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Grammy-nominated Rapper in Atlanta Arrested by ICE; Arguments in Court Today on Paul Manafort's Potential Breach of Plea Deal; Nicolas Maduro Publicly Opposed to Foreign Interference; New England Patriots Win the Super Bowl; Atlanta Airport Delays Due to Super Bowl Crowds. Aired 10:30-11:00a ET

Aired February 4, 2019 - 10:30   ET


[10:31:46] UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is CNN, the most-trusted name in news.

JIM SCIUTTO, CNN ANCHOR, NEWSROOM: He's one of the biggest names in hip hop. But today, rapper 21 Savage is in the custody of immigrations and customs enforcement, known as ICE.

ICE agents arrested the rapper in Atlanta, his self-declared hometown, just hours before the Super Bowl was played there. Nick Valencia, joining me now.

Nick, the government says he is British and living in the U.S. illegally. What do we know?

NICK VALENCIA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Jim, this is a shock, not only to the music world but especially here in Atlanta. Twenty-one Savage, a huge musical talent and very big name here in the city of Atlanta.

And according to a law enforcement source with knowledge of his arrest, 21 Savage wasn't even the intended target of the arrest on Sunday morning. He was with another rapper who was the target of a criminal arrest.

Once law enforcement did a background check on 21 Savage, realized his immigration status, he was taken into custody and transferred into ICE custody.

Even if you don't know who you're looking at there on your screen, 21 Savage, even if you've never heard his name before, know that he is a celebrated musician. In fact, he is up for Record of the Year at this year's Grammys, with Post Malone for their song, "Rockstar." And he's a huge name here in the city. He's done a lot of philanthropy in the city.

His defenders are saying, even if he is a U.K. national, as ICE is alleging, that he spent his formative years on the streets, here in Atlanta. He moved here, according to ICE, in 2005 at the age of around 12, 13 years old, overstayed his visa by 2006.

Here is what his lawyer is saying as well. This is a statement that we got last night from Dina LaPolt, saying, "We are working diligently to get Mr. Abraham-Joseph out of detention while we work with authorities to clear up any misunderstandings."

They go on to highlight his work and his programs with underprivileged youth.

His -- here's a big question that we have this morning, Jim. He was arrested and convicted of a felony drug charge in 2014. That felony conviction was expunged. But we asked a law enforcement official why not -- you know, why didn't they know about his immigration status then, during his felony arrest.

They said that they weren't aware of it then. They became aware of it, and the fuller picture, afterwards. That still doesn't make us understand how he was able to play and perform in concerts outside of the United States, come and go. That's a question that we have this morning and we have -- don't have an answer to it just yet -- Jim.

SCIUTTO: I know you'll stay on top of it. Nick Valencia, thanks very much.

VALENCIA: You got it.

SCIUTTO: Right now, a federal judge is hearing arguments on whether the former Trump campaign chairman, Paul Manafort, lied and therefore breached his plea deal with the special counsel.

How likely is it that Manafort can prove that those lies were just honest mistakes? We're going to ask a former federal prosecutor, and that's next.


SCIUTTO: Right now, the attorneys for former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort are in federal court, arguing behind closed doors, trying to prove that their client did not breach his plea agreement by lying to Robert Mueller's special counsel investigators.

Prosecutors claim that Manafort, quote, "intentionally provided false information, all while promising to cooperate with the probe into Russian ties to the Trump campaign."

Joining me now is Jacob Frenkel. He's a former federal prosecutor.

Jacob, thank you for joining us. So the -- Manafort's lawyers here, essentially using the "I don't recall" defense, saying these were honest mistakes here. Does that kind of argument hold water with prosecutors, when someone's provided false information like this?

JACOB FRENKEL, FORMER SEC ENFORCEMENT SENIOR COUNSEL: Well, it's not about holding (INAUDIBLE) water with the prosecutors, so much as it is persuading the judge. Because --


FRENKEL: -- basically, what we're really talking about here is, what is the materiality of the statements. If Paul Manafort is not remembering, you know, what time a meeting was but is generally remembering the substance, I think the judge would view that as innocuous.

[10:39:58] Obviously, the prosecutors are saying there are five substantive areas in which he was misleading them. The real issue for prosecutors boils down to, "Don't waste our time. If you're going to lie to us, then don't come in. Or you're not going to get the benefit of what really amounts to a constitutional contract."

Because fundamentally, what we have here is, we have -- you know, we have Paul Manafort or, for that matter, any other defendant who enters in to a plea agreement with a cooperation component, who's basically giving up his constitutional right to trial, constitutional right to appeal and various other constitutional rights, such a cross-examining witnesses.

So fundamentally, the judge is going to make a determination, was the government or is the government acting in good faith in basically saying, "We don't want to honor our end of the deal."

SCIUTTO: Yes. Question. I mean, does the special counsel need Paul Manafort for his larger case, here? I mean, you would think he would be a central witness. He was a campaign manager. He had a lot of these contacts with Russians tied to Russian intelligence. Is he essential to the case?

FRENKEL: The short answer is, we don't know. There are a lot of people who place various witnesses in essential and critical role. I think they would like him, but we also have to think about Paul Manafort already as a convicted felon, somebody now who's accused of lying.

If he were to have been a bona fide cooperator, what he has done is, he's rendered himself useless to the government, given that he's now being accused of lying.

So obviously, the -- the fact that the prosecutors are able to make that really strong assertion that he lied, means that they have the evidence already to test his credibility, and --


FRENKEL: -- now they're basically saying, "We don't consider him credible, therefore he is useless to us at trial. And, in fact, he's wasted our time, he's wasted investigative resources." It's really critical for the lawyer to that client in those situations to make sure that does not happen because it --


FRENKEL: -- really is unproductive for the client as well.

SCIUTTO: Final question. Both the president and now his nominee for attorney general have held out the possibility -- really not taken it off the table -- of not publicly releasing the final Mueller report. Who is it up to and what happens if they don't release it?

FRENKEL: That opens up a whole different area. I mean, my tour as a federal prosecutor was with the independent counsel's office. There, the statute affirmatively required the independent counsel to write a report, a public report to Congress, that was available for public consumption.

Here, what we're really talking about is a report that is for the attorney general. I believe that is up to the attorney general because the statute does not provide -- or the regulation does not provide -- for the report to be public. It's certainly not up to the president.

The interesting debate will be, what happens if Congress subpoenas the report? Will there be redactions. So I think there's a lot to play out. But I think we're going to be going at this for a long time. We're not at the end --


FRENKEL: -- you know, I'll just finish on this thought. The mere fact that Roger Stone was just indicted, these prosecutors are not going to walk away from being able to try Roger Stone. We could be having this same discussion nine months from now.

SCIUTTO: Wouldn't be surprised, another Pentagon Papers kind of battle, perhaps. Jacob Frenkel, thanks very much.

FRENKEL: Jim, thank you.

SCIUTTO: Crisis in Venezuela. Embattled President Nicolas Maduro, clinging to power there. This as President Trump says that military intervention in Venezuela is still, in his words, "an option."


[10:47:45] UNIDENTIFIED MALE: "NEW DAY," tomorrow morning starting at 6:00 a.m. Eastern on CNN.

SCIUTTO: This morning, President Trump says that military intervention by the U.S. in Venezuela is an option. It comes as many of Europe's leaders are joining the U.S. in recognizing the opposition leader Juan Guaido as Venezuela's real president.

Meanwhile, embattled leader Nicolas Maduro, the elected leader of Venezuela, is refusing to give up power. He's rejecting an ultimatum to hold free elections in his country.

Isa Soares is following the latest from Bogota, Colombia here.

I mean, this is quite an international coalition that's building here, recognizing, in effect, the opposition leader over the -- over the president.

ISA SOARES, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Very much, Jim. We've had the U.K., France, Germany, Portugal, Spain among many other European countries, throwing their support behind the 35-year-old National Assembly leader, Juan Guaido. Adding, of course, like you said, more pressure to Nicolas Maduro to

either call for parliamentary -- call for presidential elections -- so far he's only called for parliamentary elections -- or really step aside. So far, he doesn't seem to be budging. In fact, he's digging in his heels, trying to show power, trying to show a sense of placidity, to show that he's in control and defiant.

In an interview yesterday, Jim, he had a message for Europe, saying he doesn't take to any ultimatums, following on from that eight-day ultimatum from Europe.

He also said he couldn't rule out the idea of civil war in Venezuela, which, of course, raised many eyebrows. And he had a direct message for U.S. President Donald Trump, saying that any interference by the United States in Venezuela could lead to Trump (ph) ending his term in presidency with hands -- bloody hands.

So this is all ramping up, reeling (ph), coming on the same day that we heard from President Donald Trump regarding Venezuela. Take a quick listen.


MARGARET BRENNAN, CBS HOST, "FACE THE NATION": What would make you use the U.S. military in Venezuela? What's the national security interest?

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Well, I don't want to say that. But certainly, it's something that's on the -- it's an option.


SOARES: And when, of course, the rhetoric is ramping up, we are seeing international aid being offered to Venezuela. $53 million being offered by Canada in the last hour, so $5 million coming from Germany.

[10:50:04] But then the question remains, Jim, how exactly is that aid coming in? There are three positions for the aid to be located. One in Cucuta, which is north of Colombia, the border between Colombia and Venezuela. One in Brazil, location TBD, and then one in a Caribbean island, no details as of yet.

We do not know how that aid is going to go in. It's going to be a test of allegiances for those in patrols, for those who support Maduro, being in ports or borders. But of course, it's a challenge, too, for the young National Assembly leader who, so far, only is a man with a phone and -- a phone and a microphone, and he has no territorial control of Venezuela.

So a huge test of allegiance for those who support Maduro, to see whether they eventually will let that aid in.

SCIUTTO: Isa Soares, just across the border there in Colombia, thanks very much. Can a deal on border security be reached? It's the big question here

before the next government shutdown. The majority of Americans are pessimistic about that prospect. Coming up, we'll look at the new CNN poll spelling trouble for the president and his party, ahead of his State of the Union address.


[10:55:44] SCIUTTO: In case you missed it, the New England Patriots are champions once again, the sixth Super Bowl title cementing Tom Brady's legacy as -- really, can't argue with it -- the greatest quarterback of all time.

Coy Wire has more from outside of Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta.

Listen, you can't argue with success, even from this Giants fan. And I will note, the Giants took two Super Bowls away from the Patriots. We will have that. But, man, I mean, six, this is just crazy.

COY WIRE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: It really is. You know, the mighty Patriots. I played against, them, Jim, twice a year, every year for six years. They are the ultimate team. They found a way to hold these Rams, who were scoring over 30 points a game, to a Super Bowl record low of just three.

Now, let's look at the highlights. Even Tom Brady had a tough time scoring in this one. The lowest-scoring Super Bowl ever. On his very first pass attempt, he throws an interception. And it set the tone for the rest of the game. Great defense, you could say, but not a lot of scoring.

It was just three to three, going into the fourth quarter, for the first time in Super Bowl history. But this is the play of the game. Tom Brady seized Gronk in one-on-one (ph) coverage, and he gets it.

That sets up Sony Michel, who lost the college national championship on that very same field just a year ago, he scores the only touchdown of the Super Bowl. He puts the Pats up 10 to three with four minutes to go.

Though young Jared Goff has a chance to tie it up, a brilliant pass to Brandin Cooks, but it's batted away by that defense. Look at it.

One more chance. Goff, facing an all-out blitz, he doesn't check it. He doesn't call time out. The inexperience shows. Interception, sealing the deal. Thirteen to three is your final.

Julian Edelman is the MVP. Tom Brady, as Jim mentioned, cementing himself as the greatest of all time. Hines Ward talked to both of them after the game.


HINES WARD, CNN SPORTS CONTRIBUTOR: What does it mean to win six, man? You're the greatest of all time. I --


TOM BRADY, QUARTERBACK, NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS: You know, I don't believe that. I don't believe that. I don't think about that. I just think I play with so many great guys on so many great teams, and I still get to do it. Forty-one years old, play a sport I grew up loving. And proud of my team tonight.

WARD: What about Jules, man?

BRADY: He was like a little Hines Ward tonight, wasn't he?


WARD: He fought (ph) out (ph), man.

BRADY: Yes, he played his butt off. And I knew he was going to play his butt off. He was so focused and we needed him big time, and he came through.

WARD: Congrats, my brother.

BRADY: Thanks, man (ph).



WARD: MVP of the Super Bowl, what does that mean?


WARD: Is it surreal?

EDELMAN: It's pretty surreal. I'm still, you know.

WARD: You're not going to sleep tonight. I can guarantee you that.

EDELMAN: I don't know yet.


EDELMAN: I just want to say hello to my little baby girl, Lily. I love you. I miss you and I can't wait to see you.


WIRE: incredible moment there, Jim. You know, that's Edelman, who went from not having any scholarships out of high school. He was a quarterback at Kent State. And here he is, Super Bowl MVP as a receiver.

SCIUTTO: Yes. You can't argue with that, and you've got to be happy for them.

But, now the halftime performance? Not getting the best reviews of all time. You were there, tell us about it.

WIRE: Yes, I was there. And it's one of the most highly anticipated facets of the Super Bowl, right? But it was kind of like that Jack- in-the-Box that you used to play with as a kid, and it's -- you're cranking it and you're waiting for something big to happen, a big moment. But it never happened.

Maroon 5 was your headliner. You did have Atlanta's own Big Boi. This is the home of hip hop and rap, and he came out rocking this big, beautiful fur coat and represented a bit.

But there really was no wow moment. And that, therefore, has a lot of people saying that this was artless, it was just flat. A lot of criticism of this year's halftime performance.

SCIUTTO: Thanks, Coy. I wish I was there with you. Looked like a fun night.

Passengers at the world's busiest airport, also in Atlanta, experienced even longer wait times today. More than 100,000 additional passengers are expected to stream through Atlanta's Hartsfield-Jackson Airport today.

The influx of Super Bowl fans, exacerbating the already busy Monday morning traffic, leading to wait times up to an hour at some security checkpoints there.

One item that could slow things up further at the security checkpoints, these commemorative Super Bowl programs. This morning, the airport warned travelers that the metallic holographic pages were setting off scanners. Quite a take-home.

[10:59:54] Thanks so much for joining me today. I'm Jim Sciutto. "AT THIS HOUR" with my colleague, Kate Bolduan, starts right now.