Return to Transcripts main page


Another Possible Government Shutdown; President Nicholas Maduro Tries to Stay in Power; The Pope Speaks His Mind About Today's Troubling Times; A Church Bombing in the Philippines; Damn Collapse In Brazil; Kamala Harris and the U.S. state looking to take down Trump; Palestinian Security Forces Could Lose U.S. Support; Life-Threatening Cold Threatens Parts Of The U.S.; 'Black Panther' Cast Wins Top Screen Actors Guild Honor. Aired 2-3a ET

Aired January 28, 2019 - 02:00   ET



GEORGE HOWELL, CNN ANCHOR: Another U.S. government shutdown could be coming. That's what the U.S. president is warning as his White House tries to reach a deal with Congress.

Plus, fighting for control, the opposition calls for protests across Venezuela, President Nicholas Maduro tries to stay in power.

Also ahead this hour, an uncertain future, we'll see how funding cuts and aid from Washington would change the lives of these Palestinian security forces.

We are live from CNN world headquarters in Atlanta and we want to welcome our viewers here in the United States and all around the world. I am George Howell, and CNN Newsroom starts right now, 2:01 on the U.S. East Coast. Thank you for being with us.

With the longest government shutdown in U.S. history barely over, the clock is now ticking and the threat is real. There could be another, yes, another government shutdown next month.

In an interview with The Wall Street Journal, the U.S. President Donald Trump said he is skeptical lawmakers can reach a deal, an agreement to fund the border wall by the next funding deadline, which is February 15th. He said another shutdown is, quote, "certainly an option."

Mr. Trump also saying that he would use a national emergency declaration to get funding if necessary. So the bottom line here, the president's position is unchanged.

Our Boris Sanchez reports it's not clear how another stand-off would result in a different outcome.


BORIS SANCHEZ, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: The White House is effectively threatening a second shutdown if President Trump and his team do not the get what they want from Democrats during the ongoing negotiations over border security.

Keep in mind, the continuing resolution that was passed on Friday goes through 21 days. So we may be facing a second government shutdown in three weeks if the president does not get border wall funding. His acting chief of staff, Mick Mulvaney, made the case on one of the Sunday morning talk shows. Listen to this.

MICK MULVANEY, ACTING WHITE HOUSE CHIEF OF STAFF: We have been working on this for months. We have been hoping for months do it through legislation with Democrats because that's the right way for the government to function. But at the end of the day, the president's commitment is to defend the nation, and he will do it either with or without Congress.

SANCHEZ: It was unclear exactly how the White House believes it'll be different a second time around. They don't really have the numbers when it comes to Congress. Remember that only one Democrat in the Senate voted for the White House's plan to reopen the federal government, that Joe Manchin of West Virginia.

We don't know exactly where the president thinks he's going to get support, and if he has to bypass Congress, it will likely be through declaring a national emergency on the issue of immigration. That's an option that's been on the table for some time. The president has not moved in that direction in part because there is no guarantee that it would actually work.

Democrats have already vowed to challenge it so it would wind up in the court system, and ultimately not give the president that immediate funding that he wants for his long-promised border wall.

Boris Sanchez, CNN, at the White House.


HOWELL: Boris, thank you. The shutdown cost the U.S. economy more money than Mr. Trump wanted for the border wall. Take a look. According to Standard and Poor's analysis, the economy lost at least $6 billion due to lost productivity and lost economic activity through outside businesses.

Meanwhile, Americans are not happy with the way the government is running. A new NBC News, Wall Street Journal poll shows 63 percent say the country is on the wrong track. Just 28 percent think things are going in the right direction. Those negative numbers are up seven points from last month.

Let's talk more about all of this now with Steven Erlanger. Steven, the Chief Diplomatic Correspondent in Europe for The New York Times joining us now live from Brussels, Belgium, always a pleasure here to have you on the show, Steve.


HOWELL: The clock is ticking. Look, less than three weeks now until we could be right back at square one with this threat of another government shutdown. And according to The Wall Street Journal, the president is skeptical that lawmakers will come up with a deal that he will sign. So do you see Democrats here having any reason to budge and give the president some of what he wants here or do they remain dug in?

[02:04:54] ERLANGER: Well, I think everyone is going to remain dug in for a while. I mean three weeks in politics is a long time, right? A week in politics is a very long time. And so people are again setting out their stalls and trying to convince the public that they are right. I think the Democrats must stay firm on preventing funding for the wall.

Though, I think they will give a fair amount of funding for border security, however defined, and maybe, maybe with enough flexibility to let Mr. Trump use some of it for fencing or something else. But for the moment, that's a compromise down the track.

HOWELL: Look. As of now, the president's chief of staff, acting chief of staff, Mick Mulvaney is indicating that the president is willing to let the government shut down again, a threat that has got to leave a lot of government workers incredibly uneasy, given what they have already gone through, Steven. But if this does happen again, is there a chance the president would get a different outcome, because as of right now, the math is just not there, the votes aren't there.

ERLANGER: I think he knows that, too. I mean somebody, I think, once defined mental difficulty as doing the same thing over and over and over again and expecting a different outcome. And so I think the White House knows this. My guess is rather than shut the government down, which turned out to be very, very unpopular. Trump might go the national emergency route.

And even if that's delayed in the courts, he can always argue to his base he did everything possible, and it's all the fault of those Democrats.

HOWELL: Mulvaney also indicating the president is prepared to declare a state of emergency to build this wall that he calls a crisis on the U.S. border with Mexico. It's an option though that's sure to be the thrown into the courts, Steven, Democrats indicating they, of course, will not vote for it. Given what we saw from the latest shutdown, here's the question though.

Is this a possible out for the president? If he can't get it through Congress and it goes this route and it goes into the courts, can he at least say that he tried?

ERLANGER: I think so, very, very much so. I suspect, you know, they've been setting this up as a sort of last option. The whole idea of moving military funds, funds that have been appropriated for the military to border security is already problematic and is likely to be challenged in the courts. Also, it's very odd to declare an emergency that doesn't seem to be an emergency. I mean it's been going on now for years, let alone months, let alone weeks. And an emergency normally is like a hurricane or an attack, or something crucial that happens in a short period of time. So I think it's a hard argument for him to make. But it is also an argument that he can make to his base, particularly who are very angry with him backing down on his wall promise.

People like Ann Coulter and others that he's tried his best in a system that needs to be changed. And the Democrats and the press are making it all impossible. And, you know, he is standing by his principles that he'll do everything he can. I mean I can see Trump arguing that fairly effectively.

HOWELL: All right. And Steven, finally the question as to whether the president will be invited to give his state of the union address. Do you feel the speaker of the house is under pressure to now grant that invitation, or does that also continue to be held up here given all the uncertainty?

ERLANGER: Well, that's a good question. I mean I am not sure. My guess is it would be a very good gesture. This is my personal view, if Nancy Pelosi would let this happen in this three-week period. I mean it is the tradition, and it seems at this point the wrong weapon to hold over the president's head. But again, she may have a very different calculus and she's the one in charge.

HOWELL: Steven Erlanger with perspective joining us from Brussels, Belgium. Steven, again thank you so much for the time. We'll stay in touch with you.

ERLANGER: Thanks, George.

HOWELL: All right, now to Venezuela. The sitting President of that nation, Nicholas Maduro, facing growing pressure from his opposition to give up power, his rival Juan Guaido telling the Washington Post the opposition is in secret talks about the military and government officials about ousting Mr. Maduro. Guaido later called for a new protest against the government. Listen.


JUAN GUAIDO, VENEZUELAN OPPOSITION LEADER: We have events this week on Wednesday and on Saturday. We have been asked why not everyday. We are in the process in Venezuela where we also have to fight to eat. We have to fight to survive. And we are aware that we can't do this without freedom.


[02:09:54] HOWELL: In a wide-ranging interview with CNN, President Maduro accused Guaido of violating the constitution and said the U.S. is behind a coup to drive him out in. In the meantime, the U.S. National Security Adviser John Bolton reiterated America's support for Guaido. He tweeted any violence on the opposition would be met with a significant response. Venezuela's dueling leaders are competing for the support of the military, both men made public appeals to combat forces, urging them to support their side. Stefano Pozzebon has more now on the power struggle in Caracas.


STEFANO POZZEBON, JOURNALIST: Yes, tension remains high here in Caracas. On Sunday, both Nicholas Maduro, the embattled Venezuelan President and Juan Guaido, the President of the Venezuelan parliament who swore himself in as Acting President of Venezuela in order to call for a fresh, free, and fair elections. They both pitched to the same audience, to the military, who increasingly looks like the sole arbiter of the power tussle that is happening here in Caracas.

And while Nicolas Maduro demanded loyalty from his troops, Juan Guaido promised amnesty and pardon for those troops who would defect effectively Nicolas Maduro's rule and switch side to the opposition. And Guaido also called for new street protests next week, next Wednesday, and the following Saturday, giving a sign of pressure on the Maduro government to join the negotiating table is only going to increase.

For CNN, this is Stefano Pozzebon, Caracas.


HOWELL: Let's talk more about the power struggle playing out in Venezuela with Jennifer McCoy. Jennifer is a distinguished professor of political science at Georgia State University joining this hour from Budapest, Hungary, Jennifer, thank you tor you your time today.


HOWELL: So given where things stand right now, who would you say has more leverage inside Venezuela, the sitting president, Nicholas Maduro who is demanding loyalty or the self-declared opposition leader Juan Guaido, who again, we just heard is offering amnesty and pardons.

MCCOY: Well, it's definitely a stand-off. Maduro still has all the reins of power, and including importantly the firearms, the military behind him. And -- but Guaido has legitimacy internally by being freely-elected, both as a deputy in his Congress and then as head of his Congress, and now international legitimacy with the popular support.

So it's sort of, you know, guns versus people in a sense. But I think it's still a stand-off. It's hard to tell yet where exactly this is going to go.

HOWELL: Well, it all comes down to who has the support of the military. That is the common denominator here. And the opposition looking for cracks in the foundation to see if they can peel off any support and oust Maduro, what are the factors, though, do you surmise that would motivate military officials to reconsider their position? MCCOY: I think if they see that -- the -- both the popular support in Venezuela continues to tilt away from Maduro and toward Guaido, that that is a crucial factor. But also the international pressure, the growing financial pressure, and the legitimacy as the financial screws continue to turn as countries like the United States, and England, and others find ways to restrict Venezuela's revenues if they are able to find those ways.

Then that has to affect the military. And then again, it's its own rank and file. As its own rank and file grows increasingly desperate in terms of their own living situation that makes it difficult for them to care out any orders to repress the people or any other orders from the government.

HOWELL: To that point, the Venezuelan economy -- look, it has been in a state of crisis for sometime now. And now reacting to outside pressures from various nations, these nations are picking a side, right? So you have Russia and China on one side, for instance, backing Maduro. You have the United States, the E.U., and many Latin- American countries supporting Guaido.

Again, the question of leverage to you, Jennifer, which side carries more leverage, more weight in what happens inside that country.

MCCOY: I think it's really a shame that internationally it is coming to a division like this when we should be looking at the plight of the Venezuelans in such a desperate situation. But at this point, I think what's really called for are negotiations. There simply have to be talks. And one of the things -- going back to your question of internal is this offer of -- you just covered about the amnesty toward the military.

[02:14:57] If that can be made clear, if the military and others in the government can be reassured about exactly what that means, that may help tilt the scene as well. And that has to do with the international side as well. There is international human rights law that does require punishment for crimes against humanity. And there have been allegations that the government has committed that with the harsh repression.

So there may be fear about international indictments in international criminal court, as well as of course, the U.S. has indicted some high- ranking officials within Venezuela.

HOWELL: And, you know, the other question that many people look to Venezuela. They wonder the questions of how long this country has seen economic turmoil. Is there a sense that with fresh leadership that the country could, in fact, turn a corner?

MCCOY: Certainly, they can turn a corner, changing policies and then receiving international aid and loans more than they have to date. Obviously, they have been helped tremendously by China and Russia. But I think that China and Russia themselves are concerned about their own investments in the country given the precarious nature of it.

But it will take a very long time to recover the oil industry and the rest of the economy that has been depleted -- and productivity has just investment and productivity has just anticipated. So it will take quite a while to recover. But, yes, it certainly is possible.

HOWELL: Jennifer McCoy giving us perspective from Budapest this hour. Again, thank you again, Jennifer. We'll keep in touch with you.

MCCOY: Thank you.

HOWELL: Newsroom pushes on here. Catholics from all across the world came together in Panama this weekend, and they heard Pope Francis speak his mind about some troubling world issues. We'll have the details ahead. Stay with us.


HOWELL: Welcome back to Newsroom. I am George Howell. Pope Francis wrapped up a five-day trip to Panama for World Youth Day, and he used the pulpit to address some challenging issues around the world. The Pope called for a peaceful solution to what is happening in Venezuela, the crisis there, and he and condemned the bombings at a church in the Philippines. Our Rosa Flores has this report and was with the Pope.


ROSA FLORES, CNN CORRESPONDENT: At first glance, World Youth Day in Panama looks just like a giant party for hundreds of thousands of Catholics from around the world. But between the festive singing and dancing are messages on serious issues.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: To work in peace together once we found our common ground.

FLORES: This song, for example, called Tierra de Pas (ph), Land of Peace, sung by an American and Mexican duet, is about the immigration issues that had the U.S. government shutdown for more than a month.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We wanted to write about this common ground that we can discover.

FLORES: The duet says the song is not about politics, but about the solutions that can end the polarization. In several speeches, Pope Francis sang a similar tune. Those who built walls, he said, sow fear and divide people. Build bridges instead. And while in a public setting, the pontiff addressed the clergy's sex abuse crisis only indirectly, Pope Francis acknowledging that some clergy have exploited and abused the young.

In private, Brenda Noriega, a 29-year-old from California, says she asked him about it directly. During a small lunch, the Pope shared with a handful of young people.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: And I felt that responsibility.

FLORES: Noriega says she and other youth ministers have felt angry and wanted the Pope's guidance on how to help youth heal. UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: And I think that's when I spoke my heart the most, seeing his honesty. He said we are with the victims. We are with the young people. Let's accompany them.

FLORES: Those are conversations that should be had at World Youth Day say the singers who struck a chord on immigration.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We are on the side of Pope Francis fighting to spread hope.

FLORES: Even though the duet is from North America, they say that their message can be applied worldwide.

Rosa Flores, CNN, Panama.


HOWELL: Now, of the bombings we just mentioned in the Philippines, authorities are promising to hunt down the people responsible for them. At least 20 people are now confirmed dead, this after two blasts that struck the whole cathedral on Sunday. A military official says one device went off inside the cathedral, the second targeted soldiers who were nearby. ISIS has claimed responsibility but didn't provide evidence. CNN has not independently verified the terror group's claim.

There are reports of progress from both sides after six days of Afghan peace talks between the United States and the Taliban. A senior U.S. official leading the talks in Qatar says Saturday that there has been significant headway on vital issues, Salmi Kalasad (ph) also said he was headed to Afghanistan.

There is no ceasefire announcement as of yet. The United States invaded Afghanistan more than 17 years ago, and U.S. troop withdrawal is one of the main issues that is on the table. Here is what some people had to say in the Afghan capital on Sunday. Listen.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's very good news and I hope that they agree on a peace deal. We hope for lasting peace in the country so that our people can live in a peaceful situation.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Everyone is tired of war and conflicts in this country. And we support any peace agreement between Afghans, Americans, and the Taliban for the prosperity of our country.


HOWELL: That's the scene there in Kabul. A Taliban official also says there has been progress with the U.S., but more talks are needed. Now, in southeastern Brazil, a story we have been following of the devastation from a damn collapse there. Civil defense authorities say the death toll has now risen to 58 people who have lost their lives.

[02:25:10] And officials warn that number will likely rise. Rescue workers are searching for at least 300 missing people at this point. The damn at an iron ore mine, an iron mine rather, collapsed on Friday unleashing a sea of mud and debris as you see here.

That spilled into the mine's administrative area where people were working. And with each passing hour, the chance of finding survivors continues to shrink. The search teams say they won't give up until they found everyone there.

He's one of Donald Trump's closest friends and advisers, but if the special counsel puts pressure on Roger Stone, will he flip? That's the question authorities (ph) asked about. And we will get the answer to that ahead.

And pushing for a border wall, President Trump has described vivid scenes of trafficking victims being brought into the country. Still ahead, the experts say that's not exactly how it's happening. The facts first, stay with us.


HOWELL: Welcome back to viewers here in the United States and all around the world. You are watching CNN Newsroom live from the ATL. I'm George Howell with the headlines we're following for you this hour. In Venezuela, the opposition leader there, Juan Guaido, is intensifying his push to oust the current sitting President, Nicolas Maduro. On Sunday, Guaido called for new protests against the embattled president.

He also told the Washington Post that the opposition is in secret talks with military and government officials about driving Maduro out.

[02:30:00] HOWELL: U.N. Human Rights experts are set to arrive in Turkey on Monday to investigate the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi. Khashoggi was killed inside the Saudi consulate in Istanbul in October. U.S. intelligence has concluded that the Saudi crown prince directed the murder. The Saudi officials denied that.

U.S. President Donald Trump says another government shutdown is, certainly an option if he doesn't get funding for the border wall that he wants. In an interview with the Wall Street Journal, Mr. Trump said he is skeptical that lawmakers will reach an agreement by the next funding deadline. That deadline set for February 15th. Now, to the long-time friend and political adviser of Donald Trump, Roger Stone, he heads back to court on Tuesday after a very public arrest by federal agents just last week.

Stone was indicted on charges including lying to Congress about his efforts to get dirt on Hillary Clinton from Russia linked WikiLeaks. He repeatedly pledge his loyalty to Mr. Trump but on Sunday Stone warned if called to testify, he would do so truthfully. Our Jessica Schneider has the latest for you.

JESSICA SCHNEIDER, CNN JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT: Roger Stone has been making the media rounds all before he gets to the D.C. court house on Tuesday and before he appears before that same judge who's overseeing both Paul Manafort and Rick Gates cases and she's definitely tough, so perhaps Roger Stone trying to get the last word in before any possible gag order. Stone though leaving the door open to cooperation with the special counsel and also saying he would tell the truth about his communications with Donald Trump which he says never involved Russia.

Now, of course, Roger Stone was indicted on Thursday and arrested in that early morning FBI raid Friday at his home in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. And he now faces seven counts including obstruction, witness tampering, and false statements to Congress. Here's what he said about the possibility of testifying for the special counsel's investigation.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Any chance you'll cooperate with Special Counsel Robert Mueller if he asks?

ROGER STONE, POLITICAL CONSULTANT: You know, that's a question I would have to -- I have to determine after my attorneys have some discussion. If there's wrongdoing by other people in the campaign that I know about which I know of none. But if there is, I would certainly testify honestly. I'd also testify honestly about any other matter including communications with the president. It's true that we spoke on the phone. But those communications are political in nature and they're benign and there's -- there is certainly no conspiracy with Russia.


SCHNEIDER: Roger stone has repeatedly said that he would not testify against the president. And also Stone has said he has never discussed the possibility of a pardon with the president. And, of course, he continues to maintain that he is innocent despite those text messages and e-mails the special counsel has. And Stone stands by his contention that there was never any collusion with Russia. Now, in the meantime, Jerome Corsi who is described as person one in the indictment who Stone directed to get in touch with WikiLeaks Founder Julian Assange to get more e-mails.

Corsi though saying he never talk to Assange. Corsi says that all of the information in the indictment is accurate and he's willing to testify to that in court. Now, interestingly, Corsi has also said previously that Mueller has everything and knows everything. Jessica Schneider, CNN Washington.

HOWELL: President Trump has tried a variety of tactics to sell his plan for a wall on America's southern border with Mexico. He cited drugs, human caravans, and another common refrain now. Our Polo Sandoval puts facts first.



POLO SANDOVAL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: It's President Trump's new go to talking point in his attempts to convince Americans of his border wall, build it, and stop human trafficking in the U.S. TRUMP: It's at the worst level human trafficking in the history of

the world. They come through areas where they have no protection, where they have no steel barriers, where they have no walls, and we can stop almost 100 percent of that.

SANDOVAL: This was Friday in the Rose Garden. Mr. President announced the temporary end to the government shutdown. He painted a vivid and startling picture of migrant women being restrained with duct tape and then snuck over the southern border.

TRUMP: Women are tied up, they're bound, duct tape put around their faces around their mouths and in many cases they can't even breathe.

SANDOVAL: But it seems like you've heard this before. You probably have. The president has described this terrifying trafficking tactic almost a dozen times in the last month.

TRUMP: They have women in the backseat of the cars with duct tape all over the place. They tape their face, their hair, their hands behind their back. Human traffickers tying up women and putting tape in their mouth. They tie women up. They put duct tape over their mouth. Women tied. They have tape over their mouths, electrical tape, usually blue tape.

[02:35:01] SANDOVAL: This is all a misconception says Lori Cohen, director of Anti-Trafficking Initiative of the hundreds of trafficking victims she has represented. She's yet to meet one who has experienced what the president describes.

LORI COHEN, DIRECTOR, ANTI-TRAFFICKING INITIATIVE: I don't know where the president's information is coming from. I don't believe it's coming from law enforcement. It's certainly not coming from victims and it's not coming from the dozens of service providers who I've speak with across the country.

SANDOVAL: The experts we spoke to say many victims of trafficking actually come into the U.S. legally unaware they will be victimized by traffickers, others are smuggled but not restrained with tape before being driven over the border as the president repeatedly claims.

MARTINA VANDENBERG, PRESIDENT, HUMAN TRAFFICKING LEGAL CENTER: Donald Trump has told this lurid tale full of bogus details of how he thinks human trafficking works and it's just not what we see.

SANDOVAL: Martina Vandenberg who also represents victims of trafficking feels the president intentionally misrepresenting human trafficking adding it to his evolving list of reasons for his border wall.

VANDENBERG: He's ignoring the fact that about 66 percent of the cases that are handled by trafficking organizations are U.S. citizens. About 34 percent are foreign nationals. And of those foreign nationals who are coming in, in our experience the vast majority of those foreign nationals are coming in on perfectly legal visas.

SANDOVAL: Vandenberg's organization keeps a database of 1,400 human trafficking related indictments dating back to 2009. Of those cases, she says 26 involve kidnapping and only one makes reference to duct tape.

VANDENBERG: It mentions duct tape and it mentioned someone being tied up with duct tape. But the victim was a U.S. citizen, not someone brought across the border from Mexico.

SANDOVAL: Customs and Border Protection largely responsible for patrolling and protecting the southern border declined to comment on the president's remarks. The White House did not respond to CNN's repeated attempts to clarify the president's unsupported anecdotes on human trafficking. Polo Sandoval, CNN New York.


HOWELL: And another candidate to tell you about who has joined the crowded field of Democrats seeking the nomination for the 2020 presidential election. In this case, it's Senator Kamala Harris who has officially launched her bid in her hometown of Oakland, California. She avoided mentioning the U.S. President Donald Trump by name, but there was no doubt who she was targeting for criticism when he she talked about America's standing in the world and its deep internal divides. Listen.


SEN. KAMALA HARRIS (D), CALIFORNIA: Under this administration, America's position in the world has never been weaker. When Democratic values are under attack around the globe, when authoritarianism is on the march, when nuclear proliferation is on the rise, when we have foreign powers infecting the White House like malware.


HOWELL: And Harris is among four Democrats running with three others who are exploring a possible run. Palestinian security forces could be facing an end to U.S. support. Officials in the West Bank are worried that also are some in Israel. We have an exclusive report from the region ahead. Stay with us.


[02:41:36] HOWELL: In Turkey, human rights experts are expected to arrive Monday to investigate the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi. You remember Khashoggi was killed inside the Saudi consulate in Istanbul in October. U.S. intelligence has concluded that the Saudi crown prince directed the murder. But Saudi officials denied that. Over the course of the last 12 months, the White House has announced to series of funding cuts to Palestinians.

The administration says it wants to pressure the Palestinian authority to return to peace talk with Israel. All that's left of U.S. funding is the money that goes to support the Palestinian security forces. And now, a new U.S. anti-terror law is putting even those funds into jeopardy. Our Ian Lee has more for you.

IAN LEE, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: The legislation is called the Anti-Terrorism Clarification Act and it was passed in the October. It could make the Palestinian authority liable for huge financial claims if Americans are the victims of Palestinian terror attacks. The only way to avoid that liability is to stop accepting any U.S. government funding which is what the Palestinian authority has recently announced it intends to do. Over the course of last year, I got an exclusive look at what's at stake.


LEE: Palestinian security forces locked and loaded for a raid in the West Bank City of Nablus. Intelligence just informed the police that a known drug dealer who could be heavily arm is on the move. This is a man they've wanted for quite some time. We arrived at an empty apartment building. The police form a perimeter stack up and move in. If the tactics appear straight out of an American playbook, that's because they are.

The Americans play an important role in security issues, facilities, and improving our skills the major general tells me. We can't play down their importance. At this training base in Jericho, soldiers and police train for months honing their skills from basic drills to shooting with an AK-47. Here, elite units practiced rescuing soldiers injured during an ambush and engaging the terrorists. What you're seeing is part of the more than $60 million a year the U.S. taxpayers have contributed toward Palestinian security.

Another winner of this partnership, Israel. It's no secret the Palestinian security forces carry a large burden for the Israeli army.

EFRAIM SNEH, RETIRED ISRAEL DEFENSE FORCES: If the Palestinian authority will be obliged to act less, our soldiers will have to act more. It will put on them a bigger burden of counter terrorist activity.

[02:44:41] DAN SHAPIRO, FORMER UNITED STATES AMBASSADOR TO ISRAEL: The security cooperation between the Israeli security forces and the Palestinian Authority security forces has been exceptional. Highly professional, highly effective, highly appreciated by both sides.

If we lose that, it could really be a blow to the stability -- relative stability that has prevailed in the West Bank for the last number of years.

LEE: Some Palestinians say, that cooperation aids Israel's occupation. Palestinian officials say they are building the foundation of a future Palestinian state.

"Palestinian Security Services are part of the regional security system," the governor tells me. "We are playing a significant role in fighting drugs, extremism, and money laundering."

One previous raid in Nablus shows what security forces contend with on a daily basis. This is what they recovered. Three kilograms of various drugs. Over here, we have an Israeli army automatic rifle, as well as a pistol, for grenades, and finally, 900 rounds of ammunition.

This kind of firepower is common. And we'd likely fill the vacuum in the absence of Palestinian security.

Back on the raid, police navigate the stairwell. It's tense. But the forces move quickly to arrest the suspect and haul him away. The whole raid taking less than four minutes. That's a good bang for the buck. Both Israeli and Palestinian officials will tell you.


LEE: The State Department tells CNN, it's continuing to work through the potential impact of the new anti-terror law. Adding, "In consultation with partners, we have taken steps to wind down certain projects and programs in the West Bank and Gaza."

The State Department did not go into further detail. And the recent U.S. government shutdown has further hindered efforts to find a workaround to allow funding to the Palestinian security to continue. The deadline is looming, January 31st. That's when the new law goes into effect. Ian Lee, CNN, Jerusalem.

HOWELL: Ian, thank you. A shot at the Mercedes-Benz Stadium here in Atlanta as we prepare for the Super Bowl. And across the country, people preparing for really cold weather.

And here is the thing, more cold temperatures are on the way. We'll tell you what it all means for the country and to the Super Bowl as NEWSROOM continues. Stay with us.


[02:51:06] HOWELL: Officials in Cuba, say a tornado struck the capital city of Havana on Sunday night. Initial reports say strong winds damaged the number of public and residential buildings there. The government says, the storm also caused flooding in parts of Havana and several provinces.

No word yet on whether there are any deaths or injuries from what happened. In just a bit to the north, some very dangerous wintry weather is headed to the United States. Look at that. They are in Watertown, New York. Wow!

More than 50 million people in the Midwest and the South are facing heavy snowfalls, freezing storms and blizzards. The National Weather Service says several states may see the coldest air in a generation. Forecasters warn that the cold could be life-threatening in some states.

Many people leave and traveling to Atlanta preparing for the Super Bowl. It's wintery weather all around. Our meteorologist Pedram Javaheri is here in the International Weather Center. Pedram. PEDRAM JAVAHERI, CNN INTERNATIONAL METEOROLOGIST: Yes, George. Expect it to see about a million people embark onto Atlanta. And of course, that game been on Sunday. But in advance of it, some of the coldest air in years even across the south, maybe even some wintry weather to go with it as well, a few days before Super Bowl, Sunday.

But, I want to show you what's happened across the International Falls across Northern Minnesota. That's the icebox of the U.S. Low temperature there on Sunday morning at minus 46 degrees Fahrenheit. That's the ambient air temperature. No wind involved for that and their previous record low is minus 36 if you're curious, the coldest they have ever seen is even colder than that, minus 55.

But when a time you get to this sort of a range, the big question is, how does it feel? What does it all boil down to? Well, let's talk about this. Because when it comes to extreme cold at 14 degrees Fahrenheit, that's when you have motor oil that begins to freeze.

At 35 degrees below zero, which by the way, was colder in Minnesota this morning. At 35 below zero, that's where antifreeze begins to freeze and if you've got your tires sealed from previous punch punctures at zero degrees Fahrenheit or below that temperature, that's typically when you have those seals begin to leak air. So, again, extreme cold in place and only gets colder believe it or not, over the next couple of days.

What's at hand right now, we do have a quick moving system that is bringing in some snow showers about six inches to 12 inches across the northern portion thereof the Upper Midwest and into portions of the Great Lakes. But we do have blizzard warnings across the Eastern Dakotas, winter storm warnings all of it again in advance of this initial feature and as we go in towards Monday night and Tuesday morning, the front does bring enough cold air towards the south where places as far south as Atlanta Georgia could see some snow showers out of this going into Tuesday morning.

But really the big story has to be the significant blast of cold air. And as George said, among the coldest, we've ever observed across this part of the country and that's saying a lot this time of year. In fact, expectations come Wednesday morning are that, at least, 55 million people have air temperatures below zero degrees Fahrenheit without the wind over 180 million people indicated in the area in the blue colors and purple colors here that would be below 32 degrees Fahrenheit below the freezing mark.

So again, pretty expansive nature of all of this. 15 records could be set Wednesday morning. Scoot off towards the east. And we're talking about 20 record lows set come Thursday morning as well.

But look at the forecast high in Chicago. That's 14 degrees below zero. For an afternoon high in Chicago, the coldest high temperature ever was back in 1994 when it was minus 11. The coldest low temperature since the 1990s, those minus 22 degrees, it could be minus 24 come going into Thursday morning, and that's where we stand.

The heart of the week across the Upper Midwest again as cold as you'll ever see it about 40 degrees below what is average for this time of year. And then, the trend really to put everything in perspective, George, is look at Chicago's afternoon high on Wednesday. Look at Fairbanks, Alaska's afternoon high there on Wednesday.

A 40-degree drop in what is normal for Chicago there to put it well below zero. And I know you've lived there so you felt some cold, but this is a remarkable trend here in the next couple of days.

HOWELL: Cold, cold weather. Pedram, thank you so much. We'll keep up with you.

JAVAHERI: Yes, yes.

[02:55:06] HOWELL: Now, to the SAG Awards in Los Angeles, the cast of Black Panther won the top prize on Sunday.


CHADWICK BOSEMAN, ACTOR, BLACK PANTHER: We all know what it's like to be told that there is not a place for you to be featured. Yet you were young, gifted, and black. We knew not that we would be around during award season and that it would make a billion dollars. But we knew that we had something special.


HOWELL: I loved everything about that film. It's been a critical and box-office blockbuster and it was honored on Sunday by actors who saluted their peers. Glenn Close won a SAG Award for her performance in The Wife. And Rami Malek took home a prize for his portrayal of Queen's Freddie Mercury in Bohemian -- Bohemian Rhapsody, I should say.

We will, of course, ask the question. Will we see them again? You know at the Academy Awards on February, in February 24th, as awards season draws to a close, that is the big question and, of course, we have an expert next hour to talk all things, L.A. We will, of course, be looking forward to that.

Thank you for being with us for NEWSROOM this hour. I'm George Howell at the CNN Center in Atlanta. Let's do it again. Another hour of news right after the break. Stay with us.