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CNN NEWSROOM

Democrats Reject Trump's Offer to End Shutdown; Interview with Justin Tarovisky, Unpaid Federal Worker; Native American Elder Faces Off with Teens; Suspected Car Bombing Rattles Northern Ireland; Funeral Held for Polish Mayor; Brexit Chaos Leads to Crisis of Leadership; Interview with Ocean Ramsey, Shark Swimmer. Aired 3-3:30a ET

Aired January 20, 2019 - 03:00   ET

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


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CYRIL VANIER, CNN ANCHOR (voice-over): Thanks, but no thanks. Democrats dismiss Donald Trump's plan to reopen the U.S. government. We'll be speaking to a federal employee forced to work without pay.

At the steps of the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, what happened when a teenager confronted a Native American Vietnam War veteran and the backlash the young man is facing.

No fear: what it's like to swim with one of the greatest predators in the world. We interview the diver -- next.

Live from the CNN Center in Atlanta, I'm Cyril Vanier, it is great to have you with us.

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VANIER: So Democrats have said no deal to a White House offer to end the longest government shutdown in U.S. history. The president said he would temporarily lift the threat of deportation for about 1 million undocumented immigrants if he got his border wall.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: In recent weeks we have met with large numbers of Democrat lawmakers to hear their ideas and suggestions. By incorporating the priorities of rank and file Democrats in our plan, we hope they will offer their enthusiastic support. And I think many will. This is a common sense compromise both parties should embrace.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

VANIER: The top U.S. Democrat, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, said no before the offer was even made. She said the president was just recycling old proposals that had already been rejected.

Meanwhile, the partial shutdown of the U.S. government is entering its 30th day. Here's Sarah Westwood at the White House.

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SARAH WESTWOOD, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: President Trump on Saturday rolling out a proposal that he described as an attempt to break the logjam that has dragged this partial government shutdown nearly a month.

The president proposing from the White House a deal that would net him $5.7 billion in funding for his border wall as well as millions for other security measures, like more immigration judges, more detention space at the border, even more Border Patrol agents.

And in exchange, Trump says he would agree to a one-time, three-year renewal of DACA protections for those young undocumented immigrants known as DREAMers as well as a three-year extension of temporary protected status for the roughly 300,000 immigrants currently covered under that status.

But they are facing the prospect of their TPS expiring. The White House is defending this proposal on Saturday against criticisms from both sides of the aisle, responding to charges from the far right that this bill would amount to amnesty.

Vice President Pence said that a pathway to citizenship right now is not on the table, claims that the bill would not constitute amnesty for the DREAMers. Pence also acknowledging that the president in the past has said he would not support this kind of trade, DACA for wall funding, by saying that the president came around to the idea after hearing from rank and file members on both sides of the aisle.

Now the White House is hoping to move quickly on this bill with a vote in the Senate as soon as next week. But it's not yet clear whether the bill has the ability to make it through the Republican controlled Senate, let alone the Democratic controlled House -- Sarah Westwood, CNN, the White House.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

VANIER: The impact of 800,000 federal workers not being paid goes beyond those individuals and their immediate families. It has a ripple effect on their local communities and puts a strain on society at large.

Food banks are popping up to provide groceries. These government workers are now on the verge of missing their second paychecks.

Justin Tarovisky joins me now from Morgantown in West Virginia. Justin is a correctional officer at the U.S. penitentiary Hazelton, a high-security prison.

Justin, you are working without pay right now and have been doing so for several weeks.

How's morale? JUSTIN TAROVISKY, U.S. CORRECTIONAL OFFICER: Well, currently I've been at Hazelton for about 10 years now. And the last 10 years I've been through a lot and so has the officers. I can tell you, the morale has been, in my opinion, the worst it's been since I've been there and a lot of older officers will tell you the same.

VANIER: What's changed at work since the shutdown started?

TAROVISKY: Well, currently, we're understaffed and now that we have a shutdown and you have that understaffing, you have officers that have --

[03:05:00]

TAROVISKY: -- worked eight hours of their regular pay and now they're being mandated for an extra 16, including myself. And when it affects you working and you're not getting paid for that money, especially you're missing a whole paycheck and now you're going close to being on a second one, it's affecting a lot of people.

And every person is a different situation. Some officer might be just starting off new and he is going from paycheck to paycheck. Other people could have 10-15 years in and they are going just fine but others aren't.

It just -- every situation is different. And it hasn't been easy whatsoever for the staff, especially the morale.

VANIER: You used the word mandated.

How does that work?

You're being asked to work double shifts?

TAROVISKY: Yes, sir. I mean, take for me for example. I worked on New Year's, 4:00 am to midnight. And at midnight I was told, hey, you got to stay. There's no one else to cover. So I had to work an additional eight.

And at this point, you know, being told you're mandated and you can't leave and you have to work for a straight 16 and you're not even going to get paid for it, it's kind of disheartening.

Now I get it, a lot of people say, you're going to get back pay, you're going to get paid later. But at this point, that's not what we signed up for. We signed up to protect the American public to keep the inmates and staff safe. And to keep delaying our checks and having us in the middle of this is not right.

VANIER: And viewers should know, it's not just any job you do. There are dangerous prisoners where you work. There are hazards to being in this line of work.

If I'm not mistaken, you have missed one paycheck and the second one's around the corner, is that right?

TAROVISKY: Absolutely, yes, sir.

VANIER: Have you asked yourself how long you can hold out?

TAROVISKY: Yes, you always keep that in the back of your mind. But I already know of officers who have taken out hardship loans on -- if you want to say your 401(k), it's TSB for a savings plan. And they've had to take out hardship loans already, just preparing for that.

Me personally, it's a possibility because a few more paychecks. But when you take out a hardship loan, they take out 10 percent of your money and that's money you put away for your retirement. And now you're starting to dip into that. And that's on the back of your mind, you know, that's pay that you were waiting to retire for as a federal law enforcement officer and now you're being taxed that money. And it's not a good situation.

VANIER: Yes, and just from an ethical, moral standpoint, you shouldn't have to pay. You're talking about those loans and the interest on those loans, you shouldn't have to pay to cover that stretch of time during which the government just can't agree that --

(LAUGHTER)

VANIER: -- pay you your salary.

I wonder, does any of this, does any of this, would that make you reconsider working for the government?

You say you've been at this facility for 10 years?

TAROVISKY: I don't -- not necessarily, because, me, I take great pride in where I work. I take great pride in working for the American public taxpayers and doing what I need to do to keep the outside community safe. Not only that but the officers within.

Like I said, when we go inside that gate, we stick our chin up high and we do what we have to do for the American people and ourselves, keeping each other safe. It's kind of an unspoken brotherhood and, you know, at this point, I've never felt like that and I hope I never will.

But I'm just going to keep on keeping on and doing what I can for me, my family and my fellow officers.

VANIER: All right, Justin, look, thank you so much for taking the time to speak to us and best of luck to you and your family as you make it through this, thank you.

TAROVISKY: I appreciate your time, having me on, thank you, sir.

VANIER: A native American elder and Vietnam War veteran has spoken to CNN after videos of a group of teenagers harassing and mocking him went viral. This is one of those videos.

This happened Friday on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial in Washington. Nathan Phillips was beating a ceremonial drum and singing a Native American protest song when he saw a group of teenagers about to clash with four young African Americans preaching about the Bible and about oppression.

The situation came to a head when this young man you're seeing got right in his face.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

NATHAN PHILLIPS, NATIVE AMERICAN ELDER, VIETNAM WAR VETERAN: When I was there and I was standing there and I seen that group of people in front of me and I seen the angry faces and all of that, I realized I had put myself in a really dangerous situation, you know?

It was like, here is a group of people who were angry at somebody else and I put myself in front of that and, all of a sudden, I'm the one who is --

[03:10:00]

PHILLIPS: -- all that anger and all of that wanting to have the freedom to just rip me apart, you know?

That was scary. And I -- I'm a Vietnam times veteran and I know that mentality of, there is enough of us; we can do this.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

VANIER: The students attend Covington Catholic High School in Kentucky, which is part of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Covington and it released this statement.

"We condemn the actions of the Covington Catholic High School students toward Nathan Phillips specifically and Native Americans in general. We extend our deepest apologies to Mr. Phillips.

"This behavior is opposed to the church's teachings on the dignity and respect of the human person. The matter is being investigated and we will take appropriate action, up to and including expulsion."

Across the U.S., thousands of women took to the streets Saturday to demand respect and equality. These marches followed the first ones in 2017, the day after President Donald Trump's inauguration.

At that time, it was to protest his comments about women during the campaign and to support women's rights. This year's event was not without its own controversies, though.

The organizers of the national march faced accusations of anti- Semitism after a Jewish magazine accused two group leaders of making anti-Semitic comments.

Even so, the marches usually bring out politicians like House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, who attended the San Francisco march. And they're not just in the U.S. There were marches also in Canada and the U.K. and several countries across the world. Police say it appears no one was hurt by a suspected car bomb that exploded in Northern Ireland. It happened in Londonderry, also known as Derry, Saturday night. Both Republican and Unionist politicians say it was a terror attack meant to sow instability and hurt civilians. Nic Robertson has the latest.

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NIC ROBERTSON, CNN INTERNATIONAL DIPLOMATIC EDITOR: We've been in Derry for the past couple of days, talking to people. And people have been concerned because Brexit talks are not going well. They're concerned about the possibility of potential of return to violence. There's an unease about it.

It's not clear that this particular bomb is associated with that. What we've been able to see up the street this close up behind me is the burnt-out wreck of a vehicle with the roof open and peeled back, giving the impression that a blast has gone off inside that vehicle and has burned out.

The police have evacuated the area. They keep the area cordoned off. There is a second suspicious vehicle in the area they are investigating. At this point they're asking people in this area to act with caution.

Politicians, the deputy prime minister in Ireland has condemned it and says there's no reason for it. The first minister here in Northern Ireland has also condemned this as an act of terror, a needless act of terror. It is raising a level of concern.

What we've seen in this area over the past number of years has been low-level, dissident Republican activity, small pipe bombs. If this is what it appears to be, which is a car bomb, it appears to represent a step change in the activity of what we, what appears to be at the moment dissident Republican groups.

They haven't made a claim of responsibility. They haven't said why. But what we do know is that the director of MI-5, Britain's domestic intelligence service, Andrew Parker, in the past few years in his annual statements has made very clear that the threat of dissident Republican terrorism remains a very real threat.

So the concern tonight will be, why did this happen?

Is it a step change that they intend to continue?

And it plays to the fears that people have at the moment about the political process over Brexit. So until police can learn more about the device, more about who may have been behind planting this suspected car bomb, as police describe it, it is going to continue to cause concern and feed into those fears about the Brexit process, those uncertainties for people who've been experiencing and experiencing sort of even more over recent weeks as the clock ticks down towards Brexit -- Nic Robertson, CNN, Derry, Northern Ireland.

(END VIDEOTAPE) VANIER: A legendary great white makes a rare appearance. The diver who swam with this massive predator tells me that sharks need more love. I speak to her next.

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VANIER: The U.S. says 52 militants are dead after a Saturday airstrike in Somalia. The U.S. military says it targeted Al-Shabaab fighters in the south of the country and no civilians were hurt or killed. Al-Shabaab is linked to Al Qaeda. The U.S. says the airstrike came in response to an earlier militant attack on Somali government forces.

Tens of thousands of mourners filled the streets of Gdansk, Poland, Saturday. They were there to honor the life of the city's mayor, Pavel Adamowicz. He was stabbed to death at an event last week.

Several Polish leaders attended the mass, including the country's prime minister and the former president, Lech Walesa. The list of speakers included the mayor's daughter and his wife, who would have celebrated 20 years of marriage with him in May. The two spoke of his service to the city of Gdansk.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MAGDALENA ADAMOWICZ, PAVEL'S WIFE (through translator): From the start of our relationship, I knew that I would have to share your love with Gdansk. And I shared it but I wasn't jealous. I fully understood that you loved Gdansk and you needed it just like Gdansk loves and needs you.

ANTONIRA ADAMOWICZ, PAVEL'S DAUGHTER (through translator): My dear darling Daddy, I wanted to thank you for all of your life, for your life which you spent with us, with Mom, Teresa (ph), with our grandparents and with Gdansk.

I want to thank you for evening walks with your beloved dog, Zeus (ph), for teaching me to love books, history and to be interested in the world.

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VANIER: Adamowicz was one of Poland's longest serving mayors. He died one day after he was attacked on stage during one of Poland's biggest charity events.

Officials continue to investigate what caused a deadly gas pipeline explosion in Central Mexico. At least 73 people died when the line burst into flames on Friday and another 74 were injured, many in serious condition now. Authorities say it happened as people were trying to steal petrol from

the line and may have been sparked by static electricity. Fuel theft has cost Mexico billions of dollars. The president vows to continue cracking down on the act.

With Brexit negotiations stuck in a grand gridlock and with constant bickering in the British Parliament, it is no wonder many Britains are losing faith in the government. But that wasn't always the case. Bianca Nobilo takes a look at how this group of politicians shapes up against some of the U.K.'s most famous leaders.

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BIANCA NOBILO, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): A pantheon of kings and statesmen surround the palace of Westminster, men who commanded respect, inspired loyalty and who, with all their flaws, were leaders.

WINSTON CHURCHILL, FORMER BRITISH PRIME MINISTER: I have nothing to offer but blood, toil, tears and sweat.

NOBILO (voice-over): What might they make of the chaos now flooding through the mother of parliaments?

Churchill once said of the House of Commons --

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NOBILO (voice-over): -- "This little room is the shrine of the world's liberties."

JOHN BERCOW, SPEAKER, BRITISH HOUSE OF COMMONS: Order!

NOBILO (voice-over): In recent weeks it seemed more like a monument to indecision.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: All the fighting, we must look ridiculous all over the world.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What a disaster. They should have had it done, should have been finished. Disgrace.

NOBILO (voice-over): Churchill's grandson and current MP called for a sense of purpose in Parliament.

NICHOLAS SOAMES, BRITISH CONSERVATIVE MP: Mr. Speaker, to coin a phrase from a greater, kinder and more resolute period in our national life, come, let us go forward together and settle this now.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Here!

NOBILO (voice-over): Together, not Theresa May's government, which crashed to the worst parliamentary defeat in history in trying too push through its Brexit deal.

BERCOW: The ayes to the right, 202; the nays to the left, 432.

NOBILO (voice-over): Not the Labour opposition which swiftly rejected the prime minister's better-late-than-never invitation to talks on Brexit.

JEREMY CORBYN, LEADER, U.K. LABOUR PARTY: The government is in disarray.

NOBILO (voice-over): And not Parliament united in rejecting no deal but split on anything that might be aiding (ph).

BERCOW: Abandon the juvenile finger wagging which achieves precisely nothing.

NOBILO (voice-over): The continent looks on in disbelief. The president of the European Council asking, "If a deal is impossible and no one wants no deal, then who will finally have the courage to say what the only positive solution is?"

Perhaps Ms. May will take inspiration from one of the greatest Conservative prime ministers of the 19th century. Benjamin Disraeli said that through perseverance, many people have won success from what seemed destined to be certain failure.

But he also warned that there is no treachery or no meanness of which a political party is not capable. For in politics, he said, there is no honor.

Winston Churchill said of leadership, success is never found, failure is never fatal. Courage is the only thing.

But gazing across from Parliament Square in the midst of a crisis that seems more squabbling than statesmanship, he might also be saying, this, then, was not their finest hour -- Bianca Nobilo, CNN, London.

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VANIER: A team of divers has just had a very close encounter with a legendary shark. Her name is Deep Blue. She's more than six meters long and she's believed to be one of the biggest great whites in the world.

This video was shot Tuesday near Hawaii. I spoke earlier with the diver that you see swimming with the shark right there. She's a marine biologist, an ocean conservationist and the co-founder of One Ocean Diving.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

OCEAN RAMSEY, ONE OCEAN DIVING: She is by far the most gentle white shark I have ever seen. And you know what breaks my heart is that I may never see her again. And my chances of seeing her are slim to none at the rate that sharks are being killed, which is 70 million to 100 million sharks being killed every year.

A lot of people don't know that. A lot of people, they think of sharks and just teeth. But the reality is that sharks are actually being killed at a rate that averages two to three sharks every second mostly just for this wasteful practice called shark thinning.

If you don't know what that is, I highly encourage you to look it up. And shark fishing, it's such a waste. It's so sad that these beautiful, important, ecologically important animals are just being decimated.

VANIER: And I want to get to that a little more in a second. But because we're seeing you touching the shark, there was a controversy on social media when you released your footage and pictures, where there was admiration expressed but also some people saying, why is she touch being the shark?

RAMSEY: Absolutely. And I actually discourage anyone to touch any type of wild animal. They're just as individual as you and I. Some people are OK being touched and some aren't. She came up; she was not interested in us. She was interested in brushing up against the boat. So she's a little itchy.

We've seen this kind of behavior in other white sharks, in other very large, seemingly possibly pregnant tiger sharks as well. So she probably just wanted that scratch. And when she swam by, it was nice and calm and graceful and maybe I put a hand out just to extend and make sure that I kept a little bit of space from her.

At one point, there were, I would say, about 15 random people who had jumped in the water near a dead whale carcass. I saw her heading over there. We headed over there and saw these people there.

And as a matter of public safety, because I have been working with sharks for such a long time and I publicly do programs and I have a lot of experience in deterring sharks, I put myself between those inexperienced people in these bright colored things, that were obviously catching her eye. And I gently deterred her, not harming the shark at all.

And again, that criticism, I think it's ironic that I be criticized for gently deterring or petting a shark when those people won't spend time criticizing the --

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RAMSEY: -- people who are cutting their fins off and killing them for sport.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

VANIER: That was Ocean Ramsey speaking to me earlier.

Tens of millions of Americans are under winter warnings or advisories as a fierce winter storm barrels toward the northeastern U.S. This was the scene in New Hampshire. New York, meanwhile, is bracing for a mix of snow and rain.

(WEATHER REPORT) VANIER: And thank you for watching CNN NEWSROOM. I'm Cyril Vanier,

I'll have the headlines for you again in just a moment.