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The Government Shutdown Continues; Missing Yet Another Paycheck; Military is Standing with Nicolas Maduro; Donald Trump to Announce a National Emergency at the U.S. Mexico Border; Brexit Approaches Without a Sign of Any Agreement; Shutdown Continues: Senate Blocks Bills to Fund Government amid Fight over Trump Border Wall; How The Economic And Political Crisis Unfolded; World's Countries Choose Sides; Davos Sidequest: Inside The Igloo Hotel. Aired 2-3a ET

Aired January 25, 2019 - 02:00   ET


[02:00:00] NATALIE ALLEN, CNN ANCHOR: As politicians in Washington is fight over how to end the government shutdown, federal workers are missing yet another paycheck, and that loss is causing wider concerns for public safety.


PAUL RINALDI, NATIONAL AIR TRAFFIC CONTROLLERS ASSOCIATION PRESIDENT: And I am sorry to see routine mistakes in clearances being made because controllers are distracted. They're distracted. We cannot have them distracted.


GEORGE HOWELL, CNN ANCHOR: And monitoring the political turmoil in Venezuela is getting worse. The military sticking with Nicolas Maduro, but he's facing more protests at home, and he's getting shunned abroad.

ALLEN: Russia is one of the handful of countries supporting Maduro and is seeking (ph) an exclusive. We hear from Russia's deputy foreign minister about that and other major issues this hour.

HOWELL: Welcome our viewers all around the world watching CNN Newsroom. I am George Howell.

ALLEN: And I am Natalie Allen. Thanks for joining us, and we begin right now. And we begin with a CNN exclusive. Internal documents show the White House is preparing a draft statement for President Trump to declare a national emergency along the U.S. border with Mexico. The documents show the administration has identified more than $7 billion in potential funds to start construction on a border wall.

HOWELL: The White House says it is also considering a plan to reopen the government for three weeks, only in exchange for a large down payment on the border wall. Democrats signaling that's a no go. So the shutdown lingers on. Now, set to enter its sixth week, meaning hundreds of thousands of federal workers will again miss a paycheck, this time a second one. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: What's your message to federal workers who were missing another paycheck this week?

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I love them. I respect them. I really appreciate the great job they're doing. They -- you know, many of those people that are not getting paid are totally in favor of what we're doing.


ALLEN: The Senate rejected two bills to reopen the government Thursday, one with funding for the wall, one without. Lawmakers say at least now they're talking.


SEN. LISA MURKOWSKI (R), ALASKA: For the first time in 34 days, you have had a bipartisan group of senators coming together in public, speaking in public about a commitment to work together. I know that that doesn't deliver a paycheck to people tomorrow. But our goal is, again, is to push these negotiations forward. While today didn't open the government, I think the message that we've heard loud and clear from Americans is enough already. We respect that. We're getting to work here.


HOWELL: So talk is seeming to happen. But for many people not getting paid, talk is cheap. But the impact of the shutdown not only having an effect on federal workers and government contractors, it's also affecting national security.

ALLEN: To put it bluntly, America is becoming less safe by the day in ways many people have not even considered. CNN's Alex Marquardt explains.


ALEX NAFFA, TRANSPORTATION AND SECURITY ADMINISTRATION OFFICER: Not getting paid is a serious problem that really needs to end. We hope it does soon.

ALEX MARQUARDT, CNN SENIOR U.S. CORRESPONDENT: Alex Naffa is a TSA officer in Houston, a dad to two little girls, who is also taking care of his own ailing father and about to miss a second paycheck in a row.

NAFFA: No money for the mortgage, for the cars, for the insurance, for the bills that we have. So it is very, very tough on all of us.

MARQUARDT: Now, the threat to American flyers is also growing, Air Traffic Controllers who are also going without pay issuing a warning. We cannot even calculate the level of risk currently at play or predict the point at which the entire system will break. It is unprecedented. RINALDI: I am starting to see routine mistakes in clearances being made because controllers are distracted.

MARQUARDT: As federal workers suffer, the impact is being felt within the agencies and departments they work for, particularly when it comes to national security.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: For special agents, financial security is national security.

MARQUARDT: A report from the FBI Agent's Association said that operations, including fighting terrorism and developing critical sources are being affected with dramatic potential consequences.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The failure to fund the FBI is making it more difficult for us to do our jobs, to protect the people of our country from criminals and terrorists.

MARQUARDT: Another group tasked with protecting the country, Coast Guard, also not being funded. A Coast Guard pilot telling CNN that flights are being canceled because pilots are stressed and feeling unsafe, saying flying is unforgiving. You have to be 100 percent focused or people die.

[02:04:56] And with the Coast Guards parent agency, the Department of Homeland Security, also without funding, five former Homeland Security secretaries, including the president's former Chief of Staff, John Kelly, who was leading the West Wing when the shutdown started, sent the president and Congress a letter, asking that they fund the critical mission of DHS.

JEH JOHNSON, FORMER U.S. HOMELAND SECURITY SECRETARY: I fear that the damage already done to our security will be months if not years as a result.

MARQUARDT: We touched on the United States Coast Guard there, and adding to their pain, a spokesperson tells me that with the shutdown, the families of any Coast Guard member who dies in the line of duty today or retired member who dies today, they would not receive their loved ones' benefits as long as this shutdown lasts.

Alex Marquardt, CNN, Washington.


HOWELL: Alex, thank you. Now, to Venezuela where the unrest there is exploding onto the international stage, spilling it along the cold war lines.

ALLEN: The U.S., the E.U., and a dozen other nations have recognized Venezuela's opposition leader as the country's legitimate president, while China, Russia, and the Venezuelan military support the president still in office, Nicolas Maduro.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) MIKE POMPEO, U.S. SECRETARY OF STATE: All member states who have committed to uphold the Inter-American Democratic Charter must now recognize the interim president. The time for debate is done. The regime of former President Nicolas Maduro is illegitimate. His regime is morally bankrupt. It's economically incompetent. And it is profoundly corrupt. It is undemocratic to the core.

HOWELL: Caracas is closing its U.S. embassy and consulates, while the United States has ordered its nonemergency staff to leave. The embattled Venezuelan president got support from military leaders who say this is a coup attempt by the self-declared president, Juan Guaido.


VLADIMIR PADRINO, VENEZUELAN DEFENSE MINISTER (through translator): It is a coup against our institutions, against our democracy, against our constitution, against President Nicolas Maduro, the legitimate president of the Bolivarian Republic.


ALLEN: For more on the crisis unfolding in Venezuela, let's bring in Jennifer McCoy. She is a distinguished professor of political science at Georgia State. She joins us now from Hungary.

And thanks much, Professor McCoy, for being with us, because this is a rapidly developing story we're seeing, a diplomatic tit for tat now. Venezuela ordering its embassy to close the U.S. as the U.S. announced hours ago that nonemergency U.S. employees will leave Venezuela. What do you make of these developments?

JENNIFER MCCOY, GEORGIA STATE UNIVERSITY: Well, there's certainly a game of chicken going on between the U.S. and Venezuela over the embassy personnel. But it -- so far, it looks like the Maduro government has maintained a lot of restraint. They're uncertain how to respond. They've threatened with responses but haven't carried out either, arresting the opposition leader, Guaido, or taking any moves against the U.S. embassy personnel.

I believe they know that if they did, that could trigger a U.S. military response. And I don't think that Venezuela military will want that.

ALLEN: Hopefully not. We heard the Secretary of State Mike Pompeo calling on countries to reject Maduro, about one dozen have (ph). How may that impact what other countries do here, what happens or might happen in Venezuela?

MCCOY: Well, most of the larger Latin-American countries had already said they would not recognize Maduro when he was inaugurated on January 10th for his second-term and have, you know, formally recognized opposition leader, Guaido, along with the United States and Canada, the smaller countries in the U.S., the Caribbean, who had traditionally been voting with a large number of them with Venezuela. Yesterday, again, there was not a super majority in favor of Guaido and -- in that OAS. Traditionally, U.S. leading the charge is difficult for Latin-Americans to follow along because of the history of U.S. intervention in the region. They're reluctant to follow along. However, there's been several (ph) concern about the Venezuelan situation and the way that refugees that their anxious for this situation to be resolved at this point.

ALLEN: So in following up on what you just said, what is your assessment of how the Trump administration is handling this so far?

MCCOY: It has certainly been a high stake gamble when Guaido escalated on January 23rd. The plan and -- swore himself in as president. And the U.S. immediately recognized him along with a number of other Latin-American countries because the thought had been that he was going to wait until there was some support from the military.

[02:10:04] That's what he had been talking about before that. So when that happened two days ago, that certainly escalated the conflict. But so far, it does look like it is putting a great deal of pressure on the Maduro administration and the military. And it may just pay off into negotiations for a transition. That's the bet. That's the gamble that they're taking.

And hopefully, it will go in that direction. Guaido yesterday announced even up to an amnesty for Maduro if he were to give in to a transition government.

ALLEN: You're right. Maduro has accused the United States of backing an attempted coup though by Mr. Guaido, and it appears he does have the support of the military for now. How might that impact this situation?

MCCOY: It is very difficult to read. We know there's certainly a lot of discontent among the rank and file in the military because their families are suffering like other Venezuelan families. The high ranking military has stuck with Maduro, some of them because they themselves are accused of corruption or human rights abuses, and are fearful that if they were to leave the government they would be indicted, imprisoned, or extradited to the United States.

That's why the amnesty law passed by the National Assembly earlier this month was so important as an incentive. However, so far, the high command has continued behind Maduro. And that's why we have to see if behind the scenes there are renegotiations going on within the military itself in major defections that may come out or negotiations with the opposition or with the United States.

ALLEN: Thank you so much for your expertise, because this is an amazing time for Venezuela. There is a lot hope in the country that they might be on a different path. We'll wait and see. Professor Jennifer McCoy, thank you.

MCCOY: Thank you. HOWELL: Venezuela's economic crisis has resulted in severe shortages of food and medicine. In fact, a new study in Lancet Journal says Venezuela is the only South American nation with a rising infant mortality rate.

ALLEN: Researchers say such high rates have not been seen since the 1990s, the increase due to reduced funding for healthcare and shortage of doctors and medication. The U.S. says it is ready to provide more than $20 million in humanitarian aide. But the economy remains in a state of collapse as hyperinflation skyrockets.

HOWELL: In fact, the IMF predicts inflation will hit 10 million percent in 2019. Right now, basic goods are unaffordable for most Venezuelans. The U.N. says in three years some three million people will have left that nation. Let's dive deeper into Venezuela's economic crisis with our Emerging Markets Editor, John Defterios.

John, this hour, live from Davos, Switzerland, John, a pleasure of course, to have you on the show with us. Let's talk about the fallout for Venezuela's oil production and economy. Where do things stand at the present?

JOHN DEFTERIOS, CNN EMERGING MARKETS EDITOR: George, this is the economic and energy mismanagement on a historic scale. No doubt about it. The one figure you didn't get a chance to cover there is the absolute skyrocketing of the poverty rate. It's above 85 percent in Venezuela and has been a direct line up in the last three or four years. When it comes to oil, it is 5 years of Maduro and 15 years of Chavez leading to an absolute burden for the country, unable to tap its wealth of resources.

It has the largest proven oil reserves in the world, even more than Saudi Arabia, better than 300 million barrels. But let's take a look at the chart on what's happened over the last 10 years. Production as of December 2018, according to OPEC, was just 1.1 million barrels a day. It's not bad, but look at that other line here.

You go back 10 years and it was a major producer, 3.2 million barrels a day. One executive grabbed me here during the discussion in Davos, an oil executive. He said in the last two years, we've never seen anything like it in the history of the oil business. That level of drop of 2 million barrels a day without a conflict, there's no war in Venezuela, just horrible mismanagement.

And there is another sidebar to this, George. The pressure it puts on its allies, the economic pressure. We know Russia and China have a lot to say about no intervention in state affairs in Venezuela. Russia put up $17 billion dollars over the last three years. At the end of 2018, they look to pledge another 5 billion, which has not been committed.

And get this number. From China, $50 billion over 10 years, what do they do going forward? Do they want to throw another lifeline to Maduro because the military is backing him or do they just say this is just throwing good money after a very, very bad situation right now? [02:15:03] HOWELL: All right, John. And you also chaired an energy panel there in Davos. It was more than oil prices that were the topic at hand. What stood out to you?

DEFTERIOS: You know, George, three years ago, we were having a conversation about oil prices, dropped to $27 dollars a barrel. It was a crisis and a headline here. I did chair a panel back then. And then the next year was the focus on the U.S. shell production going above 11 million barrels a day. Then the response by OPEC. I thought that would be the narrative.

Then halfway through our panel, this time around, all the oil executives and the analysts on this session suggested, look, this a very difficult time for us. There is renewable energy coming online here. But we have to have some credibility, not only within our industry but within the global community, because we're not going to get the investment unless we deal with climate change.

Listen to the language of the OPEC secretary general and then the CEO of Occidental Petroleum, profound shift in the narrative.


MOHAMMED BARKINDO, OPEC SECRETARY GENERAL: There's no doubt that here in Davos, I think that's the consensus coming in various meeting that I've attended, that our industry is literally under siege. The future of oil is at stake. And there's need for the industry to come together and respond positively with facts, with figures, which we have.

VICKI HOLLUB, OCCIDENTAL PETROLEUM CEO: We specifically at Occidental feel like if you're not addressing and haven't put in place a climate change plan, then our plan to deal with the issues of climate change, you're behind the eight ball already.


DEFTERIOS: Amazing, George, from those in the oil industry. We have another roundtable coming up at 9 o'clock local time, 3:00 a.m. Eastern. And we'll talk about Venezuela in that collapse in prices and have it on air later in the session. But that's the latest now here in Davos.

HOWELL: That is fascinating. Businesses there seeing the importance to take the lead here, the question will some nations follow suit. Thank you so much for the report.

ALLEN: Interesting, too. A new poll that showed more than 70 percent of Americans now say climate change is real and something needs to happen.

HOWELL: It is real.

ALLEN: That's interesting. It's connected up with the folks in Davos.


ALLEN: Next here on CNN Newsroom. CNN's speaks with Russia's deputy foreign minister who has some choice words about the U.S. stance on Venezuela.

HOWELL: As Brexit approaches without a sign of an agreement or a deal, Northern Ireland is worried about how its fragile peace could be threatened. That story ahead as Newsroom pushes on. Stay with us.


HOWELL: Welcome back to Newsroom. Moscow says that the U.S. is, quote, "pouring gas on the fire" by opposing Nicolas Maduro's presidency in Venezuela in favor of the opposition leader there.

ALLEN: In a wide-ranging, exclusive interview, our Fred Pleitgen asked Russia's deputy foreign minister about Venezuela, Syria, and the curious relationship between U.S. President Trump and Russia. Here it is.


FREDERIK PLEITGEN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Moscow lashing out at questions about President Trump's possible ties to Russia. In an exclusive interview with CNN, the deputy minister denying the American president was ever under the influence of the Kremlin.

There are even some questioning whether President Trump is an agent of Russia. What do you make of that?

SERGEI RYABKOV, RUSSIAN DEPUTY FOREIGN MINISTER: I mean it is completely, completely out of touch with anything that could be conceived as, you know, anywhere close to the reality.

PLEITGEN: The deputy foreign minister says Russia wants to work with the U.S. to try and repair relations. But despite all the evidence of interference in the 2016 presidential election, denies Moscow's involvement.

RYABKOV: Please do not be afraid of your own shadow. We are not that threatening. We are not trying to meddle into the U.S. domestic affairs. We do not benefit from the situation in which our relationship finds itself right now.

PLEITGEN: Russia reiterated its satisfaction with President Trump's decision to pull U.S. forces out of Syria, saying Russia is committed to ensuring Israel's security against Iranian forces fighting on the side of Assad government.

You're Iran's ally on the ground, aren't you, in Syria?

RYABKOV: I wouldn't use these type words to describe where we are with Iran. We, in no way, underestimate the importance of measures that would insure very strong security over the state of Israel. PLEITGEN: But Russia is challenging the U.S. closer to home, Vladimir Putin pledging his support for embattled Venezuela leader Nicolas Maduro once again. Moscow recently sent nuclear capable bombers to Venezuela and signed a major oil deal with Caracas, Russia now ripping into the Trump administration's decision to recognize Maduro's opponent, Juan Guaido, as the interim president.

Do you consider that meddling?

RYABKOV: For sure. I mean it is just pouring, you know, gas on the fire. There is a very, very dangerous moment, and everyone should show utmost responsibility.

PLEITGEN: But first and foremost, the Russians seem to be calling on the United States to restrain itself, rather than the government of Nicolas Maduro. In the phone call between Vladimir Putin and Maduro, Putin apparently said that he believed the protests in Venezuela were, as he put it, induced from the outside.

Fred Pleitgen, CNN, Moscow.


HOWELL: Fred, thank you. Now to Brexit and Northern Ireland, where people fear that the U.K.'s plans to leave the European Union could usher in a new age of sectarian violence, 20 years after a peace ended on a decades-long conflict known as the Troubles.

ALLEN: They're worried that if Northern Ireland has a hard border with the Republic of Ireland -- we've been talking about that for some time -- militant groups would flourish once again, including one already called the New IRA. We learn more about it from Nic Robertson in Northern Ireland.


NIC ROBERTSON, CNN INTERNATIONAL DIPLOMATIC EDITOR: No one has yet claimed responsibility for this car bombing outside a Northern Irish court. But everyone I talked to said they believe they know who it was.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We believe at the moment (inaudible) against the New IRA.

ROBERTSON: On a street corner, less than a quarter of a mile from the bombing is the headquarters of a political group that people here would describe as having an understanding of the bombers. They released a statement soon after the attack, saying it seemed it was in commemoration of the Irish Republican uprising 100 years ago. Officially, of course, they don't know.

PATRICK GALLAGHER, SAORADH SPOKESMAN: We've clarified that and committed (ph). So, we have no relation to the attack.

ROBERTSON: Nevertheless, the perception of association persists, particularly with the police. Gallagher, who chooses his words carefully, says in the hours after the bombing, five people from his group were brought in for questioning, though later released without charge. What would have been the reason, do you think, behind the car bomb on Saturday?

[02:25:03] GALLAGHER: Well, the fact that Ireland still remains on the British occupation and the congress participation (ph) it would be symbolic, and I assume that would be the reason behind the attack on a British institution.

ROBERTSON: Author Eamonn McCann has lived his life in the community for New IRA calls home.

EAMONN MCCANN, AUTHOR AND POLITICIAN: No. They are the minority. The vast majority of people here want peace.

ROBERTSON: This city has been a cauldron of Northern Ireland's past violence. His generation grew up with it. The generation since lives with its

inescapable legacy, and despite a peace deal, lionizes the republican ideal of a united Ireland. McCann doubts the New IRA has the size or savvy to match their predecessors.

MCCANN: It's futile to ask what do they hope to achieve with that bomb on Saturday night and other bomb scares? It's not a question of wanting an immediate objective. The question is to keep the struggle going.

ROBERTSON: Police described the New IRA as small but intent on growing, which might explain why, when they hijacked a car two days after the bombing, they abandoned it here, inevitably drawing attention to this, an apparent effort at recruitment. Since emerging from the shadows seven years ago, they have grown. Local estimates are between 100 to 200.

TOMMY MCCOURT, MANAGER, ROSEMOUNT RESOURCE CENTER: We've had a concern for some time that, you know, all is not well.

ROBERTSON: Tommy McCourt, arrested three decades ago for his part in the Republican movement, is now a trusted three-way intermediary between the police, the community, and groups like the New IRA. He sees the economy as a path to today's violence.

MCCOURT: It's a trail of what the peaceful just (ph) could achieve or would achieve, but raised expectations to a point that were unrealistic, and people are saying all of these years later, are we any better off?

ROBERTSON: Gallagher admits lack of money maybe some of the New IRA's pull.

GALLAGHER: Grew up (ph) of suicide epidemic, the drugs epidemic that is clearly poverty stricken.

ROBERTSON: But the New IRA's biggest recruiting sergeant could be just around the corner, a no deal Brexit and border posts with Ireland. MCCANN: If that happens, there is nothing more certain than if

somebody builds a customs post on the border between the North and Southern Ireland, people will shoot at the people who work at it. That's absolutely 100 percent certain.

ROBERTSON: And with that possibly popularity and support, that until now has been beyond the New IRA's grasp.

Nic Robertson, CNN, Derry, Northern Ireland.


HOWELL: Still ahead, those impacted by the U.S. government shutdown include this 15-month-old baby. Her parents, who voted for the U.S. president, fear that her life could be at risk if they continue to miss their paychecks, and they want the president to know that.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: What would you tell President Trump if he sat on your couch?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: First, I would make him meet Harper. And I would tell him, you know, this is not about a border. It is about your people.


HOWELL: Their story ahead.

ALLEN: Also ahead, comments from President Trump's commerce secretary and others who have unpaid federal workers seeing red.


[02:30:54] GEORGE HOWELL, CNN INTERNATIONAL ANCHOR: Wherever you're watching from around the world, it is a pleasure to have you here at CNN NEWSROOM. I'm George Howell.

NATALIE ALLEN, CNN INTERNATIONAL ANCHOR: And I'm Natalie Allen. Our top stories this hour for you, Venezuela's diplomatic ties with the U.S. are at a new low. Caracas on Thursday ordered its embassy and consulate in the U.S. to close while Washington told nonemergency U.S. staff to leave Venezuela. This after the U.S. and other nations announced their support for self-declared President Juan Guaido. China, Russia, and the Venezuelan military are all backing sitting president Nicolas Maduro.

HOWELL: The scene now of angry clashes in a Greek capital as parliament prepares to vote on an issue with the nation next door to it. Protesters are upset that the Greek Province of Macedonia will share a border with the small neighboring country whose new name is to be the Republic of Northern Macedonia. Many Greeks feel the names are too similar.

ALLEN: CNN has learned the White House is drafting a proclamation for President Trump to declare a national emergency along the U.S. border with Mexico. Our exclusive reporting shows the administration has identified more than seven billion dollars in potential funds for a border wall.

HOWELL: In fact, the U.S. Senate has rejected two bills to reopen the government in this battle over the border wall funding. Republicans plan included funding for Mr. Trump's border wall. The Democrats plan did not and came talk of a compromise. Reopen the government for three weeks in exchange for a down payment on a wall.


DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Well, one of the idea suggested is they open it, they pay a sort of a prorated down payment for the wall which I think people would agree that you need. You need the wall. In fact, I see a lot of the Democrats are all -- almost all of them are breaking and saying, look, walls are good. Walls are good. Big difference from what you had two or three weeks ago.


ALLEN: Democrats aren't buying the down payment plan. But Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell says at least we're still talking.


HOWELL: Let's talk more about this now with Elaina Plott. Elaina, a CNN Political Analyst and White House Correspondent at The Atlantic. Elaina, again, thank you so much for your time today.


HOWELL: Let's start with this exclusive reporting by CNN that the president has prepared a draft for a national emergency to rely on the U.S. military to fund and build his border wall. This would be a play to go around Congress to get what he wants. What do you make of that approach if taken both practically and as precedent?

PLOTT: Well, first, I'm not entirely sure we should be, you know, assuming that this will in fact go in to place. This is something that the White House Counsel's Office and the DOJ has been working on for several weeks at this point even predating this current government shutdown. So whether it actually goes into effect is, you know, still a pretty important question and sources both in the Hill and in the White House tell me that there's still, you know, really hoping that this doesn't have to be kind of their escape hatch when it comes to finally ending the shutdown.

But to your question, if it were to go into effect, I think you would see sort of, you know, an unprecedented blowback especially from Democrats in the House who might actually try to incite some sort of an investigation with regard to the president's use of executive authority. So I think it would just send what already feels like such a chaotic moment in Washington into even more of a tailspin.

HOWELL: In the meantime, the people in the middle are those 800,000- plus federal workers, people either furloughed, or going without pay now for more than a month. When speaking with reporters recently, it's become clear that many of the people in the president's circle, his team, they seem to be a bit out of touch, could be an understatement in understanding what this means for real people. Listen.


LARA TRUMP, CAMPAIGN ADVISER TO PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP: It is a little bit of pain, but it's going to be for the future of our country, and their children, and their grandchildren, and generations after them will thank them for their sacrifice right now.

[02:35:04] UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Mr. Secretary, there are reports that there are some federal workers who are going to homeless shelters to get food?

WILBUR ROSS, UNITED STATES SECRETARY OF COMMERCE: Well, I know they are and I don't really quite understand why. There's no real reason why they shouldn't be able to get a loan against it.

LARRY KUDLOW, DIRECTOR, UNITED STATES NATIONAL ECONOMIC COUNCIL: I've met with my individual staff members and god bless them they're working for free. They're volunteering. But they do it because they believe government service is honorable and they believe in President Trump and they're working as hard as ever.


HOWELL: Just to reiterate, go get a loan or work for free, you're volunteering. What do you make of that response from these officials?

PLOTT: I think those clips that you just showed are quite instructive in understanding just the really chaotic nature of the communications department in this White House. A lot of coms and press staffers themselves have been furloughed. You walk through the West Wing and it's -- it feels almost empty. So there are very few people actually on hand at the White House right now to craft a coordinated messaging strategy when it comes to trying to tout the Republicans as the winners as the good guys in the midst of this shutdown.

Polling of course shows that Americans still place the blame on President Trump for this. White House aides told me that they were quite hopeful that the president's offer last Saturday which he televised for, you know, some sort of DACA, TPS extension in exchanged for five billion for the border wall would actually put polling more on their side. They felt it was a way for to make Democrats look as, you know, the most intransigent ones in the midst of all this.

But when you have comments like those from Larry Kudlow like those from Wilbur Ross it becomes even harder especially for those 800,000 federal workers to believe that Republicans are looking out for their best interests in their negotiation tactics moving forward.

HOWELL: Well, we saw in the Senate more senators voted today for the Democrats plan than they did the president's plan, that plan that didn't include border funding. Both plans failed neither got the 60 votes needed. But again, we saw six Republicans support the Democrat's plan. The question here, what do you make of the fact that in a Republican controlled chamber, the president was able to get less traction that he might have expected?

PLOTT: The White House and its aides don't have the clout with the Senate with the Democrats when it comes to striking a deal that they feel the president will actually follow through on. And I think a really important moment in underscoring that point is the Democratic bill that went on the floor today that six Republicans voted for was actually the very one that McConnell put on the floor back in December which the entirety of his caucus voted for which is a pretty salient talking point for someone like Chuck Schumer to say that, you know, this is the exact bill that Republicans pledged to support back then only to have Donald Trump change his mind.

So when that's the scenario, Democrats don't feel that they have partners on the other side willing to negotiate in good faith. And in a scenario like that, you're inevitably going to have Republicans like Cory Gardner in Colorado who has a tough reelection bid coming up saying, I just want to get the government open. I'm feeling the heat from constituents back home.

HOWELL: Elaina Plott with context and perspective, again, thank you so much for your time today.

PLOTT: Thank you for having me.

ALLEN: The government shutdown prompted an emotional response from a typically reserved Democratic Senator, Michael Bennet from Colorado.

HOWELL: He reminded lawmakers that his Republican colleague Ted Cruz from Texas was behind the shutdown and a lengthy filibuster in 2013. Listen.


SEN. TED CRUZ (R), TEXAS: Do you like green eggs and ham? I do not like them, Sam, I am. I do not like green eggs and ham. Would you like --


HOWELL: So here's what Senator Bennet had to say on Thursday.


SEN. MICHAEL BENNET (D), COLORADO: When the senator from Texas shut this government down in 2013, my state was flooded. It was under water. People were killed. People's houses were destroyed. Their small businesses were ruined. Forever. And because of the senator from Texas, this government was shut down for politics. How ludicrous it is that this government is shut down over a promise the President of the United States couldn't keep.

And then America is not interested in having him keep. This idea that he was going to build a medieval wall across the southern border of Texas, take it from the farmers and ranchers that were there and then have the Mexicans pay for it isn't true. That's why we're here.


[02:40:11] HOWELL: So as the argument continues in the Senate, some 800,000 federal workers and their families, they're in the middle of all of this mess.

ALLEN: CNN's Randi Kaye is at the heart of Trump country, Kentucky where one couple is worried if they missed another paycheck, their daughter's life could be at risk.


RANDI KAYE, CNN ANCHOR: This is 15-month-old Harper. She was born prematurely and needs a breathing tube. Harper was in a Kentucky hospital for more than 300 days and just came home in August. Her mom Allie McKinney 43 quit her job as a social worker to care for her daughter.

ALLIE MCKINNEY, MOTHER OF HARPER: We have to make sure that there are eyes on her 24/7 because she -- if she took her breathing tube out, she has no way no breathe. So she would instantly turn blue and she, you know, could potentially die.

KAYE: They thought they could rely on her dad Chris Rachford's salary as a data processing assistant for the IRS, then came the shutdown. Now, Chris is working without pay. So what does it feel like for you to go to work and not get a paycheck?


KAYE: Stinks?

RACHFORD: Yes. When would you run out of money do you think?

MCKINNEY: I another month or so.


KAYE: Without money to pay bills, their electric could be turned off. That electric powers Harper's ventilator and other lifesaving equipment.

KAYE: You voted for Donald Trump.


KAYE: And now, you have the shutdown, how do you feel about that vote now?

RACHFORD: Right now at this point, I 100 percent regret for Trump.

KAYE: Do you blame the president?

RACHFORD: Yes, 100 percent.

KAYE: A hundred percent?

RACHFORD: A hundred percent.

KAYE: Do you think that the president can relate to people like you and the struggle that you're dealing with now?


MCKINNEY: I don't think he's ever been in a situation like this. I don't think he's ever had to worry about where your food is coming from or have to worry about, you know, how you're going to pay a bill. And I think it shows. I really do. Good job.

KAYE: Medicaid pays for much of Harper's care. But her parents still need to shell out hundreds of dollars a month for items that aren't covered. You said you would like to actually meet with the president?

MCKINNEY: Oh, I would love to. I would love to, him, Mitch McConnell, anybody can come and sit on my couch.

KAYE: What would you tell President Trump if he sat on your couch?

MCKINNEY: First, I would make him meet Harper and I would tell him, you know, this is not about a border. It's about your people. And I know you want to keep your people safe, but by restretching payments of the money that they're rightfully earning, that's not keeping people safe.

KAYE: What would you want to say to the president if you did get a meeting with him?

RACHFORD: Put us back to work, so we can get paid. (INAUDIBLE)

KAYE: Chris hasn't been paid since December 31st.

RACHFORD: My next paycheck is on the 28th and I guarantee I'm not going to be getting it.

KAYE: That may be true and if that continues, Allie and Chris know they need a plan B to keep Harper healthy and safe.


KAYE: To try and bring in some extra money Allie and Chris have actually sold off some of their personal belongings. They sold some of the baby toys, some furniture, and even part of their baseball card collection. What they really need is gas money that's because Harper has so many doctors' appointments and some of them are 30 and 40 miles away that that fuel really does add up. On top of that, they're also worried about getting evicted which Chris can't believe.

He says he has a job. He's a federal worker. He just isn't bringing home a paycheck and now they could be homeless without the money to pay their rent. Randi Kaye, CNN, Walton, Kentucky. HOWELL: A bipartisan group of U.S. lawmakers is reviving legislation

and that holding China accountable for reported human rights abuses against its Uighurs population. International outrage has been growing over reports that the Chinese government has forced as many as one million people into so-called reeducation camps in Xinjiang province.

ALLEN: Democratic Senator Bob Menendez is one of the bill's co- sponsors. He tells CNN the U.S. need to pressure China on the Uighurs now before things gets worse.


SEN. BOB MENENDEZ (D), NEW JERSEY: It may be a prelude to China thinking beyond the Uighurs and the Muslim minority that lives there and saying anyone who opposes the government could ultimately go to a, "Reeducation camp" which is really a concentration camp.


HOWELL: You can see the full interview of Senator Bob Menendez on the next edition of "NEWS STREAM" with Kristie Lu Stout. Again, that is at 9:00 p.m. in Hong Kong, 1:00 in the afternoon in London only here on CNN.

[02:44:58] ALLEN: Still to come here. The roots of Venezuela's economic downturn, we look at how years of economic mismanagement led to the current crisis.


HOWELL: In Venezuela, were following that story. The economic and political turmoil there did not develop overnight. In fact, it's been years in the making.

ALLEN: Our Cyril Vanier, takes a look at how economic mismanagement led the country to this point.

CYRIL VANIER, CNN INTERNATIONAL ANCHOR: In 2013, when Nicolas Maduro takes over as president, he inherits a fragile economy that is already over-reliant on oil. And it is about to get much, much worse. The tipping point is 2014.

The price of oil collapses from over $100 a barrel to less than $40 a barrel by early the next year. And as the country's main source of revenue just evaporates, you start seeing severe shortages. Medication becomes scarce in hospitals. Supermarkets shelves are empty. Here's CNN's Paula Newton reporting from Caracas in 2016.


PAULA NEWTON, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: These types of lines are popping up all over Caracas. People here are looking for flour and pasta. Some of them were here this morning. They were told the store had absolutely nothing. And that's kind of scavenger hunt that's happening throughout Venezuela, people just trying to find the basics can't find.


VANIER: But the economy isn't generating revenue. So the Maduro government prints money. But that drives up inflation, Economics 101. Before long, banknotes have so little value that people who are doing this. They're using them to make crafts to sell.

Predictably, Maduro's base of support shrinks. And in 2015, the opposition gains control of Parliament. They spend the next three years trying to limit the president's power and even remove him from office, but unsuccessfully.

Meanwhile, the economic crisis deepens. In 2017, anger erupts into weeks of protests. Dozens of people are killed in the crackdown. By 2018, inflation reaches 830,000 percent according to the IMF. That means that people can hardly afford anything.

Venezuelans flee the country in increasingly large numbers. According to the UN's refugee agency, there are now 3 million Venezuelan refugees and migrants. Here's Leila Santiago, the Venezuela-Colombia border back in 2017


[02:50:00] LEYLA SANTIAGO, CNN CORRESPONDENT: This is the border with Colombia, and you can see Venezuelans that are coming in with suitcases, with bags, and they tell me they're doing this for survival. To find very basic goods on the other side, in Colombia.


VANIER: All of this is a case study in severe economic and political mismanagement. Back to you.

ALLEN: The situation in Venezuela has much of the world picking sides. Among the countries supporting sitting President Maduro, Cuba, Bolivia, Turkey, Russia, China, and Iran.

HOWELL: And among those supporting, the self-declared President Juan Guaido, the United States, the E.U., Canada, Brazil, Chile, Peru, Colombia, Argentina, and Honduras. Mexico, Portugal, and Uruguay are at this point, neutral. Cuba has been a longtime ally of Venezuela and that is still the case today.

ALLEN: The bond goes back to the days of Chavez and Castro. But as our Patrick Oppmann report, can the bonds stay strong as the flow of oil slows? He's in Havana.


PATRICK OPPMANN, CNN HAVANA CORRESPONDENT: 20 years ago, Cuba was on the brink. The communist-run Islands centralized economy was in a state of free fall. Following the collapse of the Soviet Union, Cuba's principal trading partner and benefactor. Enter Hugo Chavez, the former paratrooper and failed coup leader, shocked Venezuela by winning in election, who become president of that oil-rich nation. And then, by allying himself with Cuba, just as the rest of the world was turning its back on socialism.

"I want to commend truly for my soul," he said. "The people of Cuba, the Cuban Revolution, the martyrs of Cuba."

Like Fidel Castro, Chavez was himself a charismatic speaker who bristled at decades of U.S. intervention in Latin America. Under Castro spell, Chavez agreed to share his nation's oil riches.

GEOFF RAMSEY, ASSISTANT DIRECTOR FOR VENEZUELA, WASHINGTON OFFICE IN LATIN AMERICA: Cuba got access to the largest oil reserves on the planet in exchange for sending doctors, and coaches, and intelligence advisors, military advisors.

OPPMANN: At the height of the agreement, Cuba received around 100,000 barrels of Venezuelan oil each day. Members of the Venezuelan opposition claimed that the Cuban intelligence apparatus was essentially an occupying force.

Chavez died in 2013, following treatment for cancer in Cuba. Now led by Raul Castro, Cuba backed his hand-picked successor, Nicolas Maduro, who had studied in Cuba during his youth.

Maduro's heavy-handed crackdown on the opposition in 2017, it left dozens' dead. And his failed economic policies have led to an exodus of Venezuelans. The pain is being felt in Havana, now too as Venezuela since less and less oil.

Ever since the crisis began in Venezuela, Cubans have felt the impact. There have been more shortages of fuel, more blackouts, and Cuban officials warned, the worst may be yet to come. All the same though, Cuba's leaders say their alliance with Venezuela remains unshakable.

But alarm bells are ringing in Havana.

JORGE PINON, DIRECTOR, LATIN AMERICA AND CARIBBEAN ENERGY PROGRAM, UNIVERSITY OF TEXAS: At our calculation years that Cuba has about 5 million barrels of total primary storage. I'm saying if there's a crisis in Cuba, Cuba has enough oil to master between 35 to 45 minutes.

OPPMANN: Cuba is already looking for new sources of oil. It looks again preparing for the worst. Patrick Oppmann, CNN, Havana.


HOWELL: Still ahead in Switzerland. You can bundle up on a chunk of ice, and it's actually cozier than you think. To take a look inside the igloo hotel -- that was freezing cold. Please stay with us.

ALLEN: Not me.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK) [02:55:13] ALLEN: Davos Switzerland, George, apparently has its very own igloo hotel. Listen that just sound wonderful?

HOWELL: Maybe we should turn the temperature, and it's cold.

ALLEN: Yes. It's only temporary but apparently, it's worth the visit.

HOWELL: That's right, our Julia Chatterley bundled up and took a detour. From the World Economic Forum, to check out this cool cold place.


JULIA CHATTERLEY, CNN INTERNATIONAL ANCHOR: Its cold, an Igloo Hotel. A hidden layer high in the Swiss Alps. Built each year from packed snow. A perfect place for a bear to spend, a long cold winter.

And I can tell you, what an epic journey it's been so far to get here. We've slid down a blue run, we got to the top of the mountain, were being squished and swayed by skiers.

Welcome to my ice palace. Hi!

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Hello, how are you?

CHATTERLEY: Freezing. So here we are at the entrance of the igloo. You're going to take me on a tour. I can see a signed posters. Well, we've got plenty of options.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Exactly, here we can see like we have Hawaii, we have Japan, and we have Tasmania Island. And let's go there and check it out.

CHATTERLEY: Tasmania, come would do Hawaii, as well as (INAUDIBLE). Because there's going to be a bit warmer.


CHATTERLEY: This hotel has all the bare necessities. 15 igloos, so lots of room for lots of bears.

Oh my goodness. Now, this is an important piece of the jigsaw puzzles that I didn't consider. Oh, lies, you brought me to my princess room.



UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Here we have a bed made out of snow. We have some mattresses sheepskin. We have our inner sleeping bag that people can use. We have light over there.

CHATTERLEY: If you've never tried this. I'm not sure you would believe how comfortable and cozy this bed is. But all I can say, is its like -- you know, lying on a cold cloud. All right, let's tuck myself in. Lights out. Thank you.


HOWELL: So for those of you like to sleep cool at night, that could be a good answer. Thanks so much for being with us. I'm George Howell.

ALLEN: I'm Natalie Allen. We're just warming up. We'll be back for another hour in a minute.

HOWELL: Yes, I like that.