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House Intelligence Committee Squeezes More on Trump; Bride Barricaded by Venezuelan Army; President Trump and Kim Jong-un to Meet in Vietnam; U.K. To Meet E.U. Leaders In Brussels; Maduro Blocks Aid On Bridge To Venezuela; Democrats Launch Probe Of Trump's Finances And Russia; Green New Deal; Preserving Heritage Note By Note. Aired 3-4a ET

Aired February 7, 2019 - 03:00   ET

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


[03:00:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)

ROSEMARY CHURCH, CNN ANCHOR: Countdown to Brexit. The British prime minister heads to Brussels to meet with E.U. leaders as the clock ticks down to just 50 days left until Brexit.

Plus, a road block in Venezuela, President Nicolas Maduro barricades a bridge to keep aid away from Venezuelans.

And a new investigation in Washington, Democrats announce a new inquiry that will look beyond the Russia probe and into the president's finances.

Hello and welcome to our viewers joining us from all around the world. I'm Rosemary Church. And this is CNN Newsroom.

In just two hours from now, British Prime Minister Theresa May will once again face E.U. leaders in Brussels, hoping to convince them to renegotiate the U.K.'s withdrawal from the European Union.

Brexit is 50 days away and there is still no firm deal in sight. The prime minister was just in Northern Ireland where she didn't seem to make much progress and E.U. leaders have already signaled they're finished negotiating.

Well, CNN's Erin McLaughlin joins us now from Brussels to talk more on this. So, Erin, what can be achieved at this meeting, given E.U. leaders have already made it clear that the current Brexit deal is the best available and they appear to have lost patience with the Brexiteers.

ERIN MCLAUGHLIN, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes. Well, things certainly are not looking good at this point, Rosemary for this process. There was a meeting yesterday between the Irish Taoiseach and the president of the European Council, Donald Tusk, in which they reiterated the E.U.'s red lines that the withdrawal agreement will not be reopened for a negotiation.

But Donald Tusk capping off his remarks with a jab aimed at the Brexiteers behind Brexit. Take a listen to what he had to say. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DONALD TUSK, PRESIDENT, EUROPEAN COUNCIL: I've been wondering what the special place in hell looks like for those who promoted Brexit without even a sketch of a plan how to carry it faithfully.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MCLAUGHLIN: And certainly, not something you'd say if you expect to today's meetings with the British prime minister to go well, Rosemary. Downing Street said that the comments were unhelpful. Quite a few feathers that you'd expect were ruffled on the other side of the English Channel.

In terms of what we can expect Theresa May to aim for during these meetings, Downing Street provided a readout of that she wants concrete legal changes to the withdrawal agreement, which is of course, a nonstarter for the E.U.

The E.U. has indicated though, that it's open to renegotiating the political declaration that is the component of the agreement, that's non-legally binding that outlines the future relationship between the U.K. and the E.U.

Playing into that the opposition leader there in the U.K. Jeremy Corbyn issuing a letter last night, saying that he will support, Labour will support the withdrawal agreement as negotiated between Theresa May and the E.U.

If certain conditions are met relating to that political declaration that he wants to see in addition to political declaration U.K. law that commits the U.K. to a customs union, as well as alignment with a single market. Red lines for Theresa May.

But certainly, the opposition leader there weakening any sort of argument she might have going into today's meetings that the changes that she's pushing for are the only route to getting this deal through Westminster.

CHURCH: They seem to be going around in circles, don't they, and time fast running out. With Brexit just 50 days away what options are still on the table right now and how much support is there for them to go to a second referendum?

MCLAUGHLIN: There's lot of speculation at this point that at this juncture an extension on that deadline, Brexit deadline which is currently enshrined in U.K. law for March 29.

That that will need to be extended even if Theresa May is able to push this deal through in the next couple of weeks or so their subsequent legislation that simply there's just not the time to get through. Westminster especially considering that she's operating with a minority government.

So, a lot of speculation that she at this point does in fact need to extend that deadline, but in order to do that she needs to change British law, as well as make the request from the United Kingdom. Downing Street though making it very clear that the U.K. intends to leave the E.U. March 29.

[03:04:57] In terms of a second referendum, well, Donald Tusk yesterday hinting at that in that press conference with the Irish Taoiseach in which he said there really at this point does not seem to be there in the U.K. political leadership for the remainers who exist there in the United Kingdom.

And given that, very -- it seems like there's very little political momentum for a second referendum at this point right.

CHURCH: Right. Interesting. Erin McLaughlin bringing us the latest there from Brussels just after 9 o'clock in the morning. Many thanks.

Well, delegates at least a dozen countries will meet in Uruguay in the coming hours to try to forge a path forward for Venezuela. The country is wracked by poverty and hyperinflation with Nicolas Maduro and opposition leader Juan Guaido both claiming to be president.

Government troops loyal to Mr. Maduro are blocking a bridge where desperately needed humanitarian aid is supposed to be delivered from Columbia. Mr. Maduro says Venezuelans are not beggars.

Journalist Stefano Pozzebon is in Caracas.

STEFANO POZZEBON, JOURNALIST: Yes. The Venezuelan opposition has reacted to those dramatic images of the bridges cut off in the city of Bogota. Those bridges that are main, we understand, to bring the humanitarian aid into Venezuela.

On Wednesday, Juan Guaido, the opposition leader and president of the National Assembly who swore himself in as acting president of Venezuela triggering this deep constitutional crisis at the heart of the Venezuelan state.

On Wednesday, Juan Guaido called yet again on the army, urged the army to let the humanitarian aid into the country and to avoid any confrontation. Because he said humanitarian is much effect to try mitigate the effects of the most dramatic, economic crisis that Venezuela has seen in recent times.

On the other hand, Nicolas Maduro has said he hopes for a peaceful and negotiating solution to this power tussle. And he was referring to a meeting happening on Thursday in the city of Montevideo where representatives from other countries such as Mexico, Uruguay and some European countries, including Italy will meet as a first counter group to try broker in 11th hour dialogue, attempt to try to solve this crisis, but the escalation at the border and around the issue of the humanitarian aid bring and sent in from abroad into Venezuela is still happening.

For CNN, this is Stefano Pozzebon, Caracas.

CHURCH: And it's worth mentioning, in no time at all, Juan Guaido has gone from obscurity to now being recognized as Venezuela's legitimate leader by dozens of countries.

CNN's Sam Kiley reports from Caracas.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

SAM KILEY, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: A new face in South American politics. Venezuela's self-proclaimed president. And there are similarities to a former U.S. president right down to his campaign slogans. Can we do it? Yes, we can.

But Juan Guaido faces challenges that Barack Obama never had to meet. Venezuela's presidency is simultaneously held by a rival Nicolas Maduro, the heir to two decades of economic decline and social upheaval.

Guaido's backers include the National Assembly, among others and they're all demanding a break with the past.

Juan Guaido has risen without (Inaudible) of Venezuela. But it's his lack of history his untainted past that is really here on the ground offering hope and to ordinary Venezuelans.

KILEY: His mother thinks so.

NORKA MARQUEZ, JUAN GUAIDO'S MOTHER (through translator): Obama rolls up his sleeves. He also does that. It's just the way he does it, not like he's mimicking Obama. But we always told him. And a lot of people and a lot of friends would tell him you looked like Obama.

KILEY: Guaido an engineer by training helped found the Popular Will Party. He's on the political left, but for his brother. he remains a social conservative.

KILEY: What does your brother think of your earrings?

SIMON OVIEDO, JUAN GUAIDO'S BROTHER (through translator): He doesn't like them. He doesn't like my tattoos either.

KILEY: Inflation is over a million percent here. Three million people have fled in search of work and food. Even the middle class is a near destitute.

HUMBERTO ROJAS, PHYSICS PROFESSOR, UNIVERSIDAD CENTRAL DE VENEZUELA: My salary is about roughly $11 per month. OK? It's very difficult to survive on that. So, essentially, we depend on friends and family abroad that send goods and send us money to survive.

[03:10:03] KILEY: Venezuela's older generation seemed to accept their responsibility for today's chaos. They're leaving the field to younger politicians who insist that they want to only shepherd Venezuela to a new democracy.

So, will Juan Guaido run for president in an election?

STALIN GONZALEZ, JUAN GUAIDO'S ALLY (through translator): Juan and I discussed it. We want to be remembered as the one to lay the foundations that led to change in the country.

KILEY: And that for now may be Guaido's biggest selling point. A lack of personal ambition.

Sam Kiley, CNN, Caracas.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

CHURCH: U.S. President Donald Trump says he expects to announce next week that coalition forces have recaptured 100 percent of the territory once controlled by ISIS. He did not address concerns that the terror group continues to fight covertly and could regroup even though their land is gone.

Still, Mr. Trump is celebrating his military success.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Under the new approach we developed, we empowered our commanders in the field and enabled our partners on the ground and directly confronted ISIS's wicked ideology.

The United States military our coalition partners and the Syrian democratic forces have liberated virtually all of the territory previously held by ISIS in Syria and Iraq.

It should be formally announced, sometime, probably next week that we will have 100 percent of the caliphate. I want to wait for the official word. I don't want to say it too early.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CHURCH: Now the amount of territory controlled by ISIS has shrunk dramatically in the past few years. President Trump has said he wants to withdraw all the U.S. forces from Syria. But Secretary of State Mike Pompeo says a troop draw down is not the end of America's fight against the terror group.

CNN's Arwa Damon joins me now live from Istanbul. Always good to see you, Arwa. So, President Trump expects to announce next week that coalition forces have recaptured 100 percent of territory once controlled by ISIS. How reassured should we all by that? And does the capture of ISIS land mean an end to the threat?

ARWA DAMON, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: No. Simply put to your second question. And as for reassurances as to the threat that ISIS poses that may come because of an announcement that they have lost 100 percent of the territory in Syria.

Well, one really should not be reassured. As this is an entity, a group that has proven time and time again it has an ability to strike over and over and come back at times often, even stronger than it has been in the past.

It's worth noting that Trump's own senior military and intelligence advisors have continued to maintain that ISIS continues to pose a very severe threat, both within Syria and Iraq across the Middle East and the fact -- in fact, globally speaking as well.

This speech really lacked in substance. The kind of substance that civilians, militaries on the ground, and regional partners really wanted to hear a lot more detail on. There are so many unanswered questions.

How does the U.S. actually plan on responsibly withdrawing? What is going to happen to that local fighting force that President Trump was so quick to praise? The Syrian Democratic forces that are largely made up of a predominantly Kurdish fighting force that Turkey views as being a terrorist organization That force feels vulnerable should the U.S. decide to withdraw and has become a source of tension between the U.S. and Turkey.

Additionally, if we are going to talk about Syria in and of itself and about trying to create the dynamics that are going to prevent ISIS from reemerging and regrouping. It's worth just talking about what those dynamics potentially could be chaos, the lack of a local force that can actually hold this ground from ISIS and protect the civilian population, ensuring that people are able to return back to their homes.

Swaths of formerly ISIS controlled Syria have been utterly leveled. Those people, those civilians that need to be taken care of. Less they risk growing up disgruntled, alienated, disenfranchised and therefore becoming prey, potentially to entities like ISIS or whatever its next incarnation ends up being.

So, to say that ISIS has been territorially defeated, I mean, yes, that may in fact be the case, but to think that the region is necessarily safe or beyond from that sort of ideology that would be a very naive assumption to make.

[03:14:58] CHURCH: Thanks for your clarification. Arwa Damon reporting there from Istanbul. Many thanks.

Well, still to come, with a second summit between Donald Trump and Kim Jong-un now confirmed. We will look at what's being done to ensure its success.

Plus, a powerful U.S. House committee announces a new investigation into Donald Trump and the U.S. president has choice words for the committee's chairman. We're back in a moment.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

CHURCH: The U.S. special envoy for North Korea is now in Pyongyang to sort out critical details for a second nuclear summit.

President Trump announced in his State of the Union address that he and Kim Jong-un would meet on February 27th and 28th in Vietnam.

Now Paula Hancocks is live in Seoul. She joins us now. So, Paula, one of the biggest issues yet to be figured out by the U.S. special envoy is where the two leaders will meet. What is being said about that? PAULA HANCOCKS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, this is the second day that

Stephen Biegun has been in Pyongyang. And what we had been hearing over recent days from U.S. sources, including those within the Trump administration was that they wanted Da Nang, the coastal city. And they said that preparations were being finalized.

Now clearly, the fact that the U.S. president was unable to announce that in the State of the Union shows that North Korea doesn't necessarily agree. Potentially they would like Hanoi which is the capital where Kim Jong-un would presumably have to go as well to have a meeting, a state visit with the president of Vietnam as well.

So, it does appear as though there is still negotiation going on behind the scenes to try and figure out which city it will be in. But we do have a country at least. We have the dates, 27, 28 of February. And what everybody is hoping for, experts and long-time North Korean observers and officials, is that there more detail when it comes to this Vietnam summit.

Certainly, after the Singapore summit, this statement was vaguely worded working towards denuclearization. There were no specifics in there. And quite frankly, both leaders left that summit thinking they had got what they wanted. But they both believed they had completely different things. It was vague enough.

[03:19:52] Now we did hear from the South Korean side on Wednesday, the presidential spokesperson saying that they welcome the summit, they want to have something more concrete and more robust steps towards denuclearization in the second summit. And that's clearly the resounding opinion of anybody who has an interest in this. Rosemary?

CHURCH: Yes. And we definitely didn't see much come out of that first summit in Singapore. So, what will happen this time and what might the U.S., perhaps offer Kim Jong-un to entice him to speed up this denuclearization process?

HANCOCKS: Well, we are seeing more working level talks this time around that Steve Biegun in Pyongyang now, recently he was in Sweden meeting a North Korean counterpart as well. So, there is the groundwork being laid. But these are two very unusual leaders. And President Trump you do not have someone who necessarily always listens to his advisors or who takes the advice on those at the working level who have spent weeks beforehand trying to sort out the agenda.

The same with the North Korean leader Kim Jong-un. They are very individual leaders, they are the ones that leaders a top down process that we are seeing here.

So, it's difficult to see exactly what would happen. We have had some clues from Steve Biegun. He had a speech at Stanford University just last week. And he said that the president of the United States is ready to end the Korean War. He is not looking for regime change. The U.S. is not looking to invade North Korea.

And this is really the clearest signal we have had so far that President Trump would declare the end to the Korean War, which is what North Korea and South Korea want. It ended in 1953 with an armistice. North Korea wants a peace treaty.

So, if the U.S. can give this political statement of an end to the Korean War then that's certainly something that North Korea would want. Of course, it depends on what they would give in return. But they're saying they want corresponding measures from the U.S. that could potentially be one of them.

CHURCH: And we will watch to see if that indeed happens. Our Paula Hancocks reporting live Seoul in South Korea, 5.21 in the afternoon. Many thanks.

Well, the U.S. House intelligence committee has announced a sweeping investigation into whether any foreign country has leverage over President Trump. He called the probe presidential harassment and had some choice words for the committee chairman. That was just hours after he talked of reconciliation in his State of the Union address.

Our Jim Acosta is at the White House.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

JIM ACOSTA, CNN SENIOR WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: The president has gone from kumbaya to combat as he lashed out at House intelligence committee chairman Adam Schiff.

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Did you say Adam Schiff?

ACOSTA: Brand new probes into Russian election meddling --

TRUMP: I never heard of him.

ACOSTA: -- and any possible links to Mr. Trump's global business dealings.

TRUMP: Under what basis when he do that? He has no basis to do that. He's just a political hack who is trying to build a name for himself. It's called presidential harassment and it is unfortunate, and it really does hurt our country.

ACOSTA: The reason for the president's outburst, Schiff's investigations will be invasive looking into whether the Russian have any compromising information on the president or his family members that's being used as leverage.

REP. ADAM SCHIFF, (D) CALIFORNIA: We will be conducting our investigation to make sure that the country is protected.

ACOSTA: The Democratic chairman's announcement comes on the heels of the president's plea during the State of the Union address for the Democrats now in control of the House to not open new Russia investigations.

TRUMP: If there is going to be peace and legislation, there cannot be war and investigation. It just doesn't work that way. ACOSTA: That was one of many moments that seemed to divide not unite

members of Congress during a speech that was falsely billed as bipartisan.

TRUMP: Simply put walls works and walls save lives.

(APPLAUSE)

ACOSTA: Even with another government shutdown looming over his demand for his wall, the president previewed his strategy for the 2020 campaign. Labelling Democrats as socialist.

TRUMP: Tonight, we renew our resolve that America will never be a socialist country.

(APPLAUSE)

ACOSTA: But the president is facing an uphill climb. As a new CNN poll finds more than half of voters are not likely to support Mr. Trump's bid for re-election. Driving much of that opposition, women. A voting block the president tried to woo in a speech to unexpected results.

TRUMP: Nobody has benefited more in a thriving economy than women who have filled 58 percent of the newly created jobs last year.

(APPLAUSE)

TRUMP: You weren't supposed to do that. Thank you very much.

ACOSTA: As he called on Americans to resist the resistance.

TRUMP: But we must reject the politics of revenge, resistance and retribution and embrace the boundless potential of cooperation, compromise and the common good.

(APPLAUSE)

[03:25:03] ACOSTA: He received a bid of shade from House Speaker Pelosi. All throughout the speech female members of Congress could be seen registering their disapproval again and again.

TRUMP: We are considered far and away the hottest economy anywhere in the world. Not even close.

(APPLAUSE)

ACOSTA: Trump will go back to doing what he seems to love most about being president and that is when he heads to a rally next week in El Paso for his reelection campaign. Expect the president to continue to accuse Democrats of being socialist as one campaign advisor told me the president wants to run against socialism no matter who his opponent is.

Jim Acosta, CNN, the White House.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

CHURCH: Let's bring Siraj Hashmi. He is a commentary writer and editor at the Washington Examiner. Good to have you with us.

SIRAJ HASHMI, COMMENTARY WRITER AND EDITOR, WASHINGTON EXAMINER: Thank you for having me.

CHURCH: So, let's start with the announcement by the Democratic chairman of the House intelligence committee, Adam Schiff, that he intends to launch investigations into President Trump's ties to Russia and Saudi Arabia and any possible links to the president's global business dealings.

Mr. Trump responded by calling Schiff a political hack and said his actions amounted to presidential harassment. How much of this is about politics or is there more to this?

HASHMI: Well, right now, it seems that it's all about politics. I mean, Democrats in many ways still not gotten over the fact that they lost the election in 2016 by fact of getting the majority in the House by the 2018 midterm election. You know, they're trying to flex their muscles a little bit.

And by expanding the House oversight and the House intelligence committee investigations into the president's dealings before he was president while he was still a private citizen, while he was a businessman, into however he was connected to the Russian government, it seems to be overstepping their bounds and actually abusing their authority by Chairman Adam Schiff expanding the probe to, you know, look at business dealings he had prior to actually being president of the United States.

CHURCH: Right. And of course, those probes will be invasive as they try to determine if the Russians have any compromising information on Mr. Trump or his family that might be used perhaps as leverage against him. How will the president deal with all of this going forward given it does cross that red line he drew when he first took office that his family and his business dealings were off limits.

HASHMI: Well, it's possible that, you know, President Trump could react in a negative way, whether it be firing special counsel Robert Mueller, because he would be the ultimate arbiter with respect to say whatever the findings that the House finds in terms of their probe.

You know, just this past day, the House intelligence committee voted to send the transcripts that it had of these witness testimonies over to the special counsel's office. And this is really to, you know, fact check and basically -- it's really a perjury test really.

Because if you can find any of these witnesses lying to Congress, then all of a sudden you can bring up more charges like they did against former Trump lawyer Michael Cohen as well as Roger Stone, and basically get them dead to rights on things that they said. And they have facts on that they know they said was a lie.

And then all of a sudden you get further cooperation in that regard. And that could hurt the Trump presidency in more ways than one.

CHURCH: Siraj Hashmi, thank you so much for joining us. We appreciate it.

HASHMI: Thank you for having me.

CHURCH: And just ahead, the chances of a new Cold War are getting hotter. We will show you why arms experts are concerned.

Plus, he's not an official candidate but most Democratic voters repolled want Joe Biden to run for U.S. president. That story next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[03:30:00]

ROSEMARY CHURCH, CNN ANCHOR: Welcome back to CNN Newsroom. I'm Rosemary Church. I want to check the headlines for you this hour.

British Prime Minister Theresa May is on a mission to get Brexit back on track. And listen to her as she (ph) is to meet with E.U. leaders in Brussels, but they've already said they won't reopen the deal. The Prime Minister was just in Northern Ireland where she did not seem to make much progress.

In Venezuela, forces loyal to embattled President Nicolas Maduro are blocking a bridge where desperately needed humanitarian aid is supposed to be delivered from Colombia. Opposition leader, Juan Guaido, is urging the military to let the food, medicine and other necessities through.

The U.S House Intelligence Committee has announced a new investigation into President Donald Trump. It wants to know if any foreign country has leverage over him and is driving his actions. Mr. Trump calls it presidential harassment and calls the committee chairman Democrat, Adam Schiff, a political hack.

Well, there are troubling signs. The U.S. and Russia are heading into another nuclear arms race. It's dangerous deja vu, especially as the two countries play tit for tat over a longstanding nuclear treaty.

Our Brian Todd has the story.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

BRIAN TODD, CNN CORRESPONDENT: It's an enormous piece of firepower at Vladimir Putin's fingertips, the Yars, intercontinental ballistic missile. Test fired by Putin's forces on Wednesday, launched from a base in northern Russia into Siberia, according to the Russian military. One of these can carry multiple nuclear warheads at a time, right into the heart of the continental United States.

KINGSTON REIF, ARMS CONTROL ASSOCIATION: Equivalent to as much as five times as powerful as the nuclear weapons that destroyed Hiroshima and Nagasaki during World War II. TODD: While the Russian test firing is not a violation of international treaties, and the U.S. conducts similar test, the missile launch raises eyebrows because it came just a few hours after President Trump, in his State of the Union Address, explained why the U.S. is getting out of a medium range nuclear weapons treaty with Russia, claiming Putin's government cheated on the deal, which Russia denies.

In the speech, Trump also seemed to deliver an ominous warning about America's missile development.

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Perhaps we can negotiate a different agreement adding China and others or perhaps we can't. In which case, we will outspend and out innovate all others by far.

TODD: Now, analysts are warning about what the president and Putin could be unleashing.

REIF: The president is proposing steps that in my view increase the risk of renewed nuclear competition and a potential arms race. We know what that world looks like. We saw that world during the cold war. It's not a world in which the United States is safer or a better of. In fact, it's a world in which United States is far less safe.

TODD: Experts are worried not only about the U.S. and Russia getting out of that Medium Range Nuclear Weapons Treaty. They said another deal, called The New Start Treaty, limiting the number of long range missiles and bombers on both side runs out in two years and the two powers may not renew it. Putin and his generals, experts say, seem to preparing for an unlimited arms race.

MICHAEL CARPENTER, FORMER NSC OFFICIAL IN RUSSIA: They're still investing heavily in modern capabilities, including nuclear capabilities, submarines, intercontinental ballistic missiles and the like.

TODD: Just over the past year, Putin has unveiled a battery of advance weapons he's developing, an intercontinental ballistic missile called the Sormat, which the Russians say can carry 16 nuclear war heads, enough to wipe out Texas; nuclear powered cruised missile that can fly around the world low to the ground; and an unmanned underwater drone, launched from a submarine which could carry a nuclear warhead directly to an enemies city.

[03:35:04] Analyst say by building up these weapons and making aggressive moves like invading Crimea, Putin seems to be antagonizing the U.S. in ways where he knows America won't respond directly.

CARPENTER: Putin's strategy is competition sort of conflict, he doesn't want to elevate this to the point of conflict because then he knows he loses.

TODD: But experts warned there are scenarios where American forces could respond and get drawn into a dangerous military confrontation with the Russians if there is a miscalculation by a field commander in an area where Russian forces are deployed. They point out that's already happened in Syria when Russian mercenaries tried to take an area held by American back forces and at least a couple of hundred Russians were killed.

Brian Todd, CNN, Washington.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

CHURCH: The Taliban is calling unprecedented talks with Afghan politicians very successful. Both sides met for two days in Moscow. No current Afghan government officials were invited, but former President Hamid Karzai was there. He said he was happy to sit down with his former enemies. The Taliban expressed hopes for a complete peace in Afghanistan. There was consensus on some issues, but not on women's rights and Taliban demands for an Islamic Constitution.

Well, in the U.S., a clear message from Democrats in a brand-new CNN poll, bring on Joe Biden. The strong majority of his party supporters say he should run for president in 2020.

Our David Chalian reports.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

DAVID CHALIAN, CNN POLITICAL DIRECTOR: He's not even a candidate yet in the 2020 race, but Joe Biden does quite well in this brand-new exclusive CNN poll conducted by SSRS.

Take a look at the hungry Democratic electorate for Joe Biden, 62 percent of Democrats in this poll tell us they would like Joe Biden to get in this race. That is very different from what we saw when we asked that question in 2015, in August, and in the fall when he was thinking about getting in, Democrats were about evenly divided, no more.

And take a look at this, when we ask people, are you very or somewhat likely to support, and we listed a bunch candidates for president 2020, Joe Biden comes out on top 50 percent. He's the only candidate we tested that breaks 50 percent of very or somewhat likely to support and that's across all Americans.

Donald Trump is at 41 percent, Bernie Sanders at 41 percent, Kamala Harris and Elizabeth Warren round out the top five there. Among Democrats, Joe Biden is also up top, 44 percent of Democrats in this poll say they are very likely to vote for Biden, 32 percent Kamala Harris, 30 percent for Bernie Sanders and then you see Warren, Booker, and Beto O'Rourke, down in that next year. But Joe Biden is clearly a welcome presence in this race among Democrats and is showing some strength nationally against President Trump.

The other key warning sign here for the president is the number of Americans in this poll that say, it is not at all likely they will support him, 52 percent. Say it is not at all likely that they will support Donald Trump for president, that's a majority and that means he's good to start his reelection campaign with a pretty big mountain decline. David Chalian, CNN, Washington.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

CHURCH: Democratic leaders in the U.S. state of Virginia are refusing to step down in the face of three separate scandals all in the past week. The Governor and Attorney General, both admit that more than 30 years ago, they wore black face, a racist caricature of black Americans. And the lieutenant governor is finding allegations of sexual assault.

CNN's Ryan Nobles, has our report.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

RYAN NOBLES, CNN WASHINGON CORRESPONDENT: Virginia's capital, already reeling from scandal is now spinning out of control. All three of the state's top leaders, Governor Ralph Northam --

GOV. RALPH NORTHAM (D), VIRGINIA: It is definitely not me.

NOBLES: Lieutenant Governor Justin Fairfax -- and now the state's Attorney General Mark Herring are all under a cloud of controversy.

Just days after a racist picture emerged under Governor Northam's name in his medical school yearbook, Herring revealed in a statement that he once dressed in black face as part of a costume party.

"In 1980, when I was a 19 year-old undergraduate in college, some friends suggested we attend a party dress like rappers we listened to at the time like, Kurtis Blow and perform a song," Herring said. "It sounds ridiculous even now writing it. But because of our ignorance and glib attitudes and because we did not have an appreciation for the experiences and perspectives of others, we dressed up and put on wigs and brown makeup."

As news of Herring's statement rattled on Capitol Square, a new development in the sexual assault allegation against Lieutenant Governor Justin Fairfax. His accuser, Vanessa Tyson, now represented by the same attorney who represented Christine Blasey Ford during the Brett Kavanaugh hearings, released a lengthy statement, laying out in detail what she alleges happened in 2004 in the aftermath.

[03:39:59] She writes, where she makes it clear, quote, "Mr. Fairfax put his hand behind my neck and forcefully push my head toward his crotch. I did not want to engage in oral sex with Mr. Fairfax and I never gave him any form of consent, quite the opposite."

Fairfax has vehemently denied the claims. In a closed door meeting with Democratic leaders, he launched into an expletive laden attack against Tyson and her supporters. Fairfax admits the two were together but claims the encounter was consensual. Leaving the capital today, Fairfax refused to comment on the accusations. He later released a statement saying, quote, "Reading Dr. Tyson's account is painful. I've never done anything like what she suggests." At the Governor's Mansion, Northam, the man at the center of the original scandal, continues to show signs he isn't going anywhere. Today, he met privately with prominent black leaders to ask for their help as he attempts to overcome this controversy.

CHARLES STEELE JR., SOUTHERN CHRISTIAN LEADERSHIP CONFERENCE: I'm very motivated. I feel I'm might come in (ph) is a positive situation.

NOBLES: And in another sign that Northam is ready to dig in, he's hired a communications firm to help guide him to the process of clearing his name.

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CHURCH: Ryan Nobles with that report. Well, call them climate change warriors, young activists demand change and Democrats are listening, a pushed for a green new deal that is next.

And if it sounds like you've heard this before, that's because you have. We just live through one of the hottest years on record and scientist say expect only worst to come. We are back with that in just a moment.

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CHURCH: Welcome back, everyone. Well, a body has been recovered from a wreckage of the plane carrying football star Emiliano Sala. The human remains were found during the search for the missing aircraft, but officials did not say if the body is Sala's or his pilots.

Sala, recruit for Cardiff City was traveling to the U.K. on January 21st when the single engine Piper Malibu disappeared from radar over the English Channel. Bad weather delayed efforts to recover the plane.

Crews are searching the rubble of a collapsed apartment building in Istanbul, hoping to find survivors. At least two people were killed when the seven-story building came down. Security camera footage shows people running as the building collapsed. Turkish media reported as many as 30 residents were inside. So far, six victims have been pulled from the rubble.

[03:45:09] In San Francisco, crews installing fiber optic cables hidden underground gas line causing a dramatic explosion. Five buildings burned, but thankfully there were no injuries. It took firefighters more than two hours to put out the flames. Homes nearby where evacuated.

Well, Democrats say they will soon reveal a major plan to not only create jobs, but help save the planet. It's called the Green New Deal. Young activists are pushing the initiative and they have managed to get powerful Democrats on board.

Our Bill Weir tells us more.

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BILL WEIR, CNN CORRESPONDENT: The problem is so big, it's hard to imagine. But America and the world's top scientists widely agree that we are running out of time. That mankind has as little as a dozen years to stop burning so much carbon and save life on earth as we know it but you'd never know it listening to the State of the Union.

TRUMP: The United States is now the number one producer of oil and natural gas anywhere in the world.

STACEY ABRAMS, (D), GEORGIA GOVERNOR NOMINEE: We can do so much more. Take action on climate change.

WEIR: And while Stacy Abrams rebuttal only mentioned the end of the world in passing, a new generation of activists or now forcing the issue in the halls of Congress.

VARSHINI PRAKASH, CO-FOUNDER, SUNRISE MOVEMENT: We brought 200 young people to tell Nancy Pelosi and Democratic leadership, we need you to step up, we need you to back something like a Green New Deal.

WEIR: They call themselves the Sunrise Movement. And after dozens were arrested for occupying the offices of top Democrats, dozens of top Democrats are now singing their song.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I support the Green New Deal.

WEIR: And of the Sunrise founders came back to Capitol Hill, instead of calling police, Senator Ed Markey gave her a ticket to the State of the Union. And he's drafting a Green New Deal resolution with Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.

And hos specific are we getting? Is there a moratorium on oil and gas? Is there a conservation correlated -- you are going to pay to plant trees, what are we talking about?

SEN. ED MARKEY (D), MASSACHUSETTS: We haven't announced the specifics of it yet, but it does set a high goal for a 100 percent deployment of none greenhouse gas omitting sources into our atmosphere.

WEIR: By 2030?

MARKEY: Again, we are going to announce at the right time, what it is.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This nation is asking for action and action now.

WEIR: The original new deal helped pull America out of the great depression with massive public works project, dams, and grids, a civilian conservation corps over 2 million strong. But it also set up the modern welfare state. And so, the Sunrise are demanding not just clean power but Medicare for all, resettlement funds and climate related jobs for the neediest populations.

PRAKASH: And so more than anything, I actually feeling heartened in this moment. WEIR: Yes, you do.

PRAKASH: Yes.

WEIR: You know, you are going to look at the lawmakers and say, oh, no. We have to wait for them to agree on something, we're doomed.

PRAKASH: Probably, but we're not waiting on them. And we are actually building a movement that is going to be powerful enough to make something like a green new deal, a political inevitably in this country.

WEIR: But in an age of bitter division, they're calling for trillions in this spending and a kind of national unity not seen since the Apollo project. Ironic, since Cape Canaveral's moon shot launch pads are currently being fortified against sea level rise caused by climate change.

Bill Weir, CNN, Washington.

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CHURCH: And scientist say last year was the fourth hottest on record and it's only going to get hotter. Let's turn to our meteorologist Pedram Javaheri who joins us from the International Weather Center with more details on this and it's is a huge concern, particularly for those people who live in already very hot climates.

PEDRAM JAVAHERI, CNN METEOROLOGIST: Absolutely. Absolutely is. And you know, every single week we get an additional study that comes back and supports exactly what we've seen to take shape in the past decade or so.

But this particular study, courtesy of Noah, courtesy of NASA, a joint study here, really show you a global perspective to all of this because we know 2018, as you mentioned, fourth hottest year on record, but really the past five years have come in the top five categories.

In fact, another way to look at it, a great visual here, will be looking at a bar graph perspective of this and you see 2016 easily the warmest year on record and then, 15, 17, and 18 following right behind that as well for the number is 2, 3, 4. So, really shows how things have played out just in recent years, and of course, we now know with the recent study being released for 2018, also had the second lowest sea ice extent for both Antarctica and also for the Arctic region as well.

[03:50:09] So here's the perspective, in the 1980's, the sea ice coverage was generally about 2.5 million square kilometers, which is roughly the size of Mexico and also the size of Central America combined. A 95 percent reduction of that was observed in 2018, 0.13 million square kilometers, which by the way is the size of Nicaragua.

So, again it shows you that rapid depletion we've seen in recent years and of course we know the global average temperature has risen about 1 degree Celsius. This was in 2018 compared to the 1880 average, and all of this, of course, we know the Paris Climate Agreement that really twice the cap at 1.5 so we are well -- well in route to getting to the 1.5 degrees Celsius threshold that has been set there.

But we know in 2018, we also have 42 global disasters that were upwards billion dollars in cost or greater. The United States had 14 of them. I guess number one, two and three were on the United States. There were Hurricane Michael, Hurricane Florence and the Camp Creek Fire in California. They caused these disasters on our planet, three of them are occurring in United States.

And really another interesting finding from this particular study is looking at the early 1980's, that grey line right here, that's the average cost in billions of dollars in the United States of natural disasters every single year. That was topping out somewhere around six -- 1 billion disasters in the 1980s.

Works your way into the past decade, you noticed they are now coming in somewhere between 12 to 16, $1 billion or greater disasters occurring every single year. So a dramatic increase from what was just a couple of decades ago, so all of this really play well together and you look at the most cost this year's coming in conjunction directly with the most hot years on record.

So, a lot of this really sobering news and we just see more data supporting it every single month are now moving forward.

CHURCH: Absolutely, thank you so much, Pedram, for taking us through that. We appreciate it.

JAVAHERI: Thanks. You bet.

CHURCH: And coming up next here CNN Newsroom. we capture the sounds of a rare event in the world of music.

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CHURCH: The Italian city of Cremona is home to some of the world's most priceless violins, violas and cellos made by such historic craftsman, as Antonio Stradivari and Giuseppe Guarneri. They have kept at the town's famous violin Museum. As Barbie Nadeau reports recordings from these old instruments are going to be used to create brand-new music.

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BARBIE NADEAU, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: Few things compared to the sound of a virtuoso playing, but this is no ordinary instrument, it's an Amati viola from the 17th century and it is being played here in Cremona, were music making is an art form.

These instruments are displayed in the town's renowned violin museum, Renaissance and Baroque masterpieces made by legendary artists like Stradivari and Amati, who created many of the first violins, violas and cellos as we know them today.

No one makes string instruments like this anymore, which are created to delight the Royal Courts of Europe. And the unique sound they create can't be replicated either.

[03:55:05] Maestro Fausto Cacciatori is in charge of taking this precious instrument out of their museum cases and down to the auditorium where their sound can be recorded.

My dreams is that these instruments that we are conserving will be played in two or 300 years' time and that the sound is just like we hear today, he says.

Two tech companies had teamed up to immortalized the notes of this centuries old instruments into a soundbite to do just that.

THOMAS KORITKE, SOUND ENGINEER, E-INSTRUMENTS: We record everything you can perform on the violin, but not as part of a musical performance, but basically bit by bit, one by one. So, we are recording long notes, short notes, just broken down into a very tiny pieces and elements of the performance.

NADEAU: Once the recordings are finished, software developers will be able to use the notes and tones for their own composition. But it takes complete silence in order to carry out these recordings. The towers had to cooperate, it close this street with cobblestones to traffic in order to try to limit the vibrations and reverberations inside the recording studio. The project creators believe the sacrifices will pay off.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It will be something that we'll have -- to digitized composer to make music and it will be a very practical tool, but it will never be like having a live musician.

NADEAU: 18th-century composer Niccolo Paganini wrote this very music in a Guarneri violin just like this man is playing. Paganini is often quoted saying he wouldn't repeat his original performances for fear they wouldn't sound the same. Thanks to these recording that will never be a problem again.

Barbie Nadeau for CNN, Cremona.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

CHURCH: Spectacular. And thanks so much for your company. I'm Rosemary Church. Remember to connect with me anytime on Twitter. We'd love to hear from you and the news continues now with Max Foster in London. You're watching CNN. Have a great day.

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