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Intel Chief's Job Secured; Maduro Going After Opposition Bloodlines; Trump and Kim Summit 2.0; U.S. Leaves INF Treaty; Trump, Next North Korea Summit End Of February; Guaido, Maduro Forces Trying To Intimidate My Family; Jury To Begin Deliberations Monday In El Chapo Trial; Bypassing U.S. Sanctions; Countdown To Brexit; Shameful Legacy; Year Of The Pig. Aired 3-4a ET

Aired February 1, 2019 - 03:30   ET



GEORGE HOWELL, CNN ANCHOR: The U.S. president insists he's on the same page as his intelligence chiefs just the day after insulting them.

NATALIE ALLEN, CNN ANCHOR: Venezuela's opposition leader pushes for military support despite an apparent threat against his family.

HOWELL: And a victory for humanity. The detained refugee speaks out after winning a prestigious literary prize for the book he wrote from prison.

Live from CNN world headquarters in Atlanta, welcome to our viewers all over the world. I'm George Howell.

ALLEN: I'm Natalie Allen. CNN Newsroom starts right now.

And we begin with a bizarre explanation from President Donald Trump as to why intelligence chiefs disagree with him on just about every major security issue from ISISI to North Korea.

HOWELL: At the White House and in an interview with the New York Times, he says they were misquoted even though their testimony aired on live television, the transcript of their assessment public record.

The president met with the group on Thursday for his daily intelligence briefing. He says they're back on good terms. And no one's job is in jeopardy.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Mr. President, did you talk to your intelligence chiefs today about the displeasure you have with their testimony --


DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I did. And they said that they were totally misquoted and they were totally -- it was taken out of context. So, what I do is I'd suggest that you call them. And they said it was fake news.


ALLEN: Joining me now to discuss this is Josh Campbell. He is a CNN law enforcement analyst and former FBI supervisory special agent. We appreciate you coming on, Josh.

JOSH CAMPBELL, CNN LAW ENFORCEMENT ANALYST: Hi, Natalie. Great to be with you.

ALLEN: Super thanks for being here. President Trump said Thursday his intelligence chiefs told him they were totally misquoted, taken out of context by the media, he says. Well, we all heard the statements. It was all right there. Could it be that the president doesn't know what his intel chief said?

CAMPBELL: Well, it's a big problem. And you know, as you mentioned, those of us who watch that hearing who read the transcript we know what they said. We know that there was at least a suggestion of contradiction here on a number of fronts, whether it was the threat from Iran, North Korea or ISIS.

We know the present, you know, celebrated victory over the defeat of ISIS. And yet we had his intelligence chiefs the director of national intelligence say that they continue to command troops on the battlefield.

So, regardless of what the president says today it doesn't really square with what this chief said yesterday before the entire world.

ALLEN: Right. And what do you think is going on here? Does he just not want to accept it, perhaps because their message contradicts with what the president thinks and says.

CAMPBELL: Yes. And I think that's a problem in a pattern that was actually seen with this president whenever an intelligence assessment doesn't fit with a particular political view that he has as it relates to the world and international relations. He will simply opt to his own, you know, gut instinct rather than what the intelligence community is saying.

I think, you know, our CNN reporting was anything he was actually sitting in the Oval Office seething as he saw some of these reports. And what is actually so troubling is that what the president is saying at least he's saying today that the intel chiefs sat in front of the Oval Office and said no we actually agree with you, which not only runs counter to the hearing that we saw.

But it was also very troubling because we all know that the president came out blasting his own intelligence community on Twitter, his favorite method of communication, essentially saying that they were naive. He called them passive and then said that they should go back to school.

So, if he's jumping the gun and making assessments about them without even actually knowing what they said, that's troubling on a lot of fronts.

ALLEN: Right. He called them naive and wrong.

CAMPBELL: That's right.

ALLEN: Those were his words. Let's look at Thursday's tweet from the present after he sent that out. He talked about the meeting he just had with his intelligence team in the Oval Office and he said they were misquoted distorted by the news media.

And here's his Tweet. "I would suggest you read the complete testimony from Tuesday. A false narrative is so bad for our country. I value our intelligence community. Happily, we had a very good meeting and we are all on the same page." But what page is that? Are they on the same page? Where are the specifics?

CAMPBELL: Yes, your guess is as good as mine. I think what he's trying to do is a little bit of clean up here. I mean he got a lot of backlash. I know having been a former FBI agent a member of the intelligence committee. People don't take kindly inside government whenever they're being criticize, and essentially humiliated by the commander-in-chief.

Now to be sure the president doesn't have to accept recommendations of the intelligence community. That's his right. But to then go on Twitter, you know, and then to publicly, you know, lambast them, essentially say that they're naive, they don't know what it is they're doing, that doesn't sit well.

I think the message was probably received at the White House who was trying to do a little bit of cleanup.

[03:05:03] But he also, you know, the ball is in his court when it comes to what happens at the Oval Office because you could be sure that these intelligence chiefs aren't going to come, you know, race with the camera to correct the record if it didn't play out exactly as he mentioned. and then you get into all sorts of other issues as far as presidential privilege. You know, will they be able to actually describe conversations that they've had with the president.

We know that he has trouble with the truth. We know that he lies regularly, which is painful to say but we know that -- you know, again, his relationship with the truth is a troubled one. And so, he can some out and essentially say whatever he wants to characterize that meeting.

But again, it all goes back to what we all heard with our own ears, what we saw with our own eyes as far as their assessments of the world on a number of fronts doesn't really square with what he had said about these threats.

ALLEN: Final question for you. If he's not reading the briefs, accepting his own intelligence, where do you think he is getting his information?

CAMPBELL: So, I think his chief intelligence briefing comes from Fox News Channel here in the United States which is, you know, it has this moniker that we now call it, you know, state TV because it is essentially a parallel line with his ideological view of the world.

And again, you know, people watch Fox News, that's fine. They get their news there. But the problem is, is that the president seems to repeat what their opinion column -- columnist on that show continued to say and that's how we actually is informed.

We know that all you have to do is align what is on Fox News with what the present tweets about. And there's almost a real-time correlation or some opinion host on Fox who say something the present will amplify it as truth to the entire world.

And again, other news outlets that are doing rigorous analysis like us here at CNN and others around the world look at some of these issues and try to divorce the opinion from the actual fact.

And so, I think that's why we see this constant collision between how the president sees the world because he has a very narrow view. It's coming from an ideological perspective by a very conservative, I will argue kind of wing leaning outlet.

And that's very dangerous when that's a sole source and he doesn't actually read the intelligence briefings and actually digest what is these intelligence professionals put forth before every single day as far as their assessments about global threats.

ALLEN: Right. And if any viewer wants to know what countries only have state run TV, they should Google that and it would probably send a chill down their spine when you think what a scary thing that would be. Josh Campbell, we always appreciate your insights so much. Thanks a lot.

CAMPBELL: Great. Thanks, Natalie.

HOWELL: So, while President Trump is at odds with his intelligence chiefs over sensitive issues, including North Korea, sources are now telling us the president and Kim Jong-un will meet in Da Nang, Vietnam in late February for their summit.

ALLEN: Their talks in Singapore back in June ended with a commitment from Kim to work toward complete denuclearization of the Korean peninsula, but negotiations appear to have stalled since then.

HOWELL: Let's go get the very latest live from Seoul, South Korea. Our Paula Hancocks is on the story. And Paula, U.S. intelligence assessments indicate that North Korea is not likely to give up its nuclear weapons. That is what we heard from the intel chiefs.

But as we mentioned, the U.S. president seems to discount that and claims there is progress heading into this new summit.

PAULA HANCOCKS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, that's right, George. This is really the jewel track of information coming from the states that the we are used to, that U.S. President Donald Trump is always a lot more optimistic about what is happening with North Korea than, quite frankly, some in his own administration, but certainly compared to the intelligence officials.

Now we did hear on Tuesday from the Director of National Intelligence, Dan Coats, and he said that it is very unlikely that North Korea is going to completely give up its nuclear program.

This is something that most people in the region already knew. Those who follow North Korea very closely never expected Pyongyang to completely give up the nuclear program.

But we are hearing very positive signs from the U.S. president saying that he is going to be meeting at the end of February that there is great progress being made. And one thing he does point out is the fact there are no rocket tests. There are no missile tests, no nuclear testing. Yes, that is correct.

Also pointing out that when he took office as president that they were on the verge of a war with North Korea. That's less correct. It was actually the rhetoric between Kim Jong-un and President Trump that really spiked tensions to the highest level that they have been in many years.

HOWELL: Look, as we know, the U.S. president will travel to the region. He's hoping to return with new promises or some proof of denuclearization. North Korea, though, Paula, will also be looking for concessions from the United States. Any idea of what that nation might want.

HANCOCKS: Well, we had some fairly clear information from a speech that the U.S. special envoy for North Korea, Steve Biegun gave Stanford University, and he said that he believes President Trump is ready to end the Korean War.

[03:09:59] This is one of the concessions that North Korea wants. They wanted declaration to the end of the Korean War back in 1953. That war ended in an armistice, North Korea and South Korea and many want a peace treaty.

Now, of course, a peace treaty is a little complicated. It takes more players, it will take more time and it is binding. But the political statement of saying the Korean War has ended is a lot easier for the United States to give.

So, potentially, that could be one of the concessions that we will be looking for. He did point out as well. Nr. Biegun, that there is no discussion at this point of pulling U.S. troops out of South Korea. There were concerns that if there is a declaring a declaration of the end of the Korean War would North Korea then push to get rid of the U.S. troops in South Korea.

So, that's probably one of the things that we could see. Now Steve Biegun is coming to the region, he's coming here to Seoul over the weekend, expected to speak to a South Korean counterpart. And he also said he will speak to his North Korean counterparts to try and figure out the next steps.

HOWELL: Paula Hancocks in Seoul, South Korea, thank you. The historic trade deal with China could be looming. The U.S. president is bullish on his prospect of a done deal by March 1st. Otherwise, billions in Chinese exports will get slapped with 25 percent U.S. tariffs.

ALLEN: Yes. He's working on North Korea, he's working on China. The two sides ended their latest round of talks Thursday. Chinese media say the discussions covered intellectual property rights and technology transfers and China agreed to import more U.S. goods.

For more on this story we were joined by CNN's Steven Jiang from Beijing. Hello to you, Steve. Well, there seems to be optimism in the air over these talks, his negotiations. What's behind it?

STEVEN JIANG, CNN PRODUCER: A number of reasons, Natalie. Now if you read the statements from both sides after talks. It's clear this time the negotiators had been addressing a series of long-standing issues head on. Taking all the right box, you mention some of them force transfer of technologies, cyber theft, intellectual property protection, but also market access in China for U.S. companies.

That of course, let's include some of the structural issues that U.S. has long demanded to see changes in the Chinese economy and the Chinese had in previous occasions resisted, but now they're talking about them. Also, the two sides acknowledged they actually have been talking about verification mechanisms for a potential deal.

That's also important because this would ensure any new pledges made by the Chinese and wouldn't be just empty promises that they have in the past. But the most important confirmation coming on a Thursday was probably the fact that President Trump is going to meet with President Xi Jinping of China to hash out final details before the two leaders sign off any potential deal.

This is something the Chinese had long wanted according to analysts because they really wanted to put the two men in the same room so that President Xi could use that real or perceived friendship with President Trump to push for a better, more favorable deal for China.

And now, it is clear there is enough political will from both sides from both leaders to see this happen, to see a deal happen. Obviously, for their own reasons, but it's so true that there is now momentum and the two sides have agreed to keep talking, to keep discussing all these top issues to beat that fast-approaching March 1st deadline. Natalie?

ALLEN: That's exactly one month away now, isn't it? All right. Steven Jiang for us. Thanks as always.

Well, U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo set to make it official Washington will no longer be part of a Cold War era nuclear treaty with Russia.

HOWELL: But critics warned that will leave the world a much more dangerous place.

Our Fred Pleitgen reports from Moscow.

FREDERIK PLEITGEN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: After more than 30 years the U.S. is set to pullout of a milestone nuclear disarmament agreement, the treaty on Intermediate Range Nuclear Forces or INF. Washington saying Russia is cheating.


MIKE POMPEO, UNITED STATES SECRETARY OF STATE: We either bury our head in the sand or we take common sense action and response to Russia's flagrant disregard for the express terms of the INF Treaty.


PLEITGEN: And this is the missile system that the U.S. says violates the INF the nuclear capable 9M729. America says it fault within the prohibited range of between 500 and 5,000 kilometers and must be destroyed if Russia wants to save the INF Treaty.

Moscow denies the allegations and claims the U.S. is the one breaching the deal. Russia's army even putting on a briefing displaying the 9M29 system, and claiming its range is within the limits of the INF.


MIKHAIL MATVEEVSKY, RUSSIAN ARMY (through translator): Russia has implemented and continues to meticulously implement the requirements of the treaty and does not allow for any violations to happen.


[03:14:58] PLEITGEN: But journalists were only able to see the launch vehicle and container, not the actual missiles.

The Russians are saying the reason why this rocket is longer than its predecessors, not because they've increased the range but simply because they've increased the size of the warhead which would be approximately right here in the container.

The INF Treaty was signed in 1987 by President Ronald Reagan and Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev aiming to eliminate land-based medium range nukes. Today, both Russia and the U.S. view the treaty as largely obsolete because it constrains the two while non-signatories like China are free to field medium range nuclear weapons.

Moscow claims it wants to try and turn the INF into a multilateral treaty to try to save it.


SERGEY RYABKOV, RUSSIAN DEPUTY FOREIGN MINISTER: We are open to different ideas how to move tings further forward. We do not exclude anything beforehand.

(END VIDEO CLIP) PLEITGEN: Moscow says if the INF fails it could lead to a new arms race that make the danger of nuclear conflict much higher almost three decades after the end of the Cold War.

Fred Pleitgen, CNN, Moscow.

HOWELL: Venezuela's self-declared leader accuses his rival of intimidation, but this time he says it was his family who is targeted.

Up next, the latest on the power struggle in that nation.


HOWELL: Welcome back to Newsroom.

Venezuela's self-declared leader says special forces loyal to the sitting president Nicolas Maduro threatened his family.

ALLEN: This is the latest development in the power struggle between the dueling politicians. With his family at his side Juan Guaido said Thursday that the paramilitaries try to enter the home of his wife's family as an intimidation tactic.

HOWELL: Guaido earlier refused to rule out U.S. military intervention in the country. During an interview with CNN's Christiane Amanpour he also repeated his offer of amnesty to the Venezuelan military.


JUAN GUAIDO, VENEZUELAN OPPOSITION LEADER (through translator): We have decreed amnesty and guarantees of law to all citizens, officials and military that side with the Constitution. It's an incentive not only to the armed forces but also, for example, to the consular officials of the usurper Maduro who has asked them to leave their posts, and who instead remained in their posts exercising their duties.


[03:19:56] ALLEN: The U.S. says it has grave concerns about the alleged threats.

HOWELL: That's right. A senior administration official promise those responsible will face consequences.

Our Nick Paton Walsh is in neighboring Columbia with more.

NICK PATON WALSH, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, it's been a day in which the U.S. has again have tried to ratchet up the tension inside of Venezuela. It seems to be their game plan here to continue the drumbeat of rhetoric that the last days of Maduro upon Venezuela. How effective that's being, we simply don't know.

Today's key issue in point was an allegation from Juan Guaido, the opposition leader and now interim president self-declared. He's recognized by the U.S. and many other countries, including many of Venezuela's immediate neighbors.

He said the police special forces trying to go into his home where his daughter and his daughter's grandmother were in fact present. He said that was an intimidation tactic, and he said while he was giving a speech elsewhere actually, university in Caracas.

We haven't seen pictures of police there. And the recount later seems to suggest there may have been in the neighborhood of his house rather than actually in it. A lot of it is unclear and Venezuelan police have denied, though, were there at all.

All the same, U.S. officials left forward and said this was intimidation tactic, and they said that those behind it will be, quote, "held accountable" but they didn't quite say how that would happen. And they also went on to suggest they believe, quote, "last minute looting is happening inside of Venezuela."

Responding to reports, again, unconfirmed that gold (ph) maybe flown out of the country towards Russia or perhaps other vendors to try and get cash in to prop-up the Maduro government in this time of obvious financial and economic crisis, a crisis frankly brought upon them by their own mismanagement and intense corruption.

But we have to work out now exactly how the opposition Juan Guaido manages to bridge that gap between what the international community says he is which is the interim president, giving a lot of interviews. He's speaking to people who support him inside Venezuela through Twitter, and what actually is happening inside the country.

Does he have any control over the leaves of power? Has Maduro's grip on government loosen at all? It doesn't look like at this point. Guaido has said he's been talking to military commanders who think they might want to defect. We have to wait and see how fast that happens if indeed happens at all.

And all eyes really are on Saturday and key protests in Caracas in which may be hundreds of thousands could be on the streets again, will that shift the dial at all in terms of military support for Maduro.

We heard from the national security advisor John Bolton that he hopes Maduro took a plane out of the country and enjoy a nice quite retirement on the beach far away from Venezuela. That's a lot about what happening anytime soon but the pressure from Washington continues to be piled on.

Nick Paton Walsh, CNN, Bogota.

HOWELL: Let's talk more about this now with Eric Farnsworth. Eric, the vice president of the American Society and Council of the Americas, joining us this hour in Washington, D.C. Eric, thank you for your time.


HOWELL: The opposition leader, Juan Guaido, tells CNN that he is appreciative of U.S. support from both the U.S. President Donald Trump and Vice President Mike Pence. And as we mentioned, he spoke with our Christiane Amanpour. Listen to what he had to say about American support and asking for that continued help.


GUAIDO: I want to talk to the American people want to want to help us to recover our democracy, our liberty. And I only maybe you know so many Venezuelan people in your country, you know all the good people we are. And we want to reconstruction our country, our liberty.


HOWELL: So United States has given Guaido control of Venezuela's bank accounts in the U.S. Guaido also refuses to rule out accepting the U.S. military support. So, clearly, Eric, he has a strong hand to play here. How much pressure does that put on the sitting president, Nicolas Maduro.

FARNSWORTH: Well, I think it put a huge amount of pressure on Maduro. It really puts them on his back feet. This is the most strongest challenge that Maduro has faced since he's been leader of Venezuela since 2013. And one of the reasons is because Guaido has the Venezuelan Constitution behind him. He seems to have the majority of Venezuelan people behind him, and now he clearly has the support of the international community and large measure as well.

So, he has a strong position. But one thing he doesn't have is the military and the security forces. And they remain at least as of now under the control of Maduro and his ruling forces. So, that's the one element that Guaido really doesn't control, but it is very, very important in terms of the realities on the ground in Venezuela.

HOWELL: Eric, to that point, U.S. officials have warned Maduro that he would face serious consequences if Guaido is harmed. But the opposition leader is indicating that special agents visited his home that they crossed the line intimidating his wife and his 20-month old daughter.

[03:24:56] Venezuela's police force denies that ever happen. But as this thing continues to drag out, how safe is Juan Guaido in his own country?

FARNSWORTH: You know it's takes a courageous person to be out in front publicly the way Guaido has been and it puts him at risk. And you know, the Maduro people aren't stupid. They know that if they go right at Guaido it's going to bring an international response.

So I think we should anticipate that they will try to harass and intimidate those close to Guaido, whether it's his family members, whether it's his close associates, whether it's his political confidants to try to show that they still have the power, to try to show Guaido that they are able to really him if they choose to do that and to try to intimidate him and to take in a less strident position against the Maduro regime. So, it's really a show of force and it's an effort to intimidate. But will they go after Guaido himself. I think that that's probably something that at least as of now they would be reluctant to do, at least directly because they know it will bring a response from the international community.

HOWELL: And you know, there are very interesting tweet that came from John Bolton. And I want to pull that tweet up and show it here to our viewers. He says, quote, "I wish Nicolas Maduro and his top advisers a long, quiet retirement, living on a nice beach somewhere far from Venezuela. They should take advantage of President Guaido's amnesty and move on. The sooner the better." He says.

Eric, but as Maduro hangs on, as we mentioned with the military support, does he in effect gain legitimacy the longer he holds out or is the pressure on the opposition to keep up that pressure and push him out while they still have that momentum?

FARNSWORTH: I don't think Maduro gains legitimacy by holding on. I think he remains the de facto head of the country, but his legal legitimacy and his electoral legitimacy have been gone -- have gone away.

But, absolutely, I mean, the Guaido government does have to maintain momentum, otherwise their ability to force change is really going to be reduced over time. The international community it's going to be hard to sustain attention and effort. And frankly, you know, the people of Venezuela are tired in some ways. They've been out to the streets before, they've been oppressed and put down. And you know, you have to ask, how many times they can do this going forward.

If they don't affect real meaningful change now it's not clear that they are going to have the opportunity to do so again in the future. So, the pressure really is on Guaido to maintain the momentum and to create meaningful change in Venezuela while the eyes of the world really are on Venezuela.

HOWELL: All right. Eric Farnsworth, again, thank you so much for your time and perspective.

FARNSWORTH: Thanks for having me on.

ALLEN: A detained refugee is awarded a major literary prize after writing a book entirely on his phone. We'll have details on what's been called an act of survival ahead here.

HOWELL: It is an incredible story.

ALLEN: Plus.


JOHN BERCOW, SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE OF COMMONS: Order! Order! The house will have heard very clear --

(END VIDEO CLIP) HOWELL: If you've been following Brexit you know his voice, it's unmistakable. CNN speaks exclusively to Britain's speaker of the House of Commons about maintaining order in the chaos.


NATALIE ALLEN, CNN ANCHOR: Welcome to our viewers all around the world, we appreciate you watching, this is CNN Newsroom. I'm Natalie Allen.

GEORGE HOWELL, CNN ANCHOR: And I'm George Howell with the headlines we are following for you this hour. Sources say, the U.S. president, Donald Trump and the North Korean leader Kim Jong-un will meet in Da Nang, Vietnam in late February. Their June summit in Singapore ended with a commitment from Kim to work toward complete denuclearization of the Korean peninsula, but negotiations appear to have stalled since that summit.

ALLEN: Venezuela's opposition leader said his family has been targeted by forces loyal to the President Nicolas Maduro. Juan Guaido said Thursday that paramilitaries went to the home of his wife's family to try to intimidate him. United States says those who are responsible for the threats will held to account.

HOWELL: The fate of man long considered the world's biggest drug trafficker will soon lay in the hands of a jury. They are expected to begin deliberations in the case of Joaquin El Chapo Guzman on Monday at the hearing months of testimony. Guzman faces a wide range of charges including drug trafficking. He pleaded not guilty.

ALLEN: Three European countries are setting up their own trade channel to Iran to skirt U.S. sanctions. Germany, France and Britain will be using it to sell food, medicine and medical equipment to Iran.

HOWELL: Mystery (ph) channel, it's been in the works over months now since the U.S. withdrew from the Iran nuclear agreement and re-impose sanctions. Our Atika Shubert has details from Berlin.


ATIKA SHUBERT, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, this is basically a work around U.S. sanctions and it is a significant move. It allows companies to trade with Iran on a Euro base system, basically avoiding the United States. And this is the E.U. defying the Trump administration's decision to scrap the Iran nuclear deal and impose sanctions.

So, the E.U. has created this workaround in order to keep the Iran nuclear deal alive because the E.U. believes that that deal is the best way to keep Iran from developing nuclear weapons.

JEREMY HUNT, BRITISH FOREIGN SECRETARY: Today with strong even (inaudible), we are announcing that we have taken a significant step forward in delivering our commitment on the Iran nuclear deal to process sanctions relief for people of Iran. We, the E3, have registered to special purpose vehicle which went operation and will support legitimate trade between Europe and Iran. This is a clear practical demonstration, we remain firmly committed to the historic 2015 nuclear deal struck with Iran to joint comprehensive plan of action for as long as Iran keeps in committing it fully.

SHUBERT: So, will this be enough? Well, we won't know for a while. It will take a few weeks to set up at least and it really depends on how many companies are willing to risk U.S. sanctions and use this vehicle. It -- certainly big companies like Boeing and Siemens have already put a stop to deals in Iran. So, this workaround may end up being more symbolic. Intended for smaller to medium-sized businesses involved with things like medicine and other humanitarian goods. Atika Shubert, CNN, Berlin.


ALLEN: Let's turn now to the U.K. Brexit is just two months away and there's still much that need to get done. The British Parliament told Prime Minister Theresa to renegotiate, but the E.U. said, it isn't interested.

So, as the clock ticks down, so do the options. Hadas Gold is live in London for us this morning. Good morning to you Hadas. I want to start with this, is there any indication, either side will move?

HADAS GOLD, CNN POLITICS, MEDIA AND BUSINESS REPORTER: No. I mean, honestly right now we're in a staring contest. It's a question of who will blink first. This is sort of similar to what we saw on the U.S. shutdown between Trump and the Congressional Democrats.

Here's where we stand, earlier this week, finally, got some sort of indication from parliament what they want and an amendment passed so that Theresa May has to go back and try to reopen this big Brexit deal that she negotiated with all of the European Union over two years and it fix something that's called the Irish backs up. This is the insurance policy that ensures that there won't be a hard border between Northern Ireland which is part of U.K, and the Republic of Ireland which will stay part of the E.U.

The problem is, as you notice that the E.U. has said, no way. We worked on this deal for two years. You agree to it already. All of our countries agree to it already, we are not reopening this. However, there is talk that some sort of legal right on some sort of additional legal document proclamation could be added in addition to those withdrawal agreements, so that they won't technically open up the deal and that could potentially be worked out.

[03:35:07] But so far, we are not seeing any indication from the European Union that they are willing to really move on this. However, the E.U. is known to always sort of wait until the last minute, the last, you know, minutes ticking down to midnight to work sending out.

But this is sort of uncharted territory here. They've never had a country like the U.K. leave the European Union. This isn't some another financial trade deal or something like that that the E.U. is dealing with and it is for the first time that we can say, it's February 1st, next month that is when the U.K. is set to leave the European Union. And so far, we have no indication of any sort of deal, any sort of agreements and we are hurtling towards that no deal scenario that could be really bad for businesses.

It could be really bad for just general citizens. But I have to say I been outside of London for the past few days speaking to citizens in leave areas. These are places that voted to leave the European Union and a lot of them say, listen, this is what we voted for and if we leave with a no deal, then that's fine with us.

ALLEN: Yes, I mean, so many people there are affected by this. They don't know what the future is. You know, it's interesting, Hadas, you talk about the deadline being right around the corner. I can remember years ago -- was it two years ago when they voted for Brexit, saying (ph), oh, --

GOLD: Yes.

ALLEN: -- they'll figure it out. That is so far away. And here we are, and it's not figured out.

GOLD: It's not figured out. And what we're seeing now behind-the- scene is some really interesting sort of political movements. There was a report just the other day when the major newspapers here that Theresa May is possibly even offering things for members of the opposition party who potentially could vote for her. Things like I will give you extra help for your districts.

This has been up back upon by the government and by some of the members of Parliament. Others have said that's just how politics works. If she can get something like 20 members of the Labour Party, which was the opposition party, to vote for a deal that could be enough because you have to keep in mind even though she is technically in power and the Conservative Party is technically in the majority along with the DUP, the Northern Ireland Party, there's a huge block of conservative that are -- this are the hard line Brexiteers. These are the people that are really keeping Theresa May from being able to pass her deal and they are the ones who were totally comfortable for no deal scenario.

So, now, Theresa May is looking across parties, looking to anybody she get to, people who are afraid of a no deal and say, sign on to my deal, help me out here, so we can avoid that sort of no deal cliff edge (ph) because businesses, these are people that are really worried about this no deal scenario.

These are the people who are stockpiling -- grocery stores are stockpiling food, because they are worried about lines at the border. This could be a huge issue for the U.K. just next month. Keep that in mind, next month. That's the deadline.

ALLEN: Right. I can't imagine being on the front lines of that one. Hadas Gold for us. Thanks so much. We appreciate your reporting.

GOLD: Thank you. HOWELL: It is incredible though to realize it is just next month.

That's when it happens. The man responsible for keeping British parliamentary debates in some semblance of order, well, that's the speaker of the House of Commons.

ALLEN: Yes, that task has been even more challenging when it comes to Brexit. Speaker John Bercow spoke exclusively with CNN about how he gets it done.


JOHN BERCOW, SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE OF COMMONS: The best and most visible function of the speakers to chair in the chamber, to chair Prime Minister's questions, to chair of the debates, to chair the delivery of ministerial announcements. And in that capacity, I'm a referee.

If the speaker is a sort of person who is going to be coward or intimidated by ministerial rant or a letter sent by way of complaint, well, that person isn't fit to be speaker. So, I hope I will treat people with respect, but I'm not going to be intimidated by some moaning minister in any government.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: What do you think are the greatest challenges that you face?

BERCOW: There is a limited amount of time. You can't choose every topic. I have procedural advisers who guide me, what needs to be aired, what can be further tees out of the government if it's selected, does an amendment letter say have a large number of signatories, and if so, that might make it, worthy of selection. So those are challenges. I wouldn't say that there fiendishly difficult or complicated, but they absorb one's energy.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: What can you do in your world as speaker if the public are feeling disillusioned or perhaps disenfranchised by divisive politics?

BERCOW: I suppose I would just encourage members in so far as they need encouragement to do what they think is right in terms both of voice and of vote. It's not for the speaker, let say, in the context of Brexit to prescribe one route or another. And I think the record shows that -- I've always been particularly keen for example to give a voice to the minority or dissident voices in the House of Commons rather than in any sense to side with majority.

I think the speaker's role is sometimes just to stand up for the institution of the House of Commons on the principle of parliamentary democracy.

[03:40:03] UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: There is a brighter spotlight than usual on Parliament at the moment. Does it concern you that the impassioned debate and inability to find consensus might be affecting how Parliament seen around the world?

BERCOW: It is a concern that in grappling with the biggest current issue facing us, Brexit. No resolution of the matter has yet been attained. It is a concern. It isn't something that the speaker can determine. The speaker can try to help the House to decide on such as using, give it the freedom to breathe, if I can put it that way.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: When the Commons is at its most boisterous even ruckus (ph), how difficult is it to keep control?

BERCOW: If somebody going on too long, you sometimes just to have to interrupt and say order, order (ph). The abridged problem (ph) and the war on peace version is what is required? We can't hear from the honorable gentlemen (ph) in great length. And sometimes a member will say, but my point is a very important point, Mr. Speaker. I say, every point made in this chamber is important, but there is limited amount of time available.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Do you feel that weight of history when you conduct your daily duties?

BERCOW: The truth is that it was a very perilous enterprise to stand for speaker before the democratic age came upon us. That does enabled me to view the woes and challenges which reflects and confronts the House of Commons of which if all truce be told periodically afflict and confront me, that is to say whatever else happens to me, I'm not likely to use my head.


ALLEN: So again, I can't lose his head until the end of March because that's when the Brexit deadline occurs.

HOWELL: The Syrian government has been found liable for the targeted killing of an American war correspondent, Marie Colvin. The U.S. court ordered the Assad regime to pay her family more than $300 million, saying it tractor broadcast and targeted the rocket attack that killed her and the French photographer back in 2012.

ALLEN: Colvin was known for her distinctive eyepatch, the result of a war wound. Syria has not responded to the ruling, but Bashar al-Assad has blamed Colvin for her own death. Her story was told in the recent Golden Globe nominated film, A Private War.

HOWELL: Here in the United States, parts of the country were in deep freeze, but the good news not much longer. Still ahead, a warming trend is on the way, we'll tell you about it.

ALLEN: Also this hour, all tapped out with no more U.S. aid to Palestinians. What will happen to infrastructure projects that are still half finished, we're in the West Bank, just ahead.


HOWELL: Talking about the cold weather here in the U.S., it has proven deadly, 16 deaths across United States and some places below zero for days.

ALLEN: We have with us Ivan Cabrera. The good news is it's going to get better.

IVAN CABRERA, CNN METEOROLOGIST: It is going to get better. It has to. I mean it could not -- well, it could, I guess, theoretically get colder, but my goodness, it doesn't happen that often. I mean, we are talking decades since this been cold across the parts of Midwest, U.S.

Let's take you to some of the scenes across Western New York. This is the south of -- if I may recall, Watertown, New York. It's off Lake Ontario. So what happens to them when you get a wind and its very cold of the lakes there, they get very heavy snowfall as well, so they had to deal with snow and the record lows that we had over 40 of them through the day on Wednesday and into Thursday. But look at what happens. This is a roller coaster. Are you kidding me?

How about 70 plus record morning lows. That means that the morning temperatures are going to be much above average here over the next several days, a swing, if you will, of about 40 degrees in just five days. That's going to be remarkable. It's going to feel like spring.

For now, one more day, wind chill advisory is in effect for a good chunk of the northeastern U.S. where it will feel very cold. This was the record cold Wednesday morning, coldest lows since 1994. It was minus 30 degrees in the Chicago. Of course, it felt colder than that with the wind, but there is the significant change in the forecast. Forty one degrees, that's how much we are going to climb in just five days from that. All time or at least record low on Wednesday until will be in the next few days.

How about some winter in the London? We have amber alert. I think this is through the early part of the day. But if you're going to be driving about or if you have a commutes via rail, perhaps even that the airports make it impacted, there was some snowfall falling. I don't think it's going to accumulate much, but it will be making for some slippery travel and the potential here for some power cuts, as well, to the early part of the day and conditions improved by the weekend.

How about some heat? Let's form things up, let's head to Australia. We have to head to the southern hemisphere of the world to get into that. And of course, here, we have some big time heatwaves over the last several weeks and months. But at this point here, yes, it's going to be very warm this weekend. I just don't think it will be as warm as we've had in the last few heat waves, but still warm enough.

How about Melbourne? Yes, it will be in the mid and upper 30s for Saturdays and Sundays. Keep that in mind. And then trough the next or few days, it will begin to cool things off. Roller coaster all over the place inverted, if you will in Australia with temperatures back in the 20s by Monday and Tuesday.

ALLEN: All right, some of my friends down under on social media are like, you've said it with the cold.

HOWELL: Right, it's so odd.

CABRERA: We need like the Goldilocks (ph) down in the middle there. It's too cold or too hot somewhere.

HOWELL: Yes. Ivan, thank you.

CABRERA: Yes, you got it.

HOWELL: This next story about a refugee held in Australia detention center, who's won a top literary prize for book written entirely via WhatsApp.

ALLEN: Yes, it's an amazing story here. Behrouz Boochani was seeking asylum, but was caught trying to reach the country by boat and was sent to a center in the pacific, one that we often do stories about. Once there, he wrote about his experience on his iPhone, sending out the book to a translator one text at a time.

HOWELL: Years later, No Friend But The Mountains was awarded the Victorian prize for literature in a recorded acceptance speech from Manus Island, he talked about the power words.


BEHROUZ BOOCHANI, WINNER, VICTORIAN PREMIER'S LITERACY AWARDS: Literature has the power to give us freedom, yes, it is true. I had been in the carriage for years. But throughout this time, my mind has always been producing words. And these words have taken me across borders, taken me overseas and to unknown places. I truly believe words are more powerful than the fences of this place, this prison.


ALLEN: Our John Vause spoke with the books translator about the work.


OMID TOFIGHIAN, TRANSLATOR, NO FRIEND BUT THE MOUNTAINS: The book is a surreal style and really reflects the uncertainty of this situation that we are living in one of the -- unliving (ph) richest countries in the world and country that has enormous networks and gets a lot of recognition for its position on human rights. But at the same time, it's doing this very small number of people who are seeking protection and freedom.


HOWELL: The awards committee calls the book a voice of witness and an act of survival.

ALLEN: Well, over the last few months, U.S. funding to Palestinians has been drying up after President Trump ordered an end to $200 million in aid.

[03:50:07] HOWELL: And with all those programs now shut down, CNN's Oren Liebermann says, how that could affect the lives and the livelihoods to so many Palestinians.


filled with hope, when it was first planted. The harvest and sale of dates had already created 4,000 jobs and was expected to create thousands more, when the trees were fully grown.

ISMAIL DIEK, FARMER: We are exporting for around 26 countries in the world. And it's covering around 25 percent from the total export of the agriculture sector in Palestine.

LEIBERMANN: The trees were planted near a planned irrigation line, part of the major infrastructure project from U.S. Aid which has pump some $5 billion into the West Bank and Gaza since 2001. The project, Launch a Lake (ph) 2017, was hailed by President Donald Trump special representative, Jason Greenblatt, as a boost to the economy of nearby Jericho. That was then. This is now.

Nearly a year and a half, after this project was launched, all work here has come to a halt. The road itself remains torn up and the sewage line installed underneath here unfinished. Work on this project and other funding programs in the West Bank and Gaza have dried up along with U.S. Aid to the Palestinians, most cut-off by the Trump administration.

Some reject by the Palestinian authority because of the threat of liability under new anti-terror legislation. A spokesman for U.S. Aid told CNN, we continue toward the potential impact of Antiterrorist Clarification Act. In consultation with partners, we've taken steps to wind down certain projects and programs in the West Bank and Gaza. One thing hasn't change under the pressure, Palestinian resolve.

DIEK: Before we feel that this help come from the American people to help the poor people and to help them be able to have better life. Now, we feel that this is just for the dictations of the political position of the people and I want to tell you that we are the Palestinians refusing any of these dictation from anybody in the world.

LEIBERMANN: Pulling the plug in the U.S. Aid money was supposed to be a way for the Trump administration to pressure the Palestinian ahead of the U.S. peace plan. Instead, the Palestinians are trying to pick up the burden of these projects on their own and with them the destiny of their cause.

Oren Liebermann, CNN, Jericho.


ALLEN: Next to your own CNN Newsroom, we answer the age-old question, why did the seal cross the road.


ALLEN: The death of an elderly woman in South Korea again shines a light on a shameful past. Kim Bok dong is one of thousands of Korean women held as sex slaves by the Japanese military during World War II. She died Wednesday, her funeral was held just a few hours ago. HOWELL: They were euphemistically called comfort women after the war,

Kim became an activist seeking justice for herself and so many others. She died Tuesday of cancer, she was 92 years old, but never received a formal apology that she wanted.

Massive preparations are underway in China for Lunar New Year's celebration.

[03:55:04] ALLEN: Michael Holmes reports it also marks the time when hundreds of millions of people travel home.


MICHAEL HOLMES, CNN CORRESPONDENT: It's just days from the start of the Lunar New Year and the mad rush is well under way in China. Nearly 3 billion trips are expected across the country in the world's largest annual human migration. Hundreds of millions of people are trying to get home to celebrate the New Year's Spring Festival.

Twenty one year old intern, Xiang Rumai (ph) is one of them. She's making a nearly 17 hour long journey to the Northeast by train.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (through translator): I have experience how hard life outside was and I miss home. Home is where the warm is.

HOLMES: More than 400 million trips will be by rail and China says it is prepared to handle the onslaught. The country already has the world's longest rail network and 10 new railways were added at the end of 2018. New technology also helping to make the long journey more convenient for travelers. There's the new automatic ticketing machines at some stations.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): We used to wait in line to buy student ticket at the manual ticketing office, but now I only need to do some simple operations on the automatic ticketing machine to buy the ticket.

HOLMES: Seventy three million trips will be made by air. Regardless of the mode of transportation, a multitude of festivities await travelers in villages and towns across China. This is Yuchang (ph) City in Shaanxi province (ph), where decorative lights blanket the city.

Elsewhere, winter lanterns light up parks and streets, traditional dances entertain audiences and the site attraction in some areas, a trip to the zoo. The zoo even got into the festive mood with decorations as it showed off two panda cubs to the public. Some visitors, brought gifts, fried food, hoping for good luck in return during the year of the pig.

Michael Holmes, CNN.


ALLEN: All right, we leave you now with a wayward animal. This is video from San Luis Obispo California, a giant elephant seal, all by himself in a cow pasture, George, across the highway from the beach. Sheriff's deputies managed to coax him out of the field.

HOWELL: Yes, and look at that, I mean -- it's just amazing to see him do it, cross the road and right back into the beach.

ALLEN: He's looking for something. Thanks for joining us. I'm Natalie Allen.

HOWELL: And I'm George Howell. The news continues with our colleague Max Foster in London.