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Shutdown Part Two if No Wall Funding; Roger Stone Heads to Court to Testify; United Nations to Investigate Khashoggi's Death; Moment of truth for Plan B Brexit. Aired 3-4a ET
Aired January 28, 2019 - 03:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[03:00:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
GEORGE HOWELL, CNN ANCHOR: The U.S. government may have just reopened but the U.S. president is warning everyone the chances of another government shutdown they are pretty high.
Plus, in Venezuela, a sitting president fights to stay in power. His main opponent calls on people to take to the streets and demand a new government.
Also ahead this hour, another big night for Hollywood. A look at the big winners of this year's Screen Actors Guild Awards.
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'm George Howell. CNN Newsroom starts now.
It's 3 a.m. on the U.S. East Coast. Thanks for being with us this day. Here in the United States just days after the last government shutdown ended, there is a threat that another one is just around the corner.
The U.S. President Donald Trump telling the Wall Street Journal he is skeptical lawmakers can reach an agreement to fund the border wall by the next funding deadline, that deadline set for February 15th. Mr. Trump said another shutdown is, quote, "certainly an option." He also said he would use a national emergency declaration to get the funding that he wants for the border wall.
So, the bottom line here, the president's mind remains unchanged. Boris Sanchez reports it's unclear how the outcome of another standoff with at all be different.
BORIS SANCHEZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT: The White House is effectively threatening a second government shutdown if President Trump and his team do not 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.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) MICK MULVANEY, DIRECTOR, OFFICE OF MANAGEMENT AND BUDGET: We've been
working on this for months. We have been hoping for months to 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.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SANCHEZ: Now it's not clear exactly how the White House believes it will be different a second time around. They don't 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 was Joe Manchin of West Virginia.
We don't know exactly where the president thinks he is 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's 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 than the money Mr. Trump want for his border wall. Take a look at the analysis here from Standard and Poor's. The economy lost at least $6 billion because of lost productivity and lost economic activity to outside business.
Meanwhile, Americans aren't 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 put it into focus now with Leslie Vinjamuri. Leslie an associate professor of international relation at SOAS University of London, live this hour from our London bureau. Leslie, thanks for being with us.
LESLIE VINJAMURI, SENIOR LECTURER, SOAS UNIVERSITY OF LONDON: Thank you.
HOWELL: So, this is the week the president had planned to give his State of the Union address and that was obviously put on hold by the Speaker of the House, Nancy Pelosi.
So, given where things stand right now, Leslie, do you feel that she is under any increased pressure to grant that invitation or does that also continue to be held up as these negotiations continue?
VINJAMURI: Well, you know, there is a requirement that the president deliver a State of the Union address. The question is not whether, I think, but really when and Nancy Pelosi has been very clear that that shouldn't happen until the government was not only reopened but properly functioning.
And I think one of the big stories here of course is that decision finally on Friday to temporarily end the shutdown, there is a lot of uncertainty and there's a lot of instability. Just reopening the government is actually not as easy as it might seem after 35 days of closure. So, it's unsure when that State of the Union address will take place.
[03:04:57] HOWELL: So according to the Wall Street Journal, the president is skeptical that legislators will actually come up with an agreement that he would sign to fund this border wall that he wants. The question that I have for you, do Democrats have any reason to really budge on their position or do they give him some of what he wants?
VINJAMURI: Well, I think there's pressure on all sides, on all parties, Democrats and Republicans, to come up with some sort of deal. It's not good for the country, it creates tremendous uncertainty economically and, of course, it started as we saw on Friday, to hit the -- you know, to raise serious questions about security and air travel.
So, there is -- there is an incentive, but Democrats are not willing to fund that border wall. They've talked about border security, they've talked about, you know, there's ongoing discussion about whether a deal can be done on immigration, on the DREAMers, but I don't think we'll see Nancy Pelosi and the Democrats really giving in on that money that President Trump wants very specifically for the wall. So, it's very unclear still how this is going to be resolved.
HOWELL: Mr. Trump's acting chief of staff, Mick Mulvaney says the president is willing to, again, let the government shutdown if he doesn't get what he wants with this border wall funding. So, the question here though, why would the outcome be different here if he takes that route again? Because the math doesn't add up. He doesn't have the votes.
VINJAMURI: He doesn't have the votes but remember what we saw. And this is a president who is tremendously sensitive to the polls. And he had a sharp decline in his approval ratings as a result of this extended shutdown. And the Republicans in Congress took a hit in terms of, you know, the public have been blaming the Republicans in Congress and they've been blaming the president.
So, I think that there is, despite the rhetoric, I think the president will face an incentive to at least continue those negotiations rather than shutting the government down again. But again, it's very unclear how that plays. Now there are many things that are likely to bring the president into a different kind of focus both internationally as well as at home. So perhaps he will just simply get distracted.
HOWELL: And Leslie, also, Mulvaney indicating the president is prepared to declare a national emergency to build a wall for what he claims to be a national crisis, an option that would surely be thrown into the courts, even though it will not likely get him the wall that he wants, Leslie. Do you see this as sort of an out for the president that he would say, hey, I tried?
VINJAMURI: Yes. Again, I think he's speaking very much to that base, which by and large has stayed with him. The question of calling a national emergency, I think there will be a pushback and from the courts, in large part because the evidence, the data that we've seen on security at that border simply don't demonstrate that there is an impending crisis.
So, there's very little by way of fact to back up this claim. So, despite his continued remarks that he might resort to calling a national emergency, it's difficult to see how that resolves this crisis and doesn't just drag him further into very difficult politics.
HOWELL: And you know, you just have to wonder what this means for all of those government workers who just went through, you know, what was more than a month of pure hell to have this threat over their heads again that this would be a reality for them. So, we'll have to see how it plays out. Leslie Vinjamuri, live for us in London, thank you.
VINJAMURI: Thank you.
HOWELL: Now, to the long-time Trump friend and political adviser, Roger Stone. He heads to court Tuesday, just days after being arrested by federal agents. Stone was indicted on charges that include lying to Congress about his efforts to get dirt on Hillary Clinton from Russia link WikiLeaks. He repeatedly pledged his loyalty to the president.
But early on Sunday, Stone warned this, if called to testify, he would do so truthfully.
President Trump in the meantime is trying to distance himself, tweeting this, quote, "Roger Stone didn't even work for me anywhere near the election."
Our Jessica Schneider puts the facts first.
JESSICA SCHNEIDER, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Roger Stone has been making the media rounds all before he gets to the D.C. courthouse on Tuesday and before he appears before that same judge who is overseeing both Paul Manafort and Rick Gates cases. And she is definitely tough. So perhaps Roger Stone trying to get the last word in before any possible gag order.
Stone, though, leading --leaving the door open to cooperation with the special counsel and also saying he would tell the truth about 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.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
[03:09:59] GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS, CHIEF ANCHOR, ABC NEWS: Any chance you'll cooperate with Special Counsel Robert Mueller if he asks?
ROGER STONE, FORMER TRUMP ADVISER: You know, that's a question I have to -- I have to determine after my attorneys 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 testify honestly about any other matter, including any communications with the president. It's true that we spoke on the phone but those communications are political in nature. They are benign and there is certainly no conspiracy with Russia.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SCHNEIDER: Roger Stone has repeatedly said 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 collusion with Russia.
Now, in the meantime, Jerome Corsi, who's 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. Corse 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: Jessica, thank you.
Now to Venezuela where the opposition leader there, Juan Guaido is intensifying his push to push out the sitting President Nicolas Maduro from power. Guaido told the Washington Post that the opposition is in secret talks with military and government officials about ousting Mr. Maduro. Guaido later called for new rounds of anti-government protests.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JUAN GUAIDO, VENEZUELAN OPPOSITION LEADER (through translator): We have events this week on Wednesday and on Saturday. We have been asked why not every day. 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.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HOWELL: And in a wide-ranging interview with CNN Turk, President Nicolas Maduro accused Guaido of violating the Constitution and said the U.S. is behind a coup to drive him out of power. Meanwhile, U.S. national security advisor John Bolton reiterated
America's support for Guaido. He tweeted any violence on the opposition would be met with, quote, "a significant response."
One common denominator here both men vying for president are seeking the vital support of Venezuela's military. Over the weekend, they both appealed to combat forces, urging them to join their respective sides.
Stefano Pozzebon has the very latest from Caracas.
STEFANO POZZEBON, JOURNALIST: Yes, tension remains high here in Caracas. On Sunday, both Nicolas Maduro, the embattled Venezuelan president and Juan Guiado, the president of the Venezuelan parliament who swore himself in as acting president of Venezuela in order to call for fresh, free, and fair elections. They both pitched to the same audience, to the military who increasingly look like the sole arbiter of the power tussle that is happening here in Caracas.
And while Nicolas Maduro demanded loyalty from his troops, Juan Guiado promised amnesty and pardon for those troops who would defect effectively Nicolas Maduro's rule and switch side to the opposition. And Guiado also called for news protest next week, next Wednesday and the following Saturday given the sign of the pressure on the Maduro government to join the negotiating table is only going to increase.
For CNN, this is Stefano Pozzebon, Caracas.
HOWELL: Stefano, thank you again.
The murder of a journalist Jamal Khashoggi killed last October in Istanbul. There are so many questions around what happened to him. And now, a new U.N. Human Rights team is arriving in Turkey to investigate what happened and what the Saudis say did not.
Plus, in the United Kingdom, the British Prime Minister Theresa May feeling the pressure as she wrestles with lawmakers over control of Brexit.
The news continues right after this break. Stay with us.
[03:15:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
HOWELL: Welcome back to CNN Newsroom. I'm George Howell.
There are reports of progress to tell you about from both sides after six days of Afghan peace talks between the United States and the Taliban. The U.S. senior official leading the talks in Qatar says Saturday that there had been significant headway on vital issues. Zalmay Khalilzad also said he was heading to Afghanistan.
There's no ceasefire announcement as of yet. The U.S. invaded Afghanistan more than 17 years ago and U.S. troop withdrawal is one of the main issues on the table. Here is what some people had to say in that nation's capital on Sunday. Listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): It is very good news, and I hope that they agree on a peace deal. We hope for a lasting peace in the country so that our people can live in a peaceful situation.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): Everyone is tired of war and conflicts in this this country. And we support any peace agreement between Afghans, Americans and the Taliban for the prosperity of our country.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HOWELL: The Taliban official also saying there has been progress with the United States, but that more talks are needed.
Now to Turkey where U.N. Human Rights experts are set to arrive Monday to investigate the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi. You remember Khashoggi was killed back inside the Saudi consulate in Istanbul back in October. U.S. and -- U.S. intelligence has concluded that the Saudi crown prince directed the murder but Saudi officials deny that.
Following the story our senior international correspondent Ben Wedeman live in Beirut, Lebanon. And, Ben, here's the question. What more could these investigators really bring to bear, given where things stand right now?
BEN WEDEMAN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: I think what they will bring to bear is the weight of the United Nation's Human Rights counsel on this issue. This is the first sort of international investigation into this murder that has been very thoroughly investigated already by the Turkish authorities.
[03:20:04] Now this delegation is being led by Agnes Callamard. She is a specialist in summary, a summary extrajudicial of arbitrary executions. Now we understand that she will meeting with the Turkish foreign minister this morning in Ankara. She has also put in a request to visit the Saudi consulate in Istanbul, where on the second of October Jamal Khashoggi was murdered by Saudi officials.
Now the Saudi officials always said that this was a rogue team that carried out the executions, that they weren't, as the CIA believes, directed to do so by Mohammed bin Salman, the Saudi Crown Prince.
Now she has not received any answer from the authorities, the Saudi authorities whether she will be allowed into the consulate in Istanbul. She apparently, has also asked to meet the Saudi ambassador to Ankara. No word on whether that meeting is going to happen.
Now she is going to be in turkey for five days, the intention or the plan is to then travel to Saudi Arabia to collect further information. But there's no indication yet whether the Saudi authorities will actually let her into the country.
In the meantime, Saudi Arabia is conducting a trial of 11 individuals it says were involved in the murder of Jamal Khashoggi. The prosecutor has asked for the death sentence for five of those individuals. However, interestingly, the Saudi authorities have not said who these 11 people on trial are.
So, it will be interesting to see how this trip pans out, but certainly, given the hesitance of the Saudis to really lay out their cards about what they know. I don't think that this trip is going to result in any sort of great shedding of light on the murder of Jamal Khashoggi.
HOWELL: OK. But Ben, determining --
HOWELL: -- depending, rather, on what these investigators do discover, what they do conclude or find, does it put more pressure on nations like the United States given the U.S. support of Saudi Arabia?
WEDEMAN: I think it's been fairly clear what we've heard from U.S. President Donald Trump, as well as Mike Pompeo, the Secretary of State during his trip throughout the -- through region recently, on which he said that the United States expects Saudi Arabia to hold those accountable who were behind the murder of Jamal Khashoggi.
But I think that's really a rhetorical phrase more than an intention or statement of intention as far as actually bringing pressure to bear on Saudi Arabia. The Trump administration has made it very clear, almost from the very beginning that Saudi purchases of arms and other material from the United States are far more important than, perhaps, the involvement of the Saudi crown prince in the murder of a Saudi citizen in a Saudi consulate -- Saudi who happens to be or was a columnist for the Washington Post. George.
HOWELL: Ben Wedeman withe story. Ben, thank you.
Now to the United Kingdom, another test for Britain's prime minister. Just a day away now that's when parliament is set to debate and vote on Theresa May's latest Brexit plan. It could shift the balance of power toward parliament members and away from the prime minister. With Brexit, though, who knows what will happen.
Let's pose that question to our Anna Stewart who is following the story just outside number 10. Anna, so the prime minister's pitches they haven't gone well as of late you could say. How much is at stake for her now as parliament picks up the debate this week?
ANNA STEWART, CNN REPORTER: There's a lot at stake, George, when you consider that just two months from tomorrow the U.K. will leave the E.U. currently with or without a deal. The default position if parliament can't come to an agreement if Theresa May's deal isn't voted through, is that the U.K. would crash out of the E.U.
And of course, this is something that has a lot of opposition in parliament. And as a result, as you said there are many M.P.'s in parliament trying to seize control really of the Brexit process. And they are going to do this with various ways, mostly through amendments, some 14 amendments spanning many, many, many, many pages have been attached to tomorrow's motion to be voted on only a few will make it through.
All of the amendments we've been really have been focusing on changing this controversial Irish backstop issue, cancelling all together or extending article 50. And I think the most interesting one that could be voted on tomorrow is tabled by a Labour M.P. Yvette Cooper. And it essentially compels the government if it doesn't reach a deal by the end of February to ask for an extension to article 50 to push the Brexit deal back.
[03:25:06] Of course it needs the E.U.'s support to do that. Meanwhile, the prime minister still working on pushing through plan B which as we discuss last week looks a lot like plan A in Brexit terms, through parliament. She's still hoping that she can get support.
I would say it's looking a little bit more hopeful this Monday morning because the former foreign secretary, Boris Johnson, usually a thorn in the prime minister's side he's actually written a column in today's Daily Telegraph kind of coming out in support for her, saying that he have now believed the prime minister is genuinely and truly fighting for a real change the Irish backstop issue calling a fight for a freedom clause.
So, perhaps, she can win over some of the Brexiteers support within her own party and perhaps she can fight off some of these amendments tomorrow. George?
HOWELL: Well, the backstop issue certainly a very delicate issue in these negotiations, Anna. And many officials in the E.U. quietly hoping that there could be more momentum for the U.K. to remain, stay in the E.U. Is there a true momentum? Is there any sign of that as you scan the spectrum here of political opinions that are out there?
STEWART: It's so interesting gauge -- to gauge. Because from within the U.K., there's all this parliament discussion. You know, we need to change the Irish backstop. The prime minister must seek something on this front. But then when you speak to some of the E.U. leaders or you hear from them embarrass media outlets that doesn't seem to be much willingness to change necessarily.
For instance, we had the Irish deputy prime minister speak on the BBC yesterday. He said there could be no change to the current package the U.K. has. We've also heard from people like the Lithuania president saying that they don't want an extension, they can't see the point of giving the U.K. even more time to negotiate. They've already had over two years.
So, it depends who you listen to. There certainly hope that there will be some room for some sort of compromise here, or at least from the U.K. side of things. But I think it's a very different story unfortunately in Brussels. George?
HOWELL: Anna Stewart live for us outside number 10, thank you.
The presidential standoff in Venezuela is intensifying. Both leaders there want the support of the military. But the question here, who has the most leverage? We discuss the power struggle ahead for you. Plus, the Philippines hunting down the suspects after a deadly
bombing. What we're learning about that bombing at a cathedral on Sunday as Newsroom pushes on.
[03:30:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
GEORGE HOWELL, CNN ANCHOR: Welcome back to our viewers here in the United States and all around the world. You are watching "CNN Newsroom" live from Atlanta. I'm George Howell with the headlines we are following for you this hour.
The U.S. president says another government shutdown is "certainly an option" if he doesn't get the money he wants for a border wall. In an interview with The Wall Street Journal, Mr. Trump said he is skeptical lawmakers will reach an agreement by the next funding deadline. The deadline is set for February 15.
Afghanistan says the U.S. envoy heading up talks with the Taliban has briefed Afghan president, Ashraf Ghani. Zalmay Khalilzad traveled to Afghanistan after six days of negotiations with the Taliban in Qatar. A source says a ceasefire was discussed. Khalizad tweeted there had been significant progress, but that there were a number of issues still left to work out.
Venezuelan opposition leader Juan Guaido is calling for protests this week against the sitting president, Nicolas Maduro. Guaido also telling The Washington Post the opposition is in secret talks with military and government officials about ousting Mr. Maduro. Both men seek the military support.
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 us this hour from Budapest, Hungary. Jennifer, thank you for your time today.
JENNIFER MCCOY, PROFESSOR OF POLITICAL SCIENCE, GEORGIA STATE UNIVERSITY: Thank you.
HOWELL: So, given where things stand right now, who would you say has more leverage inside Venezuela, the sitting president, Nicolas 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 standoff. Maduro still has all the reins of power and including importantly the firearms, the military behind him. But Guaido has legitimacy internally by being freely elected both as a deputy in his congress and then 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 standoff. It is 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 can 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're able to find those ways, then that has to affect the military.
And then again, if 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 carry out any orders to repress the people or any other orders from the government.
HOWELL: To that point, the Venezuelan economy looked it has been in a state of crisis for some time now and now reacting to outside pressures from various nations. These nations are picking aside, 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?
[03:34:59] 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 that you just covered about the amnesty towards the military. 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. 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, 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 question 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've 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 dissipated. So, it will take quite a while to recover, but yes, it's certainly possible.
HOWELL: Jennifer McCoy giving her perspective from Budapest this hour. Again, thank you, Jennifer, for your time. We will keep in touch with you.
MCCOY: Thank you.
HOWELL: In the Philippines, authorities are promising to hunt down the people responsible for a bombing attack on a church that happened Sunday. Two blasts that killed at least 20 people at a cathedral. ISIS has claimed responsibility through its media wing but hasn't provided evidence. CNN's Matt Rivers has more on this.
MATT RIVERS, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: There are dozens of casualties here in the Philippines after a pair of explosions in the part of the southern Philippines, in a region called Mindanao, in a town called Jolo.
According to authorities, the first explosion took place inside a cathedral in that town where people were attending Sunday services. The second explosion took place shortly thereafter. It occurred as soldiers who were nearby were rushing over towards the church to assist victims of the first explosion. That's when the second explosion occurred and that's what the soldiers became victims themselves.
Unfortunately, this is a region of the Philippines that is no stranger to this kind of violence. For decades, there has been violence between Christians and Muslims in the area, between the government and separatists forces in the area.
In fact, it was just back in 2017 that Islamic militants laid siege to a city called Marawi and it took about five months, 150 days, for Philippine's military forces to actually get those militants out of the city, and we know that attacks have continued since then.
Additionally, another piece of relevant information here is that a referendum vote took place last Monday. That vote was relatively controversial. It was a vote essentially on a plan that was created by the government and separatist groups in the region to create a newly self-administered region in this part of the Philippines, the hope there being that autonomy could help make that region more peaceful and more safe for the people that live there.
That referendum did ultimately end up passing, but of course not everyone voted for it, including the town of Jolo where this latest attack occurred. The government is not saying that this attack had anything to do with that vote. They are not saying it had anything to do with previous violence in this region, only saying that this investigation is ongoing. And of course, their priority remains to dozens of casualties that were the result of a pair of explosions on Sunday in the southern Philippines. Matt Rivers, CNN, Clark, the Philippines.
HOWELL: All right, Matt, thank you. And we are also following a story in Southeastern Brazil. The devastation from a dam collapse there. Civil defense authority say the death toll has now risen to 58 people who lost their lives, and officials warned that number will likely rise.
Rescue workers are searching for at least 300 people who are still missing. The dam at an iron mine collapsed on Friday, unleashing a sea of mud and debris that spilled into the mine's administrative area.
[03:40:00] That is where people were working. And with each passing hour, the chance of finding survivors continues to shrink, but search teams there say they won't give up until they find everyone.
In Los Angeles, Hollywood honoring its own. The winners of the Screen Actors Guild Awards are announced and the question, what do the big wins mean for the academy awards?
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CHADWICK BOSEMAN, ACTOR: We all know what it is like to be told that there is not a place for you to be featured, yet you are young, gifted and black. We knew not that we would be around during award season or that it would make a billion dollars, but we knew that we had something special.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HOWELL: Something special indeed. Chadwick Boseman there speaking for the "Black Panther" cast, taking the Screen Actors Guild equivalent of best picture at the SAG Awards, Sunday at Los Angeles, along with the cast of "Black Panther." Rami Malek and Glenn Close were also among the big winners.
And the best person to sort through all the glitz and glamour and put it all in perspective is our film commentator, Richard Fitzwilliams, joining us this hour from our London bureau. Richard, it is always a pleasure to have you.
RICHARD FITZWILLIAMS, CNN FILM COMMENTATOR: Well, I have to say a sensational win for "Black Panther" and all sorts of firsts (ph) superhero movie. And we heard Chadwick Boseman there, if you're young, gifted and black. This film gives you an extra boost.
Also a wonderful movie. So colorful, the vibrance, the traditions of Africa, the brilliance of the scene, wonderful cast. Chadwick Boseman, Michael B. Jordan, Lupita Nyong'O, a great victory.
HOWELL: So, look, it all comes down to the questions, what can the SAG Awards tell us about the Oscars, and of course with "Black Panther" winning the big award, certainly showing that it has momentum, could "Black Panther" be in line for best picture?
[03:44:58] FITZWILLIAMS: I suspect that it will mean tremendous amount, more interest in its possibilities and probably a larger audience (INAUDIBLE), but because Ryan Coogler didn't get a nomination for best director, the odds are heavily against it winning best picture.
I still think that will be "Roma" which the SAG ignored. I do think that they have an influence of the Oscars with reference to the acting categories because, of course, these are 160,000 actors represented.
And there's no doubt at all, I think, Rami Malek is now going to beat Christian Bale for his performance as Freddie Mercury in "Bohemian Rhapsody." Bale was very good in "Vice" as Vice President Dick Cheney. And Glenn Close seems like a shoe in now (ph) for her performance. She is superbly in her movie, "The Wife."
HOWELL: You know, Richard, were there any real surprises to you for what you saw there in L.A.?
FITZWILLIAMS: There most certainly were because the SAG gave Emily Blunt, who is ignored with the Oscar nominations, two awards. Nominations for "Mary Poppins," where, of course, she was the heroine for best actress. And also she won for "A Quiet Place," a really spooky movie, and she did superbly there.
Virginia King, who is the favorite to win at the Oscars, and I still think will, as the mother in "If Beale Street Could Talk", wasn't even nominated. So the SAG can be quirky. That was a surprise. Mahershala Ali wins for best supporting actor for "Green Book." It was a superb performance and it was no surprise as some thought (INAUDIBLE) for "A Star is Born."
The big lose of the night, I'm afraid, for those like me who saw the brilliant movie, it doesn't look it is going to do well at the Oscars.
HOWELL: OK, look, you know, you touched on this, but others, were there any snobs that stood out to you, films that you thought were unfairly shutout?
FITZWILLIAMS: Oh, very definitely so. I thought it was absolutely outrageous that "The Favourite" with three talk about a cast (ph), we had Olivia Colman, we had Emma Stone and Rachel Weisz among the nominees and nominated for the best cast award. That was extraordinary.
"Green Book" too should have. "Bohemian Rhapsody" was (INAUDIBLE) Rami Malek, but I didn't think it was a sound (ph) movie. And also, the Regina King snub, that was extraordinary.
I have to say "A Star is Born" will be deeply disappointed, but "Black Panther" win does show the colorful, imaginative movie which has a tremendous resonance, especially with audience who didn't think they would see a black helm movie of the sort, take 1.3 billion at the box office would be a giant success. It can do it and it has done it. And I think that is fabulous. But also "Roma," that was snubbed, and yet that may win best picture at the Oscars. It is a foreign language movie. And only "Life is Beautiful" before has been nominated at the SAG for best cast. So, the Oscars, all open and very exciting.
HOWELL: All right, Richard, we will just have to wait and see what happens. Thank you again.
HOWELL: All right. So, look, if you're a parent of a small child, you probably know this song and you desperately wish you could escape it, but guess what --
HOWELL: Yeah, you can't. Baby shark, doo, doo, doo, baby shark. That's right. We'll have that after the break.
[03:50:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
HOWELL: An update just in to CNN. Cuba's president says at least three people have died, 172 others injured after a tornado struck the nation's capital, Havana, on Sunday night. This is one of the first images that we're seeing of rescuers on the scene. Initial reports say that strong winds damaged a number of public and residential buildings. The government says the storm also caused flooding in parts of Havana and several provinces. We will continue to follow that story for you.
Just a bit to the north, some very dangerous wintery weather heading into the United States. More than 50 million people in the mid-west and south are facing heavy snowfalls, freezing storms, and blizzards. The National Weather Service says several states may see the coldest air in a generation. So, bundle up.
Now to South Korea, already well known for its pop culture exports like K-pop and K-drama, but this time, it's a children song recorded by a Korean company that is dominating music charts, YouTube, the entire world and probably your mind. You probably can't escape it. Love it or hate it. Baby Shark is here to stay. Paula Hancocks has the report.
PAULA HANCOCKS, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: If you have young children, this probably isn't the first time you're hearing this song.
HANCOCKS: "Baby Shark," the latest musical phenomenon to come out of South Korea and one of the few children's songs to hit the top 40 on both the U.S. and U.K. charts.
HANCOCKS: With more than 2.2 billion views on YouTube so far, this song is insanely popular.
HANCOCKS: SmartStudy, the company behind the mania, says it has since created 100 different versions of the song in 11 languages. "Baby Shark" has conquered the globe. No one really knows where it started. A hook song that was always around. This version was created in 2015.
I asked the man behind the latest crazy if he knew it was gold when he first made it.
RYAN LEE, CFO AND CO-FOUNDER, SMARTSTUDY: At the time, I think it is good, quite good, but I -- almost no one expect it. It make such a huge boom all over the world.
HANCOCKS: Helping the craze, the countless parodies popping up online.
[03:55:00] HANCOCKS: This R&B version by singer Desmond Dennis.
HANCOCKS: A dance version by Remix (ph) producer, Franz Vagas (ph). And deviating slightly from the original, a heavy metal version by Norwegian musician, Leo Moracchioli.
It sparks live shows in Singapore and Malaysia. This one in Seoul is now in its full season. So what is it about a family of sharks trying to eat two small children that small children love so much?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: (UNTRANSLATED).
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (UNSTRANSLATED).
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: (UNSTRANSLATED).
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (UNTRANSLATED).
HANCOCKS: You know it's big when U.S. talk show host, Ellen DeGeneres, does her own version of "Baby Shark."
HANCOCKS: Or when James Corden sings his interpretation on "The Late Late Show." No one really knows why this is one of the most watched videos in YouTube history. What we do know is you will probably be humming it for the rest of the day.
Paula Hancocks, CNN, Seoul.
HOWELL: I have a four-year-old. I have just given up to the fact that that song is just going to keep playing in my house. Thank you for being with us for this hour of the "CNN Newsroom." I'm George Howell at the CNN Center in Atlanta. For our viewers here in the United States, "Early Start" is next. For viewers around the world, the news continues with my colleague, Max Foster, live from London. You are watching CNN, the world's news leader.