Return to Transcripts main page
U.K. Meets European Council President In Brussels; France Recalls Ambassador To Italy In Diplomatic Spat; Football Star Emiliano Sala's Body Identified; Venezuelans In the Slums Face Hunger, Question Maduro; Jeff Bezos Accuses "National Enquirer" Of Extortion Attempt. Aired 12m-1a ET
Aired February 8, 2019 - 00:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
JOHN VAUSE, CNN ANCHOR (voice-over): Hello, everybody. Thanks for being with us. I'm John Vause. You're watching CNN NEWSROOM.
Ahead this hour, rubbing shoulders with the Brexit crisis. Not only does the E.U. refuse to offer any concessions to the British prime minister but they had nothing but praise for the plan being offered by her political rival, Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn.
Amazon's Jeff Bezos accuses the "National Enquirer" of extortion and blackmail in an extraordinary online post.
So is the "Enquirer" still doing the bidding of President Trump?
And the U.S. president constantly uses Israel's West Bank barrier as a wall that works. But the Israeli government has long insisted it's not a wall -- and it isn't. And it's a solution to a problem the U.S. does not have.
VAUSE: There's no breaker in sight as the Brexit deadline looms. The latest word from talks between the British prime minister and E.U. leaders in Brussels: no deal. Theresa May failed to get the E.U. to reopen the U.K.'s withdrawal agreement. E.U. leaders say they will only make changes to a separate political declaration which is nonbinding. Now the prime minister is to meet with the Irish prime minister in Dublin, where she is hoping for a better outcome. From Brussels, Erin McLaughlin has the details of what happened in that meeting.
ERIN MCLAUGHLIN, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, it's Brexit on repeat here in Brussels. British prime minister Theresa May arrived on Thursday and had a series of meetings with the E.U.'s top leaders but left with little in the way of the kinds of guarantees she is looking for, other than the promise of more talks. She met with the president of the European Council, Donald Tusk; out
of that meeting, she says she expects Brexit to happen on schedule and she also said she confronted President Tusk over his remarks about a special place in hell for the Brexiteers, who are the architects of the E.U. referendum.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
THERESA MAY, BRITISH PRIME MINISTER: First of all, I raised with President Tusk the language that he used yesterday. It was not helpful and caused widespread dismay in the United Kingdom.
The point I made to him is that we should both be working to ensure that we can deliver a close relationship between the United Kingdom and the European Union in the future and that's what we should be focusing on.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MCLAUGHLIN: An E.U. official tells me that President Tusk stands by those remarks. He also told me that, during their meeting, President Tusk pointed to the proposals of May's political adversary, Jeremy Corbyn, as a way out of the crisis, something that's not likely to have sat well with the British prime minister, just later tweeting that the impasse continues with no breakthrough in sight -- Erin McLaughlin, CNN, Brussels.
VAUSE: CNN's European Affairs commentator Dominic Thomas joins us now from Los Angeles.
So Jeremy Corbyn, Dominic, Jeremy Corbyn to the rescue, just let that sink in for a moment. He's been hiding his light under a bushel all this time. Tusk telling the British Tory prime minister the Labour Party opposition's plan is promising.
OK, this is extraordinary. Let's hear from Corbyn first. This is him outlining the five demands he has to -- Brexit demands that he has in return for Labour's support. Listen to this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JEREMY CORBYN, LEADER, LABOUR PARTY: The principal points are that we need a comprehensive customs union with the European Union. We need a comprehensive trade agreed with the European Union and we need what's called a dynamic relationship on rights and work, rights of environmental protection and consumer protection so this country doesn't then consistently fall behind in the future.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VAUSE: That's great, you know, all great. But what's not clear is that if any of those demands can actually be met. DOMINIC THOMAS, CNN EUROPEAN AFFAIRS COMMENTATOR: Yes and I think one thing to not underestimate what is absolutely extraordinary is that you have the leader of the opposition here talking about Brexit rights. So at least the official position of the Labour Party is to have some kind of Brexit which is what's so incredible about this and so divisive within his own party as well.
If you look very closely at what he's done with these latest five demands, which has sort of been toned from the initial kind of six that were proposed by the Labour Party, is you find in their words like alignment and commitment and so on and so forth, words that will, of course, drive the Brexiteers crazy who want no regulations, no alignments and no obligations with the European Union.
The fact remains though that the proposal to have a customs union and to maintain an alignment with the single market solves the Irish backstop problem. The problem is though for Theresa May is that if she goes towards the center to try and achieve a deal, she's going to fracture the Conservative Party that is being driven by the Brexiteer agenda on the far right side. And so it's a kind of catch-22 --
THOMAS: -- situation.
But what's also remarkable is that Donald Tusk today really doubled down not only sticking by and standing by his comments from yesterday but then as you just mentioned to go across and speak and talk about the fact that it was Jeremy Corbyn's plan just goes to point to sort of the, you know, the ultimately sort of, you know, surrealistic aspect of these -- of all these negotiations.
VAUSE: It may have spent all of Thursday sticking a fork in her eye it seems to be considered an improvement on what she endured in Brussels. , you know, it's not just Tusk which is talking up Corbyn's plan, you know, the E.U. Brexit negotiator and a whole lot of others, it seems to be a clear signal coming from the E.U. they've lost faith in her ability to get anything done in Parliament.
THOMAS: Yes. I think they lost faith with her but also they can see clearly and unambiguously just how divided the Parliament is and how incredibly complicated it is to get -- to get anything through there.
And I think that the fact that they've said to her that they, of course, are willing to continue discussions but not until the end of the month of February just points to the sort of the fertility of the exercise at the moment and that there is no way of kind of advancing or budging on this and they don't have time for her right now, basically.
VAUSE: Yes. I mean, you know, this is -- she still caught in a catch-22 in a maze inside a house of horrors. Meantime, the outer bands of this looming no deal Brexit disaster having an increasing impact on the economy. Listen to this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) MARK CARNEY, GOVERNOR, BANK OF ENGLAND: And the fog of Brexit is causing short-term volatility in the economic data and more fundamentally it is creating a series of tensions in the economy, tensions for business. Although many companies are stepping up their contingency planning, the economy as a whole is not yet prepared for a no deal, no transition exit.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VAUSE: Still not prepared and the GDP would take hit, they went on to say. , you know, a divorce is never easy and often it does gets nasty. But, you know, of all scenarios, two years of, you know, of how Brexit would play out, this would seem to be the absolute rock bottom worst. It couldn't have been any worse than what we're looking at now.
THOMAS: Yes. Well, I mean, it's very hard to anticipate this. I mean, let's not forget that the parliament initially voted not only for there to be a meaningful vote but also to trigger article -- to trigger Article 50.
And so where we've ended up is just -- is just absolutely, you know, extraordinary that they've been unable to come up with anything that would go through parliament and they could bring to the European Union.
And Theresa May crosses the channel with demands that the European Union tell them they will not support, the latest being these alternative arrangements to the backstop and so on when the E.U. has said that they wouldn't go along and touch this.
And so, of course, as far as businesses are concerned, what they're looking for is security and stability and there's no evidence of that at the moment.
It is as if you're watching a sort of a Hollywood movie, where, in the opening scene, an explosive device timer has been set and we're just waiting to find, by the end of it, whether we're going to end up with it going off or end up with this kind of no deal, you know.
And at this particular juncture, there's no indication that anything else is going to step in to stop this, that just simply ending up at the end of March and exiting and crashing out of the European Union.
VAUSE: it's a very long movie. Stay with us, Dominic, because there is unhappiness not just in Britain with E.U. leaders. There's unhappiness in Europe and other places as well.
France is recalling its ambassador in Rome amid a worsening diplomatic spat with Italy. The wrath has been brewing for months with France accusing Italy's far-right politicians of insulting President Emmanuel Macron after he spoke out against the rise of populism in Europe.
Tensions came to head early this week when one of Italy's deputy prime ministers met with the Yellow Vests. That's an anti-government movement which has been sweeping across France, posing a direct challenge to Emmanuel Macron.
So, Dominic, back with us on this. , you know, the last time France recalled its ambassador from Rome, June 1940. And that's when the stakes were a little high. Mussolini had just declared war on France.
So, you know, the current souring of diplomatic relations, it seems to be a lot more than just name-calling going on here. The bad blood sort of goes back, you know, years.
THOMAS: Yes, it does. And I think what's extraordinary is that Emmanuel Macron has taken some pretty harsh criticism but the bromance with Donald Trump ended when he went after him on Twitter and yet Emmanuel Macron didn't really react to that.
The comments of Salvini, the far right Minister of the Interior, and of Di Maio, the leader of the Five Star Movement in this kind of three-headed government, where, at the top of, sits Prime Minister Conte, are particularly biting, I would say, because they've hit Macron where it really hurts.
There are two issues that Macron has been defending. One is them is the European Union and he's absolutely right that, in the last five to seven years, there's been a remarkable shift towards the far right and towards detractors of the European Union.
We see it in Austria, in Hungary, Poland, Italy, you name it. Brexit feeds into this, of course, as does the Trump presidency.
But where he is really, I think, hurt Macron here are in these negotiations or on these talks with the Yellow Vests because the opposition --
THOMAS: -- to Macron right now is very much galvanized around this particular issue and it's bringing together Le Pen's new party and the far left Melenchon party, the France Insoumise. And Emmanuel Macron is struggling to extricate himself from this political crisis at home.
And to have other leaders interfere here in essentially what are the domestic affairs of the European Union country is really crossing a red line.
Now that doesn't mean that Macron has not himself had a level of hypocrisy when it comes to dealing with the migration crisis and so on. But it has really hit him where it hurts.
VAUSE: OK, Dominic, yes, happy times across Europe and with Britain as well and it sits to get all happier, I guess. Good to see you. Thank you.
THOMAS: Thank you, John.
VAUSE: The body of Argentine football player Emiliano Sala has been identified after his flight went down over the English Channel two weeks ago. The star forward was recently signed to the English Premier club, Cardiff City. A private search team recovered his body from the crash site on Wednesday. The pilot's body is yet to be found.
Humanitarian assistance for Venezuela has reached the country's border with Colombia but the trucks carrying the supplies are yet to reach those in need because Venezuelan troops blocked a bridge connecting the two nations. CNN's Isa Soares is at the Colombia-Venezuela border with details.
ISA SOARES, CNN CORRESPONDENT: I'm standing on the Bolivar Bridge and you're seeing everyone here in a rather hurried pace because at 8 o'clock that bridge at the border between Venezuela and Colombia closes behind me. It will open again at 6 o'clock in the morning.
People are making their way back home after buying basic staples: food, some of them actually coming for medication, anything they can get their hands on, of course, because there's a short supply on the other side, very -- the little that is left is very expensive.
Now, meanwhile, as people make their way, about 15 or so minutes away from here (INAUDIBLE) inaugurated. The first truckload of U.S. aid has started to arrive. They carry basic goods for a lot of the people in Venezuela.
Now they are standing, they're staying in the warehouses in (INAUDIBLE) bridge. And there's a reason for that because on that bridge, on the Venezuelan side of that bridge, Nicolas Maduro's forces have basically blocked the bridge with two (INAUDIBLE) containers and one petrol tanker.
And now what you have, it really is a test of the wills.
Will Nicolas Maduro, will his men let that aid through?
If they do, then Nicolas Maduro looks weakened and a lot of his generals will then defect and support the people.
But if they don't, then Juan Guaido, who's staked so much of his presidency on this, will look like he's not in control of the country.
And worth bearing in mind, too, that Juan Guaido, at the moment, is a man with a microphone and a phone. He has no territorial control of Venezuela. So a high-stakes game that people have been telling me, every single hour that I have been here, where is our aid?
And if it doesn't cross it, one lady said to me, we're going to come to that bridge and we're going to cross it and we're going to move the tankers ourselves -- Isa Soares, CNN, at the Venezuelan-Colombian border.
VAUSE: Next on CNN NEWSROOM, the power of truth and honesty. It seems the "National Enquirer" may have picked the wrong billionaire when it allegedly went after Jeff Bezos. He's accused the tabloid of blackmail and extortion and published the emails with all the alleged salacious details, which he says, are proof.
VAUSE: In an extraordinary blog post, Amazon founder Jeff Bezos has accused the "National Enquirer" of attempted blackmail and extortion. Keep in mind, Bezos also owns "The Washington Post."
Well, the owner of the "Enquirer" is a long-time associate of the U.S. president. This all comes down to a story of threats, sex and politics. Oliver Darcy has details.
OLIVER DARCY, CNN BUSINESS SENIOR MEDIA CORRESPONDENT: It doesn't get much more explosive than this. In a tell-all blog post published Thursday afternoon, Amazon Jeff Bezos accused the "National Enquirer" of, in his words, "extortion and blackmail."
This all goes back to when the "National Enquirer" published a story, revealing that Jeff Bezos had been involved in an affair. In that story were text messages the "National Enquirer" obtained between Bezos and his mistress.
Bezos has since launched an investigation into how those messages were leaked in the first place and whether politics may have been a motivating force.
The "National Enquirer" CEO is, of course, David Pecker, a long-time friend of Donald Trump's. And because Bezos owns "The Washington Post," which covers Trump critically at times, the president is no fan of Bezos.
Bezos, as he is being blackmailed now for investigating whether there were any politics at play behind the "National Enquirer" story. According to one of the emails Bezos released, the "National Enquirer's" chief content officer, Dylan Howard, threatened that if he did not drop his investigation, the magazine might publish more revealing photos of him, among other things.
In another email, a lawyer from the "National Enquirer's" parent company suggested an agreement, in which Bezos or a spokesperson would say they would have no evidence that politics was at play.
Bezos said he would not capitulate to extortion and blackmail. He instead chose to publish all the messages online and they're really quite extraordinary. It's going to be interesting now to see how this plays out moving forward. We reached out to the "National Enquirer" but they have not responded to our request for comment -- Oliver Darcy, CNN, New York.
VAUSE: To summarize this, a man named Pecker owns the "Enquirer," a tabloid magazine, which has been accused of threatening to publish incriminating pictures of a below-the-belt selfie taken by Amazon billionaire Jeff Bezos unless he drops his own investigation into the "Enquirer."
Welcome to 2019. It's just like 2018, only worse. CNN legal analyst Areva Martin joins us now from Los Angeles with more.
OK, Areva, Bezos published what he said, you know, where the email exchanges between the lawyers to him and American Media which owns the "Enquirer." , you know, again, keep in mind, "The Washington Post," which Bezos owns, has been looking into political motivation, possible political motivation -- read Donald Trump -- for a story the "Enquirer" ran about Bezos and an extramarital affair he had.
And like here's part of the emails, which I think could mean trouble for American Media.
At this point of the conversation, the "National Enquirer" has made it known they have these graphic photos as well as these steamy text messages from Bezos. This is what it reads.
"Please be advised that our news gathering and reporting on matters involving your client, including any use of your client's private photographs, has been and will continue to be consistent with applicable laws."
You know, they then -- it goes on to talk about, you know, demands that "The Washington Post" drop the investigation, threatens legal actions if it doesn't.
And now comes to killer line.
"That said, if your client agrees to cease and desist such defamatory behavior, we are willing to engage in constructive conversations regarding the texts and photos which we have in our possession. Dylan Howard stands ready to discuss the matter at your convenience."
A common defense for extortion and blackmail could be that, you know, that this is within the bounds of normal business. This is not within the boundaries of normal business.
AREVA MARTIN, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: No, John. This is pretty extraordinary. You have AMI, the parent company of the "National Enquirer," that has a --
MARTIN: -- history of using strong-arm tactics, a history of catch and kill and this relationship with Donald Trump. So you have this media company essentially saying to a private individual, if you don't capitulate to the demands that we are making, we will publish these embarrassing photographs about you.
Imagine if this were a 16-year-old girl or a 35-year-old single mom and not one of the most powerful and one of the wealthiest men in the country.
You know, what would they do in a similar situation?
Jeff Bezos turned the tables on AMI and said, rather than capitulate, rather than to agree to this agreement that's been presented to him, he goes public with it.
He says, "Let's air to the public what AMI is demanding that I do."
And I think this is going to raise some serious problems for AMI, particularly given the non-prosecution agreement that AMI has with federal prosecutors, related to the Michael Cohen campaign finance violation charges that he was indicted on.
VAUSE: There's a comic sort of irony in all of this because AMI has this deal with the Southern District of New York that they basically struck this non-prosecutorial plea deal, because they were all part of the hush money payment made by Cohen on behalf of Trump to the two women who said they had extramarital affairs with Trump.
"National Enquirer" basically withheld a story after paying up -- you know, a bunch of money to one of the women. I mean, so that deal that would seem to be just off the table now, right?
MARTIN: Well, that deal said that AMI could not engage in any kind of criminal conduct for at least three years.
And so, the question becomes whether this letter -- whether this alleged blackmail and extortion is baseless cause?
Does that violate that non-prosecution agreement?
Does that now mean that everything that the federal prosecutors learned in investigating the campaign violations against AMI come to the light, come -- you know, become known to the public and does it become the basis of a prosecution against key members in the AMI organization?
VAUSE: You know, what are -- what are -- what are sort of a stock excise in contrast? One man, Donald Trump, pays hush money to cover everything up. Another man puts it all out there. This is Jeff Bezos. He actually put in his blog, he wrote this.
"Something unusual happened to me yesterday. Actually, for me it wasn't just unusual, it was a first. I was made an offer I could not refuse. Or at least that's what the people and the 'National Enquirer' thought. I'm glad they thought that because it emboldened them to put it all in writing."
If this was done verbally with no record, you could argue, oh, just a misunderstanding, just deny it outright. Pretty hard to argue that when it's written and documented.
MARTIN: And I cannot imagine that the lawyer for AMI or the senior executive that works for AMI had any idea that Jeff Bezos would go public with this, would publish it. And he said he did so at great cost to himself, his family, his relationship.
Although the "Enquirer" had already published text messages between Bezos and his mistress, they are now threatening to publish very embarrassing -- maybe sexually explicit photographs that would even make this divorce with his wife, I'm sure, even more complicated and cause him even more embarrassment.
VAUSE: You know, the president has very close ties, as we said, with the "National Enquirer" and its owner. Also, he also has a longstanding feud with Jeff Bezos because most of the reporting done by "The Washington Post" into his presidency.
When the "Enquirer" story about Bezos and the extramarital affair was first published by the "Enquirer," Trump tweeted, "So, sorry to hear the news about Jeff Bozo being taken down by a competitor whose reporting, I understand, is far more accurate than the reporting in his lobbyist newspaper, the Amazon Washington Post," blah, blah, blah.
What are the implications here for the president if any of those allegations of blackmail or attempted blackmail actually can be linked back to him?
MARTIN: Well, it's rather unusual, John, that the president of the United States would have a comment about the divorce of a private citizen.
Again, why is the president even commenting on Jeff Bezos' divorce in such a gleeful way?
And now, the allegation that they want Bezos to make is that there is nothing politically motivated about the investigation or the reporting on Jeff Bezos. So this email or this tweet, rather, could become a part of any federal and possibly even state investigation of these charges that have now been leveled against AMI by Jeff Bezos.
And we know the president doesn't think, you know, strategically. He doesn't think about what he is doing when he issues of these tweets. He just does so from a place of emotion and we've -- have seen these tweets get him into trouble before in other court cases.
So I would not be surprised if that tweet about the divorce and Jeff Bezos doesn't become a central part in an investigation related to this letter and these attempts by AMI to have Bezos in -- his investigation about where the tweets came or where the text message just came from in the first place and why they were interested in his text messages and his relationship with this woman he's apparently --
MARTIN: -- having an affair with. VAUSE: You know, it's extraordinary that Bezos has done this. It seems to be, in some ways, just a gamechanger in how these things might just play out in the future. He's just, you know, essentially putting himself out there in literally in a way that I don't think anybody has ever really done before and has brought all of this -- you know, it's changed how all of this will play out and really -- this is extraordinary.
Areva, thank you so much. Good to see you.
MARTIN: Good to see you, John.
VAUSE: Still to come here, why U.S. lawmakers negotiating a deal over border security funding may want to pay close attention to the lesson Israel has learned from its own border wall.
VAUSE: Thanks for staying with us, everybody, You're watching CNN NEWSROOM. I'm John Vause with the headlines this hour.
VAUSE: Welcome to divided government, Mr. President. After House Democrats launched a number of new investigations, Donald Trump vented his rage on Twitter, with his personal finances, policies and even staff members now under the microscope, he's blasting all of this as "presidential harassment." CNN's Abby Phillip has details.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: Today and every day, let us pray for the future of our country, let us pray for the courage to pursue justice and the wisdom to forge peace.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ABBY PHILLIP, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): A prayer about pursuing justice and forging peace ironically coming just hours after President Trump fired off a barrage of attacks against Democratic lawmakers who plan to investigate him.
Trump tweeting, "Presidential harassment. It should never be allowed to happen again."
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi not taking the bait.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) REP. NANCY PELOSI (D-CALIF.), HOUSE SPEAKER: I always think that whatever the president says about us, he's projecting his own unruliness. He's a projector. And that's what it is about.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
PHILLIP (voice-over): Trump also claiming that Republicans "never did this to President Obama," even though...
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: She described Benghazi as a soft target."
PHILLIP: Republicans did lead a probe into the Benghazi attacks during Obama's presidency that lasted more than two years. This as House Democrats announcing sweeping plans for public hearings with Trump cabinet officials and probe a laundry list of issues including the separation of children from their families at the border. Democrats also not shying away from potentially crossing Trump's red line, his personal finances.
PELOSI: I think overwhelmingly this public wants to see the president's tax returns. And so they want to know the truth. They want to know the facts, and he has nothing to hide.
PHILLIP: Pelosi ignoring the president's warning during the State of the Union Address.
TRUMP: If there's going to be peace and legislation, there cannot be war and investigation. It just doesn't work that way.
PHILLIP: The house speaker today firing back.
PELOSI: We will not surrender our constitutional responsibility for oversight. That would make us delinquent in our duties.
PHILLIP: One of his tweets this morning, President Trump complained about Democrats on Capitol Hill stealing people that worked at the White House for their oversight activities. That's an apparent reference to the House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff, who confirmed that his committee hired people with National Security Council experience, though he wouldn't say who. But Schiff also added that President Trump should probably work on being a better employer and not complain about the hires his committee is making for oversight. Abby Phillip, CNN, the White House.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
JOHN VAUSE, CNN NEWSROOM ANCHOR: Well, there could be a compromise in the works on funding the U.S. government and in particular the president's demand for a border wall with Mexico. A small group of Democratic and Republican negotiators are reportedly making progress.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) TRUMP: I certainly hear that they're working on something and both sides are moving along. We'll see what happens. We need border security. We have to have it. It's not an option. Let's see what happens.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VAUSE: But whatever they come up with may not be enough to satisfy the president or his base and their demands for a great big border wall because the wall has become a symbol, and in many ways an unmistakable message on immigration and who is welcome and who is not. Because if the war was truly about border security than Donald Trump would listen to Donald Trump on what a compromise might look like.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: Walls work, just ask Israel. They work. Believe me, they work. If you want to find out how effective a wall is, just ask Israel; 99.9 percent effective. And our wall will be every bit as good as that if not better.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VAUSE: Yes, just ask Israel except when the president talks about the wall to his supporters, its one continuous 3,000 kilometer long barrier separating two countries.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: It's going to be made out of concrete and it's going to be made out of rebar and steel. It's not a fence. It's a wall. You could call it a steel fence. This wall or fence, or anything the Democrats need to call it. A wall. a fence, whatever they'd like to call it. I'll call it whatever they want. But it's all the same thing.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VAUSE: The West Bank barrier built by Israel looked a lot more like the compromise which is being put forward by the Democrats, and to explain what all of this means, CNN's Global Affairs Analyst Aaron David Miller is with us now from Washington. Aaron was a long time adviser to a number of secretaries of state on Mid East policy. OK, Aaron, so let's acknowledge from the outset, Israel's west bank barrier. It's a lot of controversy during construction and continues to stir controversy to this day.
The Palestinians say it's a land grab, Israel says it's a security measure, they say walls can go up, walls can come down. Move that out of the way. Let's talk about it in connection with Donald Trump. It seems Trump and his supporters are unaware of the fact that the West Bank wall or barrier is only a wall in areas where there's a high terror risk. Concrete and steel amount to less than 10 percent overall.
AARON DAVID MILLER, CNN GLOBAL ANALYST: I mean yes, the president is modeling his wall on the Israelis, he's using a completely different conception that simply doesn't exist in Israel. I think of the 400 miles-plus of the West Bank barrier or fencing, less than 33 miles are driven by a concrete, solid structure, and those are in areas of high vulnerability, particularly where Israelis are likely to come into contact -- or potentially come in contact with Palestinian snipers.
The fact is, what the Israelis have done -- and it's tough to compare because the political security circumstances are so different. After all, the Israelis are trying not to prevent migrants from Central America fleeing violence and seeking a better life from coming into their country. By and large, the Israelis are dealing with a concrete functional security issue. But in order to deal with it, they haven't constructed a wall, John. What they have done is to construct actually, a hybrid of security fences. I would say smart fences, and the truth is, it's very close, again, with all the understandable differences, to what the Democrats are proposing, not Trump's notion of a continuous concrete structure, see through or not.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
VAUSE: I want to get back to the actual construction, which was approved in 2002. At the time, the fence is surrounded by barbed wire. It has sensors, and there's constant video surveillance.
VAUSE: A lot of people have said that the fence is electrified.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: OK, it's not electrified. We can walk up to the fence.
VAUSE: We can walk up to it.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes, we can walk up to it and touch it. Actually, it's a sensing.
VAUSE: So if I do this, this sets off an alarm.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes, this sets off an alarm.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VAUSE: And what they now say is when that construction began in 2002, 450 Israelis were killed by terror -- in terror attacks. Once construction was finished in 2005, that number fell to around 16 and it's been at that low lever ever since. It's hard to argue that it hasn't worked, but as you say that's not what the problem is which is confronting the United States. There is no crisis on the southern border. But let's imagine there was one as Donald Trump saw it, the solution that Israel has is not the solution which would solve that problem?
MILLER: No it's not because it's designed for a completely different purpose. And not only that, the so-called barrier in Israel works in large part also because in '04, Hamas, as a consequence of Israeli targeted killings of leaders, essentially suspended suicide attacks. That and the fact that Israelis are involved in intimate security cooperation with the Palestinians and the Israelis operate on the other side of the barrier, creates assort of circle of security which is driven a high degree of success with respect to stopping mass casualty attacks and suicide too (ph).
VAUSE: So the barrier alone isn't responsible for the dramatic fall off in the number of Israelis who were killed. The Israelis actually did build a barrier on the Egyptian border to stop illegal immigration. Again, that is a fence enhanced with technology as well as additional personnel. I think that's what, about half a billion dollars. And the military even thought the money could be better spent.
MILLER: Right. And actually, that wall, or excuse me, that set of fences which is roughly 150 miles, 5 meters to 8 meters high in certain places, is designed and has functioned extremely effectively. In 2010, there are 1,500 (inaudible) and Sudanese entering through Sinai. That number is 2018 was reduced to near -- to near zero. That -- but still again, John, it works. It's effective. And that is more of a security fence with ground radar cameras and electromagnetic sensors. So that's the kind of enhanced barrier using fencing and technology that I suspect the Democrats are pushing, and frankly strikes me as the most functional and sensible way to deal with the problems that we have along the border.
VAUSE: Aaron, thanks so much.
MILLER: Thank you, John. Take care.
VAUSE: Cheers. Take a trip around the world, just ahead, we'll visit a new park in India to see some very special structures and learn the message behind their creation.
VAUSE: It's amazing what can be found in seal poop. Scientists studying leopard seals in New Zealand found these images that you're looking at right now. They're on a USB stick which was found in the frozen droppings from seals. There's an unidentified person kayaking, a sea lion playing with a baby. The search is now on for the owner of said USB stick, who may or may not want it back considering where it's been.
In India, a new way to see the Seven Wonders of the World, they don't exactly match the official structures, but Nikhil Kumar shows us, they come with a strong message on recycling and environmental awareness.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
NIKHIL KUMAR, CNN REPORTER: What could be better than staring at a Paris icon in the morning light? Except this isn't Paris. And this isn't New York. And this isn't Rio. It's New Delhi and this being India, of course there's a Taj Mahal. Seven local artists have turned the former landfill into a park, and they used scrap medal to create replicas of famous international landmarks. They're billing it as the Seven Wonders of the World.
ZAKIR KHAN, ARTIST WHO RECREATED STATUE OF LIBERTY: Delhi generates a lot of scrap, especially from vehicles. The local corporations plan was to transfer scrap from bad places to good places and to spread awareness.
The park is part of the government's Clean India project and as well as recycling metal and creating a new green space, the park is also using clean energy. It's all part of a plan to get people thinking about environmental awareness and recycling.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The local corporation park (ph) had a good idea and showed us this place and asked us to make the replica here.
In addition to the Taj Mahal, the Eiffel Tower, the Statue of Liberty and the Statue of Christ the Redeemer, the park also has replicas of the Leaning Tower of Piza, the Great Pyramid at Giza, and the Coliseum. And this cute little guy in a tree, just because. Nikhil Kumar, CNN. New Delhi.
VAUSE: Thank you for watching CNN Newsroom, I'm John Vause. World Sports starts after the break.