump failed to address Russian election meddling in 2016. And of course, we don't know what their conversation have been like in public which is the vein of that report in the "Washington Post," Fred.
WHITFIELD: And lawmakers, you know, reacting, some are, to the report on the FBI fear the President could be working on behalf of Russia. What has been said?
SANCHEZ: Well, responses have fallen mostly along party lines. Republican senator Ron Johnson was on the "STATE OF THE UNION" with Jake Tapper this morning. He defended President Trump on both counts saying that some of the President's accusations about the deep state within the FBI had merit, in response to that counterintelligence report in the "New York Times."
And in terms of the "Washington Post" report, he made the argument that some of the President's other conversations with world leaders had previously leaked and perhaps the President was trying to defend himself from future leaks by keeping some of these conversations with Vladimir Putin private. We also heard from Senator Mark Warner this morning on "STATE OF THE UNION." He suggested that both of these reports reveal there are still unanswered questions about the issue of collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia. Listen now to this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JAKE TAPPER, CNN CHIEF WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT: Do you think the President of the United States ever worked on behalf of the Russians against American interests?
[14:05:01] SEN. MARK WARNER (D), INTELLIGENCE COMMITTEE: Well, Jake, that's the defining question of our investigation and the Mueller investigation. Was there collusion? I do think it's curious that throughout that whole summer when these investigations started, you had Vladimir Putin policies almost being parroted by Donald Trump. You had Trump say only nice things about Putin. He never spoke ill about Russia. The Republican campaign doctrines softened on Russia and decreased their willingness to defend Ukraine. There was a series of outside actions.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SANCHEZ: The top Democrat on the Senate intelligence committee also said it was pathetic that U.S. officials don't know exactly what Vladimir Putin and President Trump talked about in private, Fred.
WHITFIELD: Boris Sanchez at a very snowy White House, thank you so much.
It's important to keep in mind that we are talking about Russia, the country that meddled in the 2016 U.S. election, the country that's at the center of the special counsel Robert Mueller's investigation. And now we are learning of the glaring gap in records of the private conversations between President Trump and Putin. All officials have to go off of the President's word of what happened at those meetings.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: We had direct open and deeply productive dialogue. It went very well. Our relationship has never been worse than it is now. However, that changed as of about four hours ago. I really believe that.
President Putin and I have been discussing various things, and I think it's going very well. We had some very, very good talks. We are going to have a talk now. And obviously that will continue. But we look forward to a lot of very positive things happening, for Russia, for the United States, and for everybody concerned.
(END VIDEO CLIP) WHITFIELD: All right. Vaguer is then, vaguer is now.
Joining me right now, Shawn Turner, former communication director for national intelligence and former CIA counterterrorism official Phil Mudd. Good to see both of you.
All right. So Shawn, you first, you know. What could be a reasonable explanation for the President's approach here? Why wouldn't he want documentation or witnesses as protection at the very least?
SHAWN TURNER, FORMER DIRECTOR OF COMMUNICATIONS FOR U.S. NATIONAL INTELLIGENCE: Fred, to be candid, I don't think there is a good reason for not wanting some sort of documentation for what happened in these meetings.
To be clear, every President has the right to meet one on one with world leaders. Previous Presidents have done it, and while I think for President Trump it's ill-advised considering everything that's going on with the Russia investigation, it's his right to do that.
But what the President has to be concerned about here and what everyone has to be concerned about is there is an optic here that there are secrets between the President of the United States and Vladimir Putin. And the President's top advisers, his DNI, and certainly not the American people are privy to those secrets. So the question we have to ask here is are we OK with they are being secrets between these two men considering everything that is going with regards to people in the President's sphere being in contact with the Russians during the election?
WHITFIELD: And former deputy secretary of state Stobe Talbott told the "Washington Post" this. I'm quoting now,
"It handicaps the U.S. government. The experts and advisers and cabinet officers who are there to serve the President, and it certainly gives Putin much more scope to manipulate Trump." He also said that this defies historical standards and is outrageous.
So, Phil, how do you assess all this?
PHILIP MUDD, CNN COUNTERTERRORISM ANALYST: I mean, if you are looking for a reasonable answer, I can't give you one, but let me try to answer, anyway.
Number one, it is about the President's ego. This is not med speaking. This is the President speaking. He told us months ago in a public interview that he was the center of policy making in the United States and they didn't have to fill a lot of government positions because he would make those decisions.
So I can see him saying, why do I need people sitting around in a meeting with Vladimir Putin? I'm the one who is going to make decisions, anyway.
You are going to get to the second question of, what do you so worried about? Why don't you - the point of the former deputy secretary of state was making, why don't you want other officials to know what you are saying to Vladimir Putin?
So for example, the secretary of state, the national security advisor can execute the decisions, the conversation of points you had with asked want people to know what you asked Vladimir Putin so they can execute the positive points you had with the Russian leader.
The only conclusion I can draw is that there was something said there that the President didn't want revealed because it's potentially embarrassing. So it's a combination of ego and whatever the substance was that he doesn't want out there.
But the bottom line, and I agree with Shawn, is typically you want people in there, because whatever you decide, they walk out and say, we will deliver on that promise for you.
WHITFIELD: And what you are saying is tantamount to one serving themselves and not serving the American people with that approach.
WHITFIELD: So when Trump, you know, was directly asked on his favorite television network if he ever worked for Russia, he said that's insulting.
So, you know, Shawn, why not just say flat out, no? What do you read in that kind of response that he gave?
[14:10:09] TURNER: Yes. You know, I think the President actually should have said flat out no.
And you know, I don't believe that the President ever put himself in a situation where he was directly taking orders, knowingly and willfully taking orders from Vladimir Putin or from Russia. But that doesn't really matter because we have seen the President behave in ways that he clearly shows that he shows - he feels some deference to Vladimir Putin and to Russia. And we still don't know why that's the case.
But you know, on this whole issue of the meetings in person and the President not sharing information, look, you know, Fred, there is an immense amount of intelligence value in understanding the conversations between Vladimir Putin and the President so that in the intelligence community, we can compare what Vladimir Putin said to President Trump with what we are seeing and hearing in our intelligence collections activities. We can understand their intent.
And what the President has taken away from not just from the intelligence community and his national security team but from the American people is the ability to really understand the intent of a country that's clearly an adversary to the United States.
WHITFIELD: So is it your gut feeling even, Phil, that what while publicly we are learning about this stuff given the way intelligence operatives agents work that perhaps they know a whole lot more about what may or may have not have been, what kind of behavior there may be with the President and Russia or of Vladimir Putin than any of us publicly really know? MUDD: Sort of. But let me echo what Shawn says. They know half of
the story. That is if you are looking at Russian intelligence and Russian diplomatic sources in Moscow, for example, they have got to be talking about presumably, maybe in secret meetings, maybe in conversations with American officials, what was discussed between Putin and the President.
But the problem, to echo what Shawn said, is if you go into that conversation between the President and the Russian leadership and, for example, the Russian leader Putin says something about Russia's involvement in Syria, how does the President get advice on whether what Putin says is accurate or not if no one knows what Putin said?
Let's say Putin said this is my commitment to Syria, and it's a lie. The president doesn't know everything that is happening in Syria. How do you advise him? That's one of the problems here, Fred.
WHITFIELD: And it's not just the President's response which is very evasive. Just listen to the secretary of state Mike Pompeo, what he said about the "New York Times" reporting that the FBI feared the President was working on behalf of Russia.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MIKE POMPEO, U.S. SECRETARY OF STATE: I'm not going to comment on "New York Times'" stories. But I will certainly say this, that the notion that President Trump is a threat to American national security is absolutely ludicrous.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Just to clarify since you were CIA director, did you have any idea that this investigation was happening?
POMPEO: Margaret, Margaret, I have answered this question repeatedly, indeed, on your show. The idea that's contained in the "New York Times" story that President Trump was a threat to American national security is silly on its face and not worthy of a response.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WHITFIELD: So, Shawn, was that an ominous response to you?
TURNER: You know, this is really interesting, because this is an opportunity for the secretary to simply say, these stories are not true. The President did not do these things. But instead he says, you know, the idea that he was a threat to national security is, you know, is crazy. Well, you know, what he is doing there is he is saying, look, I know what things are that are threats to national security. And what I can tell you what I know of, what's happening behind the scenes, is not a threat to national security. That's a real concern for me because these denials are not unequivocal. These denials are kind of bouncing all over the place. I think that the President and his senior advisers really need to take a step back and determine whether or not they want to come out and say affirmatively that these things did not happen. So far, Fred, I just haven't seen that, and that's what causes me some concern.
WHITFIELD: And Phil, quickly, the response? Just simply that it's ludicrous?
MUDD: I think there is a different way to look at this, and that is that I'm not sure that Mike Pompeo, the secretary of state would know everything the department of justice and the FBI is doing. So for him to say there is no investigation, the President never did anything to investigate -- what's that?
WHITFIELD: When he was CIA director, though, which was how, you know?
MUDD: He hasn't been director for a while, and the CIA director doesn't know every investigation that the FBI undertakes, so I could see him saying, I'm not going to answer questions about investigation, but on the question of President Trump's cooperation with Russia, he doesn't buy it. I could see that, conceivably.
WHITFIELD: All right. Phil Mudd, Shawn Turner, good to talk to both of you.
All right. Still ahead, while the President points the finger at Democrats for the U.S. government shutdown, a new CNN poll says most Americans feel President Trump is to blame. Is the border wall funding hurting his approval rating?
[14:18:53] WHITFIELD: All right. Welcome back.
Part of the U.S. government ground to a halt more than three weeks ago. And for the past 23 days, Democratic leaders have blamed the President, while the White House have sought to pin the shutdown on Chuck Schumer and Nancy Pelosi.
We now know who America feels is at fault. A new CNN poll shows 55 percent of people believe Trump is responsible, 32 percent say Democrats, nine percent say both are to blame.
President Trump is still targeting Democrats and tweeted earlier, I'm in the White House waiting. The Democrats are everywhere but Washington as people await their pay. They are having fun and not even talking. But Democrats dispute that.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
WARNER: I think history will show that Donald Trump, a supposed great dealmaker, and I'm working on a piece on this, that business schools and management consultants will look back for years and say this was the most inept negotiation. He boxed himself in a corner. He didn't empower his negotiators like the vice president or Lindsey Graham or Mitch McConnell.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
[14:20:02] WHITFIELD: And in an interview with FOX News, the President reiterated his position on possibly declaring a national emergency to fund his border wall.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: Well, I have the absolute right to call a national emergency. Other Presidents have called many national emergencies for things of lesser importance, frankly, than this. And I have a right to do it. I would rather to see the Democrats come back from their vacation and act. They are not acting. And they are the ones that are holding it up.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WHITFIELD: This all comes as the President's disapproval rating has climbed five points since last month to 57 percent. Meanwhile, hundreds of thousands of federal workers are not getting paid. The impacts are being felt. The Miami international airport has closed a concourse early. Half day it's working because TSA workers are calling out sick in droves. The FDA has stopped some food inspection. Furloughed workers are filing for unemployment. And millions of others are doing whatever it takes to survive.
With me now is Sandy Parr. She works at a federal medical center prison in Minnesota and has been working without pay during the shutdown.
Sandy, thanks for being with me. So you and other employees will not get your paychecks tomorrow, that's usually your payday. What kind of impact do you believe is going to be making or has already made in your life?
SANDY PARR, WORKING WITHOUT PAY AT A FEDERAL PRISON MEDICAL FACILITY: It's going to have a very large impact, not only on myself but community businesses and all of the staff that work with me. Everybody is extremely worried not knowing when their next mortgage payment will be made and if they can put gas in their car just to get to work.
WHITFIELD: So if this shutdown, you know, drags on for weeks or perhaps even months, you are still expected to go to work without pay. How will you make ends meet? How will you cope? How will you continue to bring the same amount of, you know, enthusiasm and focus to your job knowing that you're there and you're not going to be getting a paycheck?
PARR: Well, we are going to rely on each other like we do every day. When you work in a prison setting, you work with the most dangerous criminals across this nation. And we have each other's backs and that's what we have to do. We have lots of community support coming out, and hopefully they will keep coming out and helping us, making sure we have food on the table and gas in our cars to get to work.
But we don't have a choice. If we don't show up for work, our nation's country is at risk. We work with inmates. We can't just release them to the streets.
WHITFIELD: Right. And hence, you know, why I ask about the focus. You have to be focused all the time on what it is you're doing and really try to block out your personal life or any kind of, you know, personal, you know, difficulties when you are on the job. Do you feel like that's being made a little bit more of a greater challenge for you right now?
PARR: It's very difficult and it's very stressful. A stressful correctional officer, a correctional worker is, and a tired correctional officer is a very dangerous environment. The inmates know that we are not getting paid. The inmates know that we are tired and they know that we are stressed. So now is the time that they are going to start taxing us even more.
WHITFIELD: Kind of pushing your buttons a little more, too, potentially.
So, you know, what would you say you would like to, you know, what would want to say to the President? He is often watching all the time. This is your moment to directly make a plea or help him understand where you are coming from and other federal workers, contractors, (INAUDIBLE), family members are coming from.
PARR: It's time for them to stop using us as pawns and what other political game that they are doing, This is affecting millions of people not just the government workers but everybody that was spent money with. It's time to stop using us as his pawn.
WHITFIELD: Sandy Parr, we wish you the best. Thank you so much for taking the time to share your personal experiences and thoughts. Appreciate it.
All right. Let's talk further now. With me now is CNN politics digital director Zach Wolf and Nathan Gonzalez, editor and publisher of "INSIDE ELECTIONS," a platform that provides nonpartisan analysis of campaigns. Good to see both of you.
So let's start with Americans, 55 percent blaming the President, according to the latest polling, for the shutdown.
So Zach, you know, the President said he would own this shutdown. In fact, he has even said he is proud of it. Is he soon to be at all moved, you know, by how many people are hurting as a result?
ZACHARY WOLF, CNN POLITICS DIGITAL DIRECTOR: Well, please don't make me go inside his head to figure out what's going to move him, because --
WHITFIELD: That's what we all are doing on a regular basis, but what's your best thought? I mean, at some point, you know, you would think a President or any public servant would be listening to the American people. And we have got lots of folks from Sandy to others who have been expressing their hardships. What's your expectation of how these personal accounts might in some way penetrate the President's thinking?
[14:25:04] WOLF: Well, yes. And the kind of the thing behind those numbers is that he probably still has a lot of support among Republicans, among his base of people. And he has said before that those are the people he is essentially governing for. I think as pressure mounts nationwide on senators, on congressmen,
they can kind of bring that back to him, that frustration. I think that's the kind of thing ultimately that will have to move him is the pain of the shutdown sort of reaching home and trickling up into his whatever he sees every day.
WHITFIELD: Something that does seem to get the President's attention on a fairly regular basis would be approval ratings, that kind of thing. And his approval rating is down to 37 percent, 57 percent, according to this new polling, disapprove. And according to CNN polling, the increase in disapproval comes primarily among whites without college degrees. And a lot of polling has demonstrated that that represents a good part of his base. So this marks the first time approval rating with this group has been underwater in CNN polling since 2018.
So, Nathan, would this help the President listen? Might it impact his decision making?
NATHAN GONZALEZ, EDITOR/PUBLISHER, INSIDE ELECTIONS: Potentially. I mean, when I first saw these numbers, a couple things stuck out to me. One, is this the blurb or a trend of a downward slope of his approval ratings but disaffected part of his base.
One thing that stuck with me with these numbers in also the ABC News/"Washington Post" polling that came out is that there was a decent gap between adults which the CNN poll and part of the post-poll showed unregistered voters. That his approval rating wasn't as bad with registered voters.
But when brought this to me, I try to look at this through an electoral prism that even when we get to an election, even some of those white non-college educated voters who might be wavering a little bit on their support for the President, when we get all the way to the presidential election, they are going to have to make a choice, you know. They are so disaffected that they are going to, you know, choose Kamala Harris or Elizabeth Warren over the President Trump. I don't think things have gotten that bad for the President yet among his base.
WHITFIELD: So listen to what the President said to FOX News about making a deal with House speaker Nancy Pelosi and other Democrats.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: So then, you know, when Nancy Pelosi won, you very warmly in November congratulated her. And are you still confident you can get a deal done with her or has that ship sailed?
TRUMP: No idea. No idea.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: All right. So for the last time, given that they don't seem to want to come to the table, that you have done all of the negotiating, why not declare?
TRUMP: Well, that might happen, but I want to give them a chance to see if they can act responsibly.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WHITFIELD: So, Zach, both Dems and Republicans have made concessions, have presented bills where they both say that they made some adjustments, but it's the President who has yet to be satisfied. So who is more dug in here?
WOLF: I think what's, you know, kind of the most amazing thing so far about this shutdown to me, now the longest in American history, is it doesn't feel like anyone is trying to really end it right now. There are no closed door meetings going as they sort of hash out some sort of compromise. They are essentially still in the let's play chicken phase of the shutdown and there doesn't seem to be any end in sight. And if he is not going to move and they are not going to move, it is not going to end.
So until somebody sort of, you know, blinks a little bit and starts to move, and you know, it is Trump, is it Pelosi, is it Mitch McConnell who we haven't heard a lot from, until somebody starts to kind of blink a little bit, this thing is not going to happen. Nm
WHITFIELD: So Nathan, is that how you see it? There is more talk or seem to be more concentrated efforts on the funding of the wall versus how the government up and running?
GONZALEZ: Well, I think that is - I think part of the reason why the two parties aren't agreeing on a solution is that can't even agree on what the problem is. If you listen to Democrats, Democrats are trying to end the government shutdown. Republicans are trying to find money to build a wall. Those are two very different things. And so, we can't even --.
WHITFIELD: Meaning initially it was really about a spending bill, keeping government moving. But then the wall funding got attached to that, and so you say there is some real disparity over what's the priority?
GONZALEZ: Right, each party has different priorities. And I still believe the President is - he values deal making more than being a Republican, but in this particular case, we are talking about a campaign promise that he believes he has to deliver on. And he has chosen this moment of his administration to digging his heels (ph). That's why, you know, we are on TV. We are supposed to know everything and know all the answers, but I'm not sure how this ends because he has dug in his heels on his campaign promise.
[14:30:00] WHITFIELD: Is that how it goes? Those of us on TV, you are supposed to know everything?
All right. Nathan Gonzalez and Zach Wolf, thank you so much.
GONZALEZ: Thank you.
WHITFIELD: All right. Next, outrageous and unacceptable strong new words from secretary of state Mike Pompeo on the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi. Hear what he vows to tell the Saudi crown prince at a face-to-face meeting in Saudi Arabia.
[14:34:54] WHITFIELD: Welcome back.
U.S. secretary of state Mike Pompeo is in Saudi Arabia right now. He is expected to hold a meeting with the controversial Saudi crown prince, Mohammad Bin Salman. Pompeo promising to address the killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi during that sit down.
Last month, the U.S. senate passed a resolution condemning the crown prince for the murder. Saudi Arabia has denied the crown prince ordered the killing of Khashoggi who was an outspoken critic of the Saudi regime.
CNN's Sam Kiley joining me right now from the region.
So what has Pompeo been saying about this meeting?
[14:35:30] SAM KYLE, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, Fred, he is trying to get the focus very firmly on a united front that he is putting together. It rather exists already, frankly, in terms of gulf nations against Iran. Bound into that united front is, of course, Israel, and that is an opportunity for diplomatic movement, if you like.
Behind the scenes, Israel is slowly coming in from the cold in its relationship with the gulf nations and that's the sort of thing Mr. Pompeo would like to focus on, not the issue of the murder of Jamal Khashoggi. But he is relentlessly pressed on this and has been throughout his tour in the region, and once again today he was asked what he was going to say. And this is what the secretary of state's response was, Fred.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
POMPEO: What we have said consistently, America's position both privately and publicly is the same. This was an outrageous act, an unacceptable murder. Those who are responsible will be held accountable by the United States of America. We are determined to do that. We are determined to get to the facts just as quickly and comprehensively as we can. We have had a policy that has been remarkably consistent with respect to this week.
We, like the rest of the world, value human rights all across the globe. And the murder of Jamal Khashoggi was outrageous. And we will hold those responsible accountable. And then we will talk about all the important things we do with the kingdom of Saudi Arabia and all the support they provide to keep Americans in Kansas, Colorado and California and in Washington, D.C. safe.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KILEY: Now, it is the case that Saudi Arabia is an important intelligence ally, Fred, to the United States. They are very deeply bound together. As I say, they are bound together in this almost obsession from the Trump administration with regard to Iran.
But holding all of those accountable for the murder of Jamal Khashoggi, that may be difficult given the CIA conclusion with a strong sense of certainty that MBS, Mohammad bin Salman, the crown prince, was involved. The view shared by British intelligence, the British in government and many others around the world. So don't, ultimately, any western ally that Saudi Arabia is really going to get to the bottom of who done it in the murder of Jamal Khashoggi and they are trying to move things on, certainly from the White House perspective, into rekindling the importance of this long-term strategic relationship - Fred.
WHITFIELD: Sam Kiley, thank you so much.
All right, still to come, Mexican authorities say they have just discovered another secret tunnel leading from Mexico into the United States. Details on that smuggling route, next.
[14:25:15] WHITFIELD: Just days after Venezuela's Nicolas Maduro was sworn into office amid protests and controversies, today the country's opposition leader was detained by security officials and then later released. The stunning move coming just days after Juan Guaido said he was ready to step into the nation's presidency temporarily to replace Maduro. Guaido's party called the detention a kidnapping. Maduro was inaugurated on Friday for a second term amid an economic crisis that has seen millions of Venezuelans fleeing the country. His election has been rejected in most countries in the western hemisphere, including the United States which calls his victory illegitimate.
With me now is CNN's Rafael Romo.
So Rafael, we know he has been released, but what has this done?
RAFAEL ROMO, CNN SENIOR LATIN AMERICA AFFAIRS EDITOR: Yes. Really weird incident. And it just happened just a few hours ago, Fred. Venezuela's nationalism, the president Juan Guaido was stopped on a highway by government intelligence agents. The detention was confirmed by both his party and the assembly.
Guaido and his team were driving out of Caracas, the capital, to attend a political rally in the state of Vargas. He was only briefly detained for questioning and then freed. Tensions, as you, in Venezuela were heightened on Thursday when President Nicolas Maduro was inaugurated for a widely disputed second term that will keep him empower until 2025. His election in may was described as a far (INAUDIBLE). It may not position party because they were not a part of the process due to fairness and transparency concerns.
On Friday, Guaido said at a political rally he was prepared to temporarily assume the presidency as allowed by the constitution when a President is disqualified for office and called for fair elections.
As for why he was detained, this is the interesting part, Fred, a top government official said the situation has been resolved, adding that the agents involving Guaido's detention acted on their own will by severely and will be severely punished.
U.S. secretary of Mike Pompeo said Saturday the Maduro regime is illegitimate. The United States joined European Union in about another dozen countries in the region who do not consider Maduro's presidency legitimate.
WHITFIELD: So turmoil really can be measure in a few different ways there. I mentioned at the top that millions have fled - millions have left largely because of hunger?
ROMO: Yes, that's true. People have been voting with their feet because they cannot go in a polls in a fairway like way like in other places. 3.6 million people estimated by the United States left Venezuela last year alone due to the collapsing economy. Secretary of state Pompeo says the administration estimates that this year alone, an additional 1 million people will leave Venezuela because of the same circumstances, and the economy is not getting better at all, Fred.
[14:45:18] WHITFIELD: Extraordinary circumstances.
All right. Thank you so much, Rafael. Good to see you. Appreciate it.
ROMO: Thank you.
WHITFIELD: All right. Discovery at the border. Mexican authorities uncover another secret tunnel leading right in to the U.S. What they found, next.
KRISTOPHER KING, PRESERVATION SOCIETY OF CHARLESTON: The world is in love with Charleston. The sites not be missed, the high battery. But also a stroll up-church street to really get a feel for the colonial part of old Charleston. It is the holy city. Just walking the streets, experiencing the neighborhoods and hearing the church bells ring is an experience second to none.
JOHN LAVERNE, BULLDOG TOURS: One of the newly preserved architectural gems in Charleston, is the city market. There is a variety of locally made Charleston foods in the market, anything from homemade biscuits and stoneground breads.
This here is Charleston's best biscuit. The most popular item here in city market, sweet grass basket.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It was all handmade from the soul.
JIM STEIN, EXECUTIVE CHEF, MCCRADY'S: After you are done with the tour zone and seeing the sites, you have all these amazing places to go to eat and drink. The term food mecca gets thrown around a lot.
The frame (ph) is special because of the history behind the building. George Washington ate here. And we have since transformed it into a 22-seat dining room with 14 courses cooked right in front of you. And that it really makes the experience special.
Charleston is the most beautiful city in the country. If you are not coming to see it, then you are missing out.
[14:51:29] WHITFIELD: A discovery on the southern border. Mexican federal police have released this video of a smuggling tunnel they discovered running from Mexico in to the Arizona border town of Nogales. The Arizona Republic reports this is the third tunnel found crossing into that town in the past month.
CNN correspondent Polo Sandoval is live for us along the southern border.
So Polo, what more can you tell us about this discovery?
POLO SANDOVAL, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes. You know, Fred, it's really just the latest in hundreds of these kinds of tunnels, some of them manmade, obviously, that authorities have located. In this case, as you mentioned, this one in Nogales, Sonora. Mexican federal police tweeting this video where you can see a police officer basically crawling through that space.
Investigators in Mexico believe it was being used to move not just drugs but also people into the United States illegally. It was a concerned citizen who called Mexican police. And that's exactly how that happened. But a key question as to what is actually happening on other parts of the border, including here in south Texas, for example. I can personally tell you that according to what authorities saying here on the ground, this is the kind of - obviously, are the kinds of operations by drug cartels on the Mexican side that have been going on for years.
A little while ago, I just got off the phone with a local police officer here in city of Hidalgo, Texas. It is basically the last city that you stop by before you drive over the international bridge into the city in Reynoso, Mexico across the river. And this police officer basically telling me that they have been struggling to really catch up with these kinds of operations.
For example, for the last ten years, police here in Hidalgo say that they are aware of these drug smugglers basically using the city's own drainage system and the network of pipes underground to be able to smuggle these drugs.
Of course, when you look at the numbers, you will see that that is mainly marijuana, not of course, the harder drugs that have been discussed recently particularly by President Trump, but mainly again marijuana that does continue to be smuggled into the United States according to local police, using the city's own system of drains, and that includes some of the ones that go literally right under the border wall, which is what I'm standing on right now. It's basically a large levee where you can see the wall is actually meant to stop some of the foot traffic.
But it really just goes to show you that even though this particular barrier was built in 2008, authorities say that's when they began to notice that different trend of smugglers basically going underground try to get their drugs up north.
WHITFIELD: All right, Polo Sandoval, thank you so much.
All right. Next, a stunning new report accusing President Trump of hiding details of his conversations with Russian President Vladimir Putin. Is this a national security concern?
We will discuss, coming up.
[14:58:24] WHITFIELD: All right. Welcome back. When it comes to President Trump's most prominent policy position, he says the only way is best.
Our Jake Tapper has that in this week's State of the Cartoonian.
TAPPER (voice-over): President Trump agrees a wall is not is a new idea.
TRUMP: They say it is medieval solution, a wall. That's true. It is medieval because it has worked then and it works even better now.
TAPPER: There weren't other medieval ideas, perhaps, the President may want to try out. (INAUDIBLE) for those sniffles we heard the other night. Maybe a border moat.
TRUMP: It is tremendously vague and tremendously wet. Tremendous amounts of water.
TAPPER: Maybe the government shutdown could be resolved by a short fight between Lord McConnell and Lady Pelosi.
The President has long embraced medieval themes. Just the other day, he used the mean from the ultimate medieval fantasy TV show "Game of Thrones," tweeting this image, the wall is coming. As references go for public policy, we should probably note the "Game of Thrones" is a show that also features ice zombies and dragons.
Also, spoiler alert, the show's famous great wall protecting (INAUDIBLE) rose from the hordes of ice zombies fell in the end of last season.
TRUMP: Not since medieval times has anything happened like this.
TAPPER: We should note that President's embrace of medieval times, whether real or fantasy fiction, does capture certain spirit of this era.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: If you think this hasn't been happening, you haven't been paying attention.
TRUMP: They say the wall is medieval, well, so is a wheel. A wheel is older than a wall. A wheel works and a wall works.