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People Calling For The Resignation Of Virginia Governor Ralph Northam; President Trump Is Digging In On His Demand For A Border Wall; The Sports World Will Shift Its Focus To The Mercedes-Benz Stadium In Atlanta For Super Bowl LIII; Trump As Ordered A Withdrawal Of U.S. Troops From Syria; Actor And Singer Jussie Smollett Is Speaking Out About The Circumstances Surrounding The Attack He Reported To Chicago Police Last Week; Three-Year-Old North Carolina Boy Who Was Lost In The Woods; Aired 2-3p ET

Aired February 3, 2019 - 14:00   ET

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


[14:00:00] FAREED ZAKARIA, CNN HOST, FAREED ZAKARIA GPS: Thanks to all of you for being part of my program this week. I will see you next week.

FREDRICKA WHITFIELD, CNN HOST: Hello, everyone. And thank you so much for joining me this super bowl Sunday. I'm Fredricka Whitfield.

President Trump is digging in on his demand for a border wall, vowing to stay the course and keep up the fight for full wall funding. With Democrats also refusing to budge, could those bipartisan talks to avoid another shutdown be all for nothing? Congress has just 12 days left to reach a funding deal, and President Trump is not ruling out another painful and costly partial U.S. government shutdown.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE REPORTER: Would you shut down the government again?

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Well, we are going to have to see what happens on February 15th.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE REPORTER: You're not taking it off the table?

TRUMP: I don't take anything off the table. I don't like to take things off the table. It's that alternative. It's national emergency. It is other things. And you know, there have been plenty of national emergencies called. You need a wall. And anybody who says you don't, they're just playing games.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

WHITFIELD: President Trump will deliver the state of the union address in just two days, and is hinting at some kind of border wall action during his speech.

CNN's Boris Sanchez is in West Palm Beach, Florida, not far from where the President has been spending the weekend in Mar-a-Lago.

So the clock is ticking towards yet another potential shutdown. So where do things stand?

BORIS SANCHEZ, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Hey, Fred, yes. We are effectively where we were just about a month-and-a-half ago before the first government shutdown with President Trump and Democrats engaged in a sort of shouting match. The President directing some of his harshest words toward House speaker Nancy Pelosi at this point.

We should point out Democrats have made some concessions to Republicans in negotiations. They have offered increase funding for added personnel and technology to the border. But they have yet to offer a single cent for the President's long-promised border wall. And that's a point of frustration for President Trump which is why you hear him say these negotiations are a complete waste of time and you hear him going after his favorite foiled House speaker. Let's listen to the President on CBS in an interview that aired this morning.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP: She knows that we need a barrier. She knows that we need board security. She wanted to win a political point. I happen to think it is very bad politics because basically she wants open borders. She doesn't mind human trafficking or she wouldn't do this because, you know, the traffic is --.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE REPORTER: She offered you over a billion dollars for border security.

TRUMP: Excuse me?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE REPORTER: She offered you over a billion dollars for border security. She doesn't want the wall.

TRUMP: She is costing the country hundreds of billions of dollars because what's happening is when you have a porous border and when you have drugs pouring in, and when you have people dying all over the country because of people like Nancy Pelosi, who don't want to give proper border security for political reasons, she is doing a terrible disservice to our country.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE REPORTER: You are still going to have to deal with her, though.

TRUMP: No. She can keep playing her games, but we will win because we have a much better issue.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SANCHEZ: Now, Fred, a spokesperson for the House speaker put out a statement to CNN saying that the President's shutdown tactics are reckless and going so far as to say the President is mischaracterizing, misrepresented where the Democrats actually stand on border security.

You mentioned that state of the union, the President did tease the reporters that it would be exciting and that he might make some kind of announcement about enhanced security at the border perhaps, an emergency declaration over the issue of border security.

But CNN got a preview of what the President might say on Friday afternoon. There was no emergency declaration in what we saw, instead the President would lay out a path forward for how the country should move on past the shutdown. Still though, there is no telling what the President will do before that February 15th deadline once the continuing resolutions runs out, Fred.

WHITFIELD: All right, Boris Sanchez, thank you so much in West Palm Beach.

Joining me right now, White House reporter for "Politico" Eliana Johnson and the editor and publisher for "Inside Election" Nathan Gonzalez. Good to see both of you. Both also CNN political analyst.

So Eliana, you know, the President is not backing down from his border wall funding demand. Everyone knows, including him that that was at the nucleus of why there was a partial government shutdown. And we are facing that again in yet another 12 days or so. Do you see any potential path forward for negotiations? Do you see him addressing it head on on Tuesday?

ELIANA JOHNSON, WHITE HOUSE REPORTER, POLITICO: I do think the President is likely to address this with the state of the union -- in the state of the union Tuesday. There are two possible paths for the President, actually, three possible paths for the President to take.

The first is to succeed to whatever deal the bipartisan negotiators come up with and sign whatever they do to recommend him. The second would be to shut the government down. And the third would be to declare a national emergency.

And I think we see him teasing this third path simply the declaration of a national emergency and hyping that as a possible path ahead of the state of the union. I don't think the President is going to shut the government down again. And I don't think we see him backing down on his demands for a wall. Hence, I think this third path is the most plausible as we head into Tuesday and the President saying very publicly that he's likely to do this.

[14:05:18] WHITFIELD: So, Nathan, do you see the President trying to state the case, make the case for a national emergency on Tuesday, because this is what he had to say on Friday.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE REPORTER: Have you privately decided whether or not you will declare a national emergency?

TRUMP: Have I privately, you know, what's in my mind? Certainly thinking about it. I think there's a good chance we'll have to do that.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE REPORTER: Are you saying that we should be prepared for you to announce at the state of the union what you are going to do? TRUMP: Well, I'm saying listen closely to the state of the union. I

think you will find it very exciting.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

WHITFIELD: All right. So Nathan, the President has been very vague. If the theater ends up paying the state of the union, he has to be very specific about declaring a national emergency. Will he, can he do that?

NATHAN GONZALEZ, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: I mean, he could on Tuesday. I think it's unlikely that he does it on Tuesday. I think he likes to, you know. Keep that option on the table and have that be a threat, I guess, as the negotiations continue up until February 15th.

But, you know, this is the biggest platform, you know, he might get over the next year. And so, certainly I think he's going to try to take the opportunity, frame this argument in a way that will benefit him.

One thing in that press room that we haven't talked about yet is he also kind of hinted at maybe a way to declare victory in this. And that is he was talking about, well, we are already refurbishing the wall and remodeling the wall. Both wall has already - we have already started building the wall. And I know that that's not exactly what he is talking about, but I think he is trying to also lay the groundwork for declaring victory in this process even if it's not exactly in the dollar amounts we are talking about right now.

WHITFIELD: And so, you know, Eliana, no one can forget what we just came off, you know, which is a very long - the longest, you know, partial U.S. government shutdown. Both parties have been condemning, you know, some of the President's foreign policy decisions to withdraw troops from Syria, particularly, intelligence officers, you know, contradicting the President, vice versa, you know, all while this Russia investigation is hitting Trump's inner circle. So, you know, how important is this moment Tuesday for the President, this state of the union address?

JOHNSON: Tuesday is very important for the President, because as you mentioned, he's getting increasing -- he's getting increasing pushback from his fellow Republicans. He got it on the government shutdown. He got it on his decision to withdraw troops from Syria, and should he decide to declare a national emergency, He will get it on Republicans from that.

So I think surely the President has to see Tuesday as a moment to reunify Republicans behind him. He has done a fairly good job of that for the first two years. Republicans have been reluctant to break from him. And those who have have lost elections.

But the past month has not been good for the President with regard to that. Ahead of the Mueller investigation, he really is going to -- or ahead of the release of the Mueller report, he really is going to want a united Republican party behind him. So he is going to have to use Tuesday night to do that. WHITFIELD: So potentially really trying to reset, you know, Nathan.

So one official is telling CNN that the President's theme in his speech just might be choosing greatness and that he will be going for a bipartisan optimistic tone. How do you envision, you know, the details that might be involved in that?

GONZALEZ: Well, I mean, that might be what he's going for and it sounds good on paper, but I don't think that this speech is going to fundamentally change how people view the President. I mean, the President is a polarizing figure. People either love him or hate him. And I just have a hard time figuring out what he might say that could change just that dynamic that we have.

I think it will be interesting the specific words that he uses. It will be interesting because whether he is talking about border security and money for border security or money for a border wall, you know, that might change who applauds or who claps or who stands up or who sits down, and that might put the Democrats in a bind.

I mean, remember, this is the super bowl of politics on Tuesday night. And there's going to be all these cutaway shots to the 2020 presidential contenders or Alexandria-Ocasio Cortez --

WHITFIELD: Reading all that body language?

GONZALEZ: Yes. And there are going to be - it is depending on what he says, they are going to have to listen specifically because it might not be a reflexive, don't ever clap for anything because he might actually use words that, you know, that everyone can get behind.

WHITFIELD: Right. And everyone will be watching he body language of House speaker Nancy Pelosi and the President, particularly when they see each other, when they interact, et cetera.

I mean, remember, Eliana, you know, it was the House speaker who said you are never going to have this state of the union at this time during a partial government shutdown, security just can't handle it. She extended an invitation after all. Now he is having it now. But then, you know, just a couple of days ago, the President was incredibly disrespectful of the House speaker with the kinds of language that he used. You saw portions of the interview a couple days ago. It aired in its entirety today on CBS. So how does that potentially set the tone between them?

[14:10:23] JOHNSON: You know, Trump has said pretty openly that he used to like Nancy Pelosi and I think internally he actually does respect her and consider her a formidable adversary, but he said we're not really going to get along now. I don't think that will play a major role on Tuesday night given that Pelosi is not the democrat who is responding to the speech. I think that obviously would create a different dynamic --

WHITFIELD: That would be Stacey Abrams.

JOHNSON: Exactly. She will be the Democrat to watch on Tuesday night. But as Nathan said, I agree with him entirely. Donald Trump is sort

of a one-note President. He is very talented at doing divisive politics, but he is not tremendously versatile. He doesn't switch into other mowed modes very well, so we don't see him excel at being very comforting. His aides say he actually has a big heart --

WHITFIELD: Which is why to hear that his speech will be one of unifying will seem like a stretch given the kind of divisiveness that you're describing.

JOHNSON: Right, it raises the question of whether he can hold the house effectively he can pull that off.

WHITFIELD: All right. We will leave it there. Eliana Johnson, Nathan Gonzalez, thanks very much.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Thank you.

WHITFIELD: All right, border security and the government shutdown are likely to be driving issues be a big issue as Democrats gear up to take him on President Trump 2020.

Coming up at 4:30 eastern, I will talk live to Democratic presidential candidate, Tulsi Gabbard about her 2020 bid and how she plans to stand out in a bid. That's live today at 4:30 p.m. eastern today right here on CNN.

Also ahead, Virginia governor Ralph Northam fighting off calls from his own party to resign after he admitted to darkening his skin for a dance party. Will he hold firm, or is he on his way out?

Plus, President Trump now says he is willing to send American troops back to Syria if ISIS resurges.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[14:16:33] WHITFIELD: The course of people calling for the resignation of Virginia governor Ralph Northam continues to get louder by the day. Politicians and organizations, many of them from Northam's own party, are urging him to step aside after learning of a racist photo on his medical school yearbook page.

Northam's response has been a firm no. Northam originally admitted to being in the photo which shows one person in blackface and another in a Ku Klux Klan outfit. But during yesterday's news conference, the governor doubled down, saying he did not believe he was either person in the picture. Northam is defiant and refusing to step down, even ignoring calls from his old boss, former Virginia governor Terry McAuliffe. Here is what McAuliffe told CNN's Jake Tapper.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JAKE TAPPER, CNN CHIEF WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT: Let me ask you --

TERRY MCAULIFFE (D), FORMER VIRGINIA GOVERNOR: I can't.

TAPPER: -- if it's not him in the photo, which is what he's saying, why do you think he still should resign?

MCAULIFFE: Well, first he said it was Friday night. And if it wasn't him in the photo, he should have said that on Friday. I have no idea what was going on in the governor's office on Friday. I just -- if you're not -- instinctively you know if you put black paint on your face. You know if you put a hood on. And so if it isn't you, you come out immediately and say, this is not me.

Ralph will do the right thing for the commonwealth of Virginia. He will put Virginia first. And I think that will happen relatively soon.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

WHITFIELD: CNN correspondent Jessica Dean is in Richmond, Virginia.

So Jessica, Northam hoped his news conference would actually clear things up, but instead, it only raised more questions.

JESSICA DEAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: That's right, Fredricka. And it also didn't stop the calls for his resignation. In fact, we just heard more of those after that news conference yesterday. Significantly, we heard from Virginia senators Tim Kaine, Mark Warner and representative Bobby Scott, all of whom who had kind been privately talking with him, urging him to resign, and then we were told by a source that after that news conference, they went back to him, asking him if he would step down last night or sometime today when he indicated when he indicated he didn't plan to do so, they went forward.

We also heard from Hillary Clinton last night, she tweeted as well. She said, this has gone on too long. There is nothing to debate. He must resign. And that is across the Democratic Party both here in Virginia locally, but also nationally with 2020 Presidential candidates, as well as national democratic figures and organizations. The DNC chairman coming out calling for his resignation as well.

But as you alluded to, he is standing firm, and right now we have no indication that he plans to resign. That he is really just digging his heels in, which then presents the question, well, what happens next? The chairman of the Virginia black legislative caucus spoke on ABC News this morning. Take a listen.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: If the governor does not resign, will you move to impeach?

LAMONT BAGBY (D), VIRGINIA LEGISLATIVE BLACK CAUCUS CHAIRMAN: George, I hate to have that discussion right now.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Well, it's out there.

BAGBY: I encourage the governor to step aside so we can start the healing process. I'm not at a point where I want to publicly have a conversation. (END VIDEO CLIP)

DEAN: All right. So we will see if there's any movement on that front at all, Fredricka. In the meantime, we all kind of wait around and see what happens next.

[14:20:04] WHITFIELD: All right, Jessica Dean in Richmond, thank you so much.

All right. Still ahead, empire star Jessie Smollett with a defining message after he said he was attacked over his race and sexuality, saying quote "now is the time to be blacker and gayer." His tearful words coming up.

Plus the super bowl kickoff in Atlanta. Less than four hours from now, CNN is live from the stadium as Patriots take on the Rams.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[14:25:02] WHITFIELD: In just a matter of hours, the sports world will shift its focus to the Mercedes-Benz stadium in Atlanta for Super Bowl LIII. There are plenty of story lines heading into today's big game. Will Tom Brady become the first quarterback to win the Super Bowl six times or will Sean McVay and the Rams spoil the Patriots' party be the youngest coach to hoist the trophy?

Well two times super bowl champion Hines Ward is outside the stadium.

Hines, you have been there three times to the super bowl. You have the two wings to show everybody to prove it. I love those ranges (ph). Another excuse to see him.

So what is going on in the heads of the players right now?

HINES WARD, CNN SPORTS CONTRIBUTOR: Well, Fred, you know, the players are just now arriving to the stadium. The nervousness, the anxiety of playing in the big game.

It's really been a long day for the players. I mean, you are sitting around the hotel and playing the game, within your mind is I got to make this play. I got to make this play. So it's a long day mentally for these guys. They just can't wait to get out there and play the game of football, something they have been doing since they were little kids and now have the opportunity to do it in the super bowl, the biggest game ever of these players' lives.

WHITFIELD: My goodness. That's right. I mean, most of them have been dreaming about this since they were little tikes.

So the Patriots who they have a pretty significant advantage, you know, as far as experience is concerned. But do you think that will be the deciding factor or, you know, does, you know, the lack of experience, this adrenaline rush, you know, in the more novice of the super bowl appearance players be the key?

WARD: Well, I think it's an advantage leading into the super bowl because you really don't know what to expect. There is a lot more media opportunities that you have to do before and after practice, but at the end of the day, Fred, I mean, it's all about the game of football. You still have to go out there and line up. And if you overcome the wave of emotions early in the game, then it's just back to playing football.

Look at Nick Foles (ph) and what the Eagles did last year. No experience whatsoever. Went toe to toe with the Patriots and came out as super bowl champions. So I don't really sense that it plays that much of an advantage of having that experience.

WHITFIELD: All right. Well, of course, everybody is hoping it is going to be a great game. We know everyone is going to have a good time watching it.

All right. Hines Ward, thank you so much.

WARD: No problem.

WHITFIELD: And we'll be right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[14:31:44] WHITFIELD: President Trump says he is prepared to act if ISIS or other terror groups regain strength in Syria or Afghanistan. He made that commitment during an interview on CBS' "Face The Nation."

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP: We will come back if we have to. We have very fast airplanes, we have very good cargo planes, we can come back very quickly, and I'm not leaving.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

WHITFIELD: Trump as ordered a withdrawal of U.S. troops from Syria, a move that has been met with criticism from some of his own party in Congress. And as CNN reported on Friday, the Pentagon is raising concerns that ISIS could regroup in Syria once the U.S. has withdrawn.

With me now, retired air force colonel Cedric Leighton and David Rhode, the executive editor of the "New Yorker Web site." Good to see both of you.

So the President declared ISIS defeated but now seems to be backtracking on that, so David, does it make any sense to pull out of Syria only to leave the option open of redeploying troops back there?

DAVID RHODE, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, NEWYORKER.COM: I think on some issues the President is right. He is very tough on sort of China stealing intellectual property from the U.S. He is very isolated on Syria. Pulling out doesn't make any sense at this point. There are only 2,000 American troops, and it will give ISIS an ideological victory.

These movements aren't just about controlling territory, they're about boosting their ability to recruit fighters to get people to carry out a tax in this country in Europe. And you know, withdrawal will help ISIS recruit more people.

WHITFIELD: And, colonel, what about for Afghanistan? I mean, the U.S. has been, you know, in Afghanistan for this war since 2001. The President speaking was a bit ominous, but if the same approach were taken, take U.S. troops out of Afghanistan only to, you know, send them back just in case, how much sense does that make to you?

COL. CEDRIC LEIGHTON (RET.), CNN MILITARY ANALYST: Not very much, actually, Fredricka. Because, you know, worse than Syria, as David pointed out, is bad enough. But worse than Syria, Afghanistan is very isolated from other U.S. military bases. We don't have anything right next door to Afghanistan that is worthy of the name in terms of being a base. And that is going to create a lot of logistical problems, a lot of problems in terms of being able to give aircraft and troops the ability to get in and get out quickly. It can be done, but it's far more difficult if you don't have a base in that country.

WHITFIELD: In fact, the former ambassador to Afghanistan, Ryan Crocker, wrote an op-ed earlier this week saying the U.S. is undermining the Afghan leadership by negotiating directly, you know, with the Taliban.

So, you know, David, how much credibility does President Ashraf Ghani have right now in this entire process?

RHODE: He has undermined. And he is undermine by this talk of withdrawal. I was at the hearing earlier this week where all the intelligence chiefs said that we need to also be very slow and cautious in Afghanistan.

If Trump telegraph that the United States are just going to pull out of Afghanistan, there is no reason for the Taliban to agree to a peace deal. There is no reason to speak to President Ghani who is the legitimate president of Afghanistan. So this talk, you know, it scores political points in the U.S. But it severely undermines the peace effort in the Afghan government.

[14:35:01] WHITFIELD: OK. And so for President while, you know, a candidate was really very critical of telegraphing plans for U.S. troops. He sure is telegraphing a lot. Listen to what he said about Iraq.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP: All I want to do is be able to watch. We have an unbelievable and expensive military base built into Iraq. It's perfectly situated for looking at all over different parts of the troubled Middle East rather than pulling up --

(END VIDEO CLIP)

WHITFIELD: Colonel Leighton, what do understand him to be saying?

LEIGHTON: Well, I think what he is saying, Fredricka, is that that base that he was at to which is west of Baghdad is one that they would be using not only for Syria but also to keep an eye on Iran. That's well and good, you know. But we also have bases in Qatar, Al Udeid Air Base, and also in the United Arab Emirates that we can use, and those bases are definitely keeping an eye on Iran. They have been doing that for a long, long time, and they can continue to do so.

So yes, it's good to keep an eye on Iran, but you want to make sure you are doing it in the best way possible. So I see this as kind of a mixed message from the President.

WHITFIELD: And David, the President said this week his intelligence chiefs were misquoted when they disagreed with him over Iran and North Korea. But in the CBS interview, the President acknowledged that there was a disagreement. Can his Intel chiefs continue to be effective in their roles at this point?

RHODE: It was amazing at this hearing. They were all incredibly careful to not directly contradict the President, but they also spoke truth to power. That's a real mantra in the intelligence agency. You have to tell Presidents and policy-makers information that disagrees with what they might want politically. So they handled it very well. They are disagreeing with the President. And I think they are going to keep disagreeing with the President. And it sort of demoralizes the rank and file in the intelligence agencies when he, you know, ridicules them. He said these intelligence chiefs need to go back to school. That was an extraordinary statement from an American President.

WHITFIELD: Yes. And so colonel Leighton, what are members of that intelligence community to think? How do they continue to be or what motivates them to continue with their commitment to service the way they do when you have the commander-in-chief, the President, who is out loud undermining and questioning them and telling them essentially that, you know, they need to go back to school?

LEIGHTON: We go to school all the time. Their job is to be in school, whether it's technically called that or not. But what intelligence professionals do, Fredricka, is they serve the nation. And the fact that they do what they do day in and day out gives them the fuel to go on, gives them really the desire to make sure that they are getting it right for the country.

Intelligence doesn't always get it right, but it always tries to get it right. And I think that's the key ingredient here. And you know, regardless of what the President or other political leaders are saying, the intelligence community will provide the nation with its most important asset, and that's information on our adversaries.

WHITFIELD: Colonel Cedric Leighton, David Rhode, thanks to both of you. Appreciate it.

LEIGHTON: You bet, Fredricka.

WHITFIELD: All right. Still ahead, empire star Jussie Smollett speaks out for the first time since he fell victim to a possible hate crime. But there are things he wants to clarify. (COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[14:43:00] WHITFIELD: Actor and singer Jussie Smollett is speaking out about the circumstances surrounding the attack he reported to Chicago police last week.

Smollett, who is best known for his role on the show "Empire," says he was assaulted by two masked men who yelled out racial and homophobic slurs. He said the men put a rope around his neck and poured some kind of chemical substance on him. Police are investigating the incident as a possible hate crime.

Smollett had an emotional and defiant message during his first public appearance since the assault. He performed in West Hollywood and addressed what he has called inaccurate reports about the attack.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JUSSIE SMOLLETT, ACTOR/SINGER: I was bruised but my ribs were not cracked. They were not broken. I went to the doctor immediately. Frank drove me and I was not hospitalized. Both my doctors in L.A. and Chicago cleared me to perform and above all, I fought back.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

WHITFIELD: CNN's Paul Vercammen, is covering the story from Los Angeles. So what else did Smollett have to say?

PAUL VERCAMMEN, CNN CORRESPONDENT. He had a lot to say, Fred.

Let me set the scene for you. It is the (INAUDIBLE) where princess played and thought like Alicia keys and so many more, people are standing shoulder to shoulder and Smollett has the world captivated. And says that All of this hateful rhetoric He said this has to stop. I'm not going to say any names, but you have to believe in love for this to happen. He was quite emotional at the moment.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SMOLLETT: I had to be here tonight. And it sounds (bleep). So I will always stand for love. I will never stand for anything other than that regardless of what anyone else says. I will only stand for love. I hope you all stand with me, so thank you.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

[14:45:10] VERCAMMEN: And in another moment, in that concert hall, inside Wilson Cruz, the openly gay Puerto Rican actor known for "My so-called Life" and many other roles. All of the sudden, Smollett stops and he praised his crews for being an inspiration to him. Everybody turned their focus to Cruz for a moment.

I caught up with Cruz outside the Troubadour (ph) after the concert.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE) WILSON CRUZ, ACTOR: It's not about me. It's about the fact that that young man, after what he just went through, went up and did a show for all of us. That was unbelievable. That is who he is. He is the epitome of love.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

VERCAMMEN: And then after he came back on for an encore, Smollett saying now is the time to be gayer. Now is the time to be blacker. And the crowd roared with approval - Fred.

WHITFIELD: All right. Paul Vercammen in Los Angeles. Thank you so much.

Meantime, outrage grows at a New York prison undergoing several days without power and heat. Demonstrators are protesting at the federal prison in Brooklyn this weekend calling the conditions there inhumane. Workers in the jail and inmates describe the building as an icebox. CNN's Polo Sandoval is joining us now live from outside that federal prison.

So Polo, what more about these power issues and have they been fixed?

POLO SANDOVAL, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, Fred, you know, part of that description that we have heard from some of the people who have had an opportunity to go inside and also from some of the employees there, that is certainly fuelling frustrations for demonstrators. And as you mentioned are back here again at this detention center in Brooklyn.

What is fairly remarkable here from our vantage point, you are able to actually hear some of the prisoners, some of the inmates, rather, tapping on the glass, clearly trying to get the attention of many out here.

Now as for what officials are saying, just a little while ago, the bureau of prisons again reaffirming that they expect this issue with the power in the west building of this complex to be fixed by tomorrow. But as you can imagine, not just the family and friends and other people who are out here are upset, obviously, not just for some of the inmates here but also some of the personnel inside. And as we heard earlier from one employee, they have had to perform their duties in the dark wearing jackets and gloves and scarves for several days.

Here's what we can tell you about the background about what happened here. According to the federal bureau of prisons, there was a fire in one of the rooms that houses some of the electrical equipment. So as a result, power to -- or at least partial power to one of the western buildings on the complex was cut off, and the result has been some of these electrical issues. The rest of the complex relatively unaffected. We are told that those repairs have been done and now that a work order has already been submitted to the utility company to, in essence, restore power on Monday. And of course, as you very well know, it has been a very cold last few days here in the northeast, particularly here in New York, and that's why there are many people here hoping that this gets fixed very soon. Quick background on this. This houses at least about 1,500 inmates.

At least, that's the population at this location, a mix of people including some folks who still have pending criminal proceedings, some of whom have not even been convicted at this point. So, of course, you can imagine there is quite a bit of frustration here on the ground, but we are told today medical personnel are going cell to cell, checking on the inmates, and also some of those legal visits are allowed to happen right now, Fred.

WHITFIELD: And then, Polo, how was it brought to anyone's attention that there was no heat, no power?

SANDOVAL: Well, we do understand that, of course, many of the people who know folks on the inside -- I'm going to step out for a second just so you can see, Fred. It's basically contingent of officials, elected and state officials who came in who have, to answer your question, been trying to put the word out about what's happening at this particular location. They have also turned to these officials to try to share the story of what's happening here. And so, what we saw take place today and wrapping up here are various states and federal lawmakers who have gained access and have been allowed access inside to be able to see firsthand.

As we send it back to you, we are going to try to catch with them to see if we can get a better idea of what the situation is like inside. But I can tell you on the outside, as we hear the tapping on the windows, there are many loved ones, many people here who do want answers.

WHITFIELD: All right. We will let you do more reporting on that and get back to us.

Polo Sandoval, thank you so much.

All right. One deputy is dead and another hurt following a 12-hour standoff near Cincinnati. Authorities say it all began when officers responded to a 911 call from a man who told the dispatcher he thought someone was in his home. According to police, the man said he was armed and suicidal and barricaded himself inside his apartment. A team tried to negotiate with him, but he fired shots from the home, hitting two officers, according to reports.

The deputy who was killed has been identified as 20-year, rather, police veteran detective Bill Brewer. The suspect, 23-year-old Wade Edward Nguyen, was arrested early this morning.

All right. Still ahead, a three-year-old boy in North Carolina was missing for nearly three days in rain and freezing temperatures. Next we will introduce you to the officers who went beyond the call of duty find him.

But first here's a look at this week's wander must, San Antonio, the must see city known for its history, culture and tacos.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

[14:50:50] UNIDENTIFIED MALE: San Antonio is the greatest place on earth. It's got history. It's got culture. It's got tacos.

One of the more popular attractions is Market Square or the Mercado, the largest Spanish market in the United States. The river walk is about a 15-mile stretch of hike and bike trails right through the heart of downtown with the shops and the restaurants, and then goes all the way down to the missions.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Do not leave San Antonio without coming to the west side getting your taste of the puffy taco. A puffy taco is a homemade shell. Press it, put it in the fryer and it comes puffy. And then the magic happens. It's delicious and so Texas.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The UNESCO World Heritage site was given to San Antonio because we have five Spanish missions and that is largest concentration Spanish missions in the whole world.

If you come (INAUDIBLE), you'll probably see people in historic costume. It's called living history. It's interactive and that's where it works.

If you are here at night, you might want to see "San Antonio: the Saga" (INAUDIBLE) from the main plaza conservancy. The light show, it shows the history of Sam Antonio. Everybody need to come to San Antonio.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[14:56:39] WHITFIELD: The remarkable story of a three-year-old North Carolina boy who was lost in the woods for nearly three days in freezing temperatures captured headlines around the world. But the story that many people didn't get to hear involve the people who conducted the grueling search.

CNN's Brynn Gingras introduces us to the officers who went beyond the call of duty to find him.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

BRYNN GINGRAS, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Deep in the swath of these pine trees, among the thorns and briars, a little boy was found.

CAPT. SHANE GRIER, CHOCO WINITY EMS: It took some force to get him out. I actually had to pull him out of the vegetation.

GINGRAS: Against all odds, three-year-old Casey Holloway was rescued, 55 hours after he went missing from his great-grandmother great- grandmother's North Carolina home. It was a tip that led Captain Shane Grier to this very spot at the edge of the woods.

GRIER: And that's when we heard him say "mama."

GINGRAS: Clear as day?

GRIER: Clear as day. GINGRAS: Grier is one of hundreds of local and federal emergency

responders who tirelessly searched for Casey through rain and freezing temperatures.

SHERIFF CHIP HUGHES, CRAVEN COUNTY, NORTH CAROLINA: Casey was tired is a small child. He is cold, he is hungry.

GINGRAS: The massive operations was under the command of Craven County sheriff Chip Hughes.

HUGHES: We started looking at the percentages of what is the chance that a three-year-old child in the elements, with the wildlife that is near, bears, Coyotes. He is going to survive this. The odds were not in our favor.

GINGRAS: It is a search that captivated the nation and brought a community together.

HUGHES: People were, when people showed up, you could see the look of determination. You know, Casey is, he belongs to all of us now.

GINGRAS: All the while, Hughes promised Casey's family he would bring their boy home.

HUGHES: That was a tall promise I made to this lady. And we were committed to stay to the end.

GINGRAS: And you kept that in your mind, it sounds like?

HUGHES: Exactly. When the rescue pulled up, the doors opened and I saw this, you know, 25-pound child, three-year-old there, with his eyes open, big brown eyes, it was tear-jerking. This was when we made good on our promise. I would have stayed out there an entire year just to make that happen.

GINGRAS: Casey's body temperature was low but he only had scratches. He told his parents he befriended a bear. His family emotionally thanked law enforcement.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We are very thankful that you took the time out to come search for Casey and prayed for him.

GINGRAS: As for Grier, he will never forget that gratitude. He now keeps this picture in his office, a gift from Casey's family of Grier and the little boy he saved.

GRIER: I think everybody at some point in time was expecting a real bad ending for this, and for the ending to be so good. I mean, you know, the little boy is home because of the efforts that everybody did here.

GINGRAS: A reminder of what he humbly calls a miracle.

Brynn Gingras, CNN, Craven County, North Carolina.

(END VIDEOTAPE) WHITFIELD: And we have got so much more straight ahead in the NEWSROOM. And it all starts right now.

All right. Hello, again, everyone. And thanks so much for joining me this super bowl Sunday. I'm Fredricka Whitfield.

President Trump is set to deliver his state of the union address in just two days. And this morning, he is holding firm on his demand for the border wall, vowing to stay the course and keep up the fight for full wall funding.