Return to Transcripts main page

CNN NEWSROOM

Trump Backs Down in State of the Union Dispute; Guaido Declares Himself Acting Venezuelan President; China Detains Australian Citizen and Democracy Advocate; Trump Concedes to Pelosi on State of the Union; Political Upheaval in Venezuela; Interview with Juan Carlos Hidalgo, Cato Institute; Footballer Emiliano Sala Sent Audio Message from Plane; Hoarding Food in Case of No-Deal Brexit. Aired 12-1a ET

Aired January 24, 2019 - 00:00   ET

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


[00:00:00]

(MUSIC PLAYING)

JOHN VAUSE, CNN ANCHOR (voice-over): Hello, everybody, wherever you are around the world. Thanks for joining us. I'm John Vause. You're watching CNN NEWSROOM.

Ahead this hour: Pelosi one, Trump nada. The president totally backs down over where and when he will make his State of the Union address after the House Speaker calls his bluff.

Plus Venezuela now has two dueling presidents but only one of them has the backing of the United States and it is not Nicolas Maduro.

Could this be the beginning of the end of the Bavarian revolution?

And canned goods, bottled water and ramen noodles, hunkering down for potential manmade natural disaster, a no-deal Brexit.

(MUSIC PLAYING)

VAUSE: The State of the Union address was the latest weapon the U.S. president tried to use in his battle with Democrats over the government shutdown. But now he has stepped back from that, insisting on delivering -- insisting on addressing the nation on Tuesday.

He said he'll wait now until the shutdown is over, as the House Speaker had suggested all along. Abby Phillip reports on a day of political brinkmanship.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Mr. Speaker, the President of the United States.

ABBY PHILLIP, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The State of the Union coming to a screeching halt today.

TRUMP: The State of the Union speech has been canceled by Nancy Pelosi because she doesn't want to hear the truth. PHILLIP: As House Speaker Nancy Pelosi yanks her invitation to President Trump.

TRUMP: We just found out that she's canceled it. And I think that's a great blotch on the incredible country that we all love.

PHILLIP: Pelosi citing the 33-day-old shutdown as the reason.

REP. NANCY PELOSI (D-CALIF.), SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE: The government is still shut down. I still make the offer. Let's work on a mutually agreeable date, as our original date was mutually agreeable, so that we can welcome him properly.

PHILLIP: Her response coming hours after Trump told Pelosi in a sarcasm-laden letter that he was making plans to be there on time, on schedule and, very importantly, on location.

Pelosi's move seeming to catch the president off guard.

TRUMP: I'm not surprised. It's really a shame what's happening with the Democrats. They have become radicalized.

PHILLIP: As sources tell CNN Trump and Pelosi haven't spoken for two weeks, the president predicting the shutdown won't be over anytime soon.

TRUMP: This will go on for a while.

PHILLIP: The White House planned to ratchet up the pressure on Pelosi in the coming days, forcing her to either allow the speech to go forward in the House chamber or cancel it altogether.

But aides are increasingly concerned that alternative venues for a presidential address won't pass muster, especially a campaign-style rally that might be dismissed as just another political speech.

REV. BARRY BLACK, SENATE CHAPLAIN: Lord, as some members of our armed forces seek sustenance at charity food pantries and prepare to miss a second payday, something has to give.

PHILLIP: All this as the real-world impacts of the shutdown are piling up.

Frustrated federal workers and Coast Guard leadership speaking out.

KARL SCHULTZ, U.S. COAST GUARD COMMANDANT: I find it unacceptable that Coast Guard men and women have to rely on food pantries and donations to get through day-to-day life as service members.

PHILLIP: One top Trump economic adviser even predicting this stunning result if the shutdown continues another month.

QUESTION: Could we get zero growth? I just want to nail this down.

KEVIN HASSETT, CHAIRMAN, COUNCIL OF ECONOMIC ADVISERS: Yes, we could. Yes, we could. QUESTION: We could. OK, wow. All right. Wow.

HASSETT: If it extended for the whole quarter, if it extended for the whole quarter and given the fact that the first quarter tends to be low because of residual seasonality, then you could end up with a number of very close to zero in the first quarter.

But, then again, the second quarter number would be humongous if the government reopened.

PHILLIP: Meantime, President Trump doubling down on the showmanship, even rolling out a new slogan to take Republicans into the 2020 campaign, "Build a wall and crime will fall."

As federal workers brace for a second missed paycheck of the shutdown on Friday, he added, "Use it and pray."

All this as new polls show the president may be on shaky ground; 71 percent say the wall isn't worth shutting down the government in a new CBS poll and the president's approval rating has fallen to 37 percent during the shutdown, according to a CNN average of five recent polls.

Asked how the president justifies keeping the government shut down until he gets his wall, counselor to the president Kellyanne Conway focused on semantics.

KELLYANNE CONWAY, TRUMP SENIOR ADVISER: I'm asking why you in the polling questions, respectfully, are still saying wall, when the president has said you can call it whatever you want. Call it steel slat barriers.

QUESTION: He calls it a wall himself, Kellyanne. He called it a wall this morning.

(CROSSTALK)

CONWAY: Well, I was in the Situation Room when he said to Leader Schumer, Minority Leader Schumer --

(CROSSTALK)

QUESTION: He said it was a new slogan when he called it a wall this morning.

CONWAY: Yes, it's a great slogan. Build a wall and crime will fall. We know that's true.

PHILLIP: Now the process begins of finding an alternative venue for Trump to potentially deliver a speech next week. White House aides for the last week have been concerned that --

[00:05:00]

PHILLIP: -- various options, including here at the White House or outside of Washington. Meantime, the fallout continues for President Trump. A new Associated

Press poll showing his approval rating dropping to 34 percent, down from 42 in December before the shutdown. Also 60 percent of Americans blame him for the shutdown -- Abby Phillip, CNN, the White House.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

VAUSE: Jessica Levinson is a professor of law and governance at Loyola University. She is with us from Los Angeles.

Hey, Jessica.

JESSICA LEVINSON, LOYOLA UNIVERSITY LAW SCHOOL: Hi.

VAUSE: Good to see you, OK.

"The president shall, from time to time, give to the Congress information of the State of the Union and recommend to their consideration such measures as he shall judge necessary and expedient," Article II, Section, Clause 1.

Does that not come with an asterisk and an extra line which reads, and don't just threaten to turn up whenever you want because Nancy Pelosi will call your bluff?

LEVINSON: It sure does. That's going to be the new amendment to the Constitution, it's the Nancy Pelosi rule.

The truth is that the president absolutely does from time to time have to update as a nation on how we're doing, what the State of the Union is. But there's nothing that requires that update be to a joint session of Congress. And that's Nancy Pelosi's House and she guards the door to the House.

She said in no uncertain terms, I'm in control of whether or not there's a joint session and whether or not we vote on a resolution that there will be a joint session.

Guess what, Mr. President?

If the government is shut down, we're not voting on the resolution. So she said, I have ideas for you. You could write a letter. You could give a State of the Union from the White House. But I have another idea for you. Do not think about coming into my House and my chamber while the government is still shut down.

VAUSE: No TV time until you fix the mess, I guess --

(CROSSTALK)

LEVINSON: -- time for you.

VAUSE: -- is a better way of putting it. Yes. Here's part of a letter from the president to the House Speaker earlier in the day, making it clear he actually planned to turn up next week regardless "to deliver important information to the people and Congress of the United States of America regarding the state of our union. I look forward to seeing you on the evening of January 29th in the chamber of the House of Representatives."

He was unambiguous, he'd be turning up, essentially he was challenging Pelosi to try and stop him and she did. She turned him down cold and then Trump backed down, tweeting a short time ago, I will do the address when the shutdown is over. I'm not looking for an alternative venue for the State of the Union address because there is no venue that can compete with the history and tradition and importance of the House chamber."

If this was a test of resolve over the shutdown of the government and who is willing to blink first and Pelosi walks away from this the winner, Trump looking very much the loser.

LEVINSON: Yes, but it -- and that's a big caveat -- if this relatively, frankly, petty and inconsequential fighting about where the State of the Union is and when it will be is really a test of resolve. I think that people should be careful to underestimate Nancy Pelosi and your viewers likely remember when Pelosi was up against President George W. Bush and he wanted to privatize Social Security.

She basically did exactly what she's doing now with the same tactic, which is that's not going to happen. We're not going to engage. We don't have any compromises. We're not coming to the table until you say no. It worked for President George W. Bush. She essentially hobbled the end of that presidency and that idea.

And it may well work for President Trump.

VAUSE: Beyond the pettiness, there's the politics. It seems to be a preemptive move. Pelosi avoids sitting there behind the president in the lower house on national television while he says whatever he wants, regardless of whether it is true, whether it is fact or fiction, talking about the border, the shutdown, he can blame the Democrats, he can do anything.

And she would have to sit there, as the Speaker does, behind the president.

LEVINSON: Right. So I mean, the optics of that -- well, let's say this, on a basic human level, that must just be enraging. She must be sitting on her hands desperately wanting to fact-check every other sentence and/or pulling a Justice Alito, who famously said at a State of the Union to President Trump, "not true."

And so, no, I don't think she wants the politics of that. I don't think they wants the optics. But I also think she is, as we said, taking this as an opportunity to say, President Trump, when I say no, I really mean no. I don't mean this is an opening offer.

VAUSE: OK. We just heard from Speaker Pelosi and she put out a tweet saying, "Mr. President, I hope by saying 'near future,' you mean you will support the House-passed package to end the shutdown that the Senate will vote on tomorrow. Please accept this proposal so we can reopen the government, repay our federal workers and then negotiate our differences."

You know, it does seem to be as if she's making the most of this. Maybe it opens some kind of window of opportunity here. We've got a standoff between the president and Nancy Pelosi over --

[00:10:00]

VAUSE: -- the State of the Union address. It wasn't a total waste of time for the president, who now knows how to spell madam, as in Madam Secretary. In the first letter he wrote, he put an E at the end, a la the French style.

So the Speaker and the president going back and forth, Donald Trump learning how to spell a little and not engaging in these negotiations and trying to end the government shutdown.

In fact, what we hear from the administration is they're preparing for a longer shutdown. "The Washington Post" reports the, "White House acting chief of staff, Mick Mulvaney, has pressed agency leaders to provide him with a list of the highest impact programs that will be jeopardized if the shutdown continues into March and April."

So there's also reporting there's no plans beyond February for paying government leases and utility bills. This is a shutdown. If it continues as it is -- and there's no indication that it would do anything else other than that -- it will have consequences this country has never seen before because it is in uncharted territory.

LEVINSON: It is. All joking aside from the pettiness of the State of the Union, it is deadly serious to people, whether or not they get their paychecks. There were some agencies that were funded in part until now. And there was one branch of government that was funded in part until now, the federal judiciary.

Now as of -- the estimates are either later this week or next week, the federal judiciary goes into a crisis mode and can only hear those quote-unquote "most important" cases. Now the idea that -- that one- third of our government is functioning on -- on no funding and that -- that's the third that is opposed to protect individual rights, I think should be truly frightening.

Let's not forget, all of the federal government workers, who are now making terrifically difficult decisions of -- of do I have medical care or do I pay my rent?

Let's also not forget all of the people for whom they depend deeply on federal public assistance and really cannot -- this -- you know, it can't be overstated -- cannot pay to stay in their homes or to feed themselves.

So the idea that -- that -- that we're playing politics with this, I mean, I really hope that -- that -- as you're doing, the media continues to cover the real face of this. This is not just a political game. This isn't just a test. It is real lives and real people who truly will go hungry and/or without medical care if we don't do something. VAUSE: We are seeing a bunch of new polling out there and the president is leaking support because of the shutdown. The AP-NORC poll has his approval rating at 34 percent, down 8 points from a month ago before the shutdown, one of the lowest levels of his presidency.

There's no indication that the presidency is his responsibility. He's famous for his lack of empathy. But this is a guy that can read polls. He can read his poll numbers are tanking. I'm wondering if that particular element may actually be part of the motivation he needs to find a compromise.

LEVINSON: I frankly think that may be the only thing that really moves him, is poll numbers. President Trump has fluctuated certainly. But he's fluctuated within a relatively small zone of kind of mildly unpopular to massively unpopular. Right now we're hitting that more massively unpopular.

I think what he's really going to do is a calculation in terms of people he always thinks about, his base and his voters. He's trying to determine how this is going to play. Will it be worse for him if he does -- if he does compromise and open up the government?

Or will it be worse if -- if the numbers continue to crater and he hobbles the country?

There's potentially an escape route for him, where he could say, I'm opening the government and we're ending the shutdown and I'm declaring a national emergency and I'm going to use military funding to build the wall.

At that point we race into a potential constitutional crisis dealing with national emergency powers. But that may be the escape valve that he's eyeing right now.

VAUSE: It gets to the point, when do the Democrats realize, yes, you may be right but maybe you need to be the grownup here and try to bring this to an head.

Jessica, thank you. Good to see you.

LEVINSON: Good to see you.

VAUSE: Now to a tumultuous day in Venezuela, tens of thousands of demonstrators filled the streets of Caracas as well as other cities, protesting against the second term for Nicolas Maduro, the president. (INAUDIBLE) fired tear gas at crowds in the capital.

The United States and more than a dozen countries now recognize national assembly leader Juan Guaido as the legitimate president and he swore himself in on Wednesday. Nicolas Maduro, defiant as ever, accused the U.S. of backing a coup and ordered American diplomats to leave the country.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

NICOLAS MADURO, PRESIDENT OF VENEZUELA (through translator): I have decided to break diplomatic and political relations with the imperialist government of the United States. Our of Venezuela they go. Enough interventionism. There is dignity here. Here, there are people to defend this land.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

JUAN GUAIDO, INTERIM PRESIDENT OF VENEZUELA (through translator): I swear to assume all the powers of the National Executive --

[00:15:00]

GUAIDO (through translator): -- as the interim president of Venezuela to secure an end to the usurpation and treasonous government and to have free elections.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

VAUSE: Juan Carlos Hidalgo is with us from Washington. He's a Latin American policy analyst at the Cato Institute.

Juan, thanks for coming in.

There's now this bizarre diplomatic situation with Venezuela trying to severe ties with Washington and the Trump administration saying, no, you can't do that. Here's part of a statement from the administration.

"The United States maintains diplomatic relations with Venezuela and will conduct our relations with Venezuela through the government of the interim president Guaido."

The statement goes on to argue that because the United States doesn't recognize the Maduro regime because it's illegitimate, Maduro doesn't have the authority to break diplomatic ties. Clearly there is a lot of symbolic value to that alone.

But what are the practical implications?

JUAN CARLOS HIDALGO, CATO INSTITUTE: There is a lot of symbolism about this. This goes beyond symbols and we're going to find out the exact consequences in the hours and days ahead.

For example, there's a question about oil business with the Venezuelan government.

What happens to those oil companies that buy Venezuelan oil?

Do they pay money to the Venezuelan government?

Breaking up relations with Venezuela involves that these companies are prevented from buying crude from Venezuela and thus, this is an indirect way to impose oil sanctions on that country.

There are many questions that need to be answered. And we're going to find out in the coming days.

VAUSE: The official statement from the U.S. president makes it clear that this is just the beginning.

It reads in part, "I'll continue to use the full weight of the United States economic and diplomatic power to press for the restoration of Venezuelan democracy. We'll continue to hold the illegitimate Maduro regime directly responsible for any threats it may pose to the safety of the Venezuelan people."

There's other countries who also recognize Juan Guaido as Venezuela's legitimate president.

Is it a game changer now that the United States has joined into the ring, has joined that list of nations?

HIDALGO: This is the most serious challenge that Nicolas Maduro faced so far. Not only he faces a united front within the Western Hemisphere, of the United States, Canada and most Latin American countries, including the neighbors, Colombia and Brazil, but also facing reignited opposition.

Until very recently, there was a -- there was a deep divorce between the opposition parties and the population, despite that they share the same goal of evicting Maduro from power.

The installation of Juan Guaido as president of the national assembly -- and he's sworn in today as -- as president interim of Venezuela -- has reignited the enthusiasm of Venezuelans on the opposition and the possibility that this could be the end of the -- of the Maduro dictatorship.

VAUSE: And the one caveat (ph) though in a big way remains the military. The Maduro regime claims to have the support of the armed forces. They can say whatever they want, doesn't make it true.

The question is, will the generals and the high-ranking officers, many of whom are neck-deep in corruption, actually want a regime change?

HIDALGO: They're deep in corruption and smuggling and drug trafficking. The national assembly recently passed a bill in order to grant immunity in case they support this democratic transition. That's -- this is the carrot that they're trying to give the military officers, particularly the top brass, in order to convince them -- to -- to withdraw their support to Maduro and support the democratic transition.

We'll see if that works in the coming days ahead.

VAUSE: A senior U.S. official refused to rule out the military option if Maduro decides to use his security forces to stay in power and turn them against his opponent. We heard this threat before from the U.S. president about -- about the military option. Listen to this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Some administration officials told (INAUDIBLE) call it all options are on the table.

Are you considering a military option for Venezuela?

TRUMP: We're not considering anything but all options are on the table.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Does that mean you're considering --

TRUMP: Which is -- all options always, all options are on the table.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

VAUSE: Is it a pretty high bar here for the United States to -- to send in the military?

What are we looking at here for that decision to be made?

HIDALGO: I think that would be a mistake. It would be a mistake in the sense that it would split this coalition of countries in the Western Hemisphere, Latin American countries don't see positively the idea of -- of the United States intervening militarily in the region.

It has been over a generation since the United States did that, the last time in Panama. That would certainly split this coalition of Latin American countries and the United States. Moreover --

[00:20:00]

HIDALGO: -- I think that would be a very controversial move. The United States doesn't want to own the post-Maduro buildup of Venezuela. I think it is best to leave this to Venezuelans themselves with some pressure from abroad through target extensions, that have been done so far.

VAUSE: Venezuela's economy has collapsed in a spectacular way; a fall to the inflation rate last year at 80,000 percent.

Here's another eye-catching headline in Venezuela, a haircut costs five bananas and two eggs, where a bottle of whisky cost 16 years of wages. Last week, Maduro raised the minimum wage by 300 percent. But it seems the economy has now reached the point where there's nothing the regime can do to minimize the pain and the impact on their traditional supporters, the working class.

And they're the ones who are actually out protesting this time, the middle class from the big cities. So that seems to be another big game changer here when it comes to looking at the end of Maduro as president.

HIDALGO: Indeed. When Hugo Chavez died in 2013, the country was deeply polarized. And that was a big talking point about a challenge to his legacy. He was inheriting a deeply divided society.

Now that the polarization is basically gone and most Venezuelans, over 80 percent want Maduro to leave power and consider Chavismo a deep, utter failure, given the magnitude of the economic meltdown the country is undergoing, which hasn't been seen, at least in the Western Hemisphere, in modern eras. VAUSE: There's a problem when you hit one of the largest supplies of oil and your people can't buy toilet paper and medical supplies. So Juan Carlos, I'm sure we'll speak many times in the coming days and weeks.

HIDALGO: My pleasure.

VAUSE: Next up here on CNN NEWSROOM, a DNA match in the search for a man that impregnated a woman who's been in a vegetative state for a decade. Details just ahead.

Also with the Brexit deadline just weeks away, many across the U.K. are preparing for the worst this manmade disaster might bring and that means stocking up on the basics.

(MUSIC PLAYING)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(MUSIC PLAYING)

VAUSE: In his final moments on board a doomed flight, football star Emiliano Sala was calling friends and family about his fears the plane would actually crash. Cardiff City's star new recruit and the pilot were flying from France on Monday when their single engine Piper Malibu disappeared over the English Channel.

We don't know when but --

[00:25:00]

VAUSE: -- Sala sent WhatsApp messages from the plane and he talks about the condition of the plane, saying it looks like it is going to fall down in pieces. Sala's family is pleading with rescuers to resume their search, which is now being deemed a recovery mission. So far none of the missing plane has been found.

Nine weeks before the Brexit deadline, Europe's chief negotiator says the U.K. will crash out unless it takes action. Michel Barnier said the Parliament's rejection of Theresa May's Brexit deal without an alternative makes a no deal Brexit more likely than ever. He says just because the majority of U.K. politicians don't want a hard Brexit doesn't mean it won't happen.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MICHEL BARNIER, E.U. BREXIT NEGOTIATOR: There are two possible ways to leave the E.U. Number one, another withdrawal based on the agreement that we have built step by step with the U.K. from the last 18 months.

Number two, a disorderly withdrawal, leaving the E.U. without a deal is a default scenario as there appears to be a matter out of Commons to oppose a no deal.

(END VIDEO CLIP) VAUSE: One way of avoiding a hard Brexit is to get an extension of time, extend Article 50, buy some time. But not everyone has the faith in politicians and their ability to do that. So-called Brexit hoarders are stockpiling food and medicine that may be in short supply after a no-deal Brexit. Here's CNN's Anna Stewart.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

GRAHAM HUGHES, BREXIT HOARDER: Tomato soup, chicken soup, ketchup, paracetamol, ibuprofen.

ANNA STEWART, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Oh, you've got a lot of canned goods (INAUDIBLE).

STEWART (voice-over): Canned goods, condiments and medicine. Items on the shopping list of a so-called Brexit hoarder. Graham Hughes, writer and a staunch Remainer has been stockpiling food for months. He's concerned that a hard or no-deal Brexit could bring major delays and disruption to Britain's food supply.

HUGHES: We've got chicken soup, lasts forever. Also got chicken noodles. These are dried. These last forever as well. Just stuff that we can keep. I'm not getting anything that is going to run out.

If there's disruption, I'm not saying there going to be no food coming in and out because we're still going to trade. But the disruption to having to check every single container coming in and out of the country, it is madness.

The idea here isn't that we're going to have enough food to last after nothing else but this for six weeks. It is just -- this is going to supplement what we can buy from the supermarket.

But I have been to Zimbabwe and I have been to Venezuela. I've seen what it is like when supermarkets run out of stuff. It is terrifying. You go down entire aisles of the supermarkets and that particular product isn't there. And we don't know what it's going to be. It's an absolute lot to me.

STEWART (voice-over): Graham isn't alone. Blogs abound online with Brexit stockpiling suggestions, from canned and dried food to baby essentials, even new underwear a size up for the entire family.

And you can buy an emergency Brexit box for 380 dollars. It sounds extreme but experts agree that food shortages could be a problem.

IAN WRIGHT, DIRECTOR GENERAL, FOOD AND DRINK FEDERATION: You'll see random disappearance of products and well-known brands from the shelves because supply has been interrupted and people can't get them from their supermarkets. You won't run out of food but you will find that your favorite brands are sometimes in short or no supply.

STEWART (voice-over): For Graham, shopping for a family of four, it is better to be safe than sorry.

HUGHES: I'm not saying that we should all build a nuclear bunker in the back garden. It won't be that bad but make sure -- if there is particular food that you enjoy, make sure you got enough of it to last at least two months after B-day.

STEWART: You seem pretty frustrated.

Are you just frustrated that no one sees it as you see it?

HUGHES: People just don't care, they don't care that people are going to go hungry. They don't care that their own pets will go without food because there will be disruption. We're an island that can't make enough food for itself.

STEWART: For now he appears to be in the minority.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'll worry about it later, if it ever happens.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We don't need to stockpile -- at least at the moment.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: No, I think there's a big fuss being made about everything.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We lived through a world war and we lived through all change, what you can only do is you work through it. You work through it. You don't panic.

STEWART: Keep calm and carry on.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Correct.

STEWART (voice-over): Anna Stewart, CNN, Northeast England.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

VAUSE: His job was to take care of her but now he's behind bars, accused of raping and impregnating an incapacitated patient. All the horrific details in a moment.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[00:30:00] VAUSE: Welcome back, everybody, you're watching CNN NEWSROOM. I'm John Vause, with the headlines this hour.

U.S. President Donald Trump has backed down in his battle with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, over the State of the Union Address, tweeting late Wednesday he will deliver the speech after the government shutdown ends. Pelosi has said the President will not be invited to the House Chamber for the address, as its tradition, until the government is reopened.

The U.S. is one of at least a dozen countries now recognizing Juan Guaido as the legitimate president of Venezuela. The National Assembly leader swore himself into office on Wednesday. President Nicolas Maduro accused the U.S. of backing an attempted coup. Tens of thousands of people filled the streets of Caracas, Wednesday, to protest Maduro's presidency. The E.U.'s chief Brexit negotiator warns the U.K. will crash after the European Union, unless it takes action. Michael Barnier says the rejection of Theresa May's Brexit deal has made a hard Brexit more likely than ever, when the deadline arrives on -- in just nine weeks from now.

Police in the U.S. State of Arizona have arrested a nurse, accused of impregnating his patient who's in a vegetative state. Thirty-six- year-old Nathan Sutherland was working with a woman who unexpectedly gave birth at the Hacienda HealthCare facility last month. The family says she's not in a coma, has a level of consciousness including responding to sounds.

Sutherland has been charged with sexual assault and vulnerable adult abuse. And police still don't know if other women were victims of Sutherland's, but they do have living proof of this crime, and they say the latest development came down to science.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SERGEANT TOMMY THOMPSON, POLICE, PHOENIX: Sutherland was a licensed practical nurse or an LPN who was responsible for providing care to the victim during the time this sexual assault occurred. On Tuesday, January 22nd, that was yesterday, the scientist and the Phoenix police crime laboratory determined the sample obtained from Sutherland, matched the baby.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

VAUSE: A police say Sutherland isn't talking. The family of his victim has declined to comment on his arrest, but at least, the baby is doing well.

There's been another mass shooting in the U.S., this time, in the State of Florida, at a bank. Police say a 21-year-old man barricaded himself inside a SunTrust Bank, south of Orlando, Wednesday afternoon. He opened fire. At least five people were killed. Authorities are yet to release the victim's name.

Police say the suspect identified as Zephen Xaver, called them from inside the bank, saying he'd shot five people, eventually, surrendered after a SWAT team was sent in to negotiate.

Australian diplomats in China are trying to get access to one of their citizens who'd been detained. Yang Hengjun is a writer and democracy advocate who's been critical of the Chinese government. He went to work for China's Foreign Affairs Ministry, but now holds Australian citizenship and has been living in New York.

Live now, to Matt Rivers in Beijing. Matt, this seems to have, I guess, a familiar ring to it, with what we've been seeing with what's happening with, you know, Canadian citizens there.

[00:35:02] But, you know, is it the same, sort of, theory apply when it comes to the Australians? MATT RIVERS, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes, I mean, we're really not sure, John, because it doesn't appear to be a direct link. What happened with these two Canadians that, of course, we've talked about quite a bit, it's very clear, at least, to most analysts that China arrested those two Canadians in direct retaliation for the arrest of the Huawei CFO, Meng Wanzhou in Canada, on behalf of U.S. authorities.

It's not entirely clear what is behind the arrest of Yang that the Australian citizen, the Australian government isn't saying and China's government, at least, publicly, has not confirmed his detention.

What we did find out, though, just within the last 45 minutes or so, according to a lawyer who has been retained for his services by Yang's family, we do know that the family has apparently received a letter from Beijing's State Security, alleging that Yang had something to do with the espionage and endangering State Security, and that he's been put into custody, in the State Security.

It's not clear if he can get access to a lawyer, it's not clear that he'll be access -- get access to Australian consular officials. Whether this is related to the Huawei case in Canada, or whether this is just another attempt by China to stifle a relatively prominent critic of its overseas, we're not sure.

But what is clear is that China has yet another diplomatic row on its hand after it has arrested this very prominent political and current affairs commentator.

VAUSE: And just very quickly, you know, when it comes down to these situations, it always goes out to a much higher level, you know, and these discussions begin if there is, you know, some kind of resolution here. But, what are the options here for the Australians when it comes to dealing with Beijing?

RIVERS: I mean, there's not a lot of option for the Australians, within the current agreement, they have five days after arrest to get consular action or consular officers to see the prisoner, in this case, Yang. Whether that's going to happens today, we're not sure.

But in terms of the Australians, they're just going to have to make the same diplomatic overtures than any country would make, and it's unclear that it's going to make any difference at all.

VAUSE: OK, Matt, thank you. Matt Rivers, live for us this hour, in Beijing.

Well, they're famous as the smallest army in the world, but the century's old guards to the Pope are getting a high-tech new look, details in a moment.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

VAUSE: The Pope's colorful and historic security forces Swiss Guard, is taking a small step, an itty bitty one, into the 21st century. Delia Gallagher has more now on the upgrade. (BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

DELIA GALLAGHER, CNN VATICAN CORRESPONDENT: It's a once in a lifetime moment, after more than a century, the Vatican Swiss guards are getting new helmets. The Swiss Guard headquarters at the Vatican on Tuesday was a buzz, unpacking the first wave of 150 new helmets just arrived from Switzerland, as they prepared to wear them for the first time.

The distinctive headgear called the Morion, has gone through various changes in the 500 years since the founding of the Swiss guards, the elite army that protects the Pope.

NICOLAS ALBERT, SWISS GUARD, VATICAN: This is the back and this is the front.

[00:40:09] GALLAGHER: The previous 19th century version was made of metal, which Swiss Guard Nicolas Albert says was uncomfortable, especially when the hot Roman sun beat down for hours, scorching Guards' skin. The new model is U.V. ray resistant and made of PVC, with hidden air vents to keep the Guards, cool.

ALBERT: A lot of them were quite looking forward to wearing them because they didn't really like the old helmets. But, yes, you wear what you get.

GALLAGHER: The 21st century design was created by Swiss engineer Peter Portman and the 3D printing company which scans the 16th century original to create a prototype, which is then molded in PVC and painted with a water-based U.V. resistant paint.

It takes just one day to make one helmet, whereas the metal model took days. The helmets cost about $1,000 each, paid for by private funds from donors, like American businessman Jack Boyd Smith and his wife, Laura, who say they were happy to be part of such a historic change.

JACK BOYD SMITH, DONOR: I paid for the helmets. I think it is exciting. You know, change is always good. And it is going to be new and modern, but it will still conform with the old -- the old guards, so to speak.

GALLAGHER: The Swiss Guards tell me that it's actually a myth that Michelangelo designed their uniforms. They are from the Renaissance, but it was actually the popes at that time, who decided on the vibrant reds, blues, and yellows, that make these uniforms such a standout today.

Pope Francis, the guards say, has not weighed in yet, on their change of helmet, a small tweak in a century's old tradition, as the Vatican steps slowly but surely into the 21st century.

Delia Gallagher, CNN, Rome.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

VAUSE: OK. Well, put this under, it seemed like a good idea at the time. You know, in Japan, a lot of cities (INAUDIBLE) mascots to promote tourism. The city of Susaki had one, a real-life otter, but now, the cute animal has lost its job because of a bad boy imitator who spoiled all the fun.

Meet Chiitan, the unofficial otter. It became popular on social media, because of outrageous stunts like flipping a car, doing a little awkward and really unsexy pole dance, swinging a weed whacker, good luck. Unfortunately, Chiitan's behavior caused collateral damage as well.

The residents began confusing him with the city's real-life otter ambassador that complained to local officials, eventually, the city decided to get out of the mascot business once and for all. What is he doing? And not renew the official of his contract. Good luck.

Thank you for watching CNN NEWSROOM. I'm John Vause. "WORLD SPORT" starts after the break.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[00:45:00] (WORLD SPORT)

END